Posts filed under ‘Christianity and Anime’
It’s Christmas. A time for family, friends, mad parties, and just all-around fun. For some of us, it’s the presents that make us look forward to it. For others, it’s the amount of alcohol imbibed.
Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about that jolly fat man who is but a metaphor for consumer capitalism and hyperconsumption, nor is it about family, friends, alcohol, or anything (but family and friends are pretty important, YA RLY).
Heck, it’s also not about animé, as far as I’m concerned.
(I KNOW JESUS WAS MOST LIKELY BORN IN JUNE, WORK WITH ME HERE.)
In today’s risk-averse, self-centered, graceless society, we’ve pretty much pushed out some very important things. Things like manners, family time, ethics, trust and honesty, [LIST TRUNCATED].
But most of all, we forget the most important thing: that a loving, personal, God would give his most precious gift to us undeserving humans. What was that gift? It’s the gift of salvation.
But why do we need to be saved? Can’t we all save ourselves?
The question is, can we? I wish we all could, but assuming there is an afterlife and we are all going to be judged to see if we’re going to burn for all eternity, all of us would fail that test. Even if we did nothing but good deeds all our lives, we’d still be burning, because we all make stupid mistakes. If it only takes one piece of bad news to change a person’s reputation, it shuold take a lot less to deny us heaven.
Is what you see what you get? It isn’t. I wish it were, though. It’d make things a lot easier. But there are things which we can’t see, and yet, we get it. Like punishment, for example. We probably don’t see it, but we get it anyway. And grace. We can’t see it, and we definitely don’t deserve it, but we still get it.
Do all religions lead to God? I’m afraid none of them lead to God. Some might lead to understanding God, but none of them lead to God. In fact, it’s a given that all of them will lead you to some other place, or places. I’m not too sure about this.
But if everything is meaningless, wouldn’t it be better to die? HOLD ON A MINUTE THERE. WAIT.
But what’s a guy to do, or believe in? If nothing man does or believes has any effect on the events of the world, or the world after, then what does?
Would you believe me that He already gave you the answer? You do? Good. Listen very closely.
God gave up His Only Son, to be born on earth, to die on an old cross-shaped piece of wood. The guy did nothing but good, and was blameless and sinless, as far as my sources are concerned. And yet, that guy gave up all power and honor to live just like us, feeling our pains, watching our lives, helping us when we need it most, lending his shoulder to cry on, being lent shoulders to cry on, experiencing with us what it truly means to be human.
And then, we nailed him to that old cross-shaped piece of wood, shamed him, jeered at him, called him names, ignorant of the fact that he was born in almost the same way, his first visitors being outcasts and pagans. The same people who adored him, now mocked him.
And the most amazing thing? He never once did kill them, or ask them to stop. Even when he was dying, he never stopped caring for us. (For those of you who note similarities between a certain work of fiction and what I actually am describing now, it’s all a mere coincidence.)
Now why would he do that? We did this to him! He has no need to care for us! He did not have to! But yet, he did! And why would he (and about 80 million people after him) be willing to be led like a lamb to the slaughter?
The truth is this: That man I am talking about, the guy who gave up the gloy of above for the lesser thing? The guy who lived with us all those years ago? That guy who was nailed to the cross-shaped piece of wood? He’s none other than Jesus. He was born unknown, and died reviled. And even in death he still served.
The thing is, he needen’t have done that. He could have killed us all. Why? Is he some sort of a sicko? A liar, crazy? OR MAYBE HE JUST LOVES US SO MUCH.
Yes, there’s no other explanation for this seemingly insane choice. This man, born of a virgin, gave up the glory of heaven, to die like some criminal. All because he loved us so much to save us all from what lies beyond. He represents a deity so wonderful and kind, HE has held back His Hand of Wrath to let us all believe in His Love.
I don’t represent any religion, even though I associate myself with the Christians. But I have tasted this Infginite Love, and it’s the most wonderful thing in the world. It’s so amazing, I have to tell people about it.
I don’t need to list down 12 moments in animé. Every single moment I see is precious. I don’t need to talk about what posts made headlines this year; it’ll only bring up bad memories.
But I have got to tell you this. It’s still the single greatest thing I know, and I’ve known great things. It’s more amazing than Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. It’s more amazing than Gurren-Lagann and CLANNAD combined. It blows Haruhi out of the water, and it’s more awesome than Overman King Gainer (and that show was pretty kickass to boot.) And the best part is, HE DID IT JUST FOR YOU. This most awesome thing, it’s also personalized!
