What Is A Person: Another College Paper

Below is a paper I wrote for my college Philosophy class. Rather than teaching hard philosophy, I would probably describe the course as more of an ethics class than anything else. One of the topics we discussed was abortion. One of the articles we read was by Mary Ann Warren, a vocal abortion advocate. I wrote my paper in response to her article, opposing some of the arguments she made. One of the most frightening arguments she made–which I don’t address in this paper–is that there is nothing really wrong with infanticide. It’s just relatively wrong because we live in a culture that values newborns as a whole.
Here is my attempt to combat some of her arguments. 

(more…)

University Unmasked: 08 – What’s Good About What’s Bad

There are a lot of bad things about college, however, there are actually some good things about what’s bad.
The many challenges I’ve had to withstand have been very good for me. Getting up every morning at the same time and having to drive makes college feel a lot more like a job than school. Indeed, college has been like a job in many ways. I have a routine I have to follow, stakes are relatively high, and I have to consistently work hard every day in order to get good grades. I generally leave at 9:00 in the morning and don’t get home until around 9:00 at night, or later, which makes for rather exhausting days, but it’s also been exhilarating to know the challenge is building character and preparing me for later in life.   

All totaled, I spend roughly an hour every day driving, and about 30-40 hours a week either in the classroom or studying. I have had to interact with many different people, and had my beliefs challenged, even mocked to my face. This has forced me to think harder about what I and others believe, and why.
College has also forced me to consistently work hard for a long period of time, something I thought I would dread, but has actually become a source of fulfillment which has given me more confidence. Spending so much time in the worldly environment has also been interesting and educational. Most of it is nothing new from public high school, but as I’ve grown in knowledge, it’s even clearer now how weak the enemy really is. The emperor is indeed wearing no clothes.
Some may be grieved to hear this, but the Liberalism which saturates college has only served to strengthen my convictions, and grow my faith.
I have been accused (both at college and by my homeschooled peers) of “growing up” in my beliefs, and that I have only experienced one side of the story. This accusation has never been true, and especially not now. I’ve been receiving a heavy dosage of beliefs contrary to mine, and not only that, but they’re assumed to be true at University State.
For example, the multi-cultural session I was required to attend brought up the question of, “How do we respond to homophobic language?” The class just assumed that we all believed that the homosexual lifestyle is morally equal to the marital union of a man and a woman. I’ve heard the arguments for this belief from those who believe it. The same goes for abortion, evolution, Atheism, Relativism, Post-Modernism, and so on. I’ve heard them all and, yet, all of these ideologies fail to present a consistent, coherent, and compelling understanding of reality.


I’ve also seen how those who believe such things live, and it’s not how I want to live. However, if I DID believe as they did, I wonder if I wouldn’t act just like them. If there were no God, and morality really was relative, then we should be able to do whatever we want because life has no purpose…why not get drunk and wasted? Why not do whatever makes me feel good? Why not let other people do whatever makes them happy, because that will make me feel better about doing whatever I want.


The irony is that what these people think they want, what they think will make them happy, gives them just the opposite. Below the surface, people are lost and depressed. Several times I’ve been walking down the street or through a building and passed someone crying, or just generally looking distraught or disheartened. I feel terrible for them. We even have multiple offices and resources on campus to help students deal with internal turmoil. In fact, all students have 10 free counseling visits every semester. I can go get free counseling if I ever become so depressed to need it.  
While all of these beliefs and lifestyles are dreadful, they have only made me more resolute in what I believe. College has made me more confident, and more excited for the future, despite the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

I’ve seen the enemy up close, and he is vastly over-rated.  Dismiss the University and find a better way if you can.  But do not fear it.  And if you are called to a vocation with a path through the University, prepare yourself to seek the truth at all costs, and the attempts to indoctrinate will have no place in you to dwell. You can even have fun with all of the lies, like I have been having! Don’t get on the bus and follow the way of the world, but follow the truth of Christ. The world is a very safe place for a Christian, even at University State! 

So as it turns out, the college advice I received from my neighbor over a year ago, has been good. The college experience has been beneficial for me, though it’s not the “college experience” most think of.

