Saturday, May 19, 2012

Answering Dustin Segers’ Presuppositionalism, Part IVb: Collectivism, Evil and Slavery

This will be the final installment of my extended reply to Dustin Segers’ questions for atheists. My previous responses to Segers can be found here:
In the present entry, I continue my exploration of Segers’ final question, namely:
”How do you account for objective morality without God?"
I have already provided a direct response to this question in my previous blog entry. In this entry, I explore some of the political implications of the moral system found in Christianity, focusing on Christianity’s proclivity towards collectivism, its affinity with Nazism and communism, the problem of evil, and the issue of slavery.


Christianity: Providing the Roots of Collectivism

We saw earlier that Christian “morality” ignores the moral needs of an individual and leaves him without a guide teaching him what he should do in the context of his own life. This void cannot be filled by prayer, worship, fear, faith, or any other staple of religious devotion. There is no substitute for values, just as there’s no substitute for life.

Christian “morality” does not speak of values, but instead focuses on duties, and the bulk of these duties have to do with conduct one performs in the context of interpersonal relationships. These duties are presented in the form of “commandments” which are alleged to have been “revealed” from a divine source, which can only mean that they are not principles based on facts which we discover in nature by rational means.

The fundamental pretext of a morality based on duties commanded from a supernatural source, is the requirement of a person to sacrifice himself. Christians give this away not only in their defenses of their worldview’s moral code, but also in the frustration they express as a result of the persistence of non-belief. Apologists very often tell non-believers that the reason why they are not persuaded by their miserably poor arguments is because they don’t want to “submit” to the Christian god and bow their knees before it. In other words, apologists scold non-believers for their unwillingness to sacrifice themselves to the Christian god as they have done.

A morality informed by the command to sacrifice oneself always results in collectivistic politics when it is applied to interpersonal relationships. “Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group” (Ayn Rand, “Racism,” The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 128). Collectivism appears to have been the explicit ideal of the post-Easter Christian community. For instance, we read in the book of Acts:
All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:44-45)
The Christian community described in Acts strongly resembles a miniature communistic state. Another passage confirms this:
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:34-37)
In fact, failing to lay at the “apostles’ feet” all the money one receives for the sale of land, apparently resulted in the death penalty. In Acts 5:1-5, we read the following account:
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
From what is given in this passage, it is unclear what specifically Ananias did wrong. He “sold a possession,” kept a portion of the proceeds for himself, took the rest “and laid it at the apostles’ feet,” and then he was accused of lying, when in fact there does not seem to be anything objectionable given in the account against this. Christians likely interpret this passage to mean that Ananias told the apostles that he was giving all of the proceeds from his sale to them, when in fact the account leaves out this detail. But even if that were the case, why does this warrant immediate death? Why was there no trial? Why was there no due process? Why is death the penalty for lying? These questions are not considered, and the outcome of the story implies that one has no right to ask such questions, or at least no right to expect such considerations. Mere accusation is sufficient to bring a person the death penalty, and by supernatural means.

If this passage is intended to indicate that lying or misleading one of “the elect” will result in instantaneous death, then it seems that today’s apologists are not among “the elect.” For apologists are routinely telling us that we non-believers are lying through our teeth, and thus guilty of the same crime as Ananias, on their interpretation of the story, was. But yet Ananias’ fate does not befall those of us who are supposedly lying to those who posture themselves as “God’s elect.” Assuming the truth of the story (which is what Christians want us to do), these apologists who badger non-believers must not be among “God’s elect” after all.

With all the talk of “God’s mercy” and the importance of “forgiveness,” it seems that stories like this suggest that our leg is being pulled.

And yet, the overt evidence of collectivism in the early Christian community is impossible to miss once it’s been pointed out. Indeed, who needs to have it pointed out if he has read these passages? Individual liberty is certainly no ideal in either the Old or New Testament.

The individual is continually being overlooked on behalf of some vague something or other which is supposed to be “higher” than the individual and somehow more important. We are commanded not only to love a deity which is utterly indifferent to human values (according to Christianity’s own premises, it destroys human lives all the time), but also to love our “neighbor” as ourselves (Mk. 12:31). Indeed, believers are commanded to love their enemies as well (Mt. 5:44). In each case, one’s own values are not to be factors determine what or whom one loves. Love is supposed to be subject to commands, and yet anyone who has been in any kind of relationship will know that love cannot be commanded. All this recognition takes is some honesty. And yet the bible proceeds to pretend that love is subject to commands. Your neighbor might be a lying cheat who beats his kids, but the Christian god commands you to love him anyway. Your enemy is someone who wants to destroy your values – he may want to rob your belongings, kidnap your children, rape your wife, defraud your parents of their life’s savings. But the Christian god commands you to love him anyway. In other words, you are expected to become as indifferent to your own values as the Christian god is.

By downplaying the importance of values to the point that they are as insignificant as dust, subjective morality always ends up destroying the individual by lumping him into some kind of collective. In the case of Christianity, all human beings are divided into two opposing collectives: the chosen vs. the damned, and what an individual does makes no difference and has no impact on which collective he belongs in.

Consider Segers’ own statement when Reynold hall questions him on the doctrine of divine election (12:13 – 12:39):
Hall: So in other words [the Christian god] picks and chooses who goes to hell or not, correct?  
Segers: That’s, well no, he picks and chooses who goes to heaven, and all those who are in Adam by default get what Adam earned for his people. And all those who are in Christ get what Christ earned for his people. Either way, you get imputed, you get reckoned based upon something that you didn’t do, personally, you weren’t personally involved in. It just depends on who your federal head is.
That “you get reckoned based upon something that you didn’t do” can only mean that your fate is not something you earn. According to Christianity, one can do whatever he thinks it takes to earn him a wonderful eternity, but just as Clint Eastwood’s character at the end of Unforgiven says, “Deserved’s got nothin’ to do with it.” According to Christianity, we do not get the end that we deserve, since our own choices and efforts account for nothing in the scheme Christians call “God’s plan.” Segers says that “it just depends on who your federal head is,” and of course no one gets to choose this for himself or alter it by his own effort – this is all fated for each individual according to some “plan” which the Christian god supposedly authored long before any of us were even born. It’s all been pre-determined before our existence, decided for us on the basis of who knows what, irrespective of our individual characters, irrespective of our chosen actions, in spite of our devotion to our values. An individual’s values and choices have nothing to do with Christian morality. Indeed, on some interpretations of Christianity (including that preferred by presuppositionalism), the very concept of ‘choice’ becomes a stolen concept.

The upshot is that Christianity enshrines the notion of the unearned. Not only is the acceptance of the unearned a systematic necessity of the Christian paradigm (since salvation cannot be earned), the desire for the unearned is philosophically and psychologically encouraged by Christianity. According to the worldview endorsed by presuppositionalists like Segers, one does not earn his rewards or punishments; they are distributed without any justice whatsoever. And yet this whole anti-just mess is called “God’s justice,” mixed with its “mercy,” which is supposedly a character trait that can kick in without any predictable causality to “rescue” a person from the “justice” of otherwise fating him to eternal damnation.

To compound the injustices of Christianity, keep in mind that someone had to be killed in order for the believer to enjoy his salvation. Indeed, with the sacrament of the Eucharist, Christians believe that they are actually consuming the flesh and blood of the person who died for them. The overt parasitism of Christian morality finds its culmination in the soteriological remedy it offers on behalf of “cleansing” and “redeeming” an individual from the depravity into which, by design of the Christian god, he was born. The murder of the righteous, according to the Christian paradigm, is what makes the good possible in man’s life. And it is the Christian worldview which attracts individuals with a mindset that can call such a state of affairs “good” and “just.”

Rand’s analysis of the Christian doctrine of salvation has no equal:
Christ, in terms of the Christian philosophy, is the human ideal. He personifies that which men should strive to emulate. Yet, according to the Christian mythology, he died on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the nonideal people. In other words, a man of perfect virtue was sacrificed for men who are vicious and who are expected or supposed to accept that sacrifice. If I were a Christian, nothing could make me more indignant than that: the notion of sacrificing the ideal to the nonideal, or virtue to vice. And it is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used. (Playboy interviews Ayn Rand, March 1964)
So not only does Christian “morality” endorse the acceptance of the unearned, both in terms of values as well as spirit (in fact, to the point of enjoying benefit as a result of someone’s murder), it essentially dispenses with a vital precondition of morality, namely an individual’s choices. Remember that on a rational worldview morality is a code of values which guides an individual’s choices and actions. When Segers says “you get reckoned based upon something that you didn’t do,” he’s telling us that a person’s choices are irrelevant to his moral standing; he’s not allowed to have a choice, the crucial choices have already been made for him by a supernatural being with whom no one can reason or negotiate. This is worse than the case of a teenage girl in Morocco who was ordered by a court to marry her rapist (she later committed suicide – details can be found here). It’s worse because in the case of the girl in Morocco, this was an isolated incident and people have the ability and choice to oppose such injustices and make sure they never happen again. In the case of Christianity, it is not an isolated case, since it applies universally to everyone, and no one has the ability to do anything about it. There’s no room for justice whatsoever when the Christian god is in the room, and he’s always in the room according to Christianity.

Clearly, then, an ethic which grants moral validity to selfishness is going to be condemned by Christians. Along with self comes the self’s choices, the self’s values, the self’s mind, including his moral judgment, and all of these are intolerable phenomena given Christianity’s anti-selfish policies. An individual’s mind is prohibited by Christianity, because having a mind means evaluating what it is expected to accept as knowledge, and that’s a no-no. Acting to protect and preserve one’s own values means he expects a universe where justice is possible; but on Christianity’s premises, no justice is possible. One could act in the interest of his values, including his loved ones – e.g., his spouse, his children, his family members and friends – and such efforts are as “filthy rags” according to the Christian god (cf. Isaiah 64:6). The Christian god is utterly indifferent to human values, and the teachings of the bible make clear that human beings are also expected to be utterly indifferent to their own values.

When asked what he meant by ‘selfishness’, one Christian replied:
Selfishness is being consumed with one’s own welfare without any concern for the well-being of others. For instance, eating to satisfy hunger would not be considered as something selfish unless you have no regard for those who have nothing to eat. A selfish person would have no concern for others even though he may have the ability to alleviate his neighbor’s needs.
This last statement (“A selfish person would have no concern for others even though he may have the ability to alleviate his neighbor’s needs”) reminded me of the Christian god. We are told that it is all-powerful and all-loving, and we’re also told that it is wrong to show no concern for others even though one may have the ability to alleviate the needs of others, in effect to allowing willingly all their needs to go unmet. Since the Christian god is supposed to be all-powerful, it would follow that it has the ability to alleviate the needs of others. Oft-cited examples of children starving in Africa and Asia come to mind. Certainly Christian believers believe that their god could fill their stomachs, and doing so would not cost it anything. It could simply wish that these starving parties had an abundance of food, plenty to meet their needs, and doing so would not result in any deprivation on the part of the Christian god itself. But like the selfish person which the anti-self Christian condemns, the Christian god shows no “concern for the well-being of others” in such cases.

