Reality for Dummies

ForDummiesby Deana Chadwell9/2/15
Much in this world is a mystery – the evidence abounds. We know about gravity, for instance, but we have no real idea what it is – we all have moments of clumsiness that leave us cursing that force that yanks us to the ground, but we haven’t a clue how it works. No one has an inkling what goes on inside a chrysalis. We don’t know how the fly that was just annoying us is different from the fly lying dead at our feet; it still appears to be 100% fly.

But some things we do know and we need to stop pretending that we don’t.

Most importantly we need to acknowledge that God and the laws He created control almost every facet of existence, yet still allow for man to enjoy free will. The breathtakingly elegance of this universe, rich with mind-boggling, intricate detail underscores that fact. Everything operates on a pattern, a pretty tight pattern. If something gets even a little out of whack all hell breaks loose.

We all recognize natural law (with the possible exception of the Darwin Award winners). We know better than to jump off a cliff sans parachute, we know that when we pull a trigger that there will be a speeding bullet and an “equal and opposite reaction.” It even registers with some of us that the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies quite neatly to human organizations as well as to heavenly bodies – what begins as organized and energetic eventually runs down. We can count on entropy.

But other areas of life on this planet are also subject to laws that appear to be just as dependable as the laws of physics. Economic law is one such area. In reality there aren’t differing theories about economic activity; there is law and if we play against that law, we’ll get hurt – evidently a tough concept to grasp.

For instance, the minimum wage flap – most people have at least heard of the law of supply and demand: whatever is both rare and desired will bring a higher price. Those who boast the talent, education, temperament, and experience to run a giant enterprise are rare; those whose sole talent and training is in flipping hamburgers are not rare, are, in fact, a dime a dozen. Therefore, the CEO (whose talents are necessary in order for there to be burgers to flip) is going to be able to demand a huge compensation. He’s in demand and rare, hence a multi-million dollar contract. This is one of those indelible laws; no legislation forcing a price/wage/worth higher or lower than the actual value will fail, has always failed. No tightly controlled economy has ever been prosperous. That’s as sure as the fact that no building has ever floated away. Natural law.

This is not to say that human beings don’t have an intrinsic value; they do. But what each person can bring to the market varies. We can pass all the laws in the world raising the minimum wage, but one of two things will happen, must happen, has always happened: 1. Prices for everything produced using minimum wage workers will go up and fewer people will buy the product, so fewer people will have jobs frying those burgers. 2. Companies will automate; if your skills are so limited that a machine can manage them, the machines will be in demand, but you won’t.

Nor is this about fairness and equality; it’s about an absolute rule. Gold is expensive and valuable because it is beautiful, useful and rare. I’ve always wondered how a medieval philosopher thought he was going to get rich turning lead into gold – once that had been accomplished, then gold would lose its value and no one will care about it.

Another natural law, even more demonstrable than supply and demand, is the law of family. No society on earth exists without family structure.

Look at what has happened to our black urban communities since the father was made irrelevant by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society policies. Here we are now, nearly a half century later and the ghettos are worse than ever, over 70% of black mothers are single moms, in New York City 69% of black pregnancies end in abortion. High school graduation for blacks is only 69%. Unemployment especially amongst young black males peaked in 2009 at 49%, drug use and incarceration rates are off the charts. Obviously, a society cannot function without strong families headed by strong fathers; it takes no leap of faith to reach that conclusion.

Yet people still contend that family is merely a human construct and can be redefined willy-nilly. I often hear the mantra that “anyone you love is family.” No. I have friends who feel like family, but they aren’t. We graft on new stock when we marry, and new children with slightly different DNA arrive and shake things up, but the continuity, the responsibility, the basic governance of society happens at that molecular level – not in some government office or court room. If human behavior is not kept under control at the personal, familial level, it cannot be controlled, no matter what the laws.

Which brings me to the final law I want to discuss: the law of freedom. Freedom is no more a human construct than family is. Freedom to “become what [we] can become” – to quote Vonnegut’s famous line – is the essential point of our existence. The free will to choose to love God (or not) is our greatest privilege, our most long-lasting decision and we must be free for it to function. It is our piece of the sovereignty of God.

