Tell the Truth

If only people would tell the truth always, as a matter of principle, the world would be much closer to perfect. Truth is, firstly, a divine qualtiy, a character-trait of God. Truth arises in intelligent consciousness in association with some sense-perception of an object firm and undeniable. Truth is a presence. [Truth is a mental object.]

What a person knows to be true should never be denied. This is so even in circumstance where a person thinks a lie will save another person’s life. Let’s reduce such a situation to its basic elements. These are life, falsehood, truth. What do you suppose is most important or valuable among the three? If your answer is life, that would mean you let yourself and others live falsely, in dishonesty, fallacy, deceit. This is not good, it’s evil and this is the current, past and ongoing state of humankind.

Jesus of Nazareth stood in the tribunal of Pontius Pilate and said, “I have come into the world that I may bear witness to the truth” (Jn 18:37). Pontius Pilate responded, “what is truth(?)” (Jn 18:38). Pilate’s response is shame on humanity. We have lost truth in ourselves.

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Logic is an aid to knowledge. Logic is based on experience and numbers (i.e., mathematics, esp. algebra). Symbols are very important in logic as they’re used to reduce a problem to abstract form to arrive at what is true and false in a solution.

Example of use of symbols in logic.

Mr. Spock of StarTrek said: “Logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in a meadow. Logic is a wreath of pretty flowers which smell bad.”

Logic is a tool of mind for use in reasoning to understand things. Enjoy!

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Seek God

The ‘Great Spirit’ may also be called the ‘Great Mystery,’ says Russel Means, Lakota activist.

Above photo comes from blog, Camper Chronicles. It shows a small-scale replica in Whitney Western Art Museum (Cody, Wyoming, near Yellowstone National Park) of larger-than-life statue found outside Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The artist was Cyrus Dallin, born in Utah, who sculpted some 260 works of various figures. Dallin was a member of Unitarian church.

Men and women are spiritual creatures. Homo sapiens is religious by nature. Within us is a power that points to the sky, to a greater power.1

This next photo also comes from Camper Chronicles.

“Moving made me happy,” said Pretty Shield. Moving, travelling, is natural function of human beings. Our hearts, minds and legs enable moving from place to place.

Jesus of Nazareth was an itinerant preacher and healer in his native land many centuries ago. Some of his sayings bear on this aspect of his mission and on the basic need of men/women to move.

Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lie down and rest (Mt 8:20 GNB)

If one walks in the day he does not stumble . . . however if one walks in the night he stumbles (Jn 11:9f)

Become like passersby (GTh 42)

Is man searching for safety and ultimately, paradise?

Two Thoughts from Books

“.. the mystical needs of human beings are so urgent that they will seek their satisfaction wherever it may be found.”2

The Hobbit, Tolkien’s first published work of fantasy, bears a strong resemblance to the fairy tale, particularly in its structure, its interest in the idea of heroism, and its attention to the opposition between good and evil. Structurally, The Hobbit is neat and tidy, almost elegant. As its subtitle, “There and Back Again,” suggests, the underlying metaphor is the journey …3


  1. “Men and women started to worship gods as soon as they became recognizably human; they created religions at the same time as they created works of art. This was not simply because they wanted to propitiate powerful forces, these early faiths expressed the wonder and mystery that seem always to have been an essential component of the human experience …” Karen Armstrong, A History of God (NY: Ballantine, 1994), p xix
  2. Geoffrey Parrinder, Mysticism in the World’s Religions (NY: Oxford, 1976), p 195
  3. Katharyn Crabbe, J.R.R. Tolkien (NY: Continuum, 1988), p 34
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Democracy: Politics and Protest

The U.S.of A. in year 2022 is filled with protest and this is an attempt at theoretical understanding. We’re looking for background that may provide a broad answer to questions of why protest (?) and how come there’s so much protest in American society (?). A basic response to seeing protest by people not directly involved (in that protest) is disquiet and this should not be shrugged off. Protesters should be acknowledged and their message considered.

Democratic Government

There are various types of government possible for a nation. United States of America was constituted a representative democracy, a republic, by the founders. Democracy is rule by the people and the people who founded our country rebelled against British rule after protesting “no taxation without representation.” These residents of the original thirteen colonies defeated the British Army and Navy in a Revolutionary War after declaring independence from British monarchy in 1776. Our nation was established in protest and revolution, political processes filled with human energy directed against injustice.


