Thursday, November 10, 2011

Altruism Redefined

Recently in my Psych 101 class we discussed interpersonal relationships and aspects of it. During the lecture the instructor touched on altruism and explained three main forms of it. One form takes place with the expectation for reciprocation, another takes place to take care of kin, and another takes place just the make the altruistic individual feel good about himself. The instructor argued that there couldn’t be any true altruism by definition because all forms of giving receive some type of reward. We were operating on the definition that altruism was an act to aid another that resulted in loss without gain.


He then asked if we could think of any true altruism, and a man in the class recounted how his mother adopted nine children with special or physical needs (severe cerebral palsy, dwarfism, ect.) and claimed she attributed it to being a good Christian. One of the other students then piped up to say even that was not without gain because in Christianity good deeds were done to please God or get his favor.

After these ideas simmered for awhile it occurred to me that maybe we should redefine altruism or change our perspective on gain. When we get right down to it even God isn’t truly altruistic since the Word says “all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1:16)and Christ came to save sinners, though a selfless act with loss, he gained the ability to pardon us and justify us in God’s presence. He gained from his loss; a loss that is seen as the highest expression of love that one could ever convey.

Also, if you look at it honestly, altruism is not Biblical. We are told “it is more blessed to give than to receive” ( Acts 20:35), which implies we have something of more value to gain when we give to others than to receive from others. In addition to that we are told to do to others as we would have them do unto us (Luke 6:31) which infers we can expect to some degree of some reciprocity of gain as we give.

Ultimately, I believe altruism should be redefined. Maybe defining it as “an act to aid another without the expectation of gain” would be achievable; otherwise, we will not get true altruism as it is currently defined.

Just my thoughts.

Carmen

Monday, September 19, 2011

Active Concious Decision: Love

Love is action.

After living a mere 19 years on this earth this is something that only became clear most recently. Not that I did not know of it, but I rather saw it as an “addition to”. Maybe in addition to feelings, in addition to words; it seems that love is action and really only action, the rest is emotion.

The best example of this is Christ, who took action against sin, with the known sacrifice in mind. No other god did that. No other will.

Another example: the man who lays down his life for his fellow soldier by leaping onto a grenade to absorb the blast. It is possible not many have done this, but I am sure those that did, did so with sincerity.

Both of those examples I hope one day to follow, to give my life with the known sacrifice, to love with all abandon, like the Christ I claim to serve and soldiers to whom I owe so much.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Help Me Out

Hello faithful readers and passersby (though I know there are few of both):

I call upon you again to take a minute or two out of your day and vote for my entry in a haiku contest I entered to gain funds for school. Here's the link:

http://www.directtextbook.com/haiku/3448


If you think anyone else would vote for me, please don't hesitate to pass it on.
 
I will have some more substantial writing coming up soon, but school has started again, so reflective writing is mostly on the back burner. I will try to get something down this weekend or next as I do have something I would like you to think about.
 
Thank you for help
 
Carmen

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In Three Ways

Recently I had been thinking of John 14:6 where Jesus proclaims to be “the way, the truth, and the life…” For some reason, maybe by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I began to ponder on how Jesus is the “the way”. I find in my shallow ponderings that Christ is the way out, the way in, and the way through. Allow me to explain:


In one sense I see him as the way out of sin. By him do we as human beings have an Advocate with the one and only holy God and through that contact we can confess our sins and receive redemption from the blots on our souls which damn us to Hell for eternity. Also, in John 3:17 it reads “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” We must understand that we were condemned already before Christ came, and contrary to what many in this generation believe, he came not tell everyone he is a sinner in danger of Hell (which he still did do), but that through him we have a way out. He is our way out of unrighteousness and to “paths of uprightness” toward living out our faith in his life, death, and resurrection.

In another sense I see him as the way in to Heaven. The rest of John 14:6 declares that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” And John 3:16, as (I hope) most Christians know, says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In this fashion Jesus is our way in to Heaven, our way to eternal life, and the great privilege of being in his awesome presence for all time.



