Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Second Post In One Day

I know I just wrote a post about the music we sang in church (please go read that), but while I'm remembering to sign in here, I wanted to make another post.

I make music as well, and it's probably the kind of music most readers here would like. My only active project right now is an unblack metal project, Look Above You at the Sky. ("War EP" is war metal, "Victory" is symphonic.) I also have a few other older and more experimental songs here.

The reason I'm sharing these is because back in the day, music like "War EP" or "Reawaken the Congregation" are things that really would have helped me on my spiritual path, so maybe it will help others, too. Even today, those songs actually help me a lot. I truly hope you guys get something out of this music, and that it was worth taking up blog space to plug it here, and as always, may God bless you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.


I like many different kinds of music, but my favorites are the really extreme ones - black metal, harsh noise, etc. Of course, I'm more careful about which bands/artists I listen to, considering that whole fiasco I've mentioned countless times, but the point is, I like my music loud and in-your-face. "Power" in music like that is typically conveyed by taking facets of the sound to further extremes - louder noise, faster percussion, louder vocals, etc.

I also noticed something during church tonight. It was the first hymn we sang, "The Old Rugged Cross". I found myself being very moved by that song, as I always am, but I noticed something different tonight. I was being moved by this song more than I was with brutal music. There wasn't a single scream, there wasn't a single blastbeat. It was just a piano, and a room of people of presumably varied singing abilities, some probably very off-key. The music wasn't written as a form of self-expression by those performing it. The lyrics to the song most likely weren't written as a result of emotions felt in some frostbitten forest, or in the midst of some depressive fit. Yet the lyrics meant as much to us, like we had written them ourselves, and the music still touched me. The power in the song came from the worship, from the meaning it had for all involved. It wasn't a matter of the sound (though I do really like the sound of that song), it wasn't a matter of trying to be more expressive or emotional than other people, it was the meaning that the act of performing the song had, the love we have for God, and the regret we feel for our actions. (Anybody who says they don't need to be forgiven has never taken an honest look at their own actions, believe me.) It was more than self-expression within some kind of scene, it was more than simply venting our frustrations on paper and throwing in second-person pronouns, it was us genuinely vocalizing our thoughts to God, speaking/singing to Him. It's a very powerful experience, and you don't need blastbeats or screams to understand it.

This is just something I thought about tonight, and wanted to share.

P.S When this post goes through, this post will go off the page, and it's an important one, so I invite you to look at it. Here is my obligatory plug for this post.

God bless you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Like Drugs

It's absolutely true that the more you sin, the more distant you grow from God, and your emotions/psyche suffer as a result. First of all, how exactly do people explain this? It's not imaginary. It's observable. It's a noticeable phenomenon.

Do people think that the people of old, the ones who didn't even understand racial equality, somehow sat around and studied people to determine which behaviors altered their thought processes to a state which just somehow didn't feel like they were emotionally connected to a higher power, and then take these miraculously scientifically accurate findings and make religious doctrine out of them? What purpose would they have in doing this? If they wanted "blind followers" who didn't "question things" as people today commonly think, couldn't they have just invented a religion without taking the time to make it line up with actual observable phenomena in our world that common people wouldn't even have been able to understand anyway? This is besides the fact that this kind of stuff would have been completely lost on the people spreading it from the beginning anyway.

And besides other inherent truths.

But anyway, the effect sin has on us is fascinating, especially considering how people typically perceive it. Unbelievers claim that in adhering to pre-written doctrine, we are being "enslaved" by it (as if the fact that it is pre-written somehow negates its inherent truth). In fact, that's not the case. We choose to follow God, to answer His call to us; younger people may sometimes be pushed into it by their parents, sure, but they ultimately make their own decision no matter what their parents push, no? So they too are free, in their heart, to choose God. At the end of the day, they are not forced by any person to believe one way or another. They choose whether to answer God's call or not. People are all free to do this.

The second reason that "enslavement" claim is wrong is that it's just misguided from the beginning. Sin is what enslaves us, not God. God lets us choose. A state of sin doesn't allow for choice, because the devil is always pushing it onto you anyway. Freedom from sin is the best choice. With God, you read His word which encourages you to do good for others, and the effects go on for a long time, if not forever. With sin, you watch pornography online (and inadvertently actually support a corrupt industry that mistreats its workers!), get nothing productive done with your time, and have a temporary high that you will only lose and want again sometime later, and again, and NEVER be truly satisfied! With God, your heart is warmed to love others, and to reach out to them and help them. With sin, you sit in your house seeking material goods, mostly for yourself that will just go away when you break them or your house burns down or whatever happens, still watching porn (and still supporting a corrupt industry that mistreats its workers!), and growing bitter towards other people, doing nothing but dragging other people down for no reason! You don't enjoy the hatred, you don't enjoy the temporary highs you get from supporting corrupt industries or buying material items. You want a permanent high, and keep sinning in hopes of finding it, but you don't.

In this way, sinning is a lot like hard drugs. I don't do physical drugs, but the similarities are clear anyway. It's bad stuff that will do really bad stuff to your psyche, maybe permanently, and depending how careless you are, might actually kill you, but at the same time, it's addictive. It looks fun. It'll make you look cool to other people. Hard drugs are bad for you for these same reasons. Superficially it's just stuff that "makes you feel good" or "helps you relax", or something (even though with physical drugs, you'll probably buy them from someone who doesn't know how to make them properly and you'll have a really bad time right from the beginning anyway!) but in the real world, they're deadly, are often a "gateway" to doing even worse stuff, are addictive, and will only leave you with a temporary high that you'll never be able to keep up without dying. The same happens with sin, but even though it does affect you physically/mentally in many ways, it's largely spiritual. And it's addictive, and you don't want to be addicted to that kind of stuff.

God sets us free from that. We're humans, we still mess up, but with God's guidance and salvation in Jesus Christ, we can turn down those drugs, we're not stuck in that addiction anymore. We see what leads to that permanent high everybody wants, and it's not anything sin can give you. Difficulties arise; the devil still tries to sell us, and others, his poorly-made drugs that he lazily concocted in his basement, but if we keep up that faith for one short lifetime, we'll have an eternity to be happy. Heaven isn't like drugs, that only work for awhile by deceiving your psyche but then leave you wanting more, it's a world of clarity and truth where goodness, and no evil, will be. That's the world we have when we get rid of those drugs we do in our hearts. And you can only do those drugs for so long before you die. Now is the time to get over that addiction. Turn to God. Turn to Jesus.

God bless you all, according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Emotions vs Truth

A lot of people seem to use subjective emotions when thinking about truth. You know what I mean... "I feel sad about something, so God must hate me". Or, "Priests sure do get caught committing lewd acts a lot, I don't like that so I don't like Christianity"..

But that kind of attitude can't be present. First of all, the actions of people do not ever negate the idea they are presenting. I could tell you that there is a heart beating inside of you and that you even have lungs, even though you have likely never seen them personally. However, I could also then, for example, frame you for some kind of felony and then steal your girlfriend. Actually, my moral conscience wouldn't allow me to do that, but anyway, if I were to do that, you'd probably be a little ticked at me. I'd be a pretty terrible person if I did that. However, that doesn't mean that what I said to you before about your heart and lungs somehow suddenly isn't true. You know very well that if your body didn't have those things, it wouldn't be able to survive. Just because a jerk said it, doesn't mean that basic biology is suddenly altered. And it's the same thing with theology. Too many people take the un-Biblical attitude of certain (people who call themselves) Christians and think that it somehow objectively changes what the Bible itself plainly states. It's a flawed perspective. You can't take the actions of somebody and attach them to logical thought.

Second, too many people also misunderstand God's love. Life will not always be perfect, but that does not mean God doesn't love you. The evidence of God's love is Jesus' sacrifice and the ability for you to go to Heaven and be in eternal happiness. If you are going to Heaven, most of your happiness won't be here. It will be in Heaven. Good and evil are allowed to exist here, and you are given a choice to accept which one you want to be aligned with. The one who stands firm until the end shall be saved. This isn't your, our, perfect home; this is the battlefield. I've explained this before. Your home is where you go when you are done here.

These are only two examples, but they're big examples, and it truly bothers me. People are talking from opinionated viewpoints about factual truths. You can't let emotions like this get in the way. Experiences and news stories can't affect your perception of truth. Remember that facts exist independent of your emotions. Sometimes even I feel emotions that cause me to feel doubt; but these emotions are temporary, and even if they were theoretically permanent, they don't negate the basic facts of our world. Don't be surprised if, even if you can accept these facts, you don't fully understand them. You should absolutely try, but sometimes something will still seem confusing. In cases like that, pray with sincerity. You would be surprised how many answers God has in store if you're willing to ask for them and are willing to have true hope and faith in Him answering you.

I truly hope and pray that you will all get something out of this post. God bless you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.

By the way, if you're still confused about something here, chances are it's explained somewhere else on this blog. Why not take a look? Also, here's my obligatory plug for this post, which is also worth reading.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why Evil Disproves Atheism

I didn't write this, but it's absolutely worth a read.

I don't agree with his plugging his book and not sharing the rest of his defense publicly (thus reaching more people), but what's here is definitely worth your attention.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

REVIEW: Enitor - Morgue

Another review I wrote for Metal Archives. Enitor is/was a Christian black metal band that released an EP called "Morgue" in 2003. Note that while I do compare this band to Catholic Soldier, I don't entirely support the Catholic church, but I do like Catholic Soldier's music.

