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Schizophrenia
Fri July 19 2019  12:30pmReligious/Rant

A principal symptom of psychosis, especially of schizophrenia, is a profound disconnection from reality. The patient, for emotional or organic reasons, does not relate to his surroundings in a rational manner. He often constructs his own private reality quite different from the world in which more sane folks live.

We are in the midst of the modern Dark Ages, an epoch of human history marked by a mass departure from reality. An age in which certain psychoses become acceptable because believed in by so many, perhaps by the majority. But if everybody believes in an alternate reality, does that alternative therefore become true? I think not.

100 or even 50 years ago, it would have been very difficult to find someone who sincerely believed that abortion ought to be legal, much less sanctioned by society. Even before science confirmed it, the common humanity was beyond reasonable doubt. The human zygote-embryo-fetus is just that: human. To pretend otherwise is to depart from reality.

Certain organs of the human body are for procreation; that's a biological given, a certainty of nature. Sex is pleasurable, for sure. Sex can forge a strong bond between the two persons, an important bonus. But the primary reason for sex, its biological purpose, is for the propagation of the species. Heterosexuality and reproduction are essential rules of Nature. To pretend otherwise is to depart from reality.

These questions certainly have moral and religious dimensions. But even if one were to put aside all religious and moral considerations, they are simply rooted in reality. The humanity of the pre-born baby, the biological facts of heterosexuality and procreation, can only be denied at the expense of one's faculty of reason and connection with reality. When psychotic departure from reality becomes the accepted norm, that doesn't make it rational, merely schizophrenic on a massive scale.

 
New Math
Thu July 11 2019  10:09amComputer

This old dog is learning a new trick. Specifically, a new math programming technique, called Fractional-Exponential Integer Math. Less complicated than it sounds. It is "a programming technique for storing and computing fractional and exponential numbers without the inaccuracies inherent to floating point numbers. . . It is precise because all numeric values are stored internally as integers."

It began for me earlier this year when I participated in an online math challenge at linuxquestions.org , my favorite online forum. My answer to the challenge took the form of an interactive web page right here at CyberJerry. As noted therein, version 3.0.000 of that page began using fractional-exponential math, as opposed to floating-point math.

Liked the new technique so much that I've recently begun exploring it in more depth in another new CyberJerry page . Very unlikely that this old retired engineer will ever find a practical use for this technique, but gotta like the idea that I can still learn new tricks.

  1 comment
 
Times and Seasons
Sun June 2 2019  7:24pmReligious/Rant

Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  (Acts 1:6b)

Immediately before the Ascension of our Lord, and in the midst of his promises of the imminent outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the apostles ask Jesus this question. It seems irrelevant, and countless preachers and homilists have dismissed it as such, or as yet another example of the clueless disciples completely missing the point.

But there is nothing of a rebuke or dismissal in Jesus' answer, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons. . ." It sounds rather similar to other words of Jesus regarding the end times. To be sure, Jesus is warning us not to speculate overmuch as to the times and seasons of his return. But we are to expectantly wait. It will surely come, perhaps within our lifetime, though no one knows exactly When, or How.

I offer this thought in conjunction with the previous "Until" article: That, as the post-Pentecostal evangelism was to start at Jerusalem, and later extend to the whole world, so there is a definite sense here that it must someday return to a Judaic focus. The Lord does indeed intend to literally restore the kingdom to Israel. No one knows When, or How.

  4 comments
rev. Fri Jun 7  1:33pm
 
Data Security
Thu November 29 2018  6:40pmComputer

I used to drive a Toyota pickup whose non-functioning ignition switch I replaced with an array of 3 ordinary household toggle switches for: engine, starter, dashboard. Not what you'd call advanced security; anyone could start my truck and drive off without a key (if they could figure out which switch was which.) At the same time, I lived in a farm house with 4 exterior doors, only one of which had a working keyed lock, and that one key was a big skeleton key, too cumbersome to carry about with me. For eleven years I lived a completely key-less life. And never had a problem with auto theft nor home burglary nor vandalism.

