HOW DO WE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROPAGANDA AND TRUTH?

newsHow do we know the difference between propaganda and truth? It is not always easy, not when lies can masquerade as the truth.

When I was a boy, the atheistic Soviet government put the first man into space. That was on April 12, 1961 (from here). Shortly afterwards, we received this news.

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was proclaimed by the Soviet leadership to have announced, “I went up to space, but I didn’t encounter God.” (from here)

The story was not true, but it took many decades for the truth to come out. Here is the excerpt of an interview of a friend of Yuri Gagarin, Colonel Valentin Petrov, associate professor at the Gagarin Air Force Academy.

- And what about the famous phrase ascribed to Gagarin: “I have been to space but have not seen God”?

– In fact, it was not Gagarin but Khruschev who said it. It happened during the Central Committee plenary meeting that considered anti-religious propaganda. Khruschev then gave all the Party and Komsomol organizations the task to engage in this propaganda and said: Why should you clutch at God? Here is Gagarin who flew to space but saw no God there. But some time later these words began to be presented in a different aspect. References were made not to Khruschev but to Gagarin who, indeed, was the people’s favourite and such a statement from his lips could be of tremendous importance. They said, few would believe Khruschev but everybody would certainly believe Gagarin. But Gagarin never said that, he just couldn’t utter such words. (from here)

As it happens, Gargarin was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Why bring up this story about Yuri Gargarin now? I just want to thank tildeb and I have had a debate at this post, KILLING METAPHYSICS?‘s determined effort to misrepresent Galileo’s position on Heliocentrism as anti-Christian and atheistic made me think about what the Soviet leadership said about Gargarin’s trip into space. They said Gargarin had not seen God. Somehow that proved God did not exist, and ‘s proof seemed similar.

So I looked up that old story, and I was pleasantly surprised. Gargarin had never said any such thing. Just as Galileo never had any intention of proving God does not exist, neither did Gargarin, but some Atheists would like us to believe otherwise.

It is funny, actually. In Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, the work that sparked the controversy, Galileo Galilei explained his purpose.

As to the discourses we have held, and especially this last one concerning the reasons for the ebbing and flowing of the ocean, I am really not entirely convinced; but from such feeble ideas of the matter as I have formed, I admit that your thoughts seem to me more ingenious than many others I have heard. I do not therefore consider them true and conclusive; indeed, keeping always before my mind’s eye a most solid doctrine that I once heard from a most eminent and learned person, and before which one must fall silent, I know that if asked whether God in His infinite power and wisdom could have conferred upon the watery element its observed reciprocating motion using some other means than moving its containing vessels, both of you would reply that He could have, and that He would have known how to do this in many ways which are unthinkable to our minds. From this I forthwith conclude that, this being so, it would be excessive boldness for anyone to limit and restrict the Divine power and wisdom to some particular fancy of his own. (from here)

In Galileo’s dialogue, the words above belong to the character named Simplicio. That dedicated follower of Ptolemy and Aristotle presents the traditional views and the arguments against the Copernican position. Galileo intended Salviati, the character reflecting his own position, to be the wiser. Nevertheless, it is Simplicio who presents the final lesson in their discourse; it is the lesson Galileo hoped his opponents would learn.

Other References

 

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KILLING METAPHYSICS?

puzzled

Killing metaphysics? Well, that is what he said, I thought that curious enough to make a post out of it.

Out of what exactly? Well, I wrote a comment here explaining why I don’t think science and technology have progressed over the last 100 years as much as we would like to think. That provoked a surprising response from tildeb  (here) that I will dissect on this post.   attributes progress to the destruction of religious thought.  Here is how  began.

The Renaissance and Enlightenment came about by killing metaphysics. (from here)

For a definition of metaphysics, click on the link. It seems to me that  has only a vague idea what the word means.

Then it got more interesting.

This death by a million cuts came about by changing the method used to investigate how reality actually worked. Galileo – the giant upon whose shoulders Newton claims to have stood – removed its cornerstone – the idea that things had ‘natures’ that caused effect upon reality – and used evidence from reality to inform claims made about it. This was the birth of the scientific revolution and it was to challenge religious authority directly and fracture it into thousands of pieces. (from here)

Both Galileo and Newton were serious students of the Bible. The reference to Galileo is actually misleading. Supposedly, Galileo and the Catholic Church had a feud over whether the sun is at the center of our solar system. In the sense the sun actually is at the center of our solar system Galileo was right. However, church authorities were correct to reject Galileo’s flawed arguments (see Galileo affair). That is, Galileo was right, but his proof was wrong.

The dispute Galileo had with the church ultimately had more to do politics than science. In arguing for his position (in a Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems), Galileo foolishly irked the pope, prior to his publication a friend.

