The problem with people is that we behave like people. In the ideal world, we could discuss truth, religion, politics, and so forth calmly and rationally, but we cannot. God did not make us that way. He made us to care very much about such things. That is why I found myself in the middle of a fracas recently (see the comments on PING PONG?).

Frankly, I have little use for being in the middle of dispute over whether or a blogger edits comments or lies. Once a blogger proves untrustworthy, I go elsewhere. The problem is that we don’t know in advance who can be trusted. Sometimes we have to find out the hard way.

So, I have been in the middle of a fracas. Ben Berwick has written several posts detailing his side of this dispute.

I don’t have enough interest in he said she said arguments to write all that much about such things. If we cannot prove something one way or the other, that makes further discussion pointless, and that was the problem with this dispute. Nobody really had any proof of anything, but that did not stop the accusations.

Why is Ben Berwick mad at me?


Deuteronomy 19:15-21 New American Standard Bible

15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a person regarding any wrongdoing or any sin that he commits; on the testimony of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. 16 If a malicious witness rises up against a person to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17 then both people who have the dispute shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18 And the judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has testified against his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had planned to do to his brother. So you shall eliminate the evil from among you. 20 And the rest of the people will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21 So you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.

From a legal standpoint, it is often difficult to prove wrongdoing. So, we generally don’t take someone to court without good reason and evidence. Since Silence of Mind had been blogging friends for years, I took his accusation against Berwick seriously. However, I allowed Berwick to defend himself. Silence of Mind had not offered any clear evidence, and Berwick had a right to ask for it. Silence of Mind came back with an ambiguous response. Unfortunately, instead of pointing to the weakness of Silence of Mind‘s evidence, Berwick either panicked or lost his temper. He accused theologyarchaeology of lying.

In the end, nobody proved anything. Can I resolve any of this satisfactorily? No.

How do we discern whether or not a blogger is trustworthy? Is there a magic formula? Not really. What does an untrustworthy person do?

  • They violate our trust by lying to us and/or about us.
  • They steal from us.

Can we can go to the Bible for discernment? Of course, we can. What would the Bible add? What does the Bible say about the untrustworthy? Much of the Book of Proverbs is about this problem. What do the untrustworthy do?

  • They advocate disobedience against the commands of God.
  • They justify themselves instead of God.

What does all that mean for us? Who we trust is a personal choice, but we are better off trusting people whose lives demonstrate they trust in God.

Will those who don’t trust in God be offended by our choice? Yes, but there is this thing called the cancel culture……. How can we depend upon the standards of people who cannot point to any source to justify their standards? Unless we know someone loves and cares for us, how do we trust them?

Do Atheists and Agnostics have answers for these questions? Comments are welcome.

42 thoughts on “WHO APPOINTED ME JUDGE?

Add yours

  1. Considering how many times Tom himself has lied for his religion, it’s quite amusing to see the kettle calling the pot black.

    “How can we depend upon the standards of people who cannot point to any source to justify their standards? Unless we know someone loves and cares for us, how do we trust them?”

    all Tom has is the typical argument from morality that so many theists of all types, including all the various versions of Christianity, uses. He cannot show that he has any objective morals, that his god agrees with his list, or that his god exists at all.

    Indeed, from christian actions themselves, there are no objective morals from it, considering the contradictory claims of christians themselves. We have many of them, Tom included, that have no problem with their god doing things that they would find abhorrent if a human did the same thing. This shows that Tom’s morality is entirely subjective, dependent on who or what someone/thing is and having nothing to do with an objective morality attached to an action.

    Add to that the fact that none of these chrsitians can show they are true believers, and it seems that they are all frauds, simply making up a god that agrees with them to try to make themselves important.

      1. Nope, but nice try Tom, in your need to make false claims. There are no objective morals, but there are ones that work well with civilization and we should follow them for our benefit and others’s benefit.

        1. Club, You just set “civilization” as the objective standard for morals. You express the ruthless morality of totalitarian utilitarianism. Greco-Roman natural law is the foundation of morality here in the West.

          Natural law are those principles which lead to human flourishing. The Christians favor divine law given by God since God is the one who designed and created man. God is an expert on his own creation.

          1. Unsurprisingly, I haven’t. As always, SOM, and his fellow ignorant theists, try to ignore what I’ve actually said, in order to create a strawman to attack.

            I do enjoy that SOM has admitted that morality has nothing to do with his cult. The morality we follow here in the west is a mix of various civilizations, including greek and roman, and also including Irish, British, and American since we’ve invented our own morality based on an ideal of freedom that is uniquely ours.