University Unmasked: 05 – Yoga Pants

In case you haven’t noticed, exercise clothing has become the big fashion, especially for women. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t even exercising, or even about to go exercise, the “look” is in fashion. Sweatbands, exercise shorts, jogging shirts, and yoga pants. Woman are sporting this apparel even if they are not exercising or about to play a sport. What?  
It seems pretty ridiculous to me, and doesn’t look very nice at all. It’s just another example of how being in fashion doesn’t correlate to beauty, which I mentioned in my series on modesty.

Last week I was studying for my math exam when two girls sat down at a table next to me and started talking. I tried to ignore them, and concentrate on the math problem in front of me: how many bags of cat food did he need to sell for a profit?
As you may have experienced yourself, it’s hard to focus when someone is talking right next to you, and I soon found myself struggling to concentrate as the girls chatted.
“I could buy four shirts for the price of just one pair of yoga pants, but I’m like, I’m getting the yoga pants.”
“Yeah, I know. Everyone is wearing those now. You have to get them.”
I was both amused and surprised by what I had heard. These girls had actually admitted to wanting to buy something just because everyone else was wearing them. Now, of course, this is nothing new, but in our age of “individuality” I didn’t think anyone would actually realize or admit to how controlled they are by the culture. It makes me wonder how many girls actually like wearing yoga pants all the time. After all, the pants are ugly and unfeminine (not to mention immodest) and yet the vast majority wears them nonetheless. 
And I as I am sitting here in the hallway outside my Anthropology classroom typing this article, three girls have already walked past me wearing yoga pants, and an older woman was wearing very short exercise shorts…and now a rather rotund dude just walked past me with a Sailor Moon T-shirt…maybe I should stop describing what I see….
 

Aw yeah. So manly. 

Fashion is ridiculous, and it makes me want to laugh at people sometimes. Don’t follow the crowd, because everyone in the crowd is probably just following someone else in the crowd, who is following someone else, who is probably following some “trend-setter” whom a yoga-pants-selling-company hired to instill peer pressure. Either that option or someone has a really bad sense of taste.
You’re a mindless drone if you do what everyone else does just because everyone else does it, and apparently, that’s what a lot of people are. Don’t be a mindless drone. Don’t wear yoga pants…unless maybe you’re actually doing yoga? Or unless you’re Tim Hawkins.

And make that the fourth yoga-pantster that’s passed me while writing this…not to mention a guy wearing a denim shirt with short pink denim shorts just entered the vicinity…I don’t know what’s going on.

University Unmasked: 04 – Have A Good One

Post inspired by my New Testament class and textbook. 

I have witnessed a phenomenon I cannot explain. Whether the gods are trying to send me a subliminal message or whether there is a scientific explanation, I know not. What I do know, is that this hidden code has been disguised in the words of common, everyday people, whom I have had interactions with, independent of each other. It has been repeated to me so frequently over the last couple weeks, it cannot be a coincidence. Something fantastic or paranormal is at work here.

Again and again, the words were spoken to me. I bought a text book, and the phrase was spoken: “Have a good one.” I bought a sandwich: “Have a good one.” I exchanged a laptop power adapter: “Have a good one.”
In multiple transactions, the same phrase was spoken to me by people who could not have possibly known each other. That this could potentially be a conspiracy, defies the imagination—indeed—something beyond the forces of mankind must be the cause. These messengers from the gods, or unknowing servants of science disguised as common cashiers, have been telling me the same thing, hidden as a fond farewell: “Have a good one.”
What is this “one”, and what distinguishes a good “one” from a bad “one”? How can one “have” a “good one”? What happens if I “have” a “good one”? Is the “one” I’m having now, a bad “one”? Or am I having a neutral “one”? Am I not even having a “one” at all, and if that’s the case, what am I having, or am I completely bereft of anything related to “having” or “one”? 
This mystery I have not yet begun to understand, but my mind has been searching far and wide for an explanation for what has come to be called “The Phrase”.
At first I speculated that “one” referred to “day”, as in, “Have a good day.” This hypothesis makes sense in that it is a common farewell address in our culture to say, “Have a good day.” This inkling was quickly coined “Day Theory”, and it stood as accepted truth for quite some time. “Have a good one,” must simply be a permutation of the sendoff, “Have a good day.”

