Monday, October 30, 2006

A name you can trust

Matthew Yglesias has some advice for Liberal campaigners.

Now Amy's right. It would be useful, for the purposes of electoral politics, for liberals in the media to avoid expressing the view that the belief -- adhered to by millions of Americans -- that failure to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior will result in eternal damnation is daft. On the other hand, the evangelical view of this matter is, in fact, completely absurd. And not just absurd in a virgin birth, water-into-wine, I-believe-an-angel-watches-over-me kind of way. On this view, a person who led an entirely exemplary life in terms of his impact on the world (would an example help? Gandhi, maybe?) but who didn't accept Jesus as his personal savior would be subjected to a life of eternal torment after his death and we're supposed to understand that as a right and just outcome. That, I think, is seriously messed up.

But I shouldn't say so!


But why not? If Liberals as a whole truly believe that the central tenet of a religious belief is a bunch of absurd crap, then why wait until after the elections to say so? In naval warfare in the sailing age even pirates flew their true colors at the moment of engagement. And he adds this:

Since this post got Atrios'd, let me say that I don't especially think Amy merits a Two Minute Hate here and I agree with her point in the article that what Sam Rosenfeld called "theocracy hype" (for example) is both analytically wrong and tactically misguided. But I think there's a real dilemma here -- some things that are impolitic to say are also true.

People old enough to remember Communism will remember when the most important thing for any proud Communist to hide was the fact that he was Communist. It was the original closet and the largest one in history. Part of the problem, I suspect, is not that Liberals disdain religion but simply that they have very strong religious views of their own. And like the pirate ship of the Captain Blood movies they are the very opposite of ships without a flag. They have a flag, all right, but simply one which is impolitic to fly until the other ship is boarded and captured. But I think that ultimately, it is counterproductive for political organizations which are secretly contemptuous of religions to hide their disdain. It is ultimately better to march openly against beliefs contrary to their convictions instead of waiting until the last moment to unfurl their banners. You can always respect an intellectual opponent, but there is little regard owed to a fraud.

57 Comments:

Blogger Woman Catholic said...

It is ultimately better to march openly against beliefs contrary to their convictions instead of waiting until the last moment to unfurl their banners.

At the very moment they want to unfurl their banners, they will be forced at scimitar-point to make their banners into burquas and put them on.

10/30/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Starko said...

Mr. Yglesias certainly has it right in terms of political tactics, but he also deftly illustrates the gulf between evangelicals and the left. That gulf is and always will be the concept of absolute truth. Believing in absolute truth means that there is no room for compromise on many hot-button issues. That's why try as they might, the left will never convince conservative evangelicals- the only absolute truth the left believes in is that there is no absolute truth.

And while I can objectively accept this without getting angry about it, what does make me angry is those on the left that deny the possibility of people who are intolerant of false beliefs, but yet tolerant of those who believe those false beliefs. There are certainly plenty who are intolerant of both, but to deny even the possibility of this distinction is simple bigotry.

10/30/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Faith in Reason denies Reason in Faith. Why assume that revelation in any sphere is rational? What's "messed up" is conflating divine ordinances with human circumstance.

The idea of God as an all-powerful Old Man with white whisters, dwelling beyond Space and Time, stirring the quantum pot with a relativistic finger, certainly seems absurd. Let's say, A transcendent Immanence informs Creation, creating all entities and only those who do not create themselves. Does this Immanence then create itself?

This form of Epimonides' classical "Liar's Paradox", the contradictory
self-reference that brought down Bertrand Russell and all others through Kurt Godel in 1932, no more bears on the Existence of God than any true-believer's appeal to sacred texts. Likewise, Pascal's Wager is naive: "Choose God," yes, but which one? In that horse race, who handicaps Allah vs. JHWH, Buddhist emanations vs. Gitchie Manitou?

Most certainly, there is Creation, something rather than nothing. Quite possibly, "existence" pertains to an Emergent Order rather than some volitional artifact of a Transcendent Immanence. But humility is in order. We don't know much, but we do know a World preceded us; that we exist now (Descartes); and that we shall soon cease to do so. Mayhap Buddhists and Hindus are correct, that sentient entities cycle through innumerable incarnations towards "enlightenment"; but we also know, regardless, that Spiritual and Material worlds divide forever when it comes to Life and Death.

If you are not a Believer, born willy-nilly to some Creed in place and time, why deny the faithful their plain bias in favor of a spiritual reality, more or less doctrinally coherent? Merely because God, any God, as a transcendent Immanence is by definition beyond rational, material bounds, gives no-one of wisdom and benign intent the right to dismiss a fellow creature's deepest yearnings as "messed up."

