new short story collection. Out now!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dark Light

Whether you are perceived by others, or even see yourself, as a good or a bad person does not alter the fact that you are, at the very least potentially, both good and bad. People have the capacity for both good and evil. Given the right set of circumstances, anyone is capable of producing uncharacteristically bad deeds or unusually good deeds.To dispute this is to deceive yourself.

Light is a metaphor for goodness and dark is a metaphor for evil. Light represents not just goodness, but truth. Here is truth: God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Here is another truth: If you claim to be without sin, you are a liar.

For those who are offended by God and the positive influence of his followers, here is a question: What would the world be like without any light? What would the world be like if there was no truth? Would you like to live in a world where evil reigns? What is it that restrains evil?

God is light. If you turn off the light, you invite death.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Smarter Devils

Why do we teach others, and learn things for ourselves? Why is education so highly esteemed by the majority of people, in a majority of cultures, in a majority of countries? Why do we speak of educated men and women as though they are better than uneducated men and women? Do we truly believe that more knowledge is the answer to the world's problems? Are we learning more and doing more? Are we knowing more and loving more?

Knowledge is not the ultimate goal of education. The Bible says that knowledge "puffs" a person up with pride when it is pursued as an end in itself. If then, education should be a means to an end, what is it we are attempting to achieve? What is the end?

Humanists believe that increases in knowledge lead to improvements in society. The more we know, the better able we are to avoid problems or to fix them when we can't dodge them. Education makes people better and therefore leads to a better, more efficient, more caring, more peaceful society. That's the theory. Reality tells a different story. But even allowing for this beautiful albeit Utopian ideology, I want to ask why. What is the point of striving for the betterment of mankind? Why bother? Don't say education is a universal right. It may well be, but that is not an answer to the question. In fact, it only leads to another question about the basis for human rights.

The fault in the argument put forward by Humanists and arrogant athiests like Dawkins is that it has no moral foundation. Humans are intrinsically moral, and to remove morality from education is to render the latter, an exercise in futility. Education does not produce angels but rather, as C.S.Lewis puts it, "education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a more clever devil."

All education should have as its goal, the edification of mankind which is itself ultimately for the Glory of God. God has given me a brain so I should use it to learn and grow but I must also share and apply my knowledge to help and encourage others; not to become better people but to recognize their need for God. To accept weakness and failure is to become complete. The purpose of life is to know God and to make Him known. Education alone will never achieve this objective, never fulfill this purpose, and it will never make the world all right. The world is all wrong and education is only a treatment, not a cure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Taxing my Patience

Not too long ago, the majority of people, according to the ubiquitous and irritating polls, accepted climate change (formerly known as global warming which is a discredited term), and the need to do something about it.

Now that the government has released the details of its temporary carbon tax, and may I emphasize the word temporary because it is a precursor to a market based emissions trading scheme, nobody wants to pay for it.

For those of us in the minority who will not receive compensation, the imposition will be around $400 per annum. I will have to sell my car to pay for that, won't I?

The rubbish and lies being flung about the place these days are driving me insane. Don't get me started. I just want to say three quick things.

First, I am a climate change skeptic but I am not against reducing pollution. Asking ridiculous questions about the exact temperature drop which will result from the carbon tax in forty years time is not helpful to the discussion. Nor are tongue in cheek references to taxing volcanoes. Second, Australia is not going out on its own with a carbon tax. That is wrong. Other countries have had carbon taxes for years. Third, Julia Gillard lied about the carbon tax. Big deal! Politicans lie frequently. Either directly or by diversion, obsfucation or omission. Sometimes they just change their minds. God forbid. Twenty odd years ago, I didn't want to ever own a house, nor did I want to finish high school. I didn't see value in those things at the time. Surprise, surprise, now I do.

Stop whining about the lie about the carbon tax. Stop whining about the tax. Stop whining Australia. Just lay back, close your eyes and I promise you won't feel a thing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Riding Bulldogs

In 1999, after the war (the war between Newscorp and the Australian Rugby League)the South Sydney Rabbitohs were excluded from the premier Rugby League competition in the world by the new administrators of the game. I will never forget seeing the reaction of the fans to that monumental decision. It was as though a family member had been murdered. One image is indelibly printed on my mind: that of a Rabbitohs fan, dressed in full club colours and regalia, as though he had raided the supporters shop before being filmed, facing the camera and crying, blubbering over the demise of his beloved footy team. I could not believe all the snot and hot tears. This was a staggering manifestation of an illogical yet undeniable emotional attachment.

