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The Dumbing Down of America

     

                                                                         The Dumbing Down Of America

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed." Thomas Jefferson

"The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself." Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today's very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble -- in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.

Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces, a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism.

Reading has declined not only among the poorly educated, according to a report last year by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1982, 82 percent of college graduates read novels or poems for pleasure; two decades later, only 67 percent did. And more than 40 percent of Americans under 44 did not read a single book -- fiction or nonfiction -- over the course of a year. The proportion of 17-year-olds who read nothing (unless required to do so for school) more than doubled between 1984 and 2004. This time period, of course, encompasses the rise of personal computers, Web surfing and video games.

“America is in a rush to embrace the stupid” – how true that is! We really need to look no further than television and social media to see that hypothesis repeatedly confirmed as quickly as you can change the TV channel or refresh your mobile browser. We are marching, knuckles scraping the dirt, towards a world resembling “Idiocy”

The shrinking public attention span fostered by video and TV is closely tied to the second important anti-intellectual force in American culture: the erosion of general knowledge.

According to a 2006 survey by National Geographic-Roper, nearly half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 do not think it necessary to know the location of other countries in which important news is being made. This includes our military who are fighting and dying in Iraq.

That leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge. The problem is not just the things we do not know (consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth); it's the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place.

It is past time for a serious national discussion about whether, as a nation, we truly value intellect and rationality. If this indeed turns out to be the low level of discourse in a country with a mind taught to aim at low objects , this ought to be the first item on the change agenda.

50:6.4 Culture presupposes quality of mind; culture cannot be enhanced unless mind is elevated. Superior intellect will seek a noble culture and find some way to attain such a goal. Inferior minds will spurn the highest culture even when presented to them ready-made. Much depends, also, upon the successive missions of the divine Sons and upon the extent to which enlightenment is received by the ages of their respective dispensations.

175:1.17 You are truly blind guides and dumb teachers; you strain out the gnat and swallow the camel.

Rickey H. Crosby ( Petitor Veritatis) (Vincit Omnia Veritas)      

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Ricks Quiz

    The paper depicting the seven bestowals of Christ Michael

    were under the direction of me! 

     WHO AM I?

     119:8.9

     Ricket H. Crosby (Petitor Veritatis)

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Common Sense

     

     Aristotle, who is the first person known to have discussed "common sense". He was describing the ability with which animals (including humans) process sense perceptions, memories and imagination in order to reach many types of basic judgments. In his scheme, only humans have real reasoned thinking, which takes them beyond their common sense.

     Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault.
     Common sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) something our bureaucrats and politicians have long sense misplaced, and reliable strategies (adults are in charge not children).
     His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of an 8 year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
     Common sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
    Common sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
    Common sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
    Common sense finally gave up the will to live, after a women failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
    Common sense was preceded in death, by
    His parents, truth and trust
    His wife, discretion
    His daughter, Responsibility
    His son, reason.
    He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers
    I know my rights
    I want my rights
    I want it now
    I’m a victim.

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

100:7.3 But the Master was so reasonable, so approachable. He was so practical in all his ministry, while all his plans were characterized by such sanctified common sense. He was so free from all freakish, erratic, and eccentric tendencies. He was never capricious, whimsical, or hysterical. In all his teaching and in everything he did there was always an exquisite discrimination associated with an extraordinary sense of propriety.

  Rickey H. Crosby  (Petitor Veritatis)

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Ricks Quiz

   I was a desciple of Matthew and wrote the gospel of Matthew.

   WHO AM I?

   121:8.5

   Rickey H. Crosby (Petitor Veritatis)

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The Bondage of fear

        

                                                                                        The Bondage of Fear

Fear is a manipulation tool; we use it all the time when we market some services and products. What! You don’t have life insurance ? What about your family? You let your child walk home alone from school? You don’t have a bubble of protection around your children? You can’t do that , what if? The local news doesn’t help either; all the doom and gloom.

And so we become enslaved by our fears and limit our lives. Everything we do is a risk in some way. There are so many what ifs that we don’t even do many of the things we used to love as kids. Remember drinking water from the hose? Riding bikes without helmets? Playing outside till dark? Trusting neighbors? Eating fruit off the tree or vegetables right from the garden?

I am not touting reckless behavior, but we can’t let fear control us to the point that it keeps us from enjoying our lives, and more importantly to really live our lives. I like the acronym of fear, false evidence against reality. But if we let fear control our actions then other people have the power over us to control and dictate our lives and that includes all the doom sayers and terrorists.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” Plato

(Said of Jesus) 100:7.15 His courage was magnificent, but he was never foolhardy. His watchword was, "Fear not." His bravery was lofty and his courage often heroic. But his courage was linked with discretion and controlled by reason. It was courage born of faith, not the recklessness of blind presumption. He was truly brave but never audacious.

