Saint or Sinner?

Does our species, Homo sapiens, lean more toward being a saint or a sinner?

Well, the answer probably depends on the circumstances.  For example, if a man loses his job and has to feed his family, he may resort to robbery or even murder to satisfy this need.  Drug addicts certainly or more likely to commit crimes in order to obtain drugs.  But what about those God-fearing citizens who smile at you at work and in your neighborhood?  Are they saints or sinners?

One of the problems in answering this question is that most people consider themselves in the best light possible – using excuses, rationalizations, self-delusions, transference, and other self-serving devices to avoid personal blame.  In other words, most people consider themselves as saints, but the rest of the world may well be sinners.  Unfortunately, the truth is that we are all, each and every one of us, sinners.  There is nobody on the face of the earth who is not a sinner, even if the sin is pride.  You don’t have to commit a crime in order to be a sinner.

One of my pet projects was to establish an Excel sheet with a listing of virtues that I would track every day.  The idea was to analyze my attempts to improve myself over the course of a year.  I gave myself a checkmark for each virtue that I achieved that day.  For instance, if I meditated, prayed, had no anger, told the truth, had an act of kindness, practiced humility, exercised patience, showed love, had joy, or served society, I would give myself a point.

The results were very disappointing.  It was like going on a diet.  I did very well the first month, but as the novelty wore off, I found myself becoming complacent and less interested in self-improvement.  I discovered that I generally was focused on myself and my needs rather than on the needs of others.  Even though I had always considered myself much less selfish than others, I was awakened by the daily chart, which showed that I served myself first and foremost.  And even after attempting to become a better person, I was reminded by the spread sheet that I was no nearer to my goal than when I started.

Even when I made temporary improvements, I would backslide.  It was exactly like going on a diet.  You might lose weight for the first six months, but then you might gain it back over the seventh month.  And when you stop eating as much, your metabolism slows down and burns fewer calories.  This makes it increasingly difficult to shed the pounds.  The same goes for trying to be a better person.  You might be a better person for half a year, but then your personal needs and desires which have been suppressed, sometimes return with a vengeance.  You may become an even worse sinner.

In civil law, we examine the evidence and place it on the scales of justice to determine if there is a preponderance of evidence that tilts the scales in one direction or the other.  Unfortunately, this is a manmade rule of law.  We would like to argue that our good deeds overshadow our evil actions so that we are primarily saints.  Unfortunately, this is a manmade hope in order to avoid any potential consequences in the afterlife.  Most of us would like to believe that if we work toward being a good person and follow a good moral code, we will land in the safe zone if there is something after death waiting for us.

I don’t think so.  Every poor decision in life carries a consequence if the afterworld has any logical significance.  One of the attractions of Christianity is that it makes Jesus the sacrificial lamb who takes on all your sins, so that there will be no consequences awaiting you.  It is important for Christians to enter the afterworld without feelings of guilt and Jesus helps them do just that, but the Bible also makes it clear that there will be consequences for our bad acts.  Ministers typically avoid this issue like the plague.  Most Christians would rather believe that they can erase all their sins by believing in Jesus.  Few ministers would say otherwise.

But sin is sin.  And bad choices are bad choices.  And consequences will be provided.  It would be absurd to believe otherwise.  Why does our species have free will to make choices and others do not?  If we didn’t have free will, everything would be predetermined and the consequences would also be predetermined.  But freedom to make choices also carries the responsibilities and consequences from those decisions.

When the Creator, for whatever reason, decided to give us this free will, it would have been illogical to let us make decisions if there were no consequences for those choices.  I have no idea why we were given this freedom, but we were.  And since we all will make bad choices, we cannot enter God’s zone of judgment in any afterlife without unifying with God.  It is only by becoming one with the Creator that we have any chance of minimizing the consequences.