Politics, in democracy, is hectic and chaotic because every citizen has a share in government. Needs, wants, ideas, feelings, of hundreds and millions of people play out for satisfaction and sanction in the political order and democratic political order is ruled by law, firstly, the Constitution. The U.S. Constitution determines the structure and relations of federal government and lists the rights of citizens and states in the Amendments, but its basic values are to be found in its Preamble. These are (1) “the people” make law; (2) “union” of the people and states is a prime goal; (3) “justice,” “tranquility,” “common defence,” “general welfare,” and “the blessings of liberty” now and for the future are the purpose of law. Politics, in the U.S., is interrelation of people to achieve these ends.


Protest follows unrest. Unrest goes against constitutional principle of social tranquility. Individuals and groups who are unhappy because of a social or political problem may demonstrate publicly their woe. At a minimum, protest in the streets tells others of the issue and may draw others to the cause of rectifying it. Protest is an initial step in restoring peace and justice. Unrest because of injustice and subsequent protest are in accord with constitutional principles of the Preamble; our Constitution envisions tranquility, so unrest must be redressed.

Particular Issues

Current issues that engender disaffection in U.S. citizens are many. Here are three, difficult to solve to the satisfaction of a majority of the population.


Racism is belief that a certain race is superior or inferior. Race is a term that refers to a class of people with shared history and traits. On basis of differences of appearance, antagonism and conflict between peoples has been perpetuated for decades or centuries. Prejudice and stereotypes are involved. Protests and movements to eliminate racism or to support it are ongoing.


Abortion, a moral problem and social issue in America since 1700s, has spawned much controversy and protest which continues.

Gender or Sexual Rights

Inequity in treatment of people related to gender and sex identity on the part of private or public institutions has led to civil unrest and protest. Women’s rights and LGBTQ rights are unfinished issues in our society.


Why protest? People get together to protest injustice. The 1960s were a decade of social transition in America. Since then, more and more people have the “will to try for constructive change.”1

Why so much protest in America in 2022? The human situation is stressed by climate change and the covid19 pandemic. Perhaps more troubles are in store?2 A nation born in protest and revolution may pursue happiness and peace, but should expect social ferment3 along that way.


  1. Phrase from a speech by New York City Mayor, John Lindsay, ‘The Responsibility of the Rebel’ (1968), excerpted in Frank Kane, Voices of Dissent (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1970), p 113
  2. See Mark chap. 13
  3. A good account of social ferment in early twentieth century America in the world of art and music is, Gail Levin & Judith Tick, Aaron Copland’s America (NY: Watson-Guptill, 2000).

The End

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Experiment in Science and Religion


A recent interview with a biochemist at Duke University in ‘Science News‘ inspired this post. Publisher Maya Ajmera asked Paul Modrich this question.

You’ve described yourself as an experimentalist. What do you mean by this and how does it characterize your approach to research?

Here is part of Professor Modrich’s answer:

The physicist Richard Feynman wrote, “The ultimate test of knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific ‘truth.’ ”

This quote of Feynman, who is a favorite thinker of mine, struck home as a succinct expression of what the scientific enterprise is all about. Science, which is knowledge of the cosmos and any of its content, has to be verified by peer-reviewed testing. Without scientific method, what is said remains just opinion or speculation and might be true or false.


Wouldn’t it be great to have experiment in religion research, so that people could have definite knowledge of spiritual matters? Religious studies go on around the world on college campuses, in seminaries, church libraries and religious writing occurs in journals, books, blogs, etcetera. Scientific method indeed has made an impact on religion in form, for example, of textual criticism of Bible or historical criticism of sacred texts and traditions for establishment of facts. Also, sociological studies of churches and religious groups are based on empirical methods. Psychology and neurology examine mental matters and behavior in religious adherents. Yet deeper matters, such as questions about miracles, efficacy of prayer, existence of God, seem impenetrable to methods of science. Things of faith, incapable of scientific confirmation, become more irrelevant with advancement of science and technology in our world. Yet faith persists in many, many people. That religious faith is or is becoming passe does not make it invalid. It means people don’t understand God or have little connection to the sacred or numinous.

