Notes from the Campaign Trail: Faith, Death, and the Social Contract

While out canvassing last night, I fell into a conversation with a couple of Franklin Graham voters—i.e., fundagelicals who accept Graham’s easy thesis that if we just elect godly leaders, everything else will work out. I replied that I have yet to see any reliable correlation between a person’s professions of faith and their practical efficacy and trustworthiness. (See also Scott Westerhuis.)

My neighbors turned the conversation to the ultimate question (and yes, I know, bad canvassing—we’re well beyond the effective 30-second window, I should be knocking on more doors, not talking theology and social contract) of what happens when we die. I acknowledged that, given the way I bicycle and some Aberdonians drive, that could well be ten minutes from now. The lady of the house said the most important thing in life is to be ready for death and the Lord’s judgment that follows.

I disagreed as respectfully as I could. Calling on Socrates, I said we know nothing for sure. (I know! the wife insisted. I know what happens when we die and what we must do to be ready… and I can’t bridge that gap.) We may adopt on faith certain assumptions and assurances to get us through our days, but having never died, we do not know what happens when we die. No amount of mortal discourse or earthly empiricism will prove that our souls ascend or descend, reincarnate, or switch off like a fridge in a power outage.

While we know nothing for sure, I know some things more surely than others and far more surely than I know the ultimate fate of our souls. I know, with a practical and much substantiated confidence, that I live and enjoy liberty, learning, and leisure because I exist in a community, in society, not in anarchy. I know that I enjoy the benefits of society because a lot of people before me did a lot of work to create civic institutions that sustain society and give us the chance to raise families in relative safety, to create and invent, and to help others. I know that more people are coming after me who deserve as much of a chance at life, liberty, and property as I do. I thus feel an obligation to keep society going for those coming people, to maintain the schools, roads, courts, parks, and other social institutions we have and maybe build some new ones (e.g., asteroid defense, colonies on Mars and Titanstarships) that enhance my descendants’ chances of survival and opportunity to sit around thinking about answers to unanswerable questions.

I don’t know for sure what happens to me when I die. I do know, absent Apocalypse, what happens to everyone else: they go on living. They go on dealing with whatever earthly messes I leave behind. It seems both practical and decent that all of us, believers and nonbelievers, heaven- and dust-bound, try to keep those messes to a minimum, that we leave our planet and our democracy in better shape (Second Law of Thermodynamics, another certainty even Socrates would concede, be darned!) than we found it when we woke up to life.

That’s another reason I runPedal pedal, knock knock….


54 Responses to Notes from the Campaign Trail: Faith, Death, and the Social Contract

  1. Steve Sibson

    “I exist in a community, in society, not in anarchy.”

    Men walking into girls restrooms and pride events are examples of anarchy.

    “chance to raise families in relative safety”

    Not so much if we don’t start protecting our borders.

    “that we leave our planet and our democracy in better shape”

    If that is the mission, then we are going in the wrong direction. God has turned us over based on Romans 1. Too many have rejected his way and adopted our own way. It is now survival of the fittest for the planet and our democracy, in other words…anarchy.

  2. Sibby, are you on the Terror Watch List?

  3. Bob Newland

    While we don’t “know” what happens to us when we die, we have a pretty good idea of what happens to other people when they die. They get put in a box (most, do, anyway) that will eventually disintegrate and allow their myriad compounds to disperse into the universe. Thus, they attain renewed life (lives, actually) as their molecules become parts of new things.

    Their souls, which departed their bodies somewhere around the moment they quit breathing, become part of the infinite carnival, with never-ending supplies of caramel corn.

    I know this to be true.

  4. Oh man, probably another Sibby day on here, Cory.

  5. mikeyc, that's me!

    Geez, Cory. Way to go.

  6. mike from iowa

    Southern Poverty Law Center is prolly keeping an eye on Sibby, Steven and Stumpy.

    Cory,shove a stake through their(evantaliban) hearts and get back to real business.

  7. Roger Cornelius

    Living your life in preparation for death is a wasted life, how sad.
    I’ve always agreed more with living your life as if it were the last day of your life, sounds a little more in keeping with Cory’s position
    Those that think they know about the afterlife will get a real shock when they fade away and realize there is nothing there.

  8. oldguy7850

    CAH- who did tis person they were voting for?

  9. oldguy, I don’t know for whom they are voting. I don’t know where to look to find truly godly men, and I won’t presume to. But I have 4.5 months to convince them to vote for me.

  10. Restroom politics was the first thing this couple brought up. Restroom politics do not represent anarchy. Folks taking a leak in the restroom of their choice and the rest of us minding our own business is farther from anarchy than the government telling you what gender you are and where to pee is to tyranny.

  11. Steve Sibson

    “Restroom politics do not represent anarchy.”

