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

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Complete Introductions Collection 2: Chapters 1-2

Ben Huot

July 1, 2018

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Table of Contents

First Things

For More Information

For more books and information, visit me on the web at http://benjamin-newton.com/ Feel free to send me e-mail regarding the books and website at mailto:ben@benjamin- newton.com I even enjoy constructive criticism

Background Articles

Contemporary Social Issues

Information Revolution

One of the major events of this century, that almost everyone is ignoring is that we are undergoing a major technology revolution. This will be on the scale of the agricultural revolution, bigger than the industrial revolution. Before the agricultural revolution, we lived as hunters and gathers and had no written language or permanent settlements.

After the agricultural revolution, we had: the first written history, what we now consider basic math, the first laws or government of any kind, cities, large scale food production, public projects like roads and irrigation, accounting, the first schools of any kind, major world religions, armies and large scale warfare, and jobs other than hunter or gatherer. All this and more is now going to be transformed, or even made irrelevant.

The people, that were aware of this development, made some real bad decisions, based on some ridiculous assumptions. One of the big reasons why we gave up on being a manufacturing power was that the highest tech goods are usually sold for the highest price. This means, if we get all the computer related jobs, we will be much richer, than a nation that has to settle for manufacturing. This part makes sense.

What does not make sense is the assumption, that we will both always add new jobs, for obsoleted jobs and that computers usually add jobs, rather than reduce them. It is simple logic. In industrial revolution style thinking, you reduce costs, as much as you can. The biggest cost is labor, so most technology is used to replace people, in order to reduce costs the most.

Computers don't increase jobs; they reduce them. People often think that, for every job lost, a new one will be replaced, and that the economy will always need everyone employed, in order to function. The problem now is that we don't need everyone employed to run the economy. And we need less and less people all the time. What do the people, who are replaced, do now? Do they just roam the streets, or live on welfare, for the rest of their lives?

What happens now? We really have no idea what will happen next, except that the social aspects of computers and the internet will transform us more than the technology itself. There will be leaders from different organizations or networks, who will begin to take control, from traditional sources, in very aspect of life. People will continue to be the same as they always were morally, emotionally, and intellectually.

You can be sure opportunists will continue to work, to improve their self interests, and ideologues will push their ideologies, at any cost. The big addictions and social problems we have will just find different venues. We won't be better people and the rich will likely get richer and the poor will get much poorer. Leaders will continue to be addicted to power and businessmen will continue to lust for more money.

The big thing you can be sure of is that the major social institutions of the 19th and 20th century will be irrelevant or unrecognizable. Someone, from my generation, going into the future, a hundred years, would find the world, as baffling, as someone, from these stone age would, with computers and the internet. The changes of the 19h and 20th centuries will be minor, in comparison. Another things to be certain of is that we will continue to use up all our energy, no matter how much we get. Our need for more energy is similar to a gambler's need for more money.

Corporations and software will be much more important, than they are now. The company you buy your computer from is already more important, than the people you vote for. And as long as we have computers, criminals and the government will continue to steal and leak information and their will be an exponential increase in the creativity, sophistication, severity and the variety of attacks. Within a few decades, everyone's and every groups identity and secrets will be compromised and exposed.

Some people have still not yet realized, that the US government has implemented a police state, like the Gestapo, KGB, and STAZi, but in a more high tech fashion. Within a couple generations, we will have a leader like Hitler, but he or she will be seem really reasonable to us and will solve a lot of problems, using common sense, and will cut through all the "red tape".

Just be sure you are not Muslim; you do not look like, have a name spelled like, or speak any language anyone would mistake for being from anywhere in South Asia or Africa; you are not an activist of any kind; you say nothing bad about the government; you are for the latest war; you never become important or powerful; you never find an effective way to limit the power of the government; you never try any way to avoid its surveillance; and you never violate any one of thousands of unknown laws.

If you avoid all those things, you will avoid being one of the first round of gas chamber victims. You will not be able to get rid of the police state, because they will just operate it overseas, if it is outlawed. Many people suffered terribly during World War II, the Cold War, and the War on Terrorism, for no good reason.

And we will get involved in more wars: we will attack Iraq a few more times (because some people's political beliefs entirely revolve around invading that country) and likely Russia (which could go nuclear and would be easily avoidable). The government will start offering a million dollars, for each person who signs up, to be mercenary (contractor), as the military, intelligence, and police will be completely outsourced and corporate, if they are not already.

We will give up on even pretending we are even going to balance the budget and increase military spending exponentially. Terrorism will be done on a greater and greater scale and none of our counter measures will even keep the attacks from getting bigger and more sophisticated. The banks will continue to need to get bailed out every decade, or our world economy will collapse and we will be back in the stone age.

Elected officials will only learn enough about computers, to leak all the sensitive information about themselves, the government, and everyone else's information they have access to. The government will continue to be so slow that people will not even bother with suing someone or filing charges. They will just steal all your personal information sell it, and lock you out of all your communications. Making people mad will be much easier and more painful. The best way to cope, as always, will be to be useless to those in power and not stand out enough, to be a target, of anyone.

The future is in doing what Apple has done, for the last couple decades: sell premium products, to people, who are not cheap, and ignore the others. The thing for educators to do, to prepare the next generation for work, is to simply pound into the kids brains that you need to be proactive and find ways to make money, in case you never do find a job. As soon as they can read and write, they need to focus on finding revenue streams.

The fundamental and only question that kids of the next generation need to answer is: what good or service can I offer that someone else will pay me money for? Nothing else really matters. And for values, the only thing you need to teach your children is to simply be kind to themselves, others, and to their resources. The other thing you can do, to improve the next generations life, is to teach your kids to do without what others think is necessary. Do you really need a car and a smartphone? Do you really need cable TV and espresso every day?

