Sunday, November 09, 2014

You Don't Want to Live in a Libertarian World?

by Greg Samples

You say you’re happy you don’t live in a libertarian world?  You prefer the world you have now?

The world that has seen the death of over 50 million people in the last century at the hands of their own government.

Oh, you just prefer your own government now, not the whole world?

The government that has stolen the wealth of the common man and transferred it to the 1% via a fraudulent, fiat currency?

The government that has sent troops, money, equipment and other support to aid foreign nations in wars and covert actions without lawful congressional approval, engaging in non defensive military action in over 130 countries, often as mercenaries, and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent humans in those countries.

The government that has imposed a harsh, progressive income tax on the sweat of the middle class, causing families to work longer and with incomes from both parents just to make ends meet, and depriving children of parental supervision at the most critical times of their lives.
The government that has passed bills in conflict with the constitution, and they laugh at anyone bringing this to their attention.

The government that has meddled in the internal affairs of foreign nations, causing their citizens to direct their hostility towards the U.S.

The government that has emitted unconstitutional bills of credit through the Federal Reserve System, incurring debts for the payment of unconstitutional activities or expenditures.

The government that has allowed the erosion of individual sovereignty by claiming powers for the Federal Government not authorized by the Constitution, and strictly prohibited by the 9th and 10th Amendments.

The government that has invaded the privacy of non-criminal Americans by obtaining and storing information about them in violation of the 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th Amendments.

The government that has confiscated private property for non-public purposes, in violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments.

The government that has impaired justice by misinformation and incorrect instructions to juries. Judges have presided over cases when there was a conflict of interest. They have defied the 6th and 7th Amendments.

The government that has prosecuted Americans for activities which have no victims. Prosecutions include activities involving drugs, sex, medical assistance, taxation and currencies. More than half the prison population in America is incarcerated for non-violent, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior.

The government that has prohibited the free choice of medical treatment.

The government that has allowed the torture of POWs and criminal suspects.

The government that has protected the infliction of violence on their own citizens such as the transgressions at Ruby Ridge.

The government that has enacted forfeiture laws which take private property without due process of law, in violation of the 5th Amendment.

The government that has assessed heavy fines for minor offenses, in violation of the 8th Amendment.

This is what you are asking for with a non-libertarian government.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Devotional

I wanted to write a devotional about the origins of "Easter". It would seem most Christians have taken precious little time to research how the day we celebrate Christ's resurrection, the most pivotal aspect of Christ's work on Earth, came to be, and how it became known by the name "Easter". This devotional can serve as a jump-off point for your own invaluable research on the subject. This is Kindergarten level stuff, the hors d'oeuvre before the entree, and I am sure your own study will take you into much deeper waters. So you will need to do the remainder of the homework yourself. But, being the good Christian you are, I am sure that is not an issue. Right?

The Roman Catholic Church was very adamant about “Christianizing” the various pagan cultures surrounding Rome. One of their means of doing this was observe and learn their culture and spiritual traditions. Once there, they would contrive a means of amalgamating their various pagan observances with some aspect of Christianity as to assist with the understanding of the Christian principle. This is the case with Christmas as well as Easter. All the extraneous, non-religious, aspects of Christmas are crossed over from the pagan aspects, mostly surrounding the beliefs of Father Christmas, Father Time, or who those familiar with mythology will identify as “Kronos”. This is why Christmas was located around December 25, very close proximity to the Winter Solstice. All the extraneous Christmas observances, like Christmas trees, decorations, and gift giving, are derivatives of the pagan aspects of the holiday.

Easter, on the other hand, has an even more curious origin than Christmas. The pagan cultures they were amalgamating with celebrated the Spring Equinox. As it were, this is when the Jews typically celebrated their Passover, which as we know, was when Christ was crucified and resurrected.

