Friday, January 27, 2006

The Land of Tolerance

I have been exploring my "hidden biases." Check this out: http://tolerance.org/news/article_tol.jsp?id=1352

The ignorance and elitist attitude of these "tolerance" activists causes me to shake my head. It is true that there are arrogant bigots in this country. But I don't see it too often. What I see more often is a witchhunt (which seems to be motivated by anti-Christian bigotry when you think about it). The "tolerance" activists have a very specific and narrow worldview. If you don't buy into their worldview, they accuse you of hate.

Let me make this clear. I hate injustice. I hate sin. However, I love sinners.

Tolerance activists say that religious diversity is a good thing. In fact, religious diversity is really polytheism. They don't mind that we worship Jesus, provided that we bow down to the other idols of the land as well (in the name of respecting religious diversity of course). But by celebrating these anti-Christian religions, people are actually in idolatry. Such people talk extensively about respecting all religions, but they really don't respect any religion. For it is impossible to give real respect to two contradicting creeds.

But, of course, to understand what I am saying, people have to think. More importantly, they need an encounter with Jesus. When they see His glory, they will have a glimpse as to what I am talking about. One glimpse of His glory - that is all it will take to cure people of foolish depraved thinking. Check out Isaiah 6. Of course, sometimes God reveals a little of His glory at a time. For those people, this will no doubt be a process. If you are a tolerance activist, I will walk with you through that process. Let us be friends, and I will teach you true tolerance.

If you are a tolerance activist, I request this from you: HUMILITY. Don't be so elitist.

When you encounter God, you will recognize real tolerance. For the patience, kindness, and tolerance of God leads to repentance. See Romans 1-2.

Christians have got to quit being intimidated of the tolerance witchhunters. We need to be able to contend for the faith and show these people real love and compassion - which comes from an undying faith and love for Jesus Christ.

15 Comments:

Blogger MarcoConley said...

It seems like all movements tend to be prone to some level of fanaticism.

When I lived in liberal land, if you didn't take the time to recycle a soda can but instead threw it in a trash can, people literally would look at you like you were a murderer.

I once sat in a CLASS, a state-sponsored taxpayer-funded class, where a speaker told the students that it was offensive to refer to animals as "animals"-- instead we should refer to them as non-human living creatures, so that we don't think we're so much better than them.

I once had a film class where the professor's lecture on every single film made by a man was: "Here's why THIS film is sexist and racist". From Star Wars (Luke is aryan, Darth Vader is Black) to ET (his finger represents a penish) to Jaws (the shark's mouth represents women).

So yeah-- every movement that's successful gets a little big for it's metaphorical britches sometimes.

-
But on the other hand, look how much good the "secular tolerence movement" has done.

Christianity has ruled for 1500 years, but it never ended legal racism.

People have been quoting the bible forever to justify racism and slavery-- as amazing as it seems, just a few decades ago, it was a big thing. People quoted Genesis 9:18 and the fact that all the Israelites owned slaves. People quoted Philemon as a sign that Paul had not outright said slavery was against God, but instead ordered only fair treatment of slaves.

Not to pick on the Southern Baptists-- a few of whom may be in the audience, but as you may know, the Southern Baptist Conference was formed when Baptists throughout the south split away from the larger Baptist community because of moral issues they held dear. What was the moral issue? Slavery. The Southern Baptists were founded on the idea that slavery was consistent with christianity. I couldn't make this stuff up.

For thousands upon thousands of years, horrible injustices have been been perpetrated, and the Christian foundations of america never stopped it. Sure, some christians opposed those evils, but far too many christians supported them. The "Theocracy" America once was a racist, sexist one, not unlike mulism theocracies.

But look what happens when the much-hated seculars come to power for the first time in history--- they change the world for the better in ways no one had ever changed it before. The abolish evils that the theocracis allowed.

When my grandparents were children, women were slaves and blacks were subhuman. In just the short time since they've been alive, the world had been changed incredibly for the better by tolerance movments, secular humanists, rationalists, or whatever name you want.

In just one lifetime, look at what secularism has done for the world. And sure, it hasn't all been good-- women tend to get divorced a lot more if they are allowed to work and don't have to depend on a man to survive-- so sure, the divorce rate skyrockets. Yes, when unwed mothers are no called whores or adulteresses and mocked by society, there wind up being a lot more teen pregancies. Freedom has its prices, but would anyone really want to go back to 1950?

Some people say yes-- America and tolerence have been horrible things for the world, and we need to go back to the good old days. But I betcha nine times out of ten, the people who say that are white. I'm sure the 1950s seem like the good old days, as long as you weren't a black condemmened to be a second-class citizen or a woman with no job but housewife.

The ideas of tolerance have been the best thing for humanity, quite possibly in the HISTORY of humanity. The modern world is the most just, most fair, and most equitable in the history of human civilization. And it's all the secular humanist's fault.

The tolerance law is this:

Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law unless they do something that clearly, visably, and directly is hurting others and infringing on others rights. If you're not doing that, then you're allowed to do whatever you want and believe whatever you want to believe.

------

Now, I'm sure you'll say: But-- it's not far to use racism and sexism, because Christians doesn't believe that anymore. We hate racism as much as you do. And maybe we don't have sexism quite as much as you do (because wives should still lovingly submit in some sects), but we hate it ALMOST as much as you do. American christianity isn't like that anymore-- we don't discriminate because of race or gender anymore.

True. But if we talk about homosexuality.. well.. that's a different story.

To me, homosexuality is probably something you're born with, but even if it's chosen, I just don't see the harm. To me, it's summed up by "In everything, do unto others as you would like them to do unto you; that is the meaning of the law and the prophets." Love between two same-sex people is still love, it is still consensual-- no one is VISIBLY getting hurt.

