Category Archives: Religion

Will the Real Christians Please Stand Up?

I think I remember when America was a Christian thinking nation. I remember a poem we memorized as children:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Those were the days when being an American meant acting on what we believed in. These are different times.

Most of us have seen the gruesome pictures of Syrians literally dying to escape their country. These people are leaving because they have been trapped in their bombed-out homes, afraid to move, for so long they are starving to death. Their only hope to live is to put themselves and their families in, quite possibly, lethal circumstances to escape.

Approximately 6 percent of Syria’s population, 1.5 million people, are Christians. We don’t know who is who over there, but my guess is that the people who like ISIS will stay and the Christians should get out as soon as possible. Those Christians we see dying are having that very thought.

Immigration is the new bad word in America. It is a useful term, but it’s shameful how it is used in polite conversation. It means moving oneself from one place to another. It implies one has a choice. “Stay where we are or go see the greener grass.” If you wish to stroll to America, do the paperwork, pay the fees, get a job and enjoy. If you don’t have the money or the time to do the paperwork, like if you are running for your life, you are an ILLEGAL immigrant and that means very bad things to “real Americans”. Those people may think they are escaping to the Promised Land, but when they get here, they are ILLEGALS.

There are times when words are not political vehicles and they just describe things like they were created to do. Sometimes people are not immigrating, they are escaping. They are running from persecution and certain death. To know that, we would have to ask a question or two. We would have to care about people other than ourselves. We might have to do Christian things.

One Christian thing we might be able to do is screen the people coming to our country and separate the decent people from the criminals, according to our laws. That would be a Christian thing to do, but it would take some work to create a visible application of Christian behavior. That is much harder to do than it is to talk about the problem. Doing nothing to help your brothers and sisters in your faith, is easy.

Back when we had a national method for receiving immigrants, we successfully registered tens of millions of people from all over the world into our country. Today, police forces are militarized and politicians make their audiences with the fear that can be created by unknown, but assumed violent, strangers. Even Christians are afraid to allow other Christians into our country and that hypocrisy is justified with false Nationalism and Bible quotes — rarely conversations about how to change laws to help people, only how to stop people from getting what we have.

It must be tough being a political Christian — having to decide who the important people are. All that pressure involved in correcting the teachings of Jesus to make them fit into those political parties’ platforms. All the pesky contradictions. Old Testament thumpers who just hate the new wave thumpers – it must be complicated.

We know American Christians can’t abide Mexican Christians who are looking for a safe harbor from drug warlords and corrupt governments, so it must be OK that those Syrian Christians die at sea while they pray to find a Christian place to live. Those refugees must not be the right Christians or the American Christians would petition their government to help people live in a Christian nation. Maybe we could document the people we see walking over our boarders to keep them and the rest of us safe. Maybe we can come to realize there must be a reason why this has not yet been done. Tough decisions.

Of course, the comfort of promised forgiveness, from anything, must make these life and death decisions easier.


It’s hard to be a Christian and an American- or a good one, anyway. The entire deck seems to be stacked against the faithful. Central tenets of Christianity build the foundation of this country and, out of respect, our Founding Fathers made sure Christians would remain free to worship as they wished. Almost everyone is Christian, but the government refuses to budge on the freedom for all religions idea. Government does some very UN-Christian things that Christians would not allow to be done in a Christian nation. But, America is not a Christian nation. It is an every-religion nation.

America, and all nations, would probably be better if they were Christian nations, but, alas, there is money attached to power and many would roll the dice on the afterlife for a good payday today. Real Christians, being Christians, can’t put up much of a fight, for the fear of acting UN-Christian. Their Christian brothers and sisters don’t seem to be worried about acting like Christians as long as they are sure of forgiveness for what every they do. It’s a dilemma.

Some Christians rationalize the inequity of the UN-Christian America by misreading 1 Peter 2:18-19. The passage tells, “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.” Perhaps the most ignored passage ever written.

Peter wrote that passage somewhere around 65 AD. At that time in the Roman Empire, slaves were a class in Roman society. They were primarily captives of war, but the competent slaves worked in commerce and government. Go to 1 Peter 2:13 to see Peter’s meaning. He tells one group of people to “…act as free men” [1 Peter 2:16.] Then he addresses the next group, slaves.

