Know Thine Footing: Light and Darkness

I frequently revise this post.  Original date of creation: 11/4/2013  Current date modified: 3/27/2014
Know Thine Footing:
Truths & Falsehoods Regarding Light & Darkness
Dispelling Laboriously Successful and Popular Relativist, Skeptical, and Manichaeist Myths.

In introducing these concepts, I’d like to first point out that, in my hypothesis, there are three stages to the existence of things. The First (1st) stage is God’s being; His divinity. He tore of His own cloak and sheared of His own perfect mane to create all that we know. The Second (2nd) stage is that series of separated figures, which is Creation—Earth, the Universe, and all of its inhabitants. The Third (3rd) is the rearrangement of the members of the series. In The Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. Our Universe is a nigh-empty bubble amongst an infinite sea of Light & Fullness (1st) which is God and Heaven. In The Beginning, God created the prism of our world, through which He shed His Light and separated the colors (2nd). It is also important to keep in mind that one must always question whether they’re using an improper metaphor.

  • “Everything is Grey.” This statement implies that black cannot be known apart from white, and vice-versa. But black and white do exist as separate entities. The three most important questions for any logician to consider are, (1) What are the implications? (2) What is the core; the root; the axium? (3) Why? Logic, in fact, is built upon the observation of truth and error. Without the acknowledgement of the two, there would be no use for it. It is important to dissect matters in order to differentiate between what is good and what is evil; what is and what is not; what is, once again, truth and what is error. The concept of value is learned more greatly by those who wait and take the time with a longer process to achieve a more beneficial end.
  • “Man in his flesh is the proprietor; he is the ‘packaged deal’.” This is a 3rd-stage argument, meaning that while man does have many good qualities, he is still incomplete. Essentially, the presence of the lesser is evidence of the greater, more pure and complete original. As discussed in the Gunman series, the ‘proprietor’ of a complete nature must also reflect all things good. This is not an arbitrary definition but one that has been logically derived. In this world, one might easily come across one who is intelligent but also unkind, or compassionate yet naive. This is not to say that the two former are incompatible, but simply that one has not yet achieved both high compassion and high knowledge. In fact, in the realm of perfection, all traits of righteousness must by default coexist. If one were to dissect the contents of fruit punch, one would find the various ingredients used to make it. Since man’s character is a 3rd-stage product instead of a 1st-stage Proprietor, he is subject to this dissection as well. The presence of the lesser is evidence of the greater, more pure and complete original. Just as in the fruit punch, an orange, gingerale, sherbert, among various other ingredients, were likely used to make it.
  • “Darkness holds the force of pull.” Light is the force of push—try to think of it in terms of light doing all the work. Any physics or chemistry study will inform you that areas of higher concentration will tend to trickle and spread into areas of lower concentration as the molecules are forced away from each other. Objects of opposing charges tend to gravitate toward one another, or one with weaker charge flowing toward one with greater charge. But essentially, darkness does not have being and thus it has no force with which to pull. It is merely the case, in this instance, that light, akin to only itself, spreads apart.
  • “Why shouldn’t darkness have its day?” Almost every word in that sentence, right off the bat, is hysterically amusing. “Why shouldn’t darkness have its day?” Seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? More so the word “shouldn’t”…. But let’s be as generous as possible and presume that this sentence makes some sense. Darkness and light cannot be opposites if both are equal. The truest opposite is the difference between Good and nothingness.
  • “Certainty is the affirmation of truth, for real truth cannot be known.” Certainty is no affirmation of truth, for truth to be itself is to be external; nor is certainty the same as truth. Our minds are ultimately the only means by which we may experience reality and interpret it, so more problematic still would be the proposition that certainty is unknowable and absolute knowledge unattainable–a possibility not worth bearing in mind if used as an argument for one’s own uncertainty or mistrust. It is still a problem for Theism in that there are those who are convinced of certain lies and cannot or will not be shaken from them (and according to Rene Descartes, men do err in reasoning). If, for example, this happens to be the case, it would seem one would have to choose between the two harsh ‘realities’ that either there are many truths (and thus none, as exclusivity and thus transcendance would have logically been removed), or that the victims of delusion do indeed face the demise of irrationality but without hope outside of their own deciding (hinting at an absence of justice). But this is a false dilemma, which will be discussed.
  • “Skepticism is the end; doubt the ultimate goal.” This argument is a variation of the above. In essence, there are two steps ot any equation of understanding, and they are represented as follows: Step 1 is the attainment of facts, and Step 2 is to trust them. Faith and reason work together on a necessary level (much like truth and grace—if the one is retracted, the other will suffer). They are components of a whole—one cannot have faith in what they do not know, and there is no purpose to the acquisition of knowledge if one has no intention of using or believing what they know.
  • “Mind and reality are one and the same.” One is right in presuming that what one thinks is what truly matters. However, the factors failed to be taken into account are as follows: 1. The individual’s choice keeps them from reasoning. Just as when the deluded individual presumes that they are acting more reasonably by holding their position than those who refuse to accept it, so they are also able to turn from their delusion. 2. Information and understanding of any sort is usually attainable, and this leads to 3. that the word ‘delusional’ hints at the fact that generally, a mind functions normally and most, mad or sane, are still capable of some degree of reason. A cut line does not display taughtness; a crooked line may not be judged without a straight one. But while what one thinks and what is are still separate, it is still the duty of the mind to reflect the external world that transcends other minds who interpret the same world. This is no illusion. Whether by will of the mind’s proprietor or the malfunction of the mind itself one finds oneself in disagreement with reality or others is due not to reality but to the individual or his/her mind.
  • “Error and lies are myth as there is no real truth or light.” There is no reason to believe this and every reason not to. The above sentence assumes with it an ‘oughtness’, as the statement is made with the presumption of certainty on the grounds to reject it. One must learn not only to look at a pint of grey paint more closely but to decipher which speckles are black and which are white. Such is the foundation of logic—truth and error. In looking at this problem one must first do away with the idea that being ‘accepting’ is the same as being noble in all cases and that Relativism is humble. If one’s friend wanders off the edge of a cliff and is asked, “Why did you allow this to happen?”, one might answer, “Because he wished it.” However, one has a moral obligation to circumvent invalid requests, even if against the will of the other. Perfect laws transcend individual preference. The second objection to the above is simply that it is riddled with ‘funny words’ that don’t belong (it is self-contradictory to assume an ‘ought’ in an ought-less world). In light of this, it is less arrogant and even more heroic to neither see oneself as truth’s proprietor nor to abandon truth completely, but to act as its humble vessel, especially when it means witnessing to those who might, dangerously, be living outside of the truth. At either extreme, any two concepts meant to act in unity will suffer.
  • “Traditional definitions are merely conventional.” Traditional definitions are actually logical. In associating or creating any word and its definition, one would hope to avoid as much confusion as possible. It would be counter-productive to act otherwise, invalidating communication altogether, which means that said definitions are less-likely to be arbitrarily derived. According to Mr. Nietzsche, it is stated that we “won’t get rid of God until we get rid of grammar.” and in a sense that is properly rational, for God is the representation of goodness and vice-versa. Goodness must be a person (consult the Gunman series). In defining good and evil, as mentioned earlier, it is best to associate them as they likely, in their perfect and original state, coexisted. Thus, it is also best to identify light as goodness, righteousness, justice, wisdom, completeness, perfection, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. Darkness can be associated with evil, discord, lack-of-light, chaos, imperfection, incompleteness, emptiness, coldness, and corrupted, lacking, or mixed-up goodness, hence the common association between wickedness and “impurity”. Something is not ‘pure’ if it is any of the above, but that’s all that evil is.
  • “Darkness is an independent, equal, opposite entity.” If light is already an entity, then what is darkness? Let us think for a moment about the definition of darkness, as well as the above correlations. Don’t they make more sense? What is a shadow? Is it a thing, or a lack of light? When asking this question to begin with, we really must reflect first on whether we understand what ‘opposites’ really are. As Mr. C.S. Lewis puts it, “Badness is only spoiled goodness.”
  • “Darkness can exist on its own.” Evil is merely corrupted, mixed-up, or lacking good. In fact, the word, “Good” is derived from “God”. Quoth St. Augustine, All of nature, therefore, is good, since the Creator of all nature is supremely good. But nature is not supremely and immutably good as is the Creator of it. Thus the good in created things can be diminished and augmented. For good to be diminished is evil; still, however much it is diminished, something must remain of its original nature as long as it exists at all. For no matter what kind or however insignificant a thing may be, the good which is its nature cannot be destroyed without the thing itself being destroyed. When, however, a thing is corrupted, its corruption is an evil because it is, by just so much, a privation of the good. Where there is no privation of the good, there is no evil.
  • “Darkness is necessary for balance.” If all were light as was originally the case, darkness wouldn’t exist. It does not need to. Darkness is neither necessary, powerful, nor eternal; a statement in favor of the opposite infers that darkness carries a trait of light (necessity), and thus it is no longer fully itself. Everytime we see one of those words in a sentence that vouches for evil or neutrality, we must say to ourselves, “Huh, that’s a funny word to be used in that sentence.” By the hand of light, darkness knows its place. Its boundary is defined by light; the boundary between any two things is defined by that which has the higher concentration, and hence it is a given that darkness—that which has no being nor concentration whatsoever—is not the boundary-keeper.
  • “Progress exceeds the importance of perfection.” This is a highly confused statement but most popular. Words often replacing ‘perfection’ in that phrase include love, peace, infinite power, etc.. They are right to be presumed to be interchangeable, but whatever already sits in a perfect state can be in no other way more than it is, let alone by means of destruction. Love is the antecedent of progress; likewise, sin is the slope down which nature slides. As far as go the immediate mechanics of this world, it is realistic to refer to hardship as a chisel with which to shape proper character, but it is ultimately more practical to view progress as the goal and hardship as the means; not the reverse.
  • “Darkness is necessary for good character.” This is incorrect because it makes the same mistake as does the sentence above, namely in giving necessity to evil. The good thing that you learned in any experience is the important part (not the bad stuff that happened, as it was not necessary); more full would life be if we remember to stay good. Send the mind first; send the mind instead. Let us know the evil only so that we may avoid it, but experience the good so that we may gain both worlds. While it is true that, oftentimes, one must go through evil in order to experience good, this can be looked at in two separate ways: either the individual brought the evil on themselves (directly unnecessary evil), or their indeliberate suffering produces goodness (indirectly unnecessary evil). The reason evil existed to begin with was the fall of man; but through any situation can goodness be accomplished—this is not to say that any situation that is named good is actually so. If Christ is our example, then let us not presume that mankind must falter. God does not cause us to make the wrong choices but works with us after we have done so. We may only experience pain in the light because evil abhors what is good.
  • “Darkness is necessary for learning.” The definition of learning is “to gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.” Does that not lean in favor of the good, rather than the evil? The words “gain” and “acquire” should have been the first indicators, not to mention the rest in that sentence. But remember, not all things that claim to be or are defined as having being or being absolute are actually so (much like the falsehood addressed above which began, “Man, in his flesh…”). Evil can be mixed-up good as well, but it cannot exist in a complete vacuum (the same with madness contrasted with lack of self-awareness, or immorality contrasted with amorality). It is a baseless myth to suggest that darkness will always exist somehwere. This is not only unknowable but also does not provide reason to put any stock into it. Darkness has no substance of its own to be displaced; it can only be replaced. If darkness is, in some cases, necessary, this is only (A) due to it being a 2nd or 3rd-stage phenomenon, or (B) one must not ‘switch sides’ in order to learn more. That’s usually the lie that’s lumped in with “experience is our best teacher.” One can stay on the side of light and still attain more knowledge from there, and at a safer distance. Being smart and being right doesn’t have to be an either-or decision.
  • “Darkness is necessary for creativity.” Creativity comes only by the presence of good. God’s creativity was already with Him; man’s creativity is but derived from things he has already seen. The presence of problems is necessary for only a few types of creativity, but altogether these types would exist in a more pure version of themselves without being mingled with lack. Much like a ‘solution’, the type of creativity addressed brings an end or a person back to the ideal state in which it should have been in the first place. Derisively, this is what’s known as a “Plan B” or 3rd-stage.
  • “Too much goodness is a possibility.” This statement is often referred to when explaining the situation of one who is embittered, seemingly by having lived and loved too openly or freely in the past. But, one who forgets their heart hasn’t loved too much as is alleged, but has stopped loving at some point. Perhaps they assumed they would die or go mad if they continued their unconditional self-sacrificie, or perhaps they were tempted with selfish desire, but all in all, one’s choice to do something is directly related to one’s choice in doing something; all in all, such a person only stopped loving because they decided to. Ultimately, even if this person viewed eternally acting in the first way as an impossible feat (for them), wouldn’t it still be more ideal if they could reach that end, to love eternally and perfectly? It is silly to think that there is a point at which love suddenly, randomly, becomes evil. And as addressed above, such traits are not incompatible just because mankind does not perfectly keep all of them.
  • “Darkness was original; all was once empty.” Light was original—all was once full and one. Evil does not create good; ‘nothing’ can create a ‘something’. In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. As I had mentioned before, this universe is very likely a nigh-empty bubble amidst a vast and eternal sea of light and fullness (assuming the universe’s expansion is due to the matter, and not the bubble itself, expanding within the bubble toward its edges). Time only began when matter and energy were created; these three things, separate yet working together, are the lesser-version of the fullness lying outside of them that is our Maker and His Kingdom. They existed when He held that metaphorical “prism” to Himself through which He shed His light and it became many colors from His singularity, ever-spreading and incomplete without the others, yet still evidence of His and Heaven’s existence.
  • “Choosing between light & darkness is a false dichotomy.” Calling everything grey is actually the false choice. If we are given a pint of grey paint to inspect, then naturally by standing away from it we would come to conclude that grey is an original shade (given that we had never before been subjected to any other color). But by standing up close to it, magnifying-glass in hand, we would notice little speckles of black and white. In a situation calling for our reason, such as when deciding which of our children has done the wrong thing in sibbling dispute, we ought to pick out which of these specks are ‘black’ and which of them are ‘white’. It may very well be the case that each child has done both wrong and right in different ways, but this does not indicate that the whole of each child’s situation or story must be only one of the trio-ultimatum of black, grey, or white. It is the same as when two people are standing near a car, and the one behind a certain pole, unable to see into its windows, explains to the other why he thinks the car has no inside. And likewise this fallacy is used when Relativism is promoted, but there aren’t “different moralities”; there are simply those who act out different aspects of the same morality.