We are here for a purpose; we come to this world equipped to contribute, to earn a living, to think and learn and choose. Anyone who gets in the way of our doing so, especially anyone in government, is standing in the way of the will of God. If political correctness stands in the way of children getting to at least hear God mentioned from time to time, then those children are being robbed of a chance to include Him in their thinking. If we do not allow mental health treatments for homosexuals, we leave them no choice but to remain in a dangerous, unhealthy lifestyle. If we are more concerned about the prosperity of a small fish than we are of the freedom of families to maintain the family farms, we are taking from them the freedom to choose to honor the work of their ancestors and robbing them of the option of earning a living in an honest and productive way.

Freedom is not a commodity that can be bartered for a mess of pottage. It is not a figment of man’s imagination; it is real and it is as necessary as air. The less free a people, the less prosperous are those people, and the more misery they must endure. People cannot live well outside of the divine mandate for freedom.

And it will out, even though it is most unpopular in far away, cosmic circles – unpopular because God designed and instituted it. And it is unpopular with those who want more than their share of the power; if I have the power of my own freedom then that’s power the tyrant doesn’t have – intolerable for him. So we’ll fight on because the need for liberty is paramount, the family is indispensable, and the economy is autonomous and will function according to its laws. These things we can count on, despite the clouded mysteries that murk up the rest of our existence.

Deana Chadwell blogs at
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Deana Chadwell

About Deana Chadwell

I have spent my life teaching young people how to read and write and appreciate the wonder of words. I have worked with high school students and currently teach writing at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. I have spent more than forty years studying the Bible, theology, and apologetics and that finds its way into my writing whether I'm blogging about my experiences or my opinions. I have two and a half moldering novels, stacks of essays, hundreds of poems, some which have won state and national prizes. All that writing -- and more keeps popping up -- needs a home with a big plate glass window; it needs air; it needs a conversation. I am also an artist who works with cloth, yarn, beads, gourds, polymer clay, paint, and photography. And I make soap.
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29 Responses to Reality for Dummies

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    At heart, liberals are both totalitarian and anarchist. So it’s no surprise that the laws of reality are unappealing to them. Ignoring them allows them to feel good about themselves by proposing idealized solutions to the problems of the world — and never mind that they NEVER work. That’s why liberals don’t want anyone actually looking into the results — if the solutions really do work, they can’t feel any better about themselves than they already do, whereas when they don’t they’d have something else to feel guilty about.

  2. Rosalys says:

    Good article, Deana, and spot on – for the most part. I’m not quite satisfied with what you said about freedom.

    I would agree that some amount of freedom is necessary, even if it is merely the liberty to think our own thoughts, in order to keep hope alive. Hope is absolutely necessary to keep one going. There are those who may say they have given up all hope, but if they drag themselves to the dinner table and take a bite, they haven’t really. Things may seem unbearable, but if they continue to give their body nourishment, they have shown, through their actions, that their is still a glimmer of hope that it is worth the effort to live another day, because tomorrow can always bring about a change for the better.

    Freedom of the kind we have experienced in the United States has been a very rare thing throughout history. Our thoughts, being absolutely secret unless we choose to reveal them, have been mankind’s ultimate freedom available even to the absolute slave.

    This is why the most truly evil among us don’t want debate, don’t want any civil interchange of ideas, want no opposition, and in fact seek to take our own thoughts away from us. This is why the so called public education in our country is turning out functional illiterates, who cannot think for themselves. Schools are really government re-education, or propaganda centers. The ruling class does NOT want an educated populace – they want a compliant populace. Perhaps this is why the suicide rate is skyrocketing. People who absolutely, really, truly have NO hope usually end up killing themselves.

    I’ve just about given up hope that there is a political solution to the problems in our country. (Perhaps not entirely, because, even though I keep telling myself I will never again vote, I will probably drag myself to the polls next year.) But in my heart I know there is no political solution. That which really gives hope me is my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    “The free will to choose to love God (or not) is our greatest privilege…”

    The paradox here is that those who use their free will to choose to follow God will keep their free will intact, while those who choose to not follow God have forfeited their free will to choose to do good.

    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

    “Hope springs eternal in the human breast…”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Note that (as the Thernstroms pointed out in America in Black and White) the reason for inferior (not merely separate) education for blacks in the Jim Crow South was so that most blacks wouldn’t know what their constitutional rights were, and thus not demand them (a demand that might succeed). So nothing has changed except that now the Democrats don’t want anyone to know what their rights are.

  3. Pst4usa says:

    Very good article Deanna. Just to be cute, I learned the three laws of Thermodynamics from my physics teacher father;
    #1. You can’t win.
    #2. You can’t lose. and
    #3. You can’t get out of the game.
    Maybe a bit over simplified, I admit.

