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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Can We Do?

Biker Bob’s blog article last month titled “The Future” was well written, and some of the comments that it engendered were insightful. I hope you don’t mind if I pick up on that theme from a slightly different, expanded angle and in a different context.

I just finished reading a science fiction novel (Book IV of Voyagers: The Return by Ben Bova) set far into the future. It depicts earth suffering from disastrous greenhouse flooding. Almost all countries have been taken over by ultraconservative religion-based governments such as the novel’s New Morality in the United States. Population is ballooning throughout the globe, and resources are running out. In addition, the planet is heading for nuclear war with nations refusing to dismantle whatever stockpile of warheads they have.

In the novel, the memoirs of a very old retired schoolteacher are shown in about three places. She says that it took her a long time to understand what was happening in the schools. The kids didn’t read T.S. Eliot or Shakespeare anymore because they were too difficult. They didn’t even read Dr. Seuss. And forget Hemingway because he used foul language and openly depicted sex. The New Morality took smiling advantage of what was going on and used it for their own purposes.

The retired teacher says there was a slow, patient, inevitable dumbing down of the schools including the students, teachers, and the administrators. And she admits that “we let them make things easier.” She describes the process:

"The overarching goal of education was to achieve equality…[A brilliant child] is no better than the intellectually challenged [child]. [We can’’t hurt the feelings of children who are autistic, have attention deficit disorder or were born with Down’s syndrome]…by putting them in separate facilities with specialists to look after them. [It was decided that they deserved] to be mainstreamed and attend school with everybody else….

"Equality of outcome…was our aim. Everyone was to be treated equally; every student would finish school the equal to every other student. And what was the easiest way to achieve equality? Teach to the lowest common denominator. Make certain that every student got exactly what every other student received. No fast lane for the so-called bright ones. That wouldn't be equal….

"Self-esteem. We tried to teach the kids to have pride in themselves. It took me years to figure out that for a youngster to have pride in herself she had to be able to accomplish things, achieve something to be proud of. But somehow we left that part out of the curricula….

"So we taught less and less of the things that made the kids feel unhappy with themselves and spent more and more classroom time on teaching them self-esteem…Arithmetic made them feel bad, so we eased off on the math. And the spelling. And the reading assignments. And homework….

"…Parents didn’t want their kids exposed to political beliefs that went against their own politics. So we stopped teaching civics. When an activist group decided that the Declaration of Independence was a subversive document…we stopped teaching about the American Revolution altogether….

"Darwin. When I first started teaching we were forbidden by the state legislature to use the word 'evolution' in class. Then we stopped teaching biology altogether. And physics. And chemistry. Instead we taught general science, including 'alternative' concepts such as intelligent design and astrology. It was a lot easier on the children, and we teachers didn’t have to defend ourselves against righteous parents who got blue in the face over 'godless secularist ideas.'

"We went along with it. The kids were happier; the pressure groups were happier. A few die-hard scientists and university academics warned that we were turning out a generation of ignoramuses, but they were happy ignoramuses and we could keep our jobs and avoid all the painful conflicts."

The retired teacher goes on to say that in spite of all this, there were a precious few kids who managed to get ahead anyway. A handful of schools managed to cater to those budding geniuses thirsting for real knowledge, but they were always distrusted and carefully watched. Their work was closely controlled by the government and the New Morality.

To me, much of this sounds like our present, dangerous, unstable world. These are alarming times.

I agree with Biker Bob that we need to get involved in helping all people--believers and nonbelievers--to help “minimize whatever societal problems we can.” How can we do this? Is cooperation between individuals and nations even possible?

67 comments:

Ralph said...

REead Ayn Rand's work. I like "The Fountainhead" more than "Atlas Shrugged".

In anything dealing with government, I like http://www.lewrockwell.com.

Bill Ferguson introduced me to Butler Shaffer, a law professor who took part in Bill's group, and Butler introduced me to the ideas of Lew Rockwell, who studies the economics of Ludwig Von Mises and the Austrian school of economics.

As a former editor/publisher of a worldwide economics discussion group, I worked with a number of people to develop concepts of alternative economics.

My friend Tom Greco is a recognized authority in this area, an authro and world traveler who has given talks in many areas around the world.

His page is http://www.reinventingmoney.com

At present I'm working with Reed Kinney, whose father Mark was a good friend. Reed is compiling his father's works on on cooperative communities designed around alternative currencies, and I've been doing research into ancient concepts of due process based on community resolution apart from state authority.

My thinking is that this system is about to explode.

I was watching gold skyrocket to new highs today. Most likely a result of the trilion dollar bailout of Greece.

Since all wards are fought with the latest technologies, and the latest general technologyu is the internet, look for breakdown of the nation-state and a dirct challenge to centralized banking.

Cooperation? I doubt it. As McLuhan pointed out back in 1964 with his book "Understanding Media", electronic communications at the speed of light is a reversal of the centralizing process that occurred for centuries under the mechanical processes of organization.

Christianity as we recognize it was built in those mechanical principles, and cannot stand much longer under its present ideology.

As Hoffer pointed out, the greater the contradiction between existing conditions and the basis of social orders, the ,more intense the need to proselytize and convert. That's what christianity is going through now, but it's going through death throes.

If free enterprisre should ever become a proselytizing holy cause, wrote Hoffer, that would be asure sign its workability and advantages had ceased to be self evident.

"Bailouts" pretty much show that what was once free enterprise is now in need of the proselytizing power of government.

Retired Prof said...

There are two general approaches for what we can do.

We can try to control or at least influence the systems (educational, political, social, cultural, and governmental) surrounding us to "make the world a better place in which to live," as the cliche has it. Or we can try to prepare ourselves and others to navigate the systems as we find them to gain maximum social advantage and personal satisfaction.

Both processes go on all the time, of course. I can't say which course is better to follow in general. In my own child-rearing and teaching I went down the second path--mainly because of personal temperament rather than any philosophical stand.

We home-schooled our children for part of their education so we could encourage them to cultivate their their own interests and discover their strengths and weaknesses. We had our daughter finish high school requirements by taking college classes. When our son reached the same stage, open enrollment had become available, and we transferred him to a larger high school with more and better AP classes.

Some of you will consider us irresponsible for not running for the school board, and for simply taking advantage of the change in state law rather than campaigning for it. You're probably right.

As a college composition teacher, I assigned general lessons in style and grace to help all students write more clearly and forcefully. As for subject matter, though, I tried where possible to guide each of them to research and write about subjects related to her/his chosen academic major and life goal. For example, I would assign a business major who wanted to settle in central Wisconsin whether it would be better to open an independent Italian restaurant in Niellsville or go for a Pizza Hut franchise. To someone who wanted to become a missionary to an Indian tribe, I would assign the question: "How can you avoid making the same mistakes made by 19th century missionaries to the same tribe?" The student would have to research what those mistakes were and study proposals to correct them.

It would be interesting to hear what others have to say about the advantages of working from the top down instead of the bottom up, the way I did.

The Painful Truth said...

Ralph said.....
"If free enterprisre should ever become a proselytizing holy cause, wrote Hoffer, that would be asure sign its workability and advantages had ceased to be self evident."

It is the fight between Marxist Ideology and the free market. America is at the crossing point.

Capitalism like a democracy only works when the individuals or corporations practice responsibility. Without corporate responsibility and honor the country will cease to operate under the guise of a free society.

Personally, I have never seen before in my lifetime the call in our American society for outright communism until the current American president took office. As it was pointed out to me about a year ago by a friend, the American communist party has the same agenda as the democratic party of this country.

If this course is pursued, all the countries of the world will see the underpinnings of Karl Marx’s theory of atheistic materialism.

So what would have changed?

Purple Hymnal said...

"Personally, I have never seen before in my lifetime the call in our American society for outright communism until the current American president took office."

Eh what? Tolerance, free health care, and an end to war are "communism"?

I'm sorry, I don't see any red-scarved Obama Youth holding Sig Heil marches in Washington right now.....

Tony said...

I agree with Purple Hymnal.

The reactionaries in the U.S. are up in arms about "socialism". Yet we have socialized fire services, police services, even the army?

A lot of fear mongering going on. A lot of nonsense being screamed about.

The world is advancing as it should. Everything's amazing and no one's happy.

