Archive for October, 2016

Conservatism Doesn’t Lose

October 27, 2016

Some people think conservatives are simply the “other team” compared to liberals. Nothing is farther from the truth. The liberals might be playing some sport with politics, but we are doing something else entirely.

The conservative philosophy can be summed up, in essence, as “Don’t change things unless you really know what you are doing.” It demands people educate themselves on history and philosophy, science and religion. It demands people govern themselves first, and then only turn to the people around them appropriately. It is entirely self-centered, anchored in the hearts and souls of its millions of practitioners.

Conservatism does not demand change in others, only change within ourselves. Conservatives don’t expect the government to change and we don’t expect others to change. We will wake up tomorrow living in the same kind of world no matter what happens. Any “victory” is temporary. Any “defeat” likewise.

Suppose Hillary wins. She governs more or less competently, and the federal government survives another 4 or 8 years. To conservatives, this is a big win. We get to keep our jobs, we get to raise our families, largely left alone, and we get to continue to teach ourselves and others about what we understand.

Suppose Hillary wins, and she governs like she said she will and leads us into World War III and the utter collapse of the federal government. To conservatives, this is also a win. Yes, we’re going to suffer along with our neighbors, but we are better equipped to handle this kind of catastrophe because we know it is coming and we are familiar with history and philosophy and economics and know how to rebuild society. If society entrusts us to rebuild the government, we will do so carefully and cautiously, building on the lessons we learned from the past 200 years. The end result will be a limited government focused on its sole duty of protecting individual rights.

Suppose Trump wins, and governs like a true blue conservative, despite his campaign promises. This would be the preferable case of all possible cases, and would also be considered a conservative victory. Our principles and morals have brought vast fortunes of wealth to the American people, and entrusting us with 4 or 8 years of the presidency where we can apply these same principles again will lead to a boom that would make the 1920s and 1980s look like hiccups.

Liberals simply don’t understand. We don’t hate them because they are evil (all are evil, of course). We don’t oppose them because we hate them. We simply know a lot more than they do about human nature and the way the world really works. We are already using this knowledge to live our lives, which is why we are perfectly content if they are in power and we are not. Government doesn’t rule us, because we know what government really is. And when we get our chance to pull the levers of government, it doesn’t take much work to put it back the way it should be, and unlock the tremendous blessings of a sane, limited government.

On Clans

October 27, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how it is that similar tribal governments arose in faraway places like Scotland and North America.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Book of Mormon, there is an episode where the entire government collapses due to gross incompetence and corruption. The people lose all faith in their elected government and decide to simply pay it no more heed, because the corrupt elements pay it no heed and it is powerless to stop the corruption.

The end result is that the land divided itself into tribes or clans. The tribes were made up of people related by blood and familiarity. Each tribe managed their own affairs, and the rule of law between the tribes was “No war.”

Compared to the previous government, this sounds, especially to Western Europeans, like a regression. The previous government was based on laws and courts and such. This new government had no laws, and each tribe was free to create their own laws.

We are living in a day when this style of government sounds increasingly appetizing.

At issue, the corruption of the governments. When governments no longer perform their duty of protecting individual rights, but when people, on a large scale, come to understand that it is simply a tool by which their labor and wealth is exploited for the benefit of a few who don’t have to live by the same rules, then people simply stop paying attention to it and live their lives ignorant of it. In order to protect individuals from the malicious government, people naturally bind themselves together, and the most natural bond is the bond of friendship and family. If enough people bind together this way, there is nothing government can do anymore.

Clans provide a lot more than governments can. For instance, welfare is more properly distributed by clans than governments. If you have a need, you turn to your friends and family, and together you pool your resources and find a solution to your needs. If there is someone perpetually in need, then their friends and family intervene in their behalf. For instance, if drug laws were non-existent, and my son or daughter got hooked on drugs, I would be much more able to care for them than the state would simply because I actually care about my own children. If I reached out to my extended family and my network of friends, I would be much more capable than I would alone.

Some people might turn to community organizations or churches when clans would better suit the need. Unlike churches and community organizations, clans are not optional. You automatically belong, and others are automatically bound to you. This demands duty, it demands respect, it demands some sort of law that everyone must abide by and that no one can be exempt from.

