Managing the Forced Dilemma

23 01 2010

They want to kill us, and we want to live.  This is the problem at hand, that Muslim fanatics in this world aim to destroy as many of us as possible.  The question is how we are to stop them.

Every person has a list of priorities.  When we let someone take something from us that we value highly, this is only for the sake of something that we value more highly than what we lost.  A man in Beirut was assigned to guard Bathist headquarters.  He was not disloyal, nor was he willingly derelict in his duties when he let PLO terrorists inside to steal paperwork and set explosives.  He did it for a note and a lock of hair.  He did it to save his kidnapped wife.  A forced dilemma was set before him.  He could sacrifice his job and his employer’s property, or he could sacrifice his wife.  It was the essence of any effective diplomacy.  If you want a thing that someone values highly, then you offer him something that he values more highly, or else you threaten to take it away.

There are those who value our destruction highly.  We must bribe or threaten something that they value even more if we wish to have diplomatic leverage.

Eve was not generally a disobedient woman when she took the forbidden fruit.  If she had been, then she would already have been fallen.  Therefore, it stands to reason that she was not without loyalty to her God, and she did not disobey for disobedience’s sake.  When the matter came down to the fire, she valued her vanity higher than her loyalty to God.  The snake appealed to the higher priority, and the lesser one was sacrificed in the process.

A man may value his job, may wish to be appreciated for his work and may wish to be esteemed by his coworkers.  However, he may also wish to relax, and this priority may be higher on his list.  Everyone has a list of priorities, and no two things are of equal value.  When put to the test, when forced to choose between two things, a person’s prioritization determines the outcome.  The homeless bum does not wish to be homeless, but, very often, his desire to avoid strenuous work is a higher priority.  A homosexual does not necessarily want to be a sinner or face possible wrath in the afterlife, but his desire to live the homosexual life is a higher priority.

Life is all about priorities.  We can all say that we want to be good people.  We can all say that we want to do the right thing.  Even the common criminal could say it, but the will to do the right thing is a lower priority than the desire to indulge in someone else’s property, some defiled lifestyle or some manner of vengeance.  One might easily say “I can’t help it.  That’s just the way I am,” when we want to do the right thing but never actually do it.  Of course we want to do the right thing, but we value something else even more.

Of course we don’t want to die in a nuclear inferno.  We must find that thing that the enemy wants more than our destruction if we are to survive.

Iran is working on making nuclear weaponry.  This is not for energy.  They have enough crude oil to provide them with plenty of energy.  This is not for defense.  They don’t need provocation.  The people in charge over there just want us dead.  We make fools of ourselves when we threaten sanctions.  We could starve their economy into oblivion, but it wouldn’t touch their nuclear ambitions.  We in the West put such a high priority on the almighty dollar that we can’t imagine other people not shaking in fear when money is at stake.  If they don’t stop their uranium enrichment, then we’ll stop buying their stuff.  Money, for the terrorist, is just a means to an end.  The bad guys in this case aren’t looking for prosperity this side of the grave.  Some of them are, but the martyrs aren’t.  When a man is willing to blow his own flesh to a thousand bacon bits just to kill you, one might wonder what a person could possibly offer or threaten to convince him to stop.  If Iran gets nukes, then Iran will use nukes, and unless we can find something more important to the Ayatollah than paradise, then this is the unavoidable end.

How did we come to the point where a weak nation with one bomb could cow a superpower with many bombs?

It’s all in the priorities.  We wish for prosperity.  We wish to live normal lives.  We wish to think well of ourselves.  We want people to like us.  We want to avoid conflict.  We want to close our eyes and make it all go away.  A few nukes from submarines and the Iranian threat could be gone by tomorrow.  It could be gone forever, but we have a higher priority, which is the preservation of human life.  Much as the crazies want to kill us, we don’t want to actually lash out and hurt their people.  But, even if we did, the question to ask is whether those madmen value their own peace and security above our demise.  To this, the answer is a resounding no.  If they wanted to live in peace, then we would not be in this situation to begin with.

They want paradise.  Can we take paradise away from them?

Much as people whined about the war in Iraq, it had the worthy effect of casting doubt as to whose side Allah is on.  If I’m going to blow myself to bits for God, then I’d better be absolutely certain that I’m really on his side.  There’s no sense in losing Paradise with a misdirected waste of life.  Then, the Muslim must be in a bit of a bind in that department.  Allah doesn’t make his intentions very clear on the specifics.  When the Muslims lose war after war, the favor of their god is in doubt.  When that happens, the dynamite belt might just be a blast-off to nowhere.