In this instance, Peter was addressing Jews who were refusing to obey unbelieving masters. “Slaves” had a necessary place in Roman government. Peter was speaking to a group of people in his society. He was not talking about the relationship America has with her citizens. Neither was he talking about the institution of slavery. Slavery was a given.

It is good to bear up against injustice. It is good to be conscious of God. Just not because God is comfortable with you being a slave or a slave owner. Those are man-made evils.

This is a much easier conversation in America than it would be in most places in the world. I have plenty of time, and GOOGLE, to contemplate this issue. I am not dodging bullets or wondering why the government is starving my children. If I lived in, well, almost anywhere else, I would think Peter was working for the government.

There is another reason why 1 Peter 2:18-19 cannot apply to America’s relationship to her citizens, it is UN-Christian to support a government who is brutalizing its people. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Isaiah 49:25: God’s promise to Zion:

“For thus says the Lord: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.”

Can good Christians do any less? Do Christians use 1 Peter 2:18-19 to ignore willful government abuses of the innocent?   Should good Christians ignore Peter and act against unjust governments?

The uncomfortable “What Would Jesus Do?” dilemma.

A Pastors Perspective: Pastor Jim Olaiz

I have posted less than flattering things about organized Christian religion on my blog. Two of my longest and most respected friends are Pastors. They read my stuff and forgive me for my methods and sometimes they take the opportunitiy to reformulate their beliefs and offer the reasons for their faith yet again. They get it.
I gowd them because they are the true voice of religion and I want them, my friends, to speak up and silence the posers with big money and little hearts who are the shames of Christ.
Today we got lucky. Pastor Jim Olaiz has something to say.
I have made it a habit in my life — at least for the last 48 years- to shut up and listen when Jim Olaiz talks. That always works out good fo me.
Enjoy some real religion.

