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For Understanding: Classification versus Stereotyping

label tagI want to be clear… stereotyping of groups of people in such a way as to imply that “ALL of the group ARE this” is commonly seen as wrong. After all, every individual is their own person and no group of people are ALL the same… groups are made up of individuals.

For the sake of order and efficiency in our lives we do tend to catagorize things and classify people into generalized groups based on some kind of common trait. Inside those groups there may be subdivisions within that classification and maybe subsets of those. There may be such great difference discovered that an entirely different group is created. Labelling is an ongoing process as we learn more and maybe even redefine our criteria for a group.

Like many people, I order, categorize and label to quickly identify and efficiently use my time. I also use them for gaining quicker understanding. My groups or labels or terms may not necessarily agree with someone else’s who may have a different understanding or judgment of where something fits.

Since I have spent a good deal of time lately in conversation with a number of people who do not think the same way I do (in fact some in direct opposition to as I do) I thought this would be a good time to lay down a basis of better understanding.

THIS is what I mean when I use these terms: #Atheist (they call themselves this -no God)  #Angry or #Mad (predominantly displays anger, bitterness and criticism of others) #God-hater (displays hatefulness toward God, Jesus, Bible, and Christians) These terms defined by the everyday common understanding of the words: #Illogical or #Unreasonable (not following logic, reason) #Lie (not #True, contrary to the truth, facts, or nature of something) #Wrong (may be #mistaken, but definitely not #right which I use God’s ultimate standard as well as general humane definitions) #Bible (The Word of God, originated by God and recorded by divinely chosen men for benefit of mankind’s understanding God, truth, love, wisdom and how to live good and upright lives), #God (God as revealed in the #Bible, God of Abraham,Isaac & Jacob, Yahweh, “I Am,” Alpha & Omega, Everlasting Father, Almighty, Sovereign, Eternal, Omniscient, Creator of the universe and all that is in it, Sovereign, Provider, Sustainer, HOLY = pure good, love, truth, righteousness).

Being a Christian I do not pretend to know all the various forms of atheism and their subtle differences. As a Christian the foundation of my faith and life is Jesus Christ, truth and love. Love God and love others as myself.  Contrary to the accusers of me on twitter, I do not judge that a person is EVIL because they believe differently than I do.  Belief is an individual choice.

However, if anyone, believer or not, shows contempt for others and lies about truth I am compelled to speak against that bad behavior. That is admonishment — confronting lies with truth, wrong doing with righteousness.

It is not an easy thing to do. It is not a fun thing to do. But it is the RIGHT and LOVING thing to do. Depending on the degree of harm being done and whether I believe the person is even receptive to or respectful of the dignity and direction of truth, I may try to speak truth that exposes the wrong in hopes that misunderstandings are corrected and bad behaviors cease. All of us make mistakes. I would hope that someone else would do the same for me.

Like the wisdom of scripture states, there are those who have hardened hearts, deaf ears and are blinded to truth and righteousness. At those times when it is clear that the perpetrator has no desire to truthfully analyze or correct, there is no point in preceding. Don’t cast pearls before swine. Leave them with their depraved mind. Kick the dust off your sandals and walk on.

LIVING A GOOD LIFE IS SO MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE WITH OTHERS

Like most people, I enjoy hanging out with people that do the same things I like to do or generally believe the same things I do. Our experiences shared with our family and friends are the real memory makers that we get to enjoy over and again.

However, I also have great friendships “outside of my circles” where I am getting to know people I would not have even met in a sequestered life. The most profound discoveries of new friends happens as I engage in my online excursions. Social media after all is social.

I enjoy learning of various world-views from people that are not normally in my social circles. It is quite invigorating to engage in conversations with these new friends; growing in understanding of other people and ideas that I previously didn’t know. “Come let us REASON together,” is a welcome invitation to learn from one another and examine things together.

The experiences that I have with people helps in me to understand so very much more than I did before I had the blessing of knowing them. Even those who have been unpleasant to me have taught me valuable lessons in human behavior and communication. God is so very good. He allows us to grow in truth, love and wisdom as we encounter people who do not employ them. They demonstrate for us the consequences we have been told in the Bible will befall the liars, selfish, and foolish . . .without us actually having taken that particular path ourselves. Likewise, others can learn from our shortcomings when we share them transparently. ALL of us make mistakes. ALL of us can learn from those mistakes and help one another not to repeat them. Iron sharpens iron.

In closing, I believe that labels are just labels. They are not meant to define a person. They are just one way of quickly identifying what is same or different, or to point to a place. I believe that making statements about the characteristics of a group does not mean that it always applies, all the time, to all the individuals of the group. General statements about groups of people are that . . . generally speaking . . . for the most part.

