When Did Everything Get So Bad?

A question I ask myself from time-to-time, and it can be applied to all manners of sins and societal follies.  We have news and sports blasting us with “information” twenty-four hours a day.  Often supposition is made to look like a fact, and how could we have not known about this “fact” (unbelievable look of incredulity upon my face)?  Every day we pile on a new layer of intrigue or perception of no hope for a decent future.  We even have pundits ask the rhetorical, “what will be left for our children?”.  So just another layer of morose, unhappy existence, only to be topped by the next scandal or incendiary event.  Is there no control over any of this?

Simple answer; you have the control.  You choose your poison, and when you do, don’t be angry at someone else.  Ultimately, control has always been in your hands.  The media is only going to show you what you want, they don’t make money otherwise.  Everything is about the money (slightly cynical, I know), and money has two different outcomes, used for the good, used for the greed.  You can choose what it should be used for.  I for one, don’t want anyone telling me how to use my money, and if I choose that charity is the best use for it, then I can know it was my choice to be charitable and not an unseen entity creating a bar of distribution I neither know the beginning or ending to.  The interesting question should be, if everyone choses to charitably give their money to anyone in need, or chooses to give their monies to a more altruistic cause, would our world be in a better place?  Maybe, maybe not, but at least in the end, you made the right moral decision(s).  It’s about sacrifice, look at our nation today, built upon the sacrifices of others; not built upon what we can make people do, or how can I get what I want.

Morality, where did it go?  Is it hiding from us, have we allowed, as a society, others to tell us where our morality should be?  Society can benefit from some simple foundational pillars.  First, I am a man of God, so my first pillar and my strongest pillar is my belief in God (God is in every decision and everything I do).  Everything good comes from this.  James Martin SJ, a prolific writer, priest, speaker, and campaigner for those marginalized in our day, indicates the Jesuit belief, “God is in all things”.  A recognition of this simple yet profound belief causes and arc of understanding which points to truth and love as the central focal points for a productive society.  Not love from a song, or the misperceived love displayed by our decrepit entertainment industry.  I mean the love of self-denial, the love of “no”.  I tell my kids all the time, “I tell you no, because I love you” (of course I get an eye roll, but it doesn’t make it untrue), and I truly mean this.  What I mean by “no”, is simple, “no” to the extra drink, “no” to the acedia, plainly “no” to what I want when what I want might just be the problem.  A little more of this and we might see a night and day difference in our perceptions as a culture.

Education is the next pillar.  Our world is getting ever more complicated and this complication requires a three-fold system of education.  The first is, we must in every fiber of our culture encourage education; Mike Rowe makes an excellent point in referring an antiquated understanding of higher education.  Not everyone is made to be a college graduate, and at the same time not every college graduate is competent to handle the trades (Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs, with tremendous eloquence espouses this theory, even to the extent we have a deficit in good paying jobs in the trades which need to be filled).  We need them all though; we as a culture must encourage every opportunity to advance one’s education as a must.  Our place in this world from every place on the global spectrum is tied to education in one form or another, and this combined with ingenuity to create is what helps us to tackle every opportunity placed in our pathway.  However, competition in a realm of first place, second place, and loser is just simply outdated to one extent.  The subjectivity with which anything can be measured, and those of us who want a simple answer to all things are what create a complete inability to compare ourselves based on a perceived training, but instead the result should be our focus.  Instead of asking, if everyone went to college, shouldn’t we ask if everyone has a job?  There is either a do or don’t do, a desire to be the best at what is tried, and education provides us this, but education can mean anything and should, we should never pigeon hole ourselves into a paradigm which stifles the very nature of who we are.  I don’t care if you can count the best or do math the best, I care that you’re creative and understand what is needed; if you can do those things, we’re always going to be on the cutting edge, but we can’t get there without education.

