picture of me on dinosaur birthday in black and white 2 color drawing

Benjamin-Newton.com and Cloudy.diamonds Books Online in Parts by Ben Huot

Jump to Top of Page

Complete Introductions Collection - Chapters 1-2 - Part 2

Ben Huot

June 28, 2011

in more formats

2.3 Essentials

27

to comprehending Understand, Clear and Philosophy Core

...though perhaps longer time, greater accuracy, and more ardent application may bring these sciences still nearer their perfection.

28

David Hume in "Species of Philosophy" in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Once the soul gets used to something, it becomes part of its make-up and nature, because the soul is able to take on many colourings. If through gradual training it has become used to hunger, (hunger) becomes a natural habit of the soul.

29

Ibn Khaldun in "Human Civilization in General" in The Muqaddimah

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

30

1 Corinthians 1:22-24

2.3.1 What's Inside?

31

Former Website Introduction for Landscapes of Ben's Mind

Overview

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

32

2 Corinthians 5:6-8

I should start out by saying that I see life in terms of possibilities, not in terms of actuality. This has led me to focus on minimizing risks to my person and family as well as maximize my potential achievements. In some ways this is very liberating and gives me great confidence, but in other ways it holds me back and causes me tremendous stress. I have been blessed with amazing abilities as well as limited by great weaknesses. On my websites and in my book series, you will see evidence of both.

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

33

1 Corinthians 9:22

This is the story of my adult life so far, beginning with my experiences as an enlisted soldier, my diagnosis of chronic allergic pink eye and sensitivity developed to cleaning and other harsh chemicals, my experiences in a public university, my paranoid episode and my voluntary stay in the locked psychiatric ward of a private hospital, my diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia, my experiences living with other mentally ill consumers in a group home, my experiences with in home care services, my experiences living in a retirement home in my late twenties, and my experiences with the Veterans Administration medical and psychiatric system. What ties these all together is my attempt to find an answer to suffering, to find a way to be Christian in a postmodern society, and to live a life of faith when I hear God tell me strange things.

But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

34

1 Kings 19:4

My life did not unfold neatly according to my plans for myself or because of my connections. I have had to work very hard for the little that I have. Sure there are many who have suffered worse than I have, but, nonetheless, I have had some very painful life experiences that many will never have to go through and I am glad they don't have to. I would not want to relive between the years of 1996-2006 again for anything and if I had them over again I would have attempted a very different path. There are still many times when I wish I would not have to live any more. If life just goes your way and everything just neatly falls into place for you, then this is not the book series and collection of websites for you. If however, like me, life is a constant struggle, then you might find my work to be done by a like soul.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

35

Isaiah 9:6

I am now embracing the God revealed in scripture: a God that is holy and awesome, a God that is an infinite mystery, and a personal God who wants a relationship with us. The personal nature of God makes me frustrated with the amount of suffering in the world, the holy and awesome nature of God compels me to both hold God responsible and at the same time the Church (myself included) and strive to by myself put a dent in the suffering of the world, while the infinite mystery that is another aspect of God resolves me to conclude that the reason for suffering is a mystery. I now hold all 5 views simultaneously.

Synopsis

If the mind is not preserved, your entire person will be without a master.

36

Chu Hsi 12.1a:7/199:7

In learning, you must first understand the big. When you've understood the big, you'll naturally thoroughly grasp the small within. People nowadays, however, without understanding the big, merely seek out the tiny details within.

37

Chu Hsi 8.2b:5/131:3

This book series and my websites are my portfolio with a message. I have unique, eccentric, and cutting edge world views in philosophy and poetry (Opinion), photography and graphic design (Galleries), and computing fundamentals (Technology). In this book series and my websites, you will see how the problems of suffering, uncertainty, free choice, and limits in religion, psychology, and sociology apply to workaholics with disabilities that require rest (like myself).

My site makes the most sense within the context that it was created for, why it was created and what methods I chose to achieve it.

Why this book series and these websites?

...When you know something but don't act on it, your knowledge of it is still superficial. After you have personally experienced it, your knowledge of it will be much clearer and its significance will be different from what it used to be.

38

Chu Hsi 9.1a:6/148:5

...practicing inner mental attentiveness refers to the way of controlling and restraining oneself; probing principle refers to the way of investigating the ultimate. These two things simply hinder each other. But when we get good at them, naturally they no longer get in each other's way.

