Salvation by austerity

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By Lance Corporal X


I. Social Contract

In my last article, I mentioned my keen interest in the superstitious nature of the Philippines. I heard it all while over there, from vampires to dwarves to fairies to giants to ghosts. My personal favorite was the faceless apparition that hovered as you slept only to wake you with some sort of ominous whisper, then spin away like a tornado through solid material. At the heart of all this is our hopes and fears. That’s the reason people usually attribute good or bad to these things. In the West, these beliefs have largely been relegated to story books or movies. But if you look hard enough you’ll find it over here in America too — what survived are Bigfoot and Alien sightings.

Since we learned how to transport fire, we’ve continuously pushed our fears away. It’s a never ending push, but every inch of hope — no matter how small — humanity improves (relatively). Without that initial discovery and the ability to transport fire, every night was an ordeal; get eaten by large cats, mauled by a pack of wolves or trampled by marauding herds. Before I get labelled as an intellectual racist again, let me point out that the coolest, most efficient, way to make fire is by fire piston. While people in Europe were banging items together to produce a spark, Filipinos were compressing air to produce ignition. I’m using fire here as metaphor and the fire piston as example of the ability to come up with something truly original apart from the West.

Though tools and technology may differ, hopes and fears, are the same everywhere — whether in the Kalahari desert, Amazon jungle or the Arctic. People have always attempted to carve out more hope than fear. After we learned how to control fire, we learned to speak. We were probably already grunting, but the fire enticed us to do more with our voice box. Seated around a camp fire, you just can’t help it. The fire invites you to tell stories. So we got (1) fire and we got language, and that was our first evening entertainment — actually procreation was, but that doesn’t really make us special from the rest of creation.

With a little bit more hope and talking over fire, now ideas can be shared. One lazy hunter, over a warm fire, must have floated the idea of capturing wild animals and domesticating them. Prompting another lazy gatherer to match the animal domestication idea with plant domestication. Small family units can subsist on hunting and gathering, but once you have a bunch of (2) animals and plants under your care, you need manpower. So the mantra now is the more the merrier, only there’s nothing merry about more — it’s the exact opposite.

After fire and language, then animal and plant cultivation, came (3) social organization. And with that, a new sense of morality had to be hammered out. The Golden Rule that worked perfectly well before was too simple — ‘do as I say, not as I do’ is more fitting when dealing with hierarchies. How do you do that? Come up with supernatural stuff,. It’s no accident that ancient peoples worshiped animal deities. They were, after all, our primal fears — jaguars, hippos, elephants, scorpions and tigers today still represent a clear and present danger for people. So leaders manufactured half-human, half-animal gods and used them to scare people into doing things.

As time went on, and wild animals were effectively kept at bay, we became more fearful of other humans, so our gods reflected those fears. Predictably, the gods became super powerful humans, who themselves were subject to their own social organizations. We were suppose to mirror them, but actually the gods mirrored us (art imitating life). It worked, a little too well — since this concept is still used today. But with fire and language, then animals and plants, the main reason behind social organization and morality is obedience, the ability for the people at the top of the supernatural pyramid scheme to direct the rest below.

(1) fire and language
(2) animal and plants
(3) hierarchy and morality


II. Church and State

This is the essence of Thomas Hobbes‘ social contract, peace by coercion through imposed obedience with supernatural magic. St. Thomas Aquinas’ Aristotelian movement had yet to hit its stride at the time of Hobbes, but (4) science and education (the sharing of knowledge through print) would eventually counteract those last two human advancements by promoting other forms of social organizations and morality — where before certain ideas cornered the market, now ideas were freely exchanged with relevant ease. The current set of advancements, which we are now in, isn’t really anything mind blowing like fire and language, conquering animals and plants. It’s just variety — more ideas, knowing more, creating more.

So (5). whatever human advancements unfold after that must somehow include less — just less of everything. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. For now, I just want to set up Hobbes and how he was at the end of the line of the third set of human advancement — basically justifying divine decree (or absolute authority), but this time by consent. Two other guys will argue against Hobbes’ (‘Leviathan’, 1651) absolute rule. Whenever people think of separation of Church and State, they think of John Locke. But Locke was exposed to this idea, when he took off to Holland (the Netherlands) in the 1680s, and hung out with Baruch Spinoza‘s friends. Spinoza died in 1677, but his separation of Church & State was the buzz at that time.

But unlike Locke’s, Spinoza’s separation presumed that religion did more harm than good (‘Theological-Political Treatise’, 1670). And since every philosophy in essence is an autobiography, Spinoza’s life story makes a very compelling case for this presumption — the Spanish inquisition, wars between Catholic and Protestant, Luther’s and Calvin’s violent consolidation campaigns and Spinoza getting excommunicated by his own Jewish community. So he dies, and Locke gets in trouble in England and goes to Holland. Locke spends time with Spinoza’s friends and gets to talking about Church and State separation.

The only difference with Spinoza is that Locke likes religion (‘Letter Concerning Toleration’, 1689). He just didn’t like Catholics and atheists, which Spinoza undoubtedly was. So where Spinoza’s presumption was the State needed protection from the Church, Locke’s was the opposite: the Church (small, less powerful Protestant churches) needed protection from the State. So Locke’s separation of Church and State became doctrine in the New World and got applied by American Founding Fathers. Franklin, Paine and Jefferson were fans of Spinoza, so they instituted checks and balances, presuming, like Spinoza did, that too much power needs to be put in check.

So we here in the US understand the separation of Church and State, not as protection for institutions, but protection for the individual, the little guy. And that little guy is the bellwether, depending on how much freedom he is afforded or abused for his own ideas, no matter how unpopular, that balance between Church and State rests on that atheist (he’s the little guy), whose only church is his mind. Over here, no presidential candidate can be elected if he makes a public pronouncement of his unbelief. I’m sure over there, this truth is multiplied a hundred times, maybe a thousand.

And that’s the litmus test here – there’s no true separation – but is the atheist protected? Europe probably has the closest mechanism to the ideal of separation, but look at the Muslim Salafi attacks in the Netherlands. The irony is that just when they were able to curb Church power, another church (the third iteration of Abraham’s religion) is poised to wreak havoc once again. And just as the events in Europe affected things in Asia, it will again be so (Battles of La Naval de Manila).


Map_of_the_Pentagon's_War_on_Terrorism_strategy_2010 (1)

[Photo credit: Major General Darren W. McDew, USAF, Vice Director, Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, the Joint Staff [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

We’ve already produced so much under science and education, but it hasn’t completely nullified our old hierarchy and morality — maybe because we never really attempted to replace them. So another human advancement is necessary to save us from ourselves. Whatever it is has to include austerity.

4). science and education
5). whatever this is (will be), has to include less


III. Salvation by Austerity

Granted that the little atheist has no need for salvation. He understands the world a little differently from most. But that ‘most’ is what’s problematic to the relative freedom the atheist enjoys (ie. zero in Saudi Arabia and maybe 98% in the US — depending how far you are from either coast). Hence the need for that atheist to push for a better form of salvation, one he already knows via the humility that comes from not being sure. I’m an agnostic when speaking to atheists, who’ve themselves fell into the same hole of dogma. I’m only an atheist to believers who, Tebow through life, insist that Jesus or God is a personal deity much like the Romans and northern barbarians conceived their gods to be (like rappers and R&B artists at the Grammy’s).

Most will prefer wading in the shallow end, some will even attempt to convince themselves that the shallow is in fact the deep (delusion). Only a few will venture towards the deep end and fewer still will go deeper. How are we, the little atheists (much like Spinoza), at the mercy of the many, to convince the Most of a better idea of salvation? A salvation that will not only benefit the few but also the many who prefer 100% than the more abstract concept of probability that is life. How do you curb fanatics (Spinoza), and at the same time save souls from damnation (Locke), while ensuring order (Hobbes)? The answer is simple and Jesus was correct all along: Austerity.

We can still entertain all conceptions of Christian salvation, just make the initial step of your journey to heaven austerity. Pastors and priests can preach salvation by belief alone (by Paul), but if they are driving expensive cars, skimming from Customs and partaking in orgies (big or small), they’ve not gone through the initial step. If salvation by works (by James), then similar litmus tests can be applied. For example, Mother Theresa did a lot of work; she didn’t need a bullet proof SUV to get around and get things done.

Because salvation by austerity isn’t exclusive from faith alone and works, souls can still be saved (the Eternal Damnation Locke was worried about). But more importantly, these pyramid schemes that generate the power of fanatics (the True Believers Spinoza was worried about) can be counteracted — if not quite on the ground, at least in theory.

But the ultimate beauty of Salvation by Austerity is that the State will finally have ammunition. Spinoza and Hobbes agreed that between Church and State, the State posed more promise. By legislating austerity as the main definition of religion, criminal and tax laws will be easier to enforce. Religious organizations attempting to subvert the State can be downsized, much like the US gov’t downsized the Church of Latter Day Saints in the 1800s (the US gov’t today should do the same to the Church of Scientology). Hobbes envisioned Peace, but understood that peace was different from that period of time between wars. The absence of war is not Peace, it’s just a break from war. Peace is harmony, and this is near impossible, but prolonging periods of no violence is good enough.

That’s the governance view in all this.

Aside from hierarchy and morality, austerity will also address not only individual salvation but humanity’s continued existence on this planet, which should take priority over some perceived happiness in the afterlife. The happy days brought on by (4) science and education, because we weren’t able to come up with better (3) hierarchy and morality, is fast coming to a close. Whether it will end quickly or gets drawn out into a long period of Suckiness, we can’t return to the number (3) of the Dark Ages, so it behooves us to come up with something better now while we still have our wits. Hope vs. fear, so (5) whatever this will be, has to include Salvation of Austerity (by Jesus)–more hope, less fear.

The only question now is, do current superstitious trends in the Philippines prove amenable to Salvation by Austerity? Or do nights still invoke fears of giants, monsters, fairies, vampires, ghosts and other-worldly apparitions that Salvation by Austerity cannot really cure?


346 Responses to “Salvation by austerity”
  1. Reminds me a bit of Stoicism – Seneca, Marcus Aurelius. In a way the ancients were already closer to what you are describing, but the Christian religion played the same role that radical Islam might play in todays Roman, no American empire – everything went several steps back.

    Of course some of the best Christian orders had austerity as part of their doctrine – Franciscans definitely, and for Jesuits austerity was part and parcel of their mental discipline. In the East, you have Zen Buddhism and Taoism, as well as the discipline of martial arts and the samurai code.

    In an opulent civilization where you can have everything, austerity is the antidote to decadence. Fasting is one type of austerity. Vows of silence are another. Staying away from mass media for a week also is and is wonderful for getting back into focus. Finally it is about sharpening the saw.

    • edgar lores says:

      Have to agree with Irineo.

      I cannot quite connect the dots, how a life of voluntary poverty encourages religious pluralism or how the State can legislate voluntary poverty as the definition of religion.

      States have promoted austerity at one time or another. For example, Greece recently, and I recall President Carlos Garcia implemented an Austerity Program.

      “Austerity is the antidote to decadence.” I like that line. More, austerity is the antidote to consumerism, which keeps the economic wheels turning, which is the engine of progress and development.

      I would like to comment further on the salvation aspect… but will leave this for tomorrow. However in connection to my previous question of why there is a need for salvation, the answer still seems to be to save us from ourselves. My follow-up question was: “What happens if we ditch the paradigm of salvation?” And my follow-up comment to this question essentially was: “The salvation paradigm is a solution to a problem that may not in fact exist.”

      I must say the recapitulation of Hobbes, Spinoza and Hobbes is outstanding. And I agree that the bias of Spinoza and Hobbes on the separation doctrine is on the mark.

      Disclosure: I live the Stoic life but am not averse to Epicurean delights.

      • “how the State can legislate voluntary poverty as the definition of religion.”

        It is more than religion, it is ethics. All great nations and empires had an austere elite.

        At least in their founding phases, until austerity gave way to decadence and decay.

        So it is less about religion, it is more about elites being true leaders and good examples.

        Reminds me of a meme comparing the houses of all sorts of politicians with that of DU30…

        • Fellas,

          To be sure this is absolutely nothing new. Before the Greeks and the Jains, I’m sure there were other Stoics & Jinas (this needs to be studied further) living a life of austerity.

          I don’t now live a Stoic life.

          I would say a mild Epicurean life (though I place Epicurus closer to Stoics). But when I see a life lived austerely, either like the Spartans or Samurais (as a code), or a monk, or a warrior-philosopher (or monastic-warrior, many of these in the US military), or urban homesteaders, or read such lives put down into words personally by folks like John Muir, Thoreau, etc. I appreciate it.

          So recognition of an austere life is easy, it’s contentment with less TO absolutely pure pleasure of not having anything. Conversely, the opposite of austerity is even simpler to recognize, it’s “Keeping up with the Kardashians” or when I was young, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, it’s Joel Osteen’s take on Christianity, it’s everywhere.

          But the majority are caught in between… (more on this)

          My first taste of austerity was 3 months in bootcamp. But it was such a whirlwind of activities that you don’t really appreciate until you’re done. You graduate and look down on the ground, to see your seabag (duffel bag), body bag (garment bag, for Dress Alphas & Blues) and war bar (gym bag with PT, hygiene and extraneous items). And that’s it. That’s everything you own in this world.

          And ever since I’ve tried to live up to that amount of stuff.

          Then you get exposed to the ancient Greeks, history, Philosophy, etc.

          But back at bootcamp you were required to attend either Catholic or Protestant mass, so you get a sense of how Christian the US military is–though the chaplains were well aware of “No Prefs” and Buddhists and Muslims, and always took the time to say, “I know not everyone here is Christian, but if you want me to get a hold of someone in your faith, another chaplain, or just talk, you are more than Welcome”. (religious pluralism, more on this too)

          It’s not until the School of Infantry when you get do, what you joined to do. Bootcamp is more a cultural experience. Like a modern day, shorter and easier version of the Spartan agoge— an indoctrination process designed to convince you that you can do more with less.

          Then you deploy to the 3rd world, sometimes when there’s still a modicum of order, other times in chaos. And realize that even with less, compared to American standards, in the Marine Corps, out there you are luxurious. Then you start reading Gen. Smedley Butler ‘s (USMC) take on things and become convince that there’s a reason why everything is screwed (but you can’t quite put a handle on it, and every time you think you do, it’s not it).

          So this article is a string of articles (some written, some not, others simply expressed in drunken form) attempting to figure out how everything is so complicated and screwed. Triggered by Bert and edgar‘s queries on salvation and the need for it. I’ll try to get back to salvation in detail.

          There’s several layers because I basically pulled an i7sharp, in a span of 2 days from that initial salvation query to the INC article, connecting seemingly unconnected concepts.

          But just wanted to express that this article is just me trying to get back to that day when I graduated from bootcamp with only those 3 bags–and no others. That’s my skin in the game, that’s my austerity or symbolizes that austere life I’ve tried to circle back to. More later…

          • “Like a modern day, shorter and easier version of the Spartan agoge— an indoctrination process designed to convince you that you can do more with less.”

            One of my greatest experiences in austerity was an all-day rafting tour with a friend – a reserve officer of the Gebirgsjäger (Mountain Rangers) who does this kind of stuff – rafting, mountaineering, parachuting – as his business with different kinds of groups – tourists, companies (some wanting to do the usual kick-off stuff or teambuilding) and more. We were in a restaurant/pub and he invited two waitresses to come with us the next morning. Told me afterwards if the girls are not there by 8 a.m. we go by ourselves…

            He did push me to the limit – that was a time I was in very bad shape – but knew exactly how far he could go with me. Heavy bursts of activity with breaks to eat and drink on the shore. Contented tiredness on the way back home – we went by train both ways with gear.

            The mini version of that is when I get my bike and ride for a few hours along the river banks, especially if I take the route that goes out of the city and you meet less and less people. Every stop looking at the water, the trees, the skies brings me back to basics. When I come back I am at times energized, sometimes tired, but definitely more focused – a lot of the mental garbage that modern life and the internet brings has been taken out.

            Being in places where money does not count or hardly does, using one’s senses for what they were originally made for – to survive in the natural world. Makes things much simpler. Brings one closer to or back to one’s center. Restores self-confidence. Makes more aware.

  2. chempo says:

    Lance, nice read, but have to confess it’s too deep for me.

    I’m no soteriologist so I don’t really dig the proclivity to tag this idea of “salvation” to human history. Now “austerity” simply as a way of life is something I can grasp easily. I only hope your idea of austerity does not trespass into draconian denials — somewhat like ISSIS marching back to perceived sinless dark ages.

    Austerity is what ordinary good parents teach their brood. Live a humble life, that’s the essence. That’s why Buddhist monks in Thailand do the mandatory street begging for food — kanin. Austerity underlines the Buddhist way of life. Not because of salvation from rebirth as you previously mentioned. But austerity trains one to live a live without lust for materialism. Flip side of the coin, austerity demonises consumerism, that’s gonna cause some economic ills.

    Austerity alone cannot solve the Greeks’ problems.

    • “austerity demonises consumerism, that’s gonna cause some economic ills.” Not really.

      One can have a Stoic life and Epicurean delights – and in fact enjoy the latter more.

      Lack of austerity causes a lot of ills in the Philippines:

      1) lazy relatives wasting the hard-earned money of their OFW relatives in the mall instead of buying schoolbooks like they told their tiyo or tiya in Saudi – forgoing self-improvement.

      2) powerful people destroying chances for medium- or long-term development (and therefore medium- or long-term business opportunities) to make a fast buck. Whether these people are politicians, businessmen or work at customs does not really matter.

      3) Drivers who swerve for short-term gain in traffic – causing traffic to get even worse.

      Austerity teaches delayed gratification, something very important – google the marshmallow experiment for that. It teaches foresight and responsibility, not just quick fun or money.

      Without some degree of austerity, Singapore would not be disciplined and successful.

      • chempo says:

        @ Irineo

        My limited cranium only processed austerity in the consumerism sense. But yes, I can see where you’re going when you expand the scope of gratification.

        Thanks for the refer to marshmallow experiment. Something new for me. Seems there’s a bit of chicken and egg situation to me. The kids with ability to delay gratification have better life outcomes. Perhans they have some other inborn life characteristics (that would also have given them better life outcomes anyway) that enabled them to have better delay gratification capabilities.

        I spent about 2 years in a factory in Malaysia where I tried to implement some incentive scheme linked to productivity measured over a couple of months. That scheme involved the withdrawal of a small weekly allowance but promised a larger payout if productivity increases. The workers displayed no interest. My operations manager, a local boy there, explained to me that the folks here are happier if you give them the $10 allowance now, than to wait for $300 in 2 months time. I don’t want to sound rascist, but Malays do tend to have a more laid back tendency. They seem to have a mentality of just taking care care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself. So I guess you have a good point there — a co-relation exist between austerity and discipline + success.

        • chempo says:

          Oops that should be reverse-relationship.

        • “They seem to have a mentality of just taking care care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself.” I have observed practically all Filipino restaurants in Germany fail – WHY?

          Main reason was that they put a too large mark-up on their dishes. Chinese or Vietnamese will put a smaller mark-up and have slightly cheaper dishes, including competitive lunch menus which are slightly smaller in quantity but pull in new customers.

          But the Chinese and Vietnamese competition was not just cheaper, they put in the extra mile when many customers came to make sure they were served quickly, while Filipinos kept talking among themselves. So in the long run the Filipino restaurants lost customers.

          • You CAN raise prices if you have an established customer base, but to have higher prices than the competitors from the very beginning is unwise – doesn’t take an MBA to see that. You can be arrogant and slow if you are a trendy place to be, but not before you are there.

            This an example of how lacking delayed gratification – and the austerity necessary to be able to follow through with it because you live worse in the beginning – causes failure.

        • Caliphman says:

          Chempo, I read this op ed piece by Oscar Tan on why Singapore and the Philippines are like day and night in economic, political, and perhaps more debatably, societal development.
          He attributes this primarily because the Philippines chose democracy with its excesses and Singapore stressed discipline and I suppose austerity in setting societal and governance goals. In a way, this issue shadows the rather more metaphysical, existential, western and also more individual focused approaches on life which is the current blog topic. I am quite curious on your take on Atty. Tan’s observations since if i recall correctly you have had the opportunity of personally being part of both worlds.

          • chempo says:

            Tan wrote “Singapore supposedly traded its freedoms for strong governance and economic progress, while post-Edsa Philippines was built on the opposite choice”

            Tan quoted Lee Kuan Yew: What a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy.”

