Charlie's Blog: 2020


Where is Charlie?

People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.

I am still alive, and I have not abandoned this blog. I have been AWOL from the C-Blog for awhile now as I rethink my life. It is hard for me to do this rethinking while also thinking about things to write for the blog. In the past, I used work and writing as a way to not think about things in my life. This is classic workaholism. Circumstances have made me face things in my life and rethink everything. I am not done with this rethinking. But I am done with my sabbatical from the blog. I need to get back on the horse. Here are some of the things I have been rethinking in my life.

1. TBI

My brain injury has rendered me worthless as a competitive worker. My recovery is measured in increments. My symptoms are chronic. My life is ruined. What am I going to do with my ruined life?

I have resolved to continue doing what I have been doing for the last two years. Work on getting better. Do what I can. Do the best I can. This would apply if I had lost my eyesight, lost a limb, was paralyzed, or what have you. It's called surviving. Life is what you do with what has been done to you.


My faith has been tested by my injury, my trials, COVID, and this sham election. The hardest thing I have had to endure has been being cut off from the sacraments. I refuse to take communion in the hand, and confession has been essentially cancelled. This has had the most corrosive effect on my soul.

I am at the point where I consider the institutional church to be a colossal joke. I don't know if it is the homosexual priests and prelates or Pope Francis that disgusts me more. I remain a Catholic, but I am 100% dedicated to exposing all of the filth and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. I believe the gut shot was delivered under Vatican II, and the Church has been bleeding out since then from its mortal wound.

I am resigned to the fact that this filth and corruption is unlikely to cease in my lifetime. I can see this continuing for another three centuries or longer. The hope that things would change has become bitterness for me.


I have been an Opus Dei fanboy since shortly after my conversion. I thought this organization was the light, but it isn't. They are a cult. I want nothing to do with them now. My experience with OD has made me resolve to no longer be involved with any Catholic groups.

My Experience with Opus Dei and Opinions of Escriva and the Work


The other group I put my time and energy into was the Knights of Columbus. This ended when my local council folded. I enjoyed doing work for the Knights, but I see the organization as nothing more than an insurance company masquerading as a Catholic fraternal group. They changed the fourth degree uniforms from the traditional regalia to a Girl Scout outfit to try and get younger guys involved because youth makes those actuarial tables work better. Then, they made the initiation a total joke eliminating secrecy and even allowing men to join online. There were also issues with my local council as the older members wouldn't budge on the meeting time to accomodate knights who had day jobs. I was one of those knights with a day job.

Without a council, I didn't pay my dues this year, and I have decided to let my membership in the Knights of Columbus lapse. I can also include other things on my list involving the top leadership, but I think it all becomes moot with my exit. The KOC is another reason for my resolution to no longer belong to any Catholic groups.


I am going to stick with the writing thing. This is not a hobby for me, but it is my craft. Writing really works my brain and fatigues me, but I can still do it. I don't know why God spared that part of my brain. I would have picked something more vital to my survival like being able to stand and walk without becoming loopy and fatigued.

It would be nice to quit this blog and hang up writing. This has been on my mind quite a bit over my sabbatical. I have to continue to be a productive human being, and writing is part of that productivity. I will keep doing it.

There are other things that I could include on this list, but I am going to stop here with what I have. I just need to get back to blogging again here at the C-Blog.


The Abyss

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

I am a Catholic convert. Despite this, I still turn to atheist existentialist types for wisdom. This may trouble some readers, but it shouldn't. When I read those guys, they confirm for me again and again a truth that I have come to embrace. If God does not exist, then life is not worth living.

When Nietzsche declared that God was dead, he set in motion a project doomed to failure. This project was to find a way to live and function and even find happiness in a godless universe. None of the godless philosophers after him achieved anything on this project. Much of what they discovered about life was identical to what you will read in Ecclesiastes except without the consolation at the end of that biblical book that God is in control and will bring all things to a good end.

This world has nothing to offer. There is nothing to recommend it. Once you become an atheist, life is reduced to the material and the pleasurable. There is nothing greater to make a meaningful life. Even your work amounts to keeping yourself entertained during the day. This is why many call it an "occupation." The rest of us call it a job. For some people removed from having to work for a living because of status and good fortune, a job is merely a thing that occupies your time and keeps you from being bored during the day. Instead of building sand castles, they build real castles with the only difference being the time horizons of the two structures. Ultimately, everything returns to dust.

When you're an atheist, your existence begins as an accident that turns into a comedy and ends in tragedy. The enormity of this realization drives some to suicide. As a Generation X guy, I remember Kurt Cobain killing himself. That was a shocker for the young because Cobain had what many of us desired--wealth, fame, a job without heavy lifting. Yet, Cobain was a profoundly empty individual. Then, more recently, Chris Cornell followed Cobain into the abyss by killing himself. Cornell had the same things as Cobain. but none of it mattered to him. Nothing in this material world can fill the spiritual emptiness.

The abyss is nihilism. That is what Generation X had and still has. Despite coming of age in a materially prosperous time, the Gen Xers did not have God. They were materially rich but spiritually bankrupt. Some found God while others lost themselves in their careers, families, and liquor cabinets. Essentially, the Xers left their ditto mark on what the Boomers gave them.

The Millennials are blessed with being too stupid to realize their misery. The epitome of this generation of imbeciles is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aka AOC who is a walking comedy act who writes her own jokes with punchlines every time she opens her stupid mouth. Her ilk demonstrate that ignorance is truly bliss. Millennials are a generation of mental defectives from the complete morons to the Aspies on the autism spectrum. When that generation finally puts its hands on the wheel, we are truly doomed.

Millennials lack wisdom. Wisdom can take two varieties, but they both lead to the same destination. Life without God is not worth living. Some embrace God as I have done. Others fling themselves into the abyss. This leaves you three options--ignorance, the abyss, or God. If you've read this far, ignorance is no longer an option for you.

I used to think it was possible to find and live a meaningful and purposeful life without God. I know now that this is impossible. We were made for God. Our hearts desire God. Nothing less than God will suffice. And that is the secret to life. We should believe in God and love Him with all of our beings. This is the only thing that matters in this life and makes life worth living. Everything else is folly and misery.


Reasonable Doubt and Pascal's Wager

If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.

With that single line, the Dream Team of attorneys that OJ Simpson hired took their client to victory in his criminal murder trial. I remember when it happened and how I became acquainted with the concept of reasonable doubt. By the preponderance of the evidence, OJ Simpson was guilty. I believe he was guilty. But the defense only had to establish a reasonable doubt. An ill fitting glove did the trick, and the rest is legal history.

There is a reason we use the reasonable doubt standard in a criminal trial as opposed to the preponderance of the evidence standard in a civil trial. If there is an error to be made, it must be made on behalf of the accused. The reasoning is that it is better to allow a guilty man to go free than to condemn an innocent man to prison or to execution. It is not a rule of logic but a rule of betting. This is why there is a greater burden of proof in criminal trials.

