Back to the Desk's Main Page

The QUESTIONS and the answers

©07 The Media Desk

      The following questions were sent to the Desk by an online friend. The Desk had challenged her to ask serious questions across a whole range of issues (Religion, the Web, Writing) which you never see on those 'friendship quizzes' about your favorite flavor of ice cream.

      She did..... BOY did she!

      She had no idea the can of worms she was opening. And since the Desk promised to answer as truthfully and completely as possible, here it is.

"And aaaawwwayyyy we gooo!!!!" -Jackie Gleason.

[See resource links at end of section. All outside links will open in new window.]
Question- What is your position on people going to hell?

      "Oh Hell."
      The usual definition of 'hell', the lake of fire and brimstone as depicted in Revelation, is curiously lacking in many peoples belief in God. They believe in 'God', and in Heaven as where he picks up his mail, and the 'Devil' as kind of the ever present bad guy, but not Hell. The idea that a loving God would actually throw somebody in Hell forever and ever just isn't real palatable, even to the heavily religious.
      Part of this answer goes hand in hand with the one to your next question, so we'll skip that and get right to the meat of the matter.
      HELL as usually thought of in the Jewish vein was more likely to be "sheol" or simply the grave (underworld or 'abode of the dead') or the more explicit "gehenna" which is again, the lake of fire reserved for the intentionally wicked. Christians and Muslims and Mormons and so on have generally adopted the Jewish idea of Hell as an actual place of torment. (as a sidenote, as I have a good percentage of my blood from "American Indians" I usually tell somebody to go to 'White Man's Hell', as that concept was for the most part alien to them until the arrival of white missionaries.)
      Hell, as usually depicted nowadays with demon midgets with horns and pitchforks and even a few whips and chains or a computer generated puddle of lava, is entirely a modern invention and has no basis in the classical books of faith.

      The idea of a 'god' punishing those who do bad things in their life is fairly consistent throughout recorded history all the way back to... well, all the way back. The good are rewarded with an afterlife of contentment and plenty, the bad are, well, less fortunate, Suffering everything from having to repeat this life until they get it right all the way up, or down as the case may be, to that lake of eternal fire we mentioned before.
      As to how that punishment is dealt out by said divine being. It more of a matter of interpretation than a scriptural "Thus Sayth The Lord" in the majority of faiths, because the idea is that the religion is 'fire insurance' as Hell is something to be avoided for most reasonable people and they don't need a picture of it. AC/DC songs not withstanding, nobody really wants to be on the "highway to hell".
      Another way of looking at it is that Hell is the exact diametrical opposite of Heaven. God, being the Source of Light and all that entails is the ultimate in good and perfected joy and on and on. So Hell, would be ... dark and evil and bad and agony and.... something like New Jersey on a bad day.

      Now. Having said all that.
      In my reading of the scriptures... (and I have to state right here and now that I am only slightly more informed on the subject than your Village Idiot, in fact, if that job it open I may apply for it. ) ... of the Christian Faith and certain works by First Century 'church fathers' such as Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp leads me to believe that Hell isn't so much as a place where the pizza guy delivers to 666 Satan's Way, as it is the idea that you are cast out of the presence of God into something like the 'outer darkness' where your consciousness abides forever knowing that that is all you will ever be or do, utterly unable to get to the Light.

Question- If a person is generally a good person, are they going to heaven.....or are they doomed to purgatory for sins of their respective religion (eg. is a Muslim REALLY going to hell for eating pork?)?
'this question makes me wonder if she did something sneaky to her ex.' Doc

      The middle first. Purgatory, as defined by the Roman Catholic Church, is NOT scriptural. The concept is based, more or less loosely, on several passages in the Bible, most notably 1 Corinthians 3: 12 - 15
"If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

      However, that does NOT give legs to the entire doctrine of Purgatory. Even later works, such as the oft cited story of the Martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas who were killed in the early third century for their faith does not actually define a real place or concept of Purgatory. The word itself (purgatorium in Latin) doesn't come into use until a thousand years after Christ and the doctrine isn't established until the Council of Florence in 1431 convened by Pope Martin V.
      So the entire concept of Purgatory is possibly one of the better examples of the Pope telling God what to do. We'll leave it at that.

