Recently, The American Post-Standard provided one of the posts on this blog, “The Morality of Government,” the courtesy of a link. In We Must Fight the Devil with Fire, phadde2 recalls how I answered a question with a question.
In the comment section of Citizen Tom’s piece, “The Morality of Government” I asked him, or any who would answer, ‘How can we operate in a world with these people? Those who preach tolerance but lack tolerance, how do we operate a government in our own nation with those who basically say, “I see your facts, but I simply do not care!’
There is a deeper question. What can we do to help such people? Think about the irony. When Nicholas attacks others because they do not believe what he believes, he becomes the very monster he claims to condemn. Is not a bigot someone who refuses to see the truth? (from here)
What is the issue that raised these questions? The issue is multiculturalism. In IS MULTICULTURALISM A RELIGION?, we considered educational problem posed by multiculturalism. In this post, I will reemphasize this problem with more examples. Then I will once again sound the call for school choice.
ColorStorm is a new Christian blog that I very much enjoy. Here of late some atheists have visited the blog. Their object is to ridicule the Christian faith. Since I enjoy debate, I have used their visits to point out the inconsistencies in the Atheist faith. To illustrate the educational deficit of some of these atheists, I have included some of their comments and my replies. Of course, ColorStorm, the blog’s author, and other commenters such as Wally Fry also provided noteworthy responses, but mine pertain to the points I wish to make here.
What are the points I wish to make:
- I am in my sixties, and I am still trying to undo the damage I have received from our education system. The founders received a classical education. That included sound instruction on the Bible as well as the history and the literature of Western Civilization. We no longer provide that to our children, and because we never had such an education ourselves we don’t know what they are missing.
- The atheists commenters are not stupid. They are ignorant.
- If we want to save our children’s souls, we must take responsibility for educating them.
For the complete comment trails, please visit Can’t go into detail… and Here’s a toast to you. What I have provide below are teasers. Please visit the posts.
Example 1: from Can’t go into detail…
Can’t go into detail… used the Creation story to point out the foolishness of saying no to God. In response to some carping from Atheist commenters, I wrote this.
Citizen Tom: January 1, 2015 at 1:30 am
What I use to have problem with was the fact God punished all mankind, not just Adam and Eve. I could not understand such a thing. It did not seem fair, but as I grew older, and I finally read the Bible, I realized that the Bible describes as we are. It was the first book to do so.
In my years as a scientist and engineer, I have learned we have a way of fooling ourselves. We think we understand things, but we don’t. When we think we do understand thing, we just betray a serious lack of wisdom.
What scientists do is create models they call theories. These models exist to portray cause and effect relationships. The better the models predict what happens in the “real world” the better the theory works. Nevertheless, it is foolhardy to say we “understand” much of anything. For example, without understanding them at all, we model the effect of gravitational forces on masses. Thus, we can predict the course of a spaceship, but we have no real explanation as to why objects are attracted to each other. We just have more and more questions.
What the Bible does is provide us a model of our character. The Bible predicts how we behave, and it provides us a method for improving our behavior. We may not understand how those “superstitious, scientifically-ignorant Bronze Age men” ever came up with such a book, but we have not been able to improve upon the wisdom they passed onto us in the Bible. With a book inspired by God, those “superstitious, scientifically-ignorant Bronze Age men” changed our world. So it is I finally accept the Bible as the Truth. The Bible may be difficult to understand and accept, but unless we accept the Bible as true — as our Creator’s handiwork — there is so much more that makes no sense.
Example 2: from Here’s a toast to you.
Here I let Arkenaten, one of the atheist bloggers, introduce the topic, what is proof?
Arkenaten: January 3, 2015 at 11:17 am
Proofs are generally the preserve of mathematicians.
I asked for verifiable evidence that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is the creator god you genuflect to, that’s all.
What has pride got to do with anything?
Arkenaten: January 3, 2015 at 11:19 am
Sorry, my comment was chopped short.
Where is this verifiable evidence you say I have? Please can you identify it.
Citizen Tom: January 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm
Proofs are generally the preserve of mathematicians.
