Discerning the Devil

There is something that I want to do. So, I pray about it. Every now and then someone says, unprovoked, that I should do it. I get ideas for it, plan it out a little bit maybe. I see articles about it, videos talking about it. People online and offline giving advice on whether or not to just do it; and most of the time concluding that you should indeed just do it.

But…

Continue reading

Something I wanted to write about Time Travel

I have always desired to go back in time and live my life over again. I’ve concocted stories about being sent back in time, as have so many other people.

But I realized something.

Besides the fact that it’s not going to magically just happen because I wished on a star or prayed really, really hard.

I realized that it has probably already happened!

One of the stories I’ve written follows a young man who somehow goes back in time and becomes a mentor for his younger self. He helps him along and gives him advice. Eventually the older version has to leave.

It’s a work in progress, though. I don’t know how it should end.

Either the older version realizes the things he’s doing for his younger self were all things some mysterious figure did for him when he was a kid…. Or the older version literally disappears because he has changed the past so much that he no longer exists.

Or the universe implodes.

Whatever.

Either way there’s not much of a possibility that story could actually take place. Science is pretty sure it’s impossible to travel back in time, what with temporal feedback loops and all.

😉

Another story I’ve written involves a young man who is discontent with how his life has turned out; even though he’s only just began college. He takes off in his car to run away from his life. He breaks down on the side of the road. It’s dark. It’s raining. He sees a semi truck barreling towards him, sliding back and forth across the road. He cannot get out of the driver’s side door. He grabs his backpack and heads for the passenger door. He gets stuck on a seat belt. He pulls and pulls and eventually breaks free, jumping out of the car right as the semi slams into the car. He falls down a hill and just as he rolls into a tree the lightening flashes. CRACK! He sits up in his bed… was it all a dream? Is he home? Did he actually go back… in time?

Sorry for being so dramatic. It sounds like a nice story. A person becomes a kid again, going back to that point in time as well. With the knowledge of the future he can surely make better decisions, right? He can live the life he actually wanted to live… right?

Well, in my story the kid makes some dumb decisions. He tries to be “cool” with everything and, by way of a vision, sees his future involves some bad habits. He changes again, but this time back to who he was. He’s just a little more content with who he is. He realizes that he actually had a good life. He just didn’t realize it.

Awwww 🙂

But that’s just a story.

Or is it?

What if you prayed really, really, really, really hard! And God was like, “fine, I’ll send you back in time to relive your life. It’s not like there are orphans for you feed or the homeless that need sheltering. Let’s give you a do-over because you don’t have enough money to buy video games…”

And you’re like, “thanks buddy!”

In reality we’ll never know if this has happened, but what if it did. It’s just that God knows he can’t very well let you have knowledge of the future (that being the events you’ve actually grown through already). If you had this knowledge you’d definitely change, and not necessarily for the better. You might be arrested because you knew something bad was going to happen. Or you might go crazy knowing about all of these terrible things that would kill so many innocent people. Or you might just live your life being quiet about it all, but know in your mind all the bad things that were going to happen. You might just waste away your life doing nothing but having fun and spending money, or simply hanging out with people, having no real purpose for your life other than to enjoy everything. And as was previously mentioned, there are people out there who could use your help. If you literally had the attitude of “YOLO” how much good could you possibly be doing?

God knows you can’t have knowledge of the future. So he sends you back in time to “try again” without this knowledge.

So, ya, you may have been given a second chance. But you’ll never know.

Or will you?

[he asks too many questions, doesn’t he?]

You know how you’re trying to make a decision about something and things just don’t feel right? What if that’s a decision you made before going back in time and while the historical record of events that will happen in the world are lost to you, you still retain the general “gut feeling” about those events. Should you purchase this car? Gut says “no”… or rather, your memory of having purchased this car was a bad memory, but you can’t just have the memory because that would fall under “having knowledge of the future” which God specifically has not granted you even though he did actually send you back in time, so you choose not to purchase the car.

I know, I know: this could literally be a gut feeling. You could also call it “conscience” if the decision involves whether to do something good or bad. You could also point to the fact that the Hindu religion believes in reincarnation. But I don’t, so maybe this whole idea is just bonkers.

It’s fun to do little thought experiments like this. But in the end we have to realize what’s really important.

Cake.

-Diggs out

P.S. – I’m going to a birthday party today. So right now, cake is important.

P.P.S. – God is important, too. Or rather: God is important, and cake is also important. To me, at least.

If You Love Peace and Hate Terrorists, Type Amen Below

I am Christian. Specifically Catholic.

