Minimum Wage and You

Being a wage slave puts you in a position of zero power. People in poverty have very little opportunity to crawl out. You need money to make money, and even if you get a college degree, there still aren’t jobs available.

So when I see… people… (fighting the urge to use harsher language) laughing at minimum wage laborers demanding higher pay, I just want to sock them in the jaw. If you think everybody that works a minimum wage job is just too lazy to get something better, you aren’t paying attention to what’s actually happening in the world.

People don’t have options. Continue reading

Is There A Biblical Precedent Against Premarital Sex?

In light of my previous post, which was mostly inspired by a conversation on Facebook plus some blog comments regarding sex without marriage and its rightness or wrongness (mostly in a Biblical sense), I think it’s important for anyone discussing the concept of sexual purity to consider whether God and/or the Bible actually forbid sex without marriage.

I’m no Biblical scholar, and I’ve never even read the Bible from front to back, but I have studied the base principles of Christianity and dug into particular messages contained in the Bible and their interpretations. Mainstream Christianity holds the axiom that sex without marriage is wrong and sinful, but where does it actually say that in the Bible?

Some of the most commonly cited passages only reference sexual immorality, and that’s, of course, only the English translation. Language nerds could argue about the actual meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words referenced in the Bible, leaving a lot of room for interpretation. You will see many Christians fallaciously argue the Biblical precedent against non-marital sex by citing verses denouncing “sexual immorality”, but sexual immorality is never really defined. This could mean that church culture has merely accepted that non-marital sex counts as “sexual immorality”—and is therefore instanced into any verses denouncing sexual immorality—without any clear Biblical precedent. Now we’re looking at post-Biblical church culture that has been accepted as the word of God—which any Christian (except Catholics) would probably agree is dangerous stuff.

There are vague references in Genesis to a man and a woman joining together permanently as “one flesh”, but at that point no such thing as marriage has been laid out in the text. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul basically says a celibate life is best, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and at the time the Corinthians were fraught with “sexual immorality” (only exemplified by a man who had a sexual relationship with his father’s wife [his mother?] but otherwise not clearly defined), and Paul said it’s better for a husband and a wife to be married and take care of each other’s sexual needs than to be tempted to sexual immorality. Furthermore, if you pay attention, little of what he says in this passage is claimed to be God’s command, but how Paul suggests the Corinthians behave to best hold close to their faith and God’s will. There are many old rules and laws that Christians no longer uphold because they were specified for a certain people, time, and place–just look at Leviticus.

Here are a couple of articles that I found interesting. One is from someone who espouses that sex without marriage is actually not forbidden in the Bible at all. The other says that, while the Bible never explicitly forbids it, it carries other rules and requirements and is discouraged. Food for thought.

If all lust is a sin, stop looking at your wife.
Sex: Does the Bible actually forbid premarital sex?

Interesting side point regarding Biblical misinterpretation that’s ingrained in the social consciousness: “Sodomy” is associated with homosexuality and anal sex, but the people of Sodom were actually defined as “wicked”, with little else in the way of description. Their crime that brought their destruction was demanding that Lot bring out God’s visiting messengers so that they could rape them (Genesis 19). This is rape, not merely homosexuality. Some interpret it as a power move; the messengers were foreigners, and the intolerant Sodomites were to “put them in their place” through sexual domination. The people of Sodom may not have necessarily been homosexual themselves.

A Soliloquy on Religious Integrity

I see people think they’re outsmarting religion and creating loopholes in their faith by switching over from “being religious” to “having a personal relationship with God”. They hand-craft their own moral code and argue with anyone that tells them they’re defying God’s laws by saying “My relationship with God is my own; it’s not your place to judge it.” This is nonsense.

If your personal relationship with God is based on the Bible, then every time you choose to ignore a part of the Bible, you are a hypocrite. For your basis of faith to be this book, if you choose the parts you like and reject the parts you don’t like, you are creating a Frankenstein’s Monster of a faith that is solely your own. You can’t believe that THIS is the one true god while claiming parts of the text that your faith is based on are false.

If you want to believe there’s a greater being, not necessarily the God of the Bible but some other god, and imprint upon him your values of what you think is true and just, well… if you want to create your own Build-A-Deity, that’s your prerogative. But don’t call yourself Christian.