Everything is Free

The source of our problems today all comes from too much of a good thing. We live like emperors and we are destroying our world because we cannot get rid of all the waste. We have access to all information ever recorded, but we learn as little as possible. The truth sounds depressing if you buy into what our culture values.

America and the world will continue to get poorer, jobs will continue to disappear, and the weather will get really bad. We will not get a better situation in the future, because we have already created the perfect situation we can live in while we believe what we believe now.

We don't need a solution and more problems will not help either. We need a new philosophy. There is going to be no more growth. Everyone has already bought everything they need and everything they would like to buy. Capitalism is at an end because there are no more things to sell.

We need less people to run our system there ever before. There will not be a need for more programmers as more and more can be done with fewer and fewer people, and few people are disciplined enough or companies generous enough to allow them the time and resources to make good software. Microsoft has set up a system where everyone will use their products until they end of history, but they are slowly going out of business.

The information revolution will transform things so much that society will be run completely different. Things will be almost free, but few people will have jobs. Our governments will become more and more irrelevant and the leaders will be computer companies. But they will make very little money although they will have huge marketshare and numbers of users.

There will be 10 or 100 times as many computers as there are people. And security will get much worse. We will soon have no need for passwords or any security, because there will be no secrets and no way to secure anything. Everything is already compromised and we cannot release fixes as fast as vulnerabilities are found. Everything that makes money online or with computers will be basically a scam, or already is.

There will be no separation between the Internet and physical reality. Nothing created virtually will have any value, because there will be no way to protect it. We won't be able to become independent of computers, without going back to the stone age. This is the day for religion. Any positive contributions to society will be in the form of faith and divine intervention.

Instead of worrying about whether the terrorists blow someone else up, maybe we should learn how to make outhouses. Instead of protecting our country, lets consider whether it is relevant any longer. The good part is that we have a clear choice to make and we are almost ready to make it. We are almost at rock bottom, so we know we cannot wait any longer.

We need God. We do not need more stuff. God does not need us. God intervenes all the time and will continue to do so, but we are now blind to anything spiritual. We need to stop and pray and wait on God. We need to accept that while life without God is possible, it is not fun.

The Future is War 2016

It is surprising that America is so filled with anger and fear, when life is better for more people then ever before, throughout most of the world. I think some people really do want war. the Middle East is so similar to America. I guess I was right about the apocalypse coming. We are being set up for a big war on all levels.

The best thing to do would be to split up half the world who know enough history to know that while fundamentally flawed, the system we have today provides much more happiness to so many more people. People fixate on Hitler, but he is not that different from Genghis Khan, the Russian Tzars, or the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

Both sides are convinced that our form of government which is theoretically a democracy but is really a hybrid of corporations, unelected officials, and computer databases will be fixed, if only they just vote one way. If you believe in conspiracy theories, as much of America and the Middle East do, there is no way to disprove anything. You just pick your side first and then justify it however you want to.

Everybody want simple extreme solutions that they think will fix deeper systemic corruption. I guess people who have not studied history, served in the military, or don't know much about computers fail to see the connections between these groups although surely troubling is actually better than many other viable solution.

It is great to be a leader with values, but that is almost impossible. The only people who want to be elected politicians are people who are addicted to power and will do anything in order to achieve more and more of it, much like the kind of people who run corporations. It is great to strive for perfection and for morality, but it is foolish to think that switching leaders will change the way people think, which is what drives the whole machine.

To really change the system would be to change the way people think. We need to see things on a much greater scale of time and spirit. Whether or not we win and get our way, our future lies less in what we do and more in what we do not do. It is true that society is not headed in a good direction long term. The problem is that the solutions people think are all top down and will probably make things worse.

The real scary thing is that people who seem intelligent with good judgement end up wanting to fight wars against each other. There seems to be no middle ground, which means there are no solutions to this division. People think that fixing politics means that you don't compromise, but this, if taken too far, nothing gets done.

When the French Revolution happened people thought of different causes, which all may be partially correct, but the fundamental problem is that there was a huge drop in bread production. Our system is very brittle logistically. If trucks do not arrive, for even a day, people go hungry in mass. Once they don't get three days of meals, our modern political system will fundamentally change.

If we have a revolution, who do you think will be powerful and how will they govern? After Katrina, people started showing up around town with guns and started ordering people around. Were they part of the police, emergency teams, the military, criminals, opportunists? The answer is it doesn't matter. Everything has a price and you rarely get what you want.

It is true that religiously inclined people will get more power if things fall apart. The thing is that usually this doesn't mean the groups that are acceptable to most people who have a choice in who they join. Think now of the kind of groups who would stockpile things, who have large quantities of guns and bullets who would be able to run things without government intervention.

You probably do not know any of these people and you likely will not ever want to meet them. Even the ones part of our government that aren't obviously corrupt at least believe the ends justify the means. This is what scares me: when people in power start to not trust their local population and they will do anything to accomplish their goals. Even good people can do terrible things, in these situations. Many people believe in different values when there is a convenient, identifiable enemy and they are scared.

So if we could magically end our dependence on oil or destroy our governments illegal databases that would be good change, but the kinds of change people are advocating in large numbers don't deal with things like this. We spend a lot of time deciding who the president is, who has little power over any one person and little time deciding who guards the bases and making sure the sewage system works. At this point we cannot even agree that we need to fix roads and bridges that may break down at any moment.

