WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3C

haughty

Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason” Part C

The post continues from WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3B, and this post is the final installment in this series. Here we will consider examples of the failure of reason with respect to our self (For an explanation of the gods of sex, stuff, state and self, see AN ABUSE OF THE IMAGINATION.).

Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason”:  SELF

Those who worship at the altar of stuff take pride in the quantity and quality of their stuff. Those who worship the state take pride in the power of their government and their position within it. But one who worships himself measures everything against his own desires.

Here is an example from john zande. He tells us what Jesus — God — should have said. It is so comical we have to wonder how serious he is.

In the roughly 12,000 days this self-named Middle Eastern God walked the earth he didn’t once mention bacteria, pasteurization, or the importance of dental hygiene. In the roughly 1,000 sunlit days Jesus was on his ministry, speaking to sets of desperately eager ears, he didn’t once explain the sun, the composition of the atmosphere, clouds, or sooth people’s fears of the terrifying blights of lightning and thunder. In the roughly 1,000 long, long television-free nights Jesus had to say something new or useful, he didn’t once look up and explain to his friends the moon (and the tides), the stars, the planets, our position in the solar system, the galaxy, the nature of gravity, light, radiation, or on a more practical note, dispense the formula for sun block. In the three years of his ministry he didn’t point anyone in the direction of morphine, teach a soul about the nature of asthma, epilepsy, genetics, the periodic table, volcanology, the causes of headaches, muscle cramps, prenatal care, plate tectonics, architecture, evolution, or tell a single living being about the science of corrective-optics. (from here)

When we put our self before God, why do we do so? Because God is God, true opposition to His will is not possible — unless He allows it. Satan opposes God because he wants to be God, but few of us make such a deliberate decision to oppose or simply ignore God. Instead, we decide to pursue pleasure, do anything we can to avoid suffering, and fail to consider the cost.

Why do we suffer? No one has a complete answer, and I suspect most pastors will state as much. With regard to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Sandy. Don Merritt observed:

I’ve heard people say that God must have a plan in all of this… but what could it be?

Personally, I do not pretend to have any of these answers.  In fact, I’m not even sure they are the right questions… there are lots of things that I neither know nor understand. Having a close family member in harm’s way, I have paid this disaster more attention that I might otherwise have had however, and I have wondered what God’s thinking is about these kinds of things.

Alas! He hasn’t seen fit to share His thinking with me… or has He?

We often like to boldly discuss God’s plans for our lives, but in truth, God’s plans are only made clear in His Word, and there only in a generic sense: His plans for us all. Does He have specific plans for me or you?  Maybe, maybe not. (from here)

But we do have partial answers. insanitybytes22 suggests we choose our own suffering.

I really do choose my own suffering, what to get angry about, who to grieve for, what to feel sad about. Suffering is not all bad, it serves a purpose. Our grief when somebody passes away, is a statement of our great love for them. What we get angry over, defines what we care about. How we respond to events is a declaration of our character, a statement about our determination. Our suffering paints a picture of who we are and what we choose to emotionally invest in. It is also a measure of our own resistance. (from here)

However, one commenter, Tina Blackledge, partly disagreed.

The bottom line, suffering is from Satan and is a direct result of a broken creation. The earth is Satan’s playground and he has reign here until Christ returns, which I pray is soon. Until that day Satan will continue to cause further fractures, decay, and misery into creation. He wants to turn the tide so that his most valuable weapon, a fallen child of God, will spread his poison throughout all of humanity. More damage can be caused by bitter child of God, who has given up on his/her faith and turned their back on the Creator. So, yes, our choices do cause us suffering but please do not stop there because there is so much more going on than the consequences of choices we make. (from here)

Satan does have a role in suffering. He caused Job to suffer. Job lost his property. He lost his children. Painful boils covered his body. And his friends told him he had no one but himself to blame.

In a small way, because of a severe allergy,  BJ can relate to what Job suffered.

I cannot imagine the pain and anguish that tormented his soul as he cried out to God while simultaneously arguing with his friends. He really did expect to die. There are moments in his speeches that can only be read from that light. Even more than an end to his misery, he wanted an explanation for it. He wanted justice. From deep within the pain and torment afflicting his pain and his soul, Job was crying out, “Why?” The closest I can come to understanding that pain was the night when I fought minute by minute, breath by breath to simply inhale and then exhale. Inhale, and then exhale. I too spent much of that battle asking God why. (from here)

Job accepted his suffering, and he learned from it, but God never gave him an explanation. Yet through the Bible we see what Job did not. Therefore, in his notes on the Bible John Wesley is able to offer this observation as to why God gave Satan permission to persecute Job.

It seems strange, that, God should give Satan such a permission as this. But he did it for his own glory, for the honour of Job, for the explanation of providence, and the encouragement of his afflicted people in all ages. (from here)

Sometimes we do know why we suffer. Rob Barkman reminds us that our Lord punishes us for bad behavior.

Revelation 3:19 KJV

(19)  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Although we have a tendency to forget this…. One of the greatest blessings that a Christian can receive from the Lord is the blessing of His chastisement.  Keep in mind, the chastening hand of the Lord comes upon us to renew a right relationship with Him, to restore our Godly testimony in the eyes of others, and most importantly show us His love. (continued here)

Sometimes we must even choose to suffer.

Jesus spoke repeatedly to His disciples about taking up their cross (an instrument of death) and following Him. He made it clear that if any would follow Him, they must deny themselves, which means giving up their lives—spiritually, symbolically, and even physically, if necessary. This was a prerequisite for being a follower of Christ, who proclaimed that trying to save our earthly lives would result in our losing our lives in the kingdom. But those who would give up their lives for His sake would find eternal life (Matthew 16:24–25; Mark 8:34–35). Indeed, Jesus even went so far as to say that those who are unwilling to sacrifice their lives for Him cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27). (from here)

Christianity is always under assault somewhere. Sometimes those attacking Christians can be quite grisly.

The latest video horror apparently released by the Islamic State (Isis) shows the mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya and underlines the alarming spread of the jihadi group far from the familiar killing fields of Syria and Iraq. (continue here)

Here in America as James Atticus Bowden observes, Christianity’s opponents are usually more subtle.

I downloaded the transcript of the speech delivered by President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 5, 2015. I wanted to see his exact words for myself.

Barry Soetero had some good things to say. Not kidding. But, he dripped his poison into everyone’s ecumenical coffee.

POTUS’s killer lines were, “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”(continue here)

The Bible tells us we are God’s children.

John 1:12-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Just as our children sometime suffer, not understanding why we ask them to do something they don’t want to do, we too suffer. Then, just as we ask our children to have faith in us, we must retain our faith in God.

Romans 8:28-30 New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Other Posts In This Series

Postscript

This is for an ornery commenter who goes by the moniker of scout.  He keeps asking about the title.  The answer is at the beginning of IF YOU GIVE A MAN ENOUGH ROPE, HE’LL HANG HIMSELF.

128 thoughts on “WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3C

  1. Nice work CT

    What a great combination of truth, especially re. Job: and God’s dealings with him, Satan’s assaults, his friends, his wife, but also the book itself is an ‘encouragement for the afflicted people in all ages.’ How many have found solace through the trials of Job.

    What a solid truth, speaks to the providence of God through the preservation of His word. Too much to comment on, but this latest effort here is way good.

    I just clapped a few times 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Tom

        Well, if you feel that way then I’m sure it’ll not be at all difficult for you to name something Jesus said which was genuinely new, original, or useful?

        Again, I look forward to hearing your answer.

        Like

      2. Hi Tom

        I’m still waiting. You said Jesus was the most influential man in history… who had the greatest effect on Western Civilization, so I’m assuming—naturally—that it would be a breeze for you to then identify a single genuinely new or original or useful thing Jesus said or did.

        You can name a single genuinely new or original or useful thing Jesus said or did, can’t you?

        Just one thing…

        Like

      3. Hi again Tom

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but you included a piece of my work in your post here, which I assumed meant you were willing to actually discuss it.

        So, the question remains: Can you identify a single genuinely new or original or useful thing Jesus said or did?

        Just one thing.

        Like

        1. Can you identify a single genuinely new or original or useful thing Jesus said or did? Just one thing.

          John, can you ask a single genuinely new or original or useful question? I choked on my coffee when I read your question. Comical. Same old questions that have been answered, or same old arguments that have been refuted, time and time and time and time again. There is nothing new under the sun.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Hi Matthew, nice to hear from you

          You sound quite cocksure in the tone of your comment, so perhaps you can actually answer what Tom and Colorstorm have not been able to answer?

          The question is: Can you identify a single genuinely new or original or useful thing Jesus said or did?

          Just one thing.

          I look forward to your answer.

          Like

        3. @John Zande,

          I am not sure you are winning any sort of debate with this particular approach. You and I might agree that there are problems with evidence demonstrating that Jesus is the son of God, or is God Himself, or of the historicity of various events in the collection of works now called the Bible, in its many translations. But the words recorded in the Bible as having been said by Jesus have been tremendously influential on the lives of millions, even hundreds of millions of people.

          To the extent that someone makes a decision to do something more positive with his life based on being inspired by the words of Jesus in the Bible — and there have been a lot of such people — one would have to count those words as “useful.” As has been noted above, many of these ideas are reformulations of concepts that can be traced back in different forms. But those reformulations have had tremendous staying power, and have been greatly and undeniably influential.

          And some of the antecedents are poor substitutes. You offered at one point the cylinder of Cyrus as a forerunner of the idea of religious freedom; that struck me as a particularly poor example considering the whole of the document and the rest of the history of that brutal conqueror.

          And speaking of conquering, Christianity has in general not spread by compulsion, whereas Islam is notable for exactly that. Those two cases demonstrate that the words of the key figures, Jesus and Mohammad, are influential and useful and have a tremendous impact on real-world affairs. Christianity existed for a few hundred years doing little more than offering its practitioners up as martyrs to the local Roman authorities, whereas Islam at the same point in their history (half a millennium later) was expanding its territory by a thousand square miles a day.

          Jesus said to tell others about God. Muhammad said to conquer and slay or force the subjugation of non-Muslims. To each of their groups of adherents, their founders’ words have been “useful,” but I stand ready to pronounce the words and concepts of Jesus to be generally good, and those of Muhammad generally bad.

          There are, of course, many other faiths; some 8,000 or so the last time I wandered through an encyclopedia of the world’s religions. But here, we’re focusing on Christianity in its various sects, including the minority and heretical sect of young Earth creationism occupied here by Matthew. And the obvious and topical comparison is that of Islam, whose own minority groups seek not just to call others fools, but to kill and intimidate them — with uncomfortable levels of success.

          So I do not know what you are aiming at here.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        4. Hi Keith,

          Thanks for that, but most of what you have written is entirely meaningless to the question asked: Can you identify a single genuinely new or original or useful thing Jesus said or did?

          It’s rather straightforward.

          Liked by 2 people

        5. “Most” of my comment did not directly address your question. The rest of it did, explicitly.