10/30/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

There's a reluctance among some agnostics to accept any religious belief with any specificity. They might tolerate a general belief in God on the grounds that He must might be; but they have no patience with any particular doctrinal position because it smacks of a pronouncement about the unknowable.

Of course what that amounts to is the demand for religion without specifics, tantamount for a demand for no religion at all. Personally I don't believe we are capable of living our lives this vaguely. We all make plans for a tomorrow on a detail which is unsupportable by our state of knowledge. But we make plans anyway, simply because we have to.

As a practical matter it is not clear to me that taking Pascal's "Play to Win" wager is nonsensical. From a practical point of view it makes eminent sense. If you go through life you have to bet on something. Where tolerance comes is in the knowledge that it's a bet founded on faith and nothing else. If we are unwilling to respect each other's right to religion, then at least let's respect each other's right to gamble.

10/30/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Db2m said...

At a museum of natural history, I saw a T-Rex skull (facsimile) said to be 100 million years old.

Guess the real thing must have been found in a piece of rock 100 million years old, which rock was known to be 100 million years old because it had a 100 million year old dinosaur in it.

And you atheistic liberals out there in bloggerland who actually have the faith to believe such nonsense, think Baptists like me are fools and idiots?

Apostle Paul lumped atheists & idolators thusly, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

10/30/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Gandhi's impact on the world was in fact very negative. Gandhi's appeasement of Jihadis in India lead to the creation of Pakistan, and his anti-Israel anti-Zionist stance and support for Jihadi rights to Palistan is nothing short of disgraceful. For his appeasement of Jihadis in India, Hindu nationalists assassinated Gandhi -- an act of cosmic irony and karma, that I'm sure even Gandhi would appreciate.

10/30/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Let us posit a scientist's God, the Logos, the Word, God Who created the Universe and the physical laws that govern it. Now it is no great leap to add that He created the stuff that sets man apart from animal, the stuff that becomes souls and the laws that govern it. Good, evil, free will, these are empirically discovered soulful laws just as much as gravity and the strong nuclear force are physical laws. The way we implement those soulful laws is soul engineering. Our understanding of those laws progresses following an empirical method.

Given the Universe thus understood, we have a choice, whether to follow a tradition that has thought about the issues that affect souls for a long time, or to throw all such traditions away and wend our own way. But if we compare this path to the equivalent path in science, with a scientist throwing away everything going back to Pythagoras, then we realize how futile and ultimately stupid it is to throw away our traditional body of law that concerns the soul.

How then can we experimentally measure what is correct law and what is incorrect? By using reason, our own logos, to explore the results of actions and attitudes. God made us in his image, when he filled us with Logos. "By his fruits shall you know him." This God created the laws that govern these things. He did not create everything, anew at every instant, and override laws at every turn. To the contrary, He loves reason, as it is His greatest gift to us.

Most certainly we have to realize that the state of our soul matters. We must tend to it. We must encourage others to do good and not to do evil. And the definition of good is obvious to all who think about it using reason. It starts with the golden rule, and continues from there. The ten commandments were an early approximation, as were the legal codes of Leviticus.

Evil is equally obvious. Just take the beam out of your own eye and the degrees of evil will be apparent.

10/30/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Geek, Esq. said...

Well, you don't find Bush/Rove/DeLay stating their belief that all Jews will burn in Hell.

But most Jews know it--which is why they'll always vote for Democrats.

10/30/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

geekesq... I was not aware that Bush, Rove, DeLay et al had enough pull with the almighty to decide who was going to hell and who was heaven bound. Perhaps it would be wiser to base one's vote on what one expects to happen in this world.

Some seem to have come to believe that "Never Again" is a statement of fact rather than a statement of resolve in the face of the Holocaust. It will take resolve and struggle to keep it true.

10/30/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

tt

You have the unique ability to suck all the light out of a conversation.

Is the Tide Turning in the 2006 Campaign?

10/30/2006 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

The most puritanical Americans I have met (actually the most puritanical people I have personally met in any country) have, without a doubt, been leftists in Boston and San Francisco. It's always amusing to see how far they are from being able to appreciate this themselves.

10/30/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Faith in Reason denies Reason in Faith.

