When I was young I was big fan of wisdom literature. I like proverbs. Both the book in the Bible and secular proverbs. I took Proverbs 4:6-7 seriously:

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

I’m no longer young. There are fewer days ahead than are behind. Now I identify more with the the guy who wrote Ecclesiastes

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?


Christians forget Ecclesiastes is in the Bible. What I’ve come to believe is this, wisdom needs to work. The point of wisdom is to make one’s labors under the sun easier or at least easier to bear. Not everything that passes for wisdom does that. Jesus said that he came that we might have life and have it to the full. Wisdom should result in a full life.

This page is where I put what I have learned so far. The page will keep changing as I learn more or think of better ways of saying things.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Jesus in Matthew 10:16

A Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.

Wisdom used for evil purposes is called crafty or shrewd. As a Christian kid I was taught the ‘harmless as doves’ part of that verse but no one taught me how to be crafty like a serpent.

To have life and have it to the full you need to know all the craftiness and shrewdness of evil people and then use that knowledge to protect yourself and others. Then you will be wise.

The hardest lesson for me to learn was my feelings betray me. Feelings are almost never wise. That is not their purpose. There is a part of me that hates being wrong so much that it tries to keep me from learning and becoming better. Hate is a feeling and it is deceptive. I appreciate this quote from one of the greatest Emperors of Rome. He wasn’t Christian he was a stoic. I tell myself that if a stoic can do it so can a Christian.

“If anyone can refute me—show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective—I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone.”

Marcus Aurelius

As a rule I don’t care who says something. Many quotes are misattributed. Many accomplished and intelligent people say things that are not intelligent when they comment outside of their area of narrow expertise.

I don’t care who said it, I only care if it’s true.

The other problem with wise quotes is that they deal with the situation that existed in their time. The writer of Ecclesiastes was trying to solve the problem of death. The Buddha tried to solve the problem of endless reincarnation. Much of Chinese wisdom is trying to solve the problem of what to do if the Emperor is evil because eventually an evil Emperor always came to the throne.

I want wisdom that will help me now. Nietzche said: “If you know the why, you can live any how.” I doubt he was the first. I have my why. I want to live in such a way that the human race can reach the stars. I believe we can do it. The story of the tower of Babel teaches that when the whole human race works together we can build a tower up to heaven. For now our tower is Rockets. We may find a better way eventually. In Isaiah 35 the Bible teaches that someday the deserts will bloom with flowers. It may be a spiritual metaphor but I believe it literally too. We can do it if we work together. So, I have my why.

What about the how? Evil leaders fill their followers with visions of a future beautiful world so their followers will bear the terrible how that the leader has in store for them. I don’t believe that Jesus had that in mind for his followers. I believe that Jesus wanted his followers to have life and have it to the full as they worked towards the world that Jesus had in mind. Deep wisdom will make the world better and make the life of the person better too.

“Truth is for friends, deception is for enemies.”

Both predators and prey deceive. It is okay to lie to enemies. People who seek to harm you or others deserve to be deceived. They are predators. If you want to have a full life you need to be on your guard towards people who deceive you. If someone lies to you or even deceives you without lying, then they see you as a predator or prey. If you are not a predator, then you are their prey. There is more explanation at this link. https://wordpress.com/post/predatortoparent.wordpress.com/201

“If self-esteem were all it took to be a success, I would be ruling this puny planet and maybe a couple more besides.”

Self-esteem is not the secret to a full life. It is lie propagated by people who want other people to be weak. Real-esteem is the secret to a full life. There is no benefit to thinking you are smarter or more attractive or of more value in anyway to other people than you really are. It is far better to know your strengths and act within them. As for the other kind of self-esteem, the kind that thinks your so great just because you are, the narcissistic kind, that’s just foolishness. If we were made by God then we are all God’s children and all have equal worth. If there is no God and we accidentally evolve the we are all equally worthless.