          But as you seem peculiarly focused on a hyper-technical treatment, I will suggest this: One of Jesus’ reputed statements was: “Blessed are the meek, for the meek shall inherit the Earth.” This explicitly contrasts with the invocation by Muhammad for his followers to make holy war on non-believers in the name of Allah. Jesus’ pronouncement has been repeated countless times, sometimes humorously (as in “The Seven Deadly Virtues” from the musical Camelot). And it stands in contrast to the prevailing attitudes of the time among the Romans, still engaged in conquest, as had been their predecessors-in-interest from Athens and Sparta and Persia. Rome did not put much store by “meek”; and yet Christianity remains today, and the empire of Rome is long gone.

          An aside: One of Rome’s conquering emperors was himself the source of many useful statements; I have quotes of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus in several places visible to me as I go about my day. He wrote these to himself, a century and a half after Jesus, and his private notes were later compiled and published into a book called Meditations. Worthwhile, and available free from various sources; I have a PDF if you cannot turn one up elsewhere.

          Marcus Aurelius was not specifically anti-Christian; he simply did not know much about the faith. But his own notes were to constantly remind himself to be a better person, and these, too, have been useful for me to try to accomplish the same end. An example: “Speak the truth, frankly and without evasions, and act as you should — and as other people deserve.” I am imperfect in my pursuit of such aims, but my aims remain.

          Incidentally, if you are going to insist on someone meeting your rather particular conditions, you need to be careful to be consistent. You have now dropped “useful” as a component of the answer that would satisfy your question … just after I demonstrated that Jesus’ sayings were undeniably useful. If you now try to assert that a saying by Jesus must have all three attributes at once, despite your prior consistent use of “or” as the conjunction between attributes, you will have a problem and will rightly be perceived as unfair.

          But again, the point of the question remains obscure; it simply seems (to me) somewhat pedantic and combative, regardless of your actual intent.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Like

        6. Hi Keith,

          May I ask why you’re so focused on Islam? In particular, comparing Christianity to Islam? That has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

          Now, sorry if you’re having trouble understanding my line, or even think its somehow “obscure,” or even “combative,” but as Tom included a piece of my work here in his post I naturally assumed he wanted to talk about it… Or was at least willing to talk about it. That piece concerned Jesus not saying anything new, original, or useful. As such, I’m asking Tom if he can actually name something new, original, or useful Jesus said or did.

          So far, nothing.

          Everyone (Tom, Colorstorm, Matthew) all seem to exhibit a lot of dismissive bluster, but none of them appears to be able to actually man-up and back that bluster up with something substantial.

          I’m hoping they will, though.

          You offered “Blessed are the meek.” Good, the beatitudes. The first will be the last, the last first. Beautiful poetry, lovely sentiments, never influenced western civilisation a single bit. Ever. Ultimately, though, it’s just an appeal to cosmic justice which is nothing at all new, original, or in the end, particularly useful. It’s a supernal promise that was already well-established in concepts of Karma: a great reckoning, or balancing. Apart from being a fixture in all Eastern traditions, it was also the central theme in Zoroastrianism, pre-dating Judaism by over a thousand years, and Christianity by nearly 2,000 years. Zoroaster spoke of the Saoshyant: the Saviour, the “World Renovator” [Astavat-ereta] and “Victorious Benefactor” who will defeat “the evil of the progeny of the biped”, bring “retribution for offenses,” and establish “the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness).”

          Long, long, long before Jesus, the Saoshyant established the role which Jesus (like all “saviour” figures) was simply mimicking.

          Now, with being “meek” the Beatitudes include the idea of turning the other cheek. The theme’s run together, and once again, has never influenced Western civilisation a single bit. It is also far from new. It’s an ancient utterance:

          Lao Tzu, said it this way: I treat those who are good with goodness. And I also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained

          Zhuangzi said it this way: Do good to him who has done you an injury.

          Rishabha said it this way: My Lord! Others have fallen back in showing compassion to their benefactors as you have shown compassion even to your malefactors. All this is unparalleled.

          Mahavira said it this way: Man should subvert anger by forgiveness, subdue pride by modesty, overcome hypocrisy with simplicity, and greed by contentment.

          In Hinduism its said this way: A superior being does not render evil for evil; this is a maxim one should observe; the ornament of virtuous persons is their conduct. One should never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meriting death. A noble soul will ever exercise compassion even towards those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds when they are actually committing them–for who is without fault?

          And Siddhartha Gautama said it this way: Conquer anger by love. Conquer evil by good. Conquer the stingy by giving. Conquer the liar by truth.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s imagine — and I think you and I can do this easily — a Second Reformation of Christianity. Something that could trace its roots back to the rewrite of the Bible done by Thomas Jefferson as a hobby (!) while he was in the office of President. In such a reformation, the idea of miracles is edited out (as he did), the historicity of events is underplayed, and a “New Reformed Bible” is presented as the worthy and worthwhile teachings of a person presented (with good evidence) as the most influential teacher in history. Christianity, then, would be engaged in the business of spreading these worthwhile teachings and encouraging people to live by them.

          I, for one, would be perfectly happy to see the growth of Christianity this way; those teachings are worthwhile and they have produced, in general, better people with noble ideals, people who make good neighbors.

          I will tell you what I am aiming at, since you and I are each non-believers writing on the blog of a devout Christian and thus could be compared in some ways.

          I have no particular desire to attack such people as Citizen Tom and others here who embody such ideals and philosophies. I take exception when their assertions extend outside of philosophy into the realm of empirical science, just as St. Augustine did so many years ago. But I do not find it profitable to spend a great deal of time attacking the religion itself; it is not a threat.

          Islam, in a practice of it as understood by more than half of the world’s Muslims (according to various polls), IS a threat, and it is in desperate need of a first reformation. So to the extent I spend time on religious issues, the Islam represented by the tremendously influential Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots all over the world (from ISIS to al Qaida to the US Muslim Students Association) is where my attention goes.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        8. I’m not saying there isn’t anything good or fine in Jesus’ words, I’m not anti-Jesus, I’m just asking Tom to name something genuinely new or original which Jesus said or did.

          It’s really not complicated.

          Like

        9. John, I expect my wife would disagree, but I am not attached to my computer. So I have been unable to reply.

          As you have stated your question, it would be folly to answer. Your question contains an assumption that is not true. Why that is not obvious to you I don’t know, but scout gave you an answer, and he disputed the premise of your question. You may wish to reply to him. I expect that discussion would be interesting.

          Anyway, your question and scout’s answer gave me idea.

          Matthew, I hope the laughter was worth a little choking.

          Liked by 1 person

        10. Hi Tom

          Apologies, but I just assumed you were ignoring my question, as you did on the last thread when I asked you to substantiate your accusation of me “making things up.”

          I read Scouts comment, but he didn’t address the question apart from suggesting Jesus’ “thought” had a certain impact.

          Which thought?

          I’m hoping you will address the question, though. And there is no assumption. It is simply a question: Can you identify a single genuinely new or original or useful thing Jesus said or did?

          Considering the import you (and Christians in general) paint Jesus in, I’m assuming this shouldn’t present any problems.

          Just one thing.

          Like

      4. “What a curious thing to say about the most influential man in history!”

        If he was that influential Tom why has his influence been limited to just Western civilization? Please don’t tell me the devil has created the barriers to prevent the global spread of Xianity because then that would make Satan more influential, or at least as influential as Jesus, who you claim is “the most influential man in history!”

        Liked by 2 people

  2. @JZ: superlatives are always dangerous, but surely there can be no doubt that Jesus had enormous impact on Western Civilization, whether or not some of his ideas had antecedents or contemporary parallels. The impact of Christian thought on subsequent history and geography is particularly spectacular when one considers its humble, narrow origins in a benighted corner of the Roman Empire. I suppose the quibble could be that Paul was really the influencer, and that Jesus’s contribution in the realm of ideas would have died on the vine had not there been the vision (I use the term very decidedly here to have more than one meaning) of Paul that the events and teachings of Jesus were to be taken into the non-Jewish world outside beyond Galilee, beyond Jersualem, beyond Palestine.

    In reading your observations concerning Jesus’s impacts on science as quoted by Tom in his post, I suggest respectfully that perhaps scientific disclosures were not the area where Jesus felt he had to make his impact. His message was quite simple and startling: that loving God and loving one’s neighbor were really the core principles of life and that the ritualized straightjacket of the Pharisaical observances of ancient Hebrew law had become a barrier between Man and God that could and should be torn down. That really was, in that time and place, when coupled with the life examples Jesus set of humility, outreach to the poor, sick, and despised, and a focus on not just the temporal world, but a separate transcendant world beyond, a spectacular message. Paul had to flesh it out, because there is very little written record of Jesus’s words, but Tom’s claim for giving Jesus the Blue Ribbon for influence in world history, while honestly disputable, is also honestly supportable.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Why do you wonder? I have previously described myself as a Christian.

        But my answer to Mr. Zande would stand on its own two feet whether or not I was a Christian, I think.

        Like

        1. The answer should have been sufficient. Initially I was surprised Zande did not reply, but he brushed it off.

          I read Scouts comment, but he didn’t address the question apart from suggesting Jesus’ “thought” had a certain impact.

          Unless we accept his premise that he gets to decide what is genuinely new or original or useful, we have not answered his question. I guess that is part of the problem of denying that God created man, not the other way around.

          Like

        2. I brushed nothing off. Scout simply said “thoughts” which is about as vaporous (with all due respect) as one can get.

          Which thought?

          Which thoughts?

          Please, be specific.

          Can you be specific, Tom?

          Like

  3. @ Tom: I think I set a rather high standard of amiability and civility in my comments. If you find that “ornery”, you must live in an off-the-charts realm of extreme refinement and gentility. Nice of you to come down from the Manor to pretend that you can be as sharp-elbowed, oblique and obdurate as any of the other commenters on this site, even if your off-site standards of discourse far exceed those offered here.

    As to the mystery of the hangman’s noose, as often happens, the link you provided is not particularly enlightening. To whom are you referring as the person who is danger of “hanging himself”? Haman?

    Like

    1. @scout, who wrote: “I think I set a rather high standard of amiability and civility in my comments.”

      Your assertion made me chuckle aloud … and it was immediately followed with your trademark sarcasm. Did the juxtaposition cross your mind as being even slightly hypocritical?

      ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Like

      1. Tom thinks me ornery. I might be so considered if the measuring point is one of extreme gentility rarely found here or elsewhere in the blog world, Keith. By prevailing standards, I think I probably limn out the upper level of civil behavior in these and similar spots. Yes, I’m capable of sarcasm, but I don’t call people names and I don’t attack them personally. I find these places interesting for their ideas, not so much for the personalities, many of which strike me as lapsing quickly into ideological thinking rather than sustaining an exchange of ideas.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. @ Keith

    Your “Here’s a thought experiment” is interesting idea, but I am surprised Zande did not remind you that the idea is not original.

    Anyway, if you are going to try to extract and separate Christian morality from Jesus, I think you will have to recruit Agnostics and Atheists who are not actively hostile to religious belief itself. Generally, what angers such people is that that don’t want anyone telling them what sort of behavior is immoral. They want their own rules.

    Does that describe Zande? I don’t know.

    Like

    1. Well, of course it is not original; for example, Thomas Jefferson had a go at it himself as I mentioned. What has come to be called the Jefferson Bible was written as I described.

