07-04-19 11:20  •  Heavenly Father

HisPearl: Does our heavenly Father always punish? Goodness no. In fact His blessings have probably led more people to Him than any punishment.

It was Yahweh's mercy, lovingkindness, and care that truly won me over in the end. He has done so much for me. What testimonies do you have of Yahweh's lovingkindness, mercy, and care that you would like to share?

Oh, I love testimonies! I have a couple of favorites. They have nothing to do with Yahweh, but here goes anyway:

Back in 1999 I attended a huge outdoor rave. For the most part it was a fantastic experience, filled with rapture and light, but I did have a bad moment. I was a lot older than most of the other women in attendance, and I was feeling frumpy and wrinkly and middle-aged and very unattractive, particularly in my ratty old camping clothes. So I went to hide in the bathroom of the hostess' home to cry.

Well, our hostess walked in on me and gently asked what was wrong. She was a lovely older lady herself, and she said she understood, and it was not easy to get older, but that you could still hold on to your femininity and beauty at any age.

She then pulled some of her own beautiful clothes out of her closet and gave them to me on the spot. She fixed my hair, loaned me some jewelry and scarves, and did a complete makeover. By the time she was done I was in love with my own reflection again. I looked dazzling, and I walked out of that bathroom to find myself the belle of the ball, the most noticed and admired woman at the event, wrinkles and all.

It really changed my life and my whole attitude about beauty. I learned that it wasn't always the clothes or the figure of a woman that is admired, but it is her free and beautiful spirit which turns the most heads. I will never forget my gratitude to a wonderful woman for her lovingkindness, generosity and care.

AshyBelle: What a beautiful testimony. I've been feeling that way lately. I think you just helped me!


HisPearl: You say that this testimony has nothing to do with Yahweh but I believe it does. Yahweh's spirit resides in us all. That woman displayed obedience to Yahweh's word even without knowing it,

Okay, here's a couple of others:

Back in 1996 I was going through a divorce, and let's just say the parting was not amicable. My own mom entirely took the ex's side, and said leaving him was the biggest mistake I would ever make. Out of nowhere, my father, not a heavenly one but my actual dad, stepped in and said he understood, or at least understood that it was my decision to make, and that he would stand by me whatever I decided. He loaned me his own car and rode a motorcyle to work for three weeks so that I could get separated and get my own household set up.

We hadn't been that close...his support was just so totally unexpected. It was really what I needed, someone to simply love me and respect my choice. I don't think I could have made it through without him. It totally turned our relationship around, and I have so much love and respect and gratitude to my father today that I can hardly express it.

Also, around the same time, I had a chance to attend some special training in New York. But, I had no money to go. A good friend of mine in New York gave me her frequent flier miles for airfare, arranged for me to stay with a friend of hers in the city, and basically paid my travelling expenses herself. I barely had to pay anything to attend the training, and it was all a complete gift with no strings attached. She told me to not even think about paying her back.

The training had so much impact on my job, that my employers agreed to pay for me to attend the next session. It set my career in motion, and more - the training helped me learn about myself and what I wanted from life work and life.

I will always be grateful to my beautiful friend Heather for caring enough to be there with something people almost never share - money. It made a very big difference at a critical time.

HisPearl: Yes that was Yahweh too. He does such great things.

And all of that before I even get to my husband. If there is a God in this universe I'd like to worship, it would be him.

This man came into my life and swept me off my feet and just immediately became the center of my universe. He helped me heal from all my silly old heartaches and taught me to be here, now. When I am wringing my hands with worry, he says, "Tell me about it," and when I'm done he says, "Well, why don't you let me worry about that for you." And then he gives it whatever worry it needs - not much, I suspect - and it's like I am set free from prison.

He supports me, earning the money so that I can frip around with the kids all day. He literally expects nothing in return. I am under no obligation at all to produce dinner, or a clean house, except as I care to and feel I have time. But far more, he supports me emotionally, by literally just being totally here when I need someone. He holds me in his arms, wipes my tears, helps me see how unnecessary all my fears are.

He started my children in me, giving them some really kick-ass DNA to work with, and is everything I could want in a father for them - patient, playful and concerned, but with an effortless authority that the kids respect and heed. Yet he respects my parenting decisions too, and we stand together, sharing every part of the work of getting them raised up.

