Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mormonism

I had a pretty lively discussion with a couple Mormon guys today. It is amazing to me how a religion that is so bizarre can be so "successful." Once you suspend disbelief, people can be brainwashed to believe anything.

Hold on there, Marco... I know you are laughing at me right now. But there is a major difference between the truth of God (which does make a lot of philosophical common sense) and the bizarre fairy tales that Mormonism asserts.

The thing about the Mormons is that they are really not educated about the Bible. They say they believe in the Bible - that the original manuscripts are inspired, infallible, and authoritative, and that what we have today is a very good translation. We agree there.

But here is one of the many big inconsistencies that Mormonism has. In fact, this one issue that i will address is really the Achilles' heal of Mormonism.

Mormons deny the doctrine of the Trinity. They (rightfully) point out that the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible. They insist that Jesus is another God. That Jesus is a lesser God than "Heavenly Father." They deny the "3 in 1" idea of God.

I knew that going into this debate, so I figured, that all I would have to do is prove that Jesus is Jehovah, and I've got them.

Not quite. They readily agree with me that Jesus is Jehovah (which can be Biblically proven from John 8, where Jesus asserted, "Before Abraham, I am!" This is when the Jews picked up stones to stone Christ for blasphemy, but Jesus slipped away. The Jews understood, that when Jesus said this, He was identifying Himself as Jehovah, the God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush.

And on this point, the Mormons and I are in agreement.

But they are saying that Heavenly Father is not Jehovah. That Heavenly Father is a higher God than Jehovah. These guys did not even know that Jehovah and YHWH are the same (that the Y was changed to J and some vowels were added). They had no idea that YHWH was is such a sacred name that the ancient Jews of old would not dare utter the name, lest they take the name of the LORD in vain. On the contrary, they assert that Heavenly Father is a higher God. He is the one with the mysterious name that no one may utter. According to Mormons, Heavenly Father is "higher" than YHWH (Jesus).

So, follow me here. Mormons (wrongfully) say that Jehovah is a sub-God. That Heavenly Father is above Jehovah. Futhermore, they (rightly) say that Jesus is Jehovah. So, if it can be proven biblically, that Heavenly Father is Jehovah, then their entire doctrine falls apart. If this can be proven, the Mormon with integrity will admit his faulty doctrine, recognize the authority of Scripture, and repent for believing and preaching a heretical doctrine.

But the Mormons without integrity will then throw out logic, ignore what Scripture plainly teaches, and probably start blabbing on about some Joe Smith dude.

In Psalm 110:1, David says (under the inspiration of God), "The LORD says to my Lord; 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'"

I am fairly certain that in all cases when you see the word "LORD" (in all caps) in the Bible, we are talking about YHWH (Jehovah). If not in all cases, then certainly in most. On this fine point, I am not enough of a scholar to tell for sure.

But I am pretty certain that in this case, the word "LORD" is referring to YHWH.

"Lord" refers to "Master." Jesus quotes this Psalm in Matthew 22:41-46. It is clear that the "Lord" to whom the "LORD" was talking was Jesus - the Messiah - the Christ. And thus, Mormonism falls a part. Because Mormons assert that Christ is YHWH and that YHWH is a separate God from Heavenly Father. Yet, here we see LORD (YHWH) addressing David's Lord (Christ and therefore also YHWH). It is clear then that YHWH was talking to YHWH.

This is a strong case for the Trinity nature of God - 3 persons, 1 God. Mormons try to use verses like this to show that there are multiple gods. But they also say that Jesus is Jehovah. And so, in Pslam 110, Jehovah is talking to Jehovah.

I invite and challenge all Mormons to analyze, pray about, and consider this argument. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

I also challenge everyone - especially Mormons - to do a study of the names of God in the Old Testament - particularly the book of Genesis.

We Protestants have ministers who actually go to seminary and study this stuff. They learn Hebrew and Greek and they read the Bible in the original language. I have heard it said that to read the Bible in Hebrew is like seeing the movie in color. But you need not be a Hebrew scholar to do a study on the Names of God in the Old Testament. The Names of God are extremely significant, and it is important that you aren't haphazard about it. It is important not to make stuff up as you go along, so you can win a debate, and further cement yourself into your heretical doctrines. Read the book of Genesis very slowly and carefully and prayerfully. Everytime you get to a name of God, think about the significance of the Name. Learn some basic Hebrew. I promise you, you will learn a lot.

Mormons must have a horrible track record with Jews. We Christians are not doing a lot better, but there are a good many Messianic Jews who believe that Yahshua is the Messiah. Mormons could learn a thing or two from them. I would like to see a Mormon try to tell a Messianic Jew that YHWH is not the Supreme God - that there is a Heavenly Father above Jehovah.

C'mon. Joe Smith made up some bizarre fairy tale back in the 1800's, claimed prophetic authority, and really failed to train his followers how to answer questions about Jehovah, and now millions of well-dressed bicycle riders propagate their heretical doctrines on unsuspecting and ignorant people, who buy into it hook, line, and sinker. And all the while, with all the millions of Mormons who have studied the Bible, has it ever occurred to you, that you've really screwed up the identity of YHWH?

Now be courageous. Don't go back to your Mormon circle to get the answers there. Do some praying for yourself. Some thinking for yourself. Study the Bible outside of the Mormon camp. Read this blog. Quit simply parroting the talking points that you've been trained to spout. Study philosophy. Get involved in politics. Consider God holistically. Take a balanced approach to life.

I have nothing but compassion for Mormons. They have been severely and systematically brainwashed. I pity them. I pray for them.

Mormons, precious Mormons, the truth is right in front of your face in the precious words of the Bible. Read it well. Study it well. And do that study on the Names of God in Genesis. Ask YHWH to reveal Himself to you. It is not about a burning bosom experience. It is not about psychological manipulation. It is about faith in YHWH, the Creator and sustainer of life.

And remember, I've got nothing but love for ya'll.

48 Comments:

Blogger MarcoConley said...

"I had a pretty lively discussion with a couple Mormon guys today. It is amazing to me how a religion that is so bizarre can be so "successful." Once you suspend disbelief, people can be brainwashed to believe anything.

Hold on there, Marco... I know you are laughing at me right now."


Whew-- glad I wasn't the only one who saw the irony.

These inter-religious disputes always amaze me. You can see so clearly that the mormons are insane-- that they follow a looney set of beliefs that are more fairytale than fact.

So, you clearly are hip to the concept that human beings CAN become deluded. But you don't consider the possibility that you yourself are one of these people, or that the early christians and the author of the bible were these people. or that the early jews were such people. It's mindboggling.

It's sort of like taking a trip to a mental institution and meeting all these psychotics who are constantly hearing voices and having hallucinations. Now, most of the residents are so out of it, they can't really deal with philosophy. But then you meet patients who tell you: "Sure, I know I'm in a mental hospital, and let me tell you, the people around here are CRAZY. And sure, I have almost all the same symptoms they do, but let me tell you-- the disembodied voices _I_ hear are REAL-- I'm not crazy."

It's just amazing that people can make that leap to realizing "Every religion on the planet except for mine is crazy and full of fairytales" but can't even fathom the possibility that their might be that way too.
-----

About the Trinity. I think it's a much EASIER argument to claim that Jesus is NOT Yahweh than to claim he IS. Certainly, I grant you that isolated quotations attributed to him 3-4 generations after his death might imply he was hinting that being Yahweh, but if he WAS trying to say that, he was certainly quite subtle and flip-floppy about it.

The authors of the synoptics clearly had no idea of the trinity-- how could they have known about the trinity and not have bothered to mention it? It's a VERY important idea, but Mark and Luke makes practically no reference to anything that could be called trinitarian, and you have to squint pretty close to see the idea that Jesus IS Yahweh in Matthew.

Here's a trilemma for ya: Was Jesus a Liar, a Lousy Teacher, or 'Not Yahweh'?

Now, none of the first three major gospels that were written about Jesus mention Jesus being Yahweh in any clear way. For example, Jesus never says "I am YHWH" or "In the beginning, I said 'Let there be light'". The authors of these gospels are utterly unaware of this concept.

Now, perhaps Mark, Matthew and Luke don't know about this because Jesus decided to deceive his students about his true identity. Perhaps he decided to lie to them, and to deny being YHWH. But of course, everything we know about Jesus suggests he was a man of the highest character, and not likely to lie about so important a subject.

So perhaps Jesus was just a really lousy teacher. He was _trying_ to tell his followers that he was YHWH, but he just couldn't succeed in doing it. No matter what he said, they kept misunderstanding him, and he just couldn't find a way to explain it, so for the next seventy years, no one knew Jesus was YHWH. But, from what we know, Jesus was an incredibly skilled teacher and orator, who routinely conveyed difficult lessons to people.

The only other possibility is that Jesus really didn't think he was YHWH at all. And a lot of what Jesus says points to this. He prays to a heavenly father, not to himself. He refers to God as a third person, not in the first person.

By all means, argue if you want that John the Evangelist had a divine revelation revealing hte Truth about Jesus's divinity if you want-- just remember, though, the first christians, who actually knew Jesus-- they would have looked at you like a lunatic if you had tried to convince them of this.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"By all means, argue if you want that John the Evangelist had a divine revelation revealing hte Truth about Jesus's divinity if you want-- just remember, though, the first christians, who actually knew Jesus-- they would have looked at you like a lunatic if you had tried to convince them of this."

That is absolutely not true. (And, for clarification. That Mormons and I are in agreement that Jesus is Yahweh. But they insist that Heavenly Father is not Yahweh).

The Jews knew very well that Jesus was claiming to be Yahweh. That's why they accused him of blasphemy. That's why we see in John, the scene where Jesus and the Pharisees had that famous argument. To this day, many Jews who don't believe in Jesus as the Messiah believe that that argument went down. But they insist that the Pharisees were right and that Jesus was wrong.

You seem to be suggesting that this historical argument never happened.

When Jesus said, "Before Abraham, I am!" He was clearly identifying Himself as YHWH.

The word Trinity never appears in the Bible. But the concept is all over the place.

Matthew 28:18-20 says, "All authority in Heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age."

You don't have to squint that closely; you just have to have your eyes opened.

On "inter-religious disputes," I would remind you that secular postmodernism has its own set of presuppositions, beliefs, and creeds. That they often claim the high ground is just as ridiculous as Mormons and Muslims claiming the high ground. So, don't think so much of yourself. You also think you are right about everything (at least, I've never heard you reverse your position on anything). And the irony is that you are presupposing that you can know anything about epistemology and metaphysics. You make judgment calls. Your faith is ultimately in your own ability to make those judgment calls.

Talk about wack. I would never put such confidence in myself. I may be arrogant, but not that arrogant.

6:04 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

but look at John. Clearly, this is a gospel that's trying to talk about Jesus's divinity. It's very clear about this.

But the synoptics are totall different. It's very easy to say "I am God", and just saying "I am" doesn't do it-- you really need that last word. It's very easy to tell someone By the way-- I'm God. That the Jesus character depicted in the synoptics never clearly and straightfowardly identifies himself as such is a big problem. That the authors of those gospels never overtly state this conclusion is an even bigger problem.

If YOU were writing a summary of Jesus and Christianity-- would you EVER forget to mention this, in big bold letters, that Jesus is God? Could that possibly slip your mind? Could you possibly ever get to the point where you would say "Well, it's SO obvious that Jesus is God, I don't need to mention it". Would you ever say "I'm going to leave a subtle clue in hear which when read by the right scholar will prove Jesus is God, but I'm not going to share that conclusion in a way that most of my readers will see?"

If they authors of the synoptics did believe Jesus was YHWH, they have to be high in the running for some of the worst authors in human history. If they actually believed that and they weren't utterly incompetent authors, it shouldn't even be possible for us to have this debate-- a conclusion this important should be stated. You shouldn't have to scratch around for subtle clues that suggest maybe Jesus was YHWH-- they should say "JESUS is God, period". How could you possibly believe that and not say so? It boggles the mind.

And let me tell ya-- the author of Mark may have been a bit hackish, but the author of Luke was a very skilled author. And there is no way she (and it probably was a she) believed Jesus was YHWH but somehow left that conclusion out.

Now, if the first three gospe authors didn't know that Jesus = YHWH, then I think we're hard pressed to say that Jesus himself ever publically taught that.

Which is why you have to invoke the secret, private teachings idea in the first place. The notion of a mysterious unnamed beloved disciple who was privy to details that the general public didn't. If you're going to introduce a NEW viewpoint that disagrees with all the authors before you, you have to have some way to account for why all the earlier sources could get it wrong but you can get it right. So, you have the "secret teachings" doctrine-- a mainstay of religions everywhere. The idea that the religious leader had certain ideas that most followeres just weren't ready for, but a few secret individuals carry on the true intepretation. They're a staple of every pretty much every religion in the world, and the Gospel of John is a perfect example, as were dozens of the other early gospels floating around in the second and third centuries. A modern example is The Da Vinci Code, where the 'secreat teachings of Jesus' were passed on to 'beloved disciple' Mary Magdalene. Utter nonsense, of course, but that's a problem with the whole secret teachings genre-- they're usually a lot more interesting than the non-secret teachings but a good deal less historically accurate.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

First of all, I didn't mean anything personal about that whole comment concerning your arrogance.

