Who am I?

Who Am I

Life on this earth, as we know and understand it, is not a permanent thing. We are born, we live, and we die. There is no exact timetable in that process. But it does bring up many, many questions as to the why of our existence. Life literally begs the question, “Who am I?”

Now, it would be quite natural for me to launch into an exhaustive expose, from my perspective, concerning the purpose of why we are born, why we live, and why we die. Suffice to mention that the answers to those questions are readily available to those who diligently seek truth. However, that is not the primary purpose of this post. Instead, I am offering a mind-bender for you to ponder.

I want to briefly touch on how we view ourselves in comparison to how others view us. I would also like to suggest that neither of these viewpoints is ultimately correct. Your perception of yourself, at best, is inaccurate. And, yes, that expensive shrink you visit each week does not perceive you accurately either – not even close.

Continue reading “Who am I?”

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The Ethics of Giving & Receiving

Preface

I think most people in our society understand that when a person gives or donates something of value to another person or organization, that transaction is done with no expectation of anything in return.

In other words, if I give something, a material possession of mine, to a friend, I have absolutely no expectation of a return favour. That gift, which my friend has received, is theirs to keep, and to do with as they see fit.

Continue reading “The Ethics of Giving & Receiving”

Turning a blind eye…

San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico before hurricane Maria. f/8 @ 1/200 second. ©2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

Have you ever wondered why the US and Canada have so many social problems in spite of the fact that the aforementioned nations are some of the most prosperous in the world?

Good question. Obviously, there is no easy or simplistic answer to the complex social problems that we experience. But, there seems to be a whole lot of pointing of fingers going on each and every day of our existence. If we are honest with ourselves, the person we see in the mirror each morning is often guilty as charged.

Who is to blame for all the heart wrenching social problems of North American society? Well, the short answer is – we are. Each and every one of us, regardless of ethnicity and race, religion, gender, and so forth, is responsible for the society that we live in. We are indeed our brother’s or sister’s keeper.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 ESV

On the grand scale of things, it does not appear that we are doing a very good job of benevolently and selflessly watching over each other. Honest self-evaluation has a way of silencing our own pride and arrogance. How wonderful we see ourselves and our accomplishments often has no bearing on reality.

Although I have chosen to tackle some complex social, cultural, religious, and political issues and problems in my writing, I am painfully reminded that one person can only do so much in terms of informing, enlightening, or influencing others. I am thankful that, in the final analysis, I am primarily responsible for my own sphere of influence, most importantly, my own real life interpersonal relationships. How I live my life DOES affect others around me for better or worse.

Sometimes, I feel really small and do not think that I have much to offer to this often incomprehensible North American culture and society. Invariably, God has a way of reminding me how dependant I am on His grace (undeserved favour) and strength each and every moment of my life.

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT

There is a time and place for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3). Recently, I made a choice or decision to wait on God, for wisdom, strength, and direction to take over the next decade of my life. We all need purpose in our lives and purpose demands long-term planning.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps Proverbs 16:9

Whether or not that includes a continuation of my writing and posting on WordPress is a question I need to settle. I am somewhat troubled about my direct involvement on social media. Sometimes I think it is more like the Show & Tell events of my childhood school years, rather than serving any useful long-term purpose. I do take some satisfaction in sharing about God and His ways, as I understand Him. I am just not sure anyone is really listening.

Time has a way of solving the most perplexing issues in our lives. As for me, it is time to wait upon God for some answers.

The choices we make today become who we are tomorrow…

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Strange Bedfellows? Muslim Immigrants United With Social Conservative Christians Against Abortion

In all of Prime Minister Trudeau’s political doublespeak concerning the partisan policies and actions of the Liberal Party of Canada, I do not think that the twirling pirouette in a pink shirt saw this one coming.