Any election won't get people to stop hating each other. At this rate, the anger will just keep mounting and neither side will compromise, even to keep the trucks delivering food. I don't know if we will have a civil war because of this, but this does not end well. And neither side is solving that problem, but, as they say, nature has a way of fixing these problems. A huge die-off sounds bad, but it will be better for everyone who is born after we die.

I guess we have different ideas of what is obviously problematic and will never agree. Just think of what will replace what you are tearing down. It is hard to get excited about the least of evils or the status quo which although great historically is slowly getting worse. But a boring life and even corruption beats anarchy. Good people will definitely be the most persecuted during an anarchy situation.

Torture seems to solve all your problems, until you are on the other side of the table. Empathy and kindness may seem impossible to bring to our society, but things can always get much worse. At this point, just expect everything to go to hell, because we are determined to make it that way. If anything turns out good as a result of this situation, be very grateful. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

It is true that God is in total control, but He does let us have a lot of freedom, to determine our future. Things will work out in the end, but the suffering can be real bad along the way. Remember, God allowed Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. God already won the war spiritually, but it is our responsibility to at the very least be kind to each other. Otherwise many people will suffer greatly that don't need to. This we are responsible for, as individuals, in our own lives.

I see little point in politics, but the anger and fear result in a lack of kindness and empathy and that should be unacceptable. What kind of world do we want to live? Do we have something to look forward to for our children other than life after death? We have been saved from hell after death, but we still can experience unlimited suffering in hell on earth. Why hurry to make it that way? This is not the America I fought for in the military.

The Internet and Hope

For all those who feel the power of evil in the world and are constantly hearing negative news and fear nothing will ever change, there is hope, if we look in unexpected places. Things are changing much faster and on a much greater scale than we realize. We are adding 5 billion new users to the Internet in the next few years. The Internet is growing ten times the size it was when Windows dominated computers. Microsoft won the PC wars and, at that time, who would have guessed that Apple would now have more users than Microsoft does.

Even the devices from the highest quality manufacturers of computers, Apple sells a computing device much more powerful than we had 20 years ago at 1/4 the price. You can now get a basic computer for research for $5 (the Raspberry PI). When I was new to computers, I got a small device that could contain the entire bible on it and now we think we are poor to only have 16 GB of space on the cheapest models (which can easily hold over a thousand books, and many times more if they were actually optimized fully).

We used to have to put disks into our computers, look through manuals hundreds of pages long, or buy expensive software to to transfer things back and forth between devices, just 10 years ago. Now we point and click and we can move things from 5 or 6 different types of devices instantly. I can now make an entire website with only 2 programs that only cost maybe $50 at the most, combined. I used to have to pay $150 from small businesses for graphics programs to make websites. I would have 10 or more applications I needed to make a good website, and many people paid several thousand dollars for the mainstream brands.

When I bought books before about 2011, I live and lived then in a relatively moderately sized town with multiple colleges, even a major university, and our book stores were well stocked by people who were well educated in world history and religions, but now I can get books about a 100 year period of time during the Middle Ages with 500 pages or more for less than $40. When I was in college and the military, I could get 10 songs for about $20 and now we can get access to millions of songs for free, legally.

If you really value freedom of speech and people being able to hold the government in check, look to the future of the Internet. We now have one common world language and even in repressive governments like in the Middle East and China feel a need to allow this relatively open exchange of ideas with citizens from almost every culture, linguistic group, and country on the earth.

We see many bad uses of the Internet daily like people addicted to information in its various forms, from mobile games to porn to social networking. But we do not see that you can now take college courses for free or have instant access to millions of books and a completely free and always updated encyclopedia. People can now start businesses utilizing only free services. A middle class American kid or maybe someone else in the world now actually has the ability to create something with the resources only emperors had a couple hundred years before.

Think about how you would explain the Internet to someone during Word War II. Would they believe that it was made by people only 70 years later? Think about how the modern world has been created by basically two technologies: electricity and oil. What if we exploited some others. We talk about how we are making less money in the past and how poor people in America are getting poorer, but compare what tools a homeless person has access to today, what to the average person in Europe had a couple hundred years ago.

The industrial revolution made life very miserable for the average person, but now most manufacturing is automated and most people live and work in air conditioned offices and can get to the office without having to walk at all. Most of us can read and write, which was not possible a couple hundred years ago. We have so much money that we pay to exercise somewhere and don't even show up. Try to explain that to someone even 50 years ago. We get instant news from anywhere in the world or information on any topic and it costs basically nothing. There is no excuse anymore to not be educated.

There is only one real problem holding back the Internet: security. If we can solve this one problem we will see even greater positive changes in the next 10 years, as a result of the Internet alone.

Unity and Purpose

Life has always been difficult, but today most are without hope. Without hope for the future, people begin to question everything and believe nothing. Philosophers call this period post-modernism, which means that we have moved past the situation of modernism, but not the mentality. Hope comes from faith that the future will be better.

In the modern world, we had unity and hope, but it was a false one and we created monster nations and started the process that lead to our present situation. Basically, we used everything up so fast that it didn't have time to grow back. It is discouraging for things to get a little worse each year. This is something that is difficult to accept let alone inspiring.

One half of our country is afraid we will recreate the problems of modernism if we find unity, while the other half totally rejects any basis for unity of purpose. We both need faith: one half needs to find faith, while the other half needs to start living it. Both sides need to learn to be kind and accept that we will always be different, while still holding fast to our own chosen ideas.

We need to find things in common, to work towards, but still respect that we can have a difference of opinions. We don't need to all think the same, but we do need to find some commonalities to build on. We both claim to be morally superior to others, so lets find some aspects of morality we have in common.