Personal Foundation of Western Religion

Though scientific method requires research conclusions to be verified or at least subject to falsification through further study, this isn’t a principle of belief in the three major monotheisms, Judaism, Christianity, Islam. These religions accept testimony to God on an informal, person to person basis. This is seen in traditions and Scriptures concerning Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. These individuals experienced private revelations, Moses at the burning bush, Jesus in the Jordan River and in the desert, Muhammad in mountain caves in the desert vicinity of Mecca. Then, missions of preaching, teaching, begin in a quest for followers. Gathering disciples by the founders is largely a matter of personal persuasion and charisma is a factor.

Charisma is a graceful feature of personality that attracts others. A charismatic person is seen to have a pleasing order in their self-presentation which merits authority. It is a rare gift in persons. Moses for instance, was given miracles to impress fellow Hebrews and Pharaoh as well, and also assistance with speaking. The mission and message of Muhammad, Jesus, Moses has been authenticated by the conversion of followers and the spread of their message to new believers in generation upon generation.

Ritual and Prayer

So experiment is vital in religion too, only the original experiment, the charismatic missions of the founders – Muhammad was a man of “outstanding character” – took place in the past. When scientists invent time-travel, they may go back to these men and return to the present with reports as to their fraudulence or sincerity along with visual evidence of their doings.

In the meantime, religious rituals essentially reenact activities of the prophetic founders and sacred texts are read. These are to remind present-day believers of the basis of their faith. Prayer and other actions of faith are available to provide experiential data of the truth or falsity of religious tenets. With God, each individual is decision-maker, an author of faith. Every person is an experiment.

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The Unknown

What don’t we know? Just what are we looking for? Do you know? Have you heard?

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A Message from the Middle Ages

A 2021 film, ‘The Green Knight,’ directed by David Lowery, is based on the medieval poetic tale, ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ (14th century, middle English) by unknown author. Here is a portion, lines 485-490, which ends Part One.

And the day was delight, and was long, and was finally


And now, Gawain: think,

Danger is yours to overcome

And this game brings you

Danger. Can the game be won?1

[Context: King Arthur, Queen Guenevere and their knights are at the Camelot round table amid their Christmas feast. In rides a green knight, unknown to all present, disturbing Christmas dinner, with a challenge. Is King Arthur or any knight present, brave enough to take the green knight’s axe and deal him a blow? Who accepts the challenge must agree to let the green knight strike a return blow in one year. Sir Gawain replaces King Arthur in accepting the challenge and promptly beheads green knight. To astonishment of all, headless green knight takes up his severed head which then speaks the words, “Gawain, be ready to ride as you promised; hunt me well until you find me– … Find the green chapel …” (lines 448 ff.). Green knight then rides off with head in hand and the feast resumes.]

Sir Gawain is bound by his own oath to find green knight in one year and let himself be struck by green knight’s weapon.


What do you think? Is life a game or a sporting challenge? Is life a great test conducted by God? To win the game, must one welcome death?

Bravery, courage, honesty (keeping your promise), how important are these virtues?


1. Burton Raffel (tr.), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (NY: Mentor, 1970), p. 62

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Ash Wednesday and Lent (2022)

We are living over 2000 years since the birth of Jesus Christ. The Christian church persists world wide with about 2 billion Christians; how many are sincere followers of Jesus is an issue. Jesus taught love of God and love of neighbor (Mk 12:28-31). How many follow these simple commands? There are also around 2 billion Muslims on planet Earth.

Ash Wednesday is first day of church season of Lent, when churchgoers have ashes placed on forehead. The ashes symbolize abasement (by self) and repentance. Ashes represent sorrow on part of believer, who is conscious of some loss or sin. According to teaching of St. Paul, every human being is a sinner. This teaching is echoed in other Biblical books. Use of ashes comes from Old Testament phrase ‘sackcloth and ashes,’ e.g., book of Esther. As one repents, one asks God for forgiveness.

Lent continues from Ash Wednesday for 40 days. Forty days is the period Jesus spent in the desert at the beginning of his ministry, tested by the Devil. Season of Lent, a period of prayer and fasting, is special, holy, in church calendar, comparable to Advent and Christmas. Lent culminates in Palm Sunday, holy week (remembering Jesus’ Passion, death), Easter Sunday (commemorating Jesus’ resurrection).

