Faith Comes Within

Let’s first discuss several things that we know, and then we will attempt to pursue some matters that we do not know.  We are aware of our surroundings through our five senses and thus, we believe that we are alive.  Further, we examine ourselves in mirrors and watch other people’s reaction to us, so we are fairly confident that we are alive.  We also know that we will die and that our bodies will decay because we see our comrades do that quite frequently.

We do not know if we will still be thinking after death.  If we are not thinking after death, then we can assume that there is nothing for us to be concerned about after we die.  If we can accept the fact that our transitory life was all that we had, then there is no need for religion or philosophy, except for the purpose of assisting us in finding a purpose in our short journey through life.

But what if we are still thinking after death?  That can be very problematic.  What will you think about?  Will you have your senses to entertain you or will you be encased in the darkness without any distractions, leaving you to face perhaps your greatest enemy – yourself.  For clearly, your thoughts may remain calm for the first hour or so, but when will the nightmares start?  And you can be sure that they will start.  Without anything to hold onto, you will eventually start to hallucinate.  We know this from monitoring subjects who were tortured with sensory deprivation techniques.

If you are still thinking at death, then your faith becomes paramount to keep from losing your mind.  It is critical that you believe in something very, very strongly.  Only a powerful belief can overcome the trauma and chaos in this hellish environment.

The Bible, I think, is the greatest book ever written, but most readers, including many ministers, do not attempt to understand it.  Most religious followers are more interested in a social gathering than actually addressing difficult and controversial subjects in the Bible.

For example in John 17:21, the King James Version of the Bible states:  “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”  This comment made by Jesus was a direction for us to follow if we were still thinking after death.  He appeared to be saying that we should have both Jesus and God within us to assist us in this process.

Most ministers preach that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one, but few instruct that we must also be one with God and Jesus.  The Holy Trinity becomes the Holy Quadrinity.  Being one with God is a concept more like what the Gnostics and eastern religions taught.  Yet, the reason behind it would be very clear if you were still thinking at death.  Rather than imagining you saw Jesus, He would actually be inside you, directing you through the hellish chaos.

Faith must come from within and be our compass of control through chaos.  We must be constantly vigilant against our own thoughts that can trip us up and betray us.

Behind the Big Bang

What lies behind the Big Bang?  Is it nothing?  Something must have caused the Big Bang.  Without getting into my religious beliefs, let’s just assume that it was something.  So, what is behind the origin of our visible universe?

Well, we know that it is invisible and that it must be very powerful.  There are two huge invisible forces in the universe:  dark matter and dark energy.  We know very little about either one, but we have a pretty good idea what dark matter is because we see its impact on the visible universe around it.  We believe that black holes and supermassive black holes form a web connecting the visible mass throughout our universe.  Dark matter may be the connecting fiber from the center of all galaxies throughout the extent of our visible universe.

But what is this dark energy that we know only through mathematical calculations showing that 75% of the universe is missing.  We gave it a name dark energy, but we have no clue what it is.  We can speculate that it is impacting the other 25% of the universe and that we should see evidence of that in some manner.

If we examine Hubble’s discovery that the visible universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate, we can make some assumptions.  First, there is something that is drawing the visible universe and dark matter to it at accelerating speeds.  Second, the power of that attractive force would be about three times the mass being attracted.  Third, that something is invisible.  Sounds a lot like dark energy, doesn’t it?

Now, where are we headed at this accelerated speed?  Well, we can assume that we are headed back to where we started for two reasons:  (1) the universe is designed around elliptical orbits, whether planets orbiting the sun or suns orbiting the galaxies or electrons orbiting the nucleus, so that everything always returns; and (2) if we are in a closed system, there is no beginning and end, meaning that we are always being recycled and returned in some manner.

It seems logical that we live in a quantum world rather than a space-time continuum.  Our small visible piece of the universe is only about 4% of the entity, so our perspective is similar to a microbe in the ground trying to determine how it fits within our galaxy.  Yet, we consider ourselves as living in a macroworld with ourselves in the center of the universe.  However, I suggest that we are actually in a microworld with quantum mechanics ruling the invisible universe, which is the lion’s share of it.

