Is the AntiChrist Real?

A word before my discussion. I know that topics related to religion, and faith are important to people. I want you to know that it is also important to me. The internet is a difficult place at times due to us not knowing what a persons intentions are on the other end of the screen. As my blog states, I am a work in progress, and I believe that we all are. If I say something that offends you I would encourage you to just move on as I am not attempting to make anything personal. I am just attempting to be better in my own life through understanding. Now that we got through that let me present my argument on the Antichrist.

For those of you who have seen the movie Constantine you’d know, the Antichrist is a godlike figure that arises from hell. Instead of bringing about the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of man like Christ, the AntiChrist will bring about the end of time. This Antichrist title has often been given to those we deem evil. The Rothschilds, Obama, Bush, Bin Ladin, Hitler, Stalin, the Clinton’s and now the latest, Trump. This Hollywood ideal of how the end times exists for Christianity has become rather mainstream in our own lives, and faith.

I can’t count how many times I have sat through a lesson on the great deceiver. How it’s the last hour. The Antichrist is near, and he comes closer each day. Watch out for the end times, as that is when we know he will be here. It is constantly brought up, and I don’t think that the AntiChrist of Constantine, and Hollywood are good examples. I believe that this has tainted our understanding of multiple teachings by breaking them up and taking them out of context.

The term Antichrist was used by the apostle John in his letters 1 John, and 2 John. If we just look at the sections that contain the term Antichrist (1 John 2:22, and 2 John 1:7), and mix in Paul’s 2 Thessalonian’s Chapter 2, and top off with some Revelations we have ourselves the convincing proof that the Antichrist is the lawless bringer of the end. Yet what else was John saying in his letters?

One of the most important things to remember about early Christianity is that it was a rather chaotic time. The Roman Imperial Cult dominated the empire, Jewish believers of Christ were being cut off from their synagogues, and the rise of Gnosticism threatened to end the Church as we know it today.

John addressed in his letter the issues of Gnosticism and false teaching. For those unfamiliar with Gnosticism the basics of it are that it stands for secret teaching meaning Gnostic knowledge. These early believes, and other false teachers were stating that the world (matter, and flesh) were evil, not the spirit. So, while the body (matter) did evil, the spirit did not, and once you are dead the spirit releases to heaven. This goes against Christian teachings as the only way to heaven is through Jesus (Again crash course not the full detail).

John highlights in Chapter 2 that one cannot sin and state that he is not a sinner. For if one does so that makes him a lair, and not truly apart of Christ. In the later part of Chapter 2 John states that those who went out from us were never really apart of us, for if they were then they would have remained. Then in Chapter 2: 22 John begins the definition of Antichrist: Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the Antichrist-Denying the Father, and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Johns first letter seems to be a direct thesis against Gnosticism (false teaching), not a discussion of how the world will end.

This definition of the Antichrist alone should be enough proof that our mainstream idea of the Antichrist is already incorrect for even John states that many Antichrists have already come. If the only requirement to be an Antichrist is the denial that Jesus was Christ then one could argue that many people who have lived on the earth were indeed Antichrists. This means that the “Antichrist” is not a singular person, rather this warning against Antichrists is a warning of false teaching, and a warning of falling away. It is a great example of how when we take pieces of the Bible we can make it say whatever we want. Like that there is a son of Satan that will rise from the bowels of Hell to destroy the world.

Context is everything, perspective is everything, and so is the importance of communication. When we dip in and out of different books we can make the Bible say whatever it is that we want. I believe that when taken into context the great deceiver in Paul’s 2 Thessalonian’s should not be used in conjunction with John’s Antichrist. They are separate, and different. To take part of one book, and mix it with another is ludicrous. The context of each book in the Bible comes from a completely different perspective, to mix these perspectives without the context leads to false teaching. Ironic, as John warned against such teachings.

Why are there five books in the Bible that focus on Christ? Think about it. Jesus is central to Christianity, and we have five perspectives to gain an idea of who Jesus was. Why just look at the simple differences, and you begin to understand why things taken out of context throws off teaching. Take for example the gospel of John 13:7. It states that as soon as Judas took the bread from Christ Satan entered into him. This is the only book that states that Satan entered Judas. What an interesting perspective that this adds to the betrayal of Jesus. Yet, there are four that show a different side to the story. Perspective gives new meaning. Why does one say that Satan entered and the others don’t?

