Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fiction, Comics, and Joshua Black: The subtle draw of Joshua Black Hierarchy of Heaven

What is fiction?

Fiction is the ability to write a potential future from current events.  It is the ability to portray the series of events to reach the end result of a given scenario or line of thinking.  It is the ability to take single theory or thought, and string it along all of its plausible courses to reach a final outcome.

With that said, what are comics and/or graphic novels?

This medium is the method of taking fiction and bringing it to life visually.  It allows the artists and writers to take a story that is compelling and powerful and amplify it to the nth degree.  It is the ability to combine a tale that is interesting and intriguing and gripping, and create artwork that helps to tell the story with images designed to inspire and accentuate the emotions of the story.

Why am I talking about this?

Joshua Black
Because Joshua Black, (written by Martin Dunn and published by Con Artist Entertainment), has a very interesting premise, and has but a few days left to meet their stretch goals via Kickstarter.

Allow me to quote the summary of the Joshua Black storyline:
The Hierarchy. A bloodline of existence.  Only one has been recorded ascending from the earth to take the throne of heaven, but His story has been told.  On this day, another will rise.  This is the story of a deity.  This is the story of a living God.  This is the story of JOSHUA BLACK. and how he ended the world, not with a whimper... but with a bang!

For those of you who are interested in theology, and specifically the theological heresies of Christianity, this may be a very interesting entry.  If you are not all that interested in it, you may still find this to be a worthwhile read.
Joshua Black

The first thing one will notice, regardless of your interest, is the fact that the story is based upon a character that becomes God.  I've had countless contacts since announcing my support for this series, and most are asking me a single question with multiple variations: Why are you, as a Christian, supporting something so diametrically opposed to your beliefs?

The answer to this question is simple: Because Joshua Black takes the Arianism heresy to its absolute final conclusion, and demonstrates, in my opinion, just why the heresy is so very contrary to the Word of God, and dangerous at the same time.

A little background first.  Arianism is not to be confused with Hitler's Arian Dream.  Arianism was created by a monk who could not reconcile himself to the belief that God was triune.  His solution to the perceived problem, then, was to declare that Jesus Christ, far from being God made flesh, was actually a created being that had been set aside specifically for the purpose of death on the cross.  His resurrection, according to the heresy, was proof that He had carried out His purpose successfully, and was thus granted deity status.

Of the many problems with this doctrine, one stands out most: It states that Christ was merely human.

Joshua BlackIn Joshua Black, a young man discovers that he is next in the hierarchy of Christ; that is, he is the same as Christ in that he was created specifically to serve a particular purpose and ascend to the throne of Heaven as the next "Son of God."  This is Arianism at its most blatant, and it does play out all the way to the end.

Because Joshua is a mere human tapped for godhood and granted the powers of a god, certain things are bound to happen.  For instance, we see in Scripture that Christ calmed storms at sea; what would happen if a tormented teen lets loose a verbal barrage of vehement speech against someone or something, but does so with the power of a god backing him?  Another example: We see Christ rejecting Satan's temptations; but what would happen if a hormonal demigod gave in to temptation?

This series is going to be an amazing ride for everyone, and I believe I can promise that.  There is so much more to the story; so much more depth to each of the characters; so much more underlying intrigue that it really will grasp the attention of anyone willing to give it a shot.

Right now, one of the most amazing things about this series is that it is being crowd-sourced, in a manner of speaking.  Their Kickstarter was successful, but they are now seeking to meet stretch goals to ensure both quality and a continued story.  You can be a part of this.  Just click on either the name "Joshua Black" or "Kickstarter" anywhere in this article to be taken to their profile where you can choose to support one of the most amazing stories to come out in comics since that of Wolverine.

Joshua Black
Click here to go to the Joshua Black Kickstarter!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Joshua Black: Kick It UP!

