In THE DESIGN OF LIFE, Jonathan Wells and I describe E. O. Wilson’s attack on Mother Teresa as follows (the context of the discussion is that whereas traditional morality must come to terms with the problem of evil, evolutionary morality must come to terms with the problem of good):
For E. O. Wilson, goodness depends on “lying, pretense, and deceit, including self-deceit, because the actor is most convincing who believes that his performance is real.” Accordingly, Wilson attributes Mother Teresa’s acts of goodness to her belief that she will be richly rewarded for them in heaven. In other words, she was simply looking out for number one, acting selfishly in her own self-interest, looking to cash in on the Church’s immortality. As Wilson puts it, “Mother Teresa is an extraordinary person but it should not be forgotten that she is secure in the service of Christ and the knowledge of her Church’s immortality.”
Not to be outdone in bashing Mother Teresa, Christopher Hitchens launched this missile on in a recent Dennis Miller interview (go here):
Mother Theresa spent her whole life saying (that what Calcutta needs) is a huge campaign against family planning. I mean, who comes to that conclusion who isn’t a complete fanatic? She took – and I would directly say stole…millions and millions of dollars and spent all the money not on the poor, but on the building of nearly 200 convents in her own name around the world to glorify herself and to continue to spread the doctrine that, as she put it — when she got her absurd Nobel Peace Prize — that the main threat to world peace is abortion and contraception. The woman was a fanatic and a fundamentalist and a fraud, and millions of people are much worse off because of her life, and it’s a shame there is no hell for your bitch to go to.
66 Replies to “Bashing Mother Teresa: Christopher Hitchens Goes E. O. Wilson One Better”
Never having been to Calcutta, I cannot say what it needs.
Except: Clean free tap water and free antibiotics are useful, along with law enforcement – but any trad Canuck like me would say that.
That said: Demographics is a game of last man standing. And in today’s world, if every kid has four grandparents to support, what will happen? Many nation states have stepped below the survival rates, apparently.
Just sayin’ is all.
And just how did Hitchens come to the conclusion there is no hell? Did he do research and study and prove there is no soul?
The following is a Near Death Experience (NDE) under tightly monitored conditions (i.e. she was dead, dead, dead as far as science was concerned):
The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
Here is a leading Medical Doctor’s opinion who has done extensive research on NDE’s
etc..etc… as far as such evidence goes,,,
But of the evidence for the soul that I think is literally a slam dunk case for proof of the soul,,,,, the “mind” of a individual observer plays an integral yet not complete “closed system role”, in the instantaneous quantum wave collapse of the universe to “3D centrality” for each “conscious observer”in the universe, This gives us clear evidence that our “mind” is a unique entity. A unique entity with a superior quality of existence when compared to the “uncertain 3D particles” of the universe.
The Center Of The Universe Is Life – video
Hitchens surely cannot claim that “material” reality precludes the soul!
Thus it cannot be through the “physical” evidence that Hitchens draws his conclusion, so it must be through his own arrogance that he presupposes there is no hell.
But if, unlike apparently misguided Hitchens, we were to grant the reality of a soul, as is clearly sufficient to warrant by the evidence. What do we find between different cultures NDE’s for evidence of Heaven and Hell:
Several studies (Pasricha, 1986, Schorer, 1985-86) & Kellehear, 1993) Murphy 1999,2001) have indicated that the phenomenologies of NDEs is culture-bound. (Of Note: Judeo-Christian Culture NDEs are by far the most pleasant “phenomena”)
Greyson and Bush (1996) classified 50 Western reports of distressing NDEs into three types:
* The most common type included the same features as the pleasurable type such as an out-of-body experience and rapid movement through a tunnel or void toward a light but the NDEr, usually because of feeling out of control of what was happening, experienced the features as frightening.
* The second, less common type included an acute awareness of nonexistence or of being completely alone forever in an absolute void. Sometimes the person received a totally convincing message that the real world including themselves never really existed. (note* according to one preliminary study, a similar type of this NDE may be very common among the Buddhist culture of China)
* The third and rarest type included hellish imagery such as an ugly or foreboding landscape; demonic beings; loud, annoying noises; frightening animals; and other beings in extreme distress. Only rarely have such NDErs themselves felt personally tormented.
Distressing Near-Death Experiences:
The estimated incidence of distressing NDEs (dNDEs) for western cultures has ranged from 1% to 15% of all NDEs (Bonenfant, 2001). The results of prospective studies in which the researchers interviewed everyone who experienced cardiac arrest in one or more hospitals during a period of at least several months are noteworthy. In the four prospective studies conducted between 1984 and 2001, involving a total of 130 NDErs, none reported distressing experiences. This finding seems to confirm that the experience is relatively rare in western cultures.
A couple of examples:
Former Atheist Howard Storm’s Hellish NDE – video
This following man was confirmed dead for 90 minutes before being brought back to life:
Don Piper – 90 Minutes in Heaven – A Trip To Heaven and Back!
Whereas foreign cultures report:
Well Hitchens can mock God and his saints if he wants but for the evidence for a soul is overwhelming, as is the evidence overwhelming that it is very important to have a foundational Judeo/Christian belief.
This following NDE is very interesting
Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience – video
Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported being able to see during their NDEs. 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. In all, 15 of the 21 NDEers and 9 of the 10 OBEers could see during their experience while the remaining participants either claimed that they did not see or were not sure whether or not they had seen.
bornagain77 @ 2
The Pam Reynolds case proves nothing. There were periods of unconsciousness both before and after the period when her EEG was flatlined when she was under the effect of anesthesis. The experience could have occurred at either of these times.
With regards to van Lommel’s research there are a number of questions which need to be answered.
First, how sensitive is an EEG to neural activity? Could signgificant electrical activity occur which is to weak for the machine to detect?
Second, in how many of the cases reported by van Lommel were measures for detecting electrical activity in the brain employed?
Third, remembering the problem with the Pam Reynolds case, in how many of the cases reported by van Lommel could the time of the experience be reliably assigned to the period when the EEG was flatlined?
But before getting too carried away we could also look at the phenomenon of blindsight, as in this exmple.
Seversky, You know you are about the most rabid atheist I know, who will not accept anything no matter what because of your personal hated of all thing pertaining to God,,, not a very fair position to do science to put it mildly,,,but I will try anyway seeing as I pretty hard-headed myself,,, Now as a materialist you must explain reality to some type of material basis,,,but as is clearly shown in quantum mechanics , “material reality does not even “materialize” until a conscious observer is present….thus clearly showing that “material” reality is subservient to “higher dimensional” consciousness in the first place,,,the phenomena of wave collapse to conscious observer is a well accepted fact in science. So well accepted that it led Barrow and Tippler to postulate, in order to explain the staggering fine-tuning of the universe, that “human consciousness” evolves to such a point in the future that it/we reach back in time and create the universe ourselves,,,,,
Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss – video
Quantum Mechanics – The Limited Role Of The Observer – Michael Strauss – video
I could get into the technical details of why this scenario is completely off the wall, but even without the details, to the fair minded man this evidence is clear and undeniable evidence for the consciousness/soul of man. Though I am sure you will be quite unfair with even this evidence and deny that it is relevant,,,but rest assured you are truly fooling no one except yourself.
To bornagain77: Im repeatedly censored on this blog for mentioning it, but why does God keep popping up ? ID is deperately trying to distance itself from religion (Dover) yet God just keeps popping up, again and again. Is this a ‘scientific’ blog, or a theological one ?
