The Prophet’s Curse: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

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The Curse of the Prophets: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Richard D. Ackerman (2010-2011, 2d.Ed.)
Riverside County Bar Magazine Article

When first asked to write this article, I didn’t quite know what to think or how to approach the issues.  Naturally, one would inquire as to why they had been chosen to write an article on the idea that ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’  Perhaps it’s just because I truly believe in a uniform justice system that cannot be destroyed or weakened by the whims of political correctness, unjustified entitlements to power, or discrimination.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have lost on so many unpalatable positions, that I am perceived as being the consistent bearer of the losing position.

Perhaps the characteristics of being hopeful, tenacious and committed are necessarily defined by commitment to suffering humiliation.  For all I know, it may just be my fearless stupidity.

A model justice system is ruled by reason, equity, and a sense that one is entitled to rely on equal application of uniform law.  With this in mind, it also must be remembered that today’s dissent may very well be basis for tomorrow’s justice.  We know this, yet so often fear being the voice of dissent or a counterbalance to excess power.

Fortunately, the otherwise controlling fear of change can be defeated. The recent decision by Judge Virginia Phillips on the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy aptly demonstrates the power of commitment to principle.  While I did not agree with the decision for reasons of the separation of constitutional powers, I bear the deepest respect for her courage to take on the entire military system in the pursuit of equality.  Indeed, the very essence of dissent is what makes for human progress and development of the unique democratic experience bestowed upon us.

One might want to say that this has nothing to do with being punished per se’ for good deeds.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  For its power to be felt, prophecy nearly requires persecution. For the known history of humankind, we have seen one prophet after another being condemned for simply taking a stand and pronouncing the truth.

The essential form of what it means to be a prophet is historically seen in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the Buddha, even the unimposing Dharma Bum, or just about any other perceived revolutionary.

By the way, don’t let your sensibilities about religion get in the way of a good thought about what it means to be human.  Don’t let my biases as to Biblical prophets interfere with the definition of yours (i.e., perhaps the Buddha or others).  Prophecy has never been a form of proselytization nor evangelism.  The latter require the ability to sell or enforce an idea or belief.  Prophecy is most defined by its initial lack of luster and desirability (i.e., because of its demand of human introspection).

I must also mention that I believe that prophets are neither nuts nor fortune-tellers.  To be a prophet means to be a representative of something higher than yourself.  It doesn’t mean you are a great person.  It certainly does not mean that you have any more power than anyone else.  You bear the calling of a messenger.  You get to bear complete responsibility for whatever you say and may even bear the risk of death itself.

Theoretically, each of us in the law ought to be a prophet on behalf of the Constitution and of the Judicial Branch in all of its noble purposes.

Of course, however, there must be a price for one’s desire to profess the law as it is, and the reason which provides the lifeblood of the law.  The price for your message may very well be disdain, frustration, mockery, lack of understanding, and intolerance.  As was recently pointed out by Jack Clarke, one of my most respected colleagues, if it was not for Dr. Martin Luther King, and so many others, we would not know the concept equality as we now know it to be.  What was the price Dr. King paid?  His very life.  Yet, his prophecy and vision lead to the conclusion that we all ought to be equally able to seek the highest that humanity has to offer.  This principle seemingly should never have been the barter for death.  His humiliation became a call for human dignity.

What is the sacrifice you would be willing to make in order to be a seeker of truth?  I don’t know if we would all deny representation of a well-paying client with a bad cause.  It doesn’t seem respectable that one should disagree with the mainstream.  Would you challenge a judge openly on a matter or law, or hide behind the veil of secrecy provided by ‘papering the judge’?  Will you and your house follow the law? Will you abide in the law and all of its travails?  Would you be willing to die to feed the life of another perceived to be of no value?

Often, respect for the law means that one will get to unpalatable conclusions.  Being truthful carries the risk of scorn.  This also means that one might as well plan on losing some arguments since reason, consistency, and justice require a stern heart and a desire to be magnanimous regardless of opposition.  Is strength and character found in accepting the status quo?  Or would it be better to define the status quo ante bellum, even if someone else may have to carry the torch after your embattled demise?

In the case of a being a lawyer, your representation of the law, as a higher cause, may simply mean that you have to be willing to respect the authority of the Court, but yet advocate for a position you know to be inconsistent with the realities of the times.  Humility in purpose has oft been the hallmark of a strong prophet.  Simply staying in the ring, without a complete knock-out, becomes the monument to one’s identity.

As of late, it seems that just about everybody needs to somehow be politically, religiously, or spiritually neutral.  This sickly complacency starves the human condition of its vitality.  Only an honorable judge needs to bear the responsibility of being completely neutral until the time of ultimate judgment under the law of our time.

Indeed, at the time of judgment under the law, not even a judge must remain wholly neutral.  Judgment ultimately entails the adoption of a steadfast position.  Our judges bear the message of a reliable system of law.  While rendering judgment does not necessitate the moral judgment of another, it certainly does require a willingness to rely on a foundation of truth.  Where the truth becomes elusive, fear of change causes manifest injustice.  If one cannot move from neutrality to judgment, one should not bear the position of being the arbiter of any dispute.  If one wants to find power in being wholly neutral from beginning to end, take up mediation or marital counseling.

Neither the parties nor their attorneys should be expected to maintain complete neutrality in their positions.  Not only is this psychologically impossible, it is unreasonable and a disservice to the calling of the profession.  Neutrality can be downright dishonorable.  The omission to act can amount to complicity in evil.  While it is true that one must be objective, it does not follow that one must simply concede to the most politically acceptable position.  The acceptability of particular political positions changes over time.  The failure to act in the face of intellectual tyranny has proven itself, time and again, to be consistently destructive.

Some would say that this is an over-dramatization of what it means to be a lawyer.  I think not. Indeed, I think it is a categorical imperative that we not be governed by reference to what our fellow attorneys might think.  Worse yet is the situation where we run from the law for fear of those who have not been blessed with the same gifts of knowledge we bear.  We don’t define our conduct by the conduct of others.  Neither hope nor faith would have a home in a static moral environment.

