Outside the box

We – you and I, are creatures of habit.

Kenichi Ohmae wrote,

“It is hard to let old beliefs go. They are familiar. We are comfortable with them and have spent years building systems and developing habits that depend on them. Like a man who has worn eyeglasses so long that he forgets he has them on, we forget that the world looks to us the way it does because we have become used to seeing it that way through a particular set of lenses.”

Recently, someone helped me navigate my habits. My “cycles”. These mental conversations that played on an endless loop in my mind weaving a network of invisible prison bars around my thoughts and life and actions.

She taught me something, without saying as much – that changed the course of my life.

“Move towards the uncomfortable”.

If you know me for any length of time – you know that when I sit in a room somewhere, I find the couch with the most pillows. Shortly after sitting, I will have a pillow on my lap – embracing it like an emotional life preserver.

No more pillows.

As I peel away the pillows, I imagine they are some kind of external manifestation of an internal “scab”. A scab on my eyes that prevents me, defensively – from seeing and engaging with things that have the potential to hurt me. To disappoint me.

I have discovered however, that upon peeling these biological blindfolds away – a beautiful world – albeit it dangerous in many dimensions – is waiting for me.

I’ve lost over 50 pounds, launching from the paradigm of a new belief. (“I love myself”). If you don’t love yourself, you’ll diet for the sole sake of sabotaging your diet.  Kill the root, kill the cycle.

I created a new product for my business, and charged 500% of what I normally charged for anything we’ve ever sold. Told people they couldn’t see it until they bought it – it was that great. The first round of workshops sold out. The second one just sold out. (“I am valuable”)

I taught myself to ride a motorcycle that I will use to cross the dirt roads and trails of this country. Last week I took it off road, on the worst hills and roads I could imagine. The bike fell sideways on me, and dragged me downhill five feet. But I remember the moment I pointed it up the hill and ignored the fear waterfall cascading over my frontal lobe, and let the clutch out. (“I can do new things”.)

I had the same experience with my Nissan Xterra yesterday. Seeing the tracks of other trucks that had gone the way we were thinking of driving – ridiculously rutted and impassable tracks – the fear subsided to the deeper belief. (“What one man can do, I can do”).

It takes courage to put pillows away.

You start asking questions.

“What if?” questions. Questions that arrive on the doorstep of your thoughts – your habits – and challenge them politely to step aside for a moment and let them pass.

Dangerous questions that alter the course of your life –

…like how water finds its way down a mountainous hill of dirt.

Move one pebble, and a whole new rivulet forms.

Soon rivulets become rivers.

 

My trainer and I have an understanding.

When I hit my goal weight, I’m enrolling in a powered parasailing school.

They strap a propeller with a motor on your back – tie you to a parachute, and point you towards the sky.

You fly.

I can’t imagine a more suitable example to end this blog post with.

It simultaneously tempts, and terrifies me. It is the ultimate pillow burning act.

Thing is, though….

…my trainer is more excited about this goal than I am.  He’s made it a personal goal to get me to my stated “drive to the place” weight. Tells other people about what we’re doing and why we’re training a certain way – unprompted – like he’s my agent. My Gold’s Gym “Jerry Maguire”.

And so today I  wonder if when you disobey your habits – if it inspires other people.

If there’s some kind of emotional hormone that spreads across the air – altering the mental chemistry of people around you like cells in a societal body.

 

 

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Dear Trump Evangelicals…

Yes. I know that I have effectively pulled the pin out of the grenade. I remember the last 2 or 3 years of political vitriol that everyone endured on Facebook. All the carcuses of the “unfriended” masses, when people couldn’t speak civilly to one another for a few minutes without losing their minds.

But I can’t take another minute of it, honestly.

The insanity. And it is just that. Insanity.

A few weeks ago, we found out that the President of the United States…had an affair with a pornographic film star 4 months after his youngest son Barron was born. 1 year after his marriage to now first lady Milania Trump. (Adultery). The affair purportedly lasted a year. 

These accusations were denied at the time by Trump. (Lie). The allegations were then proven – as evidenced by the now infamous unsigned non disclosure agreement “Stormy Daniels” produced in court, revealing that Donald instructed his lawyer to pay Ms. Daniels $150,000 to not talk about the affair just as the campaign was winding up. A payment so suspicious, the bank that made it reported it as such.