Ēostre, with the icons of Easter.
The unfortunate aspect is that, in the amalgamation of a pagan feast with a Christian observance, the name of the pagan deity which symbolized the pagan observance was retained. Her name was Ēostre, which is the transliterated name of the Germanic pagan goddess, whose symbols pervade our Easter observances. The word “Easter” is a variation of the same name. This goddess was, among other things, a fertility goddess, who utilized symbols such as rabbits, eggs, fresh green grass, birds, budding trees, and lilies. Other variations of the name include Austron and Ostara. Ostara is the name recognized by various New Age disciplines, and you will find this pagan goddess of extreme importance with those who practice naturalistic forms of witchcraft, like Wicca.

A most disturbing association of "Easter" is that this goddess is also regarded by some as the same goddess known in Akkadian, Babylonian, and Sumerian mythologies as "Ishtar". Believe me when I say that Ishtar was bad news. She was a goddess of war, sex, and all things nocturnal. She demanded human blood sacrifice, and some of the most well-known, and most effective, means of human torture were devised by her followers. Being a goddess of night, she was sometimes associated with a Gnostic and Kabbalistic deity of Jewish folklore known as Lilith, who manifests herself as an  owl ( a nocturnal creature ), who, according to legend, attempted to seduce Adam before Eve's creation. Another legend has her as Adam’s companion before Eve was created, but refused to yield to Adam as her husband. She is mentioned once in the Old Testament in  Isaiah 34:14, which is translated as "screech owl" in the King James Version. Lilith is keyed to Strong's H3917.

Both Lilith and Ishtar, being the same goddess, has her roots traced all the way back to the pseudopigraphical book of Enoch, when the Watchers descended upon Mt. Hermon to have sex with, and bear children with, human women, an act that is also recorded in Genesis 6:1-4. In the King James Version, the Watchers were called "bene ha Elohim" (H1121 and H430) and is translated as "sons of God". These fallen angels manifested themselves as "gods", and theological scholars refer to this pantheon as "The Divine Council". You can do further study at The Divine Council. The progeny of these gods and human women, were giants, and are actually called "Nephilim" (H5303) and were considered to be the "fallen ones". These watchers are actually the fallen angels, and who Evangelical Christians commonly believe are demons. This unholy union between the Heavenly and the Earthly was Satan's attempt to corrupt the seed of men, from whom Christ was destined to appear. The genetic imperfection, though preserved in Christ's lineage, somehow passed through the flood, mostly likely through Ham or his wife, and created the antediluvian giants that are more common in Scripture, like Goliath, or Og of Bashan. Some legends even equate Nimrod with Gilgamesh of Sumerian Mythology, who had both celestial and terrestrial parents, who built whole cities, including the city of Uruk, in honor of Ishtar. Nimrod was a Gibborim, according to Scripture, which is keyed to Strong’s H1368, and is translated as “mighty one” in the King James Version. Other ancient cultures regarded Gibborim as a subset of the Nephilim, and believed Nimrod to be just that, a giant offspring of a fallen angel and human female. Some mythologies, like Greek Mythology, regard this offspring as “demi-gods”.

In Enoch, upon descending upon Mt. Hermon, Ishtar’s original name was Azazel. And she was actually a he. HE became transgendered as to better accommodate being a deity that represented sex. She taught women the art of seduction, including the use of make-up and the embroidering of hair. She also taught mankind metallurgy, or how to manipulate metals, which is required to manufacture the machinations of warfare, like swords and shields. She (or he) was, after all, a goddess of war.

And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures."

(1 Enoch 8:1-2)

That is the background of the name “Easter” and who ancient history regards her to be. Regarding the inclusion of "Easter" in the King James Version, it is as follows.

The New Testament was originally written in Greek, as opposed to the Old Testament being written in Hebrew. All English versions, including the King James Version, are translations from either the original languages, as they have been preserved, and from previous English translations and other translations, to reflect the changes in languages as they mature.

For example, two indispensable resources the King James translators used were St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation, as well as previous English translations, such as the Bishop’s Bible and the Great Bible. The King James Version itself was translated in 1611 with some minor revisions in the 18th century. The most noticeable of these revisions was the complete removal of the Apocrypha, the books that was between the Testaments that liturgical denominations still use.