  • “Balance is the goal.” Balance between good and evil is only half-right (by definition). If we were out to buy a series of clocks for our clock-collecting uncle and happened across two separate sets at the same price, would we choose the clean-looking set or the one that was rusted and half-polished? Clearly, if we are in our right mind, we would choose the former in any general, average case as they are in a more useful and aesthetically-pleasing condition (anecdotal cases are not good for reason or research because they provide a smaller scope than what is usually the case—this having to do with the odds of likelihood that should be addressed, and even in those situations, though more complex, the same truth would apply).
  • “Ruin begets creation; darkness begat light.” Understand that light is not completely itself unless it retains its nature. If darkness is given necessity, light must give up that part of its nature and hence, whether it still retains a part of that nature, it is no longer itself omnipotent because it can now be challenged and even defeated by darkness. And nothing can be beaten by its own lack as long as it does not lend itself to that lack. Light’s nature was defined above when it was given its respective associations as was darkness.
  • “Light is responsible for evil.” Since light is a thing, it cannot therefore block itself. Evil is the near-absence of light. “For good to be diminished is evil; still, however much it is diminished, something must remain of its original nature as long as it exists at all.” The ‘original nature’ to which Augustine refers is goodness. Remember that all things came from God, the ultimate good.
  • “Evil has always existed.” Technically, darkness existed at the beginning of time, and not ‘before’, but evil was only a possibility before man’s fall. To understand this correctly, we must, again, view darkness and evil as existing but unnecessary. In fact, the metaphorical darkness is not only unecessary, but by definition it is also harmful. The concept of lack was surely present when God separated His colors through that imaginary prism as in the continually present metaphor of this particular writing. But the concept of discord, mixing-up or corruption only manifested as real after man’s disobedience. That was the only act that caused more possibilities to exist.
  • “Darkness cannot be destroyed.” Light replaces darkness; it does not simply displace it. Darkness has no essence of its own to move or be moved. Again, refer to the argument above regarding the physical nature of light: “Areas of higher concentration tend to trickle or move toward areas of lower concentration.” Think of this in terms of light doing all of the work, for only it has being and therefore power, existence, and energy to do work. If darkness were to pull, it would not only cease to be itself, but it would also cease to ‘exist’, for lack of a better word. It is quite possible to reach a point of absolute zero and/or nothingness. Contrarily, any entity can be supremely, infinitely complex, forever divisible, and forever to intensify.
  • “An eye for an eye, lest nothing be resolved.” Actually, adding evil to evil only keeps evil going. Basically, grace and mercy have been thought to be the suspenders of justice, but they are in reality its proprietors. When we seek to look at justice as the end and goal rather than merely the means, the picture becomes more clear that what we do on our part should not take into account what someone else has already done–we are responsible for our own actions, and this entails that we ought to do what is right and good in spite of the fact that someone else may have done us wrong.
  • “Light casts shadows.” Objects that are not light, reflect light, absorb light, and block light cast shadows. Light cannot block iself. When standing in the presence of the Lord, or perhaps someone who is supremely good or toward whom we harbor feelings of envy, it is not their shadow that we see, but our own, especially when we turn away from them, for that is the only place a shadow can hide. Remember that darkness is associated with lack, and hence weakness.
  • “Nothing is omnipotent.” For this to be true, the statement, “because one thing cannot accomplish any task, this is evidence of the nonexistence of omnipotence.” But an omnipotent entity cannot accomplish only those tasks that do not lend themselves to power. For instance, if the act of remembering (after forgetting) was used to remedy and support the above statements, it does not count as an absolute trait, as not all qualities presumed to be or claimed to be absolute, authentic, perfect, and complete are really so. This means that to remember infers that one must first forget. Forgetfulness is a lesser-trait than that of being eternally aware. It is a trait, nonetheless. It is also a thing, having retained part of its original nature (to know) but being diminished by darkness (to be unaware).
  • “Creativity, the act of remembering, and the like are absolute traits.” Once again referencing the above arguments, this sentence makes the mistake of referring to said traits as their perfect forms when in fact they are incomplete. Contrary to Aristotle’s “Golden Mean”, these traits are mixed—yet incomplete—versions of the originals. The Ten Commandments hold the original character man is to portray, and Jesus acts as a role model for said character. According to Aristotle, the Golden Mean exists between two extremes; both of which are evil. This infers not only a straight line but a third angle unaccounted for—making a triangle between three extremes (the two originals hence being rendered obsolete) where happens to be located the middle. There is a third dimension, one which was disregarded. The Wikipedia states, “For example, in the Aristotelian view, courage, a virtue, if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness and if deficient as cowardice.” But this can be taken apart as courage does contain traits and the possibility of both recklessness and nobility. Nobility is the third angle; the one on which our King resides, among many other points of convergence. In essence, two bad traits cannot make a good one, but a separated truth is also wickedness; hence, the components of the two evils—recklessness and cowardice—do not summarize courage but are the result of its being degraded in either one direction or the other. The adapted version of the previous view has lead many to distrust accepting one good quality for the sake of another, believing them to be separate or incompatible. But as mentioned earlier, in the qualities of a conceptual Deity and in the realm of absolute perfection, such qualities of righteousness must by default coexist. As with creativity, the act of remembering is also found to be in a state of lack as it implies that something was forgotten. That which is omnipotent and omniscient logically cannot accept something that does not fully lend itself to power. The ‘packaged-deal’ analogy may be inserted here.
  • “Light must know its place.” Light, by its nature, will and should overcome darkness. ‘Should’ is a funny word to be used in a sentence supporting darkness, isn’t it? Physically, light will spread into darkness. This little bubble was not meant to last forever. Sooner or later it will pop, and Heaven will come flooding in. Nothing opposed to light would survive, and everything in submission to it will only experience more joy. Recall that areas of higher concentration tend to flow into areas of lower concentration. The boundary between any two things is defined by that which is stronger. Morally, darkness and evil have neither being nor moral authority to dictate an ‘ought’ of their own. The human mind may fancy and consign an irrational pairing, but this is no affirmation that this potential will reflect reality—whether one wishes to be realistic is another matter.
  • “Learning takes place by all experience, good and bad.” Only illumination provides the means for one to learn. Without light, no one would know what they studied, and without Our Father’s shearing of His own mane and tearing of His own cloak we would surely fail to know anything whatsoever. “Hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.” is not simply a phrase used by the naive and cowardly. In our previous definition of learning, it was mentioned that the purpose of learning leaned toward gaining goodness. If that is the case, then learning itself may be more-completely achieved via the absence of absence itself (darkness). Again, evil is not only unnecessary but corrosive. It is for good reason that we are told neither to hear, see, nor speak any evil, for this is not inhibitive to our learning but sheltering to it. It may at times be the case that one must walk through darkness in order to reach the path of light, but that is an indicator of the 2nd stage and not the original state.
  • “Learning takes place by knowing why & how.” This statement is true, but not in the sense it is intended. This is yet another argument in favor of bad experience. Learning takes place when one acknowledges what is good about their situation. How and why something works can be just as easily traced back to ultimate goodness; darkness is not only unnecessary but also inhibitive. As in the above argument, experience cannot be the best teacher. One does not have to depart the light in order to learn; that is just another trick. One can stay safely on the side of light and the Lord and remain a student to the gift of life–a better life.
  • “Darkness and light are enemies.” Light has no enemies; or, it is enemy to none of its kin and a threat to those that will not become kin. Look back to the clarification regarding light’s nature—namely omnipotence, the definition of which refers to being all-powerful. Where, then, does that leave darkness?
  • “The closer to light, the more intense the shadow.” False. The closer to light, the more intense the contrast. In relation to light, darkness has a point of absolute zero. There is a point to which all things can be absent from something, but no more than this. Numbers may expand in opposite directions into infinity, as they are merely nominal—and not natural—construcsts, but real entities do not. The existence of negative numbers is a purely artificial and man-made concept; the existence of quantity and quality is not. The number zero, in that case, is less an absolute absence than it is a ratio, like most other numbers, of one thing to its quantifiable lack. When speaking of a physical absence, however, (and thus the better metaphor for the spiritual situation), there is nothing past a complete vacuum. The definition of ‘shadow’ is merely the absence of light.
  • “Obedience inhibits the acquisition of knowledge.” One learns what is just only by studying what is just. In this sense, we ought to refer back to the set-of-clocks metaphor by selecting only the most-supreme version of things so as not to have a poor impression of what is the perfect original. And again, all things originate from the Good of Goods.
  • “Experience is the best way to knowledge.” Only experience of good and truth can inform. This is another argument dedicated to the idea that if one does not have a bad experience, they will never understand their world completely. It is like saying that the half-rusted set of clocks better represents the goal of logic than does the polished set. This is purely false, for, if we dissect the previous sentence, we will find all sorts of funny words in there which suggest otherwise. Such a limited vocabulary sits on the tongues of those who deny truth.
  • “One must know darkness to appreciate light.” Light can be known and appreciated independently. Naturally, if we were to trace things back, again, to their origin, there really is *nothing* else on which to depend. Recall that darkness was never a necessity; merely a possibility. We are currently living in “Plan B”, as an old pastor of mine used to say. Remember that power and necessity are solely the property of light.
  • “Learning cannot occur without evil.・ Only perfect specimens may accurately represent perfection (or even account for it), and perfection is the goal to which reasonable creatures wish to strive. This is another set-of-clocks metaphor. Google defines ‘goal’ as: “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” Now just look at how many funny words you can find in that one. Experience teaches us the slow way what those willing only to experience righteousness already know. A well-polished clock more accurately represents what a clock is meant to be than one which has accumulated more rust. Evil is not necessary for learning–the contrary provides that goodness and knowledge have a limit.
  • “Shadows sharpen the eyes.” One’s knowledge is more full when illuminated. Naturally, by definition, etc.. What could this mean? It shouldn’t be the opposite if this is the most reasonable position to take. Granted, skin becomes tougher when it develops scar tissue, but that substance is an alternative to the original, which contains nerves, follicles, and pigment, among other useful things. Take once more into consideration that all was originally good, even after it was created as being separate from the Creator. It is not necessarily a uniform creation, but it is a unit that, when working properly, also works symbiotically.
  • “Light has a limit; darkness does not.” Light is limitless; darkness can be filled and conquered. This is due, again, to the fact that light has being that it may replace, rather than displace, darkness and emptiness. In the beginning, GOD (translates to “good”) created the Heavens and the Earth. In the Garden, everything was perfect. Both quality and quantity are found in this thinking; not in its reverse.
  • “Injury is the only way to strength.” Discomfort, perhaps, but injury is merely inhibition–it is better not to get the two confused. One man calls to the other, “Come up the mountain, we’ve much ground to cover!” and the other responds from below, “Naw, I’ve got to stub my toe at least eight times before I get up there, it’s the rules.” With this idea also arises the implication that one must “choose” his or her “mountain” to climb, path to walk, person to be, etc. much as in the metaphor pertaining to man in his flesh not being the ‘packaged deal’, for that position is filled by light, and not a half-creature like man.
  • “One must choose his/her mountain to climb.” This, too, is a false dilemma. Every good trait found in each (in this case the peak–from where one can see most clearly) should be the goal of everyone. Derisively, the phrase, “I’m just not that kind of person” is no excuse to put off modification of one’s behavior. The true ‘packaged deal’ is goodness and its components. Such thinking as the phrase in quotations often results in the suggestion that, since we are mortal, we have only enough time to learn how to be one person. Contrarily, only goodness must be known, and since it is infinite, learning about the imperfect versions of things in reality is even more a waste of time. According to my own discoveries, including the words of St. Augustine, all things were originally good and darkness is not an equal, opposing entity to light. This only reinforces my claims thus far.
  • “Darkness is unavoidale; those who think otherwise deceive themselves.” This may be the case, but as we refer back to previous arguments, we ought to use perfect specimens to represent what is perfect. One would not use a dog to represent a cat, nor (anyone arguing bravely and properly, anyway) use Mr. Columbus rather than the Christ, Himself, to represent Christianity. Deception truly lies in giving up and making excuses for one’s actions. A standard may be high but not impossible; all the more reason to see it as being perfect, for all of its loftiness is evidence of this. Both quality and quantity are found in this thinking.
  • “Nothing is knowable.” Again, this is avoidance of something that can be thought-out. It is a last-ditch effort to relinquish responsibility to reason where we do not wish to. To some degree, many things are knowable. And, by extension, there is every reason to use and trust the only method we have (our mind) instead of abandoning it. Can one be deceived? Yes. But how often is a surplus of information unhelpful? Hardly ever. It is better to risk using what one does have than to assume that it will be to no avail. Reality would be unknown or unknowable were an individual delusional, but that is the definition–a delusional person is the exception; not the rule. Do recall that definitions are logically derived and not merely conventional.
  • “Peace is achieved when goodness submits.” Again, it is within light’s nature and duty to spread and correct what needs correcting. The words, “peace”, “achieved”, and “goodness” are all self-correllated, while the word “submits” does not belong when applied to that sentence. Peace is achieved when goodness reigns supreme. To settle for a lesser-quality is to be truly imbalanced. The opposite extreme of balance (in fullness) is balance in complete absence. But this would eradicate the person who is able to experience this situation as well, as something of the original entity (the mind) still remains and thus absolute darkness is not achieved. The factor of self-awareness can only be implicated into something that accounts for all, rather than none, of the qualities of light and goodness.
  • “There will always be a right end to the stick.” A popular quote from the Ranger in Touching Spirit Bear, this hints at the suggestion that (1) no matter what we try, we may never avoid our darkness and thus must, at times, succumb to it, and (2) that darkness is an integral and necessary aspect of human existence. To answer the first implication, we must address the concept of sin and temptation. There is a difference between being tempted–as all human beings are capable of being tempted (even was Jesus in his Earthly body)–and acting upon said temptation. Only when one chooses to act in favor of, rather than against, their temptation does one sin and commit evil, for evil is merely the “privation of good” and sin the violation of purpose. Darkness does exist when one is tempted, but not as a result of one’s own actions. To address the second, we need merely look to any of the above arguments to see that evil is dependent upon good to exist, and is not necessary for existence, character, or wisdom whatsoever, as these things are themselves ultimately goodness.
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Know Thine Footing: Light And Darkness

