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Complete Introductions Collection - Chapters 1-2 - Part 3

Ben Huot

June 28, 2011

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Table of Contents

2.4 Background

I wrote a series of books, entitled collectively, the Free Thinking Collections, in which I explained my philosophy, my own unique combination of philosophical Taoism and Christian Existentialism. One of my big inspirations was Kierkegaard. His approach was to author his different works of philosophy from different points of view and he was very much against the idea of forming a consistent systematic approach to his philosophy. He just wanted to make a number of separate writings that solved a particular problem or gave his view on one thing. The combination of both these approaches makes his philosophical work seem very disjointed. Maybe that is the effect that I have given here, with my introductions. Let me explain the significance of each: the first part talks about my unique approach to philosophy, the second part explains why I have decided to write books about philosophy, the next part talks about unique issues I deal with as a Christian, and the final part talks about my frustrations about the future generations.

2.4.1 My Approach to Studying Philosophy

In the following section, I want to explain some things that may seem either very obvious or ridiculously pointless, but are important in understanding my approach to philosophy. First, I want people to know that philosophy is as critical to self knowledge as psychology is, for similar reasons. Second, I want people to know that it is ok to rely on experience as the "proof" for what you believe, as I do. Thirdly, I want people to remember that we don't need to just accept some random person's argument and give up what we believe, because this person knows how to argue well. I also want people to know the importance of relying on sources of knowledge other than just facts, like feelings and faith.

Why Study Philosophy?

Many people wonder why a Christian would study philosophy. Many Christians would ask why the Bible is not enough by itself. Philosophy is like psychology, in that if you don't learn about it, you are going to end up doing things that you don't want to, without knowing the reasons why. By not examining why you believe what you believe does not means that your beliefs are more secure, but rather that you will continue to following things you don't really believe, for some unknown reason.

If you have any faith, then your basic beliefs will stay the same and you do not have to worry about losing your faith, because you examine your beliefs closer. I have never changed my faith or basic beliefs, since I was a little kid, and I have studied most major belief systems, outside the occult. The point of philosophy is to give you an accurate view of who you are, so you can make the decisions to believe what you want, without being unduly influenced by outside forces.

People might also wonder why I study Asian philosophies. Asian philosophy is very different than Western philosophy. Asian philosophy: is usually also fine literature; is primarily concerned with the problems of suffering and uncertainty; applies mostly to psychology, ethics, art, literature; is much more ancient than most Western philosophy; is part of very different cultures; is an alternative to mainstream thinking. These are some of the many reasons why I like Asian philosophies so much, both Chinese and Indian in origin.

Changing Minds

In making decisions, there are different sources of truth to draw from. Most people are familiar with a logic argument, which is based on a set of assumptions. People can also base beliefs on: a set of sacred texts, the testimony of an eyewitness, traditions developed over time, history of a nation or locale, and personal experiences, to name a few.

The most common ways people become convinced of something is not through reasoning, but through experiences or through repetition. When I write, I base my claims on what I have experienced and others, who have similar experiences, might be more likely to agree with me. I realize that, if I try to argue something with someone, if they don't already believe in the same thing, it will be very unlikely that I will change their mind.

Think of the last time you changed someone's mind. It doesn't happy very often, does it? And if you do change your mind, when someone presents a convincing argument, you are no closer to the truth, then you would be, if you based your beliefs on experiences you have had or on sacred texts. Remember that everyone has a bias and an agenda, even if they are not aware of it. People only claim to be objective, when they have little self knowledge.

How do we determine what is true?

In my parents' generation, there were fewer media sources and people were less corrupt and more honest (at least they thought so). Life was simpler. Now that we get so much of our news online, from unknown and unverified sources, and we find out that our traditional media basically write for their advertisers, not their subscribers, how do we determine what is correct? Some people would really say they rely on logic and will get persuaded by the first well crafter argument, but to use only reason would require complete objectivity, plus complete information, both of which are only possible for God.

There are many things to draw from to determine the truth. One would be to learn as much as possible from as wide a variety of sources as possible. Try to find people who have direct experiences with what it is you are trying to find out about. Try to find a way to get directly involved with with this subject yourself. Draw from your own life experiences, be sure to follow your instincts, and pray about it. Read up on related Scripture and then consult people you trust.

There is no easy way and no one way to be absolutely sure of anything, except for the Scripture. Realize what works for you depends on: the kind of person you are, your situation, your experiences, and your amount of free time. Some things may not be worth the time to go through as exhaustive a search as others. But we have all sorts of tools to work with and more information then ever to draw from. We just need to have the confidence to use all our resources, to put together the answer that is best, for our situation. Remember, no one know you better than you, except of course God.

2.4.2 Why write all these books?

I was good at writing

I have always been good at writing. I had been in advanced placement literature, all through Middle and High School. In my last 2 years of high school, we were required to write an essay from scratch, during part of the class period and turn them in that same period. I learned to write very well, very fast this way. I won the first place state prize in a national peace essay contest, while in high school. I wrote a lot of poetry for a girl, about my age, I was interested in, while I was in the military, in advanced training. When I overslept my final, in a college US history class, while in the military, at my permanent duty station, I took an 8 page essay final on it and got an A.

