E to the 4th

A Virtual Book Club

 

America’s Youths

 

For those who are in high school, college or otherwise under the age of twenty-one, E to the Fourth considers you “America’s Youths”. As such, you are somewhat innocent and impressionable regarding the world around you. However, many adults around you are relentlessly giving you a false impression of the "real world". Without anger or acrimony, E4's pedagogy seeks ways to educate and enlighten you regarding corruption in government, business, organized religion, and even within the American family. Knowing the truth is always more virtuous than the promulgation of lies. Because most adults are already “corrupt” in their often self-centered and unethical pursuit of hedonism, power, prestige, money, etc., E4 devotes this page on our website to America's Youths, who yet have to pay rent, utilities, mortgages, etc. Without duress, we present ethical choices to the myriad evil temptations confronting you. One could argue that contemporary American culture relentlessly seeks to destroy your innocence and virtue. For example, do the movies, music, and other forms of entertainment you consume tend to corrupt your morals? Do the resultant behaviors they suggest have deleterious consequences for you and your peers? Because millions of America's Youths were never taught the Torah, Bible, etc. at home or at school, E4 endeavors to ask you moral questions that require your turning to God's Word. Inconsequential to which of E4's ethical identity groups you belong, each has a virtuous path waiting specifically for you! You will never find a "wrong" answer in the Scriptures, albeit most of the answers youths find in music or on television are indeed wrong. Akin to cliché, "The Devil made me do it," the Devil, himself, is the executive producer of much of the entertainment youths find most appealing. To the contrary, when America's Youths visit websites such as www.ACGreen.com or even www.ClubAC.com they discover wholesome entertainment that encourages them to do the right thing. Please inform us of other such websites so that we can add them to our suggested list for America's Youths. If you remember nothing else you read here, please note that the lifestyle you develop as a teenager will either bless you or curse you the rest of your life! For example, is it better to have a bastard child, an abortion, or to remain chaste until marriage? Is it better to go through a twelve-step recovery program or to never try drugs? Is it better to get drunk with other "cool" teenagers, only to become a fatal statistic of drinking and driving, or to associate with other teenagers who practice E4's ideals? We dare not compel you to do things our way. However, E4 must ask America's Youths, "What's so bad about taking good care of your physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual health?" E4 is a virtual book club challenging American teenagers and young adults to not sell your souls to the Devil, who can and who will deceive millions! Life is a perpetual battle between good and evil, or between godliness and ungodliness. Godly virtue, though no longer "popular" is attainable, if only we obey God's commandments. As you share this website's content with others, you will hopefully find other youths, like yourself, who are learning to do good instead of evil. Many years from now, when you are thirty or even forty, you will thank E4 and thank God that you did!

On every dollar bill is printed, "In God we trust." Yet, few Americans genuinely do so. Ethically speaking, America's Youths prototypically are still forming their relationships with money and with God. Therefore, E4 challenges youths to form irreproachable relationships with both prior to entering the adult rat race in which the rats often win. History has all but proven that mortals will love only one of the two, but never both God and money. As you graduate from high school or college, pay rent, utilities, mortgages, etc., you will better understand the relationship between money and material comfort. Hopefully, you will also better understand the inextricable relationship between money and morality. Amid the erosion of morals in our Nation, is money the new "god" in America? Is the love of money the root of all evil? How many rich people do you know who truly worship God and practice religious orthodoxy? How many rich people do you know who treasure their pecuniary possessions more than spiritual intimacy with God? Would your answer to these last two questions change, were you to omit the word "rich"? Perhaps, most Americans are indeed infatuated with pulchritude, power, pecuniary assets, and pleasure. E4 contends that virtually every crime in America, inclusive of white collar crime, is attributable avaricious individuals and institutions who disobey God. On the other hand, commission of virtually every crime in America is tantamount to one's obedience to Satan. Satan clearly understands human nature and exploits it via an appeal to our greed, hatred, etc. God also clearly understands human nature and admonishes mankind against evil via the Scriptures.

