SARGE: Testing The Mettle

The word temporal dates back to the 14th century. It refers to the terrestrial, the earthly and lasting only for a period of time. It expresses an understanding man is a temporary being. He lasts for only a short time in the overall linear timeframe encompassing what we know exists. We live, we contribute for as long as we exist and we die. We’re NOT as powerful as what we perceive as being everlastingly omnipotent. It suggests a smallness of the individual to be enhanced by the appreciation of that which is unimaginably large or longer in duration.

Temporal implies (in the matter of ethics) a person believes there’s a “something” greater than the self. When directing the personal effort to achieve something, a person believing in something greater than the self may affirm their awe of it. In times of adversity they seek to feel “not alone” and to seek strength from the “higher power”. They accept their existence as limited and try to accomplish more from their perceived lesser efforts by asking a deity or eternal force to energize and extend their strength and efforts.

From this we developed religion following dogmatic and doctrinal “rules” requiring certain ceremonial activities defining the core values of the group. From this temporal understanding comes the prayer, the entreaty offered to a higher power to guide, protect and strengthen in times of adversity. From the prayer we developed the oath: words spoken in affirmation of the individual’s fealty to something or somebody more powerful. They seek alliance with something greater than they in a temporal sense.

Now we see a movement toward greater secularity, a belief a person lives in this world solely and without expectation of ascension to a realm controlled by a higher power. There’s no afterlife guaranteeing a reward for participation in the dogmatic elements of the religion. Secular man believes he alone controls his destiny and is responsible to NO greater power than himself and what he can accomplish.

F.C. S. Schiller said humanism is: “the perception that the philosophical problem concerns human beings striving to comprehend a world of human experience by the resources of human minds.” Man slides into an appreciation of humanism and excludes the belief in God from matters of ethics and morality.  Man becomes his own higher power.

Lately there’s been a controversy concerning the secularization of the military. The roles of Chaplains as spiritual guides to their comrades in arms are being curtailed. A cadet at the Air Force Academy had a bible reference erased from his “white board” posted outside of his room. “I have been crucified with Christ therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” the verse from Galatians read.

Mikey Weinstein, director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said 29 cadets and four faculty and staff members contacted his organization to complain about the Christian passage.

“Had it been in his room – not a problem,” Weinstein said. “It’s not about the belief. It’s about the time, the place and the manner.” He said the Bible verse on the cadet’s personal whiteboard created a hostile environment at the academy.   (

The military is becoming antagonistic toward religiosity and allows only the rights of the “aggrieved” feeling a hostile workplace is created. But, the military creates a hostile workplace by demanding the rights of those they accuse be abrogated or done away with. Something about a religious person’s first amendment rights might be considered.

What happened to simply ignoring things, actions and people we don’t agree with? Must we deny a person’s rights because we don’t agree with what they say? Must we fight (metaphorically and in reality) anything and everything we find objectionable? Must we deny the Constitution and apply it to only we who agree?

But, more importantly; if there’s no higher power a person believes in and swears an oath to; what should we expect he’ll hold to be greater than he: the person himself? He’s no more than a husk extant on the planet for a limited timeframe. Should he swear fealty to the state? The state is no more than an association controlled by doctrine and dogma and ruled by another fallible entity: a king, a prime minister, a president. It’s transitory and as such is an illusion.

If there’s no belief in a higher power; there’s no fear of consequences because a person believing in his strengths and his “power” doesn’t allow for his recognition of his fallibility; there’s no jeopardy. In the fact there’s no jeopardy, there’s no true allegiance based on the recognition of the individual’s understanding of his place in the world’s pecking order. There’s always going to be something makes a secularist change his concepts of loyalty, devotion and fidelity because he’s first and foremost true to himself and all others fall in line behind him and his ego.

This makes any oath taken by a secularist to:  “…solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” will always be suspect because a humanist/secularist places himself above and beyond others he sees as less intelligent for their temporal beliefs.

He’ll always test the temper of the mettle in any structure.

Thanks for listening.

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