When it comes to believing in God or being an atheist, I can honestly and without reservation claim that the preponderance of the evidence is on the side of God's existence. I have been on both sides of that debate and have collected and considered enough arguments to make that claim. In a civil trial, I would win. In a criminal trial, I would lose. This is because I cannot prove God's existence beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have ever stubbed your toe, that provides enough evidence to reasonably doubt the existence of God. Why does a good God allow this suffering? There are worse things in the world than this such as murders, rapes, thefts, and on and on. The existence of evil and suffering in the world is the best argument for atheism. These are the sorts of things one would expect from a purposeless universe guided by chance and evolution.

On the flip side of this argument, if the universe is guided by chance and evolution, why is there order? Why do we perceive a natural law underpinning it all? If you consider the five arguments of Thomas Aquinas, this puts the atheist in the conundrum of having to deal with five reasonable doubts to his position versus the one reasonable doubt for the believer. It doesn't matter if you believe in God, or you are an atheist. You will always be left with a reasonable doubt. This is why atheists and Christians have argued back and forth for centuries now with a sort of stalemate between them.

The reason for the stalemate is that both sides are striving to make an argument that is beyond all reasonable doubt. This can never be attained in the debate concerning God's existence. To have absolute certitude about anything would require omniscience which is a trait that belongs only to God. Even an atheist can agree on this point. To this day, we do not know with absolute certainty that OJ Simpson was guilty or innocent. The only thing we can know with absolute certainty is that we are not omniscient.

In the absence of certitude, all of our arguments are reduced to being contingent. I could change my mind about OJ's guilt if new evidence surfaced that exonerates him. Likewise, scientists may discover some fact that would make the existence of God less probable. Regardless, we marshal the best contingent arguments for both sides. This always leads to making a bet. Which side is most likely the correct one? That depends upon the outcome which brings us to Pascal's Wager.

Pascal's Wager is very simple. If God does not exist, both the atheist and the believer will die and go to the grave not even knowing if they were right or wrong. If God does exist. the atheist goes to Hell while the believer goes to someplace much better. The smart bet to make is to gamble on God.

I have never been a fan of Pascal's Wager. This comes from the fundamental gut reaction of people that sincere faith can't come from what amounts to a betting rule. By itself, Pascal's wager is insufficient. But if you add Pascal's wager to the arguments of Aquinas, you have an unbeatable package. You can strengthen your faith with the safe knowledge that you have nothing to lose by believing except the opportunity to acquire a sexually transmitted disease through immorality in this short life. Since being moral and good have their own rewards, you lose nothing by gambling on God. To put it another way, there is nothing worthwhile to be gained from atheism in this life or the next.

Whenever we hit a reasonable doubt or even a long period of discouragement, we should turn to Pascal and his wager. The only thing that should ever make us abandon our faith is the absolute certitude that God does not exist which we can never have. The benefit of all doubts should be given to believing in God. When you do this, this banishes all anxieties that you have made the wrong choice. This is something the atheist can never enjoy with his own reasonable doubts.

The only argument that the atheist can make is to cite that we may be gambling on the wrong God. If it turns out that Allah is God, the Christian will face eternal damnation and vice versa. The atheist does not recognize that the wager is still solid against atheism since the atheist is guaranteed a spot in Hell regardless of who the right God may be. A probable path to Hell is always to be preferred over a certain path to Hell. Like I said, this is a betting rule.

I believe in Jesus Christ and Roman Catholicism, but that is a separate set of arguments from the ones concerning atheism. I have never been tempted by the claims of some other religion like Buddhism and Islam. For me, the choice has always been binary--atheism or Christianity. Either Jesus Christ was the Son of God or religion is a total sham. Because of this, Pascal's Wager is a solid strategy for me.

I think you can take great consolation from the many arguments for God's existence. But when that consolation is absent, I recommend Pascal's Wager. You keep believing because choosing atheism makes no sense. Atheism is a dumb bet and will always be a dumb bet. If we must risk error, let us err on the side of God.


An Update From the Long Defeat

As many of us have been warning for the last four years, the Trump Revolution would ultimately be derailed, not by liberals, but by pseudo-conservatives.

My wife was quite livid when she heard that the SCOTUS had decided that sodomites and transgender lunatics will have the same protections as other groups under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This ruling would probably be a shock to the original framers of that legislation who probably never imagined that we would have gay marriage and transmutilation one day. The thing she found most galling was that this ruling came from betrayal. Justice Neil Gorsuch not only joined the progressives on the court but even wrote the opinion in order to add insult to the injury.

A lot of conservatives would like to blame Trump for this betrayal, but you may as well blame Jesus for the actions of Judas Iscariot. The reality is that betrayers exist. The sickness of their betrayal is so bad that it makes you appreciate your enemies for their honesty. Trump simply took these people at face value. If you think he was foolish for this, consider that no one on the right put up much protest on either of his nominations to the SCOTUS. They were considered splendid.

I have experienced so much betrayal in my own life that it doesn't shock me anymore. I expect everyone I know to let me down. When I voted for Trump, it was with the expectation that he would let me down. He has done things that I thought were stupid or wrong, but he has disappointed me the least relative to my expectations of him. This is the power of diminished expectations. I just know that things are better now than if Hillary had won.

When Democrats promise to do evil, they keep that promise. When Republicans promise to do good, they do not keep that promise. I know that it is hard to get things done in politics, so I don't expect success or victory. I just expect fidelity to conservative principles. Very few Republicans pull this off.

There are some things that need to be said. Here is one of them. Abortion will never end. It will not end in your lifetime or mine. It won't end in your children's lifetime or your grandchildren's lifetime. The unborn will be slaughtered right up until the moment of Jesus Christ's return. I know that is a bleak prediction, but it comes from watching almost 50 years of prayers and protests yield nothing in overturning Roe v. Wade. If I were still an atheist, I would point to this glaring fact as ample evidence that God does not answer prayer. As a believer, I just live with the disappointment and mystery of it all. God did nothing to spare the innocents slaughtered by Herod. Why should it destroy my faith that all the prayers for the end of abortion go unanswered?

The primary reason Roe v. Wade is forever is because every justice on the SCOTUS could be replaced with a Republican and a conservative, and they will still fail to overturn that awful decision. This is because when we win we still lose. Roe was approved by a 7-2 vote. 6 of those 7 votes came from Republican appointees. Why should this ever change?

To add even more insult to the injury, blue states expecting Roe to be overturned have strengthened and extended their laws concerning abortion rights. Essentially, more babies are being killed now because of pro-life efforts than before. And the pro-choicers are more galvanized than ever. It is so bad that it makes you want to quit trying.