Now I’m not saying that there won’t be a Hollywood style end of the world brought about by an Antichrist figure. What I am saying is that the term Antichrist doesn’t mean what many mainstream Christians thinks it means. I am also saying that out of context teaching shouldn’t be what we base our understanding of God on. The message of the Bible is complete without us attempting to take apart different pieces and put them together. Besides the anxiety of the end of the world shouldn’t be the focus of our walk with God. That is tomorrow’s issue and that’s for a later discussion.

SCREW THE HOMELESS

Screw the homeless, what an awful thing to say right? So, what exactly brought you here? Was it the title, Screw the Homeless?

If it was the title did you feel outraged at the prospect that someone could have such an awful view of a group of people? Did you feel that you had to correct that view in order to better the world? Was it personal for you, did it create an injustice that had to be corrected? What if the title was “Help the Homeless”, would you have felt the need to read this blog post the same as when the title was inflammatory?

So, if this article isn’t about the homeless what is it about? Basically that we will become provoked at inflammatory words (screw the homeless) verse the actual issue, homelessness.

When we see something that is inflammatory like Screw the Homeless we feel the need to correct that person’s view. It’s similar to being on a Facebook page, and arguing with a person through comments. We aren’t actually solving the issue. We are simply fighting this person because they are wrong and in our eyes that is an injustice worth fighting for.

There are problems that exist in the world, and everyone can acknowledge that there is an issue. Finding a solution takes time, money, workers, and support from the community. Take homelessness for example. Homelessness exists and so does the penny tax. We could use that penny tax to build a shelter, fund volunteers, and work on the issue of homelessness. However, we could also use that tax to build something that the community wants, like a new recreation center or a community park. Now there is the issue, do we want a homeless shelter, or do we want something that pleases us?

This creates a duality issue. Do we help the homeless? I mean we all agree (well most of us) that we certainly don’t hate homeless people. Do we help ourselves? The homeless after all picked the life they are living, right? No one becomes homeless in a day, it’s a lifelong issue, and will take lifelong solution to fix.

What do you think is right? I wont judge, but if you were angry at me for saying screw the homeless, and I come up with a way to help the homeless, but you’re not on board because it takes something from you, why were you even mad in the first place? You were mad because the words were inflammatory, and that was a worse injustice to you than homelessness, that’s it.

Now I’m not saying You specifically are the issue, or that any of this applies to you, but you understand the concept? We get mad at other people for their views on an issue, when we don’t even care enough about the issue enough try and solve it in the first place. This may be true in your life, or may not be. I’m not someone to judge either way, all I am saying is if we care enough about something to get upset when someone disagrees with us, then shouldn’t it motivate us when someone is doing something that helps what we care about?

If there are two people holding two signs, help the homeless, or screw the homeless. Which one do you think you should talk to now? The guy who’s going to help them, or the one who just hates them?

Toxic Positivity

This is a rather odd idea, how can someone being positive be toxic? We know that usually a toxic person is someone that brings us down. They might be extra critical of others, have strong views that they over share, or just are a generally negative person. A toxic person is someone that most of us try to avoid for our own sake, and sanity. How can they ever be positive?

Toxic positivity is the act of always encouraging positivity, but never allowing for processing. When we go to our friends and ask them for help, usually the last thing we want them to say is your fine just get over it. I’m obviously not fine, and that is why I wanted your help.

In a sense it is like when someone says that they are depressed or stressed, and someone answers with, just be happy or calm down. This is not a solution to the problem, but it mitigates the problem. That isn’t fair to do to someone else. Mitigating their problems is an issue because what they are going through may be the hardest thing for them.

I see this a lot in the church and I am just as guilty of it as anyone else. Someone may come up to me with a problem, and my response might just be, well you should pray about it. Yes, of course they’re going to pray about it, but that isn’t why they came to me. They wanted fellowship, and someone to listen. Just saying, well you should pray about it, mitigates their problem.

We all like to use comparisons. You think you got it rough, well look at them. This type of thinking is unfair to those that are suffering. If two people break an arm in the same spot doing the same thing, but one person has a broken arm every other week, and the other never has had a broken bone, who felt the worse pain?

Our pain may be relative to our situation, but it is no less troubling than if it was happening to someone else, or someone “stronger.” We are shaped by our pain and through our suffering we learn. I would hate for someone to learn through their suffering that they cannot count on me to be there for them because I mitigated their situation.

