Saturday, September 06, 2014

Repent of your religious beliefs, or you are going straight to......the kid's table

Well, atheists don't say that our eternal destiny hangs on our decision, but I do hear atheists say that everything depends on our abandoning religious beliefs. See the late Victor Stenger:
"When belief in ancient myths joins with other negative forces in our society, they hinder the world from advancing scientifically, economically, and socially at a time when a rapid advancement in these areas is absolutely essential for the survival of humanity. We now may be only about a generation or two away from the catastrophic problems predicted to result from global warming, pollution, and overpopulation. Our children and grandchildren could be faced with flooded coastal areas, severe climatic changes, epidemics caused by overcrowding, and increased starvation for much of humanity. Such disasters would generate worldwide conflict on a scale that is likely to exceed that of the great twentieth-century wars, possibly with nuclear weapons in the hands of unstable nations and terrorist groups."
So, unless faith ends, the WORLD IS COMING TO AN END. Why should someone who believes this refrain from using force to end religion?
Religion matters to people, and so the "devil" can tempt us to use force to support it. But the devil can tempt unbelievers to use force to the end of religious belief by any means necessary. Atheists tend to get upset when atheism is called a religion. But it is a position concerning the great issues, and it profoundly affects how we live our lives. Atheists may not consign you to hell for not agreeing with them, but they will consign you to the kid's table, and for some people that is an even worse fate.

68 comments:

Crude said...

Atheists may not consign you to hell for not agreeing with them, but they will consign you to the kid's table

Or the gulag.

Let's not pussyfoot around this: militant atheism, insofar as it has been a force at all historically, has been a tremendously brutal force. The reason that there's no imminent threat of the actions of militant atheists in America is that right now they're seriously outnumbered, even with the growth of the irreligious.

Stalinists are also a pretty peaceful bunch when they comprise the low single digit percentages of a given population.

Dave Duffy said...

Victor,

I have to hand it to you, you sure can find the cranky preachers of atheism. Can anyone sustain belief by a constant reference to an eventual doomsday? Life is mostly mundane: labor, family, responsibilities, an occasional beer with friends. Christianity gives us a dramatic end, but most of the faith are teachings true to way things are. We live in a fallen world with hope.

Crude,

I appreciate that you remind us of what happens when atheists have real power—the gulag. But, what do you make of the dwindling faith of my wife’s native Sweden? Her family that migrated to the U.S. retains a strong faith, but her cousins back in Sweden have abandoned the faith and yet maintain a civil and somewhat admirable society. Can you give me a few thoughts?

steve said...

Since atheists think this life is all there is, there's a sense in which they have as much at stake in this life as Christians have in the afterlife.

Atheists who share Stenger's apocalyptic outlook have just as much incentive to repress religion by any means necessary as Parsons imagines that Christians have in reverse.

Jakub Moravčík said...

a rapid advancement in these areas is absolutely essential for the survival of humanity

But why should the survival of humanity be anyhow important? Did the atheists reply to serious antinatalist objection? Also this Valicella's text is useful in the context ...

Of course, antinatalism is serious objection also for christians, although from different point of view ...

B. Prokop said...

"But, what do you make of the dwindling faith of my wife’s native Sweden?"

How about asking that question again in a few years time, after Sweden has committed national suicide via falling birth rates and Islamic immigration? All across "post-Christian" Europe, we we the same thing happening. The happy secularists aren't reproducing, and the gap is being filled by people of a very definitely not-dwindling faith (Islam).

B. Prokop said...

"We now may be only about a generation or two away from the catastrophic problems predicted to result from global warming, pollution, and overpopulation. Our children and grandchildren could be faced with flooded coastal areas, severe climatic changes, epidemics caused by overcrowding, and increased starvation for much of humanity. Such disasters would generate worldwide conflict on a scale that is likely to exceed that of the great twentieth-century wars, possibly with nuclear weapons in the hands of unstable nations and terrorist groups."

How interesting that every last item on Stenger's apocalyptic list are the direct results of "!Science!" (thanks, Ilion).

B. Prokop said...

TYPO ALERT!

That should had been:

All across "post-Christian" Europe, we see the same thing happening.

Hal said...

Victor,
Are you interested in increasing civil discourse between people of different beliefs or are you interested in stoking the bitter acrimony that seems to pervade much of the current discourse?

I'm rather befuddled because you seem to bounce between these two positions in your postings here.

Continually quoting the 'cranky preachers of atheism' that Dave Duffy refers to undercuts any attempt at serious discourse. It is like those atheists who continually quote people like Pat Robertson or Fred Phelps to show how foolish or bad Christianity is.

B. Prokop said...

Hal,

I think Victor's attempting to increase the civility of conversation by calling out those who make it hard to do so. The "cranky preachers of atheism" seem to have gotten a pass from the atheist community at large, so it's unfortunately up to the believers to do the atheists' work for them.