Now, consider what has been stated by this Christian. It is not selfish for me to eat to satisfy my hunger, unless I do so and “have no regard for those who have nothing to eat.” So if I eat, but “have regard for those who have nothing to eat,” somehow this is okay, it’s not selfish, it’s morally acceptable. It’s unclear why, for merely “hav[ing] regard for people who have nothing to eat” results in no material difference and has only a psychological effect on the person performing the act in question (in this case, eating). The situation for those who have nothing to eat remains unaffected either way: if I eat without having regard for people who have nothing to eat, they do not as a result of my eating consequently have something to eat. If I eat while regarding such people, I still fill my own belly and theirs remain empty. So why is this an essential difference? Perhaps we’re supposed to feel guilt for having food while knowing that others do not. But I have no such guilt. My feeling guilty won’t change any facts, just as “having regard” for those who have nothing to eat will do nothing to put food on their plates. Moreover, since I have earned my values, I have full right to them, regardless of who might disapprove, and I do not accept unearned guilt. Let the Christian, who desires the unearned, accept his unearned guilt.

Also, why isn’t it selfish for me to eat? Who benefits from the action I perform when I feed myself? Does my neighbor who lives across the street from me benefit from this? Does someone in Swaziland benefit from this? Does someone in Paraguay benefit from this? It seems not in all three cases. Indeed, I benefit from this action, and I benefit directly from it. In other words, my self benefits from my own action, and no one else seems to. So why isn’t the mere act of eating selfish in nature? Christians who condemn selfishness will of course not allow such actions to be categorized as selfish actions, since they themselves perform this action all the time, and they don’t want to think of themselves as behaving selfishly, even though they are the ones peddling unearned guilt. The performative inconsistencies exhibited by the Christian walk seem to have no limit.

Selfishness is often characterized as acting to gain at someone else’s expense. But in fact, such behavior is a type of selflessness, since it is the mark of a secondhander and in fact it requires that others sacrifice their values. Rationally selfish individuals interact with each other on the basis of the trader principle. The dictum “my best effort in exchange for yours” accurately encapsulates this principle. By contrast, the ethics of self-sacrifice is the ethics of the secondhander, the parasite, the schmoo, someone who refuses to earn his values by his own effort and seeks to leach off others, often by shaming them into sacrifice. Anyone who insists that you refrain from being selfish very well may be out to collect from your self-sacrifices. Self-sacrifice and acting to gain at someone else’s expense, then, are two sides of the same coin: neither can obtain without the other, unless of course one resorts to the initiation of force. And of course, we find no commandment in the bible against initiating the use of force against others. (For further reading on this point, see my blog Hitler vs. Mother Theresa: Antithesis or Symbiosis?)


Nazism

Christian apologists frequently cite Nazi Germany as the kind of society one can expect if atheism becomes the popular norm. Of course, such claims ignore the fact that atheism per se is not a worldview or philosophical system; that one is an atheist tells us nothing about the worldview that he has adopted, other than that it is not theistic in nature. Atheism is nothing more than the absence of theism in a human being and as such implies no particular moral system or social theory. Atheism is not a conceptual structure in and of itself; that one is an atheist does not excuse him from the need for a philosophy or worldview. Given this it would be completely wrongheaded to blame atheism for the injustices of a political system. In order to identify the causes of a political system’s injustices, one must look at the philosophical content of that political system, including not only the moral framework on which it depends, but also its view of reality (metaphysics) and its understanding of knowledge and the methods by which knowledge is acquired and validated (epistemology). We should not be surprised to discover significant if not fundamental similarities between the worldview of the Nazis and that of Christianity.

For example, like Christianity, the social theory of Nazism denies the individual’s right to exist for his own sake. Just as Abraham was expected to be willing to sacrifice his own son when commanded, the individual living under the Nazis was to be willing to sacrifice himself and all his values at the command of der Führer. Religious thinkers have ignored such parallels, hoping they won’t be discovered, since they represent a movement which is actually competing for the same hegemony for which they excoriate the Nazis. The Nazis simply replaced religion’s “God” with “der Führer,” and jealous religionists want it back. The tendency of religionists to react against Nazism as though atheistic influences (such as that represented by Nietzsche) were the root cause of their unjust system, causes them to miss the true nature of the evil inherent in any form of collecitivism and consequently misidentify its philosophical causes.

Peikoff offers the following case in point:
Religious writers often claim that the cause of Nazism is the secularism or the scientific spirit of the modern world. This evades the facts that the Germans at the time, especially in Prussia, were one of the most religious peoples in Western Europe; that the Weimar Republic was a hotbed of mystic cults, of which Nazism was one; and that Germany’s largest and most devout religious group, the Lutherans, counted themselves among Hitler’s staunchest followers. (The Ominous Parallels, p. 20)
Christians who are confronted with the facts noted here often try to downplay the religiosity of the German people as a contributing factor to the rise of Nazism and focus on ready scapegoats outside the flock. Christian apologist Dinesh D’Souza offers himself as an example of this. When giving his explanation of the rise of Nazism in Germany, he writes:
During the period of his ascent to power, he needed the support of the German people — mostly Christian, mostly Lutheran — and he occasionally used boilerplate rhetoric such as “I am doing the Lord’s work” to try and secure this. (Answering Atheist’s Arguments)
Immediately after saying this D’Souza goes on to link Hitler to Nietzsche, which is a common apologetic tactic. In order to get the heat off his religion, D’Souza needs to imply that the massive Lutheran population of Germany were ignoramuses and dolts for falling for Hitler’s opportunistic rhetoric. Somehow millions of Germans who supported Hitler believed him when he claimed to be “doing the Lord’s work” in inciting the ire of the German populace against their Jewish neighbors. Instead of considering whether or not Hitler’s anti-semitism and statist views resonated with the German Lutherans, D’Souza prefers to focus blame on a single individual who had died decades earlier. But is that really accurate? Was infatuation with Nietzsche’s ideas the fundamental culprit in the rise of Nazism? Peikoff provides some well-needed balance on this matter:
There was Friedrich Nietzsche, the prophet of the superman and of the will to power, who was acclaimed by Hitler as one of his precursors. The extent of Nietzsche’s actual influence in regard to the rise of Nazism is debatable. He is antistatis, antiracist, and in many respects a defender of the individual. Nevertheless, he is a fervid romanticist, who revels in the post-Kantian anti-reason orgy, and there is much in his disjointed, aphoristic writings that the Nazis were able to quote with relish. A view of the universe as a realm of clashing wills, ceaseless strife, and violent conflict; a glorification of cruelty and conquest, of “the magnificent blond brute, avidly rampant for spoil and victory; the view that a few superbeings, “beyond good and evil,” have the right to enslave the inferior masses for their own higher purposes – this is part of the Nietzschean legacy, as interpreted (with some justification) by the Nazis. (The Ominous Parallels, pp. 42-43)
So to the extent that Nietzsche was influential, it was not his atheism per se which inspired the Nazis, but certain elements in his views which can only be characterized as analogous to several of Christianity’s staple doctrines. The very idea of a “will to power” already conjures the imagery of theism, with its all-powerful will creating the universe ex nihilo and directing human history according to some master “plan.” At minimum the Nietzschean idea shares with Christianity the premise of the primacy of consciousness. Also, the idea of a “universe a realm of clashing wills” echoes the New Testament view that the world is a battleground in a constant war between supernatural consciousnesses. The motif of “violent conflict” is present throughout the Old and New Testaments. War and weapons of war, if not cruelty itself, are glorified in the Christian bible. According to Matthew 10:34, Jesus told his followers “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Paul wrote to his church followers with the imagery of war, indicating that believers are to think of themselves as constantly engaged in a battle to the death. In II Corinthians 10:4, Paul writes “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” A great final conflict is forecasted throughout the New Testament, most notably in the final book Revelation, which speaks of a horseman “called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Indeed, Revelation tells us that there was a war in heaven of all places (cf. Rev. 12:7). And of course, throughout all these references to war, the war which believers are expected to imagine is between the Christian god and its angels on the one hand, and Satan and all his devils, demons and unclean spirits on the other, and this war is supposed to culminate in one final conflict with victory going to the Christian god. So it seems that it was Nietzsche’s borrowings from Christianity which positively influenced the Nazis, to the extent that he influenced them.

Apologists might react to this, pointing out that Nietzsche’s Übermensch is someone who seeks to gain at his victims’ expense. But while the Nazi notion of “untermenschen” did not originate with Nietzsche, Christianity itself enshrines the idea of gaining at someone else’s expense in the believer’s worshipful devotion to Jesus, who had to die for the believer to gain salvation. If the Christian did not believe that Jesus died in order to make his salvation possible, would he still worship Jesus? The Christian is not worshipping the billions of other men who have lived throughout history but did not die for his sake.

At any rate, there is much in Nazism that cannot be accounted for by pointing to Nietzsche, regardless of the insurmountable philosophical problems which riddle his worldview. The Nazis are distinguished from other forms of totalitarianism by their anti-Semitism. Nietzsche is well-known for his unflinching stance against anti-Semitism, writing that he would prefer to have “all anti-Semites shot.” Needless to say, this is hard to square with Nazism. But if we go back to the Lutherans for a moment, we can find a source native to this faction of Christianity which is notorious for its hatred of Jewry. Lutheranism takes its name after Martin Luther (1483-1546), a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. While many inconsistencies in Luther’s views of the Jews can be cited, his more impassioned statements about the Jews tend decisively toward bitterness and resentment. True to the collectivist mindset which the Christian worldview fosters in its adherents, Luther seemed to take delight in painting with a very broad brush indeed. In fact, Wikipedia has a separate article on Martin Luther and antisemitism. Luther titled one of his books On the Jews and Their Lies. The article describes the book, with quotes, as follows:
In 1543 Luther published On the Jews and Their Lies in which he says that the Jews are a "base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth." They are full of the "devil's feces ... which they wallow in like swine." The synagogue was a "defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut ..." He argues that their synagogues and schools be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness, afforded no legal protection, and these "poisonous envenomed worms" should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time. He also seems to advocate their murder, writing "[w]e are at fault in not slaying them".
This was some four hundred years before Nazism in Germany, and in those four hundred years Luther’s followers amassed a huge population in Germany. Someone growing up in the Lutheran church of Germany, being indoctrinated as religion does to believe what he is told by the authorities he is taught to respect, would likely have a most negative impression of individuals who happen to be Jewish if he were taught what Luther had to say in his book. Given the anti-Semitic undercurrent native to Lutheranism, it seems unlikely that the huge population of Lutherans in German were swayed by superficial rhetorical devices of a frothing politician who also happened to be viciously anti-Semitic.

But anti-Semitism was not the sole factor in priming the German culture for the rise of Nazism. Indeed, factors which are far more fundamental to the Christian worldview were necessary for Nazism to establish itself, as Peikoff explains:
Christianity prepared the ground. It paved the way for modern totalitarianism by entrenching three fundamentals in the Western mind: in metaphysics, the worship of the supernatural; in epistemology, the reliance on faith; as a consequence, in ethics: the reverence for self-sacrifice. (The Ominous Parallels, pp. 71-72)
While Christianity alone may not have been the sole factor in giving rise to Nazism (indeed, the cultures of many other nations have been heavily influenced by Christianity, and they did not turn to Nazism), the philosophical fundamentals found in Christianity are certainly a vital precondition for an anti-human movement such as Nazism.

If Hitler was not legitimately a Christian, he was doing precisely what presuppositionalists accuse non-Christians of doing, namely borrowing from the Christian worldview.


Communism

But what about the Soviet Union? Wasn’t the Soviet Union atheistic? Didn’t the communism of the Soviet Union reject Christianity outright, and if so, couldn’t it be said that the Soviets’ pogroms which resulted in the murder of millions of human beings result because of a rejection of Christianity?