To make matters worse for the President – the story has been investigated and corroborated by Daniel’s associates…with Daniels herself even passing a polygraph test.

White evangelical voters supported Trump 80-16 percent according to exit poll results.

A man who said, when he thought his microphone was off – that you if you were as powerful as he was, you could walk up to any woman and grab her by her vagina.

“You can do anything”, he said.

That phrase fascinated me – because it’s not the first time he said something like that prior to being elected.

“….Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible,”  (Donald Trump)

In one of my other posts, I described how Trump made fun of a handicapped reporter.

Before you start to even try to defend that….stop. God *****it.

Please. Stop. Because you’re hurting the faith you purport to espouse.

Saying Trump is a Christian and an “answer to prayer” is like bringing Big Macs to a P.E.T.A convention.

Stop.

Stop posting your crazy on Facebook also, about how Trump isn’t tied to Russia.

His campaign manager Paul Manafort is going to jail – possibly for life.

Manafort….is not a nice person. He specialized in making turds look shiny and stink free. 

The charges against Manfort include:

“… conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agent Registration Act statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.…”

Before you even try to say there was no Russian involvement.

Stop.

Read all about this stellar human being, here. How he is consistently paid to make dictators and filthy horrible people look good.

Before you try to repeat what Trump says, that the investigator Robert Mueller is on a “witch hunt” and is politically motivated – stop.

He’s not.

“Appointed by President George W. Bush, Mueller took over as director of the FBI one week before the Sept. 11 attacks. After Mueller completed his 10-year term as FBI director, President Barack Obama reappointed him for a two-year term, which required a special act of Congress.” (Garrett Graff, “The Threat Matrix”).

Graff, who studied Mueller had this to say about him,

“Bob Mueller is probably about as apolitical and nonpartisan a figure as you could find in Washington, particularly at the levels of government in which he has served…This is someone who really, truly believes in truth, justice [and] in the American way, in a way that very few people in American life today anymore do.”

It’s okay to admit you made a mistake. To say it out loud.

To admit that Obamacare was not replaced.

To admit that every Wall Street banker with a pen and a nameplate is running the country now. 

To admit that there is no wall.

Tell me about Obama’s lavish vacations in comparison to Trump’s bill so far…admit, just admit – that he’s worse.

Admit that living in this country…just drinking the water here, is more dangerous than it was 2 years ago…..

Maybe, just maybe – you got snookered.

All 80% plus of you fell for the Jedi Mind Trick of waving your hand in the air and calling something an “alternative fact” or “fake news”.

WWJD? Not this. Not this man.

 

Praying-Over-Trump-Reuters

 

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We’re all stocked up

There’s a line from one of my favorite movies that I will remember long into my Alzheimer’s years.

In the film, “As Good As It Gets”, Jack Nicholson says to across the hall neighbor-maid lady (having calmly and patiently heard her espouse her very rosy and hyperbolic thoughts on a recent situation) :

“….. sell crazy someplace else. We’re all stocked up here.”

Amen.

******************************************************

I read a book on the history of Ocracoke Island of Outer Banks fame recently. I love Ocracoke, and realized this past year I love it because of my beach heritage. We lived on the beaches of Long Island growing up, and my favorite family memories were all within eyesight of a set of breaking waves.

Historians mentioned that during big storms, the ships around the island would get caught in the rough tides and drift towards the shore.

The handbook for these circumstances instructed sailors to “tie themselves to the mast poles” of the boat, so as to not be washed out to sea. An unfortunate number of times however, sailors would jump out into the sea, or attempt escape in small boats and try to navigate to the shoreline – inevitably drowning in the tumultuous waters.

The sailors who tied themselves to the poles – though small in numbers – survived a high percentage of the time, and were rescued by volunteers on the island 12-24 hours later when help arrived. They did the harder thing, and waited for the insanity to subside.

******************************************************

I was raised in Crazy.

I capitalize the C in Crazy to help you understand, Crazy is a noun as much as it is an adjective. It can describe something – but in my experience Crazy IS a thing. It’s a tangible tasteable smellable embraceable living breathing bulbous mass of dysfunction.

Trained experts in Crazy, can detect and identify it miles away.

It took me about 45 years to realize there were two types of lives that could be lived.

You can live in a wide circle of life participants – without a Crazy filter.

