WHEN MEN WOULD RATHER STRIVE THAN COMPROMISE

The bird of peace altered with a not allowed sign. (from here)

Why do we fight among ourselves? Here is a passage from the Bible that explains the problem.

James 4:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Pride Promotes Strife

Where do [a]wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and [b]war. [c]Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. [d]Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

Some years back I read The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe. In their book Strauss and Howe observed that about every 80 years we suffer an unraveling followed by a crisis. Wikipedia, In Strauss–Howe generational theory, provides a fairly good explanation of their observations.

Unfortunately, we seem to be on schedule. Apparently, history repeats itself because not enough people study the past well enough to understand the consequences of repeating the same stupid mistakes. So it is that since the beginning of the Great Recession we have been in the midst of more and bigger crises. What is next? Well, so far we have just been inviting in hordes of illegal immigrants, fighting economic stagnation, and trying to avoid stumbling in the “War on Terror”, but it may get worse. In 1939, eighty years ago, previous generations began the epic conflict we call World War II. Are we about to see a conflict of similar magnitude?

What causes men and women to do battle with each other? The Bible says pride. We make demands for what we want, and we make up our minds to settle for nothing else, no matter what it costs others. Here are some examples from recent headlines.

Illegal or Unregulated Immigration

The Peoples of the European Union are battling over immigration. Some have chosen to defend their cultural heritage. Others want to swamp their nations with foreigners. Here are two articles. One is the text of a speech of a man demanding the right to protect the inheritance of the Hungarian people. The second offers opinions from those who differ.

The People of the United States are also battling over immigration, illegal versus legal. The first editorial calls controlling illegal immigration a moral issue. The second complains that a border wall would not stop all illegal immigrants.

Dams 

In recent years our conflicts have centered around oil. Because fresh water is becoming more and more precious, that could change. What complicates matters is that some countries are indifferent to the concerns of their downstream neighbors.

Here are several articles about a huge dam being built on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.

Egypt is not the only country confronted with this sort of problem.

Russia

Since Vladimir Putin took power, Russia has become increasingly aggressive. That includes making territorial claims on Ukraine, the North Pole, supporting the tyrant in Venezuela, and building advanced weapons systems.

China

China has become increasingly aggressive too. China most obvious effort has been to arm itself, even building artificial islands in the ocean and turning those islands into military fortresses. In a more subtle effort, but perhaps more relevant in long-term, China has sought unfair trade advantages. China has used every effort to seek unfair trade advantages, including the theft of commercial as well as military technology.

Conclusion

Is there anything special about the news articles I references? No.

  • Using illegal immigrants as pawns, our two major political parties fighting for power. Our two major political parties are always fighting each other. Today we are just seeing more politicians fight for their own gain because more of us voters are voting for the sake of our own pocketbooks. The rich want cheap labor. The rest of us want our government to spend other people’s money on us.
  • Nations have always been somewhat indifferent to the fate of their neighbors. Unfortunately, our technology is forcing us to be more considerate. If something we do is going to cause people to suddenly lose most of their water supply, we need to rethink, but pride says otherwise.
  • Since the first men fought each other, men have used violence to rape, pillage and enslave each other. In that respect Russia and China are behaving quite normally.

So what will the next few years bring? Odds are we see a major conflict of some sort. Why? Why is peace so difficult? Unbridled pride. It takes two to keep the peace, but it only takes one to make war. Keeping the peace requires us to set aside our pride and to consider the needs of our neighbors. The natural man thinks that foolish.

93 thoughts on “WHEN MEN WOULD RATHER STRIVE THAN COMPROMISE

  1. “The Bible guides us. The Bible is our road map. Our faith in Jesus should lead those of us with the capacity to study the Bible and pray for wisdom, that is, the wisdom to discern good from evil.”

    I agree with some of that. What I find prideful to the point of being dangerous is the person who looks at the Bible merely as a dogmatic rule book of sorts, someone who sees it like an alchemist’s guide.

    Take the commandment not to kill. Sounds simple, but it’s not. Even the Bible has lots of (often metaphorical) exceptions.
    Leviticus 20:10 would have adulterers put to death, and yet in John 8, Jesus says only those without sin should do the killing of a known adulteress. What was a simple straight forward rule is suddenly subject to serious metaphorical analysis and exegesis. Suddenly, there could be a good deal of interpretive dispute, even among biblical scholars about whether adultery requires a death sentence. If this story of what Jesus said and did provides a new leniency for adultery, does that also apply to the death sentence law for homosexuals in Leviticus 20:13? Does it mean that we should not kill anyone, even a Hitler, for doing evil?

    My point here is not to debate and resolve this apparent conflict between Old Testament Law and New Testament metaphor in this instance. Obviously, there are many scholarly interpretations we can rely on by people who have read the oldest texts in their original languages, people who have studied the history of the time, scholars who have spent years studying the entire Bible and are equipped to interpret these passages and who can place them in wholistic context, people who have taken all this biblical knowledge to formulate a theological ideology that can tell us when it is ok to kill another person and when it is not. But are all these scholars always in complete agreement?

    If there are centuries of ideological disagreements among scholars more expert than you and I will ever be, then how can we be “certain” about something so important as who to righteousnessly condemn to die, much less a million other decisions in life where we are expected to discern good from evil?

    Who is better equipped to make these discernments – the scholar who spent his life studying the Bible and formulating what he considered logical ideological theology which he believes can be used to address every political, economic and sociological issue, or the person who, inspired by the story of Jesus, just lives her life with all the selflessness and love that she can?

    I don’t know, but it seems to me that a good deal of harm has been done by people who were certain of the divine inerrancy of the Bible and then they were equally certain that their interpretation was the black and white, good verses evil, truth from God.

    Do you see what I mean? How much of the Bible is really some inerrant road map and how much is simply a guiding star over a dark, rugged and unknown land? I don’t know for sure. Perhaps it is a little of both, but I think it may be more the latter. What do you think?

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    1. @tsalmon

      Do you see what I mean? How much of the Bible is really some inerrant road map and how much is simply a guiding star over a dark, rugged and unknown land? I don’t know for sure. Perhaps it is a little of both, but I think it may be more the latter. What do you think?

      The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New, but we are not under the Law. Unless the New Testament indicates otherwise, we are not under the Old Testament’s rules.

      The Ten Commandments still apply (see the Sermon on the Mount), including the law against murder, that is, the better translation is thou shall not murder.

      So what about punishing adulterers and murderers? Well, if you interpret the story about the adulterer the way you suggest, we may as well empty the jails and fire the police and the judges. Since we are all sinners, none of us are fit to punish anyone for anything. However, that does not make sense with respect to the rest of the Bible. That suggests that Jesus was pointing out the hypocrisy of the men who brought the adulterous woman to Him for Him to judge. What the scribes and Pharisees were doing had nothing to do with a love for God’s Law or the welfare of the community. They had just put the life of that woman in jeopardy to serve their own ends.

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      1. I didn’t really give any interpretation (nor do I disagree with yours). I was just saying that there is a good deal of room for disagreement, between biblical scholars and between Christian denominations, on interpretation. For example, some Christian denominations would interpret passages like the one in John and others to preach an ideology of total passivism (a rather interesting “ism”). Others, including Catholics, now preach against capital punishment of any kind. Regardless of how certain you think your interpretation is in resolving these conflicts (and despite what you wrote, I don’t even necessarily disagree with your interpretation), there are others who are just as certain that their interpretation is correct, certain enough to stake their lives and the lives of their families on their own version of the truth.

        So your response didn’t really answer my questions that you lead your response with. With all this disagreement, shouldn’t we, in many cases, view our own interpretations with a little more humility, a little less condemnation of other interpretations, a little more mercy, compassion and compromise, especially when everyone involved really is trying to do the right thing to solve often complex, ambiguous and intractable problems?

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        1. “The Ten Commandments still apply (see the Sermon on the Mount), including the law against murder, that is, the better translation is thou shall not murder.”

          This is exactly what I mean. How one interprets this very much depends on how one defines “murder”. Murder is a very specifically defined and a very complex thing at law, and it is subject to a number of complex affirmative defenses. Capital punishment cannot therefore even be “murder” at law, but would a person interpreting the Bible feel differently about whether Jesus would consider a state killing as “murder” in contradiction to the Commandment against killing? From a biblical interpretation of the word murder, was Jesus “murdered” by the Roman state? Is it really always so easy to apply with any certainty a biblical interpretation, much less a whole Bible based ideological scheme, to complex and ambiguous issues of morality in society, economics or governing?

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          1. @tsalmon

            The Bible interprets itself to a large extent, but we do have to read it.

            Instead of looking for excuses to not take the Bible seriously, why don’t you study it?If you do, does that mean you will like me (😜) receive the Bible with absolutely perfect understanding and clarity? No. If wisdom came easily to us it would not be rare. Still, God promises that those who ask for wisdom will receive it.

            James 1:5 English Standard Version (ESV)
            5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

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          2. Thanks for your kind advice. I pray for the grace that you refer to often these days.

            However, it is still off point. I have not argued here that we all would not benefit from more Biblical and theological study (or for more prayer, for that matter).

            You say that the Bible is largely self interpreting, but you know it really doesn’t seem so to me. No sooner was the ink dry on the first compilation of the books of the Bible than people started disagreeing on what it means in both insignificant and profound ways. Some of these disagreements lead to wars, torture and persecution.

            What caused religious Christian of goodwill to kill each over what is essentially a message of peace and love? Was it really because the antagonists didn’t read and try to interpret the Bible, or was it just the opposite in that they all read it well and were way too certain of the correctness of each their own interpretation? How do we avoid doing this again? How have we avoided fighting each other over this in the past? Are these disagreements mostly caused by a lack of God’s wisdom on one side and not the other, or is it instead caused by the prideful pretensions of the certainty of their own wisdom by all sides?