Tony

Ralph said...

PT, you bring out valid points, as does Purple, Prof, and Neo.

What many do not realize is that the original Boston Tea Party was a protest as much against corporations as England. It was the goverment that granted favored status to East India Tea, while merchants in the colonies were forced to resort to smuggling in order to maintain business. Hancock himself, financially powerful, was a smuggler.

Jefferson promoted the destruction of the "aristocracy of the moneyed corporation" (Bank of the US, or BUS), that was "bidding definace" to the laws of the US.

Much of the turmoil that sprang up after 1866 regarded not only the 14th amendment, but the idea that a corporation was a "legal person" with due process rights under the 14th amendment.

The problem is, as Justice John Marshall pointed out in "U.S.vs Aaron Burr", the federal government does not derive authority from common law, and "due process" is expressly defined by Justice Joseph Story, a colleague and friend of John Marshall, as common law, "lawful judgement of peers".

If a corporation created by the state is a legal person, who then are its peers?

As to federal army, the constitution forbids supplies of mopney for it for periods longer than two years. A reading of the "Federalist", both of Madison, and Hamilton, reveals that the intent of national defense was to be left in the hands of state militias, which, under article 1, Section 8, were to be regulated by federal authority to the degree necessary, with officers named from each state.

Legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve? No law authorizing it, and under the 10th Amendment, no such law permitted. Madison himself pointed to the "rage for paper money" as a form of wickedness. "Legal tender cases" established the "sovereignty" of the federal constitution over the states, even though the constitution itself no where granted issuance of legal tender and was voted against 9-2 when the power to issue it was included in the first draft of the constitution.

It was prohibited to the states to do so, and since no power was given to the US Constitution, the Federal Reserve Board is either unconstitutional, or it is a private banking entity, which we can simply choose to ignore at any point.

Since "due process" is defined as common law, and since Marshall ruled that the federal constitution has no authority over common law, due process acts as a protection from both the federal government(5th amendment) and state governments(14th amendment), which means that neither the Supreme nor state courts have authority in any sense to determine due process.

Being specifically defined as "lawful judgement of peers", what is known as "substantive due process" can only be subject to common law jurisdiction of peers.

I'd say things may be going as they're supposed to, if you actually do believe in the prophecy of Revelation regarding everyone forbidden from buying or selling unless they have a "mark".

Allen C. Dexter said...

I thought we were getting too argumentative while we were discussing religion or the lack thereof. Now, we're into politics and that's just as divisive and closed minded as religion. Put the two together, and you have what our founders dreaded.

Don't see communism as the great threat. Not every social program can be equated with communism. The Federal Reserve was the biggest mistake ever made and will likely doom our republic.

Ralph said...

Allen, we do agree. Damn Fed! :)

Here is the point of all the disagreement: if we are divisive and can't agree on religion, and, as Purple points out, there is no ultimate truth to follow, why would we assume that government can do any more than religion, since both collective ideas are formed by the very same divisive processes of human minds?

It would seem to me if, after thousands of years of so-called civilizations, we can't find anything except increasing disagreement, maybe THAT is the truth of existence.

That's what Adam Smith pointed out, and Smith was first a moral phiolosopher before he wrote his treatise on economics.

Smith also warned against corporations, as they would tend to be corrupt, due to the fact that chief officers would be more reckless with investors' money than their own(ENRON, and recent bailouts), and the people would be more concerned with profits than quality(recent Toyota problems).

If the same mind created both religion and government, why would we expect either to be morally superior collectively to the other?

Ralph said...

BTW, communism was never the true threat.

Quotes from a book I read recently:

"If the capitalism control-the law of supply and demand-is abolished, then there is no escape from state control."

"Small business is not only essential to the capitalist system, it is the capitalist system. Big Business is a parasitic disease of capitalism which if not checked will be necessarily fatal."

"The overhead costs of centralized production tend to grow and finally to outstrip the economies of technology. Then only the use of racketeering power by the central banks can prevent the success of small unhampered competitors".

"Actually, in a capitalist system, mass production is a mere camouflage for high finance manipulation of business to the detriment of the commonwealth and the impoverishment of the nation".

"Our past narrow legal vision, with its intricate, sophistic mercenary way of pleading the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to make farfetched applications in favor of artificial persons(corporations) of the joint-stock profit type, has set commercial agencies of exploitation free with a sort of constitutional protection".

Governmental collectivism is not a cure for the collectivism of private joint-stock corporations and their destructive social economy. Under joint-stock collectivism, men do as they are told or starve to death. Under trhe collectivism of Government, men do as they are told or suffer 'liquidation', imprisonment, or exile."

All these statements were published in the 1930s, in a book called "Who Owns America?"

Communism was always a false flag that could never survive of its own power. The Soviet Union collapsed, as Hoffer predicted, because once the people began to actually taste freedom, revlution would occur. "Glasnost" was followed by liberation.

Corporatism is the power that created communism, and socialism never worried about it, since it was a bridge to socialism.

Retired Prof said...

Okay, everybody agrees the country is on the verge of ruin. One thing nobody agrees on is who is at fault. Another is the answer to Betty's question "What can we do?"

Does the problem stem from the intellectual elite with their pie-in-the-sky policies that can never work out in the real world? Is it the corporate elite who manipulate symbols in order to skim off the wealth produced by honest laborers who wield physical tools to extract resources, shape them into goods, and transport them to consumers? Is it the great unwashed mob, on whose behalf taxes drain off the profits earned by hard-working entrepreneurs, for redistribution in the form of welfare? Is it a bloated government bureaucracy that imposes bad policies on the public and thwarts all attempts to amend them?

We need to know, because if the country is in such bad shape as many people claim, it's just about time to invoke the principle in the Declaration of Independence "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it . . . ."

So. How soon do we need to start hanging people from lampposts? And how do we make sure we're hanging the right people, not just a bunch of innocent bystanders?

Or are things really that miserable now? Are we sure the time to head off a plunge into tyranny and unbearable oppression is now? Is there any hope that we can refrain from abolishing the government and merely alter it in a way that will make our everyday lives bearable? If so, how can we go about it?

Corky said...

"What Can We Do?" Well, we could have a national day of prayer . . . oh yeah, they already thought of that one, haven't they.

Politicians/bible thumpers, what's the difference? They both steal your living and return only empty promises.

Maybe it's because I am "blind with hatred of Christians who believe in the Bible" as BB accuses PH of, I don't think so.

The latest row over health care, which other democracies have had for decades, shows how much those Bible thumpers really believe that Bible they are thumping.

Too bad the health care we ended up with includes the health insurance corporations so that they are still in control of health care. 'Cause, as you know, we don't want no steeking soshulism.

An' ain't hour edjukasion sistem in grate shape?

As long as little Jonny can read, we in good shape, ain't we?

After all, we don't need educated people to work at the Waffle House or drive nails or dig ditches, do we? Whatever we do, let's not teach science in schools, especially evolution - my God! The ruin of the country is the fault of the "evolutionists"! I don't know why we haven't seen it before . . . hang the atheistic evolutionist and everything will be sunshine and roses once again.

Ralph said...

Your only answer morally, in any case, is individual freedom.

If anything has been demonstrated, it is the inabilioty of anyone to truly agree on much of anything, which should sink in by now that there exists no human collective solutions to our problems.

Religion has failed, and government has failed, primarily because both are developed by human imagination, based on the same flawed idea that if people get together and give their power to something higher than themselves, it will ultimately work out, if we can eliminate those few who disagree.

For myself, I saw the obvious several years ago, liquidated all debt, and started buying gold when it was under $300.00 an ounce. I also diversified holding in Chinese enterprises.

To say that there are no solutions, or that we will never know the truth about government is ridiculous. Those who recognize the tendencies of human nature can make a fortune off it.

As an ex-marine, my favorite commandant is Smedley Butler. He was honest about what he did. If you haven't done so, google "War Is A Racket" by Smedley Butler.

The founders in the US knew from studyig history that constant preparation for war would destroy the freedom of the people. That's why the 2 year provision of the Army in the Constitution, and the recommendation of state militias regulated for defense by the federal government.

Andrew Jackson, hated by the Cherokkes and for good reason, pointed out that the central bank then existing (BUS) would destreoy the freedom of the people, and eliminated it.