Or you can live in a very small circle, with a brutally exclusive Crazy filter.

The two lives are mutually exclusive. There are no middle rings in this circus of life. This existence is binary. It’s on or off. In or out. Crock full of Crazy – or contained to a slow drip.

Despite every indicator light going off on my Crazy dashboard.

Despite every alarm blaring across the entire frequency of audible sound.

Despite every nerve of my Spidey Sense firing off an arm hair standing straight up – I let Crazy into my family’s house again.

Me. I not only opened the door. I ushered it in – welcome arms. Shuttled it around with an all access pass for front and backstage. All the nooks and crannies.

For a 15 second moment – I was the rosey eyed neighbor lady across the hall. Naive and living in a cloud of fluffy fantasies and preposterous possibilities. I honestly believed I could brute force believe the crazy out of the Crazy.

And so for the past amount of recent time, I have been lashed to the mast. Waiting for the storm to subside. Listening for signals in the wind, in the waves – wondering how much damage the boat had taken – permanently – in this last hit.

How big was the hole? Could it be fixed.

( What. had. I. done? )

*******************************************************

I’d seen a counsellor some time back – for a particularly troubling time in my life. The kind of trouble on par with a bleeding artery that you can’t control with a band-aid. You dial 911 and wait for people who’ve been trained with arterial bleeding to help.

My counsellor taught me about behavioral loops.  Things that we say and do despite our better judgement. People that we hurt over and over again – saying the same things repeatedly.  Messages that were burned into our brains like grooves of a record when we were very young – and our minds were so much black heated vinyl ready for the musical imprint.

To see the loops in your own life – is a very painful process. An emotional fire. A purge through harsh identification – moment by moment. You relive the minute the message was imprinted. You call it by its rightful name. And you cry. Mourn the loss of time spent hurting others and killing time waiting for a savior. Or a purge.

The unintended side effect of this kind of counselling – this type of loop purge – is a heightened awareness of the dysfunctional loops around you. Loops in other people’s work lives and love lives and families and personal lives.

It’s like living in a smoke free house after growing up with smoker parents. You can smell a cigarette lit halfway across a parking lot on a still air day. You know what it is.

If you’re quiet, and you listen…observe from a distance…these other people loops light up the air around them in painful blazing hurt arcs.  Behavioral autonatoms. Trapped in their grooves.

People who have cut the ropes from the masts, and jumped in the surrounding waters -hopeful the buoyancy of their own denial floats will keep them aloft.

The beaches around me are littered with their figurative bodies….and I’m tired.

Angry even, that I got back on that boat, to begin with.

**********************************

Gates are closed, everyone. The door is locked from the inside.

Welded to itself, in fact.

Go sell Crazy someplace else. We’re all stocked up here.

 

 

 

 

 

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My favorite Marvel Superhero

I, like most Americans – have been part of the superhero film movement the past 10 years or so.

For as long as I can remember – I’ve been a Batman fan. In fact – you’d probably be surprised to know that I have almost 200 Batman action figures – in their original box. I have a t-shirt that says,

“Be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman”.

Then the Marvel movies started coming out. I had a brief romance with Tony Stark, aka, “Ironman”. Inwardly however, I most identified with Bruce Banner – the quiet nerd who was forever bullied, secretly hiding an internal rage monster.

I enjoyed getting lost in the movies. I like many people worshipped these larger than life characters who ran out with their various genetic mutations and billionaire toys to save the world. I thought they were awesome incarnations of our best possible selves. Something to be aspired to.

A few months ago though, I realized how wrong I was.

I decided that the best superhero of these movies, was the least venerated…the weakest of them all.

A man with no superhuman abilities.

“Hawkeye”.

If you’re not familiar with him, Saturday Night Live expressed the general sentiment of the population with this popular skit, mocking his “in-abilities”.

Hawkeye shoots arrows. When he runs out of arrows – he hits people with his bow. Uses his fists.

He’s just a guy.

But before he was an Avenger, he was already a superhero.

He was a dad. And a good husband. (we first learn about it in this scene).

I’m 46 years old. In the past 10 years, I’ve seen about 2 families a year…people that I’ve known for a long time, split up. About 90 percent of the time, it’s because the guy….the dad, the husband, loses his ******** mind.

Midlife crisis.

Gets a promotion, or a raise at work.

