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Welcome

  • At launch, Artgainz will be providing daily speedpaint videos and blog posts on a variety of topics

Recent posts

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ArtGainz
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The Bible and Mixed Marriage

There are some who insist that the Bible condemns race mixing. Oddly, there are others who insist that the Bible has nothing to say about it, at least in the New Testament, and anything the Old Testament has to say is specific to the ancient Israelites and has no significance to us today except perhaps as a warning not to marry outside the faith. 
 
I think the true answer is a bit more sophisticated than either of those perspectives.
 
There has been much confusion in the United States regarding this issue since the two primary nations of the US, the English American Nation and the African American nation, are imprecisely referred to as two different “races”, the Whites and the Blacks. Thinking of them as “nations” (or “tribes”) should help clear up some of the confusion.
 
With the resurgence of nationalism there is bound to be some befuddlement regarding this issue, so I will do my best to follow a train of logic from the available information to figure out what the Bible has to say or imply about mixed marriage (if anything).
 
First of all, the plain fact is that when different tribes live close to each other, there’s always going to be some intermarriage. If Medieval Jews could not prevent their daughters from falling for Christian lovers, no other ethnic barrier stands a chance.
 
The Old Testament contains multiple injunctions warning the ancient Israelites against marrying outsiders, but for some reason there are also multiple stories about Israelites who married foreigners and were not condemned for it. This is not a contradiction. There was no condemnation if the foreign women were converts. In other words, there was no problem if the wife adopted her husband’s religion, worldview, and culture. Their children were not seen as “mixed” but as full members of the father’s tribe.
 
King David, for example, was of mixed ancestry, but he was never denigrated as any kind of mulatto or half-breed.
 
There is another side to the coin, however. The half-tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, two of the most rebellious tribes of Israel, were the result of their progenitor Joseph marrying a foreigner, and their rebellious behaviour is often traced back to the influence of their mother, even though we may assume she converted. Joseph was a righteous man and was not condemned for marrying a foreigner, but his marriage did lead to complications.
 
So if a Biblically-derived argument can be made about mixed marriage, it is the same that common sense would indicate: that sometimes mixed marriage is OK, but it can lead to very unpleasant complications, especially for the children.
 
Any argument against mixed marriage has to be derived from specific circumstances, such as whether the children are likely to be victims of ostracism or whether intermarriage is being used as a method of conquest---such as when Egypt attempted to subsume Israel by forcing all their young women to find Egyptian husbands (Exodus 1).

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The Physical Removal of Gun-Grabbers.

Private citizens have the natural right to possess and operate any weapon or tool of war which may ever possibly be used against anyone. To say otherwise is naïve and utopian.
 
It is increasingly obvious is that there should be a law making it a capital offense for a politician to propose gun restrictions. Maybe there should even be a clause allowing for such politicians to be legally assassinated. Call it a “citizen’s execution”.... sort of like a “citizen’s arrest”. Any politician who suggests or proposes gun restrictions has effectively declared themselves to be an enemy of the people.
 
Taking away a man’s guns is as unnatural and perverse as ripping out a lion’s teeth and tearing out its claws. We need these things to defend ourselves should the necessity arise.
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Something Worse than Slavery

“The Slave Market” (ca.1882) by Gustave Clarence Rodolphe Boulanger


One of the greatest historical ironies of Western history is that we abolished slavery and then established an institution that was objectively worse: the modern prison system. Another way of putting it would be that we abolished slavery and then re-instituted it under another name. It’s almost as if slavery is an unavoidable aspect of human society.
 
The natural, primary principle of criminal justice is reciprocity, or “an eye for an eye”. Whatever harm you do to someone, that harm should be returned upon you, no more and no less. If you murder someone, you should be executed. If you steal something, you should give it back. The modern prison system goes far beyond “an eye for an eye” and the way it operates is more like punishing a man who put out another man’s eye by removing both his eyes, both his arms, both his legs, punching him in the face, and giving him a kick in the groin.
 