Of course, I don’t know what happens after we die.  If nothing happens after death, then Homo sapiens will be the luckiest species of all times and all locations in the universe.  However, if we are still thinking after we die, then having free will would be absurd if we had no consequences for our choices.  Again, I don’t know how Judgment Day will play out, but I do know that we would have a fool for a client if we defended ourselves.  It is only by becoming one with God that you will have a fighting chance.  You cannot do it by yourself.

Christian Existentialism

Existentialism generally is a philosophy associated with atheism.  The majority of existentialists are atheists because the basic tenets of their belief do not comport with a God who is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and in charge of everything.

How can a stellar existentialist, who is steadfast in his independence, tolerate a controlling God?  How can an existentialist believe that he is making choices if everything is predestined by God?  How can a good existentialist believe that life is absurd and without meaning if there is a God?

Well, these are excellent questions, but there are logical answers for Christian existentialists like Soren Kierkegaard: (1) God gives us free choice and does not interfere with our decisions; (2) God created our universe outside our universe, since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our closed universe;  in other words, God created, but does not control our universe; (3) nothing is predetermined in our lives since we make choices and suffer the consequences;  (4) and life is absurd without God.

So, it is possible to be a Christian existentialist.  You will not have many friends or associates who agree with you, but you can always unite and communicate with the most important entity, God.  Becoming one with God should be your primary goal in life.

The first step in being a true Christian existentialist is to reject other Christians who are not authentic.  Unfortunately, this is a high percentage of modern Christians.  Most Christians go to church for social approval and cannot discuss theology or even basic concepts supporting what they really believe.  In fact, most of them don’t believe in anything other than making appearances and looking good in the community.  Their beliefs and faith in God are only skin deep.

How do you become an authentic Christian existentialist?  Well, it will be a bit controversial, but you need to reject family, peer, and social pressures to think and act a certain way.  Then you can start meditating or focusing on what you really believe.  Let God into your heart and make Him a part of this process.  Become one with God.  Seek harmony with your freedom to make choices and be prepared to accept the consequences from poor decisions.  If God is within you, you will find peace in this process.

God will remove the anxiety and existential angst in your decision making because He will lead you.  Even though you cannot see God and even though He is not inside our visible universe, He can enter your soul as the Holy Spirit and become unified with you.  Your conscience and awareness is heightened with Him inside you.  Your choices may not be perfect, but your attempts to improve your decisions with humility will be all that matters if you fully accept responsibility as one who is imperfect.

And remember: life truly is absurd and makes no sense without God.

Dreamweaver

I have had many dreams over my 68 years.  Many of them seem like they are movies with me playing myself.  Some of them border on the strange side, but I had one the other day that was the biggest, baddest nightmare ever.  I don’t wish this dream on anybody.

It started like I was being enticed by third parties, most of whom were unknown to me, to do things that were out of character for me.  For example, I was asked to steal some items in a store, but I refused.  I was told that the storekeeper would not see me and there would be no consequences.  But I still refused.

After a series of attempts by others to get me to do certain things and after continuing refusals, I was told that I played a role in the attempted suicide of a NCIS agent that I worked with at the Navy Yard in Washington DC.  I visited the agent in an effort to find out what had happened, but I was not allowed to talk with him and was shuttled off to a dark room.  I saw a tunnel and I got in it.

Then the police came and told me to come out of the tunnel since I was under arrest.  I refused.  They came in and pulled me out.  Then they strapped me to a seat that was attached to a conveyor or train rail.  I started moving around like I was on an amusement ride at Disney World.  It took me to scenario after scenario, but they were hardly amusing.

In one scene, I was approached by a sinister figure who said that he would free me if I simply agreed to follow him.  I refused.  He hissed like a snake and told me I was a fool.  I would be tortured and would finally give in to him, so why not make it easy on myself and avoid the pain?  I refused.  He advised me that all I had to do was agree to follow him.  What harm was there in that?  I refused.

And then the pain started.  My back felt like it was breaking.  My arms and legs were stretched like a rubber band.  My eyes were burning like a hot poker was in them.  My skin was being burned off my body.  The nails were being pulled out one at a time.  The pain was excruciating.  I had never had pain like this in a dream.  It seemed so real.

