Articles and Opinion
Answers to questions on serious topics
Alcohol, God and Universal Creation, Your Pets
and the Afterlife
Why are you against alcohol? It's a great escape from the stress of living , it creates bonding among friends while at the same time alcohol is cheap and readily available.
I see alcohol as one of the major reasons why there's a breakdown in peace and order in today's society and the cause for lots of family fights and separation. Many talents, too, are wasted because of alcohol; not just great minds but ordinary people as well who could have performed in their work more admirably had they not been into drinking. Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite authors and he was an alcoholic yet he was able to write great short stories and poetry. I wonder however, had he not been an alcoholic. Would his short stories and poetry been tempered somewhat?
Personally, I believe that alcohol should be classified as a regulated drug. It can be given in hospitals and prescribed by medical practitioners, but this would need a bit of effort to implement. There's a lot of moonshiners and folks could still produce alcohol in their backyards, but, it is the availability of alcohol in commercial quantities that is ruining our youth. One time late at night, I was buying a few groceries in a 24-hour convenience store. When I went to the counter to pay for the bill, the man ahead of me in the line who look depraved, was taking more time paying his purchase. He was carrying the cheapest brand of gin available at the store and one or two packs of chips to go along with it. What disconcerted me most was he was paying with different coins, more than a dozen pieces of them, as if he were draining the last of his life's savings. I felt sorry for him, his family, and for his parents who never taught him that drink can be damaging. I doubt if his parents encouraged him to drink, but it shows that it is a problem not just confined to the family but is widespread throughout the community and will continue into the future generations.
There was a time when drinking alcohol was mainly for men. Now even boys and girls drink, too. Television advertisements, print ads, and others show how glamorous and cool it is for girls and teen-agers to drink. Honestly, would you like your mother or if you're married, your young daughter to be drinking alcohol? It affects the brain and the resulting thinking processes, and as the habit forms, the damage may become serious. You don't need a scientific study to confirm this; just observe some drunk. His speech is slurred and seems to require a lot of effort to speak, with muscles twitching under the strain. Better yet, if you know of any alcoholic, try to understand his thinking process: it usually is irrational even when he is sober.
Don't tell me too that alcohol does not change the perception of one's values. Even in today's modern and hip society, it is still values that make our community sane. Now here's a bit of news: The government of Ireland, headed by Prime Minister Bertie Ahern planned to put labels as health warnings on alcoholic drinks as well as curb alcohol related advertisements. He observed rightly that the young people of his country are being saturated with alcoholic ads.
So, I think this is a very commendable move on the part of a government to protect and provide for its future.
If God created everything in the universe and we are part of it, then we are an extension of God, not just a teeny-weeny bit; ergo, God cannot be detached from our karma and experiences because God is the Creator. It's just like an artist recording a song in cd. You cannot rightly say that the artist is above and detached from the audio waves of the cd because it is the artist who created the cd which is then the extension of himself with his thoughts and emotions. Contrary to what you said, I believe that God is everything.
From the emails I receive, I have observed that the questions of the people of the east are mostly about karma and relationships to people while western people ask about God being all and one. It is as if people of the east can put aside God and focus on their interpersonal relationship and karma; western people want God to be part of their daily life and experience. Karma is an eastern concept while monotheism really got around because of western influence; but either doesn't make its follower more holy and religious.
If you say that God is everything, remember that you cannot prove your statement inasmuch as I can't prove that He is not everything. There are people who believe however that God created everything and His spirit entered into each of His creation. Can we say then that the "spirit of God" entered but is limited only to living things? If God created everything, then even inanimate and nonliving things are a part of God and man won't really know who or which God loves the most. We are not Him, therefore we cannot reason out how He perceives things.
Although I don't really enjoy arguing but for the sake of the question, let's go further. If God created everything, including man, then either man has free will or not. If man is predestined and the "hairs on his head is counted" then he is part of God with no free will at all. But if God has given man full and complete free will, then there must be a part of man which is not God.
Opponents to this line of thinking now would say that as the son came from the mother (to take just one side of the biological parents) and the mother came from her mother and grandmother, so by the same analogy, man is an extension of God. They say that Man has a free will because he has a choice between doing evil and be relegated to hell for eternity or to choose being good and be with God for eternal time. They say that after God has given man free fill, He did not totally abandon him but guided him towards His kingdom and provided him with tools to be near Him. But, man still has a choice between good and evil and if he chooses evil, then he has exercised his free will, and that free will opposes God's nature so that is not God's. Ergo, God is not everything.
Intelligent people of course know that the above is philosophy for the idle. All of the above explanation is hogwash for people who believe in reincarnation and karma. We believe that we were born to earth to overcome weaknesses and to learn, and by learning progress. We are responsible for the decisions we make and we will suffer or enjoy the consequences. It is not a question for us whether we have free will or not. We chose these talents and handicaps we have for our tasks here on the world , and it is up to us how to use them to the fullest or how to overcome the latter. But rest assured, when the soul has departed from the body and is now in the spirit world, he will be able to comprehend the reality of God, and will take it as a matter of course, like the air we breathe while we are alive.