            Two countries on different democratic trajectory having markedly different outcomes, is it than a question of discipline? There are many other influences but I’ll just keep in line with the topic of this blog. Many counter this and say Singapore is just a tiny dot — as if size has anything to do with discipline. Japan, Sweden, Germany etc — are equally disciplined societies.

            Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Both countries have the same level of universal sufferage. It’s a fallacy to say that Singapore has less democracy than Philippines. In fact, vote buying and block voting is an affront to universal sufferage, to that extent, Philippines has more democracy than Singapore.

            Americans build in the notion of individual freedom as part and parcel of democracy. A free press to the Americans is the quintessential measurement of democracy. Philippines has a rambuctious unfettered press and on this score it has been hailed by Americans as the most democratic country in this part of the world. Singapore has a docile press, government controlled but nothing like Norkor or China. It is less critical of government miss-steps, but generally you can print anything so long as (1) don’t cross the red lines on religious and racial issues, (2) provide the right of reply to govt, (3) observe libel laws or be sued. Philippines media is anything goes, no holds barred. In Joe’s terminology, Singapore press is “building up”, Philippines press is “tearing down”. An unfettered press during the earlier years of our independence would have torn our country apart along racial lines. Freedom is relative and it’s a societal choice. Unfettered freedom is suicidal. We in Singapore are generally more level-headed and accept freedom with responsibility and certain levels of restriction that’s anathema to American concept of freedom.

            You can we have austerity as regards freedom. I sure like to see how Lance balance his salvation by austerity and the freedom that he champions.

            Discipline is a touchy issue. There’s a western and an eastern perspective. Lance exemplifies the western mind — discipline equates to coerced behaviour. The eastern Confucianist mind succumbs to discipline from reverence to certain hierarchical structures. If you are disciplined to observe the 10 commandments does it matter if you are born with those disciplines or you were thought or conditioned so long as they are with positive intent. Let’s differentiate the positive disciplines from the “iron” disciplines that Lance is worried about. At the societal level, discipline in Singapore has made us more law abiding citizens that accept rules and regulations more easily, that makes for more gracious living in a very congested environment, that favours going by the book kind of approach to things, and generally more austere. In the 2007-8 global financial crisis, we accepted pay cuts and some curtailment of services stoically, unlike some other countries. At the governmental level, discipline translated to responsible fiscal and economic management and the provision of essential services. If you click any government website you will see this tagline – “Integrity, Service, Excellence”, in other words, it’s service-oriented.
            Lack of discipline is the main ingredient of success and that is sorely lacking in Philippines. Period.

            Two other things Tan touched on :

            – He watched the election rallies. From a Philiipines perspective, he was stunned to see issues being discussed in details, instead of personal mud-slinging in Philippines (one which the US Republicans are sliding into) and people taking issues seriously instead of voting on popularity.

            – He mentioned qualifications — Singapore values meritocracy. Education is the leveler. You have more opportunities if you are more educated and smarter than others, does’nt matter if your father is a taxi driver or top businessman. You don’t need fathers who are politicians, you don’t need fraternities. We have great austerity when it comes to education. Parents stint every which way they can to give their children the best they can in education.

            There are many factors that contributed to Singapore’s success which I have not elaborated. Top of the list is leadership. We are lucky to have a strong, professional and honest government ran by the same party since independence. This has given us continuity and the capability for very long term planning. Philippines leaders post-Marcos have been relatively weakened by relentless politiking, interfering legislative and judiciary, and key appointments on rotational basis.

            • “Singapore has a docile press, government controlled but nothing like Norkor or China. It is less critical of government miss-steps, but generally you can print anything so long as (1) don’t cross the red lines on religious and racial issues, (2) provide the right of reply to govt, (3) observe libel laws or be sued.” The German press goes by nearly the same rules but is definitely democratic. The US definition of democracy is not the only valid definition.

              “he was stunned to see issues being discussed in details, instead of personal mud-slinging” sometimes German political discussions can be very boring (for me) but I do look at what is being discussed – in the end it is about everybody’s money and also mine.

              “He mentioned qualifications — Singapore values meritocracy. Education is the leveler.” Same in Germany. There are some social barriers and there is some elitism as well, but it is easier for “upstarts” to get a chance. Facts and qualifications matter more than “WHO”.

              • chempo says:

                We learn from successful countries like Germany. We learn and adapt.
                I remember one incident. A German mechanic (not a profesional, but a blue collar worker) came to a plant to teach the guys about a new machine. The guys all sat there for the first 30 mins and did nothing — simply watch the German mechanic lovingly maintain the machine. After he finished cleaning, oiling, polishing then he proceeded to teach. The lesson was not lost on our people — that maintenance is key. Just like in the Army we are taught look after your weapon in peace times, it will look after you in war times.

              • Even during Marcos times, maintenance was something neglected. They concentrated on building new things – which looked shabby and old after just a few years.

                Now why am I not surprised that the MRT is in such bad shape after only 15+ years?

              • And few initiatives started during the dictatorship were actually followed through for a longer period of time – mostly it seemed just like wanting to LOOK like doing something. But my impression is that the governments afterwards often have the same weaknesses.

              • chempo says:

                Nice to be in good company

            • caliphman says:

              Thanks chempo. Let me chew on and digest your comments. There are many here who admire the Marcos regime for trying to emulate what LKY was able to do for Singapore. For many reasons including his character shlrtcomings, his efforts ended up in disaster although there are those who would argue that and wish a return to that ki d of regime.

              • A lot of the “order” there was just for show. Like what I wrote about the barriers along the sidewalks at the EDSA/Aurora crossing – which made people not use sidewalks anymore! Where were the enforcers in that dictatorship to catch all the people jaywalking?

                Singapore is democratic and so is Germany. Sensible rules do not mean dictatorship, democratic freedom does not mean pissing, spitting and littering on the streets…

            • “Lance exemplifies the western mind — discipline equates to coerced behaviour. The eastern Confucianist mind succumbs to discipline from reverence to certain hierarchical structures.”

              1. the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.


              Maybe the difference is nuanced, but I’m not seeing it, discipline is in essence top down, no? Can you explain this Easter discipline and Western discipline further?

              “I sure like to see how Lance balance his salvation by austerity and the freedom that he champions.”

              I still champion freedom and plurality.

              Austerity is the commonality that binds those with faith and those without, some have simply interpreted their sacred text to de-emphasize austerity, but it’s there (maybe with the exception of Sikhs, they are the only ones I know who revel in material wealth, or maybe I just met the wrong Sikhs to explain their religion).

              There’s nothing exclusive about austerity, everyone who wants to play can. And those who don’t, don’t have to.

              The only freedom’s I want to limit are the powers of organized Church as per mine and Ireneo‘s conversation below.

            • chempo says:

              Sorry typo error:
              Para 4 — Philippines has (more) less democracy than Singapore
              Para 7 — (Lack of discipline) Discipline is the main ingredient of success

    • “Not because of salvation from rebirth as you previously mentioned.”

      The point of Buddhism is Nirvana, no?

      Depending on how you interpret it. The fact that austerity is a necessary step towards understanding, means it’s part of the Buddhist idea of salvation, ie. no Buddhist clergy would ever drive around in a Ferrari and talk about the tenets of Buddhism, and be taken seriously by other Buddhists– this happens all the time in Christianity, televangelists here own 2 private jets, and write ’em off as proselytizing tools.

      “austerity demonises consumerism, that’s gonna cause some economic ills.”

      chempo I know nothing, other than TV shows on it, about Economics, so if you can angle your counter-points, from the ‘economic ills’ side, this will be a really interesting conversation. I think Mary‘s an accountant, so the fiscal side I’m hoping we can cover thoroughly here.

      I gotta run soon, but will be back in 12 hours, to continue our talk.

      • “I’m no soteriologist so I don’t really dig the proclivity to tag this idea of “salvation” to human history.”

        We’ll try to connect it all. Another fancy word I’d like to throw on the table is,

        “is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity.”

        I’ll leave to i7sharp to run all the way to the goal line and out the stadium with this, but for us mere mortals, Joe’s “6th cycle” below.

      • chempo says:

        Yes the point of Buddhism is Nirvana, on attainment of which there is no need for rebirth. Nirvana is the objective, escaping from rebirth is not the objective, but a consequence. In other words, one is not seeking salvation from rebirth. but seeking enlightenment.

        Austerity in Buddhism is driven by the concept of detachment. It is about salvation from pain. If one is detached, there can be no pain. So we learn to love without attachment, then the passing of a loved one will not bring so much pain.

        “Austerity …economic ills” — I was referring to the Keynesian approach of tweaking the demand side in countering deflationary economy. On an economic downswing, companies sell less, prices and salaries go down, consumption goes down. Government intervention by stimulas packages tries to encourage spending, demand increases so companies produce more to sell, more jobs are created, salaries goes up. An austerity drive on the other hand, will impact economic revivals because it suppresses the demand side.

        • “In other words, one is not seeking salvation from rebirth. but seeking enlightenment.”

          hmmmm… Interesting. It’s like heaven/hell then, you can’t have one without the other, ie. The Buddhism I’m familiar with, both Indian and Tibetan (Western teachers, FREE seminars) talk about Nirvana and Samsara together.

          “An austerity drive on the other hand, will impact economic revivals because it suppresses the demand side.”

          If demands are manufactured or unnecessary, shouldn’t they be suppressed? ie. Joe‘s whitening products.

          Shouldn’t there be a counter to ads telling people they need this and that, when they actually don’t? President Carter’s speech (video below) was all about that.

          After 9/11, Pres. GW Bush didn’t rally us to do even greater things in response, we were told to go back to the malls and buy stuff– to keep the economy going.

          chempo, There’s something wrong with that paradigm.

          • chempo says:

            Suppress production of un-necessary goods ….

            Lance, don’t take the extreme views. By natural order of things if you produce something that is un-necessary, you will go bust in no time. Austerity is sound advice, but extreme denial is not.

            • ” By natural order of things if you produce something that is un-necessary, you will go bust in no time. “

              Not arguing for extremes, rather pointing out that supply and demand at the highest levels can be manipulated. And this “natural order of things” need not be taken at face value, the best example is the legal and illicit drug trade, this same paradigm can be applied to every sector, oil, tech, agriculture, etc. — ie. over drilling, over fishing, over production, over everything, that’s what austerity attempts to mitigate.

        • caliphman says:

          And so we go full circle and quote Hobbes to explain Nirvana: life in the state of nature is ” solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”…hehehe

  3. As always, definitions first before further discussions, if I may:

    Austerity is the practice of incredible self-discipline and the ability to deprive oneself, or an adjective that describes such a people or their lifestyle.

    A Practice of renouncing material comforts and leads a life of austere self-discipline, especially as an act of religious devotion. adj. Relating to, characteristic of, or leading a life of self-discipline and self-denial, especially for spiritual improvement. S

    self-denial, celibacy, abstinence, self-discipline, harshness, puritanism, frugality, plainness, self-abnegation, abstemiousness, self-mortification, mortification of the flesh, rigorousness a life of uncompromising asceticism and absolute poverty

    from Wikipedia and

    Oh my!…

    • Joe America says:

      Yeah, Mary Grace, practice self-abnegation and abstemiousness on your way home from work.

      I do believe LCX is right, either the number of people has to decline or the consumption does. There are a couple of ways to limit people production, but I don’t see Filipinos practicing any of them. Indeed, as I think about it, there is a LOT of austerity in these parts. The whole countryside and all those shanty homes along the roadside are busy practicing austerity. The penalty of not being able to control the number of kids.

      I think the Catholic Church might need to rethink its doctrine.

      What we need is for a happy half-way point, where the rich people do with less so the poor can do with more. But getting there is nearly impossible.

      That’s why we are into the 6th cycle of mass extinction on the planet. Humans are not expected to make it through.

      Oh my! …

      • Mary,

        or it’s just simple frugality, one you’ve talked about often.

        But Joe’s right the bigger picture is how to prevent or mitigate the 6th cycle of mass extinction.

        • Salvation by austerity of the soul, relating to God and religion – meditation and fasting from time to time and living simply all the time, but sampling epicurean delights while bonding and fellow-shipping once in a while …., on another, salvation by austerity of humanity, forsaking gluttony and practice the sharing of the earth’s resources, or as Gandhi says, live simply so that others may live.

          Apt message for our glutton politicians wallowing in endless wining, dining, gambling, (even having more than one family because they can) living a life of extreme luxury, all derived from plundered wealth while the poor are trying to sleep to forget about the pangs of hunger. Such politicians publicly seen frequenting the church, talking to priests, befriending them, offering church construction or renovations…. may God judge them for their hypocrisy.

          Those two types of salvation by austerity can be interrelated. Loving your neighbor as you love yourself (the 2nd commandment) by not cheating or robbing him.

        • Related to the 6th cycle of mass extinction:

          To history’s steady drumbeat, a human population growing in numbers, per capita consumption and economic inequity has altered or destroyed natural habitats. The long list of impacts includes:

          Land clearing for farming, logging and settlement
          Introduction of invasive species
          Carbon emissions that drive climate change and ocean acidification
          Toxins that alter and poison ecosystems

          Land clearing for farming, logging and settlement – we are witnessing the erosion of soil due to massive deforestation resulting in loss of lives due to flooding and the lost capability of the land for crop cultivation – all due to the greed of influential politicians and cronies

          Introduction of invasive species – glutton plunderers? (walang kabusugang politico)

          Carbon emissions that drive climate change and ocean acidification – the price of progress – for convenience we invented refs and air conditions, millions of cars the around the world,

          Toxins that alter and poison ecosystems – mining without conscience, leaving the the land and seas acidic and poisoned by mercury… we exchange crops and fish with gold and silver while the country gets only a small percentage of the mined, the greater part goes to the wealthy investors mostly foreign ones.

          We all want instant gratification and never mind the next generation. We are not preserving or saving the rich resources that God has created for us.

          Genesis 1:26

          New International Version
          Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

          Man is to be the steward of the earth; he is to bring the material world and all of its varied elements into the service of God and the good of mankind.

      • “Yeah, Mary Grace, practice self-abnegation and abstemiousness on your way home from work.”

        This might be the last comment here, a very interesting article from Joe is about to be published.

        Joe, sometimes I have doubts if I am guilty of abetting those spendthrift relatives of mine…I observe cousins who have money for their weekly drinking sessions, or birthdays and anniversary parties but when it comes to emergencies like hospital confinements, there simple is no savings to draw on…and here they come asking for assistance, repayment is forgotten but on they go again with living life to the hilth, so to speak.

        I try to invest so the family can have a source of income when retirement comes aside from pension, and I keep dipping from the fund in order to help them restore their cut meralco services, hospital and ambulance fees, etc, etc.

        I save and forego luxuries to help those who live the life, drink, dine and be have fun.

        I asked someone from another evangelical church and the disappointing answer is, I am after the material things of this world, I have to help the needy. Acheche…

        • My pitifulf attempt of editing sucks, tried to replace “be merry” to “have fun”….aaargh

        • Joe America says:

          Indeed, that is the dilemma, how much to help those who seem unable or unwilling to help themselves . . . My wife has to deal with a lot of that here, because she is the gatekeeper to our money. You sound more generous than we are, I think, because it seems like feeding a bottomless pit once a little money is put into it. So we establish our controls, to make sure my wife and family will be cared for once I go off to the eternal pasture to graze. And we help when the need is clear. No is sometimes the hardest word to say . . .

          • True. When it’s between life and death situation, it truly is hard to say no….saying and reminding them to establish an emergency fund usually falls on deaf ears, bahala na si batman is the norm…or telling them that smoking and drinking is bad for your health, more so when one has already had an angiogram, stayed in Intensive care unit and escaped angioplasty or bypass operation by the skin of his teeth…my uncle is one lucky guy…he had a successful heart transplant without spending a single cent, even the anti-rejection meds are care of Uncle Sam. You have a very generous health care program over there, Joe.

          • Mary, Joe,

            Your conversation reminded me of this documentary ‘Daughter of Danang’. Vietnamese ( I think she’s Amer-Asian ) leaves Vietnam as a child and returns to look for her Mom. She goes back all innocent about the 3rd world– just wanted to see her mom and say hi, but her new found Vietnamese family are thinking $$$$$. So it’s bitter/sweet ( more on the bitter end of the spectrum ) because she realizes her Vietnamese family are like vampires out to suck her dry, here’s a perfect scene,

            • Joe America says:

              I knew a Vietnamese bar girl from Danang, who was pregnant with child, fathered by an American. The story is too hard for me to watch. Rather like Viet Nam war movies, I can’t watch them, as they bring back too many memories. The only one I watched was Apocalypse Now, because I used to be a beach bum and read Heart of Darkness. I also liked Marlon Brando. Weird dude, highly talented.

              “The horror. The horror.”

  4. subscribing to comments – driver is already waiting……

  5. karl garcia says:

    Without looking at the dictionary, austerity for me means simple,no luxuries. But I saw a definition of uncompromising and forbidding.
    So I think of many things not allowed,no ifs,no buts.
    Irineo already gave the Franciscans as examples of those with vows of poverty.
    We see monks in where else but moinasteries practicing vows of silence
    Catholics and Muslims fast.And so on.

    the no ifs and no buts uncompromising definition can also be the reason for fundamentalism and extremism.In my POV.

    • karl, Chivas,

      Although anything can be taken to extremes, my point is to put some skin in the game, literally and figuratively–and we’ve use St. Origen’s balls to symbolize that point, an all too extreme example.

      it’s 7am here now, I’ll be back at night. Will talk more then.

    • caliphman says:

      One must distuingish the practice of authority in its economic sense which is to husband resources in order to accomplish a material goal and its use as an end in itself, because its a virtue in itself.

  6. Chivas says:

    I agree with Chempo about the depth. Reminds me of this

    • i7sharp says:


      I browsed through the linked article.
      What’s different about religion is that people don’t feel they need to have any particular expertise to have opinions about it. All they need is strongly held beliefs, and anyone can have those. No thread about Javascript will grow as fast as one about religion, because people feel they have to be over some threshold of expertise to post comments about that. But on religion everyone’s an expert.

      “Javascript” reminded of codes and the mention by Edgar of “modulo”:

      Thanks, Edgar, for your input.

      I hope Chivas and others will do an input in this thread.

      Psalm 119:176
      How to code the bible citation in 7-characters.

      Genesis 1:1 is easy:

      A friendly challenge:
      You cannot find a universally accepted standard 3-character abbreviation of the 66 books of the Bible.

      Let us deal with that once and for all here.
      For a “faster” and “easier” way to salvation. 🙂

      “Onli in da Pilipins!”

  7. Bert says:

    Salvation by austerity, hmmnnn. This is hard. If salvation means to be saved, the question is: What is it that has to be saved?

  8. karl garcia says:

    EU has failed in austerity by saving.

  9. maya pula says:

    The Philippines is a tropical paradise, lush and the soil rich. our grandparents celebrated abundance yet they practiced austerity, a value still intact in the provinces.

    • maya,

      I saw it differently. I saw people surrounded by paradise, wanting to move to Manila or Cebu, thinking themselves poor.

      • It’s quite ironic, to think about it now. We are among those who migrated to the city in search of greener pastures among the concrete jungle..wahahaha…

        Now we are thinking about going back there and spend our savings, pension and the rest or our lives when we reach retirement age. I envy my aunt who picks her vegies from her backyard…aww, so fresh and sweet, when we get ours from the refrigerator…week-old and tasteless…she gets to cook fried chicken or tinola from her free range fowls, ours are frozen since we don’t know when.

        Life is truly ironic, sometimes.

  10. Bert says:

    Reading from the comments here so far gave me the impression that salvation is merely a matter of economics and nothing else.

    • Bert,

      Salvation is etymologically related to salt, and salt is our first biological addiction, our bodies naturally crave salt because our bodies need it. We hunger for food, we thirst for water, but salt we crave, and it’s usually from our sense of hunger and/or thirst that we control that craving. Overtime our bodies learned to crave other stuff, alcohol, drugs, etc.

      It’s economic precisely because of this craving. Not only were our first human settlements around sources of water and food, but also salt beds. Those that didn’t control sources of salts, traded costly with towns (later civilizations) that did.

      So the craving and economic are intertwined. Same with our ideas of salvation, there’s the inherent human need (I have not convinced edgar yet and there’s the business side of it, in response. More on this up above with Ireneo and edgar. Join us up there.