    Men peeing in a girls restroom is anarchy. Muslim immigrant boys peeing on a naked 5 year old girl is also anarchy.

  12. Unless you learn to walk on water (not frozen) or turn water in to wine I doubt you will get their vote.

  13. mike from iowa

    Most of your story didn’t stand up to scrutiny,Sibby. Oh how you and your so wanted these children to be Syrians and what happened to the knife and how does a six,or even 10, year old rape someone?

  14. mike from iowa

    As for the conspiracy of silence surrounding this crime, the boys are juveniles and their records are sealed according to the prosecutor.

  15. Steve Sibson

    “Most of your story didn’t stand up to scrutiny,Sibby.”

    BS, I never said they were from Syria, nor did I mention a knife, nor did I say she was raped. Boys can still pee. That all has been corrected, but still this report does not go out from the mainstream media, unless it is to falsely claim some rightwing conspiracy. The fact that Muslim migrants peed on a mentally handicapped 5-year old girl is being shielded from the public. And you can report on the event without mentioning their names.

    And point two, Islamic Jihad is not limited to a sovereign nation. It is a worldwide war without borders. It does not matter which country a Muslim lives or is born.

  16. bearcreekbat

    But Sibby, what about due process for these children? Are you suggesting we should condemn them based on unverified news stories? Don’t they deserve some sort evidentiary hearing to determine exactly what the facts are before you judge them?

    And how do you know what religion these children were? Surely you are not contending that a 6 and 10 year child can even understand any religion, including Islam?

    On one of your links the writer made a claim that the Koran teaches that it is okay to make children into sex slaves. Assuming that is correct I wonder where the authors of the Koran got such an idea? Perhaps from the Christian Bible, as the Koran often references biblical stories and verses.

    Maybe they picked up such a horrible idea from Numbers 31:18, where the Israelites are told to slaughter defenseless Midianite women and little boys, but to enslave all of the virgin little girls. Or maybe from Deuteronomy 22:28-29, telling a parent that their child is raped, she can be sold to her rapist for 50 shekels, or about $580?

  17. mike from iowa

    “There was no gang rape, there was no Syrian involvement, there were no Syrian refugees involved, there was no knife used, there was no inactivity by the police,” Loebs said, according to the Spokesman-Review. “I’m looking at the Drudge Report headline: ‘Syrian Refugees Rape Little Girl at Knifepoint in Idaho’ – all false.”

    The boys didn’t pee on the girl, they peed on her clothes.

  18. Steve Sibson

    “Are you suggesting we should condemn them based on unverified news stories?”

    No I am not. I am saying this needs to be reported. Does the media not report on alleged crimes?

    “The boys didn’t pee on the girl, they peed on her clothes.”

    BCB, ask Mike, he seems to be the authority on it. He seems to know all about it. If you and Mike know all about it, then the media can just skip reporting on it and instead concentrate on Trump’s positions being racist. We sure as heck don’t want to confuse the masses with both sides of the story. Right?

  19. Steve Sibson

    “Perhaps from the Christian Bible,”

    You don’t understand the Christian Bible. Sad that you pass your confusion on to others.

  20. When transgender pee rights freak people like Sibby out more than mass shootings, I recommend therapy.

  21. mike from iowa

    It was reported,Sibby. Didn’t Drudge do a bang up job for you?(no pun intended)

    Deb G sent me a story about Minnesota’s top 3 recipients of NRA largesse(2 wingnuts and a DFLer). The only comment to the story was a gentleman who sounds like Sibby-how can you arrest someone w/o due process. Must be wingnut’s latest talking point.

    As for the bible,Sibby, your actions and words make it appear you don’t place much stock in the bible.

  22. You know, I myself have peed in a women’s restroom when circumstances dictated. I think all the peeing and bathroom blather is just a fun, silly waste of time and allows the whack crazies to focus on things like that instead of other things. There is only a finite amount of crazy out there.

  23. mike from iowa

    Grudz, your life be over. The new Miss South Dakota is an iowa lass. Bwaaaahaha!

  24. Nick Nemec

    See where this goes Cory. You will never get the votes of those two, do yourself and other candidates a favor and enter what you learned into Vote Builder.

  25. I’ve had a few lasses in my day, Mr. Mike, who were your neighbors there in Iowa. They were nothing special so I’m not too upset. Is that the beauty contest that’s owned by Mr. Trump?

  26. mike from iowa

    Drumpf sold both Miss Universe and Miss USA since 2015.

  27. Don Coyote

    @IowaMikey: Rape has different definitions in different states. A few states have “lewd and lascivious” laws like Idaho does and while they generally carry a lesser penalty, in Idaho L&L is still considered a felony. The act of stripping a 5yo and urinating on her clothes and in her mouth would certainly fall under this law. Also since one of the perpetrators was recording a video he could be charged with possession of child pornography. Conviction of these acts would also violate the “moral turpitude” clause of the minor’s immigration status making them and their families deportable.