It is not sufficient that we simply do what is necessary to get by and achieve a result that just makes everybody happy.  Were it left to the happiness or perceived satisfaction of a given society in time, slavery would be but just one more accepted condition of being part of a human power structure.  Or, perhaps, the perceived right to be free of the crime of seditious libel against the government would be just a fleeting glimpse of true human freedom.  Perhaps the call of secularism would be the death of a hope in ultimate justice, regardless of what happens by mistake, evil, or just happenchance in this life.

The job requirements of being an advocate may very well mean that one is required to represent the higher principle of maintaining a system that can be relied upon by all regardless of the one’s perceived sins committed against society and its powers.

For, as has been said in other contexts, we wrestle not against the flesh but principalities.  Indeed, we become free by our very adherence to the strictures of the Constitution.  Paradoxically, we can find complete solace in a result we neither wanted nor one that could not have been foretold.

The fear of humiliation shouldn’t be confused with the humility which may be exactly what is required in a given situation. The unintended indignity of being told to sit at the back of a bus becomes the clarion call for the desire to stand up for the sacred privilege of defining the essence of human dignity for future generations.  Perhaps being called to the stench and squalor of a foreign place might lead to the conclusion that we justly be called blessed.  Don’t be afraid to accept punishment for your good deeds.

Be not afraid.  For the Good Judge shall bring down his judgment on all of us in the end.

Luring ‘Consenting’ Children into Sex: 1st Amendment Right ?

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Amazon.com has apparently gotten in their minds that the chasing of profits includes the ready availability of books on how to lure children into sexual relationships !!!  Instead of distancing themselves from this perversion, Amazon.com thinks it takes the high road by protecting the right of any consumer to fill his/her mind with the idea of sexualizing a child.  Best yet, as long as there is a profit to be made in the interest of free consumerism, all is well in the minds of the PR team at Amazon.com.

Call me conservative, but this is a no-brainer.  There is no duty to have a private book company protect the First Amendment rights of those who seek to normalize sex with children.  There is absolutely no historical analyses which would support the conclusion that our Founders contemplated that a private commercial enterprise would find itself compelled to protect this sickness.

Protecting from prosecution against seditious libel is a far cry from creating an intellectual playground for anyone tempted by or engaging in pedophilia.  Only a state actor can violate one’s civil rights.  There is no violation where purely private conduct is afoot. (42 U.S.C. 1983 – Civil Rights Actions).  Amazon.com need not worry about being liable for refusing to do business with anyone.  I also do not think that they are ‘discriminating’ against anyone, in the sense of the law, because being a pedophile is hardly a protected status under the law like race, sex, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, or religion (recognized classes of persons protected from unlawful discrimination in commercial contexts — often referred to as the Title VII classes of persons). When pedophiles become a protected class of persons for purposes of affirmative action, it will certainly be time to check out from ‘Hotel Satan.’

While there is a national uproar about the Amazon.com issue now, this is one that has been simmering for some time (See, Forbes.com article).  These folks need to be shut down sooner than later.  This is just completely unacceptable.

As stated above, I do not believe that our Founders thought that the First Amendment would cover this, notwithstanding the fact that no private business is under a compunction to sell pedophile advocacy books.  Unfortunately, if this were a public library, they’d at least have an argument with the help of the American Library Association or the ACLU.  These two organizations are quite adept at protecting pornography, true sedition, and other forms of distorted writings and thinking. But, even these folks would likely stay clear of somehow requiring Amazon.com to sell pedophile books if Amazon.com doesn’t want to.

Should someone be inclined to argue that the author of the challenged book really doesn’t mean to traffic in how to do this with children, see his attributed comments at:  http://community.babycenter.com/post/a25054937/amazon_sells_pedophile_how-to_book..?cpg=13&csi=2240265672&pd=12 .

This is an issue that we tried to address in 2002.  It looked like we had made some progress at the time.  Apparently not.  Amazon.com took it off the shelves for a while and apparently decided to quietly restock with a variety of these books.  Worse yet, they say that they have no interest in supporting illegal activity, but that they feel like they cannot prevent others from promoting whatever they want to.  Freedom without responsibility is simply not a good policy. No one is ‘forced’ to profit from things that are not right, even by the loosest moral standards of the adult population.  See, http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.vie w&pageId=15333 and http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=20484

Please write or e-mail them at ir@amazon.com and let them know this is unacceptable.

PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW THINGS TO GET WORSE THAN THEY ALREADY ARE. THERE IS AN OUNCE OF TRUTH IN WHAT THE AUTHOR HAS TO SAY ABOUT HIS CRITICS AND SOCIETY IN GENERAL.  IF CHILDREN KNOW ABOUT SEX, ARE NOT AFRAID OF IT, AND CAN HAVE THE FREEDOM TO CONSENT, THEN ONE OUGHT TO WONDER ABOUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR SOCIETY MORE THAN IT OUGHT TO EVEN PERHAPS WORRY ABOUT SOMEONE LIKE THIS.  THE ARGUMENTS OF THE AUTHOR AND AMAZON.COM’s PR TEAM ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN MANY OF THE SAME TYPES OF ARGUMENTS MADE BY PLANNED PARENTHOOD IN ITS LECTURES ABOUT ‘SAFE SEX,’ ‘CHOICE,’ and FREEDOM TO ASSOCIATE WITH OTHERS (including those much older).  FYI – THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD PROGRAM IS KNOWN AS THE “UNEQUAL PARTNERS” PROGRAM FOR USE IN SCHOOLS FOR CHILDREN 10 AND ABOVE.

See more of our efforts at www.ProFamilyLegalCenter.com .  Thank you for taking a few minutes to read about these issues.  They are difficult and I can understand why anyone would want to avoid them altogether.  However, ignorance leads to complacency and, in turn, complacency leads to defeat of our most basic principles as a society.