Goes to the gym, starts working out….getting noticed again.

Gets a PM from an old girlfriend on Facebook Messenger.

Gets noticed by a co-worker at lunch.

Offers a warm shoulder to another woman at church who needs consoling.

These are all very real things that I watched happen in slow motion before my very eyes. Each time, a pockmarked minefield….an emotional wasteland left behind for their wives and children to navigate through and across the rest of their lives.

)Sometimes it’s not that simple. I get it. Things go sideways. My own father was divorced and remarried. He left his own wake behind him…something he regretted up until his own death.)

Most of the time though, lately – it’s that simple.

It’s gotten where I can predict which couples are headed towards the reefs and rocks. Which ones will make it out the harbor into the ocean beyond.

If you think hard about it – you probably know a few of those couples yourself. And despite everything and anything you can think to do or say to the person…it amounts to throwing feather pillows at the Titanic, as it heads towards the iceberg.

Hawkeye.

Hawkeye is the only Avenger with a spouse. And kids. And a family. In spite of all the garbage he brought to the table – all his history, and everything he does and will do every day…he comes home and keeps his promise. Keeps his kids and wife safe.

Ask him what his job is. It’s his family.

Ask him what his first responsibility is. It’s his wife’s heart. Then his kids. Then saving the world.

Hawkeye will never have his own movie. (Stark got 3. Thor got a bunch too).

Hollywood glorifies the glitz and the sex and the flirting and the toys and newness.

You know what’s harder than throwing a magical hammer at something evil?

Loving your wife when you don’t particularly like her that day. Or know you don’t exactly deserve love, reciprocated.

Apologizing to your kids when you’ve behaved like an ass**** in front of them. Finding ways into their lives, and reassuring them that they are loved unconditionally.

Someone told me once that being a husband, and a father – was assuming the responsibility of a “keel”. A keel is the part of the sailboat no one sees. It sticks down under the boat, and prevents it from overturning when the wind hits from the side.

A keel smooths the journey. Absorbs the blows. Provides stability and direction.

Sometimes, being a keel sucks.

But I watch these guys. In their red cars, with their freshly minted pectoral muscles and 35 year old 2nd generation models. Laden in body spray…lying to their lawyers and most anyone else who’ll listen. There’s nothing about that decision I can understand. Zero.

I keep waiting to see the “happiness” everyone talks about – the happiness they say they deserve. It just seems really really empty on the other side of that fence. The brokenness they had before the fall, carried across the posts with them to the next iteration of dysfunction.

I want to be a Hawkeye. There, I said it.

Not a Batman (argh….200 figures!!!!) or an Ironman or a Superman. (Maybe a Batdad?)

We have enough of those guys, I think.

2-1-2018 9-06-42 PM

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I wish you were still around

Hey Mike.

Facebook is telling me it’s your birthday again.

I saw where everyone checked in on your page. Your family writes their ‘Happy Birthdays’ on your page every year, without fail. And every year I read them and sit here and despite my best efforts to the contrary, my eyes well up with water. That’s the one thing I hate about knowing you. I hate the wishing you were still around, part.

I have this crazy motorized bicycle. It’s an absolute death trap. Probably the worst decision I’ve ever made buying something.

You would have loved it.

I bought it sight unseen from the internet. Everything that has gone wrong with it, I’ve fixed using YouTube….

…your favorite.

Just today, when Facebook reminded me you were gone, I was sitting here in my office rebuilding the wheel so it could use motorcycle tires, instead of mountain bike tires. I was mad. The jerk wad at the bike store said what I was doing was too dangerous, and he wouldn’t help. So I went home and figured it out myself.

I burned up my data plan in the process, but the tire got built.

And I did it myself.  With my own tools, in my own garage.

Karen tells me when I get that way…all “YouTube-Intense”, that “I’ll figure it out”. Says, “You always do”. I’d wager Sandy said that to you also, when you had YouTube-Face.

 

…….

……………..

…………………………………

Things aren’t quite the same around here, and I wish you were still around to be honest.

……..

…………………

…………………………………….

There’s been a few divorces since you left.  Another couple is separating a baseball’s toss from your old house.

I can still remember you standing in my doorway telling me how you were praying that Sandy’s real estate stuff would blow up. That she deserved every success. I could feel your hope for her like standing next to a fireplace. The warmth of that love. You were almost willing it into existence.  You were like a well wishing love-Yoda.

