Friday, February 21, 2014

Concerning Mercy and Achievement

Dear Reader,
                I’m attempting a different style of writing. While I try to write essays, I feel like the formalities for proper essay-writing interfere with my purpose for writing. When I am so concerned about making sure that things are written properly, I sometimes lose focus on actually explaining what I mean. I cannot say this will be better, but I can have hope it will be. I hope that by writing these opinions as a letter, there is somehow added a human aspect.
                My first concern is one I have thought about just recently and that is how we view Mercy. It’s a weird concept that can only exist in an unfair world because it creates an imbalance, but for good. When a poor man, who was rich but squandered all his money on wicked deeds, begs a hardworking man for money, it is the honest man’s choice to give it and ask for nothing in return. This is an example of mercy.
                However, if the poor man finally finds a job that pays well and the other man comes and suddenly demands his money back, has not the previous act been nullified? While in some cases, it might be considered fair, it is usually not so. For the man, when giving the money in the first place, did indeed say he required nothing in return. Even if the man simply did not say anything, it should be expected that nothing should be returned. Unless the money is specified from the start as an investment, it should be considered a gift.
                Now again, we might argue that if the same amount money is taken away, it is fair, because the poor man did not earn that original amount. But think, who would that mentality help? Certainly not the poor man. It is one thing to be given a gift. It is completely another thing to earn your wage. Mercy should never be used to overlook accomplishment. For how does it help society if our mentality permits us to not value our achievements? Now if the poor man gave away the gift on his own, then he should be considered greater than the honest man before him. For it is a good deed for a rich man to give to the poor, but when the poor give to the poor, it is a great deed.
                So my readers, I ask you to let your acts of mercy be so. Likewise, let your gifts stay as gifts. Do not give into the idea, “I gave it to you, therefore I can take it away.” For once you give up ownership of something, you give up your right to it and this is for the best. For is it not better that we give rather than take?

N.D. Moharo

Friday, February 14, 2014

Placing Blame in the Wrong Places

    There's something about modern humanity that can drive me crazy. Sometimes, I listen to someone complain about something, whether it is religion, politics, etc. but they never realize they don't know what they are truly complaining about. Our current world is so divided that they like to use the same arguments against each other, thinking the other is to blame.
    An example is the idea of open-minds. I heard a liberal complain the other day that the problem with religion is, "Religious people are okay with your beliefs as long as they are the same as theirs." Now, those who hang out with conservatives also know that phrase, but they use it against liberals! So the real problem is not a specific group; it's a problem with our modern human nature. This relates to the idea of "things claiming to be opposites really just being the same thing." Republicans and Democrats may have different platforms, but the people who actually get elected pretty much do the same thing: raise taxes, squabble, attack the other party, and say it's the other party's fault they can't do anything even when they are the majority.
     Another example is when dealing with religious wars. When the Thirty Years War gets brought up, I just have to roll my eyes. I wrote a paper on that war, trying to figure out how we can refer to it as a war of religion. The answer I got was that you can only call it a religious war if you generalize what the opposing sides had in common. However, when you look at the details of the war, it was very political with little regard towards religion. There were likely some people who fought for their personal beliefs, but the people who started the war, led the armies, and ended the war did not care about religion as much as loss of power. Yes, there are religious fanatics, but when you look closely, they are not truly following their religion, despite their self-proclaimed beliefs.
     My last example still has to do with religion. Some people say they hate God because religion is so evil and full of hypocrites. There are two things wrong with this comment. First, you can't blame the idea of a god for the problems with religion. These are two separate things. The purpose of religion is to give praise to a being called God. It's mankind's attempt to "give to God what belongs to God." Now anyone who uses religion for their self-interests in the world cannot truly represent religion in its proper form. The second has to do with another purpose of religion, and that is to instruct the immoral. "Those who are well have no need for a doctor." Religion is there to try and make people better, which it does for quite a few. Just hearing some of the conversion stories of famous saints is proof of that.
    In order to be a good atheist, it's my personal belief that you need to study Theology. You cannot say, "God does not exist" without having a good understanding of "What is God?" A common mistake people make concerning religion is thinking everyone believes in the same god. Yes, it's a little more complicated than that, but when you talk to people of the same religion, they don't agree on the idea of what it means to be God. The purpose of theology is to study the idea of God. For example, it's not right to believe that God will never let anything bad happen to you. I can certainly say it's easier to tell someone that their idea of God does not exist than to say there just isn't one.
    In today’s world, we are supposed to be civilized, but with our quick misconceptions and rash arguments, we probably look like barbarians. Let us put aside are violent tempers and take time to understand fully what we are arguing against. For me, I find it best to let the rage calm before I finally address the topic. Otherwise people will think I’m attacking them personally and not listen. Sometimes I just have to avoid people I know get too angry over the topic lest I get dragged into anger as well. The best thing we can do is listen and be courteous to each other. Maybe then we can place the blame where it belongs. Let the Truth set us free from strife.

