Also figuring in South Dakota’s Legislative enslavement to out-of-state interests is our state-sponsored Christian proselytizing. As that Sioux Falls paper noted in its April 5 editorial, Senate Bill 55, our Legislature’s mandate that every public school tell children they should all trust in the Christian God, was not the brainchild of radical District 33 Senator Phil Jensen but of a national push to use the force of the state to promote one sect’s beliefs:
This is part of a national effort called “Project Blitz,” spurred by conservative Christian political groups who are pushing model legislation and other evangelical-based directives on receptive state capitals, with an eye toward greater national influence.
…More disturbing is that conservative Christian groups pushing these bills view “In God We Trust” as a preliminary step. Some states have moved to the next stage by seeking to pass “Bible literacy” bills, which allow students in public high schools to study the Old and New Testaments. President Trump weighed in on these bills in January, calling them “great” [editorial board, “Why Is State Government Sanctioning Christianity?” that Sioux Falls paper, 2019.04.05].
Nicole Carr of The Humanist reports that Project Blitz (appropriately named with a term originated by Nazis) is driven by the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, which consists of Christian extremists all from somewhere besides South Dakota. Carr further details the legislation Project Blitz wants states to adopt to exert state power to support their religion:
- “Category #1: Legislation Regarding Our Country’s Religious Heritage” includes legislation designed to
- mandate the display of the motto “In God We Trust” in government buildings including schools and courthouses as well as on license plates; and
- create “civic literacy” classes in public schools to teach that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian values and that religious literature (specifically, the Bible) was the basis of those foundations. This includes creating “elective” courses that teach the Old and New Testaments.
- “Category #2: Resolutions and Proclamations Recognizing the Importance of Religious History and Freedom” includes legislation designed to:
- officially recognize a Religious Freedom Day, Christian Heritage Week, and Christmas Day as an explicitly “Christian feast”; and
- recognize the “importance of the Bible in history” and literature.
- “Category #3: Religious Liberty Protection Legislation” includes legislation designed to:
- make explicit statements that a state encourages “intimate sexual relations only between married, heterosexual couples”;
- proclaim that a state relies on and maintains “birth gender”;
- favor adoption only by “intact, heterosexual, marriage-based families”;
- condemn religious persecution worldwide—but with a heavy emphasis on the persecution of Christians and only passing references to “Muslim-on-Muslim violence” and no mention of persons of no faith; and
- protect professionals and individuals, including teachers and students, from the consequences of enforcing their religious beliefs on others.
An additional section, new in this year’s report, is “Category #4: Talking Points to Counter Anti-Religious Freedom.” Unlike the others, it does not offer model legislation but rather provides information that legislators can use to counter their opponents. Most of this category is focused on countering civil rights arguments regarding LGBTQ issues [Nicole Carr, “Christian Nationalism in Your Statehouse: Project Blitz Update,” The Humanist, 2019.01.08].
Some of our state leaders pretend they don’t like out-of-state influence in our politics. But when out-of-state extremists, be they corporate or Christian, come a-knocking with bills that fit their fascist impulses, our Legislature and Governor are more than happy to surrender our government to those outsiders’ will.
Great post – and here’s a corollary, from Slacktivist:
“The same is true for religious freedom. The First Amendment gives us the right to believe whatever we choose to believe. It does not give us the right to force everyone else to conform to our beliefs. That is what the Constitution says and that is what the courts have long said the Constitution says. Until recently, when courts began deciding that the First Amendment says and means something very different for one very particular, privileged set of religious believers. (See, for example, Hobby Lobby.) The main goal of the court-packing scheme led by the Federalist Society is to reinstate Gilded Age jurisprudence that minimizes all regulations and accountability for corporations. This effort is only succeeding due to the ferocious, unwavering support of white evangelical voters, whose part of this bargain ensures that Federalist-approved judges will also ensure rulings that privilege their particular sectarian religion…”
I don’t think you have any idea what fascism is or who uses those tactics today.
It’s really simple, Christianists of varying flavours founded this country, undeniably. And their ideological descendants today lament the nation has slipped off that foundation. They work to set things back on Judeo-Christian values. They lament the effectiveness of secularist humanists (also religious belief, with creeds, dogma, blind faith and apostles) in recent decades of public policy shaping (discipline a nation). There are a gazillian Christianist parents who do not want the schools to propagate half of what they presently do. And you get riled when the other team wants to hang a national motto plaque?
Someone’s worldview is going to shape the next few generations. I know you wish it would be yours, and I wish it would be mine. May the best ideas win.
Hickey is incorrect in his claim that Cory doesn’t “have any idea what fascism is.” To the contrary, Cory seems to have an excellent grasp of “what fascism is or who uses those tactics today,” especially as it relates to those, like Hickey.
After all, Hickey writes that he wishes that his Christianist “worldview … [will] shape the next few generations.” The Chistianist worldview he references seems to be Christian “dominionism,” which is defined and described in the article linked by Cory near the end of his post (“The rise of Christian Fascism in American Politics”).
The description of the “Project Blitz,” as supported by Hickey, Phil Jensen, et al, fits pretty squarely into the parameters of a national effort called “dominionism” that seeks to use the force of the state to promote one sect’s beliefs. “Dominionism” seems to accurately set forth the factual underpinings of the Hickey point of view in supporting “Project Blitz.”
Hickey may ask us to join him in wearing blinders, but blinders unfortunately cannot change the reality of the attempt to propagate this “dominionism” facist worldview.
Nazis counted on the church to salute when they stomped their hobnailed boots, and the church came through. America’s Neo-Nazis are in command of the evangelical sector enough to speak for all of them, and damn few are speaking otherwise. My native country used to warn us when I grew up not to be a sucker for the haters and dividers, so much so the war department got involved in warning my nation. This is not the first time Bible thumping demagogues perverted Jesus’ message as a line in the sand to isolate and persecute “others.”
The implementation of state laws (similar to this one) is a reaction to fewer people going to church. People are choosing not to go to church. Those who wonder why the pews are empty point at the “secular world” as being the problem.
I’ve always thought it would be an interesting experiment to have schools implement, “Mormon Mondays,” Jehovah’s Witness Tuesdays,” “Rosary Wednesdays,” etc. and see how far the “Christian Kumbayah” will go? Homosexuality/Abortion are the current religious doctrine of the Christian Church.
The obvious goal, as represented in the second part of the law, is to have someone (ACLU) sue a school for having the phrase, “In God We Trust” at said school. In my opinion, it’s obvious that this is an unconstitutional law. It is establishing a specific religion. [[If the argument is that it is not establishing a religion, then what is the point of having the phrase?]]
If it goes to trial, is found to be unconstitutional, the promoters can stand on their political soapbox/lectern and with wailing and gnashing of teeth, point to how Christianity is under attack by the “secular world.”
The better coarse of action, would be to let the signs go up, collect dust and blend into obscurity.
Similar to the phrase on our currency.
Christianity has cast its lot into the “Us vs. Them” political climate. It’s champion is President Donald Trump. A false idol if ever there was one.
What specifically are Judeo-Christian values? Do unto others (like destroying our environment for profit)? Whatever you do to the least of my brethren (like taking healthcare away from millions)? Love thy neighbor (like our brown neighbor to the south you put in cages and camps)? It is clear those who claim to espouse Judeo-Christian values are the same people who use their religion to discriminate, disenfranchise, and control those who they deem unworthy. Seriously, all conservative christians do is vote for legislation that hurts others. So just what exactly are the “christian values”? Your fake christianity belongs in your church and in your home. Keep it out of my government and out of my life.
Since the invention of religion, any religion, charlatans have arisen just as quickly to use it to their benefit, or even invent a religion to suit their purposes.
The work of perverting Christianity to suit the powerful began the second Constantine considered making it Rome’s state religion. The boys at the Council of Nicea in 3??CE and most of the boys since have continued to create a patriarchal, misogynistic, racist, dominant, shame based, greedy, controlling religion that bears only superficial resemblance to the Way of Jesus of Nazareth.
SDBlue, don’t expect Hickey to respond to your questions. He practices Drive By Christianity. He comments early with a few wisecracks and unsupportable assertions, but never sticks around to back them up. He’s just playing a game. That’s his version of “Christianity.” What a joke.
Pastor Hickey, please don’t try to sink us into epistemological paralysis. We know darn well what fascism is. Kristi Noem and Donald Trump give us useful examples on a regular basis. Screamings for greatness, wingings of policy with no unifying principle other than an instinctual grasping for power, scapegoating and otherizing, fervent and unwavering support for more weapons of war… all characteristics of past fascist regimes.
You know, SDBlue, I have all sorts of Judeo-Christian values (more, I would argue, than Donald Trump). I even make use of the Judeo-Christian concept of inherent and incorrigible human fallibility. That concept, along with other things Jesus, Moses, and those other fellas talked about help me make sense of the world and get through my day.
But I don’t need to grab hold of the state and use it force everyone else to adopt my values. I’m somehow able to hold onto, do maintenance on, enact, and feel comfortable with my values without the state dragging others to my beliefs.
Anyone care to speculate on my ultimately godless confidence versus Kristi’s nervous need to make the public schools preach her God?
That’s just it, Cory. I’m an atheist and have a moral compass in spite of my Catholic upbringing. It’s like when the Jehovah’s Witnesses show up at my door. I respect their right to believe whatever they choose (as long as what they believe is not hurting the population at large), but am I showing up at their door at 9 am on a Saturday preaching there is no god? No, I’m not. Because I know, in America, we all have the right to believe whatever we wish, but politicians like No Show and pastors like Hickey only deem us worthy if we believe what they believe. I agree with Debbo…what a joke.
Pastor Hickey, our founding fathers established our country with a strict separation of church and state. They saw how the Church of England messed with the British monarchy and how the Catholic church messed with the French. They did not want a repeat of that. Yes, they might have had their own personal religious beliefs, but they wanted them free from influencing our government. The First Amendment clearly keeps the government from picking or endorsing any religious beliefs. Our founding fathers wanted to be in charge, not some divine entity.
By the way, our founding fathers also established our county with slavery, no vote for women and were pretty anti-semitic too. They practiced deficit spending and defaulted on numerous loans that funded the Revolutionary War. The fact is, to pay for the war, President George Washington called out the troops on American citizens to collect taxes in the Whiskey Rebellion. Some call it the first Civil War.
The gazillion (not sure how many that is) parents can religiously indoctrinate their own kids at home and the church of their choice, guaranteed by the Constitution, not in our public schools. Really, would you want Cory explaining the lack of a belly button on Adam and Eve to your kids?
Hickey is no joke. He’s deadly serious with his drive-by tactics. I have engaged with him for years, since he bothered to respond to my “Letters to Legislators” campaign attempting to expose the truth about cannabis to the SoDak legislature. He pretended to be interested, but obviously either didn’t bother to read the evidence or to reject it out of deference to non-existent scripture.
Every element of Christian irrationality I questioned him about, he evaded.
You need know nothing further about the fake pastor than that he believes twitterpate45 is a gift from god.
Mr. Hickey and grudznick both know the demon weed is bad, it is bad, but I know Mr. Hickey’s god drowned in a bowl of cereal.
Dang, I wonder what a weekend of atheists coming to their doors would do to the Jehovites’ approach to door-to-door proselytization.
Not that I’m going to try it—I still have better things to do with my time than try talking people out of believing in their gods.
That’s what’s great about bein’ a 70-year-old amused white guy (me) watching a fake pastor PhD in voodoo post nonsense about a non-entity while trying pathetically to defend immoral low ground while avoiding meaningful engagement on his irrational postulations. I got time.
grudz, the “demon weed” is medicine. Reefer Madness isn’t real and it’s not a gateway drug. It appears you’re drowning in the same bowl.
Blue, every time you engage that coward, you give the POS food for its ego.