39

Chu Hsi 9.3a:7/150:12

My book series and my websites were originally created to share my ideas and creative works with my uncle. He lived overseas and it was the easiest way to keep in touch with him and my messages were too big for email. I was just out of the military and was struggling with mental illness at the time (although I didn't know that then). I was studying Chinese philosophy in school from the literature perspective and was very obsessed with the problem of suffering. Physical pain was very real to me because I was suffering from chronic allergic pink eye that would never go away from what I could gather from the doctors. I wanted to be Christian still as I was from early childhood, but I didn't want to be a spoiled brat like the kids I went to school and church with. So I started writing poetry and that is what the book series and websites started out with.

The poetry is the first and most vital component of the websites and my books series and must be understood if you want to get what I am trying to say. I chose early on to try to be creative and personal in my approach to the problem of suffering. I knew what I wanted to say before I learned what terms to use for things and how to communicate what I felt. As I studied philosophy, I found the framework to hang my ideas on and found that I was not alone with odd ideas, but in fact found that most of the world throughout most of history had more in common with my way of thinking than what is currently in textbooks and on the news. When I found out that I had Schizophrenia, I questioned what I was thinking and if my odd ideas got me into this place, but I found I could not accept the way I was told things were. But I did learn that I should work hard to control my mind and the way I approached this was to study from the rationalist (or social) philosophers in addition to the mystics.

Methods

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

40

James 2:23

Students must establish their wills. That people nowadays are aimless is simply because they've never taken learning seriously. In dealing with things, they're reckless simply because their wills aren't firmly established.

41

Chu Hsi 8.5b:9/134:3

My theory of art being used for teaching biblical principles is that art is not usually good at presenting buzzword compliant theology that conforms to mainstream Christian traditions. I believe that nature is the art of God and any portrayal of a love of nature is naturally and necessarily directly related to having the humility necessary for saving faith. Most of the Bible is not about getting set up for eternity but what to do while we live on Earth. I do believe that this is the most critical message of the Bible, but a theology that sees Earth only as a chance to get saved is going to be a bad witness to those who do not believe. If the Sanctity of Life movement is to be seen as relevant to postmodern times, it must be extended to respect for all life and all resources. This is not to say that I won't present the Gospel message if my art or writing leads to that point, but rather that I am "witnessing" to people that would never enter a church even if saved. I have a much higher opinion of unbelievers than most Christians do in that I think that there are other reasons besides unwillingness to obey God's laws that convince people to not repent of their sins and except Christ as their savior. But you will always find biblically motivated art here that conforms to one or more of the main themes of the Bible. I do hold what the Bible says to be something to rely on as a completely accurate representation of the topics it covers and I do not have anywhere near the confidence in scientific results or any other source as I do in truth and facts contained in the Bible.

My point in creating a philosophy, a culture, and a theology is not to get everyone to think the way I do, but to question the accepted world views of the postmodern age. I want to teach people to think. Much as a teacher doesn't just give you the answer, but merely gives you the tools to find the answers for yourself, so is my intent.

Although my philosophy is not presented in a classical Western sense, all the materials in this book series and my websites have a philosophically sound and consistent basis. Most importantly, I am trying to teach people to think differently and more broadly. My organization is what is often referred to as random, but really it is organized, just not in a simple linear design.

I have attempted to merge Christianity with Chinese philosophy, but not in a philosophical treatise. Instead, I have focused on poetry, practical applications, and multimedia in order to make philosophy more understandable to the average person. I have also avoided uncommon vocabulary and technical jargon whenever possible.

Another reason for not presenting these philosophical concepts in the same format as major philosophers of the West is that I want people to make the connections for themselves and thereby learn how to formulate their own ideas. I don't want people to just parrot my ideas back to me, because creativity is one of the many things that we need more of in society. I am interested in people being consistent and searching for truth and I believe that they will find the right path if they are intellectually honest.

I also believe that being Christian is not just being the opposite of unbelievers, but doing what is right and sticking to the truth. I believe there is much we can learn from other philosophies and revealed religions. I believe that learning about others' beliefs can help provide a fresh perspective on the Bible that is desperately needed as atheism has been rampant in the Church because of its reliance on the Western Philosophy of the Enlightenment. I just avoid two things: hate speech and earth religions.