If you really want to believe homosexuality is wrong, that's between you and God. I don't have a problem with that-- it's not my place to interpret God's will.

But see... theocracts don't want homosexuality to just be a sin. They want it to be a crime.

If Christians ran the country, homosexual sex would be a sin, and gays by the hundreds of thousands would be locked up in camps. And even right now, people are trying to make homosexuals into legal subhumans: unable to marry, adopt, teach, hold public office, etc.

If Christians ran the country, non-christian houses of worship would be abolished and non-christians would be reduced to second-class citizens.
--

Theocracy is sorta like Communism. It talks a good battle. Listen to the Communists talk about how they'll bring equality between rich and poor, and it sounds good. But when they actually get to run the government, they tend to make horrible countries.

Now that Christians aren't racists anymore, not they they're not sexists anymore, they say "Give us the keys back, let us drive again". But throughout history, Theocracies have been just as bad as dictators.

Catholic Europe wasn't a nice place to be if you were protestant. Colonial America wasn't a nice place to be if you were Catholic. Christian 19th cent. America wasnt a nice place to be if you were black. Iran isn't a nice place to be if you're a woman.

Communism doesn't work.
Theocracies don't work.
Tolerance does.

:)

I expect this'll get a reply or two.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Marco,

The problem here is that you and I are logical people. As logical people, we know better than to be illogical. Illogical people don't really know better. We do.

What do I mean?

I mean this: Some set of values is being inculcated into the next generation via the classroom. The question is not whether or not this is happening, but rather, which values are being imposed on the next generation.

So, the big value being pushed in a very dogmatic fashion is this: Tolerance. This is, of course, illogical. The tolerance crowd has no tolerance for intolerance. Therefore, they are totally contradicting themselves. More specifically, they are advocating the tolerance - yes, even the celebration - of homosexuality and Islam and democracy, etc. But they do not tolerate the Word of God - the message that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and that no man can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again. This is due to the fact that the message of the cross is authoritative and offensive by its very nature to the enemies of God.

True, authentic Christianity has never yet dominated any large society for any extended period of time. Many things have been done and said in the name of Christianity. Some of those things have been authentically Christian, while others of those things have been heretical.

It is true that the Bible commands just treatment of slaves - without outlawing slavery outright. But this leads to a deep philosophical discussion about slavery and freedom. What makes someone a "slave?" What makes someone "free?" When the government takes a large portion of my money and then uses it to promote anti-Biblical agendas, am I really completely free? Is freedom the absence of any and all authorities telling you what to do and how to do it?

I can develop this argument more, but it is important to note that Paul did command fair treatment of slaves.

People who quote Genesis 9:18 to justify slavery are taking scriptures way out of context.

More later....

10:51 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Marco,

Should the state use tax dollars to promote the advancement of ideas which tax payers despise and abhor?

If not, you have abandoned logic.
If so, how do you decide which ideas ought to be promoted and advanced?

Another question: Aren't some things completely intolerable?

See, the thing is this: We have been created in God's image. As people created in God's image, we have a strong sense of justice. The problem is that people are also depraved. Depraved people have a very skewed sense of justice. That's why we need God. God needs to set us right. God's standard of justice is like a plumbline - according to the Scripture. He hates injustice. He tolerates it to a point, giving people the opportunity to repent and to seek His face, that He might show them His mercy and so that they can be saved. But everyone should know that his hand is upraised. He is ready to pour out his wrath on people. Indeed, the wrath of God is all around us. When people don't submit to the still, small voice of God, their hearts become hardened, and they reap what they sow. Relationships are destroyed. Consequences happen. In all these things, God's wrath is being revealed.

People being given over to homosexuality is one of the many manifestations of the rebellion of men and the wrath of God. See Romans 1.

And God warns us not to treat his patience, kindness, and tolerance with contempt, because it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance. See Romans 2. Understanding this enables people to practice what I call "true tolerance." It is fairly easy for me to be "tolerant" to people, because I know what a wretched sinner I am. But when arrogant, godless men talk about "tolerance," they are really using tolerance as a weapon to advance some political ideology or to make a power grab of some kind. And/or they have a love affair with the things of this world. They are godless like Esau, and simply don't believe. Of course, without faith, it is impossible to please God and do right. So, in their selfishness, they advocate "tolerance," not our of a heart of compassion and servanthood, but out of a heart of selfishness, envy, and arrogant pride.

No doubt, you have observed this brand of elitist tolerance. This tolerance activists hate the idea of absolute truth, and are actually really mean to people who believe that there are absolutes. Not to mention that many of they have no idea what a syllogism is.

Homosexuality is an abomination to the LORD. But there are plenty of heterosexual forms of sexual immorality as well. And it does hurt people. They get AIDS and other STDs for one. But worse, it just screws people up. There is all kinds of spiritual and pyschological damage that is done when a person engages in homosexual activity (as well as heterosexual sin).

The idea of legalizing gay marriage is abhorrent! What's next? Tri-marriages? 4-some marriages? This is all a rebellion against God.

Marriage and family are God-ordained institutions. If we want our society to be blessed, then we must help our society honor God. True freedom is not the absence of laws and restraint. True freedom is found in Christ.

You talk about defending the "rights" of homosexuals. I am all about defending everyone's real rights. Restraining people from engaging in homosexuality is not a violation of rights. It is the law of God. When the law of God is honored, societies are blessed, free, and secure. When the law of God is broken, societies are cursed. Read the Book of Deuteronomy.