What we need to start with is kindness and honesty. If we can't do that, then maybe we need to part ways. Both conservative and liberal paths by themselves scare me. Maybe we can actually learn from each other. All of us need God, to find a productive and positive purpose. An easy way to find unity is to find a way to divide us and create a relatively weak "other" that becomes the focus of our problems.

Without morality, we are basically slime in a thin skin. We are so concerned with beauty and strength, that we fail to realize, that we can improve ourselves and our world, without material progress. The physical world has its limits and we have reached them. There are no more "moons" to go to or Hitlers to fight. There is no obvious course for us. We are at a time of great change and there are many equally good paths available.

We now have the rare opportunity to start fresh. Our society needs a culture and we can make our own or create one from other cultures. This means art, literature, philosophy, music, etc, but we need to make this understandable to the illiterate. What is really sad about our non-culture is that is all based on making money.

When great artists and writers in the past created their art or writing, it wasn't all done just to make money. People also spent great amounts of wealth on creating things for God or the gods like cathedrals and temples. Just like any person who is experiencing depression and lack of direction in their personal lives, is often first recommended to volunteer to help others.

Volunteering seems weak and ineffective to those thinking in the mindset of our current culture. Bigger is not better. Kinder is better. We have defeated the evil without and we need to take on the bigger challenge of defeating the evil within. Our society has destroyed all our external threats, so we now need to destroy our own selfishness. One way to do this is to create external threats, but this would then allow us to not truly rid ourselves of the evil in our hearts.

We need to see the spiritual world not as a parallel world to ours, but the bigger primary reality we are all living in. We need to prioritize morality over wealth and power. We will not succeed, as a nation, if we are not kind as individuals. If we persecute the minority, create external threats, or persecute the majority, we may seem to ourselves to be united, but not treating others well is a weakness, not a strength.

The even more serious threat to our country and especially the Internet is that although we have access to more information than ever before, we have less confidence in its accuracy then ever before. No one wants to study to learn the truth. We are more concerned with finding support for our beliefs. No one cares what the truth is: they just want to convince themselves and others that their current beliefs are the truth.

No one believes anyone, anymore. We can't even be sure who a person is, but at the same time the government knows everything about everyone. Computer security would not be necessary, if we were all honest. In reality, we can't get everyone to agree on this.

That is why we need to concentrate on acting through the spiritual world, by praying God's will be done. This will create any changes necessary, to fix the world that nothing else would be able to change. And as we understand spiritual things through faith, we will never see proof of this and someone famous will claim responsibility for it.

Simply said, we need God; He does not need us. This means God directly, not someone claiming to represent Him or His interests. In other words, no person or other spirit.

My Place in Society

Website Network Introduction

Exactly the same but completely different. Slightly worse, but many times better.

For those things we know are true, but we thought were impossible to put into words. Always be kind and work hard. Learn as much as possible and be creative in solving problems. Over all, in making important and morally significant decisions, think long term. The best you can do in life is follow your conscience.

On Certainty in Life

I am sure about everything everyone else doesn't understand, but I am confused about everything everyone else is certain of. Everything you have seen and heard is wrong. What we were taught was true in school is irrelevant. The things we think are really important are very unimportant and the things that we think aren't very important are the most important of all.

About Me

I am a former soldier (army) and have been living independently with Schizophrenia for over 15 years. I live in Eugene, Oregon (United States) I have spent much of this time writing a number of books on various non-fiction topics based on my experiences, what I have read, and the insights I have had over the last (almost) 20 years.

I have also designed these Benjamin-Newton websites from scratch, with all my own code and graphics and updated them daily for that entire time, as well. I code directly to CSS in a text editor and avoid anything that slows the site down or causes unnecessary security problems.

Want to Think Critically?

I am a Christian cynic and pessimist in that I believe in everything in the Bible, but nothing else except Murphy's Law (anything that can go wrong will). I consider this positive, because when anything goes well in any aspect of my working with other people doing their jobs, I am pleasantly surprised.

Explore my website and learn to think critically about everything (history, religion, psychology, ethics, design, technology, and disaster survival). Be sure to be critical of everything you read, including my ideas.

Beyond Reason and Facts

When making decisions, expand your worldview and use your heart and soul, as well as your intellect. Think critically, but do not limit yourself to just the rational and the empirical. Use all the other methods of discovery, that come from the major world belief systems.

Decide what is true based on: your conscience (as determined by your faith, scripture, tradition, prophecy, paradox, intuition, history, and feelings) what you have experienced (in your relationship with God by worship, ritual, prayer, mystical experience, visions, and divine healing), and the practice of your faith (in the way you express your loyalty and respect for God by a code of conduct/ethics, fasting, living a life of poverty, taking vows of silence and/or chastity). This will lead you to ask tougher questions and make more difficult decisions, with your now bigger understanding of reality, but it will also bring greater peace and purpose to your life.

Philosophy Inspired Solutions to World Problems

Some people work too hard and need to rest, while others are lazy and need to work harder. How do you determine which problem is yours? It is usually the opposite of what you think. Ask people who know you well, and be prepared for a surprise response.

The following are examples, of the kinds of practical things you can do, to reduce suffering in the world, in things you have control over.