In my last sense I see him as a way through trials. With this thought my mind thought back to I Corinthians 10:13 where in part it says, “…but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Now I’m aware that some may think the my relation to Jesus being the way out of trials would have related better, but I quoted the verse in the first instance to make a point. Christ never promised us zero hardships, trials, temptations, or troubles when we believe on him. In fact he did the opposite declaring that those that hate him will hate those that believe on him. In I Corinthians 10:13 he made a point to tell us that he will make a way of escape, a way through, but we must bear.

I know none of those realizations are terribly profound, but they encouraged me and helped me see my God clearer and love him more.

I hope you find the Way.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Misconception

First, I would like to thank those that have commented recently on my posts. Even though I don’t really have a way to respond to you directly, I read them and if it is a particularly important issue raised in a response I will dedicate a post to it. Overall, however, thank you for your feedback. ^_^

Recently, I commented on a post on a site I belong to about the recent legislative decision made in New York. I couldn’t stand by while the mass majority of people gave their accolades to the outcome of the situation.

I learned several things from this experience and the 100 or so comments sent my way. Yet, one of the many things I find glaring is that unbelievers take the Bible as whole to be the word of God relevant right now or eliminate one part of the Gospel message.

I’m not sure if it is just the ignorance of the unbeliever or a shortfall on the part of Christians. At any rate, I must be faithful to note that the Old Testament is as exactly as it’s titled; the old. It was meant for a specific people during a specific time and is no longer in effect because of Christ’s death and resurrection freedom from the Levitical/Mosaic laws was given. A rule of thumb I follow is that all that is pertinent to the believer that was in the Old Testament is reiterated in the New Testament. In other words, you’re not condemned for eating shellfish. However, this doesn’t mean we should totally disregard the Old Testament. This is a very important part of the Christian faith that ties together history and prophecy as well as beautiful psalms and wisdom. It is also beneficial for understanding context when it is referred to in the New Testament.
Now concerning eliminating part of the Gospel message, an unbeliever tends to zero in on the “You’re going to Hell!” part and totally disregarding “But you have a chance of redemption” part, or it could be a case of disregard on the Christian’s part. Either way the whole story needs to be told. If you claim Christ as your Savior, you must be faithful to tell the whole Gospel as one part is meaningless without the other. Someone may know they’re sinful and hell-bound, but with no way out it was a lot more pleasant to leave them in their ignorance and if they know only of grace they don’t know why they have it in the first place. Unbelievers must know first that we all are sinful (don’t single them out) and because of this we need a Savior which is Jesus.

I’m going to try to work toward dispelling this idea of “only damnation” and following the laws the Old Covenant and misunderstand God as spiteful.

But I can’t do it alone. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Sky Is Not Blue

As a Christian I desire others to know that God exists in Heaven and if they believe in this God and the sacrifice his Son made to take all their sins upon himself, then they will recieve eternal life in heaven. I understand this desire in many other Christians, and sometimes I know that it can be such a strong desire that the only way to describe it is to say one feels as if he may die if another person does not recieve Christ and follow His will.




When someone's life is on the line the emotion can be overwhelming.



What I cannot understand is the desire to the point of screaming, and yelling, and violence that accompanies some, not all, of the atheistic community and their desire for everyone to believe that God does not exist. Period. It seems they look so hard, talk so long, and devise so diligently a way to explain why a God does not exist. Little do they realize, I suppose, that they're ability to argue a God does not exist in the first place is evidence that He does exist. To believe that no God lives one must first believe that a God exist to not believe in. Otherwise everyone would be asking, "What is God?" I believe if God did not exist we wouldn't even understand the idea of a God and His existence in the first place.



Furthermore, what is the point in believing and forcing or pursuading others to believe that a God does not exist? Believing God exist, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob specifically, brings life, love, and peace in the future.