If a man steals $1000 worth of merchandise from Walmart, what harm comes to Walmart? They lose $1000 dollars and a maybe few hours of productivity. I’ve worked in retail. I’ve seen it happen.
 
If the thief is then caught and sent to prison, what harm comes to him? He could lose his job. He could lose his car. He could lose his family. He will be separated from his family, possibly leaving his children in the hands of a stranger. He will be unable to support his family. He will lose months of productivity. He will be forced to endure the company of other criminals, some of whom might lure him into even greater crime. The monetary equivalent of his punishment could well run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, much more than the $1000 he stole.
 
Has anyone at Wall Mart lost their car or their job or their family? No. Has anyone at Walmart been forced to socialize with criminals? No. Has anyone at Walmart lost months of productivity? No.
 
Obviously, in this example the punishment does not fit the crime. It is cruel and unusual. If the principles of justice were being fairly applied, the thief’s punishment would include little more than returning the merchandise he stole.
 
If our justice system properly applied the principles of justice, the punishment for murder would be death, the punishment for rape would be death, the punishment for thievery would be to return the stolen property, the punishment for assault would be a beating, and the punishment for aggravated robbery would be to return the stolen property plus a beating. Notice that long-term imprisonment is not listed here anywhere.
 
The only crime for which long-term imprisonment could be considered an appropriate punishment would be if someone illegally held someone captive for a long time.
 
The “justice system” became injust the moment it decided to make “rehabilitation” its goal and expanded its mandate beyond distributing justice into “keeping criminals off the streets”. These changes were made in the name of compassion, but they resulted in damnable injustices.
 
Keeping criminals off the streets is a valid consideration, but it should not be something with which the criminal justice system concerns itself. It should be the purview of someone else. If it weren’t for our modern multi-racial societies, some form of slavery or indentured servitude could be proposed as a viable method for “keeping criminals off the streets”. Almost any form of slavery would be better than the modern prison system.

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Who Needs Jesus to Tell Them Not to Rape and Murder?
Alex Høgh Andersen as "Ivar the Boneless" on History Channel's 'Vikings'

[Language warning.]
Penn's radio show: https://youtu.be/AwebTX3rk3E
Penn giving a lecture: https://youtu.be/fglEqOfxkLM

In these clips, the vociferous Penn Jillette recounts a common argument he hears from Christians, which he summarizes as, “If [the Christian God] does not exist, then what’s to prevent you from raping and murdering everyone you want?” His impassioned and indignant response is that even without God, he has somehow managed not to rape or murder anyone! He then suggests that anyone who uses such an argument must have a list somewhere of all the people they would like to rape and murder, and that law enforcement should be informed.

While a rather clever bit of rhetoric, Penn’s response appears astoundingly shallow and dishonest for such an intelligent and well-educated individual as himself. I am uncertain whether he is purposefully misrepresenting the Christian beliefs or if he legitimately does not understand the point.

If he does understand, and is purposefully twisting words, it is revolting to see someone use their intelligence and charisma in such a Mephistophelean manner.

If he does NOT understand, then he is tilting at windmills and attacking straw men---quite a spectacle but ultimately meaningless.

***

If Penn is implying that he is incapable of evil, he is full of shit. Throughout history, people have managed to commit great acts of wickedness despite how intelligent, enlightened, educated, or otherwise virtuous they were. Sometimes they rationalized their way into it; sometimes they were driven into it by their emotions or their hormones; and sometimes they did it without realizing it was wrong because it was socially acceptable. Because of this, Christians have no great faith in their own personal righteousness, nor in anyone else’s. Christians understand that even saints can fall into sin, so maintaining an external moral code is necessary. King David, for example, was a righteous and virtuous man right up to the day he wasn’t, and without the voice of God in his ear, he would have remained unrepentant of his adultery and murder.