Evidence pleas! While a good sound bite, there is no logic in that statement.
I also deny creation. What some see as creation is just an arbitrary point on a circle. The Universe has ALWAYS been here, it just changes states.
That is just as supportable as your idea of creation. What is seen as creation is just the point and place where contraction switches to expansion. It's not a begining, but just part of the cycle. That cycle has no beginning and no end.
Humans have beginings and ending, so it's comfortable to think that everything has a begining and an end.

10/30/2006 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Final Historian said...

Wretchard, aren't the Islamists against gambling?

10/30/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

pyrthroes - gives no-one of wisdom and benign intent the right to dismiss a fellow creature's deepest yearnings as "messed up."

Of COURSE we have the right to dismiss the deepest yearnings of Aztec "cardiac surgeons", the Thugee travellers, the Islamic head-choppers, and various theocrats, communists, Fundies, hard Left who seek to impose their vision on others...

As not only "messed up" but sometimes worth fighting to the death.

The good thing about Amish, Mormons, most CHristians, most religious Jews, Sufis, Hindis, Buddhists is they have a "live and let live" approach and are not intent on shoving their "deepest yearings" down other's throats.

Unlike the Islamoids, Christian Right to Life fanatics, secular Jews, Hard Left progressivists.

Db2m said...
At a museum of natural history, I saw a T-Rex skull (facsimile) said to be 100 million years old.

Guess the real thing must have been found in a piece of rock 100 million years old, which rock was known to be 100 million years old because it had a 100 million year old dinosaur in it.

And you atheistic liberals out there in bloggerland who actually have the faith to believe such nonsense, think Baptists like me are fools and idiots?


It is always amusing to read a scientifically illiterate Fundie trying to argue science in explaining creationism.

Almost as amusing as the arguing with a reasonably intelligent person about Noah's Ark and the Flood.

The Muslim Fundies at least are smart enough to never try to apply reason and science to their "Good Book".

*******************

Ben Yehuda - Correct on Gandhi.

10/30/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Such a delicious subject Wretchard,thank you, thank you.

The Bible says that everyone knows there is a God. Some people love HIM and other people want to punch HIM in the nose and take HIS throne if they could only get to it. The wannabe punchers are so obviously outclassed that they get tired of the laughter and keep their perspective to themselves. So pretending to be Christians is second nature for them. Hard head, stiff kneck,brass forehead are all words repeatedly used by the Bible to describe the state of lost man.

Faith is not an intellectual exercise. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The way the sheep know the shepherds voice but don't have a clue what he is saying; they know HIS voice and just follow and HE shows them the way. Jesus is the way.

Some people hear God's voice in a sermon on sunday and move toward HIM while others hear the same voice and run away. Go figure?

Concerning what Bush and Rove think about Jews: the bible specifically says not to judge if another man or woman is going to hell. I don't know and neither do other christians. A person can be saved in an instant moments before the end of their life. Be ready in season and out to give a reason for the hope that is in you.

I used to think it was right for people to come out and say whatever they think. Then I heard some of that crap and now I plead with them to go back in the closet.
Fool me, tell me you love Jesus.

Are they absolutely sure there are no absolutes?

Pyrthroes: The difference between you and me is that you worship what you don't know while I know who I worship.

Ghandi set Christ aside as far as the public record goes.

God's greatest gift to man is not reason. God's greatest gift to man is Jesus Christ. In HIM are hidden all the secrets of wisdom and knowledge.

Scientifically evolution is impossible. Things naturally fall apart not together. This is an ancient error. The Bible refers to them as poop gods. They worship the dirt. As though the dirt created man. There is a heathen tribe in Africa that won't plow the ground because they believe that would be scarring the face of god.

Delightful post.

Thanks

10/30/2006 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

sparks fly - Scientifically evolution is impossible. Things naturally fall apart not together. This is an ancient error. The Bible refers to them as poop gods.

Once again:

It is always amusing to read a scientifically illiterate Fundie trying to argue science in explaining creationism.

10/31/2006 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger catonow said...

Geek, Esq.:

I never understood this point of view. If you don't believe in the Christian faith, then why should you give a fig about what Christians think will happen to you after you die?

Jews believe they are the chosen people. Would you have non-Jews vote out of resentment over this?

10/31/2006 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Geek, Esq. said...
"Well, you don't find Bush/Rove/DeLay stating their belief that all Jews will burn in Hell."
- The shallow arrogance of thinking you know what is in another's mind.

bĕn yĕhū'dă said...
"Gandhi's impact on the world was in fact very negative."
- Amen.

John Samford said...
Faith in Reason denies Reason in Faith.