In 1979, aged 11, I fled the living room of a family member in horror and disgust as my team, the Canterbury Bulldogs, crashed to an insurmountable 17-0 deficit at half time of that year's Grand Final against the St.George Dragons. In the 1994 season decider, I spent more time in the toilet than in front of the television as the Bulldogs fumbled and bumbled their way to a shellacking at the hands of the Canberra Raiders. I have been nervous before matches and exhausted after them. I have paced the floor, groaned and complained, lambasted the opposition, the referees, and my own players. I have punched the air in triumph and punched pillows in anguish. I have experienced the thrill of victory, and the devastation of loss. For 32 years I have been riding the rollercoaster, following my team through the highs and the lows. From Premiership glory to the ignominy of the Wooden Spoon.

When I watch the Bulldogs play, I fall into another dimension. I escape the real world to live, albeit temporarily, in a fantasy universe where a sporting contest has eternal significance. The thrill is addictive, the tension is electric, the pain is real. I lose myself in the epic battle in which superb athletes brutally collide with each other as they struggle for supremacy.

This year, 2011, the Canterbury Bulldogs are embarrassing me with their onfield performances. Not only losing but playing poorly. They are a shadow of a football team, a spiritless gaggle of brightly uniformed geese. Nevertheless they will remain my team. I won't dump them, I won't walk way. I am committed. They are a habit I cannot break. As much a part of me as my job and my church, and all the other interests I have in life.

Having said that, you will never find me shedding tears over them. I will never plummet into a pit of depression because of what they do, or don't do. It took some time, but I have learned a little perspective. I love the joyride I get to take every footy season courtesy of my team. For eighty minutes, the suffering is contained and focused, the emotion is raw, there is only the battle. There are cheers and boos ans sometimes too personal abuse. There are winners and losers, and people get hurt, but no one dies, and when it's over...it's over but only until next week, or next season. Being a fan of a football team can be heartbreaking but that's life.I love it.

When you invest yourself in something, or someone, you should expect to suffer. To live and to love is to feel pain, and in a way that makes most of us just a little bit masochistic, doesn't it?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Let the Whales Save Themselves

The mutilated and sadly deceased sperm whale which was washed ashore at Newport Beach, in Sydney recently, got me thinking about the mysterious phenomenon of whales beaching themselves. The ten metre Sperm whale at Newport needs to be moved because its rotting flesh is stinking the place out, and its blood is attracting sharks, but if it was alive when it landed, then people would have flooded the beach and worked together day and night to save it.

Scientists do not yet understand why whales beach themselves. I think their best bet is to contact Science Officer Spock, from the planet Vulcan, and ask him to communicate directly with the whales and ask them why they do it. As this is a somewhat unrealistic suggestion, we must simply accept the fact that beaching is a part of the life cycle of whales. It happens. It's a natural behaviour.

That being the case, why do we interfere? Why do we expend so much time, effort and money to move the stranded aquatic beasts back into the ocean? There must be more to it than the selfish desire to avoid putrefaction and grab a spot on the evening news.

We like whales. That's why we do it. They are the gentle giants of the seven seas. Naturally we want to save them, either from commercial hunters or self destruction, because it is inhumane to allow suffering. Even the Bible says that the righteous man is kind to his animals. Motivated by compassion, efforts to help these cuddly cetaceans are commendable.

However, there are some who take kindness to animals to extremes by placing animal welfare above human welfare. These people dispute mankind's God given dominion over the earth. They advocate vegetarianism because they say it's cruel to kill and eat animals. We should shut down entire industries and cause people to lose their jobs because cows don't die happily. Even if it is natural for whales to beach themselves, we should still try to save them.

Such people have their priorities all wrong. All the energy and passion invested in the protection of animals and other environmental causes would be much better spent on trying to eradicate human suffering and misery. Let the whales save themselves.