Sins are laid out in the Bible. It also lays out that all of God’s children are inherently sinners who can only be saved by the grace of God and Jesus Christ. You cannot choose to sin while knowing that it is a sin, planning to later ask for forgiveness for your knowing and willing sin, and think that this is done in a just and loving relationship. That’s hollow. You don’t want forgiveness; you want to do whatever you like and then exploit “Jesus’s love” to save you. If any of this is true, God SHOULD turn his back on you. You don’t love him; you’re exploiting him.

If you believe that there is an all-knowing and all-powerful god who has created everything and all of his rules are final, you cannot reject any of those rules and stay honest to yourself and to your faith.

For me, personally, the more I read the Bible, the less it made sense and the more I disagreed with it, its teachings, and its god’s commandments, so I’m not a Christian. I don’t have any faith in any religious text or believe in any deity. I also don’t consider myself an atheist because that’s a loaded label; people will assume all sorts of things about you if you call yourself an atheist, and that’s just not a fight I care to take on. (I already have to deal with being an anarchist. One label fight is enough for me.) Modern atheism would be better labeled antitheism; most atheists are staunchly opposed to any possible spirituality, and I’m not necessarily, I just have yet to see any evidence.

So I really don’t care whether you do or don’t believe in the Bible. What I do care about is that you be consistent and honest with yourself and your beliefs. If you cast off part of your god, how can you not cast off the entire thing? You are only imagining a customized god.

On Feminism

First of all, on labels: I’ve chosen to identify with the label of “anarchist” despite the stigma around it. A common stereotype is that anarchists are teenagers going through an irrational rebellious phase, which, while there are some teenagers who wear a raggedy circle-A symbol on their hoodies and go around spraypainting it on things to appear “edgy”, that’s not a real anarchist. Forgive me for using the term “real anarchist”, but I’m talking about in the most basic sense that a “real” anarchist is a person who supports the abolishment of any ruling class, generally on a moral basis. The stereotype is just rebelling against authority because they feel like it.

That said, even though I’ve embraced the stigmatic label of “anarchist”, I am hesitant to adopt the label “feminist”. I thought at first it was due to its stigma, even though my values would probably define me as a feminist, but I’m not so sure that’s the reason.

Perhaps because the word “feminist” implies a preference for females, which is simply switching the paradigm into the opposite, but still wrong, direction. There should be NO gender preference, which is really what feminism is about, but I think that the word gives the wrong impression, to make no mention of the feminists who are, in fact, misandrist and would prefer women to be on top rather than to level the gender field.

As a proponent of non-aggression, voluntary interaction, a non-hierarchical world structure, and, most importantly, logic, feminism is implied by my values. Harassment, discrimination, or even simple assumptions based on any biological descriptor, including sex as well as race and age, are preposterous. Women do not exist to serve men, just as blacks do not exist to serve whites as slave owners seemed to believe. This is ancient, ignorant, presumptuous thinking.

There is certainly ancient, ignorant, and presumptuous thinking about men on the part of women as well, but not to the extent that it comes from men. As I’ve done some reading and participating in online dating websites, that’s where the disparity between sexes has become most obvious to me. It’s absurd how frequently men contact women to make crass comments about their bodies, or to tell them what they want to do to them sexually based solely on pictures posted on a website, or send unsolicited pictures of their genitalia, or, if they put on the appearance of a reasonable human being long enough to go on a date, then they often expect sex as a “reward” simply because they bought dinner and some drinks. On the other hand, about the only expectations you’ll get out of women are to open the door for them, pull out their chair, and pay for dinner, though, interestingly, feminists are often against these practices as well.

In essence, gender inequality is based in logical inconsistencies; that women, by definition of their gender, have roles and obligations to society, particularly to men. This brings me back around to anarchism, because the allegation that women have inherent roles and obligations to society implies the existence of the absurd “social contract”.

And going back to my original point, since this became more of a stream-of-consciousness rambling than anything, perhaps it’s best to coin a new label such as “humanism” or “equalism”, which may collectively oppose sexism, racism, ageism, and perhaps other -isms I haven’t thought of yet.

Or better yet, maybe I should just label myself a decent human being.