Joshua Black
Joshua Black: Hierarchy of Christ - Used with permission.
Folks, I want to take a break from the sociopolitical issues to talk for a moment about something I've been privileged to be helping with for a short while; something I believe in immensely, and something I think that family, friends and readers from all parts of the spectrum will enjoy.
I'm not going to invite you all to church with me...  Though if you're interested, fee free to hit me up about that.  I'm not going to sell you holy wood from the cross, because that's just stupid.  I'm not even looking to get you to check out my latest YouTube video... Mainly because it's been awhile since I've put one up.

No folks, I'm talking about something that's important.  Something of value.  Something that has game-changing potential.

I'm talking about Joshua Black.

Joshua Black: Hierarchy of Christ is an amazing comic that is currently being published by ConArtist Entertainment.  Right now, they have a Kickstarter going and let me tell you...  The rewards are unbelievable.  Even for a $1 donation, you're getting far more of value back.

But seriously.  What can I say about the storyline of this amazing tale that hasn't been said better already?  Here- An excerpt taken from the Joshua Black Kickstarter itself:

The Hierarchy. A bloodline of existence.  Only one has been recorded ascending from the earth to take the throne of heaven, but His story has been told.  On this day, another will rise.  This is the story of a deity.  This is the story of a living God.  This is the story of JOSHUA BLACK. and how he ended the world, not with a whimper... but with a bang!

Joshua Black
Acclaim for Joshua Black
Used with permission.
The story of this epic is written so well that the late Christopher Hitchens, and noted apologist Dinesh D'Souza, might actually agree on the worthiness of this project for support.  (Which would be quite the amazing thing, given their 2010 debate at Notre Dame.)  More importantly, however, it is a tale that I believe will one day be on the same level as Spiderman, Captain America, or The Flash in terms of being relatable.  (Apologies to those who find these characters to be less than interesting.)

It details the life of a seemingly ordinary young man: A young man who deals with bullies, peer pressure, girlfriend worries and everything else most high school students deal with.  He's got a few friends, most notably his good friend Pete Sanderson, who also have their own personal demons to wrestle with.

Joshua, however, has a few aspects of his life that are most relatable if one has also experienced the same things themselves.  The death of his mother; the physical, emotional and verbal abuse from his father... These things shape the world in which Joshua lives.

Yet, something sets Joshua apart: He's next in line to take the throne of Heaven, and he doesn't even know it!

This last Sunday morning, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Martin Dunn, the writer/creator of Joshua Black.  Of the many questions which were asked and answered, one of those I found most interesting was the origin of this book.

I do not wish to bore you with a full transcript, however, I do recommend that you listen to the full interview, which can be found HERE.

I want to mention for a moment the rewards which are being offered: Digital copies of issues 1 and 2 for a mere dollar, plus more; digital copies of issues 1-7 and printed thanks in the paperback for $10, plus more; a personalized video message for $50, plus more; a guest host spot on the Con Artist Entertainment podcast for $100, plus more; a full page color ad for one's business or personal venture for $300, plus more...  And for each of these, you receive the rewards from all previous tiers as well!

Where are these funds going?  Again, I refer to the Kickstarter itself:

The purpose of this KickStarter campaign is to fully fund the artwork and publishing costs required to complete production of both physical and digital copies of the book, as well as collected edition. The biggest chunk of the money pledged to this project will be used to pay the talented artistsinkerscolorists, and letterers who will bring this story to life.  Funds will also be used to cover the costs of printing and marketing, which unfortunately, are not cheap.  We're confident that, with adequate resources, we'll be able to produce a quality product, and successfully market it to a large audience.

In closing, let me urge you to go to the Joshua Black Kickstarter and pledge today.  I leave you with this, the video found on the Kickstarter page.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Constitution: The Protector of Gun Fearing Cowards

Well, let's take a break from the craziness of homosexual marriage, and the so-called equality debate, to look at something far less polarizing.  How about politicians?  More specifically, how about politicians who shift blame from themselves and onto the people they supposedly represent?

Now it should be noted, before I go any further, that the stance I took in my last article (Equality: Homosexuals, Marriage, and Christian Blindness) holds true for me, and should for any Christian.  At the end of the day, I am more concerned with the state of lost souls than I am gun control measures or politics in general.  With that said, it is also important to note that Christians should still know what is going on in politics, because the decisions made at local, state and federal levels will in most cases ultimately affect them.