Sorry, Certain. I’m old, outraged, and I usually ignore him, but today I am really, really over it. The stupid is literally flowing from the top down in our state and in our country. I never dreamed we would see so many in a position of power who are so willfully ignorant and so evil. Not to mention the 1/3+ cult following they attract. We are governed by fake christians who don’t follow the teachings of their Christ. Fake patriots who don’t believe in the separation of church and state or the rule of law. Then add one more moron who doesn’t know cannabis is medicine. Like I said, outraged and over it today.
You sound like someone I could stand to have a sip and a puff with.
The demon weed is toked up by people just wanting to get high who have no medical needs except the psychological need to dull one’s mine, or “stone” as the young people call it, resulting in a failure to fulfill major obligations at work or home.
The historical evidence outside the Bible fully aligns with the historical evidence inside the Bible.
The scientific evidence does too.
America’s Founding Fathers dated our Constitution in the 12th year of our independence and the 1787th year of Jesus Christ, whom they identified as “our Lord.”
The main problem with modern government schools isn’t what they teach. It’s what they selectively ignore. Let’s privatize them so we can stop forcing our worldviews onto each other’s kids.
Blue links with the word “bible” in them have no credibility. They took a picture of a billion year old dark hole, and flat earthers everywhere are rioting in the streets.
Now I don’t want to get on any rant here, BUT seriously Kurt, Do I have to re-post the same articles time after time to answer the same debunked “biblical science” link you keep offering? Do I have to keep asking about the starlight paradox that the young-earth creationists cannot answer? How did Noah get kangaroos on the Ark?
So the founding fathers were right about their label of the year and we should follow their lead; they were wrong about the need for public education, so we should not follow their lead?
AND it is historically more likely Jesus was born in 5BC. Everyone said the date funny hundreds of years ago because the Catholic Church had GREAT P.R. More and more, academia uses “Common Era” and “Before Common Era” notations.
The word in the links is biblical, not “bible,” and the author of the article at the second link is an esteemed Ph.D. astrophysicist who presumably knows a lot more than you do about black holes.
As I’ve been saying here for years, Christians never generally taught or believed the earth was flat. The myth that we did was fabricated by Darwinists in the 1800s, and the authors of school textbooks promulgated that myth for more than a century before it was debunked in the 1990s.
If you don’t know the standard creationist answers to your questions, that’s an indication of your own ignorance, not mine, but I’ve directly addressed the starlight paradox every time you’ve brought it up. You don’t seem to have any real interest in a good-faith discussion, but if you do, please do me the favor of choosing one topic and googling up a little basic information before we start.
“Christianists [what the hell is that?] founded this country….” is no more true than “skunk trappers founded this country” or “slavers founded this country” or “capitalists founded this country” or “English, Spanish, French, Dutch ect. speculators founded this country”. My faith tells me to believe mad hatters (beaver top hats processed with mercury) did it. Republican claims to own everything the founders did is bullsheit.
27 of the 56 singers of the Declaration of Independance were ordained Christian ministers or had seminary degrees. It’s silly to suggest they wanted religion strictly out of public life and government. They supported the free exercise thereof. The letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury CT Baptist’s about separation of church and state was simply an affirmation that the State would not be endorsing and codifying on particular sect of Christianity. Enough with your revisionist history.
The word Christianist is one I borrow from our cranky friend Larry Kurtz. I like the word and decided to use it.
Cory, didn’t it drive you batty how Sibby would demonize and label everything Obama did as fascism? You have become Sibby in this regard using it so carelessly for anything you don’t like.
My time on blogs has changed and therefore you accuse me of drive-by tactics. Be glad there a people who pop in and offer a different view so that isn’t just an echo chamber.
I had to block Bob in social media because he couldn’t be civil. It was his loss.
It just bothers the Far Right to death that the separation of Church and State is in the Constitution. Thank god it isn’t.
Christianity would be abused even more if our leaders used that against the People.
I meant thank god there is the Separation of Church and State. Can you imagine how much more dysfunctional the Country would be?
My understanding of the first Amendment is that the States united did not establish a religion because most of the States already had a tax supported church.
Fascism is something I will have to find a good definition for. Arron Russo used it in his expose’ “Freedom to Fascism.” America: Freedom to Fascism – Top Documentary Films
Somebody at Calvin college thought it was a good idea in 1927.
On page 892 of Van Hinte’s book he talks about the 1927 debate -Resovled this house shall endorse the governmental principles of Mussolini.
Looks like Ezra Pound and Amelia Earhart both got the “New Deal” anti-fascist treatment.
The Disappearance of Amelia Earhart: FDR’s Cover-Up
Jenny, separation of church and state is not in the Constitution.
Even our least religious Founder, Jefferson, made sure there were worship services in the US Capitol on Sundays and ordered the Marine Band to lead the hymns.
The wall of separation he spoke of in a letter was a one way wall… govt would not mettle in our churches but Christian people had free exercise when it came to those values in public life.
Jenny, Muslims and Jews would also be free to worship. Thanks to Tom Jefferson!
Jews have been involved in American livelihood since 1654. In fact, Jews were involved in that US Constitution that Hickey is speaking about. How about that!!
[1787 & 1791]
Following the American Revolution–a war in which at least 100 American Jews are known to have fought–the US Constitution and Bill of Rights are enacted, granting Jews equality under the law.
“The Federal Constitution  and the Bill of Rights  outlawed religious tests as qualification to any office or public trust and forbade Congress from making any law ‘respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…,'” explains Professor Jonathan Sarna. “Jews thereby gained their religious rights in the United States (and in most but not all of the separate states), not through a special privilege or ‘Jew bill’ that set them apart as a group, but as individuals along with everybody else. Thus, by the end of the 18th century, Jews had achieved an unprecedented degree of ‘equal footing’ in America.”
The first president of the United States warmly addresses a synagogue–the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island.
27 of the 56 singers of the Declaration of Independance were ordained Christian ministers or had seminary degrees.
Could they carry a tune, Reverend, and were they a bit footloose?
As for the separation of church and state you ignore, it is expressly written in the 1st amendment.
Not just Christians, but Muslims have also been here long before the Constitution was even thought of. I’m quite sure that Hickey was gonna mention the Jews and the Muslims but ran out of ink in his post. So, here is what he also should have put in.
“6. When did Muslims come to America?
The history of American Muslims goes back more than 400 years. Although some evidence suggests that there were Muslims on Columbus’ ships, the first clearly documented arrival of Muslims in America occurred in the 17th century with the arrival of slaves from Africa. Scholars estimate that anywhere from a quarter to a third of the enslaved Africans brought to the United States were Muslims. Large numbers of Moriscos (former Muslims of Spain and Portugal) also came to the Spanish colonies, including many areas of what is today the United States. Although enslaved people were denied freedom of religion, many did practice their faith in secret and pass it on to their children. There are several autobiographies of Muslim slaves that survive from this period, including some by individuals who were involved in the Abolitionist movement and were Union soldiers during the Civil War.”
41 of the 56 signers, owned slaves. 25 signers were lawyers. 9 were Free Masons, and at least one was gay. How about that!!
I quote a response to the separation of church and state question:
“It is true that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not actually appear anywhere in the Constitution of the United States. There is a problem, however, in that some people draw incorrect conclusions from this fact. The absence of this phrase does not mean that it is an invalid concept or that it cannot be used as a legal or judicial principle.”
In interpreting the intent of the First Amendment, people make reference to Jefferson’s call for a wall between church and stay. Other signers of the Constitution also addressed the question. Ben Franklin, who signed all of the founding documents and participated in writing the Declaration with Jefferson, was more influential. His comments express the prevailing attitude:
“When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
“If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another.”
“church and state.” in the 3rd graph. Auto correct has devilish inspirations.
By Voodoo Steve’s logic, since most of the founding fathers were “christianists,” this is a “christian” nation.
A logical extension of this application of “science” then leads us to the conclusion that Voodoo Steve also believes that god intended us to be a slave-owning nation.
Newland enjoys that Voodoo Steve believes that Newland is worse off for not having his fb feed cluttered with gems like, “Science is largely a game of how many zeros to add when making up a date for something’s existence.”
At the risk of being criticized for stating the obvious, has anyone else noticed that Hickey’s argument constitutes a classic oxymoron:
Government involvement in any activity means by defintion that government will adopt, support, or preclude particular private behavior in that activity. Thus government involvement in religion would necessarily impede in some manner the “free exercise” of some religious activity.
Hickey’s argument seems to be with himself.
“My time on blogs has changed and therefore you accuse me of drive-by tactics. Be glad there a people who pop in and offer a different view so that isn’t just an echo chamber.”
My brother and sister DFPers, please join me in a round of grateful applause for Hickey deigning to drop in and enlighten us.
This article in Sojo will add to the story of why the GOP embraces Christofascism at the expense of other religions, especially Islam. It’s critical to understand that white supremacy touched the shores of the Americas with the first white man’s shod footprint.
Throughout US history our government has been quick to call out various traitors and terrorists– Native Americans, Africans, Chinese, Japanese, LBTG, Latinx, Arabs, Muslims– but never, never white Christian terrorists.
White Christians have terrorized this land from the first when the US military slaughtered American Indians, terrorized Africans via legal slavery, followed by ongoing violence sanctioned or ignored by LE, penning up Japanese, locking up and psychologically torturing LBTG, legally sanctioned discrimination and violence against Chinese and other Asians, slaughtering Muslims, etc.
White Christian terrorism has never ended, but it has ebbed and flowed. I would say this present surge may be the greatest since the 1960s against Blacks. They continue to be targets along with Muslims now.
This very well researched article can be found, paywall free, right here: https://short1.link/rYsVC4
If religion were being used in the US to bring people together rather than drive us apart, I would give it something other than my condemnation. If religion were being used as a pulpit for raising up the poor, I would give it something other than my condemnation. Has there ever before been such a protected, state-supported “martyr?”
This decades old red herring or propaganda is funded by the fossil fuel industry. How unfortunate for the unborn. Now fossil fuel industry controls the white house and the courts.
Steve, yes, it did drive me nuts when anti-Obama extremists shouted fascism at every turn during the Obama Administration, because they weren’t describing anything like fascism.
Donald Trump and Kristi Noem are doing things that very well fit the definition and historical examples of fascism.
The fact that several signers of the Declaration of Independence were ordained ministers does not change the fact that the First Amendment separates church and state, and wisely so. Ordained ministers can sign all the public secular documents they want; that doesn’t change the fact that they should not use the power of the state to impose their beliefs on others and exclude other religions from America’s pluralistic democracy.
Yeah, I don’t believe in the supernatural aspects of Christianity, which is to say I don’t believe in the something Jesus never believed in. I don’t need a savior, which Jesus himself never claimed to be. My sins, such as they are, are minor, and while I have some guilt over them, I don’t feel like I’m going to hell when I die. I don’t believe in hell, and where I’m going after I die is back to the earth, which I do believe in. Hell, to me, is Donald Trump as President. We’re all living it, and God and Jesus didn’t save us from that.
What Jesus said and did was remarkable, and that he went to his death for his beliefs and still proclaimed forgiveness is something I try to understand and live by. That is, I think, what Jesus would have wanted anyway, not praise, not worship. He certainly wouldn’t have wanted the nation that has many of his followers to turn away people and say, in effect, “there is no room for you in the inn.” I think he would have said, like God in Amos: “I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a torrent of doing good.”
What I will never do is “trust” in God or any divinity, and so when someone says “In God We Trust,” I am not part of that “We.” I don’t want to be a part of that “We.” Yet, I am as much of an American as the person who does.
