Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fundamentalism, Absolutism and the First Amendment.

The First Amendment is not absolute, it has limits.  As important as those limits are, it is even more important that the First Amendment, and its limits, apply to everyone equally.



Whether based on the spirit, legal or societal commitment to the First Amendment, it is easy to start carving out exceptions to protect segments of society in unusual situations. Easy is rarely right or good. We choose easy because new definitions and demarcations can be very difficult. Even understanding that free speech is not absolute is hard. Even harder when we start talking about exactly where those limits are.

The fundamental absolute about the First Amendment is that it was intended to be as dynamic and changeable as the Constitution itself. That's why the founding fathers built-in a the capability to make amendments. The First Amendment and the Constitution were created by mortal men, but men smart enough to know that change is the only constant in the universe. Change is inevitable, necessary and rarely easy.  A static and rigid U.S. Constitution would be no better than the Russian Constitution.  When have you heard anyone discuss the Russian Constitution?


Thursday, October 6, 2016

What if Heaven is Empty

Some aspire to go to heaven, others just wish to avoid hell, there are those who believe in neither and then there are those who don't care.



If heaven does exist, so does hell. There is always balance. Perhaps there are a spectrum of places between them. It seems unlikely that if you aren't an absolute paragon of virtue, and nobody is, you are doomed to the place reserved for the worst of humanity. I doubt that I will end up as Hitler's roommate for eternity because I lied to my mother about how her favorite vase got broken. However, possible sins, and the opportunities for exclusion from heaven are plentiful.

Even people who strive to live vitreous lives, with the expectation of going to heaven are committing a sin (hubis) and are therefore excluded. Being ignorant of heaven, religion or the striving for eternal reward seems the only relatively good path to the Kingdom of God. A catch-22, if there ever was one.

It seems unbalanced, getting into heaven so hard and getting into hell so easy. You can go to hell for doing nothing (sloth), but you can't get to heaven for trying. And, of courses,  one persons heaven is another's hell. So even striving for the ultimate goal may not be such a great deal.

There may be a number of heavens. Will my friends and family go to the same heaven I am? Is anyone in my heaven? If I get to heaven and it's empty,  it's going to really quiet. I could live with that.