Either directly or indirectly, the motive for criminal activity becomes the answer to, "What's in it for me?" In our society, the "Haves" acquire more while the "Have Nots" end up with less. American jurisprudence, one could even argue, is an artifice that, both ethically and unethically, protects the privileges of the rich more than it protects the proletariat or citizenry at large. Ergo, it is not surprising that legislators, judges, lawyers, lobbyists, policemen, businessmen, etc., in our Nation are routinely exposed for their covert deals and unethical conflicts of interest. Internationally, one could argue that the US military also covertly engages in unethical conflicts that protect the interests of America's rich and powerful more than those of our citizenry at large. Albeit they are more influential, are the rich more virtuous or more righteous than those who are Middle Class or Working Class? Jesus Christ said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." How did Buddha, Muhammad, and Moses address the same subject matter? Explain. Perhaps, the Scriptures speak with clarity regarding how money and power turn our very hearts away from God. Cite four such Scriptures in your Holy Book that support this Spiritual Law. In our culture, wherein it appears that everyone and everything can be bought, are there any Americans who still possess irreproachable ethics? How often do we Americans even discuss or debate ethics in our culture? Do we genuinely trust in God, as our money so proclaims? Instead, do we Americans fallaciously idolize celebrities and professional athletes in the media, only to discover they are "people with problems" like the rest of us? More importantly, are these icons able to buy the approbation of the Almighty or is obedience to God the "price" each of us must pay for His blessings?

How important is making money to America's Youths and what are you willing to do to acquire more of it? How often does the media intimate that making more money and spending it is the paragon of success and happiness? Are your morals for sale? As an employee or business owner, would you or your peers be willing to steal, bend the rules, or even break the law in order to get rich? This relationship between people and their money is but one of the many ethical issues posed in our workbook. For example, one such ethical query asks which identity group is possibly the least self-actualized in America and how can its constituents rectify that deficient state of affairs? Explain. Another profound question E4 asks America's Youths is, "If God were the Professor in one of your classes and you chose to ignore His syllabus, then describe how an F on His final exam would affect your life or your after life?" Unlike older adults, teenagers more candidly share their knowledge, goals, expectations, experiences, ideals, and core values with their peers. Thus, E4 presents a variety of interesting ethical topics for discussion among America's Youths before rigid conformity "closes your minds". E4 hopes that youths will explore ethics, ethnicity, education, and economic empowerment, in the context of improving relationships among our unique identity groups. What America's Youths think does matter. For our book club members, as well as for those youths who simply visit our site regularly, E4 devotes this page to parables, stories, exercises, essays, etc., that might awaken your sense of moral and ethical responsibility. We hope that you will engage us and your peers as you enjoy them! 

 

In the Beginning Was the Word 

“In the Beginning was the Word,” is actually a quote from the Bible. However, we are neither preaching nor proselytizing in this exercise. Instead, we are proffering you a simple word test. In conjunction with one of your peers, test your vocabulary. Explain to one of your friends or classmates what each word means. Needless to say, you defeat the purpose of the test if you look up the words prior to testing yourself. See what you already know and give yourselves two points for each correct answer. 

 

blitz 

clipping

first down

fullback

halfback

gridiron

incomplete pass

interference

pigskin

punt

Score: __________

 

adagio

allegretto

andantino

fortissimo

half step

larghetto

mezzo piano

pianissimo

sonatina

vivace

Score:  _________

 

acquiescent

argali

desuetude

hegemony

hyperbole

marsupial

quintessential

recondite

tumescent

vicissitudes

Score: _________

 

Abraham (Isaac’s father)

Aristophanes

Aristotle

Brittany Spears

Buddha

Christopher Columbus

Confucius

David (Solomon’s father)

Descartes

Diogenes

Galileo

Hannibal of Carthage

Jesus Christ

Madonna

Muhammad

Oprah Winfrey

Plato

Princess Diana

Samuel Clements

 

Socrates

 

Score: ________   

Analysis

  