Economically Based

Make Ethical Decisions in the Products We Buy

Find Creative Way to Reduce Our Expenses

Get Supplies and Training to Survive Disasters

Promote Internet Usage to Empower Individuals

Give Away Free Content to Support Alternate Opinions

Socially Based

Network to Expand Our Circles of Influence

Form Relationships with Our Neighbors

Encourage Others

Stay Positive and Increase Our Positive Influences

Avoid Mainstream Assumptions

Spiritually Based

Pray for God's Will to Be Done

Improve a Specific Animal's Life

Increase Our Understanding of the World

Raise Our Kids to Be Good Citizens

Take Time to Relax

Philosophical Influences

Biblical

Apostle Paul

Apostle John

Prophet Jeremiah

Prophet Nehemiah

Prophet Elijah

King Solomon

King David

Chinese

Chung Tzu

Hsun Tzu

Bodhidharma

Dogen

Han Shan

Li Po

Tu Fu

Other Asian and African

Al-Ghazzali

Hafiz

Kabir

Kebra Nagast

Archbishop Desmund Tutu

Existential

Kierkegaard

Camus

Viktor Frankl

Tolstoy

Dostoevsky

Nietzsche

Renaissance and Enlightenment

Meister Eckhart

Erasmus

Montaigne

Berkeley

Locke

Spinoza

General Introduction

Confused about the world today? Want a simple, direct, and clear explanation? Read my books. My writing is like poetry meets encyclopedia. You will find nothing like this online or in print. All of this writing is available at no cost. I have a steady income and a lot of time, as well as an unusual perspective. This website network and these books are my way of trying to make the world a better place.

There are a lot of other (non-fiction) things I write about, as well, like what it is like to have Schizophrenia, secrets to my website design, and a completely different political and religious point of view. My point of view is partially based on my experience enlisted in the military and later living with Schizophrenia for over 15 years. It is also heavily influenced by my decades long (and continuing) study of world religions and world history (after ancient history and before modern times).

I follow my theories with practical advice and do what I recommend others do. You can make the world a better place. Just remember to think for yourself (this is what studying philosophy should teach you). Learn from my writings and experience, but come to your own conclusions. I am likely wrong on a lot of things, as are even the greatest thinkers, throughout history. I write what I believe, but you need to make your own choices, based on your own experience and your own understanding of yourself and the world.

I teach the exact opposite of the medieval philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Instead of understanding God, to the limits of reason and then using faith, to reach beyond that, I believe that faith is the primary means with which we should understand God and the use of reason, to explain the Bible and God, is a secondary and subordinate pursuit. It is dangerous, to base your faith on reason, because someone could then change your mind, just because they are better at arguing.

One of the things people often assume is that arguments are all based on reason, and to understand how I explain things, it is important to understand that I am not trying to be rational. I do not believe that you will change your views, even if I was able to form a superior reasonable argument for it. The basis for my faith is not rational either. If you think pursuing truth without using reason is nonsense, then you probably won't agree with what I have to say. Yes, I actually believe that and yes I do see some humor in that as well.

Why am I so Critical of the Church and Christians?

You cannot change other people's minds, but you can change your own mind. We can defend our theology and dismiss unbelievers as being intellectually lazy and/or in rebellion against God, and likely be entirely correct. The things is if we choose to do anything necessary, to bring about faith in Christ, we can re-examine our cultural interpretations of Scripture and its application to our lives and society.

Not only can we make Christianity more appealing, to those who are seeking God, but at the same time need not compromise any core theology, related to salvation, in order to do so. If we change the way we approach politics and society, without changing our core beliefs, is this not a success in evangelism?

Society is now going through a major technology revolution that is as profound and far reaching as the agricultural revolution was. Every institution and industry has, is now, or will be transformed into a different form, if it even survives. The Church will survive and thrive, but it would help grow the Church, if we can find things that we can change, while still holding to our Biblical faith.

The Bible is definitely not wrong and our theology has been preserved, at great cost in the major divisions of the church, but people can and are often wrong. There are also many ways to implement theology and express our faith and when we have such major cultural and technological changes, it is appropriate to adjust things like liturgy and political stances.

What we have today works for many people and we will have to fight very hard, for maybe only a small increase in numbers, but isn't the salvation of any one person worth changing how we think about non-critical aspects of theology and the Bible?

The many things that seem so odd to modern day people about the society in the Bible are almost all culturally adapted expressions of the same theology that we hold today. Being culturally relevant was important enough for God to build the entire Old Testament around the ancient Middle Eastern ways of thinking and social conventions, so it must still be equally important today.

Website Description

Faith is not about understanding; it's about a choice. You will never fully understand God, because He is infinite. We are not asked to fully understand God to believe. The decision to believe by definition has to be in absence of fully understanding.

If you try to fully understand God before you choose to believe, not only will you never make that decision, but you will also never provide complete "proof" for your belief. But we make most decisions without full knowledge explaining everything about the situation or topic. It is perfectly natural to not understand and that is what faith is about.

About the Special Cross on Top

This cross comes from the ancient Iranian and Iraqi (Persian Empire) based Church of the East started in Late Antiquity. This church might have had members that were from the lost 10 tribes of Israel. The church was actually based out of Seleucia on the Tigris, which is between ancient Babylon and medieval/modern Baghdad, and was the capitol of the Persian Empire, at that time.

The church sent missionaries and established small churches, near Jewish communities, in ancient India and China, because they were not legally allowed to evangelize (they also had other legal restrictions like a large tax and they would automatically lose any legal argument) within the Persian Empire, once the country was taken over by the Arabs.

These people were the linguistic, ethnic, and religious group descended from the ancient Assyrians - the dominant culture of the ancient Middle East. They, along with most people in Middle East, converted to Christianity about 500 years before the Arabs came out of what is now known as Saudi Arabia. The Western Assyrians out of Antioch and the Coptic Christians of Egypt were so persecuted by what is now called the Eastern Orthodox Church out of Constantinople (now Istanbul) which was then controlled by the Byzantine Empire, that they helped the Arabs take over the Middle East.