News reports being disseminated around state that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Will WMD be found in Iraq? Did the US leadership fool us into believing there were WMD then led us into war?
As the presses are turning, there are no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. But there may be part and parcel lying around; there might have been plans to build them in Iraq and the first steps beyond pencil pushing might have begun. Just think what may happen if one of these nuclear devices or biological weapons (or bombs) would get into a mad leader's hand. He can threaten the free world to bow before him under the threat of nuclear and biological Armageddon. The free world will not be easily intimated of course nor will it immediately surrender, but why wait for the scenario to happen. If a tyrant or dictator has oppressed his people and country men for many long years, and wants to be top gun in his region, there is no credible reason that he will not develop then use WMD to serve his own interests to increase his power. Its just like a kid playing with a real gun; better to take it away from him before he shoots somebody else.
The U.S. is now the only world power and as I see it its better that there's only one superpower rather than two who don't get along. The United Nations was formed to foster peace among countries and to settle disputes through peaceful means, instead of armed conflict that may lead to war. It also arbitrates between contending states and issues advice to avoid conflicts. It has been successful in many areas such as peace keeping, health care, reconstruction work, humanitarian aid and education. There is one area however where the United Nations is not known for: it is for bringing justice to oppressed people.
A lot of dictators and tyrants rule their countries for many years through annihilation of their political enemies and critics, genocide and fear. Atrocities are committed and basic human rights are violated. After the dictator is ousted by a coup d etat or a revolution, he runs to another country, seeks refuge there and lives off the interests and investments made from the illegal wealth he amassed while he was in power or receives a pension from the host government. He lives in relaxation and peace because he knows there is no organized body to go after him and extract payment and retribution from him. His victims never receive justice, though they might have been scarred for life. Another dictator or tyrant on the other hand would just keep on exploiting the resources of his country, oppressing the people, and threatening to invade, overcome and annex his weaker neighboring countries, because he knows the "system" allows him do it.
If it is the duty of the U.N. to save oppressed peoples from their tyrannical rulers, then there would be less human suffering. The UN applies economic sanctions and other means to pressure the leadership of the country to adopt a more liberal attitude in governance but these methods rarely affect the ruler because he is well ensconced with power and wealth in his community. If he invests wisely (even if he doesn't he will have amassed a fortune in a short time) his retirement would be something luxurious, secure and peaceful because there's no one to go after him. In this regard, Simeon Wiesenthal was right in pursuing the war criminals of World War II.
There ought to be a body in the UN to handle these crimes against humanity and try the leaders of the countries who are holding their citizens as hostages. The obvious sign of a country's downfall into tyrannical submission is the imprisonment, disappearance and killing of non-violent political opponents. The freedom of the press and speech is stifled, and non-essential travel overseas is banned. Just at this early stage, the free world should already bring this to the attention of the UN.
As it is now, the US is the supreme world power. It can play a lead role in the UN when it is necessary but as a superpower it has duties and obligations to the human race. Maybe this is putting too much expectations on the US but who will assist people who are being oppressed by their leaders, and whose very own neighbors just ignore what is happening? I think one of the worst political statements of the day is saying that genocide, terrorism, mass murders of innocent civilians etc. is one country's internal problem and affair. The world is fast becoming one big community and one side cannot ignore the other side. We are no longer in the age of exploration and discovery when the oceans divided the continents. We are one community on planet earth. If the ozone layer is depleted all of us get exposed to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Similarly, if wars, like wildfires, are not contained and stopped, they will spread. We in the free world cannot just sleep and hope tomorrow will be a brighter day for our oppressed neighbors. Sometimes, when help is needed, help should be extended.
I have had lots of pets and years after my favorite dog died, I would still dream about it, specially when I had been feeling a bit low during the day. Do you think this is just memory coming into perspective or is it really my pet? If these appearances were more than just memories do you think animals have souls then?
It has never been taught to us in our modern society that animals, plants and all living things have souls. If parents and adults would just acknowledge to children that their pet dogs, cats or goldfish have souls, too, these animals would not be mistreated. Children would grow up respecting more creatures, but because organized religions do not acknowledge that animals have spirits the ordinary layman has no idea what to advice his children. It would be easy to say to young people that animals are God's creatures, too, with their own heaven. But because this is not accepted and common knowledge, genuine animal lovers just hold on to their feelings and beliefs to themselves.
Yes, It is possible that your beloved pet who is now in the spirit world comes around in your dreams to visit you. It may visit you to cheer you up or offer comfort. There are a lot of reasons but it is not to harm you.
If in your dream, the color or your surroundings are vibrant, full of life and your pet looks in the best of health and is full of energy, then the dream was not the result of a memory which was hitched but it was your pet paying you a visit. You can visit your other pets also if you have genuinely loved them while they were under your care.