Well Graham, As you can see by my nickname (John 3:3) I am far from the one to ask about this matter,,,, and I can assure I have no college degree in the philosophy of science (Meyer does),,, but as far as my limited ability can tell on these matters there are only two options for reality,,,either reality is the result of a Materialistic line of reasoning or it is the result of a Theistic line of reasoning, with all other options falling into the gray area in between,,,, thus the reason God “keeps popping up” is because the evidence for design becomes so overwhelming that there simply is no other reasonable explanation to explain the staggering level of design found in the universe and within life…
This article explains it in a little more clarity:
Theism Compared To Materialism
By the way you mentioned “science” as separate from God as if “science” could actually exist without the rationality and order God’s provides for reality,,,(i.e. as opposed to the chaos/chance that materialism requires for its foundation that would preclude “science” from being possible if it were true)
This following quote and videos may interest you:
Christianity Is The Foundation Of Modern Science – Henry Schaefer PhD. Part 1 of 3
part 2 of 3
part 3 of 3
—Graham1: “Im repeatedly censored on this blog for mentioning it, but why does God keep popping up ? ID is deperately trying to distance itself from religion (Dover) yet God just keeps popping up, again and again. Is this a ’scientific’ blog, or a theological one ?”
It is a blog that invites discussion on all aspects of the subject, much to the chagrin of our adversaries. For your information, ID science has nothing to do with religion. If you think otherwise, explain how the Christian faith leaks into ID methodology, or explain how such a thing could even be possible. You can’t because it doesn’t.
On the other hand, many ID advocates occasionally argue on behalf of rational theistic principles in order to counter the irrational principles inherent in the religion of Darwinism, and make no mistake, Darwinism is a religion. Following the lead of their favorite Darwinist judge, Darwinists knowingly and dishonestly characterize the design inference as a religious presupposition in an attempt to muddy the debate waters and discredit ID. Only a religious commitment that tolerates no dissent could prompt that kind of behavior.
Here is the way the game is played: Knowing that ID has already been smeared by Judge Jones, who dishonestly linked ID to creationism, radical Darwinists labor strenously to keep the lie alive each time one of us alludes to religion in any way. I, for one, do not allow Darwinists to silence me under the threat that they will continue to perpetuate their lie, since I know that they will do so in any case. Their religion requires it.
Graham1, for what it is worth:
The vast majority of North Americans believe in the existence of God, for rational reasons.
And remember, it was North Americans who put a man on the moon and built the Space Shuttle and the Canadarm and the CN Tower.
So we can all shut up already about whether people with our heritage are allowed to talk about theology.
Talking about theology does NOT mean that public policy here is decided by someone ranting that he is the Voice of God or the Final Prophet or He Who Must Be Obeyed.
It never has been that way here and I sure hope it never will be.
It means that people can feel free to discuss theological issues when they feel like it.
Call it our virtual lunch hour or tea break, if you want. But we are entitled to talk about that stuff.
If that’s not true where you live, either change your society or your citizenship.
PS: North America (USA and Canada) accepts immigrants. All I ever say is, if you land immigrant in Canada (my home and native land), please leave all local grievances behind. We can’t do anything about it, but we can deal with people who are raising cain here.
To bornagain77 #6
I appreciate the candour of your reply, but Im wondering if you have been just a tad too candid. You seem to have just given an eloquent description of exactly what ID critics have always assumed to be the case (and Judge Jones agrees), ID and religion are never far apart.
StephenB at #7 tries to deny this, then O’leary at #8 just confirms it again.
Wherever you find ID, religion is sure to follow.
Graham1 at 9, do you have a reading
problem or what?
I said we had a right to talk about theology if we liked, not that it decided policy, let alone science. In fact, I explicitly denied that.
= “Talking about theology does NOT mean that public policy here is decided by someone ranting that he is the Voice of God or the Final Prophet or He Who Must Be Obeyed.
It never has been that way here and I sure hope it never will be.
It means that people can feel free to discuss theological issues when they feel like it.
Call it our virtual lunch hour or tea break, if you want. But we are entitled to talk about that stuff.
If that’s not true where you live, either change your society or your citizenship.”
If, the other hand, if you don’t like a free society, fine. Live somewhere else.
Well Graham, contrary to what you believe, and the deceptive denials by atheists, Atheism is indeed considered to be a full fledged religion! This is according to 7th Circuit Court Of Appeals as well as atheist Michael Ruse who is a leading philosopher of science in the nation. Thus for America to not allow the solid evidence, which is contrary to evolution, to be taught, is actually a violation of the separation clause,, I would love for a balanced treatment of The Cambrian explosion,,(I believe it is barely, or not even, mentioned now) As well Graham wherever you find dogmatic evolution taught a dogmatic atheist is sure to follow!
EXPELLED – Evolution and The Constitutional Right To Teach Evidence Against Evolution
New Law Review Article Surveys Case Law on Teaching Evolution
Graham IT is NOW perfectly legal to teach evidence against evolution, contrary to what your hero Judge Jones said in his case, but just in case you missed the last bit of the Law Review Article I cited here it is:
explain how the Christian faith leaks into ID methodology
1. The world is so complex it must be made by God. This was clearly stated by you in #6: “the reason God “keeps popping up” is because … there simply is no other reasonable explanation” This has not been disputed by anyone here.
2. The central idea of Intelligent Design is that the world is so complex that it must have been designed.
3. Now, can I join up the last 2 dots ?
I agree that, (as Ms O’Leary put it) we can all have our virtual tea break, and Im sure that all scientists discuss all sorts of things in their tea break, but why do religion & ID always go together ?
—-Graham1: “StephenB at #7 tries to deny this, [ID and religion are never far apart].
I will ask you again: Show me how ID methodology depends on religion in any way. Explain to us how one can extract religion from “irreducible complexity” or “specified complexity.” [Hint: Judge Jones, or the ACLU atheists who lead him around by the nose, cannot help you since they know nothing at all about the subject.] You are on your own.
—Graham1: “1. The world is so complex it must be made by God.”
ID science does not say that, nor can it. Natural theology, the philosophical counterpart of ID can indeed point to God, as Aquinas pointed out 800 years ago. On the other hand, mere complexity as a scientific observation points neither to God nor to a designer. You knew that, right? Of course you didn’t.
For the third time, I am asking you to draw the link between religion and ID methodology.
What Wilson and Hitchens say about Mother Teresa is of course simply their own biased opinion. Just speculative comment with no factual basis or proof. This is simply what they think personally and not necessarily what is true. Acts of absolute goodness for them don’t exist, particularly amongst Christians, because the underlying motivation is always a self-centerd selfish one. Apparently for them genuine selfless compassion, sympathy and empathy cannot exist side by side with a desire for personal salvation. Mother Teresa and others like her (through history) are fakes they say. Their sullen rantings and slander are not to be taken seriously
The “moralizing” of atheists is fascinating since it is often associated with the denigration of people who have a different perspective to them of what is important in this life.
I agree that ID doesnt invoke religion directly. If fact its supporters are scrupulous in their care to avoid the g word. However, its guilt by association Im afraid. The wedge document, Dover, the innescapable connection I described in 14, the views of Bornagain77, its religion all the way down.
“Their sullen rantings and slander are not to be taken seriously”
In case of misinterprtation I mean those of Wilson and Hitchens of course!
You know Graham, I’ve gone through this evidence with a fine tooth comb for several years and it all points to a Transcendent Designer, A Transcendent Designer who people have called God for thousands of years:
Intelligent Design – The Anthropic Hypothesis
I have shown you atheism is indeed a full fledged religion and that evolution is one of its primary pillars of that religion and being as such EVOLUTION CANNOT BE PROMOTED AND PROTECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT since it violates the establishment clause of the constitution,,, You of course failed to mention all this and act as if evolution somehow has legal protection,,, But I have a couple of questions for you,,,
Number one is, Why do you feel evolution need laws to protect it? (Although in reality it has no such protection) and Since when does any scientific HYPOTHESIS enjoy such a privilege as protection by law? Maybe if Alchemy could have been protected as such it could have masqueraded as science for a little while longer. It is simply ludicrous that evolution should enjoy such protection from scrutiny and that Children should be brainwashed into this “religion, and yes it is a religious belief! Is not the primary purpose of science to relentlessly pursue a more complete understanding of the truth? Not indoctrinate children with false ideology?