I think it’s pretty dumb to make any arguments about today regarding what Jefferson or anyone else back then said about religion. Christianity, science, our institutions and much about our society has changed. Jefferson was a slave owner, as were many of the people who wrote the Constitution. That they were also Christians ought to give us serious pause. The evil of slavery was excused by much of Christianity as a Biblical value. The Christian Identity movement takes much solace from that. If Christianity as the Founders viewed it was the backbone of the nation, then it was evil.
The point is Christianity is like everything else: it evolves. Over time the Christian supporters of slavery were seen as, if not evil, at least as incorrectly interpreting how Jesus want us to live, and not what the Constitution of the United States should uphold.
I don’t care if people believe in God and Jesus as their savior. That’s fine. Just don’t include me in that and try to exclude me from being an American because I don’t believe as you do.
Founders-schmounders Steve. For a drive by Phd this is pretty weak. These 27 holy signers in 1776 differed from the constition conventioneers (and oh what a convention it was) written by Jefferson in 1887. The bill of rights written in 1791by Madison, contained the “christianist” (if you insist) separation clause. Wiki also says the term applies to innumerable crown colonies from Virginia (1624) to New York (1691) to the Bahamas (1718) to South Carolina (1723) to Quebec (1763)…you get the drift.
Hey, Voodoo Steve, check it out. When one of these people is asked a question, they’ll answer it. When I asked you questions, you either lied or slithered under the door like the eel you emulate.
“The President of the United States of America tweeted this afternoon that he is considering transporting human beings he has captured for concentration in cities populated by Americans he considers his enemies.” – Walter Shaub
Hey Hickey, is this fascist enough for you? Or is this just another example of your party’s Judeo-Christian values?
What kind of *president* considers law abiding citizens of the nation whose constitution he has sworn a solemn oath to, “his enemies?”
That alone ought to be an impeachable offense.
“They passionately worship a deity made in their own image: white, American, Republican, male—and perpetually terrified of just about everything: Muslims, immigrants, gay children, Special Counsel reports, mandalas, Harry Potter, Starbuck holiday cups, yoga, wind turbines, Science—everything.
“Their God is so laughably minuscule, so fully neutered of power, so completely devoid of functioning vertebrae that “He” cannot protect them from the encroaching monsters they are certain lurk around every corner to overwhelm them.”
The above comment refers to what the author calls MAGA Christians.
Hey Debbo, it should also be an impeachable offense to tell CBP, don’t worry if you break the law and go to jail handling migrants, I’ll just pardon you.
Deb Geelsdottir sarcastically writes:
I’m not Deb’s brother, but I’m grateful for Steve enlightening me with his comments here.
Donald Pay writes:
How do you claim to know what Jesus said and did?
Kurt, I’ve known you quite a while now. You’re a sincere guy, and I want to like you. You probably want me to like you, too.
However, I have trouble accepting at face value folks who claim belief in a number of fantastical events all of which defy physical laws.
The deity in which you invest faith, by its own autobiography, committed acts which violate current rules of warfare. It currently stands by as the greatest barbarities known in history are committed by humans on humans, mostly innocent, mostly in the name of some religion or another.
Your pale attempts to defend it may be an interesting intellectual exercise. Problem is, I think you actually believe most of what you promote. You are not Elmer Gantry, you are Elmer Gantry without knowledge of who you are.
You’re not even trying to profit, at least monetarily, by your espousal of an ideology which is demonstrably devoid of substance. That makes you pathetic.
As you promote, I shall respond. Meanwhile, tell us why god, omnipotent and omniscient, refuses to intervene between the evil one and the innocent ones. What moral lesson is taught by god’s indifference to suffering she could alleviate?
Bob Newland writes to me:
You’ve incorrectly used only a comma to splice together two independent clauses, Bob. Those clauses logically contradict each other and therefore can’t both be true.
Actually it doesn’t.
If human beings were just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance somewhere in the vast recesses of deep time, and if there were no God by whom good and evil could ultimately be defined, tell me how the word innocent could possibly have any real meaning.
No moral lesson is taught by indifference that doesn’t exist.
Kurt, your paragraph that begins “If human beings…” makes no sense outside your particular view of christianity. Of course innocence exists outside of a diety and it’s power and meaning is easily accessible and universal. Why would you think a diety is required to give the word “innocent” meaning?
A further question: How can one who doesn’t share your particular version of Christianity discern that your god is not indifferent?
Deb Geelsdottir asks:
The word innocent means not evil, so it wouldn’t have any real meaning if there were no God to define good and evil.
Hold your breath for thirty seconds and see whether He lets you start breathing again. If you’re still not sure, try a full minute, and so on.
So you feel that evil and good only exists in relation to your understanding of your God? Why would you so limit the understanding of the rest of humanity?
I’m sure you recognize that your comment about breathing is dependent on your belief in the functioning of your god, but scientific evidence proves how the lungs works in conjunction with the rest of the human body to maintain necessary functions.
If what you said was true, it would seem that your “He” allows some people suffocate, rather than let them breathe. Hmmm.
Deb Geelsdottir asks:
Quite the opposite, Deb. Ultimate standards of good and evil are directly defined by God Himself and stand entirely independent of human understanding, be it mine, yours, or anyone else’s.
Maybe because humanity is notoriously stupid, stubborn, and self-destructive.
You ignored my comment about your god allowing people to suffocate.
Your answers are entirely subjective, based only on your belief system. They are eternal truths only to you and others who believe just as you do.
Humanity has no concept of good or evil unless they believe as you do.
You’ve made it clear that you hold humanity in contempt, which is another part of your belief system.
It would be understandable if you are often lonely.
Deb Geelsdottir writes:
You seem to be projecting your own attitude toward religion onto me, Deb. My belief system is based on a wealth of objective historical and scientific evidence.
That’s ridiculous. If God didn’t define good and evil, my assertion that He does wouldn’t be an eternal truth for anyone. It would be a lie. If He does define them, it’s an eternal truth for everyone.
On the contrary, all of humanity has a concept of good and evil, which is proof that we were created by God. Our concept of good and evil would make no sense if we were just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance somewhere in the vast recesses of deep time.
Kurt Evans, aided by a peculiar ability to combine words into articulate-appearing, but meaningless arguments, presents a daunting front to anyone expecting sense from him.
The fact that the god of his bible is ruthless, cruel and anything but merciful does not faze him, and he won’t even address it. It being obvious that Kurt will not speak to common people in common terminology with common definitions, and will never veer from his weirdness, I see no reason to give him any more attention than I do the other troll we see here frequently.
I know CIRD, but it’s often interesting and entertaining talking with someone who says it’s so because he says it’s so.
“My belief system is based on a wealth of objective historical and scientific evidence.”
Nope. Because some historical sites mentioned in the bible do or did exist means nothing at all about your faith.
“If God didn’t define good and evil, my assertion that He does wouldn’t be an eternal truth for anyone. It would be a lie. If He does define them, it’s an eternal truth for everyone.”
Perfect example of a circular argument going nowhere.
“all of humanity has a concept of good and evil, which is proof that we were created by God.”
Proves nothing of the sort. It’s simply your claim.
I’d written to Bob Newland:
It’s technically true that I won’t address a fact that doesn’t exist, Bob, but some people say there isn’t anything wrong with being ruthless and cruel. From your anti-Christian perspective, why would you say there is something wrong with it?
I’d written to Deb Geelsdottir:
Can you defend any other explanation, Deb? Can you merely assert any other explanation? Can you even conceive of any other explanation?
Okay. If he believes there is nothing wrong with being ruthless and cruel, I have a much better understanding of how Kurt can live in his skin.
I have nothing to prove. You’re the one who made a baseless claim. It matches the rest of your claims so you’re consistently blowing smoke.
Bob Newland writes of me:
I believe there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel because God says there is. From your anti-Christian perspective, Bob, why would you say there’s something wrong with it?
Just curious Kurt, if your god didn’t tell you being ruthless and cruel is bad, would you be ruthless and cruel? That’s the difference between christians and atheists, I guess. We don’t need some entity in the sky to tell us not to be ruthless and cruel. What god do you suppose Trump, Noem and their ilk are listening to as it certainly appears being ruthless and cruel is their way of life?
I’m not sure about that, but I’m pretty sure you needed to punctuate with a period after my name there. #CommaSplice
You seem to be missing my point. Some people say there isn’t anything wrong with being ruthless and cruel. If human beings were just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance somewhere in the vast recesses of deep time, and if there were no God by whom right and wrong could ultimately be defined, why would you say there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel?
Michelle Bachmann says trump is “Godly” So there ya go. All this time and the big feller has been on tee vee for usin’s to see what God looks like. Betcha never thought he would have a long red tie,
“”In my lifetime, I have never seen a more biblical president than I have seen in Donald Trump,” the founder of the House of Representative’s Tea Party Caucus said last weekend in an interview with a Christian radio station, which was shared online by the progressive watchdog site Right Wing Watch. “He has so impressed me in what he has done – and we haven’t even talked about Israel – what he has done to advance Israel.”” Salon April 15, 2019
Kind of says it all.
Kurt’s asks, in effect, how one could know right and wrong:
It is just as meaningful to ask how one could know right and wrong
Absent some belief that one particular “God,” of the many Gods that we have read about in literature, including the Bible, for literally thousands of years is the only supernatural entity capable of defining these concepts, Kurt’s statement lacks any meaning. He offers no reason that belief in what other humans (including numerous translators) have written about Kurt’s favored biblical diety describing their interpretation of the deity’s definition of “right or wrong” has any more validity than the conclusions of numerous other humans that authored our dictionaries.
In other words, justifying belief in a particular “God” so one can know right and wrong is simply a circular argument that avoids defending, or even stating, its premise. And unfortunately, such a circular argument is not strengthened by describing perceived errors in someone else’s punctuation or grammer.
I’m not sure which of my statements you’re addressing in that sentence.
You’ve apparently misunderstood. The premise of my argument is that there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel, and I’m not defending that premise because no one has challenged it here, at least explicitly.
There’s no e in the word grammar.
I’m going to replace the word defined with determined in an attempt to clarify that my question below has nothing to do with dictionaries.
Some people say there isn’t anything wrong with being ruthless and cruel. If human beings were just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance somewhere in the vast recesses of deep time, and if there were no God by whom right and wrong could ultimately be determined, why would you say there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel?
Mr. Evans writes
but his god drowned in a bowl of cereal, and my gods are lurking around his yard.
“grudznick” writes of me:
I’m not planning to initiate any legal action against Cory or his resident stalker, but if anyone else does, I’ll be available to testify.
Although this question does not advance the proposition that God exists in any way whatsoever, it is a fair question. We all have some source that has impacted our value judgments.
For me, my judgment that “there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel” comes from multiple sources. These sources include: values described by family members to me during my formative years; values shared by family, friends and collegues over my lifetime; my studies of history, philosophy and theology; my psychological responses to events happening in the world; my personal experiences and empathy with individuals I have known who have suffered from such treatment; and even perhaps other factors that do not immediately come to mind.
All of these factors come together to inform my ability to judge right and wrong as well as why ruthless and cruel behavior is wrong. Ultimately, however, I bear full responsibility for my evaluation of these influences and any decisions that I make about the values I endorse.
For those who would blame God, a lack of belief in God, or anyone else for their own personal conclusions whether ruthless and cruel actions are wrong, it is my view that they seek to avoid personal responsibility for their decisions.
John Paul Sartre, an atheist French philosopher whose writings strongly influenced my personal views, would describe such efforts to avoid personal responsibility as “bad faith” and a fruitless endeavor leading to despair.
Oh and by the way Kurt, it’s Kelsey “Grammer” and “Grammer” guitars with an “e,” not an “a.”
Fascinating article mfi – thanks for the link!
“The more scholars study the roots of Christianity, the more confused and uncertain our knowledge becomes.”