If fellow atheists would only disavow such "cranky preachers" as Dawkins, Harris, et.al., and refuse to fund their crankiness by not buying their books and attending their (paid) lectures, then Victor wouldn't feel the need to expose them for what they are.

Crude said...

Dave,

I appreciate that you remind us of what happens when atheists have real power—the gulag. But, what do you make of the dwindling faith of my wife’s native Sweden? Her family that migrated to the U.S. retains a strong faith, but her cousins back in Sweden have abandoned the faith and yet maintain a civil and somewhat admirable society. Can you give me a few thoughts?

Fair question, but there's a reason I picked out 'militant atheist'. I don't lump in the Cult of Gnu with 'atheists, period' - they're pretty exceptional even by atheist standards.

Bob,

If fellow atheists would only disavow such "cranky preachers" as Dawkins, Harris, et.al., and refuse to fund their crankiness by not buying their books and attending their (paid) lectures, then Victor wouldn't feel the need to expose them for what they are.

It's funny how it's not up to atheists to shun their "cranky preachers" - it's up to Christians to, uh... ignore them and let them say whatever they like without criticism.

Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps were given as examples, but Christians across the board denounce the WBC, and Robertson is mocked quite often when his name comes up. That's a good part of the reason why bringing up their names as authoritative with most Christians won't work.

Once atheists start ditching Dawkins, Coyne, Myers etc, they'll fall by the wayside. But this desire to just shield them from criticism rings hollow, and I remember someone else who used to play that card routinely around here.

Victor Reppert said...

I had a post some time back where I compared my own embarrassment about some comments by Jerry Falwell with the kind of embarrassment that I think ought to be the responses of sensible atheists to some of the insane comments of people like Dawkins.

I think there is a fundamental difference between seeing the issue about God as a debate, or as a culture war. This explains why Christians on this site welcome the responses of some atheists, but not others.

Ilíon said...

VR: "I had a post some time back where I compared my own embarrassment about some comments by Jerry Falwell ..."

Indeed, you did ... with the proviso that you never did, and never will (and never will be able to) identify anything Falwell had said that will be an embarrassment to him when he in judgment before his Master in judgment.

The truth is that you are *embarrassed* to be associated with Falwell in the minds of those who hate your Master and his.

Really, between the two of you, which do you think is the more likely to be embarrassed when he stands before Christ face to face? Isn't avoiding that much more important than getting a patronizing pat on the head from one of the walking dead?

====
Keep in mind, I'm saying this as someone who is "embarrassed" to be "associated" with Falwell ... not as a Christian, but as someone with Southern roots. Basically, despite my root -- or perhaps because of them -- I have a hard time liking men with Southern accents (or country/hick drawls), especially chubby ones.

Ilíon said...

Ah! serendipity --

Lydia McGrew (quoting Tish Harrison Warren): "I began to realize that inside the church, the territory between Augustine of Hippo and Jerry Falwell seems vast, and miles lie between Ron Sider and Pat Robertson. But in the eyes of the university (and much of the press), subscribers to broad Christian orthodoxy occupy the same square foot of cultural space."

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

Well, that's true of just about anything when looking at something from an outsider's and insider's perspective. I recall discussing with Joe Sheffer my distaste for the phrase "the Russian novel", explaining that there was little in common between, say, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, or between Pushkin and Solzhenitsyn. Joe just laughed and said that everything looks more diverse when you're on the inside, and that sometimes the connecting threads can be invisible to the insider.

In the same way, I see people like you forever using the term "Leftist" as though everyone to the left of Ronald Reagan was utterly indistinguishable, when from an insider perspective there are huge, gigantic, almost irreconcilable differences between various individuals.

(Now this was not posted in violation of my "no politics on the internet" pledge. I'm simply pointing out another example of how things can look monochrome from the Outside, and kaleidoscopic from the Inside.)

Crude said...

Victor,

I had a post some time back where I compared my own embarrassment about some comments by Jerry Falwell with the kind of embarrassment that I think ought to be the responses of sensible atheists to some of the insane comments of people like Dawkins.

I don't think that's a fair comparison, at least in terms of degree. I think Dawkins and company have their best comparison with the WBC.

Bob,

In the same way, I see people like you forever using the term "Leftist" as though everyone to the left of Ronald Reagan was utterly indistinguishable, when from an insider perspective there are huge, gigantic, almost irreconcilable differences between various individuals.

Honestly, Bob, while I can appreciate that, you have in the past been a pretty outspoken, shameless party loyalist. I think you've changed a bit lately, and that I think may be due to 'progressives' snapping at you.

Victor is, as far as I know, a leftist. I like Victor. I don't particularly care that he's pro-welfare policies in part, or doesn't oppose gay marriage, at least in terms of how I judge him. He's a guy I can talk with, he's reasonable, he's considerate. A good share of self-identifying 'progressives' aren't.