And, yes, Catholics are Christians.

No, seriously, we are.

Being a good Christian I go to church on Sunday, read the Bible every day, compare my actions and thoughts as well as other’s opinions to what the Bible teaches, listen to Christian themed music, try to watch wholesome TV, movies, and YouTube, and subscribe to or follow Christian quote,  meme, and worship accounts on Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

What else is there to do?

😉

Seriously, though, there’s so much more I could do. For example, instead of pretending like I lead a Christian life, I could actually, you know, go out and be Christian. 

But that’s hard.

Why can’t I just like and share all those social media posts. That’s spreading the word, right?

And as for proclaiming the name of Jesus, I type “Amen” on Facebook posts.

That’s good, right?

I mean, think about this:  if you’re scrolling through Facebook and see one of those posts – “If you love Jesus, type amen below.” – and you can’t take 1 minute out of your busy day of wasting time on Facebook to type “amen”, then do you think you’ll take a few minutes to explain to someone why you’re a Christian? You can’t give God 1 minute, but you expect him to give you eternity in paradise?

Probably not.

But I know what you’re thinking…

(Actually I don’t.)

“Typing ‘amen’ on a Facebook post because they say ‘if you love Jesus type amen’ isn’t preaching or proclaiming. It’s an ad tactic meant to coerce you into making the decision they want you to make by providing you with the choice between their decision and a totally and obviously deplorable decision which a decent human being would never make.”

(Do I get brownie points if you were actually thinking that?)

My rebuttle:

😝

Now that I acted like a 10-year-old to make you think you have the intellectual upper hand, let me do some splain’in. 

First off, I hate those posts. They are a marketing tactic meant to trick you. You can type “amen” or you can pass by the post, which means you worship evil incarnate.

Your choice.

It’s just like normal ads that claim you’re a bad mother if you don’t use a certain diaper, or you’re a horrible human being if you don’t give 15 cents a day to starving children, or you’re a worthless sack of crap and a waste of human genetic material because you won’t adopt that three-legged puppy.

(Darn you Sarah McLaughlin! Making me feel the feels. How rude!)

Some of these posts say things like “Jesus loves everyone. Type amen if you agree”.

That seems good. Jesus does love everyone (despite what some fanatical weirdos might claim). So I guess I’ll type Amen… because I agree… but if I don’t type amen does that mean I don’t agree? They don’t specify.

There are some posts that posit a conundrum: “Jesus is Lord. Like if you love Jesus. Ignore if you love the devil.”

O.o

That one is a little more damning, perhaps. It seems as if you must like that picture, because if you don’t, that means you love the devil. But does it?

I’m going to speak only to Christians since 1.) these posts are Christian in nature, and 2.) I don’t feel like debating multiple religions or lack thereof right now. But you may feel free to extrapolate my thoughts to your religion or beliefs and the posts you see on social media.

Does ignoring these types of posts mean you love the devil, or want Satan to win, or hate God, or whatever the alternative is? For that matter, though, does liking (or sharing, or commenting, or tagging, etc.) mean that you love God, love Jesus, want peace, believe in the resurrection, that you are saved, or even that you’re a good person? Can interacting with a Facebook post prove anything about the state of your soul?

Can it?

CAN IT!?

Let’s break it down (wikka wikka screetch!).

Here’s the problem. You have two choices: be a good person or be a bad person. If you type “amen” or like or share you are a good person. If you ignore you’re a bad person. You could call out the post as the marketing trick it is, and that’d be good. However, by not promoting the post you are failing to promote God. You are, in a sense, denying God. That is also bad. So, not falling for the trick is good. But falling for the trick results in something good. But falling for the trick is bad. But not reacting is also bad. So if you react, that’s good, except it’s bad that you gave in, but good you acknowledged God, but bad you did it just so you don’t look stupid, but good you did it because you know you should, but bad you did it to please people instead of God, but good if you genuinely saw it as an opportunity to spread the word of God, but bad if you rely on others to remind you to talk about God.

*takes breath*

Basically, the reason you’re reacting to the post will tell you whether or not you did it for the right reason.

If you see the post as an opportunity to spread the word of God and decide to put a positive spin on the appearance of God on a social media platform, then you’re probably reacting for the right reason. After all, almost everything can be spun in either a positive or negative manner. 

However, I do think these people should stop. Seriously, if you posted something to the effect of “like if you’re a good person and ignore if you’re a crap sack” what do you expect people to do. They don’t want to take the chance that someone will find out they didn’t like the picture. Make that “someone” God Himself, and you can’t escape him. He just saw you scroll past the post. Go back and like it right now or you don’t love Him!