Graham can you name me even one piece of evidence for evolution that can withstand scrutiny? I can tell underneath your smugness that you feel you are right in this matter,,,so I challenge you to present THE slam dunk piece of evidence for evolution that gives you such confidence. I certainly can find none.
And Graham just what if it is true that we are indeed created by a Infinitely Powerful Creator for a purpose as all evidence indicates? Should you not find this fact absolutely wonderful as the majority of other Americans do? Why should atheists think that this would be such a terrible thing to learn?
Getting back to Mother Teresa…
E. O. Wilson writes:
I have to say that this assertion is just plain wrong. Mother Teresa’s 45-year crisis of faith is well documented. See this article in Time magazine, August 23, 2007. It’s balanced and well worth reading. An extract:
And here’s Christopher Hitchens:
Funny. That’s not what she wrote in her letter to India’s Prime Minister, March 26, 1979:
I should add that natural family planning has a proven effectiveness of 98-99 per cent. And if anyone thinks it could never work in Third World countries, they should think again. The British Medical Journal (Sept 18, 1993, v. 307 n.6906 p.723(4)) says otherwise:
Oh yeah, and by the way, the current fertility rate for India is… (shock, horror!) 2.72.
—-Graham1: “I agree that ID doesnt invoke religion directly.”
ID science does not invoke religion in any way or in any context.
—-“If fact its supporters are scrupulous in their care to avoid the g word.”
Make up your mind. On the one hand, you say its supporters are “scrupulous to avoid the g word.” On the other hand, you say that the g word is all over the place” and use this thread as an example.
—“However, its guilt by association Im afraid. The wedge document, Dover, the innescapable connection I described in 14, the views of Bornagain77, its religion all the way down.”
The ID “movement” invokes religion all over the place; ID “science” does not depend on religion in any way. That you, and your hero Judge “copycat” Jones cannot make that distinction says more about your capacity for logic than it does about the ID movement. Indeed, the way that you use the generic phrase “ID” without further defining your terms indicates that you are consciously distorting the language to misrepresent the issue, a common tactic among Darwinists.
Another Darwinist tactic, by the way, is to disrupt threads with subject matter unrelated to the original theme, as you have done here. I can well understand why administrators feel the need to moderate you from time to time.
Hitchens and Wilson hate Mother Teresa because she had the temerity to suggest that sex has a purpose, that human nature is real, and that that humans ought to manage their sex instincts in accordance with that nature. As a general rule, atheists cannot bear the idea of self-disclipline with respect to sexual activity, and that is the basis for their anger. People who think with their glands do not respond well to appeals for self control or reasoned arguments about directing the passions toward some desired end.
Indeed, that is one of the reasons why they have abandoned the idea of “ends” altogether. It’s just too much for them to contemplate the fact that sexual morality is the golden mean between the two extremes of puritanism and libertinism. They see puritanism as an extreme and libertinism as the ideal, another conclusion arrived at through glandular thinking. That is also why they make a sacrament out of abortion, which is the inevitable result of unfettered, undiscipined sexual activity. Mother Teresa challenges the legitimacy of their unrestrained glandular expression and they cannot forgive her for it. That is really what is going on here. Everything else is window dressing.
What is your source for this fascinating piece of insight into the atheist mind?
I’m so glad that priests have more self-discipline, or the church would be bankrupt by now.
As a general rule, atheists cannot bear the idea of self-disclipline with respect to sexual activity
—Monastyrski “What is your source for this fascinating piece of insight into the atheist mind?
According to a study done by the Barna Group in 2004, “Atheists and agnostics,” which comprise about 12% of the population were far more likely than other demographic groups to do the following:
?recycle used materials
?visit an adult-only website
?view pornographic media
?get legally drunk
?have sexual intercourse with someone to whom they are not married
Also, I have interviewed many atheists and agnostics, so I have plenty of anecdotal evidence as well. It makes perfect sense. Why would anyone who doesn’t believe in an objective moral standard for sexual activity conform their behavior to that standard or pay the price that its discipline demands. Also, athesits are first in line to support the killing of unborn babies, the business end of unfettered sexual activity. Indeed, I can’t even get atheists on this site to condemn abortion. When atheists “work out their own morality,” that is the kind of morality that they work out. In keeping with that point, you will likely never see anyone raise a sign at a political rally which reads, “atheists united for chastity.”
—“I’m so glad that priests have more self-discipline, or the church would be bankrupt by now.”
Getting a little testy, aren’t you.
I don’t expect anything less from Hitchens. I learned that the evil nature that someone like Hitchens has let overcome him shouldn’t be expected to be cordial, factual or truthful. It’s not in evil’s nature to care about those things that the rest of us, who still have good natures predominantly, value.
A woman comes to the rabbi and tells him:
-Rabbi, I want to have a child. We have been trying for years and nothing has happened. Can you help us?
The rabbi replies:
-Go in peace, next year you will have a baby son.
The same night light fills the study of the rabbi and an angry angel appears.
-Shlomo, you have interfered with matters that only belong to God. God will still give the woman the child, but as a punishment, you will never enter Paradise!
The next day the rabbi arranges a big feast with the finest dishes he can think of. He is just about to sit down and celebrate, when the same angel appears again.
-What are you doing, Shlomo? Don’t you understand that you will never enter Paradise?
-I jolly well do, -answers the rabbi- that is why I am celebrating. So far I have been doing good to get into Paradise. From now on I can do good just for the sake of good itself.
StephenB, Speaking of sexual immorality and of people going to hell, as Hitchens wishes on Mother Teressa for being “so self-seeking” and for not being “truly loving”,,, This video may be of direct interest:
Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah and The Real Reason God Destroyed Them
bornagain77 @ 4
I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted although ‘rabid son of a proton-powered rock’ has a certain ring to it.
Not true. It would be illogical to hate something that does not exist. It is true to say I sometimes despair of some who claim to speak in His name. As I am sure He would. If He existed.
…which is being done rather well, as the technology you and I are using attests.
If you actually read a little about quantum theory you will find that there are different interpretations of what is meant by the phenomenon of wave function collapse. If you think it shows your pet interpretation clearly, John A Wheeler, whom you cite below, is quoted as saying “If you’re not completely confused by quantum mechanics, you do not understand it.”
Speculation, even by such luminaries as Barrow and Tipler, is still speculation, not evidence. That sounds like the storyline of a Star Trek episode. In fact, now I think about it, wasn’t something similar the basis of the plot in the series finale of Next Generation?
There is no question that the origin of the Universe is a fascinating subject or that some scientists have speculated about some sort of mysterious intelligent agency that might lie behind it all. But, as with Wheeler and Tipler, speculation is not evidence, neither are YouTube videos of scientists speculating.
The videos are evidence that some scientists indulge in this sort of speculation, not that they are right.
StephenB @ 25
Okay, I confess that, as an agnostic and atheist, I am guilty of indulging my baser instincts by recycling waste materials.
As for the rest, it’s none of your damn business.
Exactly. Why should anyone conform to a moral standard whose alleged “objectivity” has yet to be established? This is especially so when there is reason to think that this claim is nothing but an unfounded sectarian attempt to assert the supremacy of Christian morality.
Unwanted pregnancies can be the result of many causes other than “unfettered sexual activity”.
There are also atheists who are opposed to abortion. I am, on the grounds that I believe the right to life should extend from conception to death, although I would allow it if there were compelling medical reasons.
When I have written about our working out our own morality, I have meant it to include all humanity, not just atheists and agnostics. I would argue that there is a firmer rational basis for a collective morality than an objective morality.