Know Thine Footing:
Truths & Falsehoods Regarding Light & Darkness
Dispelling Laboriously Successful and Popular Manichaeist Myths.
In introducing these concepts, I’d like to first point out that, in my hypothesis, there are three stages to the existence of things. The First (1st) stage is God’s being; His divinity. He tore of His own cloak and sheared of His own perfect mane to create all that we know. The Second (2nd) stage is that series of separated figures—Earth, the Universe, and all of its inhabitants. The Third (3rd) is the rearrangement of the members of the series. In The Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. Our Universe is a nigh-empty bubble amongst an infinite sea of Light & Fullness (1st) which is God and Heaven. In The Beginning, God created the prism of our world, through which He shed His Light and separated the colors (2nd). It is also important to keep in mind that one must always question whether they’re using an improper metaphor.
“Everything is Grey.” This statement implies that black cannot be known apart from white, and vice-versa. But black and white do exist as separate entities. The three most important questions for any logician to consider are, (1) What are the implications? (2) What is the core; the root; the axium? (3) Why? Logic, in fact, is built upon what is truth and what is error. Without the acknowledgement of the two, there would be no use for it. It is important to dissect matters in order to differentiate between what is good and what is evil; what is and what is not; what is, once again, truth and what is error. The concept of value is learned more greatly by those who wait and take the time with a longer process to achieve a more beneficial end.
“Man in his flesh is the proprietor; he is the ‘packaged deal’.” This is a 3rd-stage argument, meaning that while man does have many good qualities, he is still incomplete. Essentially, the presence of the lesser is evidence of the greater, more pure and complete original. As discussed in the Gunman series, the ‘proprietor’ of a complete nature must also reflect all things good. This is not an arbitrary definition but one that has been logically derived. In this world, one might easily come across one who is intelligent but also unkind, or compassionate yet naive. This is not to say that the two former are incompatible, but simply that one has not yet achieved both high compassion and high knowledge. In fact, in the realm of perfection, all traits of righteousness must by default coexist. If one were to dissect the contents of fruit punch, one would find the various ingredients used to make it. Since man’s character is a 3rd-stage product instead of a 1st-stage Proprietor, he is subject to this dissection as well. The presence of the lesser is evidence of the greater, more pure and complete original. Just as in the fruit punch, an orange, gingerale, sherbert, among various other ingredients, were likely used to make it.
“Darkness holds the force of pull.” Light is the force of push—try to think of it in terms of light doing all the work. Any physics or chemistry study will inform you that areas of higher concentration will tend to trickle and spread into areas of lower concentration as the molecules are forced away from each other. Objects of opposing charges tend to gravitate toward one another, or one with weaker charge flowing toward one with greater charge. But essentially, darkness does not have being and thus it has no force with which to pull. It is merely the case, in this instance, that light, akin to only itself, spreads apart.
“Why shouldn’t darkness have its day?” Almost every word in that sentence, right off the bat, is hysterically amusing. “Why shouldn’t darkness have its day?” Seems a bit odd, doesn’t it? More so the word “shouldn’t”…. But let’s be as generous as possible and presume that this sentence makes some sense. Darkness and light cannot be opposites if both are equal. The truest opposite is the difference between Good and nothingness.
“Certainty is the affirmation of truth, for real truth cannot be known.” Certainty is no affirmation of truth, for truth to be itself is to be external; nor is certainty the same as truth. Our minds are ultimately the only means by which we may experience reality and interpret it, so more problematic still would be the proposition that certainty is unknowable and absolute knowledge unattainable–a possibility not worth bearing in mind if used as an argument for one’s own uncertainty or mistrust. It is still a problem for Theism in that there are those who are convinced of certain lies and cannot or will not be shaken from them (and according to Rene Descartes, men do err in reasoning). If, for example, this happens to be the case, it would seem one would have to choose between the two harsh ‘realities’ that either there are many truths (and thus none, as exclusivity and thus transcendance would have logically been removed), or that the victims of delusion do indeed face the demise of irrationality but without hope outside of their own deciding (hinting at an absence of justice). But this is a false dilemma.
“Mind and reality are one and the same.” One is right in presuming that what one thinks matters more compared to what is. However, the factors failed to be taken into account are as follows: 1. The individual’s choice keeps them from reasoning. Just as when the deluded individual presumes that they are acting more reasonable by holding their position than those who refuse to accept it, so they are also able to turn from their delusion. 2. Information and understanding of any sort is usually attainable, and this hints at 3. that the word ‘delusional’ hints at the fact that generally, a mind functions normally and most, mad or sane, are still capable of some degree of reason. But while what one thinks and what is are still separate, it is still the duty of the mind to reflect the external world that transcends other minds who interpret the same world. This is no illusion. Whether by willof the mind’s proprietor or the malfunction of the mind itself one finds oneself in disagreement with reality or others is due not to reality but to the individual.
“Error and lies are myth as there is no real truth or light.” There is no reason to believe this and every reason not to. One must learn not only to look at a pint of grey paint more closely but to decipher which speckles are black and which are white. Such is the foundation of logic–truth and error. In looking at this problem one must first do away with the idea that being ‘accepting’ is the same as being noble in all cases and that Relativism is humble. If one’s friend wanders off the edge of a cliff and is asked, “Why did you allow this to happen?”, one might answer, “Because he wished it.” However, one has a moral obligation to circumvent invalid requests, evenif against the will of the other. Perfect laws transcend individual preference.
“Traditional definitions are merely conventional.” Traditional definitions are actually logical. In associating or creating any word and its definition, one would hope to avoid as much confusion as possible. It would be counter-productive to act otherwise, invalidating communication altogether, which means that said definitions are less-likely to be arbitrarily derived. In defining good and evil, as mentioned earlier, it is best to associate them as they likely, in their perfect and original state, coexisted. Thus, it is also best to identify light as goodness, righteousness, justice, wisdom, completeness, perfection, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. Darkness can be associated with evil, discord, lack-of-light, chaos, imperfection, incompleteness, emptiness, coldness, and corrupted, lacking, or mixed-up goodness, hence the common association between wickedness and “impurity”. Something is not ‘pure’ if it is any of the above, but that’s all that evil is.
“Darkness is an independent, equal, opposite entity.” If light is already an entity, then what is darkness? Let us think for a moment about the definition of darkness, as well as the above correlations. Don’t they make more sense? What is a shadow? Is it a thing, or a lack of light? When asking this question to begin with, we really must reflect first on whether we understand what ‘opposites’ really are.
“Darkness can exist on its own.” Evil is merely corrupted, mixed-up, or lacking good. In fact, the word, “Good” is derived from “God”. Quoth St. Augustine, All of nature, therefore, is good, since the Creator of all nature is supremely good. But nature is not supremely and immutably good as is the Creator of it. Thus the good in created things can be diminished and augmented. For good to be diminished is evil; still, however much it is diminished, something must remain of its original nature as long as it exists at all. For no matter what kind or however insignificant a thing may be, the good which is its nature cannot be destroyed without the thing itself being destroyed. When, however, a thing is corrupted, its corruption is an evil because it is, by just so much, a privation of the good. Where there is no privation of the good, there is no evil.
“Darkness is necessary for balance.” If all were light as was originally the case, darkness wouldn’t exist. It does not need to. Darkness is neither necessary, powerful, nor eternal; a statement in favor of the opposite infers that darkness carries a trait of light (necessity), and thus it is no longer fully itself. Everytime we see one of those words in a sentence that vouches for evil or neutrality, we must say to ourselves, “Huh, that’s a funny word to be used in that sentence.” By the hand of light, darkness knows its place. Its boundary is defined by light; the boundary between any two things is defined by that which has the higher concentration, and hence it is a given that darkness—that which has no being nor concentration whatsoever—is not the boundary-keeper.
“Darkness is necessary for good character.” This is incorrect because it makes the same mistake as does the sentence above, namely in giving necessity to evil. The good thing that you learned in any experience is the important part (not the bad stuff that happened, as it was not necessary); more full would life be if we remember to stay good. Send the mind first; send the mind instead. Let us know the evil only so that we may avoid it, but experience the good so that we may gain both worlds. While it is true that, oftentimes, one must go through evil in order to experience good, this can be looked at in two separate ways: either the individual brought the evil on themselves (directly unnecessary evil), or their indeliberate suffering produces goodness (indirectly unnecessary evil). The reason evil existed to begin with was the fall of man; but through any situation can goodness be accomplished–this is not to say that any situation that is named good is actually so. If Christ is our example, then let us not presume that mankind must falter.
“Darkness is necessary for learning.” The definition of learning is “to gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.” Does that not lean in favor of the good, rather than the evil? The words “gain” and “acquire” should have been the first indicators, not to mention the rest in that sentence. But remember, not all things that claim to be or are defined as having being or being absolute are actually so (much like the falsehood addressed above which began, “Man, in his flesh…”). Evil can be mixed-up good as well, but it cannot exist in a complete vacuum (the same with madness contrasted with lack of self-awareness, or immorality contrasted with amorality). It is a baseless myth to suggest that darkness will always exist somehwere. This is not only unknowable but also does not provide reason to put any stock into it.
“Darkness is necessary for creativity.” Creativity comes only by the presence of good. God’s creativity was already with Him; man’s creativity is but derived from things he has already seen. The presence of problems is necessary for only a few types of creativity, but altogether these types would exist in a more pure version of themselves without being mingled with lack. Much like a ‘solution’, the type of creativity addressed brings an end or a person back to the ideal state in which it should have been in the first place. Derisively, this is what’s known as a “Plan B” or 3rd-stage.
“Too much goodness is a possibility.” This statement is often referred to when explaining the situation of one who is embittered, seemingly by having lived and loved too openly or freely in the past. But, one who forgets their heart hasn’t loved too much as is alleged, but has stopped loving at some point. Perhaps they assumed they would die or go mad if they continued their unconditional self-sacrificie, or perhaps they were tempted with selfish desire, but all in all, one’s choice to do something is directly related to one’s choice in doing something; all in all, such a person only stopped loving because they decided to. Ultimately, even if this person viewed eternally acting in the first way as an impossible feat (for them), wouldn’t it still be more ideal if they could reach that end, to love eternally and perfectly? It is silly to think that there is a point at which love suddenly, randomly, becomes evil. And as addressed above, such traits are not incompatible just because mankind does not perfectly keep all of them.
“Darkness was original; all was once empty.” Light was original—all was once full and one. In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. As I had mentioned before, this universe is very likely a nigh-empty bubble amidst a vast and eternal sea of light and fullness (assuming the universe’s expansion is due to the matter, and not the bubble itself, expanding within the bubble toward its edges). Time only began when matter and energy were created; these three things, separate yet working together, are the lesser-version of the fullness lying outside of them that is our Maker and His Kingdom. They existed when He held that metaphorical “prism” to Himself through which He shed His light and it became many colors from His singularity, ever-spreading and incomplete without the others, yet still evidence of His and Heaven’s existence.
“Choosing between light & darkness is a false dilemma.” Calling everything grey is actually the false dilemma. If we are given a pint of grey paint to inspect, then naturally by standing away from it we would come to conclude that grey is an original shade (given that we had never before been subjected to any other color). But by standing up close to it, magnifying-glass in hand, we would notice little speckles of black and white. In a situation calling for our reason, such as when deciding which of our children has done the wrong thing in sibbling dispute, we ought to pick out which of these specks are ‘black’ and which of them are ‘white’. It may very well be the case that each child has done both wrong and right in different ways, but this does not indicate that the whole of each child’s situation or story must be only one of the trio-ultimatum of black, grey, or white. It is the same as when two people are standing near a car, and the one behind a certain pole, unable to see into its windows, explains to the other why he thinks the car has no inside. And likewise this fallacy is used when Relativism is promoted, but there aren’t “different moralities”; there are simply those who act out different aspects of the same morality.
“Balance is the goal.” Balance between good and evil is only half-right (by definition). If we were out to buy a series of clocks for our clock-collecting uncle, would we choose the clean-looking set or the one that was rusted and half-polished? Clearly, if we are in our right mind, we would choose the former in any general, average case as they are in a more useful and aesthetically-pleasing condition (anecdotal cases are not good for reason or research because they provide a smaller scope than what is usually the case—this having to do with the odds of likelihood that should be addressed).
“Ruin begets creation; darkness begat light.” Understand that light is not completely itself unless it retains its nature. If darkness is given necessity, light must give up that part of its nature and hence, whether it still retains a part of that nature, it is no longer itself omnipotent because it can now be challenged and even defeated by darkness. And nothing can be beaten by its own lack as long as it does not lend itself to that lack. Light’s nature was defined above when it was given its respective associations as was darkness.
“Light is responsible for evil.” Since light is a thing, it cannot therefore block itself. Evil is the near-absence of light. “For good to be diminished is evil; still, however much it is diminished, something must remain of its original nature as long as it exists at all.” The ‘original nature’ to which Augustine refers is goodness. Remember that all things came from God, the ultimate good.
“Evil has always existed.” Technically, darkness existed at the beginning of time, and not ‘before’, but evil was only a possibility before man’s fall. To understand this correctly, we must, again, view darkness and evil as existing but unnecessary. In fact, darkness is not only unecessary, but by definition it is also harmful. The concept of lack was surely present when God separated His colors through that imaginary prism as in the continually present metaphor of this particular writing. But the concept of discord, mixing-up or corruption only manifested as real after man’s disobedience. That was the only act that caused more possibilities to exist.
“Darkness cannot be destroyed.” Light replaces darkness; it does not simply displace it. Darkness has no essence of its own to move or be moved. Again, refer to the argument above regarding the physical nature of light: “Areas of higher concentration tend to trickle or move toward areas of lower concentration.” Think of this in terms of light doing all of the work, for only it has being and therefore power, existence, and energy to do work. If darkness were to pull, it would not only cease to be itself, but it would also cease to ‘exist’, for lack of a better word. It is quite possible to reach a point of absolute zero and/or nothingness. Contrarily, any entity can be supremely, infinitely complex, forever divisible, and forever to intensify.
“Light casts shadows.” Objects that are not light, reflect light, absorb light, and block light cast shadows. Light cannot block iself. When standing in the presence of the Lord, or perhaps someone who is supremely good or toward whom we harbor feelings of envy, it is not their shadow that we see, but our own, especially when we turn away from them, for that is the only place a shadow can hide. Remember that darkness is associated with lack, and hence weakness.
“Nothing is omnipotent.” For this to be true, the statement, “because one thing cannot accomplish any task, this is evidence of the nonexistence of omnipotence.” But an omnipotent entity cannot accomplish only those tasks that do not lend themselves to power. For instance, if the act of remembering was used to remedy and support the above statements, it does not count as an absolute trait, as not all qualities presumed to be or claimed to be absolute, authentic, perfect, and complete are really so. This means that to remember infers that one must first forget. Forgetfulness is a lesser-trait than that of being eternally aware. It is a trait, nonetheless. It is also a thing, having retained part of its original nature (to know) but being diminished by darkness (to be unaware).
“Creativity, the act of remembering, and the like are absolute traits.” Once again referencing the above arguments, this sentence makes the mistake of referring to said traits as their perfect forms when in fact they are incomplete. Contrary to Aristotle’s “Golden Mean”, these traits are mixed—yet incomplete—versions of the originals. The Ten Commandments hold the original character man is to portray, and Jesus acts as a role model for said character. According to Aristotle, the Golden Mean exists between two extremes; both of which are evil. This infers not only a straight line but a third angle unaccounted for—making a triangle between three extremes (the two originals hence being rendered obsolete) where happens to be located the middle. There is a third dimension, one which was disregarded. The Wikipedia states, “For example, in the Aristotelian view, courage, a virtue, if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness and if deficient as cowardice.” But this can be taken apart as courage does contain traits and the possibility of both recklessness and nobility. Nobility is the third angle; the one on which our King resides, among many other points of convergence. In essence, two bad traits cannot make a good one. The adapted version of the previous view has lead many to distrust accepting one good quality for the sake of another, believing them to be separate or incompatible. But as mentioned earlier, in the qualities of a conceptual Deity and in the realm of absolute perfection, such qualities of righteousness must by default coexist. As with creativity, the act of remembering is also found to be in a state of lack as it implies that something was forgotten. That which is omnipotent and omniscient logically cannot accept something that does not fully lend itself to power. The ‘packaged-deal’ analogy may be inserted here.
“Light must know its place.” Light, by its nature, will and should overcome darkness. ‘Should’ is a funny word to be used in a sentence supporting darkness, isn’t it? Physically, light will spread into darkness. This little bubble was not meant to last forever. Sooner or later it will pop, and Heaven will come flooding in. Nothing opposed to light would survive, and everything in submission to it will only experience more joy. Recall that areas of higher concentration tend to flow into areas of lower concentration. The boundary between any two things is defined by that which is stronger.
“Learning takes place by all experience, good and bad.” Only illumination provides the means for one to learn. Without light, no one would know what they studied, and without Our Father’s shearing of His own mane and tearing of His own cloak we would surely fail to know anything whatsoever. “Hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.” is not simply a phrase used by the naive and cowardly. In our previous definition of learning, it was mentioned that the purpose of learning leaned toward gaining goodness. If that is the case, then learning itself may be more-completely achieved via the absence of absence itself (darkness). Again, evil is not only unnecessary but corrosive. It is for good reason that we are told neither to hear, see, nor speak any evil, for this is not inhibitive to our learning but sheltering to it. It may at times be the case that one must walk through darkness in order to reach the path of light, but that is an indicator of the 2nd stage and not the original state.
“Learning takes place by knowing why & how.” This statement is true, but not in the sense it is intended. This is yet another argument in favor of bad experience. Learning takes place when one acknowledges what is good. How and why something works can be just as easily traced back to ultimate goodness; darkness is not only unnecessary but also inhibitive. As in the above argument, experience cannot be the best teacher. One does not have to depart the light in order to learn; that is just another trick. One can stay safely on the side of light and the Lord and remain a student to the gift of life–a better life.
“Darkness and light are enemies.” Light has no enemies; or, it is enemy to none of its kin and a threat to those that will not become kin. Look back to the clarification regarding light’s nature—namely omnipotence, the definition of which refers to being all-powerful. Where, then, does that leave darkness?
“The closer to light, the more intense the shadow.” False. The closer to light, the more intense the contrast. In relation to light, darkness has a point of absolute zero. There is a point to which all things can be absent from something, but no more than this. Numbers may expand in opposite directions into infinity, but entities do not. The existence of negative numbers is a purely artificial and man-made concept; the existence of quantity is not. The number zero, in that case, is less an absolute absence than it is a ratio, like most other numbers, of one thing to its quantifiable lack. When speaking of a physical absence, however, (and thus the better metaphor for the spiritual situation), there is nothing past a complete vacuum. The definition of ‘shadow’ is merely the absence of light.
“Obedience inhibits the acquisition of knowledge.” One learns what is just only by studying what is just. In this sense, we ought to refer back to the set-of-clocks metaphor by selecting only the most-supreme version of things so as not to have a poor impression of what is the perfect original. And again, all things originate from the Good of Goods.
“Experience is the best way to knowledge.” Only experience of good and truth can inform. This is another argument dedicated to the idea that if one does not have a bad experience, they will never understand their world completely. It is like saying that the half-rusted set of clocks better represents the goal of logic than does the polished set. This is purely false, for, if we dissect the previous sentence, we will find all sorts of funny words in there which suggest otherwise. Such a limited vocabulary sits on the tongues of those who deny truth.
“One must know darkness to appreciate light.” Light can be known and appreciated independently. Naturally, if we were to trace things back, again, to their origin, there really is *nothing* else to depend on. Recall that darkness was never a necessity; merely a possibility. We are currently living in “Plan B”, as an old pastor of mine used to say. Remember that power and necessity are solely the property of light.
“Learning cannot occur without evil.・ Only perfect specimens may accurately represent perfection (or even account for it), and perfection is the goal to which reasonable creatures wish to strive. This is another set-of-clocks metaphor. Google defines ‘goal’ as: “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” Now just look at how many funny words you can find in that one. Experience teaches us the slow way what those willing only to experience righteousness already know. A well-polished clock more accurately represents what a clock is meant to be than one which has accumulated more rust. Evil is not necessary for learning–the contrary provides that goodness and knowledge have a limit.
“Shadows sharpen the eyes.” One’s knowledge is more full when illuminated. Naturally, by definition, etc.. What could this mean? It shouldn’t be the opposite if this is the most reasonable position to take. Granted, skin becomes tougher when it develops scar tissue, but that substance is an alternative to the original, which contains nerves, follicles, and pigment, among other useful things. Take once more into consideration that all was originally good, even after it was created as being separate from the Creator. It is not necessarily a uniform creation, but it is a unit that, when working properly, also works symbiotically.
“Light has a limit; darkness does not.” Light is limitless; darkness can be filled and conquered. This is due, again, to the fact that light has being that it may replace, rather than displace, darkness and emptiness. In the beginning, GOD (translates to “good”) created the Heavens and the Earth. In the Garden, everything was perfect. Both quality and quantity are found in this thinking; not in its reverse.
“Injury is the only way to strength.” Discomfort, perhaps, but injury is merely inhibition–it is better not to get the two confused. One man calls to the other, “Come up the mountain, we’ve much ground to cover!” and the other responds from below, “Naw, I’ve got to stub my toe at least eight times before I get up there, it’s the rules.” With this idea also arises the implication that one must “choose” his or her “mountain” to climb, path to walk, person to be, etc. much as in the metaphor pertaining to man in his flesh not being the ‘packaged deal’, for that position is filled by light, and not a half-creature like man.
“One must choose his/her mountain to climb.” This, too, is a false dilemma. Every good trait found in each (in this case the peak–from where one can see most clearly) should be the goal of everyone. Derisively, the phrase, “I’m just not that kind of person” is no excuse to put off modification of one’s behavior. The true ‘packaged deal’ is goodness and its components. Such thinking as the phrase in quotations often results in the suggestion that, since we are mortal, we have only enough time to learn how to be one person. Contrarily, only goodness must be known, and since it is infinite, learning about the imperfect versions of things in reality is even more a waste of time. According to my own discoveries, including the words of St. Augustine, all things were originally good and darkness is not an equal, opposing entity to light. This only reinforces my claims thus far.
“Darkness is unavoidale; those who think otherwise deceive themselves.” This may be the case, but as we refer back to previous arguments, we ought to use perfect specimens to represent what is perfect. One would not use a dog to represent a cat, nor (anyone arguing bravely and properly, anyway) use Mr. Columbus rather than the Christ, Himself, to represent Christianity. Deception truly lies in giving up and making excuses for one’s actions. A standard may be high but not impossible; all the more reason to see it as being perfect, for all of its loftiness is evidence of this. Both quality and quantity are found in this thinking.
“Nothing is knowable.” Again, this is avoidance of something that can be thought-out. It is a last-ditch effort to relinquish responsibility to reason where we do not wish to. To some degree, many things are knowable. And, by extension, there is every reason to use and trust the only method we have (our mind) instead of abandoning it. Can one be deceived? Yes. But how often is a surplus of information unhelpful? Hardly ever. It is better to risk using what one does have than to assume that it will be to no avail. Reality would be unknown or unknowable were an individual delusional, but that is the definition–a delusional person is the exception; not the rule. Do recall that definitions are logically derived and not merely conventional.
“Peace is achieved when goodness submits.” Again, it is within light’s nature and duty to spread and correct what needs correcting. The words, “peace”, “achieved”, and “goodness” are all self-correllated, while the word “submits” does not belong when applied to that sentence. Peace is achieved when goodness reigns supreme. To settle for a lesser-quality is to be truly imbalanced. The opposite extreme of balance (in fullness) is balance in complete absence. But this would eradicate the person who is able to experience this situation as well, as something of the original entity (the mind) still remains and thus absolute darkness is not achieved. The factor of self-awareness can only be implicated into something that accounts for all, rather than none, of the qualities of light and goodness.

