Category Archives: Television, Film, Photography & PC Games

A Critique of Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Introduction

Perfect analysis of the Disney’s disrespectful and wholly subversive Star Wars media-trash-crash from Jar Jar Abrams and Rian Johnson.

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How Divine Simplicity Comforts the Soul, Part 2

Bilbo Baggins once said, “But today, of all days, it is brought home to me, it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”1 It’s not bad at all. And when it comes to God’s simplicity, it’s all good for us. In part one, we described the doctrine of simplicity and offered a biblical argument in its favor. Here in part two we will offer two more arguments for simplicity and then show why the doctrine is practical.

Theological Argument for Simplicity

Theologically speaking, a denial of divine simplicity would seem to mitigate, if not altogether destroy, divine sovereignty. Imagine that goodness is something God has rather than something God is. If that were the case, then goodness would be an independently existing abstract property that God (a) has no real control over, and (b) must conform himself to if he is to manifest the property. Indeed, if all the properties of God were separable from his essence (to which he must conform his life), then God himself would be swimming in a sea of abstractions over which he has no control. And this, of course, destroys divine sovereignty.

As the Nicene Creed states, God is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. This means that God created everything that is not himself, whether it be a visible entity (like a planet) or an invisible one (like an angelic spirit). If goodness is created, then God himself is not necessarily good, but is simply the cause of good. This has disturbing consequences. For example, it would mean that God may be (or choose to be) evil, which is obviously antibiblical (cf. Psalm 89:14; 1 John 1:5). Also, if God created all of his properties, then it would mean humans could never know him, only his creation. That position is also antibiblical, since Scripture says we can know God himself (John 17:3; 2 Corinthians 10:5). Furthermore, this view is incoherent; for if God created all of his properties, then he would have possessed the power to make things before making the property of power!

If goodness is uncreated, then it must inhere in the essence of God, since the Nicene Creed says that whatever is not God is created. Goodness cannot inhere in the divine essence in such a way that it can be abstracted from God’s nature. Rather, God is his own goodness. And this just is the essence of the doctrine of simplicity.

Philosophical Argument for Simplicity

Philosophically speaking, the following argument establishes both God’s being and his simplicity:

  1. Whatever admits of composition is caused by another.
  2. The universe, and all that is in it, admits of composition.
  3. Therefore, the universe is caused by another.

Premise (a) is established through experience; in fact, anything humans encounter that admits of composition is caused by another. A pile of rocks in the middle of the woods, for example, admits of composition. There must be a cause, or series of causes, to explain the current existence of this pile. Maybe a construction company put the rocks there because someone wants to develop the area. Maybe the forces of nature, over eons of time, slowly but surely moved each rock into its place. Something or someone (or some combination of both) brought about this state of affairs. Anything in human experience is the same. A composition of some sort—a table, a tree, a car, a human body—must have a cause(s) to explain it.

Premise (b) is also vindicated via experience and observation; for clearly the universe is made up of many different things—comets, planets, stars, galaxies, etc. Hence, it admits of composition. But since whatever is composed is caused, the universe must be caused.

Most people at this point will concede that there must be a God who causes the world to be. But others raise another question; namely, “What causes God to be?” The answer, of course, is that nothing causes God to be since he is uncomposed. He is not a composition of arms and legs (like us humans), since he is pure Spirit. He is not a composition of actuality and potentiality, since he is pure act. He is not a composition of essence and existence, since he is his own act of existing (i.e., his essence is to exist). God is not an effect, since he is uncaused. If God had his power, he could lose it via the force of some cause. But he doesn’t have power; he is power. The same can be said of the divine knowledge, eternity, presence, etc. God is what he “has,” and so he is “simple” in every way.

God’s Simplicity and Our Comfort

As a balm of comfort to the soul, believers can appreciate the fact that there is no security without simplicity. Indeed, it is precisely because God is life that he can never lose it. And since he is eternal life, his children are eternally secure in him (John 10:25–30). To put it another way, we know that God will never lose us since he is the one who gives us eternal life (John 10:10; 11:25,). If God were not his own act of living, then life would be something he could lose and, thus, the promise of eternal life would be uncertain. How can Christians firmly trust a God who receives life from another? They can’t! Hence, if you or I feel secure in Christ it is only because deep down, we know that God is simple!

God is not merely comforting; his essence serves as the paradigm of life. This means believers should model their lives after the divine attributes. Obviously we cannot be like God, since he is infinitely removed from us metaphysically. However, God does allow us to share in his nature in a limited way. For example, we are to be morally pure, just as he is (cf. Leviticus 19:2; Matthew 5:48; 2 Peter 1:4).

None of this is to say, of course, that humans can be simple in the same way God is—for again, he is infinite and we are finite. That said, as creatures who bear the divine image, we should still model our lives after God’s simplicity.