J/K

As far as I’m concerned, these people are taking advantage of the correctly working conscience of everyday people and tricking them into liking and sharing their post. This then serves to spread awareness of their own page or account. They get more followers, and in turn get more views, shares, likes, and even more followers. It’s just self promotion.

Sure, they’re spreading word (or pictures) of God. So that’s good. But you’re not supposed to test the faith of other people. You’re not supposed to trick people.

I can look past this, until you post one of these:

“God will answer all your prayers. Type Amen if you believe.”

This one looks fine at first. Even I believe that God will answer my prayers. But this comes with an asterisk. (That’s this thing * ) God will answer any prayer, as long as His words live in you and your life is lived for Him. If what you are praying for goes against God’s word (like, say, praying that someone crashes their flashy, expensive new car because they’ve been a jerk about having all this money to throw around and you can barely afford Ramen noodles… jerk… where was I?)

A prayer like that is a jealous prayer. That’s not a God-like thing to pray for. So… God probably won’t answer that prayer with anything more than an opportunity to be more thankful and grateful for the things you already have. That’s kind of how that works.

But then, someone doesn’t type “amen.” Are they bad? Do they not believe? Are they a fan of Star Wars?

Ya, see, we can’t tell and it’s none of our business. Plus, as one of the posts I actually will share points out, God is not a genie. Quit forwarding silly “share and God will answer all your prayers” posts. He’s not your fairy godmother. That’s not how this works.

-Diggs out

P.S. – sometimes I just write until I feel like I’m done. Sometimes I write until I feel like I should have been done a while ago and wrap it up. Sometimes I write with a clear beginning and end, creating something I’m proud of. And sometimes my brain jumps topics so quickly I end up lost and have to stop. This feels like one of those times.

Steel Against Steel, or Stone, or Paradoxen?

I was browsing through my Instagram feed for, like, the hundredth time today. I quickly realized I had seen everything in it about a dozen times.

“You need to follow more people,” I said to myself.

So, I clicked on the discover button to see what else is out there. Nothing great, and most not even good. That’s when I found a post from a Christian IG account about NASA proving the Bible right…

What? You missed that breaking story on CNN as well? Never fear. There was no story, because NASA didn’t prove the Bible right, because the story is a hoax.

The legitimacy of the story did not, however, deter people from praising Jesus. Nor did it deter people from calling the Jesus lovers “idiots.” I wouldn’t call it an argument because, well, it’s IG… you more or less like a picture, leave a comment maybe, and then move on to the next of millions of pictures asking for a double-tap. But there were a few (what I would call, but only because they have no other reason to be on this account commenting if they weren’t) trolls. Seriously, I don’t understand where these people come from. It’s as if they are browsing through IG and come upon a Christian picture. Then think to themselves, “let’s see how many reasons I can come up with that this picture is pure fantasy elves and fairy nonsense…”

I thought, if you don’t have anything nice to say…

wp_ss_20160615_0003Whatever. They were there, and that’s where I saw this (pictured). It really doesn’t make much sense. I felt so strongly at what I’m going to pick it apart for that I had to screenshot it. This person states they don’t “have the time nor patience to argue about this with someone who does not have an open mind to anything they disagree on.” Which sounds good at first. Until you realize that he was basically saying religion is dumb, science is fact, everyone who believes otherwise is an idiot. If I held the same principle about who I argued with he, by his own definition, would be someone I would avoid.

I think these people misuse the word “argue.” To argue is really just making statements that either support your side or undermine the other side. You can say whatever you want. To debate is to prove that your side is the right side. You do this with facts. If the other guy’s facts are better, more compelling, or more believable, then there’s a good chance that he is right. In that case, you would be a fool for not joining him. In a debate, you can concede defeat. You keep an open mind because, after all, you very well could be wrong.

In essence what I’m saying is this:  if you won’t argue with someone because they won’t keep an open mind you need to make sure you yourself are keeping an open mind. Or else, you are actually calling yourself a hypocrite.

Part II

wp_ss_20160615_0004Back to the discovery of IG… many of the other posts on this account were very good, uplifting, and contemplative. I really liked this one (pictured).

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

But…  I don’t know that much about biblical times… but did they actually sharpen swords with… other swords? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen grinding wheels in historical films before. And I’m pretty sure the Japanese never sharpened their katana with other katana. You don’t sharpen blades with other blades, you use a sharpening stone-

REVELATION!

