Sunday, July 31, 2011

Does Christ need his knights on earth?

An ancient term (but often used in a few modern computer games)---Knights Templar (Chinese Translation: 圣殿骑士)---has been referred to the murder who was responsible to the recent tragedy in Norway.

Matthew 26:51-54

With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

In Chinese translation (马太福音 26)

51 有跟随耶稣的一个人伸手拔出刀来,将大祭司的仆人砍了一刀,削掉了他一个耳朵。
52 耶稣对他说:收刀入鞘罢!凡动刀的,必死在刀下。
53 你想,我不能求我父现在为我差遣十二营多天使来么?
54 若是这样,经上所说,事情必须如此的话怎么应验呢?

What is the purpose of being christian? Is it to punish whoever does not follow Christ? Absolutely NO! Lord asks us to love the other, including our enemies, so that we distinguish us from the rest of the world.

Why is Jesus unique comparing to the other religion leaders (if you think of him as the leader of a religion)? He did not have knights around protecting him. He did not author any document advocating his viewpoints. He did not even have several hundreds of (let it alone thousands or millions of) followers who claimed to be loyal to him before he was killed in the cross. But such a man became so remarkable in history that our chronology is ordered based on when he was born.

Jesus did not need knights to protect him two thousands year ago. Jesus does not need knights to protect his church and his words at present too. The so-called Knights Templar was for human ambitious instead of for the mission of Lord. God created the world by love. Lord overcomes the world also by love.

So, do not ever speak again that someone is a knight of Lord. Our Lord had talked about it himself before he was arrested. "But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Country Detached

Although these days most people in North America might have paid more attention to the tragedy in Norway or the ongoing debate between the Republic Congress and President Obama, there was a potentially more historically influential news in China. At about 8:27 PM on July 23, two new Chinese bullet trains crashed together in an accident. Chinese people are outraged. People understand that it is impossible to avoid all accidents. But people cannot accept how the Chinese government had handled the accident. Personally I believe this event could be the September 11 of China. The event is remarkable and I may share more of my viewpoints later in this blog about this tragedy and how it may affect China in the future.

Today, I translated an article written by the currently most popular Chinese blogger---Han Han (Chinese: 韩寒)---early today. Very compelling words especially for the ones who want to learn more about the real China and the real Chinese people.

A Country Detached

You have to ask, how could they be so frenzied? They feel that they have been very patient and self-restraint.

You have to ask, how could they invert right and wrong so dramatically? They feel that they have been very just and frank.

You have to ask, how could they shield the murderer so insistently? They feel that they have been very sorry to their fucking friends.

You have to ask, how could they hide the truth? They feel that they have been very transparent and open.

You have to ask, how could they still live in a life so corrupt even in this accident? They feel that they have lived very plainly.

You have to ask, how could they be still so arrogant? They fell that they have been very humble to everybody.

You feel wronged; and so do they. In their mind, you could not watch TV under the rule of the Qing government. Now a TV set has entered every household of China. What a magnificent accomplishment!

This is what speaks in their mind. "We have built this for you, and we have built that for you. You shall not care what had happen during the process or to whom the gift is. At least, you are using it now, aren't you? Originally traveling from Shanghai to Beijing it took you one day and one night. Now it takes you only five hours. Certainly, however, the train must not be hit by lightning! Why are you not grateful? Why do you still question us so much?"

They continued. "Occasionally there is this accident. The top leaders of our government have even already expressed their concern. We have sent our speakers to answer your questions. Originally it was 170K insurance for every dead. Now we have risen it to 500K per dead person. And we even have fired one of our brothers. So much have we done! Why are you still stick to those insignificant details? Why don't you open your mind? Where is your grand vision?"

"Why should we apologize? We have no mistakes. This is a pain of growing up. It is our custom to get rid of the dead bodies rapidly. The earlier the release documents are signed, the more money bonus there are. The later the release documents are signed, the less insurance money you may get. This strategy has been proved very effectively by our brother departments when they perform the enforced demolition over the old resident houses. Indeed, it was a mistake of us by trying to bury the cars though the order was from above. The upper management believed that we might get rid of all the troubles as soon as all the evidences were buried. Our mistake was, however, that we worked on it during the daytime. The hole was too big and we had not well communicated with the publicity department ahead of the time. Moreover, we did not well control the onsite photographers. The whole process was executed in rush. This is the greatest lesson we learned from this accident. Next time when we bury something on the site of an accident we need to think carefully of the size of the object and especially the information confidentiality. This time we have underestimated the hardness of the work."