            This is not off topic Tom. It seems to me that it goes to heart of your post above. I can’t figure out why you seem to be avoiding it.

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          3. @tsalmon

            Actually wars among Christians are not commonplace. There is nothing in the Bible that tells Christians or told the Jews to spread our beliefs through military conquests.

            There was a bunch of religious warfare following the Protestant Reformation, but people eventually reached the conclusion I just stated. The Bible calls upon us to spread the Gospel, not kill unbelievers.

            Do some Christians try to spread the Gospel by force? Yes, but that is related to why Christians disagree about the meaning of the Bible. Sometimes we just get confused, but the big problem arises when we make it about me instead of Him.

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          4. I agree with much of thst. Well, there was the Crusades and a hundred years of wars that killed somewhere between a quarter and a third of the population of Europe. And even farther back, when the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion, he used the Council of Nicaea to standardize the faith and purge the Church of heretics. In fact, the word ‘heretic” came from the name of the leader of the opposition sect that lost this first biblical battle and was afterward, with his followers, persecuted into oblivion.

            But I’m not just talking about Christian state warfare. Christians who pronounce their own certainty of interpreting an inerrant Bible continue to use that pride of certainty to promote an infallible God given, good verses evil, black verses white, ideology on virtually every political, economic and social public policy issue today. And I’m not talking about the Christian who has a humble, selfless and sacrificing outlook to find and compromise toward the most virtuous solutions to these intractable issues; I’m talking about Christians who promote their view with the pride of certainty that their’s is the exclusive God given approach.

            In a way, I think that you are on to something when you say these Christians are making it more about themselves than God, but it’s more than that. They claim that it is all about God and they exclusively know what God wants.

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          5. @tsalmon

            Jesus gave us the Great Commission to spread His Gospel. For some reason, I don’t think it serves the Great Commission to make Christians especially warlike and bigoted. It is not even true.

            Anyone can call themselves a Christian. If they are trying to sincerely obey the Bible, their profession of faith does not matter. Who is to judge that? God, but we should not associate with those whose actions dishonor God.

            Being a Christian does not suddenly make anyone perfect, but it does give us the opportunity to become better and better. Because have a reliable source of wWisdom, as Christians we are much better than we would have been if we were not Christians. That’s all we can honestly say about Christian virtues.

            Fact check.

            1. Constantine did not make Christianity the state religion. He ended an ugly period of religious persecution. He did call a church council, but the guys who attended were not about to be cowed by anyone. That had already been tried and failed.

            There is no record Constantine tried to bully those men or that the issues they resolved were especially controversial.
            2. The 30 Years War resulted in all the deaths you are talking about. Religious differences had only a small part in it.
            3. The Crusades began in response to Muslim invasions. Have you ever considered the fact that North Africa and most of the nations in the Middle East were once Christian. They converted to Islam after conquest and brutal repression. Put it this way. The Greeks and the Turks have been enemies for a long time. Iran (Persia) fell as a Muslim conquest, but only part of the Byzantine Empire.

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          6. Before it seems like I’m just picking on ideologues on the Christian Right, I should say that there are ideologues (sometimes atheists) who are just as full of prideful rational certainty of their position.

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          7. Once again, I agree with much of that, except the history, which seems ideologically revisionist

            Martin Luther participated in the persecution of the Anabaptists (who I believe evolved into the modern day Menonites, among others) as heretics. One of the reasons Thomas Jefferson wrote his famous letter to the Danbury Anabaptists promising a “wall of separation” between church and state was to assuage their fears of further state persecution in America.

            We Catholics had our discussing Inquisition. And as for the Crusaders, they participated in various Jewish pogroms while on their way to the Middle East, where upon conquering Jerusalem, they killed every man, woman and child.

            The fact that Islam may have participated in their own brutality for the sake of prideful certainty about their Abrahamic interpretation of the one God only proves my point, unless you think religious dogmatism is some sort of contest over who is the least barbaric to the other.

            In my opinion, the common denominator in all of this is ideological pride of certainty, whether rational or religious. It was not an historic one off and it is not exclusive to Christianity, or even religion. It has almost always happened and it continues to happen right up to today.

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          8. @tsalmon

            Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation, and freedom of religion was not something that occurred to anyone at that point.

            Try to put yourself in Luther’s shoes, even he was sort of like the first WASP and not a member of some Democrat protected identity group.

            They were the Danbury Baptists. (https://citizentom.com/2011/12/13/why-we-cannot-separate-state-from-church-a-few-more-thoughts/) Baptists practice anabaptism.

            Muslims have spread their religion via warfare since it started. That is what the founder of Islam did, and it is part of their doctrine. Trying create some kind of moral equivalence between Jesus and Mohammed is just pathetically ignorant, but that’s what required to swallow the dogma of multiculturalism.

            KEY POINT. Think about what you are saying when you speak of the ideological pride of certainty. The more faith we have in Jesus, the more certainty we have in Him. Our faith makes us proud to love and obey Him. That willingness to humble ourselves before God –being proud to do so — is humility. Yet here you are trying to turn our faith — even the hope we have and our love for Him — into some kind of sin of pride because our faith gives us certainty? Is uncertainty a virtue greater than love? Read 1 Corinthians 13.

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          9. I appreciate the walk down history lane, but my point is not that Martin Luther was worse than anyone else. My point is that he was the same.

            Similarly, I’m not trying to establish some more equivalency between Jesus and Mohamed (what an absurd accusation to make of someone who considers Jesus divine). I’m making and IMMORAL equivalency between THE sinners in both religions, and for that matter between all sinners, including myself. We are all sinners and subject to the sin of pride – there is something particularly unchristian about claiming human Christian superiority in this regard, don’t you think? Do you honestly believe that you are somehow less subject to sin, more God like, than the virtuous and devout Muslim? Would that be your pride talking? Your multiculturalism straw man is just a deflection.

            I just wanted to clear up these misstatements of my position. I want to give some considerate thought to your last point before responding.

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          10. @tsalmon

            We are tool users. The best tools requires the best ideas to make them. So we go after the best idea? Of course!

            When we compare religions, we are looking for the best ideas to save ourselves, to achieve salvation. Christianity says something odd. It says we cannot save ourselves. Christianity says we must accept Jesus’ offer of salvation. When we do that we are born again, and we accept the Holy Spirit to live with us. All that we must do is have a little faith.

            Romans 7 describes the joy of being born again, escaping the damnation and the slavery of sin. Saul was a Pharisee. He knew the Law, and he tried to obey. In his heart he knew he could not. When Saul saw the light and he became Paul, he understood he had been forgiven, that our Lord through the Holy Spirit had begun the process of releasing him from the slavery of sin. Because of Jesus, Paul was inestimably better than Saul.

            Was Paul wonderful? He called himself the greatest of sinners, a slave for the Gospel. Paul would have readily agreed Christians are not better, but Jesus is God. We follow Jesus, and better does not describe Him, but it is the best word. Because of Jesus we are better, and that is why we share the Gospel.

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          11. “They were the Danbury Baptists. (https://citizentom.com/2011/12/13/why-we-cannot-separate-state-from-church-a-few-more-thoughts/) Baptists practice anabaptism.”

            It’s an insignificant matter, but you are correct when you say that they were the Danbury Baptists who practice Anabaptism. The reason that I drew the distinction is because the Anabaptists is Germany who were persecuted did evolve into what is known as modern day Menonites, among others. Their connection to the Danbury Baptist was the practice of Anabaptism which was still considered heresy by many of the most powerful Christian denominations in America at the founding. As you know, there was nothing in the US Constitution at that time that to preclude any individual state from having a state religion which banned Anabaptistism.

            Sorry for the historic nerd out. I was a research intern in law school on this topic and still find it facinating, but my study of the evolution (and endless ideological schisms), of the Protestant movement is more recent.

            It is relevant, however, because the sort of pride of ideological certainty that drives Christians to persecute one another and that also drives our endless doctrinal schisms is exactly what I am trying to illustrate here.

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          12. Hebrews 11:1
            Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

            I believe you are not wrong Tom in anything that you said in your Key Point or your last post. I think, however, that you are conflating the kind of “certainty” that comes from overmuch pride in one’s ideology with the mystical, revelatory “certainty” that God’s grace provides through faith. They are similar but can’t you see how they are not the same? The former is an undeserved gift from God while the latter is manufactured and idolized by prideful men.

            Words are sometimes such imperfect vehicles for conveying these profound mysteries so I have tried to use examples. Think of the cruel and prideful ideological certainty of Saul verses the selfless, humble and loving faith filled certainty that Paul was graced with by Jesus. Can you see how they are not the the same sort of “certainty”? Can you see how Saul’s certainty was cruelly exclusive, tribal and pridefully self righteous whereas Paul’s certainty was just the opposite – a humbly offered sacrificial gift of good news open to all and proclaiming a wonderful mystery that cannot be fully comprehended by the human mind so much as awakened in spirit in the human heart by The Holy Spirit?

            Can you see how (as Niebuhr concluded) much of conflict in the world of both a religious dogmatic nature and a philosophic ideological nature, is caused by the same sort of pride of certainty that Saul demonstrated?

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          13. @tsalmon

            Nothing against Mennonites, but I thought the Baptists deserved credit.

            I think, however, that you are conflating the kind of “certainty” that comes from overmuch pride in one’s ideology with the mystical, revelatory “certainty” that God’s grace provides through faith.