"Evidence pleas! While a good sound bite, there is no logic in that statement.
I also deny creation. What some see as creation is just an arbitrary point on a circle. The Universe has ALWAYS been here, it just changes states."

- You can no more logically claim it always has been, than you can argue maybe not. Both are arguments of faith, not logic.

2164th says: Believe in something or your life will mean nothing. Practice what you believe. Say what you believe. Pray for the wisdom to know what you believe and be open to any change wisdom puts before you.

10/31/2006 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger Art V said...

I think that non-believers tempering their opinions to avoid offence to potential Christian voters is not that different from Christians not making a big deal about how they believe Jews et al are going to suffer an eternity of torment after they slip off the old mortal coil, because that might alienate quite a few voters.

Both strategies are eminently sensible, whether you fall on the 'Jews will burn in hell' or the 'Religion is a fairy tale' side of the fence.

If everyone were sane we could all talk openly, but until then, expediency reigns.

10/31/2006 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Scientifically evolution is impossible. Things naturally fall apart not together. This is an ancient error.

On the contrary, it is that very law of entropy which causes the assembly of molecules from simpler components. For instance, hydrogen molecules and oxygen molecules bouncing around inside a combustion chamber are exothermic and need just a spark. The chemical reaction results in heat plus an endothermic but more complex molecule: water.

10/31/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

North Korea agrees to return to six-party talks. Looks like Li'l Kim blinked.

10/31/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I still wish someone would tell me where where all these fucking media people come from. It is the primary plague on our country, if not the world, at the moment.

10/31/2006 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

Dan, they're Lesbo Greek.

10/31/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Medcalf said...

Yglesias clearly misses a fundamental tenet of Christianity: one who lives a virtuous life, who embodies the principles of Jesus' teachings, can get into heaven, while one who does not cannot. Profession of belief in Jesus as divine is not actually a requirement. If it were, how could the holy men pre-existing Christianity be saved? (If I, a Pagan, can understand this, then surely Yglesias could.)

Db2m clearly misunderstands (or simply misrepresents) how dinosaurs and other fossils are dated. There is a very important premise to scientific investigation, that physical laws do not change in time or place. Since we can observe now that carbon 14 decays at a certain rate, we can be fairly sure that it has always decayed at that rate, and that in every time as now, it leaves certain byproducts when it decays, and those byproducts are in ratios that are predictable as a function of time. Since we know that carbon 14 is accumulated in living tissue, and not in dead tissue, we know that the byproducts were produced beginning with the animal's death, and therefore we can use the ratio of the byproducts to carbon 14 to determine the age of the fossil to within a certain span of time. (A 100 million year old fossil would really be described as 100 million years old plus-or-minus whatever the margin of error is.)

Db2m seems to think that religious faith is no less implausible than scientific "faith", but he is wrong. While I am religious (not Christian), I do recognize that science requires very few beliefs (that natural phenomena can be explained by laws that humans can discover, that these laws do not change in time or space). I also recognize that science provides far more effective and specific predictions, far more often clearly realized, than any prophet ever has.

What people like Yglesias seem to fail to realize is that science only explains a subset of reality, that part which is of the natural world. Actually, it's even a subset of that: science can only touch on that which can be falsified; it cannot reach that which cannot be observed or measured or reasoned to from observed and measured things. One who has come into the presence of a god will never be convinced, no matter how much science explains things other than that god, that the god is unreal because science does not explain the god.

10/31/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

Carbon dating is only accurate to date back a few thousand years.

10/31/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

From a thought comes and act. From an act comes a habit. From a habit comes a character. From a character comes a destiny.

What both screenwriters/novelists and preachers believe is that character is destiny.

10/31/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

Even if that is true (which I seriously doubt), other methods for accurately dating far further into the past exist.

Science has learned many new things in the last few decades, like it or not.

10/31/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Jeff Medcalf said...

Yglesias clearly misses a fundamental tenet of Christianity: one who lives a virtuous life, who embodies the principles of Jesus' teachings, can get into heaven, while one who does not cannot. Profession of belief in Jesus as divine is not actually a requirement.
////////////////////
actully you do have to believe that Jesus is fully God (as well as fully Man) in order to be a Christian. That's what makes Christians distinct from say, Moslems Jews and Unitarians.

10/31/2006 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

Yashmak,

Wiki: The current maximum radiocarbon age limit lies in the range between 58,000 and 62,000 years. This limit is encountered when the radioactivity of the residual 14C in a sample is too low to be distinguished from the background radiation.

