Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted

This is the Assassin’s Creed. 

(If you’re going to play this game someday, read no further.  This is full of spoilers)

Assassin’s Creed is a popular video game series avaliable on XBox 360.  I recently completed the second game in the series, and I must say that it is very good.  It takes place in 15th century Italy, and follows the journey of a young man who quickly unravels an incredible conspiracy.  In short, humans are the byproduct of an advanced alien race that made us by manipulating ape DNA.  We were originally made to serve them, but there was a revolt and “Adam and Eve” stole a piece of technology called a “Piece of Eden”.  This technology, resembling a golden apple, has the power to manipulate people and basically rule the world.  Powerful Christians have used the technology to convince the world to believe in Jesus Christ  as a means of controlling the masses.  A group of freedom fighters, an Order of Assassins who know the truth, have stood against them for centuries.  The main character in the game actually kills the Pope, who is portrayed as the most evil and power hungry villain in the entire story.  That’s the story in a nutshell. 

Believe it or not, I’m not going to talk about how offensive that story is to the name of Jesus Christ, or the men and women throughout history who have sacrificed everything in the name of their faith in Him.  No, I’m not. 

 This is what I’m going to talk about. 

That disclaimer appears at the beginning of the game.  It is meant to put you at ease since the game could offend your beliefs.  The point is to assure you that no one group of people or religion is behind what you’re about to experience.  Everyone believes something different, so don’t you fret about what’s coming.  In a sense, they are capturing the essence of the Assassin’s Creed itself, which reads “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted.”  Since we are not holding to one truth (we all believe different truths) we are allowed to say and do whatever we want.  Isn’t that interesting? 

Here’s the problem. 

Any project or creative work of any significance is governed by something beyond those who work on it.  There is an overarching purpose, or a core philosophy binding the work together.  For instance, George Orwell had something in mind about human nature and politics when he wrote Animal Farm.  The workers in a condom factory may not believe in birth control, but they are helping to create an end-product with the purpose of preventing pregnancy.   A liberal actor may play a part in a movie that expresses conservative values.  No matter who works on something like a movie or a video game, they are getting behind a certain type of worldview.  Purpose is needed to bring various random purposes together, or else the creative product would have no significant value.  Even if the point was to express that there were no truths, that is a work governed by a particular purpose, and an expression of a greater truth.  There’s no escaping it.  It is not legitimate to say that people of different faiths worked on this project, so it doesn’t mean anything.  It simply means that those behind the creation aren’t being honest about what governs their creative processes. 

Artists interpret the world and shape their work, which in turn shapes the world.  Never let anyone tell you that art isn’t important.  Art is of supreme importance because it has the power to reveal and skew the truth of our reality. 

Don’t be fooled by the lie of relativism.


Earthquake Evidence of Greater Threat,Scientists Warn

Today’s 5.9 quake, which ravaged the east coast by knocking over books and lawn gnomes, irritating the obsessive compulsive homeowner to no end, may be a warning sign of an even greater threat.  This is according to a growing number of scientists who hold to a belief that is so controversial, it isn’t even being discussed by the larger scientific community. 

“We understand that our colleagues are not ready to listen to us.  When first exposed to this truth, it is difficult for the rational mind to accept,” says Bert Ambler, a scientist.  “But if they, and the general public would simply listen to the evidence, I know that we would be vindicated.” 

The Earth’s crust, which is the surfacey part that we live on, floats on a massive ocean of molten magma.  Well, this crust is broken up into plates, which slowly move every now and then.  When the right amount of pressure is exerted, these plates rub against each other and that causes earthquakes.  At least, that’s what I remember from seventh grade science class.  As far as I know, this is what most scientists believe.  Natural forces act on each other and every once in a while, all hell breaks loose.  Makes sense.  But what do these other scientists believe? What are they worried about? 

In 1964, an experiment was conducted to test the natural instincts of humans.  14 toddlers were first placed in a room with an unplugged toaster.  Researchers observed that the children showed mild interest and no detectable fear.  Then the same children were placed in a room with a cat.  The cat walked around them, and the children tried to pet it, but none of the children showed any signs of tension or fear.  Then the researchers added an adult black bear to the room, and were startled with what they found.  The children were at first alarmed, but within a few seconds formed a perfect circle around the bear and appeared to kneel in reverence.  The bear, heavily drugged, showed no interest.  Scientists have struggled to make sense of these findings. 

“That was our first clue that there was something strange about bears,” Ambler said.  “But I didn’t get involved until the next breakthrough.”

