San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Everything Belief Is A Religious Belief

According to Merriam-Webster, 'religious' means, "relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity."  Remember that definition as you continue reading this post.
The current war against Christian doctrine and practice in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika centers around the concept of "religious" ideas, as opposed to some sort of allegedly non-religious ideas, and their odious and offensive nature to progressive humanists out to destroy Christianity. The basic presupposition held by all God-hating progressives is that religious ideas are not permitted to be expressed in the public square. According to them, only non-religious ideas are permitted when it comes time to discuss civil matters.  If therefore necessarily follows that when a Christian enters the public square he is required to abandon all of his "religious" beliefs before being permitted to speak.  It also follows that any idea about what should or should not be done in the land is automatically thrown out of the idea marketplace if it can be shown that it is religious (biblical) in origin and nature.  Sadly, most Christians willingly submit to this preposterous presupposition and check their Christian thoughts and beliefs about what should be done in this country at the door.
I opened my newspaper this morning to be treated to a front page article informing me that the Colorado Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of the Christian baker who refused to bake a cake for two heterophobes who were exercising their newly discovered Constitutional right to get married.   They were enraged that he would not support their government endorsed lifestyles so they sued him and won.  He appealed and lost.  He appealed to the Supreme Court of Jokers and the reason given in the article for why they refused to hear the case had to do with the fact that the baker is expected to abandon his "religious" beliefs when it comes time to serve the perverted public.  The court does not want to establish a precedent that permits a person to actually live his life according to his religious, in all cases biblical, beliefs.  The strict wall of separation between biblical truth and civil law and action must be maintained. 
What the God-haters will never acknowledge, and what is patently true in all discussions about public policy, is that their assertions are equally "religious" in nature and origin and if Christians are not permitted to speak because their beliefs are religious then pagans should not be permitted to speak as well.  More realistically we should all simply admit that all beliefs are essentially religious in nature and dismiss the fiction of some sort of secular neutrality, that only progressives, liberals, state worshipers, government lovers and God-haters can see and understand, actually exists.  The simple truth is that those who oppose Bible believing Christians in this immoral and God-hating country do so as a tenet of their religious beliefs about the nature of reality.  The equally simple truth is that ever since the children of Israel rejected their God and clamored to have a King just like all of the other nations, everyone who has ever drawn a breath has either worshiped the God of the Bible or the god of civil government.  There is no religiously neutral arena in life where people can meet and discuss how government should be conducted.  It therefore necessarily follows that whatever religion is dominant at the time will determine which political philosophy will control the government and its operations.  Let's consider that truth for a moment today.
Philosophers seem to prefer to call the dominant religion of our time secular humanism.  I do not favor that term, although I use it when necessary, because it incorrectly conveys the idea that the beliefs and practices of today's humanist are somehow not overtly religious in nature.  Calling a humanist a "secular" humanist is a way of confessing that he and his ideas are not religious in nature and, therefore, he is permitted to speak in the public square.  The notion that secular humanists are not religious is ridiculous.  Everything about secular humanism is religious, as we shall see.
Statists are devoted to government.  Indeed, they are religiously devoted to government.  They spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about the career politicians who rule over them.  They beseech them to enact laws favorable to their predispositions, thus enshrining their behavior as good and proper.   They see political action as the most significant action a person can engage in.  Do not allow the fact that statists do not use god-words confuse you.  The god of the statist is the state.  "Faithful devotion to an ultimate reality" is the definition of religious belief.  Those who are politically active can quite properly be described as being faithfully devoted to the ultimate reality of state power and authority.  They love it.  They adore it.  They worship it.
The characteristics of religious worship are all over statist behaviors.  When some group of government lovers wants to enact a new law to extract some of my money and spend it on their cause they always hold a rally at their church.  The church is the state capitol building.  They deliver sermons in support of their new law and pray to their gods to vote for a bill that will enact a new law that will give them special rights and privileges that I do not enjoy.  They will frequently sing hymns and chant slogans as a part of their religious service of state worship.  When the bill is eventually passed and becomes law the local newspapers love to take photographs of the faithful, eyes lifted heavenward with tears streaming down their faces, as they proclaim their thanks to the state gods who have just delivered them from evil.
Just like the Church has a sacrament that initiates a person into the organization (baptism) and another sacrament to profess continuing allegiance to the organization (communion) so civil government has adopted the same model to allow its worshipers to engage in sacramental behavior.  One is initiated into the religion of civil government by the imposition of a citizenship vow.  This vow is repeated many times, somewhat like baptism among various Christian sects, as each citizen professes his allegiance to the civil authorities by reciting the pledge of allegiance, standing and singing the national hymn and asking God to bless Amerika during sporting events.  The religious right of continuity in the most high and holy state is the act of voting.  All good citizens are expected to vote.  It matters not who one votes for so long as one votes.  Voting is the proof that you believe everything the state is doing is right and proper.  It is the way you tell your deity that you love him and want him to rule over you.  Those who do not vote are labeled unbelievers and castigated for their behavior.
Do you think I am exaggerating about these things?  If you do, try a couple of things.  Tell people that you do not vote and measure their response.  Look at the religious indignation displayed for you as they perceive you as insulting their god.  Refuse to stand for the national hymn and wait to see how you are received by those standing around you.  Be prepared to be called a traitor who should leave the country.  There is only one god in Amerika and it is the state.  You must worship it or you will be asked to leave.  Refuse to invoke the name of the God of the Bible by not singing "God Bless Amerika" when those around you are doing so.  If someone asks you why you are not singing what do you think the response will be when you say you only worship the God of the Bible and do not want to incur His wrath by engaging in idolatrous worship of the state?  Be prepared to duck.
Just like the Christian church is divided into various denominations, each with its own denominational distinctives, so the church of statism also has a variety of denominations.   There is a denomination dedicated to democracy, another to global warming, another to environmentalism in general, another to socialism, another to LGBTXYZ issues, another to economic inequality, another to feminism and on and on its goes.  However, just like the Christian church, all of these various denominations are united under one god, the god of government power, and they worship him exclusively.  All of them turn to government as the source of all good.  All of them have an unshakeable faith in the power of government to accomplish their various goals. 
In the old days towns were constructed around the local church building, which was in the center of town and the focus of civic life.  Today towns are constructed around government buildings which are the new focus of civil life.  When somebody believes he has been wronged the first person he turns to is the god of the state.  When somebody believes he deserves something he does not have the first person he turns to is the god of the state.  When somebody wants health insurance, money for an abortion, funds to pay government school teachers, a retirement account and the right to force me to serve him against my will he turns to his god of government and faithfully prays to him for mercy and my cash.
Life in Amerika is religious and the worship of the state is endemic.  Those who refuse to worship the state are, ironically, labeled "religious" and forbidden to speak, except in their own isolated church buildings.  Even that may change in the near future as militant heterophobes want to enter Christian churches and prosecute ministers for hate crimes all because they hold to ancient and orthodox Christian doctrines about homosexual behavior.  Meanwhile, in the public square, Christians are told to hold their tongues because everything they say is religious in nature.  It is time for Christians to rise up and destroy the fiction of religious neutrality.  They must no longer give up their right of free speech.  They must proclaim biblical truth in the public square without compromise.  They must assert their right to convey religious truth and they must demolish the lie that state-loving humanists are not engaging in religious behavior and speech. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Stock Market Misperceptions