That’s from Mike’s excellent link. When real scholars become involved in studying Christianity and do thorough investigation, claims crumble. The fallacy of trying to base a *faith* on historical fact becomes clearer and clearer.
Debbo, exactly – and even more so when trying to use science to prove faith.
Thanks for responding, but the question wasn’t meant to be about how your personal value judgments developed. It was meant to be about the fact itself. Let me try rewording it again.
Some people say there isn’t anything wrong with being ruthless and cruel. If human beings were just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance somewhere in the vast recesses of deep time, and if there were no God by whom right and wrong could ultimately be determined, how would you support the assertion that there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel?
Deb Geelsdottir writes:
Yes they do.
Lawrence Mykytiuk holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies. He’s the history librarian at Purdue University and the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E.
Unlike the authors at the Raw Story link who unleash an avalanche of wild, unsupported claims, Mykytiuk backs up his positions by extensively citing and quoting actual historical documents:
God is either omniscient and omnipotent, or she isn’t. If she is, she’s accessory during the fact to every crime committed. If she isn’t, the discussion is over unless you want to argue the degree to which she is potent or accessory.
Kurt, I am a bit confused about your follow up repeated question -“how would you support the assertion that there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel?” – but I will give it another shot.
Neither of the premises you posit (humans as “just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance” and “there were no God”) are relevant to support or deny the assertion that there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel.
People that believe God has made the determination that such conduct is wrong are making a similar judgment as people that rely upon society’s determination that such conduct is wrong. In either case, relying upon an outside source provides a basis for the subjective assertion that such conduct is wrong. Either source, God or society, provides a rationale for rejecting the views of “people [who] say there isn’t anything wrong with being ruthless and cruel.”
Otherwise, the assertion simply is not an objective fact, rather it is a subjective value judgment made based on an individual’s experiences and beliefs, whatever their source.
Lawrence Mykytiuk “unleash[es] an avalanche of wild, unsupported claims.”
See. I can use pejorative language too. However, it doesn’t make any claim more or less true.
My personal belief, not based on Fact, is that an itinerant preacher called Jesus from Nazareth probably did exist. As to the rest of the details, as your one source claimed, and my several disagreed, those “facts” are highly debatable.
The thing is, there are many people, some of quite dubious expertise, making lots of claims about the historical Facts of Jesus. Fighting over that is an irrelevant waste of time. Faith does not require Facts. Faith is about things unseen, about trusting in Jesus’ words.
So often in the Gospels someone, usually with nefarious intent, tried to coerce Jesus into proving something in front of eyewitnesses so they could attest to the FACT of his success or failure. He refused.
Yet here we have Kurt and many other evangelical/fundamentalists spending large amounts of time and energy insisting on creating a Factual basis for their version of Jesus.
Bob Newland writes:
You seem to be missing my point, Bob. If human beings were just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance somewhere in the vast recesses of deep time, and if there were no God by whom right and wrong could ultimately be determined, how would you support the assertion that there’s something wrong with crime?
If human beings were just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance somewhere in the vast recesses of deep time, why would “society’s determination” be valid? If a future society claims there’s nothing wrong with being ruthless and cruel, are you saying that will make it true?
Deb Geelsdottir writes:
For example, you’re making the claim that defending those facts is “an irrelevant waste of time.”
So according to you, true faith is about trusting in the words of a man who may not have even existed.
“true faith is about trusting in the words of a man who may not have even existed.”
There you go! Now you can let go of your entirely lacking expertise and jealousy of those who possess it.
Best of luck on your faith journey, Kurt.
Kurt asks two more questions, beginning with:
This question makes no sense. The physical makeup of human beings is a premise with no discernable connection or relationship that I currently perceive to the question of “why would “society’s determination” be valid.” Perhaps if some connection were established, or even posited, then the question could be intelligently addressed, but since it is not there is no meaningful answer available. If you can identify and explain the connection that you apparently believe exists, however, I would be happy to explore the question further with you.
Next Kurt asks,
There are two aspects to any opinion about whether conduct is wrong – the subjective and the objective. I have set out the subjective analysis, which, although affected by knowledge about social ideas and values, is ultimately a personal determination. Under a subjective analysis my answer to your question is no, society’s claim does not make it true. Even without social condemnation the subjective truth would be a determination of the individual, and for me, the determination would remain that cruel and ruthless conduct is wrong.
Depending on circumstances, however, other individuals who believe the “ends can justify the means” could come to an opposite subjective conclusion. For an example of this see the oft cited trolly problem for deciding whether killing another person is wrong:
The other basis for answering your question is an objective test. This requires deference to the determination of an outside agency or authority, such as God or society. Under this objective analysis one must look to the rules established by society, or God for that matter, to determine whether cruel or ruthless conduct is wrong. Under your hypothetical situation the answer necessarily is that cruelty and ruthless conduct would not be wrong since society, or God, has so declared.
I’d written to Deb Geelsdottir:
No, Deb. To be clear, there you go.
I’d asked “bearcreekbat”:
Let me simplify this further. Why would what you call “society’s determination” (that being ruthless and cruel is wrong) be valid?
I’d asked “bearcreekbat”:
So according to you, “the determination would remain that cruel and ruthless conduct is wrong,” but “cruelty and ruthless conduct would not be wrong.”
Kurt, I can say that “what [I] call “society’s determination (that being ruthless and cruel is wrong) [is] valid” because once you want an objective test to determine validity, society can provide that objective test of validity. Cruelty and ruthlessness are generally concepts that describe human interaction, and that is what society is all about – human interaction.
On your last point, yes there is a duality involved in answering your question that can lead to diametrically opposed conclusions depending on the source for determining validity.
The same contradiction would occur for me if I accepted your objective source – God – as a determinatitive factor and God concluded that cruelty and ruthlessness were not wrong. With my knowledge and experiences I would disagree with that conclusion.
Thus, my subjective determination that cruel and ruthless conduct is wrong remains, regardless of any objectively correct but contradictory determinations by society or God, hence such a determination by society necessarily would be simultaneously “wrong” and “not wrong,” depending on perspective.
If “society” had determined that the earth didn’t revolve around the sun, would you say that determination would have been objectively valid?
If you disagreed with God’s “conclusion,” you wouldn’t be accepting Him as a determinative factor.
When your subjective determination remains regardless of an objectively correct and contradictory determination, that doesn’t mean the objectively correct determination is wrong. It means you’re wrong.
Keep trying Kurt. I know you really want to have The Definitive Answer. As I said before, good luck with that.
Around and around and around he goes . . . . . .
Deb Geelsdottir writes to me:
And I know you want to avoid Him.
And around and around . . . . .
Why would you want to avoid ‘Her’?
Kurt, first you rejected my stated personal reasons that answered the question in your 2019-04-17 at 18:25 comment. Thus, I also identified an objective basis – society’s external determinations, which seemed just as valid as your objective God thesis, to supplement my answer to your question.
Based on your summary rejection (i.e. without analysis, explanation, nor elaboration) of the subjective basis for deciding what is right, wrong, cruel or ruthless, your current belief that my subjective judgment must be “wrong” is both predictable and understandable. Thank you anyway for volunteering your opinion to confirm my expectation.
Just to clarify, however, my response was intended to set forth another point of view rather than to convince you that your point of view was wrong. Deciding the validity of this alternative subjective point of view is itself a subjective determination that you alone can make for yourself, although not for others.
I also have to chuckle a bit at your new question:
This inquiry seems to imply that it would be foolish to accept such an objective determination by society given all we know about our solar system today. It also suggests a need for a bit more introspection by those who think they accept only God’s objective word.
Under the objective analysis the answer would be yes. Surprisingly, however, is the fact that while society does not current state such a viewpoint, the Bible reports that God made such a determination long ago – that the earth can “never be moved,” hence cannot revolve around the sun, nor rotate on its own axis for that matter. Pslam 104:5 (NIV) clearly states:
I suppose, but cannot say for sure without further research, that this biblical description of God’s determination was the justification for the treatment of Galileo by those that deemed God’s objective word as set forth in the Bible as the only possible statement of reality.
Like the powers that prosecuted Galileo, those who steadfastly reject a subjective evaluation, preferring instead the objective certainty of an outside authority’s determinations, cannot consider newly acquired knowledge from any other source to question the authority’s reported statements. Thus, those who hold steadfast to only an objective foundation for their beliefs really have no choice but to accept all determinations by God (and by your hypothetical society) at face value.
Those who adopt a subjective evaluation, however, are able to consider the ideas and findings from all sources, just as Galileo did, and would not blindly rely alone on either society or bibilical plain language describing God’s determinations to evaluate the accuracy of your statement or any other aspect of reality, including whether “there’s something wrong with being ruthless and cruel.”
Game, set and match, BCB.
Roger, of course I have not avoided Her. Thankfully the Creator is not gendered, though it’s interesting to see who finds it important to create their god in their image.
Here’s something we’ll all enjoy, except Kurt, from Sojourners Magazine:
“God sends liberators to the Hebrews: The women are the first liberators. First, the midwives who cleverly defy Pharaoh’s order to kill all male Hebrew babies at birth. Then, a Levite mother who realizes she can’t hide her 3-month-old son any longer, so she puts him in a basket in the river. Soon, Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses floating by, has compassion, and raises that leader of the people as her own. And finally, Miriam, Moses’ older sister who watches over him in the river.”
Of course there’s no hard evidence for this, but it is a lovely story that describes a loving god that enlists a group of unconnected women as protectors and liberators. That’s the purpose of nearly all religious myths and legends, to convey the character of the god they describe. Thus they are valuable and teasing out understanding and meaning is important. Insisting they are factbased is distracting.
You’ll find interest in this one as well. It’s concerned with the phrase “Judeo-Christian Tradition,” certainly loaded.
“After the sinking of the USAT Dorchester in 1943, when its four Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish chaplains drowned together at prayer, the military developed a common worship service and promulgated the four chaplains, and the Judeo-Christian tradition they symbolized, as a way to integrate the religious diversity of the forces.”
I served as a chaplain in a VA hospital for 6 years and every year we offered a specific “Four Chaplains Worship Service.” You see, there weren’t enough lifejackets on the Dorchester so the chaplains gave theirs up, knowing they had no chance without them.
The result of evidence presented is that “The ‘Judeo-Christian tradition’ is an expedient political tactic, rather than a long-standing historical consensus.”
“Christianists” like to ignore the other half of the first amendment, the establishment clause, and pretend that it does not exist. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Introducing a plaque proclaiming “In God We Trust” establishes a particular religion in the mind of every child every day, kindergarten through high school, through every year that child enters a school. We know which God they mean. There is no room for the child to understand or know that all through their life they will need to meet and interact and cooperate with others who believe differently.
By the time those children reach an age where they are able to think for themselves, for so many it’s too late.
kristians prove every minute of every day religion induces fear in otherwise normal people. Then fauxknee religionists use that fear to control the sheep with threats of hell and death.
If somewhere, somehow, sometime, we reach the point when we (meaning society) decide that plaques that say “In God We Trust” will be deemed unconstitutional and will be removed from schools, there still will be fundamentalists screaming that we are persecuting them and their viewpoints. I won’t be around, I expect, to hear it. But I hope it doesn’t take that long.
What Mike says about fear is probably the saddest part of how the belief system Jesus led was distorted. In order to gain more power, those who already had it manipulated stories, myths and legends to twist a system of hope, light and life into fear of darkness and death. It’s heartbreaking really.
The manipulation continues. evangelical/fundamentalist/wingnut types are in the process of writing a new version of the bible to better suit their political and power needs.
This is not the first time. Those on the right who favor a religion of rigidity, absolutes and top down power over have been doing this since the 1960s when various translations and interpretations of the bible became common. Even the very first copyists of the earliest versions extant were also editors, making changes where they thought they should, adding and subtracting text.
Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religions made “adjustments” to the bible. Of course Mormons wrote their own text too, straight from the mouth of Moroni and from golden plates buried in the ground.
Anyway, when the new evangelical/fundamentalist/wingnut bible comes out, I bet it will be a doozy!
I didn’t reject your stated reasons. I thanked you for responding and clarified that my question wasn’t meant to be about how your personal value judgments developed.
You seem to be assuming your conclusion. Why would “society’s determinations” be an objective basis for determining right and wrong?
I didn’t say your subjective judgment about cruel and ruthless conduct was wrong. I said you’re wrong when your subjective determination remains regardless of an objectively correct and contradictory determination, as it explicitly does in the hypothetical you presented.
No, your point of view in this case is objectively wrong, and if I determined that it was right, my point of view would be objectively wrong too.
I’d asked “bearcreekbat”:
Are you saying the determination that the earth didn’t revolve around the sun would have been objectively valid even if the earth did in fact revolve around the sun?
You seem to be reading far too much into the verse you cite from Psalm 104. Does it also imply that farmers can’t plow their fields and baseball players can’t slide into second base?
Traditional Bible Protestants generally believe the continents were rearranged around 4,500 years ago (~2500 BC) during the worldwide flood described in the seventh chapter of Genesis, and the context in Psalm 104 describes events during and after that flood.
Here are the eighth and ninth verses:
The motion that’s excluded in the verse you cite is most likely the kind of tectonic upheaval and continental realignment that occurred during the flood.
The Roman Catholic society that persecuted Galileo was much more loyal to Aristotle than it was to the Bible. Galileo himself was apparently a true believer.
(I’m planning to address your other claims later.)
“Traditional Bible Protestants”
A rebranding of fundamentalists/evangelicals.
Kurt, it seems there is an impediment in our discussions. You repeatedly write that you didn’t write the statements I attribute to your comments. This suggests that your written statements mean something different that the words you use suggested to me, or perhaps that I am simply too biased to be capable of perceiving the nuances in your written language. Assuming that it is the latter, it seems odd that you continue to offer thoughts and opinions in language that you have learned will be incomprehensible to me.
Indeed, you even explain that I do not understandable the written words of the Bible. These words mean something different than I perceive when I read them, especially if my perception might actually support a point that I offer or raise a question about the validity of one of your arguments.
Nevertheless, with an understanding that whatever analysis or response I offer must necessarily either be incorrect or based on a misreading of what you have written or what the Bible or other materials seems to say, I will once again offer my feeble responses to your new questions.
In my view, which I assume you will explain is incorrect, “society’s determination” is just as objective as God’s determination. I see no basis for distinguishing the two. Each seems to have equally indefensible origins, or perhaps lack of origins. Although I read your comments as repeatedly and summarily indicating that my view is incorrect, I have apparently missed any written analysis from you why this might be.
Again, in my view, likely to be revealed by you as uninformed and naïve, your inquiry begs the question of finding a reliable source for an answer to factual questions, including your initial question about whether certain conduct is wrong. Here, when I identify the source for the answer, your response is that we already know the proposition to be false, hence my source is invalid. In my view, that same problem applies equally to any claim that God is somehow an objective source to learn any fact or value. If we already know that fact or value, then only one answer from God will be acceptable and such answer will add literally nothing to our knowledge or understanding, hence God also fails as an objective source.
You ask about Psalms 104:5 –
I don’t recall writing anything about the implications of the verse I quoted. Rather, I attempted to reference the plain language of that verse. The reference was in response to your question about a societal determination that the Earth did not revolve around the sun, not about whether fields could be plowed, etc. And my example was based on what I understood to be historical fact about Galileo, which you apparently do not accept.
As for the implications of the cited verse, I will leave that to your expertise since under your viewpoint I may be incapable of understanding the plain language of your written comments and outside sources, such as the Bible.
Thanks again for offering your views aimed at clarifying my perceived errors. I look forward to your explanation of where I went wrong in the additional comments you plan to address later.
Kurt Evans, get over it. bcb drank your milkshake. Look on the bright side of life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DXyRsOQ9Is
Jerry, that is hilarious!!😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂 OMG! Just perfect! I cant stand it.
Butina/NRA/Evangelicals what a threesome. “Butina, a Russian citizen, expects to be sent back to her native country after being released from jail, her attorney said.
“She has been separated from her family, in a foreign country, for over nine months. She has languished for three of those months in administrative segregation – solitary confinement by another name — where she was enclosed in a small cell for 22 hours a day,” the filing states.
Butina has admitted to conspiring with a Russian official and two Americans from 2015 until her arrest to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and create unofficial lines of communication to try to make Washington’s policy toward Moscow more friendly. The NRA is closely aligned with U.S. conservatives and Republican politicians including President Donald Trump.”
Maybe Don the con will pardon her, don’t laugh, he could try, that’s his red base he needs to toss chum to. trump did exceptionally well in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania and are all listed in the Mueller Report as having been tainted by the Mannafort and the GRU operative, Klimnick. Russia defeated us through the NRA and others, without firing a bullet. Impressive! So, why do we need these Boeing bombers at Ellsworth? We could use the money saved to grow beets for soup.
Robin Friday writes:
Your claim is absurd, but even if it were true, I’m pretty sure that isn’t the kind of religious establishment addressed by the First Amendment.
Deb Geelsdottir had written:
Now Deb writes:
If true faith is about trusting in the words of Jesus, shouldn’t you be trusting in His explicit teaching that God is a Father?
The original meanings of Protestant and fundamentalist were very similar, but the word Protestant was actually in regular use several hundred years earlier.
Not exactly, Kurt Evans. I didn’t write that. the Founding Fathers did. And their meaning has been clear and upheld by Supreme Courts for a couple of centuries now. Now, you and I both know which God the Christians who introduce this kind of thing are talking about, right? They’re talking about the Christian God, right? So that establishes in the mind of small children that that Christian God is the one to be trusted, and doesn’t the commandment say “I am the Lord Thy God, Thou shall have no other gods before me”?
Someday, people will realize that the First Amendment contains TWO clauses and the establishment clause is as significant as the free exercise clause. It says Congress shall not establish or favor or support any religion above any other.
“Madison contended “Because if Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body.”
Several years later he wrote of “total separation of the church from the state. “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States”, Madison wrote, and he declared, “practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. In a letter to Edward Livingston Madison further expanded,
We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt. James Madison to Edward Livingston
Religion wants it both ways, first they prayer or plaques in schools and at the same time want an tax exemption.
Churches are delinquent tax cheats to the tune of $71 Billion a year.
Robin Friday writes to me:
Many legal scholars contend that the Supreme Court has gradually distorted the Founding Fathers’ meaning, and I predictably agree with them.
I’d assume they are in most cases, but I don’t actually know.
How would legislators talking about the Christian God supposedly affect the minds of the children?
Technically the declaration that He was Israel’s God isn’t part of the commandment.
It says Congress “shall make no law …” When making no law favors one religion above another, the First Amendment requires Congress to favor one religion above another, and in any case, Senate Bill 55 was passed by the South Dakota legislature, not Congress.
Robin, although Kurt often tells me that I do not understand the meaning of the words he writes, I want to clarify something he may have implied with this statement in his comment addressed to you:
About 70+ years ago the SCOTUS held that First Amendment limits the power of state legislatures in the same way it limits the power of Congress. This ruling has stood the test of time. For a general explanation, which Kurt might contend is incorrect, or at least not up to his grammatical standards, see:
bcb, the newest iteration of the Spanish Inquisition has repeatedly shown precedence means nothing to their view point of the law.
Roger Cornelius writes:
The United States had both prayer in public schools and tax exemptions for religious establishments for nearly 200 years. It wasn’t until 1962 that the Supreme Court first claimed that a brief, voluntary, nondenominational prayer somehow violated the Establishment Clause.
“mike from iowa” writes:
The Spanish Inquisition was officially opposed to traditional Bible Protestantism.
That claim is absurd. I routinely consider newly acquired knowledge from multiple sources to question God’s reported statements, and the Roman Catholic society that persecuted and prosecuted Galileo was much more loyal to Aristotle’s subjective evaluations than it was to the God of the Bible.
My hypothetical society had only made one determination, the objectively wrong determination that the earth didn’t revolve around the sun. Your suggestion that I have no choice but to accept that determination is absurd.
There are many, many cases in which those who adopt a subjective evaluation blindly rely on society alone to evaluate various aspects of reality.
According to the context in Psalm 104, the motion that’s excluded in the fifth verse is most likely the kind of tectonic upheaval and continental realignment that occurred during the worldwide flood around 2500 BC. That’s what I said. I didn’t say you don’t understand. I don’t know whether you understand.
Yes, your perceptions seem to be heavily influenced by your desire to win arguments.
Then why would “society’s determinations” be an objective basis for determining right and wrong?
I’d asked a straightforward yes-or-no question about what you were saying, and as far as I can tell, you haven’t answered it.
Are you saying God and society both fail as objective sources?
“bearcreekbat” had written:
You said the fifth verse of Psalm 104 implies that the earth “cannot revolve around the sun, nor rotate on its own axis for that matter.”
Without analysis Kurt calls the idea absurd that those who prefer the objective certainty of an outside authority’s determinations, cannot consider newly acquired knowledge from any other source to question the authority’s reported statements. As proof of his point, he states:
This suggests to me that Kurt does not rely only on God’s word for his knowledge, hence in practice uses a subjective evaluation rather than an objective determination from God. If Kurt is correct that in the time of Galileo the Catholic Church followed Aristotle’s teachings rather than God’s word from the Bible, that also means that either the Church considered Aristotle its objective source of knowledge, or that it relied upon its own subjective evaluation of available evidence to determine reality.
Perhaps it would help if Kurt would explain from what source in his hypothetical society he draws the conclusion that society made an “objectively wrong determination that the earth didn’t revolve around the sun.” If he claims the option of rejecting that conclusion, what approach gives him that choice if not a subjective approach?
Kurt declares that:
What are some of the “many, many” cases to which Kurt refers in which people have adopted “a subjective evaluation’ but blindly defer to some authority like society?
And in the same vein, can Kurt identify the Bible verses that explicitly use or imply the terms “of tectonic upheaval and continental realignment” as used in his assertion about the meaning of Pslams 104:5, referencing
A simple claim, without providing an objective source from God’s word for the claim seems to be either a subjective determination based on cumulative evidence other than God’s word, such as someone else’s interpretation of what God meant, rather than what his words explicitly stated, or an objective determination based on an authority other than God.
I explained that I saw no basis for distinguishing God’s determinations from a hypothetical society’s determinations. As far as I could tell, neither carried more objective weight than the other. I understood Kurt’s position to be that God’s word is the only valid objective basis for determining what conduct is right and wrong. I equated God’s determination and society’s determination to be essentially no different as objective sources for this determination.
That would explain, under all this hypothetical analysis, “why . . . “society’s determinations” [is] an objective basis for determining right and wrong.”
On several occasions Kurt has summarily assertion that I am wrong, but I don’t recall any analysis or meaningful explanation supporting this assertion.
As for Kurt’s “straightforward yes-or-no question about what [I was] saying,” I believe I answered it “yes” in my comment at 2019-04-19 at 12:30 – “Under the objective analysis the answer would be yes.”
As for Kurt’s follow up question, then answer is also “yes” for those people who blindly accept only a single outside objective determination of reality, with no regard as to whether that determination is in fact correct.
Kurt asks, “Are you saying God and society both fail as objective sources?” As indicated, if we already know any fact or value from information other than God or society, then neither can be a valid source for any final determination of reality. For those that believe God and society are wrong, yet adopt the position that an “objective source” is the only basis for knowledge, then both God and society fail and there must be some other objective source for their knowledge than God or society.