Also,

The level level of atmospheric Carbon14 is affected by variations in the cosmic ray intensity which is affected by variations caused by solar storms. In addition there are substantial reservoirs of carbon in organic matter, the ocean, ocean sediments (see methane hydrate), and sedimentary rocks. Changing climate can sometimes disrupt the carbon flow between these reservoirs and the atmosphere. The level has also been affected by human activities—it was almost doubled for a short period due to atomic bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s and has been reduced by the release of large amounts of CO2 from ancient organic sources where Carbon14 is not present..

10/31/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

One thing to remember is that the Hebrew Bible is only concerned with the record of Jewish history. A year date of 5767 is reached by tracing down and estimating generational lifespan through the genealogical record provided in the Hebrew Bible.

The Hebrew Bible is a record that means to record the history and origins of Jews to the first man and woman Jews claim direct genealogical relation to -- Adam and Eve. It is also not coincidental that the geographic location of the Garden of Eden is somewhere in Kurdistan, and that genetically the Kurds are the closest relations to the Jews.

Until about 3,500 years ago, Hebrew history was an oral record. 3,500 years ago is the time the Hebrew Alpha-Bet (from which the modern Alpha-Bet is derived) is invented in Sinai. It is also the time Moses came on the scene. The Moses revolution was to use this new revolutionary script to record God’s miracle – a miracle that is the Hebrew Alpha-Bet. ☺

10/31/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

To not believe in Belief is disbelief, not Reason. Disbelief is an unreasonable state. At the very minimum people are their own gods, even if they claim otherwise, and their science, philosophies and truisms an ordering of their universes. Reason is just one way toward belief. Belief is a way to comprehend and transcend.

Reason and the hard sciences are beautiful in their rigor and investigation, but also limited when they don't appreciate how they're ultimately pondering and pursuing what is godness and true and the nature of will and unity. Even Materialism gives highest respect to immortal matter and forces that act upon Themselves/Ourselves in perfectly propertied and ordained fashion, and, if that's not a manifestation of the Improbable and High Order, there is no God!

It's all good, save for semantics, and except when science would limit us to mean mortality and faith put us in fear and bondage. Choice and will are ours to exercise, unless you choose not to believe so, and that would be your choice and belief...

10/31/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger istarious said...

Ancient Proto Sinaitic Script

10/31/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

bĕn yĕhū'dă said...
Until about 3,500 years ago, Hebrew history was an oral record. 3,500 years ago is the time the Hebrew Alpha-Bet (from which the modern Alpha-Bet is derived) is invented in Sinai. It is also the time Moses came on the scene. The Moses revolution was to use this new revolutionary script to record God’s miracle – a miracle that is the Hebrew Alpha-Bet. ☺
////////////////////
I have wondered from time to time as to whether there was a bit of Marshall McLuhan "Medium is the Message" about the Pentatuch.

That is, the life and times of Moses coincide with the first incidences of the phonetic langauge.

Moses having been raised in the Egyptian court,would have been taught the Egyptian pictographic language.

However, the Caanites are generally credited with the development of phoenetic written language. I wonder however, if the particular Caananite who did the most inventing wasn't Moses.

Consider this post from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaelogy and Anthropology

Although writing began in the 4th millennium BCE, alphabetic writing was a much later development. In contrast to the earlier writing systems, alphabetic writing consists of a system of signs which each represent a single sound of speech, rather than syllables or whole words.

The earliest known alphabetic inscriptions are called Proto-Canaanite and date from 1700 - 1500 BCE. Proto-Canaanite, which may have been an adaptation of Egyptian hieroglyphics, developed into the first true alphabetic writing system: Phoenician. The Phoenicians occupied an area that is part of modern Lebanon, Syria and Israel. Their 22 letter alphabet consisted of pictures of objects but, rather than using the pictures to represent whole words as with pictographs, each letter represented the first sound of the word for the object. The Phoenician alphabet, like earlier Egyptian hieroglyphics, included only consonants, not vowels. This alphabet developed into old Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and, eventually, the Roman alphabet we use today.


There's a good post over at FreeRepublic on findings that date back 12,000 years that seem to predate agriculture. The find is in southern (kurdish) Turkey. The archaelogists say it has all the marks of the Garden of Eden.

10/31/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

c4 said: @ 10:42

"The good thing about Amish, Mormons, most Christians, most religious Jews, Sufis, Hindis, Buddhists is they have a "live and let live" approach and are not intent on shoving their "deepest yearngs" down other's throats.

“Unlike..........Christian Right to Life fanatics”....etc.

Another example of contradictory ambivalence on your part.