Reader, are you discouraged yet? Does it make you want to quit? And this is where I pull you back from the edge of the ledge. Life gives you two options. You can win with the bad guys, or you can lose with the good guys. The answer to that choice should be obvious. You should always choose good over evil. The problem is that people want to win, so they decide to join the wicked in order to taste victory. This is how you get a slimebag betrayer like Neil Gorsuch.

I have learned to trust people only when I have to trust them. Even then, I expect them to screw me and to screw the cause. The betrayal hurts less when you do this. As for the betrayer, they end up like Judas Iscariot in greater or lesser degrees. The cop who kneeled like a sniveler before the BLM protesters now expresses remorse and regret over his shameful actions. He said he will live with the shame of that until the day he dies. He is correct. Likewise, Gorsuch will never be able to read a newspaper or go online without hearing people like me deride him and curse his name. As for the progressives, they will also shun him since even they have better sense than to be friends with a traitor.

I expect Brett Kavanaugh to join Gorsuch at some point in betraying us. He has already telegraphed his intentions to do exactly that. Progressives went all out to keep Kavanaugh from being confirmed. They vilified him and smeared his good name and reputation. I don't even know why they bothered because Brett Kavanaugh will certainly disgrace himself at some point.

We have two principled conservatives on the court--Thomas and Alito. You can count on those guys to be like Scalia and do the right thing. It would be nice to have an entire court of justices like this. But good men and women are few while the wicked are many. And all I can say is that most people go to Hell. There is a special place in Hell for the betrayers, and I think it is the hottest part of eternal damnation. No one will say they didn't deserve it.


Shave Your Head or Not?

Combovers are for losers.

I feel sorry for women who are losing their hair because of alopecia or cancer treatments. Society expects women to have a full head of hair. Fortunately for women, hair loss is a rare thing. For men, it is a common thing. 85% of men will experience some level of hair loss in their lives. For some guys, they may have some thinning or a receding hairline. For other guys, they lose it all until they have the infamous horseshoe that wraps around the skull. This loss of hair often brings with it a crisis for a lot of guys. They don't know how to deal with it.

The first response to male pattern baldness is denial. Guys will try to ignore what is happening up there. Eventually, it becomes obvious to them and to others that they are losing their hair. This creates a fork in the road which prompts the second response. Do you try to save what you have and/or try to disguise it? Or, do you own it? I will tell you what lies at the end of those two paths.


Pretty boys can't deal with male pattern baldness, so they will choose to fight it. The first and most obvious option is to go with some sort of topical remedy like Rogaine. I had a friend who went this route, and he complained of headaches as a side effect. I don't know if all men experience this. What I do know is that the results of using that stuff didn't do much for him. He had more hair with Rogaine than without it, but he was still visibly losing his hair.

The next vain attempt to deal with the baldness is to try some variation of a combover. Guys will grow their hair long and try to assemble a haystack over the bald areas. This sort of works until wind, rain, or a splash in the pool reveals the reality. This strategy always looks messy and desperate.

The third vain attempt is a rug strategy where you resort to using fake hair to augment the real hair that you have. It might be a spray at first that paints the scalp. There is a product that amounts to sprinkle hair that sticks to the bald spots. Then, there are toupees and wigs. When these inevitably fail, they provide a great deal of comedy for people. And when they don't fail, people can tell that your hair is fake. No one is being fooled but you.

The final and most desperate attempt is to have surgery. Don't do this. There are variations of hair transplantation and scalp reduction surgery. I had a coworker who tried this desperate measure with the doctor slicing out a row of his scalp from their rear to put in the front. That gash was painful and would not heal properly. Blood oozed out of the back of his head. I felt sorry for him because he had literally mutilated himself.

I don't think any of these strategies work. There is only one proper response to reality, and that is to face it like a man. This brings us to the second path which is ownership.


Inevitably, you are going to turn around on the pathetic path and go back to the fork in the road. This may happen when you are young or when you are older and have quit caring. But you are going to own that baldness. And when you do, you will find that you care about it more than other people do. They don't have a problem accepting your male pattern baldness. You have the problem.

Once you accept the reality of hair loss, your life will get better. Reality stings at first, but you get used to it. If you own it, you will survive it much better than if you deny it.

There are two ways to own your baldness. You can just let what remains to grow as it is. I call this simple ownership. This is when you rock the horseshoe or let the wispy remains hover over the bald spots. I see no dishonor in this. This tells me that these men have gotten over their vanity, but they don't care to become bad asses.

The second way is extreme ownership. This is when you take out some clippers or a razor and shave off what remains. This is a bold move. Many men don't have the confidence to pull this off. Yet, I think this extreme ownership is the best option.

There are advantages to being bald, but you can only enjoy them fully by shaving your head. Hair makes you look young. Balding makes you look old. A shaved head makes you look ageless. That is the first advantage. When I meet people, my age is a guessing game because I don't have any markers like gray hair or a receding hairline to indicate how old I am.

A second advantage to shaving your head is that you can dispense with a lot of hair care. You don't have to go to the barbershop anymore. You don't need to buy shampoo or hair gel. You don't need a comb or a hairbrush. Shaving your head takes time, but you get it back not tending your locks.

A third advantage is cleanliness. Your dandruff is gone. You never worry about lice. A shaved head is the most hygienic haircut that exists.

A fourth advantage is that it feels awesome. Having a shaved head is a plus during the summertime and places that have warm climates. Shaving your head is like turning on the air conditioner for your skull.

A fifth advantage is that a shaved head makes you look meaner and tougher. If you can't be a pretty boy, you should at least look like you will kick a pretty boy's ass. A shaved head is very masculine looking. It also sends the message of supreme self-confidence. Fortunately, we have celebrities and athletes who have gone with the extreme ownership and have made the shaved head an awesome look.

There are disadvantages to having a shaved head. The first one is that you might get a sunburn. But this would happen with any form of male pattern baldness. Wear a hat.

A second disadvantage is that your head may get cold in the winter resulting in a brain freeze. But this will happen with male pattern baldness. Wear a hat.

That brings us to a sixth and final advantage of shaving your head. Your hats will fit better. It is aggravating trying to get your hair underneath a hat, and it looks awful when you take the hat off. These issues vanish with a shaved head.

Now, there are issues some men have with shaving their heads. What if their skull is not elegantly shaped? The reality is that every man's skull is different. If you look at many famous baldies, you will notice that their skulls have weird shapes. Some even have scars. I recommend that you own that, too.

The other issue is with women. Some women don't like bald guys. They want a pretty boy. That is actually awesome for you because those women are usually vain whores that you are better off not dating. And I can say from personal experience that the women you lose over the hair thing will be more than made up by the women who absolutely dig a man who has the confidence of having a shaved head. When I had hair, I couldn't get a date. When I shaved my head, I couldn't beat women off with a stick. The point is that women are weird like that.