The culprits are easily recognized. They're called relgion and government, church and state.

It is now mathematically recognized via Godel's theorem, Tarski's theorem, Turing's Halting problem, Chaitin's Algorith, IOnformation Theory and other mathematical proofs, that there exists no higher sytem that can ever be formally developed which will represent truth in a collective sense.

Or as Ayn Rand said "I Am". That is the basis of truth and government. The US Constitution? A joke, designed to do exactly what it has done to us today.

Madison said it would never allow a Civil War. It did. Both Hamilton and Madison said it would never mermit a standing army to override the sovereignty of the states. It did.

It had to, and people such as George Mason refused to ratify it, because it was a moral conttradiction, based on the princile that all men are created equal while it maintained slaves.

Its fugitive slave clause was a violation of both the common law and the OT law in the bible(Det.23:15-16).

In Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, he extolled, not the Constitution, but the Declaration of Independence, saying that the moral power to free the slaves came from no law, but from the very nature of man himself, God and nature's God.

The US Constitution is nothing more than a history of violations and usurpations of human freedoms and rights, combined with a centralizing economic power called the Federal Reserve Board.

And why do we have our "conservative" preachers across the land today? Corporatism, the homogenization of belief, the justification of collective economic power in the name of free enterprise. It has become a "proselytizing holy cause" as Hoffer predicted.

The culprit is government, and the culprit is religion, and it's time we simply walked away.

Byker Bob said...

Thought provoking topic.

First off, let me say, my WCG experience taught me not to succumb to fear rhetoric. I'm quite surprised and even alarmed at all the fear rhetoric emanating from the Rush Limbaugh types and their clones. If you watch Charlie Rose on PBS, and listen to the interviews of some of the members of the Obama administration, you get a completely different view. The true liberals hate the healthcare reforms as much as or more than do conservatives, because they see it as not having addressed many of the core issues, as having been highly compromised, as not having provided more controls, and basically as keeping the whole industry in the same pockets as it's always been in, mainly the insurance companies and corporate healthcare industry. I would agree with the Repubs if the whole thing had turned into a single payer system, under the total heavy thumb of the feds.

We're in the middle of a power war, and the language from both sides is scary, by design.

As far as improving conditions, I like to look not at what is going on at home, but also what is happening abroad. The continent of Africa is dying, and most people don't seem to care. There is ignorance, poverty, disease, and oppression from warlords. This concerns me greatly, which is why I contribute heavily to an organization which is digging wells so that Africans can have clean water, providing shoes for people to control parasite infection and disease, setting up schools and hospitals, and promoting a compassionate form of government based on Christian or Biblical principles such as the one we enjoy here in the USA.

In my daily life, I just try to help as many people as possible, sharing with them, giving occasional hand outs, and making sure they get favorable business deals when contracting with the people whom I represent. I also try to break bad cycles by ratchetting down rhetoric, and refusing to pass unkindness or violence on to the next person.
There is an awfully lot of good that one individual can accomplish on a day to day basis.

I also try not to be a flagrant consumer, or wasteful user of resources.

I'm against communism, but I'm also against the overuse and misapplication of this term. It's funny how there always end up being WCG parallels. We used to look around every bush for paganism, and it seems that some do the same with communism.

BB

Ralph said...

BB, Jesus said "consider the lilies of the field".

Suppose he was saying that there exists within nature a process by which systems trade information freely, such that there is a balance created by this unconscious force?

If so, then you're talking about information systems, exchange across genetic lines to produce adaptations within an overall environment.

The problem with human organizations is entropy. People get together and focus on one system that benefits them at the expense of their surroundings.

This was the basic lesson of the Tower of Babel myth.

Jesus also pointed out that you can't put new wine in old wineskins, because the new wine will burst the wineskins.

That is also a reference to information systems, with the systems being forced to constantly change and adapt.

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like leaven which a woman hid in three loaves. The leaven informed the loaves and spread until awareness engulfed the system. Information.

Jesus gave trhe example of the Tower of Siloam, in which a great number were killed, and those whose blood was mingled in pagan sacrifice, and said unless you repent, you will likewise perish.

Adaptation, avoidance, change. Information.

The main difference is that in traditional christian "repentance", there is no adaptation of intelligence to specific environments. There is a conversion of one more person to an ongoing ideology that seeks to convert every living human to its own processes.

That is an example of accelerated entropy, which destroys all surrounding systems as itseeks to control greater organization and growth. That is not information, but its mathematical opposite, entropy.

The difference between mechanical systems and elictrical systems is that mechanical systems operate by general principles that function the same, over and over again, ignoring environmental feedback and successfully serving a fixed perspective. That is dogma and ideology.

Electricity, however, is the creation of energy by the sudden altering relationship of electrons within any field. Energy is released by that sudden change in relations.

A world system based on electronic telecommunications at near light speed is based on the necessity of individual empowerment. A mechanical hierarchy seeks to maintain itself by ignoring change and increasing power and control. It will eventually die, as it cannot adapt to electro nic change at light speed, wich is a biological process of information exchange, not mechanical ideologies and dogma.

The Painful Truth said...

Retired Prof said..

"Is it the great unwashed mob, on whose behalf taxes drain off the profits earned by hard-working entrepreneurs, for redistribution in the form of welfare? Is it a bloated government bureaucracy that imposes bad policies on the public and thwarts all attempts to amend them?"

It is those people that drain me with the assistance of the USA government that irk me. I work hard, am not really in debt and yet when you add up all the taxes I am hit with I am lucky to keep 45% of my earnings. It is really taking the motivation to work away.

Corkey said...
"Politicians/bible thumpers, what's the difference? They both steal your living and return only empty promises."

Absolutely true. They are birds of the same feather. The USA and the political whores who run it are of the same corporate elite mentality.

Byker Bob said....

"I contribute heavily to an organization which is digging wells so that Africans can have clean water, providing shoes for people to control parasite infection and disease, setting up schools and hospitals...."

My hat is off to you Sir. You alone do much more than all the Armstrong cults could ever do in the lifetime of their man-made god-factories. It is a good feeling helping those I chose to help and giving the amount I chose to give without government intervention. As to why those people are dying in Africa is the choice their governments made. Guns or butter.

"We used to look around every bush for paganism, and it seems that some do the same with communism."

Except the government has the big guns. Step on the wrong toes and your name and financial future will be crap. In the cult we all could chose to leave it behind. Not so as a tax slave.


As Ralph pointed out, "If anything has been demonstrated, it is the inabilioty of anyone to truly agree on much of anything, which should sink in by now that there exists no human collective solutions to our problems."

The only solution in life is to accept this as the answer and move on like you said Ralph. No matter what nut is in the top job and when the people follow that nut, the basis of continuance is assured.

But the truth is that you cannot move on. As long as you are alive you will be bleed white.

Ralph said...

Well, the latest row over health care is not accurately presented. You can go back to the original Medicare proposals and read where libertarians and conser vatives warned of the outcome.

When the government subsidizes, costs become prohibitive. First, anything the government offers, it can only do so by taking awy from somebody somewhere.

If I get govt. benefits, others are paying them so I can get them, and those who pay are gonna start looking for ways to get back what they paid in. Robbing Peter, paying Paul. You end up with a sore Peter.

If the government can do all those wondetrful things it advertises, and if government printing presses can just print up wealth, why not guarantee everyone about $5,000.00 a month, and we can buy what we want, have insurance, and if there is a shortage, just print up more to compensate?

Because that ain't reality. Money is created by issuing credit against debts. If you borrow money, the mortgage you must repay becomes an asset to the bank which can then lend more money to others on its reserve requirements.

The bank where I keep my money and investments is offering me platinum credit cards and all kinds of benefits, yet I've never had credit, don't want it, and seldom seek to pay back any credit forced on me.

They want me to seek credit because my assets are their liabilities. They owe me. I don't owe them. Frugality is the enemy of the banking system. In their present situation, if everyone simply opened acounts and expected the banks to pay them interest, it would add to the liabilities they're already forced to repay.

Kill the system. Spend less.Save more. Draw interest.

Byker Bob said...

Ralph,

Yes. Exchange of information. This hit me this morning as I watched a hummingbird in my back yard syphon some nectar (and pick up some pollen as he brushed against the flower) from the flowers on one of my aloe vera plants. Plants need the birds and the bees to reproduce.

