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G, Davey, Who IS Mr. God Person?

Your Rent a Friend has it on “Shuffle.” Right now it’s Weird Al with ‘Grapefruit diet.’ If I know my Ipod, the next song will be a rousing march by Souza.

His mood is: …Oh, you don’t want to know. Let’s just say he’s waiting for the day old coffee to kick in.

To the casual observer, theology can seem like a dense underbrush of spiky vines, meshed grasses, towering trees, stinging insects, and near lethal allergens. This is how the rain forest in the Amazon Rain Basin appears to me. I’ve not been there, but I spoke to a friend about it. She went to the Amazon to work on a medical boat, providing assistance to the poor villagers who live on the river. Apparently I was absolutely correct. It’s a miracle that anyone survives living there. Their average stinging insect is the size of a single engine plane. To be fair, the Chicago Suburbs has all the allergens, stinging insects and humidity of the Amazon, but far more traffic due to construction, and where they have trees, we have political corruption. But I digress.

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I Think, Therefore I Scribble (Or: Cogito, Ergo Ducky)

Your Rent A Friend is Listening to The Fall, by Nora Jones.

His mood is… too tired to go chasing pirates.

I think, therefore I am. How about you? Do you think? If not, what makes you think you exist? Oh, I guess if you thought you existed, that would be you thinking. It was a silly question anyway. I guess what I’m getting at is the fact that you’ve probably heard this phrase before: “I think, Therefore I am” (Or, in the original French, “Cogito, Ergo Sum,” and in Pig Latin “Iway inkthay, ereforethay Iway amway.”). But have you ever wondered where it came from? Good thing you have a Rent A Friend like yours truly to clear up the vast mysteries.

Actually “Cogito, Ergo Sum” is Latin, but the guy who made this phrase popular was French. His name was Rene’ Descartes, and he was trying to find a way to reduce philosophy to the most basic of self-evident premises. It doesn’t get any more basic than realizing that you exist. If you need a lot of evidence to believe that you exist, just give up. You’re never going to be anything but a skeptic.
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Fake Math and Flying Spaghetti Monster

Your Rent A Friend is listening to: Count Basie Radio on Pandora.com

His Mood is: Good, baby! It’s ALL good.
(Rent-a-friend’s note: The email address at which to reach me is now a hotmail address for reasons which elude me. In short, if you ever wish to email me, it will have to be at hotmail because my gmail account imploded and cannot be recovered. Like the deathstar. Poof. I knew I should have put a screen on that thermal exhaust port!)

If you’ve been reading this blog faithfully (and by the look of my stats about four of you have), you know that I have been attempting to prove the existence of Objective Truth as outlined in my Metaphysical Map. If you haven’t been reading my blog, you probably think I am on powerful drugs which are not necessarily prescription. Let me assure you all that I know exactly what I’m talking about. I am talking about TRUTH! And part of the reason I am talking about truth is because I wish to tell you about Jesus. It’s not as much of a stretch as you might think to go from Metaphysical outlines of objective truth to a Jewish carpenter who claimed to be God.
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The Science Behind Birthday Cake

Your Rent a Friend is listening to: Pete Special’s Mozart Street

His Mood is: tentatively snacktastic

Not long ago we had hiked to the end of the Metaphysical Map and discovered that Knowing and Believing are impossible to separate, like duck-tape and leg hair. Along the way, we examined one of the biggest opponents to this idea, which is the position declaring “Science” to be the only real way to discover truth. And of course I pointed out that, if you choose to believe this position, it will not be based on scientific evidence. Sometimes the reasons which compel me to take a side in a debate are not hard to comprehend. This is one of those times.

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Brain Fat and the Metaphysical Nickel

Your Rent a Friend is listening to: Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald

His Mood is: A little frazzled, a little swingin’ (Which is better than just frazzled)

In order to wrap up our journey across the Metaphysical Map, it is time for us to take a walk around Belief and Knowledge. Get your metaphysical shoes on, strap on your backpack of previous knowledge, and bring some philosophical bug repellant. When we get there, we’ll make hypothetical S’mores!

Let’s recap where we’ve been: GOD creates reality, which includes rubber ducks. I see the rubber duck, and I see it as yellow, which it really is, so what I see is the truth. I have “The Rubber Duck Experience,” which I think was the name of a Jimi Hendrix album. Or it should have been.