But the defeat of a Sunni regime is no deterrent to a Shiite.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We know that.  They know that.  At least, people are conscious of their own evil.  Show a man his shame, crush a woman’s pride, reveal that sin and do what you like, you only illustrate something that nags universally at the back of the human mind.  We are a bunch of sinners.  Promise a man his get-out-of-Hell-free card, and he’ll do anything for you.  We are all aware of our shortcomings.  The suicide bomber doesn’t don that belt because he’s a faithful Muslim.  He does it because he knows he’s screwed up, big time.  Death by jihad is to him an automatic win, despite his failures.  Overcoming sin is a higher priority than life, itself.  Losing life means losing everything.  When you kill yourself, you give up on friendships, family, prosperity and everything else.  It means you don’t get that promotion, that sunny weather, that cup of coffee, or anything else.  What does the terrorist want?!  He wants to be absolved of his sins when his own efforts are clearly in vain.  He wants to be forgiven by God for all of the wickedness that stains his soul like grease on a new white dress shirt.  Every other thing is a lesser priority.  Nothing trumps it.  There is no higher priority to use for diplomatic leverage.

That man needs Jesus.

Once, so long ago, there was a martyr who gave his life in a battle to absolve all sin, but the sin that he absolved was not his own.  It was yours.  He died the martyr’s death so that we, who could not get into Heaven by merit, could still get into Heaven.  That martyr was Jesus.  He is that automatic pass to Paradise.  It is only through him that we are saved.

Because an exploded sinner is just a sinful mess.

Parallel Universes

13 12 2008

I know that the Bible does not cover every subject exhaustively, leaving many things unsaid, even when it comes to spiritual matters.  Still, one might feel confident that all of the important matters are covered, and the most important matters are covered the best.  A safe rule of thumb to follow is that if the Bible preaches softly on a matter, then so should we, and where it speaks loudly, we should scream it from the hilltops.  I’m going to speak very softly today.  What I have to say has little practical application, but it is interesting enough to be worth saying.


I have stated in an earlier post, Three Universes, that there exists a certain barrier, not only between God and us, but also between the physical world and us.



To recap, briefly, God, who is infinite, cannot be fully contained within a finite universe.  He must, therefore, be contained within an infinite universe, outside of the finite physical one.  As discussed earlier, nx = ∞ as x approaches infinity, which is to say that the universe which contains God must, itself, be God.  The large circle in the diagram is infinitely large, which is to say that God lives in an infinitely large universe, but he is also not contained within any universe at all.  The realm of God, by inductive thought, should be more absolute than the physical universe that it contains.  It does not change with time, and it is, for all intents and purposes more real than ours.  Second point: we do not experience the physical world directly.  Our eyes are like web cams, and our hands are like robotic arms.  We move them using the wiring of our bodies, and we receive input through that same wiring.  The sensation is then reconstructed on the computer monitor of our minds, in living color, so that we are hardly aware of the process that it took to get it there…until something goes wrong along the way.  My mind can not leave my body and experience a physical object directly, which begs the question as to how it experiences a brain.  It doesn’t.  It experiences itself, and it is influenced from the outside by a brain.  The mind is so different from the physical brain that houses it, that it could be considered a universe all its own.  As with the relationship between God’s realm and the physical universe, the physical universe is more absolute and concrete than the universe of the mind.  It is more real, in a sense.  These universes are not parallel.  They exist in a vertical relationship between God and us.


What is a human soul?  This is a question that cannot be definitively answered on its own, but it can be nailed down to a certain key characteristic.  That brings us back to Descartes’ cogito ergo sum, “I think, therefore I am.”  More precisely, I experience, therefore I am.  Whether our perception of the world around us has any truth to it, one certainty lies in the fact that we are experiencing something, even if it’s inaccurate.  This ability to experience is not at all physical.  The projector is like a brain, physical and giving rise to the image on the wall, but the image, itself, is not physical.  So, too, the mind is not physical, and it depends on the brain.  The human soul is, by definition, something nonphysical.  We might say that we are aware of our own souls through the awareness of our own minds.  While our minds are the only way for us to be aware of our souls, this does not mean that our souls are nothing more than our minds.  One might say that the mind is the intersection between the soul and the brain.


But of all of the people ever born, my mind arises from only one brain.  One brain in six billion (more, throughout history) is mine.  At the outset, it seems like my odds of coming into this world at all were worse than one in six billion, but were those the odds?  Let’s look at the numerator in that fraction.  The fact is that I can either come into this world, or I can not come into it.  We’re not even talking about coming into it twice, and we can’t only come into it halfway.  It’s like the infinitely small point on a Cartesian plane.  The point either lies on the plane, or it does not.  Either I landed some real estate on a human brain, or I did not.  The infinite smallness of this implied point presents us with the implication that a soul is infinitely unique.  As mathematical points cannot overlap, so, too, is there no overlap in a soul.  It’s yours alone, to share with no other.  How many other souls could have existed in my place?  Apparently, there is no limit.  An infinite number of souls could have been born in my place, but weren’t.  The infinite uniqueness of a human soul, crossed with the limitless supply makes my odds of being born equal to one in infinity.  That’s another way of saying that it’s just flat out impossible, as far as we’re concerned.  The only way it could work is if there were an infinite number of human souls that found life.  There aren’t that many in this universe.  There never will be.  If this universe were the only one that God had ever created, then I never would have seen life.