Faith Alone: The Impossible Proposition

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The Impossible Proposition

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27.

Nobody wants to hear that you can’t get into Heaven unless you do the right thing, but that’s how each of our life-stories will end. It doesn’t seem to me, anyway, that Heaven is a place where you get to watch from afar the long line of condemned non-believers whilst you stand fully confident in your own faith/salvation. By assuming that your faith alone justifies you, you can only believe that you somehow hold the keys to Heaven and Hell. Not even Christ can take your faith away from you, right?

Your works or lack thereof will become manifest when your time comes. Matthew 13:49-50; 1 Corinthians 8-17; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 4:17-18; Jude 1:14-17; Revelation 20-21. Your deeds will follow you. Romans 2:1-16; Revelation 14:13.

Even if one assumed the absolute integrity of his or her faith, what is the harm in living out a life of works which is 100% consistent with your valued faith? This is sort of a modern-day Pascal’s Wager on morality.

The proposition that “faith alone” is wholly sufficient for entrance into Heaven is not only untenable, it is literally impossible. You don’t hold the keys to Heaven and Hell, no matter how hard you “believe.” Revelation 1:18, 20:13. Those who teach the concept of ‘justification by faith alone,’ without more explanation, are potentially misleading those who follow them. Matthew 24:4-24; 25:31-46. Without a doubt, works of selflessness, forgiveness, and charity are the essence of what it means to be a Christian. Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 6:37.

What can be said, however, is that we are not the only ones who believe in these basic characteristics of a holy or good person. The purposes of dying to self, charity, and love are not a Christian monopoly. As such, it is true that simply doing the acts does not justify us as Christians. That is ‘works for the sake of works’ is inadequate to justify nor sanctify the “Christian” as such.

Your works follow you into eternity and they will become the sole basis for your judgment — unless you think the Bible and its promises are a bunch of lies or just simply a self-help book of suggested living. John 10:32-38; Revelations 14:13, 20:11-15; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Ephesians 2:9-10; James 2:14-26; Titus 2:7, 3:8-14.

While Christ serves as our God-appointed defense attorney, there will be a final judgment of acquittal or one of condemnation. Confession of our crimes is a prerequisite to Divine Mercy. If one believes in “Biblical” Christianity, one would have to believe this as a matter of simple consistency. Revelation 20:11-15.

You must actually fear God, even if you think you are saved. Indeed, our fear is a necessary element of His loving Salvation Plan for us. Where should the fear come from? – In the potential loss of our salvation. Hebrews 10:26-31, 38. Nor is anything of this to say that we instantly become perfect through our acceptance of Christ into our lives. Some of us apparently need a longer purgation period than others (at least for me anyway).

Given the society and times we live in, it is perfectly foreseeable that alcohol, drugs, selfishness, vanity, lust, avarice, greed, sloth, pride, negative criticism of others, ignorance, and other sins would abound through no conscious fault of the sinner per se’. Some of our sins we bring to others, and sometimes we follow others into sin. 1 Timothy 5:24. The same goes for our good works. 5:25.

We are not in control of all of the influences which affect the strengths and weaknesses of who we were created to be. We often know, deep down, that we are screwed up. 1 John 3:20. Some sins are more serious than others. 1 John 5:16-17. Anybody who thinks that they are not screwed up has been lost on the whole point of the Divine Endeavor of Christ. 1 John 1:8.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, failing in works of mercy/forgiveness of others is definitely one of the more serious problems. Matthew 5:22-30; Mark 9:43-47; James 5:9. Our anger and our words are no lesser issues when it comes to condemning ourselves to Hell. Matthew 5:22, 12:36; James 3:6; Jude 1:15. Even, our ‘religion’ can be made vain by our failure to bridle our words. James 1:26.

Indeed, there are darker parts of each of our souls that we don’t even understand, but we do get to watch God shine beams of light into through His purgations of our being. Romans 8:1; Luke 16:15; John 3:19-21; Acts 26:18. We are each faced with unique challenges suited to our calling and, concomitantly, the gifts/talents which allow us to actively engaged in a necessary purgation of the flesh and soul toward the end of spending an eternity in Godly peace. 1 Thessalonians 5:23. We need to be aware of the painful fact that our soul and body can be destroyed. Matthew 10:28.

Nevertheless, the idea that we have to work, or should have worked, to get into Heaven seems even offensive to many. Be offended, but don’t do it in ignorance. I don’t know why anybody would be offended by the idea that being a Christian means that certain conduct is not only expected of us, but mandated at the potential cost of losing our relationship with God. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins … The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:26-39. Read it for yourself.

You are not “set aside” because God thinks you are somehow special unto yourself or that his pleasure in you is somehow permanent because you think you were “saved.” The Christian life is a selfless life of humble sacrifice and devotion. If you find yourself in the middle of having a monologue/dialogue about how certain you are that you are saved, you ought to be concerned. Where’s the humility in that? This said, we are all his children and are subject equally to His discipline for violating His covenants. Hebrews 26-29, 36-39. Thankfully, we are also all equal in the story of salvation from our confession of sin as well. Romans 10:9-15.

You are set aside because you willingly submit yourself as a vessel of God’s forgiveness, love, and charity toward all mankind. Indeed, fervent charity “shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8. However, you can also stop being used by God and choose a path of sin. Hebrews 10:26. Were it otherwise, we would deny the very freewill that allows for a conscious decision to accept or reject Christ in the first place. Romans 2:1-16; 1 Peter 4:17; 2 Peter 2:9.

When you reject your opus Dei, you reject the Holy Spirit endowed in you by your acceptance of Christ in your life. Matthew 12:31-32. Thus, the redemptive works are not yours. But in failing to do those assigned to you, you intentionally reject God’s purpose for you.

