A STRANGE DEBATE

Let’s Enslave The Heathen is to say the least a strange post. John Branyan apparently enjoys tormenting the heathen. So he followed up with Let’s Enslave Anyone Who Can’t Answer. What was the question?

Theist: “Give me a reason to release you, Slave!” (from here)

Of course, the heathen (atheists in particular) cannot give a straightforward answer. That’s the point I sought to make in HOW SHOULD WE DECIDE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG? — UPDATED. Without God setting the measure, the difference between right and wrong does not amount to much. When we set the measure, what the difference between right and wrong comes down for us is our feelings.

So what did violetwisp do when she tried to respond to on her blog? In christians run scared on slavery, cites Bible verses that supposedly show that God approves of slavery. That, somehow, is the answer.

The answer for the most frightened Christians out there is simple: DIVERSION!! Join the ranks of the terrified John Branyan by pretending you don’t understand simple explanations about co-operation, empathy and the logical evaluation of the outcomes of actions. Ignore what you see in the world around you, ignore what goes on throughout the animal kingdom and start claiming that without an invisible god’s morality stick, atheists want slaves! (from here)

Of course atheists want slaves. Doesn’t everyone? Not exactly. Managed properly, slaves can be a lot of work. So it is that mrsmcmommy responded to a comment on slavery with this post: The Slavery Post.

So, if the topic of slavery has been covered well by others, what else do I have to contribute?

Well, I still need to put my signature spin on it. I still need to do something surprising and a maybe a little half-baked–like suggesting that the biblical version of slavery is a lot like parenthood. (from here)

What observes is that some people, like children, need someone to be in charge of them. We often forget just how difficult it was just to survive during ancient times. Some people needed help, and during ancient times slavery provided the only health, education, and welfare systems available to the poor. Nevertheless, the slave master relationship is rife with the potential for abuse. So what the Bible did was regulate slavery so as to prevent abuse.

Do the rules in the Bible mean God approves of slavery? No, but the Bible provides the rules for us, not God, and God is merciful and patient with us. He gives us time to allow our hearts to soften. Here is example. When the Pharisees asked about divorce, Jesus explained why, even though God hates divorce, the Old Testament provides rules for it.

Matthew 19:7-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

Slavery has been the norm throughout most of human history. If Christians had not decided to abolish slavery, slavery would be much more common than it is today. That’s right! In spite of logic and empathy, some people still make slaves of other people.

The notion that we would have stopped making slaves out of each other just because of logic and empathy is in fact arrogant. It implies the ancients were not just as capable of logic and empathy, but none of their idols, gods of their own making, condemned slavery.

Slavery ended only because Jesus commanded us to obey the Golden Rule, and there is no place in that rule for slavery, not when God has told you that every man, woman and child (born and unborn) is your neighbor. Not when you know that every man is made in the image of God.

HOW SHOULD WE DECIDE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG? — UPDATED

The Temptation of Christ
Ary Scheffer, 1854 (from here)

UPDATE:  violetwisp continued our debate here.

I visited The Lions Den today, and I read Thought for the day. Here ColorStorm put up a very simple proposition.

It does not require the mind of an Einstein, a Tesla, a molecular biologist, a heart surgeon,  a carpenter, or a lawyer, to know there is a God.

All one needs is to be alive.

Then again, ask any two year old, as the divine code is imprinted on the conscience. It’s too bad the so-called scientists hide their knowledge of this between their sandwiches of theory and endless detours, which provides no nutrition, for the bread of unbelief is quite stale.

Audacious, don’t you think? Then I looked at the comments. I don’t know why, but violetwisp was the only person to take issue with ‘s post. Usually, he attracts a small horde of doubters.

  • violetwisp says:

    So what you are saying here is that only stupid people believe in your god? But that scientists, who are aware your god exists, are telling people lies about two-year-olds who all really follow your god? It’s kind of confusing ….

So I asked a question.

  •   Citizen Tom says:

    @violetwisp

    You seem very concerned about proper behavior. Why? How do you know what is “socially acceptable”? How do you define what is “socially acceptable”? Is it right makes might, or is it might makes right? If it is right makes might, then what is the difference between right and wrong? Who or what decides the issue? Why should a little child ever bother to care?

Unfortunately, did not bother with a reply. Why? Think about that long and hard.

Supposedly, we can form a rigorous ethical system without believing in God, but I am not familiar with one. Instead, what I have seen is that most Americans, including atheists and agnostics, tend to adopt a subset of Christian ethics? Why only a subset? Well, all of us find it very difficult to give up our own preferred sins. What sins should other people give up? Well, if they give up our preferred sins we will most definitely feel slighted.

