Friday, December 7, 2012

A college paper I wrote for Medieval Humanities which my CATHOLIC professor raved about to the entire class!






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"Christianity's Dark (Far Less Known!) Beginning: Constantine and the Council of Nicaea Conspiracy"

By Jordan Miguel Adorno

             Christianity, as common knowledge provides, is a historical flourish of many cultural influences, but it in pure theological essence roots back originally to Judaism, the faith of the Hebrews. Preceding prior, Judaism, historically acknowledged as the world's first monotheistic religion, centered around an ultimatum for complete and fearful worship of its very much personified deity, commonly called “Yahweh” (amongst countless other names), who required all kinds of strange laws to be obeyed diligently in his name. These laws are found today in what Christians consider the Old Testament - the full text of the Hebrew Bible known to Jews as the Tanakh - wherein prophecies about a forthcoming savior from God are vividly detailed. Christians, very much separating themselves from Jews, allege that the legitimate appearance of this Messiah is divinely recounted in their additional holy text, the "New Testament", which they formally deem to be the equally divine continuation of the Hebrew Bible. Entire to the critical matter at hand, this such alleged "fulfillment" of the prophesied messianic arrival is in fact the most crucial component to the Christian faith: indeed the quintessential character behind all Christian theology, Jesus Christ is centerfold to even the slightest bits of introductory knowledge about Christianity because he, according to them, IS that prophesied Messiah long-ago promised by God; and not only that, he is the sole man whom, most crucial of all, ultimately as the "Son of God" supposedly lived only to meet his predestined, all-sacrificial death on the cross for, so it is proclaimed, "the salvation of humanity." Or, perhaps, that's just how the Council of Nicaea DECIDED it happened, in Rome, 325 C.E., upon compiling the books to be included in the Christian Bible following Emperor Constantine's establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire (Riley). Though total a reversal, actual support of this alternative standpoint can in fact be found verifiable at sheer factual essence; as once all is properly considered, the strongest most compelling historical evidence leads oppositely to a far more truthful (albeit less popularized) conclusion instead: that the Council of Nicaea was actually the perfect conspiratorial creation of a foolproof, Christianized version of Rome specifically suited for the precise kind of impenetrable, all-absolute dictatorship that Constantine wished to seek over his people.

    Fairly speaking, there is widespread, consistent acceptance among most historians that, in some form, Jesus of Nazareth was indeed someone that existed at the beginning of the first century C.E.. Extensively speaking though, this nonetheless makes it still beyond unrealistic, a human impossibility arguably, that then in the fourth century somehow a Bible was sanctioned without any error in accordance with the true story of Jesus of Nazareth. Demonstratively, “Human Tradition: Medieval Europe and the World Beyond”, written by renowned Art History scholar Gloria K. Fiero, rationally associates a mystified aura with the stagnant early days of Christianity’s dark, directionless beginning: "[...] the story of Jesus and the meaning of his message provoked [:] Was Jesus human or divine? What was the status of Jesus in relation to God? Such fundamental questions drew conflicting answers” (Fiero 18). As such, it is not kept secret from historical record that the Roman politicians at the Council of Nicaea were first stumbled before deciding which version of Christianity being intrinsically practiced was the correct one for Rome. After all, the greater good of the state was at risk, and thus they - uniform only, first and foremost, in their sworn allegiance to an especially demanding leader, the all-powerful Emperor Constantine of course - had much, presumably, to weigh into question: Which form of the Christian theology would be MOST practical in unifying the then-crumbling state of Rome? Which would MOST lead them to new methods of regaining structural empowerment? Which would consequentially allow Constantine to utilize power over the people MOST naturally, and MOST speedily? Essentially, which version of Christianity would BEST recover the steadily dying, once-formidable Roman superpower?!  Such matters, made evidently unforgotten, were wisely taken into much consideration before the Council moved forth with consolidating what (basically) still today is the widespread, conventional Christian Bible. Analytically, so it seems suspiciously coincidental that the version of Christianity chosen was the one which conveniently allowed for the easiest creation of diligent, unquestioningly obedient people throughout their then-crumbling empire by implanting them with a horrific fear of Hell. Given, this easily can lead to significant doubts regarding the level of "divine" credence REALLY accounted for at Nicaea. Speaking realistically alone, if nothing else there weren't any of the instantaneous communication methods that even in the modern day cannot be perfected beyond ALL human error!

    At pivotal fault for much of the issue's surrounding mystery and peculation is Christianity's failure to go mainstream prior to the fourth century, as it summarizes its (only VERY eventually) finalized doctrine's unbeatable high potential for fallibility: Since the death of Christ had been caused by the overruling party, the Romans themselves, who'd specifically executed Jesus for his heretic threat on the power of the state, consequentially the brave early Christian communities postdating his short ministry were small and flatly unconsolidated. Persecution of said followers from the state was so serious at first that many in fact even faced death for their Christian stance (and hence the colorful history of documented Christian martyrdom). By 70 C.E., when the Romans had at last destroyed the Jewish temple, the Religious Tolerance Organization explains, "Jewish life was totally disrupted. Jews were no longer able to worship at the Temple. Out of this disaster emerged two main movements: rabbinical Judaism centered in local synagogues, and the Christian movement" (Religious Tolerance Organization, "The first three centuries of Christianity, as seen by religious liberals and historians"). Gregory J. Riley, reputable historian, notes supportive evidence in One Jesus, Many Christs, citing one, how the Gospel accounts in the Bible were written, rewritten and "revised"(altered?) for many decades after Jesus lived following years and years of intermingled, supposed "verbal preservation"; and two, that such texts weren't even officiated in their final, supposedly "divine" form as seen today until nearly the end of the second century! (Note that though each gospel is 'according to' stated person, none is explicitly written firsthand by the said individual.) No less compellingly, Riley consecutively explains how 70 C.E. may have been the spunky start of a rabid Christian movement, but that it completely ended up being decelerated for lack of unified agreement on a concrete theological basis, plainly regarding, "Even in the same geographical area and sometimes in the same cities, different Christian teachers taught quite different gospels and had quite different views of who Jesus was and what he did" (Riley 4). With such knowledge at hand, does the allegation that the Bible is the inerrant "Word of God"still seem like a sound statement?!