      Back to the first part of the question; the Good Person issue.
      Most mainstream Christian religions try to have it both ways to please their adherents. But if you read the Book of Books, there is only one way to the Father. And it has nothing to do with a 'sinner's prayer' (which incidentally is NOT in the Book either), writing a check to the building fund with a suitable number of zeros in it to cover ones sins. Or sprinkling, foot washing, tongue speaking, vision seeing, praying through, break dancing in church or any other of the things we as a species have attached to salvation.
      It is almost too simple for some people to believe, and it is outlined in several places in the Book, word by word, which means most preachers can't find it.
      One of my favorite examples is the Conversion of Saul in Acts 22 where Ananias tells Saul:
"The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name."
Acts 22: 14 - 16
(the baptism so described is the "burial" one where the Adult new believer goes down into the water and is brought back up, which was incidentally the practice of the church from John the Baptist until about the Twelfth Century. Not hosed down with a squirt gun or anything else. The Baptism of Infants is NOT scriptural in any sense in spite of the Catholics, Methodists and others continuing to do it as a function of the church.)

      So. By the Book. NO. A good person that dies is just as dead as anybody else and has little or no hope of salvation. Which is indeed a shame.

Question- Do you believe that people are of a lesser faith if they don't attend church regularly?

      I used to. But since our local churches have taken a left and right turn (in some cases simultaneously) we have become quite disillusioned with our local congregations of several different brands and now I'm working to preserve my relationship with God without the advantage, or disadvantage, of a local church.
      And here's why.
      Locally, and it only seems to be a problem in this area code, the preachers and pastors and others in the pulpit seem to have a problem discerning what is actually in the Bible and what is their own personal opinion. In the series "Dancing in the Sight of the Lord" we address this issue in some depth... including one preacher who seems to have thought that a woman having more than one earring in each ear is a Salvation issue. Not to mention another church who had a ranking elder ask for a copy of its member's Federal Tax Return so he could make sure they were giving what they should be. Yes. Both happened. And more.
      It has been said before and we'll say it again here: "Opinions are like armpits.... everybody has a couple, and some of them stink!" -Dr. Leftover

      If it is Black and White in scripture. Then there isn't a lot of wiggle room. A 'Thus Sayth the Lord' is pretty clear. However, there really aren't a lot of those. Yet some churches use various broad readings of a few verses to ban everything they don't like from imported cars to dancing to just about anything you can name.
      There is a difference between an Interpretation of Scripture and an opinion. If you can cite scripture and have some evidence from the First Century Fathers then we'll listen and make up our own minds. Let's use Killing on this one. Many of the old line fundamentalists say that no killing at all is allowed by Scripture. For evidence we'll hold up the story of Sgt York. However, this can be demonstrated as a literal interpretation of the King James Bible which is demonstrably incorrect in its translation of the words used in the original language. However, it isn't a salvation issue. So if you want to be a Conscientious Objector then become a War Hero, go for it.
      But, some 'church leaders' go one step further and run off at the mouth in the Sunday Sermon on any topic you can name, using the power of their office for sometimes quite personal reasons, and with absolutely no authority from scripture, or even worse, an intentional misreading or careful quoting of partial scriptures from the Bible.
      If you want to spout off some half-baked crackpot opinion in a side class or study or even on the golf course, go for it. Have fun. But if you do it from the pulpit during the Corporate Worship of the Church and the Desk is in the audience, except to be called on it, and in public as well. None of this "We'll discuss it in private". No, you said it in front of a hundred people or more, you can answer for it the same way.
      Which is why some preachers around here seem to shiver when they see me come in the door.

Resource Links

Media Desk Links on topic
The Desk's Thesis: Metaphysical Boundaries a work in progress.

The Difference Desk's Faith Makes to it.

Religion in General: The "Dancing in the Sight of the Lord" Apologetics Series
Chapter links and primary topics
One (drinking, women in church, Lord's Supper), Two (character, baptism, money), Three (modesty, salvation issues, babes in faith), Four (angel special edition) and Five (fire roasting the preachers)

The Web

Question- The internet gets blamed for a wide variety of society's ills today. What is your view on this? Do you think any of these accusations are valid?