“Insofar as God is a Father, I know exactly what he is like. I don’t need an Aramaic English lexicon to know what Abba means”

Jesus described God as a Father. The people who wrote the New Testament knew that the Greek word for father didn’t convey the meaning that Jesus had in mind so they would add the Aramaic Abba. We read it as Abba Father. I’m an Abba. Since God is a Abba to me I have a pretty good idea of how he wants me to act. It protects me from being manipulated by people who would who would try to use my own religious convictions against me. I already know how Fathers want their children to act. The problem is doing it.

“Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help” ― Miyamoto Musashi, 11584 After Ice Age – Or 1584 AD

Not the sort of quote you would expect in a blog aimed at the Christian and post-Christian community. I’ve come to realize that most of my prayers to God were of a predatory nature. I wanted God to help me. Now I see God as a father. Fathers don’t want to help their children, they want their children to learn how to be adults and to deal with their problems themselves. That’s what I try to do now. If God wants me to succeed he can lend a hand now and then, as he sees fit. It’s a different sort of faith in God than what I was taught.

“My God my God why have you forsaken me.”


Some people have a problem that Jesus despaired. They think it shows a lack of faith and lack of faith is a sin and therefore Jesus wasn’t sinless. They may think Jesus’ cry from the cross means Jesus didn’t have access to the rest of the trinity and therefore Jesus wasn’t divine. There is a legitimate interpretation that says Jesus was referring to Psalms 22 and therefore identifying himself as the messiah. Maybe. I like it better to think that Jesus was in both physical and spiritual agony. I don’t believe crying out to God is a sin. Speaking as father, I would never count it a sin the things my children said to me out of pain. I like Jesus better when I believe he suffered the same as we suffer.

“If someone tells you that a complex topic can be reduced to one thing then you are dealing with someone who either is stupid or thinks you are.”

Nothing worth talking about can be reduced to one thing. People are complicated. The environment is complicated. Economies are complicated. It is never one thing. If there is one thing that can ameliorate all problems it is morality. Every problem is easier to solve if people attempt to behave in the best interests of the people around them. Even morality doesn’t solve problems like mental illness. It is never one thing. A similar thing that people will say if they think they are talking to someone stupid is ‘it’s simple arithmetic’. Nothing worth talking about is simple arithmetic.

“Writing is Thinking”

Jordan Peterson

Based on the number of times I have sat down to write out my ideas and then changed them as a result, for me at least, this truth is more valuable than all the others.

“Sin is predatory behavior. Getting more than you give is predatory”

David Smith

Christians use the term sin to define bad behavior and they define sin as whatever God says is a sin. They don’t ask why God said those things are sin. Sin is predatory behavior. If you take more than you give then you are a predator. All of us receive more than we give sometimes, especially from God. When you receive more than you give you are duty bound to pay back with gratitude and loyalty. We are also duty bound to treat other people the way we have been treated. All charity is given with the obligation that the receiver goes on to be charitable themselves.

The easyest people to conquer are people who are already conquered.

The purpose of a tribe is safety from predators. The larger the tribe, the safer it is. If people are preyed upon within the tribe they may leave and make the tribe weaker. They may also choose to be less loyal to the tribe. That is even worse because they can’t be counted upon when the tribe needs them.

I had a Chinese friend explain why China was always getting conquered by barbarians. He said there were so many Chinese they could easily defeat the barbarians, they just didn’t. The Chinese aristocracy treated the peasants so badly the peasants didn’t fight to prevent them from being replaced by a barbarian aristocracy. It’s a lesson for all tribes.

“The better the person the larger their tribe!”

Morality is how to get along in tribes. Treating someone like a partner and treating them morally is the same thing. Treating someone like prey and treating them immorally is the same thing. For tribes to survive and thrive they need each member to see the other members like partners, that is to treat them morally. Ergo, if you treat someone immorally, they are not in your tribe. In our day we don’t live in desert tribes where our day-to-day survival depends on the number of loyal warriors we have. In our day our tribes are made up of our circle of friends.

Morality is how you treat your tribe, or in our day, friends. You already know this and if you don’t I pity you because you will soon lose your friends. To lie and steal, be unfaithful and murder within the tribe weakens the tribe. To weaken the tribe can bring death to everyone in the tribe. It is why tribes treat inter-tribal immorality very harshly. The more moral a tribe is within itself, the stronger it is. Even evil criminal gangs who treat everyone not in the gang like prey, know this rule and enforce gang morality. The same applies to our tribe of friends. Treat them badly and you will not have friends when you need them.