Now THAT is the greatest gift ever. Don’t you think?
Merry Christmas. And I hope 2009 doesn’t kill us all.
Something dawned on me when I was watching PlanetES in my sleep-deprived state.
Sometimes, the simplest message can be the most profound messsage.
Take PlanetES episode 1 for example. It may seem like a mundane first episode at first, what with the introductions and OMG SPESS and all, but when we actually get too the point when the astronauts are going to dispose of the plaque, it hints at the deeper issues it’s tackling. ABout war, propaganda, all that philosophical issues, and at it’s heart, one simple message: That even the most mundane action (in their case, disposing of a ‘peace’ memorial) can bring hope to another.
Another good example to use is Gurren Lagann. We have almost 27 episodes of over-the-top silliness, giant robots, screaming men and women, GALAXY THROWAN NOT UNLIKE THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER SMASHING ATOMS AT NEAR LIGHT SPEED, lots of pomp, flash, and epicness, extremely random direction and art, and enough leaps of logic to give Stephen Hawking an aneurysm, but at it’s heart lies a simple message: As long as there’s a glimmer of hope, mankind can do anything. I think wah got it right about Gurren Lagann. (FUCK YES GURREN LAGANN IS STILL RELEVANT)
I think I missed out on a few shows as well that proves my point, but I have yet to watch them.
OF course, that’s not to say an extremely complex plot and whatnet can bring about the same effects. It’s a matter of execution. It’s a shame that SOME scriptwriters and authors are not like Nasu tho.
*ducks incoming garbage
And the funny thing is, I can also apply it to religion as well.
It’s a shame most Christians don’t realize it today, but the message that the Bible expresses is something so simple that even a five-year-old will understand it, and yet, it is so profound that it changes people. Though most people would agree with me that it turns people into two-bit self-appointed hall monitors of morality and religion. Which is not what it changes people into.
It’s the same message that turns people into missionaries, forsaking everything they have to go to dangerous places, never seeing their homelands for long periods of time, usually in fairly squalid conditions, sometimes with ordnance flying over their heads, to reach a group of people who have never heard it.
It’s the very same message that would drive commoner and noble alike to die for it, not with a grimace and with guns ablazing, but with utter meekness and temperance, against tyrants and corrupt institutions that would love to see it blotted off the face of the Earth.
It’s also the same message sustaining the oppressed Christians in the world, where freedom of religion is but a pipedream.
It’s also the same message that drove one man to do what he had to do, in order to make it have it’s power today.
It’s also the same message the world has either largely forgotten, or dismissed with a sneer and much sarcasm, because the only thing they believe in is nothing but a mere illusion of self and hate. Yes, even Christians.
It’s this: God loved us so much, He sent His Son to die on the Cross for our sake, so that if anyone were to believe in Him, he or she would be saved from eternal death. And He sent His Son down to Earth not to condemn or judge people, but to love them just as they are.
Call me a fool. Deranged. Completely out of my mind. Hey, maybe I am insane. Then again, who am I to judge?
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Genesis 3:14-19 (King James Version)
It may seem odd that I’m using Genesis to draw everyone’s mind to what is happening right now but it’s actually a logical chain of events once you’ve got all the pieces together.
If you read the above verses, you’d notice that I’ve bolded some of the phrases. Specifically, the last part of verse 16 and the start of verse 19. These are the phrases I’d like to use to point out what is wrong with the industry (and the world as a whole).
You see, after the fall of man, man has been forced to work his butt off to gain sustenance. Nothing wrong with a bit of hard work, but they could have avoided it all. (That’s another story for another time and audience.)
Working hard for sustenance also implies something sinister; taking control of one’s life. Since man assumes that if he can control his life. he can tame the ground, nature and other things, he can make his life a bit easier and he doesn’t have to work as hard.
Under the delusion that one is fully capable of controlling his life, man then turns to trying to control forces he (or she) cannot control. Man has been trying to control nature to grow more crops, animals to feed his greed, the oceans for profit, and people, to prove once and for all he does not need anyone or anything to shackle him (or her) to some arbitary standard. After all, if you can control everything, who’s going to stop you?
Which brings us to our fansub debate.
Frankly the whole issue feels like a ton of spam to me.
The existence of fansubs means only one thing: You can’t control the will of people, and you certainly cannot control evil, since it is what lurks in everyone’s hearts. (Also whoever has reasoned with an evil being?) After all, we are a fallen creation, doomed to spend eternity in a fiery pit. (4chan was right with the “Kill it with Fire” cry. We are all going to be killed with fire, heretic, mutant, 4channer, newfag, blogger, flamer, troll, moralfag and furry alike. Our fate is all the same. Killed with fire. Oh the hilarity and tragedy of it all.)