First, there is nothing either right or wrong about sex. It is a normal human appetite and activity. How people choose to indulge it is their business and provided no one is harmed then neither you nor I nor the State has any right to interfere. Quoting again the Victorian actress Mrs Patrick Campbell: “Does it really matter what these affectionate people do– so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses!”
If someone chooses of their own free will to remain chaste that is a choice they are entitled to make for themselves not for others. If others prefer to have sex whenever and wherever they can, that is also their choice, provided it is consensual and all parties are prepared to accept the consequences should pregnancy result.
I wont call you “the most rabid atheist I know” because I don’t know you. It is my personal opinion that most atheists are simply people who “wish” not to believe in God and so openly claim not to- as opposed to what they want people to believe about themselves, which is that they have carefully thought out and weighed the evidence only to come to the intelligent “inferred” conclusion that God does not exist. Now on that note allow me to call you out in this regard as well. As opposed to attempting to explain a refutation of Bornagain’s arguments from quantum physics and giving your reason for personally discounting these arguments, you have not even attempted to do so, and actually have simply dismissed them for no reason at all calling them mere “speculations.” Yet, in a certain sense all statements are speculations as current understandings of physics change all of the time. “What goes up must come down” is a speculation until proven otherwise. In fact the more specific the statement we make about reality the more likely we are to find an exception to it. This is why at the level of particle physics we have the problems associated with the uncertainty principle. We have super specific events and an inability to predict them at increasing difficulty. This is why Einstein said that “to deny generalizations is to deny all knowledge.” This is also what lead Bohr to say “There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about Nature.” As well as what lead Heisenberg to say “Not only is the universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” Linguistic explanations are imperfect and all science is provisional making all statements speculative to a point. It is not my doings that the greatest physicists have all become anti-physicists – or Platonists. It is merely a telling testimony to their personal experience and advanced understandings of their expertise which lead them to these positions.
In short, instead of all of these great minds being wrong maybe you should consider that it is the paradigm of materialism that is wrong?
But what is quite revealing about YOUR personal disposition against theism is that despite your healthy skepticism regarding speculative theoretical statements concerning the nature of reality and so called physics, you still chose to hold absurdly speculative positions-
As you can see you are being speculative about something that you claim does not even exist. Talk about an obvious contradiction and ridiculous philosophical commitment. I personally think people like yourself are less troubled by the science, theology and philosophy required by a theistic commitment as you are about your personal “disdain” for the reality that generally fallows from a theistic world view.
Perhaps CS Lewis put it best when he said he was a skeptic when we was younger not because he couldn’t imagine how God could exist but because he was “mad at God for not existing.”
The problem you and all atheists face is known as the ontological proof of God. God exists as a concept in the imagination and mind, and the imagination and mind can make God necessary to exist outside of the mind by defining God as “a necessary all encompassing concept.” So your argument against God’s existence is futile. What you can argue against is speculations regarding specific personal and historical claims about God’s nature. But this you did not even try to do. In fact you committed the greatest speculative statement of all- claiming to know the extensions of something you think cannot exist.
Allow me to tell you about the second most speculative theory though- it is called the multi-verse theory. This is a theory that cannot explain it’s own form and as part of the philosophy of the theory it claims you cannot even ask the question of the origin of the natuture of nature. This is a theory which cannot possibly have any physical or empirical evidence of it’s mechanism whatsoever- because how could we see past the origin of our own universe and into the one which supposedly gave rise to this one? We cannot. The best they can do is make up “speculative” an dimaginary matheticial models suggesting it’a plausibility. Kant however should long ago that synthetic reasoning like matehmatics is not to be taken as descriptive of reality without emprical evidence backing it up.
So, the materialist’s best non theistic physical explanation of the universe’s origin merely uses total speculation to inflate the naturalistic resources to make all events probable- hence making the improbability of life as we know it tautological. This is meaningless as far as it can “explain” the origin of the structure of reality.
You need to be more skeptical of speculative assertions and the best way of doing this is examining the personal biases that underlie these positions. Start with your own.
“The woman was a fanatic and a fundamentalist and a fraud, and millions of people are much worse off because of her life, and it’s a shame there is no hell for your bitch to go to.”
Wow, Hitchens crawled out of his bottomless bottle of scotch to insult a nun.
What a big strong man he must be!
If you people really want to know why atheists are reviled, look no further than Hitchens’ comment.
If Hitchens’ goal is to disprove the existence of dogmatic things like Angels and Demons- then he is doing himself a major disservice with quotes like that. He seems to be giving an academy award wining performance of a man possessed by demons. One so good that in fact much of the audience is actually buying it.
Right. And they have a lower divorce rate, too, and are more likely to be well-educated. That’s all very nice, but it doesn’t even come close to verifying your claim that atheists hate the idea of self-discipline regarding sexual activity.
If one does not regard, say, pre-marital sex as wrong — unlike you I guess — then self-discipline is not very relevant.
Perhaps you should have said that you believe that atheists hate the idea of being subjected to sexual repression by a conservative minority who rely on unfounded claims of moral superiority.
Seversky, much talk and no substance does nothing to to bolster your position, save perhaps to further your conviction that your delusion of materialism is correct.
Question: Exactly which parameter of physical “material” reality do you cite that would preclude infinite transcendent God from existing?
Seversky, now apparently Wheeler made that comment on quantum mechanics before quantum teleportation was known,,, so let us delve a little deeper into Quantum Teleportation to see if a little more light can be shed on the foundation of reality:
Reflection on the quantum teleportation experiment:
That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation of its “infinite” information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. Thus, this is direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, which cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means, yet a photon of energy is destroyed by this transcendent means. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed. Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, energy, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities. i.e. All information that can exist, for all past, present and future events of energy, already must exist. Another line of evidence, corroborating the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information, is the required mathematical definition for infinite information needed to correctly specify the reality of a photon qubit (Armond Duwell).
The fact that quantum teleportation shows an exact “location dominion”, of a photon of energy by “a specified truth of infinite information”, satisfies a major requirement for the entity needed to explain the missing Dark Matter. The needed transcendent explanation would have to dominate energy in a very similar “specified location” fashion, as is demonstrated by the infinite information of quantum teleportation, to satisfy what is needed to explain the missing dark matter.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Moreover, the fact that simple quantum entanglement shows “coordinated universal control” of entangled photons of energy, by transcendent information, satisfies a major requirement for the entity which must explain the missing Dark Energy. i.e. The transcendent entity, needed to explain Dark Energy, must explain why the entire space of the universe is expanding in such a finely-tuned, coordinated, degree, and would have to employ a mechanism of control very similar to what we witness in the quantum entanglement experiment.
He stretches out the heavens by Himself and walks on the waves of the sea.
Thus “infinite transcendent information” provides a coherent picture of universal control, and specificity, that could possibly unify all of physics upon further elucidation. It very well may be possible to elucidate, mathematically, the overall pattern God has chosen to implement infinite information in this universe. This following article powerfully backs up my assertion:
Is Unknown Force In Universe Acting On Dark Matter?
Excerpt: It is possible that a non-gravitational fifth force is ruling the dark matter with an invisible hand, leaving the same fingerprints on all galaxies, irrespective of their ages, shapes and sizes.” ,,Such a force might solve an even bigger mystery, known as ‘dark energy’, which is ruling the accelerated expansion of the Universe. A more radical solution is a revision of the laws of gravity first developed by Isaac Newton in 1687 and refined by Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in 1916. Einstein never fully decided whether his equation should add an omnipresent constant source, now called dark energy. ,,Dr Famaey added, “If we account for our observations with a modified law of gravity, it makes perfect sense to replace the effective action of hypothetical dark matter with a force closely related to the distribution of visible matter.”