If the federal government continues on its current trajectory, I recommend you look into building up your own “clan”. Connect with your family. Connect with your friends. Let them know that you have an unbreakable bond, that you are very deeply interested in their welfare and you hope they have the same. When you have a problem you can’t solve, turn first to your family and friends, and be available to help them in exchange. As more and more people do this and your network grows, naturally you’ll want a leader, either formally or informally, to see that justice is done and people don’t abuse each other. That leader will naturally build a council he can turn to to make important decisions. These things happen naturally and are coded in our very essences the same way we have ten fingers and ten toes. Embrace it, and use it for good.

Corruption: So what?

October 19, 2016

Hillary Clinton famously said, concerning the dead Americans in Benghazi, “What difference does it make?”

I want to tell you what difference it makes. What you choose to do with your time is immensely important.

I am busy with Machine Learning nowadays. It’s a hot topic in computer science, one that mega-corporations are willing to pay top dollar for development in. In Machine Learning, we take large quantities of data and try to make sense of it. If we can understand the data with algorithms, then we can do things like speech recognition and image recognition. We can even predict the future. It’s quite amazing what is possible in this field.

But it’s not really magic. It all depends on the data. And sometimes, you have a lot less data than you realize.

You might think that since you are one in seven billion, what you click on in your browser, which YouTube videos you watch, or what brand of soap you buy has little impact. That might have been true thirty years ago, but it is not true today. Everyone is watching you. We are collecting data you can barely conceive of. And the data you generate is powering algorithms that magnify your choices a billion fold.

Let’s get to politics.

When I came back from Korea in 1998, having served 2 years as a missionary, I was genuinely culture-shocked. It wasn’t the way people talked to each other or how they treated each other so much as what had changed in those two short years. Our society had gone from barely mentioning sex during primetime to broadcasting that the sitting president had oral sex with his intern. I had to listen to countless pundits try to justify Bill Clinton’s lies and deceptions and corruption, and worse, they thought I actually believed what they were feeding me. Memorably, Bob Dole, failed presidential contender, did an ad with Brittany Spears, who could barely understand the concept of clothing and didn’t seem to mind that she was prostituting her body to millions of young minds.

You might laugh at how prudish I sound, but ask yourself: Have things not changed in the past ten, twenty, thirty years? What kinds of things do you see everyday that would be unthinkable back then?

Our culture is corrupt. When Muslims declare Jihad against our corrupt Western Society, I have to agree that our Western Society is corrupt. (Obviously, I disagree that killing people indiscriminately will solve anything.)

Hillary Clinton, according to FBI testimony, is hopelessly corrupt. She lied about basically everything, and then lied about those lies. The wikileaks, the Guccifer 2.0, the O’Keefe videos, all point to an organization of people who have decided that corruption simply doesn’t matter anymore. If they fear getting caught, they don’t fear any consequences of it.

During Bill Clinton’s presidency, it seemed every week we were greeted with a new scandal that made Watergate appear as child’s play. The Clinton strategy, I surmised, was to have so many scandals and have them be so extraordinary that no one could keep track of them or even believe them. Hillary Clinton seems to have perfected the art.

So they’re corrupt.

But it’s not just Hillary. When you look at politics in general, or really, anything, you see signs of corruption everywhere. It is in our human DNA to corrupt things, to selfishly take what we have control over and direct it towards our own ends. It is terribly naive to think that there is such a thing as unselfish people. As an example, let me speak of one of the most selfish people on the planet: Mother Theresa. She sacrificed her time, money, and potentially any kids she could have had had she got married, for something she wanted more. Now, we don’t call Mother Theresa selfish because her interest was caring for others, but if we are honest with ourselves, we must see that she did, indeed, sacrifice a lot of things she could’ve done that may have been even more beneficial to society for those things she thought was most important.

So in reality, we’re all corrupt.

What do you do about it? “What difference does it make?”

Hillary subscribes to the philosophy that it doesn’t make a difference. That you’re too unimportant, that whatever you think about her doesn’t really matter.