That statement is a good indication of how badly we have educated our young for decades. Mathematics is just a modelling tool that uses simple abstractions to model what we see in the “real world.” Mathematical proofs just prove that a mathematical model is consistent with the abstract assumptions upon which it is based. What such proofs prove is that an abstract concept is “true.” Only in the abstract doe 2 + 2 = 4 (https://citizentom.com/2008/06/22/what-is-mathematical-proof-does-2-2-4/)
Scientists use mathematics to model the “real world.” What scientists do is create models they call theories. These models exist to portray cause and effect relationships. The better the models predict what happens in the “real world” the better the theory works. Nevertheless, it is foolhardy to say we “understand” much of anything. For example, without understanding them at all, we model the effect of gravitational forces on masses. Thus, we can predict the course of a spaceship, but we have no real explanation as to why objects are attracted to each other. We just have more and more questions.
What is the limitation? Mathematical abstractions are imaginary. Consider. If I say a line is defined by two points, what does that mean. Do perfectly straight, infinite lines exist in nature? Do indivisible points? Then what makes any proof in mathematics superior to this observation?
Romans 1:18-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
We live in an age when like no others before us we can see and hear the glory of God’s creation. With telescopes we can see into the heavens. With microscopes we can delve into the substance of things, and still we are not filled with the wonder of the One who made it all. Instead, we puff ourselves up with our puny accomplishments and the degree of our understanding. When we should be awed by what is self-evident, set in splendor right in front of us, we demand proof of the existence a Being far beyond any conception of our finite imaginations. When we obviously could not understand the explanation, we still posses the lunatic temerity to demand that God explain Himself. Why? The answer is pride.
Anyway, on my blog, I provide my own reasons for believing in the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. Here are some of my favorites.
- Without the inspiration of God, men would not have written the Bible. No other book is like it. The Bible doesn’t flatter us; the Bible holds up a mirror and shows us as we are. The Bible also gives us hope; it explains how God redeemed us from sin. There are about 40 authors, and these tell a coherent story in a book whose writings span 1500 hundred years. Moreover, in spite of the violence and travails of human history, believers have preserved the Bible virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Again I ask, what other book is like that?
- Without the God of Israel, the history of the Jews makes no sense. After all that has been done to destroy them, after all they have suffered, the Jews still exist as a nation. No other people has a story so strange and remarkable, not even close.
- Without Christ Jesus — without the man who was also the Son of God — the formation of Christianity makes no sense. After His crucifixion, hundreds saw Him — alive. Rather than deny Christ, many accepted death. That includes all but one of His apostles. Only John died of old age. Why? What for? These people had nothing material to gain. In court the testimony of a dying man holds great weight? What is the testimony of a Christian martyr? Is it not the testimony of someone who knows his death, lies just before him?
- Christianity makes a difference. As a way of life, loving God and ones neighbors cannot be beat. That’s why 2000 years after the birth of Christ men and women still speak of being born again. Each Christian knows that when they were born again, that birth was real and substantial, not a delusion.
Is an idiot? No. I suspect he is intelligent, but he is mixed up about mathematics and science. I could list endlessly all the otherwise inexplicable things Christianity explains, and he would continue to deride my “proofs.” Yet there is no perfect proof. Mathematics doesn’t provide such proofs. Science does not provide such proofs. We explain things as best can. Then we must rely upon faith.
Example 3: from Here’s a toast to you.
archaeopteryx1 replied to my comment above. In his reply, he admitted more than he realized.
archaeopteryx1: January 3, 2015 at 3:18 pm
“With telescopes we can see into the heavens. With microscopes we can delve into the substance of things, and still we are not filled with the wonder of the One who made it all.” – That could well be because when viewed as a magical creation by prestidigitator Yahweh, it’s really rather “Ho-Hum” – I mean, if his billing on the marquee is that he could do ANYthing, why should we be surprised? But to know that it all arose naturally, now THAT’s amazing!
Citizen Tom: January 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm
It occurs to me that you don’t realize the significance of what you said.
– That could well be because when viewed as a magical creation by prestidigitator Yahweh, it’s really rather “Ho-Hum” – I mean, if his billing on the marquee is that he could do ANYthing, why should we be surprised? But to know that it all arose naturally, now THAT’s amazing!