My experience of the ducky is now processed in my mind. My experience is chewed thoroughly by the teeth of reason. Reason asks WHY? and HOW? And if it’s classically trained and well versed in Shakespeare, Wherefore art Thou? And then my logic licks the sides of my experience for those tiny flavors of intangible truth which can be discovered with WHAT IF? And then, when I have made connections and met categorical boundaries and defined things according to context and previous experience, my brain takes the step of Faith and swallows my experience so that it can be digested in my memory and metabolized into the muscle of intellect and the fat of useless knowledge which only gets recalled while playing Trivial Pursuit.
If you’ve heard this metaphor word-picture before, I’ll give you a dollar. Suffice it to say, I could continue the metaphor, but let’s all be glad that I did not. It would have used the phrase “Brain Fart.” But I have more class than that.
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World Views Up in Smoke

Your Rent a Friend is currently listening to Louis Prima (and loving it).
His mood is: Classic.

One of the great buzz words in modern Christian apologetics is “World View.” What this means is the philosophy that you see the world through. It’s the set of beliefs and assumptions that you use to understand, judge, and/or evaluate the world and your experiences. One of the ways you can evaluate a World View is by trying to figure out how you would have to live if that world view was really true.

For instance, there is a very popular metaphysical view that truth is relative. It’s called, Relativism. (Real creative, right?) Relativism teaches the idea that what is true for you is not necessarily true for me. This sounds great on paper because it seems open minded, as if no one is ever wrong. However, it’s really just a way for someone to say, “What you believe in is stupid,” without making themselves feel like they are not open-minded, much in the same way people sugar-coat racism by calling it “Diversity.” But I digress.
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Sean’s Shirt IS Red!

Greetings my Ham Sandwhiches! It’s your Rent A Friend here, and my inspiration for today’s lesson on all things awesome is Sean Slaughter from the What in the Ham Sandwich? Show.  http://www.thehamsandwichshow.com/

Check them out on i-tunes. Be a Hamster.

I recently listened to Ham Sandwich Show Podcasts “Oprah’s Church” from 12/11/08, and “Debate with an Atheist” from 6/12/07. In both, Sean attempts to make a point about the universal nature of TRUTH by first appealing to what color his shirt is. I think I can help streamline his argument. It goes like this:

The Scene- Sean is wearing a red shirt and talking to his wife, True-Asia, and their friend Cook, AKA Cook Dawg, AKA the Drumma Beast Boy, AKA Saint Nick, AKA Captain Platypus of Space Patrol (Some of these nicknames might not be accurate).

Sean: My shirt is RED.

True-Asia: No, your shirt is black.

Cook: You both be trippin! You shirt be green!

Sean: I think you mean to say, “You both are trippin. Your shirt is green.”

Cook: Yes, of course. Excuse me. Your shirt is green.

True-Asia: Spoken like a true gentleman.

STEP 1.

FACT: They each perceive the shirt differently.

FACT: They DO each perceive the shirt.

FACT: Perception requires something to perceive. If the shirt was not REAL, they would not all perceive it at all.

THEREFORE: The shirt is REAL. The three independent perceptions prove it does exist, even though they disagree with some details. It is not an illusion or a hallucination, or what politicians refer to as “A Press Release,” or “The Polls” or “Statistics.” But I digress.

STEP 2.

FACT: The shirt actually exists. It is REAL.

FACT: A real object will reflect a certain wavelength of light, while absorbing the others. (In other words, it will be a certain color. See your box of Crayons for details.)

FACT: One color is not another color. (Red is not black, green is not yellow, etc. See the labels on your crayons for further details.)

THEREFORE: If the shirt is RED, it is not black or green. If it is green, it is not black or red, etc. Again, Crayola has given you all the information on this that you will ever need, in convenient boxes of 64 (With a sharpener in the back!!!). Sean, True, and Cook CANNOT all be correct. At least two of them MUST be wrong.

STEP 3.

FACT: If the shirt is RED, it is not black or green. (Only in a discussion of philosophy would this have to be stated.)

