Thursday, June 22, 2017

Promoting Logic, Not Lunacy

The recent shooting of a Republican congressman has sent me back to my high school days, especially since some utterly confused people have either 1) stated publicly that “the congressman got what he deserved” or 2) blamed the victim (the congressman) for the crime (the would-be assassin’s attempt to murder said congressman). I have scratched my head over and over, trying desperately to understand exactly why these illogical stances have surfaced, gain traction, and continue to get media air time. I have come to the conclusion that this event just demonstrates how these people’s brains have been short-circuited – by what, I will not attempt to answer in this blog (maybe the next one).

My lifelong schooling in logic began many moons ago in high school, where I was taught by a rather strict nun to think of FACTS first, and then to proceed to deduce and induce my way to a logical conclusion. The goal of all logic, she once taught me, was to ascertain truth. Hopefully, truth would serve one best when trying to gain wisdom, which was the approach to life that would be most beneficial for each and every individual on the planet. (Note that this beloved Catholic sister never appealed to the Almighty instead of logic; she assumed – and even today, I would not dare to refute her – that since God created us, He also created the logic that leads our brains to TRUTH.)

Let us examine what this dear sister would NOT assume in the way of “facts”:

Lunatic "Fact" One: The congressman posed a threat to the baseball about to be thrown to him at second base.
Lunatic "Fact" Two: The man who shot the congressman gave no warning that he was about to “defend” the poor baseball about to be caught by the congressman.
Lunatic "Fact" Three: Therefore, the congressman had no time with which to argue with his assailant that the baseball “deserved what it was about to receive.”
Lunatic "Fact" Four:  The assailant also overreacted on the baseball’s behalf. A gun wound is hardly necessary to defend a poor ball thrown at a leather glove.
Lunatic "Fact" Five:  Therefore, the poor man was confused about the nature of the baseball’s “injury,” and did not deserve to be shot and killed.

"Wait a minute…! Hilarious and ludicrous,” you say?

I would reply, “Sad.” This is precisely the type of spin that most of the media is putting on this shooting. Now, you will rightly ask me to define “spin,” and I will call it what it is: A deliberate fabrication of the events to serve a less-than-truth-seeking purpose. It is, for all intents and purposes, a lie.

Instead of the fanciful “explanations” recorded above, let us examine some true facts:

Fact # 1: The congressman was practicing for a baseball game, and was getting ready to catch any ball thrown to him (one of the objects of the game, according to the Major League Baseball Association).
Fact # 2:  At no time did he address his assailant or provoke him in any way.
Fact # 3:  The assailant was never in any danger of being smacked by a ball delivered by the congressman (there were chain-link fences to make sure this was true).
Fact # 4:  The one who fired the gun and who shot the congressman was in no direct danger whatsoever – until he put innocent people like the congressman in danger of death.
Fact # 5:  Witnesses stated that the gunman had been sitting for weeks in the lobby of a local YMCA (where he had no membership and never attempted any interaction with the desk attendants or members), with a clear view of the baseball field where he later made his murder attempt.
Fact # 6:  Another congressman reported that the assailant directly asked him, “Are you Democrats or Republicans?” prior to the man’s opening fire.
Fact # 7:  This obviously (unless anyone has taken Mindreading 101 in college and can prove otherwise) points to some sort of political assessment on the part of the man, who shortly thereafter produced a gun and started firing at the clearly-identified Republicans.
Fact # 8:  The assailant continued to fire at innocent human beings until he was taken down by police.

Friends, in any court of law, this would be an open-and-shut case. The congressman had never seen the man before in his life. The lawmaker had never injured or threatened the man. Furthermore, the congressman had been duly elected to represent his constituency, and to present their ideas before Congress. How does that merit the murder attempt perpetrated by James Hodgkinson?

Friends, please read what I am about to explain very carefully. More and more in the past years, I have been painfully aware of the growing belief that “if I express an opinion, it need not make sense.” Pundits of this mantra consistently ignore logic, almost as if logic were too old-fashioned to steer the world. But ignoring logic will not make it go away – and there are consequences for banishing logic from our discussions. 

Please contemplate the following:

Logical Thought # 1: If you support the gunman for attempting to murder the congressman for his speech alone, then what logic or reasoning can you use to criticize a murder attempt on your life for a similar situation – say, you like the color red, and a gunman believes that you are endangering the environment by not loving green?

Logical Thought # 2:  If the congressman “got what he deserved” by supporting his constituents’ views, then why didn’t the gunman target the constituents? Why didn’t the man form an army to “take down” all the people who had voted the congressman into office?

Logical Thought # 3:  It seems that celebrities and the media are blaming the victim for Hodgkinson’s illogical and murderous response to Trump’s agenda. Scalise entered the House of Representatives several years before Donald J. Trump even announced he was running for president. In what way is Scalise tied to Trump’s agenda? If you happen to be at a grocery store that you like, and you favor meals-made-from-scratch over food-in-a-box, how does that make you worthy of death? 