“I discovered that nature was constructed in a wonderful way, and our task is to find out its mathematical structure”
Further reflections on the “infinite transcendent information” framework:
Mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. As well, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for mass at the speed of light (i.e. the mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light.). For us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, only gets us to first base as far as quantum teleportation is concerned. That is to say, traveling at the speed of light only gets us to the place where time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, “past and future folding into now”, framework/dimension of time. This “eternal” inference for light is warranted because light is not “frozen within time” yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.
“I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
“The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.” – Richard Swenson
Light and Quantum Entanglement Proves That God Does Indeed Exist – video
Also, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them, but, and this is a big but; this “timeless” travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework/dimension of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. In information teleportation though the “time not passing”, eternal, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but also in our temporal framework/dimension. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks/dimensions, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus “pure information” is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks/dimensions. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which It resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned). Logic also dictates “a decision” must have been made, by the “transcendent, eternal, infinite information” from the primary timeless (eternal) reality It inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive. The restriction imposed by our physical limitations of us ever accessing complete infinite information to our temporal framework/dimension does not detract, in any way, from the primacy and dominion of the infinite, eternal, transcendent, information framework/dimension that is now established by the quantum teleportation experiment as the primary reality of our reality. Of note: All of this evidence meshes extremely well with the theistic postulation of God being infinite and perfect in knowledge.
“An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
Akiane – Child Prodigy – Artwork homepage – music video
As a side light to this, leading quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger has followed in John Archibald Wheeler’s footsteps (1911-2008) by insisting reality, at its most foundational level, is “information”.
Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
Who denies that the science of origins has profound religious implications? ID? Of course not. But many of Darwin’s children do—which is why Richard Dawkins can say, “I’m being a hell of a lot more frank and honest in this interview than many people in this field would be.”
So it’s not ID that denies that the origins debate has religious implications—it’s the can’t-we-all-just-get-along Atheist and Theistic Darwinists. This wouldn’t even be an issue if it weren’t for the profound religious implications. Who really cares whether we question Ohm’s law. On the one hand it may not be that questionable—such as Darwinism is—and on the other hand what would be the religious implications if we did question it.
No, what ID asks is that, whatever our religious preferences, we let Dawkins’ honesty trickle down into the science. It’s OK to question ID, even if you are an atheist. And it’s OK to question Darwin, even if you are a theist.
And never trust anyone who says he has no biases, no religious preferences. If he is telling the truth he’s a fool, and if he’s not he’s a liar.
When Graham mischaracterizes ID, “The world is so complex it must be made by God,” he reveals his own materialist bias: “Even though the world is so complex we will always be able to find a chance and necessity explanation.”
His bias is OK, but not if he won’t admit it.
—-Seversky: [concerning atheists proclivity to abuse sexuality] “As for the rest, it’s none of your damn business.”
Yes it is. Many atheists are not content to simply pervert their own nature. They seek to remake the world in their own image and likeness. Sexual pervert and biologist Alfred Kinsey changed the entire moral landscape by visiting his own sexual dysfunction on the culture with his bogus science. Atheist anthropologist Margaret Mead, adulterer, cooked the books in cultural analysis to create the impression that adultery was far more widespread than it was. Currently, the homosexual lobby is doing exactly the same thing—imposing their morality on the marriage contract itself.
—–“Why should anyone conform to a moral standard whose alleged “objectivity” has yet to be established? This is especially so when there is reason to think that this claim is nothing but an unfounded sectarian attempt to assert the supremacy of Christian morality.”
So, make up your mind. First, you tell us that atheists are just as moral as everyone else. Then you tell us that atheists need not follow the moral code because they don’t believe in it.
—-“Unwanted pregnancies can be the result of many causes other than “unfettered sexual activity”.
I will make a political deal with the atheists. For now, [and only for now] if they will allow the 99% of aborted babies caused by unfettered sexual activity to live, I will let them kill the 1% caused by rape and incest. That will bring the number of US abortions down from over l,000,000 a year to less than 10,000 a year. [I will then try to save the 10.000, who deserve to live just as much as the others]. Of course, the atheists will never make such a deal with me. All this talk about rape and incest is a pretext to avoid the main issue, which is the atheistic proclivity to kill babies for convenience.
—-“There are also atheists who are opposed to abortion. I am, on the grounds that I believe the right to life should extend from conception to death, although I would allow it if there were compelling medical reasons.”
What “right to life?” Are you saying that the right to life is an objective reality? On what do you base that assertion? I salute you for your belief, but, in your case, it is just a sentiment. If there is no objective morality, then there are no inalienable rights. Didn’t you know that?
—–“When I have written about our working out our own morality, I have meant it to include all humanity, not just atheists and agnostics. I would argue that there is a firmer rational basis for a collective morality than an objective morality.”
As I have pointed out, there is no way to work out a collective morality. Would you like to work one out with me? Here is my opening gambit:
The natural moral [The Tao]
The Ten Commandments [Old Testament]
The Sermon on the Mount [New Testament]
The Beatitudes [New Testament]
Provide your standards and then we can negotiate. We have already been through this. You will not put your standard on the table because you have no standard except for the Golden Rule, which you “feel” is a good standard. That is a noble sentiment, but you cannot build a well ordered society around it. It is too vague. Again, if you and I [two people cannot work out a morality] we can be certain that society at large cannot work it out. The moral law must precede it application. Subjective morality is a contradiction of terms. If it doesn’t exist outside the realm of personal opinion, it cannot be binding. Why should I be bound by your morality? Why should you be bound by mine. We can only both be bound by THE morality.
—-“First, there is nothing either right or wrong about sex. It is a normal human appetite and activity. How people choose to indulge it is their business and provided no one is harmed then neither you nor I nor the State has any right to interfere.”
First, you are confusing the moral law with the civil law, which derives from it. The standards for the former are higher, but the latter must depend on it nevertheless. The civil law is always based on someone’s morality. The only question is this: On whose morality will it be based? Will it derive from [A] The natural moral law, which brings order [B] Religious fanaticism, which leads to tyranny or [C] Atheism, which also leads to tyranny or [D] Popular opinion, which leads to the tyranny of the majority, which, in turn, leads to tyranny by a few.
Second, sex is never a neutral activity. It always takes place within a context. Are you saying that adultery, which can certainly result from a “natural human appetite,” is morally neutral? Are you saying that ten year olds having sex on a school bus, another “natural” activity [it happens] is morally neutral? Are you saying that incest is morally neutral? Are you saying that pre-marital sex is morally neutral? If not, what is your moral standard for accepting some of these “natural” behaviors while rejecting others?
—-“If someone chooses of their own free will to remain chaste that is a choice they are entitled to make for themselves not for others. If others prefer to have sex whenever and wherever they can, that is also their choice, provided it is consensual and all parties are prepared to accept the consequences should pregnancy result.”
From where does this “entitlement” come? The ten year olds who are having sex on the bus salute you. Also, what if fornicators are not “prepared to accept the consequences should pregnancy result.” What then? Or, what if they are prepared to accept the consequences and have decided to kill their offspring in the result of a pregnancy? As good little moral relativists, they will tell you that no moral law prevents them from killing the baby. You will tell them that you are “personally opposed” to it, but, hey, you wouldn’t dream of imposing your subjective morality on them. So, the baby dies and everyone goes away much edified—-accept the baby—–and the deteriorating culture.
Margaret Meade was an Episcopalian. I don’t think Episcopalians are atheists!
Great posts from Frost and StephenB
—-“Margaret Meade was an Episcopalian. I don’t think Episcopalians are atheists!”
That’s probably a fair objection, but it doesn’t make much difference in the overall scheme of things. While Mead may not have been a full fledged atheist, at least by public admission, she promoted atheistic values, like free sex, bisexuality, and adultery. She simply wanted to remake the world with respect to atheistic attitudes about sex while maintaining her Christian affiliation. We have a few like that running around today. Eugene Robinson and John Shelby Spong come to mind. As Saul Alinsky pointed out long ago, the idea is to appear mainstrem while promoting a radical agenda. You get more traction that way.