How well did you do? If you made a perfect score, then by all means kudos to you! The first set of words is a list of football terms. The second set of words is a set of musical terms. The third set of words is a sample high school vocabulary. The final set of words is a list of proper nouns. E4 is not concerned with how many of the fifty words you already knew. Instead, we are interested in whether or not you bothered to look up the words that were not familiar to you. Since reading is fundamental, it stands to reason that a student or autodidact who reads will also encounter new words. However, if a student is not intellectually curious about learning, then not only will he not expand his vocabulary, but he will also not expand his knowledge in general. On average, America's Youths are not tenacious about investing two minutes learning new words and improving their vocabulary. On the other hand, America's Youths routinely spend two or more hours playing electronic and video games, which are deleterious to their literacy and their intellect. Lamentably, teens today eschew "big words", while E4 maintains that the only "big words" are those that can not be found in a dictionary. Akin to this exercise, E4's workbook teaches America's Youths how to process information and to think critically. How did you feel about this vocabulary exercise? Did you expand your knowledge or were you bored? Notwithstanding their impact upon your standardized test scores, what is the relationship between your discovery of new words and your ability to comprehend what you read? Explain.

E4 is especially interested in those American students who thirst for more knowledge and enlightenment regarding the real world! Words are often used to convey facts and to express ideas. They are often used to manipulate and misrepresent certain truths as well. For example, in 2003 our Commander in Chief stated that unless we attacked Iraq, their “weapons of mass destruction” might soon be turned against the United States. The truth of the matter is that no such weapons were found to exist! Thus, President Bush lied. How can the US ethically dictate who can or can not produce nuclear weapons? Some books published since the war started have intimated that the whole “weapons of mass destruction” mantra may have been deliberate political propaganda used to gain access to Iraq’s oil. Ergo, either a pugilistic or gullible public supported our military aggression in Iraq. Whenever the United States goes to war, some institutions and individuals stand to make billions of dollars! With respect to the War in Iraq, do your own research to discern who is profiteering from this war. Please share with E4 your findings. Knowledge of the facts is indispensable for America's Youths to discern truths from “less than truths”. In many cases, government entities conceal the truth for that very reason. Find four examples of how a local, state or federal government body has deliberately misled the American public via concealing facts or via any number of “less than truths”. In other words, illustrate how corruption has become inextricable from this game of American politics.

In any election, inconsequential to the candidates or the incumbent politicians in office, “We the People” should at least be cognizant of the real issues behind the calumny and the rhetoric. In Animal Farm, the pigs brilliantly manipulated the words of the Seven Commandments to deceive the other farm animals. What finally enlightened them? Do priests, preachers, politicians, parents, teachers, principals, college professors, and other people in your milieu ever try to manipulate your thoughts or your behavior? Explain. How can America’s Youths enlighten themselves in order to discern when this is taking place? Do you believe that certain institutions are incessantly researching the folkways of America’s Youths in order to determine the best ways to manipulate you? Why would any institution want to “control” what books you read (or don’t read), what music you appreciate, where you shop, what you watch on television, how you think (or fail to do so) etc.? Are George Orwell's "Thought Police" a reality in the United States? Explain. Discuss with your peers whether or not you think your becoming enlightened to such a possibility is important? If not, in what ways could America’s Youths pay a dear price for such apathy or ignorance, both now and in the future? Explain.

E4's unique workbook discusses politics, corruption in business and government, psychology, race, religion, sexuality, child abuse, moral turpitude, etc., more candidly than many other institutions in our Nation. Since much of what we discuss in E4 relates to ethics in government, test your knowledge of the US Constitution. More specifically, test your knowledge of our political history by identifying the main premise of each of the following Constitutional Amendments. Give yourself ten points for each correct answer.

The First Amendment

The Second Amendment

The Third Amendment

The Fourth Amendment

The Fifth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment

The Thirteenth Amendment

The Fifteenth Amendment

The Sixteenth Amendment

The Nineteenth Amendment

Score: _________

 

    Analysis

 