That’s where she is wrong.

As I told you earlier, we are living in an age where any small action anyone takes is amplified many, many times, thanks to machines that can find trends and patterns faster than any human can. Your decisions do make a difference. They do have an effect.

As a missionary, I knew what difference a young, 20-year-old boy who could barely speak a language could have. I saw people change, dramatically, for the better. I saw things I can barely describe here, and I experienced things I don’t even know how to begin to put into words.

As an individual, you have extraordinary potential. The small choices you make every day have a huge impact.

This November, when you vote, you can vote for Hillary, or Donald, or someone else. No matter who you vote for, your vote will matter. Maybe Hillary’s people will steal the election like they’ve admitted to doing for 50 years, but at least they’ll have to work a little harder, and hire a few more mentally disabled and homeless people. So you’re doing at least a little good by giving them a little pocket change from Hillary’s multi-billion dollar slush fund.

More importantly, the things you do online, the things you buy and the things you say, these are all being watched and monitored. Maybe not by computers, but by the people around you. When you tell them what you think, it has a real effect, for good or ill.

Now, you have a choice to make. What is your ultimate good, your ultimate goal? You can choose to be like Mother Theresa today if you really wanted to. You could choose to be like Donald Trump. Or you could choose to be like Hillary Clinton. It’s up to you where you go and what you do. The only limits are limits you impose on yourself due to your lack of imagination. Why don’t you spend a little time each day teaching my algorithms that humans have a better imagination than the computer scientists who invented these algorithms?

Why are leftists endorsing Trump?

October 16, 2016

Jill Stein, candidate for the Green Part, which gets about 4% of the vote, recently said that she’d rather have Trump than Clinton, because Clinton will bring nuclear war with Russia.

Tezlyn Figaro, a Bernie Sanders campaign director, also had kind words for Trump recently.

What’s going on?

What’s going on is the Democratic Party is made up of several factions. There are two big factions, one the war-mongers and the other the peaceniks.

The war-mongers have used bellicose language and warfare and have been responsible for most of the wars the US has ever fought in. You might remember people like LBJ who ramped up action in Vietnam. These people wear the mask of peace and friendliness and openness, but inwardly, that is a mere cover for what they truly want: war.

Why do they want war? It is exactly what President Eisenhower warned us about. There is a lot of money to be made in war. And when the government spends a lot of money, some of that money ends up helping the people who decide how to spend it through graft.

The democrats who support war are far worse than the republicans who support war, since they really don’t care who we fight or why, and they certainly don’t want the wars to end. Republicans fight moral wars, wars that have a reason, and generally that reason is only ever the security of the US. Take, for instance, Bush and war. Did he start off promising war to his people? No, he wanted to see 8 years of peace. However, after the 9/11 attacks, it became clear that we can’t live in this world with terrorists, and so he launched and all-out offensive against them, and literally drove them into the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and then called them out to the fields of Iraq to be mowed down by our troops. Thousand and thousand and thousands of young terrorists were killed during his presidency.

Look at other republican presidents. We have Nixon who practically ended the Vietnam War, securing a peace deal with the Vietcong that was subverted by the democrats who came into office on the coattails of the Nixon watergate scandal, turning our victory into a loss. Or George HW Bush who fought a brief, fierce war against Saddam Hussein with clear goals and international support. President Reagan’s “wars” were always short and specific, quick decisive victories.

Democrats like to think of themselves as peace-lovers, which I believe the vast majority of democrats are. The problem is they are being manipulated by people like Hillary Clinton who has yet to find a war she didn’t want our young men and women in uniform to die in.

Pay attention to what Hillary Clinton says and does. Everything she is doing is calculated to bring us closer back to the Cold War than we’ve been in the past 30 years. Everything she has done as Secretary of State has destabilized the Middle East and dragged Russia to becoming a leader in the military actions there.

The dirty secret of socialism is communism is that they are not peaceful. Socialists gain power by integrating the economy into the government, and there’s no better excuse to do that than a painful and quixotic war. Communists believe that if they can get the people to rise up in open rebellion against government, they can replace it with a peaceful communist totalitarian environment where people won’t fight anymore. Both of these philosophies see war as the answer to almost every problem they have in achieving their political ends.