You can almost feel the fury the band members must have been feeling while recording this. You want to be hedonistic and not seek something higher? You want to hate your neighbor instead of loving them? Enitor have something to say about that.

It's black metal that has a lot of nods to thrash metal, but not really enough to warrant that genre tag. The guitars are generally par-for-the-course thin and buzzing, but get pretty thick and fuming at a couple points. Drumming is surprisingly complex for a raw black metal demo. Don't expect constant blasts, but expect some very prominent drumming. Bass is actually quite audible at points despite the loud, fuzzy production. The vocals are atypically high-pitched, and seem a little out of place in the music at first, but it's not that big of a deal. You get used to them, which is good, I say, because then you can really hear how passionate they are.

You have to appreciate how passionate everything here is. This is up there with the most brutal of unblack bands. The first two tracks, Acquisition of the Grave and The Deistic View, give a good idea of what's going on - loud, fuzzy, pounding, thrash-influenced rage with Luisa screeching over the top. It's not the fastest or most brutal music ever written, but is still pretty rough on the ears (in a good way) compared to what you'd expect from any other random demo, and is still filled with distaste for our illogical, heretical world.

Darkened Skies My Embittered Heart is worth noting separately. It follows the same ideas established by the first two tracks, and everything seems normal at first, but it ends with the music unexpectedly cutting out, and the vocalist yelling out a frightening screech of "FOREVER!... FOREVER!... Forever..." I have no idea what this song is about, but something must have been bothering these people. Wow. I... I hope it wasn't anything too serious.

Overall, the production values tend to vary a little bit from song to song, which is odd, but oh well. The demo's fuzzy and raw throughout, regardless, but barely clear enough that you can hear each instrument and enjoy what's going on. The whole thing is way more brutal and powerful than I was expecting from some old, forgotten demo. In a secular equivalent of this, you may expect feelings of darkness or misanthropy to accompany the emotions here - Entior pass on that nonsense, and just fill the hole with even more raw anger. Listening to this was a little overwhelming, so while I won't be listening to this constantly, I will definitely be listening to it again. For fans of Emperador, Beeroth, Armageddon Holocaust, Verdelger, Primitive Church, and Catholic Soldier.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

God's Goodness (For Any of You Who Still Follow Occultism)

Today I was going through files on my computer. I don't clean out nearly as often as I should, so I ended up deleting 3.20 GB after going through only a small percentage of folders.

In going through those files, I found a bunch of files from 2007 until maybe 2013. Those were the worst years of my past. Those years, as I admittedly mention quite often, weren't very good, full of occult-influenced black metal, occult-influenced emotions, and occult-influenced beliefs, despite my almost constant faith in the existence of God and Jesus. It's astounding how differently I perceive things now. Let me elaborate a bit. Even back then, I loved art. I often tried, albeit poorly, to recreate a lot of the esoteric visions I would receive, and would make artwork based on them. Additionally, I had a tendency to save images I found online that resembled the kinds of things that I would see. (Examples might be... certain kinds of space images, certain types of nature photography, abstract "spiritual"/"New Age" images, etc.)

Like how an island feels "warm" and "tropical" or a warm bath may feel "clean" and "refreshing", occultism carries feelings I've seen described as sticky, gross, or greasy, and I would agree with that. Even when I was living in it, I consciously picked up on those feelings in my life. But now, if I could feel it, why didn't I leave it?

It's because I had mistakenly come to perceive the feelings generated by those practices and beliefs, as feelings objective to life itself. Simply, I thought life itself was as bad as occultism made it feel. Emotions of hopelessness, animal-like anger towards others, and searching for something I couldn't find were frequent.

"i once had a light to follow
but it's long since dimmed and died
now i'm trapped in my own seclusion
too negative, dark and benumbed to cry
all i feel is depression
tortured sadness, gloom and woe
i long to scream but life prevents me
trapped in nothing with nowhere to go"

Even after the life-changing prayer I sent in (I think) 2009, I had come to think that people who weren't as miserable as me were simply blind to reality. I confused the emotions that encompassed my own emptiness as something that tainted the real world, the fabric of reality itself. It never occurred to me once that I could be causing my own problem. I never thought that a switch in focus could be what I needed. I continued seeking the things that appealed to me in my esoteric visions and were further perpetuated by the "spirit guides", which I thought could have been nothing other than benevolent beings sent from God Himself.