If it is more amazing (or difficult) to believe that creation just happened “naturally” than it is to be believe God created the universe, then why would you believe that creation just happened naturally? Do you now do you get the point of Romans 1:18-23?
archaeopteryx1: January 3, 2015 at 4:06 pm
“If it is more amazing (or difficult) to believe that creation just happened ‘naturally’ than it is to be believe God created the universe, then why would you believe that creation just happened naturally?” – What a bizarre question! M. C. Escher etchings constantly amaze me, which, by your logic, means I should stop viewing them and instead concentrate on the works of someone more predictable, say Grandma Moses. With a thinking process like that, it becomes easier to see why you’re unable to come up with the verifiable evidence you promised.
Think about the sheer absurdity. To cover up an illogical assertion, would have us believe he denies the existence of God for the sake of art appreciation?
What is most precious to us? Our children, right? Trusting politicians to educate our children is dumb. When we don’t trust politicians, why do we trust them to educate our children? For the sake of the children????? It is a good for our children to put them in the care of people we don’t trust?
We can make all kinds of excuses, but the facts are indisputable.
- We don’t trust politicians.
- Government wastes lots of money. Private schools cost less and do at least just as good a job.
- Homeschoolers, without the benefit of government educators, perform at least as well as publicly schooled children.
- Government-run schools deprive parents of their right to choose who educates their children, how their children are educated, what their children learn, and where their children are educated.
- Government-run schools teach all kinds of isms. That includes multiculturalism, environmentalism, secularism, socialism, moral relativism….
Are all teachers bad? Are all school board members unscrupulous? No and no, but government-run schools do not respond to parents. Politicians pay the bills.
We have created a political system that no longer looks very much like what the founders created. Instead of electing people to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we sell our votes to politicians for promises, promises they hardly ever keep. Instead, when they don’t do as they promise, they find somebody else to blame. Of course, it is a scam, and we know it. So why don’t we do something?
What is the biggest cost of bad government? Our children receive a bad education, and the worst part of it is how little they learn about the Bible and their Creator. If we want to our children to receive a decent education — for the sake of their souls — we must allow (and insist that) parents take responsibility for the education of their own children. For the sake of our children, we must fight for school choice.
Because to pretend I am something I am not would be dishonest and would compromise the value and credibility of my comments here, Tom. I’m not sure why you would want that. I bring a reasonably well-informed conservative viewpoint to your blog and I think it helps stimulate conversation that might otherwise lack perspective. My comments and the ideas in them either make sense or they don’t, independent of labels. Some will agree, some not, and that degree of agreement will fluctuate from subject to subject, depending on how clearly I express myself, I suppose. But it is a mistake to get hung up on the labels. I have spent a lifetime honing my conservative sensibilities (I probably mentioned that my first campaign was Goldwater’s in 1964). I see no reason to deviate from that course simply because you and Keith are fixated on labels, as opposed to ideas.
As mentioned above in direct response to Keith’s accusation that there is something defective in my conservatism because it is I who describe myself that way, we all affix the labels to ourselves that we go by. I no more than you or Keith. In the end, however, when we discuss ideas, our utterances have or lack validity because of what we say, not what label we attach to it.
I generally feel that when people fall back on accusing others of mendacity or treachery (Pinocchio is more comical than treacherous, I guess, but Keith clearly is in the grip of a desire to attack my character) because of a label, all effort at substantive discussion has been jettisoned. To me that is a kind of public policy debate that serves the country poorly. But that’s just my view.
Thanks for not making it personal, Keith.
You’re welcome. As to comments on your behavior … that’s easy. Change it!
==============/ Keith DeHavelle
Scout, I can’t speak for Keith, but I would like to say I appreciate the fact you have never made it personal. I wish I could say there is no truth whatsoever in that remark about an unearned veneer of superiority and condescending snark. I would be happier if I could rightly say you have never pretended to be a Constitutional Conservative. But none of that would be honest. So I can’t, and I am sad about that. Why don’t you stop?
Rest assured, Tom, you really don’t want me or anyone else to start listing government programs with which they take issue. Take a look at just the federal budget (let alone state and local programs). Everyone here could spend years listing things they don’t like.