Christians in the west, particularly during the Cold War, essentially assumed precisely this, that the totalitarianism of Soviet communism was a result of the anti-Christian godlessness enacted throughout the Soviet Union as a state policy. In fact, however, this kind of thinking is extremely shallow and superficial, and results from an unwillingness to look at the history of Russia and identify the true causes of the rise of communism under the Soviets. Christian reactionaries seem to be unaware of the fact that Russia was “Christianized” in the year 988 under Prince Vladimir I, who, according to chronicles of the period, preferred Christianity over Islam, partly because the latter disallowed alcohol and the former did not. As a result, Orthodox Christianity was established as the state religion by dictatorial fiat and remained so until the early 20th century. The influence of Christianity on the soil of Russian culture cannot be underestimated, especially in preparing the people of the land for what was to come. Christianity had already entrenched within the average Russian psyche the acceptance of dictatorship, anti-reason, anti-selfishness, sacrifice to “something higher,” and fatalism, without all of which communism could never take root.

When Christians in the 1980s called the Soviet Union “the evil empire,” they lacked the philosophical foundations necessary to make such a pronouncement with rational conviction. What they proposed as an alternative to communism is simply a religious version of the same thing: totalitarianism by a different name. Let’s not forget that Christianity involves worship of a “king,” a figure of leadership who by his mere say so being and end wars, create laws, make wrongs right and rights wrong, and steer the course of a culture into a proverbial ditch. Christianity’s enshrinement of a king means that Christianity has no consistent basis from which one can oppose and repudiate dictatorship. It also means that having a dictator is in fact the desired ideal, which is precisely why Roman Catholicism, the largest and most influential Christian church throughout history, has a pope, who is supposed to be Christ’s living representative on earth. Two mutually opposed warring factions competing for souls to serve either a dictator in heaven or a dictator on earth, both assume the moral validity of the notion of dictatorship. So on this fundamental communism and Christianity are joined at the hip.


The Problem of Evil


I have already discussed the presuppositionalist attempt to quell the problem of evil in my blog Christianity’s Sanction of Evil. In that entry I examined Greg Bahnsen’s “solution” to the problem of evil, which takes shape in the claim that “God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists” (Always Ready, p. 172). Bahnsen never identifies what this allegedly “morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists” might be, and he never explains how he could possibly know that whatever “reason” the Christian god has for evil, could be “morally sufficient.” Bahnsen seems to offer us an evaluation that lacks the benefit of knowing what he’s talking about. Had Bahnsen known what this allegedly “morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists” is, it’s doubtful that he would have failed to present it. If he knew what it was but nonetheless withheld it from his readers anyway, one might get the suspicion that he was hiding it for fear that his evaluation that it is “morally sufficient” might be full of holes. Indeed, if Bahnsen knew what this reason for evil which he calls “morally sufficient” is, it’s hard to explain why he proceeds to say “We can find it very hard to have faith in God and trust His goodness and power when we are not given the reason why bad things happen to us and others” (Ibid., p. 173; italics original).

Even more fundamental is the profoundly problematic fact that Bahnsen never makes any attempt to establish the validity of the notion of a “morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists.” There may be reasons why a person commits evil; evil-doers throughout history have left many evidences indicating the motives for their evil deeds. But the evaluation that these motives are “morally sufficient” is a different matter altogether. Of course, what is good? What is evil?
All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil. (Ayn Rand, “Galt’s Speech,” For the New Intellectual, p. 122)
What can possibly justify any action which destroys the life of a rational being? What can possibly justify evil? Bahnsen wants to say that wrestling with these questions is a psychological problem, not a philosophical issue. For Bahnsen, there is no conflict here, not because there is on the basis of an objective morality a “morally sufficient reason” for allowing, committing or “ordaining” evil, but because on Bahnsen’s view evil is not something which the good will always oppose. Evil is allowable, if the end justifies it. Bahnsen’s view essentially reduces to the view that the ends justify the means. That is precisely what is meant by the notion of a “morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists.”

In a sense (but not in the sense he intends), Bahnsen is partly right: there is a deep psychological problem here. Psychological conflict results when a mind attempts to integrate a contradiction. And the problem of evil uncovers a grave moral contradiction within Christianity. But the problem is not so much the fact that Christianity cannot overcome the problem of evil (it can’t; but we know that Christianity is false anyway), but that Christian believers are essentially persons who have no problem with evil, for they must ultimately believe that evil is, in the final analysis, morally justifiable. For those who love life and are devoted to their values, that would be a huge if not debilitating problem.

Christian apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate has stated (as I point out in this blog entry) that the “commission” of evil is not morally justifiable, but the “ordination” of evil is morally justifiable. Of course, it’s unclear why “ordaining” evil is not itself an evil act and thus a species of “commission” of evil; Bruggencate never explained this (which is not surprising). Also, since by “ordaining” evil Bruggencate has in mind an activity which he imagines his god has performed in setting up the course of human history, it’s clear that no non-divine individual could “commit” evil without first being “ordained” to do so. In Christianity, the “ordaining” must come first, since this action informs the substance of “God’s plan.” So when “God” has “planned” abortions to happen in human history, it “ordained” this evil to happen, and only because this evil has been “ordained” by “God,” can human agents proceed to “commit” this evil action. Given that human beings on Christianity are essentially reduced to puppets performing actions that their puppeteer has them perform, it’s perplexing to contemplate why those who are doing what they’ve been “ordained” to do are guilty of “committing” evil, when in fact they could do only what they’ve been “ordained” to do in the first place.

What’s ironic is that, even though presuppositionalists are likely to raise these questions, we should not expect clear answers to them from presuppositionalists since their worldview – while pretending to be for the good and against the evil – is systematically confused on their meanings and its stance in regard to both. According to Objectivism, evil is never morally justifiable. But according to Christianity, it’s hard to see how the Christian could consistently hold that evil is never morally justifiable.


Slavery

How about slavery? Segers has gone on the record affirming the view that the practice of slavery is in fact biblical.

Yes, that’s right.

Indeed, it’s good to see a Christian come out into the light and openly acknowledge that slavery is neither anti-biblical nor anti-Christian.

In a discussion which I had with Segers back in 2006, he explicitly affirmed biblical Christianity’s endorsement of the practice of slavery. In that discussion I quoted another Christian who, participating under the moniker “TreyFrog,” wrote:
slavery is perfectly biblical--always has been, always will be until Christ comes again and sets up a society that is free of all work, hardship, suffering, and servitude of any kind.
Did you get that? “Slavery is perfectly biblical – always has been, always will be.” When I asked Segers to weigh in on this, Segers responded:
Yes, slavery is biblical and I'd agree with my BLACK friend TreyFrog. OT/NT believers owned slaves and were slaves, the Mosaic law legislated slavery and and the NT gives principles of ownership re: slaves, slaves were instructed to submit to their masters in the OT & NT, both freedom and slavery could be considered a blessing, and some form of slavery will continue till the end of time. Slavery is considered to be neither "here nor there" by the Apostle Paul and is a recognized social institution in the NT. What is condemned as sin in the OT, and especially in the NT is the mistreatment of slaves. I've written a fairly detailed paper on biblical slavery demonstrating that it was not considered sin in either the OT or NT eras yet I also demonstrate that it would be sin to practice it in the modern USA. More later if you're interested.
Segers says that “slavery could be considered a blessing,” but does not indicate who might do this. Perhaps Segers thinks that slaves might consider their enslavement a blessing, but I’m guessing that many slaves have never considered the injustice of their situation “a blessing.” Of course, even if someone does think of slavery as “a blessing,” this would not justify the institution of slavery. But the apologist is not concerned with this.

Moreover, while Segers says “slavery could be considered a blessing,” he then tells us that “slavery is considered to be neither ‘here nor there’ by the Apostle Paul.” So apparently blessings for the apostle are “neither ‘here nor there’.”

Segers is quick to tell us that although the bible does not condemn the institution of slavery, it condemns “as sin… the mistreatment of slaves.” But clearly this condemnation could not be borne on the premise that the individual has a right to exist for his own sake (or any rights, for that matter), for if the bible’s condemnation of the mistreatment of slaves were a matter of individual rights, how would one reconcile this with the glaringly rights-denying approval of slavery as an institution? Essentially the biblical worldview’s position is: “You can deny individuals the right to exist for their own sake (since they don’t have rights to begin with), but just don’t ‘mistreat’ them.” With all it’s “thou shalt nots” which Christianity throws in the believer’s face, prohibition of slavery is curiously not among them. But this is no accident. The bible’s endorsement of slavery, whether implicit or overt, is a logical consequence of the failure of the bible and the worldview it promotes to affirm and defend the doctrine of individual rights.

Some apologists have openly acknowledged this fact. For instance, in a paper responding to Anton Thorn which is no longer available on the internet (so far as I can tell), Christian apologist Robert Turkel (aka “J.P. Holding”) wrote:
.The idea of individual rights is a byproduct of modern individualism, a way of thinking that has only emerged in the last hundred or so years (with the Industrian Revolution) and only in Western nations. The ancients, and most of the world today, does [sic] not speak of "individual rights" but of group obligations. Thus there is no "right" to do anything. This is not in the Bible itself since it is a given in their cultural background… (In There be Thorns)
The concept of man’s individual rights developed in the west thanks in part to the Renaissance and especially to the Age of Reason, which gave rise to the Industrial Revolution and culminated in the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the United States of America. But this concept developed slowly and imperfectly, primarily due to the fact that there was no consistent philosophical defense of the idea. The west had to go through a period of emancipation from the church in order for the idea to see the light of day in the first place, for, as Turkel acknowledges, the idea of individual rights is not something we learn about in the Christian bible. Indeed, that an individual has “no ‘right’ to do anything” is such a “given” in the “cultural background” of the bible, that it need not be stated explicitly.

It’s alarming how easy Christians living in the west find this to dismiss. Segers states over and over in his discussion with Reynold Hall on a Fundamentally Flawed podcast, that somehow “slavery becomes a moot point” as a result of “the Christian ethic.” Hall asked Segers (29:46):
Where exactly in the bible does God, does Christ outlaw sl…, does Christ basically forbid or outlaw slavery then?
Segers answered Hall, saying (29:52 – 30:10):
He doesn’t. That’s my point. My point is not that Christ didn’t come to be a social revolutionary. He came to change the people’s hearts by the grace of God, and when that happens and people realize we’re all created in the image of God, slavery becomes a moot point. And that’s exactly what happened amongst Christian slaves according to church history.
Notice that Segers does not specify what exactly “happened amongst Christian slaves according to church history.” He says that “slavery becomes a moot point,” and that’s what “happened amongst Christian slaves.” He does not say that slaves were liberated from their shackles as a result of Christian teaching. If this were the historical record, no doubt Segers would hasten to emphasize this. Rather, what he seems to be saying is that Christian slaves continued in their servitude, but their worldview taught them to just accept their station in life, since this is something that’s been decided for them by a divine mind, and to desire freedom is to ignore the “blessing” which some people consider slavery to be.

If Segers is trying to imply that the institution of slavery has been rejected at certain points in history as a result of one-by-one heart-changing by Christian doctrine, which teaches that “slavery becomes a moot point,” as opposed to social revolution, he’s wrong. As Segers has made clear, Christianity condones and endorses slavery rather than condemning and prohibiting it, so believers living in a society in which slavery was an legal institution had no religious reason to abstain from slavery. Moreover, imagining oneself to have been “created in the image of God” is hardly a basis for abandoning slavery. On this elusive, contentless premise, one could just as easily give up slavery as he could say, “Hey, if I’m created in the image of God, then why shouldn’t I be god-like, and deny other individuals’ their freedoms and choices?” Anything can be justified by appealing to the imaginary.