With this being said, the gun control debate is still going strong in the United States, no matter how eclipsed it may be by the marriage equality issue.  Ultimately, restrictions on the ability to own firearms of one's choosing will affect Christians; but it will affect them first as citizens of this country, and only secondly as followers of Christ.  However, the move to push actual bans on certain firearms will have major impact on Christians in the long run, because it does remove an element of control from the citizens and places that control in the hands of an obese and scarcely functioning federal government.

Note this interview from CNN:

Even people who are favoring gun control recognize the fact that the government of these United States is not capable of moving as quickly as it should.  In this instance, it is my opinion that the slow, waddling gait of the lumbering Fed was a blessing in disguise; it prevented certain elements within the government from capitalizing on the shock, horror and generally knee-jerk reaction of the American public.

However, the debate continues, and it is being head up by some of the most unbelievably dense and/or ignorant individuals, political and otherwise, that this nation has ever witnessed.

People such as Dianne Feinstein, who contradicts herself regularly on the issue; even when testifying before Congress.  Such as Jim Carrey, a man who I still enjoy; yet who has demonstrated that he has no idea what is at the heart of the issue.  Such as Chris Murphy, who regularly shows his lack of gun knowledge by insisting that a ban on magazines is the answer; this despite the fact that the Virginia Tech shootings took place even with the gunman changing clips.  And finally, people such as Jackie Speier.

Ms. Speier went above and beyond her compatriots in passing the buck, by stating that the entire system of government has been set up to "protect the cowards in this country."  She not only effectively blamed the Constitution that gives her the job she has, but added insult by stating via inference that anyone disagreeing with her is a coward.
You don't have to take my word for it:

Now, I have a few questions that came out of watching this clip.  The first is what is California doing to their water or air that is causing so many of their people to become imbeciles?  (Those of you who know me know how generous a statement that is.)
The second question I have is probably going to be the most offensive thing I've said so far, so steel yourselves: Who does she think she is, to call others who oppose her and her school of thought cowards, when she is the one who has been rabidly and psychotically against firearms since she was shot?  Who's the coward, Ms. Speier?  You are a disgrace to your state, your office, and your country for comments like that, and it is my spite for your politics that prevents me from referring to you as "Representative" or "Congresswoman."
You are right on this point, though: The Constitution does protect the cowards in this country.  You're living, flinching, yellow proof of that fact.

Aside from her, we've got the vice-doof making statements as blatantly false as any, and who has stated that a so-called "Assault Weapons Ban" is just the beginning.  It's amazing that opponents of gun rights will readily admit that they've never fired a weapon (hello, Piers Morgan, you limey bastard); or will admit that they don't live anywhere near the places that violent crime is actually an issue (anyone know of a federal gun ban supporting rep who lives in Chicago?)

We've also got the F*Tard-In-Chief pushing gun control measures through via Executive Orders.  (For those of you who don't know where this term comes from, please refer to the Executive Order denying the prosecution of known "recruiters" of child soldiers and simultaneously providing weapons to the very countries enslaving and brainwashing children.)  When all is said and done, Do these people actually represent us?  How can they, if they do not realize how low of a priority gun control is right now?
From the National Journal:
While the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School stirred up plenty of passion for gun control and closed part of the enthusiasm gap, [Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, the director of social policy and politics for Third Way] argues that the economy or the unemployment rate may be more important to these people. A Pew Research Poll from January confirms this, showing gun control near the bottom of voter-issue priorities.

Is it any wonder, then, that states are beginning to be flooded with gun control nullification legislation?  The people of the United States are more concerned with controlling their federal government than they are controlling the sale, ownership, styling and usage of guns!

But really, Pat Henry of "Girls Just Wanna Have Guns" had it one hundred percent correct on this point:
...what if the elaborate procedure to amend the Constitution was carried out, and enough states voted to ratify the repeal, would that be the end of your right to keep and bear arms?
No, it would not, because the Constitution does not give you rights, it merely instructs the government not to interfere with the God-given rights you already have. 