            Have I made such a conflation? No, but there was a time did do so.

            How do nonChristians react when a Christian is confident that the Bible is the Word of God? Don’t they accuse that Christian of too much “certainty and too much pride in his ideology? I think you are taking your que from such people, the
            nonChristians.

            What is the cure for arrogant pride? Well, the Bible make it clear God detests arrogant pride, and God most certainly does not encourage it.

            Ephesians 2:8-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
            8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

            When we have a problem with pride, the best place to look for a cure is the Bible. Why? The Bible shows us who we are. => https://citizentom.com/2013/08/11/the-mirror-to-our-soul/

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          14. “How do nonChristians react when a Christian is confident that the Bible is the Word of God? Don’t they accuse that Christian of too much “certainty and too much pride in his ideology? I think you are taking your que from such people, the
            nonChristians.”

            Were the various Jewish pogroms and inquisitions the result of Jews victimizing poor Christians? Was the persecution of the Anabaptists by Martin Luther’s followers because they victimized Luther? Or was it instead because they were acting with the religious ideological certainty of Saul rather than the loving faith based grace of Paul?

            Faith begins our journey as sinners, but I don’t believe that it ends it. I pray for the faith to be almost childlike in my acceptance of the grace of God, but I also try not to put the idol of a dogma before an infinitly mysterious God. As a prideful and skeptical man, this is not an easy balance. I admit that I struggle. I hope that you can trust that I am sincere, and my struggle is indeed a “Christian” struggle. Perhaps it is THE Christian struggle. You must admit that when Christians bicker and accuse each other of apostasy in the name of Christ (which you appear to have just done to me) then something is terribly wrong.

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          15. @tsalmon

            There is a certain point where this becomes brainless. What in tarnation do you think you are trying to prove? Most of us are rotten sinners? Is that not why we need to be saved?

            Philippians 1:3-6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
            3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your [a]participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

            At best, a Christian church is full of sinners trying to get well with God. If you read Revelation 2-3, you will discover most Christian churches struggle to help their members receive the Gospel. Few succeed in spreading Gospel. Yet the thanks to God and the faith of a few the Word does spread. Still, none of us is perfect. Because we each taint God’s Word in some way, that is probably why He put it in writing.

            Christians, especially those who can and will read, have God’s Word. Christians have the Bible to help discern good from evil. If you are concerned that Christians don’t do what the Bible says, does it really make sense to mystify and spiritualize the Bible to the point no one takes it seriously? Think about your complaints? If not for the Bible, how do you think most people would know religious persecution is wrong?

            Except for the prophecies, the Bible is quite straightforward. So when a Christian persecutes a Jew, for example, he cannot use the Bible as an excuse. In fact, Jesus was a Jew, and He forgave those who crucified Him just as He forgave us for our sins. So when a Christian hates Jews He hates Jesus. What does that suggest?

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          16. I don’t blame you for your confusion here Tom. This is not an easy thing to wrap your mind around because, as I said earlier, language is so imperfect a vehicle for such deep nuance. For example, you are right to point out that in some sense we are all “ideologues” under the broadest definition of that word. “Certainty” too has a specific definition, but you know as well as I do that the “certainty” that caused the biblical scholar Saul to cruelly and dogmatically persecute Christians was not at all the same “certainty” that Paul had that such persecution was wrong and that the selling message of Christ was not the stick of legalistic punishment, but the good news carrot of compassion, mercy, humility and love. It’s almost as if we need to coin new words to replace the words “ideologue” and “certainty’ these very different meaning. As it is, your own example, Saul verses Paul, provides the best way that I have come up with to explain this.

            The impulse to formulate ideological certainty out of scripture of the kind that Saul thought he had is as old as the Bible itself. It is obviously not just unique to Christianity. All the Abrahamic religions have literally fought continuously with this problem. The rise of determinist ideologies like Communism, Fascism, Socialism and Libertarianism show that this need to reason Saul-like certainty is not even unique to religion. (As much as all the Abrahamic religions may agree on it’s truth these days, if you really think about it the way the Romans and Greeks did, there was something especially belligerent about insisting that their is only one God and that, as his chosen race, the Jews exclusively cornered the market on that God).

            Although the need for Saul-like certainty that comes from a dogmatic ideological interpretation may have always been around and causing persecution, I have come to believe that the Enlightenment particularly exacerbated the problem. For example, do you think that the Reformation could have happened, and all the endless Christian interpretive ideological schisms that flowed out of it, would have even happened without the rise of reason as an ideological force? That’s a much longer debate, but it is something that you might want to consider in reference to this one. As creatures of the Age of Reason, virtually everyone in the world has accepted that it gives rise to epistemologies (logic, math, sciences, etc) that allow us a great deal of truthful knowledge about the real world. Descartes’ attempt to reason God, in my opinion, was one of our first failed attempts to apply the tools of reason to a realm where, while not irrational, reason may simply not have much purchase, and more importantly (as Karl Popper points out), ignores the epistemological limits of reason itself. indeed, for nonbelievers it anachronistically makes a religion out of reason, and for believers it conflates the two.

            So what are we to do, you ask? Despite what you keep saying, I am not advocating that one should not read the Bible for revelation (I do so often), nor am I saying that one cannot attempt to use that faith filled Paul-like revelation that the Bible gives us to try pattern our lives morally. I’m just of the opinion that this revelation should also give us a form of certainty that is humble in its limitations, humble enough to be careful about judging others as apostates, wrong or evil, simply because we have been given just one a tiny atom of revelation in the universe of an infinite God, but that is all. Scripture is like a hazy window to a room; its not the whole infinite building. It is a holy gift from God of what we need to know to live lovingly, not a weapon to abuse power and dominate others with dogma. As creatures of the Age of Reason and of Modernity, perhaps we can’t help but try to reason out an ideology of sorts, but don’t you think we should avoid making the mistake of dogmatic Saul-like certainty when using an imperfect tool like reason as a hammer to build a cloud in the sky where we think we can force everyone else to live?

            Am I getting through to you on any of this Tom? Am I getting through to anyone? Well, I’ve enjoyed trying. I love these discussions. I always learn something. I’ll leave it alone, and let you have the last word even if it is to again claim I’m an unchristian apostate of sorts. Maybe I am. I’m as likely as not to be wrong on this, or at least to not know the whole picture. But I can live with my uncertainty and with the ambiguity, as long as I don’t have to live the results of someone else’s small minded, dogmatic Saul-like certainty about things about which such is beyond us.

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          17. @tsalmon

            The Old Testament did not call upon the Hebrews to become a bunch of murderous killers for God. Think. Jesus cited the Old Testament quite frequently.

            Imagine you had been there when the first Christian martyr died, Stephen. Saul was there. He supported the stoning of Stephen. If Saul had been asked, how would he have justified this killing? What would he pointed to in the Word of God to justify the murder of someone who believes Jesus is our Savior?

            Is the Bible difficult to figure out sometimes? Yes, but we usually make it more complex than it has to be. Instead of trying to obey God, we make excuses to justify ourselves. That is what Saul was doing.

            But I can live with my uncertainty and with the ambiguity, as long as I don’t have to live the results of someone else’s small minded, dogmatic Saul-like certainty about things about which such is beyond us.

            Next time you vote for someone with great and grand schemes to spend other people’s money, make other people’s decisions, and run other people’s lives, remember those words.

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        2. “Next time you vote for someone with great and grand schemes to spend other people’s money, make other people’s decisions, and run other people’s lives, remember those words.”

          You mean like build a stupid wall. Sorry, couldn’t resist.😂

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          1. @tsalmon

            ☺ Not a prophet, but I am not surprised.

            Anyway, if you don’t like the stupid wall, you can call it the brilliant Democrat fence, just so long as it serves like the illegal immigration resistant barrier so many of them once promised.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Tom,

    I’ve read your thread with Doug and tsalmon. I’d like to approach the issue from a different direction. You say:

    Is global warming real? Is global warming caused by man? I have yet to see what I think sufficient evidence.

    You have told us what you do NOT consider sufficient evidence. Would you mind to tell me an example of what you would consider evidence sufficient to convince you? Of 20th/21st century global warming? Of mankinds role as a dominant cause of it?

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    1. @marmoewp

      Did not answer right away. Sort of wondered how I should approach this. I think the question implies that no amount of evidence would satisfy me. After all, you believe. Therefore, it is a bit difficult to see it as a serious question.

      Nevertheless, I decided I have nothing to lose by taking the question seriously except a little bit of time. So here goes.

      In this case there are two sorts of evidence that would move us to action.

      The first would be the closest we can come to a scientific/mathematical proof. We have computer models for predicting the weather, and we are conducting a massive experiment. We are releasing massive amounts of gases that supposedly induce global warming. If our models are any good, then if the gases we are releasing into the atmosphere can actually increase the global temperature, our models should be predictive. Does not seem to be the case.

      The second is an argument from authority. Currently we have that authority we call the “scientific consensus”. Don’t see that as especially meaningful. It is just part of an emotional appeal, akin to the bandwagon effect. What I am looking for is the example of those in charge. I want ample demonstration that the people in charge, our President and Congress, believe in global warming and will do whatever it takes to fix the problem. So far that level of commitment has been absent. Hence, I don’t think the “experts” have convinced them. If the “experts” have not convinced them, then I don’t see much point in listening to them either.

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      1. Ho, boy.
        Ok.. to your “first” item… I’ve seen computer models.. the scientific generally demands the use the computer models.. the discipline itself is enhanced by computer models… where do you possible get this idea there are not computer models, Tom??

        To your “second” item… now I understand your opinion regarding the first item.. you will not be sold on global warming until Trump and his administration tells you it’s true. I get it now.

