The Blame Game

It appears to be human nature to blame somebody or something else for our transgressions.  It is rare when somebody steps up to the plate and admits that they made a bad decision and then accept the blame for what happened as a result of that choice.  More likely than not, individuals will refuse to accept any fault for what they have done.

And these people who do not have the intestinal fortitude to admit their guilt or fault will lie, cheat, steal, or do whatever it takes to ensure that somebody or something else is blamed for their mistakes.  We all make mistakes, but only those with moral courage will admit that mistakes were made and then accept consequences for those poor choices.

I used to wonder why younger generations were so stubborn in refusing to accept guilt, while the WWII and Korean generations were just the opposite.  The older generations would not only admit they made mistakes, but would work hard to ensure that it did not happen again.  If you watch these younger generations, they will rarely admit that they made a mistake.  I believe it is because they make so many mistakes that they cannot afford to admit to the truckload of errors they have made.  As I said, the older generations made mistakes too, but there were fewer of them and they learned from their mistakes so they were less likely to make them again.  The younger generations make mistakes, do not admit them, and then continue to make mistakes, never learning from these errors.

As an example, I have noticed that younger generations working in businesses make mistakes on a daily basis, but for the most part, these errors go unnoticed.  Modern society is much more accepting of mistakes.  The supervisors are also younger, and they don’t want to admit they are managing somebody who is making mistakes.  So if there are no consequences, then there is no reason for these younger generations to stop making these mistakes.  But if you confront them about the error, they will never ever admit that a mistake was made.  They will lie, rather than face the truth.

Thus, individuals in the modern world blame somebody else, their background, society, or any number of things that might have influenced them, but never themselves.  A drug user should not be blamed for being addicted to drugs.  Blame it on his dysfunctional family or blame it on his disease.  It is not his fault.  He cannot help it because he is addicted.  However, I wonder who made the decision to start taking drugs?  Isn’t that the same person who doesn’t want to accept the blame?

So, what is the big deal?  Why should we even care?  Well, it’s a simple matter of our world being overrun by individuals who can do anything they want without any blame.  Is this the type of world you want to live in?  Well, it is what the world will be like by 2030.  By that time, there will be nothing left of morality, decency, and even civilization.  There will be no order or consequences, so everybody can do anything they want to anybody they want.  It will be a free-for-all with those with the least moral values surviving in a dog-eat-dog world.  A totalitarian government will step in to take over at this point.  Freedom will be dead!

What’s Really Important?

We tend to focus on all the wrong things during our lifetimes.  We think a lot about ourselves and how to make our lives better.  We are very selfish, but we have occasional love interests that interrupt our fascination with ourselves.  But typically we discover that the love interest primarily existed to satisfy our personal sexual needs.

I stopped having sex when I was 47 years old.  I will be 70 in a few months.  It wasn’t based on any religious epiphany or desire to prove myself worthy of anything.  It was a simple decision not to have sex anymore.  I decided that sex was not important, so I stopped cold turkey.  I am fascinated with all the emphasis on types of sex available today.  Society may claim that it has significant freedom to have sex with anybody or anyway desired, but I would argue that society is enslaved by this sexual free-for-all.  It is an addiction no different than alcohol or drugs.  I’m not campaigning for everybody to follow my lead and become abstinent;  however, I feel extremely comfortable with my decision.  You must make your own decision using your free will and conscience.  A moderate sex life may be a great choice for you.  It just wasn’t my choice.

I guess what I am saying is that having sex is just not that important and deciding to not have sex is really not important either.  So, what is important?  The critical thing is that you must maintain your freedom to make decisions.  You must accept the consequences for all your bad choices.  That is very important.  And you must make the decisions… not your family or peers, but you.  You must decide what is important during your life and how this may impact what happens after you die.

I believe that life is really not important, but the afterlife is the most important thing.  So, I believe how we live our lives, which probably contributes greatly to our afterlife, is very important.  And it is the things that I do during the rest of my life that should be more important than the things that I did or didn’t do earlier in life.  Thus, it is not my past twenty plus years of abstinence, but it is my future acts of kindness to others without seeking or expecting something in return.

The best gauge for judging your future acts is to examine your motives.  Would you have done these acts if nobody knew that you did them?  It is like the judge who asked the accused:  “Would you have returned the money if everybody still thought you took it and nobody would ever have known you returned it?”  Unfortunately, most people would have to honestly say they would not.  However, your actions should not feed your ego, but should instead, build your identification of who you are.  And you should be like Jesus.  Of course, this is an impossible task, but you should strive to come as close to the mark as humanly possible.