            There is no “natural law” which is often used by christians, especially catholics. Since poor SOM can’t show his god exists, the claim that christian “favor divine law” is only meaningful when one points out that they all have different versions of this supposed “divine law’ and not one of them can show that their version is the truth at all. No evidence that this god exists, designed or created anything, or gave objective morals. this god is an expert on nothing, being imaginary.

            “Club, You just set “civilization” as the objective standard for morals. You express the ruthless morality of totalitarian utilitarianism. Greco-Roman natural law is the foundation of morality here in the West.

            Natural law are those principles which lead to human flourishing. The Christians favor divine law given by God since God is the one who designed and created man. God is an expert on his own creation.”

          2. Club

            If you confused Silence of Mind (you didn’t), it is because you are trying to be ambiguous. Follow what morals? Which civilization? Why?

            Presumably you want people to treat others with respect, the way you do, right? Why should anyone do that?

            What do people do in practice? We are social creatures. We depend upon each other for survival. Therefore, we don’t want the people we depend upon to think they cannot trust us. If we have what Christians regard as an immature set of ethics, that means we don’t want the people we depend upon to catch us betraying their trust. If we have what Christians regard as a mature set of ethics, that means we don’t want God to catch us betraying the trust of anyone. And we cannot hide anything from God.

            What is the consequence if virtually everyone in a civilization upholds an immature set of ethics? Then that civilization fractures along tribal lines. Then only the force of arms can hold it together. That is the sort of civilization Mao Zedong wanted for China.

            Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

            If everyone has an immature set of ethics, that leads to a hierarchical civilization where only those trusted by those who govern are allowed to be armed and to exercise any rights. That leads to the enslavement of those who the rulers do not trust.

            What is the consequence if virtually everyone in a civilization upholds an mature set of ethics? The United States is about as close any civilization to that ideal, but it seems more and more people have less and less reason to trust each other.

            So, Club, what do you suggest? What system of morality do you uphold and why?

          3. Let’s ignore “morality”, because it’s a concept invented by the religious, particularly, recently, by the American ‘Christians,’ but about the specifics of which, no two Christian groups totally agree with each other, and go with the Secular Humanist concept of The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number, which benefits the individual, their society, and the human race at large.
            If you don’t want the greatest good for the greatest number I don’t even want to know why not, just a previous warning. If you want to know if slavery is immoral – ask a slave. 👿

          4. What an original thought! The dictatorship of the wise and just majority. The majority won’t enslave anyone. That’s never happened before.

            Yep! We will just declare the majority our god and take a poll every time we need to make a decision about anything.

            Do Secular Humanists agree about everything? Does any large group of people? Would it not be a miracle if they did? Would it be a good miracle? Without a some sort of basis for judging the matter, how would we know? Because everyone is in agreement? Would that be it?

          5. If you feel you only do good the basis that your god, Yahweh is watching then you really aren’t moral, but merely an obsequious sycophant trying to curry favour in the hope your good deeds will get you into Heaven, or at least avoid hell.
            It is this type of deranged thinking that encouraged people to kill Muslims during the Crusades, and of course vice versa.
            Religion is a blight in humanity.

          6. Your first sentence contains an observation worth discussing. The rest is just ironic and silly coming from an Atheist. What is your basis for calling anything good or bad?

            Are we good if we do the right thing just because God is watching? No. Fear is only the beginning of wisdom. To do something good, we have to do it out of love.

            Only God is good.

            Criticism has a purpose, but eventually it detracts more than it offers. You passed the point long ago when comments became tiresome and repetitious. If you like nothing about Christianity, then what do you have to offer up instead, and why should anyone care?

          7. Your response is the usual waffle one would expect from a Christian.

            Club has addressed all your petty objections.

            If you like nothing about Christianity, then what do you have to offer up instead, and why should anyone care?
            Secular Humanism addresses morality more than adequately and no god needed.

          8. Ark

            You apparently consider me a fool, but I can explain why something is right and why something is wrong. Do you have an answer? Nope! All you do is make unsupported assertions.

            Nevertheless, you feel compelled to ridicule me. And you can’t give a logical reason for that either.

            Give it up! I am not winning anything, but you are losing.

          9. Nevertheless, you feel compelled to ridicule me. And you can’t give a logical reason for that either.

            You are an indoctrinated Christian creationist who is convinced they are a sinner who can only be redeemed via the blood of a first century human sacrifice.
            This is a delusion. And there is your logical reason on a plate.

          10. Ark

            It is a waste of time talking to you. You are not participating in a discussion. You just try to shut people up by hurting their feelings, and you have just admitted as much.

            Like I said. I am not winning anything, but you are losing. Goodbye.

          11. And Tom still can’t show his god exists or gives morals, objective or not.

            Christians don’t agree on any ethics dear, supposed “immature” or not. Taht also applies with any claim of “mature ethics” since, yet again, you don’t agree on what you want to lie that your god has given you and you alone.

            Since your god doesn’t exist, one can’t hide or not hide from it, dear.

            You can’t even show what is “mature” versus “immature”, Tom. It’s always great fun to see the christian whinen that only his made up nonsense is “mature”, when he can’t demonstrate that at all.

            I hold up a morality system that is largely based on epicureanism and stoicism. No christian ignorance needed at all. I uphold it since i have empathy and self-interest.

            Now, dear Tom, show that your god exists and agrees with you and you alone. Surely you can, right?

            as for confusing SOM, that’s easy.

          12. So, you are making up your own philosophy of life. To some extent, we all do that. However, you at least have the good judgement to build upon the works of those who preceded us.

            Epicureanism and Stoicism were competing religious ideologies. Both of these ideologies supported the idea of some kind of god or the gods. Curiously, each seems to have invented a notion of god or the gods compatible with a reflection of the character of the founder as well their religious ideology. When men invent a god, that god does seem to be made in the image of the man who invents it.

            So, I am curious. Why do you believe in a morality system that is largely based upon the religious ideologies of Epicureanism and Stoicism? Why do you think the ancients preferred Christianity?

          13. Yep, as we all do, Tom. Your chrsitainity is what you’ve made up in your own image. Happily, no one needs you or your god to have a worldview.

            Epicureanism and stoicism barely mention gods, and not a god like the christain one. A god or gods isnt’ required for either.

            The ancients didnt’ prefer christainity for thousands of years. It is only after one version of christianity became the official religion for an ignorant empire that it became popular. Christianity does appeal to ignorant humans, promising them they won’t have to die. It’s easy to get members for a cult that does that.

            try again, Tom.

          14. Is this true?

            Epicureanism and stoicism barely mention gods, and not a god like the christain one. A god or gods isnt’ required for either.

            Well, I don’t entirely disagree. Atheists and Pagans are quite similar. However, the less we include God in our worldview, the greater will be the difference between the Truth and our perception of it. Therefore, I tend to prefer Stoicism over Epicureanism.


            In accord with their ontology, the Stoics make God a corporeal entity, identical with the active principle. God is further characterized as eternal reason (logos: Diogenes Laertius, 44B) or intelligent designing fire or breath (pneuma) which structures matter in accordance with its plan (Aetius, 46A). (from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/)

            Stoicism and Christianity are quite different, but similar in some ways. See the following:

          15. yes, it’s true, dear. and nope, pagans and atheists aren’t “quite similar” at all, since pagan generally means a theist that christians disagree with and are unable to show wrong.

            yep, stoics have a god entirely unlike yours and the same goes for the epicureans who thought there were gods. Their god had nothing to do with humans.

            Alas, you have no truth, Tom, and you simply make up your nonsense just like any theist. You try to lie and claim your god is the only one, and other theists make the same claim, all without evidence.

            Both stoicism and epicureanism were around far longer than your christianity. it seems your religion stole from them.

          16. Because we evaluate and judge things from our own imperfect point of view, the Bible suffers in our interpretation.

            Romans 2:12-16 New American Standard Bible

            12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law instinctively perform the requirements of the Law, these, though not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of mankind through Christ Jesus.

            I cannot judge him, but given his words and deeds, it is possible Marcus Aurelius may have been such a Gentile.

            Are the Jews the chosen people because they are better than everyone else? No. Were they made better than they would otherwise have been by hearing God’s Word? Yes. Nevertheless, that did not stop the Jews from thinking they were better than everyone else. We tend to credit ourselves instead of God for our successes.

            When God is eternal, why does it matter how long Christianity or Judaism has been around. What would Adam or Abraham have called what they believed?

            WE change, not God.

          17. Tom’s poor impotent god. Funny how many of you claim to know all about this god and insist that you know what this god really wants. No reason to not think all of you are entirely wrong thanks to your “imperfect point of view”. Indeed, not one of you can show that your claims are true.

            Repeating baseless claims from your cult’s stack of contradictory books doesn’t help, Tom. I always enjoy seeing how Paul simply makes up nonsense, contradicting your imaginary messiah. It’s even more fun to know that Christians don’t’ agree on what the “law” is.