Beyond this, it’s stubbornly unclear what exactly Segers intends “slavery becomes a moot point” to mean, nor does Segers really attempt to explain what it means. It seems to be nothing more than mollifying phrase used to downplay the seriousness of the issue in question, namely the practice of slavery, without saying anything substantive on the morality of the issue. Segers’ explanation for why the bible neither condemns nor prohibits slavery, is most pragmatic and conventional in nature, which is not what we’d expect from a source which supposedly provides us with an absolutistic guide on objective morality. And though while I’ve never been a slave myself, I’m guessing that for those who are slaves, their enslavement is no “moot point.” I’m pretty confident that Segers himself is not a slave. Perhaps he finds it easy to dismiss the compulsory servitude of others as a “moot point” since his own freedoms are not being forcibly withheld from him by others.

Segers claims over and over that the aim of “the Christian ethic” is to “change one heart at a time,” not incite a “social revolution.” It’s unclear why these are the only two alternatives Segers is willing to consider as the purpose of his worldview’s ethic, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it’s because his defense at this point was more in damage control mode than actually presenting “the Christian ethic” as a useful (or rational) guide to an individual’s choices and actions. Indeed, “change one heart at a time” from what into what? Questions like this are left unanticipated and unaddressed. At any rate, it should be clear that “Christian morality” does not serve as a rational guide for one’s choices and actions, but in fact seems tailor-made for providing rationalizations and excusing unjust behavior.

If Segers himself represents what results from the Christian ethic “chang[ing] one heart at a time,” this change seems to result in an overall indifference to the injustice of situations in which others may find themselves. This hardly speaks well for Christianity’s claim to having an objective morality.

So there we have it. Dustin Segers’ presuppositionalism has been comprehensively answered.

Perhaps the most delicate way of putting to Mr. Segers that his presuppositionalism is finished, is to characterize it as semelfactive in nature. Like a blink, it’s over pretty much as soon as it started.

by Dawson Bethrick

Labels: , , , , , , ,

51 Comments:

Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Excellent! Another blog entry! I check your site quite frequently, and I nearly failed to notice that it was Part "b."

I'm looking forward to reading it.

Ydemoc

May 19, 2012 9:31 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"Segers claims over and over that the aim of “the Christian ethic” is to “change one heart at a time,” not incite a “social revolution.” It’s unclear why these are the only two alternatives Segers is willing to consider as the purpose of his worldview’s ethic, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it’s because his defense at this point was more in damage control mode than actually presenting “the Christian ethic” as a useful (or rational) guide to an individual’s choices and actions. Indeed, “change one heart at a time” from what into what?"


A heart that's enslaved to sin to a heart that's enslaved to righteousness which is no enslavement at all.
It's no damage control. Christ didn't come to make this world a better place. This is clearly stated.
But I'm happy that you are outraged at the wickedness of men. if all men loved God with their heart, soul, mind and loved their neighbor we wouldn't have those problems.


It's a great ethic in fact the best ethic:

Love God and love your neighbor.

By the way the "problem of evil" was overcome i.e. by Christ.

Welcome to YHWH's world.

May 19, 2012 10:48 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “A heart that's enslaved to sin to a heart that's enslaved to righteousness which is no enslavement at all.”

This statement needs some careful editing before it can be considered coherent. Please try again.

Nide: “It's no damage control.”

What’s “no damage control”?

Nide: “Christ didn't come to make this world a better place. This is clearly stated.”

The result of Christianity let loose on any culture plainly tells us that Christianity doesn’t make the world a better place. It’s good you’re starting to see this.

Nide: “But I'm happy that you are outraged at the wickedness of men.”

What is outrageous is a worldview which pretends to provide the standard for goodness and justice, and simultaneously teaches that evil is morally justifiable. It’s also very concerning that some people have sacrificed their moral judgment and nod like mindless bobbleheads as if such contradictions were a good thing. According to Christianity, I should become completely indifferent to my values. One reason I’m not a Christian is the fact that I am not indifferent to my values.

Nide: “if all men loved God with their heart, soul, mind and loved their neighbor we wouldn't have those problems.”

Actually, it’s indifference to values which has been choking the world with problems ever since.

Nide: “It's a great ethic in fact the best ethic: Love God and love your neighbor.”

I do not love the imaginary. I’d think you wouldn’t have a problem with that, would you? Also, I don’t love my neighbor: he beats his wife, his kids, drinks himself silly every night, and doesn’t lift a finger to help himself. I’m not going to love such a pathetic spectacle. You can if you like.

Nide: “By the way the ‘problem of evil’ was overcome i.e. by Christ.”

Do explain.

Regards,
Dawson

May 20, 2012 1:28 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"This statement needs some careful editing before it can be considered coherent. Please try again."

It's quite coherent. Let me say it plainly. You are either a slave to irrationality i.e. sin or rationality i.e Christ which is no enslavement at all.

"What’s “no damage control”?"

That Christ came not to bring peace.

"The result of Christianity let loose on any culture plainly tells us that Christianity doesn’t make the world a better place. It’s good you’re starting to see this."


It's the opposite. Christianity is the answer. However, men prefer irrationalty.


"What is outrageous is a worldview which pretends to provide the standard for goodness and justice, and simultaneously teaches that evil is morally justifiable. It’s also very concerning that some people have sacrificed their moral judgment and nod like mindless bobbleheads as if such contradictions were a good thing. According to Christianity, I should become completely indifferent to my values. One reason I’m not a Christian is the fact that I am not indifferent to my values."

No, the bible teaches that men prefer to be irrational .It would be unjust not to give sinners want they want. You are not a Christian becuase you are irrational. You value what you think is good but which really leads to pain and suffering.


"Actually, it’s indifference to values which has been choking the world with problems ever since."

Yea indifference to eternal life.

"I do not love the imaginary. I’d think you wouldn’t have a problem with that, would you? Also, I don’t love my neighbor: he beats his wife, his kids, drinks himself silly every night, and doesn’t lift a finger to help himself. I’m not going to love such a pathetic spectacle. You can if you like."


And there you go. You see that's the problem. The individualism.

"Do explain.'


The arbitrary objection goes:

How can an all-loving and all-good God allow pain and suffering. The problem is

Pain, suffering, death came through man i.e. Adam.

Life and relief from suffering and pain come through Christ.

May 20, 2012 4:41 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah wrote: "Pain, suffering, death came through man i.e. Adam."

I see. So your invisible magic being didn't know what these things were prior to Adam, making your invisible magic being not in control, not designing nor orchestrating everything. Got it.

If your invisible magic being did know what pain, suffering, sin and death were prior to Adam, how do you account for this, given that (a) there would be no referents in existence yet, and/or (b) the supposedly Holiest of Holy being that you worship could no longer be called Holy if it were to have knowledge of such things.

Your invisible magic being "thought" (good luck explaining this, too) about rape, death, suffering, pain, and other sin prior to man coming into the world? Or was your invisible magic being sandbagged by Adam? Or do you have a rationalization to offer us?

When your invisible magic being "thinks" about rape, murder, death, pain, suffering, and other sin, does it picture these things happening? Please describe the process.

"You gotta get rid of logic....it's sickening" -- Hezekiah Ahaz, May 1, 2012 3:46 PM -- from a posted comment on his blog.

Ydemoc

May 20, 2012 5:11 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

"You gotta get rid of logic....it's sickening" -- Hezekiah Ahaz"

yes the gift that keeps on giving

May 20, 2012 5:12 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

Yep. It's there in black and white over on his blog for all to contemplate and examine -- much like the contradictions, inconsistencies, and absurdities contained within the pages of his bible and within the worldview he subscribes to and advocates; but unlike the invisible magic being he worships, which is nowhere to be found.

Ydemoc

May 20, 2012 5:32 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

Are you certain?

comedY,

Only God can have knowlege of what is evil without it affecting him. Evil is actions/thoughts contrary to God's thoughts/actions. God knows the outcome of all thoughts/actions contrary to his. Now how is it knowing evil doesn't affect God? I'm still working on that one.

May 20, 2012 5:36 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah wrote: "Only God can have knowlege of what is evil without it affecting him. Evil is actions/thoughts contrary to God's thoughts/actions. God knows the outcome of all thoughts/actions contrary to his. Now how is it knowing evil doesn't affect God? I'm still working on that one."

Lovely. I think I'll let this answer of yours sit here for a while.


Ydemoc

May 20, 2012 5:44 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Hezekiah

"Are you certain?"

certainty for me is a conclusion that is beyond reasonable doubt. Yes in this case it is beyond reasonable doubt that you will continue to furnish me with much entertainment.

May 20, 2012 5:57 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

it's a mutual thing. I always enjoy watching you hit the deck.

May 20, 2012 6:09 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide had written: “A heart that's enslaved to sin to a heart that's enslaved to righteousness which is no enslavement at all.”

I wrote: "This statement needs some careful editing before it can be considered coherent. Please try again."

Nide now replies: “It's quite coherent.”

It’s not, not the way you’ve written it. First of all, you have a subject (“a heart”) followed by a muddled subordinate clause (“that’s enslaved to sin to a heart”) which is then followed by another subordinate clause (“that’s enslaved to righteousness”) which is followed by yet another subordinate clause (“which is no enslavement at all”). Meanwhile the subject of the sentence (“a heart”) has no predicate of its own. So you have some basic grammatical blunders here. Beyond that, the sentence seems to be saying that at least one form of enslavement – possibly three forms of enslavement (“to sin,” “to a heart” and “to righteousness”) is “no enslavement at all,” which is self-contradictory. So yes, the statement is brutally incoherent. My suggestion is that you take more time when trying to express yourself. This isn’t a podcast.


Nide: “You are either a slave to irrationality i.e. sin or rationality i.e Christ which is no enslavement at all.”

Not only do we have a false dichotomy here (either way one is a slave to something), but also the same self-contradiction we saw above – a form of enslavement “is no enslavement at all.” I think you need to go back and start examining your position a little more carefully. It keeps coming up incoherent with each effort to state it.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 7:14 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I asked: "What’s ‘no damage control’?"

Nide responded: “That Christ came not to bring peace.”

The damage control is when Segers tries to excuse Christianity’s willing sanction of slavery by saying “slavery becomes a moot point,” a statement he’s happy to repeat over and over, but yet never explains what he means by this. Slavery is not a “point,” but a practice, and it entails the denial of man’s right to exist for his own sake. Segers realizes that he needs to dispatch this problem some how, but he does a terrible job of it. But that’s part of the problem: as a defender of Christianity, he can’t dispatch the problem. The problem is that the Christian worldview is opposed to the doctrine of individual rights. You yourself go on to confirm this below.

Christians in the west simply need to come out of the closet on the matter and openly confess that they reject man’s individual rights. But in doing so, they would be admitting that they have no philosophical basis upon which to condemn things like the Soviet Union, the holocaust of the Jews under Nazism, Mao’s murder of millions of China’s citizens, etc. Christianity’s rejection of individual rights makes them kissing cousins with the Soviets, the Nazis, the Chicoms, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, etc.

I wrote: "The result of Christianity let loose on any culture plainly tells us that Christianity doesn’t make the world a better place. It’s good you’re starting to see this."