Symbiosis had to be part of the evolutionary process. Nothing evolved in a vacuum.

BB

Byker Bob said...

Painful Truth,

One could presume that the African government make the choices which keep their citizens in ignorance and poverty, and one would be partially correct. The problem is much more complex. There are tribal wars perpetrated by unelected warlords in many African countries. These warlords have not been chosen by any political methodology, they've simply seized power. It's a human microcosm of Darwinism, ie, survival of the fittest, or in this case survival of the most brutal or forceful.

Kids are kidnapped and turned into war machines. Mass rape is one of the tribal military strategies used to promote submission or submissiveness. The citizens of most civilized nations have no idea or concept as to the realities of daily life over there, especially in the little villages outside of the major cities. It is both heart-breaking, and horrendous.

Having said all of that, there are certainly any number of people here in our own country who are also suffering. It would seem that there is no shortage of people with whom all of us could be charitable.

BB

The Painful Truth said...

Bob said.....
"It's a human microcosm of Darwinism, ie, survival of the fittest, or in this case survival of the most brutal or forceful."

It must be like the beginning of man on this earth as he formed tribes. When resources grew scarce he knew where he could go to replenish them.

More here for anyone interested:
http://tinyurl.com/c5s26k

Corky said...

Picture a time when there were no borders. Tribal warfare likely caused the weaker tribes or more peaceful tribes to migrate.

It may even be the reason that man populated the entire planet by constant migration.

Unfortunately, there are borders now, and have been for about 8-10 thousand years, and man can no longer freely migrate. That's why they still live in desert places and face starvation. The only other choice is a refugee camp at the border of some other country.

Does anyone know where they go from there?

Don't think about it too much because it's not pretty.

Ralph was in the military, so he probably knows exactly the fate of those people.

You would think their fate would make the news - it doesn't.

Neotherm said...

Betty:

When I read this I thought you were building up to the conclusion that all Christians should be exterminated but then in the last paragraph you switched suddenly to the question of what can we all do to improve matters. The G-force on this change in direction caught me off guard.

My opinion is that the biggest problem that we have always faced is that men want to control the minds of other men -- whether through belief systems, advertising, philosophy or governments. Here I am talking about a force that goes beyond a social contract to deal with crime.
It is the Jim Jones phenomenon.

But how do we attack this? This is like asking how do we help people to quit being people.

Then there is the whole problem of collateral effects. If I give to a charity and that charity gives medical care to some kid who was going to die but now will live and that kid grows to be a drug dealer and kills people, what as been the effect of my charity?

I believe charity does much more for the giver than it does for the receiver of society.

-- Neo

Ralph said...

Corky, you bring out a point I can't ignore regarding the military and the UN.

I have a cousin who was Green Beret, Silver Star, Vietnam vet who made the military a career.

In the process, he was assigned to a UN observation detachment to an African government whose name he did not tell me. His detachment was not armed, but only observed that activities of a small village in that area.

The soldiers of that government, said my cousin, lined up about two feet apart and began walking forward from one end of the village to the other, firing automatic weapons. When they reached to opposite end, there was not one living thing left. Not person, dog, chicken, or animal of any kind.

My cousin's detachment was visited at the hotel the next day where they stayed, by armed soldiers who told them "You will leave now".

My cousin drinks a lot.

Ralph said...

The simple fact is that our world monetary system is based in debt and depends on the increase of debt, because the increase of debt is the increase of power.

Paul wrote to Timothy that the love of money is the root of all evil. It is precisely that very fact that moves us all toward less freedom and greater centralization of control by economic systems.

That's not conspiracy theory. That's a basic logical conclusion reached by simply studying the nature of our banking system.

Anyone proposing otherwise, I'm ready to meet your challenge.

Many have heard the alleged statemwent by the first Baron Rothschild: "Givre me control of the issuance of money, and I care not who makes the laws".

Whether he said that or not, it is correct. Control the issuance of money, and you control the process by which people must organize themselves socially.

Marx himself pointed out the relation between money as centrally controlled "universal equivalent" and the inalienable rights of the US.

If money becomes a universal equivalent, wrote Marx, the "so-called inalienable rights, and the fixed property rights corresponding to them break down before money".

Recently, as the states challenged Obama care, the White House responded that it was legitimate exercise of interstate commerce.

Is it? Not at all. The regulation of interstate commerce is dependent on a legal tender nowher authorized by the Constitution, and the statwes themselves are forbidden from recognizing anything other than gold or silver coins as legal tender.

The Federal Reserve Notes derive their issuance from the creation of debt, and represent debt from a central banking system whose authority is nowhere recognized by the Constitution.

Further, all three majot world religions, Islam, Judaism, and christianity, condemn usury(interst) in any form. It is called an abomination in the Old Testament. Yet all money is issued as debt to be repaid with interest.

Further, the First Amendment to the Constitution says that congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and the Fourteenth Amendment echoes that prohibition to the states.

All trecongized religions apply for tax exemption under a monetary system their own bible declares as an abomination. Further, they preach, under "render to Caesar", that we are to pay our "due taxes" in that same form of money.

Look at the old WCG, for all the millions it made, it forever proclaimed it was in debt to "the work" of God. It urged us to borrow money if possible to finish "the work".

All so-called christian rewligions urge us to send in our freewil offerings to finish a wok, using currency that is based on a principle which their own bible calls an abomination.

You think church and state doesn't work hand in hand? "Interstate Commerce": 'To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states(who are supposed to be sovereign, BTW), and with the Indian Tribes.(who are not subject to the jurisdictin of the US under the 14th Amendment, since they don't owe allegiance to the US)'.

No matter what you believe, or what you may decide to do as moral, under a single monetary system controlled by one agency of issuance, you will be subject to that very system for your life, liberty, and property.

"You cannot serve God and Mammon".

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle...."

Interstate Commerce. "And no man may buy or sell, except he receives a mark..."

Betty Brogaard said...

Neotherm, I agree that one of the biggest human problems we have is that people want to control the minds of other people. This is a big dilemma, but maybe individually we can make sure that doesn't happen to us (again).

As far as charity is concerned, there are 2 sides to that coin: One is whatyou mentioned; the other is that those we help may, in all probability, not become debasements but may go on to help others.

Ralph said...

And Betty, Neo, that control is enhanced and perpetuated by control of the money issuance.

Byker Bob said...

Just as a general comment, I'm glad to be past one poignant aspect of our former brainwashing!

Back in the day, us bindery guys would be waiting for the presses to kick out the new covers for the month's PT's and on at least a couple of occasions per year, we'd see the images of starving, bloated, African children. Did WCG help them? Use "God's holy tithes" to help the less fortunate? Hell, no!
"Let the dead bury the dead!" "We'll have to wait for Christ's return to assuage their suffering!" "Why they don't even keep the sabbath!" These were some of the cliches which would have been repeated if anyone had even inquired about sending aid to Africa.

I don't know how we missed all of this, but Jesus always had time to help the less fortunate, even as He was on his way to the cross. He taught us about the good Samaritan, and that in terms of helping others, everyone is our brother. One of the ways to let our Christian light shine is helping others. For a group that was told that we were the only true Christians, we certainly were taught a bunch of anti-Christian practices, and the human rationalizations which supposedly justified them!

BB

Ralph said...

Yes, BB, and that is very much the point of most of the usual gang of christian idiots today. Money is requested for "the work", money that is in short supply, even for those who give it, and usually, they feel they may be punished by God if they don't make that all important contribution while the leaders live like kings.

I'm sure there are some good charities around, but they operate from within a system that is literally designed to increase debt and control over the people of the world. Just as there are good people within all religions, people far better than me, and I met many of those of other cultures when I travelled in the marines, who are "salt of the earth" people.

But the bad guys are us. The "beast" if there ever was one, is the banking system of the United States.

The "false prophet" are the various religions that tell us we must obey the higher powers, render unto Caesar, pay homage in a currency condemned by their own holy book. Religious scam, governmental scam, all aimed at the control of the masses in the name of good and the name of God, and those who disagree, imprison them or kill them or simpy ignore them.