To be Christ-like means that you would selflessly do the works he commands of you just as He did for the Father. Likewise, if you do works of mercy only for your salvation, where is the charity in that? Others can only see Christ in us by the way we act (i.e., work). John 5:36, 10:37-38, 14:10-12; 15:24. To the extent that we suffer in life, we share in the Redemptive and Ultimate Suffering of Christ. In a very real sense, we can accept pain as a means of relating to Christ and living a small part of the incredible sacrifice He made for you and me.

In any event, we can’t be lukewarm about how we approach our duties on Earth lest we be spit out from the mouth of God. Revelation 3:15-16.

As of late, it seems that we only want to hear that we’ve been saved and if all goes well, we will do the right thing because we are Christians. The latter statement is true, but that’s just the point – you are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had ordained that we should walk in them.”’‘ Ephesians 2:10. If one does not maintain a constant focus on works, we lose within us the very creative force which distinguishes us from other elements of the world.

Simply stated, a Christian needs to work on being a Christian. Titus 1:16. The failure to do so is a failure to seek sanctification and justification of our souls before the Heavenly Throne. Bad things will happen if you are remiss in your works. Revelation 20:11-15. Grace is the helpful stopgap between God, us, and our human failings at and before the time of death.

Do you need to ask for forgiveness more than once as a Christian? Does it matter? Do you need to confess of your sins (which have already been forgiven, according to contemporary Evangelical thought)? Confession is not a one-time deal at your altar-call or, if you are Catholic, at your confirmation. Romans 10:10.

There is simply no way to Biblically believe that believing that you’ve been saved is sufficient for entry into Heaven (i.e., “faith” alone). The Word clearly requires more of us and the number of Scriptures on this point is beyond overwhelming – and that’s just covering the New Testament.

While it may be easier to rest on the laurels of believing that my faith ‘tells me that I am saved and I don’t need to know any more,’ this is the functional equivalent of saying, ‘I know how to drive cars, because I believe in them.’ In reality, when we do bad stuff, we fall out of our Christianity altogether. 1 John 3:6-11 (we are not of God/Christ when we sin). Claiming the honor of Christianity means that we must stay honorable in all that we do and say. 1 John 3:4-10. Admitting/confessing that we are intentionally rejecting our inheritance is about the only way we can regain it. 1 John 1:9-2:1. Also see, Leviticus 5:5-6; Numbers 5:5-10 (sacramental confession).

It seems self evident that the need for “the law” as Paul describes in many letters, only came about as a result of the People of Israel’s failure to do the works that were commanded by God – they simply didn’t do what they were told to do and had to have the law imposed on them. See generally, Deuteronomy; Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24. With Paul, he saw the Redemptive Story of Christ as a liberation from the law as it is being defined Biblically. Romans 3:28 (“that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the LAW.). Compare, James 2:24 (“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” [emphasis added]).

The New and Everlasting Covenant did not release anyone from the need to work toward the end of what it means to be Christian. It meant that an eternal font of Grace would be available, regardless of the violations of “law” committed by us. When negligence, omission, or simple(y) intentional human failing (i.e., venial sin) gets in the way of holiness, Christ will meet us between Earth and Heaven. We fall out of brotherhood with Christ when we fail to do the word which we hear. Luke 8:19-21.

A pastor of ours, Ike Riddle, used to say “covenant keepers always win and covenant breakers always lose.” Such is the story of the Bible. But, what does it mean to keep a covenant? It means you have to do something – we need to abide in our promises. Luke 22:20-30; Jeremiah 31:31-33:26. How we express our Christianity, the covenant, is by what is “seen and heard.” Acts 2:33; Matthew 5:17-19 (commandments still valid and enforceable by teaching and doing). Be humbly seen and heard in your covenant-keeping now and forever.

So then, where does the Bible say that our works matter to salvation or, even, that they are absolutely necessary to our sanctification before God? The following is about as simple as it gets.

This is not a matter of parsing out only select words/verses, but actually constitutes a continuing theme and stream of thought by the Author of the Bible. This list is taken from the King James Bible in an effort to appease those who might claim that the Bible is somehow coopted by a Catholic interpretation of its contents.

The continuing theme of necessary works for our salvation is found in the following:

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

Matthew 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Matthew 14:2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Mark 6:14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

John 7:3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.

John 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

John 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

Acts 7:41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

Acts 9:36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.

Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Romans 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

2 Corinth. 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

1 Timothy 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

1 Timothy 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

1 Timothy 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

1 Timothy 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Revelation 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Revelation 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Revelation 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Revelation 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

The end.

Ackerman & Sands APC

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We’re Stirring the Cosmic Soup: A Quick Retort to the Religion of Pure Atheism

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While it may very well be that all that we are nothing but a cosmic soup of atomic matter, it certainly does seem that humanity has the unique ability to stir the pot.

As of late, I have given some thought to the arguments of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Edward Wilson, Peter Singer and a number of other players in the current debates about God, morality, and evolutionary biology.  Their basic premise seems to be that what it means to be human or a part of nature can only be explained by evolutionary theory.  Moreover, this theory leads the to the inexorable conclusion that all can be reduced to an explanation as to how atomic physics have played out in the last however many billion years or so. (See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe ). Nary a thought is given to the real fact that all of us have an epistemological gap between us and the beginning of time, such that no present explanation of our world can suffice to explain it entirely.  God does readily fill that epistemological void.

While it may very well be that all that we (and the universe we have our be-ing in) are nothing but a cosmic soup of atomic matter, it certainly does seem that humanity has the unique ability to stir the pot.  This ability is seen nowhere else in the ‘natural world.’  Indeed, it is this very deviation from cosmic destiny, evolutionary theory, or even simple neuro-psychology, that uniquely defines what it is to be human.