They believe that, overall, the rescue was successful and in time. It is well arranged, well executed, and the result is satisfactory. The only regret is that the public opinions are a little bit too loud. But they feel that it is, anyway, not their business. They are not in charge of regulating the public voice.

In their mind they also speak. "Take a look at these big achievements. We hosted the Olympic Games. We abolished the agricultural tax. You do not praise us by all these big things but only focus on the tiny little things. What intention is in your mind? We could have been tighter in politics than North Korea, we could have been poorer in economy than Sudan, and we could have been crueler in regulation than Khmer Rouge since we have a larger army than any of them. But we did not do it. And you do not thank us for not doing all of these but now demand us to apologize. We feel wronged."

In this society, everybody feel wronged. The capitalists, the proletarians, the ones with power, and the ones without any power. All of them feel wronged. In this nation that everybody feel wronged, every class and every facet of the nation detached each other. Each portion is sliding forward by inertia. If there is no reform of the nation, being detached is just a minor matter. Being derailed will be inevitable.

Why does not our nation progress forward? It is because many of THEM still use the scales in the era of Mao and Stalin to measure themselves. Hence they always feel wronged. They have been too open, too just, too kind, too humble, and too self-scarified to the normal people of China. Although these advancement are primarily due to the technology leap-forward in the present era, they conclude it as their own kindness and mercy. Therefore the more they are criticized, the more eager they are to the totalitarian. The more you MAOed (which means annoy) them, the more they missed Mao.

A friend of me who is an inner government once spoke to me. "You shall not be too greedy! As a scholar like you, if you lived forty years ago, you must have been shot. Then tell me, is our era now progressed or regressed?"

I answered. "It is you shall not be too greedy! As a viewpoint like what you just declared, if you lived ninety years ago, you must have been laughed at to the death. Now you tell me, is our era now progressed or regressed?"

脱节的国度 by 韩寒
(Update 7/29/2011, the original link has already removed by the Sina Blog administration. This is what the present China is.)















Monday, July 25, 2011

Technology and Morality

In a recent interview with Christianity Today Kevin Kelly shared his thoughts on how God may think of the man-made technologies. Nicholas Carr, one of my favorite technology author and blogger, then shared his arguments against Kelly's viewpoints in two very interesting posts (1, 2). All of these discussions are worth of reading twice.

"Is technology a moral force?" Nick Carr asked this question in his second post. Kelly insisted that the progress of technology achievement makes our society better. Therefore, technology certainly is a moral force if we accept that we live happier and happier because of the technological achievements. By contrast, Carr believe that technology does nothing about goodness or badness. I incline to Nick's viewpoint on this topic though I agree more to Kevin's general worldview.

Technology contributes nothing to improve or to decrease the overall morality of the society. Technology is not a moral force that we may use to lift the happiness of people overall.

The central point in Kelly's argument is that the advance of technology provides people more options of living. Therefore, Kelly followed, by owning more options of living people are able to live better and be happier since they may then live in their preferred way and do their preferred things with the loosened constraints.

I do not agree to this point. For example, my parents do not feel happier with all the new technologies. Many times they talk about the good old days. Though the life seemed harder with little support from technology, they felt happier internally in their heart.

Technology brings nothing about "love", if it is what Kelly truly wanted to address. If Kelly's point is valid, won't we have to agree that rich people must be generally happier than poor people since rich people generally live with the more advanced technology? In fact, we do not have this conclusion over the history. Rich people do not have more love than poor people have. The enjoyment of the advanced technology does not lift the morality of the respective classes of people. Technology does provide more options of living. But the more options of living does not make people live in a higher moral life.

By reading the interview, I felt most astonished by the following claims by Kelly.

"We are here to surprise God. God could make everything, but instead he says, "I bestow upon you the gift of free will so that you can participate in making this world. I could make everything, but I am going to give you some spark of my genius. Surprise me with something truly good and beautiful." So we invent things, and God says, "Oh my gosh, that was so cool! I could have thought of that, but they thought of that instead."

We are not going to surprise God in any sense. As a matter of fact, I do not believe that God really cares any about our technological achievements. According to the Bible, anything must be realized immediately when God says so. Then which technology of us may surprise God. HE is beyond any technology! Will we be surprised by the greatest ever technology invented by ants (if ants may invent)? Let it alone that the greatest ever technology of mankind must have not been yet invented if there is a one.

