Category Archives: Beliefs

How Do You Know?

One of the least favorite comments or observations I heard someone say to me; “perceptions are reality.”

On its first pass, the phrase sounds hollow or trite. My mind wanted to reject it out of hand knowing that perceptions often have little to do with facts or logic.

Nonetheless I’ve come to accept it. The core of our values, our politics, our life partners, all revolve around our minds perception to what we are taught, repeat, and associate with what others believe.

There are many lessons I’ve been reluctantly taught from this phrase. Here are a couple observations.

Suicide: whatever the circumstances, whomever that person knew, the conditions that brought that person to the point of ending their own life, is a difficult thing to grasp. It shakes our foundation but the thing we haven’t a clue on most of the time, what drove them to that point? Once again I’m reminded, perception is reality. Theirs was one of anguish.

Relationships: I could write a book or two on this topic just from my own experience. If the phrase, “love is blind”, is familiar, I might also suggest deaf as a post, too. Whenever you read someone’s explanation, no matter how clinical, or how emotional, there’s little reason to think that we can fully understand it, but again, “perceptions are reality.” What may start as a hot fire of unimaginable joy, may end in distant coolness or outright hatred. Same people but again, perceptions.

I won’t touch politics with this one, but it’s sufficient to say, look around social media for awhile. See what people are saying about the same person(s). Both sides may think the other has totally lost their marbles.

Perception Is Not Reality
Just because you think something is reality doesn’t make it so.

Startling as that may seem to some people, there’s ample evidence to show, people may react, believe, or think something is true, but in fact, it’s not.

Perception acts as a lens through which we view reality. That lens can become more distorted from a variety of causes. The mind can be manipulated and often is through deliberate strategies, most of those accomplished through repetition.

An example, we don’t have to struggle to believe in gravity. It’s readily apparent. There’s no need to hold regular meetings, or claim group membership is necessary to further its reality.

You can lead a person to knowledge but you can’t make them think. Beliefs are stronger than facts” ~ Anonymous

There are many who self-sabotage their future health, happiness, or longevity based on delusions or distrust in their own abilities.

What we can and should do, is be willing to realize our thoughts maybe wrong. Realignment with reality is difficult when our entire life has been altered by others or our own choices.

Sometimes our most closely held beliefs or or analysis is fundamentally flawed, and may require outside resources to aid in our ability to see things as they are, not necessarily as we want them to be.

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Give Peace a Chance?

This tweet started an uproar, as well as the picture. Ellen_DeGeneres_tweetThere’s millions of reasons to bicker amongst ourselves and far fewer to not. Everyone can find fault in others, but not so easily in ourselves. Why is that?

Well, I support the ideas Ellen DeGeneres espoused. We need more kindness, more respect, and love in this world. Excuses are bountiful, but I side with trying peace.

The brouhaha started when Ellen DeGeneres sent out a tweet showing she was sitting with George & Laura Bush at a game. There were some angry criticism over her being a lesbian, who claimed he was an oppressor of the LGBTQ+ community and even went so far as to refer to him as a war criminal.

Furthermore, everyone believes they’re an expert on when it’s appropriate to use the military. At that time, 9/11 occurred. People wanted to get Bin Laden, and go after perceived threats. The government of Iraq appeared to be the next regime to start an international conflict through either biological or nuclear methods.

Most people in Congress, voted to go into Iraq. That included Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Charles Schumer, John Kerry and others who tried to say, we are real smart people, but we think we were duped. Well, if that’s what they believe, that’s what they can try to make as their own cover story. George Bush did his best in time of crisis.

After George Bush left office, President Obama continued with the war in Iraq, and some say he let the Iraqi people down by withdrawing most (not all) troops. During his time he increased commitment to the Afghanistan war. Then through clandestine operations, used off the books money to fund and support rebels in Libya. They toppled Muammar Gaddafi. That ended up a total fiasco when members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia, continued to spread hate & discontent and destroyed the Benghazi embassy, killing the ambassador & other personnel.

In truth, there continues to be blood on the hands of both political parties, and even now, President Trump is catching flak for his desire to withdraw our military involvement in Syria. People were questioning our military involvement authorized by President Obama, and now the press, some military leaders, and many critics are saying we shouldn’t withdraw. This is the nature of politics and people who castigate one person for doing something they were raking another over for doing just the opposite.

You see, Mark Ruffalo, and others like him, have the distinction of knowing exactly what’s right while everyone else are confused. I guess the best thing for any of us, is to know what’s right, but not have any responsibility for the consequences. It’s perfect. It’s like we were watching a football game and there are hundreds, maybe thousands of fans that would have called a different play, than the one they saw executed on the field.