Since we can't agree on much of anything, then it must be obviouls that our disagreement is the very thing we must accept as a basis for freedom, along with the right to freely pursue our own interests through free trade of ideas and commerce.

If God exists, we can't get there from here, and if no God exists, we certainly can't do so.

If conscience cannot tell us right from wrong, then what possible justification is there for the collectivization of ignorance called law that allows the mob to control individuals?

We live in a government that will happily promise us anything we want as long as the fulfillment of that promise requires the creation of more money in the form of debt, debts which we will have to repay.

Bailout of trillions of dollars? No problem, just raise taxes.

Bailout for foreign countries? Nio problem just creatre international police forces that have the power to regulate repayment, by force if necessary.

Free hospital care? No problem, just tax the producers to pay for the consumers. prioducers don't like it? Hey, it's all legitimate under interstate commerce.

Our government has legal tender, our government prints the money, and if you don;t like it, our government can print enough money to pay for more police training.

If you look at the US constitution, you will discover that every individual has the due process right to challenge his government for any deprivation of life, liberty, or property UNLESS it interferes with the "valid" police power for the common good.

Who decides the common good? The government, who else? Nice little racket.

Ralph said...

You don't believe your government is scamming you?

Several years ago, I was asked to run for state office. I was given several papers saying I must give ful disclosure of my financial transactions, and if I did not, I coud suffer a minimum of $10,000.00 fine, or imprisonment, or both.

In light of the 4th, 5th, and 14th amendments, I wondered how they could do this. I discovered a paper in the midst of all the papers called "Committee to Elect...."

Go to your local election board and ask if they have one of those.

If you sign it, you do not sign it as the candidate entering contract with the state, but as an agent of the committee, like a "power of attorney' form. Only the state gets power of attorney.

Once you sign that form, you are no longert a citizen with due process protections, but a committee member, seeking to get yourself elected.

The state can quiote no authority to get you to sign this form, yet they do so in the huge election manual they give you.

IOW, by acting to abridge your privileges and immunities(14th amendment) without statutory authority, you state commits fraud.

"Entick vs Carrington": an individual may do anything except what the state prohibits, but the state can only do that which the law expressly allows.

Since all state officials were asked to sign the form, your entire state government is fraudulent.

Worse, you have agreed with your state to waive the inalienable rights of citizens for the purpose of election, which is extortion and conflict of interest.

Do the states know better? Of course they do. But they count on the greed of those running for office to ignore the obvious.

As Justice Brandeis said in "Olmstead vs US":

"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example...Crime is contagious. If the govertnment becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for laws; it invites every man to become a law unto himself."

In Entick vs Carrington, a much older premise of common law the ruling is, "The silence of the books(absence of laws)is an authority against the defendant(US government in the above case) and the plaintiff must have judgement.".

Corky said...

Ahh, money, the coin of the realm, the legal tender of the empire, the mark of the beast.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Maybe it's because I am "blind with hatred of Christians who believe in the Bible" as BB accuses PH of,"

Charming. I missed that little zinger from Bob the first time round. As always, it is perfectly instructive of the closed mindset of the (inevitably) self-centred Christian.

Some related reading on the idea of how to escape such a closed mindset (from a christological perspective, yet), can be found here, a PDF entitled "Christ in a Universe of Faith", brought to the Internet courtesy the Quaker Universalist Group.

I note Bob has still neatly evaded answering the question of how he can reconcile his blind, fundamentalist faith, with the open and multicultural acceptance of Christian adherents such as the ones who populate the Religious Society of Friends (along with a whole lot of other, non-Christian people, who are all trying their best to learn from themselves, and each other, how to see different points of view).

But maybe that's beyond the scope of Bob's particular reality tunnel. As he will probably say, he doesn't need to consider other peoples' point of view, because in the Christian mindset, other people simply do not exist as equals...unless they are the "right" kind of Christian, of course.

We thought exactly the same way when we were in the church, you know. Oh, and by the way, Bob, I don't hate you, I feel badly for you, that you can't see the little bubble world you are creating around yourself. You keep inviting people in to your bubble world, but your mistake (and what is keeping you from connecting with others properly) is that you are insisting YOUR world is THE world, and all invited into it must believe the same. Even if they have different experiences and knowledge that they can enrich your own life and understanding with, you reject it all, in favour of the closed loop that you appear to be so desperately clinging to.

Byker Bob said...

Nope. Read the First Commandment.
There are no other gods before YHWH God. According to God, there is no wiggle room. So, in accusing me, you are actually laying the blame at God's own doorstep, which is why I can't really take your accusations as constructive criticism, or make the improvements you would hope that I would.

There is one project on which I hope to embark soon, and that is to study Maimonides, who, if I understand correctly, wrote a commentary on the original Hebrew OT. There have been some comments on all of these our forums to the effect that the KJV as we have it today may not be 100% high fidelity and Maimonides might provide a bit more enlightenment.

BTW, the reason you missed my "zinger" is that my stuff frequently gets amplified, or removed from context. Sometimes I don't even recognize it myself when it makes it back to me. But, it's OK. I understand that stage of development, and pray daily for those still in it.

BB

Ralph said...

Maimionides is interesting from a legal perspective. He's big with the Supreme Court, since he gave us a general idea of "due process", but not really all that good in explaining OT ideas.

Paul pretty much has it sewed up.

Using the bible to prove the bible? Circular reasoning.

Neotherm said...

Purple:

"Charming. I missed that little zinger from Bob the first time round."

What you did not do was deny that BB had made a correct assessment of you. You instead lauched into a diatribe against Christians, which supported BB's assertion. So this was not really "zinger" but an accurate observation.

I come from a Quaker background. There are all kinds of Quakers. Some branches are completely secular and resemble New Age organizations. Claiming that a Quaker organization is Christian is going out on a limb unless you do some research.


-- Neo

Purple Hymnal said...

"What you did not do was deny that BB had made a correct assessment of you."

An outright lie, blatantly proving you did not read the rest of my comment beyond what you wanted to read, Neo. As I said:

"Oh, and by the way, Bob, I don't hate you, I feel badly for you, that you can't see the little bubble world you are creating around yourself. You keep inviting people in to your bubble world, but your mistake (and what is keeping you from connecting with others properly) is that you are insisting YOUR world is THE world, and all invited into it must believe the same."

Ralph said...

BB, that thing about the first commandment. You do realize that was a covenant made with Israel and only with Israel, don't you? (Amos 3:2)

Israel was bound by law and covenant or contract, but you don't seem to realize that the covenant or contract was never binding on the promise made to Abraham, which came 430 years earlier. It is promise, not contract, made only between two entities, YHVH and Abraham, and since it is not of a contract inclusive of any other except those parties agreed by YHVH and Abraham it is not binbding by any human "freewill" choice, yours, mine, or anybody's.

To argue any law of the Ten Commandments as binding on "elect" is a usurpation of authority, and we know who did that, back in Ezekiel, don't we?

The main problem between human conceptions of God and God is this: all are forgeries. If relations with God were dependent on contractual obligations, then only Israel would be subject to those obligations, but in fact, Israel was not capable.

From the biblical perspective, the death of Jesus was merely the release from the penalty of that law, but not the law itself.

IOW, you can be charged, but accountability is not granted to any physical authority.

OT law is "accusatorial", while Ro,mans Civil law is "Inquisitorial".

Inquisitorial law, giving the state the right to hold inquest over you, is not granted in OT law. In OT law, there must be an accuser and at least two witnesses to verify, with YHVH clearly on the side of the accused(Isaiah 54:17, 50:8).

Even in Israel's theocracy, the law was supreme, and the king had no divine rights. If you were accused of violation of God's law, you risked the wrath of God in false witness.

Since Jesus died witho0ut proper witness, by Israel's law, the wrath of God was delivered on Israel, but released by Jesus' death.

So, to "believe on Jesus" is to merely claim freedom from human inquisitional authority.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Claiming that a Quaker organization is Christian is going out on a limb unless you do some research."

Uh. Where did I claim Quaker organizations are Christian? FUM is, without a doubt, and so is EFI, but they are fundamentalist and evangelical, respectively, and demonstrate little of the tolerance I am speaking of.

I was referring to people (members) within the organization, who may be Christians, or may not be. But you're deliberately obfuscating my point, because you don't want to address the fact that there are Christians out there (not just among the Quakers) who do believe the adherents of other religions have as equally a valid connection with the supernatural as they do.