So, then, we take a step beyond the physical universe, into the realm of God, where there is an infinite opportunity for the generation of human souls.  I might add, in passing, that what this means is that without God, you could not be the person that you are; you could not be anyone.  If you sense your own ability to experience life through a body, then you have inadvertently demonstrated the existence of an infinite God.  The problem of the impossibility of my own personal existence can then be solved if we can accept the idea that, within the expanse of his realm, he has created enough universes to accommodate an infinite number of souls like mine.  These universes could be bigger or smaller than ours.  They would all be finite, or else they would be God’s own realm.  They could be different.  They could be suitable for our kind of life, or not.  They could even be different in ways that our minds are wholly incapable of grasping.  Walking into one could be like walking into Narnia, or it could be like walking into an exact match of our own, with only slight differences.


This brings us to a more recent post, The Hallway Of Eden.  Many of the Christian faith shrink in fear when they are asked if they believe in the Genesis account literally.  The fact is simply that what is written of Adam and Eve is like nothing that could happen in this world.  I’ve never seen a snake talk.  The honest response is that it doesn’t appear to be possible by today’s understanding.  However, in truth, it never seemed possible by the understanding of any age.  This is not science versus religion.  Ancient people were no fools.  They knew that snakes could not talk.  Some people write it off as myth, yet call themselves Christian, but Christianity, at its core, depends entirely upon the mission of Christ, which was to reverse the effect of the Fall of Man (enter talking snake).  Crush the base and the tower crumbles.


So let’s look at it fresh: Eve took the forbidden fruit, because she believed that it would give her special powers, like God.  For that matter, the snake already had special powers.  Did you catch that?  Read it again: the snake had the special power of the ability to talk.  Eve had to have some reason to believe that the simple act of eating a fruit would grant some kind of drastic change in her universe.  God had given her permission to eat the fruit of a great number of trees.  She had done this.  Seeing the forbidden fruit, she must have wondered what new marvel this one held, and what new change it had in store.  She believed that it could produce exciting changes in her universe, because that’s exactly what all of the other fruit had done.  Hence, the snake.  And the forbidden fruit did exactly that: it changed her universe drastically.  Thousands of years later, no human has ever seen anything like it.  We are not used to the idea.  We are not even readily inclined to think of it this way.  Eve had, essentially, passed through a doorway into a universe that contained both good and evil, having previously only known good.  The snake no longer talks.  Thorns and weeds grow where they are not wanted.  Disorder is the law of the land.  One must kill like a ravenous monster to survive.


Looking back into the garden, there was only one tree with fruit that could change it all back.  This was the tree of life.  However, had she changed the world, or had she merely stepped into a different one?  The difference between a world based on entropy and one not based on entropy is so drastic, that it would have been the creation story all over again, in a darker light.  Everything would have to be made all over again to survive in this fallen world.  Did the universe change, or did she step into a different universe?  Is there a difference?  Looking back at the tree of life was like looking back at the door through which she had just come.  Had she stepped back through that door, would it have made her pure again, or would she have taken that evil with her and ruined everything else (See Infinite Dilution)?


If, indeed, my theory is correct, then the Garden of Eden was a hub to which some other universes connected, entered via the consumption of fruit as a doorway.  All of these universes were finite, like ours, which is why returning back into them would permanently ruin them.  That doorway is forever bolted shut.  By the ideas presented in the Infinite Dilution post, we would have to travel into a realm that was infinitely vast, so that a finite amount of sin were as nothing.  As mentioned earlier, that would be the realm of God, which is, itself, God.  He tore open a back door to our universe, allowing us access to himself, allowing us to enter his presence.  He took our sins upon himself, allowing both us and our sins to pass through into his kingdom, that we might yet live and our sins be cast into a sea of forgetfulness.  Keeping in mind, though, that we are just as finite as our sins.  We, also, could be cast into a sea of forgetfulness if not parted from our sins.  This is the difference between Heaven and Hell.  It’s either an eternity without sin, or it’s an eternity with only sin (You’re Already Dead).


So then, the diagram from above would look something more like this:


The different universes are parallel universes, which means that a person can be in one place in our universe and find that exact same place on another universe, though it would be different.  Hence, the Garden of Eden, though it had a physical place in our world, it would have really existed as a parallel universe.  Hence, we could never find it again on Earth if the door were bolted shut, and it was not destroyed in the Great Flood.  These universes are truly parallel, because they do not exist within each other as in the first diagram, but they exist beside each other, as being equal in realness.


The reason I say that I speak softly on the subject is because the matter of parallel universes is entirely impractical for our lives.  In essence, we only need to know the first diagram, that there is God, the universe and us.  For us, there is no door to Narnia.  It exists, as a matter of speaking, in its own right, but as far as we’re concerned, it might as well not exist, because we can never get to it.  If we could get to it, then we would utterly destroy it, even if unintentionally.  For this reason, the Bible makes no mention of it.  It solves no problem.  It fills no need.


It does, however, give us something to think about as we sip our coffee in front of a laptop.  That’s good enough for me.