Then I cried out for God.  I had attempted to fight this demon by myself and was losing the battle, so I realized that I had to bring God into my dream to save me.  It worked.  As soon as I called out for God to enter me, I woke up.  My wife was awake next to me since my calls for God woke her up.

The thing that really shook me up was the aches and pains that I continued to have all throughout my body.  It was like I had actually been tortured by some devilish creature.

I had never called on God before to help me in my dreams.  I suppose that was the lesson.  We cannot fight Satan and the powers of evil by ourselves.  We might believe that we can, but that is exactly why pride is a sin.  It is only by allowing God into your soul that you can fight the forces of darkness and chaos.

 

Are We the Aliens?

Many people search the skies, looking for unidentified flying objects.  Many more tell us about being abducted by alien life forms.  However, in order to find aliens, we may not have to look any further than in a mirror.  We may be the aliens.

This theory of life coming from a source other than earth is called panspermia.  Panspermia is a Greek word that means “seeds everywhere.” The panspermia theory argues that “seeds” of life exist all over the universe, which may be transferred from one location to another.  If life on earth originated from these “seeds,” we are aliens.

Panspermia can occur from: (1) interstellar dust deflected by solar radiation pressure and (2) microorganisms riding through space encased in an asteroid, meteorite, or comet.

Three popular variations of the panspermia hypothesis are:

  • Lithopanspermia (interstellar panspermia) – rocks from a planet or meteorite’s surface spread biological material from one solar system to another.
  • Ballistic panspermia (interplanetary panspermia) – rocks from a planet’s surface spread biological material from one planet or meteorite to another planet within the same solar system.
  • Directed panspermia – the intentional spreading life to other planets by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, or the intentional action of humans spreading life from earth to other planets.

Panspermia does not provide an explanation for how life began before panspermia, but it could explain how life, once formed, is transferred throughout the universe.  Evolution may explain how life diversified into new species, but only panspermia can explain how life migrated to our planet.

It is like a fire that started somewhere and then spread from location to location.  It really doesn’t matter how the fire was started.  It is more important that it continues in perpetuity throughout our universe.

One of the important rules of conservation is that matter and energy may be neither created nor destroyed in this closed universe.  This means that life was created outside the universe, but that panspermia assures that life will continue in our universe.

Benoit de Maillet in 1743 stated that the earth’s oceans were “seeded” from space, rather than spontaneous generation or abiogenesis.  In the 19th century, scientists believed that meteorites carried life to earth.

In 1984, a meteorite from Mars, Allan Hills 84001, was discovered in Antarctica, which was shown to contain structures that may have been residual of nanobacteria.  Tests on these structures have shown that they contain amino acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are precursors to life.
 
Some microbes are known to remain dormant for millions of years, possibly long enough for an interplanetary voyage within a solar system.  In other words, it is possible that life from other locations can remain dormant until reaching our planet.  We also know that there are extremophiles that can live in extreme environments.  We know that we do not know very much about the universe, so anything is possible.
 
Ceres, the largest asteroid in the Asteroid Belt, has a huge crater that may be evidence of a huge collision that sent pieces of the asteroid toward other planets, including earth.  Ceres, a dwarf planet, is located between Mars and Jupiter.  Interestingly, Ceres, although covered with ice, has a fairly warm surface temperature of about -30 degrees Celsius, which could sustain extremophile life forms.
 
On May 11, 2001, scientists discovered extraterrestrial bacteria inside a meteorite thought to be over 4.5 billion years old.  The DNA of the bacteria, although similar to Bacillus subtilis bacteria, was unlike any other on earth.
This strain of ET bacteria was hitching a ride until it found a habitable destination. 
 
So, we may be ET.

 

 

Fabric of Spacetime

Would we understand our universe better by thinking of it as a web of spacetime that either: (1) bends around itself or (2) expands first into a macroworld and then contracts into a microworld until it is ready to expand again?