On Relationships

There is something to be said about romantic relationships in this world, or at least in America, and that is that they are extremely flawed. Everyone has a desire to love and be loved, and to have someone special who will be by their side and support them forever. This causes an intense drive to find The One, the soulmate, and to lock in their resolve and their belief in their love for one another by committing to one of the most hastily chosen actions in the world: marriage.

As evidenced by the massive divorce rate, as well as the number of existing but unhealthy marriages, the majority of marriages are actually mistakes. (That is to say at least 51%. I make no claims to any specific figure.)

This is where the hardcore believers in marriage are going to immediately argue with me. You might think that a lot of divorcees are just too weak or too selfish to put the work into the relationship to make it work, but that doesn’t make me wrong; their marriage was still a mistake.

If anyone decides to sever a marriage because they’re unhappy with their spouse and can’t or don’t want to make it work, the marriage was a mistake. It doesn’t matter if they can make it work out if they tried; if they don’t have the interest to do so, it would be disingenuous to keep it up just to make others happy by not getting a divorce. Some people even genuinely think that divorce should be illegal. A couple of reasons can be given for this; one is to make people see that marriage is not to be taken lightly, since there is no way out; another would be to encourage people to give it another try, which they obviously would since they have no options, as they are now in a state-enforced marriage from which they cannot escape except by adultery (if the law offers such a provision) or death. There is almost no way for this to be a healthy, happy relationship. It will, at best, be a tense, begrudging illusion of happiness. I’d wager that the rate of spousal murders would increase as well.

The simple truth is that if either married party decides that they would rather terminate the marriage than live with their spouse any longer, it is obvious that the marriage was a mistake.

This usually comes down to a single, simple truth. Barring mental breakdown, insanity, or brain damage fundamentally changing who the person is, the two parties, in all likelihood, just didn’t know one another well enough when they committed to marriage.

That is, of course, the purpose of the courtship period: to get to know one another. But just as people are too hasty to name people their friends, they are too hasty to call their feelings of attraction and infatuation “love”. The entire courtship period is based not only on determining if you want to spend the rest of your life with this person, but also on convincing her that she also wants to spend the rest of her life with you. Without knowing it, many (I dare say most) men will put up facades to appear more appealing to her, and put more effort into things just to win her heart (and vice versa – I’m making no presumptions on gender, just making my pronouns easier.) That’s basic insecurity, and the fundamental flaw in most flawed relationships.

However, what happens when he is comfortable and secure in his standing with her; no longer feels that he has to make her like him? He stops putting up these facades; stops enhancing the truth and being somebody above his real self. He returns to who he is for real, and then, suddenly, the “spark isn’t there anymore.” Unfortunately, this occurs all too often after marriage, and he is now someone different from whom she married; not unrecognizably so, but uncomfortably distant from who he was then.

Even worse than the illusion he creates about himself is when he projects his own fantasy onto her and pretends that she is someone that she is not and doesn’t even pretend to be. On the extreme end of the spectrum, he may choose to be “friends with benefits,” hoping that this girl to whom he is attracted (which can and will only be intensified by frequent sex) will eventually relent and turn this purely physical relationship into a romantic relationship, only to have his heart broken when she finds a guy she actually likes and isn’t just using to fulfill her physical needs. That’s simply trying to get blood from a stone. I’m straying from the subject though, because that never was and never will be a real romantic relationship.

This is where abstinence before marriage appears to be a good idea. Sex often has the power to intensify attraction and therefore encourage false feelings of love and compatibility. This just glazes over a poor personal relationship. A couple must feel joy in their non-physical interactions, otherwise they just have a poor facsimile of love that only looks like it because people who aren’t in love usually don’t have sex.

But really, abstinence is a non-solution because it’s handled so poorly. More often than not, it is a mandate rather than a personal choice. In that case, it’s not unlikely for a couple to marry after six months simply because they’re approaching the end of the early-relationship-euphoria period and now feel that they need to “progress” to the physical portion of their relationship. They then get married, have a lot of sex, start to realize they aren’t who they thought they were when they married, try to bridge that impossible chasm with a lot more sex, then they burn out and get a divorce because they were never actually compatible anyway.

Honesty is the only thing that can make a relationship successful. Facades, illusions, and fantasies will crumble and you will be left, not the Wizard, but the man behind the curtain, defrauding the person who should be most important in your life.

Always be real, and always be yourself. Always expect others to be real, and always expect others to be themselves. The rest will come naturally.