      Progressives seem intent on operating without the restrictions on themselves that morality encompasses, but are preternaturally engaged in the process of developing such restrictions for others. They explicitly reject natural law and any derivation of the natural rights of men as individuals (see, for example, Frank Goodnow, president of Johns Hopkins University and the first president of the American Political Science Association, writing almost exactly a century ago:

      … Man was by this philosophy conceived of as endowed at the time of his birth with certain inalienable rights. Thus, Rousseau in his “Social Contract” treated man as primarily an individual and only secondarily as a member of human society. Society itself was regarded as based upon a contract made between the individuals by whose union it was formed. At the time of making this contract these individuals were deemed to have reserved certain rights spoken of as “natural” rights. These rights could neither be taken away nor be limited without the consent of the individual affected.

      Such a theory, of course, had no historical justification. There was no record of the making of any such contract as was postulated. It was impossible to assert, as a matter of fact even, that man existed first as an individual and that later he became, as the result of any act of volition on his part, a member of human society. But at a time when truth was sought usually through speculation rather than observation, the absence of proof of the facts which lay at the basis of the theory did not seriously trouble those by whom it was formulated or accepted.

      (from the 1916 essay “An American Conception of Liberty”)

      Goodnow goes on to attempt to show that such notions were outdated and quaint, and that superior minds must take up the challenge of eliminating social ills by enlightened administration by an all-powerful State. He was a darling of the progressive movement, and very influential.

      As an aside, Johns Hopkins University was the first, I think, founded explicitly on the “German model” and intended to be an agent of eliminating religion from society, and advancing the progressive cause. The university founders noted that any universities that were still connected with religion (most were, of course) owed the public an “apology” for engaging in propaganda.

      ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It seems that Zande will only settle for an answer that accepts the terms of his folly.

        I would imagine you are familiar with this.

        If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. — Isaac Newton

        As men we depend upon those who have come before us. When He came among us, it appears that Jesus did not want change that. He gave His Gospel to share men with men, men to spread to men in brotherly love. And His Gospel was about eternity, the salvation of souls, not momentary experiments in science.

        Long ago Jesus’ Gospel competed in market place of ideas. That market place was skewed against, and still Christians multiplied. Those early Christians saw no value in resenting people just because they were not Christians. No two people all share the same identical ideas and beliefs anyway, but everyone could benefit from the Gospel if they believed.

        The Church grew because of the faith of martyrs. Perhaps that would work today, but I have no desire to be a martyr or to see anyone martyred. So it bothers me when people insist that I and others believe what they believe. It bothers me when people use the power and force of government to silence and destroy those beliefs that differ from their own. So I support and vote for Conservative politicians, and with the exception of defense projects, I would be happy to see government get out of the research and education businesses. I believe government money corrupts schools and universities.

        Like

        1. You will appreciate this, considering your chosen moniker. It is from the diary written by John Adams, second president of the US:

          The Christian religion is above all the Religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of Wisdom, Virtue, Equity, and Humanity. Let the Blackguard Paine say what he will; it is Resignation to God, it is Goodness itself to Man.

          “Citizen Tom” Paine was not very popular at the time, despite how positively influential had had been not many years before. His involvement in the French Revolution, his antipathy to Christianity, and his blistering attacks on George Washington ended his previous high reputation.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Tom, I am asking you to name something new, original, or even remotely useful which Jesus said or did simply because you believe he was capital G, God. A “God” should be in a position to say something new, original, or remotely useful, correct? A God should have a library of astonishing new information, right?

          So….?

          And this subject is only present on this post because you used a piece of my work which stated Jesus didn’t say anything new, original, or remotely useful. I’m not photobombing your post. You invited me, and now you’re refusing to address the issue.

          Odd behaviour.

          Like

    2. Not at all. Morality is not an issue for me, and I actually feel tremendously sorry for people (the religious) who have so little faith in themselves (and others) that they think they could not act appropriately without a carrot and stick.

      This is sad, and deeply regrettable.

      I take on religion from a purely Humanist position. I see it as a retardation of our potential, an ancient stain, and ultimately a means to greater evil. Case in point: ISIS. And before you holler “Christians aren’t out there cutting people’s heads off,” let me remind you, the only reason you’re not is because we wrestled power from the church 300-odd years ago, and established countries, like the United States, that were secular.

      The thoughts of violence have not, though, been eradicated. One need only look to Gary North and his Dominionism Christian brethren who want to stone children to death in U.S. public squares:

      “When people [children] curse their parents, it unquestionably is a capital crime. The son or daughter is under the lawful jurisdiction of the family. The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death.”

      “Why stoning? There are many reasons. First, the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost. Second, no one blow can be traced to any person. In other words, no one citizen can regard himself as “the executioner,” the sole cause of another man’s death. Psychologically, this is important; it relieves potential guilt problems in the mind of a sensitive person. Those who abstain from the “dirty business” of enforcing God’s law have a tendency to elevate their behavior as being more moral than the executioner’s, where in point of fact such abstention is itself immoral. Executions are community projects–not with spectators who watch a professional executioner do `his’ duty, but rather with actual participants.”

      “That modern Christians never consider the possibility of the re-introduction of stoning for capital crimes indicates how thoroughly humanistic concepts of punishment have influenced the thinking of Christians. If humanistic concepts of punishment have persuaded Christians that there was something sinister about the Old Testament’s specified mode of execution, then we should not be surprised to discover that humanistic concepts of justice, including economic justice, have also become influential in the thinking of Christians. Christians have voluntarily transferred their allegiance from the infallible Old Testament to contemporary God-hating and God-denying criminologists and economists.”

      And another wonderful quote his book, The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments:

      “The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant–baptism and Holy Communion–must be denied citizenship.”

      I believe this explains my position.

      Like

      1. You’ve found a Leftist Christian with positions that you agree with. At minimum, you and North both believe that the America was founded and the United States were formed to “wrest control away from Christianity.” Adoption of this belief requires ignoring the writings of the early Americans, the Declaration of Independence and its background, the writings of the Framers, the constitutions of the individual states, and the writings of key governmental figures from presidents to Supreme Court justices for the next century and a half.

        But you’ve said this, Gary North said it, so it is evidently possible to believe, though I personally think the idea is untenable. I do not believe in God, but I cannot ignore the abundant evidence of history with regard to the founders’ beliefs and expressed intents.

        North is a leftist in many other respects: He is a hard-core socialist, and a zero-tolerance sort who brooks no dissent; the State will know how to order the lives of its citizens. The zero tolerance bit is becoming so blatantly visible these days, but has been a hallmark of Leftist thought for more than a century, and is a central tenet of Marxism now taught in US colleges, as I discussed years ago.

        There are other notable Christian leftists. Fred Phelps is perhaps the most well-known, though less well-known is that he spent his career as a left-wing civil rights attorney and fundraiser for Al Gore (Sr. and Jr.) before Gore Jr. broke with him when Gore changed his mind about gays. Phelps’ many unsuccessful runs for office were always as a Democrat, of course. The only folks who could hate a gay man more than Phelps are Democrats who find out that the gay man is a conservative. One famous case is of Rick Santorum’s communication director (Robert Traynham) who was “outed” by a Democrat team put together to destroy the lives of conservative homosexuals. (That team still operates.) Santorum defended his campaign worker, but Traynham eventually left after increasing death threats and harassment from Democrats. (Traynham’s crime was particularly egregious in the eyes of the Left: he was also a black man. To them, he was a double traitor.)

        Jeremiah Wright’s Marxist flavor of Christianity is not quite the same as the Marxist Christianity of Obama’s more recent spiritual advisor Jim Wallis, but Wright has gotten more of the spotlight with his fierce racist rhetoric. Wallis is “simply” anti-capitalist.

        Overall, it is the leftism inherent in their positions that give me pause, more than any Christian aspects. Of Christians, such people make up a tiny minority.

        But if your position is that every Christian is a potential Gary North, do you also hold that every Muslim is a potential Usama bin Ladin?

        ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        Like

        1. Hi Keith.

          You’ve completely lost me on this comment. North, is a right wing lunatic. He wrote the education curriculum for Ron Paul, and a self-described “Tea Party economist.” This is from his own article (linked below)

          ”How conservative am I? Consider this. I voted against Ronald Reagan in the 1966 Republican primary for Governor because I thought he was too liberal. I hope I’m not too hard core for you, but I’m too old to change.

          http://www.garynorth.com/public/department156.cfm

          Perhaps you should re-think your position.

          Like

        2. North seems to consider himself the only member of the Tea Party, with the exception perhaps of Ron Paul, or at least an earlier version of him. (Ron Paul’s website lists bunches of authors, but not Gary North.)

          North thinks the Tea Party is wrong for favoring a limited-government Constitutional republic, and has a great many other strange but typically left-wing ideas. He thinks Hillsdale College is a left-wing institution full of liberal professors, writing this in 2014. As it happens, I’ve read many hundreds of pages of their materials and listened to more than 100 hours of lectures; North is as utterly off-base here as he is in his assertion of claiming “Tea Party economics.”

          I’ve been involved in the Tea Party since a few months of its inception. I have met and had dinner with conservative movers and shakers many times over the past decade, from the real conservative North (LtCol Oliver North) to Edwin Meese to Newt Gingrich to Bob Barr to dozens of others. And on the left as well, including an interesting dinner with Ed Asner. I devour a large amount of data from both sides, and working backward dabbling in the philosophers and significant figures of history.

          I had never heard of Gary North before.

          But now I have, and the more I read his works, the wilder he seems. I am reminded of Jules Manson, who drunkenly suggested an insulting threat to Obama and his children on Facebook and was immediately connected by the media to the Tea Party. He wasn’t, of course, but had an old and brief connection to Ron Paul. I was cited a lot when I researched this, and ultimately contacted by Manson himself, who had written statements against the Tea Party and religious people.

          In this case, North is exploiting his connection — and his notoriety — to push his ideas of the ideal socialist government, claiming that a rigid, totalitarian socialism is the only Biblical government and that democracy is an “abomination.” You can call this “right-wing” all you want; it simply does not hold up. Nor does the political right in the US pay much attention to him; he seems to be the fodder of left-wing outlets such as Salon.

          To say that some of Gary North’s ideas align with the right is not compelling; I have publicly written in praise of Obama when he did something right, but this hardly makes me a kindred spirit to that socialist. He is more aligned with the Sovereign Citizen movement — no relation to our Citizen Tom. He is, in short, a kook, albeit a prolific one in terms of output.

          But my question to you is sincere, and remains open:

          If your position is that every Christian is a potential Gary North, do you also hold that every Muslim is a potential Usama bin Ladin?

          I’ll add one: Do you believe that all Christians are right-wing (using the US left-right spectrum)?

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Like

        3. Hi Keith

          What on Earth are you talking about, to push his ideas of the ideal socialist government?

          To repeat a direct quote from the “Tea Party economist” who even wrote the book, Phase 2 of Ron Paul’s Political Strategy:

          ”How conservative am I? Consider this. I voted against Ronald Reagan in the 1966 Republican primary for Governor because I thought he was too liberal. I hope I’m not too hard core for you, but I’m too old to change.