Just get over it

Go pray about it

You know I had it rough

Just be happy

Everything will be ok

These are positive things to say, but it isn’t what the person suffering wants or needs to hear. Instead of thinking of a response to say, don’t say anything at all. Let the silence be the response, I hear you. Sit close with them, and when they are done ask them, Is there anything I can do to help? If the person says no then you can tell them that, I know it is hard, but I believe in you. God believes in you.

Empower the weak, empower the suffering, empower those who are going through a hard time and feel like they are drowning. They deserve to have comfort in their suffering just like you did. Don’t mitigate what one person feels because you think it could be worse, understand that we all suffer. Why does God have us love our enemies? Because they are human like us, they suffer like us, they feel pain like us, they need help like us. Be a force of good for someone, but do it in a way that empowers that person no matter who they are or what they face.

Also remember there are of course the outliers as well. People who create suffering to feel empathy from others. For situations like that, do your best. They suffer in other ways.

Kierkegaard and Mindfulness

Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness

-Matthew 6:33

Soren Kierkegaard in Skrifter vol 11 (maybe the correct citation) meditates on the above paraphrased verse in his writings, discussing the deeper meaning of the words. In short, he discusses that one must first seek the Kingdom of God, and this is accomplish by silence. Silence, according to Kierkegaard, is the first and most important goal in seeking the Kingdom of God.

To Kieregaard dropping everything for God is not the first step to seek the Kingdom of God. The first step is to be silent. To be silent, and to make yourself nothing before God. In this silence we arrive at the beginning, and this beginning is where we seek God.

Yet, what is this silence? If Kierkegaard states that silence is being prepared for the opportunity when it arrives, then isn’t mindfulness the same thing? It’s just another word for the same thing, and we know that mindfulness by itself isn’t spiritual. Rather it is an inward observation. By knowing ourselves we can better seek the Kingdom of God.

In our mindful/silent lives we make ourselves ready to serve God when the time comes. In this meditation we ready our inward self to serve. How can we serve God if our own lives are not in control? First seek the Kingdom of God. By first seeking the Kingdom we learn to be silent/mindful, and we take control of our lives.

God calls everyone to different things. Silence and inward observation gives us clarity to what those things are. The first step toward God is to become mindful of your own life, understanding of your weakness, to become nothing, so that God may use you for his will. The freedom to follow God starts with getting control of ones life. To understand your part in the world, and to be accepting of it.

I can work for God, and do great things for him, but first I must seek the Kingdom of God.

Glitter Bunny Killer Part 3

Is there an objective evil in the world? Some sinister force that seeks to enforce its will on others? Could that force take on human form bringing together a group of friends for the sole reason of killing them off one by one? I mean villians in a movie always have a motivation, at least the good ones do. Darth Vader wanted a peaceful galaxy seeing the Republic paralyzed by its bureaucracy determined to make a change. Thanos wanted to balance the scales of the Universe bringing an end to over-population and suffering. This though, no amount of reasoning could justify what was done to Jennifer’s body.

Becky’s sobs continued to echo, more for show than anything, it was selfish weeping. Kelly was right about that at least. Kelly was trying to bring her downstairs, but even I knew that type of crying only compounded irrationality. As if on que Becky ripped out of Kelly’s grasp, running down the long hall. She was gone before Kelly or I could get to her.

Kelly looked at me with disdain as if I should have done something. “Did you want to go after her?” I asked.

“No, Fuck her.” Kelly replied, “She wants to die then so be it.”

Without another word we made our way down to the living room, where we had all been before. The large vaulted room offering no comfort from the cold sinking into the lodge. I was proud at how well the boys seemed to be holding themselves together through this, but it was obvious that even they couldn’t take much more. Michelle had tears down her face, but unlike Becky she  seemed sincere.

“So, why was she in the bathroom alone?” I asked.

Everyone looked around the room as if someone else would be able to enlighten me on the reason. Michelle was the only one who did, cold faced she said, “Everyone assumed it was you, so we ditched the whole wait here in place. People wandered around alone, took showers, what have you. Jennifer…”

“Jennifer had been gone for a long time, we all went looking as a group. Fucking Becky found her.” Kelly said.

“Where is Becky now?” Blake asked.

“She ran off.” Kelly said,

“Shit Kelly, and you didn’t go after her? What if something gets her?” Blake asked.

Kelly was about to rip into Blake again. It was amazing how he could just jump right under her skin without any effort. It was always so awkward being around them because of it. I decided to jump in before it completely blew.