Einstein in his theory of relativity discussed space and time or “spacetime” as if it were a single interwoven continuum.  By combining space and time into a single entity and additionally marrying a three-dimensional universe (length, width, height) with a fourth dimension (time), we create Minkowski space.  And even though Einstein was disappointed that he never could unify the supergalactic universe of gravity with the subatomic world of quantum mechanics, this fabric might well extend from the macroworld into the microworld.  The Big Bang probably is the best example of this nexus.  But we probably leave the four dimensions behind when we journey into the subatomic world.  The quantum world could be ruled by dark energy.  We just don’t know.

Many cosmologists propose that the universe is expanding so that billions of years from now, earth will push into a dark corner of the universe with no sun or other stars in the sky, since our corner of the universe will settle into a “Deep Freeze.”  Of course, this makes no sense if you believe we exist in a closed universe.  A closed universe would probably have edges that were elliptical like orbits within galaxies or the orbits within atoms.  A closed universe also portends an infinite spacetime that could bend around an orbit or could expand and contract forever.

So, the first significant question is:  Is our universe closed or open?  Well, if you believe in the Big Bang, and there certainly is sufficient evidence to prove that event, you must argue that the universe is closed.  Why?  Because an event like the Big Bang had an event horizon, similar to the one predicted at the fringe of a black hole.  In other words, there is another side of the black hole and the Big Bang that we can never see.  Spacetime may stop at this point.  This separation creates an edge or event horizon that could not logically exist in an open universe.

If the universe were closed, then the next significant question is: Is perpetuity served by a curved spacetime or by constant expansions and contractions?  Or is it a little of both?

We know that the strength of a gravitational field can slow the passage of time for an object seen by an observer from a distance.  We also know that time speeds up for space travelers and even for those who reach the top of the Empire State Building.  Those of us, who remain on the ground, age slower.  If we were able to travel to a black hole, as we approached the event horizon, we would probably circle the dark matter close to the speed of light; however, observers on earth would think we were barely moving as time slowed down.

In effect, spacetime would be compressed near the event horizon.  And spacetime might even stop at the entrance of a black hole.  Logically, this may be the portal to a microworld where gravity goes wild and turns the reins over to quantum mechanics.  An example on a smaller scale could be when a star expands into a red giant, then contracts into a white dwarf, shrinking into a black hole, and finally explodes into elements that will eventually come back together again through gravity.  The Fusion-Fission cycle sounds like a miniature Big Crunch and Big Bang, doesn’t it?

And how does the curvature of spacetime come into play?  Well, we know that light bends around large objects like black holes.  We also know that objects bend the spacetime fabric.  We don’t know if the bending of spacetime is such that it encloses itself.  For example if we examined the earth from our perspective on earth, we might think it were flat.  But if we were in space, we would see the curvature of the earth.  That same principle may apply to our perspective of the universe.  We might view the universe as flat from where we are, but if we could see a larger segment of the universe, we might see it as being circular.

The temporal and spatial aspects of spacetime may be part of a unified fabric, but they may also operate on different principles.  In other words, space may move back and forth like an accordion, while time may travel both forward to the future and then back to the past.  The spatial movement is more in line with what we can understand using something like a coordinate grid to define where objects are in relation with each other.  The temporal movement is a more abstract manifold defining when events occur.  It would be difficult for us to imagine that time could move backward into the past.  However, there may be proof that it is doing just that.

We are able to see the light from ancient galaxies, dating back to the earliest galaxies in our universe.  How is that possible?  The light from that galaxy would have zipped in front of us billions of years ago.  Since the galaxy hasn’t existed for billions of years, it hasn’t emitting light for eons.  So, how can we view the light today?

Well, you might argue that spacetime is not regulated by the speed limit of light.  And that probably is true, but remember that there are two parts of spacetime.  Space may expand faster than the speed of light, but this probably occurred for only a short period of time after the Big Bang.  Time, on the other hand, may slow down and then reverse itself.  We are very familiar with spatial reversals of the north and south poles and other reversals that are part of the nature of our universe.  But it is difficult to imagine a temporal conversion that starts heading into the future and then backs into the past.  Quite frankly, it is a concept reserved for science fiction.  However, what else can explain the sighting of ancient galaxies?