"i need my guide but he feels
so long gone and far away
doesn't need a worthless lost
cause like me, but i need him today
but i've fallen and i lost my way
far from hope and far from home
i'm begging you to come find me
i can't go on anymore alone, so

i ask where are you now?
i'm lost, broken, and alone
i need your guidance now
to show me the way back home"

God moved me on a path in life where I found progressively more experimental music, which I loved more and more, and the bands I found were progressively farther away from that negativity. The music was, I suppose, too strange and abstract for evil. At the same time, I started finding more Christian black metal bands, who obviously weren't occult-influenced. At the same time still, I began finding more music outside the realm of metal from the beginning, so my tastes were overall broadening all around. A point I've made in a place or two before, is, the influence of occultism becomes more obvious the less you're around it. It works like fog, it prevents your vision from seeing clearly, and when it blows away, you'd be surprised at all that is actually around you... I became more aware of how much I needed God, and how much I didn't need the things in my visions.

"i need my footing, i need a path
i need the light only you have
i tire of the sorrow, i tire of the pain
i tire of the regret that's driving me insane
sick of being lonely, sick of the numbing black
sick of all this darkness, i just want my hope back
i want to follow you again, lead me to my home
i want to stand up high again, but i can't stand alone, so

i ask where are you now?
i'm lost, broken, and alone
i need your guidance now
to show me the way back home!"

It was hard to let go of a few things, because my heart was still set on them, rather than on the basic truths of God. This manifests in many ways to many people, but the same idea is there. For me, I would nitpick the Bible in an attempt at justifying my views on certain things. For example, I might say, "Well, sure this verse says that we only have one life, but that's only one verse! And it could be interpreted in this way because it never specifically says we're not reincarnated, or..." Another one I liked to use a lot back in the day was the idea that the things I did (which were basically spells and occult-influenced "psychic" abilities) might have been powers bestowed by God Himself. This led me to a point where I had to make some choices. For one thing, I found a certain webpage that caused me to question a bunch of things. If that weren't enough, the Bible, as it were, stated increasingly clearly that these were not God-given abilities, and the verse about having one life became increasingly hard to ignore. God had led me this far on my path in life, and it was so much better than the evil I had left behind in pleading to Him, so I decided to trust Him one more time. It wasn't always easy to come to certain conclusions.

The primordial darkness, and in my soul I feel
The weight of melancholy, I find it alone, I fight it alone
The black void inside me will only grow here in
The decrepit sadness, I find it alone, I fight it alone
I stretch out my arms high, and pray for a sign
In this gloomy shadow, I find it alone, I fight it alone

The black darkened river my soul drudges through
The whole world it consumes, I find it alone, I fight it alone
Far off in the cosmos lies all my tranquil dreams
Oh God, end the sadness, I find it alone, I fight it alone

God continued to shape me, and I continued to allow Him. The cloud has since left me. All of the confusion that surrounds those lost in esotericism and occultism is finally, as of middle-late 2014, falling away. I can look at things differently now, and I can finally, truly smile again. I can see the light in the world, and not just the darkness. In looking at the files on my computer from the past days, the emotions from the past came back to mind. Just looking at them was enough to fill me with despair; if God weren't watching the whole time, I would never have made it through so many years of living in it, surrounded by it. God's forgiveness, as I realized upon beginning to write this post, is a lot like the process of deleting those files from my computer, the process which inspired this post in the first place. I deleted files that were on my computer as a result of occult beliefs and practices that were harming me. Now, the files are no longer there - the occult influence they had is gone now. I can no longer see them, and be reminded of them. My computer has been cleaned of things that made it worse. In effect, God has done the same thing for me. He removed the occultism from my life, and through the forgiveness promised through Jesus Christ, God has blotted out all of the wrong I'd done in those days. I've heard that deleted files still sit on your computer (and phone, etc) somewhere, but are basically impossible to access. Likewise, until the end of the world actually comes, traces of those days will still linger in this world - posts I wrote (and extensively later tried to correct in some way), the memories that linger, what have you - but they're well-hidden by now, and are long, long past from my life.

This is God's goodness! It's so easy to start anew and be forgiven for your wrongdoings! All it took was a change of focus in my life! While the process itself wasn't particularly "easy" on my end, it was much, much easier than continuing to stay away from the path He wanted for me! And once you learn to trust Him, it becomes even easier! Forgiveness is so simple!

If you want to leave behind your past and turn to God, He is absolutely willing to hear you! He will protect you, and guide you! By the way, I've heard fear expressed that evil forces will hurt/kill you if you become Christian. The devil will not be able to hurt you. God will protect you. There is a world out there beyond the spiritual prison you're in. It's full of pain, but it's also more full of joy than you can imagine. God is always listening if you choose to ask.

May He bless you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

The lyrics in italics in this post are from a song I wrote in 2008-2009, and never intend to use for anything, other than to make a point here, and are (c) Nocturnal Iridescence, 2014. All rights reserved.