      Tangent first, then a quote, then answer.


Let's say you have a typical nine year old child. You, the adult, hand the child an electric circular saw and send them out to play. They MIGHT build you a picnic table. They might. But the chances are far more likely you'll end up spending the evening reading five year old magazines in the hospital emergency ward's waiting room than eating at your new table.

Obscure Latin Quote:
    "abusus non tollit usum" [the fact that something might be abused does not justify its denial of use]

      Remember when certain ones would get behind the pulpit and preach that Rock and Roll was going to send everybody under the age of 21 to hell?
      TV used to be the 'evil influence' of choice as espoused by Social Engineers and other do-gooders for many many years. Failing that, they'd pick on comic books.
      Before that it was the talking motion pictures, or the so-called "dime novels".
      It would seem that whatever is the latest thing will be cursed by the previous generation... which probably doesn't understand or appreciate the latest thing unless they are making money off of it.... as the source of the downfall of civilization.
      Well. Civilization, such as it is, has survived TV and comic books and jukeboxes and the horseless carriage, I think we'll survive the Net as well.

      The Internet is a tool.
      And an amazingly powerful one at that.
      Within seconds you have at your disposal ... well, just for these answers, everything from the collected works of First Century Saints to the latest on the African Cash Transfer Scam. And Everything and anything else you can think of.
      Pictures of Quasars in Space and Stem Cells in the Womb paraded across news sites just in the last few days. Instant access to sports scores from India and recipes from New Orleans. And for our nine year old with the saw... blueprints for picnic tables.
      One old lady acquaintance thought the Internet was nothing but "dirty pictures and the space shuttle".
      If that is all you want it to be, that is all it will be.
      As is much of life- It is a personal choice.

A Two Part Question part one - What is the most disgusting, base, immoral website you have ever come across (either of a sexual orientation, or otherwise)?

Sex and Non-sex... and some we're not sure about... All in the same list:

      There were cross dressing lawyers with trashcan fetishes long before there was the internet. The only difference is that now they have webcams.
      Some say that Catholic Priests have been abusing alter boys for a thousand years. Now you have sites devoted to both sides, those that have been abused, and those that want to be used and abused by the priests. As well as those that have done, or are doing, the abuse. And help groups for all of the above, sometimes run by the same people.
      Bestiality was not invented by somebody with an AOL email address. (It was prohibited under Mosaic Law several thousand years ago, see Leviticus 18:23, so somebody was doing it!) But now there is a webring of those with similar tastes and a movie at Sundance if you need to know how to do it.
      Hate speech is nothing new. Perhaps it was turned into an art under the Nazis, but perhaps the Net has taken it to a new level. And for five dollars a month, you can join them!
      Of course there are infinite variations of the 'spycam' theme. Again, this is nothing new. Some of the old Daguerreotype (glass plate silver process) photographs were of women who were undressing supposedly unaware of the camera's presence (given that such cameras were huge and required long exposures without motion, they had to know it was there). There are everything from 'church upskirt' sites to 'cocktail waitress' fan clubs on the web today. Part of the fun of these things is proving the 'innocent babysitter in Iowa' is really a contract porn star in LA.
      There is of course the Church of the Vampyre (some are serious about it, and some are just in it for kicks) and various sites devoted to those who are sure the guy in the next apartment is a space alien who uses various bodily probes on them every night. And then there are those that think that drinking human (and other) blood is foreplay. And everything that goes with them.
      Back to Sex. Every variation possible on the Incest theme has been done. Again it was prohibited in the Law of Moses, and again in the New Testament (the man with his father's wife). And again on the web you can pick your flavor of perversion from so far out along the family tree the people doing it can legally marry in most districts, which means it is NOT incest (kin by marriage, second cousins, etc).
      AND THE KOOKS! Oh Lord Yes. Pick your conspiracy and run with it. Some see a web of lies and deceit and evil motives under every rock. There are those that are all into the fact that George W Bush was a member of 'Skull and Bones' when he was in college, and seem to have forgotten that his opponent in the last election, Senator Kerry, was a member of the same group. Some of these folks are way beyond believing that the Tri-Lateral Commission is behind it all and are sure that, take your pick; Space Aliens, Jews, Atlantians, the Queen, the Communists... are doing it. Don't believe it? Check out the 'Enterprise Mission' link below for the Alien side of thing (and yes Mr. Hoagland is very serious about it).