Neither you nor Bob have addressed this issue yet, except to indicate that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and (by your implication Neo), even the Quakers aren't "real" believers, or they don't believe in a "real" god, as Bob said, of the Muslim Allah --- of course, the perfect strangers he was mentally accusing of believing in a "fake" god, might not even have been Muslim....

And has no one read the link I provided to Christ in a Universe of Faith yet? No, I guess not. *sigh*

I've no problem with Christians. I have a problem with Christians who shut themselves off from the richness and diversity, of the world that exists around them. They are especially closing themselves off to a spiritual diversity, given that they have a universal commonality with adherents of other religions.

Ralph said...

A bit more history on the "law" thing, BB, and to some extent I agree with Purple.

The church, under canon law regarding the catholics, had no power over inquisitional law. They could not intervene in any person's life and declare that person should be punished for personal thoughts or behaviors.

But Pope Innocent III decided that he could institute the "oath ex offico", by which any person charged woud come under the authority of the church by reason of his oath.

Any professing believer, assuming that God would protect him, took the oath, not realizing that, as we hear in courts today, "anything you say can and will be held against you".

For the believer, to lie regarding any issue under oath meant he would go to hell(under catholic doctrine, of course), which meant that the penalty of the state, even to his own deat, was preferrable to eternal damnation.

ANY question, therefore, had to be answered truthfully, and once convicted even against the privacy of his own conscience, the church could turn him over to the state for death.

It's important to realize these legal distinctions, because they are pragmatically important to your own beliefs, BB.

Jusice Abe Fortas, in "Miranda vs Arizona", pointed that mea culpa(confession of guilt) existed only between a man and his God, It is a plea that cannot be extracted from a free person by any state.

The implication of this regarding law is that you are INNOCENT IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD BEFORE LAW, and only a legitimate accuser, NOT the state, with the confirmation of two witnesses, can get your conviction.

In the US, all judges, federal and state, are subject to the proedures of common law, and common law directly recognizes God and reason as the ultimate authority in any judgement.

"Due process" is common law, and you are protected from both state and federal governments by common law, and all 50 states recognize the sovereignty of God.

So, to "believe on Christ" is to merely believe that you are free from human authority and innocent in every sense UNLESS you harm another.

Ralph said...

Purple, I read your link. I attempt to explain the legal distinctions mentioned in the link.

Quakers originally challenged the power of the king based on the concept that no man can be forced to incriminate hmself, and that lies only between man and hios God, as Justice Fortas pointed out.

Even by original Quaker doctrine, the freedom to believe, is merely the freedom from human authority as long as you harm no other, which is provided in all state constitutions as freedom of conscience.

Ralph said...

BTW, anyone ever wonder why the Quakers wore those big ugly hats with the buckles?

In England, doffing your hat was a sign of submission and respect. Quakers, who were challenging the state's right to force self incrimination, deliberately drew attention to those big ugly hats, and their reefusal to doff them to royal and state authorities.

And if it ain't true, it sure as hell should be.

Neotherm said...

Purple:

"I feel badly for you"

I think anyone can see from the surrounding context that this was not meant sympathetically but as a form of attack. There is tone and then there are words. Your tone speaks loudly and unequivocally.

As for the issue I supposedly do not want to address: There are "Christians" who believe almost anything. Quakers do not have a well defined theology in most cases. They are moved by the "inner light." No doubt some of them believe that every belief is acceptable to God. That has little to do with me.

C.S. Lewis belived in inclusivism. This is the idea that all faiths contain an element of divinity and that a good Hindu may have contact with God just as easily as a Christian. He may be right - I don't know.

I believe that everyone must eventually take a stand on the issue of Christ. I cannot say when and where this will happen. But it is fundmental to Christianity that Christ is the only path to salvation. Someone may incubate on this planet as a Hindu but ultimately they will meet Christ and will need to make a decison.

So is it likely that God deals with Hindus. Yes. Is it possible that someone can be a Hindu forever and receive the salavation described in the New Testament? No. Are there some Christians who believe that Hindus may be always Hindus and reap the benefit of salvation? No doubt some do but who cares. Opining something cannot make it be true. I may only indicate a poor understanding of principle.

-- Neo

Ralph said...

Neo, you don't even believe your own bible. There is no capacity to make such a choice of inclusiveness. And all the reasons you list, as well as your stubborn insistwence that your views must be correct is precisly why Paul has already stated that there can be no such human decision making process.

Your conclusions are flawed, both logically and biblically.

Ralph said...

Your conclusions, Neo, seem similar to BB's, in the sense that he would not "limit the power of God to logic".

Yet it was a fundamental concept of "christian orthodoxy" for centuries that in order to discover the mind of God, one could disvover the workings of the universe. If God did create the universe, it would be ridiculous to say he created illogically.

Yet to say that one would not limit the power of God to logic is to say exactly what Paul said in Romans 8:7, 8:29-30, and 9:16-22.

It is precisely BECAUSE you cannot limit the power of God to logic that there exists no decision procedure whatever in which any human being may represent God to other human beings.

If you insist that any person MUST accept Jesus Christ in order to be saved, then you are also insisting that you possess some bit of understanding or power of choice that makes your view of truth superior to other views.

IOW, you violate the fundamental premises of logic by insisting that "A" can also be "non-A", that there is no way to limit God logically, and then saying that somehow, by some decision process which you possess, one can actually define such limits. You "know" but you cannot "prove", which tells us absolutely nothing at all.

Cosmopot said...

What can we do?

I heard someone say, "You can't change the world, but you can help change somebody's life".

We can do things as individuals, but as far as nations and groups of different peoples cooperating, we can only go so far, because everybody has differing and conflicting ideas on how things should be done.

I have to agree with Ralph, that the attempts of human beings to organize will eventually splinter into increasing numbers of factions, according to all of the differing ideas on how we should go about it.

A unifying force that would really bring people together seems to be something that is beyond us collectively.

I suppose that a lot of people would attribute a force like that as coming from "above".

I realize the conversation has moved on to what Neotherm has been saying. Just had to throw in my two cents about Betty's question.

Byker Bob said...

Well, as often happens, a sidebar topic has garnered quite a bit of attention. Who knew that a simple tale of protecting people from a different culture from a snake would create such a stir? The lesson that I have learned from the ensuing discussion is that an act of charity will be turned into an act of bigotry and arrogance by at least one atheist, if the doer of the good deed believes in the God of the Old Testament, and that Jesus Christ (John 3:16) is the only way to salvation. How could I, logically, take offense, since this atheist's opinion and emotions are directed towards the themes of the Holy Bible, and the God who inspired it? I will say, I have a difficult time finding the cries for tolerance to be sincere or credible, when they are coming from someone with a pattern of either knowingly or unknowingly taunting and persecuting Christians, and denigrating their God and their savior.

Love the sinner, hate the sin. That's the example set by both God and Jesus Christ. And, I believe that I practiced this with the Arabs, and generally practice it in my own life. Had I treated the Arab ladies like Purple treats me, I would have confronted them for all of the jihadist bombings in Palestine and Israel, and would have blamed them for the defacto prostate exams we sometimes must be subjected to before getting on our own planes in our own homelands. Purple probably even imagines me as asking these families if they've accepted Jesus Christ, but I did not. So, in the end, who is the real bigot?

As an aside, I will also point out that I would never do anything to hurt or discriminate against sex perverts, either. I always treat them kindly, even though a fleeting thought of what they do to each other with their butts and mouths can make one vomit. They are potentially God's children, too, but simply have a different subset of lusts and evil thoughts than most folks.

Back in 1984-85, I began to realize how my negative WCG experiences had cause some irrational hatreds, fears, and angers in my life. And, even denial of these! Having gone through this, I can very easily detect those hatreds, fears, angers, and denials when evidenced by others. I had the good sense to go through counselling and therapy to get rid of all of this negative energy, and it helped greatly. Purps, you might want to check that out, as well. It helped me turn around my entire life, and things have trended upwards for me ever since.

BB

Byker Bob said...