      • i7sharp says:

        LCpl_X (what should we call you for short or in less number of keystrokes? ),

        I cannot find “salt” here:

        Definition of SALVATION for Kids

        : the saving of a person from sin or evil
        : something that saves from danger or difficulty

        • karl garcia says:

          yeah preservatives17sharp. before dry ice they use salt for our dirty ice cream. mamang sorbetero knows that. salt also gave rise to salary…..we should be austere with our salaries or else they will run out.

      • sonny says:

        Salvation = to save, preserve –> points to salt, the ancient preservative; one can attach the meaning of “craving,” or physiology a human need, i.e. electrolyte balance.

  11. i7sharp says:

    Thanks to the new feature or resource here at Joe Am’s blog which shows a list of the latest comments, I was able to come across – after a few mouse clicks – the term “Compuserve.” 🙂

    Let me quote a part of the comment (it’s by Sal E., by the way):
    I would get rather argumentative in school if I was told, “…because it’s in the bible” or “…God said so”. That just was not good enough for me. I recall a religion class discussion where I asked the teacher, “If you say my God is all loving and all just, why would he banish a baby to limbo for eternity just because the adults failed to sprinkle his forehead with holy water?” So I am used to long-winded discussions because my brain is just wired differently (I guess). However, I also learned when it was useless to pursue my search for the truth… when I was told I was being a “pilosopo” was a good sign because I knew the teacher could not explain his/her point and had to resort to “Believe it… because God said so.” I am sure when I meet God we will have very interesting discussions. The other thing that bugged me about my schooling is that they tried so hard to teach me the correct answer (which is why the ones with the better memory got the better grades)… I preferred they taught me how to think so I could arrive at the right answer on my own. Don’t give me fish… teach me how to fish.

    You can tell it’s an interesting read.
    You have to read Sal’s entire comment to see a mention of “Compuserve.”
    I think it is the very first mention of the term here at JoeAm’s.

    (Frankly, I could have sworn I had mentioned it before. I googled but it seems Google has not come across it here yet.)

    It was in a CompuServe forum that I first learned more about the … yes, the King James Bible or KJB/KJV.

    It was in the early 90s. I joined the discussion because I was curious why a so-called Bible study guide did not recommend the use of the KJV. Actually it recommended four bible versions but did not include the KJV among them. I had been using the NIV (New International Version) at the time.

    Sorry for the digression. I hope to be able to jump into LCpl_X’s main topic later today.

  12. Ma Li says:

    Is there a distinction here between austerity and moderation? I prefer moderation.

    • mercedes santos says:

      Austerity, moderation, restraint, self-control: same kettles of fishes, to KISS, whatya think ?? no offense intended re. use of urban-speak . Question asked in earnest☺

  13. sonny says:

    LC, quite a vertical axis you have created in the topic: religion, politics, and almost all the support sciences. 🙂 I feel like a Barbarino to JoeAm’s Kotter. Disclosure: I am many times but most pointedly now.

  14. bauwow says:

    Live simply so that others might simply live
    -Mahatma Gandhi

  15. Micha says:

    @Lance Cpl

    Ok, you’re connecting austerity with salvation. I take this to mean salvation in the collective or global scale and not so much on the micro or individual level, right?

    • Micha says:

      I’m puzzled by your choice of word because austerity is associated more with the debate on economic policy than with personal/religious or collective/secular salvation.

      • karl garcia says:

        edgar coined the words

        • Micha says:

          salvation by austerity?

          • karl garcia says:

            Yes, I think they were talking about Mary’s frugality or something like that, then voila, salvation by austerity.

            • karl garcia says:

              I might be wrong, let us wait for lance corporal.

            • Micha says:

              Sorry karl, it’s pretty obvious I had not been able to keep up with the comment section of Uncle Joe’s tambayan.

              Ok, so kuya edgar the Ilocano coined the phrase. That lucky bastard who is now in Australia must have been able to attain redemption already. I’m just wondering if the rural folks in Tagudin, Bauang, or Agcaoili who are just as frugal have now also open access to salvation.:-)

            • edgar lores says:

              Nope, not me. The earliest reference I can find is “The Glorification of Srimad Bhagavat” published in July 1993.

              ” By devotion to Krishna in Kali yuga, people achieve salvation. They cannot not achieve salvation by austerity, yoga, or trance (which are very difficult in Kali yuga.)”

              • karl garcia says:

                ok lance corporal will be back in a few hours.Ok not coined,but introduced it(thephrase) in the conversation.

              • @Lance Cpl Ok, you’re connecting austerity with salvation. I take this to mean salvation in the collective or global scale and not so much on the micro or individual level, right?

                Micha, it can be both. I think Muhammad Ali (the boxer) said it best when he was guest speaker at some college graduation, and the students wanted him to do a poem or a rhyming scheme he was known for. And Ali thought, and finally said, “Me, We”.

                So micro and macro converge. Like edgar below said, some people will get that Ali poem automatically, for others it will take a couple of minutes, still others days or weeks, most will never get it–or would rather care not to think about it.

                Then there’s the academic, philosophical understanding and the actual application of this understanding.


                I think it was during mine, sonny’s and i7sharp’s banter on religion, salvation by faith alone vs. salvation by works, and me trying to legitimize austerity as a third form of salvation (in the Christian sense, ie. there was only one time Jesus was asked how to go to heaven, and he said to sell all your stuff and give it to the poor and to follow him– Jesus (+12) only had their sandals, robes and staff, John the Baptist was basically the Bear Grylls during Jesus’ time.

                I kept on using it as an actual 3rd salvation as counter weight to the faith alone and works. It’s a concept in Jainism, though they don’t really say salvation by austerity, but it’s central to their practice, and I think edgar‘s quote there is an attempt by Krishna devotees to disavow Jainism. But that’s the first I’ve seen it used.

              • Joe America says:

                ” John the Baptist was basically the Bear Grylls during Jesus’ time.” Comparisons like those are rather like photographs, telling grand stories in 11 words. Great imagery for those exposed to Bear Grylls. I do have to flip channels when he is dining on something gross, though.

              • karl garcia says:

                Ok I was mistaken by involving Edgar.
                I was confused by the following line:

                Why it isn’t obvious, is a very interesting subject to examine, and goes back to last thread’s salvation by austerity and edgar ‘s (and Bert ‘s) salvation from what?


              • karl garcia says:

                This is why:

                edgar lores says:

                September 4, 2015 at 5:55 am

                Mary, ah, salvation by austerity!


              • karl,

                I had to read that comment again. How do you get these so quickly? When you and Ireneo were on hiatus, me and sonny were trying to find a comment by Ireneo where he basically outlines Duterte’s legitimacy as President by ethno-linguistic lines, basically that it’s high time for not only a Visayan but a Mindanaoan, it’s their turn. It took us 2 days of attempt to look for Ireneo’s comment and we just gave up. You’re doing this in matters of minute, are you using some kind of program or algorithm.

                As to “why it isn’t obvious”, I’m talking about Church malfeasance and embezzlement, use of Church coffers to enrich the few. Not just INC but pretty much any big church organization.

              • karl garcia says:

                no program or algorithm. just having a pornographic memory and the time to search one article each and with searching through just one keyword by doing ctrl f

              • Micha says:

                Kuya edgar,

                So salvation in that context should mean freedom from worldly pain and materialism, right?

              • edgar lores says:

                From materialism, yes. From worldly pain, perhaps not. The extreme of austerity would be asceticism. which I am sure would involve considerable pain from the denial of unholy desire. Pain is also used in other instances of spiritual purification such as in flagellation, mortification and self-injury. I marvel at yogis and religious fanatics who can have parts of parts of their body pierced, seemingly beyond experiencing pain. Today a lot of people do body piercing for cosmetic purposes.

              • LOL! I wish I had that pornographic memory, I wouldn’t have to rely on magazines all the time.

              • that’s karl, Chief Librarian par excellence

  16. jameboy says:

    Speaking of atheist, I’m of the opinion that we ALL have it in us. In fact, it’s what drives us to be faithful and to believe in something. 😳

  17. i7sharp says:

    ” I’m only an atheist to believers who, Tebow through life, insist that Jesus or God is a personal deity much like the Romans and northern barbarians conceived their gods to be (like rappers and R&B artists at the Grammy’s).”

    “Tebow through life”???

    I missed this. I had already mentioned “Tebow” in my comment sent earlier when I came upon it an hour or two later.

    Can you provide more info?
    Does this refer to Makati-born Tim Tebow?


    • caliphman says:

      This is not an easy topic to relate to much less comment on. In my case, my difficulty is finding relevance in a non-individual non-philosophical or a non-western way. Perhaps it has just been too many eons since I read Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, Aquinas, Sartre and other more contemporary European philosophers that were such hot topics in Paris cafes not too long ago. Indian philosophical teachings have as their recurring themes withdrawal from the experiential or material world and any life issues associated with it. I suppose one could interpret that as an alternate route to salvation from mundane worries and preoccupations. Would that path be any less valid than the escapist or opiate relief offered by Christianity or Islam with its focus on an other world heaven or paradise with 47 virgins (is that number fixed or adjusted for inflation?).

      Someone asked if austerity was the cause of EU’s current economic problems. Let me try to respond to that briefly and I welcome JoeAm with his extensive experience in international banking and anyone else to add their thoughts as they see fit. The long-term economic rationale for the European Union was that the countries with the strongest economies, i.e. France, England,others, but mainly Germany, would be able to sustain their growth by exporting their goods without tariffs or controls to a ready market, the members with the weakest economies. Without delving deeply into international trade or economic theory, one of the things that renders this possible is the EU’s use of one currency, the Euro, and a common central bank that is supposed to adjust and synchronize fiscal and monetary policy so that the strongest members can continue to sell their exports and the weaker members can continue to import these goods. The weakest of these members had the apt acronym, PIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Greek, and Spain. The problem is that the governments of the weaker countries have little incentive to be austere in controlling spending and tend to run up huge budget deficits to stay in power and to enable and encourage the population by inflating wages to continue importing a lot of luxury or expensive goods. In the case of Greece, this problem was exacerbated by the government fudging its books so the extent of overspending was hidden from the EU central bank for a long time. The poop really hit the fan when the Greek and other foreign banks and other financial institutions who held the equivalent of IOU notes from the government discovered that the government had no money to pay principal and interest on the IOU’s and the market value of the latter had taken tremendous hits. Because the EU central bank and other EU member banks were also creditors on these notes and also had huge loans to the Greek banks threatened with collapse, the crucial decision was whether to make a huge loan to the Greek government or just let them declare bankruptcy and have Greece leave the EU. In the end, a reluctant Greek government and population had to agree to very tight austerity measures in exchange for the rescue loan package to control the high living and overspending.
      Of course, the austerity measures had to be tweaked so that the hit on German and other exporting countries of the EU would not be so severe and cause repercussions on the latter economies.

      But there you have it, the story why the lack of austerity caused the recent EU crisis and how too much austerity might cause problems for Germany and the other strong exporting EU members. Moral lesson that Greece should learn? Do not be a PIG! hehehe

      • karl garcia says:

        Thanks Caliphman..

      • Joe America says:

        I can add nothing to your excellent portrayal of the EU’s challenge on austerity.

        Asceticism (/əˈsɛtɪsɪzᵊm/; from the Greek: ἄσκησις áskēsis, “exercise” or “training”) describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals.

        I don’t believe in that form of austerity for my personal being, but do believe downscaling consumption and waste is actually invigorating. Ever the corporate approach . . .

      • chempo says:

        That’s a good 5 min brief on the EU fiscal mess.

        I think it will be a more balanced view that austerity is not necessarily a dirty word in economic management. A country goes through cycles of inflation and deflation. The classical theorists say that’s a natural order of things, it will sort itself out. Keynesians say in a prolonged deflation leading to depression, you need government activist (expansionary) policies to spur the economy. You need to spend your way out, in other words, non-austere policies. The great depression of 1930 and the global financial crisis of 2007-8 has revived this Keneysian view.

        But the Greek problem is not of inflation or deflation, it’s bankruptcy. It’s not as if the Greeks were high on the gratification chart partying all night in spending orgies. It’s the government mis-managed finances and massive high level corruption that has been going on for many years (ala Philippines’) that has emptied state coffers. But yes, I can see how this Greek debacle is relevant to this idea of “salvation by austerity” in so much as we say “corruption” is gratification, or lack of austerity.

        • caliphman says:

          I have not checked where Greece falls on the international corruption indices and true, corruption can be a source of significant leakage to any economy . There has indeed been a resurgence in the use of NeoKeynesian thinking and policies among the developed the larger and more developed economies and their governments. I personally do not believe in the effectivity of Keynesianism and its offshoots or systematic deficit spending as effective toosl in managing business cycles or promoting long term secular growth. As I stated in my post, goverment deficit spending was massive, hidden, and unmanaged and the economy was sluggish and stagnant. Deficit spending must be targeted more towards investments and selective tax cuts and less to cosumption and managed in order to be stimulative and a government cannot just print money or borrow from banks and other countries to finance its massive deficits. The claim that one can spend ones way out of a recession is true only in isolated and unique circumstances. It is not true when a country has a fixed exchange rate and cannot finance its deficits by devaluation, printing money, allowing rampant inflation, or by borrowing from overseas banks and creditors. What is true however is one must be careful that the austerity measures and spending discipline risk lead to an economic decline, job losses, and instability. However a rescue by the IMF or its equivalent will generally be accompanied by austerity measures and price/wage/ spending controls demanded by the lenders. ..Incidentally there have been recent studies and rethinking as to whether the massive deficit spending by the US to finance the war effort during WW2 that finally ended the Great Depression but rather it was the huge postwar reconstruction that was responsible.

          • chempo says:

            Yes I agree with you blindly spending out of an economic downturn is not the way to go. The only country that can just print money and pursue massive deficit spending is the US on account of it’s being the world currency and sentiment for the dollar has not plunged. , There is nothing wrong with deficit spending. Like you said, it has to be “targetted” spending. And I would add it has to be managed on the basis of future productivity capabilities. We all go into deficit spending when we buy the house or the car, but we made the commitment on the basis of our future earning capabilities because all those loans need to be repaid over time.

    • i7sharp,

      Tebowing was popular at one time, like planking, in which people got down on one knee and with fist on forehead, to pray. If he was praying for salvation or grander things, then it’s cool; but if he was praying for his team to win, then my point is that of a shallow and personal understanding of God.

      • i7sharp says:

        Thanks, Lance Cpl.

        I doubt very much that the person who wrote the following (mentioning Spinoza, among others) knew about Tim Tebow or “tebowing.”
        (btw, I don’t think Tebow was praying for his team to win. I believe he was thanking God for the day, for the moment, for the opportunity to play.)

        The Jew Spinoza declared: “Jesus is the highest symbol of
        Jewish wisdom.”

        Rousseau wrote: “If the death of Socrates was the death
        of a sage, then the death of Jesus was the death of a God.”

        Strauss, who wrote several works in order to prove that
        Jesus is not God, nevertheless declares that He is the highest
        goal to which we can aspire in our thoughts.”

        Ernest Renan, who caused a great many people to doubt the
        divinity of Jesus, says that His beauty is eternal and that His
        kingdom will never come to an end.”

        “It can become a great creative force,” the
        professor said. “It’s doubtful whether Spinoza, Kant,
        Descartes, Newton, Beethoven ever knew a woman in the
        Biblical sense.”

        I thought the chief aid to be given was to teach
        men to sublimate this natural drive into works useful
        to society and God. Chastity, in my view, was for the
        few. Yet we must understand more and more that our
        bodies are not ours to misuse for selfish pleasures, but
        temples of God, to be consecrated to His service.

        Let me share this shortcut to a google for what the same writer (above) had written:

        It will give more than one million results but perhaps one will find enough varied and interesting articles from even just the first ten or so of these – articles that give a perspective about life, about salvation.

        Let me close with this:

        “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
        Matthew 16:26 [Mat1626] KJV

        • The Jew Spinoza declared: “Jesus is the highest symbol of Jewish wisdom.”

          The reason Spinoza got kicked out of his Jewish community was he did a number on the Old Testament. I think Spinoza was the first to engage in Biblical criticism, he knew Hebrew. So when he fluffs up Jesus as “the highest symbol of Jewish wisdom”, it’s after he’s emasculated the Old Testament as an apostate, rendering nil any prophetic connection between the OT and NT.

          ‘Jewish wisdom’ (or morals) here would be the same as Thomas Jefferson’s take, and nothing magical,

          • i7sharp says:

            Thank you, LCpl_X.

            When time permits, I will look more deeply into Spinoza (and Jefferson) – if really warranted.

            The one I had quoted (on Spinoza, Kant, …) was, as some may have guessed, Richard Wurmbrand.

            I was trying to make an introduction to a piece of writing by him that i came upon a day or two before your piece (Salvation by Austerity) appeared. Serendipitous? We will see.

            It is titled “The Mirror of the Human Soul.” It seems he wrote it a couple of years before he died.

            I have read very little of it so far.

            I think Richard Wurmbrand – who is said to have known or spoken about 14 languages – would not agree with my stand on the King James.
            Although during one of my visits at his home, I noticed a dog-eared King James in their living room.

            The most prudent way I know of discussing your salvation topic (and of Spinoza and Jefferson) is by using the King James.

            It is also the simplest way.

            “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci.

            The reader may find these interesting.
            1 (Congresssional testimony)
            2 (Archbishop Fulton Sheen interview)

            Much as I admired Pastor Wurmbrand, I must realize he was not perfect.

            btw, he admitted to being a playboy who seduced women before he got born-again.
            At 14, he was an avowed atheist.

  18. Nas Escobar says:

    I think to live in moderation is to be generous and considerate of your neighbors not to hog too much of the community’s resources. After all how much more can one person eat and drink. Isn’t that why communities are formed to share their finite resources as equitably as they could. Ok some have more some have less that’s real world. And the sharing is done by governments in the form of taxes. Some governments are better at it others not. The little I know of the bible is that Jesus asked the people to sell their belongings and follow him live in poverty. Hard to do. But there are people in the world who have lived in poverty by choice. Not necessarily christians.

  19. karl garcia says:

    The church is supposedly the individual, but the world see’s them as buildings or in most cases institutions. We have talked about separation of church and state in the INC article.
    In the Philippines(and elsewhere) it is used as a one giant tax shield.
    It is used not just a tax shield,but as a shield from government interference like what the INC were claiming.
    For the Catholic we complain of Mitsubishops, we say that they should also pay taxes for their sales,properties and all income….

    • “In the Philippines (and elsewhere) it is used as a one giant tax shield. It is used not just a tax shield,but as a shield from government interference like what the INC were claiming.”

      This is the big target of the article.

      The individual stuff, we can talk about, and to be honest I don’t practice it as much as I want to– though I try my best, if a 10.0 earthquake strikes I’m prepared as best as can be, ie. supplies, tools, skills, network of same minded people, etc. Instead of buying luxury items, I bought stuff that counts, emergency or not.

      Joe commented before about shifting from buying whitening products to survival stuff, it’s an economic choice, one I would classify as being towards the austerity side of things. So there’s the individual “spiritual stuff” and there’s the practical side, the two actually converge,

      but choosing to buy emergency preparedness stuff rather than whitening products is a start of a mindset and lifestyle closer to austerity.

      The big target is exactly that, tax shield and protection from gov’t interference.

      1). Hobbes: State + Church = Security,
      by having the state gobble up the church, the state controls.

      2). Locke: State / Church = Protection from State,
      it’s good for the state, so long as churches are small and don’t meddle in state affairs.

      3). Spinoza: State – Church = Protection from Church,
      assumption here is that the state will be weakened, so separate the church.

      This article favours Hobbes and Spinoza’s take on things, all religions are inherently exclusive (Us vs. Them, We are right/They are wrong). So the point is to control Church.

      Because of Locke’s sentiments, the Church is afforded protection, but Locke’s view when he espoused this were of small, weak Protestant churches (he loathed the power of the Catholic Church at that time).

      You guys over there have 2 strong Churches now that pose a risk to the State, Islam (which isn’t a Church per se, but the Salafi movement poses a threat to the State) and INC (I didn’t know the extent of their power, as voting bloc, hands in every facet of the gov’t, as lobby, etc. ’til last week).

      We can’t really do a Hobbes, so we go with Spinoza.

      So the question is how to weaken the Church. The Catholic Church is in steady decline (maybe Pope Francis can turn it around), it counts the Philippines as one of its stronghold. They have a cultural affect, but not really a threat. So attention should be towards the INC and Islam. One way to weaken the Church is it’s ability to make money, but there’s two other facets.