        Silly me.

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        1. @Doug

          Did not say that we don’t have any computer models. I just said the predictions of gloom and doom by some of those models don’t match what we see.

          We just finish eight long years with Obama. He didn’t take global warming seriously.
          😀

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          1. 1. Obama took it far more seriously than Trump.
            2. A more serious scientific report has come out inside the last two years, that Obama didn’t have.
            3. The global warming naysayers simply dismiss it all as yet another deep state goofy nonsense conspiracy for liberals to take over the world.. but more important, get rid of the Second Amendment. Gotta worship the gun. Besides, the naysayers are saying “nay” for the reason much like yourself.. Trump tells you to because it’s an international trade ripoff.
            4. We are in this environmental pickle because no administration.. previous or current.. are taking it seriously enough.

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          2. @Doug

            As a practical matter, Obama and company just use environmental issues to grab power and line their pockets.

            You want to significantly reduce the emissions of those so-called greenhouse gases? Then replace income taxes with taxes on the use of fossil fuels. So long as I don’t pay much more in taxes why would I care? Fighting global warming, however, isn’t what the Democrats want. That’s why their proposals are always absurdly complex (and useless to the alleged objective).

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      2. @Tom

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. On my part, this was not intended as a trap and I am aware that answers to questions like these do take time. Most self-professed skeptics would call “trap” and refuse to answer, so I honestly thank you for not stepping around giving an answer.

        Allow me to explain, why I do not share your view on the points you raise.

        1) Models
        Please bear with me, in case I just reiterate what is already known to you. For ease of argument here, let’s just look at atmospheric emissions only and neglect land use change. We do have computer models of the climate system and they do work rather well in my opinion, however one needs to be aware of what they are intended to simulate. First of all, the models are not intended to simulate weather, in the sense of predicting or hindcasting the exact weather on any given day. Such predictions are physically impossible due to the chaotic (in the mathematical sense of deterministic chaos) nature of weather and unpredictable influences like large volcanic eruptions. Rather they are meant to give you outlooks on 10-year or better 30-year averages. Secondly, they can not do predictions of future climate change; they do simulate possible future climates based on what emissions mankind “decides” to put into the atmosphere. So if you want to make a forecast you need to assume mankinds actions (so-called emission scenarios) and then run the models based on these. Back in 1988 Hansen presented some of his findings to Congress and published these in a paper with coauthors, too. I’d like to take a look at its figure 3a), where they show model runs for three scenarios. I have overlayed this plot with the observed temperature changes and a line indicating the year of publication.

        The short and simplified story is, that the actual so called forcing that corresponds to the emissions was somewhere between scenarios B and C, the lower two of the black lines. Given the caveats outlined above, I consider the match to be remarkably good. Of course, there are more advanced models out there today, but I wanted to highlight how good our understanding was back at the end of the 80s already. Your assessment of Hansen 1988 may differ.

        There’s an aphorism I quite like: “All models are wrong. Some are usefull.” When it comes to our climate models, I consider them useful.

        2) Political Actions
        Germany is trying to phase out both the use of coal, because of climate change, and atomic power, because of Chernobyl and more importantly Fukushima. Economically, this obviously puts a lot of strain on our country and puts us at a disadvantage compared to other countries. So, why do we do it anyway?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @marmoewp

          This isn’t a global warming blog. Find the subject interesting, but I don’t feel called to become an expert on the subject. Therefore, given the time delving into this subject takes, I mostly depend upon the expertise of others.

          It seem like you have been through a version of this exercise before with an old friend of ours. Here Keith offered his criteria for proof of global warming. => https://level-head.livejournal.com/592931.html#cutid1

          First a gross observation. What we are talking about in your chart is a temperature change on the order of 1.5 degrees centigrade. Because that’s not much, the inaccuracy of the measurements and the random nature of the forcing factors are important. Some, for example, worry about the effect of volcanic eruptions.

          Here is a analysis sympathetic to Hansen that settles on scenario B.
          => http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/hansens-1988-projections/

          Here is one less sympathetic that insists on scenario A. =>https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/06/hansens-1988-predictions-redux/

          Which the scenarios best reflects the real world growth in those so-called greenhouse gas emissions? My guess is reality is somewhere between scenarios A and B. However, even if we concede that Scenario B best fits the rate in the real world increase greenhouse gas emissions, there are issues. Hansen’s was not the only such model. Whether the theory is right or wrong, what were the odds that one of these model would look relatively good decades later? That is, did the model just accidentally trend in the same direction as some perfectly normal weather cycle?

          Since Hansen modeled the whole earth, are there more specific predictions we can consider? Well, the folks at WSJ says he got some of them wrong. =>
          https://www.wsj.com/articles/thirty-years-on-how-well-do-global-warming-predictions-stand-up-1529623442

          FYI. Here is what the New York Times wrote in 1988. => https://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/24/us/global-warming-has-begun-expert-tells-senate.html

          Frankly, I think the global warming problem is interesting. but I think the real problem is our dependency on an energy source that has finite limits. I also wonder whether digging up and burning all that coal and petroleum will cause our descendants troubles we have no considered. We make a lot of important chemicals and plastics from those raw materials. So I have no problem taxing the consumption of fossil fuels, but shutting down coal production just because we can strikes me as heavy handed.

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          1. I’ll leave the climate change topic after this one. If you are interested in the mainstream science view of climate change, https://www.skepticalscience.com/ addresses a lot of talking points brought up against that view, and I think it’s quite accessible for the general public.

            One caveat about Eschenbach’s post at WUWT you linked to and found convincing. Eschenbach looks at CO2 only, whereas the Hansen paper scenarios take other greenhouse gases like methane into account, too, as well as aerosols. Only when looking at the combination of these forcings from greenhouse gases and aerosols are you able to compare the scenarios in a meaningful way (and you end up between B and C). I know Eschenbach to be knowledgable enough to be aware of this.

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          2. @marmoewp

            Isn’t the mainstream science view the one backed by politicians and government funding?

            I scanned an article on Hansen’s 1988 model at https://www.skepticalscience.com/ . One thing I find disappointing about this subject is the readiness to call people liars. At some point scientists begin to sound like their paymasters I suppose.

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          3. @Tom
            On the one hand, you profess you are unwilling to spend the time necessary to form a well-founded opinion on the science side of climate change, on the other hand you seem almost eager to throw shade on and pass judgement about climate scientists. Just saying.

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          4. @marmoewp

            Whenever we make an investment, in this case time, there is a diminishing margin of returns. That is, at some point we start investing more time into something than what we get out of it is worth.

            When I was a boy, I investigated things like UFOs, ghosts, and fortune tellers. Eventually, when I discovered they are real, I invested more time in girls.

            I think I have invested enough time in global warming. After I discovered girls, I discovered children and grandchildren. Girls, children, and grandchildren do take up considerable time, but the return on that investment is much higher than I can get from pursuing an apocalyptic, “scientific” fantasy.

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  3. Tom,

    In my opinion, in the past 80 years, the world population has grown significantly, while at the same time, participation in religious influence and participation has decreased significantly.

    Somehow, after the tragedy of war and destruction affects people personally, humans become humbler and return to God.

    Sadly, it is always after pride in the belief that killing a human is a small consequence to the necessity for a justified conquest.

    In other words, once people no longer have religious beliefs of thou shalt not kill, whether it is a 80-year cycle or a different cycle, a repeat performance of wars reoccurs.

    I doubt anyone will take my opinion seriously, most will consider it is foolish to be reminded that King Solomon observed man’s folly will just keep repeating after his death.

    When will we wise up?

    Regards and good will blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good and interesting post Tom. I do agree we are not the verge of something not so good. The signs are all there, chaos reigns over common sense and our enemies will take advantage of this sooner or later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tricia

      Thanks.

      Our culture has just grown worse over the last several decades. A culture is about values and beliefs. Bad values and beliefs result in bad decisions. Since the problem is world-wide, we are seeing bad decisions all over the world.

      Our enemies are not exactly in great shape. We are the only country in the habit of putting arrogant fool’s in charge. So who except God knows what is going to happen?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. @tsalmon

      You do realize Napoleon Bonaparte was the first call someone an ideologue? Insulting the people who disagree with us, even “ideologues”, and praising our own ingenuity, is not new.

      Napoleon actually called the guy who invented the word “ideology” an ideologue.

      Look up the word “ideology”. We all have an ideology or belief system of some sort. Most of us make use of more than one ideology. I am a Christian, a Conservative, and a scientist/engineer. All these titles require me to employ a “systematic set of ideas, doctrines through which the world is interpreted”. That’s an ideology.

      What about the problem of ideological bias? Socrates pointed out what to do about that. You can read a quote from him in this post => https://citizentom.com/2017/05/20/incompatible-views-on-government-part1/

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      1. I saw nothing particularly insulting about the Niskanen Center article. Maybe, it’s something about me, but do you think that your default to feel insulted at anything I put forward is just a little irrational?

        Perhaps it would be worthwhile to refine what I think Taylor means by an ideology. First, we might consider what is not an ideology. The scientific method is not an ideology – it is an epistemic system. When one either denies science or puts overmuch faith that lacks skepticism in science, by science’s own epistemology, that person is not being scientific.

        It’s debatable, but I don’t think Christianity is an ideology either. Although Christianity has spawned numerous theologies which can be ideological in nature (and thus have been the cause of numerous ideological wars and schisms), I think that a supposed Christian ideologue that pretends perfect certainty and lacks the humility in the obvious infinitesimal knowledge that he actually has of God’s Will perhaps does not understand something essential about being a follower of Christ, but that’s just my opinion.