Trudeau’s policy of fast tracking Muslim immigration claimants in Canada has produced an unwanted side-effect that progressive liberals did not count on. The majority of Muslims coming into Canada hold very conservative family values and are generally opposed to abortion. And they are not afraid to go public on the issues.

When it comes to the practical application of Trudeau’s policies concerning women’s issues, diversity seems to apply only to women who subscribe to the current politically correct liberal ideology. In other words, if you are a Muslim woman in Canada that holds to socially conservative values, i.e. against abortion, especially sex-selective abortion, you essentially have no voice on women’s issues in this country.

According to 21-year-old student, Palvasha Qureshi:

As a young woman growing up in Pakistan, I saw firsthand what happens when girls are not counted as equal to, or as valuable as, men. For that reason, sex-selective abortion concerns me, and I am not alone in that worry…this government likes to claim that it values diversity, and it attempts to showcase that by accepting many immigrants and repeating the mantra that “diversity is our strength.” But does Trudeau not understand that many new Canadians, immigrants like myself, have pro-life and socially conservative convictions?

cbc.ca

Qureshi’s pro-life views mirror the current position of the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelical Protestants in Canada. This effectually aligns the ideologically different Christian groups with socially conservative Muslims on pro-life issues. United together, they may prove to be a powerful voice for the sanctity of human life and the unborn in Canada.

Strange bedfellows? I don’t think so.

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Thankfulness is more than an attitude…

photo
Giant pumpkins in Nova Scotia bring beautiful smiles. © 2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

This morning I actually slept in until 8:00 AM. My wife was already up, nursing a hot cup of coffee and reading something on her iPad. The sun was literally beaming through the blinds of our living room windows, almost too bright for my preference in the morning. Fall is upon us, the morning sun is rather low on the eastern horizon, the cold air outside signalling that winter is just around the corner.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I have so much to be thankful for over the last year. As I read the posts of both family and friends on FaceBook, I was visibly reminded that life can be mixed-bag for all of us. Some were posting pictures of their new babies (such a joy), others posted pictures of their travels around the world, and some were posting their viewpoints over current political and social agendas, and so forth.

It suddenly occurred to me that much of that does not really matter in light of knowing God. Regardless of how people celebrate Thanksgiving today, I am reminded of who we are truly expressing our thankfulness towards – Jesus Christ.

If you are having considerable difficulty coming up with ANY reason to be thankful today, may I suggest the following:

  1. Take out a sheet of paper and write out who you THINK you are. It does not have be a long drawn out affair – just go with your instinct or gut-feelings on this one.
  2. On the other side of the paper write out how you THINK God sees you.
  3. Somewhere in this process, you will discover something to be thankful for – I suspect that the second half of this exercise will provide the insight you may be looking for.

Have a great day 🙂

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The Problem of Presupposition: Part 2

Recently, I wrote an article on the problem of presupposition and ultimately fallacy amongst progressive liberals.  From my experience, it is very difficult to understand, let alone reason with the liberal-minded of today because of their core belief system and their fundamental commitment to that ideology.

Of course, any ideology has a core belief system upon which an individual and/or group evaluates other belief systems and commitments. In a general sense, the aversion that conservatives and liberals have towards each other is rooted in their fundamental and often opposing presuppositions and their commitment to those presuppositions.

Before I venture further into this subject matter, I would like to offer a working definition of presupposition courtesy of another blogger on WordPress.

What is a presupposition?

So what is a presupposition? A presupposition is a core belief or core commitment that we use to evaluate other beliefs or commitments. “Pre” in this sense is not “pre” as in prior in time, as if you make up your mind beforehand. Instead, it means “pre” as in basis or eminence. A presupposition is foundational to your other beliefs and provides a basis or framework for your other beliefs. Additionally, a presupposition is not a matter of the mind only – it’s not a hypothesis or a purely cognitive supposition. It is a commitment – a matter of the mind and heart.