      Like a tripod, a Church’s power rests in it’s ability to sell salvation (like salt), generate wealth and make war (this was their favourite power back in the Dark Ages, the use has done down since, but I would argue that stunt the INC pulled is a form of this power, thus should not be taken lightly)

      You attack salvation by introducing another form (ironically, which holds the closest to the original), salvation by austerity. Hire a PR firm, embolden atheists, agnostics, academics, others to study sacred scriptures and offer other interpretations. Shame those Church leaders who live in luxury, and penalize them by tax or law enforcement.

      Tax exempt, introduce a definition of religion that holds these religions accountable to their espoused humility.–Defined Hell, if we follow the IRS definition of Church, Joe’s Society of Honor can be considered a “Church”– we’ll have edgar officiate, and i7sharp as our bona fide prophet. So stricter, enforceable definition.

      Their ability to wage war, clamp down on these things with extreme prejudice, ie. Ecleo case, etc. The INC protest deserved the amount of attention it got, but the State now should follow thru with the tax exempt status, wean off the State’s relationship with INC, lessen their power to affect / influence policy, etc.

      Islam is another matter, because it’s not one Church but a movement, funded by American petro-dollars, seeded by Wahhabis from the Arabian Peninsula, and supported by wayward Saudi (and Emarati) princes. More on that.

      But the point is to weaken the Church.

      • ” the point is to weaken the Church” – hard to do but it has been done.

        The French successfully banned everything that had to do with religion from state matters, Atatürk partly managed to do so in Turkey but Erdogan is now turning it back – during my August trip to Istanbul I made it a point to see the Hagia Sofia / Ayasofya while it is still a museum, Erdogan wants in turned back into a mosque, who knows they might paint over the beautiful Orthodox stuff on the walls – or remove them a la ISIS…

        Marcos – yes Marcos, for all his conceded faults – managed to keep the Church out of state affairs and even institute birth control programs and stuff similar to the RH bill, but finally the Catholic Church helped bring him down and Cory Aquino for all the good stuff she did brought the Catholic Church under the leadership of Jaime Cardinal Sin (yes that was his name, only in da Pilipins MRP would say) back to influence. No religion classes allowed in Philippine Science back then, UP Elementary the same thing, it’s different now!

        Mary commented in my blog that the present version of Noli by Rizal is castrated of its more Church-critical parts – not so in the time of Marcos, we learned the Noli full blast, including the indications of Spanish priests sexually harrasing minors and native women.

        For me the most doubtful part of the Bangsamoro Basic Law is that is recognizes Sharia – well it seems Sharia is already allowed in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao which I consider a mistake in itself. Tax breaks for Muslim charities are indirectly there too. Now this is truly a problem because Muslim charities have been known to be conduits for terrorist funding in many places. Well Catholic charities in Germany were rocked by major corruption scandals over the past few years – but they are treated just like normal NGOs.

        In Germany, still too many privileges for the established churches – Catholic and Protestant, this is a historical thing dating back to the “Diet of Worms” (Diet meaning Conference or Parliament, and Worms is a place, so this is as misleading as Cardinal Sin) and the deals the Nazis made with both major churches – the state helps collect church taxes, the other part of the deal was that they looked away when the Nazis did their stuff. But Germany did refuse to recognize Scientology as a church, tax-wise it is a business.

        Aside from the semi-official status of established churches in Germany, you have the Central Jewish Council and the Central Muslim Council as powerful lobby groups. The latter is strongly influenced by groups in Turkey, some conservative, some going very dangerously towards fundamentalism and suspected of hosting Salafis among others. Regarding austerity, there were recent scandals here, example the Bishop of Limburg – Catholics encouraged by Pope Francis laid bare his expensive home as one example.

        In Eastern Europe, churches are resurgent after having been officially kept down by Communism for decades. Vladimir Putin is very close the the Orthodox hierarchy, an ex-(?)Communist using resurgent nationalism for his purposes. My main problem with Viktor Orban of Hungary is that he is of the same resurgent Christian mold instead of going for secularism and democracy. But then again, without the Polish Pope John Paul II, Communism might never have been defeated, so there are two sides to this story.

        And French secularism has not been able to contain migrant Islam over there, so could it be a better solution to have churches as partners in a corporatist state like in Germany? But then again the Dutch have that corporatist approach too, doesn’t help them too much. So finally I guess full transparency and no more special tax breaks for religion might be the solution – that they may render unto Caesar what is due to Caesar and stick to God.

        • “So finally I guess full transparency and no more special tax breaks for religion might be the solution – that they may render unto Caesar what is due to Caesar and stick to God.”


          Appreciate the history and the confirmation. Thomas Barnett’s Pentagon Map (I requested Joe to post that, though the Bear Grylls photo wasn’t my idea– but I like it, more on that… ) illustrates your concerns perfectly. Germany has finally opted for controls on the borders.

          I didn’t know that there was actually a resurgence of the Catholic Church over there, post-Marcos.

          To be sure, I’m not espousing the Church subjugation the Communists pursue in toto. My whole point has been that the sense of salvation is present in everyone (with the exception of a very few), so their needs have to be met (and respected),

          just neutralize the Church, as organization, from partaking in worldly affairs. Return to John Locke’s view of churches as small, separate, weak institutions that only focus on saving souls, not making money or waging wars.

          • They should be institutions worth protecting, and not feared.

          • “Germany has finally opted for controls on the borders.” Just on time: School started again yesterday in Southern German states (they stagger summer vacations here so that you don’t have vacation traffic from all states at once) and the Oktoberfest starts Saturday.

            Besides these practical considerations of avoiding masses of different people colliding, there were simply too many coming over to handle. And reports by Arab-speaking helpers that Arabs from other country were posing as Syrians – you can tell the different dialects.

            For all the humanitarian considerations, the situation has to be kept under control, I think 99% of these people are OK, but if you are looking at hundreds of thousands 1% is many.

            • “I think 99% of these people are OK, but if you are looking at hundreds of thousands 1% is many.”

              I agree, Syrians are actually the coolest Arabs I know (though Lebanese think they own this title). It’s all that Sufi stuff, that makes them more philosophical than the average Arab.

              The ones that can’t afford the journey are stuck in refugee camps, but unlike Palestinians, they’ll be able to return once hostilities subsides. The ones who can afford the journey, will be your educated and rich, OR the bad guys who can pay.

              I hope the Syrian students, ones studying subjects in the emerging tech sector (which was the pet project of Basher al-Assad) can pick right up and the professionals can be accommodated.

              During the Haj, there’s a weird thing that happens where Saudi authorities upon knowing the particular bus is Syrian, tend to be major aholes to them. So in my view Syrians are actually the counter-balance to Wahhabi control right now, and have to be cared for and given certain privileges.

              I hope our State Dept. will be chosy when selecting the Syrians that come over here.

              The DoS and DoD should stand up a DARPA type entity but for countering Wahhabi/Salafi thought. Biblical and Textual Criticisms did a good job emasculating the power of sacred Christian/Jewish texts, but the Qur’an and accompanying Haddiths have yet to go thru this process, hence its power still.

              Like this,

  20. karl garcia says:

    That story where a woman who gave only 5 cents wholeheartedly because that is all she has will be saved, and the one who gave a big amount, but with hypocrisy ,glamour attached and has will not be saved.

    LC is this a good example of Salvation by austerity?.

    Now the church encourages big amounts all in the name of stewardship.

  21. edgar lores says:

    1. Hokay.

    2. First, let me underscore the importance of this article. This is not about traffic; this is not about China; this is not about politics. This is about something more basic. It is about how we are to approach this thing called life.

    3. If one looks at the first part of the article, it talks about the ascent of man from the discovery of fire, through superstition, to where we are now. From this I would draw two important conclusions:

    3.1. The first is that man’s existence follows an upward trajectory.
    3.2. The second is that man’s existence is purposive.

    4. If you disagree with either of these two conclusions, if you believe that we are the result of random cosmic forces and that the universe is going nowhere, you can stop reading.

    5. The definitions of austerity are at two levels, individual and governmental. The definition I will use applies to the first level and is from the Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Austerity is the “condition of living without unnecessary things and without comfort, with limited money or good, or a practice, habit, or experience that is typical of this.”

    5.1. There is complexity in dealing with austerity at the individual and governmental levels. As noted, there may be a built-in contradiction between austerity at the collective level and the notion of economic progress and development. Therefore, I will confine my remarks to the individual level.

    6. The basic theses of the article is that (a) man is in need of salvation from himself (or from sin, or from his initial condition at birth), and (b) apart from salvation by faith or by works, there is salvation by austerity.

    6.1. The author claims this path is the only path that Jesus himself spoke of. He also claims the path of austerity is present in all religions. I will concede these points.

    6.2. Initial comments have drawn the parallel between Austerity and Stoicism, as opposed to Epicureanism. I will pass over the parallel.

    7. The primary question for Bert and me has always been: “Why is there a need for salvation?” The author’s answer is that salvation is as basic as desire: it is “a legitimate human need, like salt.”

    7.1. Bert has asked the primary question from a different angle: “What is it that has to be saved?”

    8. I am not satisfied with the answer that salvation is a legitimate human need for two reasons. One, people all around the world, particularly in affluent countries, are leaving the haven of religion and do not see salvation as a basic human need. Two, I personally do not attach to any notion of salvation.

    8.1. I will concede that the paradigm of salvation has been essential in man’s ascendance. It has quelled his native existential terror and allowed him to survive and to function. But the paradigm is no longer a necessity, not since Nietzsche announced the death of God and Sartre pronounced that existence precedes essence. For most, the paradigm will be necessary for some time, perhaps a long time, perhaps for as long as man lives, but many have gone beyond the need and see the paradigm as a problem rather than as a solution.

    8.2. The great wars in the last century were about territory and ideologies. But religion as a principal or secondary cause of war has been evident throughout the whole of human history. And so it is up to now.

    8.3. While the author has pushed salvation by austerity as pluralistic, it does deny to a certain extent – that is, if one follows the path strictly – the experience of bliss, of delights and joys unconfined.

    9. Let us return to Bert’s question in item 7.1. This is a profound question. What is “it”?

    9.1. The answer, I submit, is “personal consciousness.”

    9.2. And with this answer we arrive at the central issue of modern science: “What is consciousness?”

    9.2.1. And: “Where does personal consciousness come from? And does it survive death?”

    9.2.2. And more importantly perhaps: “Why does personal consciousness ask these questions?” And: “Is personal consciousness part and parcel of universal consciousness?”

    9.3. I do not propose to submit my own answers to these questions. I believe, as Krishnamurti posits, that truth is a pathless land. The majority of people accept the paradigms of religion and science. The questing few, like the author, look for new meanings in old paradigms or for new paradigms altogether.

    9.3.1. I believe we adopt the answers that are consistent with our level of consciousness and understanding. My answers would be meaningless to you. However, I will allow that I take, as a basic premise, Spinoza’s God. The entire universe is divine and we are part of that divinity. The divine is in us. And the divine is dynamic, in process, destination unknown. Isn’t that exciting?

    9.3.2. I also believe that whatever answer we adopt is valid. That is valid experientially. And perhaps valid “objectively” as well. “In my Father’s house are many mansions.”

    9.3.3. Finally, I believe a new code of secular morality must be developed because, as the author has pointed out, religious morality has been used – and is being used — as a tool for subjugation. And as a tool for human separation.

    10. Earth is a meeting place where, in our journey to wherever we are going, we encounter the Other. And because we are all divine that Other is us. Therefore let us follow Jesus’ second greatest commandment.

    • I feel like I’m on an operating table and you’re dissecting my brain, and I have the biggest smile on my face and in complete enjoyment of this process. Thanks, edgar.

      Let me grab a bite to eat and chew on your points, I just got back. “I shall return”.

      • “8. I am not satisfied with the answer that salvation is a legitimate human need for two reasons. One, people all around the world, particularly in affluent countries, are leaving the haven of religion and do not see salvation as a basic human need. Two, I personally do not attach to any notion of salvation.”

        One, I agree that people (especially in the West) are leaving religion. But the pattern has been to leave the old, and jump into the bandwagon of the new. Over here, they left Protestant churches for new stories like the Church of Latter Saints, then further on, Buddhism became the rage, espoused by the Transcendentalists, then that fad that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got into, then lately the Church of Scientology.

        I think folks in the West now are enamored by Scientism So there’s a sense of salvation that can be elicited from this form of belief, though it’s without narrative or magic. It’s not so much a rejection of salvation, but more on an active search for something. I’m offering this search for something as proof of the craving, that people in the West still very much feel– with or without religion.

        Two, is something I share with you. But like CIPA cases, we are rare, Not the norm, regular folks need to feel something, how they express that can take on a variety of forms, not just in religion.

        • edgar lores says:

          To a certain extent, I agree on the first point. People will look for substitute beliefs, just as quitting smokers need gum, lozenges and nicotine patches. However, there are others who do not; some can go cold turkey.

          Speaking of Scientism, I believe Micha has taken that path. Yes, it is an alternative form of religious truth. I remember Micha and I had a debate when I maintained that religion and science are both fabular.

          Which brings me, like a playground slide, to the second point: People need absolutes. Most cannot live with the freedom of uncertainty.

          That House reference projected in my mind the image of some priests as tapeworms, absorbing the tithes of the faithful rather than refilling their spiritual well.

    • Chivas says:

      Got thinking about the “consciousness” part.

      Here’s an interesting read:

      “Physicists in Germany think they might have a way to find out if our reality is just a computer simulation. At least I think that’s what this article in MIT’s Technology Review says. It’s a bit hard to penetrate.

      In my view, the odds are in favor of our perceived reality being a computer simulation. Allow me to make my lawyerly argument in defense of that view. Sure, I’ve blogged on this topic before, but not so convincingly.

      When I was a kid, I dreamed of one day growing up to be a world-famous cartoonist. When your actual life conforms to your childhood fantasy, it makes you question the basic nature of reality. Did I really beat million-to-one odds, or is something else going on?

      One explanation for my experience is that I’m extraordinarily lucky. For this discussion I’m defining luck to include my genetic composition, upbringing, and environment, since I didn’t have much control over any of that. Let’s say the odds of getting to this point of my career by luck alone is somewhere in the range of one-in-a-million.

      A second explanation for my perceived life is that I’m insane and I have delusions that I’m a cartoonist. An estimated 1.1% of the population is schizophrenic. Rounding off, let’s say the odds that my life is a hallucination are a hundred to one against. And yet, so far, that’s the best explanation.

      A third explanation is that I live in a simulation that was designed to satisfy my ambitions. That seems plausible to me on several levels. Let’s begin by assuming scientists are correct when they say there are probably lots of planets in the universe with life. Add the power of evolution plus several billion years of percolation and you have a universe peppered with intelligent beings.

      If you wait long enough, almost any species will die off from one sort of natural disaster or another. Maybe a sun explodes, a rogue meteor hits, or a new virus springs up. So if it’s true that the universe created lots of life on various worlds, it’s probably true that many advanced species have already died off. Some of them probably saw it coming in time to project their personalities, hopes, and dreams into computer simulations that would run forever, as sort of an artificial afterlife.

      I think it is likely that for every “real” and intelligent being in the universe there might be hundreds or even billions of expired civilizations that figured out how to port their essence to computer simulations before checking out.

      Summarizing the three explanations for how my actual life could so closely conform to my childhood fantasies:

      Luck: million-to-one against

      Insanity: hundred-to-one against

      Simulation: million-to-one in favor

      It’s really no contest. In my specific case it would be irrational to believe I am anything but a simulation.

      One feature of our so-called reality that makes me scratch my head is the consistency of the rules of physics. One might expect a “natural” universe – one that came from an explosion – to be nothing but randomness on every dimension, including the rules of physics themselves. Any sort of consistency to our perceived reality feels like a “tell” from the simulation creators.

      If you were the designer of this simulation you would need to strike a delicate balance. You want the characters to have your curiosity and intelligence but you also need to prevent them from realizing their true nature within the simulation. That means creating boundaries that don’t look like boundaries. For example, you might program the simulation to have an infinite size (as if that even makes sense), but limit the maximum speed of things to the speed of light, making it impossible for the simulated people to examine the edges of their universe.

      As a designer, you’d also need to make the quantum world totally freaky and endlessly puzzling. What are the tiniest particles in the universe made of? Answer: waves. What is a wave? Answer: Something that makes sense only in the realm of math. When you look for the boundaries of reality you always bump into a wall that defies common sense so aggressively that it looks intentional.

      Another hint that we are simulations modeled after our programmers is that we are suspicious about the possibility. If the creators modeled us after themselves, they created simulations that could imagine someday creating their own simulations. That means we might be – wait for it – the simulations of other simulations.

      Keep in mind that the perceived passage of time for people in a simulation does not have to map to any “real” time in the universe. So perhaps I am experiencing my trillionth simulated life. Perhaps each of us gets to experience every life and every time period of our alleged reality. The entire simulation would only take a few seconds in the outside world if the processor is fast enough.

      If even one civilization in the real universe created a simulation that could create its own simulations, the odds of any particular “sentient” creature being real are perhaps worse than a trillion to one. That assumes the alien processors are fast and our perceived time doesn’t need to match any real time in the actual universe. ”

      -Scott Adams, Dilbert


      • Joe America says:

        Dilbert always was a great thinker. I watch cartoons with my son, and most of them these days cater to both the kid and adult audience. Some of the adult humor and visual play is simply fantastic. I think I laugh more than my son.

        Still, I am inclined to think that we are all, really, just a dream in God’s mind, and at any time it can shift from daydream to nightmare, or just comfy slumber. None of us really exist at all. And there for sure are no multiple universes running in parallel. Those are just weird extensions of the dream, you know, the way wives morph into old girl friends somehow now and then.

      • edgar lores says:

        This reminds me of Stephen Hawking’s defense of scientific determinism and his rejection of free will. He says, “It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.”

        If we are simulations, it is remarkable that a biological machine such as Alan Turing was able to formulate in 1950 the test which bears his name. The Turing test is “a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit behavior that is equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.” And it is more remarkable that man was able to create a machine that passed the Turing test in 2014. Simulation within simulation, circle within circle. Windmills.

      • karl garcia says:

        If some of those we see in the sky at night are actually long gone, so many star systems are also long gone. We need star trek warp speed and time travel and wormholes to find life elsewhere, if they have not found us yet.

        • sonny says:

          Nephew at this point of listening, I have to say that Irineo’s image of strands is a nice tool to use, making sense of our personal experiences in history, science, philosophy, art, politics, religion, etc. It is a process of collecting, sorting, collating, synthesizing, etc. among other things. As in a Philosophy class: is the “thing” true? Is it one? Is it good? Is it beautiful? This should be the start, IMO.

          On the stars long gone:
          I’m glad we share this observation. When I feel that things seem out of wack, I pull out my “simulated” picture of the Milky Way galaxy. (It is like somebody took the top view of the galaxy). The picture shows where our solar system is: at a cold spot just outside the 4th spiral, the Sagittarius Arm. This is a spot which Carl Sagan was very sanguine about. Yet we have not found that spot. Our believers and non-believers are still debating why this is so.

          • sonny says:

            S/B Yet we have not found a similar spot that harbors intelligent life like ours. (I am aware there are tens or hundreds of candidates)

            • Aliens where already here, looking for intelligent life.

              After kidnapping and testing Senator Sotto they decided to move on.

            • A male and female pilot are sent deep to outer space.
              They land on a planet inhabited by sentient robots.
              The astronauts and the robot leaders are exchanging information,
              when the subject of reproduction comes up.

              The robots asks the astronauts to demonstrate human reproduction.
              The two are embarrassed but they feel that it is necessary for the sake of science.
              They undress, lie down on the floor and make love.
              When they finish, they see that the robots are laughing hysterically.

              “What so funny about this?”, asks the female astronaut.

              “That’s how we make cars!!!”

    • “8.3. While the author has pushed salvation by austerity as pluralistic, it does deny to a certain extent – that is, if one follows the path strictly – the experience of bliss, of delights and joys unconfined.”


      I think we’re for the most part on the same page with everything else, and my interactions with Ireneo and chempo hopefully have clarified the economic and church angles.

      Pluralistic, is two folds.

