Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tea Party: The anti-Christian movement supported by Christians

The tea party typically frustrates me. Not only do many of their supporters come from key demographics that do not benefit from tea party political standings, but they are typically adhering to things I consider anti-Christian.

First, let me be clear. I take seriously the teachings of Christ when he states that there are two key commandments. 1) Love the Lord your God above all else and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. These are the core of Christianity, the rest is just fluff. Really. Think about it. Gay rights? Not really in the Bible. Abortion? We live in a fallen world with a fallen people. It's going to happen. I mention these only because they are hot-button, but trivial, issues in the national dialogue today. I happen to believe these issues are overridden by the above guidelines, but that is a blog-post for another day.

Let us look at some issues from the tea party platform.  (Taken from: )

1) Eliminate Excessive Tax
2) Eliminate the National Debt
3) Eliminate Deficit Spending
4) Protect Free Markets
5) Abide by the Constitution of the United States
6) Promote Civic Responsibility
7) Reduce the Overall Size of Government
8) Believe in the People
9) Avoid the Pitfalls of Politics
10) Maintain Local Independance

Those are some pretty noble seeming goals. I find myself drawn to these ideas, and even thinking that they might be Christian in origin. Hmm... Let us dig a little bit deeper. No, not deeper into the tea party platform, but deeper into that dusty thing on your shelf... You know, the one you don't pick up and read? Yes... The Bible.

With regards to issues 1 through 3, Christians should not care. Jesus spoke definitively on this issue in Matthew Chapter 22: 15-22. You can go read the whole thing, but for now, you just need to know that he stated, "So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s." The money we use has value because the government supports it. These money issues are trivial and outside the work we are called to do. Don't worry about taxes, worry about doing the work of God.

With number 4, I don't even understand the point. What is a free market, and why do we care? Do they mean a market free of government regulation? This would most likely return us to a situation where big businesses control the market. Do they mean no big businesses? I'm not going to delve into the political aspects of this right now. On to the next point.

Number 5: Abide by the Constitution of the United States. Beyond the fact that this makes little sense in and of itself, this is an anti-Christian sentiment. Yes, we should adhere to the laws of our land, but is that it? No. We should adhere to the law of God! Love your neighbor as yourself. Who cares about the right to keep and bare arms? Really? You're concerned about losing the privilege to walk around in a children's park with an uzi?

For issues 5-10, the issues are not only moot, but designed to draw you away from the Truth of Christ. We are supposed to "believe in the people?" Which people would this be? We are a fallen race, bent on our own destruction. We have guns that only serve to kill other people. We have drugs that are only good for drawing us away from the work of the Church. We invent new ways to be evil every day! How can we believe in the 'people,' when we ourselves are not worthy of others' belief?

Should we care about the size of government? A little government can be just as oppressive as a big one. Government cannot and WILL not be able to stop the word of God from going out among the people. Countries openly hostile to Christianity are seeing growth in the number of believers! Why do we care so much if our government does something that we perceive to be against the will of God? Of COURSE government is going to go against God. Why are you looking so closely at the government anyway? Shouldn't you be out doing something?

I'm sure I've made you mad. Ask yourself why. I find that I most often make people mad when I hit on a truth they do not want to acknowledge. If you want to challenge my argument, go for it. I welcome the debate!

Friday, November 19, 2010


First, before you read too far. I believe in Demons. No, I don't think they're like the Wes Craven scary demons. I think they're more like the C.S. Lewis Screwtape demons. There are demons in the world that actively work to keep you unhappy and out of the life you are meant to be living. They offer suggestions to you that are not altogether unreasonable. "Go here, instead of there..." they whisper. "Listen to this person, instead of that one," they offer.
Now, not all decisions are directed by demons. I would offer that, like in the Screwtape letters, most decisions are left without guidance. There are a few decisions, however, that are pushed on by supernatural beings that encourage specific decisions. "Should I continue with this project, or let it drop because it might be unpopular? I know that it's the right thing to do, but..." And it is in this moment of doubt that the demon comes in and says, "No, the timing is just wrong... it's a good idea, just wait..."
Then, 7 or so years down the road you find yourself looking back on the project or idea, wondering why you had given up so easily.
Having said all this, I think I have just moved from a town that was filled with demons. I say this because I think, if this type of being does exist, then they affect children the most. Since we moved, my son has drastically changed his personality. He is more engaged, stares off less, is nicer to his sister and is generally a much nicer little boy. When I say drastically, I am amazed at the change.
When we were in our previous dwelling place, my son would do some of the strangest things. He would walk around pounding on walls, run back and forth through the house screaming and making strange noises. We would stop him, hug him, and he would look at us like we had just fallen from the ceiling.
I am convinced that there was some demonic force acting on him. Now it is for you to decide whether I am being literal or metaphorical.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Graduate Studies

Here I am, at school, ostensibly working on something or other. Not only do I feel completely overwhelmed by everything that I need to get done by tomorrow, but I also feel clueless. What was it that I'm supposed to be working on again? Well... I'm going to go eat some food.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

GNU / Linux Games. Current affairs.