Nide: “It's the opposite. Christianity is the answer. However, men prefer irrationalty.”

You lack understanding not only of philosophy, but also history. When Christianity was the predominant worldview in the west, Europe was drowning in what is known as the Dark Ages. They were the Dark Ages because its movers and shakers were dark on principle. They were dark on principle because they lacked a worldview which consistently embraced reason and accepted a worldview which openly denies reason and holds that evil is morally justifiable, just as Bahnsen tells us. But don’t take my word for it – go educate yourself on the matter. Your understanding of the world, of philosophy, of history, and everything else, is ultimately your responsibility. Now that you are coming into your adult years, I suggest you embark on a journey of learning in earnest. But devotion to Christianity will only hinder this. So you have some hard choices to make. Be honest and reject Christianity, or continue in your path of dishonesty and pretend that knowledge is something that comes to you from a supernatural source.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 7:15 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I wrote: "What is outrageous is a worldview which pretends to provide the standard for goodness and justice, and simultaneously teaches that evil is morally justifiable. It’s also very concerning that some people have sacrificed their moral judgment and nod like mindless bobbleheads as if such contradictions were a good thing. According to Christianity, I should become completely indifferent to my values. One reason I’m not a Christian is the fact that I am not indifferent to my values."

Nide: “No, the bible teaches that men prefer to be irrational.”

None of my bibles says anything about men preferring to be *irrational*. Indeed, none of my bibles say anything explicitly about rationality, since its authors had not formed the concept to begin with. Perhaps you’re reading a different bible. If so, please clue me in.

Nide: “It would be unjust not to give sinners want they want.”

The god which your religion imagines is no defender of justice. Many “sinners” have wanted “salvation,” and according to your religion they were given what they wanted. Wasn’t the apostle Paul a sinner? Didn’t he want his salvation? He didn’t just chuck it out the window, did he? He got what he wanted. So your religion is built on injustice. Indeed, it teaches that the ideal man should sacrifice himself for non-ideal people – that treasure should be sacrificed for trash. Where’s the justice in this? It is an explicitly anti-value worldview.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 7:15 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “You are not a Christian becuase you are irrational.”

Nide, I’m not a Christian because I made the choice to be honest. I don’t believe Christianity’s mysticism, and I recognize that Christianity is in fact irrational – i.e., opposed to reason. Every time you challenge the validity of the senses, for instance, you are exposing your hatred of reason, for reason is the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses. Rationality is acceptance of reason as man’s only means of knowledge, his only judge of values and his only guide to action. If you attack reason, you cannot be rational, for you’ve rejected reason as your means of knowledge, your judge of values and your guide to action. By denying the validity of the senses, you deny the very precondition of reason. So your apologetic recourse to skepticism, while perfectly consistent with your reason-denying worldview, only makes your “arguments” irrelevant.

Nide: “You value what you think is good but which really leads to pain and suffering.”

Gee, let’s see. I value food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, pleasure, happiness, my wife, my daughter, my skill set, my ability to reason and increase my skills, my values, my abilities to produce values, etc. Yes, these are all good in my judgment, but it’s unclear why you would think these things lead to pain and suffering. Indeed, rejecting these things would guarantee me pain and suffering.

But see, that’s your worldview, Nide: it enshrines pain and suffering. How often do we hear Christians celebrating the pain and suffering Jesus endured for their salvation? All the time. But it isn’t consistent. On the one hand, Christianity encourages frothing infatuation for suffering; on the other, it dismisses suffering as if it were completely insignificant. See this blog entry on Steven Carr’s blog to see what I’m talking about. Go ahead. Check it out. The contradiction is plain for all to see.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 7:15 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I wrote: "Actually, it’s indifference to values which has been choking the world with problems ever since."

Nide: “Yea indifference to eternal life.”

The notion of an “eternal life” is imaginary. It rests on the fallacy of the stolen concept. As an idea, it has no objective tie to reality, and in fact depends on ignoring relevant facts about life that are available to us through reason. So the notion of “eternal life” cannot be a value, nor can it signify something that a real value.

I wrote: "I do not love the imaginary. I’d think you wouldn’t have a problem with that, would you? Also, I don’t love my neighbor: he beats his wife, his kids, drinks himself silly every night, and doesn’t lift a finger to help himself. I’m not going to love such a pathetic spectacle. You can if you like."

Nide: “And there you go. You see that's the problem. The individualism.”

Exactly - *you* have a problem with individualism. And yet you are an individual, and must be, in order to have any problems at all. The problem is yours. The problem is Christianity’s. It’s good that you concede this. But I suspect you’ll continue to have the same problem.

Nide stated, without explanation or argument, that “the ‘problem of evil’ was overcome i.e. by Christ.”

I exhorted: "Do explain.”

Nide replied: “The arbitrary objection goes: How can an all-loving and all-good God allow pain and suffering. The problem is Pain, suffering, death came through man i.e. Adam. Life and relief from suffering and pain come through Christ.”

But “Adam” came through “Christ,” since “Christ” is “God” and “God” created everything, including “Adam.” So you can’t point to “Adam” as the source of pain, suffering and death and be done with it. There would have been no “Adam” – and therefore no pain, suffering and death – if “God” had not chosen to create “Adam.” So in the final analysis, your god is the source of pain, suffering, death, and evil. Isaiah 45:7 states explicitly that the Christian god creates evil. More evil, pain and suffering (e.g., through Christ’s “work” on the cross) is not going to “overcome” the problem of evil. This only shows that the Christian god revels in his evil. So Christianity has no way to “overcome” the problem of evil.

Regards,
Dawson

May 20, 2012 7:16 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"Not only do we have a false dichotomy here (either way one is a slave to something), but also the same self-contradiction we saw above – a form of enslavement “is no enslavement at all.” I think you need to go back and start examining your position a little more carefully. It keeps coming up incoherent with each effort to state it."

Your obsessed with contradictions which we know you can't even account for. It's a paradox. Figure it out. Through enslavement comes freedom.

"The problem is that the Christian worldview is opposed to the doctrine of individual rights. You yourself go on to confirm this below. "

But this is something that's rooted in your imagination. We were created to think God's after him. Your doctrine is a doctrine of demons. Not even Christ was an invidual. He came and thought God's thoughts after him. Your little doctrine is satanic. just look how it has the world.


"Christians in the west simply need to come out of the closet on the matter and openly confess that they reject man’s individual rights. But in doing so, they would be admitting that they have no philosophical basis upon which to condemn things like the Soviet Union, the holocaust of the Jews under Nazism, Mao’s murder of millions of China’s citizens, etc. Christianity’s rejection of individual rights makes them kissing cousins with the Soviets, the Nazis, the Chicoms, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, etc."


This is also rooted in your imagination. We actually do have a basis for condemning all those you mentioned. They didn't love God or their neighbor. If they did, that would of never happen.



Cont.

May 20, 2012 8:40 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"You lack understanding not only of philosophy, but also history. When Christianity was the predominant worldview in the west, Europe was drowning in what is known as the Dark Ages"

Actually your wrong I'm a philopshy major.

The history of philopshy and the history of history are not the same subject. It's interesting how you slap christianity on anything as long it suits your needs.


"None of my bibles says anything about men preferring to be *irrational*. Indeed, none of my bibles say anything explicitly about rationality, since its authors had not formed the concept to begin with. Perhaps you’re reading a different bible. If so, please clue me in."

Sin is irrational, stupid etc. The words don't need to be there.


"The god which your religion imagines is no defender of justice. Many “sinners” have wanted “salvation,” and according to your religion they were given what they wanted. Wasn’t the apostle Paul a sinner? Didn’t he want his salvation? He didn’t just chuck it out the window, did he? He got what he wanted. So your religion is built on injustice. Indeed, it teaches that the ideal man should sacrifice himself for non-ideal people – that treasure should be sacrificed for trash. Where’s the justice in this? It is an explicitly anti-value worldview."

Let me rephrase that. God is just because he deals with people accordingly. Sinners don't want to live after him. Fine he let's them be individuals which leads to destruction.

Christ dying on the cross is a matter of love and mercy.
You're right it's not just that treasure should die for trash. However, God is also merciful. That's why rejecting Christ is a grevious sin. We don't take Jesus' death lightly.




cont.

May 20, 2012 8:59 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah writes: "Through enslavement comes freedom." -- Hezekiah Ahaz, May 20, 2012 8:40 PM

I think this is a keeper. It ranks right up there with and is quite consistent with his other bit of brilliance: "You gotta get rid of logic....it's sickening" -- Hezekiah Ahaz, May 1, 2012 3:46 PM -- from a posted comment on his blog.

I wouldn't be surprised if the next thing we see from Hezekiah is a post to the effect that, "Up is down, backwards is forwards, and yes is no."

It's a good thing I'm able to identify the ridiculousness these and other online writings of his. It makes it so much easier not to be the least bit swayed by such irrationality.

Just think: If I were unable to recognize such nonsense, not only might I become a Christian, but it would also mean that I would probably have to reevaluate my opinion of his podcast personality -- instead of calling it "likable," I might have to conclude that he comes across on-air as mean, bitter and rude.

Ydemoc

May 20, 2012 9:13 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"Nide, I’m not a Christian because I made the choice to be honest. I don’t believe Christianity’s mysticism, and I recognize that Christianity is in fact irrational – i.e., opposed to reason. Every time you challenge the validity of the senses, for instance, you are exposing your hatred of reason, for reason is the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses. Rationality is acceptance of reason as man’s only meansl of knowledge, his only judge of values and his only guide to action. If you attack reason, you cannot be rational, for you’ve rejected reason as your means of knowledge, your judge of values and your guide to action. By denying the validity of the senses, you deny the very precondition of reason. So your apologetic recourse to skepticism, while perfectly consistent with your reason-denying worldview, only makes your “arguments” irrelevant."

The only mystic here is you. The problem is you claim that reason is the foundation of knowledge. But how do you know? Is it perceptually self-evident? if so how is that you are not imagining it? You don't have an exhaustive understanding of what you call reality so therefore your claims are arbitrary. You appeal to existence which you know nothing about. It's either you know it all or you don't know it all. Reality may just show you to be a fool.
"

Gee, let’s see. I value food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, pleasure, happiness, my wife, my daughter, my skill set, my ability to reason and increase my skills, my values, my abilities to produce values, etc. Yes, these are all good in my judgment, but it’s unclear why you would think these things lead to pain and suffering. Indeed, rejecting these things would guarantee me pain and suffering."

Yea, I value those too but I also value helping my neighbor.

"But see, that’s your worldview, Nide: it enshrines pain and suffering. How often do we hear Christians celebrating the pain and suffering Jesus endured for their salvation? All the time. But it isn’t consistent. On the one hand, Christianity encourages frothing infatuation for suffering; on the other, it dismisses suffering as if it were completely insignificant. See this blog entry on Steven Carr’s blog to see what I’m talking about. Go ahead. Check it out. The contradiction is plain for all to see."


Actually no we are grieved by pain and suffering.
We celebrate life and the relief from pain and suffering that Christ' death, burial and ressurection will ultimately bring. Can you get anything right?


"The notion of an “eternal life” is imaginary. It rests on the fallacy of the stolen concept. As an idea, it has no objective tie to reality, and in fact depends on ignoring relevant facts about life that are available to us through reason. So the notion of “eternal life” cannot be a value, nor can it signify something that a real value."