Jed Kampen, A Day in His Court

In many ways, I wish I had referred to Kampen’s article earlier. As one can readily ascertain from the provided definition, a person’s presuppositions are NOT something he or she decides beforehand, a matter of hypothesis or mental reasoning only, but a bonafide commitment to a worldview upon which they view or filter everything else.

This alone should bring more understanding, and perhaps a little humility into our discussion of political ideology. Now, for the sake of brevity, I will not delve into what core values constitute liberalism versus conservatism. Once again, Google is your friend here. I can personally recommend the many articles on Wikipedia concerning the aforementioned as a good starting point.

I mentioned in a previous post, that as a younger person, many of the liberal issues surrounding individual rights, like freedom of religion and conscience and freedom of speech, appealed to me as a Christian or follower of Christ. Likewise, some of the community aspects of modern socialism, including caring for the poor and disenfranchised, appeared to be very similar to my own Christian belief system. Included in that were the sociocultural elements of growing up, at least in part, in a small farming community in western Canada, where faith, the Church, and socialist politics (New Democrat Party, i.e. the NDP) were an integral part of life.

It is my understanding that many of our core values, including our belief system, are instilled in us at a very early age.

Unlike more than a few of my peers in college and university, my core values and commitment to Christ was stronger than I thought. When I encountered the myriad of contrary and contradicting ideologies in a radical socialist university setting, I was not as easily swayed as some of my fellow students. I take no credit for that – I attribute that to the sovereignty and purpose of God in my life.

Many were young, their minds were ripe for the picking by less-than-scrupulous liberal and socialist ideologues who sought to remake them (us) in their image.

Truth be told, I “went to war” against more than one of my professors on matters of morality and ethics, only to suffer some ostracism from a few classmates and retaliation from professors (or TA’s) when it came to marking my essays and exams.

So much for free thinking and open debate in university. The politically correct police were alive and well on campus, even back in the early 1980’s. It might be interesting to note that both the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church had colleges on campus, neither of which I chose to enrol in. Nevertheless, more than one of the aforementioned liberal-minded socialist professors were tenured at either one of those colleges. No surprise there, but bitterly disappointing to me at the time.

It did not take me long to figure out that modern socialism is rooted in secular humanism, and by definition is Godless. That small community of farmers, mentioned earlier, supported socialism and voted NDP because it benefitted them economically at that time. Nothing more, nothing less. Of course, things have changed over the last 35 years or so. The socialist politics of yesterday have been swept away and replaced with conservatism almost universally in our province. The holdouts are unionists and those who depend on social services and the gravy train, especially those living in the more remote northern regions of the province.

Although modern liberalism is also rooted in secular humanism, there has been more tolerance and latitude for belief systems such as Christianity and its inherit morality and ethics. Unfortunately, what was true two or three decades ago in Canada, is no longer true today. As alluded to in an earlier post, somewhere along the line, liberalism expunged morality and ethics from its core values, at least in terms of absolute morality and ethics. Many of us who were once liberals, and Christian, have now sought shelter amongst conservatives.

Our nation has moved from legalizing abortion to euthanasia (physician assisted suicide). Politicians, lawyers, and judges have diluted the legal definition of marriage and family to something almost unrecognizable. The powers that be have chipped away, eroded, and limited freedom of speech. Political leaders are antagonizing the very principles of freedom of religion and conscience by repeatedly caving in to specific religious special interest groups. Just about anything in our culture that represents Christianity is under attack in the public realm by the aforementioned, amongst others. To disagree with an ideology, other than Christianity (apparently it is Ok to target Christians) and to question the morality and ethics of individuals or groups is to invite a barrage of vitriol and hatred, or worse.

Why do the aforementioned hate anyone or anything that would shine a light on that which is hidden in the darkness of their hearts and minds? Because they are as wholeheartedly committed to their ideology as I am to mine.

The question is “who is right?” Which ideology is vastly superior to the other? These are the questions we should be asking rather than just assuming (based on presuppositions) that all political and religious philosophies or ideologies are equal.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 🙂

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The Problem of Presupposition

There will be pain...