        And I don’t think that Taylor is being critical of ideals. In fact, he makes a point of admitting that we all have to judge problems and solutions from a common moral basis. However, as you yourself have said on numerous occasions, most of us know when something is definitely right or wrong. It’s the complex and ambiguous tough calls that we fight about, and claim ideological certainty when we shouldn’t.

        By ideology, I believe Taylor is focused on normative “isms” like capitalism, libertarianism, socialism, utilitarianism, etc. “Isms” tend to apply a given set of normative rules to every political, sociological, governmental, and even anachronistically, scientific issue. Such “isms” have, as Taylor points out, a decoder ring mentality that will deny even empirical reality if that is what is required in order to hammer that issue into the closed loop of the ideology.

        Perhaps you should give the article a second read with a more open mind.

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        1. @tsalmon

          Not insulting? 🙄 The number of times some form of the word ideologue appears in Taylor’s article is thirteen.

          Look what this dictionary says.

          What Does ideology Mean?
          Ideology has been in use in English since the end of the 18th century and is one of the few words whose coiner we can identify. The French writer A. L. C. Destutt de Tracy proposed it as a term to designate the “science of ideas,” and in that sense the word was quickly borrowed into English. Though ideology originated as a serious philosophical term, within a few decades it took on connotations of impracticality thanks to Napoleon, who used it in a derisive manner. Today, the word most often refers to “a systematic body of concepts,” especially those of a particular group or political party.

          When someone uses the word “ideology” the way Taylor used it, the object is to appeal to the prejudices of his readers. Thanks to statists, the word “ideology” has acquired certain negative connotations.

          Just how silly is Taylor’s article? Isn’t he posing as the mastermind of objectivity? How do we define moderation? Are three wolves discussing dinner with a sheep going to come up with a “moderate” compromise? From whose point of view?

          You don’t think science is ideological? Evolution. Global warming. Nuclear power. Eugenics. Human experimentation. Peer review. The criteria used for “proof”. Data integrity. Government funding of research. The definition of the scientific method? …..Need I go on?

          Use a search engine. The debate over whether or not science is an ideology will split on ideological lines. Why? If you are playing stupid word games, making fun of “ideologues”, are you going to call science an ideology? How about your favorite religion?

          Do scholarly Liberal Democrats deny science and religion are ideologies? Of course, they do, but everything is political to a Liberal Democrat. So that denial is absurd.

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          1. So your only argument is not with substance but that the semantics hurt your feelings? My apologies. I thought you were interested in discussing ideas, not “feelings”. Are your sure that you’re the older brother here? 🙃

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          2. @tsalmon

            I addressed what little substance Taylor’s article contained in my reply to your first comment. If you think more is required, please be more specific.

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          3. I looked again at your response and I honestly didn’t see any reply to any of the substance of Taylor’s article. Instead you seemed to be mostly emotionally piqued about the semantics of the word ideologue.

            Oddly, Taylor’s argument mirrors your own in some ways. Didn’t you write somewhere here that the main problem of uncompromising intransigence is pride. Or do you seriously think ideological rigidity, even in the face of conflicting empirical facts, is only pride when it is displayed by the Left? Really?

            Taylor, a self confessed recovering ideologue himself, broke with the Libertarian Cato Institute over the issue of Climate Change science. Human induced, green house gass caused global warming is either actually happening or it is not. It is either a true event or not, whether one is a Democrat or a Republican, a Conservative or a Liberal, a Socialist or a Capitalist. Ideaology might have much to do with how one responds to the problem, but the truth of the existence or not of such Climate Change only should be an epistemological question of empirical scientific data, not one’s ideological Weltanschauung.

            When our ideological world view does not comport with the actual world, then a little humility would tell us that maybe our Weltanschauung needs adjustment, but for the ideologue who bows down daily in worshipful certainty and safety of his ideology, that shock to his pride is just too much to bear.

            Now you can argue that the vast majority of climate experts are in thrall to their own ideological gods, and are manufacturing the science, and that could be true, but that calls for a conspiracy theory of massive proportions. More likely, if they are wrong, then they have just misinterpreted the data, or are exaggerating the effects, but that is a scientific issue rather than an ideological one. If true, that makes them Chicken Little, not Potemkin. Can you say the same for the climate change deniers?

            As a Libertarian ideologue, Taylor really did not want to believe Climates Change was real because, if it is real, then it almost certainly would call for just the sort of government involvement that Libertarians abhor. However, as scientific data mounted and the few climate change denying scientists Taylor trusted refused to explain it, Taylor was forced to admit that the ideology was driving delusion rather than the facts driving the ideology.

            This was only one point in Taylor’s long article, but I hope it’s specific enough. What do you agree with? What do you disagree with and why? Be specific and to the issue please.

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          4. @tsalmon

            The post I linked to in response to your first comment replied to the substance of Taylor’s article. Here is the revelant part:

            What about the problem of ideological bias? Socrates pointed out what to do about that. You can read a quote from him in this post => https://citizentom.com/2017/05/20/incompatible-views-on-government-part1/

            Think about this. Socrates own people executed him for hate speech. He asked questions that forced people to examine the assumptions upon which they rested their beliefs. His questions made people so uncomfortable (The Truth does that.) they eliminated him.

            So how then do we deal with the problem of ideological bias? We protect Socrates instead of murdering him. To do that sort of thing, the founders of this nation established a constitutional republic. The Constitution both limits the power of the government, and it provides specific protections in the First Amendment.

            What does Taylor propose? Passionate moderation? That’s too funny! I don’t think he appreciates the fact that moderation is not always a virtue. As Frederic Bastiat observed, “Law is Justice.” Hence let borrow from Barry Goldwater.

            I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!

            So what about climate change? Why did Socrates drink hemlock? He threatened the conventional wisdom supported by certain important people.

            Are there a lot of people questioning the scientific consensus (an oxymoron, BTW) of climate change? Why?

            Climate change is an expensive government program, therefore a bonanza for some people. When global warming did not happen, important people decided to change the name. Think about that. What was wrong with global warming? Isn’t the globe warming? Isn’t that the consensus? Then why change to an ambiguous name?

            Am I a “climate change denier”? Thanks for the dumb label. I am also an ideologue. I try to support the best ideas. It is not Christian, Conservative, or scientific to support bad ideas. As a wise man once said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” And it is Christian, Conservative, and scientific to want to come as close to the Truth (The Truth is a person.) as we can.

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          5. That is kind of a platitudinous word salad you’ve thrown out there brother. It says that you love Mom, apple pie, the Constitution and free speech (duh?), but ultimately you seem to conclude that the actual truth is hopelessly subjective.

            They killed Socrates because he exposed falsity with truth through the Socretean method, not because he had some radical ideological bent. Similarly, you oppose climate scientists, not because you can scientifically falsify the truth of their proposition, but because you don’t like some wild political conspiracy that you think that they are fomenting. Even in coming up with a more accurate scientific label for the phenomenon, you see a cabal of pocket protector propagandists lurking under your bed. You simply prove Taylor’s point.

            You do have a point about the notion of a radical centrist, however. Being moderate is just not as sexy and inspiring as being an ideological extremist. But oddly, often in our history, the center has somehow held when being tested by ideological extremists. We’ll see, but I’m optimistic.

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          6. @tsalmon

            Platitudinous? When someone needs to have first principles explained to them again and again and again, it does begin to sound platitudinous. To avoid the platitudinous, should we send all the people who disagree to reeducation camps? Would that make the world sound less platitudinous, or would it just make all the platitudes we hear politically correct?

            Think about this. What makes Taylor appealing to you? Doesn’t he scratch your ears. Doesn’t He say what you want to hear? Doesn’t he tell you that the folks at the CATO Institute are ideologically biased. And you don’t even have an ideology (supposedly😛). So you cannot be an ideologue.

            They killed Socrates because he challenged what they wanted to believe. Taylor is no Socrates. He is just a pretend Libertarian.

            Plenty of influential libertarian academics and public intellectuals have likewise embraced taxing greenhouse gas emissions, state-provided catastrophic health care coverage, a universal basic income guaranteed by the state, and a number of other progressive-friendly policies.

            Yeah! Sure! And Barack Obama was a Liberal just like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Mason.

            When you start reading real Conservatives and Libertarians, please let me know.

            Instead of telling you how to think like I think, like some kind of self proclaimed apostle of Conservative moderation, I actually defined a moderate approach, don’t murder those who disagree with us or make us uncomfortable with their ideas. Yes, I admit that is an ideological and even platitudinous notion. So what?

            Do I think the Truth is hopelessly subjective? No. I think the Truth is a person.

            John 14:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
            6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

            When I reject the Truth, I reject Jesus. When I support a lie, I reject Jesus. To know Jesus I must accept the Truth. That doesn’t mean I always know what is true, but it does mean I have an obligation to consider beliefs and ideas contrary to my biases. I know I cannot trust my biases.

            Is global warming real? Is global warming caused by man? I have yet to see what I think sufficient evidence. I don’t give a crap about the so-called consensus. That is just a matter of who has the loudest propaganda.

            So what do you do? Instead of discussing the evidence, you point to what you think wrong with me. That makes you the voice of reason?

            Before they murdered Socrates, do you think they discussed his ideas or the dreadful “nuisance” he was making of himself.

            And, yes, I am no Socrates. I have given no one cause to remember me for thousands of years. Yet if I remember Jesus and cherish His name I will live forever.

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          7. @Doug

            Yeah! Religion has no place in the public square. Keep it in the closet where it belongs.