100:5.2 The progression of religious growth leads from stagnation through conflict to co-ordination, from insecurity to undoubting faith, from confusion of cosmic consciousness to unification of personality, from the temporal objective to the eternal, from the bondage of fear to the liberty of divine sonship.

130:6.4 Say farewell to the life of cringing duty and live your life in the flesh as a son of God, a mortal dedicated to the ennobling service of man on earth and destined to the superb and eternal service of God... 

  Rickey H. Crosby (Petitor Veritatis)

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Facts about the 1500's

 

     

Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . ...... . Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof... Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive... So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring?

68:4.6 The path of human history is strewn with the remnants of discarded customs and obsolete social practices; but no civilization has endured which abandoned its mores except for the adoption of better and more fit customs. 

    Rickey H. Crosby (Petitor Veritatis)

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The End Of The World

                                                                     THE END OF THE WORLD

                                                                 (or the second coming of Christ)

         Please don’t be alarmed, I am not about to go out on the proverbial limb with a prognostication about our apocalyptic destruction! Still, it is extremely fascinating (for me anyway) to go back and look at the considerable number of times this has been attempted with the obvious unsuccessful fulfillment.

         The list of prognosticators is quite impressive also, they include astrologers, mathematicians, Priests, Rabbis, explorers, Monarchist, and we can’t forget the self-proclaimed cave dwelling prophet.

         Best known for his scientific thought Sir Isaac Newton was also big into apocalyptic prophecy. Largely unknown and unpublished documents, evidently written by Isaac Newton, indicating that he believes the world could end in 2060AD. This future date will undoubtedly reveal whether he will also be revered as a true forecaster of the future, or a charlatan in which category I think most of these diviners fall.

          The one future date that is looked for by most Christians today is of course “The Rapture”, and is the most easily traced back to it’s origin. An essay published in 1788 in Philadelphia by the Baptist Morgan Edwards articulated the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture and popularized in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby. Today we have the extremely popular “Left Behind” series of 16 novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

           Astounding to me is these same Christians seem to overlook the proclamation of Matthew 24:36. “But of that day and hour no man knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the son, but the Father alone”. These words from Jesus himself can’t seem to stop these predictors of the future from trying to convince others that they have been given some special insight into his return.

          The following are the ones I find most interesting.

           Christopher Columbus— Columbus claimed that the world was created in 5343 BCE, and would last 7000 years. Assuming no year zero, that means the end would come in 1658.

           Shakers— Predicted the world would end in both 1792 and 1794.

           Christopher Love— This Presbyterian minister predicted the destruction of the world by earthquake in 1805,

            (my favorite) Mary Bateman— In Leeds England in 1806 a hen began laying eggs on which the phrase "Christ is coming" was written. Eventually it was discovered to be a hoax. The owner, Mary Bateman, had written on the eggs in a corrosive ink so as to etch the eggs, and reinserted the eggs back into the hen's oviduct.

            Mother Shipton (aka) Ursula Southeil— This 15th-century cave dwelling prophet was quoted as saying "The world to an end shall come, In eighteen hundred and eighty one" in a book published in 1862. In 1873 it was revealed to be a forgery; however, this did not stop some people from expecting the end.

             Margaret Rowen— Feb.13, 1925, According to this Seventh-day Adventist the angel Gabriel appeared before her in a vision and told her that the world would end at midnight on this date.

             Leland Jensen— Jensen predicted that Halley's Comet would be pulled into Earth's orbit on April 29, 1987, causing widespread destruction.

              Louis Farrakhan— The leader of the Nation of Islam declared that the Gulf War would be the " War of Armageddon which is the final war."

              Grigori Rasputin— Rasputin prophesied August 23, 2013, a storm where fire would eat all life on land and Jesus Christ would come back to Earth to comfort those in distress.

              I think you get my point!
              This from the Urantia Book says it all for me!

              176:2.5 “But the times of the reappearing of the Son of Man are known only in the councils of Paradise; not even the angels of heaven know when this will occur. However, you should understand that, when this gospel of the kingdom shall have been proclaimed to all the world for the salvation of all peoples, and when the fullness of the age has come to pass, the Father will send you another dispensational bestowal, or else the Son of Man will return to adjudge the age. 

     Rickey H. Crosby   (Petitor Veritatis)

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Does America think it's better than everyone else?

Does America think it’s better than everyone else? “Hubris”

In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance. Hubris is often associated with a lack of humility, though not always with the lack of knowledge.