Perhaps the reason why Einstein and other scientists have not been able to reconcile gravity with quantum theory is because gravity is a very minor force that is a very small subset of quantum mechanics.  Gravity even may be an anomaly of control in an otherwise random and chaotic universe.  For life, as we know it, could not exist in a quantum world.  But that being said, it may be that life, as we know it, will exist for only a limited time because it really does lie within a quantum universe.

There are two primary theories of where we are headed:  (1) returning in an elliptical pattern back to what is behind the Big Bang or (2) contracting visible and dark matter as the web shrinks down in size, as we rebound back to the quantum world which is behind the Big Bang.  I can argue either theory, but I like the “Incredible Shrinking Universe” since it seems most likely and logical to me.

The “red shift” described by Hubble would still explain the shrinking universe.  The galaxies that are held together by the dark matter web would remain proportional as to each other as they shrank uniformly, moving away from each other at increasing speeds as they got closer to the dark energy.  It also makes more sense to me because dark energy would probably be involved in both the Big Bang and the Big Crunch, working inside the visible universe, first expelling it in a big explosion and then pulling it back into its realm.  The elegance of the shrinking universe theory is that everything is controlled by the dark energy, both forming the visible universe within and then gobbling it up in the quantum world, which is probably behind the Big Bang.

The shrinking universe theory creates more questions than answers.  If we are shrinking back into the quantum world, will there be an event horizon as we cross over the threshold?  Will there be a Big Crunch explosion or implosion when we enter the quantum world?  Is our visible universe just a random creation out of the quantum world?  Or will there be a constant Big Bang and Big Crunch recycling process?

Another important question is: do the laws of thermodynamics in a macroscopic world apply to the quantum world?  In other words, will we find that a perpetual motion machine is possible in the quantum world, where multiple Big Bangs and Big Crunches can occur?  Will we find that there can be creation of mass and energy in the quantum world?

Nobody knows.  But as for me, I believe in a Creator, who exists in a different universe than ours, who can create and do whatever he wants, much like in the quantum world.  And we are quite insignificant in this process, but we should be thankful for the small amount of control we have been granted in a very chaotic universe that allows us to live for a short period of time.  The universe is very complex, and thus we will never fully understand it.  But it is not complex to the Creator, who is really behind the Big Bang and, for that matter, the Big Crunch.

Christ’s Birthday Was April 17th, 6 BC

Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th, but that is not the correct birthday.  The more accurate date is April 17th, 6 BC.  How could we be so far off?

Well, it goes back to the original calendar that was commissioned to be created to replace the Roman calendar.  The creator of that calendar, Dionysius, made two mistakes:  (1) he did not recognize that the Roman Emperor Augustus was originally Octavian, thus failing to account for five years that Octavian ruled after defeating Mark Antony at the Battle of Actius in 31 BC, and (2) losing one year by omitting the year between 1 BC and 1 AD.  In effect, Christ was born six years before the time affixed for his birth.

How do we arrive at April 17th?  Astronomers have taken the constellations and planets back in time to examine the skies.  April 17th, 6 BC is the best match for the planets Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter aligning near or in the constellation Aries, which was a sign for Judea.  This was a very unusual configuration of planets and stars, so it would have been considered an important sign.  The timing was right too because the Bible mentions that the shepherds were keeping watch of their flocks of sheep by night.  This would have been in the warmer months, rather than the winter.

Tracing the trek of the three wise men, probably out of Persia, the astrological signs brought them west to Judea.  They probably were told about the prophecy of a king of the Jews being born in Bethlehem, so they turned south, now following the planet Jupiter which was located in front of the constellation Aries and hovering over Bethlehem.  This would have been about December 19th, 6 BC, again matching the position of the stars and planets at that time.  The Bible indicates that the star went before them and stood over Christ.  The star was Jupiter and it was “before” Aries or Judea and at that time, it had stopped right over Bethlehem as the wise men viewed it from Jerusalem.