In light of your comments about atheism and sexuality, I did some quick Googling…
is http://www.whosoever.org an atheistic valued website?
To StephenB and bornagain77. I really tried to keep quiet, but I have to ask again: If ID tries so hard to distance itself from religion, why do you 2 (ID defenders I presume) keep dragging it back in ? (and why so loooong?) You are definitely not helping your case.
BTW, bornagain77, I followed your link at #20. Oh dear. I dont think this helps your case either.
More on Christopher’s irrational obsession here:
StephenB @ 37
No, it most certainly is not.
Unlike the more extreme forms of fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity, atheism is not trying to foist some Puritanical notion of morality on the rest of us.
And I will accept no lectures on morality from Christians who will not disavow some of the more egregious incidents from the Old Testament such as Judges 20-21.
What on earth are you talking about? Homosexuals are simply asking that their partnerships be recognized by society as being as legitimate as those of heterosexuals. It makes no difference at all to heterosexual marriages.
Quite why they need the endorsement of such an uncharitable section of society is beyond me. I’d have thought they would be much better off with some sort of legally-recognized civil partnership.
I will make you a counter-offer.
Persuade Congress to pass a law extending the status of personhood and thus the right to life to conception. That will prevent abortions except in cases of medical necessity.
Rights are entitlements granted by a society to all its members by mutual agreement. There is no need for objective morality, even if such a thing made sense.
If you want to negotiate I am quite happy to participate but we will need a more appropriate venue than this.
I suspect we will find we agree on a lot more than you think.
That is a dangerous question.
Criminal and civil law can be viewed as the codification of moral beliefs developed and refined through their practical application to specific cases. For it to work, rather than simply be enforced, the members of society to whom it applies must feel that it is reasonably just and fair. If, as you seem to be suggesting, the moral beliefs of one section of society be imposed on the rest, you will forfeit the tacit consent of the majority. That will not work either.
It involves a deception and betrayal of trust. It is a breach of the Golden Rule inasmuch as most people would not like to be betrayed in that way.
Does society have an interest in such activities which entitles it to intervene? In accordance with the principles in Mill’s On Liberty, unless there is a question of harm to the rights of any of the participants then I would say not.
My view is that society has no interest in what consenting adults choose to do together in private provided no unwanted harm occurs. That view assumes that the participants are old enough and mature enough to be able to give informed consent.
Ten year-old children are not assumed to be capable of giving informed consent because they are too young to be able to understand let alone cope with the consequences of their actions.
On those grounds, under-age sex should be discouraged although you are probably never going to be able to prevent all experimentation.
No, because in the case of siblings it is wrong for the reasons given above. In the case of an adult and a child, it is wrong because it involves the exploitation of someone who is not able to give informed consent.
Again, if it is between consenting adults then there is nothing wrong with it morally.
The source of entitlement and the question of under-age sex I have already dealt with very briefly above.
On the question of abortion, if society allows it, as is the case at present, then I have no right to take any action against those who choose to avail themselves of that option. If you allow that people have a right to ignore the law whenever they feel it is justified, you have a recipe for chaos.
—-seversky: “Rights are entitlements granted by a society to all its members by mutual agreement. There is no need for objective morality, even if such a thing made sense.”
Society doesn’t grant rights. It delegates that power to the state. What the state gives the state can take away. Only God granted rights can be inalienable.
—-“I suspect we will find we agree on a lot more than you think.”
I suspect that you are right, although for different reasons.
—-Criminal and civil law can be viewed as the codification of moral beliefs developed and refined through their practical application to specific cases. For it to work, rather than simply be enforced, the members of society to whom it applies must feel that it is reasonably just and fair.
What happens if you think that the current abortion laws are reasonable and I think that they are unreasonable? We are both members of society are we not? How is that disagreement adjudicated?
—-“If, as you seem to be suggesting, the moral beliefs of one section of society be imposed on the rest, you will forfeit the tacit consent of the majority. That will not work either.”
I already explained that we cannot use your morality, my morality, or anyone else’s morality. That is precisely what gets us into trouble. We should use THE morality. If it doesn’t exist, we can’t invent it nor can we ever agree on it.
Is adultery moral?
—-No. It involves a deception and betrayal of trust. It is a breach of the Golden Rule inasmuch as most people would not like to be betrayed in that way.”
****But what if all four parties agree to it? You said earlier that if consenting adults want to have sex, they should not be discouraged from doing so. So, if both husbands and wives agree to it, there would be no betrayal. Under those circumstances, is adultery moral? What if a whole community works out its own morality such that all couples married or not can exchange partners freely and often?
****Is it immoral for adults fornicate with the intention to abort if pregnancy occurs?
A blast from UD past – Atheism: An Intellectual Revolt or Pelvic Rebellion?
Also, here’s some fun stuff for Seversky et al to try and talk around (remember, you can’t force your morality down other people’s throats – that’s hypocritical):
Genetic sexual attraction (that’s incest to you intellectual feebs out there)
Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution. Slippery slope? Whatchutalkinbout?
Heavy Petting, by that OTHER reknowned utilitarian philosopher, Peter Singer
And along similar lines, Interspecies Sex: Evolution’s Hidden Secret?
Finally, if the American Psychological Association ever proclaims pedophilia to be a lifestyle choice rather than a sickness, then who are we to say they’re wrong?
—-Berceuse: “Is http://www.whosoever.org an atheistic valued website?”
It is quite an irony when you think about it. In a sense, the site you allude to is promoting the same doctrine as Hitchens and Wilson, namely that man can be a law unto himself—a self created being who can invent his own sexual morality. Yet their approaches and styles are totally different..
On the one hand, Hitchens and Wilson hate God, militate against him, and take a hard line against theists, especially Christians. Even so, there is no pretense; the hate is palpable—and sincere. They fight morality with a fierce frown and an aggressive thrust of the sword.
On the other hand, the hosts at the website in question pretend to love God even as they twist his word and use his name to justify their immoral teaching, exuding a feigned, insufferable sweetness—a kind of feminized Christianity that seeks to destroy morality with a smile and a brew of poison that tastes like sugar.
While they represent two radically different journeys, they both lead to the same place: A culture of death and disorder in this life earth, which leads to eternal suffering in the next life.
Wow, angryoldfatman @46, that is quite a list. Here is my favorite list from all your sources:
–Biologist Stephen Jay Gould: “We may yearn for a higher answer—but none exists. This explanation, though superficially troubling if not terrifying, is ultimately liberating and exhilarating.”
–Biologist Julian Huxley, the grandson of Darwin’s buddy and ally Thomas Henry Huxley, put it this way: “The sense of spiritual relief which comes from rejecting the idea of God as a supernatural being is enormous.”
–Julian’s brother Aldous Huxley, not to be outdone by his bro, stated, “I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption . . . For myself as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation . . . liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”
–Bertrand Russell: “The worst feature of the Christian religion is its attitude toward sex.”
And, or course, our man of the hour,
–Christopher Hitchens: “The divorce between the sexual life and fear . . . can now at last be attempted on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse.”
Good work, angry man.
As you may have guessed, I got on this topic because I think calling homosexuality immoral, as well as comparing it to adultery, and especially abortion, is going a little far…
To use your own arguments, who are you to say that your interpretation of the Word is the correct one, and isn’t a distortion?
But let’s just say you’re right. Won’t the followers of this website be forgiven, since they accept Christ? Shouldn’t you be, at the very least, glad that they know of Jesus? To compare them with Hitchens is a low, low blow.
You are making Christianity’s message of unconditional love quite conditional. I am not an atheist, but I have to say, you’re making Christians seem awfully bigoted.