I reviewed my comment at 2019-04-19 at 12:30 and I did not use the term “implies.” I said the plain language of Pslam 104:5, namely “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved,” was a statement that meant, not implied, the earth cannot “be moved.” I read this term as meaning the entire earth.
This verse explicitly references the “foundations” of “the earth,” not smaller parts of the earth, such as a farmer’s field or a baseball diamond. And as indicated earlier, Kurt’s assertion that I am wrong is expected. From my perpective, however, I implied nothing, I simply referenced the plain language of the verse.
This is exactly where evangelical/fundamentalist types like Kurt always crash and burn.
*God’s word is law, except when it’s not, and we have an explanation for that.* (I’d put the last sentence in italics if I knew how to do it in a Comments box.)
Here’s the rock where Kurt stubs another toe, quoting the ever astute, BCB:
“A simple claim, without providing an objective source from God’s word for the claim seems to be either a subjective determination based on cumulative evidence other than God’s word, such as someone else’s interpretation of what God meant, rather than what his words explicitly stated, or an objective determination based on an authority other than God.”
Deb Geelsdottir writes:
Not all of God’s word is law, Deb, and traditional Bible Protestants have explanations for many things. I’m not sure why you’d say I’m crashing and burning.
At the beginning of the text you want to italicize, use the less-than sign (“<"), a lowercase i and the greater-than sign (“>”). At the end of the text you want to italicize, do the same but add a forward slash (“/”) before the i.
To (i)italicize(/i) the first occurrence of the word italicize in this sentence, replace each open parenthesis with the less-than sign and replace each close parenthesis with the greater-than sign.
So if a claim isn’t based on God’s word, it’s either a subjective determination based on something else or an objective determination based on something else. I’m not sure how anyone could “stub a toe” on anything that obvious.
Robin Friday had written:
So Robin’s claim that the Founding Fathers’ meaning has been “clear and upheld by Supreme Courts for a couple of centuries now” isn’t true.
How can you say I provide a counterexample “without analysis”? If giving a counterexample isn’t analysis, what is?
I don’t claim the option of rejecting that conclusion, mainly because it isn’t a conclusion. It’s the premise of the hypothetical. How could I possibly draw any conclusion from a source in a society that doesn’t exist?
I’m not referring to “society” as an authority. You are.
I’d quoted the eighth and ninth verses of Psalm 104:
I suspect that the word translated “valleys” in the eighth verse was the best Hebrew word available for the ocean basins, but either way, the upheaval in the earth’s crust when “the mountains rose” implies continental realignment.
“bearcreekbat” had written:
(?!) You suggested God’s determination and society’s determination were “equally indefensible” as a basis for determining right and wrong. Now you’re saying society’s determinations are an objective basis for determining right and wrong because I believe God’s determination is?
As far as I can tell, that makes absolutely zero sense.
Me thinks BCB has met his match another lover (and hoarder) of words. If you can’t say it in 5 seconds you can’t say it!!!
I will address several of Kurt’s statements in his comment at 2019-04-26 at 17:25 in the same order that he made each statement.
– Kurt references the SCOTUS ruling I cited extending the 1st Amendment to the States and asserts:
I disagree. I may be mistaken, but I read Robin’s comment regarding the clarity of the 1st Amendment to be referencing the meaning of the establishment clause, not whether it applied to the States.
– On Kurt’s “analysis” question, I don’t consider a recitation of what Kurt “routinely” does to constitute “analysis” of an idea, nor a means of demonstrating that the idea is “absurd” as Kurt claims. And to answer Kurt’s inquiry: “If giving a counterexample isn’t analysis, what is?” I would suggest an explanation for engaging in that behavior describing the factual and logical reasons supporting that explanation.
– When Kurt stated the hypothetical society made a determination (i.e. came to a conclusion) that he knew to be factually incorrect, Kurt is necessarily referencing some non-societal evaluation about the accuracy of society’s determination that he relies upon, which means he did reject society’s factual conclusion or determination in favor of the non-societal conclusion. His response that his non-societal conclusion was merely a premise to his hypothetical, rather than his contrary conclusion denies what he in fact has done. To claim there was no source for his conclusion that society made a mistake could only mean that his conclusion magically came out of thin air, which is not a useful premise for analysis.
– Next, Kurt earlier stated that,
When asked to identify some of the “many, many” cases, Kurt responds
I can only take that to mean that Kurt is unable or unwilling to identify the “many, many cases in which [he has claimed that] those who adopt a subjective evaluation blindly rely on society alone to evaluate various aspects of reality” he stated that exist.
-As for Pslams and verses that Kurt asserts “explicitly use or imply the terms “of tectonic upheaval and continental realignment,” Kurt references Pslams 104:8-9, stating that
While it is true that the phrase “the mountains rose” seems to be in Kurt’s unsourced quote of the language used in Pslams 104:8-9, it appears he must be using a different translation that the NIV.
The NIV from verse 7 through 9 reads as follows:
It is interesting that the language Kurt has placed in his comment is absent from the NIV version. This absence seems inconsistent if the Bible is God’s word and that word is Kurt’s sole basis for determining right, wrong, and other facets of reality.
– Finally, Kurt asks
Kurt’s views are completely irrelevant in the analysis – they do not cause “society’s determinations [to be] an objective basis for determining right and wrong.”
Rather, I tried to show “society’s determinations” to be as an equally uninformative objective basis for determining right and wrong as “God’s determination.”
Both are by definition completely arbitrary and unchanging, while in my view determining right and wrong is not so black and white, hence using either source alone cannot provide adequate answers. That said, it should not be overlooked that both have value in the final analysis as an important part of the factors, rather than the only factor, that inform our judgment about good and evil.
While I do not have unreasonably optimistic expectations about my ability to effectively communicate with Kurt, perhaps these comments will provide a reason for Kurt to consider getting beyond summarily labeling my analysis as making “absolutely zero sense.”
I cannot argue with happy’s point. Indeed, I am surprised that Cory permits me to rattle on so often, but I do thank him as he provides a wonderful forum for all of us to explore issues I find complex, difficult, and yet containing unusual beauty.
But Kurt, it’a not just “legislators talking” as you say, is it? It’s plaques going up in schools. Now, maybe the kindergartners can’t read them, but the rest can, as I said, every day of every year that they go to school. Are you saying in the end, they pay no attention, it all has no effect? Then why flags and Pledges of Allegiance, and everything else that’s supposed to have an effect on their growing up. Sorry, I have to do this piecemeal.
Thank you, bcb. I am of the belief that whether some thought menace like this plaque thing is passed by state or fed, it will be found unconstitutional.
As to whether it’s state or fed, just wait, if they get enough states to go along with this kind of absurdity (since it’s ALEC and other legislative do-gooder-let-us-help-you-with-this-law-writers writing them), it will soon be presented at the fed level.
Sorry, Kurt, your comment that you personally don’t know which “God” it is that school children are admonished to “trust in” is disingenuous. (Just in case you feel that’s too strong a word, and you’re being persecuted, remember that you called my thoughts “absurd” right off the bat.)
I stand by my comment that the establishment clause is clear and has been upheld for a couple of centuries as to the meaning of the word “establishment” I read a history of the SCOTUS cases concerning 1A a couple of days ago, sorry, can’ remember where, but it was legitimate. The word “establishment. is broad and includes words such as “support” and “favor”. In other words, Congress shall not favor one religion over any other. Jefferson and Madison did indeed use the words “wall of separation” when discussing the relationship between church and state, and they meant every word they said.
“Torcaso v. Watkins (1961)
The Court considered whether the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was violated by a Maryland requirement that a candidate for public office declare a belief in God to be eligible for the position. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that the requirement violated the Establishment Clause by giving preference to candidates who believed in God and were willing to state their beliefs, over other candidates. In this, Maryland effectively aided religions involving a belief in God at the expense of religions or beliefs that do not, a position that a state is expressly prohibited from taking. (Citation: 367 U.S. 488)”
“Murray v. Curlett (1963)
The Court examined this case in combination with Abington v. Schempp (1963), determining whether Baltimore, Maryland, public schools violated the Establishment Clause in conducting daily opening exercises involving reading of the Bible and reciting of the Lord’s Prayer. As with Abington v. Schempp, the Maryland school-day religious exercises were declared a violation of the Establishment Clause. (Citation: 374 US 203)
“Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
The Court considered whether a Pennsylvania law reimbursing religious schools with state funds for textbooks and teacher salaries for non-public, non-secular schools violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In an 8-0 decision, the Court set out a three-pronged test for the constitutionality of a statute, by which a statute is constitutional if: (1) it has a primarily secular purpose; (2) its principal effect neither aids nor inhibits religion; and (3) government and religion are not excessively entangled. On this basis, the Court struck down the Pennsylvania law as in violation of the Establishment Clause, finding that the statute constituted an excessive government entanglement with religion.”
“Stone v. Graham (1980)
The Court considered whether a Kentucky state law mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Applying the three-prong test from Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), the Court found 5-4 that the Kentucky law was unconstitutional, because it had no secular legislative purpose. The Court also found that by mandating posting of the Commandments under the guidance of the legislature, the state was providing official support of religion, which was a violation of the Establishment Clause. (Citation: 449 US 39)
Following is a perfect example of Kurt again doing just what I said earlier: This is exactly where evangelical/fundamentalist types like Kurt always crash and burn.
*God’s word is law, except when it’s not, and we have an explanation for that.*
“I suspect that the word translated “valleys” in the eighth verse was the best Hebrew word available for the ocean basins, but either way, the upheaval in the earth’s crust when “the mountains rose” implies continental realignment.”
The bible says none of that, but Kurt “suspects” and it’s “implied.”
Yup. *God’s word is law, except when it’s not, and we have an explanation for that.*
Robin Friday writes:
I didn’t say that. You said legislators who talk about the Christian God establish in the minds of small children that the Christian God is the one to be trusted, and I asked how.
No, I’m not.
I didn’t say that either, but if I had, it would have been true.
None of the four Supreme Court decisions you cite were handed down before 1960, and none of the cases you could cite were handed down until after World War II.
A noun “includes” verbs? I’m not even sure what that’s supposed to mean.
Deb Geelsdottir replies:
The Bible says the mountains rose and the valleys sank down to the place God established for them. It says He set a boundary so the waters won’t return to cover the earth.
Would you argue that doesn’t imply upheaval in the earth’s crust, Deb?
Just found out some dinosaurs were warm blooded. T-Rex had feathers. Feathers!!! Mind blowing Evolution – scared humans needed G Man – totally understandable – then – not now. Now we got the science!!!
Five second challenge BCB!!! No windy backroads. No gravel (which just stirs up dust). High speed Interstate.
Sure happy, name the issue – I’ll give it a 5 second shot.
You amplified my point. The bible doesn’t state it. The reader must must infer a meaning. This kind of thing is throughout the bible. “God’s Word” is what the reader makes it.
“happy camper” writes:
If some dinosaurs were warm-blooded, and if Tyrannosaurus rex had feathers, I’m not sure how that would supposedly contradict the Bible’s account of creation, but in any case, I haven’t seen convincing evidence that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, or that Tyrannosaurus rex had feathers.
There’s a young-earth creationist point of view here:
Kurt Evans links us to Dr. David Menton who is #270 in The Encyclopedia of American Loons.
– David Menton is an anatomist (with a PhD) and a regular contributor to Answers in Genesis (AiG). He has, among other things, contributed to the study of baraminology, a crackpot discipline bent on providing a creationist alternative to Linnaean taxonomy and cladistics based on a Biblically literal young Earth world view.
It’s good of Kurt to let us know where he sits before we evaluate where he stands.
Porter Lansing writes:
Dr. Menton holds a Ph.D. in cell biology from Brown University and served as an award-winning professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for 34 years.