Meanwhile, people like Ellen are saying, give peace a chance. Let’s practice peace and understanding in our own domain. Once we figure how to get along with people locally who have different opinions, maybe we can roll that out internationally?

I guess what I find so disingenuous are those who most often say, don’t judge me, or don’t be so judgemental, typically fail to recognize their own behavior.


Note: Introduced in the House by Dennis Hastert on Oct. 2, 2002
Became Public Law No. 107-243
Committee consideration by the House Committee on International Relations
Passed the House on Oct. 10, 2002 (296 – 133)
Passed the Senate on Oct. 11, 2002 (77 – 23)
Signed into law by President George W. Bush on Oct. 16, 2002

Our Existence ~ Question & Reason

yin-yang-a1All the philosophers, sages, theorists, scientists, & ancient texts, comment and theorize, however the denouement*1, is life itself.

Over and over we’re presented with ancient stories that supposedly explain our existence. The question we seldom ask ourselves, what is truly important?

According to the Bible (Genesis 2:7), this is how humanity began: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” “God then called the man Adam, and later created Eve from Adam’s rib.”

Gallup polls and the Pew Research Center found four out of 10 Americans believe this account. It’s a central tenet for those who consider themselves literal Christians. (This isn’t an endorsement, merely describing what is believed by many.)

Whatever your level of consideration of the nature of God, the core to any of the ancient religions is our beginning, our ending, and the life in between those two moments, whether for us individually or humanity as a whole.2018-07-17 12.06.05

Before you access your own reactions to any religious theme, this isn’t about any specific religion, it’s about how do you view yourself amidst what you’ve learned so far? These references are simply to say, there are millions of people over thousands of generations who have considered, why, when, and who are we? Whatever your answer, the key to this always comes back to how much do you value these ideas? Your answer defines who you are, and how you adapt and progress with your life.

Let’s start with the basics

When you first enter this world, you are helpless, and require someone to take care of all your physical needs. This gradually changes over time, but even when you are able to provide for yourself, your perspective about your life typically revolves around you as the most important person. You’ve come to think you deserve to receive attention, entertainment, nourishment, and shelter.  That’s a very egocentric world view, which hopefully changes over time. This becomes critical if you marry and have children. If it’s still all about you, then the marriage is doomed and the children will suffer, unless someone else picks up the slack.

What do you value above everything else?

Some will insist that it’s their faith, or belief in God. Many people will say, that just shows you how important God is in our lives. Here’s the thing that’s troubling about that statement. An example, the United States is supposedly a Christian nation. We have many churches and there are quite a few people that financially support them. Yet, what are our priorities?

Gospel_of_wealth_Andrew_Carnegie

click on the image to find this book

We build huge athletic and entertainment facilities overall costing billion$ while we have people that are hungry and without adequate shelter. We see huge churches, often led by clergy with vast income from their patrons. Our response for those in need seems more in keeping with Ebeneezer Scrooge rather than the text used as a guide in the Bible.

Mark 10:21-22
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.

Luke 14:12-14
He said also to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

There are many more, but you get the general idea. So, is the Bible to be interpreted literally, or as a convenience when we agree or tell others we agree with it?

We have a poverty problem that’s not being addressed. Some say, there’s always those who either can’t or won’t do for themselves, how is it my responsibility to provide for them?

Luke 12:16-21
Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.’

Matthew 7:21
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 25:40
‘And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Do we as a nation appear to be be Christian, from other nations perspective?

The United States has been at war for well over 90% of the time since it began as a nation. Even before the USA was formed, the colonies were at war with those who were the indigenous inhabitants.
invade_bomb_muslim_lands
What does the Bible say about living at peace with other people?

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Romans 14:17-19 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

Luke 6:27 But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you ..”

There are many more, but again you get the idea, or should understand that the text claims peace is the goal, and to direct our life towards peace.

I’m not suggesting that we live in a world where we can ignore defending ourselves, but is this what we should be doing? Do we need to participate with people all over the world in conflict? Does the reading of the Bible or the declaration, we are a Christian people, mean anything?

Yes, I get it, we’re imperfect but I think deep down we know it’s a sham. We can try to convince ourselves or tell others how much our faith or belief in God means, but there’s a lot of activity that shows we don’t believe any of it. We’re not alone. There’s the world of Islam which claims to be peaceful, and the Hindu. Look at the global map. A lot of conflicts going on with most of them conducted by fervent believers in God.

active_global_conflicts

We claim we believe in capitalism, but does that mean we should grab every dollar we can lay hands on, and especially place those who are at or near poverty, into worse conditions when we withhold more earnings or reduce wages & benefits to gain more profit?

Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor dishonors his Maker: but he who honors Him shows generosity toward the poor.
USA_poverty_chart

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Notes:
1* Definition of denouement: the outcome of a complex sequence of events.