    In further elaboration, Christianity during the late first century ranged three major branches. The first represented sect, called "Christian Jews", says well-acclaimed author Michael Brown, "[...] regrouped in Jerusalem under the leadership of James, one of Jesus' brothers. The group viewed themselves as a reform movement within Judaism" ("Answering Jewish objections to Jesus: General and historical objections", Michael Brown). Second, Gnostic Christianity, the sectional roadway perhaps most "open-ended", was preferred by the more intellectually-inclined early followers yearning for more unbound spiritual discovery and less preordained ritualism. Still, it too was no stranger to the ambiguity of major internal division, for as the Religious Tolerance Organization states, "Each group was under the leadership of a Gnostic teacher like Marcion, Valentinus, and Carpocrates. These groups shared some core beliefs, but otherwise differed greatly from each other" (Religious Tolerance Organization, "The first three centuries of Christianity, as seen by religious liberals and historians"). Additionally, historian Riley, in his acclaimed The River of God, too keys upon this tricky disparity, “Among Gnostic Christians there were communities under the name of John and Thomas and many other lesser and later disciples" (Riley 8). Finally, third, "Pauline Christianity", which, thanks to the Council of Nicaea, fundamentally formed the timeless doctrine of Christianity widespread still today: indeed at the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E., "Pauline Christianity" was chosen to be the one true, "divinely-inspired" sect, the one that spoke the superior words of God no less. The "Pauline" movement was led by a man who, straightforwardly up-until-date, was a literal serial killer, a monster executing Christians in frightful numbers— a Roman named Paul, who'd supposedly been enlightened by a spontaneous apparition of Jesus, who accordingly in his spectral presence divined Paul His messenger. Today his legacy is no less preserved, honored SAINT Paul by Catholics for instance. However, one must take a step back and evaluate the facts which establish the historical context:

    Undeniably through his popularity, Paul was afforded immense political influence, which in turn only made his transformation into an indispensable Christian icon that much easier. Again, though never meeting Jesus on Earth, Paul claimed that his spectral account with God "assigned" him supreme religious authority on Earth, and thus his writings were subsequently justified an invaluable degree of influence over the early Church’s formation at the Council of Nicaea. Most of the crucial texts in the New Testament are written by him (fourteen of its twenty-seven books to be precise), the bulk of which were epistles (directive letters of robust spiritual instruction) addressed to early Christian congregations. Very formidable in establishing the argument that the Council of Nicaea had agendas nefarious, lucrative, and unfailingly political, but none which were genuinely inspired by inerrant "divine" motivation, the Roman Empire rapidly progressed into an overpoweringly totalitarian-like state following the Council of Nicaea like never before! Enabled by the opportunistic "Pauline" Christian theology, Emperor Constantine placed the Roman people under his imperious thumb by making Christianity the catalyst that would force all into utter dependence and subordination to the state. Calculating and complicit as ever it seems more accurate of fact, thus the Council shortly succeeded to produce Constantine's intended result: a re-solidified, obedient, unquestioning state of Hell-fearing, Christianized people (Riley). And all this was thanks very single-handedly to the rigid implementation of Paul’s 'salvation-on-faith-alone' dogma, the pretext uniquely concrete to his version of Christianity alone (hence why it and NOT the others was the very choice selected by the Council), for it so inexplicably stated that only trust in Christ, not good works, could save humans from the fires of Hell (NT Ephesians 2: 8-9NT 1 Peter 2:24). Rather convenient a theological ultimatum for Constantine and his agenda to repair his falling empire, but notwithstanding "Pauline" Christianity contains significant inconsistency with the alleged words of Jesus in the Gospels.