I also have a Far Side meets Abbott and Costello sense of humor, so if you see something that sounds like it is nuts, it is likely it is meant to be humorous.

Technical Explanation

Someone asked: Do dry and withered things have principle or not? Chu said. As soon as there exists a thing, there exists principle. Heaven has never produced a writing brush; man makes brushes with rabbit's hair. But as soon as their exists a brush, there exists principle

42

Chu Hsi 4.6a:12/61:12

My philosophy is primarily concerned with Epistemology and Ethics.

My theology is Existential and Evangelical Christian, my philosophical methods are Neo-Confucian and Philosophical Taoist, and my politics are Ecofeminist.

First and foremost I am a Christian Mystic (Existentialist) in that I believe what the Bible says by faith, but I believe that much of what God asks of us has a Rational basis which we can understand. I believe in Idealism (Philosophical Taoist) - that Spirit is the most important component of reality and that the material world is part of our mind. I am very Skeptical of anyone who says they know something for sure that is not in the Bible, especially social scientists. I also try to balance myself with facts and Empirical evidence (Neo-Confucianism) in interacting with society.

I believe that The Holy Spirit exists everywhere (qi) and that it is directed by God the father (li). This li or principle is an intelligent ethical force in the universe and can be comprehended rationally and is there to help sentient beings live happy lives (Virtue Ethics).

2.3.2 Son of Strength

We are not as strong as we think we are.

43

Rich Mullins

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

44

Romans 7:15

I have developed the idea of raising the bar, once I reach the level that was once my goal, for a higher goal and then on and on until I die. I think I reached rock bottom recently. I have developed the ability to understand philosophy despite having Schizophrenia and with it the near impossibility of understanding abstract thought.

Based on this insight, I surmised that I could do the same thing with my physical body. I would strengthen my will to the point that I could force my body to do what it couldn't physically much as Special Forces do. The problem is that in the Special Forces, when the training is done, that at some point the service member gets to rest. They don't tire out the service members to the point that they have no energy, before they drop them onto classified missions.

So for me to assume that I could will myself into mastering my body is a flawed assertion at best. But that was very arrogant to assume that I could reach that level of intensity, without having even attempting that kind of training. Anyway, when I came back from my run, which I was able to push myself past more pain than I was able to do in any of my cross country running, I tasted blood in my lungs and at the point when I got back to my retirement center, one of the managers thought I was having a heart attack.

This showed me that I need to slow down and be aware that although I can dream of saving the world, I do not have the energy to. In addition to never being able to feel fully rested no matter how much sleep I have had, I can't push past it with greater mental strength, as I don't even have the control over my mind as a normal person does.

What the Apostle Paul said in Romans is at the heart of (Christian) Existentialism. We cannot do what we want to. We are not strong enough mentally to reach our goals. We must leave saving the world to God and just help in small ways or else we will not survive long enough to see the fruits of our efforts.

I have finally realized that having Schizophrenia is not just a mental illness; it is a physical one as well. If your medicine is being effective on giving you some control of your thoughts, then you will have no energy to do anything.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

45

1 Corinthians 13:9-12

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

46

Hebrews 11:1

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

47

2 Samuel 22:31

Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

48

Psalms 2:12

I have recently arrived at the conclusion that the increased suffering of the world recently is the direct fault of Christians not following what God has called them to do, and in response to the fact and because I am in the wealthiest nation on the earth and because of my gifts of intelligence and creativity that I should be able to make a measurable dent in the amount of suffering that the sentient beings of the earth must feel. But the problem is I don't have the strength to have the reach that I believe I should have. Many of the problems of the world, if they are to be solved by people, need more resources than I have been given. I will just have to accept that there is some reason that God is allowing this to happen by conscious choice alone.

I have had to struggle with whether to say I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that he was both man and God or that that is a fact. I have recently come to understand that belief is stronger than facts. Similarly to how I said when we had to mark opinion as false and fact as true that opinions could be truths but facts are not consequential enough to be truths. So it shows more certainty to say that I believe in Heaven and Hell than to say flatly that there is a Heaven and Hell and that is the truth whether you agree with it or not you will go to one, because of course its true to the limits of my knowledge which is all I can guarantee by saying it is the truth, but to say I believe something to be true means that I haven't just proved it intellectually, but it is so true that I risk eternity on it.