I started writing poetry about philosophy, as I was reading Chuang Tzu, for my college Chinese Literature class, for the first time. I felt that I failed, as I was having trouble in school, due to what later was diagnosed as Schizophrenia. I had given up on writing poetry for women after it didn't work out, with the girl I was interested in, while in the military. Then, I decided to write poetry for God. I continued to write, as I studied about Chinese Literature. I posted these poems to a website, I started about then, to share them with my Uncle, who lived overseas at the time, because the files were too big for email.

I was then diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, after being voluntarily hospitalized, in the psychiatric ward of a private hospital, for my paranoid episode. I didn't read or write for several months, but then I returned to reading the Existentialists I had studied during a previous college class and I began writing again. I lived in a group home, with 8 other mentally ill men, for 9 months, and then moved to my own apartment, when I got my veteran's disability

I was going to finish my writing and then work on something else and then 9/11 happened and I realized that I had much more to say. I continued writing on my website, for several more years, as I read most of the major works of philosophy and religion, both Asian and European. I lived on my own, with in home care doing the cleaning and making sure I took my medicine. Then I moved into a retirement home, for 2 years, and I got really stable on my medicine.

In the last few years I have put my writings into books, first printing and binding them out at an office store, and then finding out about print on demand and Lulu (and after learning LaTeX better, which I had wanted to learn for a while) I formatted my first books. I thought it would be too big a job for me, but it was so expensive and would turn out so low quality, to have someone else do it for me, that doing it myself was the only viable option.

I had something unique to say

The reason why I wrote on the topics I did was that there was really nothing like it in print. There were very few Christians, who read any philosophy, especially Eastern philosophy and nobody I could find had combined Philosophical Taoism and Existentialism. There are lots of Christian writings about the New Age movement or about various heresies that claim to be Christian, but nothing on Eastern philosophy and definitely nothing creative.

I realized what I was writing was something many non-believers interested in spirituality were drawn to, but Christians continued to think I was promoting a heresy. But, as so little is done to help unbelievers, and so much is done to help Christians, I didn't feel a need to get the approval of other Christians. Ironically, it was because I was so committed to being Evangelical, that Evangelicals were uncomfortable with me.

2.4.3 Christian Challenges

When studying philosophy, their are some unique challenges for Christians. One challenge is that many Christians expect other believers to use the same narrow approach, that has been done to death and isn't very effective anymore. Another challenge is that when you study other religions, Christians think you are giving up your beliefs and trying to confuse others about the unique place of Christianity in the world religions. They assume, because you study about God from the point of view of someone who thinks God exists in nature, that you will stop believing that Christ is a personal God. They often group all of these ideas together, referring to them as New Age, although that is based on a misunderstanding. Finally, many people have a hard time accepting that God can both be a personal God, still exist everywhere at once, and even be the fundamental building blocks of nature, and yet that God is to be worshiped as a personal God and is completely separate from nature. The final piece is a conversation with an Evangelical Christian, who I am trying to explain the importance of a creative, artistic, holistic, and original approach to Christianity.

Two Choices

I have had two choices in my approach to Christian theology. The first was to do what almost every other Christian does, namely: continue to repeat over and over again about sin and salvation, until my readers could repeat everything from memory, and continue to rebuke people for lusting and committing a variety of sexual sins. Since almost every other Christian is saying that, I think people understand well that Christians don't believe in sex, outside marriage, and that salvation is by faith. I don't feel the need to repeat it and I have never denied it. And most Christians have used the method of repetition, to convince people of this. I cannot add anything more or useful to this approach and it would be a great waste, to go for this goal, because of that. Also, these are the problems of my parent's generation, not mine.

The more logical choice for me, was to focus on my generation and the future. I am not worried about people being confused over Christian doctrines. I am worried about the relevance of the theological debates we have. My generation is very eager to give up on the ways of the past. We have been handed down more problems than any other generation has been given by the previous one. We are interested in the supernatural, but don't want to do the same things our parents have done in religion, either. We see that the Bible has a lot of good ideas in it, but that there is little passion or creativity in the Church. We see a big difference between the main ideas of the Bible and the Church, but we aren't going to give up easily. We are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to solve this problem, namely: there needs to be a difference in the way Christians behave than the way non-Christians behave. We are not interested in how good a theologian can argue. We want to have theologians who can tolerate a diversity in points of view. We are tired of fighting and want to include anyone we can.

New Age vs. World Religions

The New Age movement is hard to pin down to a certain set of beliefs. The practices of the New Age movement originate with Theosophy. This movement is one of practice more than ideology and consists of an eclectic combination of supernatural practices. These practices are done predominantly to get powers for the practitioners. These practices are drawn from almost all religions and continents. For Christians, it is against the First Commandment to worship anything other than the one Creator God. For Christians, any supernatural interactions that are not done by God, using the methods and message consistent with Scripture, are strictly forbidden. These include a wide range of different practices that are the same or similar to most the New Age practices.

Many Christians confuse Asian religion and philosophy with the New Age movement, because some people in the New Age movement claim a connection. There are some traditional Asian practices that violate the commands of Scripture and have been adopted by the New Age movement, but, on the whole, the key ideas of the major Asian belief systems are focused on ethics and discipline and are strikingly similar to Christianity values. The New Age movement does not incorporate these values of ethics and discipline.