Speaking generally, however, to your last point, I don’t view it as “forcing people to pay for them [i.e., government programs] if the programs are duly and properly enacted in areas of government authority under the Constitution. Paying for things we buy is simply a manifestation of good ethics and fiscal conservatism. We set up democratic mechanisms to decide what we, as a Nation/society want to buy. There are a lot of programs I oppose that reflect my minority view that the program doesn’t make sense or is a bad use of money or is ineffective at addressing the problem it purports to address. But that’s my problem in that I wasn’t persuasive enough (or engaged enough) politically to win the day.
That comment may explain some of the 3,346 posts on this blog, but it explains very few of your comments, if any.
Scout is merely confirming that is was never the “impose” aspect he worried about, it was the “expose” part. Were he to honestly outline his own thinking by offering a constellation of programs he doesn’t like, it would expose too much of him.
I chide him for not being a real conservative, based on nothing more than observing his writing and arguments for hundreds of posts. All he would have to do to put an end to this is to actually become a conservative. And not the made-up version he carries around in his head, either.
As it is, scout can only insist, Pinnochio-like, “I AM a real boy!” — while the clunky joints of his left-wing arguments make the reality all too plain.
So he responds with his unearned veneer of superiority and condescending snark. Actually trying on the idea of Constitutional conservatism might actually be easier for him — but I think his reflexive distaste for such people as you and me make this too abhorrent a concept to scout. Only he knows, he believes, what a “real” conservative is — a big-government, general-welfare-is-everything-I-want-it-to-be sort of statist enabler — and all the rest of the country just has it wrong. He looks down his elite nose upon the likes of us.
==============/ Keith DeHavelle
Pinnochio with clunky of joints left-wing arguments. Now that’s descriptive!
Faulty reasoning on your part, Keith. We all have bad days.
My opposition to Tom and Matthew’s desire to abolish public education in this country cannot be interpreted rationally as support for nationalizing public education. There are huge problems with public education. I’ve acknowledged that frequently. I see very little, if anything, in these myriad problems that would be solved by the national government stepping in. And, beyond that practical issue, I do not see any constitutional authority for the federal government to do so.
And, by the way, there are plenty of “big government” and “small government” programs that I oppose. To begin to list them would impose on our host’s hospitality.
Rest assured. If you wish to list all the big and small government programs you oppose, I have no objection. I just want to know why you oppose them. Similarly, if want to list all the programs you favor (which I expect would be a far larger list), I just want to know what you think justifies forcing to people to pay for them.
Well, Keith, you said I don’t “like” Constitutional conservatives and I am one. I sort of assumed that you were saying that there was some sort of internal conflict there. I guess that was an extrapolation I needed to diagram for you. Not only do I like myself (a solid constitutional conservative not without some publicly known accomplishments in defense of the Constitution), but I socialize with quite a few folks of similar bent. Not sure where you got the idea that I don’t like my friends. I don’t think you know any of us.
“Well, Keith, you said I don’t “like” Constitutional conservatives and I am one.”
You are not. Period. Even in this post, you are defending extra-Constitutional big government in the form of a federal public education system. You argued for big government programs, or against reducing them, in dozens of conversations here and this is not your first forum of such exhibited hypocrisy.
You defend big government program after program, all the while protesting your authenticity as a soi-disant Constitutional conservative. This would work better if you ever actually argued for such a position, rather than merely claiming it.
And when challenged, you are always quick to direct the focus at your tremendous self-importance compared to the poor intellectually challenged person who points out your inconsistency. You’ve a quick draw on the snark-as-distraction, such as your jibe here: “I guess that was an extrapolation I needed to diagram for you.”
You knew exactly what I was talking about, and you cannot in truth answer the challenge. So, distract, deflect, deceive and demean is what you are left with. It is pathetic, frankly, and based on your practiced faux stupidity of misunderstanding every challenger. As you become too practiced at this, stupidity becomes your normal mode of expression. And I know that you are not stupid.
==============/ Keith DeHavelle
I have never supported any government program that is constitutionally prohibited. The Founders were neutral on the size of government programs. How big or small a government undertaking should be is a policy/political judgment. The Constitution doesn’t address that issue. The Constitution only addresses authorities for and prohibitions on Government (at all levels, as things have evolved through the amendment process). Part of the genius of the document is that it permits political flexibility through time to address these issues in the context of external realities.