      Every religion (with the exception of Sikhism) that I’ve come across espouses austerity– for some it’s the focus, others it’s a forgotten premise. So it’s ingrained in the teachings, but people of faith have a choice to focus on other aspects of any religion. It can be brought to bear in times of emergency, is simply my point here.

      The more important consideration for plurality is that everyone including atheists, and agnostics, are affected by this ‘over-doing’ everything paradigm.

      For me, that wake up call that we’re all in this together and we’re all affected by each other’s actions, came when flying across the Pacific on a C-130.

      This propeller plane flies low to the surface (compared to commercial, and other big military planes). It’s the best flight because right after you take off, the crew chief, gives you the OK to take off your seat belt, and the rest of the time you’re on your sleeping bag for a long comfy nap. Their boxed lunch beats any commercial airlines I’ve ever tasted.

      After napping, you jog around, get the blood pumping (can’t do this on any other commercial flight). Last I took this air bridge, I looked out the window and saw blobs flowing near the surface of the water. “Hey, Gunny, what the fuck are those things?”. We came up with huge pods of whales (maybe a whale convention), giant octopuses, etc. Finally we asked the crew chief.

      He’s in the Air Force, so he’s gotta know, those guys are smart. And he said, non-chalantly, that’s Trash! And you look again, bring out the binos! Plastic, aluminum, just globs of junk floating in the ocean.

      These are signs of things to come.

      There’s no other choice but to engage plurality, the problem’s too big, everyone has to partake OR bite the proverbial shit sandwich. And finally, decide from themselves, that they’d rather not eat shit. Bliss, delights and joys I think is in not eating that shit sandwich. For me the thresh hold for bliss, delights and joys is very minimal– I simply don’t want to bite that sandwich.

  22. Bert says:

    Am I an atheist? I don’t know. That’s only a term, whatever. But salvation, whether by austerity or other means does not apply to me. Why would it? Sooner or later I will die, as all of us will. So where does salvation comes in if we are going to die anyway? Which should mean that salvation is applicable only if there is a life after death. And that’s where superstition cum religion comes in. Does it matter whether you are in the modern world called the West, or the United States of America, or a backward country called the Philippines, it’s still superstition, is it not? So what if we are a hundredths fold more superstitious, or a thousands fold, or whether we still believe in fairies and malignos, or whether the modern West is amenable to Salvation by Austerity or not. The people of the world as individual human beings cannot be saved.

    Even if we all fast to death.

    • Bert

      I care for you (and all fellow human being) so I won’t stop making kulet to you. (joe, kulet is nagging)

      In this topic, you asked salvation from what?

      My first answer is for all of us still in this world – salvation from human extinction. I have expounded about that in the thread above.

      My second one is quite controversial – I don’t know why it should be but sad to say, it truly is. Salvation from eternal hell when we leave this earth. I have expounded on this on a thread that Micha has started in the blog article Joe left for us when he left last May, remember? – John 3:16 and John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and
      the life; no one comes unto the Father, but by me. These two verses say it all…..but we have to receive what God is offering us – JESUS- in order to avail of it.

      I mentioned there something about “we can lead a horse to the water but can’t forced it to drink, it has to decide to take the drink offered”.

      • sonny says:

        @ Bert, on atheist vs non-atheist equals superstitious
        This brings in also Pascal’s wager: Either there is the God or not. Whichever one one picks, there are problems and benefits.

        @ Mary Grace
        You and I and many others have chosen also which side. I also know we are not superstitious. I do pray we are not mistaken. And the search goes on until the Final Harbor is arrived. 🙂

        • sonny says:

          @ LC
          The terms salvation and austerity do belong to both Plato’s world and Thomas Aquinas’ world. Salvation has an ultimate meaning; when so then austerity is but an ancillary term.

          Soldiers and monks lead an austere life. Both hope that salvation is at the end.

          • sonny,

            If you remember the conversation when we started using salvation by austerity, it was to connect it to salvation by faith alone & salvation by works– but used to stress the only time Jesus was asked how to go to heaven, and he gave a clear advise (the clearest in all Gospels, repeated in 3).

            • sonny says:

              LC, the giving up things is easy. The “take up your cross and come follow me …” is the hard part – He was obedient unto death, nay more, a death on the cross.

              • Martyrdom is a good point. After all the most committed wins. When speaking of the Philippines, the Catholic Church doesn’t really engage in martyrdom any longer; INC I don’t think they have martyrdom as part of their creed; Islam (especially the kind from Saudi Arabia) this is the bread & butter.

                Read my comment to Ireneo below on this. Triage the threats of Church.

        • @ Sonny

          So true, let’s keep on praying for their enlightenment.

        • Bert says:

          You are correct, Sonny, either there is the God or not. But the operative word here is ‘belief’. Either one believes on something or not. God is either true or not. The faithful will say, “I have faith that there is God therefore the existence of God is true.” The unbeliever looked for verifiable proof before believing on the existence of anything.

          And there exists the dilemma.

    • Bert,

      I agree with you totally, but you’re missing the part where we have to do something because things aren’t going well. You, me and edgar, (to include Ireneo & Joe) are in agreement re atheist sentiments. But the mission is to convince those that espouse salvation (who make up the majority), to have them stay with their superstitions just convert that faith to action deserving of their chosen faith– which is doing more with less.

      • i7sharp says:

        LCpl_X to Bert:
        I agree with you totally, but you’re missing the part where we have to do something because things aren’t going well. You, me and edgar, (to include Ireneo & Joe) are in agreement re atheist sentiments. But the mission is to convince those that espouse salvation (who make up the majority), to have them stay with their superstitions just convert that faith to action deserving of their chosen faith– which is doing more with less.

        “doing more with less”

        “acur8” (5 characters) is being accurate (8 characters) with less.

        “the mission …”
        Given today’s gullibility of people, your “mission” could – alas! – become successful worldwide.

        Curious, I google for “salvation by austerity.”
        The reader will probably be surprised to see how “hits” it brings up.

        “superstitions,” LCpl_X?

        Please name a superstition that you think I believe in.
        Please don’t worry about offending me. You can rest assured, I will take criticisms graciously.

        • su·per·sti·tion ˌ so͞opərˈstiSH(ə)n/

          excessively credulous belief in and reverence for supernatural beings.
          “he dismissed the ghost stories as mere superstition”

          synonyms: unfounded belief, credulity, fallacy, delusion, illusion

          a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.
          “she touched her locket for luck, a superstition she had had since childhood”

          synonyms: myth, belief, old wives’ tale

          • List them and we can apply the definition.

            Curious, I google for “salvation by austerity.”
            The reader will probably be surprised to see how “hits” it brings up.

            All I get are ping backs to Joe’s blog, is that what you’re talking about?

          • i7sharp says:


            Thanks for the definition/synonyms.

            But defining, for example, “homosexuality” to me does not necessarily make me a “bakla.” 🙂

            What particular superstition of mine do you have in mind?

            • You have to list them, I don’t know what’s in your mind, i7sharp, then we’ll apply the definition.

              • i7sharp says:


                I apologize if I misunderstood you or if I have not made myself clear to you.

                Let me try another tack:
                Name one superstition that you think I believe in.
                (Frankly, I think I have none but please feel free to prove me wrong.)


              • Bert says:

                i7sharp, may I?

                Without thinking of the spirit of alcohol (I’m actually sorry about that), or the spirit of the glass, or fighting spirit, I have this thinking that you are a believer in the Spirit having an eternal life in the after life. Please tell me if I’m wrong.

              • i7sharp says:


                Thanks for asking.

                Let me answer you this way:
                I fervently hope and pray that I am a Christian, saved by grace through faith (“the faith of Christ”) to live eternally with God (the God of the Bible, of course).

                When I say “the Bible,” I mean, as you may by now, the King James.

                I still have to see a good answer to this:
                If the King James bible (KJB or KJV) is not *the* Bible, the word of God, the scriptures,
                which/where is it?

                “God [is] a Spirit.”

                Try to differentiate the various translations.

              • Bert says:

                Ah, i7sharp, you ‘fervently hope and pray’, that’s your word. That should mean you are just hoping and praying that it has to be true, right? Which means that you’re not believing yet in any kind of spirit or eternal life. Okay, I believe you.

              • i7sharp says:

                “… Which means that you’re not believing yet in any kind of spirit or eternal life. Okay, I believe you.”

                Bert, what I was trying to say was …
                Only God knows exactly who is saved – because it is God – sovereign as He is – who does the choosing.
                “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and
                I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
                Romans 9:15

                Many people do not like this.
                They can choose or make up their own god:

              • Bert says:

                Okay, i7sharp. As you can see, I’m a patient guy, so let’s get back to where we started, and here’s what you stated:

                “Let me try another tack:
                Name one superstition that you think I believe in.”—i7sharp

                My answer to that was that I believed you are a believer in a Spirit that has an everlasting life in the after life. Please, if you will be kind enough to tell me if I am wrong. i7sharp, if I am wrong, then you are right, see? If I am right, then LCpl_X is right. Am I making sense?

              • i7sharp says:

                Bert, thank you for being patient. 🙂

                You are saying I am “superstitious” because I believe in things I do not see?

                In a previous thread, somebody mentioned Lord Kelvin, It prompted me to provide a link to a list that includes that great scientist.
                Please be patient enough to look for one of the two links in the comment here,

                Were all those bible-believing scientists superstitious?

                But, let us try to keep things simpler:
                The people who believe they have a soul … are they superstitious?

                Do YOU believe you have a soul?

              • “Were all those bible-believing scientists superstitious?”


                That’s already been addressed here,


                “You are saying I am “superstitious” because I believe in things I do not see?”

                Einstein just basically thought about things, same with Stephen Hawking ( theoretical ), same with all the Greek greats, before Aristotle got a system going.

                Things you can’t see have to be tested, if they cannot be tested ( at this time ), then you hold off on it, ’til more proof or preponderance of evidence comes along, but you don’t tout something as truth ( just for the hell of it ), that’s superstition.

              • i7sharp says:

                “That’s already been addressed here, …”

                You mean you have TRIED to address them.

                Am not evading your comments.
                Am trying to make sense out of them – while scratching my head.

                If we were playing chess, I know of the impending checkmate already – but you are still oblivious to it. 🙂

                Not quite unlike the Fischer’s “move of the century.”

                That’s it for now. Talaga. Peksman.

              • ” If we were playing chess, I know of the impending checkmate already – but you are still oblivious to it. “

                Well, just make sure you make that last move yourself, and not pawn it off with another link.

              • Bert says:

                “You are saying I am “superstitious” because I believe in things I do not see?”—i7sharp

                i7sharp, no, I never said that. Never. You’re seeing/reading things that is not there. Could it be that that spirit thing in your mind playing tricks on you? 🙂

                What I was saying is that I believe that you are a believer in a Spirit that has an everlasting life in the after life, and asking you if I am wrong.

                Now, if you cannot answer that question I will leave it at that and will just conclude that I had satisfactorily granted your request, your request being this:

                “Let me try another tack:
                Name one superstition that you think I believe in.”—i7sharp

                i7sharp, should you choose to continue with this path of eternal evasion, you will find soon enough that there is such a thing as eternal silence, :).

          • i7sharp,

            I know you’re a big fan of the King James bible, but not sure if you actually belong to a church. I think Mary is an Evangelical and sonny is Catholic. Other than that I don’t know anyone else’s faith here.

            Since I don’t really know what you believe in, I’ll just cut/paste the Apostles’ Creed and go from there,

            I believe in God, the Father almighty, (superstition for me is attributing stuff to the supernatural, so this first line is superstition)

            creator of heaven and earth. (superstition)

            I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, (superstition)

            who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, (superstition)

            born of the Virgin Mary, (superstition)

            suffered under Pontius Pilate, (historical)

            was crucified, died, and was buried; (probably historical)

            he descended to the dead. (natural)

            On the third day he rose again; (superstition, though there’s been cases where seemingly dead people awake)

            he ascended into heaven, (superstition)

            he is seated at the right hand of the Father, (superstition)

            and he will come to judge the living and the dead. (superstition)

            I believe in the Holy Spirit, (superstition)

            the holy catholic Church, (superstition)

            the communion of saints, (superstition)

            the forgiveness of sins, (superstition)

            the resurrection of the body, (every atom in your body gets recycled as something else, so maybe not superstition)

            and the life everlasting. (every atom survives, not superstition)

            Amen. (not superstition)

            • oh my! you think God is just superstition… so you believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution (the big bang) then not our theory of God’s creation…

              • Mary,

                There’s the natural and there’s the supernatural.

                The natural are things you can verify, ie. bones, experiments where transmutations of insects and plants can be predicted, etc.

                So verifiability is key here.

                The supernatural by its very definition cannot be tested or verified– it’s supernatural, not natural.

                And it’s not about belief,

                If something better than Darwin’s and Wallace’s Transmutation theory comes up, I’ll gladly entertain it. The Big Bang, is the logical theory, because things are floating away from each other, if they come up with a better theory to explain why things are floating away from each other, then we can adopt that.

                The supernatural stuff is static and meant to be static. You won’t hear of about a new Genesis story or a new “theory” of Jesus’ death, because it’s all meant to be dogma–to remain, you’re not suppose to argue about it.

              • LCpl_X

                And that’s where the word FAITH comes in.

                Hebrews 11:1 ►
                Parallel Verses
                New International Version
                Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

                New Living Translation
                Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

                English Standard Version
                Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

                Berean Study Bible
                Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.

                Berean Literal Bible
                Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not being seen.

                New American Standard Bible
                Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

                King James Bible
                Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

                Holman Christian Standard Bible
                Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

                International Standard Version
                Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.

                NET Bible
                Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.

                Aramaic Bible in Plain English
                Now faith is the conviction concerning those things that are in hope, as if it were these things in action, and the revelation of those things that are unseen;

                GOD’S WORD® Translation
                Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.

                New American Standard 1977
                Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

                Jubilee Bible 2000
                Faith, therefore, is the substance of things waited for, the evidence of things not seen.

                King James 2000 Bible
                Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

                American King James Version
                Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

                American Standard Version
                Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.

                Douay-Rheims Bible
                Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.

                Darby Bible Translation
                Now faith is [the] substantiating of things hoped for, [the] conviction of things not seen.

                English Revised Version
                Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of things not seen.

                Webster’s Bible Translation
                Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

                Weymouth New Testament
                Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see.

                World English Bible
                Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.

                Young’s Literal Translation
                And faith is of things hoped for a confidence, of matters not seen a conviction,

              • Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

                11:1-3 Faith always has been the mark of God’s servants, from the beginning of the world. Where the principle is planted by the regenerating Spirit of God, it will cause the truth to be received, concerning justification by the sufferings and merits of Christ. And the same things that are the object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them. Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good. This view of faith is explained by many examples of persons in former times, who obtained a good report, or an honourable character in the word of God. Faith was the principle of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings. The Bible gives the most true and exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest the Scripture account of the creation, because it does not suit with the differing fancies of men. All that we see of the works of creation, were brought into being by the command of God.

              • i7sharp says:

                Some – perhaps a BIG majority – believe their ancestro was a single-molecule dude.

                My question to them:
                When or how did your ancestors learn to think, to love?

                millions of years ago?

                Approximately when?

            • Mary,

              The difference is that one is a process, like a tool, and the faith that believers espouse to cannot be questioned.

              I have friends who are religious and also believe in the scientific process, but they don’t mix the two. What we’re doing is mixing the two. When you compare Darwin’s theory of evolution to the Genesis story, you’re essentially comparing apples and oranges.

              The theory of evolution can be thrown out and replaced by another model of thought. The Genesis story cannot be expanded, and for sure not replaced. To top it all off, there’s plenty of other creation stories out in the world, the most creative is the Church of Scientology–involving alien souls.

              • My question to them:
                When or how did your ancestors learn to think, to love?

                millions of years ago?

                Approximately when?

                No one really knows, i7sharp, those things don’t survive into the future. The things that survive though for us to study are structures and bones. Here’s an example of a structure that gives us a glimpse to how early man thought,


                “Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it’s the site of the world’s oldest temple

                as to bones, here:


                “The new Ethiopian fossil, announced online by the journal Science, pushes the arrival of Homo on the East African landscape back almost half a million years, to 2.8 million years ago. The date is tantalizingly close to the last known appearance, around three million years ago”

                So we got the Gobekli-Tepe site that puts our penchant for making stuff for supernatural communion (or it could just have been a storage warehouse, with really fancy decorations) at about 10,000 years ago (give or take), then early man to about 2 million years ago, in between that time we learned how to think (love, maybe this came natural from the git go, ie. the way elephants protect their young, chimps cuddle with their young, birds nudge their young to fly, etc.).

                The first human science was tracking, for prey and from predator. So if we can agree that that’s a thresh hold for “thinking”, then 2.8 million plus years ago, our ancestors were thinking– because they would not have survived had they not known how to hunt and find food and get way from predators. That’s the minimum thresh hold.

                For me though, it’s when we were using our molars more for grinding fruits and veggies. Gathering and foraging, before tracking, would’ve required us to test out certain parts of plants and their fruits (poisonous, or safe, good taste or bad, etc.). To be good at this our ancestors would’ve had to learn harvest cycles, which plants became edible when & where, etc. etc. so if we agree that’s “thinking”, then we’d have to push our 2.8 million years back further.

                So it depends on how you qualify “thinking”. But if you notice the more willing we are to re-define concepts of thought, the less we can differentiate ourselves to animals.

              • i7sharp says:


                From what little I know, Adam was created fully formed – in the image of God.

                Able, for one, to think right away.

                You can trace the genealogy of Jesus to Adam.
                See here:

                By the way, here is the beginning of Israel:
                And he said, Thy name shall be
                called no more Jacob, but Israel: for
                as a prince hast thou power with
                God and with men, and hast prevailed.
                Genesis 32:28 [Gen3228]

                How can the world be only thousands of years old
                if stars, etc. are billions of light years away?

              • i7sharp,

                I’m familiar with the Adam/Eve creation myth, you guys have a similar creation myth over there of Strength/Beauty, but cut equally from a branch or rock and formed equally and fully– in comparison Eve was created from Adam’s rib, so the Filipino creation myth to me is superior, because both sexes are considered equal.

                But the Adam/Eve story came from the desert, where as your creation myth coincides with SE Asian and South Pacific values.

                How can the world be only thousands of years old
                if stars, etc. are billions of light years away?

                It’s not thousands of years old, Google says 4.5 billions years old. And Wiki,

              • i7sharp says:


                Do you believe Jesus Christ really existed, died, and rose again from the dead?

                In any case, what do you believe about Jesus Christ?

                I gotta know a bit more of where you are coming from.

              • He probably existed and died, like the rest of us. But resurrection, no.

                Everything else, sightings of Jesus after death, his God status, his genealogy (how exactly did they get this? there’s two lists attributed to the mother side and father’s), and all that reverse engineering, ie prophecies, are more than likely later constructions.

                You take all the unlikely events, and you get a picture of John the Baptist and Jesus as ascetics– w/ John the Baptist taking the extreme route.

                Now if people feel it necessary to consider the rest (what I call fluff) of the Jesus story, that’s perfectly OK– I’m not here to disprove those aspects of the story. But don’t forget the austerity part of the story, is all I’m saying, i7sharp.

                And when listening to (or giving money to) the people who purport to be spokespersons of God, the fact that Jesus was an ascetic should come to mind first. So if a spokesperson, whether a Cardinal, or bishop, or independent pastor or some guy off the street, talks about Jesus (and ask for money or sells you something),

                If they are riding in a BMW or bullet proof SUV and live in a mansion, run the Customs racket in your country, chances are he/she is not a spokesperson for Jesus. That’s simply the point to this article.

              • sonny says:

                LC, your teleology is going exactly the opposite way. Biblical studies are always contextualized with the evidence of archeology, viz. the progression from Genesis of Moses to Revelations of John. Religion tracks well from the elementary beginnings of technology (papyrus) thru Gutenberg (movable type) thru Einstein’s Relativity to present-day Hubble and CERN’s internet. And this is the Abrahamic timeline where the constant is humanity and his soteriology.

              • sonny says:

                LC, in the Apostle’s Creed, you marked it well – with a little correction. Where you tagged the superstition points, substitute Revelation and you will get the accurate Christian theology, Biblical History and Catholic Soteriology. The Apostle’s Creed is confessional, it is also a system.

              • i7sharp says:


                Why not try to google “Greenleaf resurrection”?