So, what Kurt? He’s a certified kook. Wouldn’t you like to be recognized in The Encyclopedia of American Loons, Kurt? Your body of blog posts would almost qualify you if you just had a little more non-nutty job reference. Just being a certified teacher who won’t even try anymore isn’t enough. Get off your self-sympathy and get a job. (Thinking there are hit men after you will help, though.)
I’d asked Deb Geelsdottir a straightforward yes-or-no question:
Is your point that the God of the Bible established a stabilized lithosphere after the worldwide flood that occurred around 2500 BC? Or is your point just that you’re deceitful and evasive?
A reader always has to infer meaning from written words, both inside the Bible and outside the Bible. It doesn’t logically follow that the words themselves have no definitive implications.
I’d written to Porter Lansing:
I’m not sure, but I’d apparently be in some good company.
Here’s your dream team, Kurt.
American Loons – http://americanloons.blogspot.com/2010/05/1-mike-adams.html?m=1
The bible doesn’t state it. The reader must must infer a meaning. This kind of thing is throughout the bible. “God’s Word” is what the reader makes it.
Let me get this straight, people make up the literal word of gawd? Oh, gawd!
Mike, exactly what I’m saying. Kurt likes to take dips and turns here and there, while zipping past the bigger picture.
The issue isn’t one verse here and another verse there and what do we think they mean. The issue is, we have to think what they mean! It’s not black and white just because someone says it is.
I’m not going into the weeds with you on your goofiness Kurt. You have decided and your mind is set. That’s clear. I’m simply wanting you to be honest about it. You have your own interpretation of the bible and you’re welcome to it, but it’s not universal, it’s not factual and it’s not the same as faith.
I might add that
sounds more subjective than objective.
The issue is SB 55 and how the state legislature indoctrinates the children with a false God.
It should be simple to understand the concept of separation of church and state.
Every word of the bible is not needed to explain what the Constitution says.
The problem is that we don’t have any enforcement powers to stop the over godders (as grudz would say)
Here’s a link just for Kurt. He can substitute just about any of the, um, interesting theories he’s so graciously shared with us for “flat earthers.”
I’d asked Deb Geelsdottir a straightforward yes-or-no question:
I’d asked a simple question. You’re the one who’s repeatedly fleeing into the weeds.
Inside or outside the Bible, a statement that mountains rose on the earth’s surface directly implies upheaval in the earth’s crust. That’s both factual and universal.
People who just claim the Bible isn’t true are generally much less destructive than people who intentionally lie about what it says.
Give it up Kurt. We have not been arguing about one particular verse. Well, you have, pretty much by yourself, but you seem to enjoy structuring a setup to get what you want to hear.
Reminds me of when the Jehovah’s Witnesses used to come to my door. I always invited them in and they did their tag team thing, using a certain set of texts that suited their purpose. It was interesting and entertaining to watch them work. I enjoyed their visits and their squirming when I pushed something outside their script. They were generally nice enough people and absolutely determined that they knew the One and Only True Way.
So, have a good time.
BTW, you really should check out that link. It’s right up your alley. ☺
The Bible? I guess I am confused. Neither of the quite popular versions – the King James Bible and the NIV Bible – use the language from Psalms 104:8-9 Kurt contends supports hgis interpretation. Maybe these are not actually “Bibles?”
I linked and quoted from Psalms 104:8-9 NIV at 2019-04-26 at 19:28 and the phrase Kurt likes is missing altogether.
Meanwhile the King James version reads:
I do note that many of the other listed 28 versions of the Bible seem to use the language that Kurt endorses, yet many others, like the NIV and King James, do not, including, Yonugs, Websters, English Revised, Douay-Realms, Brenton Septuagint, American King James, King James 2000, Jubilee 2000, Aramaic in Plain English, Good News, or Contemporary English.
I guess not only must Kurt bear the burden of interpreting and explaining to the less astute among us exactly what the “Bible” objectively declared to “God’s word,” Kurt also had to find the particular version of the Bible that uses the words that support his arguments.
I think the simplest sheepherder in ancient times, including the new discoveries in Tibet, would be clear that mountains rise from the crust, just like bread or many other products that are cooked. What I wonder is why there was not a mathematical formula written by those scholars instead of telling everyone what they already knew.
I ain’t a scientist of any discipline, but even I can imagine a valley being a natural by-product of mountain formation. Seems patently obvious you can’t have mountains without valleys.
You can have valleys without mountains, otoh.
I’d asked “bearcreekbat”:
A determination can’t be objectively valid for only certain people:
I’d asked “bearcreekbat”:
Is that supposed to be a yes? I’ve spent several minutes reading and rereading it, and I honestly can’t tell.
I’d written to “bearcreekbat”:
You used the term hence, which indicates a logical implication.
A determination isn’t necessarily a conclusion. I reject the hypothetical society’s determination that the earth didn’t revolve around the sun, but I don’t reject it in the hypothetical. I’m not part of the hypothetical. I didn’t say my “non-societal conclusion” was a premise of the hypothetical. I said society’s determination that the earth didn’t revolve around the sun was the premise of the hypothetical. I didn’t claim there was no source for my determination that the hypothetical society made a mistake. A society that doesn’t exist doesn’t make mistakes.
Which brings us back to the original simple question you’ve never unequivocally answered: If “society” had determined that the earth didn’t revolve around the sun, would you say that determination would have been objectively valid?
Over two weeks ago, I’d asked “bearcreekbat”:
Now “bearcreekbat” writes:
If God didn’t exist, you’d be right. That was my original point.
By what definition are society’s determinations unchanging?
How would you say God’s determination has value in the final analysis?
I think the word Bible can refer either to the original manuscripts or to one of the versions that exists today.
The Hebrew says something like, “At the mountains, they went up, and at the low places, they went down.” The translators of the King James Version apparently assumed that what went up and down was the floodwaters. The most respected Hebrew scholars today say that what went up and down were the mountains and low places themselves.
The King James translators did amazing work under the circumstances they faced, and I believe their work ultimately led to America’s founding, but today’s scholars have many advantages the King James translators didn’t have.
I make no excuses for the New International Version, which I essentially regard as a garbage translation.
I have reviewed Kurt’s comment at 2019-05-03 at 17:27. Following his statements in order, as best I can tell he says:
– My statement about an “objective determination” was inconsistent with his reading of a definition he linked;
– He did not understand another answer of mine;
– That he thinks by using the term “hence” that a statement of mine “implied” what he asserted it said;
– He doesn’t think I used the term “determination” correctly, he was not part of the hypothetical, I did not understand his comments about the hypothetical, and he repeats a question that I tried to answer although not yet to his satisfaction;
– He writes, “If God didn’t exist, you’d be right. That was my original point.”
– He asks two more questions (at this point I take it these are at best rhetorical, although it is not clear to me what points he hopes to make);
– He thinks the authors of the King James version of the Bible did an amazing job but made mistakes that more modern translators have apparently corrected;
– He thinks “I think the word Bible can refer either to the original manuscripts or to one of the versions that exists today;”
– And he regards at least one version, the NIV, of the Bible as “garbage.”
While I appreciate Kurt’s responses, none seem particularly interested in advancing any further discussion nor explaining and justifying Kurt’s particular views on the topics. While I would enjoy any good faith discussion of issues pertaining to determinations of good and evil, I am not inclined to quarrel about the meaning of either of our comments and as best I can tell that is the direction Kurt seems to want to go.
Literature read in translation is rubbish.
In addition to O’s comment, Kurt refers to “original copies.” There are none. The KJV is a favorite of fundamentalists, but it’s riddled with errors, as is the NKJV.
The following was printed in the PLOS 1 journal in 2016 and it’s for Kurt because it so well fits his taking mentality in taking this discussion totally into the weeds and away from any useful purpose:
“Scientists have found that people who constantly get bothered by grammatical errors online have “less agreeable” personalities than those who just let them slide.
“And those friends who are super-sensitive to typos on your Facebook page? Psychological testing reveals they’re generally less open, and are also more likely to be judging you for your mistakes than everyone else.”
A lecture on agreeability and staying out of the weeds … from Deb Geelsdottir.
Evans. If you choose to use her full name, why don’t you use her title? Reverend Deb Geelsdottir a bit too reverential for your liking?
Porter Lansing asks me:
No, but I don’t believe Deb’s personal status as a member of the clergy is especially relevant to the topics I’ve tried to address here.
On April 26, I’d written:
Later that day, Deb Geelsdottir had replied:
Now Deb writes to me:
We’ve been arguing about the eighth verse of Psalm 104, Deb, and you started it.
Sometimes “bearcreekbat” does actual research and poses a question that makes me squirm, but to the best of my recollection, you never have.
My statement directly implied that the original manuscripts don’t exist today. Are you suggesting they never did?
All translation is inherently imperfect, but there’s a big difference between that inherent imperfection and outright errors. The available evidence indicates that outright errors in the transmission and translation of the Bible texts have been very few and very small, and neither the King James Version nor the New King James Version is “riddled with errors.”
Kurt Evans, you’ve missed your calling. Georgia wants you to teach kristian bible in public schools and convert public schools into little gawdalmighties.
No, I said a determination can’t be objectively valid for only certain people. I didn’t say anything about my reading of the definition.
I asked whether your answer was supposed to be a yes, and you still haven’t said.
No, I said the term hence indicates a logical implication. I didn’t say anything about what I think or about what I’d previously asserted.
No, I said a determination isn’t necessarily a conclusion. I didn’t say anything about what I think.
No, I didn’t say you didn’t understand. I don’t know whether you understand. I didn’t say one word about you in that entire paragraph.
I asked another yes-or-no question that you still haven’t answered with a yes or a no.
In this case, you’re right, and I was wrong. I did write that, but if God didn’t exist, you wouldn’t be right. There could be no right or wrong without a universal standard by which to define them.
They weren’t rhetorical.
I said I essentially regard the New International Version as a garbage translation, but that may have been too harsh. Let me just say I definitely wouldn’t recommend it over the NASB or the ESV.
Kurt, you are certainly in the best position to deny what your particular comment appears to mean, so I defer to you. It seems appropriate for you to tell us that one of your particular comments means something different than a reader might have understood by reading the words you used in that comment and interpreting the meaning of these words within the context of our prior exchanges on the particular subject addressed in your comment.
Next, since you state that the two questions you posited were not intended to be rhetorical, I will take you at your word. Thus, my answers to these two questions are based on the supposition that since the questions were not intended to be rhetorical:
– you have not already determined what you think are the only correct answers; and,
– you are not simply seeking another opportunity to point out how you believe whatever answer I provide to be incorrect, absurd, incomplete, or in some other manner deficient.
My premise or definition (right or wrong outside the context of our discussion) of an objective source is a source that can only make determinations that are ab initio correct and thereby unchanging. Since for the purposes of our discussion I posited a hypothetical society as an alternative to God as an objective source, those who would rely on society (rather than God) as an objective source necessarily must believe that society’s determinations are unchanging, just as a belief in God as an objective source requires the belief that God’s determinations are ab initio correct and thereby unchanging.
By “God’s determination” I refer to the various bibilical written statements worshipped by believers in God, which often come from earlier thinkers’ ethical ideas and propositions. From a subjective perspective no idea of thought is excluded from the analysis of good and evil. Given the long history and wealth of biblical complilations addressing ethical ideas about good and evil, such a complilation necessarily has value in subjectively determining appropriate criteria for good and evil.
Finally, as an aside, since you purport to be a grammer expert and frequently like to point out other commenters’ typos, spelling errors, or grammatical mistakes it should be noted that your use of quotation marks around bearcreekbat seems inconsistent with posted rules for using quotation marks.
The term is used as a name, not a quotation, title of any work, reference to a word as a word, nor scare quote.
Socrates asks Euthyphro “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?” This is known as the Euthyphro dilemma.