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Updated: Marriage Is The Axis

Elizabeth Redel-Arristan,
Alexandria Hunting
9/22/2013
Marriage Is The Axis
On Dating:
I believe it is quite possible to explain, describe, and discuss the concept of dating within the parameters of itself like I believe the same can be done with a false language, a fictional movie, or a novel. I do not believe in it as applied to reality. I believe that God does not play ‘guessing games’ with people. I believe that He must be ordained above experience as a teacher, and that experience alone, by itself, or on its own, cannot lead anyone properly as the interpretation of actions to be taken or things to be learned will depend on the one who has the experience.
We don’t NEED to make mistakes. Really, there’s a better way–an easier one; one that takes the fact of my mortality and my lifespan into account–I can’t discover everything by experience alone. “Hear no evil; see no evil; speak no evil.” If we find ourselves giving necessity to evil, at some point our reasoning has gone astray. I have this magnificent organ called a brain with the ability to utilize higher methods such as deduction and induction to tell me what I need to know without ever having to put my foot in the mess. But there are some experiences that can only be learned once, and they will be covered in this writing.
I believe my lover is my own choice. I believe that choice is the ultimate ruler of compatibility. I believe in traditional values; not necessarily for the sake of tradition alone but for the reason they hold. A relationship is as ‘blind’ a practice before the relationship as it is during, and by that I mean that one cannot completely know their lover even if they’ve been together for over 20 years (a testamony of multiple people who have been together for that long, one of whom is Mr. Shelton). Knowing that, dating for that purpose becomes obsolete. I do agree with the point on which we pro-and-anti-daters both concur, and that is that we shouldn’t attempt to make our lover into who we want them to be. I don’t believe that this view has to be confused with ‘love at first sight’, as that also emphasizes one’s feelings and personality rather than the individual’s raw choice and unconditional loyalty. It is quite common to find those, though they’ve never bothered to put two and two into words, who believe that doing something simply out of loyalty, deference, or a feeling of obligation is irrational.
I do not believe that a personality, compatibility, nor feelings do this in my place, either. I believe I do all of that stuff; it’s entirely my constant, conscious choice. I don’t believe that God picks out the exact person with whom we are individually supposed to be; I only believe that He has ascribed to us the proper way to be with someone. The same thinking people are led to believe that there is such a thing as a ‘soul mate’ for them would lead them also to more repeatedly see and break up with others along the same line as, “This person is capable of being a killer, while this person is not.” All human beings are generally capable of the same sins as addressed in the Ten Commandments, and are thus able to be judged by those commands accordingly. I repeat myself: God doesn’t play guessing-games, and choice is the ultimate ruler of compatibility. A relationship is meant to be lifelong.
If we could lead ourselves to believe that there is one person for each of us regarding the present moment, we’d have to look at it in the light of, “Whoever I CHOOSE to marry in the future I must, presently, bring faithfulness by selecting to remain with the first person I date.” If we look at the “one for each of us” philosophy the other way, we usually end up not only being filled with true regret for not remaining faithful with the first person, even if their character started to slope downhill (because it’s still our responsibility to remain faithful no matter what they do), but also unnecessary remorse–we would trick ourselves into thinking, “I was with the *wrong* person”. Maybe that’s how some people cope, but it isn’t true. Passion is a free spirit with wings–it comes and goes as it pleases; it dies; it burns brightly but lives shortly. We must refrain from the temptation to be swept away by those feelings if they move to someone else or after our passion with our first lover has died. It is a natural thing to happen, and desire should not direct our actions.
Many people are taught to trust their feelings rather than their mind or their will. Quite naturally, with the former in charge, it is not a wonder that many people feel dissatisfied. They think of what they can receive instead of giving, and if they do not receive, then it is not ideal in their eyes. Belief-systems are what make room for feelings, so while said emotions cannot directly be changed, they can be influenced by what we think about or put into our heads on a daily basis. If we constantly meditate on how we might have something better if we’d just let go of our companion, it is very likely we would either separate or remain unhappy. For many today, the incorrect correlation is made that what is seemingly unromantic is also shallow and not-worthwhile. But this is due to our societal conditioning rather than reason.
Any problems that may come up in the relationship should be worked through, rather than the relationship sacrificed. If a man beat his wife, it is the abuse that’s the problem, and not the marriage (the unity between the couple). I do not believe that destiny dictates my future with the one I love, nor do I believe that my Heavenly Father has given me a mind nor a will that I should not use it. Mr. Brewton was right in one sense, and I believe that, if one should approach the relationship with the idea that “this might/might not be my true love”, it is only natural that they likely split up, or, in his words, “Who you are kissing now is someone else’s husband/wife.” I believe neither in dating for sport NOR for compatibility. Not one’s feelings, nor even one’s personality, can have as much impact as one’s choice to remain with their significant other. The bottom line is that one’s choice to do something is directly related to one’s choice in doing something. Ultimately, we must take caution against remorse rather than assuming that our good experiences will outweigh it if we have enough of them, because past remorse taints present happiness, and we must do our best to map out a good life rather than simply leaping from elation to elation while running from our history.
Trials are not something to be avoided, even between personalities. If the ideals differ (if, say, one of the two believes in dating as a test, while the other, like me, does not), the fact that they split up would be their own decision but also their departure from the conservative view (mine in this case and the example above), for it is not a flaw in the view that “staying together is always better” itself, but rather its opposite. What happens in the dating world will follow to the marriage.
A former youth pastor of mine, Mr. Davis, put it this way: “Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment.” My only expectations should lie with myself; not with anyone or anything else. Initially, people who believe in dating are bound to do it a lot–they’ll probably find someone they like, and later decide that that person may not be ‘THE one’ and run off in their continued search. I find this most debatable in the show known as, “How I Met Your Mother.” Contrarily, the article that most accurately represents my view on relationships is this:
My husband is not my soul mate.
Posted on July 22, 2013 by Hannah
It might seem odd that on this, our one-year anniversary, I am beginning a post with the declaration that my husband is not my soul mate. But he isn’t.
I wouldn’t want to imagine life without James. I enjoy being with him more than anyone else in this world. I love him more than I ever thought you could love someone, and I miss him whenever I am not with him. I wouldn’t want to be[sic] married to anyone else other than James, which is good, because I plan on being married to him forever, and he has to let me die first.
But I reject the entire premise of soul mates.
Do you remember those awesome Evangelical 90’s/ early 2000’s where Jesus was kind of like our boyfriend and we all kissed dating good-bye because we just knew that God was going to bring us THE ONE and then life would be awesome? And THE ONE would most likely be a worship minister, or at the very least a youth pastor, and we would have to be in college when we would meet at some sort of rally to save children from disease or something. We would know that he was THE ONE because of his plethora of WWJD bracelets and because (duh) he had also kissed dating goodbye and was waiting for me, strumming Chris Tomlin songs on his guitar as he stared into whatever campfire was nearby. We would get married and it would be awesome FOREVER. If you were like me, in devote preparation for this moment, you wrote letters to your future spouse, preferably in a leather bound journal dotted with your overwhelmed tears. Yes, I actually did that. Suffice to say that I found this journal over Christmas break and it was so embarrassingly awful and emotional that I couldn’t even read it out-loud to James because I was crying from laughing so hard.
But then my theologian biblical scholar father shattered my dreams by informing me that God doesn’t have a husband for me, doesn’t have a plan for who I marry. NOT TRUE I scolded him, attacking him with the full force of Jeremiah 29:11 that God “knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future,” and obviously that means a hott Christian husband because God “delights in giving me the desires of my heart.” He slammed through my horrible (yet popular) biblical abuse by reminding me that the first verse applied to the people of Israel in regards to a specific time and just didn’t even dignify my horrible abuse of the second verse with a rebuttal. Nope, he said, a husband is not only not a biblical promise, it is also not a specific element of God’s “plan for my life.” God’s plan is for us to be made more holy, more like Christ… not marry a certain person. (This advice was also used when I asked what college God wanted me to go to, accompanied I think by, “God doesn’t want you to be an idiot, so go somewhere you will learn.” )
And then he gave me some of the best relationship advice I ever got: There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry. You could have a great marriage with any number of compatible people. There is no ONE PERSON for you. But once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person. As for compatibility, my mom would always pipe up when my girlfriends and I were making our lists of what we wanted in a spouse (dear well meaning Christian adults who thought this would help us not date scumbags: that was a bad idea and wholly unfair to men everywhere) that all that really mattered was that he loved the lord, made you laugh, and was someone [sic] to whom you were attracted. The rest is frosting.
This is profoundly unromantic advice. We love to hear of people who “just can’t help who they love,” or people who “fall in love,” or “find the one person meant for them.” Even within the Christian circle, we love to talk about how God “had someone” for someone else for all of time. But what happens to these people when the unstoppable and uncontrollable force that prompted them to start loving, lets them stop loving, or love someone else?
What happens is a world where most marriages end in divorce, and even those that don’t are often unhappy.
My marriage is not based on a set of choices over which I had no control. It is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love (in theory, don’t imagine that many others were lined up and knocking at the door). He is not some elusive soul mate, not some divine fullfulment, not some perfect step on the rigorously laid out but of so secret “Plan for My Life.”
But he is the person that I giggly chose to go out on a date with in college. He is the person who chose to not dump me when I announced that I was moving to France for a year, then Kentucky for another year. He is the person who asked me to move to DC and I chose to do so. He is the person who decided to ask me to marry him and I agreed. At any step here, we could have made other choices and you know what? We might have married other people, or stayed single, and had happy and full lives.
But now I delight in choosing to love him everyday.
I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I’m choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.
Someday I hope to have daughters and sons. I am going to pray for their futures everyday, and I will pray for who they might marry, but also what job they will have, who their friends will be, and most of all, that they delight in becoming more like Christ. But when my daughters come home starry-eyed from camp announcing that they can’t wait till the day they meet the man God has for them, I will probably pop their bubble and remind them that God doesn’t have a husband stored away somewhere for them.
He has a whole life, one of rich and abundant choices. And it is awesome.
Oh, and for the record — I like James so much more than my imaginary, obnoxiously religious, youth pastor future husband. When I asked him if he had written Future Me letters as a child, he told me he was too busy memorizing Pink Floyd lyrics. But then he ran in the next room and wrote down what 14-year old James would have said in a letter to 14-year old Hannah: “I hope you’re hott.” That’s why boys didn’t get swept up in that movement… they knew the truth all along.
(Also for the record, I actually think a lot of the high Evangelical movement was awesome, especially in so far as it made young people do a ridiculous amount of churchy activities so that we weren’t out doing drugs or at home watching re-runs because we didn’t even have Netflix yet. I was at youth group every time those doors were open and I LOVED it. )
*All photos are by the wonder that is Whitney Neal Photography.
–The Art in Life http://theartinlife.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/my-husband-is-not-my-soul-mate/
On Premarital Intercourse:
When filling out a resume or an application on the search for a specific job, it is often the case that there will appear a space for the social security number. A wise person will leave that space empty, for it is not required that the company have that information until after the individual is hired, as well as much safer. What is often argued between parties regarding sexual intercourse is safety. Some argue for the safety of their relationship later on by suggesting that an improper sexual match will lead the marriage to ruin, while the other argues that ruin will be nearly irreversible if the person with which one copulates doesn’t turn out to be their husband or wife. Some say, “I won’t marry until I have sex first.” and others say, “I won’t have sex until I am married.” Which risk outweighs the other? Which takes priority: pleasure or comfort? Obviously the latter, for it is a given right, while the former is but a privilege. One’s cumulative sexual experiences are more valuable than temporary single experiences.
“What if it’s not to my liking?” says one circle. “Happiness is of no consequence as long as one is committed.” says the other. The first rephrases, “Why stay committed if I am unhappy?” and the second suggests, “Even if unhappiness does occur, we do not have to divorce; neither do we have to argue, even if we become unhappy over time.” The difference between these two views is that premarital sex places emphasis on the experience and compatibility, while post-marital sex emphasizes commitment. Commitment would be essential because sex itself does not directly nor consistently produce intimacy, and thus it should not be used as a standard. Compatibility, to some, is on the other hand a key factor in determining whether one should spend the rest of their life with the other. It is important that one have a single point to emphasize as a standard above the other factors involved so as to avoid over-complication. However, it is often the case that proponents of pre-marital sex still depart from that standard and one another, even if their experience were satisfactory. Sex, in that case, was overlooked as the ultimate judging factor and others were likely used in its stead.
In a circle-chart depicting the pros and cons of pre-marital and post-marital sex, the sides will be shown to be imbalanced. In each chart, the circles containing pre-marital and post-marital sex converge. The pros of premarital intercourse involve compatibility and possible faithfulness afterward (note: any factor containing the word ‘possible’ before it counts as only half of a factor, as the chances for the opposite being the case still remain). In favor of post-marital intercourse (waiting until marriage to copulate) commitment becomes a priority in the stead of compatibility. In the shared section of each circle, one can view the possible pleasure, experience, intimacy, and cardiological health that advances. Keep in mind that this is a generic summary.
