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The Pope and AIDS in Africa May 15, 2009

Posted by earthking in Conservatives, Liberals, Life, Philosophy.
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Every now and then the Pope comes out with seemingly naive statements about issues and the comments create an uproar around the world.  The most recent comments that were covered extensively were in regards the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the use of condoms.  I really think the reaction is due in large part to a fundamental misunderstanding of the Catholic philosophy on human sexuality.  In fact, it is not only a misunderstanding, but sometimes a willfulness to attack a viewpoint without fully understanding it.  Therefore, I am going to give a quick explanation of the Catholic view on human sexuality.

The first concept involves signs.  When I drive down the road and see smoke coming out of a neighborhood, I suspect there is a fire.  The smoke points to another reality- fire.  In human relationships, signs also play an important role.  My girlfriend is extremely happy anytime I buy her flowers.  Flowers are a sign to another reality- my love for her.  When I give her a kiss, it is a sign of my affection for her.  Many physical gestures of the human person are a sign of something deeper, something spiritual and emotional.  This is the background for the philosophy of sexuality in the official teaching of the Catholic Church. 

When it comes to sexuality, it is logical to think that it must be a sign for something, too.  When two people who love each other deeply engage in the sexual act, it is a deep level of communication that surpasses words.  In Catholic tradition, it is a sign of something that goes deeper than just the physical dimension.  It is a sign of the total giving of two people to each other where the gift of pleasure is also exchanged.  There is a physical dimension as well as a much deeper, spiritual dimension of the gift of self.

However, just like other signs that human persons display, the sexual act can become a distorted sign.  For example, a kiss is supposed to be a sign of love and affection.  But Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.  He distorted the significance of the sign.  Also, on Valentine’s Day, many men send their special someone flowers.  But, many guys have been married for years and only send roses so they won’t get in trouble or because it is what everyone else does.  So, signs can often get distorted.

The sexual act can get distorted in a myriad of ways.  Prostitution is one of the most obvious of ways since the sign is reduced to just a pleasure and is bought and sold like merchandise.  Sexual promiscuity is a distortion because it is impossible to totally give yourself to more than one person.  The total gift of self represented by the sign of sex includes the gift physically, spiritually, and through time. 

This is the background of the Pope’s recent comments.  I will touch directly on his comments in my next post, since it will take much more space.  I want to be able to go into depth about what the Pope said without having to paraphrase.  I am not writing this to necessarily convince anyone of the Catholic view on sexuality.  I am writing this so that those who wish to attach the view can do so intelligently.


Global Peace- Pax Terrae May 2, 2009

Posted by earthking in Conservatives, Liberals, Life, Politics.

I was watching Meet the Press about a month ago when a three politicians, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, were on talking about the need to update our country’s infrastructure.  Arnold spoke about a very big idea- there is no reason why we have traffic jams in this day and age.  It is an ambitious problem to tackle, and he wants to address it.  However, I was driving home from work today and thought of another big idea- Pax Terrae- for a period of 30, 40, maybe evern 100 years. 

Imagine if world leaders agreed to stop ALL conflicts for a period of time, and dedicate resources that are now destroying people or plan on destroying, and spend that money on fixing problems like AIDS, hunger, drought, etc.  I remember hearing about the Pax Romana while in high school, how the Romans had a period of relative peace for about 200 years.  I learned that the resources were spent on the interior of the Roman empire and helped to foster a period of prosperity.  We should do this today, but on a global basis. 

Some might argue that it is too ideological to wish for such a thing.  It may be difficult, but why can’t people around the world push their leaders to do something like this.  After all, many individuals feel as if war is simply caused by a few big egos unwilling to sit down and talk through their problems.  Their egos end up shedding blood and innocent lives are permanently affected by death, loss of limbs, or homelessness. 

Another issue would be dealing with aggressors, such as those who took down the World Trade Centers in 9/11.  Yes, some individuals and world leaders would not want to comply, but if enough countries are on board, then pressure would be mounted against those who did not want to comply.  War would have to be avoided at all costs. 

To ensure some kind of compliance with the Pax Terrae, world leaders would have to sign some kind of  a pact or treaty with the world.  This could flow through the UN or some other kind of coalition, but it would have to start at the grass roots level.  Individual people would have to put pressure on politicians to fight for this.  After all, who wants war? 

Let me know your thoughts.

Orphans and Gays Adopting December 4, 2008

Posted by earthking in Conservatives, Liberals, Life, Philosophy, Politics.
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A few days ago I was listening to a talk radio show while driving.  The topic of the debate was whether or not gays should be able to adopt children.  By no means am I one claiming it is an easy issue to resolve as we do not live in a perfect world and there are many children who are in need of a home.  I have known a few gay couples who have successfully adopted children and they will most likely raise responsible citizens. 