    • That’s funny — and also philosophical and sociological truth. I think ignorance of this idea is what frustrates me so much when I’m trying to talk logically with liberals; they think they can get out of the game, or change the game and make up new rules, none of which bears any connection to reality. Grrrr…. 🙂

      • Pst4usa says:

        Some times you have to treat them like a two year old, swat them on the butt, (metaphorically speaking), and tell them that God still loves them, just to piss them off.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Most importantly we need to acknowledge that God and the laws He created control almost every facet of existence, yet still allow for man to enjoy free will. The breathtakingly elegance of this universe, rich with mind-boggling, intricate detail underscores that fact. Everything operates on a pattern, a pretty tight pattern. If something gets even a little out of whack all hell breaks loose.

    Deana, it’s interesting to contrast your view of the universe with something I read recently about the late William Provine. In this article he is quoted as saying:

    When you die, you’re not going to be surprised, because you’re going to be completely dead. Now if I find myself aware after I’m dead, I’m going to be really surprised! But at least I’m going to go to hell, where I won’t have all of those grinning preachers from Sunday morning listening.

    Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. What an unintelligible idea.

    Christian humanism has a great deal going for it. It’s warm and kindly in many ways. That’s the good part. The bad part is that you have to suspend your rational mind. That part is really nasty. Atheistic humanism has the advantage of fitting natural minds trying to understand the world, but the disadvantage of very little cultural heritage — and that’s a real problem.

    So the question is, can atheistic humanism offer us very much? Sure. It can give you intellectual satisfaction. I’m a heck of a lot more intellectually satisfied now that I don’t have to cling to the fairy tale that I believed when I was a kid. Life may have no ultimate meaning, but I sure think it can have lots of proximate meaning. Free will is not hard to give up, because it’s a horribly destructive idea to our society. Free will is what we use as an excuse to treat people like pieces of crap when they do something wrong in our society. We say to the person, “you did something wrong out of your free will, and therefore we have the justification for revenge all over your behind.” We put people in prison, turning them into lousier individuals than they ever were. This horrible system is based upon this idea of free will.

    Since we know that we are not going to live after we die, there is no reward for suffering in this world. You live and you die. I’ve seen bumper stickers (very sexist ones, actually) that say “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.” Well, whatever life is, you’re going to die. So if you’re going to make things better for yourself or for those you care about, you had better become an activist while you’re still alive.

    Finally, there is no reason whatsoever that ethics can’t be robust, even if there is no ultimate foundations for ethics. If you’re an atheist and know you’re going to die, what really counts is friendship — and that’s why I value Phil’s friendship so much.

    One of the heartening things is that we can know that Darwinism is false (for the explanation of biological information, not relatively small micro-evolutionary changes that take place using existing biological information and systems) with almost 100% certainty. That message hasn’t quite gotten out that Darwinism is a fraud on par with global warming. But I suspect it will get out.

    Your view is optimistic, orderly, and personal. The view of Provine is the direct opposite. If his views are wrong because Darwinism is wrong, does that make you right?

    No. But it means you’re still up and standing on the canvas while others are down for the count. What’s this got to do with the price of tea in China? Well, we’re talking about reality (in this case, deep reality). If one’s deep reality is wrong, it follows that the smaller suppositions will be wrong as well. And the reality of the Left is almost entirely based upon a host of small suppositions that are wrong. Few give notice to what the larger framework is that this myriad of small and wrong suppositions is hanging on, but it is hanging on the Leftist trinity of Darwinism, Freudianism, and Marxism.

    I don’t know that your formulation are the way things are. I suspect things are a little different or more complicated. But you’re still standing.

  5. Thanks Brad for thinking about what I write. I can only say this about William Provine; the poor man is dead and I suppose that by now he knows his assumptions were in error. As he was raised in a Christian household one can hope that his earlier views on who and what Christ is bought him his eternal salvation long before his illness and eventual demise.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Deana, honest to god, I haven’t the time to read everything published here due to having a job, having to do the mechanics of the site, doing a fair share of independent reading, and doing my own writing and blogging. (And my older brother stopped by with his foster child the other day and we had lunch, a movie, played a bit, and there went a quarter of the day.) There is only so much mindshare left. But I try always to read what you write, if only because you’re clear and not a waffler. You write what you believe. You’re not afraid of stating a clear and direct opinion.