In 2006, the remains of a lost civilization were unearthed.  To many, they are known as the Lost Civilization, but to some they are known as the Bear People.  Here’s why.   Images of bears were found carved into many walls.  Most resembled normal bears, but some appeared to have an extra feature.

“They had wings!” said Sir Laurence Russel, head archeologist with the dig.  “This is a most odd finding.  We were initially baffled.  But then we found a tablet that made the whole thing even more fantastic.”   Burried among the remains of a young man’s skeleton was a tablet with some writing.  Using some science, they were able to decipher the words. 

Bears everywhere!  We love and hate them.  Why are they flying?  Earth shakes before they come.  Beware shaking ground.  Bears hate to talk politics.  Don’t get sarcasm.  Beware the bears with wings!-

Lance Rock III

 Putting 2 and 2 together, scientists are starting to question the existence of a race of super flying bears.  And some are even taking it a step further.

“Look at the Great Barrier Reef.  It’s starting to disappear.  But wait!  Bearier.  It only makes sense that the bears are repelled by coral, and the disappearance of this reef will usher in a new bear apocalypse,” says Ambler. 

Perhaps the bears are real.  Perhaps they will fly high into the sky and fill us with shock and awe.  Perhaps.  But with more and more evidence piling up in support of this fantastic theory, what will scientists of the future say in objection? 

 Or, will they say nothing as they fight off these super bears?

Speaking for the Victims of Progress

Those who call themselves progressives (liberals) are almost universally in favor of a woman’s right to choose.  They are pro-choice.  This is not a controversial statement.  Perhaps there are some liberal Democrats in this country that are pro-life, and for that reason I had to qualify my statement with “almost”.  Sweeping statements are a surefire way to close people’s ears and eyes.  That’s the last thing I intend to do here.

A while back I wrote about abortion (see An Inflammatory Issue: Abortion).  If you’ve read it you’ll notice that I made a great effort to control my passion for the sake of presenting my case.  But, after reflecting on it I realize that to speak about such a monumental loss of life without fiery passion is entirely a waste of everyone’s time.  It must be possible to be both reasonable and passionate.

Before I continue, I’d like to remind you that over 45 million abortions have occurred legally in the United States since Roe V Wade in 1973.    The population of Massachusetts was about 6.5 million in 2009.  The population of the United States was about 300 million in 2009.  That means that about 7 times the population of Massachusetts has been aborted and nearly 1/6 the total population of the entire United States.  In just 38 years.  How high will the number be  in 50 years?  How about 100 years?  Does it even matter anymore?  Have you become numb to these figures?  Or is your political and personal stance on pro-choice solid enough to support this holocaust?  Isn’t it amazing what a good rationale can do for the conscience?

Often we have heard that it is a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body.  Absolutely, a woman has the same rights as men under the Constitution.  But what about her baby?  Is a baby something like a tumor that spontaneously generates inside of the woman’s womb?  Or, is a baby just as much the father’s as it is the mother’s while forming inside of her?  What happens when a man wants to keep the child and the woman chooses to abort it?  Does he have rights?  I know this must sound like ignorant blasphemy to some of my more liberal readers, but it’s at least worthy of thoughtful consideration.  Do we as fathers have to submit to the will of the mothers until the mother either chooses to keep it or the government steps in to say you have to keep it?  A woman’s right to choose life or death for her offspring is supported by the law.  That law came out of a decision that determined that fetuses up to a certain point are not alive, and therefore have no protection under the Constitution.  The Constitution, you see, only protects those who deserve protection.  It can do nothing for the most helpless among us.  Some speak of the Constitution as if it were Divine Law, or God himself.  I couldn’t submit my life to an entity who chooses not to protect the innocent, the weak, and the voiceless. My God is not evil.

I have heard it said that pro-choice is not pro-abortion.  The reasoning behind it being that the individual would never personally choose abortion, but they support another individual’s right to do so.  At first glance it seems to make at least some sense.  But then you think a little harder and you realize that it is not only irrational, but also the ultimate manifestation of the belief in subjective relative truth.

If you are pro-choice, you are pro- abortion.  Just like if you didn’t like the slave trade in 18th century England, but supported the trader’s right to earn a living.  They can choose to be slave traders if they want, but you will have no part of it.  How do you feel about that?  Something is detestable, and you choose not to stand against it because you’ve decided that freedom trumps human dignity.  We look back at our ancestors in disgust, but what would they say about us?  How barbaric and inhumane.