Rather, it is my philosophical / theological position that to place confidence in yourself and not in YHWH is an arrogant thing to do. It shows you have a great deal of self-esteem. The problem with self-esteem is that self becomes exalted above all else. But you were created to put your confidence in God, not yourself.

So, I just wanted to be clear that I was not personally attacking you. You have been pretty darn cool about not being offended by my volatile nature. I think that speaks very well of you. I've really enjoyed getting to know you through these debates all these months. I would hate to lose you due to some reckless comment on my part.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

The reason that "I am!" is sufficient, that is, the reason the Jews saw that as a sufficient reason to stone him, is that "I AM!" is the Name that God gave to Moses at the burning bush. "Who shall I say sent you?" "I am who I am. Say to Pharaoh, 'I Am sent me.'" YHWH is the essence of reality - the authority on epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. He is eternal. He is defined as "I AM!"

That's why the unbelieving Jews were ready to stone him. He had uttered blasphemy. Furthermore, those Jews would have been right if Jesus was not, in fact, YHWH.

Concerning the reasons why the authors of the other gospels leave out "Jesus is YHWH."

Anyone can claim, "I am YHWH." Several characters throughout history have done so. Merely saying it won't be convincing. Yet, those who have encountered YHWH, if they retain the knowledge of GOd, will recognize YHWH when in His presence. And certainly Jesus asserted so much through all his teachings, his life, his character. Saying things like "I and the Father are one."

It's not about getting "academic theolgoy" all right. It is about knowing God (not just with your head, but in deepest part of you). Jesus had no insecurity about His identity. Unlike the Mormons I talked to the other day, He didn't need to keep on saying, "I'm right. I'm right. I'm right." He knows Himself.

Proverbs 25:2 says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings."

God wants us to seek Him. He woos us with glimpses of His glory and Truth. In point of fact, He is fully capable of convincing everyone of His identity. He is not incompetent. He is all powerful.

But men are wicked and sinful. He conceals Himself from people, but gives them a glimpse of His glory, that they might seek Him. But if they are continually disobedient to God, then He gives people over to depraved thinking (see Romans 1).

If God showed up in all His glory, trust me; you would have no doubts as to His idenity. But you would probably also be dead.

Also, several times in the New Testament, there are quotes to the Old Testament in which the word "LORD" (YHWH) is interchanged by "Lord" (Master, Adonai, I believe). Clearly, LORD and Lord are one in the same. Thus, in Matthew, when Jesus quotes Psalm 110 and identifying himself as "Lord," He also was identifying himself as "LORD."

Also, the "Son of God" is a title that demonstrates the divinity of Christ, just as "Son of Man" is a title that demonstrates the humanity of Christ. He was fully God and fully man.

But like I said, all of these points are merely academic if you treat them as such. They become significant when you encounter YHWH, and from that encounter, you begin to understand what YHWH is all about.

The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power.

7:39 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"Secular postmodernism has its own set of presuppositions, beliefs, and creeds. That they often claim the high ground is just as ridiculous as Mormons and Muslims claiming the high ground. So, don't think so much of yourself. You also think you are right about everything (at least, I've never heard you reverse your position on anything)."

Well, in many ways, this is an artifact of the internet. I go online to argue, so... I come off a lot more confident than I actually am. I can do this mainly because I'm pretty positive I won't actually convince you of anything based just on the forcefulness with which I present the case. If you started saying things like "That's a really good point, and it makes me question my faith", then suddenly you'd see a very different side of me, and I'd have to start arguing both sides of everything and doing more back-and-forth, hemm-and-hawing, being pensive rather than argumentative.

In my normal life, I rarely make coherent directed arguments in conversation. Around younger family members, I give my opinion if they ask for it, if not, I usually keep it to myself. Older family members, of course, don't really want to hear my opinion, they usually want to hear their own, and so I let them say their piece and usually keep my own to myself. It's not my job to change anyone's mind, and if I affect minds, it's my job just to make sure that truth finds its way to peoples minds, not my opinions.

This was particularly true when I taught my Contemporary American Politics classes-- which when I taught it basically consisted of going through and looking at the "Top 40" greatest hits of american political debates. I used to go through the whole term being absolutely, utterly impeccably careful that my students never, ever be able to figure out what side I was on on any of the debates. I'd try to give each side the absolute BEST presentation of their points of view that I could, etc.

I had one term where the students got very obsessed trying to figure out what political/religious persuasion I was, and at one point, one of the teaching assistants took a poll, and it was split pretty 50-50 of who thought I was a republican vs democrat. I was flattered.

So no, no, I have a very profound lack of trust in myself on some levels. Unlike every other teacher in that very liberal department, I have grave misgivings about substituing my own judgement about things for the judgement of my students-- the world works better if there's a level playing field of ideas for the truth to win, even if I personally don't yet know that truth.

In my own mind, there's very little certainty. I argue things back and forth all the time-- always have. Sometimes I do develops a lot of confidence in some of my lines of reasoning, but rarely do I settle on any of the big-picture conclusions.

Here's a perfect example:

What's better-- happiness or justice? Suppose I could prove to you that if we outlawed many personal freedoms, people would be happier. The freedom of the press means we hear about upsetting unhappy news-- suppose we controlled the media so that television and newspapers were filled with happy stories. Right to bear arms and right to free association definitely fascilitates crime-- suppose we outlawed guns and insitute curfews and uses survellience cameras to bring an end to almost all crime, creating a police state. Furthermore-- politics is a very devisive force-- suppose we eliminated democracy adn all the fighting that goes with it.

Now, suppose we COULD create a system where the sacrifice of all personal freedoms really did make people happier. Where people lived in a tightly-run near-totalitarian community with rigidly enforced social constraints-- something like a soviet union city or a puritan colony. Suppose people were happier there than living in our crime-infested freedom-ridden society.

Now, which society should we pick? a free one with unhappy people, or a non-free one with relatively happy prisoners.

It's a big question-- a fundemntal question, maybe THE fundemantal question of government, and I still don't have a good answer.

And please-- no cheating. No "whichever would make God happiest" or "whichever would live in accordance with his laws". I also often bump into people who cheat by saying "People are always happier whenever they're free, no mattter what" or "people who aren't free would always be miserable" or "any totalitarian state woudl become corrupt eventually". None of those are the question-- this is pretend thought experiment of an important but tortuous dilemma. Appealing to corruption or deities is only relevant if we're going to talk about this as if it's in the real world, which it's not. This is in makebelieve thought experiment land, where there are no god and no corruption.

--

The closest I get to confidence is when I say things like, given X,Y, and Z, then it's obvious that A,B, and C. BUt I'm rearely certain about A,B, and C-- I'm only certian that X implies A.

So, if there's a god, if god's all-powerful, and if god's all-good , then God IS NOT going to torture unwilling victims for eternity just because that person didn't know Jesus is God at the moment of that person's physical death. I'm pretty certain about that.

But "IS God going to torture someone for eternity just because that person didn't know Jesus is God at the moment of that person's physical death."? There's no certainty about that one. Maybe God's mostly good, but not perfectly good. Maybe there's some fundamental law that prevents God from saving everyone-- maybe he somehow can't save people who don't believe in Jesus, even though he wants to. Maybe the victims AREN'T being unwillingly tortured-- maybe they want to be in hell, and that somehow makes them happier than if they were in heaven, and maybe only any evil God would remove them from that place that they like so much. or, maybe there is no god. Or maybe _I_'m god but I've just forgotten. Maybe realizing JEsus is God is part and parcel to my remembering that I'm God too and when we say "No one gets to heaven unless they believe Jesus was god", that's true, because when you're in heaven, everyone knows the truth and it's forgetting that truth that is what not-being-in-heaven is, but everyone will eventually get there. Or maybe none of this even exists-- maybe I'm dreaming or drugged. Or maybe I'm just a collection of atoms that thinks its' a human, and later when I'm dirt I'll think I'm dirt.

You don't have to go on too long like this before you start to sound like a serious stoner.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Marco,

So, your class was split on whether you were Republican or Democrat. But I bet very few, if any, people thought that you were a Communist, a Nazi, or a Muslim.

What is "moderate" in one part of the world is "extremist" in another part of the world.

Also, as I've said previously, facts are not neutral things. Facts speak for themselves. Facts condemn the guilty and acquit the innocent.

If there is a dispute between side A and side B, and all the facts say that side A is right and side B is wrong, but society is still divided (due to ignorance, willful sinfulness and arrogance, or misrepresentation of facts), then it would be wrong to refuse to take the side of truth and justice for the sake of being politically correct.

Furthermore, this is how the left operates. You have situation where most of the time those on the right in this country are right to be on the right (in most issues, most of the time). But the left despises the right. The left does not understand justice. The left is filled with sinful and depraved people. (Now, yes the right has their share of sinners too). Not taking a side on issues may be politically expedient, but it also the wrong thing to do, because by doing so you neglect justice - which is like calculus - complicated, yet absolute.

Furthermore, the harder left the leftists go, the harder left the "center" goes. So, the left goes really hard left, and then accuses "centrists" of being "right wing neo-con fascists." So, now, the new center is left of the old center.

The so-called "Palestinians" do the same thing. They make it seem like they are so reasonable in dealing with Israel. But really, they are committed to Israel's destruction. They are so extreme, that they have pulled the "center reasonable view" into a view that is only slightly less extreme than its own extremist terrorist view.

Take the issue of abortion. There is no middle ground on this issue. Reality says that the unborn child is a child. Therefore, killing that child is murder. But the femi-Nazis on the left exalt the comfort and convenience of women over the value of an unborn child. They are so extreme on this view that they have pulled the "centrist" view (whatever that is) to an extreme view: "I don't much like abortion, but who am I to judge women?" Then, I'm left here as a voice crying out in the wilderness, "IT'S A CHILD!!!!!"

So, you see, the fact that your students couldn't identify where you stand tells me that you don't really stand for anything. That's not something to be proud of. You ought to be ashamed that you have so neglected justice.

But God is a God of grace. He will forgive you for this grievous sin if you will humble yourself and ask Him for forgiveness.

9:27 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"But I bet very few, if any, people thought that you were a Communist, a Nazi, or a Muslim."

Well, if they were smart, they should have a least wondered if I was Communist.
---
"facts are not neutral things. Facts speak for themselves. Facts condemn the guilty and acquit the innocent."

But two people can agree on fact, but disagree on conclusions-- so clearly, facts aren't all they're cracked up to be. OR put another way-- real facts are hard to come by. Ten people can be in the same room, see the same thing, and come to ten different conclusions. Just look at the news-- with all the resources the news has, they can't agree on the all the facts all the time-- and they certainly can't agree on the conclusions.

On a subject like Religion, there almost AREN'T any facts at all. There may be truths, perhaps, but no one can agree on what they are.

"Take the issue of abortion. There is no middle ground on this issue."

Sure there is. Here is a middle ground: I don't know. I don't know whether it's right or wrong. I don't know whether a 12 week old fetus that weighs the same as seven cents in pennies is a human being or not. If people feel it's wrong, I can understand if they decide to give birth to an unwanted child into an uncertain world, based on that belief-- I'm not going to force on one them based on my belief that someone has no business bringing a new person into this world if they are not POSITIVE of their ability to ensure that entity's wellbeing and happiness. And if people don't think it's wrong, I won't force my opinions on them and stop them from listening to their own beliefs.

You've made your case that it's wrong-- people don't believe you. If god is such a big fan of free will, then the State shouldn't be any different. If God didn't presume to write the laws of the universe to stop us from doing something people can't agree is wrong, then I don't see any reason the US Federal Government should step in and play God. If you don't want people to have abortions, use words, not policemen to accomplish that goal. If God wants it stopped at all costs, he doesn't need our laws and our policemen doing that job.

--

I find it easy to see both sides of the abortion debate-- but we have to error on the side of freedom. You think there's a person in there in that tiny assemblage of cells. You might be right, but you can't prove it, and right now, most people think you're wrong.

This is the whole problem with faith. Good, decent, intelligent people can reach two completely different conclusions, and there's no sane way for anyone to figure out who's right.

----

"So, you see, the fact that your students couldn't identify where you stand tells me that you don't really stand for anything. That's not something to be proud of. You ought to be ashamed that you have so neglected justice."

Well, given the fact that you and I disagree so much, you should be applauding me for my not trying to indoctrinate my students.

Besides, as we both know, it's well nay impossible not to stand for something-- any series of decisions in effect promotes SOME point of view. That I didn't shoot them all on the first day of class means that I've already declared certain homocidal points of view to be invalid, before I've even opened my mouth.