                Here is about Simon Greenleaf:
                … He is distinguished as one who applied the canons of the ancient document rule to establish the authenticity of the gospel accounts, as well as cross-examination principles in assessing the testimony of those who bore witness to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

                Given your doubts about Jesus Christ,
                I wonder if you can truly enjoy, for one, Handel’s Messiah.
                Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1]

                Regarding “salvation by austerity,” this is what I can say …
                Hmmm, better yet, let me quote the Bible:
                There is a way which seemeth right
                unto a man, but the end thereof
                are the ways of death.
                Proverbs 14:12 [Pro1412]

                In other words, I must say, with all due respect and with the best of intentions, the kind of salvation you advocate does not lead to eternal life.
                But, perhaps, you know that already. Why would I think otherwise.
                We just have different perspectives.

              • sonny,

                I do think the Bible is an accurate depiction of history of that area. For example, the Great Flood, is echoed in stories older than the Bible.

                As for Biblical studies contextualized with archeology, are you talking about the collection of sacred items in the Dark Ages and before (ie. Mark’s remain to Venice, bits of body parts, pieces of items, etc.) or actual Archeology (because that’s a recent field of study)?

                Are you saying Biblical studies today or back centuries ago, because centuries ago, the Bible was “the” book of God. But since then it’s inerrancy has been diminished.

                I don’t understand your point about Einstein’s Relativity and Hubble and CERN’s internet.

                Superstition vs. revelation is a fine difference, hence Supernatural and Natural, it can’t be verified so it has to remain in the realm of faith ( or revelation ). There’s also revelation in Science (not the process, but the Natural), like Einstein’s revelations, Mendeleyev’s Periodic Table, etc. then it’s confirmed in the Natural world. So the Supernatural and Natural don’t necessarily have to be exclusive.

              • i7sharp,

                For me the fact that Mark has a short ending and that old manuscripts of Mark contain this short ending is pretty good evidence of the constructed importance of the resurrection.

                Then with Mark’s longer ending and all other 3 Gospels basically not harmonizing as to the events in the cave and after the cave, is another good evidence for the latter importance attributed to this “resurrection”.

                If the resurrection was the center of it all, why aren’t the events consistent? I know apologists have written their reasons why and they’ve harmonized it for their readers, but for me it’s still dubious — doubt that’s enough.

                Are you guys familiar with Gram Parsons, ?

                In the Philippines, at every establishment where girls dance in bikinis with circle pinned numbers, Parsons song, “Love Hurts” was as ubiquitous as watered down cheap Tequila. Whenever I didn’t hear that song, the bar experience just was not complete.

                But I digress, the Parsons death mystery ( though it didn’t stay mysterious for long ) I think is what transpired– but instead of friends carrying it out, more than likely it was the Romans ( which is probably the biggest Irony in the history of Man ),

              • i7sharp says:

                “Then with Mark’s longer ending and all other 3 Gospels basically not harmonizing as to the events in the cave and after the cave, …”

                Please be more specific on the gospels “not harmonizing.”
                Start with two verses that do not “harmoniize.”
                Please quote from the King James.


              • i7sharp says:


                I asked for two verses (to start with)
                and to please quote them from the King James.


              • It’s almost 1am, I’m honestly too lazy, but if you have your own King James, that matrix above is a good start. Tell me what you find.

              • i7sharp says:

                No hurry.

                Take your time.
                Take one day, two days, …

              • sonny says:

                The short of it, LC:
                I make the connection between a resurrected Christ and Einstein’s E=m(c.exp2) is the identity of matter & energy. This opens up the nature of matter to a resurrected possibility. I connect the discoveries of the Hubble telescope to the mysteries of the universe as perceived by the author of Genesis and the praise of the God of the heavens as proclaimed by the Psalmist … (T/B cont’d)

              • I get it, sonny.

                But to me that’s a bit like cheating, riding on the coattails of science. When the church was in power, they suppressed ideas that they thought would’ve gone against their dogma ( the Evangelicals love to target Darwin , I know Catholics are more open to Darwin ), these days in big part because of St. Thomas Aquinas it’s a lot easier to rationalized ( reconcile ) blind faith with the scientific process. And I’m actually really cool with this– this should happen more.

                But also consider what Christians of old thought, how did their Christologies add or subtract to human understanding. My point simply is that we don’t slide backwards, which is what’s happening in the Bible Belt regions with the advent of the Evangelical movement — w/ Falwell’s Liberty University’s School of Law ( after all the law is the next priesthood ) , also Pat Robertson’s Regent University’s School of Law.

              • i7sharp says:


                I will try to keep things easier to follow or understand.

                You apparently like the “shortened” version of the Gospel of Mark
                Please read about “the last 12 verses” of Mark here:


                “l12v” = “last 12 verses” (that the reader may hopefully remember it better)

                Have you commented yet on the explanations (of perceived contradictions or errors in the Gospels) by the believers at “Long Island Life Abundant Church”?
                If not, please do send your comment and I will try to pick up from it.

                You seem to have quoted from a version other than the King James.
                To see if it is more accurate, please let me know the name or version of that bible so we can compare the two.

                What I am trying to say or show, LCpl_X, is this:
                We have a bible that is preserved, inspired, inerrant, and infallible.


              • i7sharp says:


                I meant to say “Long Island Abundant Life Church” and this is their article I had referred to:


              • sonny says:

                LC, I do suggest you have it backwards: western science is a child of the Church, e.g. that nature is knowable. I shall try to show this provenance.

                (I’m on the road)

              • sonny,

                I do understand that it’s bracketed by St. Augustine (using Plato) and St. Thomas Aquinas (using Aristotle).

                And that the Neo-Platonists (non-Christian Greeks) who extended Greek thought for as long as possible, were later either murdered or driven out by Christian mobs, that by 400 AD, when Christian Neo-Platonists took the stage, the Dark Ages set in. Until around 1200 AD, With Thomas Aquinas, the darkness was pushed away.

                I do understand that these Thomas Aquinas disciples fought the status quo, at that time only the monasteries had books– they re-discovered the Greek works from the Arabs and they preserved Latin works from the Irish monks. But once the books were made available else where, the Church played a very small role, cont’d today.

                4). science and education ( in the article ).

                Although they saved themselves, and the world, the darkness was an age of their own making.


                Are you on the road as part of this whole Pope Francis visit? Can you give us a run down of Pope Francis once you’re done? Do you think he’ll be amenable to salvation by austerity? What’s your take of his inner circle, entourage, bigger circle, anyone we should keep an eye out for?

              • The Library of Alexandria was destroyed by fanatical Christians at the end of the Roman period, acting very much like the Taliban or ISIS nowadays – and the lady chief librarian was brutally murdered. Most books from ancient times were lost due to that.

                The Arabs preserved some of the Greek knowledge and added to it, in the Middle Ages Islam was more progressive than now and than Christianity then. Algebra means al-jabr = calculation, algorithm is from Al-Khwarismi, author of “kitab al-jabr” – book of calculation. Not to mention Avicenna or Ibn Sina, I think he was in Cordoba. As for science coming from religion – don’t think so, the Greeks who started it all where not even monotheistic.

  23. andrewlim8 says:


    Just had my internet connection restored after 5 days. Though I had a mobile device to keep updated, it was too clumsy to type comments in that. I noticed that I would have mini-anxiety/panic attacks whenever I would read new articles in this blog and be unable to comment, specially since Joe shifted to new blogs daily. Anybody here experience the same thing? I would have shortness of breath and this claustrophobic sensation. Thankfully, it would go away fast if I distract myself with other things.


    1. I find Irineo’s guess that I was Atenean amusing, since it couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am as Maroon as I can be, and getting those two wins in the UAAP warmed my heart. With Conrad de Quiros, (who’s still recovering from his stroke) it’s the reverse: everyone thinks he’s UP when he’s Atenean. Probably how he writes or the way he looks.

    2. Sad to see Johnny Lin go that route, but that’s his problem, not the Society’s. He will be left all alone in the blogosphere, with no one to talk to.

    3. The number and quality of the blogs here is an embarrassment of riches! I feel like Nebuchadnezzar! LOL 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Welcome back, Andrew. Breathe deeply of the amazing insights and information floating about, oxygen for the inquiring mind. I’m putting out an article for you this afternoon, if you could kindly consider yourself an honorable middle class worker, as I did in the blog . . . Pay particular note to the relationship between Telecom companies and regulators . . .

    • karl garcia says:

      Irineo forgot that he revealed he was Ka Ryan, because you mentioned the password in UP or the activists from the left. That was in the article by Mami Kawada Lover.

    • I can only empathize with you, Andrew.

      There were so many times when I so wanted to comment but internet connection is so so killjoy, sometimes it’s just weak, most times it’s just not there. Commenting when discussions went stale is just not the same. aaargh!

  24. Joe,

    Bear Grylls (I thought that article photo you’ve chosen, at first glance, was Bear Grylls– I thought perfect!) is with Pres. Obama now in Alaska. They’re filming a show together, in support of Obama’s sustainable energy plan, I guess that’s the next big thing he’ll roll out before leaving after 2016– also, Climate Change. Both related to this whole notion of austerity, doing more with less.

  25. caliphman says:

    I suppose I am probably the only one here who ended up interpreting salvation by austerity in a mindful meditation context. Mindful meditation is a process of self discovery by contemplating the totality of one’s in the moment awareness and identifying anything and everything that is not part of that awareness as being not Me or Who I am or What I am. The idea is to try to clear and empty ones mind and awareness of all content and reach a state of conscious nothingness which GuruMayi, the current teacher master of the Siddha Yoga tradition (which supposedly dates back 10,000 years in India) calls Shaktipat. The Bhuddist concept of Nirvana captures only a shadow of this state of realization and awareness of ones true self.

    In the 70’s Werner Erhard founded EST which became part of the Human Potential Movement and later on the Landmark Forum which leads groups through an analogous but non-meditative process to free members of any psychological baggage or blocks to empower them to realize whatever goal they want to achieve for themselves.

  26. edgar lores says:

    There are other aspects of the paradigm salvation that have not been discussed.

    If one does not hold to the paradigm of salvation, what are the consequences? How does one view life?

    If there is no life hereafter, what is the reason for existence?

    If there is only life now, is there a reason to build for the future?

    If there is no future reward or punishment, does everything then become permissible? Is ethics necessary? And if so, what would be basis for ethics?

    • chempo says:

      We all ponder the eternal question — what is the purpose of life. The only logical answer is provided in Buddhism. You are here for the experience and you will go through the cycle of rebirth until you have experienced everything and reached enlightenment. Then you will no longer be reborn, your individuality ceases and you are one with the whole consciousness of the universe.

  27. chempo says:

    Does anyone here read Thomas Love Peacock? For those who don’t, FYI his novels has no plots, no morals, no lessons of any sorts, just a group of friends chatting over tea. It’s just conversations over learned and philosophical topic current during his time.

    This blog seems to be a case of life imitating art.

    • caliphman says:

      Sounds like that classic movie, My Dinner with Andre, which is just that; a two hour conversation between two people covering their philosophies and ideas. I am not too thrilled to watch a movie like that after having done it once and the same goes for a blog on this topic but we are all different.

    • “9.3. I do not propose to submit my own answers to these questions. I believe, as Krishnamurti posits, that truth is a pathless land. The majority of people accept the paradigms of religion and science. The questing few, like the author, look for new meanings in old paradigms or for new paradigms altogether.”


      It’s connected to your traffic article, where you offer practical solutions specific to urban planning and transportation options. But as josephivo pointed out, it’s really not just about the traffic, it’s population density, to include the pull of the city (as oppose to the push factor).

      So the further in elevation you go the more connection you see. More context.

      It’s the same solutions-based type article, only we’re not talking about tangible issues but figuring out how minds can be nudged towards a better path. I understand that it’s more an abstract discussion, there’s no statistics to be pointed to, no graphs, no studies from JICA, no actual examples from other nations, but if we’re all here to nudge the Philippines forward,

      it is a worthwhile endeavor– push ideas forward.

      For example…

      Another issue related to traffic, and urban density is sewage. I had never stepped on so much poop in my life as when over there. Dogs and kids pooped everywhere. I saw a kid who did a third world squat over a drainage pipe, below was a creek, and pooped, it was really memorable because his poop– his butt was facing the road — was bright day-glow green.

      Aside from nutrition issues (what the hell did that kid eat? ), is also water quality, ground water pollution (similar to Ireneo‘s silt problem, ). The traffic issue was that I was able to observe maybe 6 kids take a dump in a matter of 20 minutes, because traffic was crawling so slow.

      So using that sample problem (one of maybe millions), we can apply the austerity solution.

      When deployed I had the pleasure of pulling shit duty (several times), where we empty half-barrels full of shit, pour gas, burn it and then mix. Then dump it in the ground. The person that supervises this activity in the Marines is always some senior Corpsman, who always seems to be a Filipino.

      So there was one time when we had a particularly chatty Filipino Corpsman and as we were dumping the burnt remains of crap, he mentioned how Chinese people in the Philippines use to go around at night asking for poop, so was named Midnight Soil. I remember that term sticking to my head, ie. if I ever started a band, I’d used that name. We said, “That’s gross, Chief!”, and he pointed at the stuff and responded, “That’s brown gold right there!”.

      Fast-forward to last month, and I’m at a friends house in San Diego, they’ve recently converted their home, to off-grid (no electricity, no sewage going out, minimal water, using rain catch when it rains). They had just constructed a fancy humanure toilet and I’ve always wanted how one worked.

      They had a great system, clean (no smell) and efficient, goes back to their garden. It was kinda gross eating their salad, but their output was tremendous. So that Filipino Corpsman was right about Midnight Soil.

      So implementing a program in wider scale over there would prove beneficial, 1). people stuck in traffic don’t have to look at kids poop 2). solves pollution and ground-water contamination 3). saves Manila bay, healthier catch from the sea 4). revive the Midnight Soil industry– get Uber involved.

      There is an economy that can be built around austerity.

      • This is something a Philippine company can start. With great quality control, it can look like this,

        • Could be a seed-funded squatter business – I am only partly joking why not help them make a living out of their needs and some of them are truly ingenious and inventive just look at how the organize their own water and electric supply, in fact everything – with “kaning baboy” or “natural fertilizer” as the result. Sorry, no goat for sale as a spinoff. Possibly biogas that can be used to generate electricity – why not pioneer in this?

      • “If lots and lots of people made changes in the way they live, and thus used fewer resources and cut down on our carbon emissions, we might slow down some aspects of the Crappening. That would be dandy.

        But salvation is not the point. We cannot know if that would ever happen, anyway. Action will keep us sane, help us day to day, and at the same time, it is the only thing likely to help the big picture.

        It’s a bit Zen. The point of action is not that it will save us, it’s in the action itself. It’s the process, not the outcome. It’s the practice, not the theory. It’s about the kind of life you build, and how you feel in your skin living that life.”

      • chempo says:

        Frankly speaking on my first take of the article I could not quite relate. I think Joe forewarned us to put on the thinking cap. But mid-way through all the comments, I grasp the idea and indeed salvation by austerity is a great idea. Philosophy is not my strong cuppa but I find the discourse most stimulating. I would like to thank all those helpful commenters for opening my mind.

        “Midnight soil” — I don’t know where that term came from, but 60 years ago in 3rd world Singapore, we used that too. A special vehicle with 36 drawer compartments would come to the village daily. From each drawer they would pull out a special bucket (with a lid) then they collect the brown gold from each household. Where the daily collection went I don’t know, too young to understand then. Here’s the thing I always laugh when I visit North Park Restaurant — the serving crew’s uniform, the one with denim-looking like material, that’s the uniform of our midnight soil carriers.

  28. Found this in the internet. Might be worth it to look into each tips. Good luck and happy frugal living!

    • Mary,

      I’ve been attempting the 1 meal a day diet, just for shits & giggles, and I think my stomach and body has adjusted pretty well. I have apples, carrots, bananas, etc. throughout the day, when my stomach craves (I try to let the first few hunger pangs unanswered, usually these are the false alarms). Water or juice I drink throughout the day.

      If you get a chance listen to this interview with Gen. McChrystal:

    • Bert says:

      I’m worried for you guys. Starving yourselves in pursuit of salvation that might not be there after all. Stomach ulcer might get you first even before you find what you’re seeking, so be warned.

      • It’s not salvation it’s austerity, Bert, doing more with less. As long as you have fruits and veggies handy, it’s a good experiment (just don’t push your body too far, as Arabs are fond of saying, daraja, daraja— step by step, little by little). Me and Mary have spoken about the ubiquity of pork over there before, so we’re kind of on the same frequency in this matter.

        • Paperless transactions, all done thru computers, plastic money (credit cards), buy goods using them, then pay the credit card company by debiting your account. No need to handle money except when going to the wet market to buy fish or meat from your friendly butcher or fish vendor, or veggies from your suki. Plastic money can also be used to buy those in groceries if you don’t care for the hassle of going to humid and dirty market places, instead go to air conditioned malls or even e-shopping, delivered to your door personally, just swipe the credit card, voila! Virtual games, micro-waved meals, e-shopping, sedentary jobs, traffic jams, late going to work, late returning home, good bye physical exercise….hello obesity….ewww!

      • hahaha… not starving to the point of getting ulcer… fruits like apple and bananas, carrots and water in between, surely those will make the body leaner but stronger and healthy… obesity is is so common this days its like a scourge in epidemic proportion… This from unwise eating habits and lack of exercise due to gadgets and internet games, all virtual instead of actual physical games.

        Look at the irony – the problem of obesity in developed countries, emaciation and want in 3rd world ones.

        Going back top basics…more fruits and veggies less carbs and fat; and more physical activities instead of virtual games before it’s too late.

        • “Going back top basics…more fruits and veggies less carbs and fat; and more physical activities instead of virtual games before it’s too late.”

          Every time Donald Trump talks about Japan and US trade relations, he uses the same story about how all we send Japan is beef and they send us cars– and that Japan doesn’t even want our beef.

          In California everyone’s being urged to stop eating beef because this industry wastes the most water– alfalfa crop and water to clean up, etc. We would’ve never learned about water usage by industry had there not been a drought.

        • So upon hearing the beef industry as the biggest water waster in the state, everyone got into drinking Almond Milk,

          • Vegetarians will have no difficulty choosing almond milk and mushroom burger over a burger or steak and soda…I wonder if environmentalists are vegetarians, too.

            • Only problem is that Almonds is California’s top agriculture export and uses lots of water– because it’s not endemic to California climate.

              • Joe America says:

                Los Banos must be Los Pits these days. Almond capital of the world. Serves ’em on mashed potatoes and ice cream and veggies.

              • Err, you lost me there, Joe… is there a Los Banos, too in California? We have one in Laguna.

              • Joe America says:

                Almond capital of the world, western edge of the Central Valley of California, a bit of a wind through the hills from Clint Eastwood’s snob city of Carmel. My family stayed a couple of days in Carmel during our vacation to the US last year. Hoity toity I ain’t . . . but we ate well. Los Banos is about as far culturally from Carmel as it is possible to get.

              • I’ve never been to Los Banos ( I had to google it ), but I’m familiar with 152 to cut across to the 101 from I-5 to go home.

              • Joe America says:

                Ever eat at Pea Soup Andersen’s?

              • Just once as a kid, never had the pea soup, reminded me a little too much of ‘the Exorcist’ (LOL!). Now, they have a huge ostrich farm if you turn right from the exit ( towards Solvang ), ostrich steak beats beef. I don’t know if the Philippines has ostrich farms, cuz if there’s none, you should be all over this, Joe ( they’re basically dinosaurs )

                ” Why’s their meat so special? For one thing, while ostrich meat is poultry, it’s red, not white like most other birds. And this red meat, which looks and tastes much like beef, is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than not only beef, but also white meats like chicken and turkey. All ratites have red meat. It has to do with their muscles. ”

  29. lito dela paz says:

    Good stuff, Lance, this Salvation by Austerity.

    It reminded me of the book Small Is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher. One of the ideas he debunked was the modern thinking that, in order to achieve peace, there must be universal prosperity. That if all people had all the material wealth, then everyone would be happy and content.

    But therein lies an inconsistency, as the acquisition of material wealth is driven by greed and envy. So how does one proceed to world peace from there? If everyone was rich enough to own and drive a car, what would that do the environment? Can we go on living as if all resources are limitless?

    Salvation by austerity not only touches the spiritual side, but also the practical survival of the individual and the entire planet.

  30. Here you go, i7sharp, and this why I default to the Mark short ending (and the Gram Parsons funeral pyre in Joshua Tree Nat’l Park):

    * John 20 (Jesus is in the cave)

    1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

    2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

    3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

    4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

    5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

    6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

    7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

    8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

    9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

    10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

    11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

    12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

    13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

    14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

    15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

    16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

    17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

    18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.