Unlike the natural world, we are not dependent on the synchronicity of our coexistence with/in  the many moving and interactive elements of the earth’s evolved environment.  Ostensibly, we are readily able to defy what nature might otherwise dictate.  Singer and others have, rather oddly, concluded that behavior which defies nature is somehow ignoble or immoral.  Isn’t everything “natural,” in the sense that all that is must be derivative of evolutionary processes and atomic destiny?  What possible moral difference could stirring the pot of cosmic existence make, if we can only have derived our ability to stir the pot from the very substance found in the pot?  There has to be a clear distinction made between the subject and objects confronted by human existence.

As an aside, this does not mean that morality would have to be completely dependent on some traditional notion of God. It is simply a matter of distinguishing a difference between intentionality, conscious acknowledgment and the human experience of what is “moral,” from that which is simply a byproduct of evolutionary necessity and atomic structure. Whether these aspects are distinguishable from each other is the question that Professor Dawkins raises. The conceptual parsing done by Dawkins is actually quite admirable and necessary to the understanding of either side’s argument.

Moreover, it seems readily apparent that the process of evolution for the ‘natural world’ moves at the same pace as it has from the beginning of time (barring any natural disasters).  Animals and plants are not dependent on us for their existence in a natural state.  They only evolve at certain scientifically definable rates in accordance with the environmental variables which govern the process.

Simply put, humans command the ability to even deprive ourselves of the natural synchronicity with nature.  It is indeed arguable that we sometimes separate from nature and defy it.   At a minimum, we stand out from nature.  For example, a lion cannot simply redefine itself or make claim to an existence other than that which it has at its essence. A view toward’s Heidegger’s philosophy on death would also underscore the reality that humans are perfectly capable of  experiencing “unnatural” deaths.  Most lions and other creatures will die substantially the same way and of the same causes.  Humans, however, bear a capacity for defining even the parameters of our own deaths.  Certainly, our nearest alleged “relatives,” chimpanzees, can hardly lay stake to such abilities.  In other words, there is something about the human experience that can be completely differentiated from that of the animal experience.  Indeed, this statement can be made even without accounting for the unique capacity of humans to conceive of [a] God, to understand beauty, and to engage in the fine arts.

Nevertheless, we can rightly claim that humans engage in unnatural acts.  They engage in acts that defy natural selection and the otherwise undisturbed progression of the natural world outside of humanity.  Animals are not generally self destructive in any real way.  Humans, on the other hand, are completely competent to destroy themselves and everything else around them.  Indeed, humankind is readily able to change its environment quickly and drastically.  And, in so changing, it becomes apparent that we are the only creatures on earth that are capable of self-directed evolution, even to the point of destroying ourselves.   Seemingly, evolutionists are ready to deprive of humankind of this sacred and distinct attribute shared by no other living creatures.

Frankly, it seems inconsistent to stand by an evolutionary biology explanans for why things are the way they are, and yet complain about the seemingly out of control, or even allegedly  immoral, progress of humanity.  Morality simply has no place in a universe driven only by the predisposed nature of atomic structures and the rules of physics to which they are bound.  In a very important sense, the effect of human existence on the environment is no less evolutionary or atomically driven than any other process that is claimed to have arisen from a purely evolutionary beginning.  That is, if one believes that all must have come from simple existence which led to a graduated complexity.

In order to speak of “moral” behavior, one must first believe that there is some constituent part of the universe which can be moral or act in a moral way.  If we rely simply on the synaptic firing of our neurons, coupled with a genetic destiny, it simply does not make sense to incorporate a moral lexicon into human existence.  However, if one believes that moral behavior is a step above, or uniquely differentiated from, the coldness of evolutionary survival of the species, it must follow that one believes that there is a higher arche to the human existence.  Whether this is attributable to God or a higher being/be-ing (a template for higher being or a more complex nature outside of the natural rules that apply to all other creatures), or not, seems to be the real question.

There are a good number of evolutionary biologists and philosophers of our time who readily conclude that all of human existence can simply be explained by reference to the primordial atomic soup from which all has evolved.  They do not explain where the atomic structure/fabric came from, they do not explain the source of the energy driving all that is, they ignore or gloss over the origins of art and beauty, and they completely ignore the obvious fact that the human line of species significantly deviates from otherwise predictable genetic destinies or even basic natural evolution of the rest of nature and its evolving complexity.

At first glance, the basic problem with evolutionary biology is that it rests upon what appears to be a purely linear view of the time-space continuum.  This purely linear view adds an unnecessary viscosity to the stream of the cosmos and nature itself. The evolutionists view does not account for the fact that all matter, or representations of matter, derive from an admittedly common source and theoretical moment of being put in motion.  That is, all things that can be perceived in the real world are the same age by reference to atomic matter, interactivity, and movement of the cosmos.

The only difference between one atomic structure and another is the ‘present’ constituency of the thing perceived.  Under a non-linear view of time, it may just be the case that the “age” of things is a function of where they are in the movement of the “cosmic swirl.”  An evolutionist should not confuse the properties of age with actual age — if time can even be said to be a good structure for cosmology.  If there was a single moment of creation, moving forward, differing “ages” of the atomic world’s constituents are not so obvious as to merit the conclusion that the universe actually is 13.7 to 37 billion years old or any other specific age for that matter.  If, at the time the cosmos was put in motion, certain aspects of reality were given characteristics in their atomic structure that give off the impression of being “older,” it may simply be that the evolutionist has been fooled in much the way a purchaser of art might be fooled by the acquisition of a good faux painting.  The thing acquired or perceived has all of the characteristics, but is lacking in the need of its original creator and an understanding of the process leading up to the perceived masterpiece.

In other words, the moment of creation may simply have been a stirring of the pot by an Omnipotent and wholly self sufficient Primary Mover.  A cyclical or interwoven time structure is not the same as a linear structure which starts from a given point and brings us to something called “today.”  The ‘swirl’  of the cosmic mass we call reality should not be confused with a purely linear view of reality, upon which evolution must rely (i.e., reliance on a Big Bang, primordial soup, then various periods of evolution/advancement of varying species).  Obviously, if linear time is the framework for the edifice of evolution, there is a strong likelihood that evolutionary theory is defectively constructed.