Furthermore, we know that the older galaxies have a red shift that evidences an increasing acceleration.  Why would they be moving at increased speeds since gravity would have less of an impact on their movement due to entropy?  Well, it might be because of the additional aspect of time moving backwards.

An increased red shift of ancient galaxies viewed from our perspective may be caused by:  (1) a shrinking of the galaxies in a spatial movement away from each other or (2) a reversal of time creating the synergistic appearance of spatial and temporal movement in multiplying effects.  In other words, if you were to measure the distance from A to B and then include time constriction in that equation or consider the repetition of that movement from A to B by first going forward and then backward in time, your red shift might increase.

It is interesting to note that a red shift could be detected if two galaxies were shrinking just the same as if they were expanding away from each other.  The spacetime fabric may have billions of galaxies embedded in this fabric, so that an expansion of the fabric could also expand the galaxies.  The galaxies would be glued to the fabric and thus would not be flying away from each other.  It seems more likely that the galaxies that currently exist are either being drawn to each other by gravity, like the Milky Way and Andromeda, or they are slowly moving away from each other with only a minor red shift.

So what would explain the significant red shift among galaxies that are further away, who either are no longer in existence or would have very little gravitational tug on the other galaxies?  It might be caused by a mixture of temporal and spatial movements.   Since a contraction of the fabric may have the same effect on the galaxies, the galaxies might be shrinking in a proportional manner so that it would not be detected from our perspective.  As the galaxies got smaller, they would pull away from each other which would increase the red shift.

It appears to be more likely that a red shift would be evidence of a contraction rather than an expansion, since a proportional expansion, in theory, would be like slowly filling a polka-dotted balloon.  Those dots, signifying galaxies, would not separate very much as the balloon gradually expanded.  However, the dots would quickly reduce in size as the air came rushing out of the balloon with a time reversal.  When you add in the potential for time reversal, then the case for a shrinking universe in both space and time becomes more attractive and may explain the substantial increase in the red shift as we view ancient galaxies.

If we can look back and see ancient galaxies, why can’t we see the Big Bang.  Well, it is likely that we will never see anything except the results of the Big Bang.  In other words, we should be able to see the smoke from the gun, but not the gun itself.  And we may have stumbled upon this smoke.

There is an anomaly within the universe which is about 1.8 billion light years across and is located around three billion light years away from our solar system.  Currently, this is the largest structure we have found in the universe.  Little energy emanates from this circular area, which contains about 10,000 fewer galaxies than in other areas of the universe.  In effect, this anomaly has about 20 percent less matter inside it.

This cold spot within our universe has perplexed scientists since 2004, when it was discovered as an oddity in the otherwise homogeneous cosmic microwave background radiation.  This cosmic microwave background which can be traced back to the Big Bang is spread evenly throughout our universe except this area, which is about 2.7 degrees K cooler than the average temperature in the universe.  This anomaly could be the smoking gun for the Big Bang.

One other point that should be mentioned is:  There is a proportion of 3:8:24 that seems to consistently act as a foundation of our universe.  Mathematically we know that about 3% of our universe is visible matter, 24% is dark matter, and 72% is dark energy.  This division of matter and energy in the universe is a ratio of 3:8:24.  This same proportion applies to hydrogen, helium, and all other elements.  This could be a coincidence, but it is not likely.

But what about the missing 1%?  Our formula only accounts for 99% of the universe.  What accounts for the other 1%?  I can only guess, but it could be the ignition or the unknown force that keeps the universe constantly moving from expansion to contraction and back again.

And how does this apply to the closed universe?  Well, we know that neither matter nor energy is created or destroyed in this universe.  The proportionate division makes sense in a closed universe that is balanced for the most part, but needs that 1% to reverse the polarity so that our universe is a perpetual time and recycling machine.