Ralph,

I tend to agree with your assessment of covenant law, and to whom it was directed. But, there are many tales, in the Old Testament, of activities which were contrived to prove to Israel and her pagan neighbors that YHWH God was the only God. Israel, God's own covenant people, and Jesus Christ's family tree, basically existed as an example for the entire world. Whether snakes in Pharaoh's courts, military battles involving Judah or Israel, contests between God's priests and those of Baal, or Samson's exploits, and the tale of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, it was all to glorify Father God as the only actual and real God.

There is also a long tradition of Noachide Law, which I'm sure you are aware of, allowing pagan gentile peoples to become observant of just enough of the covenant so that they could participate in the worship of YHWH.


BB

Corky said...

"Salvation is of the Jews".

So say the Jews (and Jesus).

On the other hand, "salvation is of Islam" - so say the Muslims and God's true prophet, Mohamed.

Let's just take the 38,000+ sects of Christendom and ask, can they all be right?

The answer is obviously NO. Now, ask if they can all be wrong and the answer is obviously YES.

Why? Because they cannot prove their foundation premises - that a God exists and that there is a resurrection from the dead.

If neither of those two premises can be proved, why believe any of the rest of that nonsense piled on top of it?

As far as Jesus making people free from inquisitional law - it didn't work. The early "christians" were killed by inquisitional law and the christian church itself took up the same inquisitional banner.

It makes sense that the christian church would be inquisitorial. After all, according to the christian doctrine of Adamic Condemnation, we are born "condemned already". Worse, unbelievers are condemned again because they can't bring themselves to believe in the stupid nonsense that the Bible is full of.

Talking snake, worldwide flood, tower of babel, the molten glass dome of the sky, the sky as a tent stretched over the earth, the sun, moon and stars all orbit the earth etc etc etc etc etc etc etc...

Byker Bob said...

General comment to Neo and Ralph: My understanding is that God is a god of law and logic. He can break His own laws, or obviously He would not be all powerful. But, He wills to abide by His own law, except when performing what we consider miracles, to serve His own purposes. When He does this, the miracles are based on His love for humanity.

BB

Corky said...

BykerBob said...

As an aside, I will also point out that I would never do anything to hurt or discriminate against sex perverts, either. I always treat them kindly, even though a fleeting thought of what they do to each other with their butts and mouths can make one vomit.

This sounds like gays more than anything else. However, I bet you do discriminate against pedophiles, right? Or, do you think the pedophile has the same rights as gays?

As far as gay sex is concerned, don't worry, it's not catching and they can't convert straights to being gay.

I know a gay couple who have been together for over 40 years. Guess what, sex never was a big part of their relationship and they haven't indulged in any sexual activity for years. They are still together though, which says more about their relationship than most heterosexual marriages.

Problem is, they can't get married and enjoy any of the other rights of a heterosexual couple.

You say you don't discriminate but the christian church, of which you are a member, does discriminate. They can serve in the military and law enforcement (if they keep their sex life secret), they pay taxes just like everyone else.

However, even though they have the right, they can't get married because christians think that marriage is all about having sex and worry that gays may have more sex than they do.

You talk about the butt and the mouth like women are not known to use both with her man in a heterosexual marriage. Did you never get any, Bob?

Corky said...

BykerBob said...
When He [God] does this, the miracles are based on His love for humanity.

Like that worldwide flood and the genocide against the Canaanites. Why he even made the sun stand still in the sky so that Joshua could keep on hacking and slaughtering people.

Remember the excuse for ripping a slaughtered woman's belly open to kill the fetus? Let's hear yours.

Neotherm said...

Corky:

"Like that worldwide flood and the genocide against the Canaanites."

There was no worldwide flood and the Bible does not assert this in the original language.

"Why he even made the sun stand still in the sky so that Joshua could keep on hacking and slaughtering people."

If someone said "I saw a falling star" would you believe from this that stars actually fall or would you understand it as an earth-centric idiom?


"Remember the excuse for ripping a slaughtered woman's belly open to kill the fetus? Let's hear yours."

Could you cite a scripture concerning this.

The Canaanites were actually small potatoes. Christ intends on killing many more people when he returns and for the same reason. He is God and people are evil. He is also in control of their opportunity for salvation and knows what can and cannot be done to make that opportunity effective.

-- Neo

Ralph said...

BB, forst of all, the very attempt on the part of israel, byut the time Jesus supposedly walked the earth, created a tremendous diversity of religions among Israelites or Jews, same as we have among christians today.

The simp[le point being, and logically derived, from Romans 8:7. Which means that whatwever physical arguments you derive, they prove absolutely nothing, nor can they, since Pual goes to great lengths to establish the fact that they can't. Your arguments are null and void.

If you could demonstrate the truth of it, it wopuld be reducible to language, then to algorithms, then to programming, such that a computer could be all that God is from a knowledge viewpoint.

There exists no such decision procedure by which you can demonstrate any truthful relationship whatever that is any greater than any other person.

Any form of knowledge which can be produced by a human brain to demonstrate the truth of christianity can then be tured into a legtimate govertnment that represents God, and the simple fact is, Israel couldn;t do it, and christianity can't do it, the reason being that the natural mind simply is enmity against God and all argument result in near infiite splintering.

BB, it ain't there, not even by Paul's teaching.

Ralph said...

As to God and miracles. If God is all knowing, there are no miracles. Whatever we perceive as a miracle for whatever reason would already be woven into the fabric of time/space according to God's perfect knowledge, such that it would happen that way and no other.

However, even by Jesus' own teachings, miracles prove nothing at all, since he warned of false apostles who would show great signs and wonders such that the very elect could be deceived.

Miracles prove nothing, even assuming they occur.

Neotherm said...

Betty:

I admit this topic coming from an atheist source puzzles me. I presume that most atheists are also evolutionists. In the realm of natural selection and evolution, there is no code of morality, only the survival of the fittest.

If cooperating with others militates against the survival of the fittest why do it? You go against nature itself.

And if cooperating with others supports survival of the fittest (here we need an imaginative anecdote from Richard Dawkins to tell us why)then being in harmony with nature may make good evolutionary sense.

What cooperation to improve society is not in the atheist reality is good, noble, positive, constructive, beneficent or valuable. These words are charged with value meanings that do not have a place in the evolutionary doctrine of life.

I just saw a movie called "Pandorum"
about evolution gone astray on a large starship intended to seed another planet. One guy captured some people and intended on using them for food. He cited survival of the fittest. Later he stated something like "It is funny about the survival of the fittest, it doesn't give meaning to life." You survive, but don't ask why.

-- Neo

Ralph said...

Yes, Corky, the christian church under Innocent III developed the oath, which is essentially the same as the oath you use if you are a witness in courts today.

The act of swearing/affirming is merely a process by which you give your permission for the courts to screw you.

The fundamental princiles of the bible, from Jesus was swear not all, and James wrote above all to swear not at all.

But as Paul plainly demonstrated, there exists no authority whatever for any religious group, however sincere, to truthfully represent themselves as God's elect, since the choice remains with God and only with God.

The reason should be completely obvious to anyone reading by now. Every single attempt to prove/disprove the truth/falsehood of God's existence will meet with ever more complex arguments in justification of either viewpoint.

Either Paul was correct in Romans 8 and 9, or there is no truth whatever in the New Testament. BB and Neo have demonstrated nothing whatever to challenge Paul's statements, and Neo has gone so far as to simply ignore them altogether.

The only reason why Romans 8:7 would represent a foundational truth from which to proceed is that it is one of the few statements Paul makes about physical systems of existence and says "this is so".

Everything else he proclaims is "faith" which means you can believe just about anything and claim "I can't prove it, but I know it's true". Which will obviouls y lead to exactly the mess of religions we have today.

Is the human mind enmity against God? Is there any shred of evidence provided by any christian to prove other wise? No. Any attempt to do so can only lead to continual confusion, while every "true believer" claims to "know" that which can never be proven in any context.

If the human mind is not enmity against God, there should be some proof of the falsehood of Paul's statement. There is none.

Therefore, it can only be concluded that Paul was correct and that there exists no decision procedure whatever by which any person can claim any special relation to Christ, especially since Paul wrote that God had foreknown and predestined all of them anyway.

Either those statements are foundationally true, or you got nothing.

Ralph said...

Neo, another false assumption about evolution. Survival of the fittest also depends on altruism, and altruism is dependent on the level of kinship within any society, herd, or tribe.