FACT: Color is determined by the wavelength of light, not by perception. (A Yellow taxi remains yellow even when no one sees it, or when it is seen by a color blind person who cannot see the color yellow. His limited perception would not change the wavelength of the light coming from the Taxi)

FACT: Sean’s shirt is reflecting a light wavelength range of roughly 630–740 Nanometers, which is (and what most human eyes perceive as) the color red RED. (Yes, I looked this up on Wikipedia. Don’t you judge me!)

THEREFORE: Sean’s perception is correct, and his assertion (“My shirt is red”) is TRUE. Cook and True’s perceptions and/or assertions are FALSE. (Either they see it incorrectly and are honest about what they see, or they see it correctly but are lying.)

STEP 4.

FACT: Light is necessary for us to see, but we do not need to see light for it to exist. In other words- Our perception allows us to be aware of light, it does not MAKE the light. The light exists OUTSIDE of our perception.

FACT: The light reflected by Sean’s shirt would remain the same even if no one saw it, or if no one saw it correctly. (A room full of color blind people might all agree that Sean’s shirt is black, but they would all be wrong- it still reflects a light wavelength range of roughly 630–740 Nanometers, AKA RED. The reality has not changed, but their perceptions cannot accurately see what is REAL)

THEREFORE: Reality (Of which light is one part) exists outside of and independent of our perceptions, knowledge and beliefs.

STEP 5.

FACT: Reality is independent of our perceptions, knowledge, and beliefs.

FACT: Truth is word or thought accurately reflecting reality (describing what is REAL).

THEREFORE: TRUTH exists independently of our perceptions, knowledge or beliefs.

Conclusion:

Because Sean’s shirt is REAL, then there are TRUE facts about it (Like what color it is) and FALSE statements concerning it (Like saying it is green when it is in fact RED). Because there is ONE reality (of which the shirt and all of us are a part) then the TRUTH about the shirt is TRUE for all of us, even if we do not perceive, know, or believe that truth. It is TRUE that Sean’s shirt is red, even if we do not see, know, or believe that it is, because the TRUTH is not determined by our perception, knowledge or belief, but by the real shirt (i.e. Reality).

Application:

God made all that is. There is one REALITY. We perceive it accurately, and thus perceive TRUTH, or we perceive it wrong and perceive an illusion. We can know, think, or say something which accurately describes that reality, which would be TRUTH, or we can believe, think, or say something which does NOT accurately describe reality, which would be a lie. Anything TRUE is true for ALL PEOPLE because the truth does not depend on us, it depends on REALITY.  Any truth is universal. If it is not universal, it is not TRUE. And as God is the creator of all reality, this is why it can be said that All Truth is God’s Truth.

Oh, and everything that can be said, Metaphysically, about Sean’s shirt, can be said about rubber ducks. In case you wanted to connect this with my previous blogs.

rentafriend2000@hotmail.com

The Duck is on the Floor

A friend and I were walking down the street in the heart of Chicago, headed to find some food. Finding food is one of a very few selected reasons to be on the street in Chicago after dark, especially in the winter when the temperature drops low enough to cause all life functions to cease and then to be blown away in the hurricane-like winds that roar through the ice-crusted buildings. The other reason is to find entertainment, like the plethora of small theaters where actual actors stand on an actual stage and recite memorized lines. Or they drink beer and make it up as they go. I’ve been to both kinds of theatre in Chicago and the lesson there is: you get what you pay for.

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Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion

Weigh your choices carefully!

I stumbled into a great facebook post recently. See if this sounds familiar:

A friend of mine had expressed a disliking of a particular movie. The person she was talking to berated her for her opinion, as if her personal taste in movies could be compared to having interchangeable tooth/toilet brushes. Because she didn’t feel the same way he did, he chose to criticize her and call her ignorant, which of course did nothing to change her mind. It only made her angry. If we looked into it, I expect we would find much of the Middle East peace talks going along these lines.

The online response of her friends was the typical reply to such a situation: “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, (So far, so good) because an opinion is neither true or false- it is subjective.” That last part is where they are wrong. Well, it is my opinion that they are wrong, and I am correct, which makes my opinion true and theirs false. Ok, before you go throwing full wine bottles at your computer screen, let me explain.