Negligence is failing to do that which a reasonable man would have done or would have avoided under the same or similar circumstances.  We can substitute sin for negligence and find that 100% of us, including me, have committed hundreds, perhaps thousands of sins.  With this heavy weight on us for bad acts committed during our lives, how can we ever get past that to what is really important?  Well, you have to start with the fact that you are going to start today asking what Jesus would have done and then attempting to modify your behaviors so that you will become a better person.  This is what is really important in life and also in the afterlife.

So, what do you think is really important?  Is it prestige, power, intelligence, money, sex-drugs-rock’nroll, possessions?  Most likely these items do not follow you into the afterlife.  I honestly don’t know what awaits us at death’s door, but I would rather have my good acts to carry with me.  That may be what is most important.

How Much is Freedom Worth?

Have you ever wondered how much freedom is worth?  I believe it is like they say on the television ad:  “It is priceless.”

Freedom typically is not valued until it is lost.  In other words, we in America take it for granted.  If you were to travel to countries where there is no freedom, you might place a different value on our freedom.

The earliest Americans settled here in order to practice their religions.  So, the freedom of religion is the bedrock or the Plymouth Rock that drew our ancestors to this land.  Americans declared our independence and our freedom to enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The First Amendment to our Constitution states:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Second Amendment provides:  “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It is interesting to note that when the first ten amendments were ratified in 1791, these were the first two amendments listed.  Some importance and priority may be mined from that fact.  Religion and worship of God were very important to our Founding Fathers and the early Freedom Fighters.  It was truly a “nation under God.”

After well over 200 years have passed, where are we today?  Even though freedom is still priceless, we haven’t had to fight for it recently, so it just doesn’t seem as important to Americans.  Certainly, our troops have fought in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, but these battles on foreign soil have not been embraced by the public as wars to protect our freedom at home.  The closest thing to an attack on our soil was on 9/11.  However, Americans have returned to their daily routines and the average Joe on the street thinks more about getting a promotion than losing his freedom.  It is just not a thought that we have in America.

Yet, we have been losing our freedoms, a little at a time, but losing them all the same.  Under the First Amendment, has the federal government prohibited the free exercise of religion and has it abridged our freedoms, including speech and press?  Of course it has.  And nobody says anything under penalty of being insensitive to atheists, agnostics, and others who disagree with Christianity.  America will lose her freedoms when average citizens choose to do nothing about protecting them.

I attended a corporate meeting many years ago with employees providing lengthy briefings on the best course for the company for its future.  When the Power Point slides were taken down and the lights came up, the president of the company looked around and asked, “Is there any way I can do nothing?”

If American citizens do nothing, they will lose all of their freedoms.  And once you have lost those freedoms, the government will not give them back without a revolution.  Unfortunately, many citizens are like the corporate president who wanted to do nothing.  They would rather stay under the radar… not make any waves… keep silent… all things which guarantee the loss of their freedoms.

I can remember when Americans were free to say, “Merry Christmas.”  Now, it is insensitive to other religions.  However, freedom of religion embraces all religions.  It does not single out Christianity.  In America, you have the freedom to practice any religion.  You even have the freedom to not practice a religion.  It’s called freedom for a reason.  And restricting Christians from honoring the birthday of Jesus would be like restricting the Muslims or Jews from one of their religious holidays.

The first part of the First Amendment that restricts Congress from establishing a religion should not be taken out of context.  The primary directive is to not prohibit the free exercise of a religion.  Let’s examine the current prohibition on mandatory school prayers.  Doesn’t this federal prohibition restrict the exercise of freedom of religion?  Of course it does.  The argument is that mandatory school prayers establish a religion, Christianity, and interfere with the free exercise of religious beliefs for those who do not believe in prayers.

Let’s get down to basics and common sense.  Quite frankly, any time the government acts to protect the free exercise of religion, Christianity or otherwise, it will be assisting in establishing that religion.  The framers of our Constitution and Amendments were very focused on freedom of religion and less focused on preventing establishment of a religion, so free exercise of religion should always be the bottom line.

It is true that Thomas Jefferson wanted the church to be walled off against the state in order to protect secular interests, but James Madison wanted to decentralize the federal government, allowing the religions in America to compete without interference by the government.

If we are truly talking about emphasizing freedom of religion in America, then the separation of church and state should mean that the government should stay out the business of religion altogether.  This would mean that the government should not restrict any religion, including Christianity.

What is wrong with saying “Merry Christmas”?  What is wrong with saying “Happy Hanukah”?  What is wrong with “Fast during Ramadan”?  All these religions are free to compete within America, no different than businesses.  The government should not promote monopolies of religions or businesses.  That should be the extent of governmental interference.  That should be the extent of our government’s concern about establishing one religion over another.