2.3.3 Biblical Paradox and Value Ethics

49

Freewill and Predestination, Duty to Government and Corruption of Government

Overview

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

50

James 4:1-3

The paradoxes that the Bible teaches about God, Man, and our relationships between each other, animals, and God are not just there to give God an ego trip, by keeping us from doing what we want; they are there for our own good. One of the paradoxes of the Christian faith is that we are both secure in our salvation once we confess our sins and believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, but we still have the capacity to make choices without God constantly intervening. Scripture shows both aspects of this duality to be true and it is not just there to be hard to accept, but it is there for us to live a fuller life of faith and temperance.

Example: Freewill Verses

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

51

Romans 8:15

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.

52

1 John 4:18-19

Many try to drive people to God by fear by saying that if you commit one sin which you did not confess before you die, then you will go to Hell. This is not Biblical to try to motivate people by fear. This is one of the problems that arises if you believe in free will at the expense of predestination.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven

53

Colossians 1:22-23

The key aspects of this passage are as follows:

1. As believers, we are rendered righteous by Christ's death and resurrection.

2. The key questions to answer from the Bible are

3. what is faith?

4. and what is the gospel?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith

54

Romans 1:16-17

So the gospel is salvation by faith and we are considered righteous by God's free gift or grace in response to our belief in His resurrection from the dead.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

55

Hebrews 11:1

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;

56

Hebrews 3:12-14

It is not one sin being committed that Scripture is talking about here, but, rather, a habit of sin that brings the sinner to not be able to confess their sin, because to confess sin and repent is to be righteous by faith.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

57

1 John 1:9-10

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

58

Hebrews 6:11-12

The point of these verses is to show that, as we follow through our faith into good works and stay away from sin, we enjoy God's promises. God realizes that we will continue to sin, but he wants us to live an overall lifestyle characterized by obedience.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

59

1 John 5:2-3

Loving God is to follow His commandments.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

60

Hebrews 10:36-39

Finally, God gives us a promise that we won't live a life of sin and will by saved by faith, and our sins will not keep us from Heaven.

Example: Predestination Verses

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

61

Romans 6:1-4

The Bible also teaches that we have an assurance of salvation, if we believe. But this is not an excuse to sin. And this is likely why so many churches are so adamant about free will. We are to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" and not to walk in sin, as Christ died so that we might not be slaves to sin.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

62

Romans 8:28-30

God predestined everyone that loved Him to be called righteous by God's grace and their faith.

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

63

Galations 1:15

God has a purpose for our life, before we are even born.

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

64

Ephesians 1:4-5

God cares about us so much, that before He created the world He had already chosen those who would believe many thousand years later. Even then He knew that we could not exist without sin and that it was by His grace that we are saved.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

65

Ephesians 2:8-10

We are saved through God's grace, by our faith and the outcome of that faith is to not only keep from sin, but to do good towards others.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering

66

Colossians 3:12

As we are chosen by God to be His children, so we are also called to love one another, as God has loved us.

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

67

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

We are to be thankful for other believers to God, because He chose them to believe, before the creation of the world.

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began

68

Titus 1:1-2

Godliness and the acknowledging of Christ's resurrection and our sin one in the same.

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

69

1 Peter 1:20-21

It is God's miracle that we are saved and the entire reason of our salvation is God's grace and desire to draw us near Him.

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

70

Matthew 7:4

The government does wrong, but that is not an excuse to not obey their laws. We are speaking out as a good example for unbelievers by following both God's and then man's laws. Just because others don't do what is right, it is not our duty to bring judgment on them, but to set a good example by our own behavior.

Example 2: Duty to Government

Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? " "Shew me the tribute money." And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, "Whose is this image and superscription? " They say unto him, Caesa's. Then saith he unto them, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

71

Matthew 22:17-21

God wants your heart and the government just wants you to follow the laws, namely: pay your taxes.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

72

Romans 13:1-8

The government is there because God has supported it because it is an instrument of His will. The people who fear the government are the ones who are committing crimes. Do what the government asks, which is basically to love one another, as the laws of men are in many ways similar to the laws of God.

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

73

Titus 3:1-3

Don't worry about what others do, but follow the laws, in order to be able to do good works for others.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

74

1 Peter 2:13-17

Treat everyone with respect and dignity and follow the laws. This way, people will have nothing to say against God or the Church.

Example 2: Corruption of Government

And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.

75

Micah 3:1-4

Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.