Vote against war, vote against Hillary, and vote for Trump.

Trump knows how to prevent war. One thing women don’t understand about men is that we have a need to be “macho”. We need to exert ourselves and make ourselves seen and heard. Trump know this. He does it himself. But the other thing is we know we need to know where the lines are. If there’s a line, and behind it is someone who will fight tooth and nail to preserve it, we are going to leave it alone. If there’s a line, and behind it is someone who is wishy-washy and flexible, we’re going to push it. Trump’s approach to Russia is spot on. He presents a clear line, he defends that line, and he merely asks Russia to respect it. He doesn’t want to take anything from Russia, he just wants to have that line clearly marked. And by having those secure borders, people know where the line is and they won’t push us into war.

Vote “No!” – Vote Trump

October 16, 2016

This election season, heading in, my feelings were that it’s time to get rid of the federal government, shut the whole damn thing down, and let us start over again from scratch. Any candidate that would propose a $0 budget for the entire fiscal year, that would end social security and welfare and medicare and every program would not only get my vote, but I would donate the maximum allowable under law, and then get all my friends to do it too. And I would quit my job to campaign non-stop, even if it meant putting myself in poverty. I would rather be poor and truly free than rich and enslaved like I am today.

I want to see the Federal Government burn down to ashes, to return back to hell from whence it came, and to end all the greed and corruption that inhabit Washington DC. I want to see a new government rise from the ashes, one which carefully iterates what its limits are and lives by them, and pronounces its first and last duty is to secure individual rights and individual rights alone.

I am not alone in this sentiment. There are a lot of us out there, and it’s liberating to be able to say publicly that that’s what I truly want.

Donald Trump isn’t saying that’s what he’ll do. In fact, he’s proposing a larger, more invasive government. Granted, he wants to rearrange some deck chairs, and some of the rearrangements sound slightly appealing. However, he simply isn’t going to go nearly far enough.

What Donald J. Trump will do, however, is end the political elite as a powerful faction. By electing a populist, we send a message to DC that it had better understand there are a lot more of us than them, and we vote, a lot. A Trump presidency would send the corrupt elements of our government into CYA mode. They would have to actually try a little bit to not appear so obviously corrupt.

Trump may do “irrational” things like Andrew Jackson. I can see several things he might do that he doesn’t need congressional approval for. Let me list a few:

  • Unshackling our troops so they can finish the wars we are in, wars that Obama desperately tried to make us lose.
  • Unshackling the CIA, FBI, and other investigative bureaus to seek out and unmask the massive corruption in our system.
  • Sending all of the IRS agents and staff on permanent, paid vacation.
  • Sending all of the veteran’s affairs agents and staff on permanent, paid vacation, so that veterans can get actual help from the private sector rather than being used as pawns to generate favors and votes for sitting politicians.
  • Calling out the inept and incompetent republicans who refuse to do their job and hold the executive branch accountable. Having someone like Trump in charge of the executive means that no one will feel shame for actually looking into the executive branch.
  • Calling out world leaders for their idiocy. A good example of this is the kinds of things the president of the Philipines has been saying. A little truth, shouting that the emperor has no clothes, is a good thing.

So if you want to vote ‘NO!’ this year, vote Trump. It will get you as close as possible to the actual results you want to see.

4 years from now, there’ll be another election. We’ll have a lot better chance convincing people that the federal government should have limited, enumerated powers when someone like Trump is in charge.

You Simply Can’t Understand the Depth of Hillary’s Corruption

October 16, 2016

The latest to come from the email dump by wikileaks: Hillary Clinton is accepting money from foreign governments and entities knowing it is illegal.

Wikileaks email:

Image of the entire exchange:

If you don’t understand why this is wrong: Accepting money from foreigners to influence our elections is not only illegal, it’s very unethical and shows that she doesn’t really represent us at all.

Additional information: Foreign agents have to register under FARA. The Hillary Clinton campaign is asking foreigners to deregister so that the donations can’t be tracked.

There’s a lot more like this.