Morality is the living standard God puts in our mind. The achievement of our technology is not going to improve it. Neither will it deprive morality. But God may still be happy of the technological improvement we make. It is not because through it we lift the morality of the society. It may only due to that by doing so we show that we want to help the others. This willing to help the others is a demonstration of love. And that is all what God really cares.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

About same-sex marriage

Today New York State legalized same-sex marriage. The issue of same-sex marriage is always a hard debating topic. Especially to christians, how should we respond to the more and more spreading gay-rights movement? I would like to share a few of my viewpoints in this post.

Let us think of the issue in this way. If there is a person who was born blind, what is our right attitude to him? Certainly we must not deride him or despise him. On the contrary we must love him and try our best to help him. For example, we shall pass the related laws to protect their equal rights to participate the social life.

Gays and lesbians are no different from the other disabled persons. Being disabled means being unnatural. I do not agree that gay or lesbian is natural to human beings. Of course it is unnatural. Man shall be able to see. And thus blind is unnatural. In similar, man shall be attracted to the opposite gender instead of to the same sex partners. And thus being gay or lesbian is unnatural too.

Is being unnatural a sin? Back to the ancient time, people believed that those who disabled (and especially whoever born disabled) were cursed by God. Thus they were said being particularly sinful persons. Although such an idea sounded reasonable to who believed God be almighty, Jesus gave a different interpretation about the issue.

John 9:1-7

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means "Sent"). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

In Chinese Translation (约翰福音 9)

1 耶稣过去的时候,看见一个人生来是瞎眼的。
2 门徒问耶稣说:拉比,这人生来是瞎眼的,是谁犯了罪?是这人呢?是他父母呢?
3 耶稣回答说:也不是这人犯了罪,也不是他父母犯了罪,是要在他身上显出神的作为来。
4 趁着白日,我们必须做那差我来者的工;黑夜将到,就没有人能做工了。
5 我在世上的时候,是世上的光。
6 耶稣说了这话,就吐唾沫在地上,用唾沫和泥抹在瞎子的眼睛上,
7 对他说:你往西罗亚池子里去洗(西罗亚翻出来就是奉差遣)。他去一洗,回头就看见了。

Straightforwardly Jesus disclaimed that the man blind from birth was caused by sin. By contrast Jesus said that "this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." After the man did what Jesus asked him to do, his unnaturalness was gotten rid of and he became a normal person.

We may learn many things from this story. As a matter to the topic of this post, I want to share the following two points.

1. Being a gay or lesbian from birth is not a sin. By contrast it reveals how sinful those who deride or despise the gays and lesbians are. God wants the works of God mights be displayed on the gays and lesbians. HE wants us to love and help the gays and lesbians so that the love from God is witnessed in public.

2. To advocate gay or lesbian being normal and natural is a sin. It is equivalent to advocating blind being normal and natural. Isn't it incorrect to spread how joyful a blind life is and thus encouraging people to being blind? In similar, it is incorrect to spread how joyful a gay life is and to encourage people to be gays or lesbians. The gay life is unnatural and shall not be encouraged, let it alone be educated, to the society, especially to the youth of our society.

3. To anyone who is not a gay (or a lesbian) from birth, it is a sin to become a gay (or a lesbian) afterwards. Isn't it a sin to blind yourself if you are not born blind? But the ones who induce another to be gay (or lesbian) sin greater.

God bless America.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

From Information to Substance

I am always curious of the relationship between information and substance. Generally in our belief the two things are very much different and are very likely disjointed to each other. From Hebrews chapter 11, however, I had few abnormal thoughts on this topic.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In Chinese Translation (希伯来书 11)

1 信就是所望之事的实底,是未见之事的确据。

As we know, in any sense faith belongs to the category of information. It is impossible to materialize faith because once it becomes accessible physically, faith no longer is faith. It is then fact, and we do not need faith to accept fact.

Therefore, we may have an alternate, scientific, interpretation of Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1, such as the one I wrote in the following.

A piece of information is a substance while the two must not be coexisted in the same location on the dimension of time.

In the other words, we may calculate the equivalence between information and substance by moving the pointer in the dimension of time. If we may calculate the amount of information that leads to a substance with the known amount of mass, we may then conclude an equation that evaluates the value of the present amount of information with respect to the value of its equivalent substance.

There are several tough issues in the former hypothesis. First, what is "amount", especially when we speak the amount of information? Second, how shall we add the variable of time into the equation?

