A Stream of Non-Consciousness

The invariable veracity of vociferous verbiage carries with it the weight of the inevitable disinterest of the topic of discussion. American illiteracy and apathy in education have decreased enlightened and rational thought. We have abandoned the use of polysyllabic linguistics for the parlance of colloquialisms. Yet, there are many who believe the millennial generation to be of more superior intellectual stock than our forefathers who conducted themselves with a manner of sophistication that would boggle the minds of the mealy-mouthed miscreants who misrepresent their elders as ignoramuses.

The rest of us are simply doomed to a disastrous and preposterous future involving pseudo-science and scientism masquerading as empirical scientific evidence. Gender is not genetic and human life is only potential, so long as it remains unborn. Some truths are no longer self-evident, and we have failed to systematically disinfect against the disease of megalomania permeating our higher institutions that have dragged us to this moment in history.

Knowledge no longer percolates, but stagnates as the porous sections of our minds are closed to information that is not related to celebrity shenanigans. We have become athletic supporters relegated to learning sports stats rather than social statistics while society slips past us and interrupts our regularly scheduled programming with breaking news of the decimation of American values that shocks, awes, and appalls us until the commercial break is over and we embrace the reality on our television sets.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled deprogramming.

Evil is NOT a Social Construction

As a Christian social scientist, my personal views are often at odds with those of my peers. That is not to say that I cannot apply sociological thought and theory to the world around me. In fact, I believe it gives me a unique perspective in both the academic and religious worlds.

I believe that my Christian world view paints an interesting perspective to the conundrums facing the social world. Whereas sociological paradigms seek to understand human behavior through genetics, biology, or socialization—I seek to understand society on a spiritual level. This is how it works in practice.

Take the topic of deviant social movements sweeping our nation, like #blacklivesmatter. Many of my colleagues would explain the movement as a Marxist revolution of the proletariat (blacks) finally reaching consciousness of systemic oppression and rising up to overthrow their oppressors (cops).

Others would see a structural-functionalist perspective that would say that the movement has a function in society—as they are serving as an exemplar of social behavior of an oppressed group. This will lead to social change and a measure of social control.

I see the movement as a way in which our society has lost a spiritual connection both in the institution of police and actions of the movement. I do not view violence between these two groups as necessarily a function of keeping order or as a retaliation for oppression—although those two concepts are at play. I see the loss of spiritual connection with a peace loving creator.

History is full of oppressive forces, and there are often three ways of dealing with them. The first is to do nothing. The second is a violent revolution. The third is through civil disobedience and protest.

As a Christian, I certainly prefer the third option. I also believe it to be the most productive and effective. The exemplar of this is the Civil Rights movement. There were marches, massive protests, and no violence from the group seeking change—although violence was visited on them. Racial tensions persisted even after the Civil Rights Act of 1965, but they became largely passé over the next 50 years. I believe this happened because through peace and solidarity, the bonds of society were strengthened. It is hard to stay angry with someone who reacts with love and respect.

Fast forward to the #blacklivesmatter movement. It is full of negativity, malice, and has led to calls for and acts of violence. This is causing further division between good people who want to support both police and the black community. Riots, rage, and assassinations of law enforcement agents are tearing at the fabric of an already stretched security blanket protecting society from cannibalizing itself.

Moreover, we watch the news every day and see horrific images of ISIS, Planned Parenthood, and outrageous political debate. There are calls to flip social norms from American Christian heritage to a new humanistic future. It feels like we are living in a fragile concoction of nitro-glycerin that has been lobbed into the air. Life could explode at any second.

Again, my social science friends would seek to apply their prescribed paradigmatic theories to this social shift. Is it anomie? Maybe it is interactionist social construction re-framing social structures. Postmodern appropriation of Marx’s class oppression are used to explain feminist, critical race, and queer theories.

There are a dozen tools for studying society.

The reshaping of American ideals is not irrational. Those involved in #blacklivesmatter or ISIS (I am not conflating the two as ideologies, but by violence) are not irrational or insane. They can cite examples for why they are acting out in violence. One group believes they are retaliating against systemic racism. Another is killing because they take their holy book literally. These are not irrational. However, violence against innocents is always evil.

Our response to oppression should be to take action. However, this action should be peaceful. We should rally and march for causes. We need to band together and unite in order to break through the noise of evil that seems to be covered much more often by the media. Peace is a uniting concept. Violence is divisive. Violence is evil, and the spirit of a violent perpetrator is equally so.

I prefer to open my Bible and see the history of human oppression and depravity that ultimately leads to destruction. Evil is real, and cannot be quantified through statistical analysis or qualified through field work when using incorrect tools. Evil is not psychological, biological, or social. It is a spiritual wickedness that rots humanity from the inside out.

Social Media, Biblical End Times, and the Inevitable Trump

A recent conversation in my church small group really got me thinking about where we are headed as a society. I have no doubt that my group is full of well-intentioned, reasonable people who truly do their best to walk with God. That being said, we had a pretty interesting disagreement over media and social media.

Several of them took swipes at Facebook for being unnecessary. They also try to avoid the news, because it is almost exclusively negative and “doesn’t affect” their lives.

This is where I completely disagree with them.

Knowledge is power. The Bible says “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” By closing ourselves off of the happenings of the world around us, how can we study or divide the word of truth? We need to understand the lies being perpetrated around us, or we will be lost.

