Thursday, December 27, 2007

Traditional Truth

Read the prior message in this series: Experiencing Truth

Tradition is the third branch of my developing epistemology, but this is where my analogy with the co-equal branches of the US Constitution breaks down. Tradition is not co-equal with logic and experience. Rather, it is subservient to the two pillars and essentially an extension of the pillar of experience.

I include tradition in my epistemology to avoid the cultural myopia and familiarity bias in my community of truth seekers. In the strictest sense, tradition extends experience through the lens of history. Tradition acknowledges we are "standing on the shoulders of giants" as Isaac Newton once said. In the introduction to this series I wrote, "Discovering truth is not a solo venture." Tradition differentiates between the verified experiences shared within my truth seeking community and the collective experiences recorded by the great minds of history that have traveled the path before us. Einstein stood on the shoulders of Newton, and he too acknowledged the importance of a comprehensive rather than reductionist view of reality.
I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today—and even professional scientists—seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth. (Letter from Einstein to Robert Thornton, 7 December 1944, EA 61-574)
I'm very interested in feedback on my pursuit of truth, and I'd love to hear your story.  Comments here are welcomed and encouraged.  I can also be reached through Facebook if you're one of those social networking types, not that there's anything wrong with that. Social networking sites have their place, but the attention spans tend to be microscopic in that environment. I've toyed around with a website called TruthMapping, but so far I haven't met anyone who is a tenacious enough truth seeker to dialog with me in that forum.

If you took the time to read this entire series from the beginning, please let me know. I enjoy a good old fashioned email exchange, but I'm old school that way. At least with email you don't need a stamp.  Truth seeking isn't for the faint of heart or short attention span folks. It requires thinking, and thinking is hard work most people aren't willing to do these days. It's just easier to go watch TV or pass the time watching YouTube on your smartphone. I really wish more people were willing to wrestle with the Big Questions. That's why I created DiscoverTruth.com.

Participate in this series: What's Next? Let's talk about it!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Experiencing Truth

Read the prior message in this series: Reasonable Truth

Human beings exist within an objective reality where we think, perceive, will, emote, and act. Thinking is the "reason" of my first epistemological pillar. Perceiving leads to experience which is my second pillar.

Experience provides the data on which reason operates. Experience is our perception of the reality around us, and it becomes input for our logic processor, i.e. our minds. It is critical that we distinguish between experience as perception of external reality versus internal experiences or "mental states" which are not objective. If we do not make this distinction, our will and emotions muddy the clarity and certainty gained by objective experience which can be independently verified by third-party eye witnesses.

Like the first pillar of reason, I accept objective experience axiomatically as my second pillar of truth. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee our senses give reliable data, nor can we guarantee our reason will reliably override faulty perceptions. Still, I propose that reason and experience are "properly basic" tools for all objective truth seekers.

I'm open to criticisms of these two pillars of truth, but in order to critique them you would have to invoke reason and experience to deny them thereby establishing their axiomatic nature. I would also welcome any ideas about a third pillar that would be as axiomatic as the first two.

There is one more governing branch in my epistemology, but it is not a pillar. I hold more loosely to tradition than I do the pillars of reason and experience.

Read the next entry in this series: Traditional Truth

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reasonable Truth

Read the prior message in this series: Developing My Epistemology

Reason is the first pillar in the checks and balances of my epistemology. Reason is the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic. You cannot be a truth seeker without sound logic. The necessity of logic is so fundamental it is "properly basic" or "axiomatic" for truth seeking. Reason is a foundational premise.

Still, logic alone is insufficient for discovering truth because we have to figure out the meaning of information.  Logic is just a tool to connect meaningful data. I'm continually surprised at how poorly some people, including myself, reason through things.  "Know thyself" is a famous ancient Greek aphorism.  I know myself enough to recognize my incredible capacity to talk myself into things, reason emotionally rather than rationally, and justify things in order to view them as I want to see them rather than they way they truly are.

Truth seeking is hard, and often uncomfortable.  This is why a community of truth seekers is essential for staying on the path. Human beings aren't always reasonable, and we often need help discovering our logical deficiencies or inconsistencies.

"[Human] logic is a good mistress but a very bad master."
-- John G. Reisinger

Read the next entry in this series: Experiencing Truth

Monday, December 24, 2007

Developing My Epistemology

Read the prior message in this series: "By What Standard?"