Not that I lived in a crime-free area. I'm sure there were many instances of auto theft and burglary in those same eleven years. For example, my neighbor Dave was the victim of a break-in theft, in spite of the fact that his home was equipped with a state-of-the art security system. Or - was it because he had hi-tech security that he was victimized, and not I?

If your browser is warning you that Jerry's Blog is (gasp!) not secure, that's a sign that you had better be careful with your browser, especially when browsing sites that it considers 'secure'!
Imagine a would-be burglar coming to my house when I'm not home and finding the door unlocked. "Yikes!," he might say to himself, "this guy must be nearby, or he wouldn't leave his house open like this!" Or someone in a darkened parking lot thinking about hot-wiring my truck - but how do you hot-wire a vehicle that has no keyed ignition? The unusual and unexpected lack of security would be alarming to most criminals. By contrast, the presence of a state-of-the-art security system is an attraction to the modern burglar. The system's presence indicates that there must be something worth stealing, probably there are no other significant safeguards, and the system's familiarity is a green light to bypass its well-known security measures and proceed with the theft.

Such has become the internet. Long gone is the early concept of a free and simple exchange of information. The web is increasingly overrun with spammers, hackers, and identity thieves. So protective protocols were developed, but as these have grown more complex, the hackers' expertise has kept pace. Don't be fooled: each new security protocol is certain to be deciphered and exploited in short order, probably even before your browser and your favorite website are upgraded to take advantage of its promised security.


Ugly security
The problem, as I see it, is three-fold. First, each new protocol adds greatly to the 'handshake' exchanged between your computer and the server, which makes the initial connection slower and slower, adds to your monthly internet bill if you have metered service, and makes it nearly impossible to access some web pages if you have a slow connection. Meanwhile, rest assured that the hackers all have modern high-speed equipment. The increased traffic overhead is a problem for legitimate surfers, but not for the bad guys!

Secondly, as noted above, the 'https' protocol becomes, not a deterrent, but an invitation to hackers, a promise that there's some valuable encrypted information, free for the hacking.

Thirdly, and most seriously, ask yourself who are the bad guys? When you post personal information to your Facebook page, are you comforted by the fact that you are using an up-to-date security protocol? That your secure browser is 'approved' by Facebook? Or that your 'secure' browser approves of Facebook's security protocols? Do you really trust Facebook itself? Really? Facebook doesn't need to hack your personal data; you've handed it to them willingly, like a docile, trusting lamb. How many people must sacrifice their identity before people understand that Facebook is one of the wolves?

Who are the engineers of the increasingly complex security measures? Google. Microsoft. Do you trust them? And the baddest wolf of all: the National Security Administration. Remember the Snowden leaks? Yet the NSA continues to contribute to the design of each new protocol, specifically so that they may more easily exploit them and harvest people's internet data.

My response: let Facebook and Microsoft and the NSA chase one another's tails. Welcome to Jerry's Blog. When you navigate here, or anywhere on my CyberJerry site, that's all you're doing. Here there are no Google ads, no links to Facebook. (I suppose you could 'Like' CyberJerry on Facebook, but there are no links here to do so.)

Obviously, if you post a comment, it will be openly published to the world; that's the whole point. But if you want to send me a private message, or create a member profile telling me your real name and email address, rest assured that your data will never be given to the wolves. Even if Google or Microsoft were to track you here, they won't be able to harvest any information, because CyberJerry does not transmit your data via an 'approved' encryption protocol. I use my own encryption techniques, unpublished, and subject to my own revision. Your identity and personal data are safe here at CyberJerry, regardless of your browser's dire warning that the site is insecure. In fact, if your browser is warning you that Jerry's Blog is (gasp!) not secure, perhaps that's a sign that you ought to be careful with your browser, especially when visiting sites that it considers 'secure'!

More technical details upon request. Just ask!
Besides Jerry's Blog, this site contains a private message board available only to Lenore and myself, at least two data bases for my own personal use, and at least three other places where visitors may post private (unpublished) information. Here's a challenge to any would-be hacker: demonstrate to me that you can steal or intercept any of these private data, and I will openly admit defeat, and will publish my admission right here. Am confident that my challenge will go unanswered, or that any attempt to answer the challenge will result in failure. How confident? I will share more technical details upon request. Just ask! CyberJerry is neither running with the pack, nor running in fear away from it; just let the wolves chase their own tails. You, the legitimate CyberJerry surfer, have navigated away from the bad guys.