Additionally, it seems that the atheist opposition confuses their perceived improbability of God with ultimate exclusion from the range of all possibilities.  In the view of Dawkins and his company, it is nearly an absolute truth that God does not exist.  Were it the case that Dawkins could overcome the long standing objections that might be made by George Berkeley as to the importance of human perception in all of this, perhaps a better argument could be made.  However, Dawkins and his crew presuppose the validity and concrete values of their perceptions and just assume that a consensus gentium argument will carry the day because a vast number of other evolutionary biologists happen to agree on the notion that God, Creationism or Intelligent Design are improbable or altogether wacky.  Solipsism remains a strong enemy of confidence in the truth values of our own perceptions.  In fact it does seem that the utility and efficacy of certain “memes” bears out this very problem.  Cultural evolution is a product of passed on perception, without necessary regard to or of principles deriving from mathematics or physics.

In order for anyone’s argument to work with respect to great cosmological arguments, it does seem that the veil of basic human perception must first be torn and put aside in favor of an unobstructed view of reality.  Humanity has proven itself quite incapable of divesting itself from its condition as a status which depends purely on the senses and humanized logic.  Professor Dawkins and his ilk may be assured that just as great a number of scientific theories have fallen, after ready acceptance by consensus, as have arguments for the existence of particular gods or ontologies.  In large part, it seems that the human defect of limited perception is the cause of a great number of these many failed scientific theories throughout history. Indeed, it seems apparent that our singular or collective experiences limit the conclusions to which we may arrive.  Experience naturally limits the parameters of what we can actually know.  Admittedly, the breadth of one’s “experience” can be widened with knowledge/exposure to mathematics, physics, chemistry, theory of biology, philosophy, and other areas of learning.  However, the expansion of theory is dependent on the limits of our own personal knowledge and that of our colleagues in thought.  The limits of humanity do not give way simply because one believes in evolutionary biology.

Father Time has proven himself to be a bitter enemy to the life span of most scientific theories.  As human perception ‘evolves,’ scientific theories die.  Sometimes they die by the weight of their own complexity or the simply are shown to be inconsistent with the collective perceptions of an advanced humanity.  Oddly, however, the explanatory value of a higher cause or higher being has not died since the conceivable beginnings of human thought about the source of our being and the reasons for our existence.  This may be simply because a belief in God does provide a fabric to all that is.  Or, it may just as well be that the vast majority of humans have perceived something that can only be described as God.  For as many scientists and theologians as there have been in history, there have probably been nearly as many fools among them.

The pervasive perception of God, or the empirical basis for the use of a word such as “God,” cannot be simply disregarded.  Simply because Dawkins has not personally perceived something that might be called God does not allow him to summarily dispense with any Wittgensteinean objections as to the limits of our language and ability to articulate what we experience.  It is undeniably the case that the Judeo-Christian view of the world has rather successfully sufficed to unite an advancing/progressive group of humans, indeed the entirety of Western Culture, of which Professor Dawkins would be a participant.  The “memes” of, or which are, Christianity have proven to be a rather powerful force by any account.  See generally, John 1:1-4 (KJV).

It seems to me that the evolutionists of our time ought to give some minor consideration to the thought that the theoretical explanans and the actual explanandum of human existence are conceivably different.  If truth be the sum of its complete, necessary and agreed upon conditions, the evolutionary biologists/theorists have plenty of agreement, but could not possibly have a complete or necessary epistemological basis for the ultimate truths they espouse.  Admittedly, the same applies for a strict historical or epistemological view of Christianity.

In the case of both Evolutionary Theory and the belief in God, there is indicia of pure religion.  Religion requires certain elements, which appear to be:  1.)  A redemptive or explanatory story for what is;  2.) An explanandum/definiendum which outside of complete human perception or experience;  3.) Preachers and prophets of the truth or content contained within the explanans/definiens; 4.) A body of the faithful who simply may have no epistemelogical basis for a belief in what is explained or the explanation itself; 5.) A desire to operate by explanatory fiat or ultimatum.  Zealotry on behalf of any such religion can lead to discord and unnecessary viscosity in the stream of otherwise valuable arguments.  Certainly, both sides of the Intelligent Design argument seem perfectly capable and willing to lift the sword toward the other.

Or it may very well be that the enemies of God are simply asking the wrong questions even about their own existence and be-ing (Dasein) in the Heideggerian sense.  Perhaps it is just that they think it important to “stir the pot” in the proverbial sense.  But what sense does it make to stir the pot if you’re in it?

 

 

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Hearing the Call, Defend Something Greater than Yourself

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The First Amendment provides a guaranty that we might be able to engage in higher Reason even when we fail to desire the sanctity of our freedoms.

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Hearing the Call, Defend Something Greater than Yourself

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When asked to write an article on religious liberties, I originally thought to give an update on First Amendment jurisprudence and maybe to throw in a couple of quips about the direction the courts have taken on religious freedom. Instead, I find myself struck by the awe of our professional calling under the Constitution. I think about the current state of our moral and financial economies as a nation. Moreover, I think of the political philosophy of Eric Voegelin and his view of what it means to seek the higher order in life and the law.

The solemn oath we have taken as officers of the Court is a serious oath to defend the Constitution and all that it stands for. In my view, the Constitution came from and stands for something much greater than ourselves. Indeed, when we think only of ourselves, that’s about all we get. We must always be willing to think of and be willing to defend something greater than ourselves.

The need to defend free speech, religious freedom, and the right to assemble has never been more critical. We live in a society where values have become relativistic, where morality is centered on individual ‘needs,’ and where economic viability is the test for one’s societal worth. Sadly, the First Amendment often finds itself protected only by those who have a certain political view of what it means and the regular absence of a counter-position is misread as victory or consensus. We also forget that relativism is but a subtle form of anarchy. Yet, fortunately, the objectivity of the Constitution provides a societal solace not found in many other parts of the world.

