From Douglas Wilson, Blog and Mablog “Man As Fallen” (my comments regular type): “Because all men are free agents they are free to do as they please. But because they are sinners, what they please to do is sin. They cannot please to choose contrary to their nature, because if they could, it wouldn’t be their nature.” If you are reading this, saying to yourself, “I don’t sin, I’m a good person” or some variation thereof, you need to consider your standard. What is your standard for sin, for goodness?
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23). “As sentient creatures, men are free to do as they please. As sinners, men are not free to do right. If a man could repent his sins and believe in Christ with his old heart, then this would be proof positive that he didn’t really need a new heart. He could do all that God requires of us (repent and believe) with his old heart. Apparently, on this view, what the old heart needed was just a little encouragement.” Repent of what sins? Believe in Christ about what? Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God”, the “second person of the Trinity”, or was he a holy and gifted teacher an enlightened one, blah blah blah?
“But there is one other qualification. An unregenerate person can love the Lord, but only by radically misunderstanding and misconstruing Him.” See last sentence above. “An unregenerate person can understand the Lord in His holiness, but this results in a simple recoil away from Him. The only way a sinner can understand who God is, and also love Him, is if the Spirit of God has granted him a new heart.
“The problem with all this is that it leaves us without any hope of salvation, right? No, it leaves us without hope of salvation from man. What is impossible for men is possible for God. It leaves us without any hope of salvation from within. If we are to be saved, it must be from outside. It must be from outside our hearts, outside our family, outside our tribe, outside our church, outside our world, and outside heaven and earth. We must be saved from outside. And this is what we are offered in the gospel of grace.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). The drawing is from the Father. It is from outside. “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:65). The gift is from the Father. The gift comes from outside. If the Father does not do the drawing, if the Father does not give it, a man cannot come. Another good translation for the word for draw (elkuo) is drag or haul. “How did you come to Christ?” “Oh, I was hauled.”
So does this mean that no one ever comes? No—it means that everyone who comes (and remember that the entire world will eventually come) has been hauled in by God. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). In other words, the Father doesn’t try to haul us in, the Father hauls us in. What man cannot do with any success, God can do with no failure. And what is that? The jubilee of all the slaves. The resurrection of the dead. As the graveyard empties, Heaven fills up.
“I will never _______________ (fill in the blank). Be late again, be like my father or mother, talk to so and so again….” People resolve all sorts of things, but when your resolution takes over your life, I call it “life-driving.” Unfortunately, most of those resolutions result in just the results you meant for them to avoid. Since we get what we imagine or visualize, and we can’t visualize the negative–the not-doing–what is left is repeating the mantra of what we hope to avoid, which results in internally seeing that result over and over again, and eventually achieving it. It seems that most people who don’t want to be like a parent become like that parent. In my case, I once resolved to never be late again, but then, realizing I didn’t want the negative, restated that to “I will be early for every appointment”, and I have been ever since. But trauma-driven resolutions are different.
For the purpose of my theory, I define trauma as an event or experience that is so powerful, that it instantly creates a neural “superpathway” in the brain that becomes dominant, causing the experience to repeat endlessly. Trauma survivors admit to revisiting the trauma, like a moth to a flame. Even when they are not conscious of what they are reliving, their reactions to current situations often betray their thoughts. Notice that I said the “experience is powerful”, without defining it as painful or unpleasant. That’s deliberate, because the same mechanism creates addictions. The experience that becomes addictive was not necessarily unpleasant at the time; often it’s shockingly pleasant, too much so. It becomes unpleasant, and even traumatic, when it takes over your life. Even a non physical addiction, like pornography, starts as a jolt to the nervous system, and here is where it’s important to understand the concept of the superpathway, a term I made up to describe how even one big jolt can lead to a lifetime of slavery.
Next time it rains, concentrate on a window, on the rivulets of water. Notice how certain rivulets seem to be attracting other rivulets, until the attracting rivulets become bigger, apparently sucking water into themselves. Now think of rivulets as neural pathways. A trauma, whether pleasant or not, instantly electrifies and enhances a particular pathway, much like a mutant movie monster is created by an electrical storm. That superpathway now attracts neural impulses, or thoughts, to it, strengthening itself by repetition. Viola, either addiction or post traumatic stress disorder is being created and reinforced. Can I prove it, did I read about it? No and no, but I know it on the basis of using this theory to short-circuit addictions and traumatic responses during my career.
In response to trauma, many people form life-driving resolutions to avoid the actions or circumstances that might have led to the trauma. Such resolutions may not be a problem per se, but inevitably human beings must justify their resolutions with a gloss of explanation or rationale. The trouble is, such rationales often become the driver of self defeating behavior. Trauma was usually specific to the people involved, or the particular set of circumstances, time and place, but the resolution and it’s supporting rationales tend over time to generalize, limiting much more of life than is needed to avoid the original trauma.