Two years ago I set out to write this next article in the series, and it turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. As a Jesus follower, I'd already mentally jumped to the conclusion that the answer to the question "By What Standard?" was the Bible. That was the religious bias I had from birth until I left home. We all have a birth bias in our worldview based on our experiences in our formative years.

Each time I sat down and tried to write a reasonable argument for the Bible being the standard bearer of truth, the argument was circular. I could not adequately defend my conclusion without appealing to that which I already believed. I was stuck because I didn't understand my own epistemology, and couldn't get past my own birth bias. In fact, I didn't even know what epistemology was two years ago!

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity,
and scope. It is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.

Over the last couple years I discovered the Bible is no longer a sufficient answer to the question "By What Standard?" This is particularly true in a discussion with anyone who has a post-modern worldview, and most people under thirty (the Millennial generation) have a post-modern worldview. It is their birth bias.

Most Christians accept the Bible as inerrant and infallible on faith, but the skeptic will insist on evidence which is admirable. For the skeptic, inerrancy and infallibility can only be used as a working hypothesis, and then only if the skeptic is brave, honest, and transparent about the reasons for their skepticism. Additionally, the Bible must be interpreted which is no small matter. As I thought about these two problems, I had to develop my own epistemology. I owe a debt of gratitude to an atheist friend of mine who runs the IT department (actually he is the IT department) at the start-up company where we work. Justin and I have nearly perfect agreement on political issues, but we totally disagree on the question of whether or not God exists. It surprised me that someone with whom I shared nearly identical political beliefs could simultaneously hold to a completely opposite theological (dis)belief system.

Justin helped me realize I needed a governing system of checks and balances to keep my truth seeking on track while overcoming my birth bias. While thinking about "a governing set of checks and balances" I remembered my high school civics class and a document famous for this very thing.

The US Constitution is an amazing document. It defines what has become the most successful government experiment in all of human history. The secret to the success of the US Constitution is the delicate set of checks and balances in the distribution of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. So, I developed a loosely analogous set of checks and balances for my own epistemological framework. I call them the court of reason, congress of experience, and executive process of tradition.  I believe truth is knowable using the tools of reason, experience, and tradition within a community of truth seekers.

Why is this important? As discussed in the previous blog in this series, religion can be extremely dangerous. Millions of people have died in the name of religious ideologies. Religions and their sacred texts can be used as pretexts for all sorts of evil behavior like flying airplanes full of people into tall buildings or bombing abortion clinics. Devout Bible believers have fallen into fundamentalist folk religions and deadly cults as a result of uncritical acceptance of ill informed biblical interpretations. This is why I think it is important to understand religion as a set of beliefs that inform us about how we should live.

If the role of religion is to help us know the truth and guide our moral behavior, wouldn't it make sense to examine the truth claims of the major religions that have withstood the test of time? Shouldn't these major religions (not the radical fringe groups) and their ancient wisdom literature be examined on their own merits in the court of reason, the congress of experience, and under the executive process of tradition? In order to do that I had to develop my epistemology.

Aside: I've tested the Book of Mormon, and it failed my epistemological truth tests. This video pretty much summarizes what I wrote in the paper at this link.


Read the next entry in this series: Reasonable Truth

Thursday, November 15, 2007

SeekTruth Forum Guidelines

If you desire more interaction than comments on a blog, please consider subscribing to the SeekTruth Email Discussion Forum which is hosted on Yahoo!Groups. We use these guidelines in the forum:

Rules-of-Engagement

1. Do not send attachments to the list.
(They are automatically deleted anyway.)

2. Do not change the subject line if you are
replying in a discussion thread unless you
are diverging the discussion

3. Please DO use a descriptive subject line when
starting a new discussion thread.

4. Only quote the relevant parts of prior messages.
Delete extraneous text at the bottom of your reply.

5. Use a signature with no more than few lines.

6. For readability, put a blank line between your
comments and a quote from a prior message.

7. Do not post excessively. Take time to reflect.

8. Be concise. Lengthy posts are discouraged.

9. Do not post email forwards or cross post from other lists.

10. Treat others in the same manner you expect to be treated.

These "Five Premises" of the moderator guide our truth seeking discussions:

A. Objective truth and objective reality exist.
B. Some objective truth is knowable.
C. All knowable truth can be expressed in natural language.
D. Some declarative statements in natural language are true.
E. Logic is reliable for determining the consistency of any 2 declarative statements.

