Everything is impossibly complicated

For some reason, this fellow named Matt Walsh is granted a lot of credibility as a Christian speaker and writer. This is a puzzling phenomenon because a cursory look at Matt Walsh’s writings makes it exceedingly obvious that he neither gives a damn about Jesus nor the Bible.

Take one of his pet peeves: abortion. The Bible says literally nothing good or bad about a woman choosing to have an abortion. The closest to a statement on abortion that it makes is a law that requires a man who accidentally hits a pregnant woman to pay a fine if her pregnancy is aborted as a result of the hit. This law is vitally important, since it demonstrates beyond any reasonable objection that the Bible does not consider a fetus to be a person–if the fetus were a person, the man who accidentally caused the abortion would be sentenced to exile to one of the cities of refuge, just like the man who accidentally kills a person.

The favorite Psalm of the anti-abortion crowd (Psalm 139) is no help to them either. Sure, it praises G-d that “you knitted me together in my mother’s womb“, but the reality is that G-d knitted everything, everywhere together, but that doesn’t give everything, everywhere the status of person! All the Psalmist is saying is that “whatever it is that I was when I was in my mother’s womb was yet another of the things that you, G-d, knit together by virtue of your status as Creator.” A goat is also fearfully and wonderfully made, yet that doesn’t prevent us from killing and eating goats (well, many of us, anyway).

Of course, we need go no further than the opinion of Jesus to decide if Matt Walsh is a Christian. What did Jesus say?

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

“I was hungry and on welfare”–and Matt Walsh took away their food. “I was thirsty because I live in Flint and my water was full of lead”–and Matt Walsh did nothing to give them water. “I was a stranger from Syria”–and Matt Walsh did not welcome them. “I was sick and in prison because of a marijuana offense that cops targeted me for because my skin is black”–and Matt Walsh did not visit them. Jesus is very clear what he thinks about Matt Walsh: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Matt Walsh is no Christian–just a small, angry snowflake lashing out at a society that no longer grants him the undeserved privileges he feels entitled to.

Evangelicals love to throw around the label “baby killers” for anyone who supports abortion rights. This, of course, is based on their alternative definition of “baby” (shared by no one else) as “fertilized human egg.” (Although even they aren’t entirely consistent on this point, since they don’t go around calling people who support and perform in-vitro fertilization “baby killers”, even though the process results in the discarding of fertilized human eggs.) Unfortunately for them, “baby killer” is a label that can only really be applied to them.

Let’s start with the Bible. In the Bible, G-d commands the Israelites to kill all the Canaanites: men, women, and children. That is literally killing babies, which they believe is a literal historical fact and a literal command from G-d. Proceed from there to the war on terrorism, which is literally killing babies through air strikes and drone attacks–which they enthusiastically support (often citing as support the verses about wiping out the Canaanites, since the groups we’re fighting are often also enemies of modern day Israel). And don’t forget Trump  (yimach shmo), who made a campaign promise to kill the wives and children of (male) terrorists–more literal baby killing. Finish by observing their rabid support of American police forces, who are literally killing children of color, and it’s very clear that there is indeed a group today that can be called baby killers, and it is none other than Evangelicals.

American Terrorists

Matt Walsh has written another outstanding article, this time about how the Charlotte protestors are terrorists. Of course, every rational person is puzzled by this assertion, given Walsh’s unwavering support for domestic groups that kidnap young women on their way to their dream jobs and beat and starve them until they die, groups that regularly engage in drive-by shootings of children, that ambush men on the roads and highways and shoot them in front of their children and wives, and engage in numerous other acts of ongoing terror against Americans.

I wonder if Walsh would be brave enough to call this man a terrorist:

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history.

(Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Or how about the group of men who, because their government refused to acquiesce to their demands, took it upon themselves to destroy the private property of merchants, and then go on to write the following? Let Walsh be a man and call them terrorists as well:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these [rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

(American Declaration of Independence)

Unfortunately, Matt Walsh is beyond reason, being instead committed to a narrative that exalts white, nationalistic, Christian America high above all.

No More Lesser Evils

In the shadow of the DNC, Frank Schaeffer wrote several harsh articles aimed at Bernie supporters who won’t support Hillary. In response, my pairbond wrote this letter:

Mr Schaeffer,

I am disappointed in your lack of understanding toward Bernie supporters who oppose Hillary. You are toeing the same tired party line of our responsibility to choose the lesser of two evils. Why does the prospect of an unqualified and loose-cannon racist president obligate us to waste our vote supporting a woman who is so drunk on the prospect of power that she will hold to no moral ground to get there? Throngs of people voted for Bernie in the primaries because they are tired of politics as we know it, and getting a good president, rather than just one who isn’t as bad as the other guy, means we have to undermine the structure that gave us the two clowns we have now. Hillary is not progress. Hillary is not safety. Hillary is yes to voter fraud and political corruption. If that means that Trump is elected by default, that is not the fault of Bernie supporters who won’t get with the program. It is the fault of Hillary’s own corruption and myopic quest for power, and nothing else.

This two party, lesser-of-two-evils system that we have is our reality only because we let it be. Times change, circumstances change, and what seemed inevitable thirty years ago does not have to be the rule for today. We have a moral obligation as voters to choose the best person to rule our country. We have other qualified candidates. It’s time we put one in office.

We’re currently watching BBC’s Sherlock Holmes and enjoying it immensely. The character of Sherlock is so well done that it keeps you captivated for the entire show, just as the books did in my teens. Of course, such a striking character is just begging to be typed in our favorite non-scientific personality system, the Myers-Briggs system. (The fact that it’s non-scientific isn’t of great concern; it merely means that it’s not repeatable when used on real people, but that doesn’t reduce the usefulness of its categories for self- and other-analysis in a general sense.)