I imagine some leftists dislike that, but frankly, they seem to be outnumbered.

Crude said...

By the way, I want to clarify something.

I actually stayed away from political topics for a long time when it came to these debates - I liked to keep religion separate from politics, as much as possible. I still do. I don't think it's offensive to Christ in and of itself to prefer this economic policy or that, with some caveats.

But frankly, my back is to the wall now. The same progressive machine that animated hate towards anyone with conservative political leanings has expanded to directing it towards religion. Which, by the by, I see as related to Victor's post - there is crossover between the two, these are not isolated issues.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that some on the Christian 'Left' feel betrayed by Dawkins and company. (I'm talking a stripe of Leftist that I don't think Victor has ever been part of.) It was hunky-dory when the irreligious and atheists bashed those idiot conservative Christians and all. But suddenly the Cult of Gnu included the *liberal* Christians in the hate, and well, that's just unfair.

Crude said...

Bob,

And both sides do it. The right does it by insisting on single issue litmus tests (as in abortion or gun control).

I think you're going to have to try mighty hard to find examples of conservative-run companies firing employees for merely being pro-abortion or pro-gun-control. At the very least, I think the number of right-wingers who engage in this, and the scope of their influence, is absolutely paltry compared to the progressives who engage in it.

Where's the conservative equivalent of Brendan Eich? Perhaps you know of some.

Crude said...

Bob,

Regardless of who's better at it, it's wrong whoever does it.

Sure is. But I don't want to say 'both sides are equally guilty of...' unless they actually are.

Crude said...

Bob,

The problem, Crude, is that both "sides" claim the other party is the more guilty one. You seem to be claiming the Left is more culpable. I can show you many examples of the Right being called the more guilty party.

I'm not interested in who is *calling* the other side more guilty. I'm interested in the events, the evidence.

I asked - what's the right-wing equivalent of Brendan Eich? Or, for that matter, of legislation like 'you have to serve cakes to gay weddings or you'll be fined out of existence'? Etc, etc.

Note that the 'the left' (specifically, the progressives) being more guilty of this doesn't mean they're wrong about all issues automatically.

So where do I fit in?

Tell me this, Bob. You oppose gay marriage. When you were still 'talking about politics', where did the progressives place you - despite all your time of relatively vocal left-wing support? I remember you reporting the reactions - even inside of your own family.

Crude said...

Bob,

What did "the Left" do? They condemned me. How does "the Right" respond to my desire to see the 2nd Amendment repealed? They hate me.

Says who? Where?

Once again - where are the people getting fired for support of gun control?

Oh, and by the by. You're in favor of bombing ISIS? What's your thoughts on giving the Christians who live there guns?

Crude said...

While I'd like an answer to my last question, let me otherwise steer things back in the direction of the OP.

I do think that what Victor's highlighting is nasty, and I stand by the claim that these are people who are only playing the game of 'criticize and mock' because alternatives are currently cut off for them. There's not exactly a shortage of examples of 'militant atheists in control leading to serious, violent repression of religious belief'.

I also stand by the claim - this is tied into politics. It always has been. Cultists of gnu are far less animated at the mere fact that someone believes in God than they are that someone opposes their political will. I recall even Dawkins has said that he ultimately stopped excusing liberal Christians from criticism because, ultimately, it was a tactical concern - he thinks he can get the way he wants more effectively if he attacks them too, and that they're part of the problem by lending indirect aid and support to Christian belief in general.

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crude said...

Bob,

Not sure where you're heading with that, but as feel-good as your proposal sounds, it would probably be about as effective as airdropping guns to the Jews in occupied Europe during WWII (meaning, not at all).

So let me get this straight.

ISIS is immune to bullets, but weak to explosion?

Better yet: if Christians in the middle east were trying to buy guns for self-defense, you would - being a firm opponent of the 2nd amendment - prosecute those who tried, and encourage them to rely on their governments for protection?

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crude said...

Bob,

Better yet: are you comparing the US government to ISIS?

See, Bob, you ask that question as a 'gotcha', but watch this:

I think any government, over time, has the potential to turn into an ISIS. I think local criminals can pose ISIS-like threats to people at times, at least on the small scale. If someone 2 years ago would have said 'The Iraqis should disarm, they have a democracy now, that means they're safe forever', they'd be looking mighty stupid right now.

See what happened? I answered your question. You threw what was supposed to be a hard one at me, and I was more than happy to take it on.

Now, will you answer mine? Or are you going to try and find another way out?

Crude said...

Bob,

I don't.

Really? So some governments are, now and forever, guaranteed to forever be just, pure, always to remain in power, never to become corrupt to the point where they're a violent threat to their citizens, or disempowered to the point where their citizens must fend for themselves?