Apparently, without intending to offend, Galileo put the pope’s words into the mouth of a fool (in his book). The pope was not then a good target for satire. Church authorities let Galileo continue his work, but they kept someone they probably regarded as a reckless hot head out of their hair by keeping him under house arrest.

Anyway,  elaborated.

Of course, it didn’t hurt his reputation to know ahead of all others which ships were about to arrive in port… thus demonstrating the economic benefit to befall those who dared to use products from this method. It didn’t hurt his reputation to vastly improve the accuracy for artillery by understanding how trajectories actually worked. It didn’t hurt clock making and time pieces essential for navigation to better refine how pendulums were actually affected by a rotating earth. Each of these cuts to the metaphysical nonsense that produced a millennium of widespread ignorance and stupidity about how reality worked contrary to and incompatible with the products Galileo effectively used demonstrated that this new method might have unlimited potential for creating all kinds of applications, therapies, and technologies that would from that point on hammer home the coffin nails into realty-immune metaphysics. (from here)

Here  obscures his point with too many fancy turns of phrase. I think he means to point to the superiority of mathematical models of cause and effect over “the idea that things had ‘natures’ that caused effect upon reality.” What is funny about that is that  “the idea that things had ‘natures’ that caused effect upon reality” has next to nothing to do with a belief in God. Superstition is not the product of religion. Superstition comes from the belief that the universe is without order. For example, without believing in God, we can still believe that things: old trees, ancient rocks, big bears and so forth, have a mind of their own. Without believing in God, we can still believe that life formed on this earth all by itself. Maybe the spirit of the earth (Gaia) just wanted it that way.

On the other hand, Christianity teaches there is only One God, that God is orderly, and He expects us to be orderly.

1 Corinthians 14:33 New King James Version (NKJV)

33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

Hence, the primary reason Christians, not Atheists, invented the scientific method is that God told us He had invented an orderly universe. Until Christians demonstrated the scientific method actually works, Atheists had no expectation of an orderly universe.

That, however, does not stop  from asserting otherwise.

But because religion relied on this methodological nonsense for its claims to temporal authority and supposed knowledge about how reality worked, we still have to this day the heavy reliance on metaphysics for religious thought. That’s why religious thought today is fundamentally anti-enlightenment, anti-scientific thinking that yields to knowledge only grudgingly while continuing to tilt at windmills and claiming to do this necessary battle on behalf of all. (from here)

Think about the sheer stubbornness required to assert something like the above. Christians invented the scientific method.  Under Christian influence, Enlightenment ideas resulted the formation American republic, the spread of religious freedom across Christendom, and eventually an end to slavery. Nevertheless, even though only a Christian society would forebear with such attacks from  , that does not stop  from ignorantly attacking Christianity with hate-filled vehemence.  Why does  do that? I am not certain. Even someone who calls himself an Atheist can still love his neighbor enough to disagree without being disagreeable.

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AN EXAMPLE OF A BIG FAT LIE

mortgage3The Washington Post (more accurately The Compost) ran one of its pathetic hit jobs today. Did The Compost target a particular politician? No. Instead, furthering the cause of statism, they attacked the mortgage lending industry for a problem largely created by government. In Broken by the bubble, The Compost presents us a tear-jerking story about well-paid people who during the housing boom in 2006 and 2007 bought more expensive houses than they could easily afford. Therefore, when the bubble burst, they could not continue their payments, and the banks foreclosed on them. That, of course, made their foolishness the fault of “predatory lenders.”  In fact, it makes it the fault of racist predatory lenders.

Marsh, uniquely trained to understand just such a neighborhood transformation, can see both sides of the equation.

“As a resident, I welcome and celebrate the socioeconomic and family type of diversity present in Fairwood,” she said in an e-mail to The Post. “As a sociologist and demographer, I am troubled that Fairwood was hit hard in the housing crisis, especially given the number of black Fairwood residents. It begs the hypothetical yet sociological question: Would the same magnitude of predatory lending have taken place in Fairwood if it were a predominantly white middle-class area?”

Subprime loans were largely prohibited until Congress in 1980 passed legislation lifting state interest rate controls on out-of-state banks.

At first, just a handful of small lenders made subprime loans. But as investors in the 1990s sought more mortgage-backed securities, which bundled subprime loans with other loans, demand grew. The high rates of return on the securities quickly made subprime loans the darlings of Wall Street. (from here)

Keep in mind that this a story about homes once valued at $700,000 purchased by people with median incomes of more of than $170,000.  So we are not talking about naive citizens. Instead, we are talking about people who received subprime loans to buy expensive homes. In fact, what is ironic about the charges of racism is that the lenders probably felt pressured by the government to make subprime loans to minorities.