            IT’s also nothing new for a Christian to lie and try to claim all good and humane people as “really” following their god. Happily, Marcus Aurelius didn’t’ follow your version of the chridtian god or any of the others you Christians have invented.
            Funny how the jews aren’t chosen by anyone sine this god is imaginary, Tom. Neither are Christians who fancy themselves the new “chosen people”. Unfortunately for you, the jews weren’t better than anyone and neither are Christians for their ignorant nonsense.
            Sine you can’t even show your version of the Christian god exists or that any of the other versions exist, it does indeed matter how long Christianity and Judaism have been around. You’ve made up nothing new. Adam and Abraham didn’t’ exist either.

            Tom, you make repeated baseless assumptions. The common morals for humans have been around long before the ignorance of you religion. There is also evidence that this god changes just in your bible and in your religion. Christians can’t agree on what morals this god wants. This god changes its mind in your myths. You have no evidence for any objective morals or god at all.

          18. Given you have to refer to Greek philosophies invented by men who either believed in the Logos (God) or the Greek gods to justify your own moral standards, I think we have a case of a dirty, greasy, sooty pot calling a shiny well-kept kettle black. I also think you realize how foolish you sound, and it infuriates you.

            Here is an old, albeit trite, bit of wisdom. People who live in glass houses should not throw bricks.

            We both know why you spend so much effort attacking Christianity and so little explaining your own philosophy. You cannot defend what you believe.

          19. The “logos” of the stoics isn’t your god dear, but nice attempt to lie that it is.

            You also try to misrepresent what both stoics and epicureans believed, since they did not believe in any gods that did anything with humans. This is in quite direct opposition to the claims of christians about their god.

            It’s always great fun when Tom has nothing, but has to try to convince himself that I agree with him to salve his failure. Nope, Tom, I don’t agree with your lies.

            Funny how I don’t live in a glass house at all. I’m more than happy to chuck bricks at your nonsense.

            Then again, Tom has to again try to claim I agree with him. Happily, nope, we “both” don’t know any such thing as Tom is trying to lie about. I can defend my worldview quite well. I also can show how Christian worldviews, for there are many, all fail.

          20. Club

            When it is so obvious you don’t, it would silly to claim you agree with me.

            You don’t explain what you believe, and you don’t defend what you believe. You are too busy ridiculing what others believe. When your ridicule takes hold, you enjoy the misery of others. Misery, when people are bitter in their misery, does love company.

          21. and yet you repeatedly do claim I’m agreeing with you.

            “I also think you realize how foolish you sound, and it infuriates you.”


            “We both know why you spend so much effort attacking Christianity and so little explaining your own philosophy. You cannot defend what you believe.”

            So, you seem to be lying yet again, Tom.

            I have explained what I believe, epicureanism flavored with stoicism. Why would I defend what I believe in to you, my dear liar? It works for me quite well, that’s why I use it.

          22. Club

            and yet you repeatedly do claim I’m agreeing with you.

            You flatter yourself.

            I have explained what I believe, epicureanism flavored with stoicism. Why would I defend what I believe in to you, my dear liar? It works for me quite well, that’s why I use it.

            This is getting repetitious. The only thing you added is that your preference is for Epicureanism. You have also made it quite clear that we have no reason to communicate, not on your terms. You are not a prosecutor. I am not a defendant. Not believing what you believe, especially when you cannot explain it, is not a crime.

            Instead of persecuting Christians, you ought to try a little introspection. Consider what is now obvious.

            • You cannot defend your beliefs. I am no expert on either Epicureanism or Stoicism, but I immediately set you back on your heels.
            • You are in no position to be attacking the beliefs of others. Other than a meaningless rage, what is the point?
            • We live finite lives, and it seems that we only live once. You are wasting this one opportunity in a display useless hostility you can’t even explain. The mere fact you disagree with the beliefs of Christians is a strictly personal problem. If the only way you can make yourself feel better is by enjoying the misery of others, you are suffering a delusion more profoundly wrong than any delusion you are accusing others of having.
          23. It’s great to see you lie, Tom. Amazing how a supposed christian ignore his god, and claims he has not said that I agree with him. Unfortunately, this is a recording medium and I just have to copy and paste what you have written.

            ““I also think you realize how foolish you sound, and it infuriates you.”


            “We both know why you spend so much effort attacking Christianity and so little explaining your own philosophy. You cannot defend what you believe.””

            IT’s a shame that poor Tom doesn’t know what epicureanism or stoicism are, and is too lazy to look them up. I have explained why I consider both worth following, and Tom repeatedly claims I have not.

            Now, having nothing else but false claims about me, Tom tries claiming even more and insists that I somehow need “introspection”.

            I have defended my beliefs adn Tom has not even remotely set me or anyone back on any “heels”. He cannot show this to have occured.