The old Roman calendar started on the day that the Roman consuls entered office, based on the consular year.  This probably was March 15th in the beginning, but later became January 1st.  The Julian calendar, which began in 45 BC utilized the January 1st date.  The months were designated January to December from the Roman period to the present.  The start of the year was changed several times, but it always came back to January 1st.  However, since the birth of Christ was the beginning of the BC/AD period, Dionysius’s mistakes about when Christ was born have been carried forward for centuries.  This error has not been corrected, nor is it likely to be changed.

But we should celebrate the birth of Christ on April 17th of each year.

Getting Closer to the Origin of Time

Scientists may be getting closer to the origin of time as they pair quantum mechanics with time.  We know that quantum theory involves random movement, while time is constant.  Or is time constant?  Scientists currently are conducting experiments by freezing ions to determine whether time and space are also random like in the quantum world.  If time is also random, then scientists may discover that time, as we understand it, does not really exist.

Perhaps, time simply was a creation by man, and the space-time continuum was a creation by Einstein that anchors us to earth and the universe.  Time and location are certainly practical measures of where we are at any particular moment.  But is time just a measure of where we are?

Humans live for a short period of time and then they die.  It is only natural for us to keep track of this temporal moment on earth.  However, is time of any importance beyond a measure for our life on earth?  Is time just something that we created to create control in an otherwise chaotic world?

We may also be getting closer to the origin of time in a more physical sense.  If our universe is shrinking, rather than expanding, we could be moving back in time, as we understand it, to the origin of our universe, more commonly known as the Big Bang.  Of course, moving in reverse, it would lead to the Big Crunch.

Why would we be contracting rather than expanding?  Well, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the law of entropy, would require the expansion of the universe to be slowing down, but it is doing just the opposite:  it is accelerating.  As the universe moved closer to the Big Bang, it would accelerate.

The red-shift detected by Edwin Hubble can support the contraction theory of the universe.  As galaxies shrink uniformly in space, they move away from each other.  As they get closer to the event horizon of the Big Bang where time, as we know it, stops, the galaxies will continue to accelerate in speed.

The law of entropy, which is a method to measure disorder within a system, is a fairly complex calculation.  But it simply is the expression of the disorder or randomness of a system or sometimes the lack of information about it.  It is the perfect description for our failure to marry gravity and Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum mechanics.  The theory of everything is perhaps explained by entropy.

Today’s scientists are locked into a perspective of space-time expanding in a straight line forever.  Hubble’s discovery of the “red shift” at least forced scientists to think outside their box, realizing that the visible mass in the universe was accelerating, not decelerating.  But scientists still were like early man looking at the horizon, thinking that the earth was flat.

Everything in the universe runs in an elliptical pattern.  The force that is causing our visible universe to accelerate is the missing piece of our universe that scientists call dark energy, which is about 75% of the mass and energy in our universe.  So, we must be either headed toward dark energy at an accelerating pace either through curving back towards the original source of the Big Bang event or by being on the rebound and shrinking back to the Big Bang event.  Either can be argued with equal success.

However, I like the shrinking universe theory.  It factors in dark energy as lying in the quantum world, drawing us back into it.  The theory of accelerating back toward the quantum event horizon makes more sense because it is going from the macroworld returning to the microworld.  The problem with space-time is that it really does not fit in the quantum world.  At least, it doesn’t fit until it crosses the event horizon and returns to it.  The entropy is the lack of information that we can only piece together from our knowledge that dark energy exists somewhere in our universe.  It is the only logical force that could be causing the acceleration of the visible universe.  And it is most likely located within the quantum world that we cannot see, but probably are returning to either by an elliptical return to it or by a shrinking return.

Our space-time continuum may simply be only in our imaginations to provide the appearance of control in an otherwise random quantum universe, which is chaotic.  The truth may be that our fabrication of space-time is merely a small piece of the quantum universe that is rapidly headed toward reuniting with reality.