Ask yourself, can you assert with 100% certainty that there is no scenario where you (or someone like you) might be tempted to commit a great act of wickedness? If a saint can fall, can you?

If you think you are immune to great evil, then you do not understand human nature. Evil springs out of the human heart. Mankind has a natural tendency to turn to evil. And evil has a tendency to grow, just like lies.

***

Unlike what Penn is snidely impugning, the Christian does not believe that only an external, imposed moral code prevents people from raping and murdering each other. On the contrary, Christians believe that everyone knows right from wrong on some level of their psyche.

***

Penns’ argument is that if you need God to tell you not to commit rape and murder, then you must be an exceptionally wicked person---unlike himself and other atheists, whom we must suppose are just inherently virtuous. The flaw with Penn’s argument is although the knowledge of good and evil may be inherent, virtue is not. Virtue is a learned characteristic, and he learned it from Christianity. No other worldview vilifies rape and murder to the extent Christianity does. Some worldviews and cultures even justify or excuse these behaviours.

Through an accident of birth, Penn was born into a Christian society that taught him that rape and murder are some of the most heinous acts it is possible to commit, but if he had been born in a Medieval Viking village, he might have had a very different attitude. It was only when the Vikings found Jesus that they started having a change of heart.

If you lived in Medieval Europe, you would not be contemptuous when you heard that the Vikings had “found Jesus”. You would not be saying “Who needs Jesus to tell them not to rape and murder?”

The historical illiteracy of atheists is mind-boggling.

***

Although Penn’s outrage and indignation are quite powerful to behold, the utter thoughtlessness of his position is revealed when you consider that there are always going to be people who are held back from raping and murdering solely by the fear of God. Does Penn think it’s a good idea to tear down the last restraint holding these people back?

Penn can go straight to hell.

***

Near the end of the second clip, Penn rages that the phrase “God is good” demonstrates that morality transcends God and therefore Christians who use this phrase are actually inadvertently demonstrating that you don’t need God to tell you what is good.

This argument makes perfect sense to a secular humanist, of course, because they define morality as something that can be determined through human reason. But Christians are not Secular Humanists, and do not define morality this way. Penn’s response demonstrates that he is trapped in his own head, unable to approach the issue except from his own perspective. His rage is therefore impotent and meaningless. He is like the homeless man you see on the street corner shouting and fighting the air.


To the Christian, God is literally the definition of good. He is the source of morality. Whatever God is or does, it is good. Goodness is defined by God in the same way that the colour ‘candy apple red’ is defined by candy apples. “Candy apple red” would be meaningless if candy apples did not exist; and in the same way “goodness” would be meaningless without God. Anyone who has determined “goodness” through reason is merely thinking God’s thoughts after Him.


***


I am continuously astounded by anyone who thinks that atheism presents a true intellectual challenge to Christianity. Atheism is all smoke and mirrors, disambulation, self-delusion, self-aggrandizement, rhetorical discombobulation, narcissism, and navel-gazing.
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Alphas in Film: Professor Bruttenholm


Any fan of the Hellboy comics by Mike Mignola was almost certainly disappointed by the 2019 Hellboy film, which completely failed to capture the tone of the comics, turning a Shakespeare-laden masterpiece into the goriest film I have ever seen.

Guillermo Del Toro’s unfinished film trilogy, although it may not have been as faithful in terms of story line, did a much better job capturing the spirit of the comic books.

When I think of Hellboy, I think of Shakespearean allusions and hilarious slapstick comedy. In the comics, Hellboy is constantly interacting with ghosts in period garb quoting Shakespeare and other literary luminaries. There is a hilarious segment where he accidentally blows up half a mountain because he can’t remember which of the two types of grenades on his utility belt to use. There is a segment where his “foolproof” rocket pack won’t engage after he’s jumped out of an airplane, prompting him to repeatedly mash the On button, and an absolutely genius panel where the thing explodes. Hellboy is unharmed, of course. He’s fireproof.