I’ve seen claims that Sherlock is a primary Ti user. Until the episode The Hounds of Baskerville, I could see this argument, because we didn’t know exactly how Sherlock’s thinking process worked. But in the Baskerville episode, his thinking process is shown clearly (when he’s trying to put together Liberty, In, and Hound), and it’s not introverted thinking–which would be a logical process deriving one thing from another to get to a sound conclusion–but rather introverted intuition, trying many possibilities until everything converges into one answer.

There are arguments that his logical explanations for his uncanny knowledge preclude him from using introverted intuition. However, this is mixing up the external presentation (his explanations) and the internal process (how he comes to his conclusions). Ni-dominants can’t describe the actual thought process that leads to their conclusions, because it’s something more akin to crystallization, where an atom falls into its natural position in a lattice and you just know. So after many years of living this reality, they develop the ability to explain themselves through their secondary, extraverted function, which helps them come up with an alternative path one could use to get to the same conclusion, using objectively accepted frameworks. It’s a mistake to confuse the external presentation of the thought process with the actual internal thought process.

In fact, the clearly ordered, logical explanations that Sherlock offers are actually evidence that he’s using Te, not Ti. Ti is very logical and orderly internally, but externally Ti dominants aren’t nearly so ordered. Having had long conversations with a couple INTPs, you quickly realize that A) they talk a lot when you get them on a topic of interest, and B) they never get right to the point. They either wander off on one tangent after another, never to return, or they travel all over the world to finally come back and conclude their point, which has now been firmly founded on an exploration of every possibility and how it all fits together. Sherlock doesn’t worry about other possibilities (to any great extent). He has his conclusion and his explanation is concise, giving the impression that it’s the only possible path you can take.

I’ve also seen arguments about Sherlock’s turbulent emotions, which are offered as evidence that he uses Fe. This again is contradicted by experience with INTPs and ENTPs. xNTPs have a personableness to them–they’re friendly, though with some social awkwardness. INTPs are much more self conscious and awkward, but still have a noticeable warmth to them. ENTPs are actually compellingly warm if you are the focus of their interest at all–you’ll only realize that they aren’t Fe primary when someone they aren’t interested in starts talking about something they don’t care about–they’ll suddenly just drop out of the conversation entirely. Sherlock isn’t warm at all, but you clearly get the sense over time that he’s good. It takes some time to realize it because it’s internal, an internal value system, or Fi. The turbulence fits quite well with this, because he has no problem being emotionally turbulent around strangers–something that Fe users won’t easily do. Fe can be turbulent, but only with those who are close. Strangers will generally enjoy the warmth of Fe from those who have it.

Finally, there’s the question of Se, which clearly plays a big role. I’ve seen him typed as ESTP because of the role Se plays for him. I think that’s a compelling argument, but after thinking about it I don’t see him with Ti or Fe, and I can see both Te and Fi. Further, I’m not concerned about the fact that he feels a need to experience the case in order to understand it, because I’ve seen that same process with an INFJ: intuition leads to a vision, but the vision has to be experienced to really understand it. It shouldn’t be surprising, really, because dominant Ni is fed by the inferior Se in order to have the material to make its convergent vision from. This is clearly how Sherlock uses Se. However, he does seem to use Se much more strongly than you’d expect for someone with inferior Se, and I’d argue that that is the fantasy about Sherlock’s character, that’s what makes him fiction. There’s no one (or at least, almost no one) who is truly like Sherlock in the real world, and that’s because real people with inferior Se almost never have it developed like he does. That’s his magic.

So in case it’s not obvious already, I think Sherlock is clearly an INTJ, although a fantastical version of it.

Crazy All Around

In my early teens, I became very interested in music as a way of understanding and expressing my feelings, something I felt like I couldn’t do through speech or any other means. I tended to latch onto specific songs that resonated with some part of me (though unfortunately since all non-Christian music, and much of Christian music, was suspect of “leading me astray”, many songs I latched on to I wasn’t allowed to listen to). I always sort of felt that if I could share those songs that really touched me with someone, if we listened to them together, maybe they would understand me and we could connect with each other.

Dad and I fought a lot during that time, something that had been the case going back many years but which definitely got worse in my teens. I remember there was this one song, Crazy All Around (by Christine Glass), that I heard on a Christian radio show and really liked, so I got the CD. Once during a car trip to church on some weeknight with just me and Dad, I got the chance to play my CD in the car, and I was hoping we could enjoy the song together and connect through a shared experience of it. He was quiet for most of the song, but it got to a line near the end “Felt the angel bend and kiss me/ran away and hid in fear” and he exclaimed “What the hell is this!?” I was deeply disappointed; once again I felt like I’d tried to share my feelings, my unique experience of life, and I was rejected. I remember feeling, “Really? Is there nothing I find meaning in that’s pure enough for you, that you can appreciate the beauty of without picking apart any small hint of worldliness you find?” After that, I gave up hope of being able to connect with him through music.

At some point, I don’t know when, I developed a dislike for the song and never listened to it again.

Sexist Medicine

Medicine has a long, sorry history of focusing on men. Happily, that seems to be changing, with a number of new studies coming out that examine how the medical experiences of men and women differ (and not just for the sexual differences). This article surveys some of the recent research on how the immune system of women differs from men. It appears that women tend to have immune systems that respond more strongly and quickly to infections, which is thought to perhaps be tied to childbearing (in order to protect a nascent life inside of you, your body has to be more aggressive in stamping out infection). Unfortunately, this may also be the reason that women suffer disproportionately from auto-immune diseases, which result from an over-enthusiastic immune response. It also appears to mean that women react to vaccinations differently than men, perhaps only needing half the dose (or so) that men need. As more studies are done on these differences, it’ll be interesting to see what comes up.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: