Monday, March 30, 2009

The Heroin Diaries

I just finished reading a book by Nikki Sixx, The Heroin Diaries. This book chronicles each day of Nikki’s life, from December 25, 1986 to December 23, 1987 based upon a diary which he kept at that time.

Nikki Sixx is an Italian American guitar player and song writer. He was born in 1958 (named originally Frank Feranna). In 1981 he was a founding member of the hard rock band Motley Crue. Having acquired new management in 1983, Motley Crue began achieving major success in 1984 and reached its peak in 1990. In 1987, the period covered by this book, they released the Girls, Girls, Girls album.

In his book, Nikki describes his consumption of huge quantities of alcohol, cocaine and heroin. He often suffered from cocaine induced paranoia, frequently locking himself in his closet (page 19). He seldom bathed (page 104). He was very rude, neglecting to visit his grandmother during her terminal illness or attend her funeral (page 145) and refusing to speak to his mother and sister (page 305). At one point he was arrested for throwing a bottle of whiskey on a crowded train (page 373). He performed innumerable sex acts with women who were total strangers. He was also an extreme atheist, and when a friend mentioned God, Nikki pulled down his pants, pointed his two middle fingers in the air in an obscene gesture and screamed “F--- you God! If you’re so real, strike me down.” (page 355)

In any case, he was so ill and self abusive, it appeared as if he would not survive very much longer (page 383).

Yet he is still alive today, and still performing. In fact, he has since married twice and fathered four children, with whom he seems to have a strong relationship.

On page 384, Nikki describes how he overdosed on heroin and had a near death experience. When he woke up in the hospital two days later, he wrote “maybe there is a God”. That was the turning point of his life. It was a very long hard road to recovery from there, however today he has been clean and sober for seven years. He now describes drug use as “retarded” . Well, better late than never.

The fact that belief in God can have such a powerful, life saving therapeutic effect, would seem to validate that God is in fact real.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The True Recovery Plan

[street scene from the 1930’s]

In recent months, the global economy has entered an exceptional decline, not seen in perhaps seventy years. It is impossible to know what the long term outcome of this will be, however it is not difficult to imagine that the standard of living in the United States will decline considerably. We may see America become more similar to Mexico, in terms of both violence and poverty.

It is interesting to observe that we have a tradition that the Messiah will come before 6,000 years after the creation of Adam, which means that he will come within the next 230 years. The Talmud predicts that the prior to the coming of the Messiah, there will be a great deal of suffering in the world. However the Talmud also states “R. Eleazar's disciples asked him: 'What must a man do to be spared the pangs of the Messiah?' [He answered,] 'Let him engage in study and benevolence’”

The Talmud states R. Gamaliel Beribbi said: “And he shall give thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee” He who is merciful to others, mercy is shown to him by Heaven, while he who is not merciful to others, mercy is not shown to him by Heaven.

The best hope that we have of surviving and prospering is by using every opportunity we have to help others. If we have love in our hearts we will receive love in return. Through this we will God willing see the final redemption in the near future.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Better War on Drugs

[Is this the only way to do it?]

The Economist, which I believe is one of the most intelligently written news magazines, published a cover story on March 7, 2009 entitled “How to Stop the War on Drugs”. The magazine suggests, on page 15 in its editorial, to legalize drugs. In other words, end the war by surrendering. The immense international effort made so far to imprison producers and dealers has filled up many prison cells and graves, expended a lot of money, but has not stopped people from using drugs. One dealer or producer is eliminated and another one just takes over his business instead. In addition to that, since drugs are illegal, dealers and producers cannot settle their differences or collect their debts in court and instead must use murder.

So the “least bad” solution is to simply give up. Drugs could be taxed like cigarettes and the money could be used to treat addicts and educate the public about drugs. Through this, hopefully most drug users would gradually be weaned off them.

I don’t think that most people would favor a policy like this. It would seem unquestionable that the legalization of drugs, making acquiring them much safer and less costly, would increase their usage. The problem is that many users of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and similar chemicals are unable to work. Therefore, in order to support themselves, they generally steal, beg or prostitute. They often live on sidewalks. They frequently have serious health problems and they have no way to finance their treatment. This would overwhelm existing emergency rooms and hospitals with indigent patients. Of course, theoretically, special government financed nursing homes could be created to care for and provide drugs to severe drug addicts (“junkies”), however this would probably be very costly, especially since a great many people might use drugs knowing that they could live in these nursing homes if need be.