Maybe you should think before you spew...or at least proof your work.

10/31/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

I am a god to my dog. He is amazed that I can make rocks fly and communicate with many undistiguishable (to him) utterances.
In comparison, he is a lower form, a different creature. But the gulf that exists between my pup and myself is nothing as compared to those differences between humankind and my G-d. My understanding is that of a much lower form compared to that which he must be capable.

It always amazes me that so many of my fellow creatures go on as if they have such an understanding of his creations and his ways.

Better, perhaps to do as my dog and to rely on His grace with trust and obedience.

Honestly folks, great comments.

As always, thank you Richard for what you do so well.

10/31/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Enscout -

Like it or not, the world is split. Between those who are content to leave their "deepest yearnings" a personal matter - and those so convinced their "deepest yearnings" are so right they must be imposed on non-believers so they too can see the light.....

Or else it must be forced on others for their own good or just to be punished for rejecting the One Truth..

A basic difference illustrated between deeply religious Amish, and Fundie abortion clinic bombers.

Or secular forces that seek to spread and force their One Way To Live on others. Or die for having the temerity of rejecting it. Or be judged too politically incorrect to be employed, be allowed to speak, etc.

Communists, PETA, RTL famatics, feminists, Muslims all try to legitimize their assaults on other's way of live by claiming to speak in the name of and defenders of - God's will or the "oppressed and voiceless". Which according to their veiw might be the oppressed silenced peasantry, the women "trapped" in patriarchy, the zygotes and Terri Schiavo husks of others.

Another example of contradictory ambivalence on your part.

No, examples of the contradictory ambivalence of mankind - and various beliefs and ideologies having malignant or benign factions..

10/31/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger catonow said...

Cedarford wrote:

"The Muslim Fundies at least are smart enough to never try to apply reason and science to their "Good Book".

Clearly you are unfamiliar with the extensive efforts by Muslim clerics and other followers to do just that. Just because their arguments aren't as widely discussed in the American media as are the contentions of Christian fundamentalists doesn't mean they don't exist. All you have to do is delve into the Muslim media to see them. There is an extensive literature on this topic (see, e.g., Maurice Bucaille). In fact, if you watch TV in predominantly Muslim countries, you will see some of the most astonishing claims that make Christian fundamentalists look like Richard Dawkins.

10/31/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

John Derbyshire from NRO wrote a thoughtful piece that fairly well sums up my attitudes on religion.

God and Me

Enjoy!

10/31/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

C4:

With all due respect, please name one such "fundie abortion clinic bomber" that is not behind bars for the rest of his life, and placed there, I might add, by people who believe as I do that life begins where life begins and not at some lefty-determined point of time that happens to be convenient for and meets the approval of your femininist friends.

Once again, you embarrass yourself with your wild moral equivalencies.

10/31/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Evolution is a fraud.

The RATE study recently completed (within the last five years or so) has established that there is worldwide, way to much carbon 14 in the rocks. Granite zircons from mile deep mines and "supposedly" 300 million year old coal seams and "supposedly" billion year old diamonds collected from ten or more widely scattered sites around the earth show that those rocks and coals and diamonds in their current form are just thousands of years old not millions or billions. If they were millions or billions of years old there would be no carbon 14 remaining. All the testing of the carbon concentrations in those rocks was done by laboratories and scientists that are extremely into Darwin's....er pew.

And there is salvation in no one else. For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Salvation is the gift of God. You cannot work your way into heaven. It is the gift of God that no man should boast.

In greek the Bible says that Jesus is THEOTES which means GOD! GOD! GOD! Colossians 2:9

There were many Old Testament saints. They looked forward to the coming of Messiah; we look back and forward.

You must be born again.

Just like with your wife: I'm sorry. Jesus, I've been a dirty sinner. I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

With the heart man believes and with the tongue confession is made unto salvation.

Talk to Jesus and be saved. HE has big ears and a big heart.

10/31/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

a-m:
I think john derbyshire is an agnostic, dyslectic insomniac (a person who lies in bed at night and wonders if there really is a dog). :o)

10/31/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

God gave me a rational mind and it is that faculty that has most brought me under contempt of my creator. I am, as always, never convinced that this ambiguous certainty is forever addled in my mind. I ask for God’s countenance that I might better appreciate our creators’ sense of humor as he forgives me my manifest imperfections.

10/31/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Explain heavy elements, Sparks Fly.

Did God want us to have uranium? Did he give us a certain quantity six thousand years ago? If so, he would surely be Descarte's God the Deceiver.