      This is one of the virtues of Dennis Prager who stresses “clarity over agreement” when he has an opposition guest on his radio show. I don’t say that I’m in opposition to what you believe. But it is hard to be for or against things if everything remains a gray, fuzzy, half-realized blur of opinion. You are generally not infected by that.

      I suspect that the Creator is larger than any of us can imagine and whose motivations and attributes are mostly beyond the human ability to know in any kind of reasonable detail. You would surely disagree. I remain somewhat fuzzy and on the fence, trying to make sense of both and all sides. But the atheists simply dispense with the fuzziness and ambiguity of reality by collapsing it all down to rather simply and noxious formula.

      I try not to do that. And reading your theological opinions certainly helps keep me from collapsing it all down to the simple and the noxious.

      • Actually, I agree that much about God is beyond what we can understand, but what we can grasp is available, more so now than at any time in history and no study is more exciting or rewarding than learning to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.” I truly appreciate your willingness to read what I write.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I love the comment that Stardust made to your article over at American Thinker.

          Those without foundation or standard are fair game for that old devil, in that he can and will form the misguided a logic that implies that there are no trues.

          The essence of your way of thinking is that there is an order to the universe, from the micro the the macro, and that if we are in harmony with that order, we will be happier and live a more fulfilling and just life. If we are in harmony with the real reality (not that made-up one), things will fall into place much better. No stressing over 57 genders, for example. There are just two.

          You’re probably saying, even though you didn’t write it, that just as there is an order in the micro whereby you stub your toe and it hurts (for the benefit of our toes and of ourselves), there are other higher orders that deal with more than just the physical. There is a moral order, for example.

          This is an idea, of course, completely rejected by the “reality” created by the trinity of Darwinism/Freudianism/Marxism. This “reality” has declared (so very well stated by William Provine in that earlier quote) that there is no deep meaning, it’s randomness and meaninglessness from the micro to the macro, and if a toe hurts when it is stubbed, it is only in service of survival. And everything is about survival. Our existence is by chance and the only thing rigging chance in favor of life (and that created it in the first place) is any small thing (including pain at stubbing your toe) that contributes to survival.

          But as for any higher order in reality, this is not acknowledged by the naturalistic point of view. And this point of view (which must be taken to its extreme, for they have nothing else left to do) says that free will itself is an illusion and we’re better off without it. We’re better off not parsing things in terms of right and wrong but in terms of diseased or not diseased. Utopia can be found if, instead of treating people like moral agents, they are reduced to zombies walking the earth — sometimes engaging in good conduct, but when poor conduct comes upon them it is merely the result of their environment or some physical disease.

          Have I got that right? 😀 Of course I have. As Rush says, he knows liberals as well as he knows every inch of his gloriously naked body. Sorry about painting that picture, but there is some truth to that. I know better than most TV evangelists just how this works. The number of people who actually believe the reality you profess is, these days, somewhat small. But I do know it.

          And most of the arguments and articles over there at American Thinker (and everywhere else) take place within this framework even if they don’t acknowledge it. Here, we acknowledge it. We’re different.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s someone at AT who had an interesting (or at least instructive) comment:

    Assuming a creator the universe is the message. Religion puts human words in the mouth of the creator and becomes self worship. Communists translated religion to politics so both religion and leftist politics are in the crowd control business selling an opiate of the masses.

    I do agree that the physical universe is certainly a part of the message, perhaps more precisely I would say that it is the medium of that message. But to see the material as the message itself is little better than flat-out atheistic naturalism.

    But it’s a good question as to whether or not religion (this religion or that religion he does not say…only moral relativism sees them as all the same) puts human words in the mouth of the Creator. For those who hold to the naturalistic (nothing but the physical) view of reality, this must be so, for there can be no other thing than the physical universe and no other way of knowing than science (which only ever deals with the physical universe). For those who do not buy the naturalistic line, then it is a matter of determining the probability of words that are said to be of a Divine source.

    To what extent do Communists (socialists, Marxist, Progressives, et al) translate the religious impulse and apply it to the state? The answer is, “A lot.” But the commenter didn’t frame the question (correctly) as I did and (which is the point of all this) took a number of ideas and sort of put them in a blender. The core ingredients aren’t all that bad. But the blending was the killer to any kind of useful meaning.

