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Of bear grease, and other smells

Reader comment on item: The Iran Deal Is 'Bizarre' and 'Wretched'
in response to reader comment: cultural divides.

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Aug 11, 2015 at 16:50

Hi, Waz. You said,

"Agnostic? Put a space between the 'a' and 'g' and you'd be closer to the truth."

I think that's the idea behind it. Agnostics, I think, claim not to have esoteric knowledge about the existence or nature of God. Gnostics, with a capital "G", believed Jesus was the guru of an esoteric cult, who had the "hidden wisdom". Pentecostals are a lot like them, along with Kabbalist Jews. Orthodox Judaism also derives a lot of its doctrine from "sages" who say, in effect, "This is the way IT IS!" The Catholics also have their infallable Pope; but in exoneration of the Catholics, the Protestants have thousands of popes who believe they know it all. In a typical Christian church, "parishoners are to be seen and not heard", except to give politically correct testimonies and scripted responses.

Atheists, of course, tend to be more dogmatic than theists. Agnostics, on the other hand, seem to have the humility to say they don't know when they don't, which is fine with me. For my part, I don't claim to know anything beyond the obvious. That isn't to say that either you or I doesn't believe anything. We all believe in something, and trust our lives to that belief. I believe in the truthfulness of the Bible; so I use it as a basis of my understanding. The other basis is common sense.between those two, I muddle through the best I can. I don't think that's far from being an "A-gnostic"; otherwise, we would have bitten each others' heads off by now and parted company. You continued,

Americans are much more extrovert in general and much more concerned about their personal rights. It seems to me you live in a more litigious society where people take and give offence more readily.

Don't believe anything you see on TV. I'm practically a hermit, believe I have no intrinsic rights, and would have no idea about how to file a lawsuit. When I lived in Australia, you could tell me from the Aussies by (1) my speech, (2) the hand I held the fork with, (3) the fact that I put money into the bank before going to the pub, (4) the fact that I read the news instead of the sports, racing and lottery pages, (5) the fact that I read the Australian instead of the Sydney Morning Herald, and probably other quirks that might have seemed just as strange in the US as they did Down Under. I lived mostly with Englishmen and Scotsmen, and knew few fair dinkum Aussies; but then, I lived in a Greek and Italian neighborhood. You went on,

If you watch old black and white movies - there's been a profound change in the way people treated each other. Probably started to change in the mid-60's .

That's an understatement; and I won't say which way of "interaction" has been better. I don't think I get along well with people today, and neither did I then. I like deer and wild turkeys.

'Prisoner Of Mother England"

A fellow boarder of mine, a London Jew, thought it meant "People of Mother England". He had probably been mis-informed out of courtesy. If you've been flooded with non-European immigrants, all I can say is, "Welcome to America!" or for that matter, "Welcome to England" "--to Scotland", "..to Ireland". I suppose Wales doesn't have many non-Brits; but to them, I imagine the English are foreign enough.

You can't go back, Waz. The neighborhood I grew up in was nearly all Polish- and German-American. To me, that was "normal". Since then, the place has become largely Mexican-American; but I was never bothered by the Chicanos. In fact, my son's closest playmate was a Mexican. It was the Anglo kids in the neighborhood that were into gangs and worse. If you want me to tell you about "culture shock", it was when I came back to stay with my mother, after an absence of nearly five years. In the meantime, I had become a Born Again Christian, whereas she had continued as a Roman Catholic. I was amazed to find that my values were pretty much those I had grown up with: I believed in family, marriage and such-like, and she was supporting free sex and abortion. It's true that I had reconciled myself to God in those years, something which a true Catholic shouldn't find much fault with; but I had also spent five years away from radios and televisions. It was that, I think, that had made most of the difference. My mother looked the same, acted the same and kept her house the same; but she had become different, and I had become an alien in her eyes.

I dare say, the "Old Australians" of today are as different from the Old Aussies of the '60s as they are from the Chinese-Australians or Lebanese-Australians. The Apostle Paul said,

Hebrews 11:
[12] Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
[13] These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
[14] For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
[15] And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
[16] But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

If you seek to be in sync with God, you will find yourself out of sync with everyone else. Just look at the Jews, who spent 2000 years trying to "get along" and "blend in". Try as they might, they couldn't; because God had put his indellible mark on them; and they perished by the millions at the hands of those they had tried to emulate. To this day, the world hates Israel because it is the home of the Jews; it hates the Jews because they are God's; hates God because He's "not one of us" -- and "one of us" is a restlessly moving target.

100% Irish on 1 side, mostly German, Belgian , Irish on the other.

Trust me, German-Belgian-Irish looks English. You went on,

I've lived in northern Europe - and saw that I was seeing the locals as just like me - except having the misfortune of not having English as their first language ;- ). That just does not happen on visits to Asia - or India or the Middle East or Africa. Not that I've been to the last 3 - but racially and culturally they are indeed foreign. Exotic, interesting maybe , but definitely foreign. Now of course I have Chinese firend shere - and some that have been born here - and even a US born Chinese friend - who was a little hard to take at first but eventually I started to see her as an "American in a Chinese body'.

Here's what the Bible says, of the last days:

Micah 7:
[2] The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
[3] That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.
[4] The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
[5] Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
[6] For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.
[7] Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

These are the times we are living in already, and increasingly moving into. When my son lived in China, he had a Russian friend, who was walking with him and said,

"That woman is following us, but she's not doing a very good job of it".

Of course, he was right; and in China, our children got used to being spied upon and followed. Still, I thought it was ironic that my son should have a Russian friend. His closest friend there was a black man from Botswana.

I trust my neighbors only so far when it comes to talking about things like religion or politics. I also guard my speech around my family; and among Born-again Christians, even my closest friends, I know enough to keep my mouth shut on certain topics. I avoid crowds like the plague: When a horde of people is moving one way, I want to be going the other way. That's because in the years to come, those crowds will be moving to kill God's people; and in some places, they already are. You went on,

islam is an arab supremacist ideology. Its big problem is that in the West , no one has ever really looked up at arabs. To be blunt - they've done nothing admirable. And now we are having a look at exactly what it is that they believe and how they act - and we're recoiling in horror at some of it. So their quest for world domination is doomed from the outset. The harder they push, the harder we push back... It can't end well.

None of this will end well. I dare say, though, that Westerners look as ugly to Muslims as they do to us. Westerners have a long and cultured tradition in the graphic arts, having produced masterpieces of life-like paintings of gentlemen and nobles in the richest finery. What we don't have, is a good tradition in the olfactory arts: Those finely-attired people, with their genteel manners, stank to high heaven.

The Pilgrims were a noble people, coming to America to be free to worship God in the most genuine, sincere way possible. They also brought useful items with them: steel plows and axes, and the ability to produce warm woolen blankets. The Indians they met, on the other hand, had little in the line of clothing; and subsisted as much on bow-and-arrow hunting as on rather primitive farming. They did this, however: They knew the animals had a keen sense of smell, so they bathed daily; and when hunting, they smeared bear grease on them to disguise their smell. The colonists, on the other hand, bathed about once a year. They got married in June, because May was bath month. They didn't have much contact with the Indians; because it was an assault on the senses to come into their homes, for anyone other than themselves. Without going into details, I believe this is close to describing relations between Muslims and Westerners.

I'd better get up off my butt for a while. Maybe I'll even wash myself later on -- it'll do everyone good.

Shalom shalom :-)


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