      The Web tends to play to the lowest possible common denominator. As long as there is a buck to be made either from web customers or advertisers, it's there.
      The Web has every form of kink and perversion ever imagined. And now you can download videos of it as well.
      The Web also has every crime, scam and fraud that has ever been conceived of on it. From how to steal a horse to how to fix a horse race and on and on. Make your own wine, moonshine or nuclear weapon. And if you have a problem with it, our help desk is available to chat online.
      What is the "most disgusting, base, immoral website"? I can't even begin to answer that one (as long as adults are involved). Part of the problem is that what I may see as just another weekend diversion you might call a mortal sin. What you do every day to pay your rent, I might think should be a felony.
      To each their own....

      Now if we are talking about kids... I have this link to some guys that want to talk to you.....

Question part two - Who is the most bizarre, twisted person you have had occasion (misfortune?) to speak to online?

      To talk to? Unsure. There have been some real losers over the years.
      By Bizarre you could mean the absolutely clueless. People who have no business anywhere near a keyboard that is connected to anything.
      Like the lady in an online discussion forum that thought Jesus would have read the story about Paul's shipwreck in the Bible when He was in school.
      And to be fair to the males of the world, there was the young man who wondered how anybody in Europe would read the Desk because they don't have America Online.
      But then there was the guy that thought he was the re-incarnation of a Hindu god. Or the one that was asking, seriously, for pictures of toilets that were.... unclean (for lack of a better word). Then there was the teenaged girl who tried to goad guys into fighting over her when she had no intention of going out with either one. How about the BBS user that would pay for two accounts so he could log on with both on different machines and quite literally, talk to himself.
      Ahhh, it takes ALL KINDS.....

      Then there was the African Advance Fee Scammer who sent in a Death Threat because the Desk turned the tables on him and didn't send him any money. That had potential to be at least amusing.

      As for twisted, this writer usually compares people to himself. By that standard, most people are 'normal', and many are dull.

Links on topic:

For the other stuff, drop a term into a slightly less commercial search engine than the 'G' one like Metasearch


Question- What got you started in writing in general and how long have you known that you wanted to be a writer?

      Ahh... History First.

[Switching to First Person Singular Mode]

      In high school I was told by an English Teacher that I didn't have any business writing anything more than a shopping list. Oh well.
      In college I was on the various school papers and literary magazines and just kind of fell into it. Doing just about everything there was to do. Including taking pictures, doing page layout, covering sports, writing features, doing hard news, and so on.
      Later I wrote for everything from weekly papers to union newsletters.
      I started online in the early nineties. Writing features for a Bulletin Board Service with about 500 users and covering sports for a local AM station that had a presence on the BBS. They traded advertising and space and I was part of the package. The Media Desk was a SPIN (SPecial INterest area) on the BBS where I did sports and politics and the occasional feature/human interest story. As the BBS was available on the early net through Telnet, I have actually been on the NET longer than the Net has been the Net! (Do I sound like AlGore?)
      The AM station changed formats, the BBS died, and I moved onto the Web essentially intact in about 1996.
      And now I do not have any editor or manager telling me what to write, how much of it to write, when it has to be done, or complaining that I've got dangling parts of speech that are best left undangling. And I like it that way!

      What do I write? Damn near anything and everything. From Christian Apologetics to Science Fiction to political commentary to sports to adult themed material and all the way back again.
      And I like that too.

[First person mode OFF]

      By Writer people usually mean somebody that pays their rent by writing.
      By that definition, the Desk is NOT a writer.
      While most of the stories and actual Novels it has put forth are for sale, it is not actively looking for said business relationship. If somebody approached it with a checkbook and said 'we want that' it would talk to them, but it's not going out of its way, or to New York, in search of them. Thank you.