But I guess that’s the problem. Since intolerance is justified in the face of immorality, whether or not this is bigotry really depends on if you’re correct in saying, “Homosexuality is immoral”
And there are plenty of Christians who don’t agree with that statement, but I imagine you will say, “then they aren’t Christians.”
I think the most important message of Christianity is Jesus being our Savior. You seem to have lost that in a self-collapsing vortex of self-righteousness.
I like you, StephenB. You’re better than the presumption of claiming these people “pretend to love God” and concoct “poison” for the masses. I never expected to hear something so shocking from you, a Christian. It’s polemics like these that drive some struggling homosexuals to suicide.
Berceuse, to restore moral freedom to someone who has lost it is a very delicate operation that often requires the wisdom of more than one person. Indeed, some of us are better at describing what life, truth, beauty, unity, and goodness may look like, while others are better are warning how their absence can lead to death. Some are better at encouraging those who, tempted to despair, need a helping hand, others are better at goading those who, tempted to presumption, need a strong dose of reality. Both kinds of efforts are required.
So, what are the current proportions and where should our emphasis be placed. Are there more homosexuals, or for that matter, heterosexuals equally bound to carnality, who feel shame and discouragement in their failed attempts to extricate themselves from their bondage, or are there more who are proud, happy, and defiant in the circumstances, announcing to all concerned that there is nothing at all wrong with undisciplined carnality, threatening anyone who would object to their lifestyle that they are liable be taken to court for a hate crime and, as a bonus, informing us that we will also have to live with a new definition of marriage and morality itself.
I submit that the latter problem is more common and therefore the one to be addressed. Does that mean there are none who qualify for the first group, referring to those who may actually be hurt or unduly discouraged when cold reality hits them in the face? Of course not. Some do fall into that category, and for them, I sympathize and would go to great lengths to help—without condemnation or judgment, because those are the ones who are in danger of giving up. There are plenty of outlets for those so disposed, and if anyone ever asks me, I will, gently and lovingly, provide my best efforts at directing that initiative. However, to get to that stage, the homosexual, or the undisciplined heterosexual, which appears to now be the majority in our culture [just watch MTV], or the lecher, or the pedophile, or the pornography addict [you wouldn’t believe the numbers], or whoever has become a slave to his/her appetites, must first acknowledge that slavery is the problem. It is those who have indeed acknowledged that they are slaves that would be tempted to suicide, but then they would not be unduly affected by my warnings because they would already know the truth inherent in them and would be moving on to the second stage of seeking help.
But how many in our culture really ask for help. Not enough. Quite the contrary, most are in our face telling us [or at least me] to get out of their face–that there is absolutely nothing wrong with undisciplined carnality—that such behavior is moral and normal—that there is no such thing as objective morality or normality in the first place—that we should not pay attention to the cultural movements to legitimize sexual sin, indoctrinate our children, change the definition of marriage—that we should end this discussion once and for all and to never speak of it again.
I don’t think it is a legitimate Christian response to cower to those kinds of initiatives or to soft soap the problem. Too many young people face a sexual identity crisis and too many babies are dying all because a large portion of our population cannot manage their sexual instincts or are even aware of the fact that they ought to. In fact, Jesus Christ was capable both of anger, which prompted him to throw the money hungry Sadducees out of the temple [they were too lax and liberal] and condemn the self righteous Pharisees [they were too rigid and conservative], and yet he was also capable of exceeding kindness, with which he guided the sensibilities of the woman at the well and his own apostles, and finessed the difficult problems faced by the woman at the well. He harmonized his approach with the texture of the problem and the attitude of his listeners. In other words, he diagnosed the problem and shaped his response accordingly.
Everything turns on the diagnosis. Concerning the problem of sexual immorality, I for one, perceive far more presumption than despair, so I respond accordingly. If I am wrong, or, if in my correspondence, I become the Pharisee [please God don’t let it happen], then I am subject to judgment myself. As I say, it is a very delicate operation, but one that requires a proper diagnosis nevertheless. According to my diagnosis, this is the wrong time to finesse the problem. If I am right, it is inappropriate to try to put out a raging fire with a fireside chat.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but in terms of morality, are you saying a disciplined homosexual in a committed relationship is comparable to an undisciplined, hedonistic heterosexual?
How much more damage is the latter causing to the world than the former?
What do you make of any openly gay Christian pastors? Would you say the same things to them as you’ve written on here? Or have you already?
Here’s some interesting reading, Berceuse.
An excerpt (all emphasis mine):
“Want to know what it really means for a society to recognize “gay marriage”? Or for a society to permit polygamy? Or when the stigma on out-of-wedlock birth disappears? Care to know what happens to a human community that tolerates sexual experimentation among pre-adolescents and teenagers? Are fathers and mothers really interchangeable? Anthropology actually has a large amount of empirical evidence on all these matters—and many others that are now on the table in the United States thanks to various advocacy movements.”
—“How much more damage is the latter [committed homosexual relationship] causing to the world than the former [undisciplined heterosexual relationship?]”
Both cause the culture to disintegrate. The Scriptures [and the Church] condemn both behaviors.
—-“What do you make of any openly gay Christian pastors?”
A big, big problem.
—“Would you say the same things to them as you’ve written on here? Or have you already?”
If it was a one time meeting, I wouldn’t say it unless I was asked about it, just as I was asked about it here. On the other hand, if I had multiple opportunities in an ongoing dialogue, as has sometimes been the case, I would express my disapproval, as lovingly as possible. What matters more, their immortal soul, not to mention a 30 year reduction of their earthly life, or my popularity?
“Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.”
I was never advocating gay marriage. That’s not the issue here. What I’m addressing is if same-sex attraction is fundamentally immoral. Immoral in the same way that theft and murder are immoral. I’ve yet to see a convincing argument.
“Both cause the culture to disintegrate.”
Please elaborate how the former does.
“The Scriptures [and the Church] condemn both behaviors.”
Not all churches, and therefore interpretations of scripture, apparently. How do you know your Church, if you will, is right?
“A big, big problem.”
“I wouldn’t say it unless I was asked about it, just as I was asked about it here.”
Well, it was you who brought it up to begin with. Maybe not openly gay pastors but certainly the idea that being gay is wrong.
“What matters more, their immortal soul, not to mention a 30 year reduction of their earthly life, or my popularity?”
Again, if they accept Jesus Christ are their souls really in jeopardy? Are you saying their acceptance of Christ isn’t legitimate because they’re gay?
By a 30 year reduction in life I’m assuming you’re referring to AIDS. While it’s statistically more likely for a person to have AIDS if he is gay, I think that was uncalled for. Being heterosexual doesn’t make one immune to AIDS, anyway.
As far as popularity goes, I wasn’t suggesting you would hold your tongue for the sake being on good terms with others. My point is that it’s easier to have conviction on here than in the face of someone who has devoted himself to Christ and made it his life’s work, as well as made peace with who he is (or, as I guess you would put it, who he chooses to be).
StephenB @ 46
In a democracy, the legislature is comprised of members who are chosen by the electorate to represent them. The legislature derives its authority and legitimacy from popular mandate.
A significant difference between the British and US systems, though, is that, in the UK, Parliament is held to be supreme. The two Houses are able to make or unmake any law. Nothing is immune. In the US, the constitution incorporates a Bill of Rights which, while not immune from Congressional amendment, are to some extent shielded from the ebb and flow of political debate. Changes cannot be made lightly or in haste. To that extent the American system is superior. While rights in the US may not be inalienable, by being incorporated in a single statute they are better protected than they are in the UK.
As for God-granted rights in what way are they inalienable? What is to prevent Him from changing His mind and withdrawing some or all of them if He chooses?
The same way as such disputes are handled now. If the matter is important enough to the electorate it could become subject of public and political debate which could eventually lead to the tabling of draft legislation. This would be scrutinized, debated and finally put to the vote as with any other legislation.
