Why determinism is relevant

I used to believe that determinism was irrelevant and that it was the same thing as fatalism. Now I understand that the basis of all philosophy and science is the law of cause and effect.

A philosopher asks questions and thinks about why things happen and how they work. Once they have a theory about how something works, then they can turn scientific and try experiments to test it.

However, any question asking “why” assumes that there is a “cause” for something. Everyone acts as though they believe determinism is true because it is so obvious.

For example, why did I write this post? Because I wrote another post about determinism being irrelevant. New information caused me to see I was wrongly confusing determinism with fatalism.

Now I see that determinism is compatible with my theory of relevance which is what most of my posts are about. Specifically, a cause and effect are always relevant to each other.

As the person who wrote this post, I am the cause of others reading it. After they read it, this may cause them to understand what I am saying and maybe comment. The desire for communication is what causes all blogs, social media, and books to exist. The evidence that we crave relevance is irrefutable.

Why Jainism is relevant

Jainism is an old religion with a focus on non-violence. Since non-violence is something I already agree with, it seems logical that I look into it. I would imagine that it would be safer to be around a group of Jainists than those of another religion which promotes war and animal sacrifice.

Ahimsa is the ethic of non-violence. Those who think that all life is valuable, sacred, holy, or relevant are not likely to kill something when it can be avoided. Jains are vegetarian. They often also don’t eat root vegetables such as potatoes or carrots. I don’t think that I would go quite that far.

Satya is the ethic of speaking the truth unless doing so could result in violence. In that case it is better to be silent.

Asteya is the ethic of not stealing. It is bad to take anything which is not willingly offered.

I already agreed with the idea of not killing, hurting, lying, or stealing. That is the general thing I look at when studying a philosophy, religion, or any individual.

While reading about Jainism, there was something else that interested me. Jainists also believe that the universe has always existed and did not need to be created. I think this makes a lot more sense than other ideas I have heard.

Why the spider is relevant

In my life I have killed many spiders. In the past, the usual thing I did without thinking was to find a kleenex box and smash the spider. But this time was different.

After explaining my pro-life philosophy to people, I could not justify simply killing an innocent spider just for being on the kitchen floor. I can’t call it self-defense since the spider was not attacking me.

I also could not leave it there and go about my usual business. It could quite possibly bite me or my mother while we are asleep. I had to get it out of the apartment, but I did not want to kill it.

What I did was take a paper towel, grab the spider, and quickly run to the door and throw the paper towel outside. In the morning, my mother was wondering why there was a paper towel outside. I explained why I can’t be pro-life and then kill a spider.

The average person may not see a problem with killing spiders, but when I put myself in the spider’s place, I think that I would not want someone to smash me with a giant kleenex box. I suppose being wrapped in a giant paper towel would also be a scary experience, but it was the less violent of the options. I learned to be relevant to the spider and consider what it might prefer.

When I inspected the paper towel in the morning, I did not see the spider. Surely it walked somewhere else. I will remember this event as the time when I solved a problem in a non-violent way.

Why the Good Samaritan is relevant

Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right:this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way:and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was:and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

To me, it is irrelevant whether the events in this story happened. It does not matter whether there is a God or not. It does not matter if Jesus existed or if he actually told the story.

What matters is that this story is one that nearly everyone has access to in their bibles. Many Christians claim that they believe every word of what they call the Bible, Good Book, or Word of God.

Those who do believe that this story is from God should consider which character is most like them. Are they one of the thieves who hurt the man in the first place? Are they a priest or levite who did nothing? Are they the Samaritan who tried to help the stranger he didn’t even know?

For people like me who don’t believe in the God of the Jews or Christians, this story is an example of what happens all the time. The story may not always happen in the way described, but there are people who have been injured terribly or need something that they cannot possibly get on their own.

I was once the injured man from this story, but now I plan to be the Good Samaritan. My moral philosophy is heavily based on the Golden Rule and the Good Samaritan. I do enjoy the fact that this story is easy for anyone to find, but I am sad that very few have read it or live as if they understand it.

If verse 27 is true, I will most certainly not inherit eternal life because I can’t love a God I don’t believe in. This will not prevent me from loving my neighbor as myself.

Why vegetarianism is relevant

Meat was never a major part of my diet, but now I have decided that I don’t want to buy meat for myself anymore because it means that I am promoting the slaughter of cows, pigs, chickens, or turkeys. When I look at it now, it is the same thing as abortion. It is killing for profit.

Since I would not kill any of these animals myself, it makes little sense to pay someone else to do it. I understand that humans have hunted other animals and eaten them for food for a long time, but that does not mean that humans have more of a right to life than any other species.

Humans have this delusion that they are the best species on the planet and therefore have no problem eating other forms of life that they see as being less than them. Other animals may have this idea too. Consider a bear or wolf that kills and eats a human. It is not any better than the human killing and eating them.

Many animals kill each other for food. I know this happens, but I still imagine a world where this is not necessary. I would like to see a world where all creatures have enough fruit and vegetables to eat and nobody needs to kill.

Even if this killing cannot be eliminated completely among all the animals of the world, I will do my part to avoid meat and still get the protein I need. I just don’t feel right about eating the flesh of animals who were once just as alive as I am.