But even more than being a great listener and a great partner, J. is the wisest, most compassionate, and yet most lighthearted human being I know. He takes his enlightenment just seriously enough to make sure it happens, but no more, and faces each day and every encounter with a smile. He has no problems.

He has taught me everything I always wanted to know - how to be happy, how to love, how to have adventures, how to do dangerous things safely, how to do boring things and make them interesting. He taught me how to help freely, to simply respond to others needs with no thought of payback. He taught me how to understand reality and to appreciate it for exactly what it is. He taught me to experience the depth of vibrant spirituality without ever having to bother with belief.

I bask in his lovingkindness and care every day, and I simply cannot imagine a more wonderful teacher, leader, guide, partner. He is totally, completely real, and that is what I worship.

07-04-19 11:20  •  There is no Free Rider Problem

Everybody hates a free rider, right? Lazy bums! Society needs to deal harshly with The Free Rider problem!

Except, that is not what that even means. "The Free Rider Problem" is a term from economic theory that refers to public goods. There is no incentive in a completely free market for an entrepreneur to make, say, a public park, because as a non-excludable non-rival good, parks will not give him a return on his investment. So, "free-riders" prevent public parks.

To which the answer is, So? We don't rely on entrepreneurs for public parks, then. We build them some other way, say through collective action via government. Everyone "free-rides" at the park, but that is what it is for. It's not a problem.

There is no "free rider" problem in society. It's a "problem" only for "free markets," which do not exist. So the problem does not exist. We have parks.

Even a "freeloader," or anyone who doesn't seem to be working as hard as you, is a resource, not a drain on society. His leisure is a net gain for the group. There are no "useless eaters." Everyone is a resource.

If we were a compassionate and logical society, we would understand that we must stop trying to end the welfare state. The general welfare is our concern and promoting it creates only good, no harm.

P.S. Hi Ladies!
07-04-19 11:20  •  Climate Independence Day

NicoLuv: I get that global warming is a threat. I recylce. But what more can I do?

Are there any more changes I can make where it would not effect my comfort or my wallet??

If you are expecting to go through life and never have your comfort or wallet affected by anything, you are asking too much.

NicoLuv: I realize what you are saying, but I feel I sacrifice too much and right now (due to my current fianncial situation) I am not willing to pay higher energy costs or taxes in the name of global warming.

We have to make major changes as a society. Our current lifestyle is not sustainable. It is made possible only by cheap fossil fuel. Global warming aside, we are reaching peak oil and the cheap fossil fuel train is about to come to a screeching halt.

Seriously, you have no concern for any other people on earth besides yourself, for future generations of humanity, and for any other form of life that shares the planet?

NicoLuv: You know what, NO!

I'm sorry to hear that. Having concern for others enriches one's own life immeasurably. You are missing out on a great source of beauty and joy in life.

NicoLuv: I have great concern for others! That said, my main concern is MY family.

Your family will not be exempted from the effects of doing nothing.

NicoLuv: How about everyone seeing it as their personal responsibility to take care of the planet and willingly making sacrifices where they can, INSTEAD of waiting for the government to tell them to do it.

How do you propose to achieve this?

NicoLuv: I think it is a matter of personal responsibility.

That is why I am challenging YOU to take responsibility for your own actions. If you don't recycle, START. Change your light bulbs to energy efficient light bulbs. Combine car trips, carpool to work, buy a bike to make short trips in your neighborhood. Consume less meat. These are ALL things YOU can do right now, things that I am doing RIGHT NOW.

That is what we can all do, without the government telling us what to do.

I already do lots of these things. But, some of my neighbors are not doing any of these things.

A few of them were starting to do some of these things. Then the 2016 election happened.

Now, some of them are blathering about how global warming is pretend, nothing but a conspiracy by the libtards to wreck the economy, and how humans couldn't possibly affect the atmosphere, and all kinds of whack stuff. In the meantime, the last three years had the highest temperatures on record, with new levels of destruction from fires and floods.

Individual actions are notoriously fickle, and they don't add up to enough action. We need collective action, yesterday.

07-03-19 7:04  •  Cosmic Rebuttal

Trish: Hey! I just read your post about "The Cosmic Story" and I found it deeply disturbing. Are you trying to start your own religion?