“The killer had a mask.” I said.

Everyone was looking at me now, well at least everyone that was left. “I was going to search my room for clues, or figure a way to get out. I ended up passing out though. The stress had got to me, but I couldn’t stop dreaming about it. Each time there was always something out of the corner of my eye. Something that I had been missing each time, but I focused on it. It was a glitter bunny mask, like those ones that freshmen in the sorority wear during pledge month.”

“You’re retarded.” Kelly said, “what are you even talking about? No one would just have one of those, it’s not like it’s the best of days when you have one.”

“I don’t do Greek, what is a glitter bunny mask?” Andrew asked.

“It’s basically what pledges wear when entering into the sorority. The’re servants. They clean their sisters room, cook their sisters food, you know stuff like that.” Jennifer replied.

“Get raped by the football team…” Blake said.

If looks could kill Kelly’s would have Blake. She huffed up her chest like she was about to say something, but Jennifer beat her to the punch.

“That was Tina Tanner. It wasn’t the team but one guy, and there was no proof that it even happened. He didn’t even go to trial.” Jennifer said.

“Oh…oh I remember that. I was a freshman, she was the one who wrote slut on her chest and took a dive off the economics building. Holy shit, no one ever talks about that.” Andrew said realizing that he said it a bit too enthusiastically quickly shrinking down into the couch.

“So, what do you think Steph? Tina Tanner’s back from the dead to get her revenge on us?” Kelly asked.

“No, not Tina, but maybe someone like her. You guys know how brutal those months are, maybe someone. Most of those deaths on campus are pretty Greek related.” I said.

Andrew and I were maybe the only ones who were not in Greek life, and for a good reason. Wind River University was a rough place for the Greek life. Wyoming was pretty well cut off from most of those centralized Greek charters, and the University’s Administration policy was more of no news is good news. That left a lot of hormone ridden teens with too much time on their hands.

A loud crash echoed from upstairs. No one really knew what to do, and looks were exchanged by everyone. The crash was followed by a scream, and I ran toward it. Blake, came up from behind me on the stairs passing by me quickly. He was down the hall before before I reached the halfway point.

I rounded the hall seeing the open door, and Blake cursing coming from it. Inside Blake held Becky’s arm that was bleeding. There were just tears coming down her face, no weeping. At least none yet. Becky was shaking like she was in shock. We heard footsteps coming down the hall from the others. Each one entering the room. Kelly had a towel in hand, prepared for the worst. They began attending to Becky’s wound her eyes on the window that was shattered. The glass laid about all over the carpet.

“What happened?” I asked.

Becky not taking her eyes off the window replied, “Tina…Tina Tanner.”

There is No Proof of God

There is no proof of God.

Correction, there is no objective proof of God.

Correction, there is no objective proof of God that everyone can agree upon.

Correction, there is no objective proof of God that everyone can agree upon, and that is why we have faith.

Correction, there is no objective proof of God that everyone can agree upon, and that is the point of having faith.

If God came down every Sunday to all the churches of the world who could justify not being a Christian? If God performed miracles in front of live concerts played for the entire world, who would not believe? We would all try to be faithful, we would all follow the word of God, but what would be the motivation?

If we had objective proof of God then we would have objective proof of hell. We would have proof of an afterlife, and a reason to do good. When there is a reason that is objective to do good will we not do good, or least attempt good?

If you knew that you could steal a cookie from the cookie jar as a child wouldn’t you do it? Wouldn’t you at least be tempted by it? If your mother stood by the cookie jar, then that takes away the motivation to even begin with. You couldn’t dream of stealing the cookie as there is a capable person there to stop you.

God cannot objectively exist, and there can be no objective proof of God for if there there was then we would all act well. We would all act good, and follow commands to the best of ability. There wouldn’t be a questions of faith. How could anyone love by God by choice if we all knew he existed. We would all want heaven, not to be a better person, but to avoid suffering in hell.

Some say that they know God exists, I don’t. I try to have faith, but I am not convinced that there could be an afterlife. There certainly is a lot of evidence of one not existing. So, why am I a Christian verse a agnostic, or spiritualist?

The reason I am a Christian, even though there is no objective proof of God, is that I love God, real or not real. I choose to live by a moral standard, and attempt a good life. I do this not because it benefits me, but because I want to be a good person.

Now anyone can argue that “religion” has caused more suffering than good. That one doesn’t need a religion to be a good person, and that all of it is subjective to the situation. I would argue that if someone can find a more profound message than love your enemies, and provide for them, then I will follow that message.

