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Archive for August, 2007

Analysis of my fantasy football draft

Posted by Chance on August 30, 2007

A quick note: I haven’t been posting nearly as often. Part of it is being busy. I’m doing a little bit of work offsite, and overall I’ve just had a lot on my plate. Also, the little bit of time during work I am engaged in personal stuff, I’ve been involved with my fantasy football team that I drafted last weekend. Also, I’ve had a lack of inspiration due to being so busy. When I’m not busy, all sorts of stuff is going through my head, and the focus for some time has been political/philosophical issues. For some reason, having a child, fantasy football, and work stuff has been filling my head. I will try to post when I have the time, but I’m not making any promises. I know it’s nice for readers of a blog to have the blogger post on a consistent basis, but I just can’t promise that.

Back to my fantasy football draft, here is an analysis of a few of my picks. There are 15 players and 15 picks per player.

1st round – Travis Henry, RB, Denver Broncos. I think Henry has a lot of potential in an offense in which any running back does pretty well. There are injuries to be concerned about. I had a choice between him and Maroney of the Patriots, and upon reflection, Maroney may have been the better choice, but I think Henry has the bigger upside.
2nd round – Cedric Benson, RB, Da Bears. At this point, there were higher rated players who were quarterbacks. I decided to go for two strong running backs. This is a bit of a gamble, as this is his first year as the premier back.
3rd round – Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans. I am a huge Vince Young fan. However, this may not have been the best pick. A good rule in Fantasy Football is to pick either a super-elite QB, or wait until the later rounds as their is not a huge point difference among them. I probably should have picked a very good wide receiver at this point. Nevertheless, having Vince will make FF more fun this year. I root for Vince Young anyway, and when he does well, I have the added bonus of my team doing well.
6th Round – Fred Taylor, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – I think a good pick for this round. I needed a backup RB, and I thought Fred was pretty good to still be hanging around. He typically has injuries at least once during the year, so that probably gave him a low ranking. For a 3rd RB, however, (I have to start 2), I trust his health enough.
8th Round – Patriots Defense – One of the better defenses, a steal at this round.
15th Round – Josh Scobee, Kicker, JacksonVille Jaguars – I don’t know much about this guy, but the fact that I waited until the last round is one of the smartest things I have done.

Posted in Sports | 1 Comment »

A few thoughts on the Michael Vick case

Posted by Chance on August 21, 2007

1) It’s not a racial issue, no matter how much some want it to be. It’s about animal cruelty. I don’t naively believe that race is never an issue in America, but I don’t see sufficient reason to believe people would react any differently if this was a white athlete. To say that this has something to do with race takes away from the significance of the issue at hand. The ones bringing up race are the racially divisive people.

2) Money will not make someone a better person.

3) I’ll try to say this without moralizing. I’m glad to see that people have regard for somewhat defenseless creatures (as defenseless as these breed of dogs can be anyway). However, I think our priorities are somewhat misplaced. Is dog torture really more inhumane than say partial birth abortion (I would say any abortion, but I’ll take what I can get)? I understand that pro-choicers view fetuses on a lower plane than those outside the womb, but why lower than dogs?

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

On the existence of miracles

Posted by Chance on August 14, 2007

No doubt the Bible is filled with miracles. Many secular scholars reject the existence of miracles, as well as Christian scholars who tend to be more theologically liberal.

Sometimes, the rejection of all/some miracles tends to use circular reasoning. Consider the following statement.

“I don’t believe in miracles because they contradict science.”

However, miracles are supposed to contradict science, otherwise they are not miracles. By definition, miracles are “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs”. So, if miracles are manifestations of a divine power, or an outside source, then the fact that they contradict science is really irrelevant.

So, the person might as well say

“I don’t believe in things that contradict science because they contradict science.”

Now, I’m not saying everyone who disbelieves miracles suffers from circular reasoning or some lack of cognitive ability. Miracles take faith to believe in, unless someone witnesses a miracle firsthand. Much of secular society disbelieves in miracles for multiple reasons. In short, they believe that God chooses not to interact in our physical environment, or that there is no God. But saying that miracles cannot exist because they contradict science is not really saying anything.

I’m always more perplexed by Christians who don’t believe in all/some miracles. I suppose many believe in some miracles to some extent but don’t believe in all the miracles documented in the Bible. I’m not quite sure how to know which ones to believe in, because the essential elements of the Christian faith are probably the most fantastical. God coming in human form is a pretty overwhelming.