Anyway, it is quite interesting a thought, isn't it? Between information and substance, there must exist equivalence that allows them to be converted or at least to be evaluated with respect to each other. Once the equivalence might have been revealed, it would affect our life in all facets, from science to technology and from philosophy to economy. This study could be a foundational work for the next generation of our society.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Casey Anthony trial and Justice

The Casey Anthony trial has caused many debates nation wide. Without a question Casey is a terrible mother. But is a terrible mother equivalent to a mother who kills her child? There are many side evidences suggesting (actually strongly suggesting) that Casey may have killed her daughter Caylee with intention. But is it really the just and justice we want ourselves to be treated if the Jury decided find guilty on Casey (which is nearly equivalent to sentence Casey to death) only by "suggestions"?

Casey is a sinner. Casey is very likely worse than 99% of us especially if we compare her to how we treat our own kids. My question is, however, that is it the just and justice you and I want ourselves to be treated?

Do you want a just system that may excuse you and give you one more chance when there is no absolute evidence that proves your guilty?


do you want a just system that must punish you severely as long as most of the people believe you guilty despite of the not absolutely solid evidence?

I grew up in a Communist nation. From my childhood I heard many stories that were concluded by such as "In the name of justice and for our nation and people, we sentence you death!" I was excited very much. I felt the justice have been hold because I felt it was justice. But was it?

I am not trying to make any excuse for Casey Anthony. I only want to know how my Lord, Jesus Christ, may say to this trial and say to us who shouted to sentence Casey to death. Are you just as we think ourselves being just? Have we treated Casey as we want ourselves be treated when our own sin is exposed to the public?

What I am truly disappointed about Casey is her smile after hearing the Jury's decision and her smile at the beginning of the Thursday's court. She shows no regret on her child's tragic death and thus she may have learned very little, if any, from this trial.

Then I ask myself. Am I better than that? If I make a sin and then find myself luckily having dodged the punishment, am I going to be happy of my luckiness or to be sob on the regret of the sin?

There is one woman in Bible who truly made a crime in the meantime. She was found in the act of adultery, an unquestionably crime at the meantime ans should be sentenced to death according to the justice.

Jesus only asked one question to those "righteous" people who wanted to get rid of that sin! Although it was said differently, the words Jesus said were, "do you want yourself be treated the same way on your sin?"

Just and justice. They are probably too heavy and too serious the topic to discuss. In the end, I have only one wish for Casey Anthony. It is the wish that Jesus gave to the woman who committed a death-penalty crime two-thousand years ago.

Go and sin no more.

John (8:3-11)

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"

They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

In Chinese Translation (约翰福音 8)

3 文士和法利赛人带着一个行淫时被拿的妇人来,叫她站在当中。
4 就对耶稣说:“夫子,这妇人是正行淫之时被拿的。
5 摩西在律法上吩咐我们,把这样的妇人用石头打死。你说该把她怎么样呢?”
6 他们说这话,乃试探耶稣,要得着告他的把柄。耶稣却弯着腰用指头在地上画字。
7 他们还是不住地问他,耶稣就直起腰来,对他们说:“你们中间谁是没有罪的,谁就可以先拿石头打她。”
8 于是又弯着腰用指头在地上画字。
9 他们听见这话,就从老到少一个一个地都出去了,只剩下耶稣一人,还有那妇人仍然站在当中。
10 耶稣就直起腰来,对她说:“妇人,那些人在哪里呢?没有人定你的罪吗?”
11 她说:“主啊,没有。”耶稣说:“我也不定你的罪,去吧!从此不要再犯罪了。”

Sunday, July 03, 2011

God and Nation

Job 12:23

He makes nations great, and destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and disperses them.

In Chinese Translation (约伯记 12)

23 他使邦国兴旺而又毁灭,他使邦国开广而又掳去;

United States of America is until now the greatest nation in the world. Also may it be in the history of the world.

USA is not the nation that occupies the broadest land. USA is not the nation that is with the greatest number of population. USA is not even the most powerful nation in its army force if we compare it to the other great nations in history within their respective time periods.

But along the history USA is the nation whose citizens have the greatest degree of freedom. USA is the nation that engages the most variety of the human races while all of them live equally and peacefully together. USA is the nation that people with any background and from anywhere may get a chance of living and live good by their honesty, diligence, and wisdom.

Above all, however, USA is a nation whose foundation is built upon obeying the words of God.

We may interpret the messages of God differently due to our individual biases. So did the founding fathers of the United States. There was, however, a common agreement among the founding fathers. They admitted themselves to the truth. They admitted that the truth is God. And they believed that only the truth should lead the nation. Therefore, no individuals shall be superior to another when speaking of the truth. Grounded on this belief, it was born this great nation.

It is God who may make a nation great. It is also God who may overthrow a nation that is evil. It is God who may enlarge a nation. It is still God who may disperse a nation when it commits sin to the world.

God bless America!