In the chart containing cons, the circle representing pre-marital sex contains jealousy, insecurity, possible unfaithfulness/accumulation of multiple partners, and guilt. The section of each circle that overlaps contains possible incompatibility, which can potentially be found on both sides, but marriage locks one to that potentially dissatisfactory partner, forcing them to either spend their marriage unhappily or fix the bumps in the road to comfortable intimacy, while the commitment can easily be avoided by someone who could simply choose to leave as they were not married, but this would only allow that person another chance to take a potentially increasingly damaging road (like a gamble) to other possible failed relationships and lost virginity as mentioned above and below.
There are also the major problems of jealousy, comparison, and potential unfaithfulness regarding sexual experiences preceding the marriage. Now, if I may be more clear, one does not have to be a polygamist to have ‘accumulated many partners’ over the years because we’re talking time-span, not present-moment. Sex is an intimate experience rather than a casual one, and to turn around just for the sake of the opposing argument and say that you’re not still connected to or thinking about the first or most recent even after you get together with someone else is completely contradictory. The Lord even says that if one divorce and then remarry they are still committing adultery against the first.
If one didn’t have multiple partners so as to pick which of them was most satisfactory, their spouse would be the only one to evaluate, and he/she would automatically be, in their mind, the best. To pause for a moment, would this only encourage further commitment and practice? Rather than treating the relationship like a broken phone and tossing it away in an immediate search for a new one, that spouse would be encouraged to fix what needed fixing. And isn’t satisfaction the entire goal? Nobody needs to have more than one partner; there’s no point to that. Everyone is so different anyway; we’d be back to that draining search for the elusive ‘One’. I refuse to settle for less and am disconcerted by the fact that so many are willing to promote free-lovin’ at the expense of any reverence sex may have held in the past. Abuse begets disrespect. You need to go into the relationship with respect; not skepticism. You need to put your heart on the line, because if you don’t then it’s not worth it. No pain no gain; whatever effort you put into it will become the essence of the relationship, and there is so much more to a relationship than casual sex.
Incompatibility is something of which there is an entirely slim chance; sex is, as I will repeat, generally the same for everyone. One partner may often want it less than the other, but it can hardly be the case that a pair are so incompatible as to the extent that they should choose to break it off instead of attempting to work through their little ordeals (which can easily be talked-out if that isn’t already a problem) but usually it is due to other factors that a couple slip apart. Finding ‘the one’ who is ‘meant for you’ will become a forlorn endeavor as, by the time we have found that person, we will have exhausted our capacity to say, “You are my one and only.” It is easier to say that we aren’t phased by this fact than to mean it: http://waitingtillmarriage.org/category/statistics/
Keeping that in mind, nobody buys the cow if they can get the milk for free. If they did, they would be unreasonable. Seriously, just think about it–nobody thinking reasonably would do that. Granted that sex isn’t the essence of marriage, but it is the point for many people who wish to have it outside of a responsible, committed relationship (so that those on the more pushy side may get what they want, or leave to find it in someone else if the first would not yield or satisfy). I often think of it as a swarm of locusts or a malignant virus. It swoops in, takes what it wants, and moves on.
Many people like to think of this century as being tolerant and feminine-friendly, but when you look at how often premarital sexuality is pushed onto society and in turn from boyfriend to girlfriend (it can be the other way around, but women, who haven’t first become used to such a life, are wired to seek comfort while men are wired to seek sex), she, by her nature, will seek to accomodate him before she risks losing him, even if his wants are separate and even fly in the face of what she feels the relationship needs. But, despite the fact of her lack of rigor, the woman must take responsibility for her own actions should she choose to succumb to him. She has this right–a moral obligation to disobey where subservience to one’s loved ones is normally required. But, when threatened with the stupidboy-logic that states, “oh, if you’re not into it now, you won’t ever be after we marry, either. See ya.” you’re bound to make a mistake. Quickly-made decisions have seldom been humanity’s strong side.
Unripened fruit tastes bitter. While it may be the case that the woman is only making it harder on her self with her beliefs–her guilt accumulating into a self-fulfilling prophecy, there is every reason to acknowledge the facts mentioned in this writing, and for the husband, every reason to support her whether he considers her mad or misled. Which is better for your teeth, folks–carrots or candy canes? Seriously, stupidboy-logic is about as straight as a side-windin’, lilly-livered, two-faced, yella-bellied slitherin’ serpent.
If we look back into the history of the Jewish culture, for instance, the number of labor laws for women severely outweighed those created for men solely because of a woman’s vulnerability–physically and psychologically. We like to think of our century as having everything right and deliberately (anything good gained by tradition is made to seem an accident), or at least farther down the right track than those in ancient times, but traditional values have positive psychological upsides for those of the female gender. The laws of the Bible are not to repress and exploit women but are instead to protect them. It’s easy to confuse that with being insulted over the fact that our weakness is acknowledged. http://drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/ANGRY%20WOMEN.htm
Women should not be put in a position where they would risk losing a valuable part of themselves, repressing their true feelings and personality, shutting ‘off’ because it’s too soon (any respectable man would want the whole bargain–to only sleep with her when she is fully herself; not just for her body—to not force her to choose between love and values), the risk of pregnancy, overshadowing guilt, loss of respect by others, and a very important part that is often overlooked–the comfort issue: she does not want to be alone; she is vulnerable and needs someone by her side instead of having to go through a transition period of having no man to protect her where she used to. If she gives her virginity–or even a part of her virginity–away too soon, she will recognize that the highest tier of men will have been eliminated from her options, and she does not want to face that while she is still young because (1) it could have been avoided and (2) it will pose difficulty if she becomes older and is still unmarried, as the options of said ‘tiers’ in men does dwindle with age.
What also might contribute to the seeming ‘incompatibility’ in the relationship might just be due to the fact that the woman is attached to her values, as is often the case due to women’s sexual arousal being related to their emotions (more than that of men). The two might easily have a happy sex life after the marriage if she did not feel as though her values were being compromised nor her comfort-zone invaded, when taking the ‘compatibility’ test seriously may result in the man abandoning her for something he mistakenly thinks to be true of her. It’s just a bad first impression–you, a hard and loyal worker, go to an interview but happen to have a very large zit on your forehead that day.
The shutting-down factor also plays a major role, as, when one becomes emotionally numb, they are immune to emotional pain, but they are also immune to any blessing they might receive as well. Women are to be nurtured; not pressured, and again: a woman, by her nature, will seek to accomodate her man’s wishes before she risks losing him by standing up for her values, or even just saying what she’s uncomfortable with. She isn’t free from blame, but since this is a difficult task and since her lover is also a person, he must thus share in the responsibility. I don’t think anyone should take advantage of that weakness in the first place, even though it does happen all too often (we shouldn’t use a bad example to represent something good). The ‘no’ must always precede the ‘yes’.
But back on topic, milk tastes generally the same, but for anyone particularly sensitive to the variation, it would be nigh-impossible to satisfy their tastes if they kept meditating on their ideal flavor out of the many others they’re likely to find (or rather, come across) in their search. One does not progressively get luckier on their search; one might even come across a very dissatisfactory partner after one who was only moderately dissatisfying, but again, this is only the case for those who base their commitment on their experience and pickiness. They can’t exactly go back to their favorite one once they’ve ‘evaluated’ each partner. The only solution for the anecdotal example is to ‘numb’ oneself emotionally to where they can enjoy themselves on the basest of levels without interference of the higher mind urging them to feel guilty. That isn’t a change toward which society ought to bend if that results in being the only upside. It truly is a gamble; the only way one could find out is to play it dangerously and ‘dive right in’ to the intercourse, as is the case with dating. So really it’s still a problem for both parties. There isn’t another, safer method–the essence of the experience is contained in the experience itself, as are its chances of disappointing.
It’s certainly not a meaningless practice even if it ends up being dissatisfying. Temporary unhappiness for the sake of the relationship is certainly a worthy sacrifice in comparison to a sacrificed relationship for the sake of happiness that may or may not last. Incompatibility is, ultimately, a problem for both one who is on the side of premarital intercourse and one who believes it should be saved for marriage. Thus emphasis on the second circle–on commitment–is more beneficial than emphasis on compatibility. While compatibility may play a major role in the relationship, it can and should be worked around for the reasons mentioned above.
The proponents of pre-marital sex and emphasizers on compatibility tend to paint a scenario in which people just happen to come across those who are more and more compatible with themselves. There’s no way of telling unless one were to, again, just dive right in; contrarily for the faithful person there would be no telling otherwise that their partner was the one, the only, and the best there is (so hop to it and make it count). If this is viewed as a ‘blind happiness’, then at least take into account that, once more, we are left with no moral obligation nor valid, logical reason as to why multiple partners are necessary. A relationship differs from an experience in that the crucial factor is another person, and thus there is no excuse to go seeking greener pastures.
Could you imagine a mother telling her daughter, happily engaged to a young man, to ‘break it off’ with him so that her experience with other men would be more varied? The only scenario that could be brought forth is that ‘they’re missing out on someone who would be PERFECT for them without even realizing it,’ but that brings us back to our first point (as well as all of the other negative consequences I totally just covered). A relationship HAS to be a blind practice; you HAVE to close your eyes to the rest of the world when committed to someone, and if this is successful then you’ll stay with that person forever, because if you didn’t, that means that you did take the blindfold off, you did take your heart back and your eyes off your lover and started scouring for a new mate at some point. If the relationship depends on choice, it’s much healthier for one’s growth in character and their ability to hold up in tough situations. According to Bruce Lee, one must not pray for an easy life but the strength to face a life of hardships. That should not be taken in the sense that we ought to cause those hardships for ourselves. ”Simba, I’m only brave when I have to be. Being brave doesn’t mean that you go looking for trouble.” says Mufasa from the Lion King. ”Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment.” My only expectations should lie with myself; not with anyone or anything else. The argument that best supports my thesis is in this article:
Thursday, 4 October 2012
Faithful to whom?
For the most part, people tend to agree with the major ‘thou shalt nots’ of Christian morality. Lying is generally accepted to be bad. Allowing people keep their own hard earned property, instead of stealing it from them, is obviously appropriate. Plunging a dagger into someone’s back in a dark alley is universally considered unacceptable. The Christian stance on sexual integrity, however, is often seen as somehow outdated, irrelevant, perhaps even backward. Given two people, both mature and of sound mind, entrapped in fiery love with one another and wishing to consummate their passions, how dare anyone interfere? Perhaps most incensed by that suggestion are the young bachelor and the equally young lady who has her eye on him. Being faithful to your husband or wife is one thing, but who is this young lady to be faithful to?
Of course for the Christian part of the answer is God. God gave his rules, and the Christian intends to follow them out of deference to the rule maker. Even so it’s only part of the answer because those rules are far from arbitrary but were given for our benefit. As with the rules against murder or theft, there are a range of benefits to reserving sexual activity until marriage.
The benefits to young women are particularly obvious: abstinence is the only completely effective way to avoid getting pregnant. Taking a romantic relationship to bed inevitably involves that risk, and that ushers in the terrible choice between killing her infant son in the womb or shouldering the burden of raising the child. The full depth of the abortion argument is better dealt with elsewhere, but it is always worth bearing in mind that the whole trap can be so easily avoided. The liberal young man willing to fight so hard for a woman’s “right to choose” should really question whether he ought be giving her this poisoned chalice of a choice to begin with.
Similarly, reserving sex for a monogamous lifelong marriage is the best way to zero the risk of contracting any Sexually Transmitted Infections. Both the woman and the man share this benefit to themselves, but for every forgone sexual encounter they also avoid posing this risk to their groom or bride later in life. Each time a pair sleep together they play Russian Roulette with a revolver handed to them by the other, and they are[sic] also loading additional bullets into the chambers of their guns. Some day the young lady will find a man she loves wholeheartedly, indeed a man she would like to marry. Would she rather hand him an unloaded revolver or one with 5 rounds in the cylinder?
This hints at the most significant reason to hold oneself to a standard of abstinence: faithfulness to husband or wife. The majority of people will marry someone easily within half a decade of their own age. They certainly aren’t even thinking about such things by the time they’re 5! This means that their future husband or wife isn’t just some philosophical construct; they have already been born and quite possibly already been met. Many a lovestruck romantic will utter the words “You’re the only one for me!” Can they line their actions up with their words? It’s relatively well accepted that adultery causes problems. It often leads to feelings of betrayal and of low self worth. In many cases it’s a major component of a very painful divorce, harming the husband, the wife, their children, and others in their community. If a bride found that her new husband, perhaps purely out of inexperience, is boring in bed she’s liable to think back to her experience with previous more energetic boyfriends. At this her groom could justly be quite jealous, and so appear all the same problems as with a normal case of adultery. Just as faithfulness within a marriage is demanded, so the pair should bring one another faithfulness before the marriage as the most precious of wedding gifts.
Finally, it is worth examining the common excuse that a pair intend to marry anyway. Perhaps they feel it’s necessary to check that they’re “compatible”. Precisely how this test works, or what “compatible” means, is never quite expanded on. What they’d do if the experience were less than they’d hoped is similarly skipped over. The truth is, a far better test of whether two people’s love is strong enough to cope with marriage would be whether they’re willing to surrender the chance for a little sexual pleasure just for the dream that is their bride to be. Any “compatibility” that depends solely upon their looks or performance in bed is doomed to grow faded, worn and boring. A foundation of honest, sacrificial love grants a marriage the potential to last a lifetime. That will certainly be enough time for them to gain whatever sexual experience they need, and importantly they’ll gain it together.

http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.com/2012/10/faithful-to-who.html

We are not cars. We are not clothing. We are human beings of deep and intimate understanding and emotion. “Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment.” My only expectations should lie with myself; not with anyone or anything else. If you’re just dating around, you’re not enriching your experience; you’re stuck on one level with a group of people because you didn’t stick around with the same person long enough to attain that deeper level of intimacy. You’re not just evaluating a personality like you would an article of clothing. Once you are in a relationship, it’s not just you anymore. You are responsible for your conduct in relation to the other’s feelings and well-being as well as yourself. The purpose of this article was to demonstrate the close relationship between tests of compatibility in both the personality and the sex-life.

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Head Above Heart

By Elizabeth Riddle,
     Alexandria Hunting

Head Above Heart

1. Even for those whose decisions seem to be motivated by their minds alone, this is still tied in with desire.
2. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it? (The last question is rhetorical–it is an unpredictable thing.)  (Jeremiah 17:9)
3. Our feelings are not consistent and thus we must choose and discern even when making decisions regarding situations of the heart.
4. The heart, mind, and actions are tied together, thus they are affected by one another and are bound by the others’ consequences. Meditation on one’s feelings is necessary.
5. In metacommentary, not all feelings are bad. It is not necessary to discard every one of them, only to meditate on which are worth the trouble. The heart is necessary, but only when on the right path.
6. We must acknowledge both emotion and intellect, but the mind must be in charge.
7. Passion is a free spirit with wings–it comes and goes as it pleases; it dies; it burns brightly but lives shortly.
8. Everything is tied to logic; there would be no argument for the sake of the heart without it (thus, arguing that the heart should be listened to instead of the head is self-contradictory).
9. If we only and always did as we pleased (desire; feelings; want), we’d be little kids forever with no parents and constantly running into trouble.
10. If we plan ahead, our experiences can outweigh in quality those that were not planned. (This does not have to dilute the good feelings we have about it–if we view planning in a positive light, we’ll be able to enjoy the full benefits of both sides. It is due to our sociocultural conditioning that we find analyzation and foresight unromantic. In the moment, it is necessary for one to forget everything so that they can focus on enjoying themselves, but beforehand, it is also necessary that everything be made perfect so that this experience does not erode other aspects of one’s life.)
11. Both the mind and the heart are capable of being simultaneously satisfied, but only when you have conditioned yourself to want what is right. (If we just assume that we’ll always tend toward goodness without any effort, then it is likely that we’ll slip. It is easier to lower a bar than it is to raise one.)
12. If a person does not believe in the existence of an ideal lifestyle, they are not very likely to live one.
13. It is true that humans are capable of faltering in their reason, but this can only occur out of (a) deference to the heart (deliberate ignorance), or (b) an honest mistake (innocent ignorance).
14. “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” … “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” — C. S. Lewis. “No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” — William Penn.

(A) “I know that what I say is absolutely right, for it is not my truth but merely one I serve, but I lack the gentleness to convey it.” 
(B) “We are told to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. So ultimately, I seek to become an owl. I know that I have the right materials but not the voice to teach them.” –Alex

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Like A Horse With Many Saddles

“If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments.” –G. K. Chesterton.  What is meant by this is that humankind lives in a world bound by the rules of reciprocity.  A man who makes his own rules is like a horse with many saddles–one for each crossroads at which he arrives.  Contrarily, with only God as our Director, we are led through every path by rules simple yet deep–applicable to all and all things because they are absolutely true.