Well, this presentation was originally the work of astronomer Carolyn Porco and it was meant to be a celebration of the awe of understanding the universe. It was presented at a conference called "Beyond Belief" where intellectuals and academics were discussing alternatives to anceint belief systems, and what we might want instead. So, it wasn't me and it wasn't religion, but other than that, yeah.

Trish: I thought you considered religion irrational. Why should Carolyn's "religion" be any different?

Well, it doesn't have unsubstantiated claims, for one. That's a pretty big difference.

Trish: Meaning this "religion" presented here is more valid because there's proof? Proof of what? What claims are "substantiated" in this?

Wow. Where to start?

"This is the Hubble Deep Field, one of the deepest images ever constructed of our universe, and it is peering, not only 13 billion light years into space, but also 13 billion years back in time. These are the structures that were formed a mere 800 million years after the big bang."

The age of the universe and the age of the galaxies in this field and are being determined under the Lamda-CDM Concordance model and are substantiated by recent high-precision astronomical observations such as the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe which measures differences in Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.

"This is known as the Sombrero Galaxy, 28 million light years from earth."

The distance of the stars from earth is calculated using a method called parallax. Because of the Earth's revolution about the sun, near stars seem to shift their position against the farther stars. This is called parallax shift. By observing the distance of the shift and knowing the diameter of the Earth's orbit, astronomers are able to calculate the parallax angle across the sky.

"So, it is obvious, just from looking out into the universe, that there is a vast uncountable number of galaxies, of which ours is only one."

This and about the next ten sentences are substantiated by direct telescopic observation.

"So, beginning with Copernicus, and continuing through our own human efforts of restless pursuit of truth, we have learned that there is nothing central about our place in the cosmos. The universe is happening all around us and is operating on its own, with no apparent need of guidance."

This is substantiated by observation. There is obsevable evidence of the universe happening. It can be seen, detected with instruments, measured. No guidance is apparent.

"Here's a closer look [at Enceladus]. It is a very unusual moon, unlike all the other icy satellites around Saturn. It has very few craters, and that means that the surface is young. Clearly it has had a very complex geological history."

Carolyn's descriptions of the geological activity on Enceladus are substantiated by her own observations and those of her team using the photos from the Cassini-Hyugen robotic probe in orbit around Saturn.

"If that is the case, then, we have liquid water, we have simple organic materials, we have excess warmth. It may be an environment that is suitable for living organisms."

If. It may be. No claim.

"And, we can offer hope - of sorts - for an everlasting existence. Our mortal bodies, of course, will perish, but the collection of individual pieces of matter and particles within us, we have learned, are ancient. After we die, they will go on, and go back into the cosmos."

This is supported by direct observation. Mortal bodies perish. The matter continues in a different organization.

"An event like this will happen to our sun a few billion years from now. All life on the earth will perish, and all of the molecules that were us will be caught up in the stellar explosion, so we may end up as an amazing jewel of the night sky, like this."

The sun's fate is supported by countless observations of similar stars at detectable phases of their life cycle.

So, in other words, every claim in Carolyn's presentation is substantiated. Other statements include speculations and some personal opinions, but they are not claimed to be fact.

Also, unlike in religions, no one is saying that any of the claims of fact are absolutely true either. They are saying that as far as we can tell, this is what it looks like, based on what we know now. As more data emerges the explanations are constantly refined.

That represents a significant difference from religions, which make claims of absolute fact about total unknowns with no supporting observations.

Trish: This is spiritually disturbing.


Trish: This is an attack on God...and I find it risky and dangerous.

It was an uplifting speech about the truth as we know it of our beautiful existence. It was not intended to be frightening.

Trish: She says, the universe is creating itself (not God). Dust becomes dust...matter is eternal (not the spiritual being). There is no need for redemption because the eternal belongs to all (not those forgiven). There is no judgement in the eschatology but all are eternal and spiritually void (similar to our recollection to pre-birth). There is no rapture but all are "caught up". Then she goes on to say let's teach this to our children...have peace about it...and do good in the name of it...and have a holiday in it's honor.

What is wrong with saying this?

Trish: I think it is spiritually dangerous.

What is the danger?

Trish: I think it is false.

What part is false?