For non-Christians, it may seem unimportant to avoid these practices, but you have to realize that the only way things can be done supernaturally is by supernatural beings. If these beings are not servants of Christ, they serve the devil. While angelic servants of Christ come and do a mission and then leave, the evil spirits will continue to stay around and harass you, telling you lies and abusing you, for their own aims. They are then very hard to get rid of and may continue to bother you, even after becoming a born again Christian.

Since there is some crossover between what is forbidden by the Bible spiritually and some well know Asian writings, I don't recommend just reading any classical Asian religious or philosophical texts. If you read the books recommended in my Book of Lists, you will be fine. Some of the major supernatural practices in Asian religions come from the Kabbalah, some branches of Sufism, the Vedas, Tibetan Buddhism, Religious or Esoteric Taoism, and the I-Ching, to name some obvious examples.

If you want to study the different Asian philosophies and religions, I recommend studying Hinduism before Buddhism and Confucianism before Taoism and also to study Legalism, Neo-Confucianism, Jainism, and the Sikh faith as well to get a more complete picture. I would recommend ideally reading: the Analects of Confucius, Chuang Tzu, Han Fei Tzu, and then Chu Hsi first, in that order. Then, I would recommend reading the: Upanishads, the Baghavad Gita, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Pali Canon, the Dhamapada, the Diamond Sutra or Heart Sutra, Bodhidharma, The Sutra of Hui Neng, Dogen, and then the Tannisho second, in that order. Then I would recommend finishing up with reading: anything classical you can find on Jainism - I found some medieval short stories, then the Saying of the Desert Fathers, the Philokalia, Deliverance from Error, Hafiz, Meera, Kabir, and then Guru Nanak finally, in that order. It would also be good to read up on the history of China and India and any scholarly summary of the history and beliefs of the various Hindu and Buddhist branches you can find.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

God is Lord of His creation

Which is all that exists

In any kind of reality

And every realm of existence

Both spiritual and material

Both potential and actual

Throughout all time

We worship God, the Father

But that is just one aspect

As the Head

He directs everything

Just as we create

And manage things

With our minds

But that is not all there is

To our Lord and Creator

He also exists everywhere at once

And anywhere instantly

Because it is His Spirit

That makes up the fabric

Of the multiverse membrane

Just as we are sustained

By blood which is our life

That is in our body

But still direct everything we do

With our mind

So we direct our worship

To God the Father

We pray to our Heavenly Father

Like we look in anotherOs eyes

When we speak to them

Even though the part that has the life

Is distributed throughout them

We treat God with greater respect

Than His creation as we recognize

A person not as a collective of cells

But as the person associated

With a given mind

Just as we differentiate between

Plywood and a tree

And a pork roast and a pig

So we realize

That although God's Spirit

Is the fundamental fabric

Of all realities

It does not make God

A synonym for His creation

Creativity and the Analytical Worldview

When someone proves their point, and makes it seem as if what you believe is in error, does this inspire you to adopt the new view, with any passion or commitment? Is it better to be right on every bullet point of Christianity, or is it better to have Christ's love? If going to church makes you angry and bitter, is it better for you to not come at all? If people are so easily confused, that you need to simplify your beliefs down to the same wording, as everyone else in your church, isn't it likely that people will still be confused of their doctrine, and basically be following out of fear, or out of a lack of trust in themselves and their own judgment? How can your faith be your own, if you do not allow yourself the freedom, to choose your own words and your own expressions of your beliefs?

There is a usefulness of clarity, up to a point, and that at that unnamed point, being direct turns into being hostile. Being sure of some things is good, but being sure of everything leads to folly. It is good to be accurate, but you should not use precise language when the meaning is not easily determined. When you plan your doctrine down to the finest detail, you have already lost the joy in your faith. It may suit some people, to only make well-planned choices, in every situation, and then they will likely stay out of trouble, but there will be no sense of freedom or adventure. It is great to give direction to an artist, but if you micro manage all his choices, then you have stolen his ability to be creative. With purity of language and with taking steps that are always deliberate, you maintain your doctrine, but is it worth it, at the cost of losing your fellow believers?

You may prove me wrong, on every point, and yet I am still going to believe what I believe. You can split hairs over wording, but I understand all the main ideas. I may not comprehend your doctrines, or be able to pass a theology exam, but I know who Jesus is, because I have experienced His compassion and humility. You may have trouble defining how Christ fits into your theology, but I know He is real, because I can hear His voice. I know you think little of me and that I am flirting with evil, because I don't agree with you on all your fine points, but I follow Christ, not the doctrines of man. I may not be able to explain it to your satisfaction, but God is pleased, so I think I will take His opinion, over yours. I have chosen a different way and it serves God's purpose, but by all means choose which way you want, but just don't expect me, to follow you.

2.4.4 Frustrations about the Future

I am frustrated about some trends in society I see now, which can be summarized by a general apathy amongst the next generation. People seem to have given up on reading and on education all together. They want really simplistic answers and are unwilling to make sacrifices that need to be made to solve the many problems facing my generation. I am not optimistic that we have much hope for the succeeding centuries.