In the New Testament, there is the Greek word "Pascha". You may have even heard Jews refer to the "Paschal Feast" or the "Paschal Sacrifice". This word appears 29 times in the King James Version of the Bible. In 28 of those occurrences, “Pascha” is translated correctly as "Passover". This word is keyed to Strong's G3957. Those occurrences are as follows.

Matthew 26:2, 26:17, 26:18, 26:19, Mark 14:1, 14:12, 14:14, 14:16, Luke 2:41, 22:1, 22:7, 22:8, 22:11, 22:13, John 2:13, 2:23, 6:4, 11:55, 12:1, 18:28, 18:39, 19:14, 1st Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 11:28

However, in Acts 12:4, the King James translators wrongly translated the word "Pascha" as "Easter". It should be noted that most of the newer English translations have corrected Acts 12:4 to say “Passover” instead of “Easter”.

The most troubling aspect in all this is that the Jewish feast of Passover is the feast that has direct correlation to Christ's atonement on the cross. Striking the blood on the doorposts is a corollary to being "washed in the blood of the lamb" or "applying the blood to your own heart". Eating the lamb, including the organs and entrails (purtenance), correlates to Christ's command to eat of His own flesh (John 6:51). It is quite sad and troubling that the Church has allowed the inertia of time and tradition to justify calling the day of our Lord’s resurrection by the name of a pagan goddess. Even Churches that do not condone the pagan symbols, like eggs, baskets, and rabbits, still insist on calling this day "Easter", probably never realizing they are using the name of a Pagan goddess, just because it is falsely translated as such in the King James Version of the Bible. It probably is hateful in the ears of our Lord to see His Passover commemorated with the name of another god.  In my opinion, we should abandon the name “Easter” altogether, and start calling this day, “Resurrection Day”, “Atonement Day”, “Reconciliation Day”, or “Salvation Day”.

Friday, January 03, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - My Review


Bilbo's journey continues in Peter Jackson's second installment of the new "Hobbit" movies, "The Desolation of Smaug".

Interestingly, devout fans of Tolkien will relish the fact that most of Jackson's "embellishments" are still in line with the main story. With the inclusion of the "Pale Orc" in the the first movie, along with this new elvish character, Tauriel (meaning "Daughter of the Forest"), in this movie, although she isn't in the book, I was apprehensive at first.

Jackson's inclusions are not invasive to the central story has told in the book... At least not like the atrocious changes to the Narnia stories in their subsequent movie adaptions. Although Disney's and Fox's changes to those stories are blasphemous and perverse caricatures of the original, Tauriel was not an unwelcome addition. We assume, in the book, that more elves than was actually named were present in the scene with the wood elves. All Jackson did was name one, create a three-way love story between her, our beloved Legolas, and Kili the Dwarf, the dwarf that already had female Tolkienians swooning where they stood. Nothing like a love triangle to up the ante.

See, not invasive at all? But if that off tangent plotline in the periphery of what hard-core Tolkienians regard as "central" did offend you, his inclusion and depiction of "Beorn" more than made up for it. I cannot believe, after his sacrifice of Bombadil and Goldberry from the original "The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy, that such a controversial and minor character would be included. So amazed was I that I temporarily forgot about him being in the book at all. My friend whom I seen this movie with leaned over and whispered, "Ooh, I bet that is the 'Carrock'".

I said, "The what?"

He said, "You know... Beorn's house." I knew he was talking about then. Beorn, the skin changer, who could change into a bear... A huge, raging bear, based on Jackson's adaption, who looked eerily like Gmork from "The Neverending Story", when we saw his face pushing through the door.

In human form, Beorn could have really stood a good eyebrow plucking.

Leaving Beorn, this movie was the status quo of what we come to expect from Jackson. He excels at taking books that are mainly narrative, and converting them into high-action movies that leave you breathless by the time it is over, without sacrificing much of the depth narrative plots provide. There is plenty of taboo surrounding the Necromancer, but Jackson finally gives us definitive evidence that the Necromancer is actually Sauron, and is setting up for "The Lord of the Rings".

