In A Marketplace of Ideas, Flooding the Market is Doing More Harm then Good

In A Marketplace of Ideas, Flooding the Market is Doing More Harm then Good

Our freedom of speech is protected. But if we continue to just talk with nothing but air between our ears, our marketplace will come crashing down.

We are lucky here in America. Our Constitution states that our government does not have the right to come after us if they don't like something we say. It seems, in this post-facts era, that we have forgotten that. No person involved in the government has the right to come after us for something we say. That being said, that doesn't mean that someone can't disagree. It feels like people make that mistake a lot these days. For example, the take a knee protests. The people that decided to protest have that right. The government can't arrest them, or do anything to prevent that. But they can however, disagree. And they have been, vehemently.

Now, earlier this year there were some awful protests in Charlottesville, VA. Now, it makes me sick to say it, but those "alt-right" (read: Nazi) protesters have a right to protest the removal of a statue. What they do not have the right to do is to end someone's life and injure people in the process of their protest. My stomach turned at the thought of our President saying that there were good people on both sides, when one side knowingly murdered a woman in cold blood because she didn't agree with what they were saying.

In order to cling to sanity in these insane times, I've been finding comfort in political satire. Namely "The Daily Show," and Hasan Minhaj. Now he spoke at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner, and after the fact, he did an interview on the radio. He said, "This country is a marketplace of ideas. Everyone has the right to share theirs, but we all hope the best one will rise to the top." This is what I think is the crux of the issue. There are a ton of voices out there in the world. It seems that the loudest ones, right or wrong, are getting all of the attention. While I know that all of America will never agree on anything, I don't think it's unreasonable to think that majority should rule. But because of the echo chamber that is social media, and our president these days, this marketplace of ideas is being flooded with counterfeit money.

In order to flush out all of the bad money, or ideas, in this case, we need to stop fighting and find the things we agree on. I don't think any of us will be successful in this marketplace if we keep shouting into the void. Sit down, have conversations, and make sure to remember that we are all human beings and we all want something similar: the world to be a better place than it was before.

Cover Image Credit: Stop interfering with my Freedom of Speech!

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.

Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school.

I'll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted.

Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I'm 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?"

A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?", I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week." I let it roll off of my back, I've spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back"… but I think it's time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister.

She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn't have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her.

I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn't though. I didn't let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization.

Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn't directed to what we, in today's society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one's self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 'You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 'Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 'You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so.

This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God's creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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Why We Need to get to Mars

The Importance of Being a Multi-Planetary Species


"Yet even if birth control were to win through some fine day, even if cultivatable areas were enlarged and harvest multiplied by aids as yet would all be only a postponement...I am convinced that one day men will settle on Mars...We must bequeath our grandchildren a chance to survive." - Erich Von Däniken

The quote above is an excerpt from Erich Von Däniken's 1968 bestseller, "Chariots of the Gods?", wherein a particular chapter he divulges in his reasons why he believes it is so permanent that mankind becomes a multi-planetary species. Although Von Däniken holds some rather eccentric notions on the origins of modern man in relation to the possible existence of alien intelligence, his idea, as is also the idea shared by many others, that the exhaustion of both man and his environment should be heeded both as a warning and a call to search for survival elsewhere in the universe.

Jordan Bates, an entrepreneur and autodidact philosopher, discusses what he refers to as 'the meaning of life from the perspective of the universe' in his article "Why Humanity Must Become a Multi-Planetary Species." In it, he grasps onto the philosophy of late astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, in which mankind, potentially being the only known conscience intelligence in the universe, is the means in which the universe can know itself. With this understanding, Bates supposes that our conscientiousness may, therefore, be interpreted as the conscientiousness of the entire universe and that our desire to maintain our evolution may be the desire of the universe as well. So as far as Bates' thesis goes, if we can assume that the universe wants humanity to continue down its evolutionary track (i.e., continue to existence), then we better take every precaution to ensure it.

What does this mean exactly? In short, Bates seeks to lay down a moral premise as to why mankind owes it to himself to search for means of survival separate from the world we already live in. Elon Musk, the man who seems to be making both Bates' and Von Däniken's dreams a soon reality, believes as much:

"I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary, in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen..."

There are many ways in which mankind could meet his end. One is of the unpredictable nature like the sudden impact of a giant asteroid or solar flare. The other is of a human nature. No one can ignore that within the last century we have become fairly keen in the potentiality of our own self-destruction in the form of atomic weaponry. And as we can still see in our brief history on this planet, we're still more or less a savage child-race in which an outcome of nuclear annihilation is not necessarily off the table.

We also live with an unfortunate disproportion where the resources of the world are being dramatically fatigued to satisfy an ever-growing global population. To harken back to Von Däniken's quote above, the growing population of the world will continue without substantial food and medicine and will ultimately result in disease and starvation. If nothing can be done to calm this growing disproportion on Earth, then perhaps Von Däniken's proposal that we expand to the Red Planet is the best way to cope with a world whose own resources may only satisfy mankind for another century.

There are objections of course. The most notable one put forth is the question of why one would place so much investment in interplanetary space travel and not towards directly solving the problems of underdeveloped societies directly. Both Bates and Von Däniken put forward an idea on longevity. Though they both believe that focusing on the issues facing the human condition of the here and now are important, if we are to ensure a long-term goal for the survival and well being of the human race, then expanding beyond our borders is the only way to succeed. Essentially, they believe that it is as important to plan mankind's future in the coming millennia as it is in the coming century. As Bates puts it:

"Earth's challenges/issues won't matter if the entire human race or earthly biosphere is destroyed."

So whats the takeaway? It's an understanding of our present condition. According to physics, the universe, including our planet, is breaking down into entropy. And many of the enterprises that man has sought on Earth have, for the most part, accelerated the process until eventually, our planet will no longer have the means to support our needs for survival. If we value the longevity of mankind and his evolution, then we must, at some point or another, seek opportunity elsewhere among the stars.

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