            I have plenty of evidence that his beliefs are wrong and harmful, and thus am in a great position to attack his nonsense. The point is stopping the harm from lies that he and his fellow beleivers tell.

            Then poor Tom tries to appeal to me by claiming that I shouldn’t waste my limited time show his claims to be the lies they are. This is a typical attempt by a christian to sow fear of death, which I do not have. I find showing liars to be liars quite a good use of my limited time here.

            Alas, christian interference with people and their harmful lies aren’t only just a personal problem for anyone. They cause far-reaching harm with their attempts to force their baseless and contradictory beliefs into law.

            I do love Tom’s whine about persecution. Showing Tom’s false claims isn’t persecution, it is showing the truth. That he cannot support his own nonsense is no one’s problem but his own. He can’t even get other christians to agree with his nonsense, so he seems to have quite a problem.

          24. ““Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” Marcus Aurelius

          25. How doesn’t it? This is what I say about schadenfreude on my blog “I also get a great amount of pleasure and satisfaction from those who suffer from their own willful ignorance, greed, bigotry, selfishness or arrogance. Hence, Schadenfreude. Unfortunately, they tend to make the rest of us suffer too. ”

            As usual, poor Tom tries to avoid realizing that no one needs his god.

  2. I think what happens, is that we get our egos too often involved. Then, it’s easy to get caught in the cycle of “double and triple down” rather than just admit we messed up or misinterpreted the other person’s position or words.

    1. Hello Barabbas

      I don’t disagree, but I fear we often understand each other quite well.

      When we hear someone disagree with us, we tend to think one of two things. There is something wrong with me for believing what I believe, or there is something wrong with that guy who believes differently from me. At this point our instinct for tribalism kicks in. We look for validation from our tribe.

      What happens next? If we lose objectivity, then we may start to see factional or tribal rivalries kick in, and that can quickly get out of hand at a personal level. That is why we have a republic with checks and balances. That is why we distribute the powers of the Federal Government between the various branches of government. That is also why we have a federation that further divides the powers of government between local, state, and a central government. We have to give people a chance to calm down before they go berserk.

      Unfortunately, the Constitution failed to keep us in check during the civil war, and what has happened once can happen again.

  3. Online debates are often tricky.
    When it comes to honesty I have a simple, personal rule.
    As I see no need to lie online or off I expect the same from my interlocutors. Therefore, when I ask someone a straightforward question I expect a straightforward answer, right down to the bare bones ,Yes or No.
    When my interlocutor starts going off on a tangent, equivicating or being flat out disingenious I immediately lose respect and either bale out or go for the jugular.

      1. “BTW, I deleted your comment because that discussion is not going anywhere.”

        ROFL. Oh dear, poor Tom, having to lie yet again since he deleted a comment he couldn’t counter.

  4. Two words of wisdom I’d like to share that I’ve learned over the years. . .

    1) Never getting into a debate in a comments section of any online post or forum.


    2) Never get into a urination contest with a fool because the fool doesn’t care where or on whom they urinate.

    God bless!

    1. Good advice!

      Here is something from Proverbs that can be puzzling.

      Proverbs 26:4-5 New American Standard Bible

      4 Do not answer a fool according to his foolishness,
      Or you will also be like him.
      5 Answer a fool as his foolishness deserves,
      So that he will not be wise in his own eyes.

      This is extremely difficult advice to get right, especially since we all tend to be a bit foolish. Even the translations are all over the place.

      1. Ah but Tom, Solomon had his own issues of “foolishness” he left undealt with. My interp of these passages has been “v4, dont get sucked into playing the fools game by His rules. And v5, sometimes you gotta ‘point it out’ to let the guy ‘know you know’ what he’s ‘full of’, but beware of falling into v4 again.”. Over all, “debates” on WP or the internet easily devolves into who can throw the most “monkey poo”. I with Nancy Reagan usually encourage “just say no” when you see the direction turn in a “conversation”

        1. @Barabbas

          See ECCLESIASTES. I think that Solomon expressed his regrets. Solomon asked for the wisdom he needed to govern Israel, but he did not ask for the wisdom he needed to govern himself.

          We are largely agreed upon your interpretation of those verses. The trick is knowing when to answer a fool and when to ignore him. I suppose at that point we need to consider why we need to speak. Are we speaking just to satisfy our own ego or because we care about those who would hear us? If we would answer a fool just to hear our self-talk, we are wasting our breath. We can talk to ourselves in silence.

  5. In the universe of Socrates, “fracas,” is called dialectic. Dialectic is conversation whose objective is the truth. People who engage in dialectic are at peace. People who engage in “fracas” are sophists merely trying to win an argument for the sake of winning.

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