How long shall we complicate our lives with drama, debt, and diversions? The divine life is rich and beautiful; and God is beautiful precisely because he is simple. The challenge to each of us is to reflect on this doctrine and then begin to rid ourselves of the clutter that keeps us from enjoying fellowship with him and with those we love.2

Original article: How Divine Simplicity Comforts the Soul, Part 2

Okoye

Okoye 1

Okoye is the general of the Dora Milaje and the head of Wakanda’s armed forces and intel. Witnessing T’Challa’s coronation, she joins him in tracking down Ulysses Klaue. After Erik Killmonger overthrew T’Challa, Okoye found herself conflicted between her friendship with T’Challa, or her duty to her new king, Erik Killmonger. T’Challa soon returned and Okoye soon joined him in the fight against Killmonger and successfully taking back the throne.

When Thanos and his forces arrived on Earth to forcefully take the Mind Stone from Vision, Okoye soon was forced to defend Wakanda alongside her king and the Avengers. Although they succeeded in killing Thanos’s forces, when Thanos himself came on Wakanda, Okoye and the other heroes were completely overpowered and unable to stop him from completing the Infinity Gauntlet, though Okoye remained one of the survivors.

Continued…

From Marvel Wiki: Okoye

Provoking New Crimes Rather than Uncovering Past Crimes: Mueller’s Modus Operandi

The recent guilty plea of Michael Cohen of lying represents the dominant trend in Mueller’s approach to prosecution. The vast majority of indictments and guilty pleas obtained against Americans by Mueller have not been for substantive crimes relating to his mandate: namely, to uncover crimes involving illegal contacts with Russia. They have involved indictments and guilty pleas either for lying, or for financial crimes by individuals unrelated to the Russia probe. If this remains true after the filing of the Mueller report, it would represent a significant failure on Mueller’s part.

  • Even if Mueller could prove that members of the Trump team had colluded with Julian Assange to use material that Assange had unlawfully obtained, that, too, would not be a crime.
  • Merely using the product of an already committed theft of information is not a crime. If you don’t believe me, ask the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and other newspapers that used material illegally obtained by Assange with full knowledge that it was illegally obtained.
  • In the end, Mueller should be judged by how successful he has been in satisfying his central mission. Judged by that standard and based on what we now know, he seems to be an abysmal failure.

Mueller was appointed Special Counsel not to provoke individuals into committing new crimes, but rather to uncover past crimes specifically involving alleged illegal coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian agents. No one doubted that Russia attempted to influence the 2020 election in favor of Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton. But Mueller’s mandate was not to prosecute Russians or to point the finger at Vladimir Putin. His mandate was to uncover crimes committed by the Trump campaign with regard to Russia’s attempts to influence the election.

It was always an uphill struggle for Mueller, since collusion itself is not a crime. In other words, even if he could show that individuals in the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian agents to help elect Trump, that would be a serious political sin, but not a federal crime. Even if Mueller could prove that members of the Trump team had colluded with Julian Assange to use material that Assange had unlawfully obtained, that, too, would not be a crime. What would be a crime is something that no one claims happened: namely, that members of the Trump campaign told Assange to hack the Democratic National Committee beforeAssange did so. Merely using the product of an already committed theft of information is not a crime. If you don’t believe me, ask the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and other newspapers that used material illegally obtained by Assange with full knowledge that it was illegally obtained. Not only did they use information from Assange, but also from Chelsea Manning and from the stolen Pentagon Papers. The First Amendment protects publication by the media of stolen information. It also protects use of such information by a political campaign, since political campaigns are also covered by the First Amendment.

It is important to note that Special Counsel Robert Mueller does not have a roving commission to ferret out political sin, to provoke new crimes, or to publish non-criminal conclusions that may be embarrassing to the President. His mandate, like that of every other prosecutor, is to uncover past crimes. In Mueller’s case those crimes must relate to Russia. He also has the authority to prosecute crimes growing out of the Russia probe, but that is collateral to his central mission. In the end, Mueller should be judged by how successful he has been in satisfying his central mission. Judged by that standard and based on what we now know, he seems to be an abysmal failure.

Perhaps more will come out when his report is published, but it is unlikely that he uncovered anything dramatically new with regard to allegations that the Trump campaign acted illegally in an attempt to help Russia undercut Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Even if the report alleges uncharged criminal behavior, it must be remembered that much of what will be in the report are merely allegations based on uncross-examined evidence. Some of that evidence seems to come from admitted liars, who have pleaded guilty for lying. These liars would make poor witnesses in an actual trial, but if their evidence serves as a basis for conclusions reached in the Mueller report, then these conclusions may seem more credible than they actually are. We must, of course, wait for the publication of the Mueller report before reaching any final judgments, but if the Mueller report merely catalogues all the guilty pleas and indictments achieved thus far for lying and unrelated financial crimes, and tries to build a case of guilt by association around them, the American public will be justly critical of the process.

Original article: Provoking New Crimes Rather than Uncovering Past Crimes: Mueller’s Modus Operandi