76

Micah 3:9-11

The government/Church is corrupt and God will bring judgment upon them.

And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

77

John 19:12-16

The Church often persuades the government to do the wrong thing. Even when the Church is not technically in power, they often lead the government to do the wrong thing. They are all responsible for their own actions.

2.3.4 Background

78

to Plush Heart Subculture

Introduction

Suffering is not just a problem that Christians and people of the Jewish faith confront, but both Chinese and Indian philosophies and religions of all branches confront. In fact, both Chinese and Indian philosophy deal almost exclusively with the problem of suffering. There is no reason why a person would conclude that life should not have suffering or should have less, based on nature. Every part of our universe exudes a lack of emotion. People are down-right mean for the most part and can experience pain, even beyond those of animals, as they can anticipate pain. Yet in Hinduism, Buddhism, and all branches of Chinese philosophies, there is a set of ethics if nothing else. What is the reason for these ethics, if there is no concept that pain shouldn't exist or should be lessened? There can be no reason for there being good and evil or any sort of morality, if it is not because it reflects attributes of a loving God. And Buddhism is a form of atheism, Taoism is based on a God that is neutral, and Hinduism is based on an ultimate reality who is Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer. Only in the Christian and Jewish faiths is there a God who is perfectly good.79

based on concepts from The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

Who are those who suffer? I do not know, but they are my people.

80

Pablo Neruda in "The Mountain and the River" in The Captain's Verses

Many people think that, if you are Christian, then you should support the establishment, because Jesus told us to pay our taxes. But Jesus was very much against the establishment, especially the religious institutions. Although not political himself, Jesus wanted us to reach out to those who society did not value and act out our faith in all parts of our lives. Christianity is necessarily political, not in the power struggle way, but in the way we protest against the establishment in our daily lives. Jesus wanted us to live pure lives, not compromising to the ways of the world, as our bodies are temples of God. In order to reject the establishment, we need to know what it values. The establishment revolves around three attributes contrary to God and the search for truth and meaning: systematic thought which leads to specialization from the philosophy of Aristotle as interpreted by Maimonides, the materialism that was started by Descartes, and the atheism that comes from Rousseau. The origin of these methods were the Pythagoreans, who believed everything was reducible to numbers, and those who come up short are always everyone who are not wealthy white men. Existentialism is a rejection of these principles and Chinese philosophy has a united rationalism and a mysticism that are neither systematic, materialistic, or atheistic. Therefore, reducing suffering means rejecting the establishment, which means rejecting western philosophy.

What is an empathetic response to suffering? I say: to help prevent it and reduce it when it can't be prevented. I have had my own kind of suffering, even chronic physical pain, and there is nothing anyone could say that would make it seem ok. Yes, Jesus suffered tremendously in many ways, but just because He was willing to doesn't mean that others should. Yes, we have hope beyond death for eternal joy and peace, but that doesn't shorten the time we suffer on earth. In Psalms it says that the reason for evil is a mystery.

This maturity will keep you from giving your opinion too hastily if the matter is difficult. In such a case take your time to think the matter over, study the question, and even discuss it with others.

81

Ignatius Loyola in "To the Fathers Departing for Germany: Practical Norms"

There are several causes of suffering: the ones that can be prevented and those which cannot. We must accept the ones that we cannot change and avoid the ones that can be prevented. I believe that quite a bit of suffering could be prevented by the Taoist concept of uselessness; don't do anything that would make you famous, so you are not a target for others. Another way, is to learn to think rationally and with safety in mind. Forget about being brave in the classical sense - choose life as it is the highest good.

Throughout my book series and websites, you will find how I approach suffering, both mental and physical, and how you can reduce your own pain: emotional, spiritual, and economic. The Liberation Psychology can relieve emotional pain, the Philosophy of Fun can relieve economic problems, Existential Ethics can reduce the physical pain of others, and the Still Theory can reduce spiritual pain

...you will see that holy poverty preserves us from many sins...It slays the worm of riches, which is pride; cuts off the infernal leeches of lust and gluttony, and many other sins as well.

82

Ignatius Loyola in "To the Fathers and Brothers in Padua: On Feeling the Effects of Poverty"

I also do a number of practical things to help reduce suffering, including: wearing simple clothing, using public transportation, using nontoxic cleaners, using inexpensive software, being vegetarian, using used furniture, giving to help those society does not value, not using leather, and using cruelty free shampoo.