The problem that I see with those who stereo-type is that they misuse labels. They proclaim that ALL people of this certain group are ALWAYS ________ (insert their claim). THAT in my opinion is the key difference between labeling and the wrongness of stereo-typing . . . having the label defining the person places one’s judgment of a person over who that person actually may be.

What do you think about this topic? I welcome your comments.

That Pivotal Moment in Time (with #GoodFriday poem)

 

Torn Veil

Temple veil was torn from top to bottom at the very moment Jesus Christ died.

This Holy Week has afforded us with yet another chance to ponder just how remarkably profound these events truly were in the scope of all history and indeed eternity.

Think about the state of affairs of the apostles who had just witnessed the horrible beating, public humiliation and torturous crucifixion of there leader, teacher and friend. I wonder, can you imagine how it must have been?

While sharing in the solemnity and intimacy of celebrating Passover only nights before the disciples were stunned enough by having their esteemed leader strip himself of deserved dignity and stature to wash their feet. During the seder the elements that for centuries had always represented the lamb’s body and blood,  sacrificed and applied as necessary method of deliverance from death, were given NEW meaning. Jesus made a point of stressing that these elements now applied to Him. Jesus told them repeatedly that the Son of Man must suffer and would be going where they could not. But He continued to encourage them with [“I go to prepare a place for you. I will then call you to Myself. Until I return… Do this in remembrance of Me.”] His time was near.

What agony Jesus endured during the night in the garden of Gethsemane as He prayed to His Father God, can there be any other way? What utter loneliness must Jesus have felt as His very best friends and followers couldn’t even stay awake with Him at this dark time in His spirit.  Jesus was even at that time being betrayed by Judas Iscariot who literally “sold out” His mentor to the enemies for 33 pieces of silver. Jesus knew that. More prophecies being fulfilled. More yet to be met. He was in the waiting room of the torture quickly approaching. His time was still nearer.

The assembly of soldiers sent by the officials defended upon the garden, waking the sleeping friends and causing quite a stir. As a sign to the captors Judas kissed the Lord. “You betray Me with a Kiss?” More of the foretold prophesies received their tic. Peter slashed his sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. Yet it was the captive Jesus who performed the miracle and miraculously reattached the ear while warning his disciple against fury and violence.

“Who do you seek?” WHAT a PROFOUND question… even today!  The words of Jesus inquired. The soldier responded “Are you Jesus of Nazareth?”  What happened next?  Jesus responded with “I AM”… those incredible words… the name of the ONE true God… the men fell on their faces in an instant!! Even though they didn’t worship any Jewish God these men couldn’t help fall prostrate before the Almighty. How shocking is that? Still Jesus went as their captive to be brought to a secret night time trial before the Sanhedrin who had already prepared their false witnesses. As He was seized the disciples realized that as Jesus followers they were likely also in danger. They fled. Jesus went still closer to the appointed time.

The mock trial was an agenda driven display of men who claimed to be righteous actually practicing all kinds of unrighteousness on the ONE who really was without sin. The irony. Just as the prophets had revealed the Messiah stood silent before His accusers. Then the next morning brought before Pontus Pilot so that the Religious Persecutors could convince the Roman official to get the government to do the dirty work of actually killing Jesus.  Next more prophesied events took place; He was severely scourged, mocked, cursed and spit upon, and received beatings such that Jesus scarcely resembled a man but more a hunk of bleeding stripped apart flesh. “by His stripes we are healed”… Isaiah’s revealed Words of God were happening. Oh dear God, were they ever!

And in the wings was Peter… close enough to see, but careful not to be seen or taken into custody himself. Just as Jesus had said, Peter denied he even knew Jesus not one, or twice but even with curses on the third time. A rooster crowed. Peter wept. This was the day Good Friday! Jesus appointed work was underway.

Pilot publicly announced he found no fault in Jesus and attempted to get him released during a release event in which public could choose one prisoner to be set free. But no… “Barrabus the murderer” was the one they chose. As for Jesus the crowd was incited and yelled “Crucify Him”!  Pilot after brief discourse with Jesus about truth and Lordship delivered Jesus to the executioners with instructions to place a sign “King of the Jews” at the head of Jesus cross. When someone tried to amend it with “do you mean that ‘he SAYS he is the King of the Jews”?  Pilot answered “no, I have stated it correctly”. The mockers placed a crown of thorns upon Jesus head and a woven robe to parade Him and add humiliation.

It was added torture Jesus carrying the beam of the cross that would be the instrument of His death through the Via de la Rosa. Large crowds of people who came this day to celebrate Passover were everywhere. Many actually saw Him… the Lamb who was being sacrificed for the sins of all. Jesus was getting even closer step by agonizing step.