    * Matthew 28 (Jesus is not in the cave)

    1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

    2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

    3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

    4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

    5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

    6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

    7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

    8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

    9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

    • i7sharp says:


      Is there where you got the image you had posted?:

      In any case, do you think their (Long Island Abundant Life Church’s) explanation is wanting?
      I doubt if I can do better than them but I sure will try – if necessary.

      Let me share a code that you don’t to understand now:


      Hmmm, … maybe I had previously shared it already?

      • That was just a quick image search, if you have issues with the photo ( matrix ) I shared, comment on that, or comment on the above post. I don’t know anything about Long Island Abundant Life Church.

        • * Luke 24

          1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.

          2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

          3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

          4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.

          5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

          6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,

          7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

          8 And they remembered his words,

          9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

          10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,

          11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

          12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

      • So was Jesus in the cave or not? For an event so defining, they should’ve gotten this right from the git-go, that’s my only point. But if we take the Mark short ending– everything makes sense.

        • * Mark 16

          1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

          2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb

          3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

          4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

          5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

          6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.

          7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

          8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

          —————————————————– the End ——————————————————-

        • i7sharp says:

          I am a curious about what you said here:
          “So was Jesus in the cave or not? For an event so defining, they should’ve gotten this right from the git-go, that’s my only point. But if we take the Mark short ending– everything makes sense.”

          If everything makes sense with a “shortened” Mark, you would believe in the Resurrection?
          And the world can heave a sigh of relief?

      • i7sharp says:


        1. I don’t have any issues at all.
        I did not know anything about until I tried to search where you might have gotten your photo (matrix).

        “gghk,” by the way, is “glory of God … honor of kings.”

        Filipinos who will use my … er, ahem, … “i7bible” (which is based on the King James) can get to it in split-seconds and need not even remember it is from Proverbs 25:2

        I might not be able to send a respond until hours from now.
        Try not to overwhelm me verses. 🙂
        I still have to look at two (of your choice).
        In the meantime, why don’t you try to find cracks in the explanation of the said ( site?

        btw, what do you think about the origin of Israel?

        History made simple, ‘di ba?

        By the inspired, infallible, inerrant, and preserved word of God.

        • You mean Israel under David, or the other David ( ben- Gurion ) ?

          Philippines (Vote: For): In the days before the vote, the Philippines’ representative General Carlos P. Romulo stated “We hold that the issue is primarily moral. The issue is whether the United Nations should accept responsibility for the enforcement of a policy which is clearly repugnant to the valid nationalist aspirations of the people of Palestine. The Philippines Government holds that the United Nations ought not to accept such responsibility”. After a phone call from Washington, the representative was recalled and the Philippines’ vote changed.

 Israel spies on the US, puts Americans in harms way, and consistently manipulates the American gov’t.

          Israel was a great experiment, but has run its course. Most of its best and brightest are leaving Israel for the US, Canada, Australia and EU. Google ‘Yerida’, it’s a national security issue over there.

          • According to Israeli comedy author Ephraim Kishon, the best way for foreigner to stay out of trouble in Israel is to mindlessly repeat “David Ben-Gurion”…

            BTW Kishon wrote a tribute to Pinoys fighting spirit called “sulong na, Mang Pinoy”.

            And I read somewhere the Pinoys were the only ones who did not hide when Saddams Scud rockets appeared over Israel’s skys: they went on buildings to watch the action…

            • At a party back in the 1980s at a refugee place, a group of Pinoys including myself crashed – helped by a very tall Southern Sudanese refugee who was the “import” in our Filipino basketball team – although they didn’t let him play in all-Filipino tournaments…

              A very drunk refugee from Zaire who was obviously nervous at our “siga” presence kept repeating “Madame Aquino” to “pacify” us – something similar to “David Ben-Gurion”… 🙂

              Time for me to sign-off for a while, I am not drunk but in a way too good mood and corny.

              • We got to do an exercise with Jordan, afterwards we ported in Eilat and spent about a week there, so we got to go up to Jerusalem also. The girls ( in their olive drabs and rifles ) are just a sight to behold– sexy is an understatement. I didn’t know about “David ben-Gurion”,

                good thing we didn’t have to invoke his name. But you are right about Filipinos, there are a lot of them over there. If they play their cards right, like convert to Judaism, they’ll surely inherit the nation of Israel– leverage Yerida, join the IDF, get into politics, inter-marry with Israelis, make lots of babies (no problem there) … the country is theirs for the taking.

                They’ll have the best seats for Armageddon.

  31. Oktoberfest starts tomorrow. Nothing to do with austerity. It has its true origins in harvest festivities at the end of summer. Bavarians are to Germans as Igorots are to Filipinos. This is their cañao.

    Eat and drink and be merry, the harvest is in, usually we have a bit of an Indian summer over here during the Oktoberfest – which only ENDS in early October, followed by dark autumn days. Sometimes one has to prepare for austerity – after all, St. Augustine sinned and THEN confessed.

    Won’t be partying always, but I will be more austere in posting for the coming two weeks. See y’all.

    • Happy drinking, man. And mind your liver!

      • Thanks! Won’t drink that much though – it’s more of the mix of food, party and drink, plus the sheer mass and variety of people from all over the world coming to visit that I enjoy.

        some statistics:

        • Now I’m thinking those Syrians were just trying to attend Oktoberfest. I know it’s a thing, but didn’t know that it was actually a legit festival with history, kinda like Cinco de Mayo over here.

          If you meet new Syrian refugees, you can always tell where they are from, Northern or Southern Syrian ( and determine their allegiance ), by these two beers, ( Al-Maza is Lebanese, but they drink Whiskey over there, LOL! )

          • That is possible, but they have mostly been whisked away to refugee shelters all over the country from the Munich train station where buses where already waiting for them. Former American barracks – most of your folks left in the 90s – gyms, container colonies. Everything is organized over here, German Red Cross even had Arab immigrants in its ranks mobilized to have people who speak the language – and to sort out those who pretended to be Syrians who lost their passports – an Arab can tell by the dialect… Probably closing the borders on Sunday was related to the Oktoberfest, tons of refugees and hordes of tourists coming to visit would have been too much even for well-organized Germany. Maybe they just let them in to relieve pressure while Hungary finished its border fences, because they knew that Hungary did not have the resources to deal with them? Anyway the masses of tourists are definitely much more than all the refugees that came.

            The photo below shows the sheer size of the festival grounds – you can see them to the left. The so-called tents are large wooden structures, some of which hold 10,000 people and take three months to assemble. Only local breweries are allowed – even if many are now owned by a Belgian multinational. The straight line above the festival grounds is the main train line and on the upper right you see the (gray) Munich train station with more than 20 platforms – the upper 5 or so platforms on the southern (upper) side, in the Starnberg wing station, were the place they sealed off for the incoming refugees. The large square on the lower left hand side is close to the town clinics – convenient if there are any medical emergencies. It is sealed of by the police in case emergency choppers have to land and take people to the special clinic outside town – a quite impressive feat that I see very often because I live close by and often pass that square to shop – or go to the McDonalds if I am too lazy to cook. That McDonalds is where the drunks all crash when the tents close, try to find taxis – or their friends who got lost, or their senses… 🙂

            • The square on the lower right hand side… Goetheplatz. A total of 5 subway stations serve the Oktoberfest, but during these two weeks some of them are run Japanese-style, with personnel to push people into the wagons. And make sure no drunks fall on the tracks.

              The lower left-hand side of the fairgrounds is still empty in the picture – it is for the trailers of those among the personnel who have to live on the grounds during those two weeks.

              • ” And make sure no drunks fall on the tracks. “.

                Seems like a very drunk friendly environment. An equivalent to the Haj, but for drunks.

              • Something like that… a hedonistic Haj… lots of Aussies and some Kiwis come over for two weeks straight, just so the long flight is worth it, the young Americans who come over often act like on spring break only that they wear lederhosen…

              • The origins of Munich beer date back to the Catholic monasteries over here. During Lenten season, fasting was mandatory. So instead of eating, they drank beer.

                The Vatican questioned this practice, but what they did was to send a sample of their beer over the Alps via mule express. By the time it reached Rome it tasted so bad that it was approved as in line with the austerity of Lenten fasting. So it all goes back to religion…

              • “By the time it reached Rome it tasted so bad that it was approved as in line with the austerity of Lenten fasting. So it all goes back to religion…”

                That’s an awesome story! You’re getting me all pumped up for Oktoberfest.

                It reminded me of this, ( “When in doubt, Drink beer” )

              • Catholicism and hedonism often go together.

                Gotta sleep, this has been an interesting blognight.

    • chempo says:

      If you meet someone at the party, you’ll know he’s gay if he tells you come, let’s Eat, Drink and be Mary.

  32. 2. “In other words, these are different stories but not necessarily conflicting stories. All could be true at the same time.”

    That’s basically the gist of that article, but I’m simply asking whether or not Jesus was in the cave, and how come there are 2 versions ( not to mention the other differences ) there’s ‘in the cave’ and ‘not in the cave’— if the resurrection is the whole point to all this, wouldn’t it make sense that witnesses would’ve agreed on this crucial part from the very beginning?

    What is your take, i7sharp?

    3. Every time I google a passage it takes me to this link first, , so I use it, I fill the first box first ( the passage in question ) , then I choose the Bible ( those verses from all 4 Gospels above were from KJV, not NKJV, but KJV — so, unless you have something different, point it out — and let’s get on with it already ).

    Are those passages I’ve copy/pasted above NOT from the KJV then, did you check your KJV? — what are the differences if it is not the KJV?

    • i7sharp says:


      I have requested you to quote (for a start) two verses (from the KJV) where you find contradictions.

      That should be easier to do than what you have done so far.
      That is the easiest, simplest, and clearest way for us to tackle this, IMO.

      To make it even easier for you, why not just tell me the two bible citations (without quoting them). I will quote them for you.

      (You have seen this before: )

      • I’ve bolded them for you above. Here they are again,

        Matthew 28: 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

        John 20: 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

        • i7sharp says:

          Thank you, LCpl_X.

          Give me a few hours to study this.

        • i7sharp,

          Like I said above I’m already familiar with the harmonization point, just wanted to get your take on things, so we can begin the interpretation part to all this. This is the meat of the matter now, the interpretation, ie. the most likely scenario.

          The ‘before ( Synoptic gospels ) and after ( John )’ take is a fair interpretation. But for me ( and plenty of other skeptics out there ) it’s not good enough. Here’s why…

          In Mark 16:1 we have Mary from Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Salome.

          In Matthew 28:1 we have Mary from Magdala and the other Mary.

          In Luke 24:1 the ‘they’ are the ‘women from Galilee’ who accompanied Joseph of Arimathaea– Mary from Magdala, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and ‘other women’.

          It would make sense that the guys weren’t around– they’d be accomplices or probably just get a beating for hanging-out with Jesus.

          In Mark, no male disciples visit the tomb. In Matthew, again no male disciples. In Luke, once again no male disciples– but Luke ( or another writer ) has Peter going back to the tomb, for good measure ( which for me is problematic because they should be in hiding, but that’s harmonizing ).

          The Synoptic gospels, offers a very good synopsis ( why they’re called Synoptic ) of what happened in the tomb with the women. Jesus was not in the tomb. Had Jesus been inside the tomb, this very important part of the Jesus narrative, all 3 Gospels should’ve accounted for it– too important to gloss over.

          The 3 Gospels have Jesus pretty much all over the place after the women checked the tomb, but he definitely was not in the tomb.


          Now the Gospel of John is considered separate from the 3 Synoptic Gospels.

          John 20:2, perfectly places the narrative as continuation to the Synoptic Gospels ( or so we think ). When Mary from Magdala states, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we know not where they have laid him”, ‘they’ can either be the Romans, the Jews, grave robbers, care takers, etc. ( if taken at face value ).

          But if we continue with the harmonization point, ‘they’ mean that 1 ‘young man sitting on the right side, arrayed in a white robe’ ( Mark ); or ‘an angel of the Lord descended from heaven’ ( Matthew ); or the ‘two men stood by them in dazzling apparel’ ( Luke ).

          So in the Synoptic gospels, the women definitely saw either of the above ( who knows which ).

          But when Mary of Magdala ( re-entering the tomb for the 2nd time, as per your harmonized version of events ) was asked by the 2 angels in John, why are you crying? She says, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him”.

          So then Jesus ( not yet ascended ) sneaks up behind her, basically playing a trick on her, it takes awhile for Mary of Magdala to figure it out and then when she does, yells, “Rabboni!” ( What up!!! ).

          That “they” is problematic. If you don’t play the harmonization game with the Synoptic gospels, then the account of John makes sense, ie. they=the Romans, the Jews, grave diggers, or grave robbers, etc. etc.


          If you insist on harmonizing, then John’s account just doesn’t hold, because Mary from Magdala ( and the other women ) were given clear instructions as to what happened to Jesus in that empty tomb,

          ” he is risen; he is not here: behold, the place where they laid him!
          But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. “
          ( Mark )

          ” Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, who hath been crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples, He is risen from the dead; and lo, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. “ ( Matthew )

          ” Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee “ ( Luke )

          So if we follow your ‘before and after’ interpretation ( harmonization– as opposed to letting the 3 Synoptics & John stand apart ), we basically have Mary of Magdala ( after having been given a clear explanation as to why Jesus is not in the tomb, and instructions for Galilee ), still asking,

          ” Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. “
          She’s just talked to 2 angels ( they’re still in the tomb ), awhile ago she ( and other women, in their 1st trip to the tomb ) came across either 1 young in a white robe (Mark), or an angel that descended from heaven (Matthew), or 2 men in dazzling apparel, who told them that Jesus ‘is risen from the dead’ (Luke).

          And she still mistook Jesus for a gardener? It doesn’t add up. Doesn’t it make more sense that Mary of Magdala is meeting these 2 angels in the tomb for the first time, and that it’s not her second trip into the tomb, as harmonized?

          The harmonized version just doesn’t add up. So the Synoptics apart from John is the only way to read these accounts, the kicker is that you have Jesus in the cave in one Gospel and Jesus not in the cave in the other 3 Gospels.


          Which brings us back full circle to what actually happened ( or might have happened )? Either we take the Synoptics with their myriad of differences in their the tomb account, or we take John’s account. Or we can just go with the short ending of Mark,

          “8 And they went out, and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them: and they said nothing to any one; for they were afraid. “

          And leave the rest to imagination in Galilee. OR pick either the Synoptics over John or vice-versa. Either slope is slippery.

          OR you can defend your harmonized version and change my mind, i7sharp 🙂 Your move, Bobby Fischer.

          • i7sharp says:

            “OR you can defend your harmonized version and change my mind, i7sharp 🙂 Your move, Bobby Fischer.”

            Let me start from the end of your comment. 🙂
            I truly admire Bobby Fischer – although I feel very sad of what eventually happened to him.
            But please do not think I even got close to being as good as he was.

            I remember very well my going out of our apartment in Baclaran very early in the morning to get the newspaper because I could not wait to read about the latest moves in his match against Boris Spassky.

            I have just downloaded Nitro Pro 10 (a PDF software).
            So it takes priority at the moment.

            I hope to be able to respond again, I hope, at the latest, tomorrow evening.
            But you can never tell; I might not be able to resist looking into your doubts or questions.

            Only God can convince you to believe in *the* truth – which, by the way, is personified by Jesus. (“I am way, the truth, …”)

            • In 1972 one journalist stated that “Fischer is almost as serious about religion as he is about chess”. I don’t play chess, I’m more of a Connect Four-type of guy.

              As for the “Truth”, I already DON’T buy it, I just want to be convinced of the ‘before and after’ ( harmonized ) take on this tomb thing, right now I’m not.

              Looking forward to your response, i7sharp.

              • Bert says:

                I am no chess enthusiast but in this exchanges I just can’t wait to see the next move, :).

              • Joe America says:

                Same here. Better stuff than I got in Bible studies.

              • i7sharp says:

                Bert, thanks for your interest.

                Sooner or later, one of us will find himself in a “zugzwang.”

                A high school student anywhere in the Philippines will hopefully be able very soon to find out – in a few seconds – what zugzwang means.

                Please see
                and ask me a question about my comment there.
                See if asking a question could indeed be “rewarding.”

                btw, I will send a response to LCpl_X in probably a few minutes.

              • i7sharp says:

                “In 1972 one journalist stated …”

                I just realized I had actually almost lost the chance to enjoy the match between Fischer and Spassky (in 1972).

                January 22, 1972 was a very memorable day for me. And what happened that day is one of the reasons I am disappointed that seemingly no one has cared to check about the firefighting and rescue capabilities at NAIA.
                Please see

                Regarding the harmonization of the gospels (btw, why do you separate John’s from the other three), please try to read about “dimensions” in what I had called a serendipitous find here:

                I am referring to the video
                “Beyond Perception – by Chuck Missler.”
                If you don’t care to watch or listen to it all, you can start at the 2nd hour of the two-hour video.

                If watching it enables you to “see” the Gospels better, then I will consider the video a “see-rendipitous” find. 🙂

              • (btw, why do you separate John’s from the other three)

                I just gave you a pretty good reason above, i7sharp! The 3 Synoptics and John don’t jibe.

                “you can start at the 2nd hour of the two-hour video.”

                Does he address our tomb question? If not, we can by-pass him for now and focus on the tomb question.

              • i7sharp says:

                “I just gave you a pretty good reason above, i7sharp! The 3 Synoptics and John don’t jibe.”

                And the world should take LCpl_X’s word as “gospel”?

                Does he address our tomb question? If not, we can by-pass him for now and focus on the tomb question.

                Well, I am getting ready for church and to assist in Sunday school – in a church which I am not a member of, and which probably would throw me out if they knew what I think of the bibles they use there (at least three – the King James not among them).
                Don’t get me wrong. There are many very nice people there. A big majority would be nicer than me.
                Later in the day, the family will do a bonfire celebration for someone’s birthday.
                So, you will probably not hear from me – until very much later.

                Shouldn’t that give you time to look into matters of “dimensions”?
                Hint: Jesus’s resurrected body took different forms. More than 3Ds?
                Not enough incentive for you to watch Missler’s video?
                Or, are you afraid to see the truth. (Take that as a … jab.)

              • i7sharp,

                “And the world should take LCpl_X’s word as “gospel”?”

                You asked me why and I answered your question. Reason vs. magical thinking– the world has already made its decision, there’s less Christians these days.

                Hint: Jesus’s resurrected body took different forms. More than 3Ds?”

                OK, so basically your next move will involve something magical?

                Am I wrong or am I right? I would suggest defending your “before and after” as witness testimony first, then move into “the Twilight Zone” only after having attempted that.

                Jumping straight into “the Twilight Zone” is like standing on your seat during the match and pissing all over the chess board. And then getting a top hat out of nowhere and pulling out a bunny.

                But I guess that’s entertaining too– I like the ending of “Insterstellar” and I’m a big fan of Abbott’s . Either way I’m still very excited where you’ll go with this, like Bert.

              • karl garcia says:

                Just continue with your chess game and no one-upmanship, so the tanod won’t have to call the deputy tanod, she might order a court martial. takenote she,not me.

              • Joe America says:

                🙂 She’s off sipping carrot juice. Don’t disturb her. ahahaha

              • karl garcia says:

                “Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”
                G.K. Chesterton

              • karl garcia says:

                “All that is mere
                rationalism; the superstition (that is the unreasoning repugnance
                and terror) is in the person who admits there can be angels but
                denies there can be devils. The superstition is in the person who
                admits there can be devils but denies there can be diabolists.”
                G.K. Chesterton

              • karl garcia says:

                “Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.”
                G.K. Chesterton

              • karl garcia says:

                If there were no God there would be no atheists.”

                – G. K. Chesterton

              • i7sharp says:

                Mark 16:12
                “After that he [Jesus] appeared in another form …”

                another form
                Am not saying I am sure it was 4-dimensional.
                I cannot even grasp dimensions more than 3.