And, by the way, I have never supported a federal education system. I consider education to be in the sphere of state and local authority. Education has national security implications, and it is not a matter completely outside the realm of legitimate federal interests, but I would not support (and have not supported) the institution of a federal education system.
And, finally, whatever our political leanings, the labels we use are all “soi-disant”. You’re no exception. There’s no certifying board on these things that gives out licenses (although I have urged our state Republican Party to auction off the term “conservative” to political wannabes each election cycle as a fund-raising program – the term is so debased here that someone might as well just sell it). I am in a far better position than you to know whether I “like Constitutional Conservatives.” You’ll have to defer to my judgement on that. I like many of them, find some of them not so likeable, but have no reason to believe my reverence for the Document and the Republic it established is insincere or defective.
Your proclaimed “reverence” for the Constitution is defective in a key way, which you even allude to in your comment here: You’ve never found a big government program for “general welfare” that you couldn’t support.
You also make clear, once again, your disdain for the term “conservative” as used by Americans. Heavens, it could cause someone to think you had something to do with the Tea Party you revile.
And come off of it, scout, you were supporting the federal education system here by attacking those who would undo it.
==============/ Keith DeHavelle
I don’t consider you as an enemy at all. I do consider your foundational religious views/clams ridiculous and without any verifiable evidence whatsoever. But if you, as an adult wish to believe, so be it. This is your right.
That you wish to impart this belief onto children through proselytizing and indoctrination I take issue with.
And it is this aspect of religion that you should focus your ”wonder” on, as this is where the primary hostility lies.
What you are doing is proselytizing. You are spreading your beliefs about religion. I presume you don’t see anything wrong with that. Although I think your are wrong, we each have the right to speak our minds. That includes blogging on the Internet.
Parents have an obligation to pass what they believe their children need to know onto their children. However, it seems you have appointed yourself the final arbiter of what people have a right to teach children. Do you actually propose to modify our First Amendment rights?
There is a huge difference between teaching children to think for themselves in a loving, patient environment; to evaluate information and arrive at a worldview based on critical thought than the type of mindless indoctrination religious fundamentalists such as you employ. Along with the vile doctrine of hell. the despicable acts contained in the Old Testament and the myriad other utterly ridiculous clap trap you and your ilk push.
Parent s do not have an obligation to pass on what they believe.
They have an obligation to bring up their children in as safe and enlightened environment as possible laying the spadework to produce contented,well-balanced adults.
Not superstitious morons who consider dinosaurs were once vegetarian and coexisted with man until they were very naughty and the dinosaurs became carnivores and some deranged god flooded the earth and annihilated virtually every living thing on the surface of the earth.
What bloody stupid idiot would teach this to kids?
Well, we know the answer to this question, don;’t we? People like you!
If you wish to champion your damn religion then you should do so solely to adults and furthermore, you have absolutely no right complaining about Muslims, Jews, Hindus or any other Christian sect that differs in its interpretation of the unsubstantiated garbage you would promote as historical fact and the ultimate truth.
You waste your time.
If we want to debate, then we have to have some conception of what debate involves. All you are doing is making a bunch of absurd statements and juvenile insults. Since that is obvious nonsense, responding would just give credence to empty words.
If you do some search, you will find that I occasionally review a book that attacks the Christian faith. Of course, I try to show the flaws in the book’s arguments. Nevertheless, I don’t think the Bible requires a defense. What the Bible requires some study, and it helps to read good commentaries.
So why do I review such books? Evaluating the arguments presented by detractors of the Christian faith strengthens my faith. With a bit of study, I can see their errors.
With respect to the Bible, you have called yourself “merely an interested amateur,” but it does not appear that you have actually taken much interest in the Bible. You have yet to give me a thoughtful argument worthy of consideration.
Life is short. If you think attacking people who just want to practice the Christian faith in peace is a good way to spend your time, I am not surprised you are worried about hell.
I have no concerns whatsoever if you wish to fill your short life with superstitious nonsense and fully respect your right to practice your ( fallacious) bible based belief as much as your little heart desires. Truly, freedom of choice is what it’s all about, right? Isn’t free will what you harp on about all the time?
If being a Sunbeam For Jesus is your ultimate goal, then good luck to you. May you find your peace in this form of oblivion.
The only question that remains is: why the hell have you no respect for the rights of others in this regard; and especially children?