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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.

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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? 

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. 

MEN TO WOMEN- THE PERVERSION OF MANHOOD September 13, 2007

Posted by earthking in Life, Philosophy, Politics, Religion.
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Today I talked with the liberal queen in my office who said that the concept of a lifetime commitment in marriage is wrong- it just creates frustration for people and that probably wasn’t the way it was meant to be.  This is a complete perversion of what it means to be a man.  Doing what is right as opposed to what you want to do is the true measure of a man.  The aversion of man’s loyalty to commitment brings him to the level of a beast or animal.  Marriage, and for that matter, all commitment, takes work.  There will be times when men will want to throw in the towel.  But for the man who thinks of wavering from the path of commitment due to temptation must rise to the test to prove his commitment.  Our culture is perverse and what appears to be mainstream is demeaning to real manhood.  BEWARE OF WIMPS!

Open-Mindedness and Bi-Partisanship September 12, 2007

Posted by earthking in Life, Philosophy, Politics, Religion.
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I have a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and I studied some of the greates minds of all time:  Plato, Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bacon, DesCartes, Kant, and others.  One thing that I noticed about the truly great minds, those who were bent on finding and living out the truth about themselves and the universe, is that they not only knew about ideas they personally held, but studied ideas of people they thought were wrong.  Even more interesting, St. Thomas Aquinas could think of better objections to his arguments than his adversaries.  He debated quite frequently and wrote many treatises, and you always find it puzzling how he unravelled ideas that seemed insurmountable. 

 Currently our country is undergoing major rifts on different issues.  I honestly believe that people need to be much more open-minded.  Why?  Because these rifts will never mend until people begin to discuss ideas.  There can be no discussion if there is no willingness to listen.  This does not mean that the other side must be accepted, but at least understand what the other side is about.  

 My father is very liberal, which sometimes makes it difficult for me to visit him.  However, I have found that some of his ideas are actually good.  Yes!  I find some liberal ideas good!  I have learned over the years that no political group has a monopoly on good ideas.  Wouldn’t you agree?  And I also find that more often than not, I can even learn about people through bad ideas.  For example, communism arose primarily because the working class was oppressed.  Whether or not you believe in communism, you can learn from history.  Anybody who is oppressed, or any group that does not feel like it is heard, is vulnerable.  That group feels like there are very few solutions for their situation, so when someone comes along with a BIG solution, they grab onto it. 

 My point is this:  be open-minded, and learn from everybody.  Do not accept all ideas, yet, be open to what others have to say.  Adios for now.   

DON’T JUDGE OTHERS February 24, 2007

Posted by earthking in Life, Philosophy, Religion.
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I received this in an email from someone and want to share it.  It is very true:  sometimes we perceive things that are not true at all.  Many times the hardest times in life are the greatest blessings.  About a year ago my nephew who was 3-years old drowned in a backyard pool.  It was very tough on my family, but his death brought all of us closer.  It has definitely made me think about how easily life can change and to never take anybody for granted.  Enjoy!  (I will continue on the topic of truth tomorrow.  Keep posted.)

                   A DAY WITHOUT LAUGHTER IS A DAY WASTED!!!
>>                   A man was flying from Seattle to San Francisco.
>>Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sacramento along the way.
>>The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if
>>the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would
>>re-board in 50 minutes.
>>
>>
>>                   Everybody got off the plane except one lady who
>>was blind. The man had noticed her as he walked by and could tell
>>the lady was blind because her Seeing Eye dog lay quietly
>>underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight.
>>
>>
>>                   He could also tell she had flown this very
>>flight before because the pilot approached her, and calling her by
>>name, said, “Kathy, we are in Sacramento for almost an hour. Would
>>you like to get off and stretch your legs?” The blind lady replied,
>>”No thanks, but maybe my dog would like to stretch his legs.”
>>
>>
>>                   Picture this:
>>                   All the people in the gate area came to a
>>complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off
>>the plane with a Seeing Eye dog! The pilot was even wearing
>>sunglasses.
>>                   People scattered. They not only tried to change
>>planes, but they were trying to change airlines!
>>
>>
>>                   True story…. Have a great day and remember…
>>
>>                   THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS AS THEY APPEAR.
>>

The Basis of Relativism February 22, 2007

Posted by earthking in Philosophy.
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It always strikes me as odd that people don’t take a step back from current issues and analyze them using critical thinking.  I find too many people take news at face value instead of questioning constantly what is being thrown at them.  Or maybe a movie- they watch it without making sure that what goes into their mind is right or true.  On the notion of truth, there are many, many people who deny that there is an absolute truth or absolute morality.  I hope to at least enlighten some with some of my own thoughts, since the background stems from philosophy, of which I studied for my undergraduate degree. 

First off, we must define truth, since to talk about it we must be on the same ground.  Truth is defined as the conformity between my mind and an object or my mind and that which is outside of my mind.  This notion of truth is what forms the basis of the debate which has been going on since the times of Plato and Aristotle.  This is nothing new, which can be a surprise to many who claim to be “on the cutting edge” of ideas.  Ha!  That’s funny! 

So, the real question is:  does my mind conform to objects outside of my mind?  It is a very important question that we all must ask ourselves since it carries profound consequences for our lives.  If my mind is trapped within itself, then maybe what I see is just a movie inside of my head; almost like a dream that is made up.  The movies ‘The Matrix” is a type of example of this type of thinking…sort of.  Or maybe I am like a fish in the ocean that can only know what is inside the ocean, nothing else.  But, if my mind can conform to objects and know objects outside of the mind as they really are, then that means that I am at least capable of truth.  I may not always exercise truth-capacity, but I have the capability.  For example, 2+2=4, but a child who hasn’t studied math yet will not know this.  If I have truth-capacity, then I have an obligation to seek out the truth and strive to live according to it, or else I am a coward and a hypocrite. 

 To go about this discussion, I will use the following method: 

1)no assumptions

2)I will demonstrate that man has truth-capacity, not just use verbal/written argument

3)I will not doubt that I have truth-capacity- doubting is unnatural and is contradictory.  If I say I have no truth capacity, then it is false.  If it is true, then I have truth-capacity. 

Adios for now.  Keep posted to see the development of the topic.