The best argument that I can give for shaving your head is to talk to guys who have already done it. Virtually all of them are happy with going down the path of extreme ownership and wish they had done it sooner. It is a liberating experience. This is because shaving your head frees you from vanity and self-consciousness. It is so awesome that some guys without male pattern baldness have tried it. It is a popular option which makes it easier to do now. The bottom line is that shaving your head turns a negative into a positive. If you're losing your hair, you may as well enjoy the full benefits of not having hair. Shave that melon and enjoy the new life.


Kazoo: The Musical Secret Weapon

You give me a @#$%& kazoo and I'll write you a good song.

The kazoo is an instrument that gets zero respect. When you play the kazoo, it is hard not to laugh. It's also hard for people to not laugh at you when you are playing it. I used to think it was the sound the kazoo made, but it has a certain saxophone vibe to it. You can also make it sound like some exotic Middle Eastern instrument if you know what you're doing. But the comedy of the instrument comes from the fact that it is ridiculously easy to play. If you can hum a tune, you can play the kazoo. That fact is what negates the kazoo as a serious instrument. But that fact is also what makes the kazoo a musical secret weapon.

It is easy to dismiss the kazoo until you realize that Jimi Hendrix played kazoo on "Crosstown Traffic." I have listened to that song for years and wondered how he played the kazoo part because I never realized it was a kazoo. In fact, it was a homemade kazoo made from a comb and a piece of cellophane. I thought it was something weird he did with a guitar or something. Finding out the truth blew me away. Kazoo can be a serious instrument.

Now, there is a wide world of serious instruments. There is the guitar, the bass guitar, and the drums that make up the elements of a rock band. There is the piano, the flute, the cello, the oboe, and other various instruments. The problems with these serious instruments are that they cost a great deal of money and require many hours of study and practice to be any good at playing them. This would be fine until you realize that most musicians can't make a living playing the instrument they spent considerable time and money learning to play. Even Jimi Hendrix would be forced to pawn his guitar just to eat and pay rent before he got famous.

People with day jobs and families don't have time to be really good at learning to play musical instruments. For most people, music becomes a hobby that they never get very good at because the bulk of their time is spent on making a living and tending their children. Their instruments are usually cheap, and their skills are amateur. Improving these things requires spending time and money that is probably better spent on more valuable things like vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, and paying off credit cards. A dad who blows $4K on a Gibson Les Paul he can't play is an idiot.

Now, there is one great advantage to playing musical instruments. Once you part with the cash and spend time learning how to play them to a level of decency, they are fun. It's like how a fellow will lay out thousands of dollars on golf clubs and country club fees to have fun playing bad golf. Yet, he could probably have fun playing frisbee golf or mini-golf at a fraction of the price. The problem with those cheap and fun options are that they are not "serious." So, what?

People take themselves too seriously. They can't buy a beach cruiser from Walmart. They have to buy an expensive and very uncomfortable name brand road bike costing more than a good used car. They can't drink grape juice. They have to buy expensive wines and build a cellar to store them. They can't make a day trip to see a roadside attraction up the road from where they live. They have to spend thousands of dollars on airfare and accommodations to cross the Eiffel Tower off their bucket lists. Where is the fun in all of this?

You should be serious about your faith, your politics, your education, your family, and your job. Beyond this, you shouldn't be serious at all. You should have fun. And this is where the kazoo comes in.

If you are a musician in the symphony, you should be serious about your music and instrument. The same applies if you are a church organist or a music teacher or playing in a rock band that performs paying gigs for people. But if you aren't paid for it and have no great talent at it, you should not be serious about it at all. This means not spending serious time and money on your hobby. This means having fun. This means getting a kazoo.

A kazoo is cheap. My kazoo cost me less than five bucks. You can get 10 plastic ones for less than 10 bucks on Amazon. And you don't have to learn anything harder than how to hum. There are no notes, scales, or fingerings with the kazoo. You just need a decent ear. A kazoo is a low time and money investment.

Whenever I feel a bit musical, I whip out the kazoo and play things. Sometimes, I play a cover tune that people recognize. Or, I will improvise a melody. I play until I get winded, or my wife stops laughing and gets annoyed. When I stop playing, I congratulate myself on not blowing $4K on a Gibson Les Paul and wasting countless hours trying to learn "Purple Haze." And I can play the kazoo part from "Crosstown Traffic" as good as Jimi did. My musical itch has been scratched, and I can move on with the serious things in my life.

The supreme value in playing the kazoo is that it allows you to have fun and stop taking yourself so seriously. It is cheap, portable, and easy to play. You could learn to play harmonica or an English flute, but these require learning notes and practicing. You still won't be as good as you would be on the kazoo. I can't play the theme from Hawaii Five-O on a harmonica, a guitar, an accordion, or a saxophone. But I can do it on my kazoo. I am the master of my instrument. Few people can say that about their instruments. And that is what makes the kazoo a musical secret weapon. Anyone can play it and become a musician.


The Echo Chamber Advantage

Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. Otherwise, it could end up like a city sewer, rejecting nothing.

Once upon a time, I subscribed to a philosophy I will call the "omnivore strategy." Basically, I maintained an open mind on things taking in all the information that I could gather and digest. I still had viewpoints on things and believed in them quite firmly. But I also believed that I might be wrong on those viewpoints which meant that I always looking over the fence at the green grass in other fields. Then, I rejected that omnivore strategy in favor of an echo chamber strategy. I don't waste my time looking over that fence anymore. Here is the story of that decision and why I think it makes sense.

Imagine a kid named Junior who learns in school and/or from his sensible parents that 2 + 2 = 4. He comes to accept the truth and common sense of that proposition. Then, he goes to college where sophisticated types try to disabuse him of that silly notion. They convince him for awhile that 2 + 2 = 5. He tries it for awhile until he decides 5 is a silly answer. The professors then tell him it is 6 or 7 or whatever. The possible wrong answers are infinite, but the professors encourage Junior to keep an "open mind."

Now, this sort of thing doesn't happen in such an elementary fashion. Instead of giving wrong answers to math problems, these sophisticates give wrong answers to much bigger questions. The answer to your emotional and mental problems is Freud. The answer to our origins and nature is Darwin. The answer to our economic problems is Marx. The antidote to the drudgery of married life is free love and contraception. All of these answers are wrong, but people who know better just can't seem to reject them because they feel the need to be "open minded."

The madness of this open minded approach can be seen in the NPR listening liberal who supports LGBT issues, Marxist solutions to problems, and disdains religion. Yet, this same liberal will be faithfully married to his spouse, raise his children in a faith he no longer practices, and send those kids to conservative private schools. You figure that there would be some separation and repudiation of one set of ideas over the other. But there isn't. Why? The answer is these types of people feel the need to keep an open mind, That is the sad fruit of getting a university level education.