(more…)

University Unmasked: 03 – Drums In The Deep

I mentioned in a previous post that the most eye-opening part of Convocation came as the first half drew to a close.
While attempting not to zone out, I overheard the conversation of the two girls sitting next to me. They were discussing their displeasure with the fact that we were all supposed to be piled onto buses and shipped downtown for more of the same: boring talks about what a great time we were going to have over the next four years. I had to agree with them. I was getting pretty tired of hearing about how much I was going to enjoy myself as well, and was thinking about skipping the second half of convocation.
“All they’re going to do is talk about what we can do downtown, but we’ll never have any time to go downtown anyway, so it’ll just be a waste,” one girl said.
“I wonder how hard it will be to sneak out of this place?” her friend replied, as if leaving was somehow a bad thing. I felt compelled to speak up, so I did.
“They can’t make you do anything. You don’t have to sneak out, you can just leave.” Little did I know leaving would not be as easy as I thought.
As we were dismissed from our seats, I was swept up in a flow of people while I tried to search for the nearest exit. I came upon one egress, and saw three student volunteers ushering the freshman away from the doors and back into the flow of people. I thought nothing of it, and just kept moving. I didn’t want to try and push my way through the moving tide of people only to get to the doors and then have to try and explain to the student volunteers why I wasn’t going along with the plan.
I figured, “Eh, I’ll just walk out back, and then walk around the arena back to the bus stop out front.” Despite what I had said to the two girls sitting next to me up in the stadium, I felt like I had to sneak out as well, even though we had no obligation to stay. Convocation was supposed to be for our benefit and our enjoyment–a bonus. If we wanted to opt out, that was more than fine. Why then the desire to “sneak” out?
Sneaking out wasn’t possible anyway. Upon observation, I realized there were other people who wanted to leave, but they were all quickly turned around and directed back the way they had come like stray heads of cattle. We were all being herded toward the buses.
Upon reaching the buses lined up along the curb, I walked down the entire length, trying to see if I could walk around the arena, only to find that a portable metal fence had been placed along the sidewalk, extending from the nose of the first bus back to the edge of the building. Three adults, who looked like parent volunteers, stood between in the gaps where each piece of fence over lapped. Not only did they not want us to leave, but they were doing their best to make sure we thought we couldn’tleave.  
I noticed a group of about half a dozen students moving for the fence. They also wanted to leave. I waited, watching to see what would happen when they tried to get past the “guards”.
“Excuse me, can I get through here?” One guy asked.
“Aw, get on the bus. Go downtown, have some fun. Get a free lunch. You’ll be disappointed if you don’t go,” The volunteer said with condescension, not budging. The guy who had asked to leave looked flustered, but turned back, along with the rest of his group. They must have decided they had no choice, and walked onto the buses.
Suddenly, the scene from the Fellowship of the Ring when Gandalf was reading from the book in Moria popped into my head: “Drums…drums in the deep. We cannot get out. The shadow moves in the dark. We cannot get out. They are coming…” Everything had been set up. They KNEW that some of us would want to leave, and they had planned ahead to stop us, even though it was completely within our rights to leave!
 