And for all this talk about rights, I notice that you don't talk about the rights of the real victims of our country: the unborn. Throughout history, infanticide has been one of the great evils of the human race. It is worth noting that whenever God was about to do something great, God's enemies started killing infants. When Moses was born, Pharaoh had infants killed. When Christ was born, Herod had innocent babes slaughtered. During the time of the relatively early church, Rome practiced infanticide, and Christians found it abhorrent and took action against it. Now, in America, where there should be liberty and justice for all, babies are denied the most basic of all liberties: the right to life. This is unjust. God will not tolerate it forever. His hand is upraised. Fly the coming wrath.

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.

1:28 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

The simple fact is this:

I have no knowledge whatsoever that homosexuality is wrong.

You say God disapproves of it, but I have three replies:

-I have no knowledge that God exists. That's not to say he doesn't, but as far as I know, he doesn't.

-Even if God DOES exist, I have no knowledge whatsoever he disapproves of homosexuality. (you'll point to the bible, but the thing is, I have no knowledge that the bible is true).

-Even if God did exist, and even if God DID disapprove of homosexuality, I still don't know that that actually makes it wrong. Maybe God's incorrect in his thinking. Maybe God's crazy. Maybe God's not a nice guy. Maybe God's imperfect.

Now, I know you're not going to buy that last one, because to you, god's will in synonymous with goodness. so let me try to prove to you that goodness is something other than just being God's Will.

Let's say we lived in a Universe created by an evil deity. This evil deity issues laws of awful things we're supposed to do-- rape people for example. Does that make raping people a good thing to do?

No! Rape is WRONG whether or not the creator of our particular universe says we should do it or not. If we lived in a universe where the deity's will was for us to rape, it would STILL be wrong for us to do it.

If priests of that evil deity came to me and said "You should commit rape, because it is the deity's will! So rape!", I still shouldn't do it, because it's still wrong, no matter what the creator of the universe wants.

Fortunately, most religions seem to agree we don't live in that universe. Presumbly, our universe was created by a deity that's a fairly nice guy.

God wants us to do something BECAUSE that something IS good.

Christians get confused. They think that if God wants us to do something, -- THAT is what makes it good. But they have it backwards.

Because wouldn't rape still be wrong, even if we lived in a universe where there was no god? I say it would definitley still be wrong. So therefore, it isn't god's will that makes something right or wrong.

---

What does all this mean? It means that saying "God said so" doesn't prove that homosexuality is wrong. The Bible isn't moral law.

Because:

#1: Maybe you have the interpretation wrong. People mis-interprete God all the time. People have looked at the Bible and saw "Slavery is right" in it, somehow.

#2: Maybe the Bible isn't the literal word of God. Maybe there was a translation error, maybe that particule book shouldn't have been included in the cannon.

#3: Even if you could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that God did disapprove of homosexuality (which ya can't), that STILL wouldn't prove it's actually wrong.

---

To me, if I'm not hurting anyone else against their will, then it's not wrong.

And homosexuality doesn't directly hurt anyone agaist their will.

Now, you say it does hurt people psychologically and medically. This is a good point. Two replies:

-I tend to think, however, that it is not homosexuality that makes people psychologically hurt-- it's all the hate directed at them. That every redneck and Ku Klux Klan member in America hates your guts and wants to drag you beneath their bumper-- that that's got to weigh on you.

-By the Golden Rule, I am not allowed to hurt others against their will-- but I'm completely allowed to hurt myself. If I want to eat fatty food that give me high cholesterol, that's my choice. It's not morally wrong, it's just unwise. If I want to smoke (alone in a room), it's not SINFUL, no matter how much it hurts me. And if homosexuality does hurt someone, that's their choice, even if it is unwise.

So let two men marry, no matter how much that scares us or how prejudiced we are about it.

It's really no different than letting a white woman marry a black man-- my grandfather thinks this is the worst thing in the world. He can talk on for hours and hours about how marriages like this should not be allowed, how their sinful and evil and sick and wrong. But he's just old, narrow-minded, and sad. But if that's what makes an interracial couple happy, it's not any of his business.

How is a homosexual couple different than an interracial couple? "Because God says so", I spose you'll say. But you know, if you listen to anyone from the 1940s, they had PLENTY of arguments about God disapproving of interracial couples, and that didn't make them right either.

I'd even say sure: marriages of 3s, marriages of 4s. Any kind of marriages that you want--- if that's really what people want and will make them happy.

Personally, I'd like the government to just get out of the marriage business altogether honestly. Then the conservative churches could choose for themselves what kind of marriages they'd allow, the liberal churches could choose for theirselves what marriages they'd allow, and so on. If you didn't believe in gay marriage, you could refuse to acknowledge them as valid, the same way my grandfather refuses to acknowledge interracial couples.

--
This was the easy reply for me. Answers to your excellent points on taxes and abortion to follow.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Marco,
The discussion about goodness as being separate from God is interesting. I've also heard it before. It is like asking the following: "Can God make a rock so big that He can't move it?" Well, that can make your head spin for a while, and in the end, as my wife says, your microprocessor might explode (see also Austin Powers). But, in the end, it is a moot point BECAUSE God is good. So, you can speculate about a universe in which God was evil, but that is a completely hypothetical situation, which, in point of fact, is not the case.

People also ask, "Who created God?" He is the great I AM. End of story. It is fun to think about this stuff, but at the end of the day, we have to realize that God is a great and wonderful and awesome mystery. If we could fully understand Him, then He wouldn't be God anymore. So, we ought to simply trust and obey.

The Bible clearly condemns racism. Anyone who says otherwise is ignorant - and probably bigoted. They don't know the Scriptures, nor the power of God.

You are not allowed to hurt yourself. Jesus died for you. He paid the ultimate price for your soul. If you are in Christ, then you belong to Christ and not yourself. He is a Jealous God who loves you. He has not left you to yourself. He has claimed you for Himself. He is worthy of all our praise. Therefore, God commands for you to take care of yourself and others. He loves you.