Now, some Christians may reject some/all miracles in the Bible because they see none happening today. Why was there so much supernatural activity in the past, but not today? I don’t completely know the answer. I have a few guesses though.

1) Because of the age we live in, we have access to so much more information than those in Bible times. Consequently, it is easier to have access to divine revelation through human means, so supernatural means are less necessary.

2) God went through a long period of not speaking to the people from the time of the prophets to the time of Christ. Perhaps in the period from the spread of the early church to times around the Second Coming/Tribulation is a sort of dry time for miracles. Maybe miracles abound only around significant events in the spiritual timeline, i.e. escape from Egypt, lifetime of Christ, spread of the early church.

3) Perhaps it has something to do with us. The supernatural is downplayed somewhat in the modern church, so it just doesn’t happen that often. However, it seems like the supernatural happened in Bible times when people were not expecting it. For instance, Abraham didn’t ask to be contacted by God. People didn’t know when Jesus would come and perform miracles. At the same time, maybe our additional knowledge of God’s overall plan should increase our expectations.

4) Maybe miracles happen more often than we know. I’ve always heard stories of amazing things happening with missionaries as far as healing of the sick and encounters with physical manifestations of spiritual entities. However, that doesn’t explain why many of us don’t see those things today. But then again, maybe miracles were only seen by select people in the Bible.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

To Drug War or not to Drug War

Posted by Chance on August 8, 2007

Make no mistake, I believe drugs are bad. I believe using drugs for recreation is a sin. However, I’d like to consider philosophical and utilitarian arguments for and against drug legalization.

Philosophical arguments against drug legalization

1) Drugs are not, in fact, a victimless crime. Families and friends are torn apart by someone’s drug usage. Drugs may be consumed by the individual, but they are a cancer to society as a whole.

2) Freedom implies someone has free will to make their own choices. Due to the addictive nature of drugs, however, that free will can be severely limited. They may make a choice for their first fix, but they are hooked afterwards.

3) To say that drugs should be legal because they only hurt the person that takes them (at least directly) may provide a disturbing distinction between victimless sins and other sins. By legalizing drugs, we may be saying “these things are bad, but they aren’t as bad as murder, stealing, etc…” I think many people would agree, but they fear that by legalizing drugs, society, as a whole, is approving of them. While the Bible places a lot of importance on the Golden Rule, it provides little or no distinction on the level of sin based on how many people it affects.

4) In the balance of freedom vs. security, the benefits gained for society as a whole outweigh the benefits of being “free” to do crack, heroin, etc…

Philosophical arguments for legalizing recreational drugs

1) (Counterpoint to argument 1 above) It is up to the family structure, the church, and other voluntary organizations to discourage such behavior. Concerning friends and spouses, people have freedoms and responsibilities in choosing who they have relationships with, and drug usage, or the possibility thereof, is something that should be considered.

2) (Partly a counterpoint to argument 3 above) This is the typical libertarian argument. The purpose of government is to keep people safe from other people, not enforce morality, even if that saves someone from their own actions. Someone should have the right to do whatever they want, provided that they do not hurt anyone else. Who am I to say that someone doesn’t have the right to participate in recreational drugs? If we truly value freedom, someone should have the right to live their life as they please. Anti-drug laws dwell on a slippery slope, and such laws will work their way into other areas of life, such as cigarettes, consumption of fast food, etc…

Utilitarian arguments against legalizing recreational drugs:

1) Legalizing drugs would make it easier for kids to get a hold of them. A kid would only need to get a hold of someone over 18/21 to get their fix.

2) Drugs impair the individuals ability to function. People couldn’t perform their job duties while impaired. People can’t drive while high.

Utilitarian arguments for legalizing recreational drugs:

1) Drug enforcement is largely ineffective, as demonstrated by Prohibition against alcohol. We spend tons of money on the drug war with little or no results.

2) Outlawing drugs has increased crime. It has created a black market that inflates drug prices, causing people to steal and murder. Furthermore, it has increased the powers of gangs that profit greatly from the drug trade. The illegal drug market also funds terrorists.

