The God-Shaped Hole!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

If The Troops Come Home

Attention fellow peace-lovers.

This is what will take place, if the troops pull out very soon, with the current useless, divided, corrupt government still in place, the militias will fight each other, stuggling for the chair, the arab jihadists will fight for their so called "Islamic" state. The Iraqi christians will perish, the thousands upon thousands of Iraqis that worked with the coalition forces will be butchered. The normal Iraqis will be tortured and killed. It will be the utmost struggle for power. The Iranians will intervene and hakeem will give them the south on a plate of gold. The turks will try and get the Kurds. The central piece will be fought over by all parties. You will have burqa women roaming the streets, that is if they even can do that. You will see children being taught how to fight with guns and kill. Iraq will no longer be the land between the two rivers. Oh no, it wont be. The bloody Iraq today will even be more bloodier. More deadly.

These are the words of a woman living in Iraq. Her husband is helping to rebuild the country after Saddam's government was thrown out. She goes by the nickname Neurotic Iraqi Wife. Her blog reveals the desparation of the people of Iraq.

Nightly kidnappings, beheadings, bombings. Seemingly random detentions by Coalition forces. Yet for all this, she would rather the Americans stay to finish the job than abandon it to the thugs and looters that lied their way into office, via those purple-stained fingers that promised freedom.

Support the troops and their mission as long as it takes.

Sayid doesn't know how much better off he is on the island.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Gospel according to Anime

People who sin say this: that they had to, to survive.
People who sin say this: that it's too late to stop.
The shadow called Sin dogs them steadily without a word.
Remorse and Agony are repeated, to finally end up at Dispair.
But sinners don't know...
... that if they turn around, there is a light...
... a light which keeps shining on them ever so warmly.

There are a few anime/manga heroes that reflect some of the character of Jesus. Himura Kenshin, of Rurouni Kenshin, and Goku of Dragonball both refuse to kill, even when their own life is threatened, and both will put themselves in harm's way to protect others. Characters like this are obviously not unique to manga or anime; most superheroes of the Western comics traditions are also devoted to such a self-sacrificial lifestyle, as is the popular conception of a firefighter, police officer, or member of the armed forces.

One of the best is Vash the Stampede from the manga and anime Trigun. As with Kenshin and Goku, Vash refuses to take the life of anyone, even his most dangerous foes, the Gung-Ho Guns. Valiant and determined, he embodies those characteristics which most people find noblest.

He almost fits the God-shaped hole that everyone has in their heart.

He gets angry whenever someone is killed, especially if someone "good" kills a "bad guy." Even the natural predation of animals is hard for him to accept, because death goes against his character. At one point, he is forced to kill the leader of the Gung-Ho Guns, Legato, which puts him into a deep depression. He only emerges from this depression by realizing that forgiving himself is essential to living in a fallen world.

The quote at the beginning of this post was a voice-over during the preview for part two of the sand-steamer episode. That episode ended the first stage of the anime; in the following episode, he met Nicholas D Wolfwood, the wandering priest, which kicked off the second stage of the anime.

The two women that follow him, Meryl Stryfe and Millie Thompson, are from an insurance society which has had to pay out on damages apparently caused by Vash the Stampede. Over the course of the first stage of the anime, they become his disciples as they learn his character. To me, they represent Martha and Mary, respectively.

By watching the Trigun anime, I have gained a deeper connection to Jesus. While ideals may not always be reached in this lifetime, stories like Trigun illustrate just how deep those ideals are in humanity's collective heart.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Finitude vs Fallenness

Let's get two things straight here, folks:

  • People make mistakes because people are finite.
  • People sin because people are fallen.

How do I mean this?

I can state that 2 + 2 = 5 because I don't know better. This is ignorance, not sin.

I can state that 2 + 2 = 5 because I'm lying to someone. This is sin, not ignorance.

I can state that 2 + 2 = 5 for sufficiently large values of 2 because I'm being funny. This is neither ignorant nor sinful. (And if you believe jokes are sinful, I'm not sure you'll enjoy Heaven...)

Sin is mostly choice-based, though the exact boundaries of where mistakes end and sin begins are dependent on whose mistake or sin it is. A teacher has the responsibility to make sure their statements to students are correct; depending on the subject being taught, this might amount to a sin rather than a big mistake.

God is omniscient. This doesn't just mean "all-knowing". It also means He is infinitely intelligent, that He knows what to do with what He knows. He could not make a mistake, because of this quality.

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