In other words, although the Economist may be correct that the War on Drugs is not working, however surrender would seem to be impossible as well. So what to do?

The universally used treatment for addictions is the 12 Step Program. The heart of the program is a belief in God and in helping others – monotheism and altruism. Apparently people who are able to turn to God for help and who are involved in helping others don’t feel a need to use chemicals to cope with stress in their lives.

I would therefore suggest the following. All schools should teach children the truth of monotheism and the concept that God wants us to love each other. We should have prayer in the classroom and religious instruction. Darwin should be out, the Bible should be in. Children should be taught healthy, spiritual coping skills. They should be taught about the soul, afterlife, heaven and hell.

A great many addicts have chaotic childhoods. If possible every child should be raised by both biological parents. Boys must be taught the importance of being responsible husbands and fathers. A woman is your partner in life, not a toy. Pornography should be banned.

Stopping drug abuse once a person is already depressed and feels unable to cope is like trying to stop an avalanche which is already in progress. I believe that we must remove the circumstances which lead to addiction long before people reach that point. This should be the new war on drugs.

Friday, March 13, 2009

God - the great explanatory principle

[Occam’s Razor – the simplest answer is the best]

So many facts about the world around us are unexplainable without a belief in God.

How did the universe begin? We know that every physical process is caused by some other earlier process, so how did it all begin?

Why do the laws of nature appear to be fine-tuned to make it possible for life to exist?

We know that a machine always has a designer, so which designer created life?

What natural process causes human consciousness and free will?

What natural process can account for near death experiences?

Why do people have a need for religion and spirituality? Atheists are often unhappy and suffer from dangerous addictions. Atheistic societies are always failures with declining populations if not full blown genocides.

What natural process could have convinced the Jewish people that their ancestors saw the miracles of the Exodus and heard God speak from Mount Sinai?

Why is the Torah so different from other ancient literature? The Iliad for example is a pointless book preoccupied with brutality, greed, lust and “gods” who are roughly equivalent to modern cartoon superheroes. The Torah, in contrast, teaches the oneness of God, the love of God and the love of neighbors.

The simplest answer is: God did it.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Climate Change and Evolution

[the result of global warming – evolutionary progress]

One of the most urgent priorities today is preventing global warming. Nearly all governments have ratified a treaty to prevent global warming. The effects of global warming are expected to be devastating and halting global warming is considered to be basically as important as achieving world peace. Al Gore in fact received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to stop global warming.

What’s interesting is that presumably the vast majority of people, who are combating global warming, also believe in Darwinian evolution. According to evolution, in the past mass extinction events have supposedly resulted in the acceleration of evolution. Considering this precedence, there is every reason to suppose global warming would lead to a mass extinction event, followed by a vast improvement in terrestrial life. We might be replaced eventually by super-intelligent frogs with an IQ hundreds of times that of humans who would go on to conquer the galaxy, in the same way humans eventually replaced the dinosaurs following an asteroid strike. So what exactly is the problem in that case?

Some evolutionists might answer, that yes, of course life on earth might eventually be improved by a catastrophe like global warming, however our own descendents would suffer and die out and we as humans do not want to see that happen. To me, that seems like a bizarre answer. We should be willing to accept temporary suffering and some personal sacrifice for the sake of the ultimate betterment of all life. At least this is something which should be considered. Instead, no scientists or government leaders are even questioning the importance of preserving the present climate.

Bear in mind that scientists have determined that earth will become uninhabitable in about a billion years in any case. We had better evolve out of here before that.

I think that the answer to this question is clear: no one really believes in evolution. Evolution is simply used as an excuse to deny God.

“The Darwinian revolution was not merely the replacement of one scientific theory by another, as had been the scientific revolutions in the physical sciences, but rather the replacement of a world view, in which the supernatural was accepted as a normal and relevant explanatory principle, by a new world view in which there was no room for supernatural forces.” Ernst Mayr (1904 – 2005) Professor of Zoology at Harvard University Nature magazine March 22, 1974 p.285

No one would ever dream of relying on evolution to save and improve upon life on earth following a global catastrophe. Evolution is like the suit in the The Emperor’s New Clothes. There really is no suit, however everyone is too afraid to be called stupid if he says so. So with the theory of evolution; everyone realizes that there is nothing there but everyone is afraid to say so because that would mean an end to atheism.