Archive for June, 2010

The Lens of Polemic

Posted in The Facts and Ideas on June 21, 2010 by RWZero

If ever you should read something, do not read it through the strongly tinted lens; it is a thing that causes people both to lose confidence in, and incorrectly assail, sound positions.

Whatever words you read or have said to you, regard them, even if only once, as a stranger whose only desire is to understand them.

Prayer

Posted in The Narrow Path on June 13, 2010 by RWZero

Dear, God

I am in a difficult way. I pray to you as though you are there, for I cannot pray as though you are not. I pray as though you hear me, as a man hears another man speak, for I have not the capacity to imagine anything else.

I am constantly astonished by the universe, and I never presume that I have anything to teach the maker of it, neither that I may have any true objection to the way in which it is ordered, though my emotions are always in turmoil.

I confess my wrongs; first and foremost that I have rarely risen above my circumstances, in any fashion that might be unexpected to a casual observer of my life. I know that within me lies the potential for harder choices, and more selfless things, or else I would not feel them tug at my will each time a decision is made; I ask that whatever fine things constitute my person might be more inclined towards these ends. I ask that I might be forgiven for my many trespasses, and my infinitely greater omissions.

Thank you that I am alive today, and that I was ever alive in the first place.

Give me the resolve to commit each action upon the basis of the precepts formed in my lucid moments; sustain in me the perception that there is a continuity of self over time, such that I may accomplish this even in my  dark, destitute and apathetic nights.

Please make me feel responsible for my actions.

I cannot ask for a great and improbable sign, in order that I might better believe, in order that I might better do. I ask only that I would continue to pursue the truth, and do what I know to be right, for these are things of which I have become utterly convinced. I believe that you have instilled these sureties within me through all that I have witnessed and read, for I now know–certainly, though at times I may doubt every other thing–that if I hold fast to them, no true harm can come to me so long as I live, nor thereafter.

Amen.

Proselytism

Posted in Evangelism on June 6, 2010 by RWZero

Are you Trying to Convert Me?

Proselytism has been criticized, lately, as if its repugnancy is no longer under debate. Those who are accused of proselytism sometimes respond by denying that it had even crossed their minds. I have never seen a reason why this should be so. There is nothing shameful, per se, about spreading one’s views on the truth.

If you have an idea, and if this idea is not universally accepted, you may suggest it as an alternative to the competition. Furthermore, having accepted your current position, you are convinced that it is the best one. If you make no effort to convince others of the validity of this position, or even so much as discuss it, you likely consider it either invalid or unimportant. I would draw special attention to the latter. If a truth has no implications for other people, there may be value in keeping it to oneself. But what of the truths that are said to be of the utmost importance? How could excessive propriety trump anything of the sort?

It does not take religion to recognize this.