It is well known that you need to treat people in your own tribe morally. Even criminal gangs know this and every relationship book teaches it. The question is how many people do you treat this way? If you are very moral you treat everyone as if they are in the same tribe. If you are very immoral you don’t even treat those close to you well.

20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

1 John 4:20

All of us are driven by our animal instincts form tribes with those who are genetically closest to us. We use words like love and care to describe how we treat people who are close to us genetically. Even very evil people will care about themselves and their own family. Because we are humans and not animals, we can extend those feelings and behaviors to those who are not close to us genetically. It takes some work and goes against our animal instincts but we can do it. We do it because we know the value of being part of a large tribe. If someone doesn’t care about the person that their instincts drive them to care about the most, themselves, they are not likely to care much about their family. If someone doesn’t care about their family they are not likely to care about the the other members of the tribe. If a preson doesn’t care about their friends and family they are not likely to care about something abstract such as a cause or a country. If someone doesn’t care about their country they are not likely to care about all humanity. If someone doesn’t care about humanity they are not likely to care about the environment.

If someone claims to love something far from them but doesn’t care for what is near they are probably lying.

Good and safe mean the same thing to our animal instincts

To our animal instincts safe and good mean the same thing. If something is safe to eat it is good to eat. If a person is good they are safe to be around. This instinct can be manipulated. Predators try to look like they are good/safe so they can get near their prey. Since we instinctively know that people should care about what is near before they care about what is far, predators pretend to care about what is far. Currently, the environment a the cause that predators can pretend to care about to appear safe. At other times and in other places the cause can be something else. Evil dictators love to pretend to care about the country they rule. Then they use the resources of that country to wage a war that they hope will make them an even more powerful dictator. Even Christianity is used by evil people who want to appear safe but are not.

Not everyone who cares about a cause that is far but not those who are near is a predator. They may be deceived by a preditor. Predators are very shrewd. They know how to appeal to our instincts. We all want to be part of a large tribe. That’s a good instinct. They also know that we want to appear to be better than we are. That is not a good instinct. That is the part of us that is described as evi. It is evil becaus it makes us unsafe. Preditors manipulate both of those instincts to get you to join their cause. Then they convince you that their cause is more important than your responsibilities to those near you. They want to control your resources. They don’t want you wasting your resources on those near you.

Love and giving someone what they want are not the same thing

Small children do not know the difference between a need and a want. That is why they cry when they are hungry and cry when they don’t get a toy. Doing what is best for someone sometimes involves doing things that they really don’t want.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 “39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” He says this right after saying in verses 37 and 38 “37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Jesus appears to doing what evil predators have done before and since. He appears to be telling his followers to neglect their family for the sake of his cause. That is why he says “He who loses his life will find it”. Families and tribes don’t like it when people choose to follow Jesus. They think they are leaving the tribe and maybe they are. Parents often feel like they own their children. When people follow Jesus they care about their family more, not less. That doesn’t mean they give their parents and children what they want. It means they give them what is best for them.

Giving people what is best for them can look very different from what they want. Even good parents think they want their children to marry a nice person from the same tribe and take over the family business. That is not necessicarily what is in the parent’s best interests. following Jesus is very adult. It requires a great deal of refinement of character. The best and most mature parents want their childern to become adults and have a deep and strong character. It is also in the parent’s best interests. Such people make the best children to parents and the best parents to children. They bring the most long term comfort to their family. Such people also have the most life satisfaction. That is what Jesus meant by finding ones life.

Wisdom is like your lunch, you share what you have.

About six times in my life I have looked back at my younger self and shook my head. I was amazed at how my younger self thought he was so smart but was so wrong compared to how smart I thought I was at that time. If I keep to the same pattern I will probably do the same thing 2 or 3 more times before I die. That means that what I am writing now, I will someday view as shallow and even naïve. Sorry about that. I wish I had better wisdom to offer but I don’t.