People blessed with the inability to attend college end up being pretty closed minded on things. They go through life under the delusion that 2 +2 = 4, and that is the one right answer and the one that matters. It is very helpful when it comes to balancing the checkbook and sawing lumber to frame a house. These blue collar rubes go through life deprived of all that university book learning and seem to be better off for it. The rest of us should learn a lesson from them.

There are two ways you can go with this. You can accept that 2 + 2 = 4 without question. Or, you can accept it without question after a period of questioning. The important thing is to abandon working through the infinity of wrong answers to assure yourself that you have the right answer. We work through the wrong answers when we listen to NPR and read The New York Times when we know better.

I don't read the Times. I only listen to NPR for the classical music. I change the station when the news comes on. That's when I switch to the AM dial to listen to conservative talk radio. Except for local coverage, my news sources are overwhelmingly conservative. The same thing applies to my reading of religious information. I turn to conservative and traditional Catholic sources. I don't waste time on Protestant or modernist garbage.

The criticism of this approach to news and information is called the "echo chamber." It gets castigated by the sophisticated types who are always complaining about the conservative bias on Fox News and talk radio. Somehow, there is no progressive bias in their left wing echo chambers. The reality is these Marxists want some pretext to censor opposing viewpoints. And that is a neat trick of theirs. The ones who preach the value of having an open mind have no trouble closing their minds to opposing viewpoints and even censoring them out of existence. They will even flunk students and ruin lives for having these opposing viewpoints.

We need to drop the fiction of this nonsense of having an open mind. There is no such thing. There are simply closed minds on what is true or false. Once you find the truth, go ahead and close your mind on it. You're not missing out on anything valuable.

The way to close your mind is to go ahead and build that echo chamber. This approach gives you two overwhelming advantages. The first is that it saves you time as it cuts down on your reading and information uptake. The second is that it ends the instability of having a double mind. The disadvantages of not having an echo chamber is that you spend a lot of mental and emotional energy worrying that you have made the wrong choices or have the wrong ideas, and you waste a lot of time researching the infinity of wrong answers.

How do you build your echo chamber? The first thing is to know if you have the right answer. If you have the wrong answer, the echo chamber will actually work to your detriment. You will have closed your mind onto a lie. How do we know that 2 + 2 = 4? The answer is what we know as "common sense." It is impossible to work through that infinity of wrong answers, but the right answers click immediately. Truth has a simplicity to it. It is also a well worn path. Once you find the right answer, have confidence in it.

The second thing is to know if you have the wrong answer. When you have the wrong answer, you should keep looking until you find the right answer. This is where having an open mind matters. But finding the right answer is often a process of elimination of the wrong answers. It's like the way Edison and his assistants would try various filaments before they hit upon the one that worked for their incandescent light bulb. Once they tried something that didn't work, they didn't keep trying it. They moved on.

The third thing is to know if there are multiple right answers. This happens. Some answers are better than others. They've made better light bulbs since Edison. You can make a fire by rubbing two sticks together, but flicking your Bic is a lot easier. On the other hand, if you don't have a lighter, knowing how to rub those sticks together can be handy. When there are multiple right answers, we call these "options." The main thing is that an option works. An option that doesn't work is no longer an option.

The fourth thing is learning to separate the true from the false. Your mind should be like a filter as you let errors flow through while the more solid truth remains. In time, these truths will accumulate into a body of wisdom and useful knowledge. This structure will assemble itself into your echo chamber.

The fifth thing is learning to ignore those fools who claim there is no truth, or that truth can't be known. You can dismiss these people without further argument as their own position is self-defeating. These people's minds are so open that their brains have fallen out. The reality is that they have built an echo chamber around a body of lies, and they have to close themselves off to common sense in order for those lies to become true. Just ignore these idiots.

The bottom line is that the echo chamber is designed to help you not waste your valuable time and energy on what is false. This means neither accepting nor rejecting everything you're told but doing the hard work of weeding out the true from the false. It doesn't mean that you stop searching for truth and answers. It means you stop looking at or considering those things you have learned are false. The only value in studying bad ideas is to refute them and save others the time they would have wasted on traveling that dead end.


The Upsides and Downsides of Atheism

But I am very poorly today & very stupid & I hate everybody & everything. One lives only to make blunders.

Christians and atheists have debated and continue to debate the existence of God. They use an assortment of philosophical arguments and scientific evidence. Yet, precious few actually describe their fundamental personal reasons for either believing or disbelieving in God. I have been both a believer, an unbeliever, and a believer again. Because of this, I understand fully why someone would choose to believe or not to believe in God. I am not sure that others have this same understanding of the full consequences of those beliefs. Here are the upsides and downsides of not believing in God.


1. Ceasing to be angry at God.

The first and most obvious benefit of losing a belief in God is that you stop being angry at Him for allowing all of the evil and suffering in the world. Many atheists begin to lose their faith over this precise issue, and they cannot live with the torment of a just and loving God who is all powerful allowing so much bad stuff to happen. They prefer to believe in a world of luck that can either be good or bad. No one gets angry with luck. That is just how the game goes.

It is painful and traumatic trying to discern a reason for why things happen the way they do. This pain vanishes when you abandon belief in God. You attain a measure of numbness and indifference, and you get back the time, the mental energy, and the emotional energy spent trying to make sense of all the senseless suffering.

2. Losing the fear of death and Hell.

Losing a belief in God entails also losing a belief in the supernatural, the soul, and life after death. Essentially, the atheist is a material being living in a material universe. His consciousness is simply the byproduct of material processes which cease at death. For the atheist, he will return to the same state he was in before he was born which is nothingness. His atoms and molecules will go on, but his consciousness will not. The upside of this dismal view of life is that it negates spending an eternity in Hell. Death goes from something to be feared to a source of escape from the suffering in this world. This is why atheists are so fond of suicide, euthanasia, contraception, and abortion.

3. Losing a sense of guilt.

If there is no God and no Hell, there is also no judgment for the things we have done. You may feel some lingering regrets over the family you killed while driving under the influence. But you can dismiss bad feelings over sleeping in on Sundays or lying to your boss about being sick or cheating on your spouse and getting away with it.

4. Gaining the freedom to live as you please.

Being an atheist allows you the freedom to choose your own set of values in life and to live according to those values. Things like being a responsible adult or tending to family obligations can take a backseat to exploration and self-discovery which often means the use of mind damaging drugs and alternative forms of sexual depravity.


1. The loss of meaning and purpose in existence.

When you become an atheist, the meaning and purpose of life that religion provides vanishes. It's like being on a ship that has lost its map and compass. The ship can still sail, but the direction of the voyage becomes unknown. You get to pick any point on the horizon with no idea of where you will end up. This turns the trip from a voyage to mere motion on the water. Without a fixed destination, no direction ultimately matters.