So the train of events is: trauma or shock creates a dominant neural pathway, which causes reliving of the event, and resolutions to avoid the unpleasantness. Instead, it keeps recurring, which further strengthens the pathway. The sufferer creates explanations for their feelings and behavior, which tend to be self-reinforcing. The mind is simply doing what it was designed to do, and what makes it worse is the “disease model”. If the sufferer accepts the diagnosis of “depression”, or “anxiety”, or “PTSD”, the disease model prescribes drugs which attack the symptoms, without affecting the cause.
My next post will deal with better ways to alter or interrupt the sequence of events.
This is so important that I have copied the following whole from this post genesis
The pertinent aspects for mankind are therefore reproduce, subdue, and have dominion, with the animals developing a “fear of man” as men began to hunt or raise animals for clothing, food, work, or companionship. A few points need to be made to clear up misperceptions that have crept into the interpretations of these terms:
- “Fill the earth” means that mankind has a primary place on the earth: he is not an intruder. Neither does this statement equate to overpopulation. Consider that God first gave this same command to as-yet unfallen man in Genesis 1:28. If the command to mankind was “fill the earth” and this was “very good” by God, as was everything up to that point in Genesis 1:31, then there is no theological reason to automatically equate filling the earth with overpopulation, mass wastage of resources, food shortages, and so on. Besides, it may seem counterintuitive, but Christians who promote biblical concepts such as abstinence before marriage and lifelong devotion to a single spouse are somehow labeled as the ones responsible for overpopulation because we don’t condone abortion. Yet those who promote sexual freedom, promiscuity with multiple partners, and easy divorce are labeled as population-conscious. Which worldview really leads more readily to population explosions?
- “Subdue the earth” was a command given to mankind in his yet unfallen state, so there is no connotation of this being a tyrannical subjugation. Instead, this was to be a benevolent stewardship of the earth and its creatures by mankind. Just as God put man in the Garden of Eden and had them tend it (Genesis 2:15), so this subduing of the earth was to be a stewardship and caretaking of the earth.
- “Dominion” in the pre-Fall world again is a benign caretaker role. Man was to take care of the animals of the land, oceans, and the air, which certainly also implies stewardship of their domains. Wantonly polluting the land, air, and oceans would be the opposite of dominion—it is exploitation.
- The phrase “given into your hand” in Genesis 9:2 does not implicitly allow (or as some claim, demand) animal exploitation. This is a common misrepresentation by those wishing to mock Scripture and Christianity. Although this verse is specifically referring to mankind being given permission in a post-Fall world to eat meat, some Bible critics have tried to paint this as an anti-environment attitude giving Christians license to be cavalier about managing natural resources. One such sarcastic example is from a 2004 article bemoaning the preconceived Christian position: “And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a Word”?4 The claim is that Christians believe we can do anything we want under the dominion mandate. But this is clearly belied by other passages that curtail human action over nature (e.g., Leviticus 25:5–7; Numbers 20:8, 35:3; and Proverbs 12:10).
God clearly cares for man and beast as a characteristic expression of His righteousness (Psalms 36:6, 104:10–14, 104:27–28, 147:9; Jonah 4:11; Luke 12:6–7, 24). It would be incongruous for Christians to recognize God’s goodness in caring for His creation, to claim to be desirous to follow the will of God and seek the mind of Christ, and yet display a cruel and selfish mindset towards that very creation, knowing that our actions affect other humans and animals. Stewardship then is a correct Christian worldview in understanding our dominion mandate role.
However, the dominion mandate also means that humanity has been placed in charge of the environment and the planet in a stewardship role. This means that mankind is allowed to use God’s natural resources and engage in animal husbandry, farming, and horticulture. Although we are to be wise stewards, we are not required to place animal and plant welfare above human needs. Humans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27); plants and animals are not. Therefore we are of more value than the sparrows in God’s eyes (Luke 12:7), and environmental decisions and policies should reflect this hierarchy. Knowing this, then, we are responsible for helping meet the needs of all humans—not just ourselves—present and future. That alone should sober our view of conservation and stewardship.
This clearly does not involve a callous disregard for animal life, a wasteful mindset toward natural resources, or an exploitative mindset toward the planet which all of us must share. When one stops to think about it, heedless exploitation is the opposite of stewardship and actually hampers dominion: we cannot wisely rule over something we are wasting. God demands one thing from stewards—that they be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). May we be faithful stewards of this earth that God owns (Psalm 24:1) but has entrusted to us to care for.