The Compost attributes these subprime loans to “predatory lending,” but who loans their own money to someone who cannot pay them back with interest? Nobody. Therefore, somebody bought the loans these “predatory lenders” were making. Who? Check out SOME BACKGROUND ON OUR FINANCIAL MESS. Our government and government sponsored agencies used our money to help create this mess, but is that what The Compost wants us to believe? No. We are just suppose to feel sorry for people who bought more house than they could afford.  Yep! The taxpayer is suppose to be the big sucker and bail out everyone, even those predatory lenders.

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WHAT ARE THE SUPPOSED BENEFITS OF A SECULAR EDUCATION?

school counselor

Striving For The Goal

Ostensibly, as a fanatic, Right-Wing Christian, I wrote this post to deride the supposed benefits of a secular education. However, I doubt the wisdom of making fun of the beliefs of others. Moreover, I have observed that what we are for is much more important than what we are against, and we should never lose sight of that fact. Therefore, this post will constantly point to a goal.

Proverbs 22:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Parents have a responsibility to bring up their children so that their children know how to use their God-given gifts and how to live as God would have us live. Unfortunately, clever people work overtime trying to convince us that we must avoid this or that disastrous pitfall. By focusing our minds upon our fears, they can get us to spend all our efforts trying to get us to avoid that thing we fear instead of working on that thing we desire. Then, instead of educating children we spend all our time trying to prevent something bad from happening to our children.

When we spend our lives driven by fear; we don’t accomplish much of anything. We just run and run and run, always tired and spent. Finally, we just give up.

If we let ourselves become confused enough, we will have forgotten what it is we wanted in the first place. Yet we don’t have to be confused. We don’t even have to be afraid. We just have to take responsibility for our own children.

Why Would Christians Want A Secular Government?

Why would Christians want a secular government? The answer goes back to the First Amendment.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Because Christians believe that each of us is entitled to the freedom of our own consciences, we believe in limiting the power of government.  Hence, the Constitution restricts Congress from interfering with the religious practices of the American people. Therefore, in the sense that government does not exist to promote or implement any particular religious belief, the founders considered the government secular.

However, the founders did not set out to create a secular society. Nor did they intend to shield the government from religious influences.  With the First Amendment they simply stated that Congress could not uses its powers to force anyone to practice any particular religion.

Secularism: An Ideology of Nots

Since the founding, what was a simple prohibition on Congress has grown into an ubiquitous monster.  The reason? We insist upon providing our children a secular education. Yet, curious though it may seem, most people have no idea what is meant by a secular education.

Carefully consider the definition of “secular.”

secular
adjective

  1. of or relating to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: “secular interests”
  2. not pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to sacred ): “secular music”
  3. (of education, a school, etc.) concerned with nonreligious subjects.
  4. (of members of the clergy) not belonging to a religious order; not bound by monastic vows (opposed to regular ).

Whatever is secular is just what someone in authority says is “not” religious. Thus, the whole point of a so-called secular education is to NOT teach something, especially something religious in nature.

Hence, whenever someone proclaims the glories of a secular education, that someone has only a vague idea of what they are advocating. All they know is that a secular education supposedly excludes the religious, spiritual, or sacred. That’s because Secularism is defined by what it is against, not by what it is for.

Refusing to teach children to believe in something is a bad idea.

This is a dangerous state. If they don’t stand for something, they will fall for anything. (from here)

Is A Secular Education A Rational Goal?

Is a secular education a rational goal? Probably not. At best, a secular education is pointless. Because some people want government-run schools, to avoid religious freedom concerns these people insist upon a secular education.

But stop and think. When a parent chooses a secular education, what is the purpose of the education? How do we define what the child should learn? Once we educate a child, what do we expect that child to do with what he or she has learned? When we secularize the education of children, how do we answer such questions?

Don’t get it? Then consider some of the subjects of we want children to learn.