3) Outlawing drugs has reduced our freedoms. People’s privacy has been decreased due to drug raids, as police forces on the federal and local level have become more invasive. Innocent citizens have been harmed during the execution of the Drug War.

4) Outlawing drugs is harming the suppliers and consumers of prescription drugs. Doctors are paranoid about prescribing too many pain killers due to the government’s watchful eye. In turn, people who genuinely need pain relief suffer. Furthermore, a drug like marijuana may be the most useful in relieving nausea for patients with certain diseases.

5) Enforcing drug laws harm the police force in pursuit of other duties. Police spend resources executing the Drug War, not spending as much time pursuing killers and thieves. Jails are becoming overcrowded. (Note: This argument depends much on someone’s philosophical reasoning. This argument presumes that drug usage is on a much lower level than victim-claiming crimes).

6) (Counterpoint to philosophical arguments 1,2 for keeping drugs illegal). While drugs harm free will and hurt people’s loved ones and families, again, these arguments presume that keeping drugs illegal will actually decrease drug usage.

7) (Counterpoint to utilitarian argument 2) It is up to private companies to do drug testing. Driving while impaired would still be illegal.

So there you have it. I am not trying to push across a certain point of view. This is something I am pondering, and these are the arguments that come to mind. In short, drugs are so damaging that I think outlawing drugs is worth the tradeoff in freedom. So, philosophical I don’t have as much of an issue with keeping drugs illegal. However, I genuinely wonder if the Drug War is indeed effective and is not making things worse.

This chilling thought comes to mind. What if the S.W.A.T. team busts down my door either by mistake or by an “informant” who has a grudge against me. What if my wife or kid gets shot in all the confusion. It is known to happen.

I’m curious what other people’s thoughts are and if they have good philosophical/utilitarian arguments for or against the Drug War.

Resources:
Balanced Politics: Legalization of Marijuana? follow link for pro/con articles
The Cato Institute: Against the Drug War
Note: I tried to find an individual link supporting the drug war that was not already on Balanced Politics, but it is harder than I thought.

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments »

The exclusivity of Christianity. Is it important?

Posted by Chance on August 8, 2007

I have taken part in many discussions concerning the exclusivity of Christianity, that is, believing not only that Christ is the way to heaven, but that he is the only way. A key verse for this belief is “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” “

Now, I believe someone can be a Christian and not necessarily believe that Christ is the only way, but it would lead me to suspect the rest of their doctrine.

There seems to be three primary beliefs in salvation across the religions.

1) Good works get you to heaven.
2) Everyone goes to heaven.
3) Believing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah will get you to heaven.

If I left something out, let me know.

Now, if someone believes Option 3, but believes it is not the only way, then they would probably have to believe in Options 1 or 2. I know there are some Christian universalists who believe that Jesus’s sacrifice automatically redeems all mankind. That view isn’t necessarily inconsistent, though I disagree with that point of view for biblical reasons, as the scriptures frequently state that some response is needed. John 3:16 and John 1:11-12 being examples.

However, most people who believe Option 3 but do not believe in Christ being the only way typically believe in Options 1 and 3. I’ve heard many say that they believe in Jesus’s sacrifice, but they believe someone can also go to heaven by being a good Buddhist or Muslim or whatever. But, in my view, believing that shows a lack of understanding of why exactly Jesus was our atonement. Christ paid the sacrifice because no one is good enough, whether they be Christian, Hindu, etc… Romans 3:23 states that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The entire books of Romans and Galatians echo this concept.

When talking about this concept to non-believers, we don’t want to present it as an issue of I’m right and you’re wrong. It’s really an issue of none of us being good enough to meet God’s standards.

My main point of this post is that the concept of Christ being the only way is indeed important, simply because it is intertwined so much with belief of salvation in general. Is this belief narrow? Of course. It is an un-PC idea. But that doesn’t prevent it from being true.

A couple more thoughts. If there was another way to heaven, why on Earth would Jesus go through the ordeal he did? It’s not like he was looking forward to it. Also, if he is not the only way, it would provide much less motivation for evangelism. It carries serious implications for all the missionaries risking their lives in closed countries.

Some say Jesus came to this earth really to provide an example on how to live. That is true, but in a way, that makes it harder for us. Obeying the Mosaic Law is tough. Living the Law in our hearts is even tougher. The Law shows us how we fall short; Jesus does this to an even greater extent.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »