Tag Archives: worldview

Not the Parable (Part 3) – Business Plan

What a Business Plan!

Kenneth and Norman were visionaries in business. They were sons of the poorer brothers of the Rice clan. They witnessed their fathers struggling to buy food. Both cousins decided they would not let their children go to bed hungry. They started to work as “delivery boys” for the family grocery business before they were even teenagers. Their fathers, who were the youngest brothers of the clan, started their grocery business selling local produce. Their business was totally dependant on the weather. Flood, drought, frost, or any natural disaster would devastate the local farmers and their business. They had to buy food from other villages. When food shortage occurred, their clan might not have money to buy the imported food. They might not be able to buy any food from neighbouring towns at all. Other Rice families in the clan often blamed them for the high food prices even though the cousins had no food themselves.

The cousins were the first to see that the Rice household needed to secure the food supply. They also noticed their relatives loved to buy a drink, called camellia, and expensive clothes which they bought from the Dragon family. Their desire for such exotic items created a willingness to go to the extent of being in debt.

The cousins asked their fathers to travel to the Dragon’s family to negotiate better prices for the merchandise. When they met the mother of the Dragon family, they were laughed out the door. The matriarch viewed them as juvenile, puerile, and unsophisticated and was stunned they would even dare to talk business with her. The father of the family was lackadaisical to their visit.

The Dragon family was self-sufficient at the time. They had enough productive land and sea to provide all they needed. Most importantly, the entire family was so complacent they did not feel the need to improve themselves.

The cousins went to the other younger children of the family and bought some goods so that they could bring them back to their store. The amount they could trade did not warrant their journey. They needed to trade a much bigger volume of food, camellia and clothes in order to sustain their business.

On their return journey, they figured out a plan. They needed to break the self-sufficient cycle of the Dragon. They had to create a product that the Dragon family members needed to buy. Moreover, they had to be the sole supplier of that product. Also, those who used the product had to come back repeatedly for the rest of their lives.

The product was papaver. It was an extremely addictive narcotic. The users had to come back for more. The scientists and doctors of the Rice clan told the cousins the ill effects of papaver. The substance was so dangerous that the clan were not allowed to use or even process it. The restriction did not bother the cousins at all. They marketed papaver to the children of the Dragon family as a natural health product to nurture longevity, bolster sex drive, fight disease, boost the immune system, advance spiritual consciousness, etc. The Dragons loved anything natural and organic. They believed in natural healing when they were sick. They were also highly spiritual. Many of them practised meditation to their gods. They were too naïve to accept all the claims of the marketing slogans provided by the Rice cousins.

Using papaver soon became a fashionable phenomenon. It was a status symbol because papaver usage meant they were health conscious, spiritual, and most of all, wealthy. Many of the Dragon children became addicted to papaver. They had to buy papaver daily for their addiction.

The cousins definitely created a demand. They exchanged an enormous amount of food, raw material, and clothes with the Dragon for papaver. They traded food for papaver with the Browns. They then shipped the best of the food, raw material and clothing back to their own family and made massive profits.

The cousins did not trust anyone else to ship their merchandise, especially the most profitable papaver. They built their own merchant navy, logistic control, harvesting, manufacturing and processing facilities for food, papaver, textiles, and retail operations. The KN Enterprise was formed as the parent holding company to oversee all their businesses.

In order to protect their business, they trained and hired an extensive security force along the trade routes and all their other related operations. The security force comprised of well-trained men, fully armed and highly disciplined.

They could not finance all these expansions so they found another cousin who was well connected with a well-heeled financier. Together, they formed the Brass Lyons Bank as their financial partner.

The cousins were not totally satisfied with their successful trading business. They wanted to expand their business to more territory.

To be continue…

© Ngok Yeung Lai. All rights reserved.

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Make a Conclusion with Emotion

I am a Christian. I am not ashamed in admitting my faith.

I just feel at odds with some of my Christian friends. It may be my upbringing. I always feel that believing in Christ should involve one’s emotion as well intellectual rationale. When the emotional aspects collide with the rational evidences, I would try hard to side with the scientific and logical evidences.

On the emotion side, I need to focus our thoughts on a supreme being who can love and comfort me in times of need. I can ask Him to answer our prayers, forgive my sins, and worship Him through my emotional connection.

On the intellectual side, I believe there is the law of physics (chemistry, biology and other sciences), which the universe has to obey.

These are some of my cognitive understanding of God.

I believe apart from a few miracles that God or Jesus performed; God uses established laws of physics to make Him known.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”[1]

I believe God made Himself known though the universe He created. When I say “the universe”, I include all the natural laws that govern the universe.

God is consistent. God will not create something look like a square but in fact it is a circle to confuse us.

“God does not play dice with the universe.” – Albert Einstein

I went to a workshop of leading Bible Study groups last evening. The leader used Genesis 1 and 2 as examples of how to read the Bible “correctly”.

The workshop leader is no doubt a Fundamentalist. In the first five minutes of a three-hour discussion, he concluded a “day” in Genesis 1:2 meant a 24-hour day. Of course, he used some “proof-text” from other part of the Bible to form his argument. I honestly do respect such a person is so dedicated to their belief. He belief causes his emotion to supersede any intellectual reasoning.

First, he omitted the historical context. The stories were told though oral tradition before they became a written record. Even I believe the Bible is God-breathed, I am not the original audience of the storyteller. In order to appreciate the origin intent of the storyteller, I have to know the historical context of the story.

Second, he omitted the linguistic context. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. He was using an English translation. No matter how careful and accurate of the translator, the Hebrew used in the Old Testament was over three thousand years old. The meaning of same Hebrew word used today could significantly differ from the word used three thousand years ago. How can one fully identify the full and true meaning of a passage with such time gap?

Third, most importantly, he omitted the cultural mindset of ancient Jewish literature. The ancient Hebrew cosmology, the earth is flat. The sky is a firmament, which has another layer of water above it. God, heavens and angels reside above the water.

Ancient-Hebrew-view-of-universe

I can list more reasons why I cannot accept a young universe of less than ten thousand years old. I may post them later.

What are the problems of such interpretation? I can think of plenty. That is for another day.

 

 

[1] Romans 1:20


Change

The only people who like change are babies with wet diapers.

We do not like change. We love the “good ole days”. We feel nostalgic and yearn for the better days in the past.

Were the “old days” really better? Our attitudes change over time, some for the better, some not. Over half of my co-workers had no problem lighting up their cigarettes in the office a few decades ago. It was allowed. No one questioned about second-hand smoke.

Change took place. Smokers have to stand outside the building when they lit up. Bad weather is not an excuse, rain storm, snow, or freezing rain… for non-smokers, this is a good change. The “old days” were not good. Progress made.

Only a few decades ago, inter-racial dating was considered unbiblical. Bob Jones University did not drop its ban of inter-racial dating until March 3, 2000 on Larry King Live. This is a segment of conversation between Larry King and Bob Jones III on Larry King Live.

JONES: Well, being a Bible believing institution, Larry, we try to base things on Bible principle. The problem we have today is that our principle is so greatly misunderstood. People think we don’t let them date because we are racist, in other words to be racist you have to treat people differently. We don’t. We don’t let them date, because we were trying, as an example, to enforce something, a principle that is much greater than this.

We stand against the one-world government, against the coming world of anti-Christ, which is a one world system of blending, of all differences, of blending of national differences, economic differences, church differences, into a big one ecumenical world. The Bible is very clear about this.

We said, you know, way back years ago, when we first had a problem, which was — by the way, we started this principle, back in the mid-’50s, I was a college student at BJU at the time and it was with an Asian and Caucasian is — we didn’t even have black students for another 15 years. So it was not put there as a black thing, I think people need to understand that.

KING: So the fear of one world relates back to two people dating?

JONES: Now, we realize that a inter-racial marriage is not going to bring in the world the anti-Christ by any means, but if we as Christians stand for Christ and not anti-Christ, and we see — we are against the one world church. We are against one economy, one political system.

We see what the Bible says about this, so we say, OK, if they’re going to blend this world — and inter-racial marriage is a genetic blending, which is a very definite sort of blending — we said as — let’s put this policy in here, because we are against the one world church and, way back, 17 years ago when I was on your program, I was saying on programs all across America, we are not going to the Supreme Court fighting for our rule and our — we are fighting for our right to it. There is a religious freedom issue, that’s all we ever fought for.

Jones called it, “We tried to base things on Biblical principle.” However, he could not back it up by the Bible he read. In this case, this stand was based on his personal opinion and attitude. The policy might have changed. I do not know whether the attitude of those who hold a fundamentalist view has changed over the last fourteen years.

We all grow up with ideas or principles of right and wrong since childhood. We determine our present moral and ethics values through the teachings or influences from our families, teachers, friends, etc. In most cases, those learned values were embedded in our limbic system of our brains which controls our emotions and behaviours. As we grow older, we accept and act based on those moral codes as our guide. It is not easy for us to forgo those codes once they are entrenched in our minds. In most cases, those moral codes are good guiding principles that prohibit us to steal, commit murder, etc. which are essential to our social structure. These codes also direct our values such as relationships, priority, beauty, rites and rituals, and even the food we eat. It becomes our culture.

Here lies the problem of the Fundamentalists. Some of their guiding principles are

  • All scientists are wrong. The universe is 6000 years old.
  • All homosexuals will go to hell.
  • For some, races have to be separated. Interracial marriage is against God’s desire.
  • Men are born to lead the households and churches. Women are subordinates and should serve and obey. They should not lead, teach, and control.
  • Alcohol is evil. No Christian should drink any alcoholic beverages.

I can list many more rules and dogma. They can list pages of Bible verses to support their views. I will not waste time to discuss my counter-arguments. It is just pointless to argue with their view, since their minds are already made up and they will not change.


Fundamentalism (Part 1 of many)

Fundamentalism is a fearful term.

It promotes binary thinking. The conclusion can only be black and white, good and evil, right and wrong, us and them, secular and spiritual, good and bad…

For some, life is simple. The conclusion has already been made. There is nothing wrong with making a conclusion. It is the nature of the conclusion. Once the decision is made, it cannot be changed no matter what, no exception or in between.

The process of reaching the conclusion is also questionable. In order to reach a conclusion, the fundamentalists need a foundation to build their argument.

We all need a foundation or reasoning structure to build any argument. For Fundamentalists, their foundation is a particular interpretation of the Bible. I have no problem with the Bible. In fact, I love the Bible. I believe the Bible the Word of God. Well, this is where the similarity between my belief and the Fundamentalist ends.

This is how I see the process of reasoning of Fundamentalist.

This is the fundamental of the Fundamentalists.

The Bible is authority, ultimate authority. Strictly following the (interpretation of the Fundamentalists) directives of the Bible means the path to heaven. Otherwise, it is a direct path to hell, not good.

This is the ultimate binary thinking, heaven or hell. Hell instills the fear of eternal damnation.

  • Hell is final, no way out.
  • Hell means continuous brutal torture of the worst kind, and then more.
  • Hell is forever, never ending, and permanent.

The fear of hell is an extremely powerful motivating factor. The fear of hell indoctrinates the followers of Fundamentalist to live in the straight and narrow. Narrow it is. There is just no alternative.

Under this pretense, those who accept their narrow interpretation will go to heaven. Those who do not, may be only slightly different interpretation, will definitely go to hell. One does not only have to do the right thing, but they have to believe in the right thing. “Right” as the Fundamentalists define it. Those who believe and do the “right” thing will enjoy the eternal reward of gold pavement in and bliss in heaven. The “non-believers” are forever suffering from eternal torture next door in hell.  Can I change t he channel please?

This mentality dictates the worldview of the person. How do they view gender issues, sexuality, science, physical universe, history, arts and literature, national and international politics, cultural issues, etc.

I will try to write more on other beliefs of Fundamentalists in other days.