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from crux № 11 — Ultimate truth

Oddly enough, people have used the same argument to justify intervention to prevent global warming.

Or for that matter, to ban certain religions.

I've seen the arguments in enough other contexts to distrust anyone who claims rationality prevents any opposing view. Even more so when they dismiss any other possibility unheard because they have the Ultimate Truth That Must Not Be Questioned.



I really don't want to get into an intimate examination of whatever bits of evidence that still exist.

My point is that reflexively denying any possibility except the government approved line is exactly like the folks pushing anthropogenic climate change and claiming that the The Science Is Settled so there is no point in talking about it.



I'm still under 50, so it's not me you're accusing.

I'm not arguing for conspiracy, I'm arguing against taking the government case at face value.

I could list point by point the things that bother me about the WCR or any of the things that are publicly "known." But that's not my point.

Why must criticism be silenced?



I want to make this point clear. I'm not yet fifty. I am not arguing for any conspiracy theory. Don't lump me in with the "nuts" because you honestly don't know what I think.

I could give you a list of "39 Things That Will Totally Blow Your Mind About the Kennedy Assassination" but you aren't willing to look at anything that doesn't fit your preconceived result.

Exactly like the people who keep saying that human caused climate change is endangering the planet.

Blind obedience to any dogma is dangerous, but especially when you accept what government tells you without question.

Government is not your friend. Even when the "right" people are in charge.



What I was pointing out is that it's not clear what you mean by "denounce" in your sentence. Using the verb "denounce" together with "science" doesn't make any sense in the same sentence. You still haven't clarified what it is that you were trying to say by "denounce.”

Simplest terms. You can't use science to condemn what you don't like.

The word denounce works in this context because you were using "science" to justify your words, thereby invoking Science as a higher authority.



I've read enough of your stuff to understand why you misuse Science as a Higher Authority, One That Must Not Be Questioned. I can advocate science without being "scientific." I don't need test tubes, a microscope, or a Geiger counter to lend credibility.

I can defend human rights without being gay, a woman, Navajo, disabled, or a money-grubbing politico.

I can promote religious freedom without being Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, Buddhist, or atheist.

I can even type a few replies before I've eaten breakfast. Not before my tea though, I'm good but not that good.



Okay, moral relativity. Morals change. I can't stress that enough. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad, but it has to depend on individual choice. It's the nature of humanity, we tinker. We're always trying something that might work better.

I absolutely agree that if you find something objectionable, you should speak against it. It's not a matter of permitting your speech, your speech should be required. If you disagree, tell people. Argue with them. Wag your fingers in their face and yell at them. Persuade them that they are wrong. Woo them with your better ideas.

BUT, I've had to deal with the conservative version. I can tell you it is just as intolerant, just as tyrannical, just as obnoxious as any liberal dogma you can name. And yes, they demand that the law be changed to accommodate their views and only their views.

Conservatives are usually up front about their goals. Usually (but not always), they're more polite about it too.

So if you're going to denounce homosexuality, I'm going to pop in from time to time and say you're wrong. At the same time, I'm also going to tell certain liberals to forget about controlling your religion, guns, politics, or free speech.

I'm equal opportunity (grins).



Perhaps I've less trust in the virtue of Pagans because they are Pagans, and more trust in Christians because they are just people.

I'm not saying it's not difficult and it is certainly risky. There are always going to be differences. But as you point out, there are differences between Pagans too.

ETA: I'm probably not saying this as well as I could. There is no virtue or curse in the label, it's always about the individual.

I've met bad Pagans and good Christians, rotten agnostics and good atheists, decent Satanists and iffy heathens. The label tells me almost nothing, but the individual behavior tells me almost everything.



One rule of thumb is that all things being equal (which they usually aren't) the side working to control who gets to speak is the one you should worry about.

"Thou shalt not dissent" should be a red flag with a siren.



The homosexuals have the onus of cleaning up their image.


Please tell me you didn't mean that.


After all, according to Truth Out, 90% of all "criminal corporations" are Republican and therefore conservative.


Using your reasoning, that would mean that conservatives "have the onus of cleaning up their image."



I did warn you that you wouldn't like the answers. I even went theatrical and did the classic three warnings.

There's no virtue or vice in the label. It's our words and deeds that define us.

*grins* I bet if you look hard enough in that Book of yours a certain someone said something very like that.



You missed again.

You know the old saying how you can't point without having three fingers point back at you? It really applies here. Whatever evil you ascribe to whatever belief system, you can't do it without opening Christianity up to the same criticisms. There have been terrible things done in the name of Christianity.