 
It was after that scene played in my head that I became more determined to leave. This is college. We’re supposed to be free to do what we want, yet the university seems to be so obsessed with making sure that we have a good time and enjoy ourselves, that they infringe on our freedom. It’s like they’re trying to FORCE us to have a good time, or rather, what theythink is a good time.
I saw it again and again: more and more students changing their minds and deciding to get on the buses because they were ordered to go have a good time by those who looked in charge. It was like a subtle form of mind control. Kids have learned to be submissive and compliant from the school system. So they went along and did something they didn’t have to do, and didn’t want to do, all because someone gave them resistance.    
I did not appreciate people who didn’t know me telling me what I enjoy. I knew what I wanted, and I wanted to leave. I didn’t want to be controlled.  I walked back the way I had come, and came into contact with one of the volunteers they had assigned to keep us from leaving.
“Are you a first year student?” the man asked.
“Yes I am.”
“Okay, you’ll want to turn around and go toward the buses, that way,” the man said, pointing.
“Ah, no. I’m actually trying to leave,” I replied.
“Can I ask why you want to leave?” the volunteer pushed, waiting for me to supply an argument he could
shoot down, forcing me to reconsider. In hindsight, I wish I would have respectfully told him that was none of his business, but I ended up explaining that I was already rather familiar with the downtown area, and thought it wouldn’t be worth my while. The man insisted that I would be disappointed if I didn’t go, and that I would miss out on seeing a side of the city that I hadn’t seen before. I politely said no thank you, and the man finally relented.
I walked passed him, heading for the “check point” that would finally get me away from these “Nazis”. There was a woman standing between the gap in the portable fence, and she had detained a couple other students trying to leave.
“What? Do you all have jobs or something?” she asked gruffly. Thankfully, she was preoccupied enough with them that I was able to slip through the road block without having to explain myself again.
“I have class,” I heard one student offer in response to the woman as I walked away, not looking back.
It was baffling to me. Why did they want us on those buses so badly? As I was walking toward the bus stop to take me to my car, realization came: they were planning on killing us. They were going to cram us all into buses before shipping us to some death camp where they would incinerate us like they did in Nazi Germany!
Of course, I only entertained that notion for a split second, but that’s almost what it felt like. Only a few of us made it out. Most were convinced to turn around and get on the buses, even though that wasn’t really what they wanted to do. We’ve been conditioned to be compliant, and to go with the flow. I even felt the pressure to cave, until I realized what was going on.
It really is a form of mind control: social and cultural mind manipulation that allows for control. They were able to control a lot of students, getting them to do something they didn’t have to do, or want to do. It’s interesting and disconcerting at the same time, which makes me think more about our society as a whole. How much freedom do we really have when we allow the expectations of the culture to control our actions? Public school, dating, college: the culture and society expects you to do these things and much more, insisting that you are missing out if you don’t comply. Is that really the case?        

Have A Good One – University Unmasked 4

University Unmasked: 02 – The Textbook Scam

College has many methods for stealing your money, but few are as blatantly ridiculous as the textbook scam.
To buy a new textbook, it can cost upwards of $125. Buying one used won’t be much less. Renting a used textbook will still cost you around $50, and for what? What value are you getting in return?
Well, I can’t speak for all textbooks, but my books looked like some you might pick up for $2 at a garage sale. They’re pretty small as far as textbooks go, and how accurate the material is…I can only guess.
My Astrobiology professor already acknowledged that the latest edition of our textbook was already outdated because the field is progressing so fast. Not only that, but the book takes an approach to life in the universe assuming Darwinian Evolution to be true. Since Astrobiology is known as the field searching for a subject, it’s mostly all speculative already, relying on Evolution and faith that there MUST be life out there, somewhere, and in some form. We just have to find it.
My Anthropology textbook is cover-to-cover Evolution. It’s mostly fiction, and yet they’re selling these books at insanely expensive prices.
Why? Why are they charging so much for books that clearly aren’t worth the price tag? Because students MUST buy them. Students are forced to get the books. This means the law of supply and demand has been suspended, granting colleges a monopoly, making inordinate textbook prices possible. It’s all a scam.
The knowledge possessed in these books is not secret. It’s not exclusive to college textbooks. Most of the knowledge presented is free on the internet. You just have to find the credible sites. Not only that, but you’ll be able to find more accurate and up-to-date info online or though other sources than a college textbook. You can even find free lectures online. You could even sit in on college lectures for free if you wanted.
What does this all mean? It means if learning is your primary concern, college is a very poor means.
Why go to college at all then? Well, it’s clear there are much better and less expensive ways learn. For fun? There are also much better and less expensive ways to have fun.

For me, it’s to be able to get a job. College still seems to be the gatekeeper to the job market, even if that doesn’t make any sense. College also appears to provide a lot of unique opportunities, and chances to network and meet people who could potentially hire you. Only time will tell if this is really the case.