The facts of my situation

I do know that though your health is frail, you allow yourself to be carried away by your charity to undertake tasks and labors that are more than you can conveniently bear. Judging in God our Lord that it would be more acceptable to His Divine Majesty to have you temper your zeal in this respect so that you will be able to labor the longer in his service

83

Ignatius Loyola in "To Father Antonio Araoz: On Caring for One's Health"

What is it like to not have control of your mind - to lay awake at night afraid of things that will never happen - to believe that your loved ones are against you - to not know the difference between what is fact and what is fiction - to fear the police will arrest you for how you were born -

to not be able to handle the stress of meetings - to not be able to be consistently on time - to not be able to sit through a play or a movie - to find it stressful to listen to music - to not have the motivation to take care of yourself - to have to rely on others for your income?

Your first and greatest asset will be to distrust yourself and have a great and magnanimous trust in God.

84

Ignatius Loyola in "To the Fathers Departing for Germany: Practical Norms"

I am very self-reflective and find meaning in every part of life. But I am not just a philosopher because many of my thoughts are not rational and I do not have control over my thoughts. I keep busy to distract myself from voices and paranoia. Quiet times like when I fall asleep at night are when my paranoia and voices are the most intense. When someone makes a comment in general and it could apply to me, I take it as a personal attack as I am suspicious that others are against me. It is impossible for me to still my mind enough to meditate.

Not only do I not have control over my thoughts, but I find it impossible to take care of the daily activities that are necessary to survive in the modern world. I understand technology, philosophy, and can write and draw on a level that few can surpass, but I can't wash my clothes once a week, clean my bathroom, recycle, or show up at a set time. The modern world is based on the clock and on facts and that is how we deal with other people in our society. This is completely foreign to my way of thinking.

I developed my own subculture, as I was unable to find my place in society. Basically, I have to find time to rest in order to deal with my illness, to avoid going back to the hospital. But even the rest can cause me mental pain: paranoia and auditory hallucinations. It would be good for me to have more interactions with people, as they help bring me into the modern world, but they also cause me a great deal of paranoia and many things they carelessly say cause me to suffer mentally.

The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits... And if great reasoners are often maniacal, it is equally true that maniacs are commonly great reasoners.

85

G. K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy

This is the situation I am in, and modern science calls it Schizophrenia. I am very intelligent and good at writing and being creative, but this has nothing to do with Schizophrenia. Is a person with diabetes any different except for their illness? I am no different in that way too. I know many other people who have Schizophrenia and they are no more or less intelligent or think differently than anybody else.

Schizophrenia is a broad term like cancer where many different illnesses fall under the same umbrella. Some people with Schizophrenia can complete distance education or work a part time job, but I cannot. My main obstacle is dealing with time and facts - dealing with other people and taking care of my basic needs.

Frustration

Struggling to lift the heavy lids

My eyes burst open

And I stagger to the other room

With immense effort

I live in a dream within a dream

My paranoia within God's thoughts

My will is strong

And my spirit unbreakable

But my mind only controls

Some of my thoughts

And my body is weak

And continually asleep

My burden is not light

As Jesus said for those

Who walk with Him

And its shadow is ever before me

When your mind cannot cease

From racing at full speed

And your body is heavily sedated

Everything is a battle of will

And your spirit pushes your body

My heart is pressed on all sides

By my unquenchable emotions

And unmovable flesh

But my heart is still wild and unwavering

How will I complete the contest?

How many years will this situation last?

When you are dead tired

And you are nowhere near the finish

You must slow down and keep going

When you would much rather lie down and die

How will I summon the energy

Without the strength of mind or body?

Will I be able to survive by spirit alone?

Do I know how to achieve solely by will?

Each day we wake up and begin

Before even thinking about "what next? "

But at night we worry over

What has and hasn't happened

If only my spirit could know the rhythm

And my will the attitude

That can harmonize with the Way

And outlast the disease

We can only hope

And pray without ceasing

2.3.5 Frequently Asked Questions

86

to Plush Heart texts

My philosophy is principally Chinese in its design, because: 1) it is based on poetry, 2) it has a mystical and a rational component, 3) it is primarily applied to ethics and psychology, and 4) it is concise.