Rome was never meant to be the center of the Church. There were 5 original equal churches that were set up throughout major cities in the Roman Empire and one added for the Persian Empire, later. Major issues throughout the entire church were meant to be settled by conferences consisting of all the churches. The first centers for the Churches were: Alexandria, Egypt, for the Coptic and all African churches; Antioch, Turkey, for the Middle East west of Iraq, for what is now called the Syrian Orthodox Church; Constantinople (modern Istanbul), for what is now the Balkans (South Eastern Europe), for what was later called the Eastern Orthodox Church; Rome, Italy for Western Europe, that was later called the Roman Catholic Church; and Jerusalem was a symbolic church center.

The canon of the church was decided at one conference, but the books of the bible we currently have were already in use and are very similar, across all these ancient churches, even the ones not in at that conference, like the Persian Church. The Gnostic "gospels" were written a few centuries later on and are not consistent, with either the Old or New Testament, and were an attempt, to make Christianity pagan, after it was already established. The Church of the East purposely promoted a supposed heresy, in order to make a clean break, with the churches of the Roman Empire, because of intense persecution, once the Roman Empire legalized Christianity.

It is very significant for this church, that Alexander the Great took over Persia, at the time he did. This was because it was a tradition within the Middle East (at that time) to not allow anyone to convert to any religion other than the national one, which in Persia, at the time, was Zoroastrianism. But because the Empire, that succeeded Alexander the Great's empire in Persia, was a foreign Greek dynasty, the government did not interfere with religion, within their Empire. This allowed people within the Persian Empire, to legally convert to Christianity, in Iraq and Iran, until the Arab invasion of the Persian Empire.

Not much has been told about this, because 2/3s of the Assyrian people, who survived intense persecution, for hundreds of years, were massacred, between World War 1 and World War 2. The remains of the Church of the East, the Syrian Orthodox Church, and Coptic Orthodox Church are now officially part of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church eastern churches, but retain their own liturgies.

Big Picture is a Self Portrait

Background

What do mental illness, the military, apologetics, Asian history, common sense, traditional morality, tech people sociology, design techniques and code, and disaster survival have in common? My writing combines ancient philosophy, medieval history, and contemporary technology for a timeless new view of the world.

aEUoeIf voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.aEU aEU* Mark Twain. But there is another solution no one yet has tried. People cannot see it, so they don't think it exists, but there is a real solution, nonetheless. If the government is not big enough to protect us from businesses or the same people who run the government as those who run businesses, look for a greater power.

This is what happens when you see the world from an Asian, spiritual, and historical point of view, and try to explain the world, with ideas predating 1800. What happened between 300 and 1800 AD is the key to understanding the way the world really works. My writing and website will show you how to affect real change with no power, position, or money and while not risking your health or safety, following all laws, and not drawing any attention to yourself.

We have the best world money can buy, yet we are in worse shape then ever before, and it is proved that almost all of this mess is directly caused by people. Maybe we should try faith in Christ (not the Church or Christian leaders), for once. The one creator God is certainly not corrupt and would always know the perfect solutions.

One of the major reasons why my writing appears so similar and yet so different from other Christians is that my study and writing is based primarily on philosophy, not theology. There is a subtle, but significantly different way of approaching and solving problems in philosophy, then there is in theology.

It is a fundamentally different approach, because we are not using God to support our aims, we are asking God to do His will. We need God. He doesn't need us. We are not the solution: we are the problem. God is the solution.

We do not know what is best; God does. We are the enemy; God is our salvation. He is not responsible for our suffering; we are. He does not want to punish us. He wants to liberate us from ourselves and or bad choices. He does not desire control over us; He already controls everything.

The Self Portrait

My approach in making the world better is spiritual. In changing the world, we might seek to find something bigger than government or business or something else human led, even the Church. If we decide to "use" God, we might decide we want to pray to leverage God, but I seek for God to leverage me.

The way to successfully fight the battle, to improve the world, is to not engage in fighting it. When we want to find a way to do something, we develop goals and a plan, wheres in this situation, the real solution to our problems is to not find our own solutions or our own plans, but submit ourselves to God's plan and His direction.

We can heal the world and never solve the underlying problems, but Christ does something greater than heal: He forgives sin. The battle is being lost, because we attempt to fight it by our means. Instead, lets ask God to use us and solve the problems for us.

This battle is personal, because the enemy is not external: we are the enemy. We will never find a solution, because we are the source of the problems. If we want to successfully solve our own personal problems and make our lives better, we need to learn from God. We need to let God change the way we think and our priorities, so, in this way, we affect the greater world.

The greatest change we can make is the only one we can really affect. We cannot change anyone else's mine, but we can change ours. So, in praying for God's will to happen, we focus not on the world, but in our own lives.

The hard part of this is choosing God's will, rather than our own, but how can you argue with God being in control? He made us and He is better (more generous, suffered for us, more merciful) than anything we could hope He would be. He certainly has gone to bat for us and made it dead simple, to live forever, without suffering, after we die. And all the bad things about the world can be easily traced to our running things our own way.

The Big Picture

The important thing about Christianity is to realize that God and the church in your neighborhood are not the same thing. The Church and theology are fallible and can be abusive and ineffective. God and the Bible are not. Your loyalty should be to and your direction should come from God and the Bible, not your Christian friends or leaders. Do not place any human institution, in place of God or the Bible.

The point of Christianity is not to understand God or to develop good theology. Christianity is about the worship of and obedience to God. The primary way we understand God is through faith, not reason. God is entirely rational, but He is infinite, so that we cannot understand God rationally. Faith will always involve mystery, because of our human limitations.