What I stood for, I suppose, was this: a very sincere admiration and respect for the Learning process, and a deep belief that I was its servant and it's facilitator, rather than it being a tool I exploit to my own ends. It stood for a deep respect for my students, and the believe that they were just as capable of drawing conclusions as I was, and that the opinions I hold are not inherently better simply because I hold them. If my own conclusiosn are right, then my students will on average come to them anyway, so long as they get to hear both sides fairly.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Your conclusions about abortion are not "middle ground." Your conclusions about put you on the side of "pro-choice."

Essentially, it would be the same thing as a slaveowner in the early 1800's beating a slave to death. The abolitionists say, "That's wrong, because black men are ... (drum roll please) men." And they say, "No, they are not men. They are my property. I can do with them what I will."

For people to come in and say, "There there now. Let's all get along. Everyone has their own beliefs. And if you think that black men are men, then don't kill them. But if a slave owner thinks black men are not men, and feels compelled to beat his slave to death, I personally might not agree with that, but we need to error on the side of freedom in this country. So, feel free to protest, abolitionists, but don't make this a political issue."

Hello? You can compromise your very humanity by spouting such twisted, depraved rhetoric. Worse than that, you fail to defend the helpless from the savage wolves.

But, hey, at least you won't get fired from your job.

I'm disgusted.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

You said, "Besides, as we both know, it's well nay impossible not to stand for something-- any series of decisions in effect promotes SOME point of view. That I didn't shoot them all on the first day of class means that I've already declared certain homocidal points of view to be invalid, before I've even opened my mouth."

Amen. So be it. In this particular situation, on this particular stance, you took a stand for that which is right.

It would have been very wrong for you to murder your students. Anyone who says any differently is wrong.

Likewise, it is wrong for mothers to murder their babies. Anyone who says any differently is wrong.

You said, "What I stood for, I suppose, was this: a very sincere admiration and respect for the Learning process, and a deep belief that I was its servant and it's facilitator, rather than it being a tool I exploit to my own ends."

Like I have previously said, neutrality is impossible and undesirable. You stood for "admiration and respect for the learning process" as you should. The antithesis of that viewpoint would be disrespect and disdain for the learning process.

What I am pointing out is that for every belief, idea, and creed, there exists the antithesis of that belief, idea, and creed. Furthermore, the idea that teachers should have disrespect and disdain for the learning process is an abhorrent idea and should not be tolerated. Happily, most people (dare I say, even you) agree with me on that.

But, unfortunately, most people aren't trained enough in logic to follow this line of thinking through to all its wonderful implications. I don't get it. I'm not that smart. How is it that people can't and/or won't follow this thinking through to all of its logical conclusions?

I think there are two reasons for this. One, if they do, then all of a sudden, they have a whole lot of sin for which they need to repent, and they definately do that. Two, they are surrounded and pressured by a secular postmodern, illogical culture that pressures them to accept the contradictory and despicable creeds of postmodernism. That is the politically correct thing to do. It is BS, but we are expected to swallow it and live by it.

You said, "It stood for a deep respect for my students, and the believe that they were just as capable of drawing conclusions as I was, and that the opinions I hold are not inherently better simply because I hold them. If my own conclusiosn are right, then my students will on average come to them anyway, so long as they get to hear both sides fairly."

So, after (you know how many semesters you taught) of teaching by example "respect and admiration for the learning process," did you present the other side fairly? Did you ever suggest that disrespect and disdain for the learning process deserves to be presented, modeled, and taught in the classroom?

...

I'm sure you didn't. So, it looks like you didn't present "both sides fairly."

See, the reality of the situation - the creed on which we are in agreement - is that there is a learning process in the classroom, and that teachers ought to admire and respect the said learning process. Because we believe that, we abhor the idea of disrespecting the learning process.

There is no neutral ground here. Either you respect the learning process or you don't. The only possible "neutral" ground would be undesirable, because that "neutral" ground would be a shallow half-way respect for the learning process and not a deep respect for the learning process. But I think we both agree that schools should seek to hire the best teachers, not mediocre teachers.

Once again, I have proven that the antithesis is real. Will people ever get it?

We've been created in the image of God. There are creation "norms" that are deeply a part of us. God has placed eternity in our hearts. He has shown us what is good. And that's why it is important to "respect the learning process" and not to tolerate ideas that state that "the learning process should not be respected by teachers."

Do you see what I'm saying?

4:52 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

But you have to admit-- there's a lot more uncertainty about whether a tiny brainless amalgamation of cells is a human than there is about whether a black man is human. I realize that if it turns out that there is a cogniscent human in a weeks old fetus,then obviously, the situation is analagous-- but still, there's a world of difference.

We just don't know. And if we don't know, it comes down to which side are you going to err on-- the side of protecting freedom or the side of protecting life. I'm glad we live in a country that errs on the side of protecting freedom, but I admit-- it's an emotional issue, and I can totally understand people who wish we'd err on the other side of things.

Of course, there's lots we still CAN do to decrease the number of abortions that occur each year. Good, honest, non-judgemental sex ed has been shown to help alot. If we made birth control of all kinds 100% free. This would cause the number of abortions to plummet. As is-- most health insurance won't even cover birth control, but honestly, people who can afford insurance are the least of the problem. If birth control were paid for by the government, available free-of-charge to any low-income woman who wanted it, can you imagine the drop in abortion rates? If on top of that, teenagers had a safe, reliable confidential option to obtain birth control, we would have a huge chunk of the problem beat.

And then, imagine-- if we can-- imagine that we fund children so that every pregnant woman deciding whether or not to have an abortion knows that if she chooses to give birth, her child will have everything it needs-- a house, food, a safe school, a good doctor and if accepted, the funding for a college education. Imagine how many pregnant women, as they make that critical choice, think about these factors. What if our government could give every one of them an iron-clad promise that if they will agree to become mothers, their child will be safe, fed, healthy, and educated.

Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I think the abortion rate would drop to a tiny, minsicule fraction of its current rate.

--

But, see. this is where the pro-life movement gets itself into trouble. When the free condoms in schools program gets picketed by Christians, it makes people a little uneasy. "Why do the Christians, so eager to protect the unborn, show no desire to protect the born from HIV?" "Why do they talk about the unborn on one day, but give huge tax breaks that shut down hospitals and slash educational dollars the next, thereby hurting the chidren who have been born?"

And it starts to make people suspect that the whole thing-- protesting condoms, protesting abortion-- isn't really about a respect for human life at all. Maybe it's really about enforced antiquated sexual morality on an unwilling populace--- fighting against people having sex savely on one-hand, fighting to keep sinful women pregnant so they can bear their a mark of their shame on the other-- get the women out of the workplace, back into their homes where they belong.

I of course, have been around enough Pro-Lifers to know that's hogwash. Maybe it's what's in Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell's mind, but, not most christians. But when I lived in liberal land, this was a very, very popular theory.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I said, "One, if they do, then all of a sudden, they have a whole lot of sin for which they need to repent, and they definately do that."

I meant, "One, if they do, then all of a sudden, they have a whole lot of sin for which they need to repent, and they definately don't want to do that."

4:54 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

No promoting theocratic socialist tyranny (since we have agreed that postmodern socialism is a religion), is not the answer to the abortion problem. I freely tithe to institutions that promote the gospel - which is the real answer to life. I object to religious secular tyranny, where it is mandated that I, who hate secularism, must not only tithe, but go way above and beyond tithing.

And no, there is no value difference between an unborn baby and a grown man. Neither is there a difference in value between a newborn and a teenager. That the teenagers have been further physically developed by entering into puberty doesn't make them any more human.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I said, "No promoting theocratic socialist tyranny (since we have agreed that postmodern socialism is a religion), is not the answer to the abortion problem."

I meant, "No. Promoting theocratic socialist tyranny (since we have agreed that postmodern socialism is a religion), is not the answer to the abortion problem."

5:26 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Many people say, "There are two sides to every issue - both of which deserve respect."

Well, the antithesis of that statement is, "There are very often not two sides to an issue. There is one truth, and the other side does not deserve respect."

Those who disagree with the second assertion have disagreed with the first assertion as well. If I'm thinking straight right now, I think this might be a case for Godel's Incompleteness Theorem.

The point is that it is totally illogical to assert, "In order to be fair and balanced, you must present both sides on every issue." Because if you assert that, then you must also just as assertively present the antithesis of that assertion in order to "present both sides of every issue." But when you do that, then you violated the that first rule.

The righteousness of God reaches to the skies. What we ought to do is to live righteously.

This is why it all comes down to faith. Any fair minded trained logician would admit that my argument makes sense. Therefore, it is of chief importance that we start off our worldview with the right set of presuppositions. Everything that we think about epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics will come forth from our presuppositions. So, it is important to get our presuppositions right.

Which is why we need God to reveal those fundamental truths to us. We are not reliable. He is.

11:04 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"1. There are two sides to every issue - both of which deserve respect.

2. There are very often not two sides to an issue. There is one truth, and the other side does not deserve respect."

Well, it's possible to disagree with statement #2 and still believe statement #1-- you just have to be respectful of people who believe #2, but not necessarily agree with them.

In general, a lot of these sorts of proofs that "Postmodernism and relativism are logically self-contradictory" work by treating English as if it were math. It is not.

If someone says "There is no truth", you can rightly argue that technically, the sentence, as written, is self-contradictory. But to do so is really to miss the point of what the speaker is really trying to say. This is clear, for example, because if someone says "There is no truth" and you point out to them that the believe that sentence is true, they don't suddenly get a look of surprise on their face and say "Wow, you're right... I never thought of it like that". Rather, they get a frustrated look and say "Yeah, yeah. But the point is, it's very hard to find objective truth."

In English, almost everything we say is meant to be taken fuzzily. There's are unspoken qualifies like "most", "usually", "typically," and "generally speaking" hidden in all our sentences.
--

There's also this notion that a respect for all viewpoints means you're not logically allowed to have any opinions yourself about anything. The idea that presenting "both sides of an argument" is somehow logically self-contradictory.

But, you know, that isn't really so. When classes that use a "neutral", non-indoctrinating way of doing things talk about how teaching should be done, both sides of that question are presented. I myself sat in a teaching class that had a debate between the people who thought instructors should overtly use the education process to convey messages and people who didn't.

Some people did run their classes pretty much with the overt purpose to indoctrinate-- to try to create as many future liberals as possible. And it bugged me to no end. It drove me crazy to have to endure classes like that-- even when I agreed with the points being argued for.

And that's the thing. When you try to decide between the "taking a stand and fighting for the truth" method or the "having respect for all sides" method-- at first, you might think you like the "taking a stand" method-- because you imagine that the speaker will see Truth as you see it. But in practice, the speaker will be speaking a truthyou disagree with. The choice will be between "Being indoctinated by someone whose words you hate" and "respecting all sides". When I lived in liberal land, for example, the population and the professors weren't southern conservative christians-- they were leftist tree-hugging liberals. The "a speaker who indoctrinates everyone in the exact way I want everyone to be indoctinated" wouldn't be on the menu-- the choice would be between "Trying to be fair" or "trying to turn the room full of children in to democrats".

4:52 PM  
Blogger elvis777 said...

A group of cells is a person. Which group ? Why is a group of cells that will become ants less valuable ? do we know how ants feel ? maybe they think, maybe they are more human then us. How many cells are a person ? 3, 5 20 ? what exactly is it in the cell that makes a person ? which molecules ? which atoms ? which electrons ? what is the quantum equation of an amino acid ? hmm....

Alot of uncertainty when talking about unborn beings. Maybe we should play it safe and avoid destroying any group of cells or molecules or atoms.

5:05 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"there is no value difference between an unborn baby and a grown man. Neither is there a difference in value between a newborn and a teenager."

Well, see, I'd disagree. I think a fetus that lacks a brain _IS_ less human than grown man, and if I could safe only one of the two of them, I would definitely choose the grown man.

Similarly, I hate to say it, suppose we had a newborn baby and a teenager both bitten by a rattlesnake,only one of which can get the antivenom, I think I'd have to pick the teenager every time.

Someone who is not conscious simply IS less human. Someone who doesn't have a brain isn't really human, in my mind.

Obviously, thing's easier when we don't have to think about this. But the fact is-- you can't prove a tiny brainless assemblage of cells is a human life and you can't write laws that way.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

The issue is personhood, not life. Human skin cells constitutute human life, but its not unlawful to get a tatoo, or to shave off a few cells here and there.

You talk about proof. Are you saying that you need "proof" before you write any laws?

It seems to me like you are being stubborn and argumentative. You just don't want to lose a debate. You are not led by any real guiding principles except, "Does this please Marco?" You are your own god. You are your own idol. I am warning you, as an ambassador of Christ, repent. He will not tarry forever.

You want proof? How do you prove anything? How do you prove that a person is a person? How do you prove that a person has value and that murder is "wrong?"