The stock market brings out the worst in people.  I believe it is fair to say that most citizens in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika believe that the stock market is essentially a casino, with profits only truly being earned by the house.  In this case the house consists of Wall Street crony capitalists and investment bankers out to feather their nests at the expense of the mom and pop investor.  Rare indeed is the investor willing to admit that his atrocious stock market returns are the result of his own choices and decisions about how to manage his portfolio.  It is always easier to blame someone else, especially when the other person is richer than I am.
One of the greatest mistakes that I see being made by people who invest in the stock market has to do with their perception of how the stock market is performing.  There is something in human nature that will not allow people to forget prior negative markets and something else in human nature that forces them to depreciate current positive markets.  To be a successful stock market investor it is necessary to be neither an optimist nor a pessimist.  The person who does well in the stock market is the realist.  Let's see if I can't help you become a bit more of a realist here today.
How has the stock market done so far this year?  Ask that question of 100 people on the street and I suspect that the overwhelming majority of them would inform you that the stock market has been terrible so far this year.  They may even tell you they are glad they are out of it.  Or maybe they will inform you that they have sold out and missed some of the bear market.  Many will remind you that at the end of January we were treated to national headlines informing us that January was the worst January for stock performance in decades.  The carnage continued in February as the market continued to plunge, establishing a new low on February 11th that was down over ten percent for the year and almost fifteen percent since the previous high point made in July of 2015.  Pessimism reigned supreme and everyone was predicting a new financial meltdown similar to the last one we experienced during 2008's Great Recession.  I personally know of one investor who became so convinced the market was going to crash at least 60% that he pulled all of his money out of stocks to avoid what he believed was coming.
Here is a graph showing the performance of the S & P 500 so far this year.  Look familiar?  Probably not.  Most people believe the stock market is negative so far this year when, in fact, it is positive.  So much for most people's perceptions on the matter.