Trish: Spiritually speaking, she has no right to speculate about the eternal. None.

But Christians do? Only Christians? What about Hindus?

Trish: There is a possibility of Jesus being correct. Personally, I'd be really sure if I set out to lead anyone away from Him.

Well, there is also a possibility of Jesus not being correct. Suppose it is the Hindus who are correct? Or, there is a possibility of the ancient Greeks being correct. Suppose the key to getting into the good afterlife is being buried with coins for the Ferryman?

There is a possibility that every Christian who talks about "Jesus" is leading people to omit their coins, and thus to languish for all eternity on the wrong side of the River Styx.

Where do Christians get the right - "spiritually speaking," of course - to claim something so risky and dangerous?

Trish: Let me ask you this...do you agree with her?

I would say that I agree with her opening quote from Jules Verne: "Reality provides us with facts so romantic, that imagination itself could add nothing to them." I have never heard a speculation as magnificent as the truths we learn every day about our reality. The more we learn, the more amazing it is.

I agree that the universe appears to be swirling in a magnificent dance. I agree that death is nothing to fear. I agree that we should celebrate human achievements in knowledge.

Carolyn is looking directly at reality and discussing exactly what it looks like. She sees it as something wonderful, which we can appreciate and take comfort in exactly as it is. Since anything other is utterly unknown, finding beauty and spiritual sustenance in what we can see and experience seems like a good idea.

Trish: What happens after death?

Use your eyes. What does it look like happens? What can you tell about it?

Trish: I have the right to speak of this, because you posted it on a debate forum.

Then how can you claim that you have the right - spiritually speaking, of course - and that Carolyn has no right?

Trish: Just to be clear - if someone believes the same thing that Carolyn is saying, I can respect that. I know a few who do. None of them are speaking in front of crowds about this personal belief, suggesting teaching our children, or creating holidays. If they were, I'd say the same thing.

Christians are speaking in front of crowds about their personal beliefs and teaching their children and celebrating holidays. Why is it okay for them to do it but not okay for Carolyn or the people you know to do the same?

Trish: We will just have to agree to disagree. I'm done.

I will certainly never "agree to disagree" that you have a right to eternal speculations and Carolyn doesn't. Not even "spiritually speaking." Your suggestion that Carolyn and people who agree with her are wrong to speak publicly of their ideas or influence children, while Christians do it every day, seems like a hypocrisy with no possible justification.

Thanks for the exchange.

07-02-19 6:22  •  The Coming Collapse

Martha: My husband and I are not deniers. We can see that the climate crisis will soon bring about the collapse of civilization. So, we are ready. We have a cabin, and we have it stockpiled. When civilization collapses we will be fine.

Not to intrude upon your pleasant speculation, but if the global economy collapses it will result in widespread starvation.

Martha:It is a necessary cycle. People will need to figure out how to "adapt and overcome"....but i realize that it's difficult.

How are people supposed to "adapt and overcome" starvation?

Martha: You figure out how NOT to starve.....grow your own food, stockpile, conserve.

After the economy collapses it's too late to stockpile, and starting a garden won't get you food for months. What about the people who don't figure it out? Do you think they will starve to death quietly in their own homes, or will they try to steal food from the better prepared?

And what about people outside the U.S.? There are literally billions of people living on a cup of rice a day. If they could stockpile or conserve their way out of this they would have been doing it already. When the global economy collapses and even that one cup of rice disappears, should we let them all die, as a necessary evil?

Martha: Well...we are overpopulated. It's a natural correction.

I don't think it's that simple. People are not going to sit over there and suffer and let you, in your comfy stockpiled cabin, survive while they die of starvation. They are going to come to your cabin and try to take your food. Starving takes awhile, and people do not starve quietly.

Sure, you could simply kill everyone who approaches your cabin, but eventually you will run out of ammo. Is that really what we want? Everyone in this country clawing each other to death for survival?

It's unrealistic to shrug and say, well, some will suffer, a necessary evil - as long as it's not me. When billions are suffering, you will not be separate from their suffering. They will visit their suffering on you. Then it will be everyone suffering.

Martha: In a climate crisis it's everyone for themselves.

That is precisely what will not work in a climate crisis. We have to work together to keep civlization from collapsing.