General

Not everyone who is an Atheist is trying to disprove the existence of God or rejecting the authority of the Bible. Well known Atheists such as Nietzche, Marx, and Freud criticized the way Christians tend to act and the actions criticized can often be traced to idolatry on the part of the Christians. Atheistic works can therefore be useful in restoring Christians to a holy lifestyle. Some lifestyles and philosophies that are exploited by non-Christians heavily for their own uses, like the Gothic lifestyle or the Existential philosophy, are actually very Christian at their fundamental level and can be useful to Christians to show non-believers what Christianity is all about. Chinese philosophy is based on the problem of suffering and is focused on ethics and psychology. It is Theistic but doesn't define God. You can very easily practice Chinese medicine and be Christian as consistently as you can practice Western medicine and be Christian. In fact, most people study Atheistic philosophy without noticing it. These philosophies are the basis for social science, evolution, Newtonian physics, Shakespearean plays, and many other subjects studied by children in public schools. You cannot avoid studying anti-Christian philosophies, but you can challenge their assumptions and for some people this means studying other philosophies.

I never read occult books or hate speech as God is a jealous God and He loves all His creatures equally. I have read from Christian books about people who experimented with drugs and the New Age/Pagan movement and they were scared, abused, and lied to by evil spirits. I also believe that we should live at harmony with God's creation and introducing polluting technologies or supernatural powers other than the Creator is due to people not accepting their limitations and pursuing power without any sense of responsibility for the consequences. Also the basis for the destructive philosophies of the Enlightenment can be traced back to Pythagorus who studied the Egyptian occult religions. Astronomy throughout most of history was called astrology and was tied in with the study of the occult.

Conservatives are actually the idealists, whereas liberals are more realistic. Idealistically it would be nice to have small government and every one could look after themselves. It would be nice to not impede businesses by complex rules. But this doesn't mesh with reality. In the real world we live in, we need to provide services for the disabled and the elderly, the healthcare for the sick and the poor, education for the young and the downsized, business regulations for employees and stockholders, environmental regulations for every citizen's health and safety, and the like. We can't live in glass bubbles where everything is provided at no cost. We have to choose priorities and when we spend every last dime on weapons and corporate welfare we don't even have enough to take care of disabled veterans and our soldiers' needs. Taking over other countries for their oil can only last so long - eventually they will revolt - and businesses don't hire more employees when they don't have to pay taxes - this is just a fantasy. We can't live off the way things work in our dreams. We have to accept that our world is not perfect and do the best we can with what we have.

Chinese Philosophy vs. Greek Philosophy vs. Christianity

In Greek (Western) philosophy, the proof for each school is based on reason in the form of Physics (motion), in Chinese philosophy the proof for each school is based on how things were done in ancient China (even for them) in the form of harmony or stillness, and the Bible's proof for its ethics and theology is based on how the concepts relate to qualities that God exemplifies. Also in Greek philosophy, man was considered evil by nature, in Chinese philosophy he was considered to be good by nature, and the Bible says that man was created good, but fell and is inclined towards evil, until he is saved and then he is inclined towards good.

Chinese philosophy is also great literature and is fun to read as it flows and has a rhythm and most importantly it is brief and to the point. Contrast Chuang Tzu or even Hsun Tzu with Plato, who hides his philosophy in a question and answer format, where he gets off tricking those who can't follow linear logic as well as him into saying what he wants them to say. He repeats the same thing over and over again to drum it in and has the arrogance to claim this sham teaches people to think. The Pre-Socratics are much more worth reading and more relevant if you feel you have to read Greek philosophy.

The aim of Greek philosophy is to find a logical analysis of how the universe began, whereas the aim of Chinese philosophy is to have a well-ordered society and self. The Bible aims to save the individual from the eternal consequences of sin and to transform the self into a holy vessel, fitting of God's indwelling, by God reaching out to us and us accepting His invitation.

Religion and Mental Illness

Schizophrenia was not treated effectively by society until anti-psychotic drugs were created from sedatives in the late 1950's. The medication has been modified to remove most of the sedating attributes by the first part of the 21st century, so that many people with Schizophrenia are able to live outside institutions. Anti-psychotic medications are able to blunt the effects of paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations enough, so that people can distinguish between them and reality. But there is not a medication that will completely eliminate those symptoms or the lethargy that comes either from the mental illness or as a side effect of the medication. To help deal with remaining symptoms, religion in moderation can be helpful. Religion can provide stability, answers, and useful ideas for secondary treatments.