Time as defined by clocks and calendars has no meaning at the event horizon, where quantum theory is based on random movements.  Time, as we know it, stops or becomes random.  Any existence in this new quantum world would be infinite, so time would serve no purpose without a beginning and end.

In God We Trust

I have always been an independent Christian.  I never had many Christian friends because most of them aren’t really Christians.  Most Christians that I have met over the years go to church on Sunday as a social gathering and then sin without remorse the entire next week.

I only have met a handful of them who actually want to discuss the Bible and even fewer who venture into controversial areas like how many heavens there are and how difficult it actually is to enter the second and third heavens.  See 2 Corinthians 12:2 re: three heavens, and Matthew 7:14 re: the difficulty in finding heaven.

So, how can such an independent pioneer ask you to turn your life over to God?  How can I say that you should trust God, letting the Holy Spirit enter your body and take over your soul?  How can I ask you to give up your independence?

Well, it is quite simple.  If you don’t, when you die, you will be lost.  Think of death as a journey into an uncharted wilderness with obstacles at every turn.  How could you take such a journey without a guide?  I would be one of the first to try it on my own, but I know the consequences are horrific if I do so.  God is the only tour guide that you can trust to steer you through the chaos of afterlife.

When you die, if you are still thinking, then you may find yourself in a dark place with no illumination.  You need a guide to provide the light so that you can find your way.  An eternity of dark, damp chaos would not be a fair price for retaining your independence.  Initially, you might think that you can find your way, but after long hours of searching for a way out, your soul would probably hallucinate and create nightmares with your worst phobias as the leading villains.

If you were afraid of high places, you would find yourself teetering on a ridge high in the Andes.  If you feared tight places, you would find yourself wedged headfirst in a restricted sewer tunnel with no room to breathe.  If you were afraid of being buried alive, you would find yourself inside a stuffy coffin buried deep under the earth.  And these agonizing nightmares could go on forever.

That’s why you need a guide… a guide you can trust.  That would be God.  You will have to give up your independence and turn the steering wheel over to Him, but in God you can trust.

Light-Years Away


Scientists have discovered the most distant and ancient galaxy ever spotted using Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS).  This data was collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and Keck I telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

Astronomers have now confirmed that the galaxy, designated z8_GND_5296, formed within 700 million years after the beginning of the universe, making it the oldest and most distant galaxy ever verified.  Older galaxies will be discovered as telescopes are improved.  We are about to go hunting for the new record-breakers with the James Webb Space Telescope, and we expect eventually to see the very first galaxies in the universe. This new record holder for distance is in the same part of the sky as the previous record holder, which also had a high rate of star formation.

Because this galaxy was so far from Earth, scientists were able to observe z8_GND_5296 as it would have appeared about 13.1 billion years ago.  The Big Bang occurred about 13.8 billion years ago.  So, how can we see a galaxy that no longer exists and that stopped emitting light billions of years ago?  There are two theories, which we will discuss below.

“The most exciting aspect in general of what I do is the fact that we can learn about what things were like in the very early universe,” Steven Finkelstein, the lead author of the new galaxy study in Nature and an astronomer at the University of Texas, Austin, stated.  He continued, “Because the speed of light is constant, light takes time to get here, we’re not seeing these galaxies as they are now. We’re seeing them as they were 13 billion years ago which is 95 percent of the way back to the Big Bang.”

Scientists are seeing the galaxy as it was when it was very young.  Many of the old stars that were part of this early galaxy are probably still in existence today, but they might be part of a bigger galaxy.  In other words, the visible universe may include the same stars in different galaxy formations.

Galaxy z8_GND_5296 produces stars about 150 times more quickly than our Milky Way galaxy. While the Milky Way may produce about one or two stars each year, z8_GND_5296 birthed about 300 per year approximately 13 billion years ago, according to the astronomers’ observations.