If you agree with these Five Premises, you're welcome on SeekTruth. If you disagree with these premises, we'd like to hear your reasons why.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Googling for Truth

[I've been thinking along these lines myself. Mr. Patton put my thoughts into words better than I could have. The title below is linked to the original, but I included a copy here in case the original disappears into cyberspace.]

Googling for Truth: The Importance of Irenic Theology in our Postmodern World

~ C Michael Patton ~

Googling for truth can be a dangerous task. Who knows what one will find? How do you know who to trust? Before Google, before the Internet, before twenty-four-hour world news, before the introduction of our globalized culture where alternative truth claims are literally at ones fingertips, people could be much more confident that the truth claims to which they adhere were an accurate representation of reality. Why? Because we did not have any other alternatives to confuse the issues. The naiveté that this intellectual isolation provided, while quite comforting, is no longer a luxury that we can afford to entertain and expect to have an audience in the real world. Truth is no longer simply a matter of going to the local parish on the corner and inquiring of the pastor. It is much more complex and confusing. Today, people are Googling for truth, looking for answers, and bewilderment is the most common result. Thousands of alternatives present themselves at your front door at every turn. After a while you just don’t want to answer the door anymore. Is there a method of discovery that produces hope and assurance, without having to retreat back to naive isolationism of the past?

It is no secret that our culture today is undergoing a massive paradigm shift with regards to the way people come to know truth. The atmosphere of the intellectual landscape has changed. Confidence, certainty, and dogmatism have been replaced with doubt, skepticism, and agnosticism. Truth claims are held in high suspicion. Those still working under the old paradigm of truth are thought by this new generation of thinkers to be naive at best and power mongering manipulators at worst. Within the philosophical and theological communities, this new generation goes by many names: Post-fundamentalism, Post-Christian, Post-Liberal, and the most common Post-modernism. While these names may not be sufficient to completely convey the ethos of this generation, they all have one important element in common—they are all “post” something. The culture is moving beyond where it was before.

Suspicion. This is a good, rich, and sad word that is only needed because of humanity’s moral downfall. To be suspicious means that you are in a “state of uncertainty or doubt.” Or better, “Suspicion is the positive tendency to doubt the trustworthiness of appearances and therefore to believe that one has detected possibilities of something unreliable, unfavorable, menacing, or the like.” Synonyms for suspicion are doubt, mistrust, or misgiving. Our culture is in a perpetual state of uncertainty about truth; our culture is suspicious—suspicious of you and suspicious of me. Why? Because Christians claim to have the truth about the most important questions in life. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the truth. We have presented ourselves at the front door, and our message of exclusivity is falling on deaf ears.

While the problem is no secret, the solution is harder to come by. Because of these epistemological difficulties, the focal point for theology is no longer Bibliology as it once was, but Prolegomena. Prolegomena is the theological discipline that focuses on issues that need to be covered before truth claims can be asserted and debated. Prolegomena deals with the “first things” of theology. Methodology, theological systems, epistemology, and sources for truth are all issues of Prolegomena. Because the world does not work with the same assumptions that it used to, we must create common ground before we can reach our culture. This common ground must first and foremost deal with the issue of suspicion. The distrust that people have for you when you approach their door with a Bible opened to your favorite verse is real.

Not only this, but this disarming must have a subjective component to it as well. You and I are not speaking from a megaphone from our isolated island of naivety (at least we shouldn’t be). We are affected by the change as well. I have seen much confusion and suspicion among believers in recent years. People are leaving organized religion in droves, and the denominations are depleting in numbers. I, myself, find it hard to know who to trust.

What I want to propose in this short essay is a method of theological inquiry that should go a long way in disarming both the skeptic out there and the skeptic within. It is called “irenic theology” or the “irenic method” of doing theology. The word “irenic” is taken from the Greek irene which means “peace.” Irenic theology is learning about truth in a peaceful manner, accurately representing the opposing belief even when you disagree strongly. In many ways it is the opposite of a dogmatic methodology which seeks to tell people the “truth” by positioning itself as the only true option.

Requirements of the Irenic Method

Willingness to learn, adapt, and change: The Reformers brought theology out of the dogmatic slumber of the dark ages. They challenged the unfounded traditions and abuses of the past, giving the church a bright light of hope as the Gospel was rediscovered. They also sought to prevent the church from ever revisiting the difficulties proclaiming the principle of Semper Reformanda which means “always reforming.” The Reformers knew that truth must always be tested and ready to be reformed. This understanding presents our search for truth as a journey that will not end until Christ comes for the church (1 Cor. 13:12). We must be willing to reform as well. The irenic method demands that we approach our study ready to alleviate ourselves of any sacred cows that might have crept in without warrant. We must be willing to reform our theology if the evidence makes such a demand. This is easier said than done, but it is necessary nonetheless.