(At least that’s how it sounded in my head… if you can picture the sound the word “REVELATION!” makes… is it “picture” a sound? Hear the sound? Imagine- it’s “imagine the sound.” I knew I’d get there.)

I read this passage and then quickly had a brief epiphany. You may not actually sharpen blades with other blades, or solid blocks of iron, or what ever this passage actually means. But if it rather said, “…stone sharpens iron…” then I actually know what that means, now at least.

Think of stone. It’s hard. It’s unmoving. It just sits there weathering away. If you call someone hardheaded you could say they were like stone. They will sit there and continue to be hardheaded, repeating the same thing over and over again. If unchanging, they will eventually weather away.

And as for you? It’s only by coming into contact with (and no I do not mean beating the daylights out of) this hardheaded person that you will get sharper. As long as you remember that you’re a blade, and not a hammer.

So like with our guy above, by talking with him and sharing information you have about Jesus, God, and the Bible you can sharpen your knowledge, wisdom, and wits. You can listen to him and hear what he has to say. Then say a little prayer for guidance, and tell him what the Holy Spirit says he needs to hear. Just don’t forget: you’re a blade, not a hammer. If you start bludgeoning the guy you will only make yourself duller. You cannot defeat the stone, and more to the point, you don’t want to defeat him. You want to give him the information he needs to make a more informative decision. If he chooses to continue believing you are an arrogant idiot, trapped in the past by a dusty old book, then that’s his choice. But beating him over the head with that dust book will only push him farther away from God even faster.

And yes. I am not blind.

If I am not careful this could all apply to me. I could become a stone; unmoving and unchanging, suffering from the weathering of ignorance and foolishness. I could just as easily be that IG poster from above. I could decide not to talk to you because you have made up your mind and will not listen to a word I say. I could decide that I am right and everyone who doesn’t believe what I believe is a fool.

On the other hand…

I could be the sharpening stone that gradually sharpens the blade that is the people who need a little help fighting the good fight. I, little old rock, could actually wear away the dings and dullness of the blade making it better able to face the world.

Or the original passage could be easily explained as well: stick with people, and they will help you grow.

Or time could freeze and the world as we know it could be locked in a 7th dimension paradox!

And that’s what it’s like talking to me.

But seriously, don’t get so hardheaded that you think you should only talk to people who’s mind you can change. And quit arguing with everybody anyway!

-Diggs out

“Evil preys on the weak… because it fears the strong.”

P.S. – it’s paradoxes. I know how to work a dictionary.

😉

Welcome to the End of Days, Brought to You by GoPro

Well, I just came up with a revelation… the Book of Revelation!

Just kidding.

But I really did just think of something. I’ve known of the Book of the Revelation for a while. In case you don’t know, it’s a book from the Bible. You know, that story book that crazy people like me use to explain existence. Most people think it’s called “Revelations” but it’s actually “the Book of the Revelation.” The “Revelation” is like a vision being made to John the Apostle. It was the one with the four horsemen, the end of days, and the coming apocalypse. I think John was hiding out in the desert at this time, or maybe an island. I don’t know, Bing it (let’s totally make that a thing!… no?).

Anyway, one of the things that John sees in this revelation is a wheel with eyes all over it. Just look at these artist renderings to get an idea of what this wheel might look like, as described by John.

Ezekiel_Icones_BiblicaeIt’s that thing that looks like a wheel in a wheel in the bottom right corner. Here’s one more (and promise not to read ahead…):

Ezekiel's vision of wheelsAgain, wheel in a wheel, this time on the left side.

That other thing is a four headed monster of some kind. I have no idea what that could be.

However, I have found the wheel covered in eyes in real life. See it below:

GoPro-360-Camera-Array-2That’s right people. Wheel covered in eyes. Stick it on a drone or quad rotor helicopter and it can even fly around. End of days is here, courtesy of GoPro. Wait, did Google make this?… Hmmm… Time to Bing it!

*opens Bing*

*types in search terms*

*Bing makes a decision*

*Diggs gets information he was looking for right away. Bing rocks!*

OMG! It was made by BOTH of them!

Say your prayers and kiss your Xbox goodbye. I’ll see you on the other side.

Diggs Out

(forever…)

P.S. – GoPro obviously didn’t sponsor this post. And they don’t even know I’m posting it. And for the love of Pete, I don’t really think the end times are here because of a 360 degree GoPro camera mount. But just in case… *deletes browser history* There, I should be good now, right?