What does not believing in any God bring?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Issue of Life Not Bias

Frustration does not seem to fully encompass my feelings about the popular response to homosexuality in the United States. I mention this because recently someone has posted something to a site asking for signatures for a petition to Uganda to not pass a bill that apparently dictates death to those who practice homosexuality.

Despite my views on the subject, I must say first that I do not believe other countries should attempt to interfere in the government of another country. Furthermore, a citizen (group of citizens) doing so seems to be a vain indulgence in self-righteousness.

All these things considered the petition itself did not upset me as much as the comments below the post. Different variations of “I can’t believe people still think like this!” and “How could they be so hateful?!” repeated over and over again. 

More proof the progressive machine is working and has worked.

As I told a commenter, when AIDS is practically a pandemic around the world, and just in America the CDC estimates “that about 63% [of AIDS cases] were among men who were infected through sexual contact with other men” (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5424a2.htm) in the early 2000s  and one can only imagine how this is perpetuated around the world. Smaller nations, such as Uganda in this case, has few options; two of which are controlling lifestyles or eradication. And if the petitioner was not being hyperbolic, Uganda has chosen the latter. It goes beyond “hatred” or “bigotry” on a continent that is known for its hurdles with AIDS, but rather an attempt of survival and preservation of the healthy. Granted I know little about the entirety of the bill or why it's being pushed, but that is my first response to my first impression.

On the issue of homosexuality itself, as Christian I believe it is a sin (as the Bible clearly outlines in Romans 1:24-28), and not only is it a sin, but it is a sin among many sins. Homosexuality is not exclusive to itself, but should be treated as a criminal offense just as theft, perjury, and murder. One individual once asked why not treat homosexuality as intravenous drug users are treated? They both are determined incompatible to give blood (http://www.vablood.org/pdfs/Lifestyles.pdf and that is not just for Virginia, but determined by the CDC)  and one of them is arrested for distributing drugs deemed illegal because of their negative effects. Even if a person wished not to equate drug users with those who practice homosexuality that same person can not deny the lifestyle is destructive to the practitioners through the potential to contract diseases (which I believe is the "recompense" that is talked about Romans) and to those involved such as children that have been adopted homosexual couples ( according the American College of Pediatricians sound evidence that children exposed to the homosexual lifestyle may be at increased risk for emotional, mental, and even physical harm. http://www.acpeds.org/Homosexual-Parenting-Is-it-Time-for-Change-Press-Release.html).

Do not fall for this illusion of an act of love. Do not dare compare them to colored individuals and troubles they faced to even marry someone who was not their skin color. They were born with stressed melanin, they could not change that. Homosexuals, who are not wrong for feeling attracted to the same gender, but are guilty of acting on that feeling are just as sinful as any liar, thief, or murderer. And also according to Romans 1 all those acts are worthy of death. Always note, however, that Jesus Christ defeated death, and he came so that all that believed on him could have life and have it more abundantly.

If you don't know him, let him show you true love. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Care to be Referred?

Well, here is one of the rare occasions to help me out. Before I started blogging solely on journeys in contemplation I used to use this blog to promote contests or so forth that I had entered. I’m currently not taking classes, so my participation in contests and scholarships has increased considerably and I once again need your assistance. Both of the links below are referrals and both will help me gain points in some way or another in contests I’ve entered on the respective sites. You don’t have to join the sites, but be sure to check them out as I think just clicking them will help me in some way (though joining them may help me even more ~_^).




http://www.scholarshippoints.com/10K/?sp=534817



http://collegeprowler.com/survey/Only1Holy1/

Thank you for your assistance. I should have a normal post soon.

Carmen

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Filth in Communicative Sound

And old adage goes as follows, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all.” I find many have forgotten this saying as profanity is commonplace here in this establishment of higher learner I attend.