Future of Reading

There are a lot of things that bother me about the future, but the thing that concerns me most is that a world is emerging where people don't care about art or creativity or have any interest in spirituality. It seems that the American corporate "culture" is so addictive that people don't want to make the effort to think. They just want to be entertained and do not have the attention span to appreciate literature or religion, let alone philosophy.

People seem to think that there is no reason in learning anything or even reading, because they will always have the information available. That is quite an assumption that just because you found something on the web now, that it will be there in a year or that you can get the right copyright releases to use it, even if you had the foreknowledge to save it. I have used the Internet to find books I never would have found otherwise, and still read more than most people did even before computers, but it seems that people may have even less time for books in the future.

It is hard for me to imagine life without reading and there are many ideas that just cannot be captured through pictures or explained in just a page. Without reading we isolate ourselves culturally and give up the opportunity to grow emotionally and intellectually.

And when people do make the time to read, it is often fiction or some text book type book that takes all the joy out of learning. There is so much effort that has gone into making books available online and yet very little goes into making sure more books are translated into English and people seem to only be interested in American literature, if they read anything other than romance novels or fantasy.

All or Nothing Mentality

One of the things in the West that seems to unite our society is an all or nothing mentality. This is where people think you have to accept everything is true about a certain belief or you have to totally reject every aspect of it. Many liberals think you have to be for abortion and that you have to abandon moral absolutes to be a liberal. Many Christians think that the desire to save the planet or to study Asian religions and philosophies means that you cannot be Christian. Many conservatives think that any kind of protest is a sign of disloyalty to our country. We have been told for decades that you cannot be communist and still be Christian just because Marx was anti-religion. We seem to think that we need to be the best country in the world in every measurable way and if not then we are worth nothing. Many people refuse to use Non-Microsoft software even after having only 5% of the problems they used to because it is not perfect. Many potential athletes never try a sport because they are not sure they can win all the time. Most people in the West would think the world has ended if the electricity went down for more than a week. Many people don't want to do anything to change or even acknowledge that global warming is happening unless Scientists can explain exactly what problems we will face in our neighborhood. Most people either believe that any religion is ok or that we should persecute unbelievers. Many people think you need to promote homosexuality or they believe that homosexuals should be verbally and physically assaulted. Many people think that if it is legal, than it is ok to do it. Many people believe that you cannot save lives by being a soldier or that you cannot be both smart and risk your life for dubious wars. Many people are for wars when we are winning and against them when we are losing and never think to question why we got involved in the first place. Many people think that you cannot be smart and yet have faith in Christ because it is common for intellectuals to challenge Christian theology. Many people think that Christians are all conservative because many surveys show that there is a strong correlation. Many people think that to prepare for disaster is to secretly long for it to happen so you can be proven right. Many people think that you are a hypocrite if you believe in moral absolutes and you make any mistakes that conflict with your beliefs. Many people think that you cannot be a leader if you have done anything politically incorrect or stupid some time in your life. Many people think you cannot both cooperate with them on some things and work towards opposite goals on others. Many people think that you have to have the same beliefs in order to go to the same church. Many people think that they alone are the critical difference between some cause failing or succeeding. Many people expect that companies act like charities or they think they are all criminals. Many people seem to believe in what their group says, but if someone else says it, then it is not important. Many people think that if something is important then they would have been told. Many people seem to think that technology needs to always give them exactly what they want for the price they want or else it is garbage.

This mentality of all or nothing is what I face in my research and writing for consumer/citizen advocacy and is one of the reasons why I stress the importance of paradox.

Fighting for the Future

Why are You so silent?

I am so afraid of multiple futures

Either we descend into chaos

Or we will have no rights left

It is so easy to fall into

An endless depression

And for fear to be

My constant companion

What good do we have

To look forward to?

We are entering a deep winter

And spring may never come

I fight with all my might

And with my entire being

To prepare myself for doom

And to bring people to You

It is such a thankless job

Am I really improving anyoneOs life?

Does anyone care about

What is right?

Does anyone still have room

For their Creator?

How can I still proclaim

Your love for humanity

When I realize my own weakness?

And You are so hidden

I realize that You donOt want to

Scare me with Your messengers

But can You bring some source

Of substance that can bring me peace

No matter what happens

I will always believe

But it is hard to imagine

Your power

When at the same time

There is no mistaking the power

Of nature and of evil

We are on this tiny sphere

Where entire galaxies collide

And black holes

Fly through solar systems

I am only one person

And most those in power

Have hearts that are cold as stone

Please inspire me and give me hope

So that I may continue

The good fight

2.5 Briefly

2.5.1 Purpose of Books

It is common thinking amongst Evangelical Christians in postmodern times that the end of times is near, but it was near at the time of the New Testament. But I believe that the problems in the world have nothing to do with signalling the tribulation and the reason why we have survived this far is because of GodOs direct divine intervention.

Many people are trying to prepare for the world to end, but what if it lasted for thousand of years into the future, by GodOs grace of course? Who is planning for that? We have no idea what the end of times will be like or how to prepare, but we can guess as to how to prepare for humanity lasting thousands more years. And the answers lie in our past and in the Bible, but not in how we were taught.