Bottom line: Hillary Clinton is bought and paid for by foreign countries. She engaged in pay-for-play as secretary of state, and there is no reason to believe she won’t auction off her time as president to the highest bidder.

Do I endorse Trump?

October 15, 2016

There is a lot of nerve-wracking on the right, particular the Christian right, about whether it is OK to support someone like Trump who is clearly a flawed man that is not a good example for our children.

Let me try to clarify some things for our Christian friends.

One, NONE of us qualify as worthy of being examples to anyone. Whatever righteousness we think we have, it is nothing compared to what it should be. All of us have a reason to feel shame for one reason or another, and all of use are going to get into heaven because of nothing we’ve done.

Two, we are to be wise like serpents. That means we are to use our brains. And our brains tell us that like diplomacy, politics is what you do before you end up killing each other. It’s how we prevent things from getting so bad that shooting your neighbors is preferable to not shooting them. Do you not understand this? Do you not see how there are powerful forces at work, one which is dragging us closer to internal unrest and civil war, and the other trying to settle the temperature of the nation? Who is the peacemaker in this race? Who is saying they will hunt and kill their political opponents, and bend the law to benefit their allies and punish their enemies? The answer is clear: Hillary is going to split our nation, while only Trump has a chance of bringing equality back into play.

When I think about the fact that I am called upon to join worldly forces, I have to think of Christ’s simple advice which could be summed up as follows:

  • Forgive others.
  • Render unto Caesar what is his. Bow to the king, submit to the rulers. There’s no point in fighting them, because you’ll end up dead and that’s not good.
  • Be a good example.
  • Love one another.

I can’t see on that list where it says you can’t join forces with people who are obviously not Christian. In fact, it sounds a whole lot like we’re supposed to integrate and assimilate in whatever country we find ourselves in! Indeed, Christ told his disciples to carry the Roman soldiers packs two miles instead of just the required one mile. If Christ can have his people ally themselves with Rome, which was doing things unimaginable in our day, then I can ally with Trump.

Three, what does it mean when I endorse a candidate for president? It means I simply think he’s the best guy to vote for, and nothing more. In the case of Trump, I am not voting for him as bishop of my ward, or president of the church, or even choir director. I am voting for him for president. No matter how badly I wish we had someone of indisputable character like Romney running, that’s not an option. So I choose the best option. We say things like “Choosing the lesser of two evils”, but really, that’s what we do every day of our lives. We choose the better part. We do what is right as opposed to what is wrong.

Really, at the end of the day, if you are older than 18 in our country, you have three choices. Vote for no one (or a third- or fourth-party candidate), vote for Hillary, or vote for Trump. I rule out “vote for no one” because that simply means the powers that be have absolutely no interest in what I think. I rule out “vote for Hillary” because she is obviously the worse candidate in every aspect I can imagine. So I vote for Trump.

Those of you who are concerned that Trump is not Jesus: Wake up! You’re a lot more like Trump than Jesus yourself, and Jesus told you that you’d better pull that beam out of your own eye before you can start picking motes out of Trump’s eye. Forgive, love, move on, and be the best example you can. But don’t think that standing off on the sidelines is going to prevent a civil war in our country.

Lesson #1 of Politics: Socialism is Corruption

October 13, 2016

I have often thought how I would teach my peers or people slightly younger than myself the fundamentals of government. I suppose the first thing that needs to be done is to de-program all of the socialist and communist lies they have been programmed with since birth, and replace it with a bit of truth that can set them on the right path.

The first lesson, then, is to attack the very essence of these murderous and tyrannical philosophies.

Before I explain why socialism is corruption, let me first explain what those two words mean.

The word “socialism” describes a political movement where the state (the government) interacts closely with the economy. Now, a large number of people have a large number of ideas about what form this interaction should take, but to sum up, the government is asked to participate in the economy and to influence how the economy works. Anything that asks this is socialism in my book.

“Communism” is a sort of socialism amplified to its greatest extent. Communism demands that the state and the state alone be the economy, that the people themselves control the state and the state controls all economic activity.

Obviously, I’m missing a lot of subtleties with these definitions, but I think the essence is there. I’m happy to be shown to be wrong.