The thing that most gun ban pushing, right limiting, yellow cowards tend to forget is this:  You cannot have it both ways. Either the Constitution is a living document, as they claim, and applies now to modern firearms- Just as it applies now to text messages, chat boards, blogs, etc. -Or it is not.  If it is not, then it still allows for the ownership of modern firearms.
These feckless blips on the historical radar want it to say only what they want it to say; they want a McDonald's style government with a twist: "Have it our way."  However, the Constitution expressly forbids such a ruling style.  That has not kept the Capitol Hill Nutters from attempting to change things, however, and we all need to be better informed and more aware of what is going on around us.  Why?

Because these people aren't out to stop violence, as they say.  They don't want to put an end to bloodshed.  They want to put an end to the very real threat that if they one day go too far, the first bullet of a new American Revolution will hit them.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Equality: Homosexuals, Marriage, and Christian Blindness

You know, I'm seeing a lot of different things being posted about equality. I'm seeing Christians posting anti-homosexual sentiments (at the worst), as well as more reasonable Christians posting things to the effect of 'I support Biblical model marriage,' and other variations on the theme.
On the other hand, I'm also seeing many other people posting graphics which paint those who don't agree with homosexuality as a life style as being as bad as those who want to outright kill homosexuals. Granted, this is the worst element; the more reasonable ones are simply saying that marriage is not a church institution; never was; this is not a Christian country and never was; etc.
Each group has valid points made with valid facts, and each group has a great deal of invalid points created from invalid facts. 

You know what I think, folks?  I think Christians have lost sight of the big picture.  Since when has Christianity been about earthly equality, or lack thereof?

Of course, I could say the same for Equality of Marriage supporters: Since when has Christianity been about earthly equality, or lack thereof?

You see, the same question applies to both camps, believe it or not.

Let me address Christians first, because honestly, I see them as being far more responsible for the problems at hand.  
Brothers and sisters, we are more responsible, like it or not.  We are held to a higher standard, and as such, we are more responsible now for the issues that are now than unbelievers are.  Sure, those who remain unbelievers will be held accountable in the final judgment, but until that day comes, guess who's holding?

Yep.  Us.

So let me put it to you this way: Our job is not to make rules and laws for unbelievers to follow.  Straight up, that makes us pharisees.  That makes us the people Christ verbally slapped every time they came around.  I do not feel like getting that kind of a backhand, and none of you should want it either.  Additionally, we were not put here to dictate life choices to others; the laws of the Bible may apply to all, but forcing people who do not believe is the same as a Muslim demanding conversion at the end of a sword: That's not God's way, and it should not be ours.  Let them fall on the Rock of their own accord and be broken.  Let the judgment fall upon them through their own iniquity, by their own hand, and quit trying to be the proverbial sword- Again, that is not our job.
People get caught up in this being a Christian nation, and they forget something very important: The Christians who had a part in the founding of this country paired up with Deists, Atheists, and a slew of others to do so.  This country was not made a theocracy, nor should it become one.  There are more than enough of those in the world: Most are in the Middle East, and you can see how well they're doing.  And don't give me the "well they're not serving the living God" bull.  They aren't, there we agree; but how many humans have you met that have it completely, 100% together?  Who would you honestly trust with absolute power to enforce the will of God?  If you can't name a single man or woman you'd trust in that capacity, then you need to quite talking out of your hindquarters and quit pushing morality on people who have shifting morality.  For the record, if you CAN name someone you'd trust in that position, you need to evaluate the cult you belong to, because even Moses screwed the pooch.

Don't like the straight talk?  Too bad.  Even Paul wrote that he considered the things of this world to be shit compared to Christ Jesus, and I'll be tarred, feathered and set alight before I speak any differently than plain.

You unbelievers and supporters of marriage equality- Listen up.