  28. Door to door campaigning produces interesting stories. When I ran for county attorney I knocked on a door, a woman answered, I told her who I was and the office I was running for and from the bowels of the house I heard a male voice say, “I wouldn’t vote for that prick, he prosecuted me!” I leaned in the door and and asked, “Did I do a good job and get you convicted of a felony, so you can’t vote at all?” A friend who ran for his first office, went to the first house of his campaign and as he knocked on the door, the household dog came from the back door around the house and bit him in the leg. Tore his pants and chased him off the property. He went and bought a 12 pak of beer and got drunk. But the next day he was back out going door to door. He hasn’t lost a race since then. Good luck, and have fun.

  29. Robin Friday

    Steve Sibson: “Men walking into girls restrooms and pride events are examples of anarchy.”

    Men aren’t walking into women’s restrooms unless they’re transwomen. If they are, they don’t bother me, I don’t bother anyone else, just like my grandma taught me long ago. them. As for Pride Events, if you don’t like them, don’t go. I practice this same principle when I don’t go to transphobic or Westboro Baptist Church events. The only thing I ask is that they don’t put urinals in gender-neutral bathrooms. Just a personal thing.

  30. Robin Friday

    Boys peeing on girls (or vice versa) is some kind of assault, which is a crime, and a disgusting one at that, but not anarchy. Is this really a cause of widespread concern?

  31. Robin Friday

    Really, grudz? The crazy is limited? I’m beginning to think it’s infinite. At least it would seem that way on the national level. I really can’t say it’s any better here in the Great Red Midwest.

  32. Steve Sibson wrote:

    The fact that Muslim migrants peed on a mentally handicapped 5-year old girl is being shielded from the public.

    “Bearcreekbat” replies:

    Surely you are not contending that a 6 and 10 year child can even understand any religion, including Islam?

    Regardless of whether the children understood Islam, I doubt that Christ would approve of using such an incident to smear the 1.6 billion Muslims who had nothing to do with it. If children from a Wesleyan family had done this, I’m wondering whether Steve would want the mainstream media warning the whole world about those nasty Wesleyans.

    “Bearcreekbat” continues:

    On one of your links the writer made a claim that the Koran teaches that it is okay to make children into sex slaves. Assuming that is correct I wonder where the authors of the Koran got such an idea? Perhaps from the Christian Bible, as the Koran often references biblical stories and verses.

    Maybe they picked up such a horrible idea from Numbers 31:18, where the Israelites are told to slaughter defenseless Midianite women and little boys, but to enslave all of the virgin little girls.

    The literal Hebrew there was keep alive, not enslave.

    Or maybe from Deuteronomy 22:28-29, telling a parent that their child is raped, she can be sold to her rapist for 50 shekels, or about $580?

    The daughter in that context was of marriageable age, and nothing in the passage advocated sex slavery. As a side note, the payment was more akin to a criminal penalty than a sale, and fifty shekels of silver may have been much more valuable in ancient Israel than it is in the U.S. today.

  33. Steve Sibson

    “If children from a Wesleyan family had done this”

    Red Herring, unless you can provide an actual example.

  34. Steve Sibson

    “how can you arrest someone w/o due process. Must be wingnut’s latest talking point.”

    Mike, sad that you do not believe in civil rights.

  35. I’d written:

    If children from a Wesleyan family had done this, I’m wondering whether Steve would want the mainstream media warning the whole world about those nasty Wesleyans.

    Steve replied:

    Red Herring, unless you can provide an actual example.

    I could provide plenty of examples of Wesleyans sinning, Steve, but it’s not a red herring either way. Christ said to treat others the same way you want people to treat you.

  36. Mr. Sibson, I am thinking of becoming a Libertarian with Common Sense. Will you join me?

  37. Steve Sibson

    Kurt, I am waiting for examples of peeing on handicapped 5 year old girls.

  38. Steve writes:

    Kurt, I am waiting for examples of peeing on handicapped 5 year old girls.

    Two things seem apparent here, Steve:
    (1) If children from a Wesleyan family had done this, you wouldn’t want the mainstream media warning the whole world about those nasty Wesleyans.
    (2) You’re not treating the 1.6 billion Muslims who had nothing to do with it the way you want people to treat you.

  39. Mr. Sibby, when you and I are Libertarians we will introduce planks at the convention to ban the wasting of time talking about peeing, and who pees where, and upon whom because we as Libertarians will hold one liberty above all others: You can pee wherever you want as long as you don’t pee where somebody else doesn’t want you to.