Like people who were born over 50 years ago and thought they wouldnOt live this long and are now in bad health but still alive or like the troops in Iraqi Freedom who have been kept alive and greatly disabled when in other wars they would have simply died, our civilization will likely last into the future in some form or another even if we come close to destroying ourselves, but we instead will be severely impaired environmentally, technologically, economically, politically, and socially.

My text books and picture books contain most of my work over the past 10 years. These include my reading of some 235 books containing the philosophical and religious thinking of the worlds cultures for several thousand years and the application of the main themes of some of the major Old Testament Prophets and major works of the New Testament.

The main point of this work is to get people to stop living their lives with their minds, but instead follow their hearts. I bring a radically different combination of viewpoints that you have not heard of before. I am not asking people to follow what I have written, but rather let the words stir up some sort of emotional response in your heart.

I challenge my readers to come up with their own unique ideas and that can lead the world in a new direction. We need a much broader diversity of ideas in our culture to deal with the problems we are facing in America and throughout the rest of the world.

2.5.2 Time of Great Change

Time in the West is perceived as linear and progressive. We believe that Science will always bail us out of our social problems. We believe that we can create a Utopia, if we learn enough about Math and develop the Social Sciences enough.

In the Non-Western world, time is perceived as a cycle, where we have different problems at different times but the cycle repeats itself indefinitely. Most belief systems see our present time as a period of social problems and moral decline.

We are coming to an energy crises, because we in the West want to have more and more material things, to make us happy. We are especially addicted to personal transportation and we consume so much, that we are running out of resources, that are not renewable.

We continue to push our way of life to the limits, wanting free reign, to do basically whatever we, want and not prepare for the future. We don't want to invest in education; we would rather spend our resources on entertainment. We don't want to be moral sexually and we feel we have a right to unlimited amounts of others' property that we can easily copy. We are eating ourselves to death and dying as a consequence of our sexual immorality.

We are already fighting wars over oil and will continue to do so, until there is non left, and not even the promise of any. We are addicts to cheap energy, especially oil, and continue to expand our needs exponentially. And the multinational corporations are getting more and more control of the government and don't care what the consequences are, as long as they can make one more dollar.

Those who are far sighted will prepare now for how to live, without personal transportation and to live, using less energy. We are at a time of crises and we may very well fight a civil war over this. The time to really worry about is when we elect our first environmental president. By the time that happens things will have gone too far, and instead of helping the ecosystem gradually recover over time, we will take great risks, in the hope of solving our problems quickly. But the solution will create even bigger problems.

If we can get our consumption under control, we may well live thousands of years into the future, as the human race, but if we are unwilling to do with less now, while we rebuild, we may not make it to the end of this century. Ultimately it is in God's hands. If God wasn't bailing us out, then we would have destroyed ourselves long before, due to nuclear holocaust or a prolonged world war.

The best thing we can do is to pray for God's help and repent of our gluttony. The Lord our God is slow to anger and quick to forgive, so we still have hope in Him.

2.5.3 Future World Religion Trends

By the year 2050, the term White Christian will be an oxymoron. If you take into account the actual faithfulness of people calling themselves Christian, the Christian world has already shifted to the Southern Hemisphere. In many of the countries throughout the world, they are not as honest at doing statistics as in the United States, where predominantly Muslim countries are going to severely undercount the number of Christians and the same will happen in the predominantly Hindu country of India.

Europe had not entirely converted to Christianity until the 14th century and there were more Christians in Asia than in Europe, until the years 1000. Most of the reduction of Christians in the Middle East happened in the late 19th and 20th century. The first big reduction of Christians in the Middle East came, after they supported the Mongol Empire. The conversion of non-Muslims to Islam was largely brought about by the missionary efforts of the Sufis. 10 percent of the populations of Egypt and Syria are still Christian. Islam is now experiencing a major fundamentalist revival and many more nations are going to be governed under Islamic law.

Many of the most populous African nations have a mixture of Christians and Muslims and there is not the same idea of separation between church and state in Africa than there is as in the West. When a predominantly Christian nation, with a large Muslim minority, declares itself to be a Christian nation or the exact opposite situation occurs, we are going continue to have major wars in Africa. And now we have nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons on the open black market.

At the same time, Europe is going to have more and more immigrants from Africa, for there to be enough labor pool to keep Europe's economy going. America is going to continue to have a strong Christian minority, reinforced from a strong influx of Christian immigrants from all over the world, especially Latin America. The Pentecostal movement is very strong in Latin America. Europe and the United States are going to be dependent on oil for a long time and this will dramatically affect our alliances. We will continue to be afraid of angering the Muslim nations and will continue to bend over backwards, to keep our supply of oil coming.

Some of the biggest world religions by 2050 will be Pentecostalism, Catholicism and Islam, just counting in the population increase and not on any new converts. Buddhism, which not long ago had 20 percent of the population of Asia, now has shrunk to 5 percent, due to the spread of Communism in traditionally Buddhist countries. Whenever China allows more freedom of religion, it will not be surprising if we find out 10 percent of China is Christian already, even under extreme persecution.