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Heroism

Once more I draw our attention to heroism.  If there is no God, there can be no transcendence (no meaning).  If there is none of that, what happens to our sense of heroism?  Why say that ‘life has no meaning’ if it is firstly only troublesome in doing so as we are left with the conclusions that our sadness or joy about such matters and statements are themselves meaningless, or secondly that transcendent meaning has been removed and thus does not justify saying that life has no meaning?  Why consider yourself honest or heroic for accepting hard-to-swallow ‘truths’ when in fact they cannot exist, and thus your heroism is also out the window?  Being lost is not the goal; it’s just part of the journey.

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Pride and Honesty

The best way to eliminate pride is to allow it no shadow to hide under.  I believe that we are quick to bash ourselves not only because we wish to reflect our ideas of what it is to be ‘humble’ and ‘grown-up’, but also so that we get our voice in before our memory of the times we’ve messed up does.  If you say something immediately, even to yourself, it becomes your primary focus–you forget the wickednes you try to evade and then think better of yourself for calling yourself what you think you are not.  We are quick to call ourselves names because we’d rather forget what they mean.  We think that becoming an adult means only self-hatred and having trouble accepting free gifts.  We reflect this version because it is easier to attain.  It is simpler to hate oneself than to love another; it is easier to lower a bar than it is to raise one.  The best we may accomplish through self-effort is hypocrasy.  Ultimately, the many things that we can do, even for others, can be traced back to either the self or a meaningless end.  But not all aspects of what we commonly know converge on the self–some things exist, but out of our reach and independently of us.  The ‘deeper’ we retreat into our own minds, the more often we will come across a recurring truth, most likely the one we mistakenly misinterpret to mean that we ought to display self-hatred: to look upward and outward, because we’re not where it’s at.  How does one solve the complicated mystery of self?  Insert the foreign entity that satisfies it.  An equation, by definition, remains incomplete until an independent number is added.  But that changes when a God of Love is acknowledged as both beginning and end.  Our idea of absolute selflessness cannot exist among us.  A rope that is cut will express no tautness.  A God of Love is the Lord of ALL creation because Love is all-encompassing.

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Congratulations. The cake is a lie.

Congratulations.  The cake is a lie.

So, you’ve managed to send a backwards message for the past 6,000 years; to put bitter for sweet and light for darkness; to make darkness seem as though it were mighty; to take what you know and reverse it. Congratulations on being poetic, honest and original. You have received what you wanted… a world filled with the things you do not want.  There are lies only on the side of the world covered in darkness; not in the light.  To claim loudly and boldly that all is a lie is only an excuse to continue living in the shadows.

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
–C. S. Lewis

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Updated: Marriage is the Axis

Elizabeth Redel-Arristand,
Alexandria Hunting
9/22/2013
On Dating:
I believe it is quite possible to explain, describe, and discuss the concept of dating within the parameters of itself like I believe the same can be done with a false language, a fictional movie, or a novel. I do not believe in it as applied to reality. I believe that God does not play ‘guessing games’ with people. I believe that He must be ordained above experience as a teacher, and that experience alone, by itself, or on its own, cannot lead anyone properly as the interpretation of actions to be taken or things to be learned will depend on the one who has the experience. We don’t NEED to make mistakes. Really, there’s a better way–an easier one; one that takes the fact of my mortality and my lifespan into account–I can’t discover everything by experience alone. I have this magnificent organ called a brain that can use higher methods such as deduction and induction to tell me what I need to know without even having to put my foot in the mess. But there are some experiences that can only be learned once, and they will be covered in this writing.
I believe my lover is my own choice. I believe that choice is the ultimate ruler of compatibility. I believe in traditional values. A relationship is as ‘blind’ a practice before the relationship as it is during, and by that I mean that one cannot completely know their lover even if they’ve been together for over 20 years (a testamony of multiple people who have been together for that long, one of whom is Mr. Shelton). Knowing that, dating becomes obsolete. I do agree with the point on which we pro-and-anti-daters both concur, and that is that we shouldn’t attempt to make our lover into who we want them to be. I don’t believe that this view has to be confused with ‘love at first sight’, as that also emphasizes one’s feelings and personality rather than the individual’s raw choice.
I do not believe that a personality, compatibility, nor feelings do this in my place, either. I believe I do all of that stuff; it’s entirely my constant, conscious choice. I don’t believe that God picks out the exact person with whom we are individually supposed to be; I only believe that He has ascribed to us the proper way to be with someone. The same thinking people are led to believe that there is such a thing as a ‘soul mate’ for them would lead them to more repeatedly see and break up with others along the same line as, “This person is capable of being a killer, while this person is not.” All human beings are generally capable of the same sins as addressed in the Ten Commandments, and are thus able to be judged by those commands accordingly. I repeat myself: God doesn’t play guessing-games, and choice is the ultimate ruler of compatibility. A relationship is meant to be lifelong.
If we could lead ourselves to believe that there is one person for each of us regarding the present moment, we’d have to look at it in the light of, “Whoever I CHOOSE to marry in the future I must, presently, bring faithfulness by selecting to remain with the first person I date.”  If we look at the “one for each of us” philosophy the other way, we usually end up not only being filled with true regret for not remaining faithful with the first person, even if their character started to slope downhill (because it’s still our responsibility to remain faithful no matter what they do), but also unnecessary remorse–we would trick ourselves into thinking, “I was with the *wrong* person”.  Maybe that’s how some people cope, but it isn’t true.  Passion is a free spirit with wings–it comes and goes as it pleases; it dies; it burns brightly but lives shortly.  We must refrain from the temptation to be swept away by those feelings for someone else or after our passion with our first lover has died.  It is a natural thing to happen, and desire should not direct our actions.  Many people today are taught to trust their feelings rather than their mind or their will.  Quite naturally, with the former in charge, it is not a wonder that many people feel dissatisfied.  They think of what they can receive instead of giving, and if they do not receive, then it is not ideal in their eyes.  Belief-systems are what make room for feelings, so while they cannot be directly changed, they can be influenced by what we think about or put into our heads on a daily basis.  If we constantly meditate on how we might have something better if we’d just let go of our companion, it is very likely we would either separate or remain unhappy.  For many today, the incorrect correlation is made that what is seemingly unromantic is also shallow and not-worthwhile.  But this is due to our conditioning rather than reason.

Any problems that may come up in the relationship should be worked through, rather than the relationship sacrificed. If a man beat his wife, it is the abuse that’s the problem, and not the marriage (the unity between the couple). I do not believe that destiny dictates my future with the one I love, nor do I believe that my Heavenly Father has given me a mind nor a will that I should not use it. Mr. Brewton was right in one sense, and I believe that, if one should approach the relationship with the idea that “this might/might not be my true love”, it is only natural that they likely split up, or, in his words, “Who you are kissing now is someone else’s husband/wife.” I believe neither in dating for sport NOR for compatibility. Not one’s feelings, nor even one’s personality, can have as much impact as one’s choice to remain with their significant other. The bottom line is that one’s choice to do something is directly related to one’s choice in doing something. Trials are not something to be avoided, even between personalities. If the ideals differ (if, say, one of the two believes in dating as a test, while the other, like me, does not), the fact that they split up would be their own decision but also their departure from the conservative view (mine in this case and the example above).
A former youth pastor of mine, Mr. Davis, put it this way: “Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment.” My only expectations should lie with myself; not with anyone or anything else. Initially, people who believe in dating are bound to do it a lot–they’ll probably find someone they like, and later decide that that person may not be ‘THE one’ and run off in their continued search. I find this most debatable in the show known as, “How I Met Your Mother.” Contrarily, the article that most accurately represents my view on relationships is this:
My husband is not my soul mate.
Posted on July 22, 2013 by Hannah
It might seem odd that on this, our one-year anniversary, I am beginning a post with the declaration that my husband is not my soul mate. But he isn’t.
I wouldn’t want to imagine life without James. I enjoy being with him more than anyone else in this world. I love him more than I ever thought you could love someone, and I miss him whenever I am not with him. I wouldn’t want to be[sic] married to anyone else other than James, which is good, because I plan on being married to him forever, and he has to let me die first.
But I reject the entire premise of soul mates.
Do you remember those awesome Evangelical 90’s/ early 2000’s where Jesus was kind of like our boyfriend and we all kissed dating good-bye because we just knew that God was going to bring us THE ONE and then life would be awesome? And THE ONE would most likely be a worship minister, or at the very least a youth pastor, and we would have to be in college when we would meet at some sort of rally to save children from disease or something. We would know that he was THE ONE because of his plethora of WWJD bracelets and because (duh) he had also kissed dating goodbye and was waiting for me, strumming Chris Tomlin songs on his guitar as he stared into whatever campfire was nearby. We would get married and it would be awesome FOREVER. If you were like me, in devote preparation for this moment, you wrote letters to your future spouse, preferably in a leather bound journal dotted with your overwhelmed tears. Yes, I actually did that. Suffice to say that I found this journal over Christmas break and it was so embarrassingly awful and emotional that I couldn’t even read it out-loud to James because I was crying from laughing so hard.
But then my theologian biblical scholar father shattered my dreams by informing me that God doesn’t have a husband for me, doesn’t have a plan for who I marry. NOT TRUE I scolded him, attacking him with the full force of Jeremiah 29:11 that God “knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future,” and obviously that means a hott Christian husband because God “delights in giving me the desires of my heart.” He slammed through my horrible (yet popular) biblical abuse by reminding me that the first verse applied to the people of Israel in regards to a specific time and just didn’t even dignify my horrible abuse of the second verse with a rebuttal. Nope, he said, a husband is not only not a biblical promise, it is also not a specific element of God’s “plan for my life.” God’s plan is for us to be made more holy, more like Christ… not marry a certain person. (This advice was also used when I asked what college God wanted me to go to, accompanied I think by, “God doesn’t want you to be an idiot, so go somewhere you will learn.” )
And then he gave me some of the best relationship advice I ever got: There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry. You could have a great marriage with any number of compatible people. There is no ONE PERSON for you. But once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person. As for compatibility, my mom would always pipe up when my girlfriends and I were making our lists of what we wanted in a spouse (dear well meaning Christian adults who thought this would help us not date scumbags: that was a bad idea and wholly unfair to men everywhere) that all that really mattered was that he loved the lord, made you laugh, and was someone [sic] to whom you were attracted. The rest is frosting.
This is profoundly unromantic advice. We love to hear of people who “just can’t help who they love,” or people who “fall in love,” or “find the one person meant for them.” Even within the Christian circle, we love to talk about how God “had someone” for someone else for all of time. But what happens to these people when the unstoppable and uncontrollable force that prompted them to start loving, lets them stop loving, or love someone else?
What happens is a world where most marriages end in divorce, and even those that don’t are often unhappy.
My marriage is not based on a set of choices over which I had no control. It is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love (in theory, don’t imagine that many others were lined up and knocking at the door). He is not some elusive soul mate, not some divine fullfulment, not some perfect step on the rigorously laid out but of so secret “Plan for My Life.”
But he is the person that I giggly chose to go out on a date with in college. He is the person who chose to not dump me when I announced that I was moving to France for a year, then Kentucky for another year. He is the person who asked me to move to DC and I chose to do so. He is the person who decided to ask me to marry him and I agreed. At any step here, we could have made other choices and you know what? We might have married other people, or stayed single, and had happy and full lives.
But now I delight in choosing to love him everyday.
I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I’m choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.
Someday I hope to have daughters and sons. I am going to pray for their futures everyday, and I will pray for who they might marry, but also what job they will have, who their friends will be, and most of all, that they delight in becoming more like Christ. But when my daughters come home starry-eyed from camp announcing that they can’t wait till the day they meet the man God has for them, I will probably pop their bubble and remind them that God doesn’t have a husband stored away somewhere for them.
He has a whole life, one of rich and abundant choices. And it is awesome.
Oh, and for the record — I like James so much more than my imaginary, obnoxiously religious, youth pastor future husband. When I asked him if he had written Future Me letters as a child, he told me he was too busy memorizing Pink Floyd lyrics. But then he ran in the next room and wrote down what 14-year old James would have said in a letter to 14-year old Hannah: “I hope you’re hott.” That’s why boys didn’t get swept up in that movement… they knew the truth all along.
(Also for the record, I actually think a lot of the high Evangelical movement was awesome, especially in so far as it made young people do a ridiculous amount of churchy activities so that we weren’t out doing drugs or at home watching re-runs because we didn’t even have Netflix yet. I was at youth group every time those doors were open and I LOVED it. )
*All photos are by the wonder that is Whitney Neal Photography.
–The Art in Life http://theartinlife.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/my-husband-is-not-my-soul-mate/

On Premarital Intercourse:

When filling out a resume or an application on the search for a specific job, it is often the case that there will appear a space for the social security number.  A wise person will leave that space empty, for it is not required that the company have that information until after the individual is hired, as well as much safer.  What is often argued between parties regarding sexual intercourse is safety.  Some argue for the safety of their relationship by suggesting that an improper sexual match will lead the marriage to ruin, while the other argues that ruin will be nearly irreversible if the person with which one copulates doesn’t turn out to be their husband or wife.  Some say, “I won’t marry until I have sex first.” and others say, “I won’t have sex until I am married.”  Which risk outweighs the other?  Which takes priority: pleasure or comfort?  Obviously the latter, for it is a given right, while the former is but a privilege.  One’s cumulative sexual experiences are more valuable than temporary single experiences.

“What if it’s not to my liking?” says one circle. “Happiness is of no consequence as long as one is committed.” says the other. The first rephrases, “Why stay committed if I am unhappy?” and the second suggests, “We do not have to divorce; neither do we have to ‘explode’ against one another, even if we are unhappy.” The difference between these two views is that premarital sex places emphasis on the experience and compatibility, while post-marital sex emphasizes commitment. Commitment would be essential because sex itself does not directly nor consistently produce intimacy, and thus it should not be used as a standard. Compatibility, to some, is on the other hand a key factor in determining whether one should spend the rest of their life with the other. It is important that one have a single point to emphasize as a standard above the other factors involved so as to avoid over-complication. However, it is often the case that proponents of pre-marital sex still depart from that standard and one another, even if their experience were satisfactory. Sex, in that case, was overlooked as the ultimate judging factor and others were likely used in its stead.