Willingness to take a risk: When you present all views accurately, the best arguments from all positions are presented so that people have the chance to make up their own minds, knowing both the strengths and weaknesses of all relevant positions. In short, learning and teaching theology in an irenic way gives people the chance not to believe so that they might truly believe. There is risk involved in irenic theology, especially for teachers. Those being taught may or may not identify with or be convinced of your particular persuasions. But it does not fair well before the Lord for us to sweep the other options under the rug in fear of the possibility of desertion. People will find out the other options in a Googling generation. Once they do, you will have lost their trust and will not have an audience with them any longer. They will see you as manipulative, naïve, or, at best, misinformed and incompetent. Irenic theology demands that the risk be taken.

A broad knowledge base: No longer can people study in isolation, seeking to confirm their prejudice with what they read or whom they listen to. We must be willing to challenge ourselves and expand our thinking. If you, as a Protestant are going to present the Roman Catholic view on Transubstantiation, irenic theology demands that you allow for no straw men arguments. In other words, you should know enough to present their case so well that if the strongest apologist for their position were to be in your audience, he or she would give you a thumbs up, affirming the accuracy of your information and appreciating your peaceful tone. There is an old folk tale that has been spread more times than I can count about counterfeits currency. Some would say that just as those who investigate counterfeits only study real currency in order to identify counterfeits, so should Christians only study the truth in order to identify untruth. This is a very modernistic illustration which is not only untrue, but will hardly serve as a justified model for discovery in a postmodern world. The first fallacy is that the illustration is simply untrue. Counterfeit investigators do study every type of counterfeit that is known. Second, this illustration arrogantly assumes that they are already in possession of the truth against which to measure the false. It necessarily requires that you do not examine the options. Therefore, it seeks to keep you in isolation. This is fine and good if you actually do have the truth, but who is to say that you do? Any number of rival truth claims can use this illustration to keep there people in naive ignorance. For many who follow this methodology, they are in for a rude awakening. We must be willing to study broadly and consider deeply the alternatives if we expect to have and produce intellectual honesty. Without it, how do we expect to stand before God with integrity?

Benefits of Irenic Method


Your beliefs will be more real: No longer will you believe something simply out of a subjective emotional conviction that can be shared by all people of all world religions, but because of an honest wrestling with the issues. God gave us our minds and He expects us to use them. He has no favor for the naive (read the Proverbs). His desire is for us to see the truth and be convinced of it.


You will have degrees of conviction: Without an irenic method, all beliefs carry the same degree of conviction. They are black and white. You either believe them or you don’t. There is no in-between. While the irenic method will give you greater conviction on many things, it will also demand less assurance with other things. You will see that often, because of the strengths of the arguments for alternative truth claims (such as in eschatology), the evidence demands that we be very timid about setting them up as tests for orthodoxy or holding to some things too strongly. If God’s revelation is clear, then we speak with the same clarity. If God’s revelation is not so clear, we represent it as such. Being Christian does not mean that we know it all or have a secret decoder ring when it comes to difficult issues. We have to look to the evidence and take a stand, even if that stand says “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know.”


You will have a hierarchy of beliefs: As Roger Olson puts it, “Beliefs matter, but not all beliefs matter equally.” The irenic method demands that we see that some beliefs are more important than others. In other words, all doctrines are not worth dying for on a hill. Once we begin to see this, we will have gained an audience because Christians will all be speaking the same language. While disagreements may still exist, people will see that there is a center of peaceful unity upon which we all agree. The list on Google suddenly gets much smaller. The person and work of Christ is the center of our theology and must be spoken of by all Christians with unity and conviction.


You will have disarmed all skeptics: No longer will you or others see our faith and other Christians in the likeness of a used car salesman, but as those who truly care about the truth. People will see that we have entrusted them with the ability and confidence to make their own decisions. All talk of knowledge being manipulative will necessarily cease for it will find no basis in reality.