“We celebrate American exceptionalism, everything that makes the United States the greatest nation on earth.”

The term “American exceptionalism” is not a new one; it’s often traced back to Alexis de Tocqueville and the belief that our economic underpinnings were extraordinary.

In recent years, however, the term has grown and evolved as American politicians have trumpeted it with increasing frequency.

If you want to run for political office these days, holding to such a theory is almost a prerequisite. “There is no denying it,” GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain wrote in The American Spectator, “America is the greatest country in the world.” But are Cain and his compatriots correct about America being exceptional, and if so, is it something we should be shouting from our star-spangled rooftops?

On the one hand, few deny that America is special. We are the most charitable country in the world. Each year, Americans voluntarily donate hundreds of billions of dollars to churches, non-profits and humanitarian agencies. We are one of the freest countries in the world. Americans can worship whatever god they choose whenever they choose, and no one here can force his wife to cover her face in public.

The conditions are better in America. Unlike much of the world, clean water is a readily available commodity and the average wage is much higher than most of the world. No wonder a recent Yahoo poll found that 75 percent of Americans believe the United States is the “greatest country in the world.”

I do think America is great. In our sinew and our spirit, we are a great people living in a great nation. That's why countries look to us when drafting constitutions and forming governments. That's why we spend so much time debating immigration, not emigration. This is a wonderful place to live, and many citizens of other nations are clamoring to come here while our citizens largely stay put.

Yet, even though I believe America is exceptional, I am not an “American exceptionalist.” Why? Because the former is rooted in objective facts and the latter is built upon bad theology and is counterproductive.

“Exceptionalism” has been adopted by the right to mean that America, alone among the nations, is beloved of God, Many who comprise the religious right have long held that America has somehow achieved special standing with God. Working on a fundamental belief that obedience to God

brings blessings and disobedience brings curses, these thinkers believe we've earned God's blessings through historical obedience. However, this is rooted in several false beliefs, such as America being founded as a "sacred Christian nation" and the misapplication of Old Testament passages addressing ancient Israel to modern America.

This theology has many effects, most of them advantageous only for exceptionalist politicians. It keeps their detractors from saying “boo” about anything America does unless they want to be labeled “unpatriotic,” or worse, “ungodly.” After all, what God has built up, humans should not tinker with.

I love America, I fought for this country and shed blood for it and I wouldn’t live anywhere else. But I also recognize the many difficulties in our country that aren’t so exceptional. We maintain a relatively high murder rate for an industrialized nation, and we have a high rate of prisoner execution. Our educational system is failing to compete with other nations, and continues to work against disadvantaged children in poor communities. An ideology that is constantly used as a tool to quiet those who want to deal honestly with our problems is a broken one.

The difference in believing America is exceptional and American exceptionalism is significant. Believing America is exceptional recognizes our blessings, like every good and perfect gift come from God. It emphasizes God's grace rather than America's greatness. The latter assumes our nation has claimed favored status with God and often yields a don't-you-wish-you-were-like-us attitude.

Why is this important? Accepting that America is exceptional due to God's unmerited favor breeds the virtues of gratitude and humility. But a belief that America is the recipient of divine favoritism, on the other hand, breeds arrogance and triumphalism—an arrogance that robs one of any claims to being truly exceptional.

159:3.3 In bringing men into the kingdom, do not lessen or destroy their self-respect. While overmuch self-respect may destroy proper humility and end in pride, conceit, and arrogance, the loss of self-respect often ends in paralysis of the will. It is the purpose of this gospel to restore self-respect to those who have lost it and to restrain it in those who have it. Make not the mistake of only condemning the wrongs in the lives of your pupils; remember also to accord generous recognition for the most praiseworthy things in their lives. Forget not that I will stop at nothing to restore self-respect to those who have lost it, and who really desire to regain it. 

      Rickey H. Crosby ( Petitor Veritatis)

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Ricks Quiz

    I was the acknowledged leader and head of the Engedi colony!

    WHO AM I!

    135:2.4

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Abou Ben Adhem

 Abou Ben Adhem                                                                                        by James Henry Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,

And saw, within the moonlight in his room,

Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,

An angel writing in a book of gold:—

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,

And to the Presence in the room he said

"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,

And with a look made of all sweet accord,

Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."

"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"

Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,

But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then,

Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night

It came again with a great wakening light,

And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,

And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

-----------------------------------

155:3.4 ...many souls can best be led to love the unseen God by being first taught to love their brethren whom they can see. And it was in this connection that new meaning became attached to the Master’s pronouncement concerning unselfish service for one’s fellows: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.”

 Rickey H. Crosby (Petitor Veritatis)

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