The most loudmouthed Christians are not those who represent Christianity.  You people accuse Christians of judging you all based upon varying examples, yet do the exact same thing.  Grow up, think like an adult, and use that gray matter to recognize that random examples of Christian intolerance do not properly represent the Christian community as a whole.  
You want your opponents to quit characterizing every homosexual male as an overly effeminate, lisping moron with a jones for jocks?  Quit acting like every Christian is a homophobe. You want your opponents to quit speaking and acting as if every homosexual female is a bull dike, more man than woman, and only lacking the scrotum and body hair?  Quit portraying every opponent as a knife wielding, hood wearing, "God hates fags" nutcase.

You people want equality?  Start behaving like equals.  Start arguing on an intellectual level, and quit acting like two year olds without toys.
Case in point: I have a friend, Toni, who is an amazingly intelligent, witty and down-to-earth young man.  This is a man who is, at times, given to purely emotional outbursts.  However, the majority of the time, he gives a highly intellectual argument; presents well thought out points; and generally treats the people he is debating with respect.  He, folks, ought to be upheld as a model for others to follow in this regard.

Now, if anything I've said here offends you, let me be the first to say "Good."  The nation got into this mess because of its obsession with political correctness, and the crap needs to end.  Pushing political correctness is the same damn thing as legislating morality, and I'm sick as f*ck of both.

Bottom line: Equality is a bullsh!t word.  Secular equality means that everyone has the same rights, the same freedoms, etc.  Biblical equality, (look this up if you disagree), says that every human being on the face of the earth today is as much a sinner as the next.  Ask any random ten people on the street what equality is, and you are more likely to get ten different responses than you are to find ten people who voted in the last election.  
The majority of the equality advocates which I have met are not advocating equality for the sake of equality- they are advocating it because they're angry at religious folks; because they believe God is imaginary and religion is a hoax; and/or because they have been hurt somehow in some way in the past.

Christians, our duty is not to these people's sexual practices, deviant or not.  Our duty is to their souls, and like it or not, demanding they conform to a standard of practice is NOT going to save them.  Sorry.  You'll actually have to get off your asses and actually DO something... 

Start with obeying Christ, above any and every man, and begin to actually spread the Gospel; you know, instead of paying it lip service, and doing the exact opposite?

In short... Why do we attempt to do for God what God does not do for Himself?

EDIT: A very important section of this article was somehow lost when I published it- The phrase "which I have met" now appears where it should have been from the beginning.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Glimpse Into the World of Blog Commenting: Part 1

A great deal of discussion is to be had when reading through and taking part in blog comments.  On one entry in particular, an article on Ke$ha at Beginning and End, things got so interesting it prompted me to dust off the old blog once more.

Yishai320 stated in part:
Bible burnings by Muslims are conducted by only extremists and radicals (It is against Shariah law to destroy any sort of scripture, Islamic or not....

I responded to his post on the subject, saying this in reference to the above quote:
...Muslims do burn Bibles. They actually refer to Christians and Jews as “People of the Book,” and look down upon them for upholding the Scripture of the Bible over the Koran. (Or Qu’ran, if you’d prefer.) Al Jezeera is full of videos of this happening.

This touched off a bit of a storm, it seems.  A "Teacher E," whose profile I would link to if they had provided it, quoted the above portion and then stated:

I need to correct you on this. Muslims are not allowed to burn Bibles, and Al Jazeera is not full of videos of this happening. This would suggest that they hate Jesus and Christians, and this is not the case. Whoever you saw doing that, it isn’t Muslims.
Muslims believe in those parts of the Bible that are confirmed by the Qur’an. Muslims believe in the immaculate conception, for example, simply because the Qur’an states that it happened.
What Muslims reject utterly is the belief in the divinity of Jesus – Jesus was one of many prophets sent to remind people that there is only one God. God is unique, eternal and absolute, and such a being has no reason to come down to earth in human form – the mere suggestion is blasphemous. That is the main reason why Muslims regard Christians as having been led astray. And why not? Pure monotheism needs no confusing trinity to try to get your head around, no intermediary priests, no saints and no statues or idols.