In these days of free for all, it seems that if sex is “consensual” then whatever form it happens to take is okay. There was a case a few years ago of a very high profile football player (quarterback-went on to be #1 in NFL draft) at a major university who was accused by a woman of sexual assault. He didn’t deny that the events happened, but what might be worse, he insisted that the events were consensual. However, these events involved multiple football players receiving oral sex from this woman. She said that while she did go to his apartment, and was considering a sexual dalliance with this BMOC, what actually took place was not consensual. His defense was, the whole thing was consensual. I say so what? Even if she had consented to giving oral sex to multiple football players, does that make it right? What does that say about the QB’s character if that’s his defense? What are the limits of acceptability for somebody like him, or if it was consensual, someone like her?
Well for him, and for his University, there was apparently no limit to what was acceptable, because with him the team was a national power, without him (after he was drafted), just pretty darn good. It’s hard to believe, but from accounts I read, the University, the local and campus police, the local newspapers, the boosters and other stakeholders in the success of the football team defended his actions and tried to shame her to silence. The rallying cry was “It was consensual!” Lest my point get lost, my rallying cry is “I don’t give a damn about consensual” (nor the football team, nor the QB, nor the U.).
IT WAS WRONG. But what if she wanted it too? IT WAS WRONG. What about sex with little children, or animals, or robots? WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! “Wrong” implies a standard has been violated. I have refrained from naming the QB or the University, because I want to keep this post on the level of principle, not players. But I have to give the year this occurred for perspective. In 2018, we have the power of #METOO. In 2013, no such thing. In 2016, the University settled her lawsuit for $950,000 without admitting liability for mishandling her complaint. Nine months before this settlement, this same QB was accused by a female Uber driver of grabbing her crotch during a ride. During the course of the NFL investigation into this incident, it came out that the other passenger, who defended the QB, was also one of the football players accused in the 2013 college incident.
Just imagine if the women were of a higher profile and these took place after #METOO. I’m not sure how it would be handled, because that movement also seems to defend the “consensual standard.” I want to propose a better standard. “If it’s icky, it’s sicky.”
A recent issue of National Geographic presented an example of what ecologist Garrett Hardin called the Tragedy of the Commons, which is “when many individuals act in their own self interest, everyone suffers.” That idea must assume: 1. The scarcity of a given resource, be it water or food or even space; 2. A closed environment–one which, for purposes of the theory, inhabitants are stuck in. 3. If certain individuals use more than their “fair share” of the limited resources, and everyone will suffer more than when every individual shares, there must be a “fair share”. How it is determined, and even more so, by whom, and on what evidence, is critical. 4. Discovery of more of the resource that was thought to be scarce, or of new technologies which may find more of the resource or even replace it with a better alternative, or of more efficient ways to use and/or conserve the resource, is not assumed. 5. Why should we assume that “self- interest” means hoarding and selfishness? 6. The most problematic aspect of the so-called Tragedy of the Commons is that scarcity is usually temporary and often artificial, but measures to ensure that the more self-interested individuals (or nations) don’t get too much are usually long term, self sustaining (because power corrupts), and, in hindsight, often create even more artificial shortages (rationing/wage and price controls anyone?).
The example in the magazine was that of a college class in which every student was given a choice to pick either two or six extra credit points on their term paper. The catch is, if more than 10% of the class chooses six points, then everyone gets nothing, but if all choose two points, they all get those points. The teacher explains that over the years, every class but one has failed to get any points. In 2016, the teacher added the option for students to choose no points, and for each student who chose no points, one of the six-point choosers would lose all points. This “altruistic punishment” idea allowed any student to sacrifice their good for the good of the group. What do you think happened? Suddenly, half his classes were all getting the two points. Even when no student exercised the self-sacrificial option, just knowing it was there increased the number of classes getting two points each.
This classroom exercise was used by the teacher to persuade the class of the importance of working together to mitigate the effects of climate change. The author proudly proclaimed he is a member of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), a group which is dedicated to reducing “carbon use” through a “steadily rising tax on consumption of fossil fuels, and passing that revenue back to families to help them afford the higher cost of living that will inevitably result from such a measure.” So what happens when, in the normal course of events, the tax (they call it a “fee”) works? Consumption falls, but the government had begun using the
tax fee money for something else, which gradually becomes an entitlement, and then falling revenue becomes the problem? Example: Gasoline taxes are supposed to be used for road improvements, yet somehow much of that revenue ends up in the general fund, the euphemism for “funding political promises” i.e. votes. The real problem, as usual, is human nature itself, though not in the way you might suspect.
According to the teacher, 80% of his students routinely chose the two points no matter what, so that majority were altruistic and/or practical. Yet, only one class ever got the two points each, so 10-20% virtually always chose to…..do what? By choosing six points, they acted as if they believed that less than 10% of their class would do what they did, but is that rational? Why wouldn’t you assume that most people would choose as you did? Probably because you think of the majority as suckers compared to you, or you denigrate the whole idea of consciously asking for less to benefit others, because that’s weakness. There will always be people who want more stuff, power, money, anything; there will always be those who want to keep anyone from having more. Which group has caused more havoc and misery? It’s a trick question, because those two groups are usually the same. The most infamous of history’s tyrants were avowed communists (today they are closet socialists), whose religion was “anti-more”, and were themselves hoarders and thieves of other people’s wealth. They were hypocrites, in short. They viewed everyone else as fools and suckers, and they as superior.