The Christian South tends to be: much more conservative in sexual morality, supernaturally and community oriented, and by all evidence much more biblically based. The most popular book in the Bible in Christian Africa is Revelations. Much of this is due to cultural backgrounds of those in the Southern hemisphere, where: they are coming from animist religions and are in extreme poverty, they experience persecution regularly and have large refugee populations, all of which reinforce the relevance of the Biblical narrative of God's work with Israel, in the Law and in the Prophets.

2.5.4 The Case for Liberal Christianity

If we follow the example of the early Church, as recorded in Acts, we see the early Christians as members of a ideal collective community like an Ashram, Kibbutz, or Monastery. If we follow Jesus example, we would carry out the Gospel, while doing good works, especially in service of those rejected by society. Convincing people to be born again was originally linked with helping out those in need in practical situations. Christianity is inherently liberal in its social aspects.

Now we see famous people, like the American president claim that they are born again Christians, the word Christianity loses all meaning. Voting conservative counters all the money sent to help starving people in Africa. Conservatives (in other word, people following atheistic convictions) voting either Republican or the very similar Democrat, in the United States, just perpetuate the establishment, which is referred to in the Bible as the world and Christ told us to be no part of. In fact, Jesus was most critical of the equivalent of the Church establishment, which at that time was in the form of the Jewish establishment - these are the people referred to as the Pharisees and Saducees.

Although I believe that Christianity is socially liberal, I hold to what the Bible says on salvation and eternity. I see helping others out who are in need, as another note in the same song on the same instrument.

I believe that our American society is pluralistic and that holding people to Biblical standards who aren't born again doesn't make any sense, if you believe in eternal salvation and a literal interpretation of the miraculous of the Bible. The Bible is not about a set of rules, but about a relationship with God. According to Jesus, following the Ten Commandments alone not only doesn't get you to Heaven, but is impossible. And according to Paul, the only way we can keep from sin is by the direct divine intervention of our savior, Christ.

Not only is it non-sensical to expect people to follow the laws of the Bible, without becoming born again first, it actually goes against an orthodox interpretation of the Bible. Furthermore, if I had the choice of living in an idealistic society with conservative "Christians" as leaders and live in a predominantly atheistic society, I would definitely choose the later. The only kind of Christian dominated society I would want to live under would be directly under the authority of Christ, in the flesh.

The thing on the mind of most conservatives to change about society is to persecute or severely limit the rights of people who are homosexual. Although I believe that homosexuality is a sin, I believe divorce is also, but I don't see many conservatives giving up sexual relations with their previously divorced spouse. And these are the same kinds of people with the same reasons for discriminating against people of color and women in previous generations.

Instead of targeting people, because I don't agree with their values, I seek to help those out who society has rejected. The most rejected by society are animals. Cute little furry animals are kept as prisoners and tortured, so that the chemical and meat industries can collect more cash from unsafe products. Their habitat is destroyed all over the world, in a senseless rush to use up all the world's potentially renewable resources in a couple generations. Also, prisoners are discriminated against. We often see them as the enemy in our society, but we all have sinned and are to forgive our neighbors. So we should help people who have made mistakes to get back a productive place in society and find a way to keep from getting sent back to jail.

2.5.5 The Public Mind and American Democracy

Many young people are critical of America and then my parent's generation will say "it is the worst form of government, except for all others". American democracy works, but not for the reasons people think. Sure we are free to vote, but there are only 2 parties that have a chance of winning and they are almost identical.

Many young people get upset because they want real change and they believe that our democracy should allow them to make radical changes. Then, when they realize it is not possible: they stop voting, they get involved in violent protests and sabotage, they take out their frustrations with their cars, drink heavily or take drugs, or try to do various lobbying efforts.

The reality is that we are not ruled by a democracy but by a dictatorship, but instead of using violence to control people, the dictatorship uses the media to control our world-view. People say that is not true because we can say almost anything we want about the government and there are no censors. As long as it is not communicated to enough people in a way that will convince them, then the government doesn't care.

Controlling people's minds is the best way to control the government. People will put up with almost anything, as long as they think they are well enough off financially. People like to talk about freedom, but really all most people want to do is just follow orders. Most people don't care about doing what is right or wrong, as long as they are members of a large group that can tell them what to believe. It is not that the average person wants to cause problems for others, its just that they are unwilling to change anything about their lives to help.

They key for individuals, who want to do what is the right thing and not just what is comfortable, I would like to introduce: the concept of "no blood on my hands," where we work to limit the amount of destruction we cause to others and use creativity to go "under the radar," so that we are following all the laws, but we are at the same time freeing them from the media controlling our minds and we work to "free others," on a small scale.

"No blood on my hands" means limiting our impact on the environment and the poor. Many things fall under this, which is often called the voluntary simplicity movement. Some of the things I do are: use shampoo and detergent that are not tested on animals, I don't eat beef, I don't drink alcohol, I use open source software, and I give to help farm animals left to starve to death and to Christian ministries in prisons.

"Going under the radar" seems the easiest to do on the Internet. Be part of the long tail, where you appeal to a small segment of the market or a given specialty. You can effectively compete with the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft in concert with many other specialty sites, without any coordination necessary. You can subvert the media by licensing your work under a creative commons license.

"Freeing others" comes from sharing information that condemns consumerism and materialism. Instead of consuming the information that is produced for the masses, get your information from foreign books and international news from other countries. Another way to free others is to be positive and encourage others. Pray for them and find news of positive things going on in the world.