While I am not a scholar, a deep and profound thinker or a man of letters who is devoted to literary or scholarly pursuits. I am a man passionate of Jesus Christ and my life in Him.
For anyone who says that “religion” is a disappointment to them- I agree with them!
Religion can be defined as “belief in God or gods to be worshipped, usually expressed in conduct and ritual” or “any specific system of belief, worship, etc., often involving a code of ethics”. The majority of the world’s population adheres to some form of religion. The problem is that there are so many different religions. What is the right religion? What is true religion? The two most common ingredients in religions are rules and rituals.
Some religions are essentially nothing more than a list of rules or do’s and don’t’s, that a person must observe in order to be considered a faithful and adherent of that religion, and thereby, right with the God of that religion.
Two examples of rules-based religions are Islam and Judaism. Islam has its five pillars that must be observed. Orthodox Judaism has hundreds of commands and traditions that are to be observed. Both religions, to a certain degree, claim that by obeying the rules of the religion, a person will be considered right with God.
However, when anyone who genuinely and throughly reads and examines the Bible (both Old and New Testament), it is evident that the scriptures describe a “relationship” with God. At the risk of sounding cliché, “religion” is mankind’s attempt to reach out to God. However, “relationship” is God reaching out to us- His creation. Or as translated from the Greek- His “poem”. Imagine that?
All the religions of the world fall short of obtaining salvation because they put the burden of salvation on man. They teach that through our adhering to a rigid standard of dos and don’ts, we make ourselves acceptable unto God. But God revealed in James 2:10 that if you keep the whole Law and yet offend in one point, you are guilty of all. This is where the religions of the world have missed it. They have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Mankind cannot save him/herself, he/she has to have a savior.
In contrast to biblical Christianity, “religions” focus more on observing rituals instead of obeying a list of rules. By offering this sacrifice, performing this task, participating in this service, consuming this meal, etc., a person is made right with God. The most prominent example of a ritual-based religion is Roman Catholicism.
Roman Catholicism holds that by being water baptized as an infant, by partaking in the Mass, by confessing sin to a priest, by offering prayers to saints in Heaven, by being anointed by a priest before death, etc., etc., God will accept such a person into Heaven after death. Buddhism and Hinduism are also primarily ritual-based religions, but can also to a lesser degree be considered rules-based.
A “true religion” is a relationship with Jesus Christ. A true relationship with Jesus Christ is neither rules-based nor ritual-based.
Two things that all religions hold are that humanity is somehow separated from God and needs to be reconciled to Him. False religion seeks to solve this problem by observing rules and rituals. A genuine relationship with Jesus Christ solves the problem by recognizing that only He can reconcile the separation, and that He has done so by His sacrificial death on the cross.
A genuine relationship with Jesus recognizes the following:
1. We have all sinned and are therefore separated from God (Romans 3:23).
2. If not rectified, the just penalty for sin is death and eternal separation from God after death (Romans 6:23).
3. God came to us in the Person of Jesus Christ and died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve, and rose from the dead to demonstrate that His death was a sufficient sacrifice (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
4. If we receive Jesus as the Savior, trusting His death as the full payment for our sins, we are forgiven, saved, redeemed, reconciled, and justified with God (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9).
In all fairness, a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ does have rules and observances, but there is a crucial difference. In genuine relationship with Jesus, the rules and rituals are observed out of gratitude for the salvation He has provided through His sacrificial death on the cross- NOT in an effort to obtain that salvation.
And by further contrast, A genuine relationship with Jesus, which is Biblical Christianity, has rules to follow (do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not lie, etc.) and rituals to observe (water baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper / Communion). However, observance of these rules and rituals is not what makes a person right with God. Rather, these rules and rituals are the RESULT of the relationship with God, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone as mankind’s Savior from inherited sin and eternal separation from God.
False religion is doing things (rules and rituals) in order to try to earn God’s favor. A genuine relationship is receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and thereby having a right relationship with God – and then doing things (rules and observations) out of love for God and desire to grow closer to Him.
I realize that even with this comprehensive explanation that there will still be many with rebuttals which they consider valid. However, from a biblical perspective, they are not yet ready to receive what I’ve stated. And, in all fairness, neither was I earlier in my life. And possibly like me, it may take more time or a life changing event to provide them a new revelation to seek a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. But there is a word of caution here. By having read my “Pastor’s Perspective”, you the reader will be held accountable if you reject what you have read. You won’t be able to say- “I didn’t know” or “I never was told”. The Bible states that when we are finally in the presence of God that “every knee will bow and every tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord”.
But for those of you who have been contemplating this whole “religion” thing- have you considered making a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, then pray a simple statement of faith which includes-
1. Acknowledging that you are a sinner.
2. That there is nothing that you can do to absolve or remove your sins apart from God.
3. And, that you are in need of a holy and sinless Savior to forgive you, cleanse you and give you a new heart and a fresh start in Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us-
1 Corinthians 11:21-32
“But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.”
However, 1 John 1:9 clearly shares with us-
“If we confess our sins, He [Jesus] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Your next steps for growth are to; continue praying for guidance, get a hold of a Bible and start reading it (start with the Gospel of John), seek out out other like-minded Christians and a Bible teaching church, and tell others (Christian and non-Christians) about you new life in Jesus!
If you need some guidance on how to find a genuine Bible teaching church, go to my Facebook page- “Ask The Book”- and post your question.
Pastor Jim Olaiz Jr.
Shepherd’s Watch Ministries

Christian Shame For America.

Imagine a large group of gears all working in concert to drive a great machine. One central shaft with its drive gear is powering the whole monstrosity. What would happen to the collection if that one all-important drive gear was out of balance? Any imbalance, no matter how slight, would eventually reverberate throughout the entire machine and destroy it over time. That is inevitable.

Now imagine a God that is all things, but reasonable. That imbalance is fatal to the machine. If god created the machine, it would be foolish to make it self-destruct. What would be the point other than creating pain and suffering for those unfortunate enough to be caught in the deception? Again, assuming God is god and not crazy, we should assume some reasonableness from God. I would suggest if this is an attitude and a bit of reasoning that you can be comfortable with, that you do not read the Old Testament. That is a collection of caprice that is everything, but reasonable.

We can say that without fear if god is reasonable. If god is not reasonable, well it would have flown apart long before now due to the ridiculous imbalance – an unreasonable god is foolishness. Another alternative is that god is actually a construct of evil men to control trusting people.