My initial response to Teacher E was one in which I did not take into full account the depth of devotion to response they would give.  At this point, I'd already deduced that they were Muslim; however, because they seemed to be trying so hard to avoid saying so, I opted to play along.
Please note a few key phrases used in Teacher's response: "Al Jazeera is not full of videos of this happening," "Muslims are not allowed to burn Bibles," "This would suggest they hate Jesus and Christians, and this is not the case," and "Pure monotheism needs no... saints... or idols."

My response to Teacher read this way:

Say what you like, but Teacher? Educate thyself.
I have seen it happen with my own eyes, and yes, Al Jezeera is full of videos where this is taking place. I will go with you to this extent: They may be less than strict Muslims, and in that regard, don’t see a problem with what they’re doing. Or, they may be following a straying Imam- Regardless of the reason, it does happen.
Secondly, they call Jesus the “perfect prophet.” Mohammed is the “last prophet.” Christ claimed Divinity. Mohammed said Jesus was not Divine. If Jesus were indeed perfect, then there could be no falsehood in his mouth, and He claimed to be God. If Mohammed was only the last prophet, and not perfect, then he could be mistaken, and he could indeed lie. So, here’s a question to wrap your head around:
If Jesus was the perfect prophet, and Mohammed only the “last” prophet, which one was correct?

You'll notice that I address the fact that there are videos, and quite a few in fact, on Al Jazeera of Bible burnings being held by Muslims.  I address the point of Muslims burning Bibles, and acknowledge that said Muslims may be considered "fringe" or "straying."

What I did not address was the statement that Muslims do not hate Jews and Christians; and that "Pure monotheism needs no saints or idols."

Firstly, there is the little matter of al-Ḥajar al-Aswad or the Black Stone.  Nearly every Muslim one asks about this will state that no true Muslim actually worships this rock- Yet this is what they pray to.  Worship is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

2. Reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also an act of expressing such reverence
3. A form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
4. extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem
The Black Rock is an Idol According to Muslim theology, this is a limited viewpoint- Their definition of worship includes this and more.  So, with that understanding, what is it that Muslims have no need for?  Something along the lines of "idols?"  If idolatry is defined as "worship and/or reverence given to any but Allah," then Muslims most certainly DO worship, and make an idol of, al-Ḥajar al-Aswad.

Another thing that I did not point out, on the same topic, was the fact that In Christianity, "Saints" are prayed to solely by those with a Catholic bent.  That is, only those who uphold some form of Catholicism do so.  This, however, is beside the point.

What is the point, however, is that the "Saints" are held in high reverence- Much like Mohammed.

Lastly, I did not point out the fact that the Q'ran explicitly calls for the murder of Jews and Christians.  
"And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful.   And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah." ~Q'ran (2:191-193)
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." ~Q'ran (9:29) 

"If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while.  Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter." ~Q'ran (33:60-62)
These are only a few of the 109+ verses from the Q'ran alone that speak to violence against unbelievers, and specifically, Christians and Jews.  In the last verse, 33:60-62, the phrase "in whose hearts is a disease" refers absolutely to these two faiths; the definition of this term was set up in 5:51-52:
O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people. But you will see those in whose hearts is a disease hastening towards them, saying: We fear lest a calamity should befall us; but it may be that Allah will bring the victory or a punish ment from Himself, so that they shall be regretting on account of what they hid in their souls. ~Q'ran (5:51-52)

Now, unless one believes in honor killings, (Q'ran 18:74,80-81), such slaughter can only be fueled by hatred.  Some would say, "no, it's fueled by divine edict."  The response to this is that the edict comes from hatred; thus, the true follower of Islam must also be filled with hate.  There cannot be one without the other or one is the "hypocrite" referred to in 33:60.
So, in point of fact, they do hate Jews and Christians, and- Here's the kicker- Jesus as a result.  How do I arrive at this point?  "As you've done unto the least of these, you've done unto Me." 
(Matthew 25:40)

There is a great deal more, but that will have to wait until the next installment.  Until then, God bless.