You’ll notice that, in earlier posts, I put Opinion below Belief and Knowledge on the Metaphysical Map. You might have wondered why it wasn’t put with Perception or Experience. The reason is, an Opinion is a statement of absolute, transcendent, universal truth expressing a believed piece of knowledge which is either TRUE or FALSE. Did I just blow your mind? I know I did. I could hear it from here. Take my hand. It’s going to be OK! And there’s nothing wrong with a little therapy if you need it.

When someone expresses an opinion, it is one of two things. It’s either a statement about the speaker (“I like pizza”) or it’s about some object on which the speaker is offering judgment (“Pizza is better than aerospace technology”). When I give you my opinion, I’m either talking about me, or I’m talking about something else (in this case, pizza). In the first statement, I am saying something about ME- specifically that I like pizza. This is either true or false. I could be lying. It may be true that far from liking pizza, I despise it, because I am some godless hippy communist pinko creep PRETENDING to like pizza so I can infiltrate your society and corrode it from the inside. Or maybe I’m just lactose intolerant.  Thankfully, neither of those is true, so it remains a TRUE statement that “I like Pizza.”

Why is this not subjective? Because it is ALWAYS true for everyone everywhere that I Like Pizza. It doesn’t matter if YOU like Pizza. I will still like pizza no matter how YOU feel. It’s not always about YOU, you know. We share a Reality, and in the REAL universe, I like pizza. If someone ever tells you that I do NOT like pizza, they are a liar. Do not give them your credit card information, nor vote for them.

In the second statement I am comparing two things. Sometimes people do this when they really mean to make a statement about themselves. When I said “Pizza is better than aerospace technology,” I REALLY meant, “Given the choice between them, I would choose Pizza because I am not lactose intolerant, but I am afraid of heights.” This, much like the First World War, is a result of poor grammar. Once again, the statement is either true or false, but it is intended to be a statement about my personal response to things.

But what if it’s not? What if I really am comparing Pizza Hut to NASA? In this case, I am comparing these things, not to themselves alone, but to some external standard of good and bad. To say something is “Better” only makes sense if there is some standard of GOOD to compare two things against. The one that conforms most closely to the definition of “Good” is the one which is “Better.” So, we must ask in what ways these things are similar so that they might be compared. How about this: Both cost money. We could say pizza is better because I can get a large pepperoni pizza for five dollars, where as ANYTHING made by NASA costs more than the gross national product of South America. And I can promise you it won’t be delivered to your door in half an hour or less. But if by “Good” I mean, capable of sustaining life in a low orbit for prolonged periods of time, then the better of the two (and it’s a close call) would be NASA. Without the proper aerospace technology, you would be dead before the pizza was even out of the box. Even at five dollars, that’s a bad deal.

Maybe you don’t compare Italian foods to various technology fields. I can see no reason why you wouldn’t, but it takes all kinds to make a world. Since my standard of “good” above is based on my personal preferences (Either I prefer to spend $5 at a time or I prefer to survive the trip into space) and not on some external standard (like calories or cubic inches) then there is no reason I should expect you to judge according to this standard I set up for myself. You might argue that pizza is better than aerospace technology because without pizza you would shrivel and die like a plant in the desert, making the shuttle and the most advanced satellites irrelevant. This is valid. But what if I said “Pizza is CHEAPER than aerospace technology.”? Cheaper is a math concept. Pizza is cheaper, because it costs less money. A thousand jillion dollars is clearly more than $5, making pizza the “better” (meaning cheaper) alternative. This is not up for argument. If you think it is, you’re either Bill Gates or the sultan of Brunei. In either case, I would be willing to be adopted into your family/last will and testimony.

What then can we say about someone who demands you consider a certain movie as “Good”? Maybe he is comparing the film to some standard of quality (“The movie was in focus and had audible dialogue” or, “This movie did not contain Keanu Reeves attempting to use a British accent”). Maybe he really means to make a statement about himself (“This movie made me cry like a little girl”) and he wishes for you to feel the same so that he will not feel like such a sissy. Or maybe he’s a jerk who doesn’t care what the conversation is about and he’s just trying to pick a fight. If he’s this third type, just walk away, man. Just walk away. Everyone is entitled their own subjective emotional response to external stimuli, but when you choose to express those feelings, choose your words carefully because if you don’t, you will sound like a jerk. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

rentafriend2000@hotmail.com

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