As a person who enjoys languages and adores her first language especially, being an environment that seems to constantly have people using expletives is highly annoying. Seeing as I am a Christian I follow the commandment that I have to be “salt and light” in this world with my speech. Also I’m called to glorify the Lord with my speech. I’m not perfect, and I say stupid things, but with something as obviously inappropriate as using profane language its proficiency is disgusting.

When did this habit start? In bygone days people typically didn’t use strong expletives unless they were with close friends or family, so how come it’s become so public that individuals will wear paraphernalia that reads “F--- Off”.

Another characteristic of fallen man I suppose.

I want to lift them up. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm Not In Him, Thankfully

As you may have noticed from one of my other posts music is very important to me; Christian music even more so. Those who have come to the knowledge of Christ and accept Him have the privilege of praising and worshiping Him. I believe they should do so skillfully as described in one of the Psalms. In doing this I believe that the actual writing of the songs should also be done masterfully and with deliberate thought.

I often find in modern Christian music (or some refer to as Contemporary Christian Music; CCM) an attempt to add a sensual aspect to the music. Lyrics commonly refer to God as a physical person versus the spiritual being. Also, lyrics describe interactions with him that liken to a secular lover which I also feel is inappropriate.

This observation was further solidified today when I attended church and one of the songs that was sung during praise and worship had the line:

I found myself in you, Lord

As I began to ponder on that line the more it did not make sense. God in His holiness and glory is so different from any one human being that if someone found himself in Him than that is a cause for concern. This may mean that the person has molded God into who he wants Him to be, or worse, into an image of himself. I may be too literal, but I do not understand the “artistic” or “creative” aspect in this line so I have no choice but to be literal. Something more accurate would be to say:

I desire to find you in myself, Lord

Ignoring whether that would fit with the music, think about that line for a moment; in order for a person to find God in himself He must first be there, no? If He’s not, then there may be a problem and that’s where the word “desire” comes in. If a person really wants to find Him, he will put him there.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Pledge of Allegiance

I received this in an email. I by no means claim authorship of it, but I thought it was interesting, so I decided to share it. Feel free to show it to others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now I sit me down in school

Where praying is against the rule

For this great nation under God

Finds mention of Him very odd.



If scripture now the class recites,

It violates the Bill of Rights.

And anytime my head I bow

Becomes a Federal matter now.



Our hair can be purple, orange or green,

That's no offense; it's a freedom scene..

The law is specific, the law is precise.

Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.



For praying in a public hall

Might offend someone with no faith at all..

In silence alone we must meditate,

God's name is prohibited by the state.



We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,

And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks...

They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.

To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,

And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.

It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,

We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong..



We can get our condoms and birth controls,

Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles ..

But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,

No word of God must reach this crowd.



It's scary here I must confess,

When chaos reigns the school's a mess.

So, Lord, this silent plea I make:

Should I be shot; My soul please take!

Amen

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Musical Sensitivity

Why has everyone seem to become so desensitized?

When a person hears a beat, a lovely melody, or peppy rhythm, they do not seem to respond. Music was made to enjoy, so why not enjoy it? What if the musician was walking by; would the response change? Would he not want to see a person dancing to the notes he placed with thoughtfulness or smile at the melody he wrote from his heart? What if it’s not the people, but the music that does not stir activity or enjoyment?

Even if the music sounds enjoyable maybe the heart of the musician is not present, or the music does not contain a motive to move or motivate the listener. Often one can hear beats, guitar riffs, drums, and voices blaring from the ever popular (and harmful) ear buds, but the listener does not respond to them. Instead the listener is staring off into space or typing away on his mobile phone. Maybe the sounds do not signal to the listener to tap his foot, bob his head, or sway with the music that’s reverberating off his ear drums. Maybe because soul no longer embodies music that it does not cause people to move.