Drums In The Deep – University Unmasked 3

Why I Don’t Comment On The Appearance Of Girls: Part 2 – Inside Is What Matters

Click here for part 1

Complimenting a girl on her physical attractiveness is not good for the girl:

I know some argue that it IS good for me to compliment my female friends on their appearance “in order to help boost their self-confidence,” but I would argue that it would actually be harmful in the long run for me to remark on the physical attractiveness of a girl.
  • It’s not the outside that matters:
I know it is an oft-spoken cliché, but few actually believe it. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”(1 Samuel 16: 7.)
The culture already puts so much emphasis on appearance. As I describe in my modesty series, “Turn on the television, open a magazine, surf the internet…what do you see? The culture telling women and girls how to dress. Hollywood says, ‘if you don’t look like these movie stars, you have no value.’ Magazines say, ‘If you don’t wear this outfit, you aren’t beautiful.’ And the internet says, ‘If you don’t look and act like these woman, no one will like you.’”
In other words, the culture tells us we are only as valuable as our physical appearance. If you aren’t attractive according to some arbitrary standard, you should go do something to conform to that arbitrary standard. This usually means spending a lot of money on clothing, tanning salons, jewelry, body art and accessories, and even plastic surgery in order to conform to an image. Why should I play along? Why should I add to the cultural cacophony and confirm the lies that our self-esteem should come from whether or not people find us attractive? If I tell a girl that I think she is pretty in order to build her up, I’m just supporting what the culture is telling girls: “Look pretty or you are nothing.” I personally don’t believe a girl is valuable because she is pretty on the outside, so I’m not going to try and boost her self-esteem by complimenting her appearance.

There’s nothing wrong if a girl IS built-up by being told she is pretty, it becomes bad only if she places too much emphasis on it, and gives it more weight than it actually has. For example, I compliment my sisters on their appearance. I tell them they’re beautiful, and I want them to be flattered by my words, but I don’t want them to get their self-esteem from my words. I don’t want them to feel valuable because of their physical appearance. Character related qualities are more important, which is why I compliment them more frequently on the good internal aspects they possess, rather than mere physical beauty. Physical beauty just doesn’t have as much importance as Christ-like character.
Physical beauty is only attractive if it compliments an internal beauty, which is a life committed to Christ. I’d much rather spend my time and words encouraging my sisters in Christ to pursue God, than by trying to get them to feel good about themselves because of their appearance. What’s more, a girl shouldn’t get her self-esteem from her appearance, but from the fact that she is created in the image of God, and the fact Christ died for her. I would much rather neglect something as superficial as physical appearance for something much more solid and lasting, such as these spiritual truths.
It’s the inside that matters, but it’s so much easier to just see the outside. I’d rather place all of my focus on the inside, and who a person is, than get distracted by the outside.
Of course, the outside often reflects the inside. The clothes people decide to wear or how they communicate with their words and body language often reveal an internal attitude. We should not ignore the external aspects of a person that reveal the internal, but the physical aspects of a person that are strictly external should not be given priority, especially not in friendships. I’m also not saying that physical attractiveness is bad or unimportant, only that it is much less important than so many other things.

We have it backwards in our culture. The only compliments I really hear are those dealing with appearance. The majority of insults I hear also only deal with the external, as is evidenced by the popular “your face” line of insults. Since character has so much more weight and importance than physical appearance, why aren’t we acting like we really believe that?

There are so many better compliments we can be giving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Rather than behaving like the culture, and trying to get our friends of the opposite gender to think they’re valuable because they’re attractive, what if we instead complimented them on their selflessness, or their sense of humor, or the positive way they interact with their siblings, or their optimistic attitudes, or their intelligence? There are so many better things.

I’ve been told I should compliment girls on their appearance to build them up, and to give them self-worth. I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe girls should get their self-worth from their appearance, but from their identify in Christ, from the fact that they are priceless treasures created in the image of God, sacrificed for by Christ, and living lives imitating the love behind that sacrifice. That’s what I think is valuable.

The importance of character and the superficiality of physical attractiveness are not the only reasons why I don’t tell girls they are pretty, or comment in a way that would communicate that message. I have several other reasons, which I will be addressing in up-coming blog posts.

I’m Still Alive! (A post about my personal life)

Contrary to the evidence my lack of posting may have provided you, I’M NOT DEAD YET!!!

I have several posts and ideas for posts in the works and they shall be forthcoming relatively soon, hopefully.