    Confusingly, many of Paul’s instructions are of no foundation to the Gospels, and too often directly contradict the word of Jesus Christ. And no, none of the many examples are subject to "alternate" interpretations, as there are simply too many verbatim, inexplicably specific statements inconsistent between the two men relating to the practice of faith. To delineate on a note of mattered difference in fact between the contexts of Biblical knowledge pertained to the two men separately, in converse Paul's words are written NOT usually in parables, the teaching form quite common to Jesus' sermons, nor are they record courtesy of secondhand authorship either, which is of course at least somewhat a debilitating factor in the messages ascribed as Jesus' throughout the Gospels. Instead contained by the more conversational-driven, rather upfront curb styled all-within his writings - and which perhaps better-suited their overall much ridgier, "ultimatum-centered" religiosity altogether just as well - Paul's contributions to the New Testament actually follow a refreshingly to-the-point narrative wherein he is self-espoused to a divinely-gifted context of life-or-death importance. Concretely, therefore, the nature of this dishonesty is briefly accounted in the following: For starters, Paul, declaring divine order of course, tellingly pontificated, "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized" (NT 1 Corinthians 14: 37-38). And yet, then in The New Testament's Corinthians, St. Paul contradicts Jesus on the very crucial topic of Baptism, saying, "For Christ sent me [Paul] not to baptize but to preach the gospel" (NT 1 Corinthians 1:17); however, such is boldly inconsistent with Jesus, who, according to the Gospel of Matthew, said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them" (NT Matthew 28:19). Excessively damaging, another example lies again in Corinthians, in which Paul explains that Christianity lives or dies on the fulfillment of the Messiah, upon his sacrificial death and final glorious resurrection, both which accordingly Jesus himself foresaw and spoke of in detail to his Apostles (NT 1 Corinthians 15: 14-17). Contradictorily, Jesus stated in The Gospel of Matthew that he would be buried  three days and three nights just as Jonah was in the whale three days and three nights, but Jesus is crucified Friday evening and resurrected on Sunday morning (NT Matthew 16:21; 26:61; 27:63)! Does that therefore mean that St. Paul inadvertently invalidated Christianity entirely?!

    Continuously, Paul lies many more times - without need, sometimes, persistent to make himself more unconvincing maybe - such as in his writings provided in The New Testament's "Acts", where he orders that everyone, "[R]emember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (NT Acts 20:35). But no such statement can be attributed to Jesus within the Gospels of the Bible at all! Interestingly also, if Jesus Christ, the Messiah for all Christians, elevated women more so than anyone before, why did Paul destroy that with misogynist values? After all, was it not Mary Magdalene who was the first to be directly told to PREACH the good news after being first to witness the Resurrection of Christ!? And yet directly and unhesitatingly Paul discouraged Mary Magdalene's role during the most important event in the Bible, of course the Holy Resurrection unarguably, when he stated, “Let your women keep silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church" (NT 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35). These contradictions turn great volumes of doubt on Pauline Christianity's true source. Notwithstanding, the Council of Nicaea consequently succeeded to almost entirely exterminate mainstream knowledge of the controversial books that did NOT get canonized into the Bible: omitted at the Council were at least 80 gospels as well as hundreds of varying Epistles (letters), sometimes discredited for originating by smaller Christian communities, but likely most of all because they didn't fit with the strict "Pauline" doctrine they were attempting to promulgate; the latter is compellingly provable, for the natures of these "Lost Gospels" are most relatable in containing offset teachings and risky controversies, such as reincarnation, validation of good works, biographical information decided best left unknown for the public (an example being Jesus' eighteen years between age 12 and 30, which the Gospels make absolutely no mention of), or, such as in a case like Mary Magdalene's (although her Gospel contains, in addition, some VERY inflammatory claims about Jesus' life), just for being the work of feminine penmanship ("The Lost Gospels", Gnostic Society Library).

     In corroboration, such is another highlight by theology scholar Gregory J. Riley, stating a general consensus of agreement that separate groups never saw any of the Biblical Gospels at all: "Among Jews especially in the East there were Christian communities and literature under the name of Peter and James that stood in opposition to Paul and John." At the Council at Nicaea there, clearly, were various reasons for their selections and discards. Christian defenders leave it simply that it was an ethical and divine work; however, that is NOT the case given the erroneous nature traceable through Scripture (mentioned above in small example only). Discovery reveals the importance via political vote at Council, but little can be found to confirm that "Godly" motivations shaped the event which framed the first historical, VERY late unification of Christianity. Duty repealed the two opposing sectional doctrines for there laid no utilizing force by which to dictate subordination to the state, as primarily intended by Constantine (with most scholarly agreement, too). In contrast, “Pauline Christianity” provided the psychological phenomenon that tolled from a true belief in Heaven, Hell, a wrathful God, and limited salvation. These components so central to "Pauline Christianity" were deemed creatively suffice by the Council. Foreseen potential historically outreached, the consecutive Dark Ages featured a uniformity of diligent, unquestioning citizens well-controlled by the overwhelmingly powerful entity that the immediate Catholic Church was over Europe. To underline how interwoven the motives and actions of Rome's charismatic ruler were, popular historical resource "Antiquity Online" offers an excellent layout of Constantine’s affirmative action through and for the Church, explaining that in an effort to stabilize his crumbling empire, " [...] but it was the increase in its grandeur, including the prestige gained from Constantine's support that helped the Church make great new gains in converts. Some conversions were accommodations to the belief that the emperor was a Christian -- an accommodation to state power." If this is not enough reassurance of the intentional meaning behind Emperor Constantine’s hunger to reestablish rule, does it not strike suspicion that, “Constantine also ruled that various other Christian groupings who did not conform to established doctrine would be considered heretics and would have their meeting places confiscated [...] [W]ith the power of the state behind them, the bishops decided to make their authority law" ("Constantine, the first Christian emperor," Antiquity Online). And so the Council of Nicaea was successful in their interpretative foundation of Christianity, the state religion of Rome. At the political catalyst of the “Hell” phenomenon and Christian-exclusive "Heaven", the early Church accumulated masses and masses of lucrative revenue by pricing the forgiveness of sins (Reconciliation) especially high among the Sacraments. See, in commission of this sanction the Church thereby left the now very Christianized population of Rome inordinately in fear of being without Reconciliation, which was basically the most necessary Sacrament to evade Hell. To best illuminate the theological qualm that this potentially eroded, the one paramount Scripture ever-catalytic to the matter must be straightaway uncovered: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourself, it is the gift of God - not by works, so no one can boast" (NT Ephesians 2: 8-9); second, and in assured corroboration, "'He himself bore our sins' in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 'by his wounds you have been healed'" (NT 1 Peter 2:24). Overall, in order for the Church to enjoy the uprising that led to its becoming the overruling, embodying force that it truly was over Europe, a theological (and non-exceptional) casting of all non-Christians to a brimstone of eternal torment, Hell, had to be the fruitful catalyst necessary, decided the Council of Nicaea, for such inherently productive results to become reality.