Our world is confused. They feel betrayed and manipulated, but this does not mean that they are not seeking for answers. Don’t underestimate people’s ability to spot a fake. Ask yourself continually if you are a fake. Don’t be afraid to learn. Christ has not given us such a faith that demands blind adherence. Pursue truth will all your being. Trust that God is not afraid of questions and doubt. He is pretty big. I think He can handle honest doubt better than naïve commitment. Pursue theology irenically.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering 9/11

In the spirit of remembrance of those who died six years ago today, I'm continuing my search for truth on the topic of 9/11. This is a very controversial and emotional subject, and I continue to be amazed at the opposing perspectives. However, some information I've recently discovered caused me to revise my three blog entries on 9/11 to be less biased toward the alternative theories.

Revised entries are as follows:

What *really* happened on 9/11?
(includes new resource links for your own research)

Blind Squirrel Finds Nut

The Stages of 9/11 Acceptance

I still stand by my original article on The Nuclear War in Iraq.

Discovering Truth is a process, so keep digging!

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Truth About Money

The documentary below is a fascinating (but long) video on the origins of money and fractional reserve banking. This video rocked my worldview back in 1996 when I first saw it. In our new world order of bailout debacle after bailout debacle, it is even more relevant than ever. At 3.5 hours, this may seem long, but this is financial education you never got in school. This video is financial education you cannot afford to miss.


Additional Resources:
The Truth about the Fed (DiscoverTruth Blog, March 2009)
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve (book)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Nuclear War in Iraq

Some people are fearful of nuclear power generation. Their concerns are not without merit. Near disasters like the one at Three Mile Island or the actual disaster at Chernobyl give us good reasons for concern. Nuclear disaster sites for all practical purposes last forever.

If you take the time to look into this topic in detail, you'll soon learn that the USA and coalition forces are turning the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan into nuclear disaster sites and polluting even larger parts of our global environment with nuclear waste.

Good News / Bad News

Knowledge can help us overcome fear. My degree is in physics, and nuclear physics was one of my interests when I was in college. However, even knowledgeable people can be misinformed or ignorant of the facts. Marie Curie and her husband Pierre were early pioneers in nuclear physics. The 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to the Curies and Antoine Henri Becquerel for their work in the area of radioactivity. Sadly, they didn't know much about the dangers of radioactive materials in the early 1900s, and Marie Curie died from the effects of radiation exposure.

The good news is 100 years later we know much more about the dangers of radioactivity. The bad news is the general population is terribly misinformed and even intentionally misguided about some of the most horrific risks to our environment from radioactive nuclear material.

Most people are fearful of nuclear bombs, and rightfully so. The world saw what nuclear bombs could do in World War II. The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan killed roughly 214,000 people. In today's world, Intercontinental Ballistic Missles (ICBMs) with multiple warheads each more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan can be launched to almost anywhere on the planet within a matter of minutes. However, these sorts of strategic nuclear weapons have never been used in a war. A more pressing and real threat are the nuclear weapons actually being used in war today. What I'm specifically referring to are conventional depleted uranium weapons.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission passed two motions in 1996 and 1997 listing weapons of mass destruction, indiscriminate effect, or of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering. It urged all states to curb the production and the spread of such weapons. Included in the list was weaponry containing depleted uranium.

So, as the world watched the Bush-Cheney Administration valiantly looking for Saddam's WMDs, they were using WMDs of their own on the Iraqi people. The USA and coalition forces using depleted uranium in the Middle East and Afghanistan have removed an evil dictator and Taliban fanatics and replaced them with another form of terror on innocent civilians - depleted uranium. It is total hypocrisy.

What is DU?

Depleted uranium (DU) is primarily U238, a low level radioactive emitter. It is called "depleted" because U238 is separated from the natural uranium ore in order to gather "enriched" U235 which is valuable. U235 and U238 are different isotopes of the radioactive element uranium. Natural uranium is about 99.3% U238 and only .7% U235. So, you process a lot of DU from natural uranium in order to get just a little bit of the enriched U235. The U235 is the more valuable fissile material for nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs. However, the DU left over from uranium processing has some very impressive military applications.

The really bad news is that DU is still radioactive and still dangerous. It is used today in warfare in both armor and munitions. It was used in the first Gulf War and in the current Iraq War and Afghanistan. Yes, both wars in Iraq and our operations in Afghanistan have been nuclear wars! Although we have not used atomic bombs like the ones dropped on Japan in WWII, our military has put more radioactive material in the environment from conventional nuclear weapons than the all the nuclear bomb testing and two war-time nuclear bombs dropped on Japan combined.

