It continuously amazes me how so many things we take for granted are ethics issues are often politically motivated. You can see examples of this in just about any common issue people disagree on in ethical questions. Political groups seize ethically-minded groups and use them to further their own aspirations. One example that I have noted is the "Green" movement. At heart, the concept behind it seems very ethical. Sure, we all should take care of nature. Sure, we want to protect the environment. But, often the forum becomes a platform for some political entity and all goes awry. And, this is what happens with PETA, a group that is "for the ethical treatment of animals." Much of their funds are used for campaigning, and most of their "issues" are things that have nothing to do with saving the planet. They produce more merchandise for us to buy that fills up the landfills, and has nothing to do with saving the planet, except that it carries the word green on it. Many Washington politicians climb in jets, wasting natural resources, while boosting the price of crude oil to raise gasoline prices. So, their motive does not appear to be true to me.
Another example, the United States, the European Union and Japan have accused China of violating world trade rules to manipulate mineral prices, rare-earth minerals which run the electronics we use, like mobile phones, computers, and smart bombs. China controls 95 percent of total rare-earth supply because
1. Even though traces of the metals can be found around the world, they are rarely in high enough concentrations for mining to be convenient or profitable.
2. The mining is a very environmentally destructive process, and China has a disregard for health, safety and environmental controls in order to boost their dominance in the market.
3. Salty, radioactive water kept leaking from waste evaporation ponds, leading to the closure of our main mine in California in 2002. (We are trying to clean the process up now.)
This situation is a political issue, because China uses the rare-earth market to control foreign countries and manipulate world-trade. In 2010 China began restricting rare-earth exports, and prices spiked around the world. They use a tiered pricing system, favoring production in their own country, in order to get electronics companies to build in China, using Chinese labor to save on rare-earth cost. Otherwise, American companies have to pay double what Chinese companies pay for rare-earth. In the end, the Chinese economy gets a boost, the Chinese get more jobs, and this makes it easier for Chinese companies to steal foreign intellectual property. Simply put, China’s dominance over these 17 elements discourages innovation around the world and threatens national defense.
Because of these problems with the Chinese, a Malaysia mine has opened, and in California a company called Molycorp has reopened what was the world’s most dominant mine before the 80’s. It is predicted that in five years mines will open all over the world and China’s dominance will wane in rare-earth, along with their power over the world electronically. Meanwhile, the mine in California is selling what they are producing faster than they can get it out of the ground. More info on the issue can be found in this Wired Science article online.
So it seems that much of our ethical policy is motivated by expediency; what is convenient for politicians to gain power. The movie clip above from Year of the Dog shows a scene of a woman who is trying to get petition signatures for her own reasons for PETA. And, it appears that, "the ends justifies the means" of obtaining signatures, at least in her eyes.
This raises the question, does it matter how you go about something, as long as it is for a good purpose or cause? You know, to my way of thinking, I hear people say all the time that the reason China dominates in the electronics market is because they will work cheaper. It appears that that answer really masks the facts. As this movie clip illustrates, it's more about control than ethics to many people.
Look back at the ages old story of King Solomon in the Bible. Two women had babies at the same time, in the same household. It appears, according to some accounts, that they may have been prostitutes in a brothel. But, one women awakes in the night to find that her baby has died. So, she secretly replaces the baby of the other woman with her own, so she will have a child. When the other woman awakes in the morning, of course she realizes the dead baby is not her child. So, they appear in court before King Solomon, both claiming the live child. Solomon asks that a sword be handed to him, and declares that he will just cut the baby in half and give each woman half of the live child. The mother of the dead baby is pleased with this decision, because now the other woman won't have a baby either. But, the true mother immediately cries out for the baby to be given to the other mother just so the child can live, even if she doesn't get to keep it. Solomon realizes that she is the true mother, because she is motivated by love for the child and not greed and selfishness.
That seems to be a parallel to many moral issues today. Sometimes people are motivated by true concern about morality. But, often it can truly be politics that drives morality positions.
What's the point? Solomon once asked... some 27 times.