Sauron, as he was in Middle-Earth's first age
and how I would have liked to have
seen him depicted in these movies.
I was hoping we'd see Sauron as he was, instead of the veiled and dark Sauron we acclimated to in the first trilogy. From a Christian perspective, Sauron would have been like a fallen angel who served under Morgoth, who would have been Middle-Earth's equivalent of Satan. A fallen "Maiar", in Tolkien's legendarium. I was hoping that Jackson might leave off all the armor and darkness to give us a glimpse of the Sauron as he would appear uncloaked. Beautiful. A icon of perfection. To put it in Scriptural language, Sauron would appear as "an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). No such luck though. We see the familiar shadow of the Sauron we already know. Clothed in darkness, violent, wretched, faithless, and accursed.

But I don't expect theologically sound heads among most movie-makers. Darkness remains darkness, and light remains light. What will such a preconceived, and well embedded, notion mean to the Church when Satan does decide to come on the scene. With evil so cleverly defined as darkness by our media and culture, what will happen when Satan appears, robbed in white, and speaking only benevolence and who "by peace shall destroy many" (Daniel 8:24-25)?

But I am not here to preach.

I was glad to see the thrush was included. Such seemingly innocuous details are very important to us who demand consistency between the book and the movie.

While the original "Rings" trilogy exploited the symantic and linguistic capabilities of the elves to the fullest, Jackson uses the barrel ride scene to exploit the acclaimed physical dexterity of the elvish race. Watching Legolas play hopscotch on the heads of dwarves was a humorous twist, not to mention seeing more of his amazing talents with a bow.

Interesting how Jackson is taking the concept that even elves can become greedy and subject to avarice found in the book to extremes. The elvish king comes off as unlikable as any character I've met in Jackson's movies to date, which will come to fruition in the third film, if Jackson stays true to the book in any capacity.

Smaug was perfect. What else can I say? Voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is quickly rising in my personal ranks as one of the best actors I have ever seen. I first saw Cumberbatch when he played William Pitt in the movie "Amazing Grace". He is also a grand Sherlock Holmes, another literary favorite of mine, and played a much younger Khan in "Star Trek: Into Darkness". He also voiced the Necromancer as well as Smaug, and will reprise the role of the Necromancer in the final installment of "The Hobbit", subtitled "There and Back Again". In fact, if Jackson had decided to depict Sauron in a more demonic, but less familiar, light, why not use Cumberbatch?

An older title for dragons was the title "Wyrm", which is dragon with four legs, not to be confused with "Wyvern", which is a dragon with two legs. Smaug was a wyrm, and the CG animators have finally nailed how a dragon should move. The thing I thought profound about this depiction of Smaug is that he was EXTREMELY reptilian in this movie. Most movies give dragons scales and reptilian eyes, but still make them very mammalian and rigid in their movement and behavior. Until he took to flight toward laketown, Smaug slithered with very fluid movements like a snake. It might even prove disconcerting to those with a innate fear of all things reptilian to see Smaug on the screen. Very serpentine in its movements. It looked like it could slither right off the screen and into the auditorium. Kudos to the Smaug's conception artists for allowing us to see a glimpse of his fire being generated in his chest before he breathes it. Lots of spiritual allegories and metaphors could be contrived by that seemingly benign detail. Like how fiery and destructive words we breathe find their origin in our hearts. Very well done. Also, Smaug was very verbose, in both the book and the movie, and exudes all the raw malevolence that has become the mark of draconian influences in ancient, as well as modern culture. I think perhaps he has been starved for companionship lying there in the mountain. He certainly loves to talk. I am sure both John Howe's and Alan Lee's artwork, who also depicts Smaug as very serpentine, influenced Smaug's cinematic conception as well.

What else can I say? The movie was great, and probably Jackson's best adaption to date. It makes me anxious to see next year's final movie.