One of the biggest atrocities committed against our troops is the misinformation or lack of information about the risks of DU. Our government has all but ignored the environmental disaster our military is creating in Iraq and Afghanistan with DU. The lack of attention to the significant health impact on our troops deployed in the Middle East and Afghanistan is an inexcusable atrocity.

Very few people are informed about the facts of the nuclear war in Iraq. The mainstream media mostly ignores the topic, but if you take the time to look, you can find plenty of information on the web. A few brave and highly educated scientists and medical professionals have been trying to get out the word on this important topic. Here is a short video about DU: 7 minute video.

How is DU used?

In a nutshell, metal alloys made from high-density depleted uranium are mixed with other metals to create staballoy for use in kinetic energy penetrators. These armor-piercing munitions are used by the A-10 Warthog for "tank busting" and in the famous "bunker buster" bombs. DU armor plating is used on the M1 Abrams tank. These are just a few examples of many military applications of DU. It is an amazing material with incredibly impressive characteristics that make it extremely effective in weapons and armor.

DU munitions are essentially "dirty bombs" -- not very radioactive individually, but nonetheless suspected of being capable in quantity of causing serious illnesses and birth defects. In 1991, U.S. forces fired a staggering 944,000 DU rounds in Kuwait and Iraq. I haven't found similar data for the 2nd war in Iraq or Afghanistan, but I did discover that each shell fired by an American tank includes 10 pounds of DU. So that means in the first Gulf War we left about 9.5 million pounds of DU in the environment.

When DU is vaporized in combat, it becomes an aerosol which is then inhaled by anyone around it, including civilian and friendly troops. These small particles can pollute ground water, the atmosphere, and the soil. In a windy, dry, and dusty climate like Iraq, this radioactive particulate matter can even get into the upper atmosphere and spread over large areas. It cannot be effectively cleaned up. Lots of people heard about "Gulf War Syndrome" after the first invasion of Iraq. Few people were aware that many of the symptoms of "Gulf War Syndrome" can be explained by DU.

Health Hazards of DU

Ingestion and particularly inhalation of DU is a known health risk. It is considered both a toxic and radioactive hazard that requires long term storage as low level nuclear waste. Military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan are vaporizing hundreds if not thousands of tons of this hazardous material where it can never be cleaned up. This polluted environment will result in illness and birth defects for the inhabitants of this region for thousands of generations.

Additional Resources
  1. For a shocking documentary rent Beyond Treason at your local video rental store. (If they don't have it, direct them to the link and ask them to put it in their inventory.)
  2. Summary of the military applications of DU
  3. The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium and the Dying Children (German Documentary)
  4. America’s big dirty secret (French Press)
  5. International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons - United Nations Report 2006
  6. US Forces' Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons is 'Illegal' (Scottish Press)
  7. Dirty Weapons - Casualties From Iraq War Will Mount
  8. Gulf War Syndrome, DU, and the Dangers of Low-Level Radiation

Saturday, June 09, 2007

What's Next?

What happens to us when we die? There are many opinions, but I can boil them all down into two options that cover all possible scenarios:

(A) There IS MORE to come after this life ends.
(B) There is NOTHING more. Game Over!

Pretty simple, eh? Which view do you accept? A or B? If you choose (B) then you're in the minority. Only 19% of Americans polled by Gallup believe it is all over when we die. A much larger 81% of us believe in a literal heaven or afterlife. So, chances are you're in the (A) camp.

The (A) camp is very diverse. Within this life-after-death group there are many philosophies, religions, and belief systems. However, I can also boil these down into just three possible outcomes. For the 81% of people who believe there is more to come after this life, the next life options are as follows:

(1) Whatever is next, everyone will be okay.
(2) I am good enough for what's coming next.
(3) I may not be good enough. I need some help!

Let's call option (1) the "Blind Optimist" view. About 44% of people believe that everyone has the same outcome in the next life no matter how we behaved or what we believed in this life. However, 56% of the population disagrees. I'm honestly surprised there are that many blind optimists out there.

Option (2) believers think they are good enough for what's next. 55% of the population believes they are good enough to get into heaven based on their good deeds. I find it interesting that more than half the people polled thought their good deeds were sufficient to purchase their ticket into heaven. I guess we Americans have a high opinion of our righteousness. Still, about 45% of the population rejects this view.