Along the route Jesus fell and Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service to help carry the weight of the cross that Jesus human body simply couldn’t do anymore. A woman along the way used her scarf to wipe Jesus face. It is a relief to know there were still some kind hearted people not afraid to minister to Jesus as he approached certain death.

Golgotha — the place of the skull — just outside the wall of Jerusalem that only a week earlier this soon to be executed Jesus had rode into the city filled with throngs of people calling “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!”  O’ what a difference a week makes. There are a few more messianic prophecies being fulfilled in this Holy week!

Here we go… the CROSS!  THIS is IT!  The very purpose for which it was necessary that Jesus come to earth and live as a man. To offer Himself as the Perfect Lamb without blemish or spot — sinless — as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Jesus was the ONLY possible sacrifice that could suffice for eternity, because He is eternal. His particular sacrifice is the gift that KEEPS ON GIVING!  Only Eternal God could apply restitution to justice for all past, present and future sins. Only GOD could do that. Only MAN could die… Jesus humanity was a necessary stage of His existence for the sake of the redemption of sinful mankind. Jesus was all-inclusive in His offer.

Huge nails drove through his writs and ankles and Jesus was lifted up on the cross for all to see. Placed between two criminals who were also being crucified. One which was mocking Jesus, the other who recognized Jesus’ goodness and asked for Jesus’ consideration. “this day you will be with me in Paradise” said Jesus. Even a criminal status/reputation  can come out victorious if one has a repentant heart and one can face,  address, repent and receive forgiveness from the Lord.  Hanging on the cross, amidst criminals — more anticipated prophesy realized.

Even while suffering and struggling to breath Jesus focused on the needs of a caretaker for his mother. And asked aloud for God to forgive those who were killing Him. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Almost done now.

The sky grew dark. The Sun was up in the sky, it was high noon after all… it just wasn’t “ON”. No, not cloud cover, fog or haze . . .the sun just didn’t put forth it’s light. The miracles of God over nature would surely bring attention to the fact that this was no ordinary crucifixion event, wouldn’t you think?

The darkness of sin’s full weight fell upon Him. . . the Lamb of God . . .Jesus Christ came to deliver and that is what He was doing. All the punishment for sins was accepted by the one who could actually save people by restoring mankind to right relationship with His Father. Holy God requires perfect justice for the sins of man. The LAMB who was Slain was breathing His last. “Unto you do I commit my soul” Jesus said . . . then “IT IS FINISHED” !!!

THERE IT IS >>> THAT KEY MOMENT IN ALL OF HISTORY — the moment when the Perfect Lamb of God, Immanuel–God with Us, who had sacrificed His solely divine status to be born of a virgin and live in the flesh and now… NOW the time had come … he was dying so that others could live. Indeed it was finished!

50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;… –Matthew 27:50-52

At that moment the ground quaked and the huge curtain in the Temple was torn… from Top to Bottom and the wall that separated the place of God’s presence was no longer barricaded or only accessible by a select few… Jesus had made a way where there used to be no way.  No priests or animal sacrifices would ever be needed to pay for the atonement of sins that Jesus had just made once and for all.

This year’s Good Friday Poem I wrote is called:

That Pivotal Moment in Time.

At that pivotal moment in time, ugliness of sin with bloodied flesh on the cross was displayed.

it’s long-standing curse, punishment and death upon Jesus had all been laid.

The transaction completed. Divine judgment meted.

Separation with God then tore for Jesus’ loving redemption, a new way made.

THAT PIVOTAL MOMENT IN TIME Had  arrived …. Jesus paid it all!

 

Dawkins Memified Atheists Deliberately Alter Truth

What is a #Memified atheist? It’s a term I had come to use which describes the all too common practice of many atheists who use way too many Memes [think pictured/text message]. Not only do they use them excessively, they often use them instead of actually carrying on an original conversation.  Bullet points in a can.  Pre-fabricated blurbs. Which is really ironic when these same individuals state that the problem with theists is that they “don’t think for themselves”.

As a graphic artist I can really appreciate the value of images when communicating and getting the point across to someone else who may be more of visual than auditory learner. “A picture paints a thousand words,” is a pretty good argument for using visual depictions.

However… the great danger is seen when the deviant minded creators of Memes deliberately construct these things so they incite fear, panic, anger and even hate and present a twisted interpretation that is inaccurate, libelous, slander… LIES and DECEIT visually depicted as truth. This is NOT a case of “no harm, no foul”!  On the contrary, this is by definition flat out EVIL!  For the sake of betterment of individuals and society at large, the integrity of the message being conveyed should be true, ethical and genuinely sincere.

Which brings me to this shocker… atheist’s revered leader Richard Dawkins relays with great pride that the idea of the Meme is his “invention”. He goes on to elaborate that it is designed to be DELIBERATELY MISLEADING by INTENTIONALLY ALTERING THE TRUTH!!