Many hallucinations, paranoid thoughts, and delusions have religious components to them and sometimes the rituals of religion can contribute to Obsessive Compulsive behaviors. This shows that there is a relationship between religion and mental illness, but it doesn't mean that religion in all its aspects does nothing but hinder the treatment of Schizophrenia.

One of the reasons why I incorporate Chinese philosophy into my treatment of Schizophrenia, is because although the Bible tells a person how to live ethically and how to have an appropriate relationship with God, it doesn't tell you everything you ever need to know. Not all problems are entirely spiritually based. A person can definitely learn how to think rationally without using the Bible, but to get the full comfort from religion, faith is a vital component.

Chinese Philosophy

Everything has Qi in it: matter, energy, and spirit. There are five states of Qi that correspond to the five elements. I have Water Qi. I feel like I am floating around from task to task and ideas come to me like streams of light. I desire salty, high protein foods. My symptoms are worse at night and during the winter. I need more northern exposure.

Non-dualism is a major branch of philosophy that encompasses most traditional thought as well as Postmodern thought. Non-dualism is a realization that everything has a duality to it - opposing components that compliment each other. The point is to be in balance, not push towards one extreme that society labels as good. With Schizophrenia, a person has amplified emotions and a fixation on symbols that he finds in places where there are no symbols. The object he fixates on becomes a fear and it grows so large that it shadows everything else. Using Non-dualism, a person with Schizophrenia can see that there is a whole world around the fixation and that his fear is just one aspect of his mind.

In Buddhism, it is said that the Buddha is your mind. Nothing exists and has any permanence except your mind. Everyone experiences the world with their mind and they can't know anything that they cannot perceive. When your mind distorts reality, you can't understand that something is just an illusion. This reminds a person with Schizophrenia that there is no way to be able to spot delusions without being on medication and to expect that sometimes everything they know can be a delusion.

Christianity

King David apparently struggled with depression and fear and he wrote about it in Psalms. We can learn that it is acceptable to be angry with God and question Him and ask Him for help. He will counsel you and give you hope.

First of all, Chinese philosophy is more about Psychology than religion. Second, the Bible and Chinese philosophy both have a similar value system and a singular focus on ethics that leaves the whys out cold.

Existentialists of all persuasions were heavily influenced by Chinese thought. Kierkegaard talked about how man had to realize that he was infinitely separated from God in terms of intellect, but that he could live life with an unimaginable closeness with God. Chuang Tzu explained that we cannot be leaders because we are equal to all sentient beings and all life is interconnected. Both philosophies talk about humility and compassion, but in different ways.

2.3.6 Galleries Frequently Asked Questions

87

to Landscapes of Ben's Mind

General

Cows are a symbol for my website and are significant to me because they suffer because other people treat them as objects, just as others treat me as a monster/freak or don't recognize my struggles as valid.

I was in charged of the military part of the post high school section of a high school orientation program that our class made with Sony Disc Manufacturing. That is what gave me an interest in graphic design. I got my confidence when I used UNIX in the military. I keep up to date on all the latest software by reading daily news sites about what interests me.

Drawings

Still Life is a term I use to denote inanimate objects that are sentient beings. Just as God dreamt us into existence, so we give human being to plush animals (stuffed toys) and other still life.

I never received any formal education in art other than craft work I did in Cub Scouts and elementary school. I did take one class in Gender and Art and a class in Design for Journalists as they were required classes in college. But most of my ability in photography and drawing on the computer is intuitive and I do not use any methods I was taught in school. There are some strategies I use to draw digitally, but this was something I came up with and not something I read somewhere. In fact, still to this day, I don't use bezier curves to create shapes like most designers do.

Photography

It was said in the Tao te Ching that the sage knows all things although he never travels far from home. I don't travel far from home because it is hard for me to wait and there is a tremendous amount of waiting in travel. I couldn't go to other countries, because I depend on my medicine to keep me in my right mind. I could easily get into a life threatening situation, if I wasn't on my medicine. I also want people to realize how much beauty their is just in our communities and to respect all our resources and life forms that we encounter.

I have always liked trees, long before I had any connection with cows. Trees have many attributes of God and I feel closer to Him when I am near trees. A tree can be very big like God, silent and still like God, very old like God, and provide protection from the elements like God protects us from potential problems.