If you don't know what I mean by that, perhaps you should do more (non-biblical) reading--and less (non-biblical) professing.

10/31/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Damn apostrophe.

10/31/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger John C. Wright said...

Allow me to introduce this august company to Peter Van Inwagen's essay on Faith in Reason and Reason in Faith Quam Dilecta
http://www.people.umass.edu/jaklocks/Phil383/pvi.htm

He makes several telling points. First, the philosophical arguments in favor of God are no less rigorous or pursuasive than similar arguments in favor of other philosophical concepts, such as nominalism or cause-and-effect, or Kantian categories of thought.

Second, most judgment is ground on authority. Skeptics take as authorities certain Enlightenment thinkers, scientists, but also pseudoscientific intellectuals claiming science makes claims it does not. (Freud and Marx, for example, are not producing scientific, i.e. empirically falsifiable claims, nor do 'Social' Darwinists.)
Third he compares the fitness of each world view to the actual world. for this purpose he lists a number of beliefs, the "Credo of the Enlightenment" believed by all right-thinking peoples, and shows the claims dubious.

For example, the Credo of the Enlightenment says man is not unique, and can be improved through education and proper laws. The uniqueness of man is a puzzle to the modern theory of evolution, since other alien civilizations should be commonplace, if man is not unique, and reason should have evolved as an evolutionary advantage at least as often as eyesight or winged flight. (These last two evolved seperately in several different branches of the evolutionary tree. Reason evolved only once.)

As for the perfectability of man through laws, such schemes in the Twentieth Century have produced horror on an unmitigated scale--the megadeaths of Communism is without parallel. The theory of the Fall of Man, that man is innately and radically sinful, would seem, at first glance, to be a more accurate model than the sunny predictions of the Enlightenment.

10/31/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Evolution is not a fraud to God. It's his work. As was the big bang and the laws of physics.

Science was created at the same time that everything else was. If it's in front of your face try to refrain from denying it.

10/31/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Where does the higher critic hide? Higher up the mountain side.

If you desire to critique the Bible as to ultimate truths you must first establish that you are in that league.

This is just addressed to higher critics or those who aspire to that position.

Do not walk as the Gentiles also walk in the futility of the mind.

Humility goes a long way.

Check out www.answersingenesis.org.

This is a delightful post. Thanks again Wretchard.

Got to go to the dentist.

In heaven I will have perfect teeth.

10/31/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Very interesting archaeological find. Thanks for the heads up, Charles.


Genealogy of scripts derived from the proto sinaitic..

10/31/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

John C. Wright said...

Allow me to introduce this august company to Peter Van Inwagen's essay on Faith in Reason and Reason in Faith Quam Dilecta
http://www.people.umass.edu/jaklocks/Phil383/pvi.htm

He makes several telling points. First, the philosophical arguments in favor of God are no less rigorous or pursuasive than similar arguments in favor of other philosophical concepts, such as nominalism or cause-and-effect, or Kantian categories of thought
///////////////////////////////
In the 17th century Decartes tried to prove scientifically the existance of God. He failed.

The great 19th-20th Century Atheists Kant, Marx, Feurbach, Nietsche Freud. did not prove that God did not exist. Rather they assumed that God did not exist and took it from there.

As it is you can't prove scientifically that God either exists or doesn't exist.

Both theism and atheism are matters of faith.

imho its a more profitable exercise/quest/pattern of thought ... to look for God than it is to look for oneself.

why? because God has great power and can do stuff where I have no more power and ability than I do.

10/31/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Two appropriate motives for praising God are that
1.) He is worthy of praise.
2.) you want more of some attribute of God's character/nature -- so you praise that attribute of God.

10/31/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

charles:
May I suggest a third?

Such praise is the antidote for a number of human tendancies, cynicism, hubris, pride of self....I could go on.

The last mentioned, pride, is the ugly little base where all our sins originate. While we can't stand it is others, we tend to excuse it in ourselves.

Yes, a dose of praise for Him is good medicine for the soul. It reminds us of what we are and what we would forever be without His grace.

10/31/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Jesus says that if you believe in God you do well. Even the demons believe that God is ONE and tremble.

Translation (in part): You can believe in God and go to hell. A son or daughter of Adam, that means everyone, has to deal with Jesus Christ. This is no foolin'.

We are to nourish and cherish, buffet and enslave the flesh. The natural mind that each of us comes with is part of the flesh. You must enslave it to get it to bow the knee to Christ. Make it behave. That's your soul's proper function. Exercise it! Do it. The flesh in all it's manifestations seeks to exalt itself. Salvation is a free gift. And what a gift. Can you receive it if it is being offered to you? You may.