That's a hell of a thing.

Apples and oranges. And yes, sometimes things really are different.

Like I said, Bob, notice the contrast. You come at me with a real hard question, in your view - one that's supposed to be hard for me to answer.

My response is to answer it directly.

Meanwhile, I ask you a question, and you won't even answer it. Because, let's face it, there's no way to answer it that won't either look insane, or cause you to lose some ground on the whole 'People don't have a right to arms' thing.

Which is supremely important because..?

Wait, that may be a tough question too. Better ignore it.

Ilíon said...

bloody-minded leftist (*) "Better yet: are you comparing the US government to ISIS?"

Oh, hell! The men who designed the US government -- which regime, sadly, is not the one under which we presently live -- compared all human governments to ISIS. And you know this. But you're a leftist; which means (non-exhaustively): 1) you *love* the growth of the governing class at the expense of the purported citizens whom they rule (apparently, you imagine yourself to be of the governing class), 2) you will lie about 1) and your efforts to grow the king by shrinking the citizens into subjects.



(*) just *read* this thread, people: "I'm "against" [murder] but do not believe it should be prohibited"

B. Prokop said...

I repent in dust and ashes my recent weakness, in allowing myself to post something that could be construed as "political". I will try in the future to be more disciplined and not do it again. I am deleting all the offending posts.

The combination of politics and internet commentary is pure poison, and should be avoided.

B. Prokop said...

Hey, Ilion? When are we ever going to see that treatise of yours on Jonah?

Crude said...

Alright, Bob. Subject dropped.

B. Prokop said...

Here is hopefully an understandable explanation on why I should never have (somewhat inadvertently) raised the hot-button issues I unfortunately raised earlier in this conversation.

Question: Why do I propose that politics on the internet is pure poison? (Ah, alliteration! The author of Beowulf would approve.)

Answer: Two reasons.
1) The absence of face to face contact makes impossible a true exchange of the type of information that "politics" necessitates. For that, you need to make full use of body language, eye-to-eye conversation, and the full paraphernalia of what makes us people (such as being in one anothers' homes, sharing a meal, actually knowing the other person) instead of just faux-conversing with a pseudonymous entity.

2) Specifically, the two issues that crude and I started off on are precisely those that I think shouldn't be political at all! Just read what Ilion wrote about my (now deleted posting): "I'm "against" [murder] but do not believe it should be prohibited" No-o-o-o... I oppose abortion, but believe it to be futile to try to end it by legislation. I sort of suspect that if all the effort expended since the 1070s to legally ban the procedure had instead been directed toward convincing people that they shouldn't want to have/participate in an abortion, the problem would be largely solved by now.

Same thing goes for guns. I would like to see them gone completely from our society, but firmly believe that it is likewise futile to try and achieve such an end through legislation. And I here do practice what I preach. I do not myself own a weapon. I have brought my children up to never wish to own a gun or have one in the house. Whenever the subject (very rarely) comes up in conversation in social settings (for instance, at my astronomy club or at church), I take the same stance. Namely, I care not for what gun laws are on the books. It's more important to change peoples' attitudes toward them. Do that, and you will need no legislation.

(And I say this as a card-carrying graduate of the NRA's Gun Safety Course, and a US Army veteran who qualified "Expert" in the M-16 rifle, the M-60 machine gun, and in hand grenades. So I think I know what I am talking about.)

im-skeptical said...

The truth about Stenger's article

Crude said...

Bob,

Before I go on, I want to note something: I backed off entirely. I got in no parting shots. I was willing to drop this immediately.

But I do not back off and then just let things go unanswered after the fact.

The absence of face to face contact makes impossible a true exchange of the type of information that "politics" necessitates.

I see no reason to believe this, but whatever.

I would like to see them gone completely from our society, but firmly believe that it is likewise futile to try and achieve such an end through legislation.

See, this is where the bullshit alarms go off.

You already said in this thread you're in favor of repealing the second amendment. That's a legislative act.

Are you telling me you wouldn't and don't support 'gun control' legislation, including banning of various handguns, etc? If so, that's going to be a new switch for you.

Are you telling me you DO support 'gun control' just as you support pro-life measures, since you're against both?

Because if you say, well you're against abortion and guns and you think legislation is fruitless in both cases - but you oppose pro-life legislation but support gun control legislation, well... inconsistency spotted.

B. Prokop said...

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes."
(Walt Whitman)

Crude said...

O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.
‘How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’
‘Four.’
And if the party says that it is not four but five — then how many?
‘Four.’
The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston’s body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could not stop. O’Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly eased.
‘How many fingers, Winston?’
‘Four.’
The needle went up to sixty.
‘How many fingers, Winston?’
‘Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!’
The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at it. The heavy, stern face and the four fingers filled his vision. The fingers stood up before his eyes like pillars, enormous, blurry, and seeming to vibrate, but unmistakably four.
‘How many fingers, Winston?’
‘Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!’
‘How many fingers, Winston?’
‘Five! Five! Five!’
‘No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think there are four. How many fingers, please?’
‘Four! five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!’
Abruptly he was sitting up with O’Brien’s arm round his shoulders. He had perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds. The bonds that had held his body down were loosened. He felt very cold, he was shaking uncontrollably, his teeth were chattering, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. For a moment he clung to O’Brien like a baby, curiously comforted by the heavy arm round his shoulders. He had the feeling that O’Brien was his protector, that the pain was something that came from outside, from some other source, and that it was O’Brien who would save him from it.
‘You are a slow learner, Winston,’ said O’Brien gently.
‘How can I help it?’ he blubbered. ‘How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.’
‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.’

Dave Duffy said...

Bob and Crude,

You guys need to get into politics on this comment section.

It’s a slow night for me. No kids home this weekend. Mrs. Duffy is catching up on correspondence (letter writing with a fountain pen—yes, some people, not me, still do this). I just finished a book and not sure what to read next.

I always enjoy what you two have to say. Come on! Get into it. Provide some eavesdropping opportunities for the masses. Inquiring minds want to know.

Crude said...

Dave,

I suspect sarcasm, but there's really not much of a conversation to be had anyway. I was just told, basically, "Yeah I'm inconsistent, but so was WALT WHITMAN so it's okay".

I have strong political opinions, but very little in the way of political loyalties. Party/political subservience is basically a religion for many people, and I suppose it just goes to show how small people's gods can really be.

B. Prokop said...

"I have strong political opinions"

That's another other reason I hate discussing politics on the internet - I change my own political views about as often as I do my shirts.

"but very little in the way of political loyalties"

And given the above, I'm not even loyal to myself!

B. Prokop said...

Does anyone besides myself find it hilarious that Im-gullible has resorted to lurking about this website which he claims is so-o-o-o unfair to him, only to stealth post elsewhere about how stoopid he thinks we all are?

Crude said...

Does anyone besides myself find it hilarious that Im-gullible has resorted to lurking about this website which he claims is so-o-o-o unfair to him, only to stealth post elsewhere about how stoopid he thinks we all are?

Is that what he does? It's about his speed.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

If you need a really good laugh, check out his posting to this conversation at September 12, 2014 3:23 PM. This is about the 4th or 5th he's done this (I haven't been keeping track).

Ilíon said...

leftist hypocrite: "[paraphrased: I refuse to answer questions about political matters that I keep injecting, on the grounds that any answer will tend to show how vacuous my leftist thinking on political matters is]"

Meanwhile, the bloody-minded leftist harrasses poor I-pretend-to-be-rational about a lie I-pretend had told about The One True Bureaucracy ... and *still* never explained to me (or to you) why the lie was so egregious.

damnable leftist liar: "Hey, Ilion? When are we ever going to see that treatise of yours on Jonah?"

He's not stupid; he's just dishonest (and, apparently, he thinks that *you* are stupid): there is no "treatise on Jonah", his continuing demand for one is a total misrepresentation or reality, seemingly meant to hoodwink the casual reader. And we've already been over this a couple of weeks ago (at which time he pretended to be too stupid to understand the point). The whole thing about Jonah was to illustrate that he himself didn't really subscribe to his argument-for-scientism.

Meanwhile, he ignores the scientific evidence I had presented that any claim to know the distance to this or that star, much less galaxy, should never be taken as being *real* knowledge.

Ilíon said...

Back in November of last year, a certain dishonest (as though there is some other kind) leftist: asserted that socialized medicine will be a great thing for the US -- why, just look at how well it's working out for "any advanced Western nation other than the USA".

I, of course, dispute both the assertion that it will be good for us *and* the assertion that it's working out well for the foreigners.

He, of course, jumps on his high-horse, all indignant that I made the (true) observation that he isn't paying attention to what's really going on under socialized medicine.

See: the options are:
1) he's not paying attention to what's really going on under socialized medicine, and is thus advocating it from a position of ignorance;
2) he *does* know what horribly immoral things socialized medicine does (and must) bring about, but that he just doesn't care. For, after all, when you hook the erstwhile citizen on the false promises of socialized medicine, you grow government and the governing class, and turn the citizen into a subject. And what leftist doesn't love that idea?

So, I posted a rebuttal to his accusations against me.

And what was his reaction? To totally ignore the evidence I had presented of what is going on under socialized medicine (and the explanation of *why* it does and must). Also, he disappeared ... amid speculation that he came back for a time as a sock-puppet.

Then, look at this absurd comment from July -- "And by the way, this entire issue would vanish like a puff of smoke were the USA to abandon our insane "get your health insurance from your employer" system, and move to something similar to the NHS that Britain has (which works quite well, as I can attest, having lived under it for several years)."

