Ever since starting to engage in the blogosphere (and Facebook, and anywhere on the Internet, really), I have frequently encountered the phenomenon of "trolling." Wikipedia's definition of an Internet troll is "someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community...with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion." I think this is a fairly adequate description of what so many of us have experienced with disdain. I am not sure though that these frustrating people who like to antagonistically comment on everything are always doing so entirely intentionally. Sometimes, I think people actually think they are responding intelligently to something or engaging in a legitimate discussion when in fact they are not at all.
It is not easy allowing yourself to be the target of public scrutiny.
A little less than two weeks ago, I posted something very controversial. I believe it became controversial moreso because of the subject matter than because of what I actually wrote. Nevertheless, the responses affected me. Many were positive and many were negative, but the emotional impact of the negative comments tends to outweigh the positive. As rap artist KB says "If I can be honest I get depressed when people ain't feelin' me, Twenty people say awesome job man, one person hates it, I'm crushed for the week."
I did end up changing the wording of what I wrote slightly, but I didn't change the point, which as always is to try and walk through what actually makes sense and then to begin an honest conversation. What follows is an honest inside look into my heart over the last two weeks...
It seems that these days the whole controversial issue of homosexuality (though I would say it's becoming less and less controversial in North America) has degenerated into an argument about whether gay people were born that way or choose to be gay. We only need look to Lady Gaga for a prominent example. This is sadly an irrelevant argument though because it actually doesn't matter. At all. The fact is that whether you chose something or whether you were born into it has exactly no impact on whether it is right or wrong, true or false, moral or immoral. In fact, everybody knows this in almost every other area of their lives. For some reason though, homosexuality has become a social exception.
Let's think about this for a moment...
It seems so generic to write a post called "What Are You Thankful For?" during Thanksgiving weekend (well, Canadian Thanksgiving weekend). But that's ok. It's been far too long since I've been able to write anything.
I think it's a good thing that we have a built-in reminder during the year that we should take some time to ponder and be thankful for all of the amazing blessings that we have, especially here in North America. It's a positive holiday that isn't so much focused on materialism as other holidays, but instead on reflection and gratitude. There aren't any gifts that you feel like you have to give. You're not wasting a whole ton of cash on a shopping spree. You're just spending time with family and friends and celebrating life. Those who are far away from family get welcomed into the homes of others to share a meal and spend time together. Awesome. So many people receive so much genuine love from others during Thanksgiving. I don't know how this messed-up world managed to escape still with one widespread, valid and legitimately celebrated holiday, but I am thankful for Thanksgiving itself.
Is faith really a virtue as many claim, or is it a fundamental flaw in humanity that must by all means be rooted out in order to achieve a progressive society? This is a question I have come across all too often lately.
There are basically two camps that have sadly become polarized as the "religious" and the "non-religious" (though I would argue that some of the so-called religious are not and equally vice versa). In essence, the first perspective values faith as a benefit to life and to knowledge while the second degrades it as a crutch for the weak and an opponent to "real," testable knowledge. The former maintains faith as necessary for enlightenment while the latter calls it blind, stupid and ignorant. So who's right? Much more importantly, what's true?
If a culture develops a belief that killing the weakest of its citizens is morally preferable in order to protect itself from other cultures (you're only as strong as your weakest link, right?), then is it still wrong? Or is it ok because that culture in particular has deemed it morally right?
No, I don't actually believe that murder is ok in any culture. And neither do you (I hope). Quite a few people in this day and age, however, claim beliefs about reality which actually conflict with their moral beliefs, to the point that if they truly lived consistently with their beliefs, the above society would be totally acceptable. Many, many people claim moral beliefs with their intellect which conflict with the moral beliefs they actually demonstrate in the way they live their lives. This is an interesting paradox, and one which very much gets taken for granted these days. Let us not grant it so easily here.
WakeUpWorld! wants to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2012! As usual, here's a special Christmas video to get you thinking about what this time should really be all about.
I was recently chastised by a couple of friends (at least, I hope they're still my friends) for thanking God on Facebook for the fortunate timing of the arrival of a replacement hard drive for my computer. Their immediate reaction was that I belittled the suffering of starving children in Africa, for example, by thanking God for something so insignificant and unimportant by comparison. How dare I?
And in some ways, I don't blame them. In fact, I'm glad they care so much about the plight of starving children in Africa, if indeed they do. Not enough people on this earth have that much compassion for those outside of their own line of vision (and we've become very good at averting our eyes when they are in our line of vision, as if pretending they don't exist is somehow the better option). However, these are not people who believe in God in the first place. The underlying theme of this "attack" was not so much to do with helping these children as much as it was that a good God would not allow so many children to starve and die without providing them food and then go ahead and provide me with a stupid hard drive. Fair point, despite the completely unnecessary personal judgment and hostility.
10 years ago today, a few men changed the world forever.
I was in my first year of high school, Phys. Ed. class. Another teacher stood in the doorway and informed us that something tragic had happened. Something big. We congregated later in the library to see the footage for ourselves. I doubt any of us fully understood what was going on. There was confusion, disbelief, rumours of other planes flying up north to us in Canada. I don't think any of us fully understood that we would remember this moment for the rest of our lives. That we would tell our children where we were on that fateful day. That the world would never be the same again.
10 years ago today, a few men changed the world forever. Their actions were wrong, as were their motivations. But nobody can ever take away from them their passion and willingness to act on what they believed to be true.
May we who stand for truth and righteousness live out what we believe every day that we have left. May we rid the world of apathy. May we not be only reactive to evil, but also proactive to prevent and change it. May we love truth, but may we also love indiscriminately. May we truly change the world.
The American Dream.
It's what we all long and hope for. What we spend our whole lives trying to achieve, or in some cases what gets handed to us without very much work at all. It's what many of our forefathers came to North America for, and what we've stayed for. It's what we hope for our children and what has become the central focal point of many of our lives.
This may come as a shock to you, but I don't want the "American Dream" for my life.