Actions that unnecessarily cause suffering or harm to humans are morally wrong, and actions that contribute to human wellbeing are morally right. There are objective moral truths that can be discovered using reason (and science), and the process does not require belief in a god.
God cannot be the source of objective morality. If objective morality exists, it exists independently of any gods. Atheists, far from having no basis for moral values, can base their values soundly on reason and science. These same tools that have been used with spectacular success to discover the physical world can be used to understand the moral realm. We can be moral without gods.
Porter, I agree with your statement about atheists and determining morality. I only add that such values are never quite absolute. As our knowledge and understanding of the world (as well as individual situations) changes, we constantly must re-evaluate conclusions about morality to discover the best possible answer at any given time. What seems entirely moral at the time might well later be revealed as horribly immoral by new information.
As for the idea that:
it is very attractive on the surface but leaves us with the underlying problem of determining what actions “unnecessarily” cause suffering and what actions actually “contribute” to humanity’s wellbeing. The well known Trolley problem exemplfies the conundrum we face
– is it morally wrong to sacrifice one person (causing suffering or harm to humans) to save the many (thereby contributing to human wellbeing)?
How do we evaluate the situation in which an indivisible action serves two purposes – in part causing harm and in part contributing to wellbeing?
Agreed, Bear – Those ideas are expressed in the link I posted. Here’s another excerpt.
– We know that moral standards change over time and we know that different societies have different moral standards. Surely this means that morality is relative and not objective? No, it does not. That objective moral standards exist does not mean it is always easy to determine what they should be. For example, when an action affects many people and results in harm to some and benefits to others, it is difficult to determine its moral value. In other cases, the moral value of an action is difficult to determine because its long-term consequences are hard to predict. Governments often confront such such dilemmas.
Sometimes moral standards are set in the self-interest of rulers, or of a subset of the people affected. Sometimes standards change because people become aware of the harm an old standard was causing. To reject the existence of objective moral truths because standards change over time would be like rejecting mathematics because there are currently some problems that cannot be solved.
Kristo-fascists got their choice on the Spotus thanks to these guys. Don’t puke, just yet.
Exactly what any other grown up Sinate leader in the entire world would do, amirite?
Noticed this is still putzing along, so thought I’d toss this in:
“RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM- Akins found virtually all militia and KKK members to be deeply religious: Most believed they were acting for God. His research shows that Christian fundamentalism is the most prevalent religious orientation among militia members. One of the anthropological standards used to determine whether a religion is fundamentalist is called “dualism,” which refers to the belief that there’s an absolute black and white to everything. A person is either good or evil, nothing in between. By simplifying beliefs in this way, militia members develop very rigid concepts of right and wrong. The introduction of religion as a major conduit for hate groups has not been without controversy.”
From “Meet the Klan: a UNF professor’s dark journey into white supremacy” by Tricia Booker in the FOLIO WEEKLY MAGAZINE, November 9, 1999.
Interesting Debbo. I have seen stories recently about why many folks join such movements. One recurring take is that many of these newbies don’t really have strong beliefs or values one way or the other, but only seek a place where they can belong, be an accepted member of an organized group. They are folks who feel left out or marginalized who are trying to gain back some of the control they have lost. Here is what one former member said about why he joined:
I can’t help but wonder if the same is true for many people that align themselves with Christian fundamentalism. Are these folks perhaps less actual believers than marginalized individuals seeking acceptance and a sense of control, or even perhaps by trying to develop a feeling of superiority, in their lives? After all, the required beliefs for fundamentalism really do go against the grain of accepted modern knowledge (or as Kurt might argue – the false reality created by the long term propaganda efforts from leftist scientists, educators, philosophers, theologians, et al.). Something outside of rational analysis, such as a need to belong, would seem a possible likely motivator for many individuals that summarily reject scientifically established facts in favor of non-scientific mythological explanations.
BCB … I believe most fundamentalist Christians are originally recruited and don’t join because of a need. Watching the “seed Preachers” on TV with a debunking eye one quickly understands the con.
“Send me $500 and God will turn that into $5000 within three months. Just look what God and faith has given me.” A multi-million dollar church, thousand dollar suits, mansions, jet planes, yachts. All from planting a seed in Christ, watering it with prayer and faithfully waiting for it to grow.” Hard for a person, highly in debt and semi-depressed because of it to refuse.
Once a “New Christer” is in the group they then get the acceptance, control and superiority. That’s because everyone else got conned, too. There’s a solace within a brotherhood of the foolish.
Ahhh Porter, that sounds a lot like the so-called “prosperity gospel,” another somewhat effective recruiting tool.
That’s a good term. And, they’re exactly the same. All in all, the whole scheme is similar to inner city gang recruitment.
The absolute black and white thinking is very attractive too, because it’s easier, requires less of the individual.
Religious charlatans have always known the proper buttons to push to attract followers and their $$$.
IMO, probably the biggest single warning sign is if the particular religious group says they have the one and only, single way to “be saved, get to heaven, get rich, be happy,” whatever, one should run the other way fast.
BCB, when cults, and fundamentalists denominations are extremely cultish, are in the process of gaining a new member, they “love bomb” him. They shower him with attention and positive contacts to create the emotional response in him they desire. They soft pedal or even deliberately obscure some aspects of theology and membership requirements.
Once they’ve got him, usually through a baptism rite, the “love bombing” begins to evaporate and the reality of day to day membership emerges. Whether the new member feels okay about it depends on temperament, needs, the skills of the leader and gender.
Fundamentalists treat girls and women very poorly, blaming them for the very existence of sin and placing them in subservient positions within the church and in their personal lives. Love bombing is especially intense, and especially fake, as applied to women.
Wow, Debbo. I’d nearly forgotten the love bombing technique. I had a relative and other friends heavily recruited by both Krishnas and Druids. Both groups love bombed with female attention until you signed over all your possessions. Then all you were was ammunition to use against the next recruit.
Debbo, how do you evaluate Scientology from a “love bombing” perspective? I am concerned about a relative who has bveen drawn into Scientology. What’s your take and best advice?
Scientology covers all the cult bases, including the use of love bombing and hiding the true nature of what membership entails. It’s a very dangerous organization that is extremely controlling.
Leah Remini is a former Scientologist and expert on that cult. I’m certain members and prospective members are taught that she is not sane and anything else to discredit her. She has a tv show about Scientology. I don’t know how it can be watched, maybe YouTube? https://short1.link/45PQXq
This is a Carnegie Mellon article critical of Scientology. https://short1.link/QWzemn
The cult has attacked psychology from the outset, hinting that the profession has a terrifying secret agenda. https://short1.link/RFfJBu
Here’s a bit from an article on Skeptoid:
“As with so many aspects of his life, [L. Ron Hubbard, the founder] greatly magnified his wartime career in his writings, and these exaggerations are still maintained by Scientology official records. They include his being injured in combat multiple times, having been the first casualty of the Pacific Theater, that he served in ‘all five theaters’, that he received 21 medals and palms, and that he was a war hero who was twice declared dead. In fact he was never injured in combat, but only had pink-eye, bursitis, and an ulcer; he was relieved of the few commands he ever had for poor performance; and received only four medals, all four of which were given to every serviceman in the entire military stationed in the same theaters as he.”
Scary stuff. I wish the very best to your relative.
I just wrote a long, detailed response to help BCB with several links. Hit Post Comment and **poof**! It’s all gone. Cory, can you find it? Was it too many links?
Deb Geelsdottir writes:
I think Cory has to manually approve any comment with more than two links, and when he does, I think it will appear above your last comment according to the time at which you submitted it.
Thanks Debbo, I’ll take a look at the links you posted.
[Yup: three links or more go to moderation. And Debbo, those short1.link URLs aren’t loading for me. Is anyone else able to open them?]
Cory, try this for Debbo’s second link… https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/time-behar.html
This for the third one https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-scientologys-secret-propaganda-museum-blaming-911-and-the-holocaust-on-psychiatry
I can access the last article, but there is no different url to copy and paste. It is another article about Scientology.
Hmmm. I’ve had a problem with various link shorteners working on my tablet. Google quit, another wouldn’t start. Mike, did they work for you then?
You say you’ll take me at my word, but it doesn’t seem like you’re taking me at my word. It seems like you’re using the term thus to set up a flawed logical implication, put words into my mouth, and insinuate that I’m lying.
Nothing about taking me at my word requires you to base your answers on the supposition you describe.
So Kurt’s questions were rhetorical in the sense that he didn’t really care about further exploration of the topic of his questions, rather, he simply sought another opportunity to point out how he could describe whatever answer I might provide to be “incorrect, absurd, incomplete, or in some other manner deficient” – this time declaring that I used “flawed” logic and intended to “insinuate” something negative about his character rather than addressing the topics of his questions.
I refer back to my comment at 2019-05-03 at 18:41, in which I intended to make my exit after concluding that Kurt was no longer interested in advancing any further substantive discussion nor explaining and justifying his particular views on the matters he asked about. Relying on Kurt’s follow up representation about the seriousness of his last two questions, however, I tried again. I must conclude I was mistaken since he again decided to stray from any meaningful interchange about good, evil, objectivity and subjectivity; i.e. he has lost me.
BCB, I call what he does following Kurt “into the weeds.” It only makes sense to him.
“bearcreekbat” had written:
So you tried to show that society’s determinations are equal to God’s by positing an unchanging society that doesn’t exist. I posit a hypothetical society in which you acknowledge your limited grasp of basic logic.
Would you say those statements are God’s determination?
I don’t purport to be an expert, but as I’ve already told you above, there’s no e in the word grammar. I ignore the vast majority of the errors I notice, and I was planning to ignore your misspelling of biblical above if you hadn’t brought this up.
I use “bearcreekbat” as a quotation of the uncapitalized “name” you use to refer to yourself.
Porter Lansing modifies and plagiarizes:
God commands it because it’s good, and He’s the one who determines what’s good in the first place.
Who says? If humans were just conglomerations of molecules that came together by chance somewhere in the vast recesses of deep time, and if there were no God by whom right and wrong could ultimately be determined, why would causing harm to humans be morally different from causing harm to any other conglomeration of molecules in the universe?
Using reason and science doesn’t require belief in God, but it requires God.
There’s no rational basis for either of those claims.
Congratulations to “bearcreekbat” on expressing my point of view accurately. That’s different.
On April 17, Deb Geelsdottir had written:
The fourteenth chapter of John’s Gospel quotes the words of Jesus as follows:
Now Deb writes:
So according to Deb, true faith is about trusting in the words of Jesus, but if His followers repeat His assertion that He’s the only way to be saved and get to heaven, one should run the other way fast.
I’m not saying it never happens, but over the last thirty years I’ve interacted extensively with traditional fundamentalist Protestants in multiple cities and states, and I don’t remember a single instance the behavior Deb describes, much less a generalized tendency toward it.
All four worked for me.
“bearcreekbat” had written:
Now “bearcreekbat” writes:
Now you’re directly implying that I’m lying instead of insinuating it. That’s a slight improvement, but a rhetorical question isn’t intended to require an answer, and my questions were.
How do you claim to know what I sought?
I didn’t actually declare that. I only described what it seemed like you were doing, but it definitely still seems that way.
Because humans have overwhelmingly agreed that causing harm to each other is morally wrong. Kurt believes Cory is immoral because he doesn’t believe in Kurt’s philosophy. I don’t believe that way.
It seems the appropriate response to Kurt’s questions is “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame of me,” as Scotty liked to say.
This was even used by George W. – the former, but no longer, worst President in recent history (thanks Trump):
“So according to Deb, true faith is about trusting in the words of Jesus, but if His followers repeat His assertion that He’s the only way to be saved and get to heaven, one should run the other way fast.”
That’s not what I said. Pay attention, read it again slowly.
Because you haven’t witnessed or noticed misogyny means very little.