Theories Why We Can See Ancient Galaxies

Light from a galaxy 13.1 billion light years away is coming from where?  That galaxy no longer exists and is not sending out light anymore.  So, how can we view it today just as it was 13.1 billion years ago?  How can we even see something traveling at the speed of light that was emitted 13.1 billion years ago today?  Wouldn’t it have shot by us billions of years ago never to be seen again?

There are two theories.

One is the theory of expansion.  When the light from this ancient galaxy was emitted, it was about 1.4 billion light years away from the edge of the universe. The universe was only about 700 million years old at the time.  As time passed, the space between this galaxy and the rest of the universe was expanding the same time the light was traveling.

After the light left the distant galaxy, the space between that galaxy and the edge of the space bubble continued to expand.  Galaxies that are farther away than about 400 million light years have their light get farther away from us before it gets closer to us.  But because of how space expands, it takes far longer than the expected 1.4 billion years for that light to reach us.

In fact, it takes 13.1 billion years for that light to reach us.  But when we say that the galaxy is 13.2 billion light years away from us, we really mean that the light has been traveling for that time period.  In the example of our ancient galaxy, it is about 32 billion light years away and the light it is emitting now will never reach us.  This could be caused by dark energy.

You might ask, then, what’s the farthest distance a galaxy could be from us, in principle, and still be visible today?  The answer is about 46 billion light years, although we know that the universe doesn’t have galaxies at that age.

Two is the theory of contraction.  The initial acceleration after the Big Bang was estimated to be faster than light, but it probably slowed down after a few million years.  Initially, the light emitted from the ancient galaxy would not have caught up with the rate of expansion, but it would have after several billion years and would have passed beyond the visible universe into the realm of dark energy.  However, the light was not destroyed.  It just simply would have not been visible.

The theory of contraction allows those early light emissions to be seen again after the universe reversed and started contracting.  The “red-shift” proves both: an increase in acceleration and an increase in contraction, depending on the perspective.  Two galaxies that are shrinking rapidly away from each other will provide a “red-shift” effect just the same as two galaxies that are being separated by acceleration.

However, the theory of contraction seems to be a better fit for explaining how we can still view ancient galaxies.  We can see them because we reversed direction and are heading back toward the Big Bang.  As we decrease in size, getting closer to the Big Crunch, which will be about where the Big Bang originated, the early galaxies will return to the visible universe.

21 Grams

Dr. Duncan MacDougall, an early 20th-century physician in Haverhill, Massachusetts, set out to measure the mass lost by a human after death.  In 1901, MacDougall attempted to measure the change in mass of six patients, who were dying of tuberculosis, at the moment of their death.  His first subject, the results from which MacDougall felt were most accurate, lost “three-fourths of an ounce,” which has been translated to a solid of “21 grams.”  He had four successful measurements, obtaining an average weight loss of 15 grams at the moment of death.

The entire beds of the six patients were placed on an industrial-sized scale which, said to be sensitive to “two-tenths of an ounce.”  MacDougall believed the results supported his hypothesis that the soul had mass.  When the soul departed the body, so did this mass.  There were different amounts lost by each subject, but the first patient was given preference since it was thought to be most accurate.  This is the basis for the soul weighing 21 grams.

MacDougall also measured fifteen dogs in similar circumstances and found no change in mass.  He thought this proved that dogs did not have souls.

On March 10, 1907, the New York Times published “Soul has Weight, Physician Thinks.” MacDougall’s experiments were also published in April of 1907 in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research and American Medicine.  

Researchers in later years claimed that MacDougall’s experimental results were flawed.  They argued that there were problems from inadequate equipment at the time and a lack of sufficient control over the experimental conditions.  The psychologist Bruce Hood wrote that “Because the weight loss was not reliable or replicable, his findings were unscientific.”

However, nobody has actually duplicated this experiment with more accurate instruments and more control.  Perhaps, it is easier to say that a doctor using the tools that he had at the time had a flawed experiment, rather than actually performing the experiment again.