If we are going to apply this class experiment to history, 80% of the people tend to be mildly altruistic (choosing two points), as many as 10% are truly self sacrificing (no points), and 10% or less are not only “more for me” oriented but believe in the superiority of their choices (six points). Isn’t it inevitable that those who believe they are superior, also believe they deserve more, and since their power is based on a zero sum philosophy–more for me means less for the rest–they can justify suppressing the desires of the many? If all that follows, their power is based on accumulating a scarce resource. But what if the resource isn’t really so scarce?
Here are my lessons: 1. Almost nothing is really zero-sum. Scarcity is, and historically has been, largely the result of totalitarian measures to control distribution. 2. Human ingenuity, implanted by God, has overcome almost every scarcity not caused by tyranny. 3. Almost any problem of scarcity historically has proven to be of shorter duration than the solutions undertaken to cure it. I submit the “ultimate example” of #3.
In 1968, Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich (with his wife Anne), at the suggestion of David Brower (Sierra Club), wrote a book that became titled The Population Bomb. Early editions of The Population Bomb began with the statement: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Ehrlich argues that as the existing population was not being fed adequately, and as it was growing rapidly it was unreasonable to expect sufficient improvements in food production to feed everyone. He further argued that the growing population placed escalating strains on all aspects of the natural world. “What needs to be done?” he wrote, “We must rapidly bring the world population under control, reducing the growth rate to zero or making it negative. Conscious regulation of human numbers must be achieved. Simultaneously we must, at least temporarily, greatly increase our food production.”
Fast forward to 2018. The greatest scarcity for many countries is young blood. Data from the Population Reference Bureau showed in 2006 that there were 20 countries in the world with negative or zero natural population growth expected between 2006 and 2050. In 2017, the Population Reference Bureau released a fact sheet showing that the top five countries expected to lose population between then and 2050 were: China: -44.3%, Japan: -24.8%, Ukraine: -8.8%, Poland: -5.8%, Romania: -5.7%. While China instituted the draconian “One Child Policy”, the others became more selfish.
These are some “hall of shame” dazed and confused issues:
1. The cornerstone argument of abortion-on-demand proponents is, “it’s my body, and I have sole right to determine what I do with my body?” Then you are saying there is only one body involved in the decision to terminate……..what? The “what” is the legitimate question. To help clarify, other legitimate questions are, can one body have two different blood types, or two different sets of fingerprints, or two different heartbeats, or be two different sexes? And not only that, but who initiated those changes in your body after pregnancy?
2- But while the abortion-on-demand proponents claim the primacy of their own body, the transgender proponents claim their true gender is trapped in the wrong body. They are saying “it’s NOT my body. My body would be the sex (chromosomes, DNA) that I feel like I am.” But, I ask, what if you have the right body but the wrong mind? What if it’s your mind that’s messed up, rather than your body? Oops, too late for that question if you’ve already gone under the knife and been flooded with sex-change hormones!
3- Starbucks training: One of the first videos criticized the concept of being “color-blind,” insisting that no one is able to ignore race. The proper concept to strive for, the video explained, is to be “color-brave,” a term the employee said was never specifically defined. The video made sure to underscore that racism and racial biases are deeply rooted in American history. Hmm, racism deeply rooted in American history. Is that why the racial sensitivity training was held only here, rather than in Japan, or China, or India, or all those other countries where there is no racism, and where Starbucks does business? I dare you to look up the history of racial bias in Japan, China, India.
4- Christians with homosexual/lesbian children: To really be a “christian” means you have been “born again.” What does that mean in practice? When your “heart of stone” is transformed to a “heart of flesh” through being imbued with the “spirit of Christ”, you are living “under grace” rather than living “under law.” That’s a lot of jargon, but what it should look like is an end to striving to be outwardly pleasing to God, because you now inwardly want to please God. Striving is living under law, being is living in grace. The “dazed and confused” aspects of this is, if you have to ask “does grace mean I can do whatever I want, even terrible things, and God will still forgive me?” then I question whether you even know what living under grace is.
Some of the sins you used to be a slave to…..you will still indulge in, because those habits are wired into your nervous system. However, under grace you now hate those habits, and over time, as grace works it’s way into you (and those pesky neuronal pathways), those habits are replaced by what you love, more of God. Habits the Bible condemns, like sexual sin, start to weaken and fade under grace. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6). Have you trained up your children? Are you now under grace but you don’t think your child is? Your child will be in God’s time; illicit desires will fade, desire to please God will triumph. In the meantime, pray, relax in the Lord, and love your child.