  1 comment
rev. Thu Apr 4  6:04pm
 
Until
Tue October 2 2018  11:18amReligious/Rant

. . .and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled  (Lk.21:24b)
. . .that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  (Rom.11:25b)

An essential element of the Catholic Faith is the conviction that the Church will abide, that the Lord Jesus will never abandon his bride (cf.Mt.28:20b).

This blog article is best read in conjunction with a study of the prophet Jeremiah and of the letter of Paul to the Romans, especially chapter 11.

Likewise the chosen people of the Old Covenant knew that the Almighty would never forsake Israel (Is.44:21). But that firm belief didn't prevent the prophet Jeremiah (±600 B.C.) from foretelling the fall of Jerusalem and the captivity in Babylon. Many prophets in Jeremiah's day were boldly predicting victory and blessings for Israel. They were wrong; Jeremiah was true.

Nor did Paul's lament that a blindness had come upon his fellow Jews mean that he had lost faith in their status as God's chosen race. That privileged status is irrevocable (Rom.11:29). God does not break his promises.

Suppose we view the crisis in the Church in a similar way: neither losing faith in God's unalterable promises, nor pretending that everything is OK. The man they call Pope Francis is a humanist at best. Bishops, priests, and theologians are neglecting to preach the Truth, many openly doubting the very existence of unchanging Truth. As with Jeremiah, as with St Paul's honest lament, we ought to acknowledge - and lament - that a great blindness has come upon the Church.

Let there be no doubt - Israel, especially her leaders, were unfaithful, the majority broke faith with the Almighty. But God does not break faith; his promises are sure, and the Jewish people are still his chosen race. As it turned out, the blindness that came upon the Jewish clergy 2000 years ago signaled a sort of changing of the guard, when God's focus gradually turned from the chosen Semitic people to the Gentiles. One door (apparently) closed that another greater one might open. But notice - what Jesus prophesied, what Paul recognized - they both said 'until...'. Which is to say, the changing of the guard they spoke of is temporary, and will one day end.

When, precisely, might this happen? When will 'the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled'? Might not the current blindness in the Church portend another great change? Could we be seeing the fulfillment of the great 'Until' of which both Jesus and Paul spoke? The age of the Gentiles may be drawing to its close before our eyes. If this is so, what greater door might be about to open? The same Jeremiah who foretold the defeat of Jerusalem at the hands of Babylon also saw farther ahead, that if they would repent of their faithlessness, God would deliver his people and bring them back again (Jer.29:10-14). At the coming of Jesus, when the Old Covenant was nearing its completion, there were a faithful few who recognized and welcomed their long-awaited Messiah (Lk.2:25, Lk.23:51). In those first years, many Jewish leaders remained blind, but many others repented and believed (Acts 2:41, 4:4). They saw a greater door opening, the fulfillment of their religion and of God's promises.

The Church is failing, that much is clear. Ought this realization fill us with trepidation? On the other hand, the Lord's promise to remain with his Church is rock solid. Ought we then be filled with hope as we anticipate the greater door that may soon open? My opinion: we ought to be filled with holy fear (Rom.11:20ff), and with a spirit of repentance, repentance for our personal sins and for the part we have played in the collective blindness and unfaithfulness. So as to be prepared, Until...

  7 comments
rev. Dec 3 2018  7:52pm
 
Empty Chair
Sat September 15 2018  4:38pmReligious/Rant

From previous 'Rant' posts it should be clear that this Roman Catholic no longer believes that the fellow they call Pope Francis can possibly be the vicar of Christ here on earth. (For this reason I may often refer to him as 'Señor Bergoglio', his proper name.) But how have we arrived at this point - where we have no Pope, or where the Pope is not Catholic?