But it really does not matter what the soul weighs.  It only matters that is has mass and exists.  After you die, your body will decompose, but your soul goes somewhere else and does not decompose.  If thoughts and consciousness go with your soul, separate from your brain which decomposes, you must have a great deal of concern about what you will be thinking.

Yes, that is indeed the problem.  After you die, if you are still thinking inside a soul, what will your thoughts be?  Will you have your senses to guide you?  Will you hallucinate?  Will you have nightmares?  Will you be lost in the darkness of hell forever without any control?  Will self-control alone save you?  That is not likely in this new hellish environment.  What will you hold onto?

If you do not have any faith, then you will most certainly be lost.  And all your friends who told you otherwise will not be there to guide you through the chaos of hell.  Only God, inside you, can do that.

Freedoms of Religion and Speech

The American Constitution makes freedoms of religion and speech a number one priority in the Bill of Rights.  The First Amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”

The references to freedom of religion are commonly referred to as the “establishment clause” and the “free exercise” clause.  Both of these clauses have been expanded to apply to state and local governments by separate Supreme Court decisions.  Even though the Founding Fathers clearly were concerned about the federal government and not local governments, both the state and local government now also contribute to restricting religious freedom.  Justice Clarence Thomas has correctly argued that the Court was wrong in extending these clauses to the state and local governments.

The rights of the states were significantly curtailed after the Civil War, probably in violation of the Tenth Amendment, which some would say has been emasculated by the Supreme Court.  James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers # 45:  “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”  Madison went on to say that one of the powers definitely reserved to the states was our liberty.  This includes both the freedom of religion and speech.  In effect, Madison was saying that the federal government has no power to interfere with religious liberty.  The First Amendment does nothing more than tell Congress to stay away from religion.

Thomas Jefferson said that there should be a wall separating church and state.  Jefferson was interested in walling off the church from the state in order to protect secular interests.  On the other hand, Roger Williams, an English Protestant theologian from Rhode Island who was an early proponent of religious freedom, believed that religion should be protected by a “sturdy fence” from the secular segment.  Both sides wanted the same thing:  to keep the federal government separated from religion.  Thus, freedom of religion and speech were both guaranteed by the Constitution, and they walk together hand-in-hand as our most important liberties.

The Founding Fathers agreed that government and religion do not mix any better than oil or water.  So, they decided that Congress should neither establish nor interfere with religion.  In other words, there should be a separation of church and state for purposes of preventing the federal government from either taking positive action for or negative action against a religion.  In effect, our government should have a “hands off” policy regarding religion and religious rights.

The only legitimate concern for the Supreme Court is determining what religion is.  The Court generally attempts to avoid formulating a definition, skirting its real job.  Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taosim, Shinto, and other well formulated religions are accepted as world religions.  This is not to say that it will be an easy job determining what religion is, but it is what the Court should be focusing on rather than how it can interfere with religions by using the establishment clause.

How has the Founding Father’s clear message been misconstrued so that our government not only interferes with the beliefs of Christians, but many times goes out of its way in an effort to destroy these religious rights?  There is nothing in the First Amendment that gives the government the right to discriminate or harm Christianity, or any other religion for that matter.  A hands-off policy means “hands off.”  The Founding Fathers did not want the federal government to have anything to do with religion, because they wanted to steer clear of the religious persecution practiced by the English government.

If the government were to create a religion and compel participation, this would violate both provisions.  But the confusion occurred when Supreme Court decisions parsed these two provisions and focused on the establishment clause.  For example, if the government provides for chaplains in the military, this was argued to be the government establishing religion.  However, if the government tells military chaplains what they can and cannot say, it is denying the free exercise of religion and speech under the guise of the “establishment clause.”

In the Supreme Court case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, the government violates the establishment clause if the government’s primary purpose is to advance religion or if the principal effect is to aid or inhibit religion.  This makes no sense because the primary purpose of the government is to advance religion every time it acts to protect the free exercise of religion.  The Supreme Court has recognized this friction between the two clauses, but the problem is that the two clauses should have been interpreted together and not separately.