    The entire purpose of the idea of “opiate of the masses” was always, and will always be, about community agitating (which is the real profession of our false president). It’s about making people feel uncomfortable. It’s about engendering a sense of grievance. They tell anyone who isn’t aggrieved and who may be living a fulfilling life that they are suffering from “false consciousness.” They’re not really happy. In other words, they are told that they are suckers in someone else’s scheme and are just too stupid to know it. (Or that they have a lot of “white guilt” that they haven’t yet dealt with.)

    There would seem to be a clear distinction between engendering love, contentment, peace, and happiness (via religion or otherwise) and those who do the opposite. But do notice just how deeply moral equivalence has infected the thinking of people. Yours truly does not generally suffer from that affliction if only because I am on guard against it. I find such instances as this quote to be a good exercise in dealing with it.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Good point there. The Marxist concern with the “opiate of the masses” was exactly that religion provides a consolation for the poor (this is especially true of Christianity with its “the last shall be first” mindset) and thus reduces or even eliminates the revolutionary desire to overthrow the existing order.

    • Brad, did you see my reply to this person’s comment? He(?) makes the mistake of so many that Christianity is a religion. All the Christian “isms” have devolved into religion — I’ll grant the writer that — but the essence of the Christian view has no relationship to religion and all its trappings and falsities. The trick is in locating and holding on to that very narrow path of truth — holding on and refusing to add one iota to the work God has so perfectly completed.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Brad, did you see my reply to this person’s comment?

        For some reason, your comment isn’t showing up. But I think it’s fair to call Christianity a “religion” if one defines religion as the collection of ideas, often including revealed truths, that purport to tell the deep story of reality and its Creator(s).

        Of course, not all religions are created the same, just as all political parties are not the same. Just because there was a Nazi party or (still is) a Communist party does not delegitimize the idea of political parties.

        That same commenter also said something much more astute:

        Looking at the message of the creator was what raised humans above the animal state but now the left leads mankind away from the message back to the animal state.

        There is little doubt that the Left is trying to take us back to the state of the animal. They glorify nudism, for example, and say that clothes are mere “constructs.” This is a big pet peeve of Dennis Prager.

        Whether one set of beliefs is correct and another is wrong, that’s where it gets more difficult…and likely why so many fall back with pleasure on scientism, atheism, naturalism and just declare there is nothing more for them to think about and nothing more for them to be concerned with.

        I have a network of eyes and ears (you are amongst them). And a pastor recently gave a sermon on Romans 10:14, specifically: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” That could easily mean that even though pigs go around without clothes, that doesn’t mean humans should do the same thing. One view says that Satan is the god of the world (with God Almighty being the Supreme God). Therefore we should not conform to this world.

        You see all kinds of things on TV and movies. You’ll see your favorite actors doing things that are clearly wrong but that seem to be cool. It might even be a “consensus opinion” that this thing (abortion, homosexuality, envy, stealing, racism, whatever) is okay, even commendable.

        And if all there ever is is consensus opinion, then whatever the world says is right at the time must be right. But then there is that insight from Paul that says “We should not conform to this world.”

        In many quite ineloquent ways, and doled out in a hodgepodge fashion, that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to express about this site. Hey, if you want to comment on today’s events, please do so. But you need not conform to this world. That is, you don’t have to sound like Charles Krauthammer. You don’t have to try to be a Jonah Goldberg, And as funny and right as he often is, you don’t even have to try to be a Mark Steyn (although I can hardly think of a better role model for a writer).

        Think outside the box. Create your own damn box. But you needn’t conform to the world because, frankly, at least half of it is crazy.

        Therefore we should not conform to this world. The pastor who gave this sermon is either crazy or righteous. But when you see what is on TV, what passes for politics, the corruption of our leaders, Planned Parenthood videos, and on and on, don’t you get it? I know many of you here do. But still, I’m often surprised how many don’t really get this concept. You don’t have to lose your friends necessarily or stop going to parties. But there is a different way to measure the world and be in it.

        Paul knew this. And whether Christianity is or isn’t a religion, or is the only true one, I couldn’t say. But one can make some objective judgments here and there and note what tends to happen to people when they believe the doctrine of naturalism and treat themselves and others as nothing but animals.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          That is an interesting point about belief in God raising man above the animal level — and the modern Left lowering man back down to it. I think I’ve seen the suggestion that Adam and Eve would not have been the first man and woman, but rather the first to believe in a transcendent spirit other than mere nature-worship.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            That is an interesting point about belief in God raising man above the animal level — and the modern Left lowering man back down to it.