One idea, popularly called Sedevacantism, theorizes that since Vatican II, the heresy of modernism has infected the Church and has rendered all recent conclaves invalid so that we haven't had a true Pope in 50 or 60 years. Thus the term 'sede vacant', which means the chair (of Peter) is vacant. Moreover, most sedevacantists assert that recent (within the past 50 years or so) episcopal consecrations, priestly ordinations, and the Novus Ordo Mass may all be materially invalid. That is to say, they've been materially changed (by accepting non-Catholics into the Council, changing essential liturgical words, etc.) and therefore lack validity. In sacramental theology this would be somewhat analogous to, for example, wanting to baptize without pouring water or without saying the correct words of baptism. There would be no Baptism, regardless of one's good intentions.

The sedevacantist solution to the crisis would be a general repudiation of Vatican II and a new valid conclave.

Another less extreme theory, called Sedeprivationism, maintains that recent popes have been validly elected and so are materially eligible to reign. But, by accepting the heresies of Vatican II, especially modernism, all the Novus Ordo Popes - Paul VI through Francis - have failed to accept the true authority of the Chair of Peter, and so are not true popes. The now infamous quote by Bergoglio "Who am I to judge?" was, in effect, his explicit denial of pastoral authority. If he doesn't think he has apostolic authority, he in fact doesn't have it. This would be somewhat analogous to baptizing with water, but without really intending to baptize. There would again be no Baptism.

According to Sedeprivationism, should Francis (or any particular Novus Ordo bishop or priest) formally and publicly repudiate the errors of Vatican II, and accept the mantle of authority to teach Catholic Truth, the formal obstacle would be removed and he would immediately be bestowed with apostolic authority and become a true pastor, no new conclave necessary.

The above simplified explanations are far from exhaustive. Fine distinctions, variations on the above themes, and other different ideas abound. There seems to be no clearly defined 'creed' to which all sedevacantists (or sedeprivationists, etc) adhere. Which is to say, there is almost as much variability and confusion in these camps as in mainstream Catholicism.

There does remain at least one other way of looking at this riddle, a way that doesn't rely upon a legalistic analysis of the sacramental system, nor does it involve placing all the blame upon the Vatican Council or upon a particular heresy. This explanation is not a variation of any of the popular ideas such as sedevacantism or sedeprivationism, but looks at things from a completely different angle. The main problem is that it is not at all well known. In fact, I know of only one old retired geezer who is putting this alternate theory forward, and he's not a bishop or theologian or even a priest, so how credible can his theory be? Nevertheless, since yours truly is that old geezer, I will try to put this possible explanation on the table for your review, probably in the next blog post.

  11 comments
rev. Dec 3 2018  7:55pm
 
Riddle me this
Tue August 28 2018  5:06pmReligious/Rant

I revel in riddles and logic puzzles, especially the kind that at first seem nonsensical or unsolvable. I might puzzle and noodle for several minutes, or hours, to no avail. Can't write an algebraic equation or a computer program to solve it; there seems no answer. I put it aside; have things to do, a life to live. But the noodling continues as a 'background' process within my frontal lobe, perhaps for weeks or months or even years, as I go about my daily business.


a riddle

Then suddenly - a flash of intuition, a spark of creative thinking, and the answer jumps out. I shout aloud, "I'VE GOT IT!" to no one in particular. (If there are people within earshot, they may suspect that I definitely don't have it, that I've lost it.) The thrill, the adrenaline rush of finding the answer makes all the puzzling worthwhile, and satisfying. I've got it. Now I understand.

I can only do this if it's a real puzzle with a rational answer, and not some stupid Zen riddle whose only answer is that it's vain to seek an answer. No, I have to know before I start noodling that there is an answer, and that I will know when I've found it.

Man the rational animal is also Man the religious animal. Intuitively, I know that the religious instinct - the desire to know the meaning of life, and what lies beyond - is part of our rational nature. The Ultimate Question must have a rational answer. And we can know when we've found it. The Zen-like notion that the quest itself, the seeking, is of sole importance, that you cannot find the answer - that notion is supremely irrational. Why seek something that cannot be found? No, I have to know, before beginning to ask religious questions, that there is an answer, and that I will know when I've found it.