The basis for our relationship with God is not one of equals. God gave us so much, but asks so little from us. He sacrificed everything for us and all we do is accept His solution. Our only legitimate response is one of humility and wonder of how great God is. The least we can do is be loyal to Him, by obeying His rules for living. And the only reason why He made these rules was for us.

Sin is not our enemy, because it hurts God; sin is our enemy, because is hurts us. God does not want to control us: He wants to liberate us. That is why we must pray for His intervention, as He will do more, but only if we truly want Him to. Although the world is fundamentally spiritual, God has chosen to let people determine their own fate.

You can try your own way and suffer and only realize the reason why God made the rules He did at your deathbed, or you can learn from reading and other's advice. As I am trying to avoid unnecessary pain as much as possible, I try to learn from books, rather than experience. Learning from experience is more painful than I am willing to accept.

Some people experience more pain and have harder lives than others and it is not fair. The source of our suffering and that of nature is the result of immoral choices by people, but evil people do not always suffer for their actions and good people often suffer, as the result of immoral actions committed by others.

This does not mean that it is God's responsibility to fix this, as He is not the cause. This issue should trouble us enough to motivate us to reduce the unnecessary suffering of others, like animals and the environment. It should also give us something to look forward to, as believers in the Christian God will never suffer again, after they die.

Better Place

Most follower of various belief systems, who want to make the world a better place, can't agree on almost anything. But we don't need to. If you follow your heart and your convictions and truly believe that you are serving God in what you are doing, what more can God or anyone else ask of you. All we can do is out best. And all we can believe is what makes sense to us and follow our consciences. And you do not ever need to decide for sure what you believe, until you are on your death bed.

All true believers believe in something greater than themselves and often more than one thing. It is often thought that the way to convert someone, to our position, is to engage in a gentle and respectful argument, but this often ends quite differently, than we think it should. When is the last time someone talked to you about religion or politics and do you remember a time when you changed your opinion, solely due to their argument? Most people change their views because of one or both of these things: life experiences and repetition.

You can never have the power to change someone mind that doesn't want them to, but you can choose to change your remind and the way you treat others. From a religious or ethical point of view, is it more important to be kind and patient than to be powerful and wealthy? An argument can be used to persuade someone to do something like a commercial when it is repeated multiple times, but another use of an argument is to support what someone already believes (this is used in advertising, as well.

As you know I am very jaded and cynical about most things. One of the things that upsets me is the mixing together of purposes: business plus charity, religion plus politics, and non-profit or business plus government. I believe that you cannot do 2 opposite things at the same time. Business is there to make money, non-profits are their to help others, and governments should do different things, depending upon your politics.

Another thing that bothers me is when someone claims to be objective. Most of the times I run into some writer who makes a big deal out of being objective, generally they are the least objective of all. I think it is a mistake to try to please everyone all the time and it is not bad to have an opinion, even a wrong opinion.

I think when we say something should be a certain way, we should not feel ashamed of our opinions. We might change our opinions over a period of time and we may find others who share our opinions, but most things in life do not have just one right answer and having the correct answer does not always solve our problems.

People worship God in many ways, even within one religion. Worship can be one of ritual/sacrament, education and scholarship, leadership and management, or one of service to others, or many other things. The Hindu paths of yoga are different for people of different personalities and stages in life. Christians have a very specific set of spiritual gifts that the Christian God gives his followers miraculously and can be very different from genetic or learned abilities.

But the point of worship in religion is both of intention and of focus. The focus is on God and the intention is our love of God. Worship is the key component of religion and doctrine is there to help guide us to beliefs more fitting of scripture/tradition and of conscience. Doctrine is essential but it can distract us from the main things of religion and many divisions according to doctrine make sense and are worthwhile but they all have a cost in unity and in reputation.

I have talked about how the ends do not justify the means. It is great that you have good intention in what you want to do to change the world, but from the object of your intension likely is more concerned about how you do something than what you mean to do. One of the things that emphasizes how we are physical beings better than anything else is pain and/or fear. Fear and pain distract me from my worship and trust of God and my hope for deliverance from anything that might hurt me in the future.

I still do not know how to answer the situation that keeps on coming up between religions and between sects within those religions. The situation is that different people often growing up in different circumstances and with different experiences come to different conclusions about religion while they all believe that there is one path to God. I think we must realize both that being right does not solve our problems or anyone else's, I also think that it is ok and still faithful to God to change our minds or allow a certain degree of disagreement, within a particular tradition.

God is all powerful and perfectly good but still merciful and forgiving. His intent is to spend time with us and intervene within our lives, to make us better people. We were never designed to live without God. We cannot even breather without God. And God obviously is not afraid to let things be complicated and deal with things that give us uncertainty and puzzle our intellects.

How do we know if we go to Heaven? I know what I believe. Other people will disagree with me, but I do not feel a need to justify or explain it to someone else's satisfaction. I think there are some things that are very clear about God and religion and most other things are clear as mud. What are the obvious things. I think they are obvious enough that you will find the answer if you are honest and truly seek God and are willing to believe Him, not me.

Lets work together to make the world a better place and let God sort out the details and determine what to change and what not to, according to His will, not hours. There are as many ways to serve God as there are, were, or will be people in existence. God is in the details.

Why I Explain and Argue My Ideas

When I was training in the Army, I had written some poems to someone who was still in my former high school, who I still felt something for. Some of the other members of my platoon read them and some of them were married. One of the married soldiers asked me if he could give one of my poems to his wife, because he was not as skilled at writing, and the poem was able to say what he could not. I ended up writing him a poem, just for his wife, but it probably wasn't as good, as I was not inspired, in the same way.