According to the Investment Company Institute, domestic stock fund investors pulled almost $19 billion from their mutual funds in the first two months of the year.  In addition, total domestic stock fund holdings are down over 12% in the last year alone.  Apparently a lot of investors share the misperception of my friend about the future of the stock market in this country.  People are bailing out of domestic stocks in droves.  Clearly they must believe that the future is very bleak. 
Here is a graph of the performance of the S & P 500 for the past ten years:

S&P 500 index value's change in the past 10 years

Although we are very close to being back to an all time high on the S & P 500 index, the dramatic drop in 2008-2009 had such a huge impact upon the emotions of stock investors that the average investor is emotionally incapable of appreciating what has happened in the enormous bull market since then.  The stock market is up over 200% since the March 2009 low, with many stocks tripling in value.  Who knows that fact?   I believe that the negative emotional impact of the Great Recession still continues today, thus causing stock market investors to be unreasonably pessimistic in their analysis of the stock market.  People felt burned when their stock investments dropped by 60% in about a year's time.  Many stock market investors bailed out of the stock market during the Great Recession, thus locking in losses and guaranteeing that they would miss all of the bull market that began in March of 2009.  When they did so they did the exact opposite of what they profess to believe.  Every investor in the universe says that he believes in buying low and selling high.  In reality there is not one in a hundred investors who has the emotional constitution to actually do that.  There were very few buyers in March of 2009 even though it turned out to be the best buying opportunity for stocks in my lifetime.  By the way, I was a buyer.  So was Warren Buffet.  I have learned a thing or two from him over the years.
I made my first investment in 1985.  Since making my first investment into the stock market I have witnessed a 34% drop in 1987, a 20% drop in 1990, a 19% drop in 1998, a 49% drop in 2000-02 and a 57% drop during the Great Recession.  My average annual total return on my entire portfolio since 1985 is 13%/year.  I have never attempted to time the market.  I have never attempted to predict what the market might do next.  I have never moved my investments around to take attempt to take advantage of a hot sector.  I have done nothing but buy, buy and buy, holding all of my investments down to this very day.  I realize I am only a lowly janitor but I think I know a thing or two about human nature.  The biggest impediment to obtaining successful stock market returns is found entirely within the average investor's own noggin.  Overcoming misperceptions about the market that have been created by uncontrolled emotional reactions to the market in the past is the single biggest factor in stock market investing.  Very few are successful because very few can control their emotions.