Moreover, much of the ‘defense’ of the First Amendment has resulted in the conclusion that anything of divinity has no place in public discourse. Religion, faith, and a sense of wanting to restore order have been morphed into a negative, if even reviled, position in contemporary jurisprudence. It should not be so. We all ought to self-examine the purpose of being legal professionals and must strive to zealously defend the First Amendment as though the very progress of humanity depended on our advocacy. Indeed, we can only progress when we seek a higher order beyond our present lot in life. But for the idea of something greater and outside than ourselves, we would have no need or desire for progress as humans. We often forget that the difference between human evolution and natural evolution is that human evolution is generally self-directed. You must know that we can define the parameters of a bright and recovering future. We as lawyers can help define the justice necessary for America’s recovery.

In the case of the American justice system, our higher order is reflected in the language of the Constitution. In this vein, the trier-of-fact’s pull toward the higher order can only be had through a tension existing between the conduct that gave rise to the litigation and the law which applies when a given state of events is proved. Each side has a story to tell, both sides are presented and, from the tension between the sides, comes “justice.” The concept of a living justice is a purely noetic experience. Equally, justice must always be reflective of a higher calling toward Reason.

Reason, in the classical sense, is not to be taken as referring to `reason as mere logic or logical constructs’. Instead, “Reason” is a human experiential event, an ever-present “constituent of humanity,” and a “source of order in the psyche of man.” With an air of sincere hope, Eric Voegelin saw Man as being able to actually experience and articulate divinity. This experience, is one that comes from the illumination and presencing of both: a.) the disorder which constitutes man’s limited spatio-temporal material existence, and; b.) that which causes man to be a questioning being containing the divine within him. Please do not confuse the term “divine” with purely theological connotations. Think of it as more of the essence of what makes Man different than a common animal.

Voegelin’s representation of Reason is used here as a paradigm for the workings of a Constitutional jurisprudence. In this vein, all of us called to the profession of law must defend the cornerstone of our higher order, which is the First Amendment. It must also be known that when we fail to defend it, we deny human progress, we deny the opportunity for diversity of thought, and we kill the very spirit of our system of justice.

Historically, it must be acknowledged that the development of the Constitution could not have been anything but a manifestation of America’s pull toward the Divine and was reflective of the experience of Reason. The Constitution was not meant to be a mere recital of ideas and concepts that might prove useful in the governance of human affairs in the eighteenth century and beyond.

Presently, it seems that America is in a pull toward the passions of socio-economic existence and we have voluntarily lost sight of the divinity in us. Our present pull toward the darker elements of American humanity amounts to an outright rejection of the Divinity which inspired the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

In my view, the inspiration for the Constitution was an identifiable experience of reality and the “cognitively luminous force” which allowed resistance against the tyranny and disorder of English rule and allowed the founding of a vibrant new democracy. By reflection on the experience that gave rise to the articulations set forth in the Constitution, Americans came to have a guiding force by which they could direct the higher voice of Reason through their unique cultural experiences. This force was a force within them and a force that defined/created them.

Voegelin’s notion of Reason is founded on the essential claim that `experiences create concepts.’ In the case of the Constitution, the American experience of the 18th century created powerful political concepts. The human experience of the time, however, was only a medium through which the Constitution could come to be a representation of the higher order giving rise to its possibility as a living documentation of human contact with higher/divine order.

The Constitution, as an instrument of communication, is an accounting of the transcendent experience that the Founders had. It was/is account of that which they believed to be “God-given” or divinely-given. The Constitution contains reflections of the metaxy between Man and the Divine which existed long before the American Revolution and which could not have prevented the split between America and Great Britain. The enactment of the Constitution certainly did not serve to completely disenfranchise men from their passions, enslavement of other human beings, or the need for a physical revolution.

The force that allows the human psyche to resist disorder is called the ever present, but oft hidden, “Nous.” Each of us has Nous within us we participate in the Nous of our times. Nous is reflective of a movement toward higher order. However, as suggested above, the noetic movement toward higher order is countered by a natural human pull toward our primitive passions and the matter which makes for our finite human existence in time and space. According to Voegelin, this creates a tension (i.e., metaxy) between the passions and higher order. As such, we are in a state of existential unrest and do damage to ourselves by failing to recognize the divinity in our human purpose.

Humbly, however, we are to recognize that Man is not self-created nor is Man a self-sufficient being which carries within him/her the ultimate meaning of the universe. Rather, humanity is left with questions about the “ultimate ground” of reality. Our experience is taken to be from the position of being an interrogator of reality. Our ability to articulate perceived answers to our own interrogatories becomes our greatest and most respectable endeavor. This work is most reflective of that which makes us what we are. This ability to articulate with regard to the `process of questioning’ allows us to hint at, reflect on and share with others our experience of the “ultimate ground” for our existence, which again, is in us and which created us.

It is our questioning that is, in of itself, reflective of our pull toward that which created us. We know not why we question; Yet, we do know that we are compelled to question. The First Amendment provides a guaranty that we might be able to engage in higher Reason even when we fail to desire the sanctity of our freedoms. By defending that which serves as the force behind our inherent desire to question, we are thinking about the arche’ of our humanity. A necessary mode of tension is created between the higher order and our struggle to attain it.

When in good health, our modes of tension can take the forms of hope, faith, love and trust. This includes faith, hope and trust in our fellow man, whether he be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, or simply questioning. Moreover, the theophanic events of hoping and believing are not dependent on race, creed, religion, ethnicity, or gender. Justice is the mode of tension in the Noetic-Constitutional experience.

The initial appeal to our divine nature in the development of the Constitution of the United States finds itself in the following language from the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The phrase “self evident” detectably takes on a sense of having truths and knowledge of the divine arise from within ourselves and yet also directly arises from that which allows us to be or that which created the ability for us to see these truths as self evident.