                I looked for a transcript of the Chuck Missler video that LCpl_X seems, for some reason, averse to watch.
                This comes close to it, I guess:

                Click to access Beyond_Time_Space_Notes.pdf

                Hyperdimensions: Spaces of More than 3-D
                On June 10, 1854, Georg Riemann gave the most important
                mathematical lecture ever given…It took over
                60 years for it to be applied (Einstein went to his grave
                frustrated over his inability to reconcile issues which subsequently
                yielded by applying his previous insights).
                The current thinking among quantum physicists is that
                our universe consists of 1-dimensional “superstrings”
                vibrating in 10 dimensions… (?)
                Beyond Euclid (>3 Dimensions)
                • 1854: Georg Riemann’s Metric Tensors
                • 1915: Einstein, 4-Dimensional Space-time
                • 1953: Kaluza-Klein: 4+n Dimensions
                – Light, & Supergravity
                • 1963: Yang-Mills Fields
                – Electromagnetic & Both Nuclear Forces
                • 1984: Superstrings, 10-Dimensions

                Your choice of words seems to go down the drain.
                Why not keep this in mind:

                “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb,
                sweet to the soul,
                and health to the bones.”
                Proverbs 16:24 KJV

              • 1. Another form is fine. We all know the story is about Jesus transformation.

                I’m simply asking why the discrepancy between the Synoptics and John in their witness of Jesus, ie. not in the cave Vs. in the cave. You said it was ‘before and then shortly after’, with Mary going back twice. I pointed out why that scenario is unlikely, just based on reason ( no magical thinking )– ie. like if you were part of a jury and two lawyers gave you two scenarios ( these above ), you’d have to choose the mostly likely. Again no magic, just using the evidence on hand.

                2. Hyper-dimensions are fine, I’m a big fan of them. But if you go with this ( are you? ), how does it explain the discrepancy we are discussing right now. Use it, make a case for it. I’ll be open to it.

                3. “If everything makes sense with a “shortened” Mark, you would believe in the Resurrection?”

                I don’t believe in the Resurrection, period. Precisely because of these discrepancies. If it did happen then they’d stick with one story– but we don’t see that. What we see are the Synoptics and John disagreeing, while the Synoptics themselves don’t jibe in minor details ( the ‘no Jesus’ and ‘Jesus is in the cave’ is a major detail ).

                The evidence ( if this was a jury trial ) suggest that these stories were manufactured after the fact. Hence my proclivity towards the short ending of Mark– similar to the Gram Parsons story, .

                4. “Your choice of words seems to go down the drain.” The Bobby Fischer jabs I’ll apologize for, but since you seemed pleased by those, no apologies needed. But I will not apologize for saying magical-thinking. But if you can tell me how it is NOT magical-thinking, I’d be open to it.

                So you’ve argued your point, it’s a weak point in my estimation, certainly no “checkmate” or “zugswang” you’ve promised ( unless yo have more coming ). Are you done, or will you be adding to your argument? Because if we’re done with the cave dilemma ( and that’s your answer above ), I’d now like to drop my zugswang— what I’d like to ebonicize as Z-wang.

                Tell me when you’re ready.

              • Bert says:

                Nice! Nice give-and-take. And the winner is…no, I’m not the adjudicator here, Edgar is. What’s the verdict, Edgar?

              • i7sharp says:

                Reason vs. magical thinking– the world has already made its decision, there’s less Christians these days.

                It is merely a sign of things to come – which the Bible, of course, talks about.

                Great Falling Away after the Departure of the Church
                By Prof. J.S. Malan, University of the North, South Africa

                The departure (Gr. apostasia) of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 will precede the revelation of the Man of Sin (the Antichrist). The rendering of “apostasia” as “rebellion”, “apostasy” or “falling away” in most English Bibles is unfortunate since these are secondary or derived meanings of the word. Its primary meaning is “departure” which, in this verse, refers to the rapture of the church. In consequence of the rapture, great apostasy will occur on earth while the Antichrist institutes his lawless and utterly sinful reforms. That time will be characterised by a worldwide moral and spiritual falling away.
                Speculation is rife about the rapture and the revelation of the Antichrist. Some people spiritualise these concepts, others accept the two events but place them in the wrong chronological order, while many others deny them altogether or allege that the Antichrist was one or other historical figure.


                Of course, you don’t believe there will be a rapture, right?
                I am thinking of bringing up the subject with PNoy so that he can think of ways the Philippines can become the most blessed place (more than America was) on Earth before the Rapture.
                With God’s help, that would be a piece of cake, ‘di ba?

                But first, PNoy, should read the Scriptures.
                Wait, first, he has to know where the inspired, inerrant, infallible, presevered scriptures are.
                LCpl_X will probably lead PNoy’s spiritual advisers in arguing there is no such thing.

                O, well, …

  33. edgar lores says:

    This reminded me of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. One was boxing, the other ducking and weaving.

    The arguments have been paraphrased.

    1. Round 1

    1.1. i7sharp: “Please name a superstition that you think I believe in.”
    1.2. LCpl_X: List them and we can apply the definition.

    1.3. i7sharp: “What particular superstition of mine do you have in mind?”
    1.4. LCpl_X: “You have to list them; I don’t know what’s in your mind.”

    1.5. i7sharp: “Name one superstition that you think I believe in.”

    Decision: LCpl_X wins round. i7sharp penalized for deflection. That is, hugging in boxing terms.

    2. Round 2

    2.1. Bert: “…you are a believer in the Spirit having an eternal life in the afterlife.”
    2.2. i7sharp: “I fervently hope and pray that I am a Christian, saved by grace through faith to live eternally with God.”

    2.3. Bert: “… you ‘fervently hope and pray’. Which means that you’re not believing yet.”
    2.4. i7sharp: “What I was trying to say was… only God knows who is saved because it is God who does the choosing.”

    2.5. Bert: “You are a believer in a Spirit that has an everlasting life in the afterlife. If I am wrong, then you are right, see? If I am right, then LCpl_X is right.”
    2.6. i7sharp: “You are saying I am ‘superstitious’ because I believe in things I do not see? (Provides link.) Were all those bible-believing scientists superstitious?”

    2.7. LCpl_X: “That’s already been addressed. (Provides link: A scientist who believes in the Bible is not by default a creationist… unless he provides a predisposition clearly towards the Biblical narrative.) Things you can’t see have to be tested… but you don’t tout something as truth just for the hell of it, that’s superstition.”
    2.8. i7sharp: “You mean you have tried to address them. Am not evading your comments. If we were playing chess, I know of the impending checkmate. Not quite unlike Fisher’s ‘move of the century.’”

    Decision: LCpl_X (and Bert) wins. i7sharp finally states a belief, offers a list of scientists to support his belief, but is clearly rebutted by LCpl_X (item 2.7). The list is an overhand punch in boxing terms.

    3. Round 3

    3.1. LCpl_X: “Since I don’t really know what you believe in, I’ll just cut/paste the Apostle’s Creed.” Proceeds to label most lines of the creed as superstition.
    3.2. Mary: “On my! So you believe in Darwin and the Big Bang.”

    3.3. LCpl_X: “Verifiability is key here.”
    3.4. Mary: “And that is where the word Faith comes in.”

    3.5. i7sharp: “Some believe their ancestor was a single-molecule dude. When or how did your ancestors learn to think, to love?”
    3.6. LCpl_X: “No one really knows. The things that survive are structures and bones. The first human science was tracking for prey and from predator. If that’s a threshold for thinking, then 2.8 million years ago our ancestors were thinking.”

    3.7. i7sharp: “Adam was created fully formed in the image of God, able to think right away. How can the world be only thousands of years old if stars are billions of light years away?”
    3.8. LCpl_X: “The Filipino creation myth is superior because sexes are considered equal. The world is not thousands of year olds, Google says 4.5 billion years old.”

    Decision: LCpl_X wins on the presumption that we are using science and reason to argue here. If this presumption is not granted, then it’s a tie. I believe Young Earth creationism has been replaced by Intelligent Design, and Old Earth creationism is seen as metaphor. Even Catholics accept Evolution. (Are we having a reprise of the Scopes Trial here?) This is equivalent to biting ears in boxing terms.

    4. Round 4

    4.1. i7sharp: “Do you believe Jesus really existed, died and rose again from the dead?”
    4.2. LCpl_X: “He probably existed and died, but resurrection, no.”

    4.3. i7sharp: “The kind of salvation you advocate – salvation by austerity – does not lead to eternal life.”

    4.4. LCpl_X: “If the resurrection was the center of it all, why aren’t the events consistent? Why aren’t the gospels harmonized as to the events in the cave and after the cave?”
    4.5. i7sharp: “Please be more specific on the gospels not harmonizing. Start with two verses.”

    4.6. LCpl_X: Provides table comparing the gospels as to the sequence of “resurrection” events.
    4.7. i7sharp: “I asked for two verses.”

    4.8. LCpl_X: Quotes John 20 (Jesus is in the cave), Matthew 28, Luke 24 and Mark 16 (Jesus is not in the cave). So was Jesus in the cave or not?
    4.9. i7sharp: “If everything makes sense with a ‘shortened’ Mark, would you believe in the Resurrection?

    4.10. i7sharp: “I have requested for two verses.”
    4.11. LCpl_X. Quotes Matthew 28.6 and John 20:14.

    4.12: i7sharp: “Give me a few hours to study this.”
    4.13. LCpl_X: “There should be nothing to study. I thought the checkmate was gonna be tonight, Bobby Fisher.”

    4.14. i7sharp: “Let us do away with unnecessary sarcasm.”
    4.15: LCpl_X: “Sorry, I just couldn’t help the Bobby Fischer jab.”

    Decision: LCpl_X wins. i7sharp keeps on insisting on his conditions and does not analyse the Corporal’s extensive responses. Note his deflection at 4.9. However LCpl_X is penalized for using an unorthodox jab (item 4.13). This is hitting below the belt in boxing terms.

    5. Round 5

    5.1. i7sharp: “Matthew 28:6: Jesus had already resurrected. John 20:14: Jesus had come back in his glorified/resurrected body.”
    5.2. LCpl_X: “Are you saying these were separate events?”

    5.3. i7sharp: “That is how I look at it – but, of course, I could be wrong.”
    5.4. LCpl_X: Gives extended analysis of the “myriad differences” between the Synoptic gospels and John. “Which brings us back full circle to what happened actually.”

    5.5. i7sharp: “I hope to be able to respond again. Only God can convince you to believe in the Truth which is personified by Jesus.”
    5.6. LCpl_X: “I already don’t buy that Truth, I just want to be convinced of the “before and after” take on this tomb thing.”

    5.7. i7sharp: “Regarding the harmonization, please try to read about ‘dimensions’ in what I had called a serendipitous find.” Provides a link to a 2-hour video.

    5.8. LCpl_X: “I just gave you a pretty good reason why the 3 Synoptics and John don’t jibe. Does the video address our tomb question?”
    5.9. i7sharp: “Hint: Jesus’ resurrected body took different forms. More than 3Ds?”

    5.10. LCpl_X: “So basically your next move will involve something magical?”
    5.11. i7sharp: “Am not saying I am sure it was 4-dimensional. I cannot even gasp dimensions more than 3.

    5.12. LCpl_X: “Another form is fine, hyper-dimensions are fine. I’m simply asking why the discrepancy between the Synoptics and John. You said it was “before and then shortly after,” with Mary going back twice. I pointed out why that scenario is unlikely. Again, no magic, just using the evidence at hand.”

    Decision: LCpl_X wins. i7sharp did respond with one argument (item 5.1), one counter-punch, but he was not able to defend against the Corporal’s footwork, combinations and relentless attack (item 5.4).

    6. I would have to give the match to LCpl_X. He has won 4.5 rounds out of 5 rounds. It’s a technical knockout… unless i7sharp resurrects himself.

    6.1. I think it is unsound to prove controversial biblical points using reason. Points that conflict with science (such as Evolution and the Big Bang). Points that conflict with our current understanding (such as on the issue of slavery). And points that are internally contradictory within the Bible… although I think it is alright to discuss varying interpretations among believers. But discussion between believers and outsiders are usually unproductive… unless there is an openness to take on the other’s viewpoint. You have to take the Bible on faith, which is Mary’s point at item 3.4 and i7sharp’s at 5.5.

    • LOL! thanks, edgar! It’s not all the time you get to see an instant replay of the match.

      I totally agree with 6.1, I had a point not related to Jesus’ tomb which was bigger ( related to the article above ), I made it here instead in response to Ireneo,

      Good match, i7sharp— I’ll hold on to this Z-wang for another time.

    • Once again, I bow in appreciation, master referee. You are like Solomon in wisdom.

      May I offer my humble conclusion which may greatly differ from each of yours):

      The apostles who wrote the bible are but human beings, not perfect and prone to mistakes. Various translations were made in different times and culture and languages which could account for the seeming mistakes or inconsistencies if you will.. If one believes, he must focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, for to look at others, one could surely lose his way. We cannot understand God’s ways for we are but human, trying to will only lead to frustration and unbelief. The Resurrection is the most important part of Jesus’ mission here on earth, without that and faith in its aftermath , one cannot have hope in life after death. We are all only human and our human mind has limitation.

      • edgar lores says:

        God bless, Mary.

        • i7sharp says:

          I was able to see your “score card” only now.
          Thanks for the summary. Your scoring reflects your own proclivities, so I am not surprised.

          Frankly I cannot quite follow LCpl_X’s arguments (jury trial. etc.) and I wanted to mull over them some more – but I provided “tangential” – though not irrelevant – information (on dimensions) to keep the conversation going.

          As a matter of fact, I think the thing on dimensions will help address what you had written before on interstellear travel or something. Perhaps you know what I mean – but if not, let me look for it, as time permits.

          You might want to make clear that although I had asked for a few hours to respond to LCpl_X (which made LCpl_X think he had me cornered) I actually sent a reply after only a few minutes – after doing a once over on his arguments. I had expected something more weighty. And that reply should be good enough. And stopped the argument right there.

          Edgar, since you have been patient (I was pleasantly surprised you could do that), can you pick from where LCpl_X tried to explain how the single-molecule dude’s “progenies” were able to think?
          While you are at it, try to give us information, if you can, about the “environment” in which that dude lived in.

          You know why the Earth could be thousands of years old only – although celestial bodies around it are billions of light years away?
          The same way that Adam could be minutes old only (being created fully-formed, instantly) – although he could have been seen to be, say, twenty years old.
          Hard to do in human terms. But to God, a piece of cake.

          More of LCpl_X’s arguments will be answered (hopefully) as time permits.
          btw, did you a response from him regarding Simon Greenleaf’s work on the Resurrection?

          Oh, regarding that concocted image of pissing on the chessboard, let me share this:

          “As a dog returneth to his vomit,
          so a fool returneth to his folly.

          Seest thou a man wise in his
          own conceit? there is more hope of
          a fool than of him.
          Proverbs 26:11, 12

          A few verses before that is Proverbs 26:4.
          I am inclined to take the advice. 🙂

          • i7sharp says:

            i7sharp to Edgar:
            As a matter of fact, I think the thing on dimensions will help address what you had written before on interstellear travel or something. Perhaps you know what I mean – but if not, let me look for it, as time permits.

            Here you go, Edgar, where you mentioned of
            “astral travel”:

            Something to ponder.

            The Rapture and Our Glorified Body

            By David J. Stewart

            1st Corinthians 15:51-53, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

            The Bible teaches that the believer’s body will be “…changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…” Our corruptible flesh shall be CHANGED into an incorruptible body like that of the Lord Jesus when He rose from the dead…

            In my glorified body, such as that of Christ’s, I think I will be able hop from one star to another – in “the twinkling of an eye.”
            (I probably don’t even have to hop.)

            “Twilight Zone”?
            Be my guest.

            • edgar lores says:


              Sorry, I am just the referee/scorer. You don’t have to convince me. You have to convince LCpl_X.

              Just restart from item 5.12 of my decision and address the “myriad difficulties” referred to in item 5.4..

              Or… or take my item 6.1 to heart and just say, “This is what I believe… even if it’s beyond the current understanding of science.”

              Good luck.

              • i7sharp says:

                “Just restart from item 5.12 of my decision and address the “myriad difficulties” referred to in item 5.4.”

                Fair enough, Edgar.
                Tingnan natin kung “myriad” talaga.

                You have noticed, of course, how I had to repeat asking LCpl_X for two verses only (for a start).

                Now, let me ask LCpl_X, for a *second set” of two verses to look into.

                Dalawa lang; mahina ang kalaban.

              • “The Bible teaches that the believer’s body will be “…changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…” Our corruptible flesh shall be CHANGED into an incorruptible body like that of the Lord Jesus when He rose from the dead…”


                Here’s Scientology’s take on the above concept, . Scientology I think is closer to your understanding of the spiritual material, “I think I will be able hop from one star to another” ( the Church of LDS, ). It’s too science-fictiony for my taste ( read simplistic ).

                Or you can take the Hindu/Buddhist take on this via Nirvana/Moksha, and if it’s too abstract and produces levels of consternation, just imagine death as the time before you were born.

                “Now, let me ask LCpl_X, for a *second set” of two verses to look into.”

                There won’t be a second set, i7sharp,

                you’ve proven yourself an unworthy opponent. I am a connoisseur of these rationalizations, because I enjoy the extensive imagination it takes to come up with these explanations ( I really do, I take notes of these things, none of what you’ve written I’ve taken notes on ).

                For example, you went with hyper-dimensions but didn’t even attempt to explain how that solves the discrepancy at issue. Explain your take first, then maybe we can move on to a rematch ( maybe ).

                Lastly, stop doing this,

                btw, did you a response from him regarding Simon Greenleaf’s work on the Resurrection?’

                What was it that you wanted me to comment on, summarize the point, add it to your argument, and I’ll engage but if I don’t know what point you’re making re our tomb dilemma, I’ll not entertain it, i7sharp.

                Time is precious.

                Flush out your hyper-dimensions stance ( I think this has entertainment potential ) vis-a-vis our tomb dilemma, and we’ll see if there’s a need for a re-match.

                In boxing, this is the time after the fight and all the press are in the ring, and everyone’s seeing highlights of the fight, interview conducted, and you’re still coming at me like you want to fight, so I oblige you and stretch out my chin to you.

                What you’ll do to my chin is all up to you now. My hands are bound– for now. My chin awaits contact. Knock me out. 😉

              • i7sharp says:

                In boxing, this is the time after the fight and all the press are in the ring, and everyone’s seeing highlights of the fight, interview conducted, and you’re still coming at me like you want to fight, so I oblige you and stretch out my chin to you.

                What you’ll do to my chin is all up to you now. My hands are bound– for now. My chin awaits contact. Knock me out. 😉

                Since you put it that way, let me respond in kind, … kindly. 😉

                I imagine myself as Manny (the Pacman) Pacquiao going to your corner visibly concerned how you might be, not wishing to have hurt you badly.
                (I hope I do not sound condescending. I hope you take it as a … a …. a playful jab.)

              • Are you going to expound on your hyper-dimensions theory, or not? If not, then we’ll give edgar his due ( thanks for some good officiating ), and move on.

                Again, good match, i7sharp— if you think you won, that’s fine too.

                This was actually the bigger point to this smaller unsatisfying intercourse,

              • Bert says:

                Hehehe, this is fun and very entertaining. The referee declared a technical knockout and the game over, and while the winner was busy tucking his championship belt the loser regain consciousness and seems to have resurrected himself, and then turned on the referee for another fight, :).

              • edgar lores says:

                Ahaha! Next time, Bert, please don’t ask me to officiate. Nilagay mo ako sa danger zone!

                Pero pwede mag-return bout di ba?

        • God bless you too, sir edgar

  34. chempo says:

    This is incredible. Hermit crabs can teach humans a thing or two. As hermit crabs grow bigger, they need to move into a bigger shell. They have a ‘shell exchange’. The crabs gather and they actually queue up according to size and they upgrade by the smaller ones moving into the bigger shell in front of it. Nothing is wasted in nature. Watch the video.

    • chempo,

      This is so cool, man. I knew these hermit crabs moved into bigger shells, I didn’t know they did this as a social activity– it’s like a Czech orgy but PG-13, even G, rated.

      So connecting this to Marius’ principle of causality, I wonder who the 1st hermit crab to get this idea.


      “There’s only one thief in the Marine Corps, everyone else is just trying to get their shit back.”

      • chempo says:

        “So connecting this to Marius’ principle of causality, I wonder who the 1st hermit crab to get this idea”

        hahaha I’m really astounded at how your mind works..

      • chempo says:

        My mind works only one the linear plane. I was just thinking of where the 1st crab (the biggest one) got that bigger shell.

        But if the 1st crab manage to squeeze itself into the last crab’s shell, we” have Edgar’s Eternal Recurrence.

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