Jean-Paul Sartre and others like him described this loss of meaning and purpose as the "absurd." Life becomes reduced to the material. Higher values are purely personal and become mere matters of taste and custom. This gives us the freedom of choice but also the issue of regret. How do we know that we have chosen well? We don't. Even that question becomes meaningless.

2. The loss of aesthetic enjoyment.

When life has lost its purpose and meaning, things like art, music, and literature also lose their meaning. Music becomes mere tones. Art is just paint splattered on a canvas. A movie is just flickering images on a screen. This is something Charles Darwin encountered in his later years.
I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.
Some atheists will argue that Darwin merely became too analytical because of his scientific studies which tends to favor one side of the brain over the other. But I think his atheism produced this loss of aesthetic enjoyment. Darwin goes on to write,
The loss of these tastes [for poetry and music] is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.
Mere habit can be amended, so why not regain what was lost? But without God, everything including nature loses its dimension of awe and wonder. When I was an atheist, I called this "the flattening effect." It is like drinking soda pop that has lost its fizz.

This loss also extends to personal relationships especially in the romantic area. Love gets reduced to mere chemical reactions in the brain. The result is that a significant other is tolerated until they become boring at some point later. Loving relationships lose their endurance.

The loss of aesthetic enjoyment brings with it a desire for things that shock. Music becomes louder and noisier. Art becomes more obscene and blasphemous. Movies become pornographic and violent. Relationships become sexually depraved. This madness is pursued not to feel something good but merely just to feel something at all.

3. The loss of moral sensibility and reason.

Without God, the ability to make moral distinctions and decisions becomes damaged and lost. A great example of this would be the way the atheist Peter Singer will justify infanticide while decrying the slaughter of a pig for food. Issues of justice become matters of personal opinion, and the atheist discovers the deficiency of this moral relativism when he discovers himself to be  the victim of someone else's difference of opinion.

Reason itself becomes impossible as terms such as "justice" and "rights" become deconstructed from their meanings. This meaningless becomes madness on a personal level leading to becoming a monster. It also leads to madness on a social and political level as demonstrated in the atrocities of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. Atheism is fundamentally a death cult of moral relativism.

4. The loss of hope.

If death is truly the end, why bother loving others or having children? They will all end up in the grave with you. Nothing you say or do matters beyond this temporal existence which has no meaning anyway. Life goes from a wondrous consequence of chance to becoming a sick joke that should have never happened. The universe produced beings that attained the consciousness of their own mortality and the futility of their own existence. At least cows are clueless about the fact that they are fated to become steaks and hamburgers.

5. The impossibility of happiness.

I have never met a happy atheist. Without God, life loses all transcendant value and meaning. Reduced to material existence, life becomes the temporary satisfaction of the body accompanied by a great deal of anxiety, psychological dread, and emptiness. Happiness in this world of atheism boils down to being truly ignorant of existence and to the hedonistic pursuit of food. alcohol, drugs, and the satisfaction of one's genitals before the ultimate end in death. On this basis, the happiest person is the heroin addict who dies from a blissful and fatal overdose.

The atheist may be right about God not existing, but he will never experience the vindication of being right. This would require being conscious after death. Both the atheist and the Christian will die never knowing if they were right or wrong about God's existence if God does not exist. But if God does exist, the atheist gets to spend eternity regretting the error. That possibility demands that the atheist get this absolutely right which is why atheists expend such considerable energy trying to disprove God's existence and debating with Christians. This amounts to trying to reassure oneself that Hell does not await.

Atheists of an existential bent try to overcome the downsides of their position by trying to find meaning and happiness on the temporal plane of existence. As far as I can tell, none of them have satisfactorily achieved these aims.  People who believe in God exhibit more morality, rationality, hope, and happiness than their atheist peers. And believers also endure their trials with greater equanimity than atheists who either numb themselves or opt for suicide.

From personal experience, I can say that the only thing that brought me happiness as an atheist was throwing myself into work and activities in order to not think about things and to forget my misery. I still enjoy these things as a believer but without the misery. If the goal of life is happiness, atheism will not deliver on this goal.


Grow a Beard or Shave?

But you have to understand, my beard is so nasty. I mean, it's the only beard in the history of Western civilization that makes Bob Dylan's beard look good.

The decision to grow a beard is primarily aesthetic. Men grow beards because they are trying to achieve a certain look. This may be for vanity or because a certain lady likes a man with a beard. The decision to shave off a beard is primarily career based. Men will shave to get and keep a job. For those who have jobs that permit facial hair, they are faced with a dilemma. Should they grow a beard or shave?

Before we begin this discussion, it would be helpful to eliminate other forms of facial hair that you might consider. The first is the mustache which is the facial hair of choice of porn stars and dictators. The second would be variations of the goatee which is the facial hair of choice of sleazebags and child molesters. Now, these generalizations are most likely inaccurate. But consider the square mustache of Adolf Hitler. That style was quite popular at one time. You can see it on Charlie Chaplin. But Adolf pretty much killed the square mustache. Like it or not, these forms of facial hair suffer from guilt by association. You are unlikely to rehabilitate them in the mind of the public. Do yourself a favor and skip these forms of facial hair.

The choice is fundamentally binary. You can grow a full beard, or you can shave it clean. Either path will keep you free of the negative associations of the mustache or the goatee. Abraham Lincoln had a beard. Jesus Christ had a beard. The beard is a good option in that regard.

Now, some people will try to argue for having a beard for utilitarian reasons. They think a beard requires less maintenance than a daily shave. But this argument is misleading. Shaving requires a razor, shave soap or cream, and aftershave. A beard also requires those things because you are still going to be shaving. The alternative is to have an unsightly neck beard crawling down your throat. If you are especially hairy, this growth will connect with hair on the back of the neck making you look a bit like sasquatch. You're still going to be shaving.

Beards require their own care. Along with a razor, you have to get a beard trimmer, a beard comb, a beard brush, and beard oil to combat beard dandruff. Beards require work. The alternative to this is the bum beard that you see on homeless people.

The other utilitarian argument for a beard is that it keeps your face warm in cold weather and the winter. This argument is only partially true. You will notice that mountain climbers don't grow out their beards. The reason for this is because beards accumulate ice. This results in your face becoming colder instead of warmer. You are better off wearing a balaclava or other face covering. In the summer, those beards are just hot and scratchy.

The utilitarian arguments for shaving are numerous. The first and most basic reason for shaving is that it is cleaner. Ancient Egyptians and Romans shaved their faces. Why? I think the most basic reason is it helped to combat fleas and lice. Shaving in the ancient world was not as easy as it is today, yet those ancients expended considerable energy and resources to do it. Men with beards like the barbarians and Vikings were considered dirty and unclean. This is because they were.