How do you know?


"Exactly - *you* have a problem with individualism. And yet you are an individual, and must be, in order to have any problems at all. The problem is yours. The problem is Christianity’s. It’s good that you concede this. But I suspect you’ll continue to have the same problem."

Yea, I have a problem with it because it's satanic. It comes straight from Satan.



Cont.

May 20, 2012 9:20 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"But “Adam” came through “Christ,” since “Christ” is “God” and “God” created everything, including “Adam.” So you can’t point to “Adam” as the source of pain, suffering and death and be done with it. There would have been no “Adam” – and therefore no pain, suffering and death – if “God” had not chosen to create “Adam.” So in the final analysis, your god is the source of pain, suffering, death, and evil. Isaiah 45:7 states explicitly that the Christian god creates evil. More evil, pain and suffering (e.g., through Christ’s “work” on the cross) is not going to “overcome” the problem of evil. This only shows that the Christian god revels in his evil. So Christianity has no way to “overcome” the problem of evil."


This is another instance of you suiting your needs.
Adam did want he freely wanted.

Now why did God choose to create in spite of what would happen? idk.

But like I said your objection is arbitry. In Christ problem is solved.



end.

May 20, 2012 9:28 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Comedy,

That's you gotta rid of your falsely held "logic".

You don't even know if you exist. It's really funny.

May 20, 2012 9:37 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Correction:

That's because you gotta get rid of your falsely held "logic"

May 20, 2012 9:39 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah writes: "Now why did God choose to create in spite of what would happen? idk."

How do you justify not knowing this -- or anything else you may not know? Is it through faith?

How do you account for your forgetfulness? Is it through faith?

How do justify stating that the wonderbeing you worship can "choose" anything? Saying that it can "choose" is on par with saying that it can "learn" "believe" have "faith" and hold its knowledge in the form of concepts. Do you even know what the concept "choice" subsumes? The concept "choice" would not apply for a being that is immortal and already knows everything. Yet Christians keep telling us their invisible magic being makes "choices" and/or "plan."

The least you and other Christians could do is come up with a concept of your own to use instead of the concept"choice" -- a concept that when applied to your wonderbeing, doesn't require detaching it from reality by ignoring its genetic roots. That way, you'll make it much less obvious to all of us that what you are really doing is suppressing your reason and good sense.

Good luck in your quest for a different concept that isn't stolen!

Ydemoc

May 20, 2012 10:03 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Comedy,

I don't believe in good luck but in God controlling everything that happens. Even your wickedness.

May 20, 2012 10:16 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I wrote: "Not only do we have a false dichotomy here (either way one is a slave to something), but also the same self-contradiction we saw above – a form of enslavement “is no enslavement at all.” I think you need to go back and start examining your position a little more carefully. It keeps coming up incoherent with each effort to state it."

Nide responded: “Your obsessed with contradictions”

“obsessed”? No, I simply point them out when I spot them.

Nide: “which we know you can't even account for.”

Who’s “we” and how do “we know” what you claim here?

As for my account, here it is: Contradictions are violations of the law of identity. The law of identity is the axiom of identity formalized as a principle of logic. The axiom of identity is a perceptual self-evidency: just by perceiving something, we perceive something as opposed to nothing. By perceiving something, we implicitly recognize that the thing we are perceiving is itself, not something other than itself. Hence identity. A is A.

Nope. You won’t find this in the bible. It provides no account of contradictions.

Nide: “It's a paradox. Figure it out.”

It’s a contradiction. Admit it.

Nide: “Through enslavement comes freedom.”

Have you ever read Orwell, Nide?

I wrote: "The problem is that the Christian worldview is opposed to the doctrine of individual rights. You yourself go on to confirm this below. "

Nide: “But this is something that's rooted in your imagination.”

What is? How do you know?

Nide: “We were created to think God's after him.” [sic]

I was not “created” – I was born, and that’s only because nature manufactured me from previously existing organic materials. And my purpose is not to “think God’s [thoughts] after him,” but to live and enjoy my life. Thinking is not an end in itself – it is a means to a greater end, namely living and enjoying life. Try it some time. You won’t be able to do this guilt-free until you shed the guilt of your Christianity. As I stated earlier, you have some hard choices to make now that you’re entering your adulthood.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:37 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “Your doctrine is a doctrine of demons.”

I see. So “demons” are the authors of the doctrine of individual rights? Really? I guess Thomas Jefferson was one of those demons, eh?

Nide: “Not even Christ was an invidual.” [sic]

Right – Christ is a legend. Good going, Nide. As Justin rightly put it – the gift that keeps on giving.

Nide: “He came and thought God's thoughts after him.”

And look what happened to him – he willingly died prematurely by crucifixion. Hardly rational.

Nide: “Your little doctrine is satanic.”

So the doctrine of individual rights is “satanic” now? Okay, go surrender your individual rights. Move to Iran or Mogadishu and see how long you last.

Nide: “just look how it has the world.”

“…how it has [what?] the world…”?

I wrote: "Christians in the west simply need to come out of the closet on the matter and openly confess that they reject man’s individual rights. But in doing so, they would be admitting that they have no philosophical basis upon which to condemn things like the Soviet Union, the holocaust of the Jews under Nazism, Mao’s murder of millions of China’s citizens, etc. Christianity’s rejection of individual rights makes them kissing cousins with the Soviets, the Nazis, the Chicoms, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, etc."

Nide: “This is also rooted in your imagination.”

On the contrary, it’s rooted in reason. I’ve cited the facts and have held your hand all the way to my conclusion and assessment. I expect you to brush it off, just as your god brushes off thousands of people in a tsunami, and with as much compunction (i.e., none at all).

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:37 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “We actually do have a basis for condemning all those you mentioned. They didn't love God or their neighbor. If they did, that would of never happen.”

In other words, their “wrong” was in disobeying a divine commandment, not in harming other people. The welfare of people is of secondary or no importance; what is of concern for “Christian morality” is whether or not the Christian god’s commandments were obeyed. The Christian god could command a person to kill someone (as it commanded Abraham to do to his son), and the believer is supposed to be willing to do whatever he commanded, without regard to his actions destructive effects on values. You’ll notice in Genesis 22, when biblegod commands Abraham to prepare his son as a burnt offering, Abraham is nowhere portrayed as questioning this commandment, let alone resisting it. He just goes along happily, as if he were preparing to sweep out his shed. That’s the mindset which Christianity requires: complete sacrifice of the mind, complete willingness to simply be a puppet. If that’s what you’re after in life, Nide, you’ve found the perfect home in Christianity.

I wrote: "You lack understanding not only of philosophy, but also history. When Christianity was the predominant worldview in the west, Europe was drowning in what is known as the Dark Ages"

Nide: “Actually your wrong I'm a philopshy [sic] major.”

Yes, you’re still a student, I see. You’ve not even mastered the spelling of your major. See me in a few years, if you ever finish your studies.

Nide: “The history of philopshy [sic] and the history of history are not the same subject.”

Wow, you must be whizzing through your exams with cognitive skills like this!

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:38 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “It's interesting how you slap christianity on anything as long it suits your needs.”

“…slap christianity [sic] on anything…”? Like caulking putty?

I wrote: "None of my bibles says anything about men preferring to be *irrational*. Indeed, none of my bibles say anything explicitly about rationality, since its authors had not formed the concept to begin with. Perhaps you’re reading a different bible. If so, please clue me in."

Nide: “Sin is irrational, stupid etc. The words don't need to be there.”

I see. So the word “irrationality” isn’t in the bible, but you are free to insert it where you please, to suit your apologetic needs. Isn’t that tampering with “God’s word”?

Nide had written: “It would be unjust not to give sinners want they want.”

I wrote: "The god which your religion imagines is no defender of justice. Many ‘sinners’ have wanted ‘salvation’, and according to your religion they were given what they wanted. Wasn’t the apostle Paul a sinner? Didn’t he want his salvation? He didn’t just chuck it out the window, did he? He got what he wanted. So your religion is built on injustice. Indeed, it teaches that the ideal man should sacrifice himself for non-ideal people – that treasure should be sacrificed for trash. Where’s the justice in this? It is an explicitly anti-value worldview."

Nide: “Let me rephrase that.”

Why would you need to rephrase it? Aren’t you led by the Holy Ghost? Or am I making points that you didn’t anticipate?

Nide: “God is just because he deals with people accordingly.”

So when Saddam Hussein dealt with his subjects “accordingly,” he was being “just”? I guess I don’t follow you. Wanna try again?

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:38 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “Sinners don't want to live after him.”

Are you speaking for yourself here? Paul considered himself a sinner (cf., e.g., Romans 3:7). I guess Paul didn’t want to “live after him”?

If we’re speaking of Jesus, Jesus died almost 2000 years ago, so we are all in a sense “living after him,” whether we want to or not. We cannot do anything about when we are born.

Nide: “Fine he let's them be individuals which leads to destruction.”

Well, first of all, if each individual was created by your god, your god created them as individuals. So it’s not really a matter of “letting” them be individuals; he created them that way according to Christian myth.

But how does being an individual “lead to destruction”? You sound like Mao Tse Tung – he also hated individualism, and did everything he could to stamp it out. He was quite effective, since he used the muzzle of a gun to get what he wanted. How did Mao disobey the Christian god?

Nide: “Christ dying on the cross is a matter of love and mercy.”

Christ dying on the cross is a matter of a father turning his back on his own child. That’s precisely what you are calling “love and mercy.” Your “love and mercy” consists of willingly allowing one’s values be destroyed by the scum of the earth. To quote Rand: “That is precisely how the symbolism is used.”

Nide: “You're right it's not just that treasure should die for trash.”

Of course I’m right. But that’s what my worldview teaches: that treasure should never be sacrificed for trash, that values should never be sacrificed for non-values. So when you concede the fact that I am right here, you are conceding the truth of my worldview’s morality.

Nide: “However, God is also merciful.”

This is just another way of saying that your god can withhold justice whenever it feels like it.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:39 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “That's why rejecting Christ is a grevious sin.” [sic]

“…grevious…”? What’s that? Your Christ is a fabrication, Nide, just like Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Superman and Buck Rogers. You continue to kick against the pricks without ever making any fruitful points for your position. It really is amusing to watch.

Nide: “We don't take Jesus' death lightly.”

Why? You apparently didn’t read the Steven Carr blog entry that I linked to above. In it he quotes a Christian article titled The Joy of Suffering, which states:

<< 'Suffering in this life is so insignificant in light of eternity that it is not even worthy of a comparison. It may not seem this way when we look at our circumstances, but when we look out to the joy set before us, it is nothing. Suffering is not even a drop in the bucket.' >>

Go enjoy your suffering, Nide. I’m going to go enjoy sex instead.

"Nide, I’m not a Christian because I made the choice to be honest. I don’t believe Christianity’s mysticism, and I recognize that Christianity is in fact irrational – i.e., opposed to reason. Every time you challenge the validity of the senses, for instance, you are exposing your hatred of reason, for reason is the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses. Rationality is acceptance of reason as man’s only meansl of knowledge, his only judge of values and his only guide to action. If you attack reason, you cannot be rational, for you’ve rejected reason as your means of knowledge, your judge of values and your guide to action. By denying the validity of the senses, you deny the very precondition of reason. So your apologetic recourse to skepticism, while perfectly consistent with your reason-denying worldview, only makes your “arguments” irrelevant."

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:39 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “The only mystic here is you.”