You can't prove anything without axioms and postulates. All of geomtetry hangs on Euclid's postulates. Our Founding Fathers said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident...." They didn't prove their axioms. They simply asserted them.

As do I. The unborn is a human person - and has the right to life. That you don't/won't recognize that simply shows that you are a totally depraved sinner.

And its scary, because you vote, and because there are way too many people who think like you. Every major injustice in history started when people failed to honor the personhood of certain groups of people. Hitler devalued the Jews. Many 19th century Southerners devalued black people. At different times, people have devalued women. At different times, people have devalued infants. You and your postmodern secularist socialists devalue the unborn. But more than that, you devalue infants. You exalt the value of teenagers over infants. Your own words condemn you.

Without God, we can know nothing about epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. Yet you are committed to your rebellious scheme of keeping God out of politics. Nature abhors a vacuum. Where the truth is not valued and fought for, error and sin and depravity and twisted ideas take over.

I think you are a polytheist. You worship yourself and the socilialist state of postmodern secularism. You have several gods to whom you are committed - all idols. All giving you a screwed up view of the world. None of which are worthy of worship.

10:19 PM  
Blogger The Revolting Masses said...

wow this is an intresting debate mind if i join in?

11:03 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Revolting masses,
Absolutely. You are more than welcome.

7:39 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

Well, but the whole thing about axioms is they're supposed to be pretty self-evident. If you believe an axiom that someone else doesn't believe, then you're pretty suck if you want to change minds-- it comes down to blind faith or "because I say so". Obviously, sometimes this is the best argument someone can come up with-- but it's usually not going to persuuad any one who doesn't already believe it themselves.

I have sympathy for people feel abortion is wrong. They shouldn't haven them then. But when you want to start passing laws limiting freedoms, you ought to have a really convincing case. Right now, only 17% of the population believes abortion is wrong in all cases. (Obviously, even more people find abortion is okay when it would save a woman's life).

And you know, it's interesting-- you notice that lots of people suppose abortions in cases of rape. This makes no sense to me. If it's a life, it's a life-- regardless of how it got there. It makes it seem like people are trying to outlaw sex, not abortion.

---

The allegation of idolatry and polytheism is interesting. I certainly don't a statue of Moloch in my room that I worship several times daily (although a good idol really would tie the room together and improve the Feng Shei of the place). But these days, accusing someone of idolatry usually is code for saying they value anything at all other than God (and only the same God you believe in). So I suppose I'm as guilty as the proverbial next man.

But, is anyone really doing anything different? Do we build fancy churches to make god happy or ourselves happy? Do we vote Republican because God wants us to, or because we want to? Do we want wars because God wants us to do some killing-- or do we do it because we're angry. Does God really want us to have the death penalty, or do we want it because it makes us feel good. (and if God does want it, why doesn't he kill criminals himself).

In the end, aren't we all just doing what we think best and what makes us happiest-- either directly happiest in some way or happiest in some higher personally-removed sense. The humanist is honest about this-- relying upon only their own human estimations of what is best for the world. The theist is doing the exact same thing, but lies about it, and claims his preferences aren't just HIS, but are God's. But almost all of them are dead wrong-- they don't speak for God, they just speak for themselves-- we all agree on that. Most religious people are just saying whathever they personally want, but claim they speak for God, but clearly, no matter what positions (if any) God holds, most of the people who claim to speak for God are not.

Of course, each person thinks THEY are the ones really speaking for God. You think you're really speaking for God. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones, but most people who believe what you believe are wrong.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

First of all, I think that abortions would be permissible if having the baby puts the mother's life in serious jeopardy. Essentially, it is like this. If a house is on fire, and a woman has a chance to escape the house, but her baby is stuck in a dangerous position, it is not a crime for the woman to leave her baby to die in the fire. It is a tragedy, and it was no fault of the woman. A noble (or perhaps an emotional) woman might risk her life to try to save her baby, but by doing so, they could both end up dead. In that situation, it is not a crime to leave the baby. It is just a horrible tragedy.

This is the only case in which I would think that abortion should be lawful. The woman's life has to be in "serious danger." Obviously, "serious danger" would have to be be well defined in the language of the bill that would go Congress, lest all the pro-choicers use it as a loophole to continue to exalt the comfort and convenience of women over the lives of the unborn. This holocaust has got to stop.

I agree with you about all those "pro-lifers" who think that abortion should be legal in the case of rape. Why is the child being punished for the sin of his father? What makes that okay?

I think that some people hold that position because rape is a very emotional issue, and because the left are pretty much experts at making people feel like Nazis for being pro-life. Unfortunately, many pro-lifers give in the idolatry of being people pleasers. They don't want to piss off the left, and they don't want to be written off by the left. Many of them compromise. Some think that it is a wise and strategic move. They think, "Hey, at least this way, we might be able to outlaw most abortions." What they don't realize is that compromising with evil always gives the devil a foothold. If you give the left an inch, they will take not merely a mile, but the whole marathon. Just like the Palestinians. Giving land for peace simply emboldens the terrorists to become even more aggressive in their zeal to wipe Israel off the map completely. But I digress.... You have a sneak preview to an upcoming post coming up about the war.

As for the axiomatic level of argumentation.

Here is the deal. You are totally denying reality when you don't recognize the truth that unborn children are children. Furthermore, in spite of your present resistance, the word of God never returns void. So, as you hear/read the word of the Lord, you will be convicted. The word of God will accomplish the purposes that God intends for it to accomplish. Your responsibility is to humbly receive the word of God. Rejecting the word of God leads to a hardened heart. The more you reject God's word, the further you will sink in your depravity.

See, God will get glory out of your life - one way or another. You can humbly receive Him and worship Him on your own free will, and He will be glorified. Or, you can die in your sins and receive God's just and eternal wrath. But a day will come when you will bow your knee and when you will confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord." Mark my words. God will be glorified.

I just pray that you bow and confess now - during this time in which He is tarrying. He loves you, friend. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come into repentance. He is patient with you, not treating you as your sins deserve. He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. His grace is truly amazing, and His grace teaches you to say, "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and godly lives in the present age.

If you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Today is the day of salvation. Take a step of faith.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

The sex issue is related (in that having sex leads to pregnancy), but they are completely separate issues.

Having sex outside of marriage is wrong.

Having sex with someone of the same gender is wrong.

Having sex with animals is wrong.

Viewing pornography is wrong.

Lusting in your heart and with your eyes for a woman who is not your wife is wrong.

But the abortion issue is not about sex. The abortion issue is about the humanity and the rights of the unborn. Period.

On sex... Sex is God's idea. Sex is great - when done in the context of the sacred covenant of marriage.

I have a good friend who is about to be married. She is experiencing a lot of anger and trust issues, because the past few years, her family has gone through hell, because her dad has had an affair. She has suspected that her dad was having an affair for a long time, but just recently she asked him straight up, and he said that he was. She is hurt, angry, and upset. She has trouble trusting her fiance. This affair has led to the disintegration of her family. The beautiful father/daughter relationship that could have been has been broken. Why? Because, like Esau, her dad was godless and despised his birthright. For the sake of having an orgasm, he treated his family with contempt. And now, everyone suffers.

But liberals don't care. The real problem, according to liberals, are these fascists neo-con, right-wing Christian extremists who insist that truth, reality, and morals are absolute. Sin is really sin - not merely an "issue." In our society, your sin isn't really sin. It is just that you have issues. And in the dream of socialism, it is everyone else's responsibility to understand you and your issues, and to give you whatever handouts that you need, want, and desire, regardless of how little you work you do and regardless of how little respect you have for the Judeo-Christian moral law.

And thus we have a generation of depraved narcisists who are completely out of touch with reality. They live to serve themselves. They love to talk about rights, because, after all, they are the center of their universe. They are their own god. Some of them even demand that they be worshipped - sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. I remember listening to a WAAF 107.3 FM in Massachusetts when I was in high school, and the DJ was this chick (who apparently was beautiful), and she would insist on being worshipped. Guys would call into the show to worship her, and she would command them to insult themselves, and they would do it.

We are a sex-crazed neo-pagan society, that has totally lost touch with reality.

But, of course, the real problem isn't the millions of selfish depraved liberals who watch Jerry Springer every day. The real problem are people like me who are contending that the rule of law and justice needs to be based on that which is true, real, and right, and that we should not let the said rule of law be mocked.

I know; I know. Talk about a party-pooper. I'm such a prude. I should really just sit back and enjoy life and get drunk and have sex with as many women as I can. After all, I just live once.

And as I live my reckless life, if I get women pregnant, then they should have the right to kill those babies, because I don't want to deal with any responsibilities. This is the world that I have created for myself. This is my reality. You can have your reality, but don't you dare infringe on my reality.

I call your attention to Romans 13. The government does not bear the sword for nothing. They are agents of God's wrath to give the righteous and the wicked their due. Their job is to establish justice.

And justice will no doubt anger many people who are completely unwilling to serve anyone other than themselves. So be it.

1:24 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"I think that abortions would be permissible if having the baby puts the mother's life in serious jeopardy."

That's good. See-- for an issue that start out black and white, there's a lot of gray. Some people would say that the fetus's life is more important than the mother's, because the mother is old, and has less time to be alive, and that a mother should willingly sacrfice herself for her future child.

"I agree with you about all those "pro-lifers" who think that abortion should be legal in the case of rape. Why is the child being punished for the sin of his father?"

This is very good. You see, I'm like this on a lot of issues-- certain positions I have no respect for, certain positions I have lot of respect for-- even if I disagree with them.

A few years ago, there was a sweet little old lady in Texas-- a grandmother. Texas was trying to execute her-- she had murdered her husband 20 years earlier.

I'm anti-death penalty-- so I didn't want her executed. But I'm a feminist, so, I did want her executed, because it would be wrong to NOT kill her just because she's cute old lady. Life is very complicated for me.

---

For my part, I think it's personally reasonable to limit non-health-related abortions to the very first 12 weeks. I don't know if I'd mentioned that.

--

One day, when I lived in my beloved liberal land, I had a very good day. on the campus, a whole group of pro-life protestors showed up with graphic pictures of aborted fetuses on big giant posters. They assembled in the most heavy-trafficed square of the campus and held the signs up for all to see. My christian friend (and I had only one there), saw them and got excited and ran off to join them, and they began chanting pro-life slogans.

I sat at a table nearby, did some work, and smiled, watching the protest. By noon, the pro-choice majority came out in force. They brought their own signs with them, and assembed in force-- but being careful to keep a good distance away from the pro-life protestors. This too made me smile.

Both sides were angry, but neither were rude. THere was no public shouting, there were no angry yells at the opposing side, and not even a hint of a chance of violence. Just chanting slogans and posters.

Later, a whole group of my friends showed up-- feeling angryy and threatened that the pro-life outsiders came to the campus to do the protest. And I just had to smile and tell them what a wonderful day it was, and how it made me feel so good about the human race-- because I looked and saw maybe 500 people, taking time out of their day, to go and try to make the world a better place. They disagreed with each other, so they were mad at each other-- but from my vantage point, they were all both really on the same side.

It's weird being me.

7:18 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"Having sex outside of marriage is wrong. "

Well, that just makes it all the more important for us to allow gay marriage then, doesn't it. Even if it's a sin to be gay-- there's no sense in the State making people commit TWO sins when they could just be commiting one. :)

--

"Having sex with someone of the same gender is wrong."

How can it be wrong to have sex with your husband? I mean, lack of martial consummation can be grounds for divorce? What about all the good gay couples that ARE legally married right now-- you not FOR divorce are you? :)

"Viewing pornography is wrong."

Maybe-- but people have the god-given right to mess up and make stupid decisions. How dare the state take that god-given right away.
--

"I call your attention to Romans 13."

I wouldn't call too much attention to it-- if I can get that Swedish-style tax plan increased, it seems you'll have a duty to God to pay those taxes.

See, I'm not a huge fan of Paul. We get a copy of some 2000 year old dude's blog, and suddenly we're reading it like it's scripture. Can you imagine what would happen if you went around studying ANYONE's personal letter like that? The first part of Romans 13 is a perfect example-- you're not going to convince me that it's a christian's duty to support the government in power-- Paul was probably motivated more by poltical compromise than by anything divine.

Regarding infidelity "And now, everyone suffers."

Hey, people are stupid. No argument. Clinton practically through his whole presidency away for sex-- and for that, I will never, ever forgive him, no matter how many wonderful decisions he made as a president. It's something a lot of liberals forget these days-- the 2000 race was REALLY close, and if Clinton had never been impeached, Bush would never have happened. 9/11 might never have happened. Clinton did that to us, by promising to be worthy of our trust and violating that trust.

Obviously, I'm comforted by the fact that I never believed him, not even for a second. Clinton just SEEMED like such a politician-- he was full of crap, but he was SO full of crap, there was a certain honesty in that. When I and all my liberal friends heard "I did not have sex with that woman"-- half of us thought he was lying. Meanwhile, the other half figured he was being honest-- he hadn't had sex with THAT woman-- he'd had sex with some OTHER women that no one knew about.

I'd like to have the luxury of believing that the people who run my country ARE both MAKING good decisions AND are good people. But I think most people our age are more realistic.

Bush is an idiot, a former alcoholic, and former coke addict, and may be a war criminal.

Clinton cheated on his wife and more importantly, crippled his ability to lead.

Reagan was partially senile, participated in witch-hunts in hollywood where he persecuted people for their poltical beliefs. He refused to fund AIDS research for years, he insituted massive cut for mental health hospitals throwing hundreds of thousands of mental ill out onto the street. And his tough talk came close to triggering an accidental nuclear war on several occasions.

Carter seems like a geniunely nice person-- and we saw how good a president HE made.

Nixon was nixon. He basically tried to stage a coup, and his secretary of defense ordered the military to disobey any nuclear orders from him,as they were worried he might try to destroy the world rather than give up office.

Johnson's political allies once stuffed ballot boxes so he would win an election.

Kennedy was a very messed up man who cheated on his wife and did a thousand other things that would shock us to death. He almost brought the nation to WWIII.

FDR cheated on his wife, although she may not have cared, since she had a girlfriend at the time. (this is TRUE).

Wilson had a nervous breakdown and wouldn't leave his room for months at a time.

Lincoln set the constitution on fire.

Andrew Jackson was guilty of genocide and staged an unconstitution coup where he refused to obey the Supreme Court.

Thomas Jefferson promised to put an end to big government, and wound up enlarging the federal government more than an president in history.

Adams passed a law making it a CRIME to criticize him.

---

I swear-- these are true. I won't try to cite them all, but if you are interested and can't find them, let me know.

--

So, I don't have the luxury of sayinging "Is that person a GOOD person?". Unless I know them personally, there's probably no way to tell-- the politicians are just too good. All I can rely on is whether they make good decisions-- I don't have enough information to weigh their soul-- I can just look at their decisions.

And boy... let me tell you-- I think Bush may be high in the running for worst president in history. And given that his competition are philanders, coup-plotters, and genocidal maniacs-- that's really saying something.

I actually doubt he qualifies as THE worst. It's something my father and I debate about all the time.

I tend to think of it as analgous to the 'end times'. Every human being throughout history as pretty much thought they were living in the end times. The author of Daniel thought it. Paul thought it, The author of Mark thought it. People think it today. But statistically speaking-- what's the chances that I just happen to be alive during the end times. Civilization has been going on for 10,000 years. Human life looks like about a million. The solar system, 4 billion. The universe looks about 13.7 billion years old, give or take 20 million years. In all of that, it would be QUITE surprising if I turned out to be one of the ones actually alive when the end times came.


And of course, what does it really matter? Surely, I should keep living just as if the end times AREN'T coming, just in case-- doing my part to stop greenhouse gases so the planet doesn't burn up, just in case. And of course, I'm pretty confident that MY own end time is going to end sometime roughly within my own lifetime, so I don't see much point in stressing over it.


--

So, have I asked you this question yet?

Not long ago, the Walt Disney Corporation started giving healthcare to the gay partners of its employees. Christians protested.

Now, obviously, you're not a fan of the gays-- so perhaps you're against it.

On the OTHER hand-- how can you be against ANYONE getting medical care? I mean-- murderers on death row have a right to have a doctor-- isn't ANYONE getting access to healthcare a good thing?

8:57 AM  
Blogger The Revolting Masses said...

wow this is intresting i find myself torn between you two. As a christian i believe being homosexual is a sin but as an American i dont think I have a right to deny Marriage to anyone. I am also a republican but disagree with some of Busch's decisions and feel they were motivated by revenge (particularly Iraq). As a christian i am sonetimes ashamed at the actions of some of the more extremist of my bretheren America was not founded as a christian nation and is not run under christian laws Although i may have different beliefs on a religious level We as a nation cann ot use the government to convert people it goes against everything we were founded on.

1:20 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"We as a nation cannot use the government to convert people it goes against everything we were founded on."

And you know, the dangerous thing about not having a separation of church and state is this:

When you imagine everyone having to be YOUR religion by law, it may not sound so bad. But, when you imagine some other religion you disagree with being the law, and you having to obey it and worship how the government tells you and go to the kind of church the government tells you and obeys the type of commandments your government tells you.. suddenly it doesn't seem so nice anymore.

Of course, statistically speaking, it's much more likely that if the government had as state religion, it wouldn't the same one you happen to like.
---

Dan will pop in here and claim that secularism IS a religion. It stretches the use of religion, but he find that meaninful, and I see his point. So perhaps the United States DOES have a state religion-- Secularism.

In this case, that is exactly the one to have, however, because the FIRST rule of the Secular religion is: "You do not have to believe in the Secular religion-- you can believe in any religion you want. You can assemble to pratice it, you can speak about it, you can even try and organize to try to amend the constitution to change all those facts, so that people you disagree with won't have the same rights you do if you want to."

If you want to think of it that way, that's fine-- Secularism Libertarianism is a very, very good state religion to have, since it is the only state religion that does not require its citizens to believe in it.

2:49 PM  
Blogger elvis777 said...

Dan, what is an affair ? You seem to have a very limited view of what an affair-relationship is. Maybe the guy wanted to have the entire "romantic" experience all over again. Maybe it was really love at first sight. Maybe anything. But you are very judgmental, the guy sinned, end of story, what his sentiments were are all false and lies. People mess up, are messed up and sometimes fall in love with someone who is not their husband-wife. Things happen.

Maybe it is the Devil that does this. Maybe a good prayer can get him cleaned. I think that it is always the devil, the guy is innocent.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Marco,
No we should not allow gay marriage. We shouldn't allow people to marry animals either. We should not allow "community marriages" (of three or more). We certainly should not give homosexuals rights to adopt. We should not have custody battles in court over homosexuals who get "divorced." We should not have "custody battles" in courts over "divorce and disintegration of community marriages." And if some wacko is having sex with an animal and claims that animal as his "wife," then that animal should not ever be considered a legal guardian over a human.

I'd be happy to answer any other bizarre situations that your creative mind can come up with.

I am not for divorce, but I also don't recognize "gay marriage" as marriage. Certainly God does not recognize it as such. So, you see, when gays who "marry," see the error of their ways and recognize that they never really married (since marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman), then I would welcome them with open arms back into the church and compliment them for repenting of their perverse rebellion.

I don't have any problem with marijuana being illegal. I wouldn't have any problem if getting drunk was illegal. And I would be happy if pornography was illegal.

It is a fact that a large percentage of criminals (particularly rapists, but not only rapists) have had a huge problem with pornography.

There are many reasons why outlawing porn would be a good thing, and virtually no good reasons why it would be bad.

I certainly would never fight or request that other people fight for the supposed "right" to view porn.

The essence of Romans 13 is not that every government in the world is just. This is not the case. When the government commands us to do unjustly, we have a righteous duty to honor that said government by disobeying the immoral command.

However, governments do have authority. That authority has been placed on them by God. And, happily, God is Sovereign over all of history. He uproots and tears down. He is in control. He brings people to power, and strips power away from them. In all things, He works for the good of those who love Him.

And yes, we need to pay taxes. For the governing authorities are God's servants - agents of wrath for the wrongdoers and agents of just rewards for the righteous. Part of the reason for government is to bring terror to wicked people who will not willfully submit themselves to Christ.

That is not to say that governments should terrorize all non-Christians, but it does mean that people who do wickedly ought to be afraid, for the government bears the sword for a purpose. They are agents of God's wrath to establish justice.

And in this democratic republic, that means that you and I are God's servants. It is our job to give the righteous and the wicked their due by voting in a responsible manner. We ought to see to it that those with good behavior are rewarded and those with evil behavior are punished.

It is a sad state of affairs that socialist liberals so often get this backwards.

You need to forgive Clinton. I know that you probably don't much care about his relationship with his wife (although you should). You really care about national security and freedom and the credibility of the office of the presidency, which is why you refuse to extend forgiveness to Clinton. These are big important issues, and clearly Clinton did some horrible things (whichever way you look at it). But we should remember, but for the grace of God goes you or I.

So, forgive Clinton. But by all means, hold his feet to the fire - him and all the rest of the Clinton loving liberals in the country.

Revolting...
Unlike most Christians, I don't pretend that the Founding Fathers were all a bunch of Christians. I know that very few of them were.

I also don't care. By that, I mean that I don't base my political philosophy on the ideas of the despicable Thomas Jefferson. Rather, I look to God's word. God is the ulimate authority on epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. My whole worldview is based on the Bible - including those issues that are related to politics.

See, politics is a moral science. Therefore, it is a subset of theology. We need wisdom to make good political decisions, and in order to gain wisdom, we must fear the Lord.

I would point you to Colossians 2:8. I also recommend reading the rest of my blog and the book Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey. Most of all, read the entirety of the Bible.

Do not divide your life into the spiritual side and the secular side. Dividing your life up like that would be wrong. The word integrity implies that we are to integrate our faith into all aspects of our lives. If we are to retain our integrity as Christians, then we must insist on the government doing justly. And the Bible says, "the just shall live by faith."

See, every idea you have needs to be compared to the Bible. Reject any and all ideas that set themselves up against the knowledge of Christ.

And may God give us grace. It is because of His mercy - and only because of His mercy - that we are not consumed. His compassions fail not. Great is His faithfulness!

God bless you guys. I enjoy these discussions.

12:19 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"We shouldn't allow people to marry animals either."

Well, suppose we could prove the animal was sentient and did indeed want to be married. It sounds like a silly question, but.. there ARE aliens out there. It's a mathematical certainty. And sooner or later, they're bound to meet up.

So, what would Christianity say about this. These people wouldn't be human, obviously-- so perhaps God wouldn't allow marriage, just as many people feel God condemns interracial marriages.
--
"That animal should not ever be considered a legal guardian over a human. "

Well-- see, if you can prove to me that an animal would be a good parent, by all means, I'll support legal guardianship. Obviously, I don't know any animals on earth that are up to the challenge, but, if there were any, then by all means-- who am I to say that just because two entities aren't the same species, they can't spend their time together.

"I don't have any problem with marijuana being illegal."

See, but what if Marijuana was helpful and good and useful? What if it could stop pain, cure depression, or promote healing. Obviously, you can disagree this is the case-- but, if you DID agree, wouldn't you have to agree that we should use it? I saw a show not long ago about a man whose seven year old son was suffering from excrutiating, gut-wrenching pains of chemotherapy. They got him marijuana and it was the only thing that could stop the pain. Don't we _have_ to do this? Wouldn't you fight to give your son a freedom from pain?

And if it were shown that marijuana, by and large, doesn't have outrageously bad effects-- what right do we have to ban it. The number one thing people cite as the dangers of marijuana is that it is a "gateway" drug-- people do it before doing others.

This is probably true, but it's our own fault. When I was in public school, in late 80s and early 1990s, you would't BELIEVE the lies they told me about marijuana. That it would cause you to murder people with an ax, that it was highly addictiving and one sample and you'd wouldn't be able to quit. Things that were such propaganda, "1984" would be hard pressed to top it.

So is it any wonder that people who learn what lies they were told about marijuana begin to suspect that ALL the drug horror stories are lies?

I don't know whether we should legalize 100% or not, but I do know that if it can improve peoples lives, we simple must.

"There are many reasons why outlawing porn would be a good thing, and virtually no good reasons why it would be bad. "

Well, I'm such a puritan, far be it for me to defend the druggies and the pornies, but.. pornography has made a lot of human beings very, very happy over the millenia.

I knew an old man. He was in his late 60s. He was a very nice old man. He was ugly, he wasn't very bright. He had tried hard to find love in his life, but he never did. He talked often about how hard he had worked, as a younger man, to find a wife, but, none were interested in him, and, having known him and his looks, I understand why.

When he died, they found pornography in his house. And you know, I'm sure that brought him a lot of happiness. Obviously, we'd all like our older people to be asexual, just as we like to pretend our children are asexual. But, he wasn't, and whatever happiness he was going to find in life with that side of himself, pornography was the only way he was going to find it.

Obviously, we can all be sad for someone who never found love-- but at least he found something that could make him a little happy. Pornography, like freedom in general, is a double-edged sword, and there's no doubt that some people find problems with it. But the vast majority of its consumers never suffer an ill effects-- they don't become rapists, they don't stop wanting human love. And it's hard for me to imagine any God being angry about humans being happy and finding some joy in life.

The point is-- laws restricting freedom require VERY good reasons. Because I said so isn't good enough. Because God told me so just doesn't cut it, because God has told me and the rest of the country differently. My heart says "If it's making people happy, God is probably happy, and I'm certainly happy". You can debate the specifics-- would legalized marijuana make the world a better place or a worse place, etc. But ultimately, it does come down to what will minimize suffering and maximize love and happiness and joy.
--

"You need to forgive Clinton. "

Lol, well, I don't mean I'll never forgive Clinton in THAT sense. If I knew him in person, I'm sure I would like him or dislike based on his behavior towards me, and I wouldn't let infidelity stop that. I just mean-- as a president, I can't even comprehend his asctions, or the actions of so many presidents like him who did similar things.
--

"That authority has been placed on them by God. "

But do you know how dangerous that idea is? I mean, all the dictator monarchs of europe cited a divine right to rule.

I can't imagine how the EXISTENCE of authorities can somehow be used to suggest God endorses the authorities somehow.

Just a dangeous, dangerous thing.

--

"He is in control. He brings people to power, and strips power away from them."

Dude, God better NOT be the one responsible for bringing so many even governments into power. THere have been hideous people in power. I don't care what Paul says-- I say God ain't got a thing to do with it-- a good government, a bad government-- it's up to us.

"Part of the reason for government is to bring terror to wicked people who will not willfully submit themselves to Christ. "

Man, you were just born in the wrong country. Ther are countries where they're all about bringing terror to people who won't submit to their God. :P

2:55 AM  
Blogger elvis777 said...

Yeah, countries like the Taliban Islamo-Fascists! You can't play music, you can't even watch a game of soccer (in somalia they shot these kids for watching the world cup), women must be covered completely with burka so you can't see anything, (this would be good against the porn, the rule of looking at other women and desiring etc).

Dan, your religion is very similar to the Taliban Islam. Bring terror to the wicked and America is the great Satan.

You didn't answer any ideas about the poor guy having an affair, I think he is innocent, the Taliban Islamo-Facist Evangelical Christians would shoot him, the lady and their entire families for God.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Joe,
First of all, on the guy who had an affair.
I'm not angry with this guy. Believe me. I have nothing but compassion for him. However, it is true that his godless decision has led to the disintegration of his family. My friend is suffering a great deal now because of it. I have empathy for her. I have empathy for the whole family. I have empathy for him.

I know that I'm nothing but a wretched sinner myself, and that I need to stay on my guard, lest I fall.

Believe me; I have prayed for this guy and his family. I pray that God will help everyone to forgive, and that this guy would humbly repent, and that there would be reconciliation. With God, that is possible. That is the beautiful thing about the gospel.

But the idea that this guy is innocent is wrong. He is loved, but He is not innocent. God does not wink at our sin. He calls it what it is and commands confession and repentance.

The thing to understand about repentance is that repenting does not cause God to love you more. That is a backwards way of thinking. Rather, God loves us just as much on our worst day as on our best day (which still ain't that great). Recognizing this ought to lead to repentance. Repentance does not lead to earning God's grace, mercy, and love.

He is such a merciful God. He is in the business of taking broken families and putting them back together. Bringing joy and peace and life and love to a valley of "dry bones." And that is my prayer for this family.

I said previously, "Part of the reason for government is to bring terror to wicked people who will not willfully submit themselves to Christ."

Both of you had some comments about this.

But my very next sentence was, "That is not to say that governments should terrorize all non-Christians, but it does mean that people who do wickedly ought to be afraid, for the government bears the sword for a purpose."

But since you love to compare me to the Taliban, are you in favor of complete anarachy? Do you want a lawless society where we have no restrictions on our freedoms?

Cause I can make the case that a secular government that establishes unjust secular laws is a secular version of the Taliban.

It seems to me that every government throughout history has facilitated an epistemological hegemony on its people in one form or another. You just can't help but to do that.

But you can get your epistemology accurate.

We have censorship in this nation. We have oppression. Teachers in public schools are being denied their rights to preach the gospel. The gospel has been censured and blacklisted. Teachers are not allowed to call bad behavior "sin." Yet, they have to deal with children who do sin. So, a complicated secular psychology (which is often not very scientific at all) has replaced the Biblical wisdom of faith, encouragement, and wisdom. Shrinks and meds have become the priests of this postmodernism secular religion. And don't you dare second guess the opinion of a shrink! They are licensed professionals! They have authority.

And thus the secular epistemological hegemony continues.

And its getting worse. Some schools have done away with failing grades and red pens, because they are worried about bruising these kids' self-esteem. The idea that kids need to have a healthy self-esteem is in itself a religious idea. What makes that idea better than the gospel? Why is that religion preached in the schools above the gospel? Why are the creeds and beliefs of Freud and Marx and Darwin exalted over Christ and Paul and Luther?

Because this is a secular state. Secularists have claimed authority of Christianity and have insisted that Christianity is fine - provided you keep it to yourself in private. But secularism is the religion of the public.

Justice, righteousness, wisdom, politics, journalism, education.... All of these are subsets of theology, and all are interelated. If Christians are to retain their integrity, then they must integrate their faith and wisdom and love for Christ into all aspects of their lives, and not live a double life. Some "Christians" work for Planned Parenthood. They say that they are against abortion personally, but that they need to "do their job." These people have not integrated their faith (if their faith is even real) into every aspect of their lives. Thus, they do not have integrity. (I hope you are seeing clearly that integrity and integration have the same etymology).

Furthermore, we are called to do everything in the Name of God and for His glory and according to His ways. Thus, teachers are to teach in the Name of God, for His glory, and according to His ways.

But teachers who do that in the public school system will probably be fired.

This is why the 1st Amendment is silly, postmodern, contradicting nonsense.

The antithesis is real. Let us not pretend that it doesn't exist. It is real. We need to get on the right side, and contend for truth.

Everyone on the side of truth listens to Jesus.

8:01 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

well, teachers in public school aren't being censored. They're allowed to walk out the school doors and say anything they want, worship in the way they see fit, publish their ideas, etc.

But, for the time being at least, we do have employment, and it's common for an employee of any sort to not exercise their free speech rights while on the job. If the cashier at 7-11 insisted on handing religious texts to every customer, that wouldn't be cool, because that's not what his job is. If a judge makes rulings based on the bible rather than on the law, that won't be cool.

And, the beauty of democracy is-- we're allowed to have christian schools and muslim schools and jewish schools, where the teachers can teach christianity. If you want your child to go to one of those, no one's stopping you.

--

"Some schools have done away with failing grades and red pens, because they are worried about bruising these kids' self-esteem."

You know.. let's just think of what it's like to call someone a FAILURE. It's a damn mean thing to say to another adult. It's a really mean thing to say to a kid. You know, I wouldn't stand for a supervisor at a career to look over my work and say "After evaluating your performance, I've decided you are a FAILURE".

We wouldn't talk to other adults this way-- why whould it be okay to be so rude to children? Obviously, we've been doing it so long, we've kinda forgotten that it might not be a good idea.

When I was in elementary school, no one knew I was smart. I never spoke during school hours unless spoken to. The tasks they had us do weren't tasks where creativity or intelligence comes in. Things like handwriting and timed arithemetic and capitals and the like. Things that were utterly boring and almost completely useless.

My teachers hated me, I wasn't fond of them. My handwriting teachers were particularly abusive. Being a child with bad handwriting is almost like being a person with a disability or part of an oppressed race-- the message is communicated to you over and over in a thousand ways that you just aren't acceptable.

Well, I didn't need their cursive writing. I didn't need their ability to do long division at lighting speed in timed tests. I don't really need to memorize all the state capitals-- I mean, really-- who cares where the state government of Iowa or Kentucky is centered? It doesn't matter. I didn't need to know those things-- it was a waste of time.

But the insults and abuse they subjected me to-- that lingers with me, as it did all the kids who somehow didn't measure up in some way-- which is almost everyone. I didn't need to know the capital of Nevada-- I need to know I had worth and value and etc.

Let's just remember-- grades are a tool to improve human life. Human life doesn't exist in order to be graded.

---
"Why are the creeds and beliefs of Freud and Marx and Darwin exalted over Christ and Paul and Luther? "

Freud and Darwin are there because much of what they say is provably true. Both got some of the details wrong, but the nuggets of their work (the parts that are taught today) are provably true. You cannot understnad psychology without understanding some of Freud's ideas. You can't understand biology without Darwin's ideas.

Now, both Socialism and Christianity ARE taught in schools. I have to say, in public schools, we talked a lot more about christianity than we did about marxism.

"But since you love to compare me to the Taliban, are you in favor of complete anarachy? "

Anarchy is certainly better than fascism. But you know, when you talk to humans, there's a lot that almost ALL of us can agree on. Those are a good start for some laws But in general, the government is best which governs least.

Unlike a lot of my liberal buddies, I worry that we may be going a little to far from anarchism. For example, it's illegal for an employer to be racist-- well.. that's scary.

It's illegal for me to drink alcohol in a car, even if I'm well within the legal limit. That's scary.

I have to wear my seat bealt, or else you'll give me a ticket? what business is it of yours if I make a good decision or a stupid one--- it's MY life.

so, yeah, I guess I'm a radical anarchist. :)

10:11 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Okay. Here's the deal. No more contradictions and logical fallacies. If we have a point of disagreement, let that disagreement be at the axiomatic level. You can't say A, and then say not A unless you recognize the error of position A, and therefore reverse your position.

So, by saying not A, after having said A, then I'm assuming that you have totally reversed yourself from the position of A.

But you go back and forth so much that its dizzying. Have you ever considered running for political office, because that is the kind of double speak that just might get you elected.

In ancient Greece, some schools of philosophy would not permit students into their schools unless they had taken geometry. I'm not so snobbish, but I can definately see their point.

10:51 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

I think about 95% of our differences come down to this axiom-- one of my favorites, though certainly, not the only one:

"As long as you ain't hurting anyone, it ain't nobody's business what you do"

---

The "ain't" is important in that sentence-- I pride myself on being able to drop into vernacular when it serves a purpose. It gives it a certain home-spun disdain for people telling others what to do. The "ain't"s marshal the American concept of "rugged individualism" and use it to demonstrate my point.

Obviously, I can clarify that axiom a little bit, but as I increase the precision, I'll necessarily decrease the accuracy. If I tighten the definition too much, you'll be able to find holes-- cases which are outside the definition of what is "not wrong" but which I would still agree "are not wrong". But, let me take a stab at a slightly tighter formation:

Something is NOT morally wrong, and should NOT be criminally illegal if:

1. You're not hurting anyone at all.
2. You're hurting only yourself-- even if in a direct and immediate way.
3. You're might not be hurting someone, but you might not-- some people think you are, but some people think you're not.
4. You might only be hurting people who may or may not exist-- people like, say, God.


--

This is a fairly controversial axiom. Within it is enshrined a "right to be stupid", a "right to make bad decisions", and for the christianly-inclined "a right to go to hell if you so choose"

--
Now, there's a different axiom that's common:

"People shouldn't be allowed to do whatever I think they shouldn't do"

Variations on this theme include "People shouldn't be allowed to do whatever I think God thinks they shouldn't do", etc., "People shouldn't be allowed to be unhealthy", "People shouldn't be allowed to be unsafe", etc.

I wholly reject this axiom. It leads to bad things. It's an easy axiom to dismiss. All you have to do is imagine someone you don't like in a position to make that decision, and you can instantly see what a horrible idea that rule is for anyone who disagrees with the person in charge.

But, the supernatural is hard to comprehend, and many people forget that "what I think God wants" is not the same phrase as "What God wants", and when you think you're speaking for the creator of the universe, it's a lot easier to justify substituting your own judgements for those of others.

---

When you think about it, pretty much everything comes down to this disagreement. Homosexuality-- two people alone in a room consent to something-- it's no one else's business. Abortion-- you can't prove there's anyone "in" the fetus being hurt, many many people don't think there is anyone in there, so.. if you're not provably hurting someone, it's not illegal. Pornography-- it's not visibly and directly hurting another human being, even if you do think it increases your probability of being a rapist by one-in-a-billion. Marijuana-- lots of people think it doesn't cause any direct and demonstratable harm to people besides the smoker.

So, there's marco's #1 axiom. There are others, but that's the start of everything.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"Freud and Darwin are there because much of what they say is provably true. Both got some of the details wrong, but the nuggets of their work (the parts that are taught today) are provably true. You cannot understnad psychology without understanding some of Freud's ideas. You can't understand biology without Darwin's ideas."

Not true. Many of the ideas of Freud and Darwin are simply false. Secondly, many of the other ideas they have are not provable.

You take ideas as complex as psychology and the hypothesis of evolution, and you say that they are "provably true" (although in previous discussion, you completely failed to prove either of these), yet you assert that there is no proof that a human being exists within the womb of a pregnant mother? If you deem that unborn child's existence unprovable, then surely the accuracy of psychoanalysis is unprovable.

"But, for the time being at least, we do have employment, and it's common for an employee of any sort to not exercise their free speech rights while on the job. If the cashier at 7-11 insisted on handing religious texts to every customer, that wouldn't be cool, because that's not what his job is. If a judge makes rulings based on the bible rather than on the law, that won't be cool."

And so you are saying that Christians may not have integrity. That is, Christians may not integrate their right to exercise their faith in good conscience while on the job - unless doing so happens not to interfere with the infamous "bottom line" of the employer. When in conflict, you are asserting that the employee has a higher duty to their employer's bottom line than they do to God.

For someone who hates capitalism so much, I would think that you would think it a good thing that employees force the employer's bottom line to be consistent with this axiom:

People are valuable, and we should never do anything that devalues human life. Furthermore, we ought to take positive action to value human life and to improve the human condition.

But you are asking, no, you are demanding, that Christians give up their integrity. You are demanding Christians to live a double life. It comes down to the two stories of society. "Keep your faith upstairs in the playroom, Christian. Down here, secularism and Mammon rule. So, don't come preaching your personal faith or morality. That's 'not cool.'"

And, ironically, you don't recognize that this is religious persecution. This is discrimination based on religion. If the bottom line is secular, then the bottom line is idolatrous. If the bottom line is secular, then Christians will be pressured to compromise their faith.

Now, you can say, "Well, sure, but the Christians are free to go work somewhere else." But the problem is that the long arm of secular injustice catches up to you wherever you go. Secularism, like Chritsianity, is an imperialistic religion. But unlike Christianity, secularists exert authority that they don't have, while many Christians fail to exert the authority that they do have.

"You know.. let's just think of what it's like to call someone a FAILURE. It's a damn mean thing to say to another adult. It's a really mean thing to say to a kid. You know, I wouldn't stand for a supervisor at a career to look over my work and say 'After evaluating your performance, I've decided you are a FAILURE.'"

Ha ha. Here is Marco contending for his religion! You might as well have said, "Secularism ought to be the state religion. Christianity should not. And the reason is that secularism is better than Christianity!" Hey, at least you are starting to be honest about the religious nature of secularism.

And since we have now come a step closer to the way I would like to see debates happen in this country ("My religion is better than yours, and here is why"), I shall analyze your religion, clarify the good points about it, ad expose the heresy of it.

This is a question of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. When a kid is struggling in school, or when a kid acts up in school, or when a kid just doesn't do his work, what is a teacher to do?

What is true? What is real? What is just and right? These are the real questions. And, as I've repeated more times than I can count, these are religious questions.

There needs to be a balance. A teacher ought to be super encouraging. A good teacher is an advocate for their student. Teachers ought to do everything out of love for God and their students (and their families). Teachers ought to help their students to achieve and succeed.

A teacher has a high and holy calling, and they need an extra measure of God's grace to perform his duties well. Students and parents and churches and principals and politicians ought to support and pray for teachers. They ought to be an advocate for teachers. They ought to honor them. They ought to empower them to do what is right.

And it is right for teachers to have lots of grace for their students.

I so agree with and appreciate this particular sentiment:

"Let's just remember-- grades are a tool to improve human life. Human life doesn't exist in order to be graded."

Amen. You might as well have said, "The Sabbath was created for the man, not man for the Sabbath."

Douglas Wilson addresses this issue in his book "The Case for Classical Christian Education." I highly recommend this book to you; at least, read the chapter where Wilson addresses this issue.

He refers to a rather bizarre Old Testament law that said, "Do not cook a goat in its mothers milk." He was making the case that students don't exist for the teachers to "cook" them. Rather, teachers exist to serve the students.

See in the private Christian school and home school and classical Christian school movement, there are a great many people who see the logic of my ideas and who agree with me. They hate the public schools. They hate godless education.

In fact, they really miss Jesus' whole point. They are modern day Pharisees. They are haters.

And they send their kids to Christian school. And they teach at Christian schools. And they screw up the concept of the Sabbath. They have not found peace that passes all understanding. They have not found unspeakable joy. They have not found rest for their souls. Really, they have not found Jesus (although if you suggest that to them, you better be ready for a violent reaction). And so, these teachers, in the name of Christianity, abuse students psychologically and spiritually. They don't serve them. They don't bring life and joy to them. They operate by the law, not by the grace.

This is a big problem. In fact, this is one of the reasons why Christian schools are very often no better than public schools, and quite often worse than public schools. We Christians are sinful bunch of people, and merely changing our rhetoric accomplishes nothing. A good tree bears good fruit. A bad tree bears bad fruit. By your fruit, you shall recognize them.

Having said all of that, there is definately a place for discipline in the classroom. "A fool despises discipline, and he who hates correction will die." God loves us just as we are, and He loves us too much to let us stay as we are. Good parents and good teachers will discipline the children. In fact, good Christians will discipline other adults. Discipline must be administered properly. We need to operate in grace, not in law. Discipline leads to life. Discipline makes you strong and wise and successful.

A teacher that does not discipline his students shows contempt for the learning process and for the students themselves. He condemns the students to low standards. He devalues human life.

If someone tried to paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa, and I was there and knew about it, I would seek to disrupt the plan. For painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa is an act of vandalism.

Similarly, a rebellious child, who seeks to dishonor and disrupt and disrespect the teacher in the classroom is acting like that vandal. He is attacking that which is beautiful, orderly, and right. If a teacher does not discipline that child, then the teacher has failed to protect the rest of the class. The teacher has invited other students to deface the art of the learning process.

At this point, there are three basic types of students. (Yes, everyone is unique, but go with me for a second). There are the mockers/scorners, the naive, and the wise. When a mocker/scorner seeks to disrespect the learning process, a teacher has a decision to make. He can properly discipline the offender, or he can let it go.

If he disciplines the offender, other mockers will be convicted and probably angered and upset. The naive will be convicted, and will learn some wisdom. The wise will be rejoicing that the teacher defended the beauty of education.

But the teacher must be careful. The teacher does not want to be like a Pharisee, and "cook" the offenders of the class in the name of discipline. The teacher is to demonstrate love and grace through the whole process.

Good teachers are tough, but they also win the admiration of their students. A teacher who doesn't set high standards may be liked by his students at first, but they will grow to disrespect him and possibly hate him, because of this.

That teacher has robbed God, and failed to give Him glory. That teacher has denied the students the full opportunity to learn and to grow. That teacher let mockers and scorners get control of the classroom. And students may not admit to it, or fully comprehend it, but they deeply want a teacher to love them and to challenge them.

On the other hand, a teacher who challenges his students in a proper way (full of grace) will have to deal with complainers at first. But if that teacher is consistent, then those students will learn and grow, and most of them will love and respect that teacher.

Self-evaluation. I was, at best, a mediocre teacher. I learned a lot in my two years of teaching. I need to grow a lot more. I may not be a teacher now, but I am a teacher of the gospel to those around me. I also intend on becoming a parent. So, I need God's training, admonition, instruction, wisdom, faith, and encouragement. It was often a difficult thing for me as a teacher to have a vision of what I was trying to do, and then being unable to facilitate it. I am totally depraved. I need God.

However, because most of my students and my boss had a proper understanding a respect for Romans 13 and Biblical authority, I was able to be effective in a good way as a teacher in many ways - in spite of my mediocrity. When most students respect their teachers, simply because the position of teacher is worthy of respect, and when wise parents and a wise principal act as the advocate for the teacher, and when class begins with a word of prayer and a devotional thought from God's word, even mediocre teachers like myself can be used to accomplish a whole lot of good.

I am thankful that God used me in these ways.

So you see Christian truth is much better than the religion of secularism.

8:46 AM  
Blogger elvis777 said...

I will try to give you both a clue: the truth is ARBITRARY. In the end each person or group or country or whatever will choose a set of truths, behaviors and laws etc. according to arbitrary quirk choices. So Marco chooses some ideas and Dan others. Dan will always say that what I say is wrong a sin etc. I will always say he can't prove his religion. How can the debate end up anywhere ? Even the concept of proof is very vague unless you are in a labratory dealing with scientific experiments.

There will never be any way out, Dan has his ideas, the seculars theirs. End of story. Only god knows the truth, but I am referring to the ancient god of the Incas.

4:04 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"Many of the ideas of Freud and Darwin are simply false. Secondly, many of the other ideas they have are not provable. "

Oh, certainly. Most of Freud's ideas are wrong, and some of Darwin's details are wrong. But that's true of all great historical scientists. Most of Aristotle's details are wrong. Newton's laws are wrong. Gallileo and Copernicus's theory of the solar system is wrong. Descartes's theories of the brain were dead wrong.

But-- we still study them they were big steps in the right direction. Freud and Darwin in particular were HUGE steps in the right direction.

Freud gave us the idea that the workings of the human mind could be in the domain of science. The importance of childhood experiences, the importance of sexuality in all stages of human life, the defense mechanisms, the notioon of the unconscious-- these are all Freud.

"That is, Christians may not integrate their right to exercise their faith in good conscience while on the job - unless doing so happens not to interfere with the infamous "bottom line" of the employer. When"

Well, i'm in a difficult position here, because we live in a world where most people HAVE to be employed in order to have the basic necessities of life. It won't always be like that, but for the time being, it is. This is a bad situation, becuase it does force people to choose between their morality and their duties as an employee.

The important thing to realize is-- this is happening ot everyone. It's not an anti-christian conspiracy-- it's true of everyone. Everyone's in that dilemma.

--

Regarding education-- stuff is complicated, but the people who say that teachers and education are often "too harsh" have a valid point. Who made up the rule that we would call the lowest tier of students failures? Who made up the rule that the color of grading would be bright red-- and if some people DO find red to be harsh, why shouldn't we change it?

Obviously-- I think it's a hard sell claim that red IS indeed harsh-- but, many smart people insist that it is, so.. why not change it?

--

" I may not be a teacher now,"

I'm really sorry to hear this. You obviously had a passion for it-- which is a treasured thing indeed. Of course-- most teaching doesn't occur in a classroom, and the greatest teachers usually don't sit at a desk. So, take heart. :)

10:41 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I had said, "That is, Christians may not integrate their right to exercise their faith in good conscience while on the job - unless doing so happens not to interfere with the infamous 'bottom line' of the employer."

Marco responded, "Well, i'm in a difficult position here, because we live in a world where most people HAVE to be employed in order to have the basic necessities of life. It won't always be like that, but for the time being, it is. This is a bad situation, becuase it does force people to choose between their morality and their duties as an employee.

The important thing to realize is-- this is happening ot everyone. It's not an anti-christian conspiracy-- it's true of everyone. Everyone's in that dilemma."

That's not good enough! Considering that you know how evil the bottom line of capitalistic corporate America can be, I would expect you to be more feisty about confronting the institutionalized greed that capitalism is.

Socialism is institutionalized envy. Capitalism is institutionalized greed. Both are wicked and evil. Any organization that does not have a bottom line that is Christ honoring is an organization that is evil and idolatrous. The nature of the political world machine is one which devalues human life.

And if we sell out and give in to the pressure that is placed on us by the powers that be, then we become a part of the problem.

The antithesis is real. There is no way out of the dilemma, except by the grace of God. We have a choice. By God's grace we could contend for that which is true, beautiful and right - honoring Christ and putting the teachings of the beattitudes into practice, or we could sell out, and compromise our humanity.

But here is the deal: If we don't have faith that we are adopted as sons in God's Kingdom, then we will default to an orphan mentality. And there is no bounds to how badly we will impact the world if we operate with an orphan mentality. If God is not real, and if I'm not a child of God, then I will operate as an orphan in a terrible and dangerous world.

But, thanks be to God, He has shown His love to me, and therefore I have strength and hope to resist the evil of agnostic socialism and the evil of capitalistic corporate America.

3:51 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"That's not good enough! Considering that you know how evil the bottom line of capitalistic corporate America can be, I would expect you to be more feisty about confronting the institutionalized greed that capitalism is."

Well, I'm very much a function of my environment. When I'm in a group of liberals, I tend to sound very conservative. When I'm with a group of atheists, I tend to sound very spiritual. When I'm with christians, I sound very atheistic. When I'm with rabid capitalists, I sound very anti-capitalist.

Since you're no friend to big business, I don't spend lots of words on that subject.

But still-- I think you're in trouble if you look at capitalism and socialism as an axis between greed and envy. Ultimately you're problem with them is that they're simply "not christianity". But that doesn't solve your problem.

When the United States of America allows the red states to split off and form Jesusland, what's the tax structure going to look like? Will their be a minimum wage?

The Bible isn't going to be of much help in answering these questions, unless you want to go back to the old jewish laws. You can't really count on God to whisper it in your ear, because the God->Human Intuition communication process seems to result in almost everyone hearing something different.

But, it's going to be just as hard on the Christianland as it will be on America to try to figure out the right balance.

And you know, socialism isn't institutionalized envy. When I want your fancy new sports car but I have a fine car of my own, perhaps it's envy. When I want a DOCTOR-- I'm not being envious, I'm being ill. When I want FOOD, I'm not being envious, I just being hungry. When I'm want a house, I'm not being envious-- I'm just cold and homeless.

"Any organization that does not have a bottom line that is Christ honoring is an organization that is evil and idolatrous."

This is of course very hard for me to understand. Can humans do no good without God? Is every non-christians organization, no matter how well intentioned, ultimately evil?

It's an odd definition of evil. Take peace corps volunteers doing humanitarian work in Africa. Evil?
If nice people doing nice things for humanity are evil-- it's hard for me to see that "evil" as you use it is really something to avoid.

11:37 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

Intersting story I came across:

http://news10now.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=76479

Woman who's been teaching sunday school for 11 years has just been fired because of some new Baptist rule that says it's inappropriate for a woman to be teacher.

Yeah, we've really got those Taliban on the run.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

If people need/want doctors, they ought to PLAN AHEAD. People will get sick sometime during the course of their lives. So, rather than live it up until that moment, and then become a burden on society, they ought to use their gifts and talents to work hard just like the rest of us - providing a good product or service that people need, want, or desire (as long as those needs, wants, or desires are ethical). While doing so, they ought to buy health insurance.

You are not going to be able to squirm out of the fact that socialism discourages personal responsibility. When people must, they usually do. When the should, but don't have to, they very often will not.

And you know, I believe the toughness of capitalistic society is used by God to mold people into responsible, disciplined, compassionate people, who actually do something productive with their lives. Capitalism, by its nature, is a method of holding people accountable. People will be prudent, because they have to.

But let me defend capitalism no more than that. Capitalism does run on the greed of men. And monopolies are evil.

Here is something to seriously consider: What percentage of socialist leaning people give at least 10% of their income to charity? What percentage of capitalistic leaning people give at least 10% of their income to charity?

See, I believe that socialists talk a big game about compassion and caring for their fellow man. Well, nothing is stopping ya'll from going to the hospital and paying someone's hospital bill. You can even give more money to Uncle Sam if you want. Christian schools tend to struggle quite a bit with budgets, and since you believe in diversity in education, I could let you know about a very specific school that is doing many good things, and who are in a real budget crisis. You mentioned that it would be worth it to tax people up to 75% of their salaries for the sake of education. Well, we'll be easy on you. Why don't you live off of half of your income, and give the other half to Christian schools? Since you believe in redistribution of wealth based on need, then Christian schools should be close to the top of your list. Public schools get a lot of money. But it is not uncommon for Christian school teachers to get paid less than $25,000 a year without getting much health insurance. So, why don't you pick up the tab for some Christian school teachers' health insurance?

See, many of us Christians recognize the fundamental truth that the government does not have a tree on which money is growing. We also know about the sinful and lazy and selfish nature of man. So in this secular society, we believe in personal responsibility, not in becoming dependents on the state. We believe the buck stops here, not with the government.

But we also believe in giving.

Meanwhile, socialists often accuse us of being self-righteous and hypocrites and of having no compassion. They claim the high ground of compassion. But how much do they really give? How much do they really serve?

I was in a conversation this summer with an individual who has left leanings. He wants the government to pay for practically everything. Camden is a crime ridden city, and it is the government's fault. So obviously, we need to invest in more social programs. (We really need to empower the police force). It is up to the federal government to fix the levy down in New Orleans. It is up to the federal government to redistribute wealth and to provide more money for higher education and health care and on and on ad infinitum.

As if the government isn't in debt.... As if the government, in the final analysis, isn't you and me. And what is worse, is that this individual, while a very nice and friendly guy, just has not taken it upon himself to give generously and consistently in a disciplined manner.

So essentially, socialists are looking for the government to act as a parent to society. "I don't have the discipline to take care of myself. I'm not disciplined enough to plan ahead and buy sufficient health insurance. I'm not disciplined enough to plan for my own retirement. I'm not disciplined enough to give to the poor. So, I need Uncle Sam to not only act as an uncle, but as my daddy. Make me a giving person, because if you don't make me, then I won't do it."

What is ironic is that socialists don't even see the violation of civil liberties in all of their programs. The classical liberal view is the rights imply negative obligations. My right to preach the gospel does not imply the positive obligation of my neighbors to give me a platform and an audience, but it does imply that people may not deprive me of my right to preach the gospel. But modern liberals (aka sociliasts) say that we have a right to minimum wage and adequate health care, thereby obliging everyone to take positive action to meet their needs. And so everyone becomes a servant to the (secular) state. Going above and beyond tithing is mandatory in the religion of agnostic socialism. There is an epistemological hegemony that must be funded.

And above all, keep God out of everything public. God is only allowed in the private sphere - which, under the socialist dream - diminishes more and more until it is squashed out. The downstairs segment of society is taking over the upstairs for their purposes. Christians have a "playroom" for now, but via a spiritual/psychological/economic "eminent domain" move, that playroom will be taken over for agnostic socialist purposes. The religion of secularism advances.

7:32 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"If people need/want doctors, they ought to PLAN AHEAD."

That's an odd sentiment for a Christian-- though probably an all-too common one. To me, no one deserves to be in physical agony-- no matter what they've done. There is nothing you can do, in my eyes, to deserve to be denied medical care. Seriously. We give murderers in prison access to health care-- it's the least we can do for our country's poor.

Maybe people were short-cited and didn't plan ahead-- they still don't deserve to not be able to go to a doctor. Maybe people really are just lazy-- but, doesn't even a lazy person deserve some medicine?

In reality though, people aren't just lazy or short-sighted. If you work at wal-mart, you work hard-- but you don't get a doctor for all that hard work. JUST PLAIN WRONG. About 1/4th of the americans who don't have health care are CHILDREN. wrong, wrong wrong. I'm not sure if a fetus can feel pain or not-- but I know a child can!

"They should plan ahead" just doesn't enter into it.
---

"socialism discourages personal responsibility."

So, are you implying that charity is wrong because it descreases personal responsibility? Because, you know, there's about ten bazillion discussions of socialistic like discouragements of personal responsibility in the New Testament-- are you sure you're in the right religon?

Forget personal responsibility. People still have lots of things they want. There's no shortage of thing people want to buy. People aren't going to stop working just because we give them a doctor.

"I believe the toughness of capitalistic society is used by God to mold people into responsible, disciplined, compassionate people, who actually do something productive with their lives."

If I were to look at the toughness of capitalism through a Christian lens, I would say it's the result of Satan urging people to ignore their neighbors and be greedy, refusing to listen to the anguished cries of their brothers.

---

"What percentage of socialist leaning people give at least 10% of their income to charity?"

Obviously, one would hope that anyone who is socialistic and makes more than the median income (and certainly more than the mean income) would be donating chunks of their income to charity. But, humans are humans, and if many don't, that just means humans have a hard time living up to their ideals-- it doesn't make those ideals any less valuable.

"Why don't you live off of half of your income, and give the other half to Christian schools?"

Hey, when the public schools have enough money, I have no problem giving money to christian schools too. Pass a law for sufficent funding of all schools, even christian schools, in america through taxes and I'll vote for it. For something that cool, I'd campaign.

"Christian schools should be close to the top of your list. Public schools get a lot of money."

Some do, but poor communities' schools are crumblig and violence-ridden. There are some scary, sad schools in america. In the contest for impovershed schools, I doubt the christians schools are even in the running-- inner city schools and poor rural schools are the clear front-runners. What's more-- a child going to a private school is always welcome in our public school if his private school is crumbling, and while his parents might object to some of the teachings, the public school student doesn't have to believe anything in order to be allowed to attend. No one will tell him what he's require to believe. No one will tell him what he's not allowed to talk about at lunch or who he's not allowed to pray to in the morning.

In contrast, the poor public school student isn't going to be allowed to come to the private christian school. He has no where to go. Unless he promises to worship the right god, he simply isn't welcome. Obviously-- we probably should fund those schoools that are open to ALL students before we lose too much sleep over the schools that practice religious discrimination.

But, still-- everoyne should be able to go to a school of their choice. Even chrstian schools, even islamic schools, even racistic schools. So I do hope a day comes when we stop treating schools as our society's lowest priority.
---

"The classical liberal view is the rights imply negative obligations. "

Well, you're right that most socialistic types don't really thinkg about the conflict between socialism and libertarianism. If you had to give my politica beliefs a name, it would be "socialist libertarianism", so... it's something I think a lot about.

There's a couple of way I can respond to the issue of about negative versus positive rights. Here's one way to put it that sounds very much like a marxist guerilla:

I'm not arguing that the rich have a duty to sacrifice their own wealth in order to save the poor from the problems of violence, disease, and ignorance.

I AM arguing that the poor have the right to, legally and nonviolently, steal back the wealth that is being stolen from them in order to solve the problems of violence, disease, and ignorance.

Isn't that an inflammatory way to put it? Ahhh, practically makes me out to overthrow the military dicatorship of Colonel Buendia and create a new government that belongs to the people.

But, my point is there. Just because someone has figured out a way to steal from me doesn't make it wrong for me to try to find a way to stop them from doing it. It's not inherently a civil rights violation-- it's only that if you ASSUME that the rich have some inherent right to be rich. I don't recognize that right-- it's not a right, it's a priviledge our society currently gives some people, and if we want to revoke that priviledge, it's our perogative.
--

During the middle ages, a few people owned all the land, while the serfs PAID for the right to farm that land for the nobles. A century ago, slaves gave their masters the fruit of all their labor. People wanted to change it, but many people talked and talked and talked about how wrong it would be to steal the land from the nobles, or to steal the slaves from the masters.

My grandfather, this is true, STILL talks about how wrong it was to steal the slaves from the southerns. He insists that it was illegal the federal government to seize the slaves without paying for them. It boggles the mind.

Now, a minimum wage worker is in the same boat as the slaves were not long ago-- working their lives out in exchange for the ABSOLUTELY MINIMUM to BARELY make it.

In a few centuries-- if the humans are still around, people will look back on this and shake their heads.

2:35 PM  
Blogger elvis777 said...

Very interesting discussions! Now in the US minimum wage could be 1,000 dollars a month, right ? Some people say well work 2 jobs, 16 hours a day and you can hit 2,000 dollars. I am talking about the real unfortunate guy who has no education and has to do really simple jobs. So given this case, if this guy makes 1,000 dollars Dan, how much would it cost him to pay for his private health insurance ? Really just curious to get this thing in scale, to understand exactly how these things are there. Thanks, you know in Europe health is mostly free, but we have heavy taxes, but still I am curious. Thanks for some figures so I can weight the discussion.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"I'm not arguing that the rich have a duty to sacrifice their own wealth in order to save the poor from the problems of violence, disease, and ignorance.

I AM arguing that the poor have the right to, legally and nonviolently, steal back the wealth that is being stolen from them in order to solve the problems of violence, disease, and ignorance."

Stealing is wrong (and encourages us to act on or sinfully envious natures). Stealing is unjust. Stealing is illegal (thank God).

A right is a just claim. People have no right to do that which is unjust.

Of course, when you use the word "stealing," you hardly mean stealing, because you don't recognize the right that people have to own real estate and personal property. You are a postmodernist.

On my "tough talk" as a Christian (demanding people to plan ahead).... This sounds like I have no compassion. But in fact, it stems from the fact that money does not grow on trees.

Lets get right down to it. Family A is an upper middle class family. Dad, Mom, 4 kids. Dad works a hard job 50-60 hours per week. He is committed to his family. Mortgage, health insurance, saving for college, saving for retirement, etc. Dad works hard - gets up 5:00 every day to put in a hard day of work. Often works Saturdays. Besides this, 2 of the kids have serious health issues, and the family is having a tough time making ends meet financially. Yet they are making it.

Family B. Dad, Mom, 2 kids. Dad doesn't buy health insurance. Kid gets extremely sick.

You are saying tht Family A ought to be obligated by law to pay for Family B's health care?

Or you are saying that Famiy B has the "right to steal" from Family A in order to pay for health care?

Generosity ought to be encouraged. But you are essentially saying that it ought to be demanded.

How much do you give? (That's a rhetorical question.)

6:40 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"Or you are saying that Famiy B has the "right to steal" from Family A in order to pay for health care? "

Well, I do think it's appropriate for those who have to pay for those who don't. So, if you're upper-middle class, yes, you probably should be paying some taxes to help out your fellow citizens who don't have. I'm sure family A's dad works hard. But family B's dad probably works even harder, for a lot less money.

Of course, if a family really is "just getting by"-- then they're doing enough. It's not the people who are "just getting by" who the problem. It's the people who have more wealth than THOUSANDS of their fellow citizens combined. That's when thing get inexcusable and obscene. It's probably not the people who have to get up at 5 AM that are the serious problem-- it's the people who never have to get up at 5 again for any day in their life, but still can buy their own islands.

9:56 AM  
Blogger elvis777 said...

Just for the record, I found out some figures: private health insurance in the US could be about 200 dollars a month. So 1,000 dollars is your pay - 200 gives you 800 dollars to live. Now rent in the US could be 500 dollars for a small 1 room appartment for a single guy so you live with 300 dollars.

4:25 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home