The above explains why I am Catholic, and not Protestant nor pagan nor Buddhist nor atheist. Catholic theology simply makes more sense; it involves a rational system of thought that explains better than the others the meaning of life, of suffering and death, of what lies beyond, and what we must do to get there. I've raised a few eyebrows by stating that I am a Roman Catholic because I have a brain and am not afraid to use it.

Which brings me to the point of this article: a religious riddle that has me stumped, at least at present. Have written about it here in other Jerry's Blog posts, and in my old blogspot blog dating back several years. Indeed, my writing blog posts may be my way of noodlng over this perplexing riddle in the hope of drawing closer to an epiphany. Allow me to quote from my own blogspot article of some 3 years ago:

After many years as a nominal Catholic / practicing Evangelical, I gradually began to realize that Truth must be singular. The false dogma of Sola Scriptura is ever subject to individual interpretation and can therefore never lead to anything like verifiable Truth. Real authority, established by God, must trump personal and subjective interpretation of the Bible. Thus I returned to Catholicism and to the divinely established authority of the Church's Magisterium. It is no accident that 'Catholic' simply means 'Universal'...

The sad fact that many Catholic 'faithful' and clergy were believing and practicing soft heresies was troubling, but did not detract seriously from my faith in the aformentioned Church authority. Always needful is a clear distinction between Church teaching and the beliefs and practices of individual 'Catholics', including clergy. The solid teachings remain a sure anchor, and the Magisterium - i.e, the bishops collectively in union with the Pope - could be counted upon to faithfully safeguard and transmit those teachings. I took no small comfort in the fact that while other denominations were altering their doctrines to conform with worldly values and norms, the true Church would never follow suit.

Yet here we are in 2015, and I must declare honestly that what I thought could never happen is in fact happening, has been happening for some time. I first began having some misgivings over 5 years ago, and have seen practically nothing since then to relieve my doubts. To the point where, starting about two years ago, some kind of threshold seems to have been crossed. When the reigning pontiff says he cannot judge homosexual clergy, he is in fact publicly confessing that he is not their pastor. When a majority of bishops, led by the bishop of Rome, meet to discuss the possibility of changing Church teaching on marriage, something is seriously, seriously, seriously amiss.

The excuse, "Who am I to judge?" may tell us all we need to know. When Bergoglio and other bishops cannot or will not judge clearly and in accord with Catholic Truth, or, worse, when they presume to alter Catholic teaching, they demonstrate that they do not understand apostolic authority. That would seem to indicate that they do not in fact possess true apostolic authority. Everything else that comes from their mouths and documents might be understood in this light. That is, everything else these false shepherds say may be ignored by the serious Catholic. cf. Gal.1:7-9

Now - If we have no apostolic pastors, if there is no Magisterium, are we not thrust back into the Protestant dilemma of individual subjective interpretation? Or worse, into agnostic confusion as to whether or not Truth even exists? Which is to say, that there is no answer to the riddle, and it is vain to seek one? In such a case the whole riddle of life must be nonsense; there is no purpose, and my mind cannot know any religious truth with any degree of certitude. I find this non-answer supremely irrational. No, there must be an answer, and it must lie within my mind's ability to find, otherwise my mind itself has no ultimate purpose.

What I confess is that right now I am quite uncertain as to what the answer might turn out to be. The noodling continues in the background, no epiphany so far. But there are a couple possible ways to explain the present crisis in the Church and what it might mean. Perhaps writing about them will help.

  6 comments
rev. Dec 4 2018  12:26pm
The purpose of civil government is to protect life; abandon that, and you have abandoned all.
- Thomas Jefferson

Articles
All  
Computer
Sudoku
Nicaragua
Religious/Rant
7/19/19Schizophrenia
7/11/19New Math
6/2/19Times and Seasons
11/29/18Data Security
10/2/18Until
9/15/18Empty Chair
8/28/18Riddle me this
8/1/18Sudoku Challenge Answered
7/4/18Unrest in Nicaragua
5/9/18Some Specifics
4/20/18Crisis of Authority
3/17/18Theocracy
3/1/18Self abnegation
12/14/17Sudoku Challenge
12/2/17Blog End
11/16/17Meta Blog
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rev. 2019.09.15