If you examine both clauses, they both refer to religion.  In Everson v. Board of Education, Justice Wiley Rutledge wrote in his dissenting opinion: “’Religion’ appears only once in the Amendment.  But the word governs two prohibitions and governs them alike.  It does not have two meanings, one narrow to forbid ‘an establishment’ and another, much broader, for ‘securing’ the free exercise thereof.”

The Constitution includes both clauses as being consistent with each other, so that the message is for Congress to stay clear of passing any laws or taking any action that would impact religion by either establishing it or prohibiting its free exercise.  In effect, don’t do either one, but the bottom line is to not infringe on our freedom of religion.  Both freedom of religion and speech are the trump cards in the First Amendment which sometimes are overlooked by the Supreme Court.

In the above example of military chaplains, the government is not establishing a religion even under the Lemon case, because its primary purpose is not to advance religion.  The primary purpose is to provide faith based support for our troops who are in harm’s way.  By removing the chaplains or restricting what they can preach to our military is definitely a denial of America’s freedom of religion and speech.

When I was in grade school, we had our morning prayer and a short Bible verse.  This is not permitted anymore.  And “Merry Christmas” has been replaced in federal offices with “Happy Holidays.”  This is a governmental hands-on policy with a strangle hold around the neck of Christianity.  The federal government’s actions are clearly a violation of the Constitution because these actions prohibit the free exercise of religion and speech.  If I am a Christian, I can practice my belief anywhere I want, even in federal buildings and at federal functions.

Americans fought and died for their freedoms of religion and speech.  Many early Americans left England because they were persecuted for their beliefs and speech.  Today, we are losing our freedoms of religion and speech without a shot being fired.  Our government is taking away our freedoms a piece at a time, and few seem to care.

If you don’t fight for what you believe and if you don’t fight for your faith, then you deserve to lose it.  But why would our government want to take away our beliefs, faith, religion, and speech?  Well, if you want to form a worldwide totalitarian government, you need to neutralize religions and speech.  How do you do this?  You get the different segments in a majority to turn on each other.  And you stifle speech by making the majority embarrassed about being a member of the majority.  Did you ever think that you would be embarrassed to tell people that you believe in God and that you enjoy working for a living and that you don’t need anything else beyond having a loving family?  How sad that this is now considered “nerdy” or even worse.

If Muslims, Jews, and Christians enter into a religious war or jihad, this would create a vacuum for potential worldwide domination that could be filled by totalitarian leaders.  How does a minority control the majority of the world?  A minority can control when the majority is at odds with each other and is too embarrassed to say anything.  A majority that is divided becomes weak minorities.  That is how Hussein ruled Iraq with his minority Baath party.  The Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds could not agree on anything.  Divide and conquer.  If all the religions in the world hate each other and are trying to kill each other off, this would be a perfect environment for a totalitarian government.

Think about it.


What is freedom?  Does it mean that you can do anything that you want?  Does it mean that you can do anything you want as long as you don’t harm anybody else?  Well, actually freedom is the ability to do anything you want as long as you understand that there will be consequences that flow from your free choices.

We clearly have the freedom to choose.  We make decisions every day, some of which are minor, but others of which are major.  The freedom of choice is our freedom that God has given us.  We can even choose to give up that freedom.  However, there are consequences for every decision that we make.  You might say that you really aren’t free to commit murder because you can be punished by society’s laws, but you really are free to murder as long as you know there are consequences.

If you decide to give in to temptations and make choices that you know are morally wrong, then the consequences may be either a guilty feeling that remains after the deed is done or your heart may become hardened so that you refuse to allow any pangs of guilt inside.  Or you may rationalize what you have done in some manner.  But there always are consequences.

You have to examine the Bible to get a glimpse of what freedom really means.  If we start with the words of Jesus in John 8:31-36, we can build a foundation of what freedom really is.  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…  I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

The truth is imbedded in your conscience, which includes the Beatitudes that Jesus taught.  And as Jesus said, if you know the truth, it will make you free.  Some argue that if you have to always do the right thing, then you aren’t truly free, because being free would include being able to do the wrong thing.  What these non-believers don’t understand is that they are free to do the wrong thing.  But there are consequences for making these bad choices.