“Corruption” is another word that means taking something and using it for what it is not intended to be used for. Or rather, taking something that was useful and making it not useful. Similar words are “rot” and “decay”. Corruption is inevitable. As long as we are mortal humans, as long as we have flawed ideas, as long as we cannot trust our senses 100%, there will be a gradual decay in our institutions, which includes our political institutions.

Now, let me explain why corruption and socialism are the same thing.

For starters, there is no such thing as an actually socialist government. That is, every government which tries to implement socialism inevitably implements corruption instead.

Let me explain why that is, as well as how that is.

Suppose you want to spend government’s money to help the poor buy food so they don’t starve. That is a noble cause. That is socialism. The question is, how do we get the money, how do we spend the money, and how do we ensure that the money is not misappropriated? (Misappropriated is a fancy word for “spending it on something else”.)

The most naive approach is simply to give people money. Here, we are instantly confronted with an awful truth: Maybe some honest people will step forward and volunteer to receive the money, but we all know that a large number of people will be dishonest and gratefully accept the money.

So we immediately begin introducing some kind of test to see who deserves the money and who doesn’t. Perhaps you have them fill out a form. Or perhaps you hire investigators to see that the money isn’t ending up in the wrong hands. In either case, you’re already spending the money that was supposed to feed the poor on paperwork, bureaucrats, and investigations.

But it doesn’t end there. How do you know that the people you entrusted to spend the money aren’t setting some aside for themselves? As we saw Hillary Clinton and other democrats do with the $475 billion TARP bailout, we know that politicians inevitably dip their hand into the pot. So you need even more oversight and overseers, and then another level or two just to be sure.

Because the money is coming from the government, you know for a fact a large chunk of it is going to be spent on administration. That’s a fancy word for “everything the money is not intended to be spent on.”

This is the problem with socialism. It simply cannot work, not as long as there are dishonest people in the world.

Well then, how do you spend the money if you’re a private charity? See, that’s a huge differentiator. When the government is involved, you have mandates and laws and people end up in jail or worse. When it’s private entities, there’s no such thing as mandates and laws and people going to jail when they commit fraud against each other. They simply police themselves.

Oftentimes, what ends up happening is the giver and receiver come together and actually meet on another and form friendships that last a lifetime.

Moral of the story: When government sets out to spend money, it will always involved considerable overhead that will employ a lot of people whose job it is to make sure the money isn’t spent inappropriately.

Bonus fact: The people who tend to advocate socialism the loudest are also those who will get the richest off of it.

What do I think of the candidate’s plans?

October 13, 2016

I think an interesting feature has come to light this election. In short, I don’t believe Hillary or the Donald. So I don’t really see why we should consider their plans for the country since I doubt either of them are going to do anything they promise to do.

What I do consider is what the plans and motives are behind the factions they represent.

In the corner of Hillary Clinton is all the establishment politicians, the bureaucrats, the bankers, the plutocrats, the elite of every sector. I think we all know what they want and what they intend to do with their power should their candidate get elected. In short, good-bye to individual rights and economic freedom.

In the corner of Donald Trump is pretty much everyone else. What do they intend to do? I don’t think it really matters. Whatever it is, it’s not what the elite want. Maybe he’ll end up protecting individual rights and economic liberty, maybe not. I know I’ll have a better chance with him though.

So I’m voting for Trump.

What is Hypocrisy, Really, And Why Did Jesus Hate It So Much?

October 12, 2016

There are very few things that got Jesus angry or caused him to speak out in bold terms.

One of those things was the money changers in the temple. When people use religion to make money, he gets really upset about that, so much so that he picked up a whip and drove them out of the temple. See, the temple wasn’t a place to buy and sell things. The whole bit about allowing people to buy stuff for a fixed amount of money was there so that the poor could get access to the same sacrifices the rich could get access to. Instead, a class of businessmen arose which existed to profit off of people’s desire to connect with God. If you’re the type of person who thinks God doesn’t mind if you make a buck or two off of people’s desire to do good and worship God, Jesus will have a few words with you.