So why didn’t reply? Well, it is much easier to attack what others believe than it is to defend our own beliefs.  The Bible is out there. Anyone can read it, and the Bible has numerous detractors.  So it is not difficult to become familiar with what the critics have said and rail against the Bible, and that is something many atheists and agnostics enjoy doing.  What we don’t often see, however, is Christians attacking what atheists and agnostics believe. Why do most Christians have so little interest in the subject?

Consider.  Google the following

What is there to attack? Is there anything of substance or just speculation?

Have atheists and agnostics undermined your belief in the God of the Bible? Have you asked them what they believe?  Have you looked up what some of them say they believe? Are you comfortable they know what they are talking about?

Before you give up on Christianity, please read the Bible carefully. That includes reviewing some good commentaries and participating in a Bible study with other Christians. Does that seem to much to ask? Then consider.

  • Have you watched a child grow? Have you visited the country, gotten far away from the city and looked into the night sky on a clear night? We live in a world — in a universe — that only God could have made. Creation is evidence that God exists.
  • Have you ever been wronged? When you were a child? How did you know what had been done to you was wrong? When you wronged another, did your conscious complain? Each of us have a moral compass. That too is evidence of God.
  • If the Bible is true, have you considered what you are giving up by not reading it? Even if you seriously doubt the Bible, don’t you want to understand why so many believe? Don’t you want to understand why America, a land founded by people who did believe the Bible, is so unique?

The Bible exists as only one of the proofs of God’s existence.  If you doubt God exists, then study the matter carefully. You may very well be surprised to find that there many gifted and intelligent Christian philosophers.  These men and women have carefully examined the issue. Because they thought so carefully about whether the God of the Bible exist, they believe. God sent these men and women to help us understand so we can believe too.

Hebrews 11:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

We base our faith on evidence, not just what we want to believe.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLLECTIVE AND A COMMUNITY?

Charity without love is not charitable.

More than we know we do combat with words.  Consider the etymology of these ideological words. Consider what happens when the words “collective” and “community” become wrapped into isms.

Collectivism has strong associations with communism.

collectivism (n.)Look up collectivism at Dictionary.com
1880, in socialist theory, from collective + -ism. Related: Collectivist (1882 as both noun and adjective); collectivization (1890).

It seems that some would have us believe that the mere act of organizing people into a group with a common interest is communistic.

The word “community” has multiple associations with isms.

Like communism, communitarianism also emphasizes the community over the individual.

communitarian (n.) Look up communitarian at Dictionary.com
1841, “member of a commune,” from community + ending from utilitarian, etc. The adjective is attested from 1909.

Communitarianism is not the same as communism, but it does emphasize the interests of the community over the individual.

Like Communitarianism, communism is related to community via the word “commune“.

communism (n.) Look up communism at Dictionary.com
“social system based on collective ownership,” 1843, from French communisme (c. 1840) from commun (Old French comun; see common (adj.)) + -isme (see -ism). Originally a theory of society; as name of a political system, 1850, a translation of German Kommunismus (itself from French), in Marx and Engels’ “Manifesto of the Communist Party.” Compare communist. In some cases in early and mid-20c., a term of abuse implying anti-social criminality without regard to political theory.

Each [i.e. socialism, communism, anarchism] stands for a state of things, or a striving after it, that differs much from that which we know; & for many of us, especially those who are comfortably at home in the world as it is, they have consequently come to be the positive, comparative, & superlative, distinguished not in kind but in degree only, of the terms of abuse applicable to those who would disturb our peace. [Fowler]

We even have something called communalism which is similar to communitarianism. Instead of a strong central government, however, both communitarianism and communalism emphasize creating a federation of communes, just not for the same reasons.

communalism (n.) Look up communalism at Dictionary.com
1871 (in reference to Paris), from communal + -ism.

Thanks to all these mushy isms, it is a little difficult to speak of the difference between a collective and a community.  Nevertheless, people form collectives deliberately for a specific purpose. Whereas people form communities by living together and forming strong ties with each other.

Therefore, only when we speak of a community does it make sense to apply this verse.

John 13:35 New King James Version (NKJV)

35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

When we form charitable organizations, because there is a personal relationship it makes sense to provide charity at the community level.  Unfortunately, our political leaders have created new and improved charities.  They have used the state, especially that great collective we call the Federal Government, to give away our tax dollars using expensive health, education, and welfare programs.  Hence we have politicians spending other people’s money on people they don’t even know. The result has been phenomenal fraud, waste and abuse.