On the other hand, most individual Christians are fairly decent people.

Here's the dirty little secret that you're avoiding. The evil is not in a belief system. That's the excuse, not the reason. No book has ever committed genocide. No song has ever burned someone alive. No long lost chant has ever raped.

It's people who speak and people who act. It's people who do good, and people who do evil.



I don't think your claims prove a universal problem. I say let people choose for themselves and accept the consequences. When you try to intervene with a solution that's "for their own good," what you are really saying is that they are less than human and incapable of deciding. Even if it's not the "right" choice that you like.



Oh, and in my experience, conservatives won't knife you in the back. They'll scream in your face, they'll tell you that you're wrong, but they're usually facing you.

Certain progressives will trot you out for the dog-&-pony show, drape an arm over your shoulder, smile for the cameras, and then slide the knife in so smoothly you never feel it until after you start bleeding and they've moved away.



The left will defend you only as long say the correct words. If you don't, not only will they hang you out to dry they will manufacture reasons why you can't be trusted.

A few weeks ago, I broke one of my own rules and discussed "climate change" with some pagans. It Did Not Go Well. Here were folks who cherished their connection to the planet, and yet the very obvious fact that the climate "models" can't predict diddly squat was very heretical. They didn't quite call for my head, but evidently I'm a paid part of a conspiracy to corrupt well meaning pagans. That was news to me and my bankbook.



Oh boy, the fun I could have with that one starting with the history of the European royal families and working my way into the Black Panther movement.

Instead I'll just restate my point. Most of what we define as "race" is not biological. The "race" argument inevitably descends into a tribal argument over "mine" being better than "yours."



All other things being equal (pun intended), the side that tries to crush dissent is usually wrong.



No, not really.

For example, if I were to point out (again) that homosexuality does not mean pedophilia, several folks here would chime in that I was all for sex with children.

In another place, if I were to disagree (again) with the notion that Christians should be locked away on general principle, several folks there would chime in that I was all for religious oppression.

The biggest and hardest lesson that I've had to learn is that no one group has THE answer, and no group that says it has THE answer can be fully trusted.



I can't stress this enough.

The state is not a moral entity. Government is not your friend, at best it is a bad servant.

Religion can not be allowed the coercive power of the state and the state can not be allowed the moral justification of faith.

You can't trust law to do the right thing. You have to watch it. You have to argue with it. And sometimes you have to fight it.



Before you call "blacks" racist, you need to eliminate other factors such as single motherhood and economic conditions. There is a lot more, but the situation is not solely because of skin color, or even mostly.

As far as homosexuality being a mental illness, that is a recent view. Considering that the science is far from settled and it wasn't so long ago that left handedness was also considered an illness, well, we can dispense with that one.

What this lady did was wrong, I am not disputing that. But don't try to invoke a general case unless you can show that every single "black" is racist and every single homosexual is homicidal.



So, am I allowed to dissent?

The "moral morass" is necessary.

A choice made under the threat of force is no choice.

If you truly believe that yours is the only way, then you have to convince people. You do that by showing that it works no matter what the circumstances.



First let's make the obvious distinction. Some Christians used force, most did not. Every one you point to, I can find thousands who did not.

On the whole, I like Christians. You can usually trust them to be upfront with you and keep their word.

If Satanists had greater numbers, they'd have their power mad jerks too.

Just so you know, religion is almost never the reason for violence. It's the excuse, not the reason.



Religion is totalitarianism?

You might want to rethink that.

Especially if you are calling for beliefs to be purged.



No, it is not. Totalitarianism needs force to back it up. Otherwise people can just walk away.

It's never common sense to purge a belief system, especially when you do it in the name of moral superiority.



You might take a closer look there at what you are saying. You claim not to judge, but you threaten people with being judged.

Personally I prefer Christians when they aren't spouting hellfire in the name of a god of love.



All this fixation on the Bible is missing the forest for the trees.

Your scripture isn't nearly as important as how you manifest it.

I don't care about your god. I do care about the people around me. I'd rather not fight a religious war, but I can fight to defend me and mine.

The way I see it, it's better if we humans at least talk to each other. Maybe argue and wave fingers in each others faces.

You have your god, I have mine. For all we know they may go out together for beer and wine every seventh year. So let's honor the gods and treat each other decently.



These dramatic exits would be a lot more effective if you stayed off the threads you said you were abandoning.