I prefer to believe that given sufficient time and goodwill we can reach an agreement on a collective morality. As with most such human endeavors, it will probably take time and be a messy business but that does not mean it cannot be done or that we shouldn’t try.
If it is consensual between responsible adults then it is not immoral in my view
Yes, because it threatens an individual whose survival should be protected by the right to life. On the other hand, if they plan to employ contraception then I see no problem.
Both gay lifestyles and heterosexual cause the culture to disintegrate
—“Please elaborate how the former does.”
Among other things, the gay lifestyle [and heterosexual libertinism] leads the uninformed to believe that the purpose of sex, which is to create a loving bond between husband and wife, co-create children with God, and infuse the culture with a pro-life ethic, is negotiable and can be altered to suit one’s personal desires.
—“Not all churches, and therefore interpretations of scripture, apparently. How do you know your Church, if you will, is right?”
If you want to delude yourself into believing that the Bible or any Biblically oriented church supports homosexual unions, I don’t think any argument would suffice for you.
Ministers should support what the Bible teaches.
—“Well, it was you who brought it up to begin with. Maybe not openly gay pastors but certainly the idea that being gay is wrong.”
Well, not exactly. You asked me to visit a Christian gay website and render an opinion.
—“Again, if they accept Jesus Christ are their souls really in jeopardy?”
Are you talking about the homosexual orientation over which they have no control? If so, the answer is no. Are you talking about the gay lifestyle, over which they do have control. The answer is yes?
—“By a 30 year reduction in life I’m assuming you’re referring to AIDS. While it’s statistically more likely for a person to have AIDS if he is gay, I think that was uncalled for. Being heterosexual doesn’t make one immune to AIDS, anyway.”
I don’t think it is an act of compassion to ignore the fact that active gays typically lose decades out of their life and put their souls in jeopardy. I believe that most, not all, can change their orientation, because I think that it is, usually, not always, more of a “nurture” problem than a “nature” problem. On the other hand, I have not given heterosexual libertinsim a pass or suggested that it was any less sinful.
—“As far as popularity goes, I wasn’t suggesting you would hold your tongue for the sake being on good terms with others. My point is that it’s easier to have conviction on here than in the face of someone who has devoted himself to Christ and made it his life’s work, as well as made peace with who he is (or, as I guess you would put it, who he chooses to be).”
I have not said anything about choosing identities, only behaviors. Can one devote himself to Christ while ignoring his commandments? I will leave that one to you. On the other matter, yes it is easier to dispense hard sayings from a distance. No doubt about it.
—-seversky: “Yes, because it threatens an individual whose survival should be protected by the right to life.”
You have not yet told me where the right to life comes from.
“If you want to delude yourself into believing that the Bible or any Biblically oriented church supports homosexual unions, I don’t think any argument would suffice for you.”
Sorry, I forgot. You are right. I am deluded. I guess the Lutheran church is no longer “Biblically oriented”: http://www.washingtontimes.com.....y-couples/
Instead of tap-dancing around the question and insulting me, it’d be better to just answer it.
“Are you talking about the homosexual orientation over which they have no control?”
So if I’m understanding this correctly, it is okay for someone to be gay, for that is how they were made, but they have to be celibate to remain moral?
—-“Sorry, I forgot. You are right. I am deluded. I guess the Lutheran church is no longer “Biblically oriented”:
Insofar as they recognize gay relationships, that is correct. If they changed their “doctrine,” which the article you alluded to states, then either their old interpretation of Biblical morality was false, in which case it should never have been trusted, or else their new interpretation of Biblical morality is false, in which case it cannot be trusted now. If you are seeking truth, look for a Church or a moral source that doesn’t change its story.
—“So if I’m understanding this correctly, it is okay for someone to be gay, for that is how they were made, but they have to be celibate to remain moral?”
I didn’t say that they were “made” that way. Quite the contrary, I submit that, for the most part, cultural conditions cause it, meaning that it is a learned behavior based on a multitude of factors. There is no credible evidence to suggest that homosexuals are born that way. So, there are a lot of reasons to think that they can change with the right help and under the right circumstances; that which is learned can be unlearned. In the meantime, yes, homosexuals must remain chase to be moral, just as single heterosexuals must remain chaste to be moral.
Granted, it is a trial, for some a severe one, especially in a sex-crazed culture such as ours, but morality imposes trials on a lot of people. That is why moral relativism has become so popular and why some churches avoid all the hard sayings and change their doctrines to harmoize with the current zeitgeist.
By that way, this discussion is not much fun for me either. I would much rather critique Hitchens militant atheism or the morality of abortionsts who attack babies in their mothers womb and torture them to death. Perhaps we can come together on that one.
“If they changed their “doctrine,” which the article you alluded to states, then either their old interpretation of Biblical morality was false, in which case it should never have been trusted, or else their new interpretation of Biblical morality is false, in which case it cannot be trusted now. If you are seeking truth, look for a Church or a moral source that doesn’t change its story.”
I find it hard to believe that whatever Church you belong to has not changed a single thing since its inception, in which case the same consequences would apply. Nevertheless, let’s say, as you put it, the old interpretation was false. So what? How does that corrupt all trustworthiness?
I think we can both agree that there are many issues in addition to this one that are up for debate. After all, how many denominations of Christianity are there? I’ve asked repeatedly how you know your interpretation is right, and haven’t received an answer. Is it those who follow the Bible word for word? Does your church enforce ALL the laws in Leviticus?
I have a feeling that no matter what evidence I provide, you will write it off as a divorce from the Church to begin with, and therefore not worth recognizing as a legitimate example. This stategy reminds me of someone…
“By that way, this discussion is not much fun for me either. I would much rather critique Hitchens militant atheism or the morality of abortionsts who attack babies in their mothers womb and torture them to death. Perhaps we can come together on that one.”
Too easy. Those issues shouldn’t even be up for debate.
—“I find it hard to believe that whatever Church you belong to has not changed a single thing since its inception, in which case the same consequences would apply. Nevertheless, let’s say, as you put it, the old interpretation was false. So what? How does that corrupt all trustworthiness?”
My church has never changed a dogmatic teaching. On the matter of your question, it should be evident that one should not trust a moral authority that can’t make up its mind about morals.
—“I think we can both agree that there are many issues in addition to this one that are up for debate.”
—“After all, how many denominations of Christianity are there?”
Tens of thousands.
—“I’ve asked repeatedly how you know your interpretation is right, and haven’t received an answer.”
OK. Fair enough. I guess I owe you that much. I know my answer is right because it comes from the one Church that Christ founded over two thousand years ago, which never has and never will change its mind about any doctrine. However, that is one issue that I will not press [indeed, I will not mention it again] out of respect for my hosts.
—“Is it those who follow the Bible word for word? Does your church enforce ALL the laws in Leviticus?”
—“I have a feeling that no matter what evidence I provide, you will write it off as a divorce from the Church to begin with, and therefore not worth recognizing as a legitimate example. This stategy reminds me of someone…”
The two tests are these: Is it Scriptural, that is, does it reflect the whole of God’s word, not just one part of it, and is it consistent with the natural moral law, which also cannot violate Scripture.
By that way, this discussion is not much fun for me either. I would much rather critique Hitchens militant atheism or the morality of abortionsts who attack babies in their mothers womb and torture them to death. Perhaps we can come together on that one.
—-Too easy. Those issues shouldn’t even be up for debate.
I agree, and I salute you for saying so.
“On the matter of your question, it should be evident that one should not trust a moral authority that can’t make up its mind about morals.”
I wouldn’t call it indecisiveness, and the Church isn’t a moral authority anyway.
Berceuse, I have pushed the envelope too far already. Thanks for putting up with me.
StephenB @ 59
I want to live for as long as I can and so do most other people. The Golden Rule applies: you don’t try kill me and I won’t try to kill you.