Let me make this clear.  The government does not restrict advertising by businesses just because that company has a bigger budget for marketing.  Monopoly busting is when a large company is too big, thus reducing the competition.  Monopoly prevention is when two companies are considering a merger and the result would have a substantial cooling effect on competition.  I know of no cases where the government has prevented a company from competing through advertising because it would have a bad effect on competition.

It should be no different for religions.  Government should not prevent religions from marketing, which includes letting others know about their religious days and practices.  This would be a very negative approach to preventing establishment of religions.  America is so diverse and independent, it is not likely that we will see religions forming monopolies.  Religions are known for just the opposite.  They splinter into many different associations, rather than coalescing.

The two provisions in the First Amendment can cancel each other out if you read them literally and out of context.  The federal government has removed many of our freedoms, including freedom of religion and right to bear arms, because it is too big and bureaucratic.

What is the solution?  Well, it is just common sense as Thomas Paine penned in 1776.  The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution provides:  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

This amendment has been abused and ignored, but it tells the federal government to keep out of our state, local, and personal business unless it has a specific power to so intervene.  And there are not that many powers specifically granted to the federal government.

The key is to return the government to the people.  Citizens should emphasize government at the local levels, where the elected officials actually have a vested interest in their communities.  Typically, mayors and council members will do the right thing for their cities because they live in that neighborhood.  They may protect their communities for selfish reasons, but this is better than federal politicians who distance themselves from what is going on at the local level.  Many don’t care about their constituents, only thinking instead about lining their pockets.

Congress needs to focus the power of the purse on local governments so that we can downsize the federal government and retake our freedoms that were stolen by the feds.  This, at least, is the peaceful solution to the current problem.  Our freedom is certainly worth doing this.

How Evil Are We?

How evil is homo sapiens sapiens?  If you have to ask that question, then the answer probably will not lead to a happy ending.  Of all the animal species, our species is most likely to make poor decisions based on lust, avarice, envy, anger, and other assorted motivational factors that we cannot seem to control.

Clearly, there are animal predators that attack and kill other animals for food or, in some cases, for sexual conquest; but man is a special predator who kills for revenge or for money or for hate.  As far as I know, no other animal reaches into the depths of evil like our species.  Other animals typically are busy with survival.

But man is a unique species who will even kill for no good reason at all.  Some people will kill just because they can.  They have absolutely no self control.  And there are many young adults who commit murders to prove themselves worthy of being gang members.  They also have no self control.  And there are others who kill because they are on drugs and out of control.  Again, there is no self control.

So, another question pops up on the screen:  how evil can we be?  Society generally has been able to impose punishments on renegade members who would not conform to laws that protect civilizations, but this is becoming problematic as we do not have sufficient police and prisons to accommodate the exponentially increasing numbers of society who have no self control.  Pride in being a good citizen has been eroded by drugs, alcohol, and illicit sex.  Pride in having a good job and being a model citizen has been eroded by a poor economy, poor education, poor parenting, and, of course, drugs, alcohol, and illicit sex.

In Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol,” the author reminded us to beware ignorance and want, but ignorance more than anything else.  All great civilizations should beware ignorance because that is what will destroy civilizations.  And, of course, poor economy, poor education, and poor parenting, along with drugs, alcohol, and sex have taken the entire world population down the path of ignorance.

Democracy and freedom will sink in a sea of ignorance.  Totalitarianism will replace governments throughout the world with an evil that cannot be imagined by most.  As bad as Hitler and Stalin were, they never reached world domination.  The next totalitarian government probably will control the world.

So, how evil can we be?  Well, we are going to find out.  And it will not be a pretty picture.

It’s Free

Have you noticed all the advertisements that offer items that are free?  Health insurance is free.  You are invited to try a month’s supply of a product that is free.  Cell phones are free.  Vacations are free.  But isn’t there usually a catch?  You get that free vacation, but you have to sit and watch a video and then listen to a salesman’s pitch that lasts for hours.

The older generations went through the Great Depression and many wars and recessions.  They know that there is no free lunch.  However, the younger generations don’t know that yet.  They will have to go through some tough times before they finally realize that most things cost you something.  Sometimes, that cost is even giving up your freedom.

But there are some things that are free:  Love that requires nothing in return; God’s gift of life; and the freedom to make choices.  Start with these items that really are free, and you will discover that the other items that are advertised as being free are really quite expensive.  Accept what is truly free and work hard to protect yourself from those who promise you free items in return for taking away your hard-earned freedoms.


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.