I hold that memory of you there that night…those 2 or 3 minutes – like some token in my pocket. A talisman that I squeeze every so often when the inevitable rocks invade life’s marital road. A “memory lighthouse”, maybe? I don’t know what to call it. . .

We were talking the other day about the people who really go to heaven. The ones that were really Christians, were the people who LOVED others. That LOVE was the material of eternity. If people were trees, the fruit of Jesus was LOVE apples. How people who love others leave indelible impressions on others. You feel it when they’re around you. And when they’re not, you feel that too. Maybe more so.

Most others are like the crazy neighbor lady next to me. The one who cut the oak tree down you were so fond of.

They just exist. Make no marks.

And when they leave, their memories vanish like some wispy morning fog on the river back here. And they are gone.

I won’t tear up someday if Facebook tells me it’s her birthday.

………………….

I think a lot about what life will look like someday in the future. What will people do when Facebook tells them it’s my birthday, and I’m not here to see it. Will people tear up, or scroll past?

Will I have made the most of the last valuable lesson you taught –  in your departure?

That time is fleeting.

It moves forward, fiercely – sans mercy or discretion.

That every day breathing in and out, is a sacred gift. An opportunity to be loved, TO love, and someday hopefully be missed.

To be amazed by it all, and somehow be amazing inside of it all. Be remarkable.

In this, I aspire to be your disciple. Am trying to be.

……..

………………

…………………………

So that when you first see me, right after you know what. . .

to have beautiful and bountiful bruises from my children’s hugs.

…scars and grease all over my hands from stuff I probably shouldn’t have done, but did anyway.

……a moist spot on my forehead…on my lips, from one last kiss.

 

……..

……………..

……………………….

I wish you were still around.

 

 

 

 

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The rock factor

Kenneth White was a passenger in a van travelling along route I-75 near Flint Michigan. If it was anything like when I ride anywhere with my best friend, good conversations were probably going down. He was probably talking about work, his family – making a good joke when the opportunity presented itself mid story.

9.81 meters per second per second later.

This is the force of gravity here on Earth.

If you throw a tennis ball into the air in front of you, straight up – it will fall from the tallest point in the air 9.81 meters per second per second faster from that point.

In 1797, British scientist Henry Cavendish was the first to actually measure the force of gravity between masses, and the first to yield accurate values ultimately for the gravitational constant. When you read about some guy in some lab somewhere measuring ‘gravity waves’, it’s all the same soup – just a bigger pot.

5 teenagers had no idea who Henry Cavendish was. Probably never heard of Issac Newton. But they had a pretty good idea what would happen, when they dropped the 6 pound rock in front of the passenger van Kenneth White was sitting in, as a passenger – from atop the overpass near Flint, Michigan yesterday.

All told, the five teenagers ranging in age from 15 to 17, threw a total of 20 rocks off 2 overpasses that night.  And a tire.

One rock weighed 20 pounds.

[A bowling ball weights 16 pounds]

A police cruiser was dispatched to White’s home. Like in some movie. To tell a little boy that his father wasn’t ever coming home again.

FIRST THOUGHT:

Every today….today, in fact – you and I are participants in an eternal cosmic equation. Use words like “chaos theory” or “probability” if it helps you get your head around it. Ultimately however, nearly 100% of us have insulated our minds from the cold reality of the actuarial math which envelops, surrounds, and intertwines us all.  We universally summon the same brave faces and polite colloquialisms in its face.

Oh, it was just his time“, we say. Saying it was “just their time” surrounds the coldness of the math with marshmellowy warm words in an attempt to distance and insulate ourselves. We use words like some kind of vehicular “air bags” to cushion the reminder that we are all Kenneth White bingo-balls in a cosmic VFW basement, spinning around the circular cage until it’s “our time”. Until ‘somone’ calls our number.

SECOND THOUGHT:

People are not generally good.

We are the most advanced society that has ever graced the surface of the blue marble we find ourselves living on. The blue marble is filled with people who have thought some pretty big metaphysical thoughts about it all, topping out with the “big 3” religions after thousands of years.

When I read about Mr. White this morning, Buddhism didn’t have an answer for me about his death. Nor did Islam. Kenneth wasn’t being punished for something in his past life, or smitten by an angry Islamic god.