Also, It has come to my attention that my blog does not follow the format of typical teenager blogs. Specifically, I rarely talk and/or ramble about myself. I usually just talk about boring stuff like Predestination, stress, or modesty. Well, I hope to remedy that with this post.

What’s new with me:

Life is terrible! Everything was going well. I was just chilling out on the internet–lemonade in hand–when someone online said the most offensive thing imaginable! I was so mad I grabbed the nearest paper from my desk and set to tearing to shreds; however, the paper bit back, and I received the most nastiest paper cut the world has ever known. Luke Skywalker knows nothing about hand injuries compared to what I suffered. The pain was so shocking, that I spilled my lemonade…ALL OVER MY PROFUSELY BLEEDING HAND!!!

Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, my girlfriend sent me an ecard saying that she had found someone better looking and was breaking up with me. Now, that wasn’t so bad. I didn’t like her anyway. But for her to say she found someone better looking? That’s just such a ridiculous lie, I didn’t know what to say. So I chucked my phone across my room and it hit my pet piranha tank, shattering my phone–and wouldn’t you know–the supposedly “unbreakable” glass shattered as well.

So my hand is spurting blood like mount Vesuvius, I now have the disease of singleness, my phone is broken, water from the broken tank has completely drenched my tiger-skin rug, and Killer and Goldy (my pet piranhas) are flopping around on the ground on the verge of death.

So I have to get up out of my chair and go to the kitchen to get a bowl, fill it with water, and then walk back to my room. By this time, Killer has died, but Goldy (thankfully) was still alive, but when I went to pick her up, she jumped up and bit me right on the nose, right before she also bit the dust.

I start screaming profanities (what would you do in that situation? GOSH!) and my mom hears me–so of course–she grounds me and now I can’t go the Lady Gaga concert I’ve been waiting to go to for like years…well, months. My mom is always doing stupid stuff like that and ruining my life. Like one time I cheated on a test (which everyone does), and she made me tell my teacher, so I had to say goodbye to my only “C” and that made me ineligible for the basketball team. But that’s neither here nor there–well…it might be ‘there’, but certainly not ‘here’.

So I had to take my only two friends in the world, Killer and Goldy, to the toilet to flush them, but wouldn’t you know, IT DOESN’T WORK!!! You always see people flushing their dead pet fish down the toilet in the movies, but IT DOESN’T WORK IN REAL LIFE!!! The fact that my pet fish were piranhas may have had something to do with it, but I doubt it.

And then it’s dinner time, and I still have glass and water and lemonade all over the floor, but I can’t clean it up because I have to go eat dinner with the rest of the family. So I sit down at the table and my stupid sister says the stupidest thing: “Your nose is bleeding”. So I’m like,

YEAH IT IS!!! I JUST GOT MUNCHED ON BY GOLDY!!! WHAT WOULD YOUR NOSE DO IN THAT SITUATION???

So I’m sitting there fuming at my sister’s lack of intelligence (she didn’t even notice my paper cut, which at this point in time, was pretty much gushing out blood like a fire hose) when my dad sits down and asks an even stupider question.

“So how was your day?”

And I’m like,

“LOOK AT MY FACE!!! HOW DO YOU THINK MY DAY WENT??? IT WENT LIKE EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE!!!  TERRIBLE!!!”

“Oh…” my dad said stupidly “I thought you accidentally knicked yourself shaving or something.”

So, of course, I replied with,

“WHY WOULD I BE SHAVING MY NOSE???”

Apparently my dad thought I was being “disrespectful” so I was sent to my room with no dinner, which is fine, because I want to starve myself anyway. Then maybe people will care about me or pay attention to me.

So I got to my room and tried to do some Yoga but I was just not able to get in-touch with my inner god because of all the junk people were throwing at me. EVERYONE IS TOTALLY MESSING UP MY SPIRITUAL LIFE!!!

So here I am, writing this blog post, and feeling like killing myself. But that’s probably more than you wanted to hear about me because no one cares enough about me to want to know any of that.

*now waits for all the comments providing words of affirmation to make himself feel good about himself*

///
Yeah, so I’ll have some real posts coming your way pretty soon hopefully. And in case you missed it, that was all made up. It’s called “Satire” my dear children.
Cheers! 
Reagan