This is not an argument against god, although god’s handlers will use personal offense and claims of blasphemy to maintain their justifications for their deceptions. After all, they are the leaders of American Religion with some paperwork that says they have God’s number and they and the Lamb are BFF’s. On the contrary, this article is for a reasonable God who is not threatened with challenges to explain itself and its lack of actions when action is so clearly called for.

God, if it is god at all, is reasonable and offers nothing for us to fear. Men will have us afraid of god to make us follow them. This is actually an article against American Organized Religion and the hypocrites that sell fear for salvation.

If we care to take a good look at American Christianity, we will see it is mostly politics and very little Jesus. A quick look at the recent Republican Convention should be enough to shame all of Christendom. If that’s not enough to get you out of church and into religion then listen to your fellow “Christians” willfully ignore truth, justice, American values and the teachings of Christ to use the name of Jesus to promote a monster for political gain.

American Christianity is out of balance and it is predictably self-destructing. People are running from Christian churches like refugees run from their destruction. That doesn’t seem to matter to the present day Pharisees. They build great temples to their ideas and their narcissism and call them Churches.

The Chrystal Cathedral in Los Angeles cost as much to build as the Government says it would take to feed 25,000 families of 4 for an entire year. There are 25,000 hungry people living within walking distance to that testament to corruption. The very religious people running that Ponzi scheme are about to put another $50 million into that campus. In the name of God and great churches, the hungry will remain hungry, but religion will waste food on glass.

If God is everything we are being sold by the great Church builders, they are in some trouble. Jesus did his work without being surrounded by glass. He even said something about what happens when 2 or more are gathered in his name and that had nothing to do with building great buildings with church money in the middle of suffering people. Great churches are, some believe, actually edifices built to honor the Devil. Today I agree with that assessment. Today I turn my back on Organized American Religion because their god is out of balance, it condones building great Churches in the middle of suffering and feeding the hungry is a secondary business for most churches in America. The first church business seems to be bullying their flocks into fear and tithing.

The bottom line is that their God is not good enough to be my god. I reject them all without fear, because my god is reasonable and it is not afraid to be challenged.



Jesus is Not Coming to America



Something social scientists have known for a long time:

White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus.

So there is no confusion.

That’s one of the many reasons why it’s best for religious people to stay out of politics and to avoid people who use Jesus as a political tool. Christian leaders are doing their jobs badly, that’s the only reason Jesus is in the middle of political discussions. Jesus is the foil for politicians to get old testament ideas into current politics. They say Jesus means bla, bla, bla, and use old testament quotes to support some political agendas, and if you don’t agree or if you have better ethics, you are branded not Christian enough. There is a disconnect. Jesus said some things. They were not political. Men make them political by adding foolishness to Jesus’ words, like Jesus wasn’t smart enough to add those things into his conversations, himself.

Politicized Christians need Jesus for the brand; not his words or his soul. They need to stand next to Jesus, like he was a trophy wife, to say and do unchristian things. I find that disgusting. The recent Republican charade, complete with religious leader-groupies and their statements that confuse sociopathy with “baby Christian”-hood, are evidence of the decline of Christendom.

Imagine how cynical one would have to be to use Jesus to punish people, to exclude them from a safe harbor or their own country, or pass unconstitutional laws in the name of America and God. That is why Jesus is not coming to America.

According to ancient prophecies a great leader will come to us during a period of great desperation and crisis, this is known as the end of times.

At one time the Romans were experiencing discontent in their outlying regions, particularly Palestine, were rumors of a prophet Messiah who would ease oppressions and unite the people, were spreading. The Romans were aware of this unrest and these rumors and were looking out for agitators.

When Jesus began his teachings he warned his followers not to tell anyone that he was the Christ or that he was going to be the fulfillment of ancient prophecies, because the political climate of the time would make that revelation too dangerous for him. Things are going good for the new guy until he messed with the money. Then his quaint message of love and peace became inflammatory and seditious political rhetoric.

The rest of the story is well known. Jesus throws a tizzy in the money room and the religious guys get together with the government guys and kill him. The religious guys blamed the government guys and the government guys reminded everyone they were just giving the people what they wanted, but in the end, the good guy got killed over politics and money.