Option (3) is held by an overwhelming 85% of the population. This is the view that we will be judged by God upon our death. Only 15% reject this idea. I think most people intuitively understand this because it is written into our hearts by our Creator. It has been said that next to God, heaven is the second greatest idea to enter man's heart. I've met very few people who have carefully contemplated these questions and still dismiss the idea of a final judgment.

Option (3) is not only the majority view, it is the Biblical view. Polls are interesting, but truth is not determined by popular opinion. So, what do you believe and why? Leave a comment below. I'd really like to know.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Stages of 9/11 Acceptance

I'm met with all sorts of responses when I share with people the alternative theories that 9/11 could have been an inside job. There is wide disagreement on this issue, and honest people come down on both sides. However, after going through the process of explaining the alternative theories numerous times, I started noticing how people who hear about the 9/11 alternative theories tend to go through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief:

(1) Denial - Lots of people get stuck here. They tell me I'm nuts or a conspiracy theorist and then believe the "official" conspiracy theory. So much for logic.

(2) Anger - Once past denial, this is a perfectly understandable emotion. I experienced this a bit myself.

(3) Bargaining - Surely there must be a *reason* for this?! How can it be true?! Sometimes people go back to the denial stage. They have to start all over in processing the disturbing and controversial information.

(4) Depression - This is where one must relinquish his or her idealism of the USA being a benign and benevolent superpower. I gave up this naive belief 10 years go when I realized the USA is no longer a constitutional republic as designed by the Founding Fathers. Since I didn't have to struggle with this belief in the USA as "motherhood and apple pie," it sped up my transition to acceptance.

(5) Acceptance - Finally, for the few souls who make it this far, this is where you can begin moving on with your life rather than being sidelined by controversy and confusion.

Parsing through the alternative explanations of 9/11 and how they compare to the "official" conspiracy theory is a confusing and controversial endeavor. Several people who I thought were my friends have behaved very poorly in the face of this controversy. I even know one guy who moved to another country largely because of his distrust of the US government. Other people are so closed minded they won't even think about it. Their world view prevents them from discovering the truth, or maybe they just don't care.

What I find absurd is that people classify me as a conspiracy theory nut for NOT believing the "official" conspiracy theory! What sort of hypocrisy is that? Let's be honest here. The OFFICIAL story is a conspiracy theory. What I'm trying to help people do is think for themselves and at least consider that the "official" conspiracy theory the Bush-Cheney Administration would have us believe is not the full story.

According to a widely-cited poll by Ohio University and Scripps Howard News Service, 36 percent of Americans believe U.S. government officials "either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted to go to war in the Middle East." Here's an interesting article that refers to this poll: Five Years Later The Official Story Falls Apart.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Blind Squirrel Finds Nut

This 15 minute video is a great example of a rational, educated, and logical discussion about what really happened on 9/11/2001:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9181676883393469552


I found this clip from a BBC show on the Google Video site for the Netherlands. Sadly, the USA mainstream media almost never broadcasts information like this. And when it does strange things happen.

When Rosie talked about 9/11 she got cheers from the audience, but a few weeks later she left The View. Makes me wonder if there is any relationship between her leaving the show and the rampant censoring in the USA mainstream media. She says she was going to bring physicists from Harvard or Yale onto the show, but now that she is gone she cannot make good on the promise. Also note at the very beginning of the clip the brunette clues in that the USA is now an imperialist superpower. Welcome to reality! Even the girls on the view understand what is going on in our country. I wish conservative Christians would dig their heads out of the sand.

For the record, I cannot stand Rosie O'Donnell, and I disagree with her on just about everything she says. However, even a blind squirrel can find a nut when it is put in front of her face.

Why are people afraid to question the official story's obvious problems and get to the bottom of this controversy? Don't we at least owe the people who died the common courtesy of discovering the truth about this horrible attack?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Capital Punishment

A friend of mine forwarded me this short message:
Subject: Iran's stoning practice....in 2005!
This is a country that still lives in the 1600's.....
Link to Amnesty International Article on Stoning in Iran
I'm not sure why he picked the 1600's. It doesn't matter if it is 1600 BC, 1600 AD, or 2007. Capital punishment is perfectly fine with God. He invented it, and God's laws are timeless unless he rescinds them. Capital punishment is Biblical, and the means to carry it out given by God is stoning. Some people might think this is barbaric, but on what grounds? Who are you to judge God? Here's what my friend replied with when I emailed him back my thoughts on the Biblical foundation of capital punishment.
Yes - I know the basis but to say they are living in a civilized world today would be a stretch! And that they also condone the practice of cutting out people's tongues is also quite barbaric...
Now, since cutting out tongues is not Biblical (unless you want to push that eye-for-an-eye verse to an absurd extreme), I would agree that this practice might be barbaric. However, capital punishment is God's idea, and I think it is a good and proper part of the justice system for today's world. If we decide it is more "humane" to inject them rather than stone them, then I won't quibble over the implementation details. The good news is that God also has a solution for the sin problem through the grace of Jesus Christ. So, while there should be consequences for evil actions, we should be more concerned about saving the souls of criminals than their lives.