The worrisome state of the industry can only mean one thing: Even the guys in suits making your purchasing decisions are realizing that if drastic measures are not taken they could very well lose their jobs. And control over their revenue. They are not adapting to the market, but rather, fighting a losing battle against a much greater evil: the hedonism and selfishness of the consumer.
In my passioned (and somewhat disgruntled) plea to the industry to get serious and kill the consumer, I was only stating a truth. If you want to retain control, you have to resort to drastic measures to do so, like murdering the consumer in cold blood. Lawsuits don’t cut it, hiding behind the full weight of the Berne Convention won’t help you, and certainly sentencing one person for hard labor solves absolutely nothing. It is by taking away one’s life that you make people stand up and take notice, for no one ever dares question a leader who’s willing to kill.
Once you surrender your freedom of choice to that guy in the suit, you also become a defender of freedom from choice. And if you want to defend evil, then you have got to march that path into it’s end: death to anyone who does not hold true to that belief.
I ask people like Scott, Greg Ayres, Stephen Sing and Peter Go one question: Are you willing to kill people like me to maintain control over your flagging profits and protect us from the freedom of choosing what to buy? Are you willing to kill a hundred consuumers to maintain control over a few hundred thousand suckers? Are you going to see this crusade against freedom of choice to its bitter, bloody and ultimate end?
I’m not even challenging anyone. It’s the logical chain of events that will eventually happen. The only thing is to see if anyone has the guts to see it through. Sadly, the toughest I have seen is hard labor. It does seem no one is willing to kill in the name of capitalism. Pity, really, these half-hearted and hypocritical efforts.
PS: Here’s another thing to note. Once you give up the right to choose to the guuy in the suit, you also give up the right to air your grievances if said product is substandard. Since you already implied that you’d like to have freedom from choice, it also behooves me to say that you also have no right to complain. i am not advocating fansubbing in any manner, I am just pointing out something that may be completely erroneous or true.
Ignore the silly title, sometimes I flip between SERIOUS BUSINESS and LULZ.
I am always alone. It has always been that way and will forever remain as such.
My parents don’t trust me, and my mom almost threw me off a high-rise building once. I’ve always stood out during school, not because of good grades, but for showing initiative and daring to go when no one would take the risk.
Peer pressure affects me less than most people. I would still be tempted by the things of this world, but its pull takes a longer time to ensnare me. No man can ever resist the siren call of the world.
I have difficulty socializing. My genetic heritage is drawn from the men of China’s past; brave men who silently provided financial support and cared little about family (and in my case, cared little for social functions, etc.) I suspect I have Asperger’s, and that my family must have suffered from it as well.
People crave attention, social cohesion, acceptance, love. I am no different. But I have always known I will always be apart from people. Am I arrogant, thinking not of other people? No, it is not that.
Unlike most people, I have come to a most shocking conclusion: I will always be alone, should I try to seek acceptance from the world. For the world only loves you if you conform to it. I have always been a misfit since birth, naive and trusting, like a shepherd who guards the flock. (Incidentally did you know that shepherding was considered to be a dirty profession by the Egyptians and that shepherds were considered to be outcasts between the 1st Century BC/BCE and the 1st Century AD/CE?)
I would also like to add this: Ever since I was 9, I realized that there is no such thing as a good human and that the best thing for humanity would be it’s destruction. Yeah, I know that I’m holding myself and humanity to an impossible standard and knocking down the good in the world down a few pegs, making evil look good, but then again, Evil always looks good, and we all tend to seek the easy way out.
My mind’s horribly messed up. I have always known this. My teachers knew this. Heck even the whole darned system knew it. They tried to break me, coercing me first, then using emotional shock therapy. I have never agreed with them and I never will agree with them.
I was glad to have friends who cared for me (even though they too were caught up more in this world rather than the Truth), I really appreciate their help. Their presence has helped me weather many a storm in life.
Unfortunately I have always known that I will be alone. I cannot even rely on myself. I am weak and pitiful, and prone to rebel. Job said it well when he uttered the following:
Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither.
In the context of this, Job was a very pious man, thinking not of himself but for others, namely his family.
He worshipped the LORD, and made offerings for his sons and daughters, thinking that they might have sinned. But great calamity befell him, and he lost all that he had. And even then he acknowledged the LORD.
What’s the meaning of this? It means this: You are alone, from birth till death, though wrapped in the loving hands of those who love you, but you cannot take them with you when you die.