Most importantly, do not invent any technology that would upset the economy, even in a way that would help others. The government doesn't look to kindly on people figuring out how to produce energy for free or anything that fundamentally advances Science.

2.5.6 Non Exclusive Patriotism

I voluntarily served my country and am permanently disabled because of my service. This is why I am receiving funds from the Veterans Administration. I am a disabled veteran. I served my country, because it is a beautiful country and it is my country.

Many people see America as being on offshoot of England and based on the Enlightenment and that our closest allies are England and France. They see American history and culture as that of rich white men, as taught in history books and the mass media, that is accepted by the mainstream of opinion leaders. The mass media, called popular culture, is all over the world and is developed by a couple of rich white men, who don't even pay taxes in the United States. These multinational corporations have nothing to do with America.

I see America as reflected, by the people who live here, currently and I see America as an immigrant nation, except for the Native Americans. The only thing that is exclusively American is Native American culture. When I study about the culture of historic and ancient Asia, this is as American as studying about the the American Revolution, the American Civil War, or World War II. I think that people, who got into America legally, from any other nation and follow the laws are just as much American as people who came over on the Mayflower who follow the laws. Not just those who sell out their culture for popular culture, but keeping their customs, from the countries they came from are just as American.

The really unique thing about America as I have, come to realize, after my service in the military is that we have a goal of toleration for people of different backgrounds and especially of other religions. That is one of the major things I seek to further, in my writings and artwork. This is often referred to as multiculturalism. I don't see why we need to put up artificial boundaries between us and other countries around the world. We can be seen as doing the right thing, as well as they can be, even if we order our society in different ways, or that they may appear farther ahead than us in some areas doesn't make us less of a nation. We don't need to think of ourselves, as the best nation on earth. We are one, among a number of great nations, and we don't need to be culturally exclusive to prove it.

2.5.7 A Unique Approach

to Asian Philosophy, Religion, and Literature

There seems to be a tendency among those in the West to go to extremes in their approach to studying the Asian classics. Many Christians see any other ideas that don't come directly from the Bible as either not important to study or that lump all non-Christian books together as New Age and therefore see them as forbidden. Many non-Christians think that anything that is not the Bible or is not an Abrahamic religion to be legitimate for study. I have chosen a third option. Not every belief system should be totally rejected or totally embraced.

I think that there are many things that a number of Asian classics can teach people that have ideas that can be compatible with the Bible. I think what Christians don't understand is that there were centuries of time and billions of people who never heard of the Gospel and did their best to find the truth as they knew it. Many traditional cultures in Africa and the former communist countries in Asia are very open to the Gospel and did not intend to worship anything the Bible would describe as forbidden or evil.

I think that many non-Christians are ignorant about the dangers of just embracing any belief system without being a critical thinker. Not everything is as it appears at first. Ironically, many things that turn non-Christians away from Christian beliefs and the Bible, are actually forbidden by the Bible. Many of the things that bother non-Christians about the Bible are true about other belief systems as well. There are also negatives about belief systems other than Christianity that Christians don't have to deal with.

Another thing to realize is that it is considered perfectly acceptable to mix and match different aspects of different Asian belief systems other than the Abrahamic religions, while the Bible forbids just taking select aspects of Christianity that they prefer. So, for a Christian to bridge this gap, they should embrace all Biblical doctrines but only select the elements of the other Eastern belief systems that are compatible with Christianity, or, in other words, say something similar.

Another thing to realize is that although you may find similar meanings in Asian classics other than the Bible, that they don't necessarily mean the same thing the Bible does and almost definitely are not meant to be understood in the same context. Taoists were not all trying to find Christ and in Hinduism, the 3 major gods are not equivalent to the Christian Trinity. Another consequence of this principle is that there is not the same perspective on what is forbidden, so although some philosophies and religions may be useful to Christians while some of the combinations of those beliefs, could likely be forbidden by the Bible. What the Bible forbids are the things that people keep hidden or do in secret. Some of the terms for this are esoteric or mysteries.

What is the point of Christians reading about other belief systems? One of the reasons is that Biblical doctrines have already been compromised and changed in order to mix better with Greek philosophy and paganism. Some of the things that has been compromised is that many Christians think it is ok to study Greek mythology and the Church has tried to ignore the supernatural aspects of the Bible and its implications. Another corruption of Christian doctrine caused by the Greek pagan and philosophical influence is that the paradoxical doctrines of the Bible have been altered to a divisive theology where people think they can pick one or the other when the Bible clearly specifies both.

Studying Asian philosophies helps a Christian to see the Bible more closely to what it really is - an Asian religion. Another reason is to study non-White cultures and understand why many non-Europeans believe different than Christians and how this affects world history and politics. If you understand what people believe and elements of their culture, it is easier to share Christian beliefs with them. Another reason is that Paul was an intellectual and understood the belief systems of his time and showed us by his example that we should do the same.

So, where do you start? To find some great books written by Asians, look at my Book of Books, which has 78 Asian classics, other than Bible books. You will find all the information about how to obtain them and which ones to choose, based on your interests. I promise that if you stick to the list, you won't find anything that is forbidden by the Bible.