10/31/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

anyone happen to have a good timeline/commentary of the politics and battles between the Babylonians and the Egyptians in the 20 years that precede the destruction of the first Temple in 589 BC.

(I need to plug it into a discussion on another forum and a couple of fast googles aren't turning it up.)

10/31/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

enscout said...

charles:
May I suggest a third?
//////////////
Amen.

10/31/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger NY GOPer said...

People who are not Christian can still get to Heaven. Look up "Baptism by Desire" at: http://happycatholic.blogspot.com/2006/04/
back-to-basics-three-forms-of-baptism.html
or in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church." So perhaps Gandhi made it!

10/31/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

OK so I did the research. here's the timeline.


922-587 - Southern Kingdom, called "Kingdom of Judah"; ruled continuously by David's descendants: some bad, some good; some early books of the HB written during these centuries, esp. some prophetic books and royal historical annals; for details, see a family tree of the "House of King David" (offsite)

In the spring of 609 BC, Pharaoh Necho personally led a sizeable force to help the Assyrians. Josiah of Judah sided with the Babylonians and attempted to block his advance at Megiddo, where a fierce battle was fought and Josiah slain (2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Necho continued forward, joined forces with Ashur-uballit and together they crossed the Euphrates and laid siege to Harran. Although Necho became the first pharaoh to cross the Euphrates since Thutmose III, he failed to capture Harran, and retreated back to northern Syria. At this point Ashur-uballit vanishes from history, and the Assyrian Empire came to its final end.
Leaving a sizeable force behind, Nekau returned to Egypt. On his march back he found that the Judeans had selected Jehoahaz to succeed his father Josiah, whom Necho deposed and replaced with Jehoiakim. He brought Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner, where Jehoahaz ended his days (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Chr. 36:1-4).

605 - Battle of Carchemish: BABYLONIANS (under King Nebuchadnezzar) defeat the Egyptians under Pharoah Necho; territory of Judah becomes part of the Babylonian Empire
597 - first unsuccessful revolt of Judah (under King Jehoiakim) against Babylon; ruling elite of Judah exiled to Babylon; puppet king installed

* 595 BC - Psammetichus II succeeds Necho II as king of Egypt

Pharaoh Psammetich II marched into Palestine and Phoenicia about 592 BC in response to moves made by Babylon, and attempted to generate anti-Babylonian sentiments among the leaders of kingdom of Judah, Philistia and Phoenicia.

587 - another unsuccessful revolt of Judah, led by King Zedekiah, against Babylon; ends in the Total Destruction of the City and Temple of Jerusalem by the BABYLONIANS under King Nebuchadnezzar; many more people exiled

587-539 BCE - BABYLONIAN EXILE - most upper-class Jews (officials, priests, artisans) deported to Babylon; others flee to Egypt, etc.; much of the HB written, esp. major prophets; final compilation of the Torah (Gen--Deut) & the Deuteronomistic History (Josh--2 Kings)

539 - after the Babylonian empire is conquered by the PERSIANS, King Cyrus allows all deported peoples to return to their homelands; in particular, the Jews are encouraged to rebuild the city and temple of Jerusalem

11/01/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Regarding NYGOPer's comments above.

Catholicism and Christianity are two different words and two different things.

Catholicism differs from the Bible in many respects. Undoubtedly many Catholics sure seem to be Christians and many who claim to be Christians appear not to be. These are treacherous times.

For instance: Jesus says you must be born again and that makes you a part of the Church of our Lord. Catholicism says all you have to do to get to heaven is be a member of their organization. In fact they even go so far as to say that if you say you are saved you are anathema to Catholicism which is a big word that means essentially cursed and totally separated from catholicism. So if as a Catholic you cannot say you are saved then how can you give to an unbeliever a reason for the hope that is within you. Even if you were saved you would be silenced. Are you getting any of this. This is one killer difference between the two. It's important for you to know this.

Water baptism does not save; that baptism is for obedience. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a part of salvation; it is the power part.

You personally have to deal with Jesus to get saved.

Yes a catholic can be saved just like anybody else but they have an impediment in that many times they think they are already saved because they are a member of some local group of catholics. If you think you already have something you stop looking.

I'm pretty confident there are many born again catholics who are christians going to catholic meeting halls every Sunday but they tend to migrate out. Catholicism currently does not widely enforce their edicts.

11/02/2006 12:47:00 PM  

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