He was killed by an ancestor of Cain.

Something is horribly broken here on Terra Firma. It didn’t used to be like this. And someday it won’t be like this anymore. But when rocks fall from overpasses and bullets rain down from Vegas hotels, Christ wins the eternal gambit. He alone possesses the answers which most accurately describe the human condition. The potential each of us has to inflict unspeakable, generations-spanning pain on one another.

We all carry Cain’s genes.

These kids, after killing White, went to eat at McDonald’s.   Buddha and Muhammad can’t speak to that.  The holes in Christ’s hands…his feet……his sides give him full observational authority in my mind. The shortest verse in the New Testament sums the condition of humanity’s hearts up, in fact:

“Jesus wept.” [John 11, v35]

FINAL THOUGHT

Today is a wake up call of sorts, for you.  Not so much for me, as I’ve been awake for a little while, anyway. This is what I tell myself…

There are two choices we are all making, every day. Two thoughts at war for our mind.

One is telling you to play it safe. To stand near the other zebras, and go where the other zebras go. Whispers to you, that if all the zebras are standing together, it makes it harder for the lions of the world to pick you off.

This idea that if you shuffle quietly from morning to evening and do what everyone else does and thinks what everyone else thinks we all make it to 82.52 years old. This thought, is a lie.

Today, I’d like you to give yourself permission to hear the second thought out.

It’s the one that reminds you as you’re driving….the person coming at you in the other lane could be distracted. Angry. Drunk. Or suicidal.

Its quiet voice is a primordial reminder that life, however you define its origin – every second of life is precious and beautiful and miraculous. It speaks to the wanton wastefulness of homo-erectus with regards to the commodity of TIME.

You will never have as much of it as you think you will.

We will all be surprised when we die. When our rock comes. Jesus knew it better than anyone:

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared-whose will they be?’….”  (Luke 12:20)

How would your live your life differently today – if you knew it was your last day?

Where would you travel to, if you truly understood how little time we all had left?

What words that have been left unspoken for decades would you cautiously utter to someone?

What would you tell your kids tonight that they’ve never heard?

Who would you forgive? Ask forgiveness of?

Your parents?

Your spouse?

Yourself?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Only (dumb) ignorant people believe in God

Hang on. Before you lose your minds, just give me a few minutes.

This morning, I woke up and meandered through my early morning Sunday routines, to find myself where I inevitably end up – here in the office scrolling through my Facebook feed. Mark Zuckerberg’s algorithms decided I should see what someone else I respect highly had “liked” earlier on. So I clicked on it. It was all futuristic-spacey looking and if I’m not a sucker for that stuff, I’m nothing.

-Click-

It was a teaser video for a podcast for a man named Sam Harris. Who argued that creation was magnificent enough for us to believe in miracles. That we no longer needed the “myths and fictions” of the past. If only we rejected the “tribalism” of the world – we could solve all our own problems and live in a Harris-topia…a new age of secular cum-bye-ahhhhh.

The distinct implication drawn from the imagery and carefully recorded commentary, was that to believe in an ancient God, was somehow in direct opposition to reason. Or science. And that’s just not true.

According to the Washington Times, 84 percent of the modern world, has a professed faith. A third of those people are card carrying Christians. 23 percent of those people are Muslims. Even in the era of common core math, one can see that over half of the people walking around today believe in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Believe that there was nothing, and then everything.

According to researchers who study such things, “the world is more educated than ever before“.

9-3-2017 10-10-12 AM

According to OurWorldInData.org, this rise in education can be attributed to, “… the result of increased appreciation of the benefits of education to the individual and society, as well as and increased government provision.”

People are more intelligent than they’ve ever been before. And they still believe in “ancient myths and fictions”.

Is belief in a God – a supreme being, mutually exclusive from advanced intelligence and reasoning? The evidence seems to bear out the contrary.

Gregor Johann Mendel, the father of modern Genetics was a card-carrying Monk.

German mathematician and Protestant Johannes Kepler is the father or modern Astrophysics. He discovered and formulated the laws that govern how every body in space moves in relation to each other’s mass and distance. Historians today believe that his discoveries, “led him to believe that he had uncovered God’s geometrical plan for the universe”.