  • Metaphysics (metaphysical philosophy): When we consider metaphysics, we consider how we look at the world and each other at a very basic level. How can we know something is true? What are the appropriate methods of inquiry? What are appropriate questions? Is there a God? The secularist sets this basic question aside as immaterial.
  • Science (or natural philosophy): Science involves applying the logic of philosophy to the study of the natural world. Here in particular the secularist says God is not relevant. In fact, the devout secularist considers belief in God an obstacle when it comes to “logical” inquiry.
  • Ethics (moral philosophy):  What passes for ethical education in the public school system politicians usually refer to as “character education,” but what are secular ethics? Whose secular ethics do we use? Do parents want their children to practice secular ethics? Isn’t the secularist likely to foul up an ethical problem by altering the relevant point-of-view? Instead of defining the difference between right and wrong from God’s point-of-view, what is the probability the secularist will have us define the ethical point-of-view relative to the individual, even relative to a particular individual in a particular situation. That’s situational ethics and moral relativism. That’s the kind of ethics that advocates the distribution of condoms in the public schools.
  • Reading and Writing: Reading provides the primary basis we use to learn. Writing provides us a means to record our thoughts, even to communicate to others. We fill our hearts and souls (and the hearts and souls of others) with what we read, hear and see. Many of our reading tastes are acquired. That is, what we have read, heard, and seen in the past biases our choice of what we will choose to read, hear, and see in the future. When we should be taking care to set our minds on the thing above, not the things on earth (Colossians 3:2), the secularist will encourage us to read, write, learn, and communicate for our own fleshly pleasures.
  • History/Civics: Many secularists set aside or misinterpret both the historical and the present role of religion in human history. For example, there is a common misconception that wars start over religion, the Book of James offers a different explanation. Pride promotes strife (James 4:1-6).
  • Literature and Art: Once people produced literature and art primarily for the glory of God. Today the reverse is true. In fact, much of today’s literature and art is riddled with pointless sex and gratuitous violence. Do most advocates for secular education condone pointless sex and gratuitous violence in literature and art? Probably not, but too many secularists simply don’t care.

Nothing Is Secular

When we send our children to school, we must remember we prepare them to live, not just to do an eight to five job. That’s why The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Sermons, Parts 225-236 contains these words from Charles Spurgeon:

To a man who lives unto God nothing is secular, everything is sacred. He puts on his workday garment and it is a vestment to him. He sits down to his meal and it is a sacrament. He goes forth to his labor, and therein exercises the office of the priesthood. His breath is incense and his life a sacrifice. He sleeps on the bosom of God, and lives and moves in the divine presence.

When we believe in God, we believe in a Creator, that everything is of God.

Just so that we can be clear: there is no such thing as a secular world. By that, I mean that there is no such thing as the world apart from God, a world without God, or a world existing in a “neutral zone.” The good God who created the heavens and the earth, sustains them in their very existence. He has not made Himself absent, nor so endowed the world that it has existence apart from Him. We have created ideological zones in which we try to remove all reference to God or to control behavior in such a way that it can be conceived apart from God, but these are mere intellectual tricks. We cannot make God disappear, regardless of our ideas or declarations. God is simply everywhere present, filling all things. (from here)

If everything is of God, then nothing is secular. If nothing is secular, then our children’s education must include the knowledge of God. If we give our children a secular education, we will teach them they can safely ignore God. If we give our children a Christian education, we will teach them God loves them and that they should love Him in return.

Background

In WHY DO CHILDREN NEED A RELIGIOUS EDUCATION?, we started a discussion on education. In addition to a significant number of comments, other blogs offered their opinions.

WHY DO CHILDREN NEED A RELIGIOUS EDUCATION? grew out of IS MULTICULTURALISM A RELIGION?. That post attacked the way the public school system is being used to indoctrinate young into a foolish belief.

Other Views

To Be Continued => Is There A Right To An Education?

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SOTU

Citizen Tom:

Why would someone find the State of Union so disgusting? Instead of electing a president who loves our country, we elected a president who loves only himself. Why would we do such a thing? We allowed this president to buy our votes. He promised to give us things with other people’s money, and he still trying to pay for our support in return for other people’s money. Thus, listening to State of Union is the same thing as listening to a man offering you a bribe. In fact, because he has offered us so many bribes, we now honor this crooked man the leader of our armed forces.

What should we have done? We should have voted for the person we thought would do the best job for our country to be our president. If we want to be led be someone who actually cares for our country — the welfare of our family, friends, and neighbors all across this once great land — then we have to vote as if we care. Instead of giving politicians the power to abuse our neighbors, we have to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

Originally posted on See, there's this thing called biology...:

pavedroadsI did not watch President Obama’s State of the Union Address nor the rebuttals, mostly because I already live in the land of fairy tales and romance, roaming around in alternate plains of reality and believing in impossible things like unicorns that poo skittles and dance down rainbows.

I’m already keenly aware of the fact that everything is awesome, that the economy is booming and that we have created more jobs than any other Westernized country in all the history of the world. I look out my window and I see people availing themselves of all this new and exciting opportunity, like how to have a proper stay-cation, rather than being bothered by all those old and burdensome things we use to pursue, like packing and travel and actually having to leave your house.

1911803_10152169668932954_1225329403_nI love the new found excitement of finding gas for less than two bucks a gallon…

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