Family is so important for the perpetuation of the first two pillars, is it any wonder why we have a dwindling faith and education culture in our society these days?  Family is there to lift you up, tell you how wrong you are, and create a sense of worth rooted in the deepest levels.  Without family, you’ve become Edmond Dantes and all you have is your goal and your vengeance to pursue.  Vengeance against society for somehow holding you back, guess what, society doesn’t care if you’re held back.  Society just is, but family does care, they are the ones to open doors for you, and push you into areas where you once thought impossible to attain.  Our culture has celebrated the broken family; we’ve celebrated the “courage” it takes to do everything on one’s own.  I do think this requires courage, but I also must be honest, if people would take more time being selective with whom they introduce into their families, apply a true understanding to faith as a covenant with a familial relationship, and accept family not as a dividend relationship but one of giving we have a real chance to see an applicable change in the paradigm.  We can’t, as a society do much to change past cultural decisions.  However, we can apply this to our future generations, and it begins with family.  A family to teach and educate children in the truth, the faith which brings us closer to God, and gives us a sense of purpose on both accounts.

The last pillar is community, how can we claim to care about the other pillars without a successful community.  The community helps us as a society to move forward with advancements in all realms of the society as they pertain to morals, laws, and general cultural idioms we face from day-to-day.  Community gives us sense of purpose; a purpose to clean up areas of concern within the community, or provide a future for future peoples who inhabit our communities.  Take for instance crime, if crime is an issue in any single community, the first thing to do is not blow it out of proportion, the second thing to do is realize the police are never the final answer.  The police are brave souls who risk everything to help a community attain a level of safety which will provide potential for growth.  Growth is good for anything to become healthy and sustainable.  The police are simply a vital cog in the wheel of the community, and an equally vital cog is the society at large.  It’s up to the citizens of any community to create a safe environment through involvement in community activities, and informing the local law enforcement when these are in jeopardy through illegal means.  How much better would our communities operate if the local police had an inside track, or neighbors looking out for other neighbors?  We see in poorer neighborhoods less trust and greater propensity to violence as a way of life, though a solution by the Office of Policy Development and Research suggest investment in the community is vital to reduction of crime, increase of jobs, and increased social awareness.  The solution of community is giving back, the government’s solution isn’t even one of putting money into, but rather putting an awareness of social progress as the driving factor for any community over any economic gains.  We have the tools to fix our communities, we just must be unselfish enough to work to achieve those goals (https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/summer16/highlight2.html).  When there is a paradigm of “I want what they have” or “they got that benefit because of the way they look”, it pursues a cavernous waste of racism, but also denies the truth of the matter.  Some people got where they are because of luck, and others received what they have because their earlier generations (i.e. grandparents, parents) worked hard to achieve something potentially never realized in their own lifetime’s.  To deny a person their past because you don’t care for your own future, is wrong. When there is a general mistrust of all these pillars we see communities break down and become cancerous lesions dotting our society, bent on the destruction of the society in general if the few in power get their decided piece of the pie.

For me, all four pillars must be embraced for a society to function properly.  If we choose to acknowledge their existence and choose to move in this direction, I think society will have its problems, but on a whole, won’t appear to have the systemic issues it currently does or be as bad off as everyone perceives it to be.  When we can recognize, the news and entertainment are solely pursuing an end and means with money as the main motivator (cynical yes, but not altogether untrue), we can find a middle ground whereby we look for the information which exists and not someone with an unexperienced or extreme opinion about a topic.  The truth is, we listen to people’s opinions about topics where they are neither and expert, nor have much experience in the subject whatsoever.  Just like now, you read my words, but I would be just like everyone else if I expected you to take what I’ve written at face value.  No, I expect you to search deep and find a place of truth for anything which you’ve read today.  It’s the only way you can truly begin to create an expectation for yourself and the others around you.

Finally, my expectation of everyone is something I hold myself to, it’s not acceptable to be anything less than the best representation of yourself always.  Yes, this means, you should make the right decisions for you, not because someone may think less of you, but because it represents truth and you should desire the truth.  I hope and pray, my words help light the fire for a pursuance of God, and a more fruitful existence within a better society, a better you, and a truth which is neither good or bad, but just is.  May God bless you and your family!!!

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!!!

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Truth2Freedom's Blog

The mindset in postmodernism is that objective truth does not exist. But in post-truth, the person believes that objective truth exists, but they subordinate truth to their preferences, or their comfort. In other words, one doesn’t care that truth exists or what the truth is if it doesn’t line up with one’s preferences. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" - George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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