What he's saying is that the "entire issue" of foolish-and-immorally-deranged women demanding that government violence be used to force employers to pay for their employees' abortions would go away if government violence were used to force *everyone* to chip-in to pay for sluts' abortions (and for mentally unbalanced castration fetishists' "sex-change" operations).

Ilíon said...

So, yeah, Bob Prokop doesn't want to discuss politics. He never did, ever, discuss political matters. What he wants to do -- all he has ever done -- is to assert leftist talking-points, and assert that it is immoral to oppose leftist nostrums, and hen assert his moral superiority in refusing to examine whether his prior assertions can stand up to critical scrutiny.

B. Prokop said...

OK, so I wrote "treatise" when I should have written "screed". And you did say you were working on one. Way to get our expectations up!

Ilíon said...

"OK, so I wrote "treatise" when I should have written "screed". And you did say you were working on one."

"Screed" or "treatise", it's not about Jonah. As I've already said, it's about you: it's about your hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty. And, as I've also said, that sort of thing bores me ... so making myself do it is a real chore.

"Way to get our expectations up!"

I still haven't finished my analysis of Dan Gillson's feeble attempt at discrediting my "*you* are the proof that God is" argument. And that's more important than showing -- once again -- that you are intellectually dishonest about politics.

Also, I still haven't begun a post meant as a further explanation of this comment about evolutionism.

B. Prokop said...

"Also, I still haven't begun a post meant as a further explanation of this comment about evolutionism"

Oh, good grief! Once again, who cares? You honestly think this is worth a nanosecond of your time? I weep for the brain activity wasted over fretting about such a non-issue. I mean, really! To quote a contemporary political figure, "At this point, what difference does it make?" Seriously, what depends on how this works out? (answer: nothing) What does it change? (answer: once again, nothing) Who is affected? (third time's the charm: nobody!)

I always find myself looking around for some convenient toothpick to prop up my eyelids whenever this subject comes around. Yawn...!

Dan Gillson said...

Ilion,

I'm not attempting to discredit anything. I'm merely pointing out that an important part of your argument actually isn't valid. Your argument discredits itself.

B. Prokop said...

"it's not about Jonah. As I've already said, it's about you"

It's aboutme??? Well then, forget it! Anything about me is gonna be a real snooze-fest.

Jonah, however, is interesting.

Dave Duffy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Duffy said...

Ilion,

I admire your desire for intellectual integrity and your forceful defense of the faith. I don’t understand your condemnation of B. Prokop. Bob seems to be conciliatory and admits his own honest inconsistency on politics. So what gives? He is also our brother and a defender of our faith.

B. Prokop said...

"So what gives?"

What gives, is that by all appearances, Ilion believes in what C.S. Lewis termed "Christianity and..." Lewis explained in his book The Screwtape Letters that whenever a person believes in Christianity and Something Else, such as socialism, or pacifism, or vegetarianism, or (in Ilion's case) some sort of uber-libertarian hatred of all government, then the "and" will inevitably become the most important thing to that person, with Christianity just along for the ride.

So to Ilion I have committed the supreme sin of not sharing his absolute detestation of government. In his eyes, being a "brother and a defender of our faith" is of infinitely less importance.

Ilíon said...

Dave Duffy: "Bob seems to be conciliatory ..."

Perhaps we're connected to different internets? Or maybe you're using a newer Webster's than I am (*).

Dave Duffy: " ... and admits his own honest inconsistency on politics."

He claims (as of this week) to "change his politics like he changes his clothes" -- which claim is, of itself, indicative of someone without a moral center, for politics is inseperable from morality: politics *just is* the art of collectively imposing our moral understanding(s) upon one another. This is true not only in a constitutional republic, but in all other forms of government and mis-government.

Yet, for all his supposed indecisiveness about (and indifference to) politics, he consistently comes down in support of leftism. For all his supposed indecisiveness about (and indifference to) politics, he has no hesitancy about calling me demonic because I oppose all the tentacles of leftism; he has no difficulty in -- in the grand tradition of leftism of ascribing leftist faults to anti-leftists, and then condemning the anti-leftists for the faults that are not even theirs -- of accusing *me* of advocating Something Else and then falsely calling it Christianity.


Dave Duffy: "He is also our brother and a defender of our faith."

It is logically impossible that he is my brother in Christ (**) or a defender of my faith. My faith does not allow me to temporize on abortion, nor to support any politician or party which either supports abortion or temporizes on it ... NOR to pretend Christian fellowship with anyone who supports abortion either directly or indirectly (for instance, by supporting the leftist party).

*He* claims that my understanding of the intersection of Christianity and politics in a constitutional republic -- maximize individual liberty; minimize governmental intereference in the lives of its citizens so that the state (***) cannot even think about attempting to usurp God's throne -- is anti-Christian.