Bees and ants, sharing half of their genetic info, are highly saxcrificial, and highly successful. The cells of your body, divinding and making exactl copies of themselves, are highly sacrificial for the good of the body.

In those groups where kinship is not perceived as relevant, or in which there is no need for sacrificial behavior, none occurs. Then t is a "war of all against all".

Christianity merely offers the substitutwe of brotherhood, thereby producing altruism. Your arguments demonstratre nothing outside of an evolutionary framework. If we see ourselves as "brothers in Christ", we will fight against those who are united by some other creed or dogma.

Good German christians killed good American christians in WW2. Purpose?

Your reasoning can be destroyed in many ways from purely evolutionary viewpoints.

The mind is enmity against God, or ythere is no God. Since either conclusion produces the same physical results, you have one of those trwo choices. Either there is no God, or you are incapable of making any demonstrably meaningul choice of God. That is truth from any measurable perspective.

That is the only legitimate beginning point.

Neotherm said...

Ralph:

Altruism is far from simple to describe in the evolutionary model.
Humans in some circumstances behave altruistically and in others competitively.

If you save someone else from death, they may be a part of a social context in the future that gives you a safe haven. But on the other hand, they will also be a competitor who could displace you in the gene pool. Their genes will be spread and yours won't be.

-- Neo

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
There was no worldwide flood and the Bible does not assert this in the original language.

#1, you don't know the original language and #2, it absolutely does mean a worldwide flood. The evidence is that Noah was instructed to build a huge boat to hold clean and unclean animals to preserve them. A local flood would not require this. #3, as further evidence that the flood was supposed to be worldwide is the geneologies after the flood of all nations from Ham, Shem and Japeth.

It was worldwide, you can't squirm and twist out of it.

"Why he even made the sun stand still in the sky so that Joshua could keep on hacking and slaughtering people."

If someone said "I saw a falling star" would you believe from this that stars actually fall or would you understand it as an earth-centric idiom
?

I can understand it that way now, sure, but that's not what it was understood to mean then.

"Remember the excuse for ripping a slaughtered woman's belly open to kill the fetus? Let's hear yours."

Could you cite a scripture concerning this
.

Hosea 13:16 for one. It is implied in several other places - like 1 Sam. 15:3. The verse in Hosea shows that it must have been a common practice.

The Canaanites were actually small potatoes. Christ intends on killing many more people when he returns and for the same reason.

Hip, hip, hooray! Aren't you happy.

He is God and people are evil.

Hey, I don't agree that Jesus was God. You would like for people to think that they are evil but they are just people - hey, and you think God made them, so they are only what God made.

He is also in control of their opportunity for salvation and knows what can and cannot be done to make that opportunity effective.

Muhahahahahahahahahah! And, it you don't watch out - a demon might latch onto you and turn you into a witch (or an ugly old frog).

Ralph said...

Neo, it's called reciprocal altruism. Yiou scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. The model is learned in humans from babyhood up in a process known as "cheating".

baby cries, mama comes running. Baby learns proper signal. Timne goes on, baby cries, mama checks, sees that it is simply an attempt for attention, responds accordingly. baby learns to modify distress signals, etc.

By the age of puberty, the child has learned a set of reciprocal signals that allow it to integreate itself into society in a process of mutual exchange.

These processes of mutual exchange can take many complex forms and anifest themselves in religion, which splinters and speciates according to mathematical models consistent with Godel's theorem.

Since the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God, then "God" will merely represent social models of reciprocal altruism developed by Robert Trivers that manufacturwes concepts of "kinship", mostly nationalistic, that allows the priciples of sacrificial altruism.

Basic stuff, really.

Ralph said...

Alan Turing seems to have hit ona model foreshadowing the advent of computers with what is known as a "Turing Test".

Turing proposed that if a man and woman sat behind a curtain, and a person on the other side posed queastions to see which one was actually the woman, while both attempted to convince the person that he or she was the actual woman, the results, so far as the person n the other side of the curtain was concerned would be the same if both man and woman provided answers sufficiently to convinve the person that both were probably women.

Apply the same test to a computer. A man is on one side of the curtain, and another man and computer are on the other side.

The man on one side poses a series of written questions to the man and computer, which are then answered in such a way that the computer appears exactly as a man(or woman).

Turing concludes that if a computer can respond exactly as a person would respond, there is essentially no measuirable difference between the two.

If you look at Matthew 24, you will see the same type of "Turing Test". Jesus said "many will come in my name and deceive many".

Here, however, the test is a bit different, since we're not looking for a set of responses that imitate a man, but a series of responses that actually represent truth.

We know that all are persons, and we might even concluded there is a sufficiently powerful computer thrown in to make it more complicated.

Of all of them, which will have the truth? Can the computer pose answers that are truth? No, because the computer is modeled on exactly the samwe axiomatic premises as human brains. It may respond much faster, but the answers will be subject to the same flaws.

But the humans themselves, basing all their responses on knowledge accessible by human understanding, cannot tell you anyting that would not be subject to the same process of reason and logic of which other persons are capable.

Theefore, you are left with only one correct choice of truth: none of them can be superior to your own understanding, and therefore no reason to believe any of them.

Otherwise, you make an unjustifiable leap of faith.

Byker Bob said...

Corky, not to get down in the gutter on this, but most theologians agree that anything happening in the marital bed is sanctified, as long as it is done in love.

I'm certainly not a prude about heterosexual oral sex, but, on the other hand, doing the brown penis thingy is totally disgusting, and can cause infection. There is also something known as "gay bowel" syndrome, involving stretching of the anal sphincter and chronic diarrhea. I can't imagine a loving husband wanting to chance damaging his wife in this manner.

BB

Ralph said...

Hey, I was a virgin til I was 32! I didn't know any of this stuff!

How does sex with women work?

Corky said...

Bob, you avoided everything except the sex part of a gay relationship.

Love relationships are not all about sex. If it is for you, then you don't have a love relationship and don't even understand what a love relationship is.

If your relationship, gay or straight, is all about sex, it's not going to last very long. I always called it "being in lust" instead of being in love. Hey, some people don't know the difference.

That's one of the problems with religion - it's too much about sex (especially someone else's sex) and self gratification and very little else.

Ralph said...

Religion is about sex for the same reason that species tend to select according to territory specific environments. Behavioral control and ritual mating allow for group strength.

Anythig that does not contribute to the strength of the religious "species" is frowned on.

And let's face it, gay sex is the one thing that heterosexual christians can point to and say "At least I'm not guilty of that!"

Which is why, of course, Paul condemned such judgmental people in Romans 2:1.

Byker Bob said...

Corky, I'm ashamed to admit it, but all of my relationships with my wives and girlfriends were always all about sex, and everything else was incidental. I was always a hopeless romance junkie. That was my addiction.

In the past several years, I've learned much much more about what a relationship should be. It deeply grieves me to sit in church and get my conscience pricked by the sermons on marriage and child rearing. On the other hand, these have also helped heal me of some of the very worst teachings that I experienced at the hands of WCG.

BB

Byker Bob said...

One additional thought. I now recognize that my romance or sex addiction was part of the quite predictable, classic, non-believers' void. The craving I had was in reality for love----our Father's love. This became masked and manifested itself in craving for women, and all of that sex was simply a placebo.

BB

Ralph said...

Corky, just caught your comment. Obviously Jesus didn't establish accusatorial law, and failed to overcome inquisitorial law, since inquisitorial law is the basis for all church/state power.

Tat in iotself would indicate the truth of the statement attributed to Jesus un Matthew 24:23, to follow no one who claimed to represent Christ. The instant you do, inquistion becomes inescapable.

Purple Hymnal said...

...the quite predictable, classic, non-believers' void...

The only "void" I have is courtesy of the church, Bob. And while it may be predictable and classic for YOU, it is not true of ALL non-believers.

I have no "void", I am simply not Christian; but as you have demonstrated ably here before, you would say that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Daoists and Taoists and Deists as well, would all have this "void" (as perceived by you alone), because none of us worship YOUR god.

You persist in hanging onto the idea that YOUR god is in any way applicable to anyone else but YOU; but that's OK, organized religion and pagan professing churchianity has warped your mind into thinking like this.