          Gary North (the former speech writer and present day strategist for Ron Paul) even has a website titled: THE TEA PARTY ECONOMIST complete with articles like, “How to Deal with Leftist Bishops,” “The Bush Brothers Gift: Ending Local Control over Schools,” and “Christians Can Opt Out of ObamaCare. This Outrages Lefties. Tough.”

          http://teapartyeconomist.com/author/garynorth/

          And as for the Tea Party, I think Wayne Swan (Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Treasurer of Australia) summed that confused movement up best:

          “Let’s be blunt, the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over parts of the Republican Party”

          Like

        4. But all this is way beyond the point. I’m not here to discuss US politics.

          I was, and still am, asking for anyone (Tom in particular, considering he posted a hunk of my work specifically tied to the question) to name something original, new, or marginally useful which Jesus said or did.

          So far, no one has been able to.

          This, I find, to be terribly interesting…

          Like

        5. Good observations, Keith. Though you do not believe in God, you will appreciate this, His Word says, “A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left” (Eccl. 10:4). No wonder why fools are Leftists. Just a thought.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. Keith – Since I am not really familiar with all these characters, I cannot really comment on them specifically. What I will say is that that left/right designation does not tell us much.

          John

          Some people like to say Hitler was on the right and Stalin was on the left. As a practical matter, both were totalitarian. One used racism to divide and conquer, and the other use class envy. From the standpoint of those being tyrannized by the Nazis and the Communist, was there really any difference?

          The Bible has been used for all kinds of things, but it has to be twisted to use it as an excuse for preaching hatred and justifying tyranny. That includes the Old Testament which Jesus summarized with these words.

          Matthew 22:35-40 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

          Given the way the Bible describes love (1 Cor 13 is often cited), it requires inestimable blindness to turn the Bible into a doctrine of hatred or tyranny. Can such blind fools be found? I suppose so, but blaming such idiocy on the Bible implicitly requires them to say they know more about the Bible than the God who inspired it. To any serious Christian, anyone who claims to know more about the Bible than Jesus makes himself ridiculous.

          Frankly, the tyrants of the 20th Century did little to make Atheism look good. Do I blame that on Atheism? Well, I admit I don’t think believing God does not exist is a good idea. However, the Bible says man is a fallen creature, and Jesus provides a solution. I think informing people of the solution is more important than placing the blame.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. North is a leftist, statist, totalitarian who is masquerading as “Tea Party” for those who would take his statements at face value. He is trying to attract visitors who will believe that, because he talks about God, his various totalitarian ideas might be okay.

        He would end religious liberty, killing anyone who did not profess to believe in Jesus. This is explicitly against the desires of Constitutional Conservatives (including Tea Party folks) who hold religious liberty in high esteem. North is more like other leftists who propose jail time or death for failing to believe in Global Warming. Like them, North proposes to kill people for any of various offenses to the State. He uses religion as an excuse for this, but his proposed results are the same as for any other leftist totalitarian regime.

        Yes indeed, he would not vote for Reagan. Ron Paul is not particularly popular among Tea Party folks, but Gary North doesn’t seem to even popular with Ron Paul types. He is NOT popular, nor even much known, in the Tea Party, and his proposals for a completely state-dictated economy are utterly left wing in their nature.

        He uses the name “Tea Party Economist.” If you set up a website called “TheRealEvangelicalPreacher.com” and continued ignoring answers to questions about anything Jesus is reported to have said that was useful, this would not make you a real evangelical preacher.

        I note the uninformed opinion you offered of “cranks and crazies” like me, when you passed this along:

        “Let’s be blunt, the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over parts of the Republican Party”

        Oddly, the opinion is correct — but not in the way that the Australian bureaucrat meant: US Constitutional Conservatives are indeed the largest threat to China’s dominance as the world’s biggest economy.

        ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        Like

      3. John

        I live in the Old Dominion. Does Dominionism have something to do with being a Viriginian? Are you sure it is not Old Dominionism?
        😉

        Most of my political activity involves my membership in the local Republican Party. However, I have also been involved to some degree in the Tea Party. That includes participating the Tea Party’s biggest rally in DC. So I am familiar with the character of the people involved. I know the kinds of candidates the Tea Party and Conservative Republican support. We try, but there are not quite enough of us. It is laughable to think we have taken over the Republican Party.

        The biggest threat the Tea Party poses to America is that we want Congress to balance the budget. Since the Republican Party has yet to make any serious effort to balance the budget, it is ludicrous to blame the Tea Party for what the Republicans in Congress have done.

        To a large extent, news media propaganda portrays the Tea Party as extreme. That propaganda combined with the opposition of Establishment Republicans has been sufficiently successful to stop the Tea Party from getting large numbers of its candidates elected.

        Why is there so much opposition to the Tea Party? The Tea Party is a direct threat to the worst kind of special interests. Don’t you realize that government is big business in this country? The Federal Government spends about four trillion and state and local governments spend about two trillion. When we combine big government spending with the economic effects of tax laws and government regulations, we have a huge slice of the American economy. Is it that hard to imagine what motivates some people to fight tooth and nail for monstrously big government? At the expense of the American tax payer, these people make huge profits, and they don’t want to give it up.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “I think informing people of the solution is more important than placing the blame.”

    Looking forward to reading your posts. I am curious to know how you will convince a fool blinded by his or her intellect to believe he or she is more wise than their Creator. Keep in mind that King Solomon only judged a person’s actions with only two words, wise or foolish.

    Regards and good will blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been away for a couple of days and the thread seems (as often happens around here) to have flown off into the folly-world of contemporary American political labels. If nothing else, we can easily see how meaningless these labels have become in modern American political discourse when it is impossible for intelligent people even to categorize this or that nutcase as being to the “left” or “right” on the political spectrum and requiring great gobs of words to espouse antithetical positions.

    The thought that drew me in, however, and which I will return to briefly, is Mr. Zande’s idea that the test of influence is “originality”. I suppose that “originality” can have huge historical impacts. However, my earlier response was that Tom’s claim of Jesus’s impact on history seems to stand up (leaving to one side whether we grant him the top spot or simply a very high perch), without regard to “originality”. To take JZ’s query more head on than I did previously, I would respond that I don’t find anything in isolation in the teachings of Jesus to be particularly “original”. There are antecedents throughout the ancient world for the same or similar thoughts. However, I would argue that the impact of Jesus (and, after all, that was what Tom was addressing), was based on the place, time, context, and example set by Jesus. A native American shaman or Asian ascetic could have been saying similar things (and may well have been saying similar things) but the teachings got lost. What makes Jesus travel so well over history is the simplicity of his message, its finding root in what one would have thought would have been very arid surroundings, and its rapid spread throughout the Roman Empire (and on into the modern Western World). Those of us who tend to share Tom’s assessment of Jesus’s impact (which startles me even to this day after a lifetime of studying Christianity and its development) shouldn’t dodge JZ’s query (as many seem to be doing here). The correct answer is that Jesus’s influence is not rooted in novelty of individual ideas he may have espoused. It lies elsewhere. Nor can it be measured by how many science fair projects Jesus didn’t explain to his listeners (another seeming suggestion from JZ). The assumption that Jesus was here to tell us about clouds or physics strikes me as completely irrelevant IF the discussion is about later influence on human history.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am in no big hurry to answer JZ’s question. Rushing in with an answer — at least from my perspective — poses several problems.

      — The question is a foolish question from a intelligent person. So it is difficult to respond without being caught up in the same foolishness.
      — JZ refuses to accept any answer that doesn’t accept the false premise upon which he has based his question. That being the case, he cannot be convinced of his error. So what is the point in rushing to provide an answer?
      — What did Jesus do? The answer is in the Bible and in thousands of books to comment upon the Bible. Perhaps I can add something, but it won’t be original.

      Anyway, I hope to address the issue JZ has raised at the end of the “Answering Folly” series.

      Like

      1. Hi Tom

        JZ refuses to accept any answer that doesn’t accept the false premise upon which he has based his question.

        How can you possibly say this if you haven’t even answered? You haven’t offered a single thing which you think was new or original or genuinely useful, so I’m at a complete and utter loss how you can say I have not accepted it.

        Like

        1. I have answered you at some length multiple times. You ignore this. You do not explain why my answer is somehow not satisfactory to you, and give every indication of merely being here to antagonize rather than discuss or convince.

          I would, in theory, be on your side (as a a non-theist) — but I think you are here for vastly different reasons, and I take a dim view of your approach and your goals. This is disappointing to me; it didn’t start out that way.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Hi Keith

          What have you answered? I don’t recall asking you anything? Apologies if I’m mistaken.

          If you’re referring to identifying the beatitudes as somehow original to Jesus I debunked that quite thoroughly. Did you not see that reply?

          Like

    2. Hi Scout

      To take JZ’s query more head on than I did previously, I would respond that I don’t find anything in isolation in the teachings of Jesus to be particularly “original”. There are antecedents throughout the ancient world for the same or similar thoughts.

      Thanks for that elaboration, and I agree. There was nothing at all new, or original, or especially useful in anything Jesus allegedly said or did. Nothing. It’d all been said before, and often said much, much better, and even the role he was playing—a savior—predates him by 2,000 years. Zoroastrians spoke of the Saoshyant: the Saviour, who is described as the “World Renovator” [Astavat-ereta] and “Victorious Benefactor” who will defeat “the evil of the progeny of the biped”, bring “retribution for offenses,” and establish “the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness).”

      Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

      The point here being, if we’re take the claim presented by Christians (that Jesus was God, and pretty damn awesome) it’s all rather tremendously awkward to then admit that this god didn’t say a single new thing. I mean, how does one explain this? Absolutely everything he said had already been said before. One would, quite naturally, expect a god to say at least one new thing, right? And yet, this god couldn’t say a single original thing.

      Frightfully odd, and it speaks volumes.

      Now, you go on to saying Christianity spread, which is beyond what I was actually asking, but I’ll certainly agree that it did. The “club” spread, but it wasn’t because of anything Jesus said or did. Can you see anything in the beatitudes, for example, driving Roman expansion? Did western civilisation ever proceed by turning the other cheek?

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply, it’s appreciated.

      Like

  7. What do you view as the “false premise upon which [JZ’s] question is based?” What is “his error”? Are you agreeing with me that historical “influence” may not be a function of “originality”? Why is the question “foolish”? Can you articulate a view that there is something “original” about Jesus’s thinking that distinguishes him from other sages/prophets/philosophers of his time, or before or since?

    I happen to think that the influence of Jesus is not based on the novelty of his ideas, so I guess, to that extent, I am taking issue with the premise of Mr. Zande’s question. Maybe you have the same issue, but you can’t seem to say it straight up. Instead you use pejorative language to describe Zande and his contributions here (folly?), all of which have been polite and well within the accepted etiquette of blog discourse (however low the bottom end of that standard might be – but Mr. Zande has behaved very well in this context). By refusing to engage in the pointed question Zande poses, you, Matthew and ColorStorm are more or less giving the impression that JZ has you on the ropes. I can tell he is enjoying this (not that I begrudge him his enjoyment of an interesting, but largely one-sided exchange – why do this if we do not get some sense of enjoyment from it?) This is not an atypical response from you on uncomfortable questions. It reminds me of your determination not to respond to my question of whether you think it possible for a Christian not to accept the literal accuracy of the Creation Story in the Old Testament or my question of whether a believing Christian can be a liberal Democrat. You have a tendency to wander off into irrelevant or only marginally relevant platitude land in response to these inquiries. I would rather you took them head-on. I will look forward to your ultimate answer to John Zande at the end of this “series”. By then, perhaps, you will find focus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you largely answered you own question.