  40. I’m wondering about chances: what happens if a Franklin Graham couple like the neighbors I met looks at the ballot and doesn’t see any verifiably godly men. How do they vote then?

  41. Phyllis E. Cole-Dai

    It has been quite a couple of weeks in my world. Here are just two snatches from my recent traveling:

    (1) A close relative, a very pious Christian, tells me that the Orlando tragedy would never have happened if a bunch of naked people hadn’t been together in a bar in the first place (i.e., LGBTQ+ apparently equals “unclothed”, and by implication, “sex fiend” and “deserving of what they get”).

    (2) Another close relative, again quite devout, advises me not to allow my 14-year-old son to go swimming in the local public pool because he would “be in a minority … you know, uh … the other kids would be mostly … uh, NOT WHITE … uh, POOR … uh, NOT THE BEST BEHAVED” (i.e., NOT LIKE US).

    My son had a great time at the pool. (Maybe he “fit in” because he’s half-Asian?!)

    I could continue with such mad stories from “white Christian America” that sadden and anger me, where prejudice, hate and ignorance seem common and are often bolstered by what passes for faith. But instead of dwelling more on all that, let me just say a hearty “Amen!” to this blog post. Though I rarely take time to comment, I’m tremendously grateful to hear each day from a kindred spirit who has the courage of his convictions. You give me heart, Cory. May you have all you need to you keep writing and running–and to win!

  42. caheidelberger’s and other liberal’s utopia. No rules, each to their own. No sets of norms, be as crazy as you want. No responsibility, always blame someone or something else. No self worth, someone else (the government) will provide for you. What you guys seem to want is what goes on in the inner cities every night. How is that working??

  43. mike from iowa

    Caca del tot,Stumpy. Every false word of it.

  44. mike from iowa

    Caca del Toro,Stumpy.

  45. You just explained America’s lax gun laws, Stump.

  46. Stumcfar:
    I live in the inner city, what is it that goes on here every night? If it is all the things you mentioned in your post, you need to get out more. My inner city is working just fine.

  47. And a hearty Hear Hear for Phyllis’ last paragraph. Couldn’t have been said any better. Thanks, Cory!

  48. Over 1700 shot in Chicago so far this year. Minneapolis more violence than ever before. Jenny, I own several guns. I keep an eye on them and they have yet to head out on their own and shoot anyone! Mike you hit it on the head, your liberal utopia is Caca del Toro, thanks for finally agreeing with me!

  49. mike from iowa

    http://tinyurl.com/hauvov4

    Stumpy’s wingnut utopia where guns don’t kill people, except by the hundreds of thousands. Gotta tighten up them borders and keep them thar terrorists outen here, by gum-or was that guns?

  50. Private Richard

    i love the n.r.a. it keeps me free. jesus is a memeber, too, and in fact convinced me to join after i heard his words in the bible. i don’t know nuthin’ about no socrates not knowin’ nuthin,’ and i don’t wanna know nuthin’ about anything that doesn’t make me money or promise heaven, and i don’t give a crap about entropy.

    jesus keeps me free, and that’s why i’m a good christian. i got a good education between my church and highschool. now i know what i know, unlike that stupid socrates guy.
    …and my girl has far away eyes blob:https%3A//www.youtube.com/89b3244b-3f27-4a2d-969f-144d4259bf9b

    GO DONALD!!!

  51. barry freed

    Well, you guys have gun related suicides eliminated with 0’s Executive Orders, better pass some more laws and have another fund raiser sit-in.

    …and we are supposed to believe your link when you lie in every post?

  52. mike from iowa

    Cum on, Barry. If everyone of my posts are lies- prove they are lies. Go big or go home. You’re sounding like Happy Stumper. Don’t attempt to rebut, obfuscate.

  53. Again, Stu refuses to deal with the things I actually say and instead resorts to the bleatings he hears on right-wing talk radio or Fox News or wherever his pre-packaged delusions come from.

    I have never advocated a world without rules or responsibility. Funny—when I do advocate rules and responsibility (emissions caps, minimum wage, labor protections…), Stu will say I’m just preaching the opposite fabricated “liberal utopia” of over-regulation and crushing of the free market.

    The point of my conversation I describe here was really the exact opposite of what Stu pretends it was. I was driving at a fundamental point of how people of different faiths can find common ground on which we can base practical rules and shared responsibility that will keep the social contract functioning.

  54. Thank you, Phyllis and Jim. The conversation I describe above is the conversation I’d like to have with every voter. Let’s identify where we disagree; figure out whether that disagreement hinges on objective fact, debatable theory, or on unbridgeable matters of faith and conscience; and then, if we agree to disagree on those issues, figure out how we collaborate on other important practical matters. But for Pete’s sake, we can’t walk away throwing insults à la Stu and darning each other to heck. We have to live together. We have to find a practical operating consensus.