I hope you did not intentionally put me in the same group as rednecks and KKK racists. Again, let me make this clear: I love homosexuals. I am willing to befriend homosexuals. And I will advise them and instruct them to repent of their sin and to turn to Christ - so as to know the forgiveness and joy of Christ.

I have to go now. My wife says that play time is over. More later....

10:20 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

So, I took two minutes on google of christians against interracial marriage.

The most famous one comes from Bob Jones University, which official statment on the issues says:

"Bob Jones University does, however, have a rule prohibiting interracial dating among its students. God has separated people for His own purpose.

Bob Jones University is opposed to intermarriage of the races because it breaks down the barriers God has established. It mixes that which God separated and intends to keep separate.

The attempts at one-worldism have been to devise a system without God and have fostered the promotion of a unity designed to give the world strength so that God is not needed and can be overthrown.

The whole plan of God as He has dealt with the races down through the ages indicates that interracial marriage is not best for man. We do believe we see principles, not specific verses, to give us direction for the avoidance of it.

The people who built the Tower of Babel were seeking a man-glorifying unity which God has not ordained (Gen. 11:4-6). Much of the agitation for intermarriage among the races today is for the same reason. It is promoted by one-worlders, and we oppose it for the same reason that we oppose religious ecumenism, globalism, one-world economy, one-world police force, unisex, etc. When Jesus Christ returns to earth, He will establish world unity, but until then, a divided earth seems to be His plan."
See Lev. 18:23
and
http://christianparty.net/racemixing.htm
http://www.scripturesforamerica.org/html2/jm0074b.htm

------------------

This is why the "Because God Says So" rule of law doesn't work. Because there's always some nut saying God told them something.

Let's say I'm a legislator trying to make laws that reflect what is truly right. So what rule can I possible use to figure out what the laws should be.

I look in my heart and my mind, and I do see the wisdom of the Golden Rule, as has almost every culture and has, so I accept that as a starting point.

Now I have to write a law on marriage. Three advisors come to me.
One is a civil rights activist. He says,"Let anyone marry-- even two men".

Another is Dan. He says,"Don't let two men marry, but let any man and woman marry"

A third is a Bob Jones university advocate who says,"Don't let interracial marriages be legal".

Now.. how can I possibly figure out what the truth is. I look in my heart, and I don't find the answer.

What rule can I use that will disqualify the atheist position, disqualify the racist position, but allow the anti-homosexuality position.

That 'rule' can involve scriptural interpretation-- cause, I'm just a dumb congressman, and I don't know who's right in a debate between two biblical scholars any more than I could resolve a debate between two quantum physicists. That 'rule' can't involve "just listen to your heart" because my heart tend to side with the civil rights advocate. The rule can't be listen to the little voice of God, because I hear a million little voices in my head, and I have no idea which is his.

What am I to do?

--

And no no no! you are DEFINITELY not lumped in with rednecks or kkk members. I could write a whole book about how you're nothing like that. You are a philosopher and a gentleman and I can't ever imagine you being violent with anyone.

:)

12:14 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Marco,

That is why you are entirely dependent on God for salvation, revelation, and wisdom. When Simon made his good confession (that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God), Jesus responded saying, "Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven." And then Jesus went on to talk about this thing called the church (Greek - ecclessia - which means those who are called out). This is recorded in the 16th chapter of Matthew, and this is the first time in the Bible that the word church is used.

God does speak. Just last night, I am convinced that God spoke to me in a dream. It is wonderful and terrifying to hear God speak.

I definately disagree with the position that Bob Jones takes. However, I do believe that people can believe that and still be Christian. But, it is a dangerously close position to Hitler. Christians are imperfect, and Bob Jones' concerns about a one world government and economy are legitimate. However, to take a stand against interracial marriage is wrong.

If God did reveal Himself to you, would you be willing to give up all that you hold dear to follow Him?

On homosexuality, are you not concerned about children being emotionally and psychologically (and spiritually) damaged due to a family life which includes two "dads" but no mom or two "moms" but no dad? For centuries, the Judeo-Christian idea of family has been the backbone of society for the west. Now, people want to experiment with a society that rejects the sacred nature of the institutions of family and marriage. Even from a "secular" perspective (which I am saying for your benefit, I put no stock in a secular perspective), aren't you concerned that this might be unwise, and may lead to problems in the next generation that makes the problems of this generation seem trivial? And you want to allow 4-some marriages too? What about a community of 30 entering into "marriage?" How do you begin to write laws about this? How do you handle "divorce" and custody battles?

Now I know you are thinking that a homosexual couple who loves their kids is better than a heterosexual couple who neglects and/or abuses their kids. In response, I would say that all sin is sin. And if anyone causes one of these little ones to sin, it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and thrown into the depths of the sea.

But back to the revelation of God, for without that, you are without hope. But with that, you have tremendous hope. I would submit to you that there is a tremendous amount of "evidence" to validate Christian orthodoxy.

1. The Bible - 66 Books, 1500 years, 40 "authors," one common theme, no contradictions. One book of incredible wisdom. As you read the Bible, God speaks.
2. The Love of God expressed through the church. One of the biggest convincing factors for me was seeing the love of God in Christians. I don't see that kind of love in the world.
3. The testimony of the Holy Spirit confirming God's truths.
4. Creation - Ordered-complexity, beauty of nature testifies to a great Creator God.
5. Jesus Christ - Logically - Lord, Liar, or Lunatic are the only options.
6. Christ's testimony about the Law and Prophets. There were about 1500 years between Moses and Christ, yet Christ testified that the Scriptures are inviolable.
7. The Resurrection - over 500 witnesses that Paul invited his audience to investigate.
8. The spread of Christianity in the midst of severe persecution. People testifying to the truth of the gospel - even to the point of death. In the midst of the persecution, the gospel was powerful in transforming peoples' lives.
9. Saul's historical conversion. How do you explain the dramatic conversion of the man who was out to destroy the church?
10. Archaeology. The Dead Sea scrolls is one example of evidence that points to the preservation of the Scriptures.