So I want to do a research study on helping students to read using a role playing video game. The idea is to find a game engaging enough that the students want to play, but hard enough that they will need to refer to a text-based walkthrough to finish a lot of the tasks. The problem with this study, is that I don't have any money to do it. I know, imagine that, a PhD student without extra cash.
I would absolutely *LOVE* to use an open source game. I am familiar with open source games, and I can compile just about anything given enough time. I thought, "There has to be at least ONE decent RPG in the FOSS world I can use." Apparently I was completely wrong. Which got me thinking. Why are there no really good RPG's in the FOSS community? Are RPG games that complex that people cannot write one without massive corporate support?
I don't think this is the reason. I think that open source itself is part of the problem in developing a good RPG. When you start playing an RPG, the modern view is that you play the levels in order to learn the interface and mechanics well enough to go online. Some RPG's are purely online, allowing you to develop your character and learn the interface in an online environment. This is where the problem arises.
If you are developing a game for the open source community, you are probably concerned with a few things. First, you want the game to have a good plot. Second, you want the game to have a good interface and learning curve. Third, you want the game to have some kind of decent graphics. Finally, you want your game online.
Unfortunately, this last part is the issue. If you want your game online, you build a server, then you let the client-side programs connect to that server and voila! Blizzard Entertainment will tell you a different story. They have been working on their system for as long as they have allowed online games to exist. is a sophisticated server that validates the client program to ensure that no hacks or mods have been applied. Granted, they have gotten a little over zealous in the past (banning all wine-based play for World of Warcraft, for example).
If you don't think this is a problem, log into BZFlag for a few hours and you will come across a tank that is completely indestructible. I love this game, but I have found it to be unplayable on many occasions because it seems that captain unbeatable gets really annoying really fast.
Now, back to the developers. If I am developing a game that will most likely end up having an online component, I want to figure out how to ensure that players will have a fair and enjoyable experience. Since the developers will logically be focused on the local gameplay, the online gameplay will become an issue once the server structure has been developed.
Here is my call to arms for FOSS game developers. Get together a group and develop a bit of code that can be used to meaningfully validate the client software.
I don't know how to do this. I would imagine that Blizzard Entertainment can rely on knowing exactly under which conditions their software was compiled. This allows them, at the most basic level, to rely of MD5 hash codes or the like. But I also believe that there are more sophisticated methodologies that allow for checking of a modified source code. I obviously have no idea what that would look like.
So here is my call, please GNU community, develop a client verification engine that developers can use to verify their code. I know you can do it, and I'm reasonably certain that game developers in the FOSS community have enough to worry about with the player-side interactions.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Officially Dumping Facebook this week.

I do not come to this decision lightly. I like Facebook... No, I don't... I enjoy Facebook. It's a great place to get online and chat with friends from long ago. But i am more and more convinced they are headed down a path I choose not to follow. Travel with me, if you will, down memory lane.

A few weeks ago, Facebook changed their interface. I don't mind it, but apparently just about everyone else does. It seems to be a massive bomb in the eyes of the users. Not a peep from Facebook about the interface, not even a comment that they're always trying to improve the user experience. Silence. This gets me thinking. Wasn't it just a little bit ago that Facebook changed its privacy settings? Defaulting everything to public?

Hmmm... So I did a little looking. I'm not sure I entirely understand all the settings restricting access in Facebook anymore. I did once upon a time, but now I'm not so sure. There are privacy settings governing every little thing. Some of the options are downright just confusing. (What does a Public post really mean? It means that anyone on the planet can see what you post, but it's easy to believe that it's just Facebook users).

So two things happened. Facebook opened everything up, and they shut themselves down. This made me nervous. When companies start ignoring their users because they will log in anyway, the system has a problem.

Today, the final straw. I cannot rationalize a Facebook membership anymore. They joined with a company, or rather purchased, that has a history of what is called information scraping. It is a process by which information is gathered in a moderately legal to somewhat shady maner. You might believe that I'm being paranoid, but you can check out a little about the company if you like. They were called Octazen. Now they're part of Facebook.

Now, Facebook insists that it's not buying the technology, but the talent. They insist they are shutting down the company, and using the workers. If a mechanic says that he's buying a chop-shop in order to shut it down, but he really thinks the talent is useful, would you frequent that mechanic? I have doubts that you would feel safe leaving your car at that establishment.

I do not feel safe leaving any information with a company that values an ability to scrap information from the web in any kind of sneaky way. There is no reason that a legitimate company needs to direct their traffic towards one site using multiple IP addresses.

Facebook, with their recent policy of increasing the transparency of everything that you do, while decreasing the transparency of everything they do, has lost my business. I firmly believe that a company who hires people with a dubious skill set is interested in using those skills for its own gain. I also firmly believe that anyone interested in their own privacy and online identity should drop Facebook like a bad habit.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why I'm not happy with

Ok, I love open source stuff. It's awesome! is fantastic., not so much.

Wordpress is like the love-child of Drupal and Blogger. It's got features of a blog, and it's got features of a content management system. This, in theory, is great! I love the concept. You've got a really nice simple interface with a lot of power under the hood.

In theory.

In practice, is a steaming pile of whatsit. (If you don't know what whatsit is, you should watch more cartoons.)

Since they stopped letting users add iframes and javascript, it's really just become an overly complex jumble of things that don't seem to work right. There is no benefit to run wordpress over blogger, if you want to just have a simple blog. Blogger will get you up and running faster, and easily integrates all the things you might want! (I have a google analytics account following this blog. Why? I don't know, morbid curiosity... I love knowing that 3 people on average visit this site for <30 seconds a day.)

If you want a multi-page blog with more power, use weebly! (Granted, not open source, but a really nice tool none the less.) If you want to stay open source, just find someone who will give you a little drupal loving.

Wordpress tries to do too much with a blog and ends up being either A: not enough or B: way too much.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Holy Cow!

People read my Blog. I can't believe it! I get page-hits and everything... I think I'll start posting more meaningful things here. I think what I will do is post some more open-source related things here. I am looking into open-source games for a research project that I'm planning to do, so I think I'll start posting some reviews on here about those games.

For now, thanks for the comments!