In a circle-chart depicting the pros and cons of pre-marital and post-marital sex, the sides will be shown to be imbalanced. In each chart, the circles containing pre-marital and post-marital sex converge. The pros of premarital intercourse involve compatibility and possible faithfulness afterward (note: any factor containing the word ‘possible’ before it counts as only half of a factor, as the chances for the opposite being the case still remain). In favor of post-marital intercourse (waiting until marriage to copulate) commitment becomes a priority in the stead of compatibility. In the shared section of each circle, one can view the possible pleasure, experience, intimacy, and cardiological health. Keep in mind that this is a generic summary.
In the chart containing cons, the circle representing pre-marital sex contains jealousy, insecurity, possible unfaithfulness/accumulation of multiple partners, and guilt. The section of each circle that overlaps contains possible incompatibility, which can be potentially be found on both sides, but marriage locks one to that potentially dissatisfactory partner, forcing them to either spend their marriage unhappily or fix the bumps in the road to comfortable intimacy, while the commitment can easily be avoided by someone who could simply choose to leave as they were not married, but this would only allow that person another chance to take a potentially increasingly damaging road (like a gamble) as mentioned above and below.
There are also the major problems of jealousy, comparison, and potential unfaithfulness regarding sexual experiences preceding the marriage. Now, if I may be more clear, one does not have to be a polygamist to have ‘accumulated many partners’ over the years because we’re talking time-span, not present-moment.  Sex is an intimate experience rather than a casual one, and to turn around just for the sake of the opposing argument and say that you’re not still connected to or thinking about that person even after you get together with someone else is completely contradictory.  The Lord even says that if one divorce and then remarry they are still committing adultery.

If one didn’t have multiple partners so as to pick which of them was most satisfactory, their spouse would be the only one to evaluate, and he/she would automatically be, in their mind, the best, which would only encourage further commitment and practice. Rather than treating the relationship like a broken phone and tossing it away in an immediate search for a new one, one would be encouraged to fix what needed fixing. And isn’t satisfaction the entire goal? Nobody needs to have more than one partner; there’s no point to that. Everyone is so different anyway; we’d be back to that draining search for the elusive ‘One’. I refuse to settle for less and am disconcerted by the fact that so many are willing to promote free-lovin’ at the expense of any reverence sex may have held in the past. Abuse begets disrespect. You need to go into the relationship with respect; not skepticism.  You need to put your heart on the line, because if you don’t then it’s not worth it.  No pain no gain; whatever effort you put into it will become the essence of the relationship, and there is so much more to a relationship than casual sex.  Incompatibility is something of which there is an entirely slim chance; sex is, as I will repeat, generally the same for everyone. It can hardly be the case that a pair are so incompatible as to the extent that they should choose to break it off instead of attempting to work through their little ordeals (which can easily be talked-out if that isn’t already a problem in the relationship) but usually it is due to other factors that a couple slip apart. Finding ‘the one’ who is ‘meant for you’ will become a forlorn endeavor as, by the time we have found that person, we will have exhausted our capacity to say, “You are my one and only.” It is easier to say that we aren’t phased by this fact than to mean it: http://waitingtillmarriage.org/category/statistics/
Keeping that in mind, nobody buys the cow if they can get the milk for free. If they did, they would be unreasonable. Seriously, just think about it–nobody thinking reasonably would do that. Granted that sex isn’t the essence of marriage, but it is the point for many people who wish to have it outside of a responsible, committed relationship (so that those on the more pushy side may get what they want, or leave to find it in someone else if the first would not satisfy). Many people like to think of this century as being tolerant and feminine-friendly, but when you look at how often premarital sexuality is pushed onto society and in turn from boyfriend to girlfriend (it can be the other way around, but women are wired to seek comfort while men are wired to seek sex), she, by her nature, will seek to accomodate him before she risks losing him. If we look back into the history of the Jewish culture, for instance, the number of labor laws for women severely outweighed those created for men solely because of a woman’s vulnerability–physically and psychologically. We like to think of our century as having everything right, or at least farther down the right track than those in ancient times, but traditional values have positive psychological upsides for those of the female gender. The laws of the Bible are not to repress and exploit women but are instead to protect them.  It’s easy to confuse that with being insulted over the fact that our weakness is acknowledged.  http://drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/ANGRY%20WOMEN.htm
Women should not be put in a position where they would risk losing a valuable part of themselves, repressing their true feelings and personality, shutting ‘off’ because it’s too soon (any respectable man would want the whole bargain–to only sleep with her when she is fully herself; not just for her body), the risk of pregnancy, overshadowing guilt, and loss of respect by others, and a very important part that is often overlooked–the comfort issue: she does not want to be alone; she is vulnerable and needs someone by her side instead of having to go through a transition period of having no man to protect her. If she gives her virginity–or even a part of her virginity–away too soon, she will recognize that the highest tier of men will have been eliminated from her options, and she does not want to face that while she is still young because (1) it could have been avoided and (2) it will pose difficulty if she becomes older and is still unmarried, as the options of said ‘tiers’ in men does dwindle with age.  What also might contribute to the seemingly ‘incompatibility’ in the relationship might just be contributed to the fact that the woman is attached to her values, as is often the case due to women’s sexual arousal being related to their emotions (more than that of men).  The two might easily have a happy sex life after the marriage if she did not feel as though her values were being compromised nor her comfort-zone invaded, when taking the ‘compatibility’ test seriously may result in the man abandoning her for something he mistakenly thinks to be true of her.  It’s just a bad first impression–you, a hard and loyal worker, go to an interview but happen to have a very large zit on your forehead that day.  The shutting-down factor also plays a major role, as, when one becomes numb, they are immune to pain, but they are also immune to any blessing they might receive as well. Women are to be nurtured; not pressured, and again: a woman, by her nature, will seek to accomodate her man’s wishes before she risks losing him by standing up for her values, or even just saying what she’s uncomfortable with. I don’t think anyone should take advantage of that weakness in the first place, even though it does happen all too often (we shouldn’t use a bad example to represent something good). The ‘no’ must always precede the ‘yes’.
But back on topic, milk tastes generally the same, but for anyone particularly sensitive to the variation, it would be nearly impossible to satisfy their tastes if they kept meditating on their ideal flavor out of the many others they’re likely to find (or rather, come across) in their search. One does not progressively get luckier on their search; one might even come across a very dissatisfactory partner after one who was only moderately dissatisfying, but again, this is only the case for those who base their commitment on their experience and pickiness. It truly is a gamble; the only way one could find out is to play it dangerously and ‘dive right in’ to the intercourse, as is the case with dating. There isn’t another, safer method–the essence of the experience is contained in the experience itself, as are its chances of disappointing. It’s certainly not a meaningless practice even if it ends up being dissatisfying. Temporary unhappiness for the sake of the relationship is certainly a worthy sacrifice in comparison to a sacrificed relationship for the sake of happiness that may or may not last. Incompatibility is, ultimately, a problem for both one who is on the side of premarital intercourse and one who believes it should be saved for marriage. Thus emphasis on the second circle–on commitment–is more beneficial than emphasis on compatibility. While compatibility may play a major role in the relationship, it can and should be worked around for the reasons mentioned above.
The proponents of pre-marital sex and emphasizers on compatibility tend to paint a scenario in which people just happen to come across those who are more and more compatible with themselves. There’s no way of telling unless one were to, again, just dive right in; contrarily for the faithful person there would be no telling otherwise that their partner was the one, the only, and the best there is. If this is viewed as a ‘blind happiness’, then at least take into account that, once more, we are left with no moral obligation nor valid, logical reason as to why multiple partners are necessary. Could you imagine a mother telling her daughter, happily engaged to a young man, to ‘break it off’ with him so that her experience with other men would be more varied? The only scenario that could be brought forth is that ‘they’re missing out on someone who would be PERFECT for them without even realizing it,’ but that brings us back to our first point (as well as all of the other negative consequences I totally just covered).  A relationship HAS to be a blind practice; you HAVE to close your eyes to the rest of the world when committed to someone, and if this is successful then you’ll stay with that person forever, because if you didn’t, that means that you did take the blindfold off, you did take your heart back and your eyes off your lover and started scouring for a new mate at some point.  If the relationship depends on choice, it’s much healthier for one’s growth in character and their ability to hold up in tough situations. According to Bruce Lee, one must not pray for an easy life but the strength to face a life of hardships. That should not be taken in the sense that we ought to cause trouble for ourselves.  “Simba, I’m only brave when I have to be.  Being brave doesn’t mean that you go looking for trouble.” says Mufasa from the Lion King.  “Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment.” My only expectations should lie with myself; not with anyone or anything else. The argument that best supports my thesis is in this article:
Thursday, 4 October 2012
Faithful to whom?
For the most part, people tend to agree with the major ‘thou shalt nots’ of Christian morality. Lying is generally accepted to be bad. Allowing people keep their own hard earned property, instead of stealing it from them, is obviously appropriate. Plunging a dagger into someone’s back in a dark alley is universally considered unacceptable. The Christian stance on sexual integrity, however, is often seen as somehow outdated, irrelevant, perhaps even backward. Given two people, both mature and of sound mind, entrapped in fiery love with one another and wishing to consummate their passions, how dare anyone interfere? Perhaps most incensed by that suggestion are the young bachelor and the equally young lady who has her eye on him. Being faithful to your husband or wife is one thing, but who is this young lady to be faithful to?
Of course for the Christian part of the answer is God. God gave his rules, and the Christian intends to follow them out of deference to the rule maker. Even so it’s only part of the answer because those rules are far from arbitrary but were given for our benefit. As with the rules against murder or theft, there are a range of benefits to reserving sexual activity until marriage.
The benefits to young women are particularly obvious: abstinence is the only completely effective way to avoid getting pregnant. Taking a romantic relationship to bed inevitably involves that risk, and that ushers in the terrible choice between killing her infant son in the womb or shouldering the burden of raising the child. The full depth of the abortion argument is better dealt with elsewhere, but it is always worth bearing in mind that the whole trap can be so easily avoided. The liberal young man willing to fight so hard for a woman’s “right to choose” should really question whether he ought be giving her this poisoned chalice of a choice to begin with.
Similarly, reserving sex for a monogamous lifelong marriage is the best way to zero the risk of contracting any Sexually Transmitted Infections. Both the woman and the man share this benefit to themselves, but for every forgone sexual encounter they also avoid posing this risk to their groom or bride later in life. Each time a pair sleep together they play Russian Roulette with a revolver handed to them by the other, and they are[sic] also loading additional bullets into the chambers of their guns. Some day the young lady will find a man she loves wholeheartedly, indeed a man she would like to marry. Would she rather hand him an unloaded revolver or one with 5 rounds in the cylinder?
This hints at the most significant reason to hold oneself to a standard of abstinence: faithfulness to husband or wife. The majority of people will marry someone easily within half a decade of their own age. They certainly aren’t even thinking about such things by the time they’re 5! This means that their future husband or wife isn’t just some philosophical construct; they have already been born and quite possibly already been met. Many a lovestruck romantic will utter the words “You’re the only one for me!” Can they line their actions up with their words? It’s relatively well accepted that adultery causes problems. It often leads to feelings of betrayal and of low self worth. In many cases it’s a major component of a very painful divorce, harming the husband, the wife, their children, and others in their community. If a bride found that her new husband, perhaps purely out of inexperience, is boring in bed she’s liable to think back to her experience with previous more energetic boyfriends. At this her groom could justly be quite jealous, and so appear all the same problems as with a normal case of adultery. Just as faithfulness within a marriage is demanded, so the pair should bring one another faithfulness before the marriage as the most precious of wedding gifts.
Finally, it is worth examining the common excuse that a pair intend to marry anyway. Perhaps they feel it’s necessary to check that they’re “compatible”. Precisely how this test works, or what “compatible” means, is never quite expanded on. What they’d do if the experience were less than they’d hoped is similarly skipped over. The truth is, a far better test of whether two people’s love is strong enough to cope with marriage would be whether they’re willing to surrender the chance for a little sexual pleasure just for the dream that is their bride to be. Any “compatibility” that depends solely upon their looks or performance in bed is doomed to grow faded, worn and boring. A foundation of honest, sacrificial love grants a marriage the potential to last a lifetime. That will certainly be enough time for them to gain whatever sexual experience they need, and importantly they’ll gain it together.

http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.com/2012/10/faithful-to-who.html

We are not cars. We are not clothing. We are human beings of deep and intimate understanding and emotion. “Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment.” My only expectations should lie with myself; not with anyone or anything else. If you’re just dating around, you’re not enriching your experience; you’re stuck on one level with people because you didn’t stick around with the same person long enough to attain that deeper level of intimacy.  You’re not just evaluating a personality like you would an article of clothing.  Once you are in a relationship, it’s not just you anymore.  You are responsible for your conduct in relation to the other’s feelings and well-being.  The purpose of this article was to demonstrate the close relationship between tests of compatibility in both the personality and the sex-life.

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Forgive me.

Forgive me for being a naive child.

The eyes that have seen no evil are the purest of them all.

Forgive me for seeking good in the world.

Benevolence will by default coexist with other traits of virtue.

Forgive me for searching out the truth.

If truth was no longer spoken, the world would soon forget it.

Forgive me for loving what is right.

The heart bowed to reason will never know strife.

Forgive me for accepting that I am forgiven.

I would be a liar, unto myself and unto my loved ones, if I believed in neither light nor darkness.  I know that I have fallen short once I acknowledge these two things.  I also know that Goodness will forgive me because He is Good.

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