We live in an age full of truths with no Truth.  It is full of purposes with no Purpose.  Everything is subjective, and nothing is absolute.  The freedom of the individual is paramount.  As long as you’re not hurting anybody, you can do what you like and believe what you like.  But here’s the problem.  The beliefs of many progressive-minded people in our country are leading to actions that have hurt many millions.  I’m so tired of hearing and reading about how dangerous the beliefs of evangelical Christians are in this country.  For the love of God, let no true Christian enter public office or they will poison the system with their terrifying Truth!  Meanwhile, kind-hearted well-intentioned progressives are believing in abortion on demand and 45 million beings that would have been just like you and me are erased from existence.

The victims of progress cry out to me.

Finding God in Film

“A lot of people say that this town is too liberal, out of touch with mainstream America, an atheistic pleasure dome, a modern-day, beachfront Sodom and Gomorrah, a moral black hole where innocence is obliterated in an endless orgy of sexual gratification and greed. I don’t really have a joke here. I just thought you should know a lot of people are saying that.” –Jon Stewart

I love movies.  Sure, they are in large part morally bankrupt (just about any comedy or even romantic comedy to come out in the past twenty years) and so full of casual sex and violence that an alien race with any respect for life would probably wipe us out without losing much sleep.  But, once you get past the shameless debauchery and disregard for the sacredness of life, there are actually some redeemable qualities to be found.  There is good in many of these movies, and even some biblical truths.  Here are a few examples. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Boromir: None of us should wander alone; you least of all. So much depends on you… Frodo? I know why you seek solitude. You suffer, I see it day by day. Are you sure you do not suffer needlessly? There are other ways, Frodo. Other paths that we might take.

Frodo Baggins: I know what you would say, and it would seem like wisdom but for the warning of my heart.

Boromir: Warning? Against what? We are all afraid, Frodo. But to let that fear drive us to destroy what hope we have… don’t you see that is madness?

Frodo Baggins: There is no other way.

Boromir: I ask only for the strength to defend my people! If you would but lend me the Ring…

Frodo Baggins: No!

Boromir: Why do you recoil? I am no thief.

Frodo Baggins: You are not yourself.

Boromir: What chance do you think you have? They will find you, they will take the ring and you will beg for death before the end!

This exchange between Frodo and Boromir in the Lord of the Rings reminds me of an exchange between Jesus Christ and his disciple, Peter.  Here is that exchange. 

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:20-23)

When Boromir rebuked Frodo in his quest to destroy the ring, Frodo responded that there was no other way.  Peter rebuked Jesus for walking down a path that would lead to suffering and death, but Jesus in turn rebuked him.  He even identified him as Satan, which is like Frodo telling Boromir that he is not himself.  In both cases, selfish human concerns attempt to divert the true, yet difficult, path.  This exchange also reminds me of the verse, “6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6    There is no other way. 

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Watch this scene. 

Charlie had very little.  His family was poor.  At the start of this scene he witnessed the great Willy Wonka tearing apart his grandfather and assuring them both that they would get nothing.  No chocolate and no future.  When Grandpa Joe tries to walk away, he tells Charlie that Slugworth will get the Gobstopper, which would mean that they would get a good amount of money.  Yet, despite all of this, Charlie does the unthinkable.  He does the right thing.  He gives Wonka all that he has.  “So shines a good deed, in a weary world.” 

As I get older, this scene becomes more and more powerful.  I see this as an incredible illustration of my relationship with God.  Wonka tells them that they failed to meet the requirements spelled out in the agreement they signed at the beginning.  This is like the Law spelled out in the Bible, which condemns those who do not meet all of its requirements.  I do not meet the requirements, and I sin against God.  I lose. 

When Grandpa Joe accuses Wonka of being a cheat and a swindler, and an inhuman monster, I see all of the people and the books and the movies and everything in this world that damns God.  Almost every day I hear or read someone accusing God of being something that he’s not.  He’s a monster for allowing evil.  He doesn’t exist.  He’s a lie or a delusion.  And there are times when I don’t understand God and I feel like Grandpa Joe. 

Charlie gives Wonka all he has.  This is a great act of faith.  I am deeply moved by this.  Now, this doesn’t move me because it implies that good deeds will make God like us.  No!  This moves me because it is about faith, and it reminds me of grace.  Charlie broke the rules, and Wonka was right to say that he didn’t deserve the chocolate.  But when Charlie gave Wonka all he had, Wonka gave him everything.  Just as when I give of myself for God, even when everything around me yells to give in to Slugworth (Satan) I have faith that He is good, and wants to give me everything He has.  Namely, Himself.  At its heart, this scene is about me and God.  About how the world is, and about how in my heart of hearts I know that God is real, good, and desiring very much to be with me and I with him.  Remember, Charlie had nothing to gain from the world in giving Wonka the gobstopper. 

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26

So you see, there is some good stuff in these movies.  And these were just the first two that I thought of.