The other thing he really didn’t like was hypocrisy. That word is very popular in the Bible, both the old and new testaments. It’s made its way into our language, though we forget its original meaning and now have substituted something entirely different.

In our day, hypocrisy means saying one thing and doing another. In Jesus’ parables, the man who said one thing and did another got what was coming to him, but it wasn’t as big of a deal as hypocrisy.

The hypocrites Jesus accused where typically the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a group of men who obtained religious and political power in Judaism because they knew the scriptures inside and out. They were well-versed in all of the writings and even the interpretations of the writings. Now, Pharisees weren’t the sort of people who went out and said one thing and did something else. They were quite capable at keeping the law, and Jesus even comments several times about their obvious ability to keep the laws of God and their non-violations of most of them. So he isn’t accusing them of preaching one thing and doing another. That’s not what bothered him.

The word “hypocrite” literally meant “actor”, as in theater. He was calling the Pharisees and others actors. Why is this bad? It’s not easy to understand, but a few verses will explain.

One, Jesus said that those who merely confess his name and perform miracles in his name will not have enough to go to heaven. Simply doing righteousness is not enough. If you’re not very well-versed in Christianity, this might be surprising to you. You probably assumed that the reason why Christians world-wide spend so much of their time being nice to people is because it earns them salvation. This is utterly and foolishly wrong. Let me be clear: There is nothing anyone can do to earn salvation in Christianity. It is a free gift. There is no price. All you have to do is accept it. That’s all it takes.

Two, Jesus pointed out that the people who helped the helpless were really helping him all along and thus rewarded with eternal life. That is, when you are nice to someone who doesn’t deserve it, that’s like being nice to God. And by doing so, you show that you “get it”, and thus, you’re ready for heaven.

So what does acting have to do with the above?

For starters, what is an actor? An actor shows up on stage and plays a role. Maybe they chose the role, maybe it was assigned to them, it doesn’t matter. Merely acting in the role doesn’t make you the character, however. If I played King Lear in one of Shakespeare’s plays, would that make me a king, let alone King Lear? Of course not.

Jesus is really saying don’t be actors. That means we don’t play a role, we don’t take upon ourselves the job that someone else has.

That’s what the Pharisees were doing. They were not like the Sadducees. The Sadducees were a group of Jews who actually had the right to pronounce judgment through their birthright and job, which was given them by God. Their Levite blood and descent from Aaron entitled them to actually be religious authorities in the land. It’s important that you note that the Sadducees were far from perfect. I can think of a few things they believed which directly contradict what I believe, but unless I have authority from God to contradict them, I can’t contradict them.

This sounds absurd, almost. But think of the various epithets that Jesus hurled at the Pharisees. “Whited sepulchres”, for instance. Meaning, they were boxes of stone holding dead men’s bones but painted white to look new and fresh.

Jesus was really preaching against the absence of authority. The lack of being true. Trying to be something you’re not, or rather, acting like something you really aren’t.

Now, granted, people challenged Jesus authority countless times. The Pharisees wondered what books Jesus had studied, but he was able to explain to them that his learning didn’t come from books, but from God himself. The Sadducees wondered what authority he had from his descent or lineage, and he explained to them that as Son of God, he was actually the author of their authority.

When you read the New Testament gospels in this light, you’ll see some of the things Jesus said make a lot more sense. He was trying to point people to God through his life and words, and he only could do that because he came directly from God.

So next time you hear the word “hypocrite”, think actor. Think of who we really are versus who we pretend to be. And ask yourself, just because someone dresses up and speaks like someone who they are not — does that make them that person?

And finally, consider this. If you’re going to go to heaven, don’t you have to stop acting like someone who deserves heaven and actually become someone who deserves heaven? Every Christian should be seeking a fundamental change in character, a rebirth from old to new. They should be seeking the Holy Spirit to enlighten their minds and change their very essence so that they can not just pretend to be Christian but in every respect be a real Christian.

Also, remember this: When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, every time he offered a way out for them, an invitation to come and change and repent. The door closes on no one, not even the Pharisees.

And finally, if we are to understand Jesus’ distrust and antipathy toward acting, why do we pay attention to what celebrities on TV even think?