The real hypocrisy and injustice here is that the people who are against the death penalty for perpetrators of violent crimes are often the very same people who are very much in favor of the death penalty for innocent unborn babies. The link my friend sent me above is from Amnesty International. Here's another link explaining that Amnesty International has now decided that baby killing is a "human right" that should be available on demand. Hmmm, that does not compute. Infanticide is good, but capital punishment is bad? Talk about illogic! What hypocrites!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Lens to Reality

There is one reality "out there" but we all have different perspectives on that reality because we view it through the lens of our world view. Our world view and the values and belief systems it contains creates a lens through which we see reality. Different people have different reality lenses. Some people view things pretty clearly through a well focused lens, but most of us need some sort of vision correction to see reality clearly. This web site is about correcting our "reality vision."

Lots of things can warp your reality vision. What you are taught, what you choose to believe, your circumstances, your genetics, and the people around you all influence how you see reality. While I would like to think my reality vision is focused and clear, I'm sure it is far from perfect. It is myopic in some places and foggy in others. The good news is that we don't need an eye surgeon to improve our reality vision.

The friends and resources (like books and other media) I value most are those that help me see reality more clearly. In my world view I have confidence that I can improve in this area because my God is my Ultimate Reality, and He wants me to know Him. I honestly believe that true Reality cannot be found apart from the God of the Bible. I'm interested in what you think. Leave me a comment below.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Paradox Principle


I've always been intrigued by the paradoxical truths of the Bible. God has an amazing way of combining ideas that don't fit together in my finite mind. God is perfectly just, yet perfectly merciful. How does that work? How is God within us yet omnipresent? Or, how about the whole predestination question: God is in complete control of everything, yet we are free moral agents. I can't quite get my head around that one. However, the paradox principle that tops them all is "die to live."

Robert Lewis describes "die to live" as the great paradox principle in his Men's Fraternity study series. I've been through the series twice, once as part of the men's group in my church, and then in a smaller group of friends. Every man needs a group of guys with whom he can walk through the battles of life, and in my life "Men's Fraternity" filled that need during a couple of crucial "mid-life" periods. In my first entry in this DiscoverTruth blog two years ago I wrote: "Seeking truth is not a solo venture." Little did I know when I wrote that how true that statement really is!

In my short 40 years on this planet I've found relatively few close friends I could really connect with on an intimate level. Obviously, my life partner and wife is the person who knows me best. I thank God for her all the time. She makes me better and completes me where I am deficient. We are a great team. However, a guy sometimes needs other guys to process life. That is where "Men's Fraternity" and my small group within my local church filled a void in my life.

"Die to Live" was exemplified by Jesus Christ. Those who follow Christ are called to take up your cross daily which is the clarion call to "die to live." Paul elaborates on this truth with his admonishment to stop sinning in 1Corinthians 15 where he describes this as "I die daily."

Do you have other people in your life that can help you see your blind spots? I hope so. It makes a huge difference in your quality of life. Just be careful that those with whom you share life deeply have a desire for healthy relationships so that you can process life based on truth, love, and mutual encouragement.

When I started this blog, I gave my favorite concise definition of truth: conformance to reality. However, over the last two years God has expanded my view of truth. C.S. Lewis said something to the effect that the truth is so big it is hard to miss all of it. My discovery is that the truth is so big you cannot completely comprehend it without assistance. Truth is more than just properly seeing reality. When the Jewish Scriptures speak of truth, they are often referring to what we would call integrity of heart, faithfulness, and reliability of character. This is much more than conformance to reality.

I think Mart De Haan sums this up nicely:
A high view of truth rises above the foothills of facts. Wisdom reminds us that we can be right in what we say, yet be wrong in the way we say it. When the Bible asks us to walk in the truth, it is not just asking us to engage in an intellectual exercise. From Genesis to Revelation, we are asked for attitudes that are as true to God as the facts He has revealed.