      Were Jesus’ ideas novel? I think so, but I am not going to get dragged into a silly discussion. How would we quantify such a thing?

      Stop and THINK. To quality as God, JZ thinks Jesus should have posed Mr. Super Scientist, and because Jesus did not pose as Mr. Super Scientist that disqualifies Him to be God. That’s worth debating? It is not is worth discussing.
      🙄

      What matters is what Jesus did, not what He did not do. Jesus rose from the dead. What am I suppose to do, give JZ a scientific theorem for rising from the dead?

      Like

      1. Hi Tom

        If I may, there were plenty of sages before Jesus who were crucified and rose. It’s an age-old storyline. Dionysus, Mithras and Osiris to name just three, and even just one generation before Jesus we have Simon of Peraea who led a Jewish uprising, was killed by the Romans, and then ordered by the angel Gabriel to rise after three days.

        Sorry, but nothing new in dying and rising.

        And its not simply the case that I think a mention of what lighting, for example, was would have been quite telling, and convincing, but the fact that Jesus said nothing new.

        Like

        1. @John Zande,

          You seem to be wrestling with a delusion that was popular a couple of hundred years ago called parallelomania, where people imagined exact parallels between the recorded life of Jesus and various Greek, Roman or other mythologies or historical figures. Modern scholars, secular or theological, now consider these suggested parallels to be vastly overstated. It was a parlor game to bemuse folks of little historical background, the kind of thing that a Gary North sort of personality would engage in,m re-writing and re-interpreting Biblical content.

          And even in your brief recap here, you are vastly overstating the case and the alleged parallels. You’re starting to remind of of Velikovsky, who re-imagined history as the result of planetary interactions and every significant event could be interpreted (in his mind) as supporting his theory. He, like parallelomania notions, has been long since discarded by scholars. But he, too, was very popular and influential for a while.

          There remain some folks that still believe that Dionysus being sewn into the thigh of Zeus as a premature fetus and being later “reborn” when cut out of that thigh is exactly like the story of Jesus rising again after having been dead three days. Did this never strike you as a bit of a stretch? Or are you willing to stretch those parallels here, in an attempt to score points, and hope no one checks? An honest mistake would be a far kinder notion, but your next actions will be probative of your intent.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Like

        2. Hi Keith

          With all due respect, I think you’re reading too much into my comments. I’m not in any way trying to draw a parallel between older characters and the Jesus story (although a case can certainly be made demonstrating Jesus was playing the same role articulated in the Saoshyant character of Zoroastrianism), merely demonstrating that the dying-rising god-man plotline is far from being original.

          That’s all.

          My question to Tom was, of course: Can you name a single new, original, or genuinely useful Jesus said or did?

          Now sure, if Jesus was the first god-claimant to resurrect then we might have something here, but that is not the case. In fact, we have Simon of Peraea doing the exact same thing just 30 years before Jesus, in the same land. (allegedly, of course)

          Like

        3. @John Zande,

          You are much like a Democrat politician, in that every time you hold up a poster child to win an argument, that poster child turns out to be badly flawed and not as presented. Famous examples are Hillary Clinton who traveled with a small sickly girl to advertise the need for Hillarycare, and it turned out that the girl had been starved, locked in a closet, and beaten with surgical tubing to produce her “sickly” appearance. (Her mother got out of jail, finally, not too long ago.)

          Another one was Barack Obama’s famous soldier’s bracelet used in debates — and it turns out that the soldier (and his father, also stationed in Iraq) were staunch Republicans and the mother (a Democrat, but worried about Obama’s statements about the military) asked him to take this death to heart, and never use the bracelet in speeches or debates. I was the one who dug this bit up; as a result, Obama referred to me personally as “some nut in his mother’s basement” when questioned about the bracelet by Jake Tapper. Later, the mother was interviewed and my statements were shown to be correct — then they edited and replaced the interview.

          Obama referred to a school in a SOTU speech that showed that teachers unions worked — and the school turned out to be one that succeeded because it had ditched the teachers union. There are many other examples.

          So here you come, John Zande, with your Cylinder of Cyrus — calling it the first example of freedom of religion. This reading is unsupportable. You refer to Dionysus as having been raised from the dead after three days. This would surprise every ancient follower of that figure. And now you offer “Simon of Peraea,” to whom you attribute “doing the exact same thing” — but you do not mention that this notion comes from a very recently discovered manuscript scrap, read cockeyed and guessed at by a single researcher, from a single guessed-at phrase, who now no longer even believes his own original interpretation.

          When I am arguing science, whether teaching or debating the subject of evolution or many other sciences misunderstood, I do not want you on my side. Your approach weakens the argument by offering false, easily refutable “points” — making me think that you are more likely here to spread dissension than knowledge. I also have no appreciation for the elaborate guessing game you’ve set up, wherein you move the goals constantly and also seem to be using it just to sow discord.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Like

        4. Keith,

          Do you even read the comments?

          As I said, I am merely interested here in demonstrating that the dying-rising god-man plot is not new to Jesus. I demonstrated that. End of story.

          I hope that’s clear.

          Like

      2. And Tom, just to elaborate: Dionysius (born of a virgin, had twelve disciples, performed miracles like turning water into wine, was called The King of Kings, Lamb, Sin Bearer, Only Begotten Son, Redeemer) was crucified and rose after three days and ascended in heaven. So awkward was this particular similarity that Origen was forced to address the matter in his Contra Celsus.

        You see, nothing new there. And Simon of Peraea was even called the “messiah” by the Jews.

        Like

        1. JZ

          As it happens, I think there is sufficient evidence to prove Jesus rose from the dead. If it is not what you would call scientific, why should I care? Science has no tools for the problem of proving whether or not God exists.

          I also think the folk tales you cited are quite bit different in character. That is, the stories are only superficially similar. When you start dragging in myths, there are nothing but unsourced folktales. You equate Jesus with Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine? Why I should I take that seriously? Have you ever bothered to consider why the Greeks and the Romans stopped believing in those gods?

          And yes, there were others who called themselves the Messiah? Yet who but unbelievers still remembers them?

          Anyway, you are not the first to come up with this nonsense, and you won’t be the last, unfortunately. You are just doing what you usually do. I demonstrate your assertion is blatantly absurd, and you drag in more silly stuff.

          I can’t make you believe anything. Because the attempt would be folly, why should I try? If you have already studied the Bible, what can I tell you that you should not already know? How can I make you want to believe? I cannot.

          Like

        2. Hi Tom

          You are just doing what you usually do. I demonstrate your assertion is blatantly absurd, and you drag in more silly stuff.

          What assertion have you demonstrated as absurd? You make some rather outlandish statements, Tom, but have this habit of not having them based in reality… then ignoring all requests to substantiate your claims.

          Dying and rising god-men is not an original plotline, as I demonstrated.

          I’m sorry if you find this uncomfortable, but facts are facts: they are enormously discourteous. Simply calling Dionysus, Osirus, Adonis, Melqart, Tammuz, Eshmun, Dumuzi, Attis, and Baal “folktales” does not alter the facts as they stand. 1.4 billion Muslims today call your religion a “folktale.” 1 billion Buddhists, and another billion Hindus call your religion a “folktale.” I call your religion a folktale.

          Tom, have you never heard of Apotheosis? It’s a similar theme to the dying-rising god-men plot. Many, many, many men of antiquity were snatched up to heaven and became divine long, long, long before the Jesus story. This concept reaches across many cultures. Many Roman generals were divinitised this way, and in China the three most famous are Guan Yu, Iron-crutch Li and Fan Kuai.

          And Simon of Peraea, a Jewish Messiah who was killed by the Romans in 4 BCE, a generation before Jesus, and was commanded by Gabriel “to rise from the dead within three days”

          Have you not heard of the Jeselsohn Stone, Tom?

          Simon of Peraea is a contemporary example of the same storyline in action before Jesus, in Canaan! Now, you could say Jesus differed to Simon in that he was peaceful and promoted non-violence. Great, except that story was first played out by Siddhartha Gautama 500 years earlier who urged his followers to Conquer anger by love. Conquer evil by good. Conquer the stingy by giving. Conquer the liar by truth.

          So again, dying and rising god men is far, far, far from an original plot. The theme has been repeated in numerous older religions and across many cultures for millennia before Jesus.

          Nothing new or original there.

          So, we’re still exactly where we started: Can you, Tom, name a single new, original, or genuinely useful Jesus said or did?

          Can you, Tom, do this without any outlandish (unsubstantiated) accusations and rather weak dismissals?

          I hope so.

          Tom, you say Jesus was a God, yes… So tell me what this God said that was original, or new. Surely a God would say at least one thing that was new, correct? I mean, why bother even popping down to earth if you weren’t going to say anything original? Why bother speaking at all?

          Like

        3. Hey John

          I know this is going to seem like it’s coming from left field somewhat, but hey I’m going to jump in anyway. I know you will probably bury me in a barrage of “facts,” “history,” and “archaeology.” I don’t really doubt that for a split second. But I do have some observations and they are very simple observations, just as I am a very simple man myself.

          You keep hammering Tom about whether Jesus ever said anything new, original, or useful. And keep hammering, and keep hammering, and keep hammering. Sorry, was I hammering you? I am not even going to address the new and original thing. My issue is with the word “useful.” And here is why it is an issue. Who defines “useful,” anyway? I suspect you retain the definition in the recesses of your relentless assaults. Since that is so, no answer anybody gives will meet your criteria, as you control the criteria. I mean really?

          Next item, it’s bad business to try to define the usefulness of God. Last time I checked, the Creator of the universe holds those particular cards in His hand.

          Now on the the real point. It doesn’t matter if Jesus ever said or did anything new, original, or useful. It is, in fact, somewhat irrelevant. But you focus on those things allows you to sidestep the real issue, and that issue is WHY did God incarnate Himself as a man and come to Earth in the first place? It wasn’t to teach us new and useful stuff, John.

          Jesus came to save us from, and pay the penalty for….”gasp’..our sins. Because of our rebellion and failure to meet God’s standard of perfection(His standard, not ours by the way) “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Well, there is a cost for that as “the wages of sin is death.”

          Ah..but the solution, “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That includes you, John, despite your not stop railing and shaking of your fist at Him.

          But…He didn’t come to teach you new, original and useful stuff. You really ought to take what God offers you instead of demanding what you want from HIm.

          Now…let the beatings begin!

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Hi Wally, hope you’re doing well

          You keep hammering Tom about whether Jesus ever said anything new, original, or useful. And keep hammering, and keep hammering, and keep hammering.

          Not at all, I am merely responding to Tom posting a hunk of my work, then refusing to discuss it, which I have found to be terribly odd behaviour. Did you even read his post? Perhaps not.