*I* claim that his (purported) understanding of the intersection of Christianity and politics in a constitutional republic -- minimize individual liberty; maximize governmental intereference in the lives of its subjects to the point that The State (***) naturally, by the very nature of government, attempts to usurp God's throne -- is anti-Christian.

Both those claims cannot be correct. But, as chance would have it, I happen to be correct, and he happens to be incorrect.

Let him repent of his leftism, and then, only then, can we consider that he may be my brother and a defender of my faith.


(*) Mine was a gift in 1964 or so ... and let me tell you how excited I was as a pre-teen to receive a honkin' big dictionary as a birthday gift!

(**) I could wish it otherwise, but truth is truth.

(***) which, of course, means those few individuals who control the state

B. Prokop said...

Oh, this is rich! Ilion is the gift that keeps on giving. Out of one side of his mouth, he claims to be for "maximizing individual liberty" whilst with the other side (of apparently one and the same orifice) he accuses anyone who does not share his fanaticism about politics as having "no moral center".

No, Ilion, I unabashedly change my politics more often than I do my underwear (and for much the same reasons), because by its very nature politics is temporal, a characteristic of this transient world. In many, many cases, what is necessary one year is precisely what ought to be avoided in the next. (The famous lines in Ecclesiastes about there being "a time for war and a time for peace" etc. come to mind here.

Nothing bugs me more than when the charge of "flip flopping" is brought against this or that politician, whether it be John Kerry or Mitt Romney. Heck, the ability to change one's mind and to adapt to changing circumstances ought to be regarded as a positive. Instead, we so often stupidly demand from our public figures that they never contradict themselves, even over a period of decades. What insanity!

In contrast, Ilion proudly clings to the same position year after year, caring not one whit whether it actually reflects objective reality. I.e., sometimes government action is a great force for Good, and at others for Evil. You have to decide which it is on a case by case basis, and not by means of some hidebound, inflexible ideology. Politics is not the art of what's right, but of what works.

Also, Ilion cannot stand that I quite correctly accused him (I still do) of subscribing to Hell's Own Governing Constitution. Ilion basically believes in Ayn Randianism without the atheism. He really needs to take a good look at his fellow travelers and decide whether he wants to be associated with people who proclaim the "virtue of selfishness" as the Highest Good.

Yet despite all this, Ilion remains my brother in the Faith. I emphatically reject the confining strictures of "Christianity and...". You can be a Christian and a Republican, Democrat, monarchist, fascist, anarchist, feudalist, heck, even a communist... as long as you put Christianity first and not dependent on what temporal political views you or someone else might hold.

Dave Duffy said...

Ilion,

Thanks for the forthright response. My life, and certainly my business would be easier if people would say what is on their mind. Although, I’ll admit to appreciate some of the pleasantries and manners of social interaction which make dealing with people daily a bit more tolerable.

It was a good exercise for me to pull my dictionary from the shelf to look up the contested word. Most words I use I have not actually looked up in the dictionary and are probably defined in my mind by some sort of osmosis. Currently, when I run across a word I don’t know, I usually google it for a definition.

You are right, my dictionary is newer than your 1964 (or earlier) addition. Mine is COPYRIGHT 2002 BY MERRIAM WEBSTER, INCORPORATED. I know I had an earlier addition when I was in college, but I don’t know what happened to it. My dictionary is also honkin’ big: 9 ½” x 13” and 3 ¾” thick (because of the nature of my business I always carry a tape measure in my pocket) and 2662 pages of small print (not counting the brief biography of Mr. Webster on the unnumbered final page).
Small print is hard for me to read at my age, but on page 471: con-cil-ia-to-ry…adj: tending to conciliate...
Not much help

Con-cil-iate…to gain (as goodwill or favor) by pleasing acts

The definition is clear. The application is more subjective. I don’t know the full history or your dispute with Bob, but my own subjective application of the word brings to mind Bob recommending you (as I remember) to your intellectual opponents as having ideas worth consideration, praising your thoughts on the faith, asking about things you have proposed to write. I interpreted this as trying to gain goodwill.

B. Prokop said...

You are correct, Dave, in thinking that I have Good Thoughts about much of what Ilion has to say most of the time. He does, however, have a few blind spots:

1. Catholicism. He has a tragically skewed perception of the Church, probably attributable to some biased and largely untruthful information he soaked up in his presumably Protestant upbringing.

2. Politics. He is a fanatic ideologue when it come to his view that government is always and everywhere an evil, and that anyone who disagrees with him is "bloody minded".

3. Women. Ilion is an unapologetic advocate of male supremacy and domination.

On all three of these subjects, Ilion cannot seem to bring himself to write objectively. But on most other matters, he is remarkably insightful, and I appreciate his commentary.

Dave Duffy said...