I know you think, "So much of this was two thousand years ago! How can it be confirmed?" Two thousand years sounds like a long time, but think of it like this: There are probably people alive today who could have sat on the laps of someone who could have sat on the laps of someone in George Washington's time. (someone who is about 100 years old - who as a baby sat on the lap of someone who was a little over 100 years old). And there was probably someone alive during Washington's time who could have sat on the lap of one who could have sat on the lap of a contemporary of Martin Luther (that might be a little bit of a stretch, but not much). Five more iterations, and you are in the time of William Wallace. Ten more and you are at the time of Christ. It was not that long ago. (This is a paraphrase taken from Doug Wilson).

I challenge you to step out in faith. Faith is a reasoning trust. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. There is substance to our faith. I'm not advocating bling faith - that is very dangerous. But I am advocating authentic faith. Consider the history. Read the Bible. Pray for wisdom and revelation. Look at the wonderful things that the church has done. Consider the historical claims of Christ. Consider the account of the resurrection - and the fact that Paul made reference to 500 witnesses - many of whom were still living at the time of his writing. Consider the spread of the gospel even in the middle of fierce persecution. Consider Paul's dramatic conversion.

None of this will "prove" the gospel beyond all doubt. But in this country, a verdict only demands that there is sufficient evidence beyond "reasonable doubt." In the end, you are left with somewhat of a choice - and at that point, I would submit to you that the issue is not as much about reason and evidence as it is about spiritual commitments and attitudes. If you do come to Christ, Christ comes to take over. And He will "clear the temple" of your heart. He will cleanse you, so that He can reside in you. There will be hard times, but Christ will be with you through it all. But you have to step out in faith.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Check this out: http://www.wf-f.org/04-3-Feminism.html

Marco, I'd be very interested in reading your response to this essay - in which the intolerance of the tolerance movement is exposed for what it is.

1:31 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

On "Tolerance"

I don't think it's totally fair to point out the tolerance movement's intolerance for intolerance and to declare them self-contradictory on that basis.

That argument works against relativists, to be sure, but tolerance-ists never deny that they're against anything. They're quite open that they're against racism and sexism and homophobia, and are out to eradicate these things from the legal sphere.

Persecution of blacks, women,gays or atheists, institutionalized in law or public schools, is not something the tolerance movement tolerates. They're very upfront about this, it's one of their defining ideas.

---

Now, one thing i'm incredibly proud of, is that when I'm talking to a conservative christian, they become convinced I'm a leftist secularist. But when I talk to a left-wing ultrafeminist atheist, they are just as convinced that I'm a right wing conservative spiritualist.

So on the other side of the coin, I can cite lots of examples where I feel like "tolerance" is starting to go too far.

-Some people literally want organizations like the KKK to be illegal. This is totalitarianism.

-Some people want killing someone because of their race, gender, or orientation to be a totally different special "hate crime". THat's criminalizing the thoughts, not the action. All murders are hate crimes.

-Some liberals want unhealthy things to be illegal. Smoking and junkfood and etc. This in insanity.

-A lot of liberals want to control our vocabulary. This one pisses me off most of all. For example: They say "you shouldn't say black-- you should say african-american, because every time you say blacks, you're saying you hate blacks". But no.. I'm not. Really and truly. I'm not saying that. You don't get to pick words and then suddenly declare that anyone who uses that word is a racist. I'm really NOT racist. I'm really NOT trying to offend anyone.

The game that's really going on with that is some weird vocabularly thought-police-esque game. Liberals make up a word that is OBVIOUSLY liberalist, and then they heckle, ridiculous, bully and outlaw anyone who doesn't use their word. Evil.

Eventually, it works-- the new word gets popular, and anyone who doesn't use it comes out sounding like a racist. But liberals invented that hate-speech, not conservatives. "Oriental" didn't used to mean "I hate you", but now it does-- because the only people who have resisted the incredible pressure to use the word "Asian" are the people who really do hate Asians.

- Liberals have a doctrine not unlike "we're all sinner". One of the liberal axioms is "we're all prejudiced deep down". They'll ask you "Have you confronted your own prejudice"?

If you protest that you don't have prejudice, you get the same reaction that you'd get from telling a christian that you don't have sin. No only ARE you a sinner, but now you're an even bigger sinner for not admitting it.

So, liberals have the excercises of "How are you a racist". These can be simple: I don't have any African-American friends, to obscure : "I buy band-aids from band-aid companies that don't make band-aids match black sin. Therefore I am a racist" And everyone applaudes and moves on to next room. I've sat in rooms that did this. Mine was "When someone emails me, and I imagine what their like, I usually assume they're white and male". A more honest one would have be "I'm physically more attracted to white people than black people" but no way was I brave enough to admit to that one.

---


No, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the whole "Should the state use tax dollars to promote the advancement of ideas which tax payers despise and abhor?" issue you raised.

Here's what I want the answer to be: No-- the government and the public schools should be completely neutral on political and religious issues.

So, in schools: we have school rules that mirror those of society. Violence is utterly forbidden, as are threats of violence and harrassment-- just as they would be in adult society. Beyond that, we're neutral on all issues. It's not our place to lecture on morality, religion, or politics.