Ecclesiastes 1:3 All the labor taken by man.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 No new thing
Ecclesiastes 1:14 works
Ecclesiastes 2:11 No profit
Ecclesiastes 2:17 work that is done
Ecclesiastes 2:18 labor in which I have toiled
Ecclesiastes 2:19 working wisely
Ecclesiastes 2:20 labor in which I have toiled
Ecclesiastes 2:22 laboring with your heart
Ecclesiastes 3:16 wickedness instead of justice & iniquity instead of righteousness
Ecclesiastes 4:1 Oppressions that are done
Ecclesiastes 4:3 Evil work
Ecclesiastes 4:7 Vanity (uselessness)
Ecclesiastes 4:15 Living people walk
Ecclesiastes 5:13 riches kept to oneself to your own harm
Ecclesiastes 5:18 labor taken
Ecclesiastes 6:1 Common evil
Ecclesiastes 6:12 knowing the future
Ecclesiastes 8:9 work that is done
Ecclesiastes 8:15 eating, drinking, and being merry
Ecclesiastes 8:17 work that is done
Ecclesiastes 9:3 Men are full of evil days, then they die.
Ecclesiastes 9:6 No portion of anything done may be kept after death
Ecclesiastes 9:9 the wife God has given for your life
Ecclesiastes 9:11 time and chance happens to all men, instead of life favoring the swift, the wise, strong, or the understanding men.
Ecclesiastes 9: 13 wisdom
Ecclesiastes 10:5 Dignified fools & Humble Rich men
This book is the only one that has the phrase, "under the sun" in the Bible. These are all the references that use the phrase. Notice that 11 of those were about working. Now that it is Friday, I am sure many of you feel like King Solomon in that sense... what's the sense in working so much? You see, Solomon found all of these things foolish or senseless. What's the point? he said. But, this was a man who was born with a literal silver spoon in his mouth. He was the favored son of the great King David in the Bible. He had lived such a life of opulence and wealth, and had many wives, and possessions. He had enjoyed extreme sports, like the pampered wealthy who never have to work. So, things really had no purpose for him. His life became all about Solomon. It turns out, the life of the wisest man on earth was rather small. He doesn't seem like such a wise man in retrospect, does he? He had been in his early years, but some of his decisions weren't the wisest, it seems.
For example, he married the daughters of Kings of foreign countries, in a "wise" attempt to secure peace with those countries, thereby solidifying his empire. But, he ended up with a family of strangers and they all had strange Gods. He ended up deluded and his faith became diluted. His children did not reap the benefit of all his riches. The empire was divided after his death and his son only took two tribes, of the 12 of Israel. Maybe the foreign wives weren't a wise decision after all.
It seems to me, wisdom is based on outcome. If I want to achieve wealth, then one course of action might be wise, while if I want to have a happy well adjusted family, then another course might be wiser for me. The answer really lies in the place we are looking. Perhaps, Solomon shouldn't have been looking "under the sun" afterall, at least not for fulfillment. It seems most of the real fulfillment and purpose in this life comes from God... beyond the son.
Song of Solomon 4:8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from
Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the
lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
I am enjoying a pomegranite and green tea. A pomegranite is a beautiful fruit that seems more like a gift or a treasure chest. When you slice into it, you have to peel away the inner tissue paper gift wrap, revealing these ruby like seeds filled with the tastiest juice imaginable. The full bodied richness of the pomegranite juice on your tastebuds only makes the green tea taste sweeter.
Some people are picky eaters, but I have a taste for a wide variety of foods. This creates a problem, because I will eat just about anything, though I don't like sushi or crawdads. The first priority with meat is that it be throughly cooked. After that, anything is "game." With fruits and vegetables, they are all good, and I will eat anything. I don't generally enjoy eating the same thing two days in a row, unless it is chocolate. Chocolate is good every day. And, I like a variety of colors on my plate. The more different something is, the better it tastes.
I never drink buttermilk. My grandmother used to make goat's buttermilk, which I refused to drink. This was fine with her, as she was a farm wife, and an awesome cook, a doting grandmother, and she would cater to each of us on our once a year visits to Tennessee. I miss her dearly. She died 25 years ago this month. I probably got my love of all things edible from her.
In Kenya, I enjoyed the evening banquets, with all of the exotic fresh fruits spread out on the buffet. I brought home my love for mangoes and papayas, along with some neat souvineers and my luggage. I bought most of the souvineers for specific people. The only thing I kept for myself was an African chessboard and an empty soft drink bottle like the kinds used here in the States in the 60's. The beverage it contained was called Stony Tangawiza. Yes, I drank it, and it tasted like liquid black pepper. But, I loved the exotic "differentness" to the experience, so much so that my tastebuds didn't mind.
We ate at a restaurant called appropriately, "The Carnivore" there in Nairobi. It was everything you could imagine and more. The meat was spectacular... so much so that I don't remember anything about whether we even had bread, fruit, or veggies, though I am sure we must have. I can only remember the delicious morsels of meat all arranged on long scimitar-type knives. Each waiter carried out a different type of meat on his knife and allowed you to have pieces off whichever knives you chose, as they came around. And, they kept coming back with more until you raised the flag at your table in sign of surrender. I ate Zebra, eland, lamb, heartabeast, Crocodile, and a number of other different meats. I capitalized the words Zebra and Crocodile because they were capital dishes :)
Pomegranite is a fruit that is mentioned in the Bible and it is mentioned in Song of Solomon 4:13 as well. There in verse 8 above, Solomon and his spouse, for here she is called his spouse for the first time, are apparantly on top of Mount Lebanon where he is showing her the spectacular view of all his kingdom. Perhaps it was a honeymoon trip, but he mentions wanting to take her to Mount Amana and Mount Hermon's tops as well, while they are traveling. The trip is obviously a safari, since he says they are viewing the lion and leopard dens. It must have been a costly, expensive trip, but we know that Solomon held a large treasury which he obtained from taxing the people so heavily. 1 Kings 12:4
"Traveling" can be quite a busy thing, and a mountain climbing safari is definitely roughing it, LOL. Imagine your husband wants to take you to visit some lions dens on your honeymoon! That might not be at the top of your bucketlist. You would well consider putting it at the bottom for when everything else has been marked off the list, just in case it is the last thing you do. :) We often think of Solomon as being "second-generation" or pampered royalty. But, though we know he was a lover and not a fighter, he was apparantly a rugged outdoorsman. He loved wild animals, and had his own menagerie (of animals, and of women.) And, he was apparantly an avid bow hunter and mountain climber.
But, God is compared to a Heavenly Bridegroom here in this the Canticles. In Deuteronomy 34:1 God took Moses up to the tops of the Mountains and showed him Caanan Land. In Revelation 21:10, God shows John the Revelator the New Jerusalem from the top of a mountain. Yes, God has so much he wants to give us of himself. But, we are all too often content with where we are and don't want to get out of our comfort zone.
In Song of Solomon 4:15 the Beloved is referred to as a well of "living water." Jeremiah 2:13 uses the same analogy for God, as does Jesus in John 4:10 and John 7:38. Everywhere else in the Bible, the Hebrew phrase is translated to running waters when speaking of natural water sources. The translators did this purposly because they knew that the term was referring specifically to Jesus.
I do apologize, but I think I have reached the end of my story and found I haven't reached a conclusion, though I have talked for far too long... hours. Seeing that this is the end... and I have no conclusion, and rambling is a bad habit...I will just say so long for now. :)
If you are interested, give these questions about the "three kings" of the unified nation of Israel a try.
1. Why did God give Israel a king at the time He did?
2. Was it God’s intention for them to ever have a king?
3. How did Saul qualify to be king?
4. What caused Saul to lose his kingdom?
5.How was Saul constantly humiliated?
6. How was David different from Saul?
7. Why was Saul jealous of David?
8. What was David’s great desire, and when did it come to pass?
9. What books authored by Solomon reveal the downward progression in his life? Put them in order.
10. How many Proverbs and songs did Solomon write?
My answers to these thought questions are below. (Possibilities vary.)
Click Here to compare. --------------------------------------------------------->