The military learned from World War I the value of shaving and having short hair. Hair is nasty and creates a nice home for insects. There is also the issue of dry skin and dandruff. Men who shave appear cleaner because they are cleaner. There is a reason why military men lost the beards after World War I.

The other utilitarian argument for shaving is that it makes a better seal for gas masks, dust masks, and surgical masks. If you have a job that requires these types of masks, you are better off shaving your face. World War I had chemical warfare which is another reason the military started to mandate a shaved face.

A third utilitarian argument for shaving your face is that beards get food and drink stuck in them. Guys with beards often find foam clinging to their upper lip after drinking a beer or crumbs hiding in their whiskers. This helps attract rats to your face along with the fleas and the lice.

A fourth utilitarian argument for shaving your face is professional. Despite the liberalization of facial hair policies at some firms, businesses and organizations overwhelmingly expect and demand that you be clean shaven. Even in places that let you grow a beard, you are still better off shaving your face.

Growing a beard is overwhelmingly an aesthetic issue. A beard makes you look more masculine. The problem is that gay bears and leathermen sport beards to achieve hypermasculinity while being very homosexual. And your typical Marine Corps drill instructor will certainly kick your ass if you mock his baby face. The sad fact is that beards are seen on tree hugging hippies and man bun wearing hipsters. The beard may make you look more manly, but it is not going to make you be more manly.

Like it or not, the weight of these arguments are in favor of shaving your face. It's your face, and if you're willing to pay the price, a beard may suit you. Just don't make the argument that it is for anything other than looks. I must also add that if you have a patchy or pathetic beard like Keanu Reeves then you are wasting your time with the beard. You might think you look like a lumberjack or a sailor, but the world will see you as an unkempt lazy bum.


Corona Bunker Blues

And David arose in the morning, and the word of the Lord came to Gad the prophet and the seer of David, saying: Go, and say to David: Thus saith the Lord: I give thee thy choice of three things, choose one of them which thou wilt, that I may do it to thee. And when Gad was come to David, he told him, saying: Either seven years of famine shall come to thee in thy land: or thou shalt flee three months before thy adversaries, and they shall pursue thee: or for three days there shall be a pestilence in thy land. Now therefore deliberate, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me. And David said to Gad: I am in a great strait: but it is better that I should fall into the hands of the Lord (for his mercies are many) than into the hands of men. And the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, from the morning unto the time appointed, and there died of the people from Dan to Bersabee seventy thousand men.

And when the angel of the Lord had stretched out his hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord had pity on the affliction, and said to the angel that slew the people: It is enough: now hold thy hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingfloor of Areuna the Jebusite.  And David said to the Lord, when he saw the angel striking the people: It is I; I am he that have sinned, I have done wickedly: these that are the sheep, what have they done? let thy hand, I beseech thee, be turned against me, and against my father's house. And Gad came to David that day, and said: Go up, and build an altar to the Lord in the threshingfloor of Areuna the Jebusite. And David went up according to the word of Gad which the Lord had commanded him. And Areuna looked, and saw the king and his servants coming towards him:

An going out he worshipped the king, bowing with his face to the earth, and said: Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? Arid David said to him: To buy the threshingfloor of thee, and build an altar to the Lord, that the plague, which rageth among the people, may cease. And Areuna said to David: Let my lord the king take, and offer, as it seemeth good to him: thou hast here oxen for a holocaust, and the wain, and the yokes of the oxen for wood. [23] All these things Areuna as a king gave to the king: and Areuna said to the king: The Lord thy God receive thy vow. And the king answered him, and said: Nay, but I will buy it of thee at a price, and I will not offer to the Lord my God holocausts free cost. So David bought the floor, and the oxen, for fifty sicles of silver: And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered holocausts and peace offerings: and the Lord became merciful to the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.


When I first heard about the Chinese virus back in February, I knew it was going to be a big deal, and I recalled this passage from 2 Samuel concerning the chastisement the Lord put upon King David. This chastisement was a punishment upon David for taking a census in the land. Why would this anger the Lord? The census was a king’s way of assessing what resources he had on hand for two main things. The first is taxation, and the second is warfare. Both things make people servants to the king instead of the king being the servant of the people. For David, the sin was to place his trust in his resources instead of in the Lord. David knew he messed up, but the Lord was going to teach David a lesson that he would not forget. He gave David three options--famine, war, or disease. David chose disease.

Those three options represent the three main ways that God chastises the people. Famine and economic breakdown is one way. Wars are the other. Then, there is disease. David chose the disease because it was the most benign punishment he could endure.

All three of these calamities befell the world in the twentieth century. Two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Spanish flu were all divine chastisements upon people. These punishments are listed in the Apocalypse of Saint John. Our Lady warned us about them at Fatima. All of these punishments are executed in response to the one sin that seems to provoke the Lord above all others. This is the sin of hubris.

Hubris is what caused the Devil to be cast from Heaven. Hubris is what caused Adam and Eve to listen to the serpent when he told them they could become like gods. Hubris is what caused the prediluvian civilization to turn from God in a serious way that God literally destroyed the entire world with a flood. Hubris laid the stones of the Tower of Babel. And there was the hubris of David who went from being a lowly shepherd to a fugitive in fear for his life to becoming a great king. That census was the victory lap for David as he certainly had greater ambitions to fulfill. God thought otherwise.

The purpose of chastisement is humiliation. God resists the proud but bestows grace upon the humble. If we become proud and conceited, God will humble us. If we remain humble, God will do great things through us. It’s not rocket science. If you want things to go well for you, humble yourself and learn to rely upon the Lord.

This story of David is similar to what happened during the time of Pope Saint Gregory the Great:

The plague was still ravaging Rome, and Gregory ordered the procession to continue to make the circuit of the city, the marchers chanting litanies. An image of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin was carried in the procession. 
And lo and behold! The poisonous uncleanness of the air yielded to the image as if fleeing from it and being unable to withstand its presence: the passage of the picture brought about a wonderful serenity and purity in the air. We are also told that the voices of the angels were heard around the image, singing… 
Then the pope saw an angel of the Lord standing atop the castle of Crescentius, wiping a bloody sword and sheathing it. Gregory understood that that put an end to the plague, as, indeed, happened. Thereafter the castle was called the Castle of the Holy Angel. 
Selected from The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints 
By Jacobus de Voragine

The bottom line is that all calamities come because God allows them, and they are always for our benefit. The way to deal with them is to turn to the Lord in humility and ask for His aid. I can honestly testify from personal experience that God will come to your assistance. He is always there for you and will never forsake you.

The same thing that applies on a personal level also applies on a collective level. The Battle of Lepanto is a classic case of divine assistance in a calamity. Yet, where are the people turning to the Lord today in our present trial? Where are the prayers and processions? Instead of prayers, we have cancelled masses and hysteria.