            Seriously! The moment I mention that what I believe is based upon my belief in Jesus I lose credibly with those whose knee-jerk reaction is like yours. Can you even explain how I supposedly shielded myself? With religion? What is wrong with insisting upon a discussion of the actual issues instead of resorting to unrelenting personal attacks?

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          8. Tom.. you seem to take a lot way too personally, buddy. My last retort to you was a shot at your propensity to, from my perspective, hold up the cross in front of you when you present political opinion as some attempt at deflection of opinion that may challenge your’s. Not for me to judge one way or the other how you or anyone chooses to utilize their faith. I was just making the observation given I can compete with your political opinions but not with your faith as I am not worthy.

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          9. @Doug

            You make a serious accusation, but you don’t want to be taken seriously? Sigh!

            Consider the nature of the discussion. Taylor proposes that we can all resolve our differences through some sort of nonideological moderation. I just pointed out that is ridiculous. Politics, religion, and even science is ideological.

            Our ideological bias is not the problem. Our problem is a lack a respect for the Truth. When we choose to put ourselves before the Truth, we put ourselves before God. Any ideology that encourages such a thing is flawed, even a ideology that makes the absurd claim it is not an ideology.

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          10. @Doug

            Before someone testifies in court, they swear to tell the truth. Usually, they swear on a bible. Why? That is because we know that men fear the Truth enough to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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          11. “Platitudinous? When someone needs to have first principles explained to them again and again and again, it does begin to sound platitudinous. To avoid the platitudinous, should we send all the people who disagree to reeducation camps?”

            Seriously Tom. Do you consider such emotional hyperbole an actual argument?

            Before you keep continuously getting your feelings hurt because you say that I making this about you, you might consider that it is you that began this discussion by playing the poor victimized ideologue. I just wanted to discuss ideas.

            I have yet to read your argument against “ideas”, but instead all I read from you is how anyone who challenges your ideological bent by presenting a conflicting truth is a member of the enemy tribe who seeks to victimize you personally. And now, in this faux victimhood, you want me to see you as some cross between the repoisoned Socrates and the recrucified Christ? You are acting like the opposite of Socrates – ideologues wanted him dead because he challenged the current ideological thinking with logic, not because he was and ideologue. Jesus too challenged the existing ideological orthodoxy with a simple truth – love.

            So common brother, do you really see insignificant me and yourself playing out such a strange bad oppressive me verses good victimized you Kabuki dance here? I’m interested in challenging the truth of your ideas, not you, and the fact that you cannot separate the two proves much about Taylor’s point.

            Just take climate change. It is true or it is not. I have yet to see you present any falsifying data. You just attack the people by placing them in the enemy camp of a worldwide conspiracy of good verses evil. When did the pragmatic, truth seeking scientist in you finally become captive to the ideologue? And don’t try to outjesus me – we are both Christians and I just don’t buy that your brand new ideology somehow owns an eternal God. We are both just tiny souls scratching in the dark for just a crumb of the light of truth from a God so bright He would blind us and burn us to oblivion if we actually saw it all.

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          12. One other thing since you keep bringing it up, and because recognizing the falsity of it may make you understand where you keep trying to turn an intellectual discussion into a jury feeling shouting match.

            Science as an epistemology is not ideology any more than math is an ideology. Two plus two will equal four whether one is a Democrat or a Republican, a Communist or a Capitalist. The Pythagorean Theorem works on faraway planets where partisan nuts from either Party don’t even exist.

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          13. Ugh.. Tony.. your last sentence.. you sure of that? 🙂 Another planet can have an entirely different physics going on. Maybe your former Space boy brother has some interstellar insight on what happens on other planets. Wasn’t that Tom’s name at the end of that Project Blue Book? 🙂

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          14. @tsalmon

            Are my feelings hurt? Doesn’t much matter. What matters is that you are arguing against me instead of for your cause. If your cause requires the destruction of those who oppose it, ask why.

            You cited an article — Taylor’s — wherein the author calls the folks at the CATO Institute ideologues, biased by their ideology. Then you put me in the same camp as the CATO folks. That is the crux of your argument for moderation? Name calling?

            What have I suggested is the alternative for Taylor’s so-called moderation? I suggested we keep the alternative we have in place. We keep our constitutional republic.

            Do I want you to see me as Socrates or Jesus? 🤣 Well, it is a cinch that isn’t going to happen.

            Why did the powers that be kill Socrates? He challenged the existing order. We actually do have ideological blinders. No matter who are we construct an ideology. To a large extent we adopt what is taught us. That includes truths, concepts, and biases. It also includes the system of relationships between these truths, concepts, and biases. When Socrates taught his students to ask probing questions, that threatened those who wanted the status quo.

            Jesus went many steps well beyond Socrates. Jesus turned the world upside down. Jesus forced the Jews to realize that they could not save themselves with their works. Yet as someone who appeared to be an ordinary human being, he lived a life without sin. He shamed the prideful and uplifted the humble. He said the first would be last and the last would be first. He thoroughly frightened and angered those who idolized the things of this world.

            Thus, both Socrates and Jesus threatened what people wanted to believe, and many hated them for that. Especially Jesus.

            What about global warming? Do I reject it because of my ideological beliefs? I adhere to at least three: Christianity, Conservativism, and Science. Those are all supportive of suicidal stupidity?

            I told you I don’t take global warming seriously because I have yet to see enough evidence that requires it to be taken seriously. You believe it. Where is the evidence that satisfies you?

            Note that there are 4,305 posts on this blog. I have talked about global warming. Use the search function.

            Two plus two equals four? Well, that is true in the abstract, but it doesn’t always work that way in the real world. => https://citizentom.com/2008/06/22/what-is-mathematical-proof-does-2-2-4/

            What is an ideology? What we call an ideology is a way of making sense of the real world. That is especially true of science. The scientific method is what we use to model cause and effect relationships in the real world. A model is an abstraction of some real world system. What people use to predict global warming are in fact computer models. So far the doom and gloom predictions have not materialized.

            That sound absurd? Think about the expression “political science”. Lots of people have spent a great deal of effort trying to understand politics the same way we try to understand biology, chemistry, and physics. Sometimes in science we can use mathematics to model a system, and sometime we cannot. Political science includes polling data, but that is insufficient to model cause and effect relationships. So observers are stuck recording that observations and characterizing the behavior of the players just the way biologists describe an ecosystem.

            BTW – Are you certain the Pythagorean Theorem would work on a faraway planet circling close to a black hole?

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          15. Don’t want to get ahead of my skis here – was an English major, but I do love to read about science and logic. You may be thinking of alternative universes. I think that the Pythagorean Theorem will work anywhere in this one. 😉

            Like

          16. You’re right though. Tom would know better than I. He probably personally knows the aliens in Area 51 (and is trying to get them deported).

            Like

          17. “Alternative universe? You mean, like the White House?”

            Ha,ha,ha!

            Maybe Trump is thinking too small:

            “We’re going to build a force field and we’re going to make the Klingons pay for it.”

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          18. LOL.. Yeah.. well, I can live long and prosper pretty much on my own… I don’t need him. Wait.. I could use his money. That would make my living and prospering a little better.

            Liked by 1 person

          19. “BTW – Are you certain the Pythagorean Theorem would work on a faraway planet circling close to a black hole?”

            You’ve got me there Tom. Doug, I told you he knows space aliens.

            On the other hand, whether or not the Pythagorean Theorem were untrue near a Black Hole or during the first few milliseconds after the Big Bang isn’t because of the current epistemology of astrophysics is ideologically incorrect; it’s because normal physics models break down and new ones must be added.

            The scientific epistemic works that way. As you say, scientific epistemology works on theory, not ideological certainty.

            As Karl Popper explained, a theory is presented and if it (often through peer review) continuously withstands mathematical, empirical, and experimental falsification, then we have greater and greater confidence in the truth of that theory. Newton’s so-called laws of physics were thus somewhat falsified and somewhat modified by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. If a theory is, by its very nature, not subject to falsification if it is false (such as “there is a God” or “there is no God”), then it is not a scientific theory because it is not subject to the truth finding function of scientific epistemology.

            You say that I “believe in” climate change and you don’t. That’s actually not exactly true. I don’t “believe in” climate change with the same ideological, dogmatic certainty you disbelieve it because I’m not an ideologue. Because I’m not an expert, I must rely on the peer reviewed attempts by experts to falsify the theory through empirical modeling. Assuming that the theory continues to withstand such scientific scrutiny, one has to also consider probabilities, costs and benefits.

            The lawyer decision to take a tort case is similar. What is the evidence, what is the chance of winning, what are the costs of proceeding and what are the damages? The logic of epistemic system that is tort law requires a multiplier of all these factors before going to court, just as our look at climate change requires something similar. Putting absolute ideological type “faith” in the certainty of climate change is just as unscientific as putting absolute ideological faith in the certainty that climate change isn’t happening.

            And that’s the point. Moderation requires more humility on both sides. That’s what you’re missing in Taylor’s article. That’s what ideologues on both sides are missing. If you tell me that you honestly have looked at all the data and peer reviewed the reports and have either falsified them yourself through your own modeling or you are relying on peer reviewed data modeling by other experts, then I respect that (you are way ahead of me). However, if you are simply telling me that you refuse to believe the experts because these truths are inconvenient to your ideology, then you are telling me that Taylor is right. You are condemning scientists for using the epistemology of the scientific method to put forward truths inconvenient to your ideology just as the ideologues of Socrates time condemned him for using the epistemology of logic to put forward inconvenient truths. Epistemology is not the same as ideology and that is what you don’t seem to conceive, which is very strange for a scientist.

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          20. @tsalmon

            Please note again the difference in our modes of argument.