Bob,

I think it best to let Ilion write what he thinks on the three topics you mentioned. Let him write his thoughts and let us give consideration. He's a smart guy and I don't think your summary does justice to his thinking.

Dave Duffy said...

“Addition” “edition”…and all the other typos. Geez o man, maybe I should stick to talking to people instead of typing.

B. Prokop said...

"I think it best to let Ilion write what he thinks"

Hah! As if anyone could stop him!

As for my mannerly criticism of his occasional opining, remember that Ilion's the guy who cheerfully calls me "bloody-minded leftist" and "apologist for mass murderers" at the drop of a hat. I think he can take whatever I say about him.

"As ye judge, so shall ye be judged."

Victor Reppert said...

On I'm-skeptical, I hope somebody noticed that I never said that Stenger advocated the use of force, or Stalinism. What I said was that he has the same motives for supporting religious suppression that a Christian might have for suppressing atheism or anything else they might oppose. One actually has to be in a position of power for this to be a temptation.

You need something more than religion to have a basis for violence. You have to conclude that the end justifies the means. And there are religious arguments against this sort of use of force. What I asked was on what basis would he turn down an opportunity to use force. I think the answer is that he thinks that secularism will prevail without forcing the issue. But, he thinks it could be too late, so this may not be clear.

And when you hear "There religious people are refusing to reason, so something has to be done about them." what would that something have to be? Social stigmatization, perhaps, but that to me is a kind of bullying.

im-skeptical said...

You clearly implied that Stenger would advocate the use of force if given the opportunity, and that's exactly the way your followers understood it. I quoted you and your followers accurately. It's a shame that you won't honestly discuss what Stenger was saying.

B. Prokop said...

"It's a shame that you won't honestly discuss"

No, it's a shame that you still will not "honestly" either cough up the evidence for your accusation that the Early Church somehow modified scripture to conform with doctrine, or retract the accusation.

We're still waiting. C'mon, you made the statement, and you apparently believe it. So it ought to be easy. All you have to do is

a) Identify the portion of scripture that has been modified to comply with Church dogma (chapter and verse, please).

b) Give us the "before" version, so we can confirm that it has actually been modified.

c) Explain what dogma is being complied with by said modification.

Ilíon said...

Of course, it's *also* a crying shame that B.Prokop won't tell us why I-pretend's lie about The One True Bureaucracy was so egregious.

B. Prokop said...

At least we agree that it was a lie.

B. Prokop said...

People! Before you dismiss Ilion's latest comment as something of no importance, think again. Ilion (rightfully) equates im-gullible's slander against the Early Church with a lie about what he terms the "One True Bureaucracy" (a.k.a., the Catholic Church). In other words, Ilion acknowledges that the Early Church is synonymous with Catholicism.

Thank you, Ilion, for that valuable clarification. See? We do agree on some things!

im-skeptical said...

Since Bob refuses to give it a rest, I will make a series of posts on my blog on biblical alterations. Watch for it. However, if you are a good Catholic who places faith above evidence and reason, don't expect any of this to shatter your belief.

B. Prokop said...

Im-thickheaded,

If it's an honest post, I'll read it objectively and respond in kind.

And by the way, why should I "give it a rest"? You made a slanderous accusation without foundation, and we're all supposed to just sit around nodding our heads? If you've got real evidence, then show it!

Victor Reppert said...

What I implied, I-S, is that Stenger has a motivation for using force to suppress religious belief. Christianity doesn't teach that violence should be used to suppress opposing beliefs, but it is quite true that people who think that there is a great deal of stake in maintaining a particular religion have a motive for using force if the opportunity presents itself.

Christianity also, it seems to me provides the basis for arguments against using force on its behalf.

Of course, I can't be sure what people would do in a situation that they do not in fact find themselves in. Stenger seems to think unbelief is winning, so violence won't be necessary, as it was not necessary in the European countries that serve as his example. But I hear from people like him a kind of urgency about winning people for unbelief that goes like this:

"We are on the cusp of history. We can either abandon faith and embrace science, or we can hold on to faith and retreat to a new dark age. Everything depends on which way we turn at this critical time in history. That is why we have to work hard to achieve the end of faith, so the new Golden Age can be inaugurated, as opposed to a retreat into the benighted past."

When someone acts like this, I have to wonder what they would NOT do to make sure we turn the right way, if they were given the opportunity. On what basis would they refuse to use whatever power they had at their disposal to make sure we abandon faith. It seems to me that such people have the motive in spades. What would happen if they had the means and opportunity, to become the atheist equivalents of Grand Inquisitors? The fact that they don't advocate the use of force is not very comforting, since they don't have the means to use force if they wanted to. The fact that some of them already advocate treating those they disagree with in ways that remind me a lot of the schoolyard bullies I dealt with in grade school is even less reassuring.