I'm sure you'll soon trot out your Scriptural Secret Weapon the next time someone does something you don't approve of and you'll try to dictate rules about how the Bible can be used.

But where in the Bible do you get license to do that? You're playing the part of a Pharisee there.

My rule system doesn't depend on the Bible. And it doesn't exclude you from depending on scripture.

It just means that it doesn't apply to me.



So, only the True Believers® are allowed to quote the Bible as they choose because they are special.

I told you before, that says more about your faith than it does my arguments.

It's not enough that I be a good person, I must supplicate myselft before the altar of your dogma and beg forgiveness.

Not going to happen, My gods gave me a pass. They also told me what was up.

It's not your god who demands those things. It's certain pesky humans who claim to speak in his name.



I'm not asking you to follow my code.

I'm not even asking you to allow me to follow my code.

I'm telling you that I won't follow your code just as you would tell me that you won't follow mine.

Now we could find what we agree on and work from there, or you could spend effort telling me why your enlightenment requires my sacrifice.

I think the former would be more productive, but I would enjoy your frustration at the latter too.



I gave you example of laws that were not moral. I only mentioned one that was actually immoral. I didn't mention the biggies, like how Prohibition made organized crime possible and highly profitable. Or how the income tax has turned everyone you do business with into an unpaid government spy.

Don't you see? Once you start claiming that laws have a moral basis, it's only a short step to law = morality, Then the courts and the system can punish you for almost any reason.

We have to fight over what makes a law a moral law that we ALL can accept, and reject any law that does not meet that standard.

That's how we protect freedom for everyone.



What can I say?

I don't agree with Christianity as the default moral setting. Or any other religion either, but there aren't that many of them here. With the exception of a few visitors here and there, they don't want to inflict their assumptions on anyone else.



Ah, there we certainly agree!

I call them evangelical atheists myself. It's not enough that THEY believe, YOU MUST BELIEVE as they do. No dissent allowed.

The moment they cross that line is the moment they become fair game.



You're saying that your faith is an objective, universal truth.

I disagree.

As you would if I said the same thing about mine.



Correction.

Western Civ isn't in steep decline.

It's in a correction phase. Necessary, messy, uncomfortable, but still continuing.

I suspect for some it will be painful.



I'd argue that most morality is a human construct. Especially when "it is written" or preached from a pulpit.

I will agree that morality can depend heavily on a person's relationship to the Divine. But I suspect my understanding of the Divine does not match yours. I would also posit that since I am not Christian and you stress individual responsibility, then I shouldn't answer to a "Judeo-Christian" worldview.



Her truth and her belief.

Not mine.

There is not a single other important thing that I wish people here would understand.

Your faith and your belief is a matter between you and the Divine.

Not between you and a neighbor you think is sinning. Talk about beams and motes.



But you don't want me to call you on it. You've made that pretty clear.

So let me cut through this preliminary stuff.

I don't think any group has an exclusive to a higher morality. Especially when some of their first actions include denouncing those who share the label but aren't pure enough.

You do pick and choose, however you justify it. Everyone does.

Now we can move on to find where we agree, or we can get mired in the process and the doctrine and the dogma some more.



Should it matter?

I don't know about you, but I'm going to judge someone by what they do. Do they hurt people? Do they mess with other's people's stuff? Do they pretend to be something or someone they aren't?

Words matter. Actions matter more. Good intentions don't.



"Why should I compromise?"

Exactly.

You're convinced you have the Absolute Truth. I'm convinced I have some truths. Since you're focused on absolutes, your natural assumption is that I am trying to defeat you. As long as you're convinced that your beliefs must trump everyone you disagree with, you're going to lose.

The incredibly ironic bit is that if I were making a stand for Christianity under similar circumstances, you'd be cheering me on.



I make the distinction between radicals and not. It's a distinction that the RadFems deny, which is one good reason to make it. It serves the RadFem agenda if they claim to speak for all feminists or all women.

Oddly enough, that's true in almost every group with a radical subgroup. The radicals claim the moral high ground and to speak for everyone in the group. It doesn't matter if the group is Republican, libertarian, Democrat, Christian, pagan, or a book club. That's when it's about the politics rather than the group's cause.

More accurately, it's about who gets to call the shots.

I started keeping my crux files because I noticed I kept getting into the same discussions in comment threads on other people’s web sites. After a while it just made sense for me to organize my thoughts by topic. These are snippets. It’s not in any particular order, it’s just discussions I have again and again.
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