            I read Taylor’s article and said it is silly. We cannot force people to become moderate. We cannot even agree what it means to be moderate. Have you ever heard of a moderate abortion, for example. However, we can protect the First Amendment rights of people to challenge our beliefs.

            How did you react? Tom is an ideologue. Try as you might you can’t justify using the silly word. Did you know Karl Marx called people ideologues too? The earlier form of the word was “ideologist”. That is the version Marx used.

            What is the problem with an ideology? It is not real; it is only a model of reality. So if one is a scientist one becomes an expert in taking data on reality and converting that data into an abstract understanding of reality. Why? We can comprehend a model, but we cannot comprehend reality. There is too much information for our brains to process. So we must must greatly simplify.

            Other disciplines have the same problem. Economics, History, Music, Theology, Political Science, and so forth. All to varying degrees are systems of extracting what is important from what would otherwise be noise.

            What happens when we do this sort of thing? In a free society people develop competing theories, and they argue about which theories most closely approximate reality. The fact that such debates still occur in our country is a good sign. We are still free.

            Here is an example. Keynesian economics is an economic theory. Certain politicians have supported it, but classical and free-market economists don’t.

            Within the realm of Political Science we have a large variety of competing theories. Liberalism and Conservativism are just a few, and these theorists call upon multiple disciplines, especially Economics and Science to advance their cause. Why? It is not that clear where one ideology ends and another begins.

            So what then is going on when people claim they are nonideological? As a practical matter, they just don’t understand the word ideology. To claim pragmatism or to just say we are doing what “works”, or to say we are just being realistic is to make a silly claim. Even pragmatists have to have a belief system to determine and decide what works. Realism, in this sense, is just another word for pragmatism. Even realists can only approximate reality. Only God sees the actual Truth.

            So is Tom blinded by his ideological bias? We all are, and that includes you too. Here you are voting for radicals and claiming you don’t have an ideology because you are not an ideologue. That, of course, gives you the privilege of calling your political opponents ideologues. What is sad is that you are so biased you refuse to admit that is just twisted.

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          21. “We cannot force people to become moderate. We cannot even agree what it means to be moderate. Have you ever heard of a moderate abortion, for example. However, we can protect the First Amendment rights of people to challenge our beliefs.”

            Tom,

            As you may remember, I agreed with you on that point of Taylor’s argument. Not that it is possible and even normatively preferable to be a moderate or a centrist, but that it does seem anachronistic to expect people to be “radical” moderates. More on this in a minute.

            However, if you read your earlier responses above, that was not your main disagreement with Taylor. Your main disagreement is that everything is an ideology and everyone is an ideologue, which is what you again repeat above.

            I responded to this amazing theory by saying that numerous epistemic systems such as common scientific methods, mathematics and logic are not in and of themselves ideological. For example E=MCsquared could be used by an ideologue to blow up the world for the sake his ideology, but E=MCsquared is not in and of itself ideological. It’s just a scientific theory that has not been falsified, but instead held up under empirical testing to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of lives in Japan.

            You point out several of what you yourself would call pseudo-sciences, each with its own epistemic basis. You are way too smart to equate ta pseudo-science such as political science with the natural sciences. If you want, I will make the argument of how they are different and how they are similar, but honestly, you can make it better than I can, and in fact, I’m pretty sure that you already have somewhere. So don’t you think this line of argument is just a little disingenuous? Or as you might say, silly? Come on, you can do better than that.

            If you want to discuss the various philosophies of epistemology, I’d love to. It’s been a hobby of study of mine most of my life and I’ve read or read about all the major philosophers from Descartes to Rorty. You could say that this area of philosophy has an ideological side to it, but because these are philosophical discussions about the ontological nature (or origins) of knowledge, they are not themselves workable epistemologies (such as the scientific method) so much as they are enigmatic theories about why we should believe anything at all. These are fascinating theories that I love reading about, but every one that I’ve heard about has its fallacies.

            The reality is that scientific methodology simply works epistemically because it actually works to expand our knowlege of what is true and to make useful predictions about what may be true. It is true because it turns out to be true. I know that that is a tautology of sorts, but I think it was Wittgenstein who ultimately decided that every philosophy ultimately comes down to tautology. Anyway the scientific method has been around long enough to be fairly standardized as an nonideological epistemic system and to prove that it works to model reality successfully.

            Climate science has an enormous number of complex variables. I’m not arguing with your right to be sceptical, but can you really be certain in your skepticism? Cannot one make a scientific statement of theory about climate change which is subject to scientific falsifiability if it is false, and which is subject to greater and greater confidence in its truth as it survives falsification? That statement is the theory that the global climate (long term global “climate” not transient “weather” phenomenon) is warming due to the heat trapping effects of man made green house gases. The fact that this statement of theory is difficult to prove false even if it is false has little to do with whether, in actual reality, that statement is true or not. I can tell you that the most profitable companies in the world have an incredible economic incentive in proving that that statement is false.

            Now back to radical moderates. I think most people are moderates. They are just not radical about it. What does that mean? Well, I think it means that they don’t pretend to know things for certain that they don’t. They have a healthy skepticism about purported experts but they also have a healthy respect for what it takes to acquire knowledge and experience in complex areas. They also distrust radicals and demagogues. The virtue that Taylor talks about is not really ideological, but a universal truth accepted by any moral person from any time, religion or ideological bent. It is humility, and in particular, the humility not to pretend dogmatic certainty about things that are just not certain.

            Remember that a practical “belief” that leads to a necessary decision is not always based on certainty. As an airline pilot, I can believe that going through this procedure will best handle this emergency, but my expectation is based upon knowledge, experience and probability, not certainty. In other words, I would need to adapt if it didn’t work rather then go spiraling to my death certain that I had made the only right moves and I am certain that they worked.

            Neither is “faith” the same as certainty. This should be obvious by the fact that it’s called “faith”. Faith comes from God, not ourselves, and has aspects of grace and revelation that defies the whole concept of perfect logical or empirical certainty.

            You mention abortion. Are you seriously “certain” that God implants a soul at conception? Based upon what? Your personal revelation? Thomist natural law metaphysics? Indirect implications of your biblical interpretations? Surely not science?

            I don’t claim to be an expert in any of these areas but I have studied the theories and sympathize with some of the reasoning, but I still remain skeptical of the claimed infallibility of mere human belief in any of these areas.

            I “believe” abortion is probably immoral, but I don’t claim any ideological pride of certainty in that belief. I can tell you that my level of certainty of belief increasees with gestation time to the point where I am the most certain as birth nears.

            I would not get an abortion if I were a woman, but I’m not a woman. I think that ideologues in both sides of this issue and the country as a whole would benefit by showing a little more humility in their certainty, and a little more compromise on solutions that are both healthier and more loving than criminalizing a difficult decision based on something so prideful as dogmatic thinking about something so mysteriously mystical as the ontology of the human soul. D&C abortions seem like the dumbest form of birth control possible. Maybe we could agree on that. But that’s just my “belief”, my mere opinion, not my certainty of the absolute truth.

            Like

          22. @tsalmon

            You sure are up late. Must have the same infernal cold I have.

            The term “ideology”, the science of ideas, predates “epistemology”, the science of knowledge. People like Napoleon Bonaparte and Karl Marx changed the connotation of “ideology” from positive to negative. Marx used ideology to refer to science, religion, and politics, stating the purpose of ideology is to enforce the will of the ruling class. Of course, Communism was to be an escape from ideologists.

            The global warming thing is tiresome. I don’t believe in global warming because the theory has yet to be demonstrated to work. It fails the test of the scientific method, but Al Gore likes it, and that makes me the ideologue?

            There is nothing moderate about the Democratic Party’ support for abortion, and that is what you voted for.

            You say most people are moderate? In this country, to the extent we retain our Christian heritage that may appear true. In practice I think most people just fearfully conform to the mob around them. When someone refuses to conform the mob gets mean. A cynical observation? No. Just an example of our fallen nature and our need for Jesus.

            Like

          23. No cold. Just like this topic. Hope you feel better soon.

            “The global warming thing is tiresome. I don’t believe in global warming because the theory has yet to be demonstrated to work. It fails the test of the scientific method, but Al Gore likes it, and that makes me the ideologue?”

            You really need to get over this self victimization.. If you are an ideologue, own it, or at least own whether connotation of that term attracts you. However, your statement here doesn’t sound ideological in any sense as long as your skepticism about climate change is that you don’t feel that it has withstood enough scientific scrutiny to provide sufficient probability to act upon belief either way. As long as your antigovernment ideology is not simply dismissing climate change outright, regardless of its scientific merit, I don’t think that you actually are being an ideologue in this case, and that you actually agree with Taylor. It’s the climate scientist’s job to convince you and not the other way around.

            As for your throw away line about voting for Democrats, both parties are big tents and both parties have moderates and extremist persons and platform policies. I’ve voted for candidates from both parties, but I’ve never taken an ideological loyalty pledge to either tribe.

            Last I heard moderation was a virtue that goes back to the ancient Greeks. Like all virtues, it is an aspiration of practice, not something that a humble sinner ever claims perfection at. So if you want to find examples where self proclaimed moderates have failed in that practice, you will find abundant examples, just as you will find abundant examples of self proclaimed Christians who sin.

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          24. @tsalmon

            Self victimization? I started this ideologue nonsense?

            When Taylor tries to use passionate moderation to eliminate bias of ideology, I think that just indicates a misunderstanding of both the need for ideological beliefs and the virtue of moderation. To determine what is moderate, we need to consider our choices within an appropriate ideological framework. Taylor is trying to eliminate the framework. As you agreed, that will not work. So I am kind of puzzled why we are still at this.