          Useful. Yes, it’s a little broad, granted. A word of two about bacteria and clean water would be considered “useful.” A word or two about epilepsy not being demons and deserving of being stoned to death by frightened villagers, but rather a mental disease, would be considered “useful.” Useful, in the sense of alleviating unnecessary, avoidable pain and suffering.

          Now on the the real point. It doesn’t matter if Jesus ever said or did anything new, original, or useful.

          Really? What an odd statement.

          And I’m sorry, but then drifting into theological flights of fancy regarding creators of the universe and sin is meaningless. Olódùmarè is the omnipotent Creator of the Universe according to the Yoruba people. Should they believe in your god? Of course not. Did anything actually change after Jesus? Did sin cease to be, and was a truce declared between all living and not-so living things? Please, don’t answer that. I’m not interested in your theology. I will respect it, to a point, but don’t try to think it holds any influence outside of your own head.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Hmmm John your lack of interest pretty much tells the whole story now, doesn’t it? Do with it what you will, my friend. The facts and reality have been presented to you and yet you choose to keep shaking your fist in the face of God

          Peace

          Like

        6. Wayy, the question was quite simple: name something new or original Jesus said or did.

          A simple question deserves a simple answer.

          Surely you can name something new or original without having to dive into esoteric, vaporous theological treatises and unsubstantiated thoughts.

          Just one thing.

          One thing…

          Liked by 1 person

        7. I never said I was going to answer your question John. I was just pointing out that you misunderstand why Jesus lived, and that my friend is an awful mistake on your point. Here is one for you…if you got an answer which satisfied, would you then believe?

          Liked by 1 person

        8. Hi Wally

          So, will you—can you—answer it, or not? I’d be tremendously interested to hear your answer. Apart from Keith (an atheist) no self-described Christian has yet manned-up… a silence which is rather telling, I think you’d agree.

          Here is one for you…if you got an answer which satisfied, would you then believe?

          Great question. The answer is yes, I most certainly would. Why wouldn’t I? That, my friend, would be called “evidence.”

          As I’ve spoken to Colorstorm in the past, if Jesus had announced that Moses and Abraham were not historical characters, that the Jewish origin tale was inventive myth, not historical fact, then that would be a terrific piece of evidence for his divinity. If he’d actually spoke of things which truly reduced suffering, then that would also be astonishing evidence.

          You and Tom and Colorstorm want to focus on the comic pieces of my observation, that Jesus never explained lightning, for example, that he never enlightened anyone as to some minor (or major) scientific facts, like the earth not being flat, but you are all missing (deliberately, I believe) the true thrust of this line of enquiry… The fact that he didn’t say a single thing which reduced suffering.

          My epilepsy example is good. Frightened, naive 1st Century folk believed the epileptic was possessed by demons, and should be stoned to death. Imagine if Jesus had told people to calm themselves, and there weren’t demons in the suffer, just a disease which they might not understand, but a disease nonetheless, and the epileptic required care, not a death sentence. If we’re to believe the claim made by Christians then Jesus most certainly knew about epilepsy. He most certainly understood the reasons why the person suffered. Why then wouldn’t he act to reduce that unnecessary suffering?

          That, of course, pertains to the “useful.” It would also be considered “new.”

          How is it, you must ask yourself, that a God could not say a single genuinely new thing? What possible reason can you give for this astonishing fact?

          That is, of course, unless you can actually name something genuinely new or original which Jesus said or did….

          Liked by 1 person

        9. John…many have answered your question. I have seen this. So..nah. My time is spent in better ways than chasing answers around for you.

          My earlier statement stands. Jesus didn’t come to cure epilepsy…he came to cure sin. Your demands for evidence don’t matter a bit. John. .someday you will get the proof you desire.

          Like

        10. @Wally Fry, who wrote: “Jesus didn’t come to cure epilepsy…”

          Technically, you don’t know that. Jesus may have spoken at length about many scientific matters, including epilepsy, and may have made correct, prescient statements about disease and about many other topics that reduce suffering. He was followed around by disciples for only a short span of years, but even in that time would have spoken to them and to other people a great deal. The Biblical record would contain, assuming arguendo that all of its assertions about Jesus are true, only a tiny fraction of one percent of Jesus’ statements.

          Let’s imagine, hypothetically, a scenario like this:

          JESUS: “You know, that man that I ministered to yesterday that was convulsing and twitching was not possessed by a demon. He had an electrical problem in his brain between the two halves; one day people thus afflicted will be able to take an extract and manage this problem. As it was, I merely reconnected his brain properly, and though his faith he was cured.”

          THOMAS: “Uh, okay, whatever you said. Now, this is important: What do we do with this woman who was just brought here that they caught in adultery?”

          The followers would perhaps not have recorded material they didn’t understand.

          Now, do I believe that this happened? No. But if you have faith as large as a mustard seed, you must admit that such a scenario is at least possible within the framework of the rest of Christian beliefs.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 3 people

        11. Wally Fry

          The pattern here continues, JZ arbitrarily says you have not dealt with his question. But don’t worry. We still have that barrage of facts.

          Here is another way to describe it.

          PLEONASM, n. An army of words escorting a corporal of thought.

          Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914)

          Source: The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

          Like

        12. Hi Tom

          Perhaps you didn’t read Wally’s comment fully. He said It doesn’t matter if Jesus ever said or did anything new, original, or useful.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t appear to actually name something new or original, does it? Instead, he’s saying he can’t name anything new or original, so once again, it seems you’ve made another rather outlandish accusation that is not based in reality.

          Like

        13. John Zande, who wrote:

          Dionysius[sic] (born of a virgin, had twelve disciples, performed miracles like turning water into wine, was called The King of Kings, Lamb, Sin Bearer, Only Begotten Son, Redeemer) was crucified and rose after three days and ascended in heaven.

          Every bit of this is evidently false. Ignoring most of the the “was called” business, even though no evidence shows that these were common referents to Dionysus, and are not in a list of 20 or so alternate names for him, you included “Only Begotten Son.” Really? As prolific as Zeus was reputed to be, you are convinced that Dionysus was his only son? If this assertion were true, a large part of the ancient mythological population would vanish. And his mother’s impregnation happened in the usual way, allegedly, if you make allowance for Zeus in one of his less-majestic guises. He was the god of wine and drunkeness; yes, indeed, that means he made wine. This does not make him much like Jesus.

          Following your approach, you would have people believe that the Wright Brothers never flew because Icarus and his wings predated Orville and Wilbur by thousands of years.

          Talk about folktales … you are reading very strange material, in its way as outlandish as parts of the Bible. But then you present them here as “facts,” in order to attack others, and that makes you look rather silly indeed.

          I have not checked out every bit you’ve offered, but every single story you’ve told that I did check out or knew from my own prior knowledge has been completely wrong, distorted, and/or presented in a misleading way while you overstate its relevance to the issues at hand.

          This is not a good track record.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        14. Hi Keith

          Again, dying-rising god-men. That is the beginning and the end. I’m not presenting “facts” that Dionysus, or anyone died and rose, rather the stories attached to them so as to demonstrate the antiquity of the plotline.

          Do I think Simon of Peraea rose from the dead three days after being killed by the Romans in 4BCE? Of course not. The point is, to repeat, that dying and rising is an “old” storyline.

          I hope this is clear.

          Like

    2. scout said: By refusing to engage in the pointed question Zande poses, you, Matthew and ColorStorm are more or less giving the impression that JZ has you on the ropes.

      Perhaps scout you MISSED why the so called pointed question was refused, at least by myself. And you error here too, but your mistake is actually greater, because you have one eye open, but moreso you desire to put pine wood (all flame no heat) on a topic that has long been doused.

      Apparently you are supporting a view in which you do not understand nor appreciate, and if i have to explain this you………………….

      The question (and I will not even repeat it) will NOT BE DIGNIFIED WITH A RESPONSE. But don’t be so proud to think my refusal to ‘engage’ is a sure sign of victory to the adversary. Quite the opposite.

      May I remind you that He whose understand is infinite, He who is ‘the Truth,’ He whose ways are from everlasting, answered not a word to Pilate when asked ‘what is truth?’

      Liked by 1 person

  8. @Keith

    And speaking of conquering, Christianity has in general not spread by compulsion,

    I have no particular desire to attack such people as Citizen Tom and others here who embody such ideals and philosophies.

    I take exception to both of these statements, Keith, which are quite sweeping in their generality and demonstrate either naivety or blatant ignorance of the history of Christianity, its goals and methodology to spread the ‘Word”, past and present.

    I have no real desire to go through the history point by point with you but you would do yourself a favour if you familiarized yourself with it. And it is worth remembering that there would be no Islam if it were not for Judaism and Christianity.
    Maybe start with Nicaea? Constantine and Theodosius also.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 82 comments I see, a great majority connected to me and my rather simple question, and not one of you have been able to name a single new or original or marginally useful thing said or done by Jesus.

    Astonishing!

    Please, I would suggest all people here calling themselves “Christians” meditate on this revelation you have inadvertently led yourselves to…

    Like

      1. Hi Tom

        You do confuse me… often.

        My ego? May I remind you, you posted a hunk of my work, and when I challenged you on it, you started your evasive song and dance. After 82 comments, I think I’m well within my rights to say what I have just said:

        82 comments I see, a great majority connected to me and my rather simple question, and not one of you have been able to name a single new or original or marginally useful thing said or done by Jesus.

        Astonishing!

        Please, I would suggest all people here calling themselves “Christians” meditate on this revelation you have inadvertently led yourselves to…

        Now, by all means, if you finally want to actually confront the question, which is only presented here because you posted my work, then do so… I’d be tremendously interested to hear your answer.

        Over to you… Or are we going to go for 100 comments?

        Like

        1. John Zande

          I will take your bait..and raise you 20 to boot.

          You want original? You want useful. YOU meditate on this one my friend.

          One day, Jesus stood before tomb of a dead man..dead 4 days. Dead long enough to stink.

          After thanking his father…Jesus proclaimed LAZARUS COME FORTH! And he did John.

          Well..there ya go. That was original, and at least for Lazarus’s sisters, quite useful as they were very sad.

          Are you ready to believe now, John? If you are still breathing as you read this, it is not yet too late, despite your mockery and fist shaking…you will be good proof of God’s grace.

          Like

        2. Hi Wally

          Resurrecting the dead. Perhaps you should read your bible: Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath’s widow (1 Kings 17:17-24), Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:35), A dead man came back to life when he touched Elisha’s bones (Kings 13:21)

          So, was Jesus doing anything new or original?

          And that’s just from your own book.

          Care to try again?

          Like

        3. John
          Well…point can be made that those prophets raised nobody, God did. Of course, He raised Lazarus also(only this time in the flesh as Jesus) But, hey i’ll give that back to you, and you still have a tiny little problem. Your conjunction has come to haunt you I fear John Zande.

          You said new OR marginally useful. Darn that grammar. Ready to repent and believe now John?

          Like

        4. We? My ego not involved in this.

          Most people take having someone link to one of their posts in stride. If someone links to my work, even if they disagree, I count upon what I have written to defend itself.

          Did I misrepresent you? In all these comments, you have not stated that I did. So what is your complaint?