For one thing, it is the only way to maintain the supply chain and prevent the horror of widespread starvation.

For another, we have passed the point where large life can survive without climate mitigation. If civilization collapsed tomorrow it could only slow, not prevent, biological collapse, because there would be no chance to take coordinated, corrective steps. That requires science, which requires a full underpinning of civilization to maintain.

The only hope for our species, and most species larger than a bacteria, is for civlization to continue.

07-01-19 2:12  •  Government vs. Private Service

Rosé: I don't trust Trump, but that's nothing new. I have never trusted the government! Name one government program that ever worked!

I got my mail today. I have gotten my mail six days a week my entire life without fail. I also enjoy our National Parks and National Museums.

Social Security and Medicare kept my grandparents healthy and fed in their golden years. Pell grants sent many of my relatives to college. I learned reading, writing, and 'rithmatic in the public school system. My oldest just graduated from a great public high school.

Here's a web site with a long list of government social programs which have been shown to be effective. It also lists a couple of programs that don't work, like DARE. Nobody's perfect.

The government is us. We pick them to do what we want. If we don't like "them" it means we don't like "us."

Rosé: First, the post office is broke like a joke.....and it is non competitive, which is why when you need to mail something, they can make you stand in line for hours, go on break when you are next in line, deliver your mail to your neighbors, refuse to weed out the junk, and on and on and on....the post office should be closed.

None of this has ever happened to me. Furthermore, once I had a really long wait in line at McDonalds and they got my order wrong and I didn't hear one person complaining that corporations just can't do anything and should be closed.

Rosé: I cannot imagine putting up with that treatment for a cheap hamburger.

Whatever. We also had to wait 45 minutes for a table at Olive Garden one time. Late night commedians make a living on the fact that it takes Starbucks forever to make your coffe, then they get the order wrong and hand it to someone else.

The point is that just because a line forms or someone gets an order wrong doesn't mean that "government" can't do anything right. It happens just as much in corporate services as it does in government services.

06-30-19 8:24  •  The Herder's Way

Jessee: That is to say, the Bible is not the word of God, but it is words about God, and humans in relationship with each other, to the best understanding that humans can give expression to given their historical and social constraints.

First of all, what is so special about their "understanding" that makes it "the best humans can give expression to?" Why those people, at that time, and not every set of words about gods by every culture who ever wrote about gods?

Secondly, what could people from thousands of years ago possibly know about gods that you yourself cannot directly apprehend?

Jessee: What is "scripture"?

For the sake of this discussion, books which are claimed to be magically derived. Include The Book of Mormon and Dianetics in this category or not as you choose. :-)

Jessee: In my personal story, my search of Christianity has led me to a far different place than when I started.

I am not talking about "Christianity." I would like to know how you figure that ancient herders had access to information about God that you cannot find out except second-hand, from them. How could they find out things about God than you cannot find out yourself?

06-28-19 5:54  •  Age of Reason

Glenda: Trump lies so much, and his followers support him. I can't tell what's true any more! I heard someone say this could sweep away the Age of Reason.

It is not possible to sweep away the efficacy of reason.

Glenda: Who decides what reality is?

Reality predates decisions.

Glenda: According to everything I am reading, the "age of reason" is dead or dying from a philosophical standpoint.

As long as people want to use technology and medicine that works, reason will not die from a pragmatic standpoint.

Glenda: We've entered (and possibly blown past) the post-modern era where everything is relative to the individual.

Of course, we're into po-pomo now.

However philosophical fashion has nothing to do with the efficacy of reason. Even if humans trainwreck our civilization into a complete return to the Dark Ages, reason will still be there, a system that works, whenever people choose to employ it.

Glenda: Who has the perfect reality that governs decision making?

I have no clue what this sentence even means. You asked me, who decides what reality is? I am saying that reality was here before there were beings with neurons who could make decisions. Reality is the stuff that would be still be here if all the neurons and the decisions were gone.

Since we're here now, we can examine the reality in which we find ourselves and make descriptions of it which can be checked for accuracy.

Anyone is free to take a shot at an accurate description of reality. Anyone else is then free to check the description and see if it is actually accurate. Our descriptions of reality may never be perfect, but if we keep checking them in different ways the accuracy can be improved.

Read more in the Archives.