            Those inclined to that naturalistic fallacy (supposing that what is natural is automatically good) or who fall for the “man is inherently good” fallacy of Rousseau, ought to read the book, Savage Girls and Wild Boys. (Libertarians in particular should read this).

            This book will dispel any naive notions of the pleasures of anarchy, of the idea that man is basically good, that what is natural is automatically good, and that what we need most of all is not to be “repressed” by the “dogmas” of religion and instead just need to run free. You will come out of reading this book (if you don’t already have it) with a clear sense of something Dennis Prager preaches: Man may be born innocent but he is not born good. He has to be made good.

            We live in a time when all our careful and wise doctrines are being pissed on by the narcissists, anarchists, radicals, and sociopaths who declare that anything that came before their time and not out of their mind is tainted and deserving of the scrap heap.

            It’s not a matter of *if* man needs religion but which one. It’s not a matter of *if* man needs moral training, but what kind. All of this is denied by the dogma of naturalism that says that man is not a moral agent (because he is but an accident and does not have free will).

            Oh, not that the Left doesn’t have their dogma and their conception of what is moral. But such dogma and conceptions are built upon sand because of their basic denial of human nature, of reality, of the need to see man as a moral agent, and all that goes with seeing reality not as nihilistic but deeply meaningful.

            So in some respects, it’s not about “belief in God” that raises us as if someone anoints us with the right kind of culture so that we can get on with the day, this culture being better than some other, but still just a type of culture even if it is anointed with religion and steeped in certain metaphysical beliefs. That still ultimately is but a materialistic conception of the universe.

            Man eventually learns (if he is not too stubborn) that it’s not a mere matter that “belief in God” is practical but that it is unavoidable. And it is irreplaceable if we have aspirations higher than that of being a mere animal even if we are partly an animal. But that is not all we are, and that is perhaps the most fundamental disagreement between the right and the Left.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              So I gather that book is, in effect, the reality behind Golding’s Lord of the Flies (as opposed to Tarzan of the Apes, though in that case the apes keep Tarzan from being totally feral).

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Yes, it interesting that the apes kept Tarzan from going totally feral. I started “Lord of the Flies” a while ago but didn’t get far. What I got from “Wild Boys” is that man, left to his own devices, is a savage. That savagery may simply make him rough and uncouth rather than evil and violent. A couple of the cases in this book, as I recall, involve children that were found when they were around 9 to 13 years old.

                These children weren’t bent, as was the child in the chilling book, Damaged, wherein the girl had been severely sexually abused. When taken in, they did not try to stab or assault the adults who had taken charge of them. But they never really could soften much either. They never learned to talk well. They preferred sleeping on the floor. There was a wildness and bareness of soul that would never go away.

                Some of these wild children were indeed children of nature. This did not necessarily make them evil. I don’t think most were. But there wasn’t much good about them either. And certainly their “natural” attributes were not comforting or pretty. There was nothing romantic about their wildness. Instead, it was representative of a waste of a life that could have and should have been much richer.

                That should put into some kind of perspective the abuse heaped on many children by an education system that seems geared to make sure that they can’t learn to read…and can’t learn a great number of other things as well.

  7. Brad — I’d define religion as man’s efforts to win the approbation of God. Christianity is quite the opposite. It is the realization that the true nature of man is much like the picture of man in Lord of the Rings — barbaric — and that we can’t get to God on our own. Picture 2 ladders. On one hordes of people are trying to climb to the top (Tower o Babel) and on the other God has reached down to the bottom rung and is pulling those waiting up into heaven. That’s the difference I see.

    I also think — speaking from historical evidence — that man started with a very clear understanding of his damaged relationship with God and has fallen into false ideas. The advent of Christianity brought a resurgence of the original ideas, but even the power of that was soon corrupted. Soon, I suspect, we will go through another great adjustment.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      It is the realization that the true nature of man is much like the picture of man in Lord of the Rings — barbaric — and that we can’t get to God on our own.

      There is so much despair in the world caused precisely by the fact that man does not have a handle on his inherent character flaws. Why those flaws should be is a big topic. But if the flaws are merely due to Darwinism (that they somehow serve survival), then there is no objective right and wrong. There is only opinion, and all such opinions could only ever at most be anchored in narrow self-interest (thus would be inherently untrustworthy as well).