Many people now identify with music and some even memorize the words of the songs they listen to. You can easily get the words to music, in songbooks, in music stores and now online, with a simple search. I think part of why music is so important, to especially my generation and the next, is part of our becoming a post literate society. Most people feel things, that they cannot put into words, or even explain, in a crude conversation. This is the role of a certain kind of writer, like a poet.

I put into words and give reasons supporting my beliefs, not to convince others, but to put things into words, that many other people feel, but are not yet written about or hard to find. Many people today are good at arguing and many people think that if someone else "proves" them wrong then their ideas are not welcome. I want people to know that you can and should believe things that you cannot prove, because these are the most important things in life: the things that are truly timeless.

I also want people to learn to think critically and not just accept everything they are told. Even the greatest thinkers have given extremely bad advice, at times. Yes, you should learn from others, but you need to learn to separate what you should learn from what you should avoid. You cannot reduce life down to a slogan, formula, or system.

And school, church, and social groups do not explain everything. There is a difference between what is right and wrong and what you are told in church. There are things that are true or not, despite you learning differently in school. Your family and friends do not always know what is best for you. Even experts in their fields often don't even have a good foundation, in the subject their degree is in.

Philosophy is about re-examining fundamental things, that our society just wants us to accept, without any evaluation or questioning. If you are going to just live like everyone else, you are going to be: overweight, out of shape, divorced, have an STD, in debt, out of control kids (who make the same mistakes you did), never finish your education, continue to depend on others for your income, and have such an empty life that you never want to be alone.

There are many different ways to approach life, some are about right and wrong, but most of them are greatly improved by self knowledge. There are two types of people in this world: those who put people into 2 groups and those that don't. Everyone is an individual, whether they like it or not and we are all individually accountable for our own actions, despite our past experiences. We are also the only ones who can make the decisions necessary, to make our lives as happy, as possible.

The first step towards this end is to start thinking. Question what others tell you. Try different ways of doing things. I do not have a car or a smart phone and so I can afford a computer, a website, and books (as well as not be cheap, withy small amounts of money). What things in your life to you spend time or money on, that do not improve your life and distract you from increasing your self knowledge and bettering yourself spiritually, economically, and socially? What non-essential things can you give up, to focus on more important things?

What scares most people about thinking for themselves means that they are forced to change the way they do things and they can no longer blame others, for what they don't like about their lives. Change can be good, as long as it is well thought out and planned, and it solves your real underlying problems, without creating worse ones. In life, you cannot do everything. Find out what you are good at and what resources you have. Try to make the most of them and improve the world, as best you can.

The reason why I do what I do is, that, although I could do other, more conventional things, but what I do, no one else would do, if I didn't do it. I have so little power and control, that I want to make the little I have go as far, as possible. I use creativity in most aspects of my life decisions and have made my life much better, than if I just did what everyone else does. I also have refused to accept the limitations others thought were inevitable and that they that I could not overcome.

What You Should Learn from Me

Most people who write about religion and/or politics are looking to convince others of their point of view, and those that say they are objective are pushing their ideas on others even more forcefully. What I aim for is for my readers to not adopt my ideas, but simply convince them of the value of critical thinking. All my work is based on philosophy and philosophy is different from every other area of study, in that it assumes nothing and requires you to think, not just accept the ideas presented.

The first reason why I do not want others to simply follow my words is that throughout history many people claimed to follow different thinkers and often did something very bad, and the ideas these actions were based on were then attributed to that thinker, even though they never wrote any such thing. Another reason why I ask people to come up with their own ideas is because I know that I am only human and cannot be objective, because that is what the Bible says. I also find everyone following the same ideas very boring and enjoy a diversity of cultural and intellectual points of view.

What I do write is what I believe and I do believe in a few absolutes, coming from the Bible, but I want people to know that just because the Bible is true and my opinion is based on that, that doesn't mean what I say is absolute truth. God can be objective, but people cannot. Somewhere between the Bible and the preacher or theologian (including me) the message gets mixed up and people should believe what they understand the Bible says, no matter what any person or church believes.

Never put your faith in a person or organization. They will always disappoint. Put your faith in God and the Bible. God will never fail you.

I want people to be able to find God and follow Him, to the extent than they understand (not necessarily intellectual understanding) about God. I do believe that there is one way, to know you will go to heaven, but I also know that many people throughout history never heard the gospel and, since God is fair and merciful, I do not believe he would make people responsible, for accepting truth, that they have never heard, in a way that they can understand.

I do think Christianity is both the best faith and also the only true faith, but just accepting that intellectually, because you're convinced of some argument is a poor and unsustainable way to accept the truth of God's word. When someone becomes saved, it is God who brought the person to Himself and although we (believers) may play a part in explaining things about God, people don't generally make life decisions based solely on an argument, nor should they. You also have to be honest with where you are and go through certain life experiences and experiences with people and God, before you can really obtain the kind of faith, that is necessary to know for sure, that you will go to heaven.

As far as people being inspired by my writings, who have different religious views, feel free to take what you can and think critically. This is the first step to salvation. Whatever faith you choose, all of them are convinced, that the modern world economy is evil and corrupt and is contrary, to almost any religious teaching. Reading my work could be depressing, to people with a materialist view of reality and so I would advise them, to be aware of this, before they read very deeply, into my writings.

I do not believe that you can follow a simple set of steps or memorize some formula and that will be enough to help you live a good and happy life. Most of life is a mystery, including God and the Bible. There are a couple absolutes, that we can understand, but much of what goes on in the world is very irrational and ridiculous (how people treat each other and animals).

Our teaching system is designed for indoctrination and everywhere you look, people are looking for followers. I do not want followers. Don't be lazy: find your own path.