            Without an ideological framework, how do we define good and evil, what is virtuous and what is not? Consider the Romans and the Greeks. We consider humility a virtue, but they sure didn’t. In addition, faith, hope, and charity are Christian virtues, not pagan virtues. Faith, hope and charity are derived from the ideological framework Jesus provides us.

            Here is an example of the dedication of the Democrats to abortion =>
            https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/anti-abortion-groups-oppose-house-bill-to-end-government-shutdown

            Glad you enjoy the topic and you are feeling well.

            Like

          25. “When someone refuses to conform the mob gets mean. A cynical observation? No. Just an example of our fallen nature and our need for Jesus.”

            I’m reminded of an old New Yorker cartoon that I saw when flipping through that magazine at a coffee shop:

            Two dogs are talking to each other and one dog says to the other: “It’s not just enough that dogs succeed, the cats must also fail.”

            Sounds like a lot of what going on in both parties lately, but with Trump’s zero sum transactional way of looking at everything, I think it’s getting much worse for the Republicans. Not an ideology, just a modest observation.😉

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          26. @tsalmon

            An observation bereft of anything other than an empty insinuation. When does the mob demand? We want to believe people are basically good, to take comfort in the supposed wisdom of the majority. If you believe that, then that is one of those things you believe that is not so.

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          27. I don’t want to argue semantics, but it is of some use to consider what I think is problematic about a given type of ideological framerwork. Let’s take Marxist Communism.

            Marx believed his ideological framework was based upon inerrant reason. Despite it’s atheism, Marxism is a moral system in that its notions proclaimed the inexorable road to a more equal, prosperous Utopian society. Finally, Marxism based its moral, political and socioeconomic decision making on the closed loop of deterministic inevitability, or in other words, a prideful absolutist certainty that, damn the limits of human knowlege and damn any inconvenient countering facts, this was the only right way. Does this sound familiar to other similar ideologies that are both religious and rational?

            Call them ideologies if you like, but I would argue the aspirational practice of simple virtues within the Christian “faith” and within many other religious frameworks does not have these same ideological attributes of absolutist, deterministic and dogmatic certainty. In a finite and fallen world, when a Christian who wishes to act virtuously comes upon a true moral dilemma, he seeks the most virtuous path, often balancing between imperfect alternatives and recognizing, because he is not God and does not know everything, his decision may have unpredictable negative unintended consequences to be handled. The first virtue that the person trying to practice virtue must start with is humility about his own certainty in such a complex, ambiguous, finite and fallen world. Such an ideology, if you wish to call it that, is not an unerring roadmap through the moral wilderness of life, it is instead a moral compass that only generally gives one the right direction over difficult, often intractable unknown terrain. For myself as I try to “practice” my religion, it is faith the guides me when I am lost, and as I said before, the belief that derives from “faith” is not the same thing as absolutist certainty. (Think about the Gospel’s doubting Thomas who desperately wanted certainty when what he needed was faith).

            I think that when Taylor is talking about the uncompromising, absolutist ideologue, he is not talking about such a humble pilgrim. Rather I think he is referring to the prideful absolutist so wrapped in the magical thinking of his ideological certainty that he doesn’t even see the nonconforming real world any more.

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          28. @tsalmon

            There are good and bad ideologies. Nazism and Communism are stinkers. Many others are riddled with holes. Yet because we are so imperfect, many of us adhere to flawed ideological systems. Therefore, we must seek the truth or pray God dumps it in our lap (think I got so lucky).

            Consider the problem of learning how to think logically. What we call Philosophy is a system of ideas invented by brilliant men. These fellows, through one of those flukes of history (the city states of ancient Greece) were allowed and even encouraged to debate and refine their thoughts. Then for thousand of years subsequent generations learned and passed on their philosophical system. So what they learned and taught has survived to our day. Their system of logic still helps us to make good decisions.

            Our Judeo/Christian religious beliefs have given us a far greater jewel. These are defined by a book, the Bible. The Bible guides us. The Bible is our road map. Our faith in Jesus should lead those of us with the capacity to study the Bible and pray for wisdom, that is, the wisdom to discern good from evil.

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  5. Cool post,Tom. One of my favorite sayings is, “sheep don’t strive.” They really don’t, it’s almost funny to think of “striving sheep.” James 4 always makes me think of scarcity, there’s not enough, other people are hogging all the territory, water, resources. That’s not God,God is infinite and abundant. There is more than enough for everyone.

    Issues around immigration kind of reflect that scarcity mindset, as if America is the only place people can ever be happy and prosper and we’re hogging all the resources and refusing to let them all in! But that isn’t true at all, people can create that for themselves in other countries, we can do things to help promote domestic stability right where they’re at. I realize it’s a complex situation, but our solutions are too short term and reactionary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @IB

      Sheep don’t strive? That is a good way to put it. I am not a pacifist sheep, but the main thing fighting over things produces is spilt blood.

      When I read Genesis 26, I am always amazed by the patience of Isaac. Sure, he does the same stinking thing his father did. He hides the fact that Rebecca is his wife. Still, he has reason to fear. The people of that land don’t want him there, but he doesn’t contend with them. He just digs another well, and digging holes in the ground is hard work.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. @bottomlesscoffee007

      Interesting post You wrote.

      Not saying people have changed. We have not. Just offering the observation that we are about due another big war. Why? Because the people who fought in the last one did not make certain — assuming they could — we learned the hard lessons they learned.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. @marmoewp

      Thanks for the link. Quite interesting.

      Subsidence can occur even where rainfall seems more than adequate. One of the reasons flooding from heavy rains can be such a severe problem on the Texas Gulf Coast is that pumping from wells has caused the land in some areas to subside by as much as six feet (183 cm).

      Like

  6. You may or may not want to replace the link to the Victor Orban speech with a link to the Prime Minister’s official site.

    Why am I making the suggestion? It is your choice, which pastures you lead your flock to. Here’s what I know of that specific pasture. The site Gates of Vienna that you link to is known for promoting islamophobia and for pushing the Eurabia conspiracy theory, that the “elites” want to islamize Europe. The site got news coverage in the wake of the Breivik terrorist attack, as Breivik in his manifesto quoted at length Fjordman, an author at GoV, as his ideological inspiration. The site nowadays is self-hosted, after it got shut down twice by its original host Blogger for its extreme and racist content.

    Like

    1. @marmoewp

      I will include the link to the Prime Minister’s official website. Good idea! Thanks.

      I don’t get too excited by charges of hate speech or the logic of guilt by association. I don’t even think fear of Islam is irrational. So I don’t see much reason to delete the link to the Gates of Vienna.

      In any event, it would not raise my standards. Even though outfits like “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” are just a lying and deceptive propaganda mills, to my eternal shame I still link to them.

      Like

  7. A good call for making the effort to compromise, Tom. Although I don’t really share the doom & gloom of an impending conflict, other than maybe the occasional regional thing that always pops up. I see any future conflicts arising from threats to survival, ala trickle down effects of global warming with dramatic weather changes, disease, etc. Man is what man always has been… a purveyor of great beauty and a deliverer of death & destruction onto himself. Hence the need for interventions of faith, yet all too often in human history missions of faith have inspired man’s most disastrous and destructive actions onto himself. It seems every few generations there must be some sort of grand conflict to include bloodletting and destruction in order for man to find value in peace. Everything is cyclical. That being said, we aren’t “there” yet or even close. A transitional time, for sure. But what is keeping things from getting really bad is oddly enough, our economy.. the world economy.. is doing pretty well. People can still go home and night and spend their paychecks on the latest toys. So far that is keeping our international and domestic divisiveness in check. People are bitching but there’s a desire to keep the status quo… in the least, limiting themselves to planning for the weekend to visit grandma rather than meeting with the neighbors to discuss terrorist strikes against the government. Russia, China, et al.. have no desire for a war when things are going so well with money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Doug

      Glad you think well of the post. Thank you.

      As I see it, your comment addresses two subjects: whether war is about to break out and the effect of faith on human history.

      Is war about to break out? Exactly when, where, and why war will break out is something I don’t know. I just see that the people — the generations — who fought their way through World War II are mostly dead now. Since we have grown more “tolerant”, our schools do a worse job of teaching American history.

      It seems traditional American values have become intolerable. Therefore, because our ignorance and lack of wisdom, we seem quite likely to repeat the same mistakes previous generations have made.

      What mistakes? Those mistakes relate to faith. Consider your observation.

      Man is what man always has been… a purveyor of great beauty and a deliverer of death & destruction onto himself. Hence the need for interventions of faith, yet all too often in human history missions of faith have inspired man’s most disastrous and destructive actions onto himself. It seems every few generations there must be some sort of grand conflict to include bloodletting and destruction in order for man to find value in peace. Everything is cyclical.

      Everyone puts his faith someone or something. The pagans of yesteryear believed in idols. The pagans of today, the “secular”, believe in their stuff, the abundance of pleasures such as sex, the power of the state, and in their own competence, their self. What “secular” call wisdom is a creed the call “Science”.

      Most “faiths” differ little from that of the the new pagans. Muslims idolize Allah. Hindus idolize Creation. Buddhists idolize their own individual spirits. That is, most “faiths” lead us to believe that “l” am the solution. “I” just have to follow the right protocol.

      Christianity isn’t about what “I” do. Christianity teaches us to have faith in Jesus, to love God above all and to love our neighbors as we love our self.

      Christianity teaches us that the peace that matters is peace with God, a peace that comes because we love Him. If we have peace with our neighbors, it is because they too have made the choice to love Him.

      Like

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