You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. Yours is the worldview that puts faith in invisible magic beings, not mine.

Nide: “The problem is you claim that reason is the foundation of knowledge.”

That’s not my problem. I’m entirely at ease with this fact. If there’s a problem with this, it’s yours.

Nide: “But how do you know?”

I checked. That’s how.

Nide: “Is it perceptually self-evident?”

Some of it is. Some of it is inferential. But all of it is wholly consistent with reason as my worldview conceives of it. In other words, you’re not going to be able to find an internal inconsistency in my worldview. But keep trying. Knock yourself out.

Nide: “if so how is that you are not imagining it?”

What do you mean by “imagining”? Do you understand the difference between imagining and perceiving? I can test whether or not I’m imagining something by checking to see if that something changes when I imagine it changing. If I look at the stapler on my desk and imagine it floating up in the air, and yet it remains set in place right there on my desk in spite of my imagining, then clearly I’m not imagining it. When I consider the Christian god and note that it is angry and wrathful, and its emotional state changes to happiness when I imagine it being happy, I know that I’m imagining it. I can control what I imagine, for my imagination is subject to volition. I cannot control what I perceive, for what I perceive is not subject to volition.

See, isn’t it good that you bring your problems to me? You learn some valuable truths when you interact with me.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:39 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “You don't have an exhaustive understanding of what you call reality so therefore your claims are arbitrary.”

Non sequitur. By the way, Nide, do you have an exhaustive understanding of what you call reality? Are you really omniscient? Can you tell me what I had for breakfast today? Or is actual existence not part of what you call reality?

Nide: “You appeal to existence which you know nothing about.”

Hmmm… let’s see. My car exists, and I know how to drive it. My toothbrush exists, and I know how to use it. My wife exists, and I know where she sleeps, where she works, what she likes, her e-mail address, her age, her birthday, her Social Security Number, etc. But you say I “know nothing about” reality. Why defend a position that is so fragile that it requires you to reduce yourself to such nonsense, Nide? Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself this. Is it that you’re really just trying to make yourself feel better by degrading others? Your denials of my ability to know things do not change me and my knowledge, so it really doesn’t affect me. So I suspect you’re trying to calm some psychological conflict by making pronouncements like this.

Nide: “It's either you know it all or you don't know it all.”

I have never claimed to “know it all.” As my blog profile makes plainly clear: I am a Man, and I think with my own mind.

Nide: “Reality may just show you to be a fool."

If I do foolish things, this will very likely happen. Indeed, when I tried to be a Christian, reality showed me the foolishness of my ways. My life has improved a thousand-fold since I learned this lesson.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:40 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide had written: “You value what you think is good but which really leads to pain and suffering.”

I replied: “Gee, let’s see. I value food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, pleasure, happiness, my wife, my daughter, my skill set, my ability to reason and increase my skills, my values, my abilities to produce values, etc. Yes, these are all good in my judgment, but it’s unclear why you would think these things lead to pain and suffering. Indeed, rejecting these things would guarantee me pain and suffering."

Nide: “Yea, I value those too”

But on what basis? Your worldview opposes individualism and insists on complete indifference to values. So you must be suspending your worldview in order to borrow from mine to do this.

Unfortunately you don’t show how valuing what I think (and know) is good for me “really leads to pain and suffering,” as you had claimed. Do you ever make good on your words, Nide? Or do you abandon what you say as easily as your god abandoned his only begotten son when he was nailed to the cross?

Nide: “but I also value helping my neighbor.”

Then if you help your neighbor, you’re doing so because you value it, not because you’re commanded to. See the beauty of Objectivism?

I wrote: "But see, that’s your worldview, Nide: it enshrines pain and suffering. How often do we hear Christians celebrating the pain and suffering Jesus endured for their salvation? All the time. But it isn’t consistent. On the one hand, Christianity encourages frothing infatuation for suffering; on the other, it dismisses suffering as if it were completely insignificant. See this blog entry on Steven Carr’s blog to see what I’m talking about. Go ahead. Check it out. The contradiction is plain for all to see."

Nide: “Actually no we are grieved by pain and suffering.”

Well, you’ll have to speak for yourself here. I’ve known many, many Christians who rejoice at Jesus’s pain and suffering on the cross. As they say, “His pain, our gain.” Sort of says it all, don’t you think?

Nide: “We celebrate life”

Actually, you celebrate death, Nide. Death is a doorway to eternal bliss according to Christianity. Why wouldn’t you celebrate this, if you really believe this? Perhaps you really don’t believe it. Many Christians claim that the soul is immortal and that Christ saves people. But their actions betray otherwise. When their “brothers in Christ” die, they mourn as if there were some terrible loss. But if that person “went to the Lord,” any “loss” pales in comparison to the “gain” that “Christ’s pain” made possible. So again we see the evidence of internal conflict in the actions of Christians.

Nide asked: “Can you get anything right?”

According to reality, I’m getting a lot of what I do right. But according to folks like you, you will try not to admit when I’m right most of the time.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:40 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I wrote: "The notion of an ‘eternal life’ is imaginary. It rests on the fallacy of the stolen concept. As an idea, it has no objective tie to reality, and in fact depends on ignoring relevant facts about life that are available to us through reason. So the notion of “eternal life” cannot be a value, nor can it signify something that a real value."

Nide asked: “How do you know?”

By adhering to the facts of reality, that’s how. For instance, human beings are biological organisms. Indeed, consciousness is a biological attribute. When the organism dies, its organic activity ceases. This includes the heart’s beating, breathing, digestion, the production of blood, sensation and other forms of consciousness. Facts, Nide, facts. They’re really great things. Learn to get along with them, and they’ll serve you. As Bacon put it, “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

I wrote: "Exactly - *you* have a problem with individualism. And yet you are an individual, and must be, in order to have any problems at all. The problem is yours. The problem is Christianity’s. It’s good that you concede this. But I suspect you’ll continue to have the same problem."

Nide: “Yea, I have a problem with it because it's satanic. It comes straight from Satan.”

Then it’s really not you that has a problem with it; you’re simply commanded to have a problem with it, regardless of how you might assess it were you free to use your own mind. But it’s true – Christianity is opposed to individualism and the doctrine of individual rights. Thank you for confirming this so clearly.

Nide had written: “The arbitrary objection goes: How can an all-loving and all-good God allow pain and suffering. The problem is Pain, suffering, death came through man i.e. Adam. Life and relief from suffering and pain come through Christ.”

I replied: "But ‘Adam’ came through ‘Christ’, since ‘Christ’ is ‘God’ and ‘God’ created everything, including ‘Adam’. So you can’t point to “Adam” as the source of pain, suffering and death and be done with it. There would have been no ‘Adam’ – and therefore no pain, suffering and death – if ‘God’ had not chosen to create ‘Adam’. So in the final analysis, your god is the source of pain, suffering, death, and evil. Isaiah 45:7 states explicitly that the Christian god creates evil. More evil, pain and suffering (e.g., through Christ’s ‘work’ on the cross) is not going to ‘overcome’ the problem of evil. This only shows that the Christian god revels in his evil. So Christianity has no way to ‘overcome’ the problem of evil."

Nide now replies: “This is another instance of you suiting your needs.”

Doing something to suit one’s own needs is hardly wrong in my worldview. When I need water, I go to the refrigerator and pour myself a glass of cold water. Thus I act to suit my own needs. So this is no objection. Really, your statement here appears to stem from personal resentment, probably for the fact that you can’t put even a tiny scratch in the iron siding of my logic.

[Continued…]

May 20, 2012 10:40 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “Adam did want he freely wanted.”[sic]

Adam doing something he freely wanted to do presupposes a context of individual freedom, i.e., individualism. So in order for this to be the case, the individualism which you say “comes straight from Satan” was already present in the garden before Adam did anything. So again, we have a situation which is rigged for a specific outcome, an outcome that was “planned” all along.

Meanwhile, you stated in reply to Ydemoc: “I don't believe in good luck but in God controlling everything that happens. Even your wickedness.”

So even your own stated position is in direct conflict with your attempt to wriggle out of the problem of evil when you say “Adam did want [what?] he freely wanted.” If Your god is “controlling everything that happens,” even a person’s “wickedness,” then no human being has any free will to do anything. Adam did only what the Christian god wanted him to do; Adam had no say in it. He can’t even be said to have had a will to begin with. And to the extent that Christians want to say Adam had his own will, to the extent that he might have had one it would have been completely impotent. In a contest between man’s will and “God’s will,” which will always prevails? Think about it, Nide.

Man, doesn’t it get tiring always being on the losing side of things?

Nide: “Now why did God choose to create in spite of what would happen? idk.”

So you acknowledge then that, according to the Christian myth, the ultimate source of all evil, pain, suffering and wrongdoing is its god.

Nide: “But like I said your objection is arbitry.”

Yes, you’ve stated this, but you’ve not shown your characterization here to be at all supportable. You just want to dismiss it is all.

Nide: “In Christ problem is solved.”

Well, you stated this before, and I asked you to explain it, and when you did, we found that you backed yourself into a most uncomfortable corner – caught between “God chose to create in spite of what would happen” and “idk.” Your religion gives you a god which creates boundless imperfection and a state of perpetual ignorance.

Regards,
Dawson

May 20, 2012 10:41 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

Hezekiah writes: "Through enslavement comes freedom." -- Hezekiah Ahaz, May 20, 2012 8:40 PM

sounds like something I would expect to see written over the entrence to a death camp, you know like Arbeit macht frei.

May 21, 2012 12:01 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Justin wrote:

<< Hezekiah writes: "Through enslavement comes freedom." -- Hezekiah Ahaz, May 20, 2012 8:40 PM

sounds like something I would expect to see written over the entrence to a death camp, you know like Arbeit macht frei >>

Yes, I think so. It goes hand in hand with his hatred of individualism.

Perhaps one day Nide will form a new political party - the Ahazis - and try to erect his own Christian dictatorship in the States. He could hire Sye Ten Bruggencate to be his propaganda minister, and Eric Hovind as Reich Minister of Aviation and Dinosaur Exhibits.

Just more juicy tidbits from the fantasies that make Christians drool section.

Regards,
Dawson

May 21, 2012 2:23 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"Nope. You won’t find this in the bible. It provides no account of contradictions."

Yes it does. God can't lie.


"It’s a contradiction. Admit it."

No, paradox.


"What is? How do you know?"

Because I checked.

"I was not “created” – I was born, and that’s only because nature manufactured me from previously existing organic materials. And my purpose is not to “think God’s [thoughts] after him,” but to live and enjoy my life. Thinking is not an end in itself – it is a means to a greater end, namely living and enjoying life. Try it some time. You won’t be able to do this guilt-free until you shed the guilt of your Christianity. As I stated earlier, you have some hard choices to make now that you’re entering your adulthood."


How do you know?


"I see. So “demons” are the authors of the doctrine of individual rights? Really? I guess Thomas Jefferson was one of those demons, eh?"

No, thomas jefferson had a christian wordlview.

He had a real view of individual rights. Unlike yours which are demonic.


"Right – Christ is a legend. Good going, Nide. As Justin rightly put it – the gift that keeps on giving."


Sleight of hand. try to be honest.

"And look what happened to him – he willingly died prematurely by crucifixion. Hardly rational."


Love and mercy.


"So the doctrine of individual rights is “satanic” now? Okay, go surrender your individual rights. Move to Iran or Mogadishu and see how long you last"


YOUR doctrine of individual rights is satanic.



"“…how it has [what?] the world…”?"

Look out your window.


"On the contrary, it’s rooted in reason. I’ve cited the facts and have held your hand all the way to my conclusion and assessment. I expect you to brush it off, just as your god brushes off thousands of people in a tsunami, and with as much compunction (i.e., none at all)."

Your conclusion and assessment is arbitrary.

It won't always be that way. Christ has solved the problem.

"In other words, their “wrong” was in disobeying a divine commandment, not in harming other people. The welfare of people is of secondary or no importance; what is of concern for “Christian morality” is whether or not the Christian god’s commandments were obeyed. The Christian god could command a person to kill someone (as it commanded Abraham to do to his son), and the believer is supposed to be willing to do whatever he commanded, without regard to his actions destructive effects on values. You’ll notice in Genesis 22, when biblegod commands Abraham to prepare his son as a burnt offering, Abraham is nowhere portrayed as questioning this commandment, let alone resisting it. He just goes along happily, as if he were preparing to sweep out his shed. That’s the mindset which Christianity requires: complete sacrifice of the mind, complete willingness to simply be a puppet. If that’s what you’re after in life, Nide, you’ve found the perfect home in Christianity."


If people would obey God there would be no problems. This is what you are desperately trying to evade.


cont.

May 21, 2012 12:38 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"So when Saddam Hussein dealt with his subjects “accordingly,” he was being “just”? I guess I don’t follow you. Wanna try again?"

No, he was delusional. Just like you are.


"Are you speaking for yourself here? Paul considered himself a sinner (cf., e.g., Romans 3:7). I guess Paul didn’t want to “live after him”? "

Living after God's character.

"Well, first of all, if each individual was created by your god, your god created them as individuals. So it’s not really a matter of “letting” them be individuals; he created them that way according to Christian myth."


No, he didn't. They chose otherwise.


"But how does being an individual “lead to destruction”? You sound like Mao Tse Tung – he also hated individualism, and did everything he could to stamp it out. He was quite effective, since he used the muzzle of a gun to get what he wanted. How did Mao disobey the Christian god?"


By not loving God and his neighbor.
Mao set himself up to be a "god". The problem is demons can't be God.


"Christ dying on the cross is a matter of a father turning his back on his own child. That’s precisely what you are calling “love and mercy.” Your “love and mercy” consists of willingly allowing one’s values be destroyed by the scum of the earth. To quote Rand: “That is precisely how the symbolism is used.”

No, to destroy what you call values.


"Of course I’m right. But that’s what my worldview teaches: that treasure should never be sacrificed for trash, that values should never be sacrificed for non-values. So when you concede the fact that I am right here, you are conceding the truth of my worldview’s morality."

Which is no morality at all.

Your right becuase deep down inside you really have Christian values.

"“…grevious…”? What’s that? Your Christ is a fabrication, Nide, just like Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Superman and Buck Rogers. You continue to kick against the pricks without ever making any fruitful points for your position. It really is amusing to watch."


How do you know?

Your imagination doesn't count as evidence.


" You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. Yours is the worldview that puts faith in invisible magic beings, not mine."


Better than putting my faith in demons.


"Some of it is. Some of it is inferential. But all of it is wholly consistent with reason as my worldview conceives of it. In other words, you’re not going to be able to find an internal inconsistency in my worldview. But keep trying. Knock yourself out."


I have found many. For example, how you know and you don't know.


cont.

May 21, 2012 1:16 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"Non sequitur. By the way, Nide, do you have an exhaustive understanding of what you call reality? Are you really omniscient? Can you tell me what I had for breakfast today? Or is actual existence not part of what you call reality?"


No, but YHWH does.


"If I do foolish things, this will very likely happen. Indeed, when I tried to be a Christian, reality showed me the foolishness of my ways. My life has improved a thousand-fold since I learned this lesson."


It could be a satanic trick. watch out.


"But on what basis? Your worldview opposes individualism and insists on complete indifference to values. So you must be suspending your worldview in order to borrow from mine to do this."


No we oppose satanic individualism which you hold to.

"Unfortunately you don’t show how valuing what I think (and know) is good for me “really leads to pain and suffering,” as you had claimed. Do you ever make good on your words, Nide? Or do you abandon what you say as easily as your god abandoned his only begotten son when he was nailed to the cross?"

Not thinking God's thoughts after him.


"Then if you help your neighbor, you’re doing so because you value it, not because you’re commanded to. See the beauty of Objectivism?"


No, I do it becuase God commanded it. "objectivism" is useless.


"Well, you’ll have to speak for yourself here. I’ve known many, many Christians who rejoice at Jesus’s pain and suffering on the cross. As they say, “His pain, our gain.” Sort of says it all, don’t you think?"


No.


"Actually, you celebrate death, Nide. Death is a doorway to eternal bliss according to Christianity. Why wouldn’t you celebrate this, if you really believe this? Perhaps you really don’t believe it. Many Christians claim that the soul is immortal and that Christ saves people. But their actions betray otherwise. When their “brothers in Christ” die, they mourn as if there were some terrible loss. But if that person “went to the Lord,” any “loss” pales in comparison to the “gain” that “Christ’s pain” made possible. So again we see the evidence of internal conflict in the actions of Christians."


cont.

May 21, 2012 1:18 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

No, I celebrate life.


"According to reality, I’m getting a lot of what I do right. But according to folks like you, you will try not to admit when I’m right most of the time."


Because of your Christian values.


"By adhering to the facts of reality, that’s how. For instance, human beings are biological organisms. Indeed, consciousness is a biological attribute. When the organism dies, its organic activity ceases. This includes the heart’s beating, breathing, digestion, the production of blood, sensation and other forms of consciousness. Facts, Nide, facts. They’re really great things. Learn to get along with them, and they’ll serve you. As Bacon put it, “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

Yea, nut how do you know?


"Doing something to suit one’s own needs is hardly wrong in my worldview. When I need water, I go to the refrigerator and pour myself a glass of cold water. Thus I act to suit my own needs. So this is no objection. Really, your statement here appears to stem from personal resentment, probably for the fact that you can’t put even a tiny scratch in the iron siding of my logic."


Yea, I drink water too.


"Adam doing something he freely wanted to do presupposes a context of individual freedom, i.e., individualism. So in order for this to be the case, the individualism which you say “comes straight from Satan” was already present in the garden before Adam did anything. So again, we have a situation which is rigged for a specific outcome, an outcome that was “planned” all along."

You're right satan was present there.



"So even your own stated position is in direct conflict with your attempt to wriggle out of the problem of evil when you say “Adam did want [what?] he freely wanted.” If Your god is “controlling everything that happens,” even a person’s “wickedness,” then no human being has any free will to do anything. Adam did only what the Christian god wanted him to do; Adam had no say in it. He can’t even be said to have had a will to begin with. And to the extent that Christians want to say Adam had his own will, to the extent that he might have had one it would have been completely impotent. In a contest between man’s will and “God’s will,” which will always prevails? Think about it, Nide."


God control things in a way that the choices of men are free. it's amazing.




"So you acknowledge then that, according to the Christian myth, the ultimate source of all evil, pain, suffering and wrongdoing is its god."


He allowed it. adam actuated it.


"Well, you stated this before, and I asked you to explain it, and when you did, we found that you backed yourself into a most uncomfortable corner – caught between “God chose to create in spite of what would happen” and “idk.” Your religion gives you a god which creates boundless imperfection and a state of perpetual ignorance."


In christ all is made right.


repent and believe.

May 21, 2012 1:21 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 21, 2012 3:15 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hello everyone,

Not that I need to remind anyone, but Hezekiah's answers come from an individual who claims to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit -- a spirit that, according to what Hezekiah believes, also guides him to utter such things as the following:

"Well, the bible is not some philosophy book that attempts to make sense of man's experience." -- Hezekiah Ahaz

"Through enslavement comes freedom." -- Hezekiah Ahaz, May 20, 2012 8:40 PM

"You gotta get rid of logic....it's sickening" -- Hezekiah Ahaz, May 1, 2012 3:46 PM -- a posted comment on his blog.

"Yes sir, Hell is good." -- Hezekiah Ahaz, from his blog, March 10, 2012 6:33 PM

Then, on a different occasion, in response to the question, "Is hell a blessing": "[Y]ou have to be more specific." -- Hezekiah Ahaz

“Faith is a belief” (then, roughly 13 hours later) "...that’s why they have beliefs and opinions. Those two aren’t certain." -- Hezekiah Ahaz, http://hezekiahahaz.blogspot.com/2012/03/another-day-with-steve.html#c7077590545622779264

"I don't accept Science's definition of truth." -- Hezekiah Ahaz

"I use faith to validate reason." -- Hezekiah Ahaz

"The best approach to believe in the moon is by faith like everyone else does. You seriously didn't no that?" -- Hezekiah Ahaz, August 28, 2011

"Abstractions could not possibly depend on human minds. There is no such thing as a conceptual understanding of logic." - Hezekiah Ahaz

"I have been rational extremely rational" -- Hezekiah Ahaz


Ydemoc

May 21, 2012 3:19 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Then later I said this:

Like I said, I'm still working on it. For now, let's just say Faith is the only belief that we can be certain about. Now that i think about it, at that point it becomes Knowledge. This is getting interesting. - Me


See comedy your a viper i.e. a slithering snake.

May 21, 2012 3:47 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide,

I’ve replied to your comments here: Christian Anti-Morality: A Response to Nide

Regards,
Dawson

May 22, 2012 7:15 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I caught this little nugget from Segers, in your blog entry for this thread:

"I've written a fairly detailed paper on biblical slavery demonstrating that it was not considered sin in either the OT or NT eras yet I also demonstrate that it would be sin to practice it in the modern USA. More later if you're interested."

Why would the highlighting of certain sins like slavery even be necessary? According to Christians, we are all depraved, condemned from birth, born sinners, -- every single thing we do is a sin -- basically, just being alive is a sin.

The fact that the bible and believers single out specific sins -- adultery, theft, lying, et al. -- seems to me to be yet another clue that our legs are being pulled by the mystics who made this stuff up as they went along. And modern-day mystics mindlessly travel down the same path, trying to pull our legs with nearly every defense of their faith that they put forth.

Ydemoc

May 22, 2012 1:49 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Dawson, Justin, Ydemoc.

Good blog Dawson. Justin, Ydemoc, your responses are appropriate.

Nide, you're still bat shit fucking crazy, and you're not actually a Christian because you fail to keep Torah. BTW, where is my money mother-fucker? You owe me $500.00. Your worthless silly god did not inform you of my special numbers, did it? That's because its not real. But, unlike you, I know I'm real; I perceive and process information, and information only happens due to an encoding or embodying of material reductionist particles that interact casually. You on the other hand have only your silly imaginary god.

Seriously Nide, you should renounce Christianity. It'll only do you harm.

Best Wishes to my Objectivist friends.

May 22, 2012 4:54 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hi Robert,

As I think I've said before, it's always a pleasure to read your stuff both here on Dawson's blog and over on Debunking Christianity.

I also see you have a new (relatively speakin) entry over on your blog. I'm going to have to check it out.

Ydemoc

May 22, 2012 5:42 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

It's always good to able to turn the other cheek. It's not a battle against humans but Satan and demons.

May 22, 2012 5:45 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Yet another reason why Christianity is unfit for human consumption.

http://www.debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/05/why-i-hate-christianity.html#more

May 27, 2012 11:12 AM  

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