It all worked out for almost everyone. Jesus got to die, which was the plan, and the religious/business guys maintained their cozy relationship. The people learned that there can be someone who will sacrifice everything for them and everyone learned if you mess with powerful people’s money, they will kill you.

With that lesson clearly obvious, why are Christians luring Jesus to America? Are they trying to get him killed again? Why put the guy right back in the middle of the same people who killed him the first time and expect a different result? That’s crazy. Jesus is forgiving – not stupid.

One quick look around this “Christian” nation and He would see, to his horror, that the people throwing his name around the most are the last people he would want to associate with. What god will help people who will not take his words seriously?

Jesus already did the, “I’ll die for your everlasting salvation” thing. What could possibly interest him in America? If he’s smart enough to be god, he can certainly see déjà vu all over again. No! Jesus is not coming to America. He’s too smart for that, and besides, he can’t do anything here without upsetting the money changers. It’s all about changing money here.

Jesus knows, messing with the money will get you killed.

Jesus is not coming to America.

Our Choices

“I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed— because ‘Thou mayest.’” –John Steinbeck


John Steinbeck wrote East of Eden in 1952. He wanted his two young sons to share his love for the beauty and the people of the Salinas Valley in California. When he was finished with his masterpiece he thought, “…everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this.” He explained, “It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years.”

East of Eden pretends to tell us the story of two families and their confrontations with evil. It is really the story of Genesis, chapter 4. More precisely, it is a book about a single, equivocal word that has been given jurisdiction over mankind’s participation with existence. The book is ultimately a challenge for us to decide how we shall live.

If we look at the book of Genesis 4 in the King James translation of the bible, we will be a part of the conversation between God and Cain. In chapter 7, the focus of this writing, God tells Cain the following: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. This is our promise from God that mankind Shall eventually rule over evil.

If we were to look at that same passage in the American Standard bible, Genesis 4:7 would read: If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it.

In this version God tells us and Cain that we must rule over evil.

These two passages are very different. The first is a promise from God that we, all of us, will eventually rule over evil. Do good works, don’t let evil in the door, keep our heads down so evil doesn’t get a good look at us, and God will provide our everlasting salvation from evil. The second is an order from god to get out there and fight. Evil will not defeat itself, God needs and expects us to seek evil out and destroy it.

This equivocation about a very important idea in our lives, what exactly can and should be done about evil, has been created in our lives by two curious definitions of the word timshel.

Timshel is the word we would find in Genesis 4:7 if we were reading a Hebrew Bible. Timshel is not translated into “thou shalt” and it is not translated into, “do thou”. Timshel means, “thou mayest”. Thou mayest rule over evil.

We get a choice. We are not really commanded to rule over evil like slave warriors of a vengeful god and we are not sheep who, if we are quiet enough and afraid enough and stay in our caves, God will provide and we will be free from evil. Timshel means we can participate in our world. We can choose. We can be the architects and the pilots of our lives because we can choose or not choose evil. We can be god-like.

How can this matter to us? It can free us from the bonds of servitude and it can bring us out of our caves. We can exercise the free will we have been promised and we can make changes in our world because we are free to think.

We, in America, are right in the middle of our every four-year frenzy. We are privileged to be able to vote for the people to lead us. We have responsibilities in this process because our votes will influence other people’s lives. We should choose well and wisely for ourselves and others.

How we think about ourselves and others cannot be separated from this process. Politics is a child of ethics. Every time we vote we make decisions about what is the best way of life and what is the best way to live with other people. The decisions we make in the voting booth are a statement of us and they linger on in the ways our votes have changed our society over time.

We take some comfort in blaming the people we elect for not making the changes we expected them to make. We assault them for being as self-interested as we are, as though they must be different than we are, better, smarter, able to see farther, and able to fix problems that have plagued mankind since we crawled out of caves. They are a constant disappointment to us, because they are us and we don’t like what we are seeing in them.

To divert our failures as decent and reasonable people, we blame others for the failures of a country built for the people by the people. We say those politicians are ruining our country. We say this while we reelect Congress members more than 90% of the time.