The 2019 film has some humour and some old-timey allusions, but most of the film is completely unwatchable because of how gory it is. Whoever made the film did not understand the audience. Any gore that appears in the comics is stylized.

What I found fascinating about the film, however, was the portrayal of Professor Bruttenholm, who was seriously miscast as Ian McShane. Now, Ian McShane is a great actor, and I suppose he was cast in the film because he always plays characters with vaguely defined supernatural or quasi-supernatural powers or arcane knowledge, but the problem is that Ian McShane is an alpha---or he only portray alphas---and Professor Bruttenholm is not an alpha.

It’s not that a professor cannot be an alpha. Professor Challenger in The Lost World, both the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the film starring John Rhys Davies, is an alpha. But in the comics, “Broom” is not an alpha. I might describe him as an alpha nerd, but there is a world of difference between an alpha and an alpha nerd.

The character of Professor Broom was captured perfectly by John Hurt in the Guillermo del Toro films, in my opinion. He played the character so well that he essentially became the character in my mind: a wise old man and a good father. He has some authority in the Bureau, but he is ultimately an advisor. He lets others lead. I’m not sure where he falls on the socio-sexual hierarchy, but I suspect he’s a delta.

In contrast, Ian McShane’s character is totally in charge of everything. His self-confidence radiates from him like the blinding beams of light that shot out Moses’ face. Rather than giving advice to those who ask, he gives commands. The real Professor Broom has an unwavering faith in God, and faith that he has raised his son right. McShane’s version has an unshakeable faith in himself.

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What would the founders have done differently if they could see the future?

When the United States was created, the founders—most of whom were Bible-believing Christians— avoided establishing a state church, something never before conceivable. I’m not entirely sure why they did this except that they must have had been influenced by Enlightenment philosophy. Perhaps they thought it would limit internecine conflict between different kinds of Christians. It was certainly not because they were attempting to prevent the Church from interfering in politics as many people today mistakenly assume.

The founders presumed that the principles of Christianity would remain a predominant force in government even without officially granting the Christian church a place at the table of government. Every other Christian nation that has ever existed allowed the Church to have a prominent role in the operations of state, but the United States made no provision for it, despite being one of the most Christian nations ever established. Christianity was so preeminent in their day that the Founders did not feel the urgency to cement its authority by giving its representatives a place in government. There were no other serious contenders: no Jews, no Muslims, no Buddhists. They took Christianity’s continuing preeminence in America for granted.

What the founders did not realize was that secular humanism lurked amongst them in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to evolve from a deceptively tantalizing idea into a full-fledged religion, complete with official ensconcement in the halls of power.

In retrospect, it is clear that the lack of an official state church in America is what allowed Secular Humanism to become the de facto state religion. This filthy cult---the faith that pretends to not be a faith---has now evolved far beyond whatever the Founders thought it was, and you can be certain that most of them would reject it and its fruits entirely if they could see it today.

The secular humanists of today have concocted a creation myth for themselves that the United States was founded on Enlightenment philosophy, that “Separation of Church and State” has always meant what they think it does. Even many Christians have fallen for this lie, thinking that the Enlightenment and Christianity can be synthesized somehow.

The reality is that Enlightenment philosophy slipped into the Founding like a thief through an unlocked window. If the Founders (perhaps even those few secular humanists among them) could have seen the state of American society in our day and how western society as a whole has followed America’s lead into many kinds of insanity, they would have established a state church in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
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These days, university degrees provide you with all the qualifications you’ll need for a stimulating career as a barista, and it’s a miracle that anyone comes out of the public schools anything other than a mindless slave of the state, indoctrinated into the precepts of secular humanism.

The problem with the universities is obvious. They’re run by blithering Marxists. Ten years ago I myself heard my professors say things like, “Real Communism has never been tried."