In fact, the serious disorder of the age was reflected in America’s claims about the conduct of Great Britain. In point, America claimed that Great Britain was acting against the public good, engaging in invasions of rights, obstructing the administration of justice, plundering and ravaging, burning towns, destroying lives, completing works of “death, desolation and tyranny,” and being “deaf to the voice of justice.”

Assuming these things to be true, with a view toward our own times, it certainly appears that early America did not continue to remain in the apeironic depths of its then extant position in the continuum of human time and space. There were no more house burnings, trials by Church and State, or obvious acts of tyranny following the divine encounter of America. Nor was She limited by any belief that man cannot aspire to the divine.

This Nous of the eighteenth century was again manifest in the language of the Constitution itself. To wit, the following was stated and ratified on September 17, 1787:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of America.”

The Constitution would then become that “supreme law of the land.” The articulations contained therein would now become the `persuasive force’ that would, in Voegelin’s terms, illuminate America’s existence for its citizens and the world as a whole. The Constitution was now an articulated unit of meaning having arisen from the metaxy of man’s human experience and that which caused him to believe that there was a higher order outside of his epistemological footing of the time. Justice would now take place at a new and ongoing politico-metaxy existing at the junction of the Constitution and the conduct of our daily human affairs.

On December 15, 1791, the United States further exhibited its tension toward the ground of its existence by ratifying the Bill of Rights. Among these fundamental rights, and first mentioned, was the right to free speech. This particular right is an ultimate reflection of the experiential phenomena described by Voegelin in that it secured the right of persons to “articulate” their experiences as questioning human beings. Again, we must remember Voegelin’s claim that our movements toward the divine ground can only be had through articulation of our experiences. The First Amendment affirms man’s questioning nature and so he becomes temporarily vindicated from the disorder and tyranny that began to stifle his questioning existence. America’s pursuit of that which was claimed to be “God-given” would then be further vindicated by enactment of the remaining nine Amendments to the Constitution.

Assuredly it seems that the right to be secure in our persons and property, the right to trial by a group of our peers and the separation of Church and State bolster our ability to seek the ultimate ground of our existence on an individual level.

Nonetheless, Voegelin, in his discussion of the Greek experience of Reason, warns us that humans can find themselves distanced from the Nous and Reason when these things are viewed as something wholly abstract and distanced from the realm of the direct human experience of consciously facing off with reality. We begin to develop certain psychopathology when we lose our openness and desire to pursue the divine. Modern America is exhibiting near terminal pathology relative to the Constitution as higher order given by the divine within us. This is a pathology that is manifest by a disrespect for the value of human life, political party agendas (outside a beneficial conservative/liberal politico-metaxy), and the fears of a society governed by fiscal economies.

As mentioned above, Reason comes about through an interactive experience wherein man and his arche are mutual participants at the metaxy between them. The mutuality of the experience makes for healthy existence. When we focus away from the ground, we become philosophically ill.

That which created us is taken to be as much a part of our existence as the human experience of existence itself and thus plays a central role in our healthy consciousness. Undeniably, it seems that consciousness comes into being, that complete consciousness is the prerequisite to experience and that experience of reality is the medium by which we come to acknowledge our consciousness.

We must also realize that we cannot simply reason ourselves out of the horrors of our time. It must be recognized that “reason” (with a small “r”) is only a tool by which we can come to interpret the material world around us. It does nothing to bring our attention to that which allows or which created our “reason” in the first place. Focuses on “reason” are only focuses on human interpretation of the world and not on that which is in the world per se’.

Thus, it seems that a philosophical ascent to that which is the higher cause or source is much more in line with the ultimate goal of experiencing mankind as something more than mere matter clashing with other matter in the world of conscious reality. The philosophical ascent is the one that soars on the wings of the tension between that which caused us to be and that which we are. All the while, we must maintain an openness to that which compels us to be questioning beings. “Reason,” as an epochal historical event, is to be taken in an ontological sense and is a process happening in the whole of reality and, when recognized, assists us in rising above the disorder of our material conduct.

Matter, in a sense, becomes a constant: Our interactive and questioning nature, when acknowledged, activated and defended, allows for variables and choices beyond what merely “is.”

Our human be-ing becomes a state of interactive questioning, in the sense of “What might be, besides that which is before me?”, Thus, we are moved forward in our be-ing. The First Amendment promotes this process. A passive view of reality would not allow us our individuality or perceived acknowledgment of God-given rights or the Divine or Reason. Denial of the right to question denies our fundamental humanity. Further, the process of questioning is the very eventing of the human consciousness and defines our humanity.

When we solely focus on the mere “matter” of experience or the tools which are used to interpret the matter, we are at most existing at an experiential standstill. A focus on logic, mere sense data, language, passions and scientific method calls us only into the present and past. Questioning is a bridge to the future. Our willingness to defend all questioning provides the necessary materials for this bridge. Although the material necessary to effectuate and answer is within the world, the questioning comes first and is a humanly conscious event beyond the realm of matter.

Again, the Constitution provides an articulation of the structure of government and the relationship of the People to Government. The Constitution wasn’t meant to be temporary and, quite properly I believe, we have not treated it as such. The Constitution is a reflection of what America should be. Unfortunately, it is not necessarily a reflection of who Americans are today.

In order to have a truly free society, there must be a mutual participation between us and the spirit of the Constitution. We must recognize the divine nature of others. When officers of court or everyday citizens reject the divine order reflected in them, we become ill as Constitutionally created, inspired, and driven citizens. Notwithstanding, we should not remain in offense of another’s rejection of Constitutionality, but must seek the production of faith, hope, love and respect by placing ourselves back into a state of unrest at the metaxy of our daily conduct and the Constitution.

There are such things as justice, love and equity in the world by virtue of our interactive role in the whole of reality. We come recognize that there are such things because we engage in conduct and interaction that is substituted by words like “justice.” It is in the experiences of life that we find justice and, as a lawyers, the Constitution reaffirms our daily purpose. Listen to the call of your profession and defend something higher than yourselves.

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