The entire world needs to turn to the Lord in prayer and repentance. Sad to say, the Roman Catholic Church needs to do the same thing. Most of our shepherds are MIA on this one. But I can’t do their jobs for them. My job is to get out my beads and turn to our Lord and our Lady. I can still do my job.

If we learn nothing from this mild chastisement, worst ones are in store for us. This is the wake up alarm. Don’t hit the snooze button on this one. Economic calamity and war remain on the list, and God will allow them to happen. I pray that our leaders will pray and repent.

In the meantime, I am in my bunker watching the world go crazy over toilet paper. I am saying my prayers and doing my spiritual reading. I am eating less to ensure our rations hold out. Plus, it is Lent and fasting is good for you. This, too, shall pass. I don't know the future. I just know the future is in God's hands.


Balance Is a Bad Word

What does balance really mean?

I knew a smoker who came to the realization that his cigarette habit was taking a toll on his health. I can't remember what the trigger for this realization was. Maybe a scan showed a spot on his lung, or he coughed up some blood. I don't know. But what he said to me next was what I do remember. He said he was going to cut back on his cigarette habit. He wasn't going to quit it. He was just going to step down from three packs a day to maybe a pack and a half. I was just unable to understand this. If you know something is killing you, why would you compromise with the threat?

I encounter this mentality a great deal with the vegan thing. People do get the message that their diet is bad, and animal products are unhealthy. But they never go 100% vegan. They might eat chicken or fish or go vegetarian with the cheese and eggs. Or, they will be some meathead who I have avalanched with overwhelming scientific data on the topic, so they counter with the trope that they believe in moderation and eating a "balanced diet." But what does this even mean?

I am with Aristotle and Aquinas that virtue is the mean between two vices. The problem with this Golden Mean thinking is that people think that all virtue or the means to achieving virtue must be in the middle. Consequently, they pursue the virtue in a half-assed way and call it "balance."

Balance in this sense is not the way to go. When it comes to rooting out vice and pursuing virtue, we must do this with ruthlessness. This is why Jesus told us to cut off our hands and gouge out our eyes if it would get us to Heaven. I do not think our Lord was speaking literally, but He certainly was giving us a vivid illustration of the ruthlessness we should have when it comes to improving ourselves and overcoming our sins.

When someone counsels balance, they are being weak and foolish. If you know something is bad, quit it. If you know something is good, pursue it wholeheartedly. Don't be lukewarm about it. Yes, people will call you an extremist or a fanatic. But they are doing this to assuage their own feelings of shame. Don't be afraid to be hard on yourself. And don't be afraid to tell your critics and detractors to go to Hell. Balance is a bad word.


The Unforgivable Sin

Then was offered to him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, so that he spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed, and said: Is not this the son of David? But the Pharisees hearing it, said: This man casteth not out the devils but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.

And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: how then shall his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, then is the kingdom of God come upon you. Or how can any one enter into the house of the strong, and rifle his goods, unless he first bind the strong? and then he will rifle his house. He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.

Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

The unforgivable sin strikes fear into everyone who hears about it. We comfort ourselves with the knowledge of God's mercy and forgiveness, so the notion that we can do something to put ourselves beyond the reach of God's forgiveness is unsettling. But this fear is a good thing because it shows that we are not lost yet. Those guilty of the unforgivable sin do not have this fear. This is because the unforgivable sin is fundamentally an obstinacy that puts one beyond God's reach. We know this obstinacy as agnosticism.

When Jesus performs the miracle of casting out the demons, He was providing empirical proof of His divinity and power. This is the first and most basic way of knowing the truth. We observe things with our senses and see things with our own eyes. The Pharisees both heard about and saw the miracles being performed in their midst. The first impulse would be to deny they were taking place, but these miracles of Jesus were undeniable. Unable to deny the empirical evidence before them, they tried their next trick--irrationality.

The Pharisees ascribed to Jesus the power of the Devil to cast out other demons. Jesus did what He did as a trick to beguile the people into error. Jesus resorted to the second way of knowing the truth to refute the Pharisees which is logic and reason. We know this as common sense. A house divided against itself cannot stand, so Jesus was showing to them the foolishness of their error. Devils don't cast out devils. Then, Jesus gave them the warning about the unforgivable sin.

The third way of knowing the truth is by direct and divine inspiration. This comes by way of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts and souls. If you can see with your eyes and reason with your brain, you can feel within your soul the moving of the Spirit of God. This is what was happening in the midst of these Pharisees. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus knew they were resisting the Spirit of Truth. This was dangerous.

The danger of this resistance comes because there is no fourth way of knowing the truth. When you resist empirical reality, common sense, and the Holy Spirit moving in your soul, what is left? What else can God do to reach you? You are damned.

This obstinacy surrounds us today in the form of relativism and agnosticism. The agnostic denies not just the truth but the ability to even know the truth. Pontius Pilate displayed this when he derisively asked Jesus, "What is truth?" Obviously, the man knew about philosophy being an educated Roman and considered it a waste of time. Truth Himself was in front of Pilate, and Pilate could feel it in his soul. But he resisted and condemned Jesus to death. Tradition holds that Pilate would later die by an act of suicide. It should be noted that despair is another form of resistance to the Holy Spirit.

It is one thing to not know something. It is another thing to know something incorrectly. But it is pure foolishness to declare that nothing can be known. This declaration puts you beyond God's reach. The atheist is a mistaken fool, but he can be reached. The agnostic and the relativist can never be reached. They can't be shown anything. You cannot reason with them. And God Himself cannot overcome the resistance in the agnostic's heart to the truth.

Jesus gives us a clue to how to defeat the agnostic with His analogy to the house divided. The Pharisees offered a self-refuting argument. Likewise, agnostics offer their own self-refuting arguments. They assert the truth that truth can't be known. How can we know that we can't know? This is nonsense. You can't use the thing that you are denying in the denial of that thing.

The divided house thinking pervades all relativism and agnosticism. They undercut themselves with their sophisticated arguments that seem clever at first but are self-refuting. This is because all knowledge rests upon two presuppositions. The truth exists, and we can know it. The agnostic and the relativist deny both. This means we can ignore them and everything they say. Or, we can simply reduce their self-defeating foolishness with mockery and snark. These people who deny truth itself are idiots.

You can't reach the man who refuses to be reached. This is the unforgivable sin. The fool would rather deny the truth and be damned than accept the truth and be saved. This is a common thing today as our culture abandons religion, reason, common sense, and even science itself in its relativist insanity. The Devil helps this along by creating confusion at every step and turn. But this confusion is banished when we return to first principles in times of confusion. The truth exists, and we can know the truth. We must always cling to these two things because the alternative is madness and damnation. You can't exhaust God's mercy, but you can exhaust your options.