Even King Solomon knew this very well. He said:
There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
“and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless—
a miserable business!
Oh, how foolish we are, to try to fill this empty void in our lives with either relationshhips or material possessions, which are but temporal, and worth nothing to us when we die.
But if nothing of this earth can fill that void in our lives, who can? Or rather, what?
Let us turn to the words of a compassionate but eccentric Irish man, who lived in the 19th century. His name is Joseph Scriven, and he knows the feeling of being lonely all too well. After all, he lost two brides and he never fully recovered.
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry, ev’rything to God in Prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, ev’rything to God in Prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? take it to the Lord in prayer;
in his arms He’ll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there. 
Yes, it is Jesus. The King of Kings, Emmanuel, Christ. The one who so willingly gave his life for us. He is the only friend we have, and need. For he represents God, who loved us so, that he gave Him to us, so that we may no longer die, but have everlasting life .
He is the One who shares in your joys, your disappointments, knows your hopes and dreams, and He will never leave you. Ever. He was there from the Beginning, and He will still be there in the End. He is patient, He is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
God is Love. He loves us so, and He still does. Are you willing to let Him in and be your friend?
Notes and stuff:
 Rebuttal to Koji Oe and bluemist
 Job 1:21, KJV
 Ecclesiastes 4:8, NIV
 What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1819-1886), melody by Charles Crozat Converse (1834-1918) Read more about it.
 Referencing John 3:16-17.
 Modification of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Also references Proverbs 18:24. If God is Love, do not these verses serve to exemplify his Love and faithfulness?
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
-Ecclesiastes 2:24 (KJV)
The saddest thing that could happen to anyone is that you realize that you hate what you do. Be it your profession, blogging, even something as mundane is reading and eating, once you hate what you do, it’s not fun anymore, it’s a JOB. Like what happened to WoW to some players. Penny Arcade humorously says it well.
It’s a shame when you realize that you hate what you do. It means you have lost not just the passion to do what you did, but also the determination to push on. Each post you make is like torture, and the only joy you find in making it is when you finally finish what you had to say. Sooner or later, you will give up, making silly and hateful excuses and blaming everyone and everything but yourself for giving up.
Can people hate what they do? Well, yes. I’ve heard people complaining about studies, their job, even about blogging. They’ve realized that it either doesn’t suit them or they hate the subject matter. Some even go so far as to blame other people for making their experience full of coldness and hate.
Going about with a giant chip on your shoulder does not make for good blogging experience. I will admit, being fueled by hate makes for popularity, but it doesn’t make for great posts. Hate has a great way of multiplying itself, becoming bigger than you could control.
If there was one thing I have promised myself (and most probably lived/blogged by), it’s to have fun with whatever I do. Be it trolling Jason Miao, screaming like a yaoi fangirl with a yaoi paddle when it comes to shows I like, making fun of certain drama whores and flamers, I have had a ton of fun doing it. Some would even say I enjoy doing it.
It all goes back to verse I have chosen for today’s article. I’d like you to pay attention to the last part of the first sentence.
and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.
What is so good about “making our soul enjoy good in our labor?” Or in this case, love what you do? For one thing, it makes the whole process easier. Thinking positive makes anything better. Another thing is this: it does not feel boring or like a chore to do. If you love what you do, it wouldn’t matter if the fate of the world lies in your hands; you’d do it not because you have to, but because you’d LOVE to.
The words of King Solomon rang true in his day, and it still rings true today. If one does not love what he or she does, he or she then hates what he or she does. King Solomon sums it up exactly in Ecclesiastes 2:17 (NIV):
So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
There were times I poured out my bitterness and hate, and there were times I became hateful to validate a point. I did not enjoy those times, and when I look back, I wonder with curiosity what fueled me to do what I had done. But most of the time, I’ve never felt that this whole thing was a big burden.
So I guess what I’ve been trying to drive home is this: Love what you do. Positive thinking makes everything a bit easier and less stressful. Don’t be a Kaioshin, who flamed himself to oblivion. (Dude, seriously, you sow hate, you reap hate back, IN SPADES. And TWUCKS.)
Well, it’s time I realized something.
I’m an idiot. A complete idiot. A massively colossal Itou Makoto class idiot.
I’ve been moving in the wrong direction with some of my posts. True, the hate is justified, but in my eyes, it was rather unnecessary.