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)


Ash Wednesday,’ poem by T.S. Eliot, may be helpful to read and contemplate.

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Two Approaches to Bible Study: Criticism and Faith

Writing, the recording of symbols (shapes) on various media (surfaces), whether paper, rock, clay, tanned animal skin (leather), papyrus or electronic device, to preserve and transmit message and meaning, goes back to ancient Sumer, around 3400 B.C., in Mesopotamia. “The oldest written documents … are mainly concerned with local agricultural and commercial transactions, and not easily interpreted.”1 Also, earlier forms of recording (c. 8000 B.C.), using tokens of sundry shape to keep count of goods, had to do with commerce. Thus ancient writing and proto-writing were involved with economics, accounting for commodities necessary for survival and subsistence. Writing is part of the foundation of human culture and civilization.

By 3000 B.C., as writing changed to reflect spoken language, the names of individuals appear, often incorporating the name of a deity and also references to temple, after-life and prayer. Religious ideas and practices are expressed in extant cuneiform inscriptions from Mesopotamia and in Egyptian hieroglyphics from about 2750 B.C.


The Bible is first a religious document, a collection of books from different eras, with diverse themes and forms, that concerns theism. It contains traditions extending back to the ancient Near East, around 2000 B.C.

And Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai the wife of Abram, and they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan. But when they arrived in Haran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran. (Gen 11:31-32)

Realizing the complexity of the Bible, people have used all tools available, historical, linguistic, literary, to name a few, to understand it. This is the function of criticism in Bible study and it has led to a professional corps of academics doing Bible research objectively, with secular purpose of rational discernment.

Synagogue and Church

Judaism and Christianity are two religions existing for millennia, composed of worldwide distribution of believers, that hold Bible as sacred scripture. Believers study Bible from viewpoint of faith, of varying degrees and kinds, to enhance or improve their faith and so better themselves. Between the religious/spiritual goals of Bible study among believers and the scientific objectives of academic Bible study, conflicts arise. Such conflicts, e.g., regarding dating of events, should not be brushed aside, but probed to determine what issues are at stake.


Background of Bible in ancient Near East shows importance of criticism in interpretation, for we would not be able to read Bible without discovery, conservation and comparison of ancient manuscripts, i.e., text criticism, to establish a proper text and language study to understand and translate its writings. Historical criticism, making use of tools from archaeology, anthropology, sociology, shows how Biblical books differ from other writings of olden times and attempts to disclose the facts beneath Biblical claims. “It is therefore no good ignoring the results of criticism; they should be either accepted or challenged.”2 Dialog between critical methods and faith in God is required for fullest understanding.


  1. William Hallo, William Simpson, The Ancient Near East: A History (Fort Worth: Harcourt, 1998), pp. 25-26
  2. Gordon Wenham, ‘History & the Old Testament’ in Colin Brown (ed.), History, Criticism & Faith (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity, 1977), p. 49

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Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964): Writer of Novels, Short Stories, Essays

Mary Flannery O’Connor died at age 39 from Lupus and because of her self-discipline, dedication to writing and her Roman Catholic faith, produced two novels, thirty-two short stories, essays, reviews, letters, prayers, cartoons, that entertain and educate readers in the conflict of good and evil and the operation of divine grace in everyday (common) social situations. A reader will encounter violence, minor and major, in her fiction, in the interaction of characters, and this might shock a character (or reader) to search for God’s grace as a means to survival. O’Connor tries to push people toward God. Says Flannery,

I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace.  Their heads are so hard that almost nothing else will do the work.  This idea, that reality is something to which we must be returned at considerable cost, is one which is seldom understood by the casual reader, but it is one which is implicit in the Christian view of the world.1   

Said Jesus of Nazareth,

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. (Mt 11:12 NIV)

Violence, bad language, mistreatment, unfairness, disdain, hatred in Flannery O’Connor’s fiction may repel some readers, but some will recognize reflections of real happenings in society and realize she points to our need for redemption. Her stories don’t have happy endings. They are warnings.

An Issue

Flannery O’Connor has been accused of racism and this charge has been countered.


  1. Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose (NY: Noonday Press, 1997), p. 112

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