But who am I kidding? Neutrality isn't going to last as soon as we have to decide what parts of history we're going to focus on. Neutrality isn't going to last the second we decide what book we're going to read. Neutrality isn't going to last the second we decide whether to teach evolution or not.

We can try as hard as we want, but there's a million small ways we're going to be biased. All I can say is: we should try our honest, level best to minimize it, when we absolutely can't, to only reflect things that have the overwhelming societal consensus.

It's deeply troubling to me that our educators have no respect for this dimension. Rather, it seems like the educators who taught me were trying their absolute hardest to indoctrinate us all with their own personal views. I once had a teacher who, on election day, wore a sticker around that said "I voted for Oliver North"-- and I was shocked that she was so oblivious to her duty as a public school teacher to remain neutral on politics.

In sixth grade, their was a petition that the teachers all had to pass around where the students signed a promise that they will never use drugs or have sex before marriage. It got passed around the room, and everyone was signing it, cause they were supposed to. And I refused to sign it-- an act that met with a lot of teacher and principal attention. Ultimately, I was the only kid in the entire school who wouldn't sign it. And it's not that I planned to go out and use drugs or have sex-- but I felt strongly that it was none of the government (or the school's) business, and so I refused to sign it (I was a very politially active sixth grader).

Our "Health" teacher taught a whole course on Gun and Hunting safety, using course materials given to her by the NRA. One of our tests was "Why Gun-Control Laws are wrong". Our history teacher (who was black) had a series of posters about "Famous African-Americans in Science" and "in Sports" and "in Music" and on and on and on until she had 30 posters on how wonderful blacks were, but not a single poster on anyone else. Our science teacher once proclaimed to the class that we are just "patterns in matter, like patterns in a cloud, and it's silly to think we're going to survive death". One teacher wouldn't let us write book reports on anything written by Judy Bloom, becaue she said they were immoral. Another wouldn't accept book reports of books by Mark Twain, because they were racist.

None of these people were trying to teach-- they were trying to indoctrinate. Teaching is giving out information and saying "Okay-- you learn from it whatever you can". It's trusting your students to make up their own minds, as intelligent beings that are just as smart as you are. It means giving ALL the facts.

Most of my teachers didn't want to do that. They didn't want us to make our own minds, they wanted us to turn out duplicates of themselves. They didn't try to present all the facts-- they tried to present only the fact they liked, and outright FORBID any facts they didn't like-- so that all their students would turn out just like they wanted.

Now, all that's totally okay in a private school where your students are old enough to decide for themselves whether they want to attend or not. But in a public school, kids don't have a choice. They're required by law to go. If you're rich enough, you can escape to a public school you like. If you and your parents are smart enough, you can escape to colleges or to homeschooling. But everyone else is required to be there by law, and they deserve to not to have to be indoctrinated according to the whims of their teachers.

----

I will say this though: Christians love to complain about the indoctrination in secularism that happens in public schools. But if they ran the circus, would that really do anything differently?

They're not upset that our schools are serruptitiously trying to brainwash. They're just upset that they're not the ones who get to do the brainwashing.

--

My father, who is quite a character, likes to facetiously deride Native Americans. Everyonce in a while, someone on tv will say: "And then, the tribes had to move to reservations and had their land taken away from them".

My father will take this opportunity to scream at the tv: "You don't think if the situation were reverse, the indians would have come to Europe and taken OUR land? Of course they would have. But now that they've lost the game, they try to say that the game was unfair, and if they had won, they wouldn't have been so mean. Nonsense-- they would have been just as mean! But since they lost, they're pretending they would have done it different. Quit whining! You lost the race, and so you got your land taken away. That's what you get for never having developed METALWORKING!"

As I said.. my father's a character.

I don't exactly agree with him with regard to native americans, but applied to this situtation, I could easily say:

"You're not upset THAT the schools are indoctrinating people with ideas on politics and religion. You're just upset that you didn't win the battle for who is doing the indocrinating. Well, that's what you get for breaking away from the catholic church! If you had just stuck together in one monolithic theocracy, you guys would have been in power forever. But no no-- you wanted to go nailing your rant blog up on church doors and worshipping god in your own way, and now look what happened! Other people said 'if they can break away from the catholics, I can break away from them' and so now the secularists rule the world. Well-- you can't say that Pope Leo X didn't warn you that all this reformation nonsense would lead to religious anarchy!".

But you have to be sure to give the above quotes their appropriate silliness tone, or I just come off sounding like nut. (or perhaps, like a bigger nut)

5:06 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

The 10 Points of Evidence

"1. The Bible - 66 Books, 1500 years, 40 "authors," one common theme, no contradictions."

Oh, come on! there are thousands upons thousands of contradictions in the bible. Heck, the first sentence of the new testament Matthew 1:1 begins a contradiction!:

Matthew lists the geneology connecting Joseph to being a son of David. It starts off off listing Joseph's father as Jacob, and then lists the 25 people in between. Luke 3 ALSO lists Joseph's lineage-- starting off with Joseph's father Heli and then listing the 40 people in between.

Between Joseph and David, there is not a single name in common between the two lists.

So which is it? Is Joseph the son of Heli or Jacob? Are we to assume they they're somehow BOTH right? Were the two men Heli and Jacob married to each other, does "Joseph have two daddies?" Was Joseph the product of some genetic engineering experiment that mixed the genes of two fathers, so he was a blood descendent of both? Nonsense.

It can't be both. Contradiction.

This is, to me, complete and utter proof that the bible simply cannot be infallible.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html has a list of like a hundred of these things. (about half I can explain away pretty easily, but there are lots more)

It simply doesn't make sense to say the bible has no contradictions. It has oodles.