    In conclusion, the stressed importance that Constantine and his lobbying henchmen placed on the Empire when they complexly conceived a theocratic reunification of the Roman state at The Council of Nicaea during early fourth-century Rome, taking great measure to create the first formal Christian Orthodoxy, is unforgettable. Their efforts were history-changing, as the extraordinary limelight of subsequent events that followed as Constantine ably seized dictatorship over Rome only proved to justify the means of the Nicaean Council. And yet, in support of the Council's consolidation of Christianity, nevertheless no compelling record of Jesus' life - one sufficiently preserved by a reputable level of accuracy that is - has ever surfaced to even halfway  verify the extraordinary number of supernatural allegations made about the life of the said Jesus of Nazareth. After all, even between the four canonical Gospels much conflict rests! In fact, Gloria Fiero discusses in “Human Tradition: Medieval Europe and the World Beyond", Chapter 8, emphatically the small rates of Christians early on, explaining, “Despite the missionary activities of the apostles, the disciple of Jesus, only a small percentage of the Roman Empire - scholarly estimates range from ten to fifteen percent - became Christians in the first hundred years after Jesus’ death” (Fiero 10). How minuscule does that number’s credibility become when stripped down to the mere handfuls of supposed eyewitnesses who could by some accuracy recall Jesus and his message for widespread reach? (And even then we know too well today, of course, that there is exponential proof contingent to the VERY high fallibility of eyewitness testimonies; just like in modern life, the more recent the typically more efficient.) All in all, in honesty the nature of the argument here posited is truly not to insult any of the beliefs prescribed to the Christian religion. It is rather a clean demonstration of the overwhelming unlikelihood that the Bible was somehow perfected by human hands within history as it is written (whether or not divine "inspiration" is alleged); inconvenient or not, such skepticism is all that can be RATIONALLY procured from a basic understanding of the clear-cut facts surrounding the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E. Rome. There is absolutely no proof to confirm the claim that the Bible as we know it is anything close to an inerrant, much less Godly, literal form. Zero.



Works Cited

"Constantine, the first Christian emperor," Antiquity Online, at: http://www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch24.htm

"The Lost Gospels."  Gnostic Society Library. Gnostic Society Library, n.d. Web. 09 Dec 2009. http://www.gnosis.org/media/LostGospels.html.

Brown, Michael. "Answering Jewish objections to Jesus: General and historical objections," Baker Book House, (2000).

Fiero, Gloria. Human Tradition: Medieval Europe and the World Beyond”. 2. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2006. 10, 18. Print. 

Riley, Gregory. "One Jesus, many Christs," Harper SanFrancisco, (1997).

Riley, Gregory. "The River of God," Harper SanFrancisco, (2001). Page 8.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Deaf People with the opportunity to hear should take it in a heartbeat!





Home 

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"Why Deaf People Opposed to being Cured Unknowingly make a Life-Altering Mistake"

      Believe it or not, many deaf people eligible for some form of hearing aid, implant, or surgery which would allow them to hear opt against it. Accordingly, they feel complacent in their own world of silence in which they've spent their whole lives adjusted in. They view the outside world as having underestimated and looked down upon them all their lives solely due to their deafness. In spite of the blatant doubt that society felt for them and the rest of deaf people, they are able to live self-sufficient, socially-integrated (at least within their own infrastructured communities, anyway) lives. Although they cannot hear they effectively have been using sign language to communicate just as long as hearing individuals have been using vocal speech to communicate. They've learned to read lips with some proficiency, therefore becoming more adept to communicating with the hearing world, and perhaps through much hard work have even acquired the ability to speak (if only to a limited degree).

And yet not one deaf individual will ever truly be able to understand just how greatly disadvantaged they really are - unless, of course, they someday hear.

I strongly advocate any deaf person with the opportunity to hear (even if only a bit) seizing the chance as a true miracle. Yes, the methods by which deaf people can now ably supplement and live functioning lives are extraordinary. However, none ever can grant a deaf individual the ability to walk up to a given hearing person and easily start up some small talk in the typical, carefree way that is of course taken for granted by most. Nothing can actually allow them to experience music the way it was meant to - by listening, not by feeling whatever vibrations consequent from its playing. And no matter what, deaf people must utilize a sparingly smaller amount of harder-to-discover outside environments - whether that be in the context of work, socializing, or even just tedious errand-running - which are intentionally made friendly to their "supplemented" inability to hear as does everyman. The daily tasks that hearing individuals meet in everyday life, a normal day's molehills, are the mountains which the deaf are forced to perseveringly climb nonstop, whether that be in finding employment, in searching for a place of worship specially for the hearing-impaired (which - particularly for deaf individuals whose religion is not that of the majority's - can be sparingly rare), or otherwise.

It is simply unarguable: The life that the deaf American leads is much tougher by default than that of the hearing one.

Now, none of this is to disregard the tribulation of the no-longer-deaf person as they learn the difference between a good sound and a bad sound, between important ones and unimportant ones as they strive to recognize the basic rhythm of sounds in everyday life. Each day no less overwhelming, the new hearer very necessarily would have to constantly attempt to well-familiarize oneself with the countless many sounds fitted into the different aspects of life. But before such struggles can even BEGIN to be acknowledged, it is not to be forgotten that such repercussions of transitioning into the hearing world are not only totally expected - they're technically but the most desirable outcomes following being truly cured of one's deafness! Why but to gain the experience of hearing, of knowing how great their disadvantage really was and why as a cured individual that disadvantage has greatly shrunk.

So yes, certainly there is the undoubtable strife of adjustment to face, but again, it could not be emphasized enough that this was explained in great detail to them beforehand, and that knowingly - bravely - the miraculous procedure was avidly prepared for. And, most important of all, the end will by far justify the difficult means as they increasingly enjoy the ability to communicate with the overwhelming majority of people, by speaking and hearing at last. In sum, all the previously noted burdens of everyday deaf life which altogether form that daunting mountain soon enough begins to speedily dissipate. With time to adjust, patience, hard work, and an elated learning process, that frightening, mysterious procedure that allowed them to hear is easily redefined for the new hearer as the very miracle that went on to extraordinarily better their life forever.

And that, I think, says it all, my skeptics and supporters alike.

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Gay Adoption is GOOD!!!!!



http://www.trbimg.com/img-551e951d/turbine/sfl-should-gay-adoption-be-difficult-20150403 




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"Gay Adoption: an Ideal Option for Foster Children despite Social Persecution"

By Jordan Adorno

     When it comes to the question of where to place orphaned children left in the dilemma of foster care, adoption of each child into suitable families whom, after having been willingly scrutinized, are waiting to adopt their own sons and daughters is always the most ideal goal. With over 500,000 children existing as unresolved burdens in the system throughout their childhood years, it appears transparent that new methods of integrating these children into healthy, deserving families must be pertinently evaluated (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2009). However, though it seems logical that homosexuals would be considered a highly marketable demographic for adoption,gays wishing to become parents are still victims of slow-to-progress, prejudicial legal complexes,as well as the adoption agencies conveniently hiding behind said complexes to fit their homophobic bias, too. Illogically, however, even after positive results from countless studies have sufficiently demonstrated that children of gay parents are under no greater hazard whatsoever (later discussed), homophobia in many parts of the USA still disallows gays from potentially decreasing the percentage of children in foster care by substantial margins.

     It is preliminarily necessary to any Pro-Gay argument to address the many myths which have rampantly fueled an inaccurate perception of gays and lesbians as deviant dangers to society. Because of the rabid efforts by Christianity – the religion which roughly 75 % of America identifies as – homophobia heavily misleads the nation with lies about gay people, which then makes it extremely difficult to accurately restructure society’s consequentially perpetuated discrimination. In terms of intellectual, objective research, though, the rabid organizations seeking to prevent gays from receiving equal rights are unfounded because for decades world-renowned credible institutions like the American Psychological Association, the largest body of mental research nationally, have concluded that gays are as normal as straights. (For further detail, see "Lesbian & Gay Parents & Their Children: Summary Of Research Findings".) In an article entitled “Sexual Orientation, Parents, & Children”, the APA details their resolution after carefully analyzing and asserting dozens of research studies’ specific findings; questioning the APA and its passionate, urgent opposing of all cases regarding legal and social discrimination against gays would be absurd in itself, but nevertheless the APA exceedingly compiled an expansion of empirical research data dating from the early 1970s to the article’s publication year, 2004 (American Psychological Association Council, 2004).


      If a “concern" of anti-gay Americans is to scrutinize the research’s relevance, it is well-rebutted by numerous other, most namely research institutions, too, referenced within the American Psychological Association article. The Department of Children and Families, who deal with helping abused children in all kinds of disturbed situations by, quite frequently, relocating them to foster homes, is one great example of this (APA Council, 2004). Foster parents are chosen very scrupulously by state-approved professionals,so DCF is obviously very credible. Research compiled by J. Stacey and T.J. Biblarz, contributors to American Sociological Review respectively, correlatively found that gays and lesbians are NOT any less competent, and thereby no more dysfunctional, as parents than straights are, as detailed in "Does sexual orientation of parents matter?" very informatively (Biblarz & Stacey; 2001). The same opinion was voiced from the American Civil Liberties Union in the late nineties - itself one of the most powerful machines on human rights whose power has been useful in many legal interventions – and rightfully they have stepped in on excessive cases of homophobia on many specific occasions, too (American Civil Liberties Union, 1999). Slow-to-change lawmakers should accept the ethical, renownedly respectable research from these prestigious institutions and even be keen to help correct ignorance in America concerning homophobia, as opposed to perpetuating baseless, archaic prejudices.

    The culmination of this small selection of compelling facts should be weighed in the context of how powerful the presence of homophobia is in American culture. All of these empirically-based research organizations on mental health, human rights, child welfare and so forth are having their research, all of which have concluded in favor of gays and lesbians, mysteriously neglected, and why? Curiously, as noted previously all of this isn’t new or “cutting-edge” research as some of these positive correlations existed in the 1970s! Hence, it is too ironic how the agenda of antigay activists has less to do with concern based on fact and far more to do with concern based on reprehensible hate, and therefore should be discarded. In a culture that has made strong turnarounds from slavery and the patriarchal ownership of women, it’s hardly a respectable statement that America should continue to accept evil when hundreds of thousands of parentless children are at risk. It is a human instinct in most beings to pass on their identities by creating families, to appreciate the beauty of children, and America should extend that right to ALL contributing members of society regardless of sexual orientation!


References

American Civil Liberties Union, Initials. (06, April 1999). Fact sheet:

Overview of lesbian and gay parenting, adoption and foster care. Retrieved from
American Psychological Association Council. (2004, July 30). Sexual Orientation,
Parents, and Children. Retrieved from
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2009). Foster Care statistics. Retrieved from
Stacey, J. & Biblarz, T.J. (2001). (How) Does sexual orientation of parents matter?
American Sociological Review, 65, 159-183.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Why I will be voting for President Obama on November 6th...



"A succinct list of Compelling Reasons to Reelect the President"



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/Barack_Obama_signs_Lilly_Ledbetter_Fair_Pay_Act_of_2009_1-29-09.jpg
President Obama signing the all-monumental Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, his very first bill in office notably, in the name of women's rights

 

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         An unapologetic conservative friend of mine asked me via Facebook why it is that I want President Obama to win in November. Inspired by that and the fact that I'm having issues sleeping more than four hours tonight (:P), I guess I'll just elaborate a bit on here :):

    First of all, I think he has made tremendous progress when it comes to social issues, particularly the rights of women (and no, I'm not just talking about him being Pro-Choice :P) and gays. The very first bill he signed, in fact, was the Lily Ledbetter Act, which effectively helped greatly in the fight against unequal pay. (Women on average, as of 2008, were making 77 cents to men's dollar :(.) In major addition, he quickly established women's rights as a pivotal duty expected of his entire cabinet! It is to be highly admired that President Obama is continuously fighting for gender equality in America, regardless of one's own party affiliation (or lack thereof). Consecutively, as far as gay rights go - which by pure nature of course is going to be very important to me, and there's nothing wrong with that - he has accomplished so much, most mentionable his ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and his making sure hate crimes against gays be included in the federal hate crimes law. (Gay men, according to the following cited collegial study among COUNTLESS others, are, quite stunningly, five times likelier to be the victims of hate crimes, especially those involving VIOLENCE (source: "Gay Men Face Inordinately High Rates Of Hate-Motivated Violence"), yet they likely only make up between 5-8 % of the overall human population - how disturbing is that?!)

    Moving on, I am a firm proponent of Healthcare reform, yes, of "Obamacare" or whatever you want to call it, especially as a mentally ill patient who has been the victim of EXCESSIVE rip-offs from his insurance company. The new Healthcare reform law provides me many benefits, ranging from my ability to remain on my father's insurance until the age of 26 to guaranteeing that once I'm in the situation where I DO have to leave my father's insurance plan, at very least I'll have a much larger selection of AFFORDABLE Healthcare insurance plans. (To list just one rather illuminating current dilemma I face, my insurance company, BlueShield/Bluecross, will not allow me to purchase a perfectly adequate generic brand of my ADD medicine, effectively forcing me to pay 87 dollars today instead of 20 (or less) for the generic.)

    Thirdly, it is a proven, concretely-substantiated FACT that the economy is at last enjoying steadily increasing, significant improvement (albeit not as speedily as would be ideal, admittedly :P). I, personally speaking, am quite content with the job I have now had and greatly succeeded at for almost a year. (I was originally hired as a seasonal employee ONE WEEK after applying; now, comparatively, my boss verbatim has informed me that I am “the most valuable employee that we [management] have.”) It is to be consciously acknowledged therefore, by the way, that I am CERTAINLY not one of those undesirables who simply wants to live off the government (be it the inexplicable case of Healthcare or otherwise), nor am I a raging, liberal apologist of such people (although I'm pretty sure you already knew that :]).


    All of these reasons which compel me to reelect the incumbent president do NOT, however, suffice to make me complacent about the issues which I disagree with him on not withstanding. For instance, my ever-obvious love and adoration for the Death Penalty and my unfailing opposition against even REMOTE tolerance for illegal immigrants are two perfect examples of me disagreeing with the president. Nonetheless, overall I feel certain — far beyond a reasonable doubt, to speak emphatically (:P) — that President Obama is the candidate which by far has my confident, well-concluded vote this November because, in terms of the “Greater Good,” he has proven his ability to improve and make America successful consistently throughout his almost-finished first term in office; yes indeed, all my zealous study and analysis has left me perfectly assured that the good Obama would do if reelected greatly exceeds that which would result from a Romney/Paul administration :).

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

A much-needed Reality Check on Gay Marriage.


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"Legalizing Gay Marriage: why 'Civil Unions' are Separate but NOT EQUAL"

          In modern-day USA, gay rights is a highly contentious issue in the political limelight. The most faithful Christian demographics have consistently been the gay community's strongest opponents, whereas more secular demographics have always been increasingly supportive. And although in the current year, 2012, credible polls suggest that over 50 % of Americans now support gay marriage (including President Obama, most remarkably) - only the most controversial of all demanded rights by gays, notably - the fact remains that the number of states where it's legal has yet to reach double-digits (source: "CNN Poll: Americans' attitudes toward gay community changing"). This is in major part due to the substantial number of those so-called "moderates" whom practically view themselves as saintly for supporting civil unions for same-sex couples while 'diplomatically' (in THEIR deluded heads, that is) reserving marriage for heterosexuals only.

     Such statements, in truth, are vociferous endorsements of decreased discrimination, yes, but the fact remains that ANY discrimination whatsoever is reprehensible!! Indeed, it is imperative that we as a society acknowledge the crucial (if inconvenient) fact that anything less than no discrimination is totally unacceptable and in need of full eradication nonetheless. In fact, the mere notion that these constituents feel great about themselves for reaching this supposed 'happy medium' is all the more offensive. See, the philosophy that gays should have the right to enter civil unions but not actual marriages is equatable to the long-abolished pretext which decided blacks should have the right to ride on the bus with whites, but only as long as they stayed in the seats designated to them in the back; hence, just as we realized it was NOT social justice to make African Americans experience a merely decreased degree of discrimination (in other words, a form of discrimination nevertheless), we must now in turn face the unavoidable fact that granting homosexuals some but not all rights is no less a shameful social injustice, too.
   
     Even if we are to speak purely in legal terms, the civil unions offered in a handful of states to gay couples still lack many essential protections provided to married couples. Thus, if the only problem with gay marriage is the very inclusion of the word 'marriage' itself, which is what most of these supposed "moderates" say, the civil union compromise remains legally insufficient. But as far as I'm concerned that legal conundrum is secondary, actually, to simple moralistic implications of the matter. Indeed, who is ANYONE to feel entitled to the detestable "right" of denying his or her fellow tax-paying citizen, gay or straight for that matter, to basic civil liberties?! Such is certainly NOT the American way - as a matter of strict fact, it is the total antithesis to the one thing that this country is most founded upon: freedom!

http://townipproject.wikispaces.com/file/view/Gay-Marriage-7.jpg/34017439/307x401/Gay-Marriage-7.jpg  Our primary constitutional liberty to religious freedom, for instance, works to perfectly illuminate the fallacy in the essence of gay marriage opponents' argument altogether: although every American has the right to feel and even publicly express personal resentment towards others' religions of choice, most important of all is that nobody has the right to impede on another citizen's liberty to make that choice for his or her own self, not EVER, at least not on American soil. We each have the liberty to practice our own religions freely (if we have one at all, of course) so long as they do not involve any unlawful acts, as that is one of the primary inherent protections written into the heart of the US constitution! By that same token, in constitutional theory, thus, opponents of gay marriage have the right to feel so, the right even to openly voice so, but never the right to strip any one person or group of their respective right to marry whom they wish, just as no one reserves the right to take that same liberty from them either.  

    All in all, the main point I mean to emphasize here is that regardless of one's personal feelings of discomfort about another having all the same liberties extended to his or her own self, there are basic constitutional rights that take precedence before anything else in this country. Historically, our country's ancestors traveled here for refuge from, quite often, religiously-fueled discrimination, which ironically alone is the central catalyst to all the opposition against gays. By allowing this prejudice to win we as a country are regressing socially, emulating the very discrimination that tormented our ancestors. No, rather we must accept the inevitable fact that it is NOT the American way to disenfranchise groups of people of their basic civil liberties even in the slightest. Inconvenient to some as it may be, it hence must be acknowledged by all that just as heterosexuals are afforded the right to marry whom they wish, so homosexuals should be afforded just the same.   

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Monday, June 4, 2012

IT IS MUCH TOO CRUCIAL AT THIS TO AVOID ADDRESSING THIS ALL-CHANGING, PARAMOUNT ISSUE ANY LONGER....



My friends and I at synagogue the day of my conversion


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"Why I am a Jew: Confessing to the Evolution of Atheists Concerned for America"

BY JORDAN MIGUEL ADORNO 

           Those of you who've been following this site for even a short period were probably shocked to see me wearing a kippah (yamaka) in some of the videos I've added throughout the site. (A kippah is of course a Jewish-type hat which modern Jews, inexplicably men, wear while inside their respective synagogues.) My strong, unrelenting essays revealing the "dark side" of the Bible might've even suggested that I'm an "anti-theist"; in reality, I've always felt that Atheists who say all organized religion is bad are just as insane and radical as the religious extremists whom they so vehemently oppose. No - my Jewish enlightenment came as a welcome surprise a year ago, sweeping me off my legging completely. It in fact truly became the one thing that has saved my life.   
    
My mom and I on Rosh Hashanah
    It all started with my mom beginning to explore Judaism early last year. At first I didn't take her too seriously, as my mother has infamously gone from religion to religion throughout her adult life. But after casually joining her at a Friday night Shabbat (the proper term for the Jewish sabbath) service, I became intrigued and compelled to greater curiosity about the religion. In addition, it just so happened that a good friend of mine, Jamie, was Jewish, and that her stepfather was the senior rabbi at that very synagogue, Ohev Shalom; henceforth, my already knowing Rabbi Rubinger (Aaron :P) alongside Jamie's in-depth knowledge to guide me made the path to my Jewish illumination that much sweeter.
    
      As days passed I was impressed to be participating in a religion that DIDN'T reject me just for being gay, and which actually ENCOURAGED me to question everything, even the Judaic texts, for only the benefit of my own spiritual advancement. The religion's intent, I learned, was not to overbear the outside world with its own dogmatic teachings, but rather to best interpret and learn from its texts how to make the world a better place. Amazed, before I knew it Aaron was waiving the fee for the conversion class (which my mom and step dad were already enlisted in), and faster than a ray of light I was morphing from a passionate Atheist into a zealous, scrupulously faithful prospective Jew.