2.5.8 What is being "born again? "

This article is more direct, than most of my writing. I have decided to write it, because my dad was afraid people might misunderstand my methods and my intent, in my previous writings. People might think that it was OK with God to practice multiple religions or that we can get salvation, in ways other than, by the Christian God. I have written this to tell my readers directly about what I believe is the ultimate purpose in life and the solution to our problems. But remember that, while this may seem like a spontaneous form of enlightenment, with little work involved, in reality, it is the hardest thing to do, it requires more effort than any other path and is often the longest road.

The majority of my writing centers on the ideas that Western Civilization, over the last 500 years, has been more corrupt, than at any other time, in recorded history. I also wrote about how China, from the beginning of the Han until the end of the Ming dynasty, was much more civilized. I stated, that the source of these differences lies in the philosophy, that each was based on. But the idea was that suffering was increased many times, beyond what it was beforehand, not that China was perfect and the West was completely evil.

But the source of our suffering comes from the bad choices we make and our rebellion against God, which is the reason why we make wrong choices. Sin is the source of all evil in the world and has been around since the beginning of mankind. It is not God's fault that this happened and yes evil spiritual forces make this worse, but ultimately it is our choice. We do not have the power to do this on our own, so Jesus Christ did almost all of the work himself, so we did not have to pay the full penalty, for our rebellion. But this free gift requires that we humble ourselves before God (even emperors have done this, so there is no shame) and ask God to forgive us of our sins.

To be born again is not about labels or buzz words. It is not about being in genuine. It is not politically conservative and it is not in favor of the establishment. It is not all about failure and low self esteem. God wants a real relationship with everyone and never intended to send any person to Hell. (Hell was invented for evil spirits.) There was no other way, because to have a perfect God and a flawed man was incompatible. We doomed ourselves, when we ate from the forbidden tree. So, God took the full punishment, on Himself.

Most people do not understand this, but, since God is not limited by anything including time, a part of God is always on the cross and God is eternally suffering, for our sins. He made it as easy for us, as possible. God does not want to put us into a guilt trip. He understands that He created man to be in a relationship with God and man cannot deal with life fully, without God.

The reason for studying religions, not based entirely on the Bible, is not to practice them, but to learn things from them. Being the opposite of Islam, in every way, is not what Christianity is about. Sure, Christians worship a different deity, but there are things we have in common and there are beliefs we each have, that are not exclusive to our religion. Also, the Bible does not forbid studying other belief systems, including other religions, and the Apostle Paul set an example, as a scholar, who understood the different beliefs of his time (although the Bible does forbid the study of, or practice of supernatural powers, that don't come from the Christian God). Finally, understanding where someone of another faith is coming from, makes it easier to explain the Gospel, to them, and shows respect, for their faith and their choices.

2.5.9 Why so Negative on Science and Europe?

When we talk about Science, it would be hard for most people to agree what they were talking about. When I refer to Science, I mean the Enlightenment philosophy that arose in the last 500 years in Europe and America. When I refer to Science, it is usually capitalized, and refers to the Scientific Worldview.

This worldview as I see it is composed of Atheism, Materialism, and Systematic Thought drawn from Rousseau, Descartes, and Maimonides (most people falsely give Thomas Aquinas credit). The big idea uniting these 3 principles is arrogance and man controlling the world.

I see Science as a discovery process and as a worldview as intertwined, because if you tell most Scientists that you think Science is valid, they jump to thinking you believe in Evolution. Contemporary movements in Science such as Superstring Theories, Dark Matter and Dark Energy, Global Warming (Global Catastrophe), Genetics, and advances in Ecology theory are taking Science beyond the 3 principles in the Scientific Worldview. The problem is that most people think in terms of 17th to 19th century Science.

I have a sister who teaches Science and I respect both what she is doing and the level of professionalism and her deep understanding of the vast knowledge base required to be a professional in Science. I think that if more people understood what Science is really about by learning from my sister and Scientists like her, we wouldnOt have most of the problems in Science that we have now.

There are a number of Enlightenment philosophers I agree with or at least partially agree with. Berkeley is one of my favourite philosophers, Spinoza inspired some important aspects of my philosophy, John LockeOs OLetter Concerning TolerationO was one of the most important works written and I totally agree with it accept I donOt think we should limit toleration to religious beliefs, and Hume had some interesting ideas that could be useful for someone very creative. I also enjoy reading about physics and astronomy and I make heavy use of the Internet and anti-psychotics which all came out of Science.

When I am referring to the atrocities that Europe has committed, I am referring to the top leadership of the government. I am referring to the dozen or so worldwide Orich white men,O who control most of what goes on in the world. And I have also been very critical of rich politically conservative Christians in my writing as well.

I had thought I had been clear about this and this was obvious from what I have written, but I have recently found out that this needed to be clarified. Unfortunately this wasnOt communicated to me in the right way, before I had completed 16 of the books. I only wished intellectuals who are negative on Christianity would be willing to say that it is not the Bible they are against but the way Christians act.

It is common amongst intellectuals to group all born-again Christians together. It is common for intellectuals to blame current problems in history on what the Bible says, when if they were to actually read it, they would find that the Bible speaks against much of what they feel has been done wrong in the name of Christianity.