Question- What is the purpose of your writings (erotic and other) if you aren't getting paid for them? Is it for your own enjoyment, or are you just someone that likes to share and figure others will be able to obtain pleasure from them?
      I like to write. I write what I like and cover whatever is of interest to me.
      That goes for everything from the Metaphysics, as mentioned before, and the non-fiction stuff, the adult material, and everything else.
      The Yellowstone Supervolcano and the Lechuguilla cave caught my attention at one point and the result was the story
"Serious Cave". That's just how it works.
      And the readers of the websites.... averaging 70,000 or so a month now, seem to agree. (total readers between the various sites)
      Sometimes I have to work at finding a topic that will work in a story, at other times I almost trip over it. There are some that were started and worked out being a short story or

      The erotic side was answered in depth elsewhere and we don't need to rerun that here and now. See link below to -

      But in short....
      Erotic books were in circulation before the printing press moved them to the mainstream, even during the most uptight period of the Victorian age, steamy books and collections of short stories with sexual themes were written, published (usually under somewhat clever pen names) and were passed around from one proper lady of society to another. Remember, the "Story of O" was written long before the Net was invented.

      Eroticism is a fascinating bit of the human condition. Sex is something most people are taken with. Yes it is. Women try to maintain that they do not think about sex as often as men, and maybe they don't. But they do think about it. And they enjoy thinking about it, even if they won't admit it. And they like to read about it, and watch soap operas about it, and it would seem they are doing so more all the time.
      For witness to the fact we will just point at the table of contents of any one of the women's magazines on the shelves of the super market's book section. Even the most mundane of the women's 'house and home' type magazine will have some sort of sex related article every month, maybe under a thin veil of a more intimate bedroom or 'decorating for romance' but it is there. Others go right for the jugular and have titles like 'exhilarating foreplay for both of you'. If women never thought about sex and didn't enjoy at least reading about it they'd devote those pages to reviewing chocolate cheesecake recipes sponsored by weight loss pill manufacturers.
      We won't mention the 'heaving bosom, button popping pectorals' formula romance novels with that guy from the butter commercial on the covers.
      With the 'adult works, yes some of the stories are really explicit and some are really mild, some use medical and biological terms others use 'street' language. There are some in first person, some in third person and some in between and so confused you have to work to understand what's going on. Women's voice and men's and a few where the narrator never gives you a clue.

      That wasn't exactly short, but it seemed to cover the subject pretty well.
      In any case. Yes I write erotic stories. Yes I enjoy the writing, and yes, or so it would seem, that a lot of people (mostly women from the feedback I get) enjoy them as well.

Links on topic.

Who (or what) Is Dr. Leftover?

Other stuff about him.

And the 'adult side' of the shop: About Brutha Jim Deep, Why he does this?. And 'what is a sexy woman?'

Question- You've mentioned many times that you're "half crippled".....the nosey part of me wonders if this is figurative or literal?

[back to first person singular]

      Well. Perhaps 'half crippled' is a bit of an overstatement (most of the time, if a good cold front moves through... well). Suffice it to say that I have a bum hind leg and walk with a piece of a dead tree in my hand most of the time.
      Some have suggested that it, and the Jed Clampett hat, the glasses, the beard, the pipe, the bourbon, the plaid shirts and the evil cynical crazy-mean attitude are affectations to make me seem... like something. Whatever.
      No. I like my cane and my hat and my pipe and all the rest. (See 'Dr. Leftover' link above for pictures.)
      I Have NOTHING to prove to anybody and really don't give a damn what anybody (save my wife) thinks of how I look and what I do. (She did talk me into throwing out clothes and shoes that were older than my youngest daughter, who incidentally, just got her driver's license.) That and I do work out a little bit to try to stay in some kind of shape, just because I feel better that way.
      I am who I am, and I am what I am, and I am content with it for the most part for now.


[1p mode OFF]

End Questions and answers.

      So. How's that?

selah -Doc L

Back to the Desk