          Multiple people, quite reasonable and intelligent, have said multiple times that you have been given an answer to your question. You don’t like the answer? What did it cost you? Your pride? Nobody else is responsible for pride; it is wholly yours. If it is a problem — if what you post is not accurate and true — only you can change that.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Hi Tom

          Did I misrepresent you?

          No.

          So what is your complaint?

          It’s rather obvious, isn’t it? It goes back to the very first comment. You posted my work here on your blog, and when challenged to actually substantiate your gripe with it, you have done nothing but evade… approaching 90 times now.

          Will you finally address the question, or would you like to go to 200 comments?

          Multiple people, quite reasonable and intelligent, have said multiple times that you have been given an answer to your question.

          That is an absolute load of trollop. Everyone reading this thread will see that. One person presented a suggestion, the beatitudes, and I debunked that. Wally just presented a suggestion, resurrecting the dead, and I just debunked that, too.

          Please, try and act reasonably here, Tom. People can read the comments and see for themselves the truth of the matter.

          Like

      2. @Tom

        Multiple people, quite reasonable and intelligent, have said multiple times that you have been given an answer to your question.

        Really? I, for one, do not consider anyone on this thread has made a genuine attempt to answer this question with any degree of honesty whatsoever. I suspect because they are afraid of what their answer would reveal about the character, Jesus of Nazareth.
        You raise the issue of what you consider the folly of answering a foolish question, and yet, irrespective of what you may judge John Zande’s motive, the question deserves a cogent reply, if for no the reason than to demonstrate that you actually understand the question and its implications.

        Once upon a time, questions such as these were never allowed to be asked in the open, thus if one truly wishes to approach this and any other controversial biblical topic with a clear conscience in an effort to establish as much truth as possible it is important that the difficult questions are addressed.

        You would likely ridicule a Muslim if they were not prepared to address the issue of Mohammed travelling on a winged horse, yet you avoid directly answering a question that has no trace of the supernatural.

        One doesn’t even have to rely with any form of subterfuge or clever semantics or even a cherry picked answer.

        As you consider John’s question ‘loaded’ then simply present a case/answer that leaves him with egg all over his face.

        Just tell us why you, Tom,believe the character Jesus of Nazareth did preach original and useful material and why his message and actions were unique and crucial.

        What is so terribly difficult about this?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Arkenaten

          Why have you chosen to be so blind? When will you realize that it is because of Christianity you have the privilege and the freedom to scorn the beliefs of others?

          Anyway, I have nothing further to say about John Zande. Since he agreed to move on, I will leave him in peace.
          https://citizentom.com/2015/02/21/answering-folly-who-is-a-fool-part-2/#comment-57451

          I have never had anything to say about Mohammed travelling on a winged horse. Because they are dangerous fools, I have had a word or two to say about Islamic terrorists.

          Outright lies, however, do concern me. Who wants to be diverted down false trails by fools? So it is that when a liar knowingly tells a lie, that lie should earn our scorn. The liar deserves our pity.

          I advocate Christianity. Except to counter some of the nonsense peddled in the public school system, I don’t spin my wheels just to tear down what others believe. Unless we have something better to offer, what is the point of destroying the faith of other people?

          That raises a question. Other than scorn — puffing yourself up because you are so smart and strong — what have you to offer? And think BEFORE you speak! Look about you and consider just how small and insignificant you are. Even the lowly earthworm is better off. You know something of your fate. If there is no God, then when you cease to breath you know there will be no Arkenaten.

          What is your philosophy Arkenaten? Is it wine, women, and song for tomorrow we die? How empty is that?

          Like

        2. Yes, the condescension so much a hallmark of the apologist, just when Rob was extolling the virtues of treating those who seek truth with respect, you , once again demonstrate your lack of integrity and simply refuse to address the question.

          As for your opening, paragraph, its is because of secular humanism and democracy that you are have the inalienable right to practice your belief and trumpet such idiotic nonsense.

          That you are so indoctrinated is the mark of your inability to grasp this fact.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Hi Tom

          Anyway, I have nothing further to say about John Zande. Since he agreed to move on, I will leave him in peace.

          I never agreed to move on.

          After 100 comments I’m still waiting for you (or anyone) to address the question in a mature and coherent manner. As Ark so prudently pointed out, we’re not talking about any difficult-to-prove supernatural claim here, just simple words constructed into sentences to craft those messages presented by Jesus, whom you think was a capital G, God: the creator of the universe.

          It was, after all, such a simple question:

          Name something new or original (or even marginally useful) said or done by Jesus.

          Like

        4. Condescension? I suppose so. How do you treat others Arkenaten? With respect? Of course not. You insist upon being rude and posting utterly foolish comments. Other than pointing out the silliness of your comments, the only other alternative is to ignore you — which sometimes I do.

          Consider the absurdity of your claim.

          As for your opening, paragraph, its is because of secular humanism and democracy that you are have the inalienable right to practice your belief and trumpet such idiotic nonsense.

          I suppose you think the founding fathers were Secular Humanists, and this is and always was a Secular Humanist nation. That is, in 1776, Secular Humanists ran the American colonies, and when the thirteen colonies sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention, they sent Secular Humanists.

          Yep! George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and all the rests were Secularist Humanists. Even “Common Sense” and the “Crisis Papers” were Secular Humanist diatribes.

          Even many Christians, like myself, consider it a stretch to say the United States is or once was a Christian Nation. Yet the alternative, the absurdity of calling the Founding Fathers Secular Humanists….. Thanks for making my day.

          Like

        5. The comparison is instructive. Within a single generation, two significant and highly-touted revolutions attracted international intention.

          One was led by strongly Christian-influenced thinkers, and looked for the best combination of religious ideals and reasoned approaches to government. They created the United States, and the best form of government ever formed, based upon the most revered and most copied governing document in all of history.

          The other, also led by enlightened thinkers and having the immediate example of a very successful Christian-influenced nation before them, rejected religion utterly and disdained the lessons of history. They believed that an utterly secular approach based entirely on their instant notion of what was useful would be the only correct path. They, of course, created the Reign of Terror, and a short-lived disaster of a government so vile that even a monarchist dictatorship would be a welcome relief. There were not too many of those leaders left; in their zeal for secular perfection, they pretty much killed each other off as well as huge numbers of their fellow citizens, their experimental subjects. So, with these secular zealots gone, they re-opened the churches, re-established a more normal governing system, and got back to business.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        6. @Keith

          Great comment! I wish I had said that, but what matters is that someone said it and said it well.

          I don’t entirely understand what made the French Revolution a disaster and the American Revolution a success, and putting the label Christian before nation doesn’t tell us enough. Yet I do think Christianity made the difference. Why?

          I personally think the difference is that the Founding Fathers cared more about what their nation — their family, friends, and neighbors — needed than they did about implementing and perfecting some sort of Utopia. They loved other people as much as they loved themselves. Hence, instead of trying to be a king, George Washington established a tradition, a peaceful transition of power.

          Like

  10. It seems the tactic here is to entertain the dissenting comment/s throw an irrelevant comment or two in return but then do the old Theological Two-Step, conveying the impression of self-righteousness.
    It is merely condescension and any passing reader can see through this charade in an instant.

    Like

  11. There has to be a reason for banning trolls?

    I believe first and foremost in ‘freedom’ of speech; and so long as the would-be trolls keep it seemly I’m happy to let them dribble, rave, or otherwise reveal themselves. And sometimes they even make me have a wee rethink …

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I didn’t fully want to get involved with this exchange, but I believe that John Zande’s question is valid based on the quoted material supra. Let me quote this question so that my answer will be clear.

    The question presented is: Can you name a single thing Jesus said which was genuinely new, original, or useful?

    While new or original would be a tall order to fill, useful remains the lowest hurdle to overcome. And in that category, the words of Jesus could be deemed useful because it espoused more pacifistic and community-oriented philosophies that could be spread and understood easily by the Roman public, their conquered commoners, and all the others who were dispossessed by Roman rule. If anything, Jesus mastered appealing to the populace in a way that had tremendous effect.

    With that simple answer out of the way, I’d like to point out that if I were still a Christian, I would be ashamed that it took an atheist to defend my faith for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @siriusbiziness, who wrote:

      With that simple answer out of the way, I’d like to point out that if I were still a Christian, I would be ashamed that it took an atheist to defend my faith for me.

      Several things occur to me:

      1 — Are you really ashamed of my efforts on Citizen Tom’s behalf? No, as you pointed out with your if-then clause. Perhaps Citizen Tom is not, either. It is not clear to me why you think he should be, as it seems to me that evidence and truth should not change based upon the philosophy of the viewer.

      2 — If you had read the follow-on to that question (there was a lot!), John Zande was not satisfied at all — not with my answers nor anyone else’s. His goal was apparently to continue to ask the same question until banned, evidently his idea of a “victory.” Hundreds of comments were devoted to this end.

      3 — I, too, pointed out the “useful” aspect early on; it had no effect. As he ignored it, the “simple answer” did nothing for him, let alone put the question “out of the way.” His apparent goal was to be in the way.

      4 — Citizen Tom and others here evidently did not see much point to attempting to mollify John Zande, seeing how little effect responses from me (and from Scout) had.

      5 — I prefer “non-theist,” as “atheist” these days carries an anti-Christian militant connotation that does not describe me. Such hostile feelings are well represented (so to speak) by John Zande and Arkenaten, for example.

      ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mr. DeHavelle, I shall answer your points with the same numbers to facilitate discussion:

        1) The reason why I say he should be ashamed is that, instead of dodging the question above, he could have saved everyone the torment and just provided an answer. The same goes with Colorstorm, Wally Fry, and any other Christian who exercised personal attacks instead of at least entertaining the question first. Alluding to the title here: one must give the person the rope with which he or she will hang him- or herself.

        2) Your relevant response to Mr. Zande’s point was here: “To the extent that someone makes a decision to do something more positive with his life based on being inspired by the words of Jesus in the Bible — and there have been a lot of such people — one would have to count those words as [‘]useful.[‘]”

        Such a response was admittedly more straightforward than other peoples’ responses. However, the conversation didn’t proceed from there, and I cannot adequately guess as to what might have happened if both parties had entertained a discussion thereafter.

        3) I cannot answer this because I am not a mind reader, and therefore I cannot divine the intentions of Mr. Zande. While his response to you was curt and maybe even rude in some parts of the world, it was at least straightforward.

        4) I wouldn’t have been mollified either by statements saying that people won’t respond because it might give the question legitimacy. That being said, my post isn’t about justifying Mr. Zande’s behavior on this or any other blog. It’s about giving a simple, quick response to a simple, quick question. The question is important to me, and I think it deserved a more dignified answer.

        5) I am aware of your preferences, Mr. DeHavelle. I prefer atheist because the shoe fits. While I respect that you feel a certain way about the label, I would also point out that any label can be made pejorative with minimal effort.

        Kindest regards,

        SB

        Liked by 1 person

        1. siriusbizinus – As I observed here => https://citizentom.com/2015/02/17/why-would-a-man-hang-himself-part-3c/#comment-57331, scout answered zande’s question here => https://citizentom.com/2015/02/17/why-would-a-man-hang-himself-part-3c/#comment-57324. I endorsed scout’s answer. Given how often scout and I differ, scout is probably still in shock. Since scout is a Christian and provided an answer similar to your own and in more detail… Anyway, the comment trail is long and detailed so I presume you missed his comments.