Milo Yiannopoulos famously says that people come out of modern universities dumber than when they went in, and he’s probably not wrong.

The purpose of the modern public school system, as you’ll learn by reading John Dewey, is to create good obedient citizens, not to teach people how to think for themselves. Dewey’s ideal graduate of the public school system would probably be someone like David Hogg, who parrots back the opinions of would-be totalitarians with all the naïve conviction of an automaton who has no doubts about the righteousness of his cause and has no conception that anyone of intelligence or goodwill might have a different opinion.

Unless you happen to have a truly exceptional private school in your vicinity, homeschooling is the only option if you want a real education.

The number of universities that provide useful training and don’t attempt to indoctrinate students into secular humanism is vanishingly small.

***

One complaint I hear repeatedly is that the public schools try to force students to learn a wide range of subject matter that most of them will never use in their adult life. For example, I took calculus in high school, but I’ve never used it as a professional. I barely used it in university. Sometimes I wonder if I could have used that time I spent learning calculus to learn something that would actually help me as an adult.

Why are public schools compelled to teach anything more than the basics, especially since they’re failing even in that? They just want butts in seats, to keep the federal tax dollars rolling in. I suppose schools should try to provide a rounded education, but not everyone has to sit through advanced courses, especially if they don’t have the aptitude for it. It is a waste of their precious time, which they could be using to learn productive skills. 

Whoever came up with the curriculum for the public schools must have been influenced by the hallucinatory dreams of the New Atheists, who fantasize about a coming generation of enlightened philosopher kings. The reality is that not everyone can be or wants to be educated into the deeper mysteries. Most people would be better off just learning productive skills which they can use to make money and support a family.

Many people get started in their careers and families much too late in life, and the public school system is largely to blame. Throughout most of history, people have started learning the direct skills they would need to support themselves at a much younger age.

You might object by pointing out that most people don’t live on farms anymore, that it is more common for people to go into a different profession than their parents, professions that require specialized training that mere parents cannot provide, but this is irrelevant. Even in the “old days” when apprenticeship was more common, those apprenticeships often began when a person was still fairly young.

***

I would suggest that young people consider going into the same profession as their parents. They will probably be better career counselors than any professional “career counselor”, many of whom are probably only qualified to help you get into the career of career counseling.

Your parents have an insider’s view into their professions. They can tell you how hard you’ll have to work and what sort of obstacles you’ll have to overcome.

***

I think the collapse of the modern education system (both the universities and the public schools) will herald the return of apprenticeships and the rise of specialized high schools.

Specialized schools like the kind I am describing already exist, but they are not as common as they should be. I knew a guy who was taught oil painting in high school. I would have killed to go to a specialized high school like that. 

I can imagine specialized high schools focusing on the following subjects:
      Electrical engineering
      Automobile repair
      Computer programming
      Computer hardware
      Construction
      Fabrication and Manufacturing
      Military
      Fine Carpentry
      Art and Design

Specific industries or even specific companies could even operate or sponsor high schools to teach the specific skill sets they require, becoming their primary recruitment sources. 

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I am not an economist. These are just my musings on the potential of turning to investment rather than debt.

For a Christian, the issue of debt can be confusing, since the Bible repeatedly refers to the evils of debt and pronounces curses upon moneylenders, which might make you think that the Biblical approach to debt and money-lending would be to forbid both, but Old Testament law inexplicably assumes that God’s people will themselves engage in these practices. I say 'inexplicably' because this is how it must seem to a binary thinker. The OT laws concerning debt are of course intended as a means of limiting and mitigating the destruction that it can cause.

As I wrote in a previous post, I believe that Jubilee laws (debt forgiveness after a pre-determined length of time) would go a long way to solving the debt problems we currently face, at least as individuals. Another possible solution for personal debt occurred to me, though I am uncertain how it could be implemented. Rather than looking to borrow money, people could be encouraged to look for investors. This is not an original idea of course. Attracting investors is hard, but if society and government discouraged money-lending and debt, I think people would organically find ways to make investing easier.
Perhaps people would find a way to sell shares of themselves.

When you borrow money, the only thing the moneylender wants is their money back with interest, within a reasonable amount of time. They don’t care how you pay back the money, just so long as you do. An investor is different. An investor has a personal interest in your success and has incentive to help you succeed in any way he can. He will go out of his way to help you out if you’re struggling.

At the present time, a serious obstacle to this model (replacing widespread debt with widespread investing) is that most investors of the sort I envision would probably have to come from within one’s local community and social circle, and since most of us are increasingly unconnected from our communities and becoming more and more socially isolated, we would have difficulty attracting investors. Friends, neighbours, and mentors might provide greater accountability than a bank, but they have to exist in the first place. You can find a bank anywhere, but you might not find community.

A whole host of societal changes would have to occur for something like this investment model to really come to fruition. Primarily, people would have to stop moving around all over the country in search of work. Communities would have to be more like they were in the pre-industrial age, with deep multi-generational roots. I think this is likely to happen after a major war on the North American continent. 

This investment model, once it was  implemented, would serve as a catalyst for bonding community together, creating interconnected webs of goodwill, accountability, and trust.


“A Moneylender Visited by a Weeping Woman” (1654) by Gabriel Metsu. 
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“The Money Lender” (1842) by Charpentier Auguste.
One of the curses of the modern world is the debt epidemic. Almost everyone is in debt and live most, if not of all, of their adult lives in debt.  It grows faster than our ability to pay it back. The conspiracy theorists talk about us all being “debt slaves”, and they can’t be far off from the truth.

Most of us, I think, understand that debt is horrible, and building a society that runs on debt will probably result in huge problems at some point—larger problems than whatever we currently face. But any normal person who has sat down and thought about it has probably run up against a particular roadblock: the question of whether a modern capitalist economy could be created or sustain itself without debt. To go into business, most people—even highly intelligent people—borrow money. Business tycoon and President Donald Trump himself started out, as he said, with “a small loan of a million dollars”, which he then turned into a vast corporate empire.

Keynesian economists “solve” the problem of debt by pretending that it doesn’t exist. They suggest perpetually kicking the can of debt further and further down the road. Each generation leaves the debt problem to be dealt with by the next generation. This is insane, perverse, and historically illiterate. The bill will come due at some point, both for governments and individuals.

Communists “solved” the problem of debt by making everything “free” and paying for everything out of the public purse, which of course created infinitely more problems than existed in the first place.

Socialists and leftists would solve the problem of debt through various social programs, universal basic income, and providing various goods and services to the public for free. Like the Communist solution, this creates more problems than it solves: dis-incentivizing hard work, dis-incentivizing innovation, necessitating a bloated bureaucracy prone to corruption, propagating ugly attitudes among service providers, etc.

I have heard that one solution proposed by Christian theologians during the Middle Ages was “Jubilee laws”, named after the Old Testament “Jubilee” event. The idea was that no loan could be made without a clause in the contract stipulating that if the debt had not been paid off after a certain amount of time, the debt would be forgiven. The length of time a person had to pay off the loan could vary according to different factors, probably ranging between a few months to a few decades.

This idea never really caught on in the Western world due the influence of powerful moneylenders who did not want anything hampering their debt collection, but I think Jubilee laws are worth reconsidering as a solution to the debt problem. In my opinion, they should be written into constitutions.

But, hey! That’s ridiculous! No bank or moneylender would lend money under those conditions, because everyone would just borrow a billion dollars, wait out the Jubilee period, and then be let off scot free!

(I once knew a guy who said astoundingly insightful things like this whenever I talked to him about politics. He was a former staff member in a Liberal election campaign here in Canada.)

Would any bank be dumb enough to loan you a billion dollars if it didn't look like you could pay it back? No.



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