     One thing that really  opened the door for me, though, was the stunning fact that a Jew apparently can be "Agnostic" about the existence of God. This granted me from the start leverage to maintain my unbelieving stances while also exploring what Judaism could do to enhance my life. As I delved deeper, I was relieved to learn that whereas most Christians retain a firm degree of literalistic attachment to the Bible, Jews acknowledge that their Scriptures are highly unlikely to be the unaltered Divine word, especially following millenniums of transcription. Immediately, I highly respected Jews even more so for logically accepting that their Bible, the Tanakh (called the Old Testament in Christianity), remains - though probably not purely divine - still a God-given record of their extraordinary history as well as THEIR supreme moral guidebook to life. See, Jews are specifically forbidden from proselytizing others to their faith, another major plus for me coming as an Atheist :). (To further bring context, here's a full definition of the Tanakh: pivotally compiling Judaism's entire Bible in itself, it contains the Torah ("Teaching", also known as the Pentateuch by Christians; 'the Five Books of Moses'), Nevi'im ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings") respectively.)

Me in costume for Purim, a Jewish holiday
    As I attended the conversion classes, I therefore became captivated by the fact that Jews prevent modern-day opponents from inevitably discrediting their Scripture of its credence (as with today's heavy scrutiny on Christianity, for instance). See, had the Jews continued using a literalistic pretext toward the Bible, opponents to Judaism would otherwise be able to attack the Hebrew god DIRECTLY for any (and every) adversary to be found within Judaic texts. Instead, this way, I realized, a Jew could take the good with the bad in exploring their Tanakh without feeling any guilt. I easily fell in love with this signature principle to Judaism, absolutely gratified and persuaded by this key difference from Christianity!

       And unlike salvation-based religions like Christianity and Islam, Judaism focuses on the here and now. Instead of obsessing about an oh-so-exclusive afterlife, as Jews we strive to improve the world around us. This works well for me, someone who resents religions more preoccupied with the hypothetical afterlife; if I'm going to stand behind any cause, religious or otherwise, it needs to have some kind of practical relevance to the living world. I'm not going to live my life preparing for a world I don't even know for sure will follow after death. Simply put, I cannot genuinely be a part of something that doesn't strive to make a difference somehow in the ever-worsening world of our own! No, through Judaism I am obliged to make the world a better place: Justice, peace, righteousness, charity...these were the values that turned me into a Jew.

    And hence I was left insatiably enamored by a predilection to Conservative Judaism. Before I knew it I was attending (with or without my mom, notably) both Friday and Saturday Shabbat services every week. I was making friend after friend among the congregants and fellow prospective Jews in my class alike. I bonded with both Rabbi Rubinger and Rabbi Kay, asking them all the pressing questions across my mind, and showed my devotion as I attended synagogue for the string of holiday services in impending months (i.e. Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Simchat Torah etc.). Before I knew it synagogue had become a source of sanity and enrichment to my life, and the congregation like a second family.
   

Me my very first time at synagogue
     And now as I attend classes for my upcoming Bar Mitzvah (slated for April of next year), I can safely say I have absolutely no regrets. Am I more open to the possibility of God's existence? Yes, I think that in the extraordinary development of the Universe, starting with the Big Bang of course, it's hardly farfetched to think that there might be some consciousness to all that.  Fittingly, Judaism does not describe an exclusively male, patriarchal-like god, but rather a genderless overruling deity, which resonates appropriately with me, the firm-as-ever feminist and all.  I'm now open to belief rather than stubbornly redacting it. But regardless, most of all Judaism drives me to become a better version of myself everyday, commands me to as a matter of fact, so with that said you better believe it's here to stay :)...


    ...But don't worry - so is Atheists Concerned for America :P!
 

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My Favorite Inspiring Quotes (some which may well shock you!)

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Helen Keller, my greatest personal hero



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Hall of Quotable Fame

   
"Ignorance is not bliss." - MADONNA


 Madonna, Queen of Pop  


"Small minds discuss people. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas." - Eleanor Roosevelt


"There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action." - Goethe


"Many people would rather die than think; in fact most do..." - Bertrand Russell


"A tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny." 'The Wolf and the Lamb', Aesop


"When in doubt, tell the truth." - Mark Twain


"The one who hates correction will die." - Proverbs 15:10

"When indeed we shall learn that we are all related to each other, that we are all members of one body...Until the spirit of love for our fellow men, regardless of race, color or creed, shall fill the world, making real in our lives and in our deeds the actuality of human brotherhood - until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained." - Helen Keller


A depiction of 'Wolf and the Lamb' by Aesop
"So, let us not be blind to our differences - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved." - John F. Kennedy


"Next time you want pussy, just look in the mirror baby!" - Madonna (again)


"Believe not because some old manuscripts are produced, believe not because it is your national belief, believe not because you have been made to believe from your childhood, but reason truth out; and after you have analyzed it, then if you find it will do good to one and all, believe it, live up to it and help others live up to it." - Buddha


"I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire


"Don't be idealistic of people!" - Brenda Horne


A statue of the Buddha




      
"But let judgement run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream!"- Amos 5:24


"There is no evil committed in this world that cannot be redeemed by a greater love, and a will to love will always find a worthy object." - Katherine Kurtz





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