      There is no altruism in the atheistic/naturalistic viewpoint because such a thing is impossible. If someone does something altruistic (or that seems so on the surface), all one needs to do is dig down and find out what that behavior *really* is supposedly about, and it will always be about enhancing one’s one survival or that one of one’s family.

      We are facing so much despair because we have forgotten that man is basically rotten and needs intense and life-long moral instruction in order to live a good, happy, useful, and just life. And the only way to even have morals is if there is an objective right and wrong. We might not know the right and wrong of every situation, for our morals need to be applied to the cases at hand which is the entire point of wisdom. There is no source book anywhere that describes how we should act in every single case. There could never be. We are instead guided by general principles. And there are no such things as “general principles” if every idea is merely subjective, serves only survival, and is only a matter of personal opinion.

      Those in despair over the society we are fashioning now (that imprisons people because they won’t pretend that anal sex is a family value) need to realize that Darwinism/Marxism/Freudianism is the unholy trinity that now underpins much of our society. What we are then to believe, well, that’s not something that pure logic or reason can solve. But it helps to know what is not the answer and the mindset and beliefs that are rotten to the core.

      And your analogy is valid because atheists certainly do think they need to reach up and instead simply build towers over each other. There is no other way to show “progress,” dominance, or power other than lording yourself over others.

      Those who believe in a purposeful and objective reality understand that man is a subset of something else. He cannot cure himself. He is not self-sufficient and self-contained. He must reach up (sideways, or diagonally) because, despite pleasing delusions many have to the contrary, he is a limited creature.

      There likely was a better understanding of this a mere fifty years ago. But that understanding, for various reasons, has been eaten away. Now, for God’s sake, you have many churches carrying the message of materialism in the guise of anti-poverty programs. But it is likely spiritual poverty that is the problem for most people.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Of course, one can often find a hidden motive in Christian altruism — the desire to go to Heaven rather than Hell. At least that’s how it was presented when I was young, and it occurred to me then that such a motivation was actually rather selfish in its way.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          If there is a heaven and a hell, then there could be no more altruistic act than helping one get to the former and avoid the latter.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I agree and this is why I find it somewhat touching when Christians express concern for my soul and hope I will find my way to God.

            The fact that someone should be so kind as to have, what they believe to be, my best interests at heart should be met with gratitude, not derision or anger as is too often the case.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              It’s probably the “You’re going to hell if you buy that Playboy magazine” that probably rubs a few people as being inspired by something other than altruism. 😀

              Doing good to your fellow human being because you see in them the spark of the divine and understand that they are deserving to be treated well is perhaps not as popular as it once was. And human motives are often other than they are or are a complex of things. But if you’re on the Left, altruism (like free well) cannot exist. It’s against the definition of naturalism. You can only ever have hidden or selfish motives.

              So, no wonder that atheists tend to live down to their dogma. As much as they try to paint Hitler, Stalin, and Mao as religious figures, they were all atheists. Atheist regimes have killed more people in the last century than all previous wars (religious or otherwise) combined.

              It’s also worth noting that this amoral aspect goes all throughout Objectivism (and hence much of libertarianism) as well. Ayn Rand was completely dismissive of altruism and saw it not simply as untrue but perniciously bad. I suspect she was a cold fish who was just trying to rationalize being a cold fish.

              And in some respects, there’s something to be said for being a little pushy. Today’s Christians tend to cave at the slightest pressure. At least give Islam their due. They’re not pussies. They’re evil, yes, but they know what they want and they’re not afraid to fight for it.

              But generally being “people of color” and official victims according to the Left, this real war on women (as opposed to the bogus one) is overlooked. And thus its easy enough to sniff out their false altruism. They supposedly care deeply about all women. But the facts speak otherwise.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            True, but if someone does a good deed solely to go to Heaven rather than Hell, is the good deed altruistic?

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Any principle or idea, taken to an extreme (if only in definition), can be destroyed. It is probably is impossible for mere humans to do purely altruistic acts (with absolutely no other overlapping motivations) as it is for a Clinton never to tell the truth.

              So one can hedge and slice all day and you’ll never find a true circle either.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Who can know what is truly in another’s heart? But, despite what modern cynics may believe, I suspect many acts of kindness are performed without any particular expectation of a reward.

              I would guess that for someone to worry about another’s soul tends to be more altruistic than simply being concerned about one’s own soul. Concern about another’s damnation or salvation, particularly that of a loved-one, can be a powerful motivator.

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