In the final analysis, if you banish logic from your life, don’t expect logic to come to your defense, should you feel endangered. Search out the lunatics.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Offensive Jesus

One of the more outrageous statements coming from certain sectors of American society runs something like this: “Jesus would never offend people like ____ does / do.” For years – actually decades – doormat Christians have accepted this hype, and shut their mouths when they should have defended Truth.

Last Sunday, I was sidetracked as I listened to an excellent sermon (sorry, Brother Paul!). The sermon focused on the Gospel of Matthew, and as I checked out a reference that Pastor gave the congregation, my eyes fell on these words: “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard [the words of Jesus]?” (Matthew 15:12). In case you are not familiar with this passage, these were words spoken by Christ’s own disciples – to Jesus Himself! And I’ll bet that you are equally unfamiliar with what Jesus the Messiah did next: He didn’t apologize. He didn’t slink back into the shadows. He didn’t offer an explanation. Instead, he served up another plate of Truth.
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots,” Jesus replied to His then-politically-correct disciples. “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (verses 13-14). Pretty harsh words from “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” – right?

In case you are not aware of this fact, there are plenty of modern-day Pharisees around us. They insist that their authority trumps Biblical, God-centered authority. They insist that “modern” trends like same-sex civil unions and gender-confused children should be elevated above Biblical marriage and parenting. They especially delight in the “evil-called-good” syndrome when it comes to abortion and “good-called-evil” subterfuge regarding the persecution of ordinary Christians like Barronelle Stutzman, the florist in Washington State who refused to provide flowers for a gay “marriage.” God’s Word warned us thousands of years ago: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). But modern-day Pharisees staunchly defend such outrageous behavior, presumably because they believe they are in charge of the dictionary.

What to do? How about following the Lord Jesus’ example? Keep speaking the Truth in the face of these people’s reprehensible conduct. Stand firm, as Jesus did. Yes, you may be crucified. But Who arose the third day? It certainly wasn’t the Pharisees.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When Words Have Different Meanings

I am an instructor of English. That is not only my bread and butter; it is my passion. I wholeheartedly believe that communication is the foundation of an ordered society. But true communication is founded on certain principles, the definition of words being among them. 

A lowly individual like me would assume that people in authority – any sort of authority – would have a mastery of communication principles. I also used to think – years ago – that a true journalist would use words carefully; he or she would try to use words precisely in order to express the exact meaning they wished to convey. But, once again, this idea has been proven to be wrong.

The mainstream media has an agenda, and it has nothing to do with conveying truth. It has to do with shaping the opinions and actions of our society – more exactly, our political system. Let me start with an example.

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton signaled her intention to run for the presidency. The media immediately signaled its approval. Day after day – morning, noon and night – any person watching the mainstream news channels was inundated with “words of wisdom” from the candidate-to-be. It was as if one person – and one person only – was the “candidate du jour” worthy of attention.

And then, with one stroke, everything changed. Barack Hussein Obama threw his hat into the ring, and – poof! – Hillary was a persona non grata. Overnight, journalists who religiously interviewed or quoted Clinton daily were now solely focused on what Obama had to say, as if a young community organizer in his first term as a United States Senator were suddenly endowed with a wealth of experience and wisdom that Mrs. Clinton could only hope for. It was a miraculous turn-around – and it left me in no doubt that something quite fishy was going on.

And now, eight long years later, full of dictates and pronouncements from the POTUS that I can only describe as – to put it politely – totally foreign to the America I had grown up in, a person who has promised to counter the destruction I see has been elected fairly. But this whole idea of “fair” has been twisted by the media.

Apparently, it is not “fair” that my vote was cast for someone other than Hillary Clinton. It is not “fair” that I did not desire a woman of her skewed values to be elected to the highest executive office in the land. And now it is not “fair” that Trump will take the oath of office on January 20th to become the 45th President of the United States. It is not “fair” that the supporters of this new president want a peaceful inauguration; it is not “fair”… but need I go on?

The meaning of “fair” has been twisted beyond any recognition. It certainly does not mean what I – in my English “simplicity” – learned so long ago that it meant. And other words have recently been similarly “sculpted” – words like “influence” and “hacking.” Pray tell me this: How does someone – good, bad, or indifferent – hack into a system that is not online (unless you sincerely believe that being connected to electricity makes an appliance vulnerable to “hacking”)? And what, exactly, was the “influence” that certain entities supposedly imposed on my choice in voting? I voted, and I make no excuses for whom I voted. There was no “influence” that could have made me vote for Hillary Clinton.

St. Paul famously wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (1 Corinthians 13: 11). It’s time that people grow up and put this childish manipulation of words behind them. 

And then watch the inauguration on Friday.