One of the most blatant examples of the “closing of the American mind” is the relative ignorance of millions of American students in terms of how our government operates. Thirty years ago, a course in US Government, US Constitution, Civics, etc. was often required to graduate from high school. Some public schools also offered electives in the Bible, Christianity, World Religions, etc. However, today, such courses have virtually disappeared from the curriculum, rendering America’s Youths ignorant of many of the spiritual laws and government processes that impact their lives. Why are so many of America's Youths far more interested in using drugs, pre-marital sex, shopping, etc. than in godliness? Are you not aware of the statistics measuring teenaged crime, teenaged attrition, teenaged pregnancy, teenaged depression, teenaged suicide, etc.? What can you personally do to reverse these trends? Explain. Big Brother has a less than stellar track record in dealing with these social problems. Ergo, government hires more police, prison guards, detectives, social workers, probation officers, etc. Is that really the best long-term solution to the problems? How can ordinary citizens cause their voices to be heard, pursuant to effectuating positive changes in the political process? Educated foreigners and immigrants often know more about our political process than most typical American students. As such, they are much more astute regarding American History and Political Science than we are. Prototypically, many such immigrants are less susceptible to becoming "Americanized", as they achieve more and consume less of our "culture". My fellow Americans, wake up. Big Brother has no intention of ever enlightening His subjects about the evils of His empire. Thus, other than the vigilance of the American public, what other real deterrents to government corruption have we? Explain.

In our Nation, we are blessed beneficiaries of the Bill of Right and other provisions of the US Constitution. Many nations around the world covet our political system that we take for granted. Too many Americans know virtually nothing about the government that determines our way of life! How many of these articles or amendments do you recall having already studied in high school or college? Was ever a course in Civics, US Government or the US Constitution required for you to graduate from high school? Is not such knowledge important to the educational process? Explain. What are the obvious implications for a free society, if that citizenry is ignorant of how it is being governed? Explain. Read the short novel by George Orwell, entitled Animal Farm. What happened to that society the animals created? Politically, how do you think that the United States of America is becoming very much like the society in Animal Farm? Explain.

Assume for a minute that you are a security guard responsible for monitoring the parking lot at your high school or college. If you are constantly getting high, sleeping, or having sex, how plausible is it that a thief could steal a car while you are on duty? On the other hand, how plausible is it that a thief could steal a car, were you to keep the parking lot under constant surveillance? In the arena of political science, special interest groups and lobbyists are constantly “stealing cars” from your parking lot! In other words, special interests often circumvent your Constitutional rights or other civil liberties because you are not vigilant! Might they continue to do so unless American voters “petition the government for a redress of grievances”? George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 speak directly to that political truism. In less than five years, many of you who are now teenagers will become eligible to vote. How often do you and your parents discuss local, state, and federal political issues? How often do you and your peers hold such philosophical debates about the efficacy of your government instead of watching inane television? E4 believes that you have a moral duty to protect our Nation’s ethical standards as She governs Her people! You can not fulfill that duty if you are not cognizant of the convoluted relationships among the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government.  "We the People", at least those of us who vote, can impact government decisions. E4 will never tell you how to vote. We merely insist that you vote! Big Brother is watching you. Are you watching Him?

 

 Post Test

 

The first set of words E4 presented in this exercise was a list of football terms. More people make a perfect score on that list than on any of the others. This final list of words is not to be scored, albeit we "saved the best for last". E4 is not concerned with your searching through your dictionary. Nor do we even ask that you complete this exercise with a partner. Instead, only you and God are to know your responses on this Post Test.  Morally, who are you when you remove your fig leaves? More importantly, when God looks at your life, how might He answer this Post Test regarding you? Are you one who runs plays and scores touchdowns for Satan? If your behavior is unethical, then indeed you are. Can you honesty say that you run plays and score touchdowns for God? Do you observe all of the Scriptures? Do you even bother studying the Torah, Bible, Koran, etc.? If not, then you do not walk in obedience unto God. Ever since God made Adam and Eve, we mortals have had to choose between what is "pleasant to the eye" and obedience unto God's commandments. Thus, "religious" Americans cut and paste the Scriptures that are compatible with their own agendas, while "righteous" Americans choose to obey them all. Try making a cake via omitting half of the ingredients, or simply via omitting the baking powder and baking soda. The end result will be disastrous! Similarly, America's Youths are on a road to disaster via foolishly thinking that obedience to God's commandments is not a sine qua non for God's richest blessings upon their lives and their Nation. The Scriptures are replete with example after example of mighty individuals and institutions that have learned this Spiritual Law at a great cost. How did God deal with the Sodomites, Babylonians, Egyptians, Jews, Gentiles, etc., in both the Torah and the Bible? What similar ethical parallels exist in your Tipitaka or Koran? Inconsequential to your religion of choice, E4 contends that 90% of the problems you will ever experience in life are precipitated by your willful disobedience unto God. Like the laws of physics, Spiritual Laws operate independent of your cognizance or ignorance of their existence. Each day you wake up, some of America's Youths will try drugs for the first time. Each day you wake up, some of America's Youths will be incarcerated for the first time. Each day you wake up, some of America's Youths will have their first homosexual experience. Each day you wake up, some of America's Youths will get pregnant. Each day you wake up, some of America's Youths will give birth to bastards.  Each day you wake up, some of America's Youths will be killed by other malicious youths. Each day you wake up, some of America's youths will feel overwhelmed by their problems and commit suicide. Need I continue? Were America a godly nation, would these ungodly statistics continue unabated? Drugs, sex, pop music, etc., are merely hedonistic temptations proffered to America's Youths by one of the Universe's head coaches. Spiritual enlightenment, moral virtue, inner peace, wisdom, etc. are proffered by the other head coach. The choice is yours to play football for Satan or God. Which of the two is your head coach? E4 challenges you to be honest with yourself and simply discern whether or not each of these words or phrases describes your character.

good

evil

righteous

unrighteous

wise

foolish

honest

dishonest

one who exploits others

one who edifies others

one who uses or deals drugs

one who disobeys or disrespects parents

one who obeys just laws

one who disobeys just laws

one who obeys unjust laws

one who disobeys unjust laws

self-centered

charitable

covetous

avaricious

one who engages in homosexuality

one who engages in fornication

one who engages in adultery

one who is sexually undefiled

one who is a pedophile

one who is a victim of a pedophile

a male or female prostitute or courtesan

a liar

a thief

a team player

a servant of Satan

a servant of God

Score: To be graded later by God

Summary

 

E4 has no intention of being silent on moral issues. Lamentably, many parents, educators and even miscreants masquerading as ministers adopt a conspiracy of silence regarding America's ethical truths. What you don’t know can hurt you. In fact, ignorance often does just that when you are young! As is true in every generation, there are assertive leaders and there are passive followers. In that regard, America’s Youths are not inherently different from their parents’ generation. Put in other terms, there are obtuse youths who are programmed to think inside the box and follow protocol. That protocol could include skipping school, smoking pot, becoming intoxicated, body piercing, premarital sex, etc. Are there not students at your school or college who do these things? Do you consider any of them morally upright or spiritually enlightened? Explain. Other enlightened youths perspicaciously think outside of the box and often emerge as society’s leaders. List several behavioral traits you think describe this latter group of America's Youths. Which of the two groups best describes you?  Regarding American mores and folkways, youths are often expected to go along with the crowd or the status quo. After all, not rocking the boat is what being popular or a team player entails. Doctors, lawyers, policemen, judges, entrepreneurs, educators, coaches, parents, politicians, etc. often are pressured into conformity. Yet, more often than not, the status quo to which they conform is also unethical. Ergo, Abraham, Buddha, Gandhi, Galileo, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad, Socrates, etc. all could be described as “not a team player”! Learn who each of these great men was. Upon closer inspection, one may discern that these men refused to play football on Satan's team! Which kind of person are you becoming as you matriculate and mature into adulthood? Explain.

E4 inculcates the notion that America’s Youths need spiritual enlightenment in order to make ethically sound choices. Peer pressure often fallaciously convinces America's Youths to choose what is "pleasant to the eye" over the right thing to do. The long-term consequences for Adam, Eve, and America's Youths who make such choices far exceed the momentary thrill of "forbidden fruit". Therefore, to discern good from evil, America's Youths must first acquire the requisite knowledge that is applicable to the process of spiritual enlightenment. The principle source of such knowledge would be your Tipitaka, Torah, Bible, or Koran. Unfortunately, within many families, schools, government agencies, and religious institutions we Americans don’t candidly talk about homosexuality, bisexuality, fornication, abortion, adultery, HIV, bastard births, stem-cell research, cheating, cloning, embezzlement, insider trading, perjury, pedophilia, pornography, etc., in the context of the Scriptures. Thus, the mores and folkways of America's Youths are often bereft of godliness, as teens flounder in their consumption of "forbidden fruits". Akin to a two year old drinking bleach, America's Youths seldom heed God's warning labels prior to consumption. One could argue that one who is ignorant of God is also, by default, an infidel. Therefore, E4 admonishes you to read your Bible, Koran, Torah, or Tipitaka and circumscribe your own relationship with God accordingly. You may want to seek and find other youths in your community who also share your moral convictions. For members of our book club who have completed the first year's curriculum, much of what we do in the second workbook is to facilitate your establishing relationships with others who practice E4's ideals. During the third and fourth years, members are given an opportunity to create and produce videos and music that edify one's spirituality and moral correctness. In so doing, your projects and your submissions to E4 may benefit countless youths who yearn for ethical solutions to the challenges they face in life! As both students and teachers of each other, members can learn to discern those who are genuinely practicing godliness instead of hypocritically pontificating such. Thus, practicing one's religious ideals is contingent upon knowledge of the Scriptures and the spiritual enlightenment to obey them. Although each of E4's ethical identity groups has its own unique Scriptures, each also shares with the others certain ethical principles requisite to the formation of sound moral values.

In spite of the idealized “American dream” presented to students in high schools and colleges, the US has far too many people living in poverty and in prison? Why is this a reality in the world’s richest Nation? For the most part, E4 argues that our poor are people who are not well educated. Thus, they perhaps lack the knowledge, degrees, careers, etc. that would otherwise allow them to make “better choices” for their future and for the future of their children. Yet, is it morally right for us Americans to only be concerned about our own personal well-being, at the expense of mitigating human suffering around us? Have we behaved ethically when we simply look the other way at homeless people or others who desperately need alms and a second chance at life? Is there a correlation between our Nation's insatiable greed and our being a bully abroad? Does our government pursue "American interests" abroad primarily in countries possessing wealth and resources that we want to control? Domestically, this trend of a permanent underclass will continue unless Americans adopt a somewhat different economic model other than the capitalistic one we often consider sacrosanct. Interestingly, religious orthodoxy in each of E4’s ethical identity groups proffers a compassionately altruistic model, instead of a purely capitalistic one, for our being good Samaritans or our brother’s keeper. Cite four such Scriptures that substantiate this premise. To what extent do we Americans virtuously comport ourselves as our brother's keeper in a global community? E4 does not expect anyone to feel guilty about being middle-class or even rich. However, we feel as if altruism toward the "least of these" is the greatest possible demonstration of our "religion" or faith in God. In an economic sense, merely printing, "In God we trust" on our money does not absolve us of an ethical responsibility to the needy. Have any of our Nation's charities made their executives rich at the expense of the needy? Similarly, America's wealth and power carry with them the potential to malign, marginalize, molest and murder "the least of these" all over the globe. Our Nation's ungodliness is incontrovertible. Yet, America's spiritual and religious leaders, for the most part, are mute regarding our Nation's malfeasance regarding the needy and the poor. Interestingly, pastors in America's churches often preach and pontificate that, "It is more blessed to give that to receive." Erstwhile, they made a personal fortune from "selling" God's wisdom in the form of videos, conferences, cruises, books, tapes, etc. "What would Jesus do," seemingly does not apply when it comes to their making their money. Even some atheists are more charitable philanthropists, believing that altruism signifies good citizenship as an American. Whether via sacred wisdom or secular wisdom, E4's workbooks challenge America’s Youths to become more intellectually and spiritually enlightened. Godly virtue is attainable for those who choose to embark upon the path to such enlightenment. Ergo, reading is fundamental to your future success in life! Toward that end, E4 is a book club, wherein you can self actualize physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually via studying and practicing our philosophy. However, because most of your peers are clueless regarding E4's philosophy, "Cast not thy pearl unto swine." Therefore, discuss the philosophical and political issues in our unique workbooks  primarily with your enlightened peers, parents, mentors, professors, etc. In so doing, E4 places its faith in youths building a better America for all of us! Albeit you, America's Youths, can not change the world, you can undoubtedly change the world in which you live! Shall we begin?

Coming Soon: An Ethical Essay on Sexuality! Please visit us again!

 

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