Being partly inspired to make some amends for my mistakes, partly being inspired by this, and partly because the History Channel will be airing “Hippies”, I’ve decided to embark on an editorial week filled with nothing but the Love of the One Whom I call Lord and the Grace of Jesus Christ (yeah, expect a ton of inappropriately cherrypicked Bible verses).
It was originally meant to be a week of epic hate and lulz. Go figure.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting on how Love and Grace can be used in issues concerning issues pertaining to our little corner of the Internets. If you want warm fuzzies, I’d like to ask you to step away from the monitor and do something else. While one of the core tenets of Love and Grace is Forgiveness, the offender has to realize that he or she has offended people. I will do my best to soften any unnecessary blows, but before one can forgive, one has to convict. And the truth hurts plenty.
Unfortunately, this is not the whole “Forgive and Forget” thing the world is so fond about. What Forgiveness really means is this: “Even though I will remember and be grieved by your wrongdoing, I will not speak of it. I will not use your past wrongdoings to browbeat you, to belittle you, or to shame you. The matter is dead and buried, water under the bridge.”
See you tomorrow then. I’ve got a show to catch.
It is amusing to read, sometimes, how people pin their all too human hopes on either fictional characters, masterwork idols, or even fallible human beings. It doesn’t matter whether you are the cream of the crop or the bottom of the trash heap, people around the world pin their humanist hopes and dreams for a better future on maybes, somewhats, and probabilities. It’s a rather amusing form of idolatry, really.
What’s even more amusing is this: These people turn to the what-ifs and maybes the world provides, instead of realizing that they are indeed saved from sin and this amusing idolatry.
Today is Easter. Not the corrupted bunny with an egg fetish mutant of a capitalist event, that one is merely an excuse to sell chocolates and give us all sore throats. I’m talking about the real event, the one that happened over 2000 years ago, where a rather special man was nailed to a tree for supposed blasphemy. And then he died, but got better. A lot better. In fact, he became so healthy, people till this day still do not believe it.
I’m talking about Jesus here. Son of Man and Son of God, King of Kings, the Messiah, Shiloh, the Lamb of God, [insert name here].
So, Jesus. We Christians attach “Christ” behind his name. Why do we hold Good Friday and Easter with such regard, respect and hope? It’s rather strange for a group of people to revere a succession of days where this special man died, yes? Actually, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
You might wonder: Why did Jesus die? Did he die for a purpose? Was he a failed rebel? What could move a man to die for the world? And why would anyone dare to pin their hopes on His death? Such questions have boggled man for centuries. Heck, it puzzles me sometimes too.
We know this much. Jesus was not a rebel. He knew that he was to die. Even the knowledge of this overwhelmed the messiah. He prayed to God to take away the bitter cup meant for him, if it was His will. Shocking, is it not, to realize that the Messiah was not all that willing in the first place. We all know what happened after this. Shocking betrayal, shocking hate, and then Jesus was nailed to the Cross at Golgotha. Where he was mocked by the people he was saving.
What could move a man to endure such inhuman humiliation, pain and finally, death? Indeed, why did Jesus utter “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they have done?”? would you believe that Jesus loved us so much he was willing to die for us? Yes, it was love that drove Jesus to the Cross. It was also Love that made God send down Jesus to die for our sins.
Yes. Up there, higher than the stars and the sky, is an Entity so powerful, so omniscient, and so full of love, He could not bear to smite down His beloved creation, even though he could have (and did so a few times in the past. Satan was a bad boy.). Instead, he sent down Jesus, who died on the Cross for our sins, and rose again on the thrird day to give us all the hope of eternal life, should we believe in him. Would Suzumiya Haruhi dare do such a thing? Would she?
Fellow readers, it is still not too late. God’s greatest gift to you does not require anything special. All you need to do is ask Jesus to come into your heart. Cheesy and incredulous yes. Is there a catch? Yeah, sort of. Once you believe, you’re no longer allowed to act like you were before. You are now held accountable to God for your actions, whether good or bad. Even though you believe, you will still face temptations, but if you truly believe, you will be able to overcome these temptations.
I’m not guaranteeing a bed of roses here. To earn the true liberty and peace that comes with the package, you gotta work for it.
But I’m pulling away from the message. God still loves us so, even if all we do is break His heart over and over. He still waits for for us to accept His gift and be one with Him. He’s still waiting. It doesn’t matter if you have done wrong, or are faultless. He loves us so because of who we are, not what we have done.
If you’ve managed to get this far, I’m surprised. I’m not very good at this. Well, at least let what you’ve read digest in your head. No one is forcing you to make the decision now. Ponder about it. Think hard, and search the truth.
I hope that everyone will mak ethe right choice.