P.P.S. – I don’t hate Google, per se…

P.P.P.S. – I DO use Bing instead of Google. At first I went back to Google quite often when Bing just didn’t give me what I was looking for. But as time went on, Bing gave me exactly what I was looking for more and more often. So, I stick with Bing now. Just for 100% transparency: I use Windows computers, tablets, laptops, and servers, have had 3 Windows phones, was one of the people who owned a Zune HD, have an Xbox with Xbox Live Gold, am testing Windows 10, and get terrible gas if I eat too much chicken. So, you could say I’m a Microsoft Fanboy, except I also own 2 Android phones, a Google Nexus 7, have had a few Linux machines, and even have an iPad. So, yes, I’m a Microsoft Fan Boy… I’m a ManBoy. I… guess… w/e…

Your Salvation – Who do you think you are?

I’m sorry. But I just had to say this.

I am Catholic. Like me or hate me, I don’t care. The reason it matters is because of something I saw today. I was looking through Facebook and found that a page I follow (about Jesus and Christianity) is looking for volunteers. The ministry who runs the Facebook page had a small questionnaire on their page. It’s sort of like their application for the position. The part which irked me was a question asking if the applicant believes in “salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone.” Now for those of you who don’t know, salvation would be the phenomena where God allows you entrance into Heaven and thus, saves you from eternal damnation.

Now, this is specifically where it gets important that I am Catholic.

Most Christian religions tend to teach that when you proclaim you believe Jesus died for your sins and then get baptized, you are instantly and for always “saved.” Catholics (the original Christian religion..) on the other hand seem to have a bad reputation for teaching people to do good works. Why the bad reputation for teaching people to do good? Because the other Christian religions claim we are saying you must do good works to get into Heaven; as if doing lots of good without proclaiming Jesus as your saviour would get you into Heaven. However, that’s not the case. No Catholic believes he can get into Heaven on his own merit. The good I do comes from God. I am merely an instrument of His peace (as St. Francis was). I still believe that you have to proclaim that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. Afterall, no man goes to the Father on their own; rather, only through Jesus can one get to the Father in Heaven.

That said, many of the quotes the Protestant religions use to bolster their argument come from people like Paul (who was once Saul). Sure, many of them come from Peter and other disciples, and many even come from Jesus himself. Even still, there are many more Bible verses where Jesus himself is telling us how to act. Why would Jesus bother telling us how to act if how we act (or, should I say, the works we do) had no weight on the question of “are you going to Heaven?”

And that’s only half my point.

The other reason I don’t like the Protestant mindset on salvation begins with the story of a young boy. Once upon a pool in a small American town, there was a young boy. This boy told one of the lifeguards that he did not make it to church (or he said he wasn’t going that day… I don’t remember). The lifeguard, joking around of course, remarks, “oooh. You’re going to Hell.” Now, this may not have been a very nice thing to say, even in a joking manner, but we can’t change the past. This kid, without missing a beat, replies, “no I’m not. I’ve been saved.” Now, In order for this story to make sense you have to know this boy. While he wasn’t exactly a “bad” kid, he was a troublemaker. I became upset because this troublemaker seemed to think that it didn’t matter what he did (even if he chose having fun over spending time with the Lord who saved him), he was already saved and didn’t need to worry about it.

The point? He, like many other Non-Catholics, seemed to think that he had been saved and that’s that. To be saved means you have been provided with salvation. That means you are most likely going to Heaven. While I believe this is within God’s power (since He made the rules), even when I feel as if I’m not measuring up, this kid believed he was going to Heaven already. So, essentially, he made up God’s mind for Him. I’m sure God wants this kid in Heaven with Him, but I’m not sure if God allows us to decide if we are going to Heaven. (as I said, He made the rules) God allows us the choice to follow the rules or throw them to the wind. By choosing not to follow the rules, you might be condemning yourself. But by choosing to follow the rules you still don’t secure your place in Heaven; that still doesn’t mean you’re saved.

Only God can decide who goes to Heaven and who doesn’t. It is through Jesus that we get to Heaven, not our own actions. Baptism is an action we take. Being human we are capable of making decisions and promises and then going back on them. It is ultimately up to God as to how well we followed the rules. The sacrifice Jesus made opened up salvation to all who accept it. This sacrifice, however, does not secure our place in Heaven. You won’t know if you’re getting in until you’re at the front door. This is why you need to live a good life, doing good works, following all the rules Jesus laid out for us, and believe Jesus died to save you.

Who do you think you are? You’re not God. You don’t get to make His decisions for Him.