This isn't something that has to be a big deal. I'm totally open to the argument that the bible gets some of the minor, unimportant details wrong from time to time, but it's overaching message is still right. In the example above, two different people sat down to right a gospel at around 100 CE. Neither person knew anyone who knew Joseph well enough to know who Joseph's father was. But they had heard the important thing-- that Joseph was a descendent of David. So they got the names in between wrong, but the Big Point is still there.

To say the contradictions aren't a big deal make sense. But don't deny they're there.

--

"5. Jesus Christ - Logically - Lord, Liar, or Lunatic are the only options. "

Uhh. Not the Lord, Liar, or Lunatic. First of all, those are NOT the only options. Where is the "Misquoted" option. Where is the "Misinterpreted" option. Those are very real options. The bible wasn't written by eyewitnesses: Maybe Jesus never said he was the son of God. Maybe if he DID say it, maybe he just mean "We're all Sons of God!". That's a real, valid possibility.

Secondly-- it is worth pointing out that people who go around claiming to be Christ are generally called lunatics. Even if they're popular with their circle (as David Koresh was), even if they seem kinda nice (as many mentally ill homeless people do. If you met any man on the street proclaiming to be God, you'd say it's way more likely he's a nut than a he's a messiah.

"6. Christ's testimony about the Law and Prophets. There were about 1500 years between Moses and Christ, yet Christ testified that the Scriptures are inviolable."

No he didn't! The law says stone the adulteress-- just says no. The law says don't do X on the sabbath-- jesus says "Don't worry about it" Man was not made for the sabbath.

Again-- this isn't to say the law is meaningless-- but Jesus was all the time going around contradicting parts of the law. It was why he wasn't too popular with the Pharisees.

---

"9. Saul's historical conversion. How do you explain the dramatic conversion of the man who was out to destroy the church? "

Bah! How do you explain Cat Stevens ' conversion to Islam? Loons are always converting to some religion or the other. There are 1.3 Billion Muslims, 900 million Hindus, and half a million scientologists. I have no idea why people convert to all these religions, but it's not because they're all the one true religion, that's for sure.
----

"4. Creation - Ordered-complexity, beauty of nature testifies to a great Creator God."

Tigers and smallpox and hurricans and tsunamis and earthquakes and killer asteroids? If there is a god, he doesn't sound so nice.

----

"7. The Resurrection - over 500 witnesses that Paul invited his audience to investigate."

Bah! 15 million americans will say they've seen a flying saucer if you ask them. People are dumb.

----

But on the other side:

"2. The Love of God expressed through the church. One of the biggest convincing factors for me was seeing the love of God in Christians. I don't see that kind of love in the world."

Ironic, since it was the hatred of Christains (against me in particular) that was the biggest convicing factors for me, initially.

But that said-- there is much wisdom in your words. I see love in education, I see love sometimes in the health and social work fields, and I see love in religion. And it makes me very much want to gravitate to those things.

Business doesn't even pretend to care anymore. They'll dump toxic chemicals in the water, they'll ship a job to a third world country where they can set up sweatshops, they'll steal old people's retirement money. And they won't even PRETEND to care. They don't even have the conscious to be embarassed about it. They don't care about their workers, they don't care about their customers, they just want their money, and they'll do anything they can to get it.

Contrast that with the churches-- a whole organization out there DEDICATE to trying to make the universe a better place. Misguidedly sometimes, perhaps. But their heart is in the right place, and I have huge respect for that.
------

"3. The testimony of the Holy Spirit confirming God's truths."

I haven't bumped into it personally, but I can totally accept this.

--


"4. Creation - Ordered-complexity, beauty of nature testifies to a great Creator God."

There has to be a reason why there is SOMETHING rather than nothing-- doesn't there?

There was a Star Trek episode where the capitain mysteriously wakes up in a room, and has no idea why he's there or how he got there. There are other people in the room, but they all had the same thing happen to them. They don't know how they got there or why. And so there they are, all in a locked room, trying to figure out what in the world is going on.

Maybe there is no answer. Maybe the answer is "just cause". But that there IS a universe tends to suggest to me maybe there's some answer for what it's doing here.

--

"5. Jesus Christ - Logically - Lord, Liar, or Lunatic are the only options. "

Okay, so. There's a movie called K-Pax where a man winds up in a mental hospital because he claims he's an alien visitor in human form. But then one day, some astrophysicists meet him, and he starts rattling off these equations that are the answers to problems no one had solved.

When a strange man show up and starts talking all this random things, maybe he's just a nut. But if he starts having too many answers, you have to start wondering if he's on to something. When there are OTHER people, in completely different parts of the world (e.g. Buddha) who show up and start blathering stuff that's disturbingly similar to what the other nut was saying... you better start writing these ramblings down, cause it just might be important.

This is why I read the gnostic gospels so much.

---

"The spread of Christianity in the midst of severe persecution. People testifying to the truth of the gospel - even to the point of death. In the midst of the persecution, the gospel was powerful in transforming peoples' lives."

yeah-- when you go from a small cult nobody's ever heard of, to taking over the entire roman empire... It certainly makes me wonder what's up, and if there isn't something going on that I ought to get in on.

Now sure-- lots of other religions have really taken off, so it proves popularity isn't everything.

But still... At the very least, something psychologically powerful that transforms lives forever is going on, and people should sit up and pay attention.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Just one point:

On the genealogy of Christ: One account is Joseph's line and the other is Mary's. Look again: It says in one of the gospels, He was the father - so it was thought....

So, you have both family lines, not a contradiction.

10:34 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

I'm missing this:

Luke 3:23
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,

Mark 1:16
"and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
---
Joseph, the son of Heli.
Jacob, the father of Joseph.

say way?

2:58 AM  
Blogger elvisfromeurope said...