What is a real Christian?

The following text is a copy of a note by Kristine Kruszelnicki. She posted it on Facebook and it was so relevant that I must share it with as many people as possible. She obviously put a lot of work into this.

What is a real Christian?

There are over 39,000 different “Christian” denominations out there, all of them claiming to have THE right version of the truth and being guided by the Holy Spirit and having correct doctrine. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that unless God is Schizophrenic (and scriptural evidence doesn’t allow for that option), God isn’t giving out 39,000 conflicting answers.

So if one wants to follow the pattern of Jesus, how can they know which Christian path is right and who the good and true Christians are? What is a Christian anyway?

You may have heard that the original definition of Christian was “little Christ” or more literally “Christ-follower”. You’ve probably also heard that a Christian is someone who’s “accepted Jesus into his heart as his/her personal saviour”. And while it’s true that the Bible declares salvation by grace through faith along with assurance of forgiveness of sins past, present, and future; true Christ-following is supposed to be a lot more radical and all-demanding than getting a heaven-pass and living life like before – just switching out a few words from your vocab, or swapping secular books and artists for “Christian ones”.

Quickly consider the following passages that speak of life for the early Christians:
Hebrews 11:36-38
“Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”
1 Corinthians 4:11-13
“To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.

Um… not exactly your typical churchian culture of comfy pews and singing happy Jesus songs once week is it? I’ve yet to see a church banner advertising: “Come become the scum of the earth!”

Christ said that there are clear ways you would know who His true followers are, if you find any; I’ve included the more obvious ones and the verses (Do take the time to read them through – many are quite startling statements) below:

1. They love others (even enemies) as Christ loved them… willing to give up their own lives.

John 13:34-35 [Jesus speaking]
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

1 John 4: 19-20
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

1 John 3:16 -18
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

Luke 6: 27-28 [Jesus speaking]
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” [This is radical teaching!]

2. They do what He says and they follow His commands:

John 14:21 (also John 15:10) [Jesus speaking]
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Luke 6:46-49 [Jesus speaking]
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?… But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

3. They are self-sacrificing, choosing to die to themselves and their own desires and selfish ambitions, daily.

Matthew 16:24
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Galatians 2:20
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

1 John 2:15-16
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.”

John 12:24 [Jesus speaking]
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

4. They are servants, submitting and giving up their own wants for the benefit of another person

John 13:14 [Jesus speaking]
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

Romans 12:10
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Philippians 2:3
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

Romans 12:16
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Ephesians 5:21
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

5. They strive to follow His sinless example

1 John 1:6-7
“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin”

1 John 3:9
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

(Also see Romans chapter 6)

6. They won’t be popular, in the majority, or extremely numerous:

Matthew 7:14
“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Luke 13:23-24
“Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”

Matthew 7:21-23 [Jesus speaking]
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

7. They live within in a reversed economy:

Matthew 20:27b-28
“whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.””

Matthew 20:16
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Luke 9:48
“For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”

Matthew 5:11-12
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

8. They will be hated and persecuted

Matthew 10:22 (also found in Mark 13:13) [Jesus speaking]
“All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

John 15:19 [Jesus speaking]
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

John 15:20 [Jesus speaking]
“Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

2 Timothy 3:11-13
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

John 16:33 [Jesus speaking]
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

(See Matthew 24:9, Matthew 5:10-12 and Luke 6:22 for more)

9. Amongst other followers, they strive to be peacemakers, giving and living humbly and in unity with one another

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Romans 15:7
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Ephesians 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:14
“speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

10. They will overcome evil and sin and stand firm until the end

Revelation 12:11
“They overcame [the evil one] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives, even onto death.”

1 John 5:3
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.”

Ultimately, am I a true Christian to that degree of surrender and abandon? I’m sure I’m not. Selfishness and personal ambition, along with fear, doubt, and issues with my past churchian upbringing, are stumbling blocks in my own path… But if Jesus was and said as the historical record indicate – and there is much evidence that the documentation of Jesus (Yeshua as his name actually was) is reliable to teach us about this astounding man and the example He was to mankind, then it only makes sense to embrace fully His counter-cultural approach to life which involves loving your ennemies, giving to the poor, giving up everything you have and want to do for yourself, in order to follow the only one truly worth it all and more…


Why defense is relevant

When I call myself pro-life, I must explain every detail of what I mean so that no one is confused. Does this mean that I would never hurt or kill any form of life at any time? No. There are cases when I might possibly hurt or kill if it was to protect the life of someone else or myself. This is ONLY in the case of extreme situations where there is no time to think.

Imagine that I am walking down the street and I see a man hitting his son with a baseball bat repeatedly. This is not the time to stand there and debate with myself in my head about what the right thing to do is. What would I do in this situation? How should I know? At such a time, the mind is useless. Trying to be scientific, philosophical, or rational will not work. During the time I waste, the son of the mad batter will be hurt or even killed if nothing is done soon enough.