Kepler would write in his later years,

“Purposely I break off the dream and the very vast speculation, merely crying out with the royal Psalmist: Great is our Lord and great His virtue and of His wisdom there is no number: praise Him, ye heavens, praise Him, ye sun, moon, and planets, use every sense for perceiving, every tongue for declaring your Creator…to Him be praise, honour, and glory, world without end. Amen.”   ( – “Epilogue Concerning the Sun, By Way of Conjecture,” ibid.)

For Kepler, the very thing Harris says steers us from God – steers us TO a God. His laws, in fact, allow us to understand exactly what the Biblical “star of Bethlehem” was, thousands of years after the event- confirming what was written in the New Testament.

Hundreds of years later, research astronomer and Nobel Prize winner George Smoot – the leader on a team of scientists that was able to image the universe in its infancy – speaks about the discovery of another Christian scientist and NASA COBE satellite team member, Robert Wilson. Wilson and his partner Arno Penzias discovered “cosmic background radiation”.  (The background radiation was the cornerstone of the “Big Bang”…the evidence left behind from that massive instantaneous explosion from nothingness into something-ness._)

Smoot says of Wilson’s discovery,

“…”there is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event
and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”

He called the predicted ripples in the cosmic background radiation “fingerprints from the master”.

Modern day researcher Steven Hawking observed of Smoot,
““If the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million, the universe would have re-collapsed before it ever reached it present state.” Slightly faster than the critical rate and matter would have dispersed too rapidly to allow stars and galaxies to form. George Smoot describes the creation even[t] as “finely orchestrated.”

These do not sound like ignorant, myth and fiction followers to me. There are in fact, increasing numbers of people who stood with Harris, who are defecting from a pure materialistic view (the Universe is all there is, and we all random biological happenstance) to one that is more divine.

Paul Davies, atheistic apologist seems to conceed,

““the laws [of physics] … seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design.” (Davies, “Superforce”, p 243)

further speculating,

“There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all … it seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe … The impression of design is overwhelming.” (Davies, “The Cosmic Blueprint”, p. 203)

Einsten, while having no belief in a personal God, had this to say on the matter of it all,

““The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation … His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.” (Albert Einstein)

As astrophysicists like Hubble and mathematicians like Friedman continued to make discoveries in Einstein’s lifetime – those discoveries forced him to re-examine his own mathematical theories (like the “cosmological constant”), as well as his own personal theories regarding an “impersonal” God. He wrote after these discoveries were made not only of the necessity for a beginning, but of his desire

“…“to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thought, the rest are details.”
(cited by Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality–Beyond the New Physics, Garden City, New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1985, p. 177)

I wonder if there’s room in Harris’ world for Einstein’s questions and realizations. What the one man would say to the other if they could debate, or speak.

The science of modern astrophysics in fact, creates an “imbalance” of faith. It requires less faith and mysticism to believe in a divine creator – than it does to believe in accidental chance creation.

Compared to the alternative of supposing that matter and energy somehow always existed, British physicist Edmund Whittaker says,

“It is simple to postulate creation ex nihilo–Divine will constituting Nature from nothingness.” (Edmund Whittaker cited in Fred Heeren Show Me God: What the Message from Space Is Telling Us About God Day Star Publications, 2000, pp. 121)

Author Barry Parker of “Creation – the Story of the Origin and the Universe” points out,

“We do, of course, have an alternative. We could say that there was no creation, and that the universe has always been here. But this is even more difficult to accept than creation.”

In the simplest of terms, people much smarter than you or I – smarter than Harris – the men and women who have peered down through the formulas, telescopes and microscopes far deeper than 99% of the modern population has peered, is peering, or will peer, walk away assured in their faith – or even swayed to have what was not possessed earlier. The calculus and statistics of it all rolling past and overwhelming them like an intellectual avalanche.

This was not an accident.

Something….someone did this.

I would normally be angered by a “Mr. Harris” video. But lately, at 46 years old, I’m grateful to him, and in a way, I pity him. Videos like his drive me deeper in my faith to answer questions that demand an examination. To follow Christ implies a demand that I hold Him accountable – all of it- and search for the evidence His claims require I find.  Those stones….those breadcrumbs…are all around us and above us. The fact that Harris misses it…saddens me.

So chin up.  Whatever your faith. You’re walking in the footsteps of giants who are hardly ignorant…..least of all dumb. In any sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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