          Did we insult Zande? No. Telling a man who practices deceit that he is being deceitful is not an insult.

          Unfortunately, on a superficial level, Zande does not appear to be deceitful. He gives the impression of being polite and trustworthy. That is why he has so many comments on my blog.

          We all have our biases. As a former Agnostic, I tend to sympathize those who doubt the divinity of Christ. I remember my own disbelief.

          On the other hand, as a former Christian, you seem to have a chip on your shoulder. I wonder why.

          Like

        2. I’m happy you brought this up!

          Mr. Zande asked his question on 2/18/15 at 5 A.M. Your initial reply was at 7:36 A.M. You answered his question with a question.

          Even by the comments you linked, you stated “it would be folly to answer.” Are you suggesting that those words of negation constitute an adoption of Scout’s answer? Moreover, you requested that Mr. Zande reply to Scout, which also did not constitute an answer on your behalf.

          Additionally, Scout’s answer was as general as your first response. Presumably you believe Jesus is the savior of all mankind, and I think you did your position injustice by reducing the discussion to mere quibbling about intent.

          In fact, this is the second time you have brought up intent with me. I certainly would have hoped that our polite conversations until now have at least afforded me some leeway in being able to speak my mind.

          Regardless, though, my intent is irrelevant to the discussion. Either I am wrong, and you can demonstrate it, or I am right, and you are deliberately ignoring that.

          Like

        3. @siriusbuzinus,

          Do you honestly believe now that, had Citizen Tom supplied the “useful” answer as his first response — similar to what I or scout had provided — John Zande would have accepted it and been satisfied?

          Remember that you are now looking at the aftermath of dozens of times the question was put, many of which were after receiving answers. Perhaps Citizen Tom had a reason to correctly guess John Zande’s intent; I have seen little of John Zande outside of this forum. But correctly guess it he evidently did, and which point you are now coming to take him to task.

          To me, at the time of my own supplying of an answer that should have been satisfactory, the evidence was already clear that it would not be. I was pleased early on that John Zande admitted uncertainty when caught misrepresenting the content of the Declaration of Independence in connection with natural law origins as viewed by the Founders. But in no later incidence, despite major problems or falsehoods in evidence that he supplied, did he admit to any further uncertainty.

          It was already a lost cause. My own response served to cause him to demonstrate that, though I hoped for better.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        4. In my defense, intent has only been raised as you and Citizen Tom have raised it with me. My initial post was my offered answer to the question presented, and it was my opinion that I didn’t even have to be the one offering it.

          That being said, my later points about intent are that it doesn’t have to be relevant. Although I suppose I should concede that my view puts too fine a point on things. Still, these are my opinions, and quite frankly nobody has to agree with them whatsoever.

          Like

        5. @siriusbizinus,

          I am taking that response as the answer “no” to the question I posed.

          Would it have been reasonable, perhaps, to speculate that John Zande’s intent might have been benign days ago, and that he really was brand new to the idea of Jesus and the Bible? Well, no: He had already been issuing a series of challenges by that time; from his first appearance here, his attack was a rhetorical construct rather than a seeking after information. Presumably, others chancing upon this pattern of riposte and parry would make a similar deduction; he was here to “disprove” God rather than learn something.

          But, unusually for such challengers, he posed a question that actually had an evidentiary answer, though he was clearly uninterested in the answer itself. So I offered a response for any onlookers, while fully expecting that such an effort would be futile. Scout did something similar.

          Like you, John Zande was looking for a response from Citizen Tom or other devout Christians, not from an “atheist” like himself. So he blew off my response, and scout’s, and continued asking the same question over and over again, with sloppy variations thrown in.

          Later, he revealed that he was only interested in an answer pertaining to then-undiscovered science … and of course knew, or had at least gathered from whatever website he cuts-and-pastes his evidence from, that this was not within the Bible’s content. Disingenuous, but we already knew that.

          ==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Like

        6. “Like you, John Zande was looking for a response from Citizen Tom or other devout Christians, not from an [‘]atheist[‘] like himself.”

          That statement is incorrect.

          I’m passing on engaging on guessing what Mr. Zande’s intent was because I’ve stated several times now that I think it’s irrelevant to the question posed. To engage in such speculation would be to pretend like I actually cared about ulterior motives, real or imagined.

          Furthermore, I will not speculate as to the sufficiency of your or Scout’s response with regards to Mr. Zande. You can go to his blog and ask him, but I will not put words in his mouth.

          I am only here representing my view. If you want to talk about any issues you have with my view, great. If you have issues with Mr. Zande, I can’t do anything about them.

          Like

        7. siriusbizinus

          Although Jesus did it all the time, I did not answer a question with question. I guess you don’t understand the problem with a false premise. Here is a simple example. How would you answer this question?

          Are you still beating your wife?

          Hopefully, you are not and never have. I don’t even know if you are married, but that does not stop me from asking. And other than kicking him off my blog, nothing stopped John.

          Since scout had answered John’s question ably, I saw nothing wrong with watching what promised to be an interesting discussion (scout extended his effort here =>https://citizentom.com/2015/02/17/why-would-a-man-hang-himself-part-3c/#comment-57385). If you look at some of scout’s comments, scout found Zande more likable than I do. Therefore, it seemed wise to step aside an let them pursue a discussion, but Zande would have none of it.

          What puzzles me is your apparent insistence that I had an obligation to answer Zande. Why? So long as an answer is correct and complete, what matters is the answer, not who gives it. As it is, there are over a hundred comments, and a great many of them relate to to Zande’s question.

          Because this is a Christian blog, I and many of the people who comment here like to talk about Jesus. Are you proposing we don’t?

          If you want to talk about what Jesus did that was new, original, and useful, I will talk with you. Zande is only interested in destroying a myth, not what Christians believe. Except for the answer he wanted, no other answer would satisfy him.

          Consider how often Zande replied this way => https://citizentom.com/2015/02/17/why-would-a-man-hang-himself-part-3c/#comment-57337. Keith even teased him about getting his constant refrain fouled up.

          Can I identify a single genuinely new or original or useful thing Jesus said or did? Of course I can, but what is the point of discussing that with Zande? He should already know! Yet any time anyone gave him an answer, he brushed it aside, fired off another one of deceit riddled PLEONASMs (defined the comments), and repeated his question again.

          In fact, I will probably do a post on the subject Zande raised (will link to your post, of course), but I have no interest Zande having commenting on it.

          Do yourself a favor. Take the time to investigate some of the comments Zande left on mine and ColorStorm’s blog. Zande’s comments are like some of the chain emails that Snope.com features, attractive to people who want to believe what the emails say, but misleading.

          Like

        8. Actually, I did read through this post and several other posts, although to be fair that’s several hundred comments.

          Like I have stated with Mr. DeHavelle, I am not trying to justify Mr. Zande’s actions here. Rather, I am saying that his question has merit, regardless of surrounding perceived issues. Since this is your blog, you can ban Mr. Zande for whatever reason you see fit.

          The reason why I think you should have answered Mr. Zande’s question is because more than just Mr. Zande is reading your blog. Indeed, the only reason why I am commenting here is because I would like for there to be some statement about how this is a good question for there to be an answer to.

          And finally, your initial response to Mr. Zande was this: “What a curious thing to say about the most influential man in history! Why do you think Jesus had so much effect on Western Civilization?”

          The question mark at the end is why I said you answered a question with a question. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think your assertion was that Jesus’s statements were (at the least) useful because they had such a big effect on Western Civilization. Surely that is a thought that is worth exploring from religious and secular perspectives.

          Like

        9. Yeah! Sure! It has a question mark so it must be a question, and that wasn’t an affirmative answer.

          Have you ever heard someone complaining about an electrical appliance that they could not get to work? Did you notice that it was not plugged in and then ask them a “question”: “have you tried plugging it in?” Was that a question? Or was it sarcasm?

          I will create another post devoted to this topic. There are too many comments here.

          Like

      2. Keith

        Until siriusbizinus made an issue out of it, it never occurred to me that I should ashamed based upon who answered Zande’s question. When you answer Zande’s question, I thought that was just great. The fact you are a non-theist had little to do with it. As you observed, what matters is the quality of the answer itself.

        Like

        1. Why is it so hard to answer?

          I mean it is either yes – Jesus said something original and then demonstrate it with biblical references. Or no, Jesus did not say anything original.

          It seems that most of the replies are just harping on the “it doesn’t matter anyway”. If indeed it doesn’t matter, can we at least have an explicit response telling JZ that no there isn’t any that you can think of, but it is irrelevant to the divinity of Christ (which I actually do agree is a separate issue).

          From where I am, it just seems that by refusing to answer the question directly, you are making his query look more potent than it should be.

          To me this question is as relavant as “can God create a rock He cannot lift”. It’s a yes or no question. Answer it directly and we can handle the subsequent debate on how this impact God’s omnipotence. Or in this case, Christ’s divinity.

          Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Oh Lord, It's Monday!

Understanding The Bible In A Way That Transforms You And Your World

The Cripplegate

for a new generation of non-conformists

D. Patrick Collins

liberating christian thought

MUSINGS OF AN IMAGINARY BILLIONAIRE

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Way Online

Christian Insight Through God's Word

Conservative Government

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Night Wind

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Reclaim Our Republic

Knowledge Is Power

John Branyan

something funny is occurring

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine

Christians in Motion

Christians in Motion

SGM

Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God. – Rick Warren

The Latin Community

"You will be my witnesses." Acts 1:8

All Along the Watchtower

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you ... John 13:34

The Sheriff of Nottingham in Prince William County

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Derecho

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Bull Elephant

Conservative and libertarian news, analysis, and entertainment

Always On Watch: Semper Vigilans

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Family Foundation Blog - The Family Foundation

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Cry and Howl

Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. I Kings 20:11

Twenty First Summer

Thoughtful. Positive. Relevant.

Dr. Luis C. Almeida

Christian College Professor

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Dr. Lloyd Stebbins

Deliberate Joy

Lillie-Put

The place where you can find out what Lillie thinks

He Hath Said

is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort; let it dwell in you richly, as a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life

partneringwitheagles

WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT...

PUMABydesign001's Blog

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” Ronald Reagan.

nebraskaenergyobserver

The view from the Anglosphere

Freedom Through Empowerment

Taking ownership of your life brings power to make needed changes. True freedom begins with reliance on God to guide this process and provide what you need.

bluebird of bitterness

The opinions expressed are those of the author. You go get your own opinions.

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Life: the time God gives you to determine how you spend eternity

altruistico

People Healing People

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Silence of Mind

Where God Speaks and Creation Listens

My Daily Musing

With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample our enemies. Psalms 109:13

atimetoshare.me

My Walk, His Way - daily inspiration

Nickel Boy Graphics

Comic Strips (Some Funny, Some Serious)

Rudy u Martinka

What the world needs now in addition to love is wisdom

Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Kingdom Pastor

Living Freely In God's Kingdom

The Life Project

Finding Clear and Simple Faith

In My Father's House

"...that where I am you may be also." Jn.14:3

%d bloggers like this: