Thursday, February 19, 2015

Propaganda and Spin: Think for yourself

By Ada Brownell
Adapted from Imagine the Future You
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As children, we started thinking for ourselves when we gagged and spit out the spinach baby food and then decided which cold cereal we like best. If we were born into a poor Oriental family, we might like rice instead. If we lived in some African slums, we’d be grateful for slimy oatmeal gruel from a dirty bowl.
In some parts of the world, you’d think putting live bugs between two slices of bread was a special treat, even though bugs crawled around on your fingers as you ate them. In other countries you’d eat dog and monkey.
 In times past, it was quite common for Americans to eat cow and pig brains and kidneys. They made “head cheese,” which was a meat jelly made from the head of a calf or pig. You can still buy pickled pig’s feet. I don’t know if they still sell head cheese but it became popular in a society that didn’t waste anything. In hard times, people also ate squirrels and turtles.
You cringe. Your stomach turns. That’s because you think for yourself and form an opinion.
Your head is not empty now. You learned by experience and from other people. That’s the only way we assimilate knowledge.
After we learn something, we usually can recall it spontaneously. We ride a bike without thinking about how we balance. We can type, text, cook, clean, repair cars, and program computers. We balance checkbooks, do income tax, use math to buy and sell, and make chemical formulas to create medicines that save people’s lives or to invent guns, bombs, and rockets to kill them. You can store billions of information blocks in your memory.
According to Kenneth Higbee, author of Your Memory and How it Works and How to Improve it,[1] your two-pound brain can store more than today’s most advanced computers.
 Everything you put into your mind, especially what you experience, changes you. You study to learn or pick up information from your friends, your parents, or through the media, and you are affected.
I am choosy about what goes into my brain and hope you are, too.

The Bible says when we have a close relationship with God, He will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Yet, you decide whether or not to post that guard, the Holy Spirit, at the door. If we listen to what our conscience and scripture tells us, 24/7, and resist, Satan and his cohorts flee in fear.

The Holy Spirit, through our conscience, convinces us of sin (so we’ll know what it is), righteousness (so we’ll understand that), and judgment (so we’ll know God will reward those who live for Him and punish those who do not).

It helps to think on things that are true, things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.[2] That means we are careful about what we read, what we watch on television, the movies we go to or rent, and what activities we practice. We pray for God’s wisdom and knowledge and actively reject smut, lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, the pride of life, vulgar language, gossip, backbiting, and wrong attitudes.
We also are able to put some beautiful things in our brains: God’s Word, good music, good information, a willingness to learn, a willingness to work, a determination to love, a determination to help, a determination to make heaven our home.
We can pray for God to help with the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts that they would be acceptable in His sight. That’s what David did. He’d sinned and knew his vulnerabilities.
Although the Lord’s covenant is etched into our hearts, we still need to study good things that “Ca-ching!” profitable character. We’re told in the book of Timothy to study to show ourselves approved unto God, so we will rightly interpret the Word of Truth.
But even if we memorize the Ten Commandments, such as “thou shall not lie” or “thou shall not steal,” and “do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” we don’t automatically reject it when Satan tempts.
If we use our excellent knowledge of good things, our character and integrity grow. Our will becomes stronger. It’s like seeing a growing baby every day. He looks the same size if we see him often, but if we wait six months or a year, we see a big difference! And you and others will see a change in you when you put positive things you learn into action.
When we make good decisions, we become more mature, more trustworthy, more dependable, and our potential for doing great things increases.

©Ada Brownell 2014

[1] Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.,1977

[2] Philippians 4:18

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