Friday, February 7, 2014

On Maintaining Relationships

The topic of Relationships is an interesting thing. I have seen couples who appeared like they could never be apart only to break up within 6 months. Then there are those who don’t seem like they could last 6 months, but go on to have a stable marriage. This extends even past marriage. The ones that last, they occasionally get asked, “What’s the secret?” These are things I’ve noticed in those answers and in my own experience.
I don’t think fidelity gets enough credit. It might be because it’s the hardest to explain, at least to me. Maybe that is because there isn’t much to explain rationally. It’s a thing of nature. If you get cheated on, you feel horrible. Why? My guess is that it has something to do with importance. Infidelity attacks the victim’s self esteem. They are no longer “the one” but instead just “a one” that used to be special. That is certainly something I don’t want to make my love feel. As a result I do my best to make sure I never betray her trust.
I cannot underestimate the value of Trust either. Even if someone is being faithful, if there is no trust, the relationship cannot last. It becomes even more important in a long distance relationship. It’s also very difficult and why it’s important to be honest with each other. I worry about the guys my love talks to and she expresses the same concern about the girls I talk with. Every time a doubt comes to my mind, I just have to think to myself, “Have faith in her, just like she trusts you.” Eventually the doubt goes away and I can have a pleasant 5 hour conversation with her. It is occasions such as this where I appreciate her a lot.
I feel like people have the tendency to forget the simple but important small things. Just saying something along the lines, “I appreciate you,” or the more famous example, “thank you,” has a tremendous power in keeping a relationship alive. It’s sadder when you hear of a couple who did appreciate each other, but never expressed it in words and so broke up. It is important to perform deeds to express gratitude and appreciation, but never forget to sincerely say the words once in a while. When you say those phrases, it shows respect for your significant other.
When you have respect for someone, you see them as a human being; someone who has hopes, dreams, and feelings, just like you. Respect keeps you from treating him or her as simply an object for pleasure. Instead you work together toward progress, refusing any temptation to insult. With respect for each other, it becomes easier to empathize in times of need.
Something I have noticed that disappears from a relationship over time is compassion. This lack of sympathy eventually leads into arguments. Why? Because when we no longer sympathize with someone, we’re not going to care about the problems they are facing, just on our own. If we don’t feel like we are getting any sympathy, we don’t feel like we are loved or important. It takes some willpower, but it’s is essential that we acknowledge someone has a problem, especially when we think ours is worse.
Couples who make it through long distance relationships have my respect. Not only do they have to have a lot of trust, but significant willpower. Not too many people can make a long distance relationship work. The ones who do make it, make it because their willpower shows they really love each other. As I mentioned before, love is an act of the will, influenced by the heart. You can actually convince yourself to love someone you didn’t. Why is love an act of the will? Because true love places the other person above yourself. Someone who is truly in love considers the other to be more important. That is why guys would spend so much to impress a girl, because for at least some time, she is definitely more important. It also takes willpower to keep going and stay faithful as well as to endure the hardships you will eventually encounter. That is what you need to be prepared for when you say you will be together “through good times and bad.” We can either continue or give up. All I can say is that I’m going to go as far as I can for the sake the woman I care for and I hope everyone tries to do the same.
In summary, there are a few important phrases to say to your loved one: “You are important,” “I trust you,” “I appreciate you,” “I respect you,” and “I love you.” One thing that can be said with surety is that relationships do take a lot of work to maintain. However, if you find that certain spouse, it is definitely worth it.