However, in a world with about 1 billion Christians, I don’t think there should be any orphans at all.  In fact, the Bible is very clear about the mandate for Christians (and Jews) to take care of the widows and orphans.  I understand that not every Christian can financially take on another child.  But there are many that could easily take in an orphan or two.  If even half of Christians could take in an orphan, I bet there wouldn’t be such a problem in this world.  If there weren’t such a problem, then perhaps the entire debate about gays adopting children wouldn’t exist. 

Moreover, Christians believe that the soul is of more importance than the body.  So, when analyzing the debate about gays adopting children, this must be in the mind of Christians.  I have no doubt that the gays who live in a stable relationship can provide a better home than many straight couples.  I have known several very hard working gay couples who are very kind and great citizens of the United Staes.  When it comes to providing materially for children, many gay couples can do a fantastic job.  However, what good would it be for the child to gain the world, but lose his soul?

Be Progressive September 19, 2007

Posted by earthking in Conservatives, Liberals, Life, Philosophy, Politics.
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Many liberals try to propose these new “progressive” ideas as something that is really new.  In fact, when you look at one of their main arguments against traditional values, you will find that they are opposed to being “close-minded.”  One of my family members who is in a homosexual lifestyle constantly tells me how he is uncomfortable with traditional forms of religion because they tend to be close-minded and make everything out to be so black and white.  He was a member of a Unitarian Universalist church for a few years before dropping out.  Yet, these liberals fail to look into the history of ideas.  Homosexuality has been around for millenia and the same with abortion.  The entire idea of breaking free of traditional religious beliefs is also found in the ancient Greek culture, too.  Look at the dialogues of Plato and you will find that very easily.  The notion that there is no moral truth is not a new idea either; many philosophers thought the very same thing, and I’m not talking about modern philosophers only.  My point is that the “progressive” ideas are actually very old; there has always been a battle of ideas.  However, can one really find truth without also having a good will- one that constantly seeks the good?  I will touch on this in the next blog. 

Main political differences: am I wrong? September 18, 2007

Posted by earthking in Conservatives, Liberals, Philosophy, Politics.
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My family was not very political when I was growing up, so I am sort of new to the whole politics thing.  But, it seems to me that the Republicans and Democrats fundamentally are different when it comes to solving problems.  Please correct me if I’m wrong so I can learn. 

 The Republicans nowadays stress free enterprise and less government to solve problems.  They see the free markets as solving most problems since supply will meet demand.  If people want better cars, then the car companies will have to make better cars or else their sales will drop.  If people want healthcare, then the government needs to step away from the game and let the markets provide better medicine.  If the markets provide better medicine, people will buy it.  Essentially, everything is driven by money when it comes to Republicans…or so it seems.

 Democrats, on the other hand, seem to view big corporations and the free market as stomping out the rights of the people.  Government needs to protect people from the greedy corporations who just want to make tons of money without respite.  The view it as the job of government to protect especially those who are most vulnerable, since the wealthy can pretty much take care of themselves.  Just look into history and you will see what happens to workers if their rights are not protected. 

Is this a fair view of both parties…in a nutshell? 

Universal Healthcare September 15, 2007

Posted by earthking in Conservatives, Liberals, Life, Politics.
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The whole idea of universal healthcare in this country is becoming a very popular topic.  My dad likes the idea, however, I am still deciding.  If you go to wikipedia and look up “universal healthcare”, they have a pretty good expose on the different arguments for and against it, as well as links to websites with further arguments.  The people who are fighting for it have some pretty good arguments.  I do believe people have a right to healthcare, but I don’t think this necessarily implies that the government must supply the care.  We all have the right to eat, but the government doesn’t supply us all with food.  We have the right to raise a family, but the government doesn’t arrange marriages.  So, I think the idea that people do NOT have the right to healthcare under the US Constitution is a buch of bullshit.  Taking care of your health is a basic human right.  But, I cringe at the idea of the government controlling our healthcare simply because they screw up most of their undertakings.  At the end of the day, I am leaning towards the idea that people need to take responsibility for taking care of themselves and not lean on the government.  We have Medicaid for those who are in dire needs of help.  Please comment, I am still open-minded on this topic.

Stats R Us September 14, 2007

Posted by earthking in Conservatives, Liberals, Life, Philosophy, Politics, Religion.
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Everywhere we turn we find people in the media quoting statistics to support their viewpoint.  The problem is that we don’t even know if those stats are correct.  Take the latest polls on the presidential campaigns.  All that those say is that out of the people who responded to a request for their opinion, here is who is winning or losing.  Or, is it possible that the media distorts the polls to get people to think that their candidate of choice is a loser, so they should just vote for the one who will probably win?  How about the stats of uninsured Americans- I was never asked whether or not I was insured.  I don’t even know anybody who knew somebody who was asked.  Do you?  Certainly not all insured Americans have coverage through employer-sponsored plans, so the stats couldn’t have come from all employers.  Watch what information you believe.  And watch who uses information to promote a cause when the quoted stats could be wrong.  This rule goes for anything coming from any side of the political spectrum.