All I can know is that I would instantly be horrified at what I was seeing. I would definitely act. If I intervened, chances are that both the little boy and I would both be beaten to death with a baseball bat. There is the small chance that I could grab the bat and hit the man on the head hard enough to knock him into a coma. There is the chance that I could grab the boy and run him to safety. I could also try to call the police once the immediate threat has passed. Whether the police do anything or what they do is out of my control. I can’t predict the future, but I would still try to stop the damage I saw being done.

A moral relativist will tell me: Chandler, it is not your place to judge people for their actions or tell them who they can or cannot hurt with a bat, gun, knife, or anything else. Quit forcing your morality on people!

I will simply ignore them. My sense of relevance, love, compassion, empathy, or whatever you call it is what will decide my actions when I don’t have the time to think.

Is it bad to hit your son with a bat? Yes. Is it bad to hit the person who is hitting their son with a bat? Yes. Is it bad to do absolutely nothing and let the son of the mad batter beat his son to death? Yes.

Whether or not legal action is taken against someone is irrelevant to the case. This is a moral issue. The issue at hand is: What is wrong with the person who started hitting their son with a bat? What can be done to prevent this from happening again?

By the time something bad is happening, it is too late. Someone will be hurt. No matter what happens at this point is bad. All that we can do is prevent more harm from happening. How this is to be done is something people need to work together on.

There are times when killing may be necessary, but there is no way that all of the killing done by abortion, wars, or even accidents had to happen. Also, just because something becomes necessary does not make it good.

Why Scott Klusendorf is relevant

Scott Klusendorf is a pro-life activist who trains other people to defend the pro-life view. I like the way that Scott can use philosophy and science to explain what is wrong with the thinking of pro-choicers. This means that I don’t have to figure out how to do it all by myself. In fact, I doubt that I could do it better than Scott.

I have read two of his books: “The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture” and “Pro-Life 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to making Your Case Persuasively.

My pro-life activism is different from the majority, but I still am making a “case for life”, and I need to “make my case persuasively”. I may spend the rest of my life trying to explain what is wrong with legalized murder, but I think that it is one of the most relevant things I can do.

I will gladly support what Scott Klusendorf does because we have a common goal. I have my own plan to end abortion, but I can’t do it alone. I think that different pro-lifers can help each other see the flaws in their own reasoning so that we are all more effective.

Why tolerance is irrelevant

The problem with tolerance is that people mean different things when they talk about tolerance. When somebody else has a different idea of what tolerance is, they become intolerant. I understand this because I am intolerant of words that are not clearly defined.

I have no problem with people being different from me in appearance, belief, or action as long as no harm is being done to me or someone else. I certainly will not try to stop people from watching movies or reading books that they like. I don’t think that information should be restricted nor do I want to ban all beliefs or practices that I disagree with.

However, I am sure that there are certain things that people need to agree on. I think that by defining terms and talking with others who are different, I can understand the reasons for their actions. Otherwise, I may make false assumptions that cause me to be afraid of them.

I think constantly about which things I should tolerate and which I should either oppose or promote. Some things are just plain bad. There is no way I would ever want to promote abortion, rape, or dishonesty.

If I am doing something that is hurting someone, I expect somebody to tell me about it. Otherwise I will have no clue. In this case, I hope that people are intolerant enough to correct me if they have reason to believe that I am wrong.

If someone ignores someone because they disagree with their religion or politics, this is not tolerance. It is irrelevance. Since some things automatically affect everyone, they need to be talked about. I think that religion, politics, death, sex, and marriage are things that do affect us even when we try to avoid them.

As an example, I want to understand marriage. I am not looking to get married, but I need to know what it means to other people. Should I ignore people just because they are married to someone else that I do not like? What is the response I should have if I am invited to a wedding? How do I communicate with a friend if they marry someone who is abusive to them or to me?

Is it right to let people believe lies? A person cannot call themselves pro-life and then bomb an abortion clinic. It is just as wrong for them to kill as it is for the abortionists to kill. A person cannot call themselves pro-choice and then force people to pay for the abortions of others. If they arrest or kill anyone who wants to end abortion then they have taken away someone’s choice.

How can anyone tolerate things that are causing them pain? When people say one thing and then do the exact opposite, what response can there be except to point out the hypocrisy? I have no tolerance for people who confuse me. Because of this, such people are irrelevant to me unless their actions become relevant to their words.

Why memory is relevant

I do believe that there is a limit to what people can remember. Since my brain is a physical object that stores all information, I think that it is likely that all memories I have will be lost forever after I die. Because of this, it is even more relevant to write down as much as I can about my thoughts while I have the chance.

I often look back at things I wrote from a long time ago and see how much I have changed since then. Most of the time I simply forgot that I even wrote them. This same thing applies to the videos I recorded or even when I see old movies that I have watched many times before. Why do I not remember all these kissing scenes in these movies? I think that I forget things that are not relevant to the way I want to live my life.

Much of what defines a person is their memory. If someone loses their memory, they may still be considered alive physically, but they will not be able to do all the same things they did before. A memory loss would put them back into the same situation they were in before they were born.

My writing is mostly to help me remember things I have learned, but it may also help others learn those same things faster than I did. Human knowledge has only increased because of those who took the time to write. Those who did not write are either forgotten or are remembered by the writings of others.