This is why I choose Christ: love your enemies, feed the poor, be humble, and know that no matter what you are loved. I don’t have to do any of those things. In fact it’s rather detrimental to my own life if I do follow them. My enemies want to hurt me, why should I love them? Because you love all people, and understand that everyone has a perspective. That they are human to, that they suffer, and matter just as much as I do.

With objective proof of God you could easily be a Christian because you know your life was justified.

Without objective proof of God it becomes harder to be a Christian because you don’t know if it is justified, and you choose to limit yourself. I’m ok with that. I’m ok with that because I want to make a leap of faith, to stare down the absurd universe.

I am a Christian not because I want heaven, but because I love God.

Common Sense Perspective

When I was young I had a perspective. I thought that everyone knew my perspective. If they had two eyes, and a brain then of course they would see things my way, the right way. Why if you have any trouble understanding anything come talk to me I see how the world is. Red is the best color, Scooby-Doo is the best show, and recess is a subject in school because it is in school.

Now that I am older I have a perspective, but I submit that others have theirs. I cannot say that I entirely understand the perspective of my wife, or my family. I cannot entirely, or fully understand the life of any person from the world. I cannot agree with my wife on if her birthday was at one place when she said it was another. We had both been there, both eaten food, and travel together. Surely one of us is correct? If in her eyes it was at one place and in my eyes it was at another aren’t we both correct?

If I look at something and say that this is what is right, and then one looks at the same something and says that it is wrong aren’t we both right? If opposing views give way to human suffering, can the only remedy be to submit to others views, to accept that they have theirs, and I have mine…?

…And am I not entitled to my perspective, can I not say that this is right, and that is wrong. After all, I have earned what my eyes and brain saw. I earned the experiences, and lived through it all. To say to me that what I believe is wrong is to say that I have not lived, when I know that I have. I did not come to conclusions of my life by not living.

…But is there not objectivity to the world? Didn’t the birthday have to happen at one place rather than another? Credit card receipts, photographs, witness statements. Can we not prove that one of us is right, and the other is wrong? Yes, and no. Yes if the objectivity could prove that one of us is right, and the other is wrong. No if the objectivity could prove that both of us are right, or that the objectivity is subjective in nature. A photo could prove that we were at one place, but it just as well could prove that we were at another. If it was true we were here, and the photo makes it so that we were there then the objective photo becomes subjective to perspective. If there is no “true” objectivity then we must submit that we are both correct, or at the very least both true to our perspective. Isn’t that the best that any of us can truly hope for in this world?

…Yet humans will suffer. There can be two answers to who committed the crime, and if the “objectivity” fails to be objective then the wrong person can be punished. While the suffering occurs can the jury be blamed for their perspective? Did they not take the evidence and act accordingly? Certainly there are some problems that go beyond submitting to someone’s perspective, and inevitably these issues create conflict that in turns creates human suffering. However, if we act truthfully to ourselves, and at the very least attempt to understand the perspective of others then human suffering could be mitigated.

…Or is this a way to skate around morality issues justifying deviance by saying my perspective says otherwise? We hope that the other person in front of us is acting in good faith with their perspective. It is wrong to steal, but if I steal to feed my family because I have no other way, my perspective is real even though it does create suffering. What I do is wrong, but for the right reason, at the very least for me. If I steal because I cannot help myself due to a clinically diagnosis issue, then my perspective includes that diagnosis. My perspective is real even though it does create suffering. If I steal because I find it enjoyable, or because I feel that it is owed to me then I am being real in my perspective by justifying my action as enjoyable, or owed to me. However, this justification intentionally ignores the human suffering of another. Doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. Even if this perceived object that I covet is owed to me, to steal it is to ignore the perspective of the other person who sells it. Is the seller not owed something as well?

For the problems of my everyday life I can say that I submit that everyone is correct. I don’t have to create conflict when my wife says we ate there, instead of here. I don’t have to create conflict when I am told this is good, and that is bad. I submit that people will do as people see fit according to their perspective as I will do. I submit that people are justified in their minds their actions as I am of mine.

For the issues that inevitable must have an “objective” answer I submit that the person in front of me is correct in their mind and justified in their actions, as I am in mine. I hope that they are acting in good faith. If we can both agree that we are both at least knowing of the other person as having a perspective then maybe a compromise rather than domination can be achieved.

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