There’s no way to resolve this issue. For those like the writer of this blog this is a saddening discovery. Just as much as making music is an art, listening exists as an art also. Willing to find the subtle intricacies in music, acknowledge them, and enjoy them takes time, skill, and care; just like making those lovely aspects. If I was a musical artist I would want nothing more than to find someone singing, dancing, or responding to my music. Do the artists a favor and respond to their music. If it makes you laugh, cry, dance, sing, do it. Even in public respond to music. Artist give us art for us to enjoy and respond to it.

Respond.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Marital Agreement?

Something my professor for my Introduction to U.S. Government class said during his lecture really sent me thinking. In our study of the U.S. Constitution we are looking into the federalism aspect and separation of powers aspect of the document. During the lecture he touched on what attributes to the amount of power that states have. In his talk, he mentioned how the current issue we have now is homosexual couples who “marry” in one state are not considered “married” in another state. This is considered a violation of the full faith and credit clause. Then he asked the class what marriage was and several replied in unison “a man and a woman”, and then he replied that despite what civil or religious ideas a person has a state sees a marriage only as an legal agreement. My text for this class confirms this because certain benefits are attributed to married couples concerning property, taxes, and so forth.

I will work within realistic terms, and realistically many states that are influenced by morally minded people do not recognize “marriage” between those of the same gender as “marriage” and therefore do not grant the couple the benefits of being married that the government provides. Unless the state governments are interested in fulfilling the homosexual agenda of normalizing homosexuality and providing a platform for homosexuals to revel in their sinfulness, states are simply interested in fulfilling the benefits that they have give to marriage and homosexuals are simply trying to get them. Exceptions to this idea however are homosexuals who want to “marry” children, “marry” individuals against their will, or force people to acknowledge their relationship. Excusing all those situations, homosexuals want to gain the benefits of married heterosexual couples in the terms of the state.

After I came to this realization I find that the Christian community may be fighting the wrong battle. Though I do believe we must have the country (and the world) understand that homosexuality is a reproach to God, we can easily resolve part of the issue by simply limiting government influence. If the government provided no benefits for marriage, those that married would simply be doing so to begin a family. Period. Without benefits provided with marriage some homosexual couples may continue to simply live together, and pastors and priests of different churches would avoid the issue of confronting homosexual couples who want to marry in his or her church. If they wanted to start a legal battle, it can easily be explained that the priest or pastor is simply practicing his or her religion. In addition to that, since the philosophy to a right to privacy has been established and it has been stated that homosexuals have a “right to privacy” in their sexual matters, marriage would simple take that “private” matter into the public realm. For some this is exactly what they want. Also, if the state did want to get involved the only feasible benefit that I can think of is a tax benefit for married, heterosexual couples who bear children. In a sense this is an incentive for the people to benefit the state by providing more workers (or taxpayers depending on how you look at it) and would also keep those with certain religious affiliations be satisfied since only heterosexual couples can produce children.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Ask

Once a newly elected president of the United States of American asked the people of country not ask what the country can do for them, but what they could do for the country. These words have so obviously been forgotten when a large part of our country depend on entitlements from the government or other institutions to live. They ask, “Why does the country not feed me?” instead of growing food. They ask “Why does the country not provide work for me?” instead of making work. They ask “Why does the country not teach me?” instead educating himself or herself. They ask “Why does the country not raise my child?” instead of becoming parenting. These questions continue asking why the country does not kill my child for me, why does the country not accept my perversion, why does the country not simply live my meaningless life for me.


 Well, this individual does not ask those questions. I ask if I can share my faith with my nation to heal it as it has done to me. I ask if I can prompt my nation to follow its own laws. I ask if I can improve my country’s way of life through education. I ask if I can help my nations country by saving their children in the womb. I ask if I can save my country from the agenda of perversion that permeates our nation. I ask if I can make righteousness the norm so much so that evil stands out. I ask what can I do for my country to make it again the beacon for all the world to follow.


Christ has done everything for me, so I ask, United States of America, what can I do for you?