Did you catch that? Well here it is from Richard Dawkins interview entitled “RICHARD DAWKINS ON THE INTERNET’S HIJACKING OF THE WORD ‘MEME’ as can be read and videos viewed at http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-06/20/richard-dawkins-memes

“Dawkins explains how an “internet meme” is a hijacking of the original idea and that instead of mutating by random change and spreading by a form of Darwinian selection, they are altered deliberately by human creativity. Unlike with genes (and Dawkins’ original meaning of “meme”), there is no attempt at accuracy of copying; internet memes are deliberately altered.”

This coincides with the way in which many of these #Memified Atheists have been behaving as well. They are victims of the very evil they concoct and spread like a virus. Infecting society with deliberate lies and deceiving the ignorant or trusting. In our Bible Belt area of the United States, it is an onslaught of a new degree of evil. Which is worse, that they fell for the lies or that they intentionally deceive others? Or is it that they have gotten so entangled in the cobweb of lies that they’ve spun that they can’t even recognize the truth anymore?

I believe that their virus spreading has fatally infected themselves. The leading symptoms being such anger and hate toward God (who IS Truth) and the Christians (who have learned that God is Truth and Satan the Father of Lies). It is readily recognizable as a form of “Madness” in both senses of the word. Emotional madness: anger, criticism, slander, delight in evil, attacking people rather than helping enlighten them or serving them any kind of useful encouragement or admonishment towards growing in intelligence and wisdom.

The madness of the mind: the inability to recognize reason and truth or follow a logical thought through to it’s conclusion. When it gets uncomfortable they just “side step” as they call it. Throwing someone else twelve questions and the impatience  seen by their rising anger and added insults and explanation points multiply. The answering person is still following the chain of thought of a second question as the angry atheist is having a cursing meltdown about “ignoring” them.

To be fair, anyone can have a “bad day” or speak uncharacteristically at a time when they are influenced by a bad mood or misunderstanding.  I invite those who enjoy learning of human/animal behavior and to watch a twitter feed of an angry atheist for only a few days. The truth of God’s Word in regard to the sinful nature of man will be displayed right before your eyes.  The shifting, impatient, insecure nature of the mad will show itself. It really is extraordinary to see just how bad some people are. . . and they delight in it?!

Praise God for His great love for us! He has given us all that we need for life and righteousness. It is the light of truth that remains unchanged and dependable — steadfast and sure.  His Word…the Bible and the Holy Spirit which helps us learn from it and apply it to our lives. For God IS Truth and Jesus Christ came into our natural world to live a period of time to testify to the Truth and lived it out so that mankind could see how it’s done.

Instead these mad atheists have so deeply imbibed of the poisons of deceit that they are cackling like the demons of hell who are drunk with the glee of contrariness and deceit for the sake of pride in rebellion. Like the troubled child that gets excited by doing exactly opposite of what he knows he should do, the little hellions eventually will eventually learn there are great consequences to choosing to do things in ways that are not the “RIGHT” way. The devious drunkards may party hearty for the night, but with the SON rise they WILL wake on their knees before the throne, to a vomiting hangover, and the realization that they have done more despicable acts and embarrassing things than they can even account for.

Unfortunately, there are some of these drunkards who will get behind the wheel of a car shouting at any caring person who expresses their concern for their state.  “Oh, no. There’s nothing wrong with me…I’m perfectly fine to drive.” “Mind your own business. You aren’t the BOSS over ME!” They don’t recognize that love is consideration of others enough to help them out of their current problems and to avoid future damage. Only problem is this denying drunkard may run headlong into another car full of family and innocent children killing them all. Or maybe they take a more desolate road and drive themselves off a cliff and plunge into a gruesome end at the bottom of a great abyss.

Those are some dark thoughts aren’t they? Yet that is precisely the kind of endings that result from the deceivers, accusers and liars who deny or abandon the truth and exchange it for a lie.

It not only doesn’t benefit themselves, but it does great harm to innocents and society as a whole.

DO YOU VALUE TRUTH enough to cherish it, seek it out, and rely upon it, share it? Do you understand that unless you are truthfully approaching any situation the lies will leave you lacking? Do you LOVE? Really Love? Enough to help others even if they curse you for the truth and love you bring to them? Jesus did that! As Christians who follow Jesus Christ, that is what we are supposed to do.

This is why TRUTH is worth “fighting for”!  Anything short of absolute truth is not the best. So in order to progress one must have truth and confront lies. Then to be loving we USE that TRUTH to live our lives and confront the lies which may be easily seen by us but which lay as a snare trap to deceive others. Watching out for our neighbors who may be unaware of the dangers of the lies is loving your neighbor as yourself.

[Please see my related post Memified Lies Expose Atheist Errors]

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