If America is not what we expect it to be, whose fault is that. Why are we spending out time pointing fingers at the people we put into office? We are America. What is wrong with America is our fault. It is our fault the second we say it is someone else’s fault.

There is beauty in our great people and our great institutions. We should never forget that, especially when we are whipping ourselves up for political fights against our countrymen.

We are the people Steinbeck was trying to describe in the last scene of “The Grapes of Wrath”. Broken, without a future, hungry, a past so sad and full of the ugliness of mankind that all hope is only a dim memory obscured by the fog of need. A young mother gives birth to a still born child in a boxcar somewhere just outside of fields of food. In her pain she chooses to suckle an old dying man with her unneeded milk. She, it is written, in the middle of her pain chose to be life for another. Simply because she realized “Tho mayest”.

We, as Steinbeck probably meant, also have the chance to decide to do good or evil. We should honor that chance when we vote.



Shelter From the Storm

“Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood

When blackness was a virtue the road was full of mud

I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form

Come in, she said, I’ll give ya

shelter from the storm” – Bob Dylan

I live in the country. I notice when people come to visit, they tend to want to stay outside. A common discussion we have is about how quiet it is where I live. We can hear the wind through the wings of birds as they fly overhead and Hummingbirds aren’t afraid of people. Still, something doesn’t feel right about my place to the visitors. It’s the lack of noise.

People who move into the country from cities notice an uneasy feeling that’s hard to put a finger on. It took my family about two months to detox. We had a hole that was created by a lack of background noise. We also had feelings that persisted that weren’t needed to live in our new environment.

By background noise I mean the sounds of sirens and helicopters, horns and loud voices — and gun shots. We rarely hear a siren, always in the distance. Helicopters either carry water from the aqueduct to a mountain fire or they are in formation from a local Air Base.

The strange feeling was safety. We are safe. We aren’t surrounded by people to the degree that the simple math involved in crazy-per-capita is a real number to us. We go to town; we are not in a town.  There is a big difference in attitude that is worth discussing.

There’s an attitude in the towns that is more urgent and afraid, more serious about survival than we understand in the country. Towns are actually closer to a state of nature than we are, who live close to nature.

Many people have said interesting things about humans in a state of nature. Here are just a few of those ideas. I see similar ideas today by people on social media.

The likely first conversation about the state of nature in the Western Tradition.

“… now listen to what I said would be the first topic—the nature and origin of justice. By nature, they say, to commit injustice is a good and to suffer it is an evil, but that the excess of evil in being wronged is greater than the excess of good in doing wrong. So that when men do wrong and are wronged by one another and taste of both, those who lack the power.” – Plato’s Republic [358e].

The American Founding Fathers were familiar with these ideas:

“The right of nature… is the liberty each man hath to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life.” — Thomas Hobbes

“During the time [state of nature] men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.” – Thomas Hobbes

“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which […] teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” – John Locke

“I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail

Poisoned in the bushes an’ blown out on the trail

Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn

Come in, she said, I’ll give ya

shelter from the storm” – Bob Dylan

In many ways, Social Media is in a state of nature.

Let’s assume there was an actual state of nature where nothing could be owned that could not be taken away by the unrestrained and stronger. For that period of time, the stronger – in every way – ruled. Self-interest was the law and death was the reward for opposition.

How is this supposedly mythical but likely factual state of nature any different than what we have seen in every nation building or wilderness conquering event in history? The strongest and the most willing to revert back to a brutal state of nature, conquer lands and peoples. This fact of human nature is also seen on social media.

The violent personas on social media are the background noise and the uncomfortable and frustrating reason why social media struggles to be anything more than a shouting match in black and white.

We should value time and ability more than the people who hijack or obstruct our work. This might still be the wilderness in need of taming and the Trolls and angry people are still carving out their homesteads. There might be better, more civilized places for our better work.

Social media is still the wild west and many of its citizens are still wild.

Some people want to hold back the waves, for the good of communication and “Social Dialogue” They are the voices in a hostile and yet untamed wilderness. They take the brunt of the destruction that goes for, “Getting my rights” in the “Land of the free without responsibility”.

Social media is a free for all that looks a lot like the cities we all are talking about and running from — an untamed land, rich in natural recourses and in a state of nature.