Dan, Marco,

A biblical contradiction is Dan's acceptance of the death penalty and
this :

http://www.pbc.org/dp/stedman/1corinthians/3598.html

"Then, third, love "hopes all things." No cause, no situation, no person is ever regarded as totally hopeless. There is always a place to begin again. Love will find it; it never gives up hope. Thus Paul adds the final word in this section, love "endures all things." Love never quits; it never gives up on anyone."

4:45 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Marco,

Either Jacob or Heli is the father-in-law (I forget which at the moment).

So, both Mary and Joseph were descendents of David (and therefore descendents of Abraham). And you don't have a contradiction.

I will discourse YET AGAIN (ad nauseum) about the reasons why neutrality is not only imposible, but also undesirable. In a couple sentences, it is undesirable because it is a lie; it doesn't exist. You have good and evil. To attempt to teach kids to be neutral is evil by default. Also, to fail to teach kids to be good is to teach them to be evil by default. Teaching kids to be passive by refusing to stand up for righteousness is evil. If, for example, kids aren't taught to value human life as sacred, then by default, they are taught to view human life as something less than sacred. Human beings become objectified. This is evil. I will discourse more about this later, but for now check out my other blog: debatingeducation.blogspot.com.

I shall also rebut your rebuttal more fully later - probably not until next week though. I have a lot to do, and I want to give you a good response.

6:44 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

The explanation I've heard before is that Jacob and Heli were half-brothers, both of whom had married Joseph's father. Since a widow was supposed to marry her brother-in-law under Jewish law, perhaps Jacob was married to Joseph's mother, Jacob dies, and his half-brother Heli married Joseph's mother (or vice-versa). Assuming the marriage and conception took place only a short time after the death, Joseph's parentage would, therefore, be unclear.

Since you mentioned it, I looked up the father-in-law theory as well. In this view, Luke is giving Mary's geneology and the text's punctuation /parsage got messed up, making us think it's joseph's.

I don't mean to imply this sort of thing should actually cause a spiritual crisis-- it's nitpicky details. But it IS a contradiction-- an explainable contradiction, perhaps, but it is a contradiction, and there a bazilion of them in the Bible.

Consider how simple the phrase "Jacob the father of Joseph" is. That's about as simple a sentence as you can get. To me, when I read it, it means this: "Jacob is the father of Joseph". "But what you're saying is, the correct interpretation of that sentence is "Jacob is the step-father of Joseph" or "Jacob is the father-in-law of Joseph".

Now, if we don't even know, upon reading it, what "Jacob the father of Joseph" means, how can anyone say for sure what any single verse truly means?

Who know what the "sin of the sodomites" really is, if we don't even know for sure what "father of joseph" means.

----

About neutrality in teaching-- one thing you can be sure of is that everybody in the entire world (except me) seems to agree with you. No matter who you talk to, everyone agrees that it's up to educators to "instill" the proper values into children. No one agrees on what those proper values are, but everyone (but me!) seems to agree with you, that left untamed, children will grow into nihilistic monsters. Spare the rod, spoil the child. And while far too many still believe in physical rod to instill physical pain, everyone else (but lonely me) seems to agree in the importance of a psychological rod to inflict emotional pain.

In certain African cultures, there's a belief that children have to be taught to sit upright and to stand. Parenting will lovingly construct piles of sand behind their infants backs, to help teach them how to sit upright. Parents will engage in elaborate walking lessons, where an infant's feet are manually "walked" across the ground, even though his legs are still too weak to support him. Children that are slow to walk are sometimes whipped as punishment for not walking yet. And inevitably, when the child does learn to walk, the parent is congratulated on his amazing parenting skills in teaching his child how to walk! For the rest of that child's life, the parent will say "Remember-- I'm the one who taught you how to walk!"

We know this is silly--- children will learn to walk on their own, with no help from us whatsoever. We don't need to teach them how to walk or punish them for crawling. They'll walk on their own. Our job isn't to teach them-- our job is to provide them with some safe space to practice in and to stay out of their way.

I (but only I) tend to think morality and 'values' are the same way. If you act immorally to a child, the child will certainly learn to be immoral back, as a necessary coping mechanism. If you're a genuinely nice person, and you're generally nice to them, and they have a generally nice temperment, then they'll turn out to be moral people. If you're sufficiently mean to them or if they have some innate mental problems, they'll turn out to be not so nice.

But then, of course, nobody but me seems to feel this way. I've come across one other psychologist who says this sort of things, and he's universally reviled for it. I guess it's just my own experience is so different than someone who feels their parents "taught them values". To me, I am what I am IN SPITE of my parents and teachers, not because of them.

I don't know that I am a "good" person (survey results are roughly 50-50. if you know me moderately well, you like me immensely. if you know me really well, you hate my guts and think i'm one of the worst people you've ever met). But whatever I am, I am it through no thanks to my parents, family, or teachers. Whatever plans they had for me failed miserably. Whatever direction they pushed me towards, I grew in a different direction. For better or for worse, no one constructed me, no one can take credit for what values i may or may not have. They affected me, certainly, but they did not 'instill' in me.

----

:)

Whenever I tell someone my view on parenting/teaching, they usually are stunned, take a breath or two, and then say,"Well, I hope to God you never have any children".

hehehe

And then I always reassure them that no, I will never ever have children. The most painful sexually transmitted disease is Human Life, and I'll have no part of it.

I don't know where a baby's mind is before it's born: in heaven? in purgatory or in limbo? in some divine waiting room awaiting the first available body? in nothingness? in nonexistence, never-have-existence, and never-will-existence? I have no idea.

But I do know that any given infant would dramatically prefer any of those options to being on THIS planet, at THIS time, as the son or daughter of THIS person. :)

M

7:46 AM  

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