The notion of “it doesn’t affect me,” could not be more wrong. Our society is changing at a blistering pace. Just fifteen years ago, could any of us have imagined that we would see terrorists murder 3,000 Americans on our home turf while destroying one of our greatest landmarks? Would you have imagined a 10% decrease in the number of self-proclaimed Christians in America? In the last five years, we have seen the entire Middle East collapse into civil wars that topple longstanding dictators and multiple European nations have fallen into economic chaos. In just the last two years we have seen the rise of ISIS, Nazis being elected to parliament across Europe, the resurgence of Russian aggression, a potentially nuclear Iran, gay marriage being legalized around the globe, a return to 1960s style race riots, gender neutral restrooms, and an avowed Socialist running for POTUS.

To pretend that these things do not affect us is naïve at best. To pretend that these things will not affect our children is outright dangerous.

I also began to contemplate the rise of Donald Trump among Christians. At first, I did not understand it. I was confused, angry, and hostile about it. However, I have since come to grips with the reality of a Trump administration. Admittedly it makes complete sense.

You see, I must be consistent in my understanding of the end times. If a President Cruz were to be elected, America might actually stand a fighting chance against the evil in the world. However, President Trump would further the already occurring destruction of all our country used to hold dear. Therefore, an election favoring a Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and the Donald is consistent with where I believe we are heading.

Things will not improve for us. There is a possibility of a short bump of success, but the long-term goal is for America to lose its international influence.

I am not being pessimistic either. According to my source book, Christians will be gone before the world completely unravels. I am looking forward to spending eternity in paradise, so please do not mistake my seeming negativity as such.

Social media has played a significant role in many of the aforementioned issues of today. The “Arab Spring” came about through Twitter. We have our first major hashtag movement, #blacklivesmatter, which are invading Presidential campaign speeches. Facebook also serves to propagate lies to billions of people in an instant. There is a disinformation campaign being waged against (and sometimes by) Christians and conservative, and our friends and children are believing what they see on the internet and spread filth to their friends who may not be as connected.

How do the “good” people respond? By pretending that social media is a big joke. Meanwhile, the effects of apathy and purposeful ignorance can be seen in all facets of society.

The media is negative, and even scary. That is because, in my opinion, that we are headed toward the end times at an incredibly rapid pace. All this has been foretold in the Bible. It is our responsibility as Christians to stand in the face of evil. To paraphrase my father, when we put on the full armor of God, the Bible describes armor that protects the front. That’s because God wants us to charge into battle, rather than turn tail and run. When we “wrestle not against flesh and blood…” we are not to be inactive. Wrestling is an active engagement.

Our version of Christianity in the modern world is soft. Of course, parts of Christianity are soft, especially when we are dealing with other people. However, we are to be steadfast and actively battle against evil. This is where I differ from many, even within my own church family.

However, I am coming to grips with the fact that my own sense of urgency cannot and will not be shared by those around me. If Christianity experiences another great awakening, the inevitable tribulation might be postponed—and I believe that God has run out of patience, as he did with Sodom and the pre-flood world.

I will continue my lonely calls for action, but I will no longer expect results. May God have mercy on us all.

My Presidential Platform

This would be my plan if I were to ever run for POTUS.

Taxes:

I support a flat, fair, or consumption tax. I would eliminate corporate capital gains taxes and close loopholes. If flat or fair taxation is implemented, families making $50,000 or less would pay nothing. If I could pass a consumption tax, I would work to keep the Earned Income Credit for those same families.

Education:

Eliminate all federal standards and the Department of Education. Let the state and local governments deal with state and local schools.

Immigration:

Secure our southern border with the National Guard and veteran volunteers while a proper structure-whether fence or wall—is constructed. Enforce existing laws, and deport any illegal immigrants found through arrests, hospitalization or the E-Verify system. Prosecute any business hiring illegals or any public facility that does not report the presence of illegals. Use the funds from prosecution for deportation.

I would also clarify that regardless of what the courts find about the 14th amendment, illegal immigrant parents who have children here are not welcome. They can either take their kids with them, or leave them here if the courts support birthright citizenship.

Government:

Repeal Dodd-Frank, abolish the IRS, eliminate the EPA, audit the Federal Reserve—possibly abolish it. End NSA warrantless spying. Eliminate Homeland Security. No more bailouts.

Advocate for term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court.

Reform executive orders and other methods of bypassing checks and balances.

Healthcare:

Repeal Obamacare, and replace it with nothing. The federal government has no business being involved in private health insurance—including blocking interstate commerce.

Medicaid and Medicare should serve as a safety net, but should be temporary and income based. Also, fraud needs to be addressed.

Entitlements:

Phase them out, but allow for tax credits for privatization of welfare, food stamps, child care, and other basic services.

Military:

Do not interfere in other countries’ local skirmishes. When US interests are at risk, we should exhaust all options before military engagement. When we do engage, however, we destroy the enemy until they are eliminated or surrender completely.

Criminal Justice System:

The CJS must be reformed, but at the state and local levels. Suggest removal of mandatory minimum sentences. Studies show that we need swift punishment and reformation, rather than a lifetime of incarceration for minor offenses to reduce recidivism.

Legislating morality:

Abortion, drugs, gay marriage, and other morally divisive issues should be determined by the states. None of these institutions need be federally funded.

Remove government from marriage altogether. You should not need permission to wed someone you love. However, any co-habitating group should have access to healthcare and hospital visitation rights. Those seeking to file joint taxes in hopes of receiving the EIC should apply for a state civil union license.

Most of all:

Uphold the Constitution and amend it through proper channels, not by decree. Enforce all laws. There needs to be more power given to the states, as they are nearer to the will of the people than the federal government.