Yesterday, I wrote a rather satirical article on one of the presuppositions or fables of progressive liberalism, specifically, the falsehood that the entire world is rapidly changing and is in desperate need of a “good” injection of progressive liberalism by the hands of the indoctrinated.

The truth is that no amount of personal dialogue or blogging is going to change the minds of the aforementioned unless the voice of moderates – philosophers, theologians, writers, speakers, etc., continue to chip away and expose the fallacies of their presuppositions – the very basis of their convoluted and discombobulated liberalism of today.

As a former liberal ideologue, some twenty years ago, I would also like to point out that this new wave of progressive liberalism that we witness today, especially in the US and Canada, is predominantly the brainchild of a different spirit* that, in my understanding, is leading people towards an end result of catastrophic biblical proportions. Something that will prove to be quite sinister or evil in contemporary society.

* And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Ephesians 2: 1-3 NASB

Now, if you were to back me into a corner, I would readily admit that there just might be some things about progressive liberalism that are good, at least as far as human perspective is concerned. Nevertheless, there is something very different about this “new wave” of liberalism that is very troubling, not only to me, but to many of my colleagues and peers.

This ideology or worldview is readily reflected in this present time in a subset of young people (Millenials) that openly express their feelings of being misunderstood, disaffected, discontented, and alienated from entire institutions (including the Church) of previous generations. It is very important to recognize that the aforementioned is NOT representative of an entire generation of Millennials and does NOT speak for them as a whole.

Nothing new here. It is almost a right of passage in the West for young people to rebel against an older generation. The difference though, today, is that this new wave of liberals appear to have closed their minds to anyone and anything that would get in the way of their incomprehensible agenda(s).

This group is social media savvy, trolling the inter-web like angry guard dogs. They are acid-tongued and vitriol in their words, intolerant of opposing viewpoints, and utilize extreme social pressure to keep their own peers in line. They are known as public haters of God and country, and have a tendency towards going far beyond civil disobedience to the point of anarchy – rampant violence, looting and property destruction. Incredibly, left-leaning Hollywood personalities, university professors and the liberal media have been aiding and abetting this wanton violence and destruction almost with impunity.

Biblical warnings like this take on a whole new significance today:

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 2 Timothy 3: 1,2 NLT.

Over the last year or so, I have watched a few videos shot in Toronto during Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests. What started out as ordinary run-of-the-mill protests slowly evolved into something much more frightening. The words of hatred and violence coming out of the mouths of some of their leaders or spokespersons was nothing short of despicable. They even went so far as to call Prime Minister Trudeau, a progressive liberal himself, a white racist. I would not be surprised if these same individuals appeared on the radar of not only the local police, but CSIS in short order.

Crazy is as crazy does…our words often entrap us.

And the whole world wonders why so many of my generation, who were once liberals, defending freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech in Canada, have left the camp of the abominable and have sought shelter amongst conservatives. What has changed? Liberalism as we knew and understood it has changed. Somewhere along the line, morality and ethics were expunged from liberalism. From my perspective, to its own demise.

The following story clearly illustrates the frustration that many moderates experience in attempting to dialogue with an individual and/or group, who’s mind is already made up based on erroneous presuppositions:

I heard about a man who was convinced he was dead. His wife was obviously very concerned about him, so she took him to see many friends, counsellors, psychologists, even pastors, and no one could convince him he was not dead. Finally, in desperation, she took him to see a medical doctor. The doctor asked the man, “Do you believe that dead men bleed?” The man thought about it and answered, “Well, I suppose their heart isn’t beating so, no, dead men don’t bleed.” The doctor then took a needle and pricked the man on the finger. The man stared at his bleeding finger, and the lights in his eyes came on, and he exclaimed “Well would you look at that. Dead men do bleed.” 🙂

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