Jesus was telling us that those who do the wrong thing become servants of sin.  One of the consequences of sin is that you are enslaved by it.  Think of it as an addiction to sin.  Once you give in to these urges, it is like quicksand pulling you down further and further until you are completely covered by it.  You are addicted to the sin and are, in effect, enslaved by it.

Jesus went on to say that if you are a servant to sin, you are like a servant who must retire to the servant’s quarters with no protection of the family.  But by following the teachings of Jesus, the Son will set you free and you will be protected in His house forever.

Now, many people choose not to believe this, and that is their choice.  I support their right to choose, even wrongly.  But it is very important to remember that for every choice there is a consequence.  If your support group consists of peers who are making the same bad choices, they will assure you that there is no problem with these choices.  If you surround yourself with sinners, it is unlikely that you will ever escape your enslavement to sin.  However, when you are off by yourself in a dark corner, alone with your thoughts, there is something deep down inside you that will be nudging you to do otherwise.  But if you aren’t strong enough to break away from your friends and make your own decisions, then I support your freedom to choose incorrectly, but there will be consequences some day.

So, everybody has the full and absolute freedom to make choices.  As long as you are prepared to accept the consequences for those choices, then make your selections as you want.  But Jesus offers a path to freedom from sin.  It is a path that you do not have to take.  Again, it is a choice as your journey in life reaches two branches in the road with one going towards “the right thing to do” and the other road going left of “the right thing to do.”

You are free to choose.  But you are not free to refuse the consequences.

Ganging Up On Others

There have been gangs since early man.  There is strength in numbers, so if early hominids wanted to bring down large game, they had to form a hunting team.  Because of man’s human nature, these early teams more than likely became gangs, which are defined to be a group of people working together, sometimes for selfish needs or control.

Prehistoric man, recognizing the power wielded with these associations, formed not only hunting parties but also war parties that would joust with other groups for prized hunting grounds.  Weapons used by gangs may have evolved over the centuries, but the basic elements for gangs have remained the same.

Gangs typically were formed based on long-time associations in specific geographic areas.  In early days, gangs were created among workmen in shops in the United Kingdom.  However, gangs quickly evolved into power hungry associations, which carried a negative connotation.  For example, an Irish community called Hell’s Kitchen in New York was a springboard for many Irish gangs, including the vicious Gopher Gang.  Many gang members grew up and formed close friendships and loyalty over the years.  They were fighting for their “turf.”  The New York gangs were very active, leading up to mass killings in gang wars of the 1860’s.

Gangs seem to be more prominent in larger cities, but with drugs penetrating smaller communities and rural areas, gangs have spread throughout the United States like cancer.  The early gangs, primarily in New York and Chicago, competed for control of illegal drinking during prohibition.  The gangs became more sophisticated as they became the mafia and other business-like associations.  One of the famous lines became, “It’s not personal.  It’s business.”

But today, youngsters are enticed into a lucrative drug business run by gangs.  Gangs are so widespread that they have captured a large segment of American society either as gangsters or drug users or other victims.  Gangs are so pervasive with international connections, including the Mexican and South American cartels and the Russian mafia, that it is impossible to conduct business as usual in the United States.

The prognosis for America is not good.  Our government, like Boss Tweed in New York, utilizes the gangs for their benefit.  Politicians can gather more votes and obtain more money by working with the gangs.  Are all politicians on the take?  I don’t know, but we know that many are and those who are not can be eliminated easily.  And once politicians take their first taste of graft or payoffs, they are hooked.  If they try to get out of taking additional bribes, they will be turned in for the original crime.

The gangs are becoming so powerful that they will be the source of all future government and leadership.  If you go against them, the gangs will kill you and your family.  They will gang up on you, and you will have nowhere to go.  This environment is fertile grounds for a totalitarian government.