Ideally, because the personal relationship between those who give and those who receive charity is so important (It is about love, after all.), charity should only be the function of local, private organizations. Only when we have no other alternative should we involve government, and that should be local government. Only when we have no other alternative should we involve either the state or the Federal Government.

What is the big issue of the moment in Washington DC? It is Obamacare.  What is Obamacare? It is about whether the average American will be able to make his or her health choices without overriding interference from nameless bureaucrats. It about disconnecting the desires of people who pay the bills from the people who provide health care services. It is about giving politicians power just because they want it. It about turning our whole healthcare system into a wasteful and inefficient government-run charity rife with fraud, waste, and abuse.

Please let your senators and congressman know you want Obamacare repealed. You want them to do the same thing they did when they knew Obama would veto their repeal bill. Then you want them to replace Obamacare with laws that allow us to use our own money to make our own decisions. Do we really need their help to provide charity for our neighbors, the people in our communities. No. Not if we actually care about each other. If we don’t, there is nothing they can do anyway. If we don’t care, they won’t either.

 

 

I KNOW NOTHING, NOTHING!

Whenever I turn on the broadcast news, it is not long before I realize I am wasting my time.  What is the latest drivel or “fake news” filling up air time? Donald Trump and the Russians stole the election.  What’s the evidence? Since when do gossipers require evidence?

So is the drivel/fake news/gossip important? Yes. The Bible has much to say about the power of our words. Here is an example.

Proverbs 18:21 New King James Version (NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

What does that mean? Here is a translation that puts it more plainly.

Proverbs 18:21 Good News Translation (GNT)

21 What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.

The news media is partisan, and their talking heads are glib; they can also be most intimidating.  Therefore, so long as major Democratic Party politicians are willing to say the most outrageous things, the news media will happily report their accusations — as presented. They will also quite happily assume the guilt of any Republican politician who does not go along to get along.  All that seems to matter is the seriousness of the charge. The glib can talk all around the absence of evidence.

Meanwhile, because we have allowed glib gossipers to distract us, we risk neglecting real problems.  Instead of protecting ourselves from the far more likely mechanizations of our fellow citizens, we now worry endlessly about how the Russians supposedly tampered with our election system.

Not too long ago I posted EVIDENCE OF VOTER FRAUD. One commenter, a bright fellow who calls himself marmoewp, focused on the poor quality of a few statistical studies I cited.  Since the author of those studies did not have much confidence that those studies proved voter fraud, I did not waste much time defending them. Instead, I pointed to the obvious. Nobody is looking for fraud. So those pathetic studies are the best evidence we have.

If policemen made a point of looking the other way, how often do you think the police would arrest anyone? Think about it. The police would still arrest people, just not the powerful. Such policemen would arrest the victims of crime for complaining about the lack of law enforcement.

So what is the real threat? What does the evidence indicate? What question should we be asking?

Will the Democratic Party do anything for votes?

In this nation, we run our election system at the state and local level.  So let’s look here in Virginia. Before the last election, our governor, Terry McAuliffe did everything he could to put hundreds of thousands of felons back on the voter rolls (see Va. Supreme Court strikes down McAuliffe’s order on felon voting rights). He did not care whether what he was doing was unconstitutional or violated the spirit of the law.  Therefore, when the court got in his way, McAuliffe got out his autopen (Virginia’s McAuliffe to announce restoration of voting rights to 13,000 felons).

Apparently, whereas Barack Obama only has a pen and a phone, McAuliffe has an autopen and an iphone.

McAuliffe is a busy man. What is McAuliffe’s latest affront to justice? He is engaged in various coverups. Here are a few.

Stop and think about how silly we have gotten.  When we register to vote, look at how we handle the question of US citizenship.

In most places in the U.S., the question is handled solely on the honor system. When people register to vote, they check a box attesting that they are U.S. citizens. Election administrators verify identity by looking at driver’s license or Social Security numbers, for example, but under federal guidelines, they may not ask for proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport. (from here)

When illegal aliens have to violate our laws to get into our country, what makes us think an honor system will keep them from voting?

Let’s expand upon that first little video. Let’s consider the problem Sargent Schultz had to deal with. The longer he avoided reporting the shenanigans of Hogan’s Heroes, the more difficult it became for him to break his silence. Was Schultz on the the right side to start with? No, but it was not any special virtue that kept him from reporting on Hogan. His laziness, his greed, and finally his cowardice silenced him. What appeared to be funny was not so funny after all.