Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/2018: PolitiFact Lies About The Lie Of The Year, And What’s This Taboo Stuff Bing is Blathering On About?

Good morning.

1. So you think baseball ethics controversies end with the season? Not at Ethics Alarms!

  • Did you know that baseball has its own Colin Kaepernick, sort of? Free-agent catcher Bruce Maxwell can’t find a team, though he was once considered the front-runner to be the Oakland A’s starting catcher.  In 2017 Maxwell,  who is white, became the first and only major leaguer to kneel during the National Anthem. The buzz coming out of baseball’s winter meetings was that taking a knee was enough to make him persona non-grata among baseball owners.

Of course, the fact that Maxwellwas arrested on a gun charge in 2017 and later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and also played poorly last season in the minor leagues doesn’t help. “This is not a Colin Kaepernick situation, said an anonymous source at the meetings. “This is if Colin Kaepernick had knelt for the anthem and also been arrested for a gun crime.”

Except that things like gun crimes are not that big a deal in the NFL…

  • In a debate with baseball commentator Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa inadvertently gave a lesson in why conflicts of interests are a problem while simultaneously showing that he has no idea what a conflict is. Russo correctly protested that Harold Baines, recently a shock election to the Baseball Hall of Fame by a 16 member committee that included  close associates of Baines, was unqualified, and noted that several members of the committee, includiing Baines’ long-time manager LaRussa, had a conflict of interest. LaRussa’s rebuttal: “Do you think the people who know him better than the average expert, fan or even other baseball executives, have actually been teammates with him … when they speak with more knowledge about the type of player he was, I think that speaks more to his credit, not less.”

No, Tony. Those who knew and admired him are biased, and Baines should have been elected or not elected by a panel that knew him no better or less than it knew the other candidates. That Baines’ pals have inside knowledge that he, let’s say,  likes puppies, always held the door open for the manager’s mother, once bailed a team mate out of jail and often played despite a sore toe has nothing to do with his qualifications for the Hall. And LaRussa has a law degree! Maybe this explains his ultimate career choice.

2. Why is this kind of bigotry still flourishing? Christian recording artist turned crossover pop star Lauren Daigle is now being harshly criticized for not condemning homosexuals, and her career is threatened as a result. A Christian radio host asked the singer to defend her appearance  on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”—Ellen is gay, you know, so apparently she should be shunned and stoned— and this statement by Daigle provoked righteous outrage:

“I think the second we start drawing lines around which people are able to be approached and which aren’t, we’ve already completely missed the heart of God. … I don’t have all the answers in life, and I’m definitely not gonna act like I do, but the one thing that I know for sure is I can’t choose who I’m supposed to be kind to and who I’m supposed to show love to and who I’m not, because that’s the mission right?”

 The Atlantic  reports:

When the clip of her interview was posted online, it drew condemnation from conservative Christians. A writer at The Christian Post said Daigle had been tested by God and “failed,” choosing instead to “fraternize” with the devil by not condemning homosexuality. A Townhall columnist argued that Daigle had given into “the temptations that come with fame and influence” and called on Christians to pray for her to change course. Conservative Christian author John Burton claimed Daigle’s ambiguity compromised biblical truth and now “millions are at risk of deception.” Many on Twitter quickly declared that she can no longer be considered a Christian.

The Bible was wrong about homosexuality, but that’s forgivable, since thousands of years ago even the smartest, most ethical and thoughtful people were wrong about a lot of things. Regarding peaceful, friendly, law-abiding,  caring, productive members of society as some kind of blight because of who they choose to love  is no longer excusable; it’s cruel and ignorant. This kind of hate will accomplish nothing in the long-run but speeding the demise of religion in society, a result that, on balance, will do far more harm than good.

3. On the other hand,this bigotry makes no sense either. A mother who lives close to me writes in part,

Last Tuesday, unbeknownst to me, my son stuffed his beloved Bible into his bookbag. He was planning on using his class’s show-and-tell time to share with his classmates what he was reading…my son is a second-grader in the Arlington County, Va., public school system.  “

…What happened?” I queried after finding out about his missionary zeal. “The teacher stopped me from speaking,” my son sadly said, “and went on to the next person. I didn’t get to tell them about Daniel.”

You see, my son had been reading the book of Daniel and wanted to tell his friends about it….The Bible and those who take God’s Word seriously are not allowed a platform in leftist America. My son learned that the hard way last Tuesday. His disappointment is only eclipsed by his confusion as to why his teacher wouldn’t let him finish.

There is nothing in the Constitution that forbids a student from talking about the Bible in school. That is not state establishment of religion by any reasonable standard, nor indoctrination of any kind. Hostility to religion, as in the recent incident where a grade school principal told parents that anything hinting of Christmas was banned, including wearing red with green, is state-supported atheism, and is unconstitutional.

4. PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! The reliably unreliable left-biased “fact-check” feature PolitiFact chose as its Lie of the Year the absurd claims by fringe wackos on the internet that the Parkland students crusading for gun control were “crisis actors,” almost the equivalent of the Alex Jones conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. Like that nonsense, however, the “crisis actor” lie was never accepted or promoted anywhere but the most obscure corners of the web and dark pits in social media. This “Lie of the Year” designation is how partisans try to discredit opponents: pick the most outrageous and indefensible statements from the deranged minority, and falsely present it as representative of the target group.

There have been too many substantive lies to count in 2018, many of them on the front page of the New York Times. Well-known Democratic officials called Brett Kavanaugh a sexual predator. Prominent African Americans, bolstered by the news media, are still sowing racial hate by stating that Mike Brown, Freddie Gray and Eric Garner were murdered.

Personally, I’d pick the lie that all women should be believed when they charge a man with sexual assault or harassment. There are so many to choose from though. How about the lie that U.S. agents using tear gas on the migrant horde throwing rocks and trying to rush the border were doing something that was unique to the Trump administration? For that matter, how about the stream of lies that issued from the Parkland aftermath? Rep. Ted Lieu, among others, kept saying that the shooter had “an assault rifle.” The Parkland kids weren’t actors, but they were allowed and encouraged to spread disinformation like fertilizer. The NRA had “blood on its hands.” Students in school everywhere were in mortal peril. Uber Parkland shill David Hogg kept saying that preventing mass shootings was “simple.” It’s not. Anyone who knows anything knows it’s not “easy.” Is that a lie, or just a stupid thing to believe? Gee, I don’t know, but it’s a lot more publicized and repeated than the stupid claim that Hogg is an actor.

 

93 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/2018: PolitiFact Lies About The Lie Of The Year, And What’s This Taboo Stuff Bing is Blathering On About?

  1. There’s somebody in the bible who was roundly condemned by the religious elite for spending time fraternizing with sinners too. instead of condemning the tax collectors, adulterers, and prostitutes he was eating dinner with them and loving them – now who was that again? Oh well, probably some irrelevant minor character with no bearing on modern Christianity.

      • Seems to me that one might have something to say to the so-called ‘Christians’ who persecute this singer: Something along the lines of ‘I never knew you’.

        Once freed from a sound and reasoned base in theology and ethics, it is logical that one begins to reinvent, more or less, the figure of Jesus. The advantage of a radical Protestantism is that they can do this freely and hardly have to be concerned about traditional interpretations or doctrines. Their *interpretations* can get evermore wild, evermore outrageous.

        It is not hard to see then how easy it is to convert such *Jesus* into the servant of whatever stance one holds or desires to hold.

        To correct someone theologically is not necessarily to persecute. For example I might seek to challenge you when you make a declaration of being able to say who is and who is not a Christian, but to challenge you is not to persecute you.

    • There’s somebody in the bible who was roundly condemned by the religious elite for spending time fraternizing with sinners too, instead of condemning the tax collectors, adulterers, and prostitutes he was eating dinner with them and loving them – now who was that again? Oh well, probably some irrelevant minor character with no bearing on modern Christianity.

      You might have to push your Jesus reference a bit further. It would be necessary to speculate with more depth. If such a figure appeared on the scene at that time, his influence would have transformed the life habits and the doings of those he spent time with.

      You analysis is shallow and, naturally, heretical. Taken on the face I would assume that you would imagine your *Jesus* as providing thoughtful insight as to how to better perform fellatio. Or perhaps he might have palled around with his troop of gay buddies, visited the baths, gone to the gay cinema?

      If he *fraternized* with sinners — that is, if you actually wanted to speak to the real Christian core, and not a bizarre and modifying fantasy — his effect would have been dramatic and thorough. Just as it was in the case of St Paul.

      Please don’t take offense but I would suggest that your whimsical interpretation is a form of travesty.

      The Bible was wrong about homosexuality, but that’s forgivable, since thousands of years ago even the smartest, most ethical and thoughtful people were wrong about a lot of things. Regarding peaceful, friendly, law-abiding, caring, productive members of society as some kind of blight because of who they choose to love is no longer excusable; it’s cruel and ignorant. This kind of hate will accomplish nothing in the long-run but speeding the demise of religion in society, a result that, on balance, will do far more harm than good.

      It is a nice declaration, but it is 100% opinion. To understand Christian opposition to sexual deviancy is not a matter of opinion, it has to do with getting to the core of the ideas.

      • I should, perhaps, take Slick’s advice. I would simply leave you with this, though- “fraternize” means “to associate or form a friendship with, especially when one is not supposed to.” I wonder if you’re using the definition common in the military, where “fraternization” is often used to denote romantic or sexual relationships that are illicit because of the relative positions of those involved.

        The story of Jesus’ ministry is one of associating with sinners, and OBVIOUS sinners, to the dismay of those in power. No doubt they found his actions a travesty as well. Insinuations of fellatio aside, here’s the direct citation on Jesus getting chided for spending time with sinners (From Matthew 9:10-13, although Mark 2 and Luke 5 contain versions as well):

        “Many tax collectors and sinners … ate with him [Jesus] and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this they asked his disciples ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this Jesus said… ‘Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners.'”

        • Best not to follow his advice! He should not make those sorts of statements. It is not fair nor proper.

          It does not matter what word you use to describe the fact that Jesus spent time with those on the outside of social acceptance in the society of that time. It would be more important to grasp the question of moral influence.

          The issue has to do with Christian ethics — sexual ethics in this case — and how these were understood and defined by the figure of Jesus and then by the early Church in the immediate years and decades when the early church was formed. That is where the ethics were defined and expressed.

          Christian sexual ethics then were beyond any doubt difficult and demanding, and not ambiguous.

          Your *interpretation* of 9:10-13 allows you to avoid both seeing the demanding nature of Christian ethics as a way, I gather, to sidestep them. It is likely a sola scriptura interpretation as well.

          [Once, Slick luved me. Then I challenged him an an issue around sola scriptura and he luved me not. Fickle luv!]

        • Jesus was quoting Hosea 6:6. “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings”.

          For I desire chesed and not zevach; and da’as Elohim more than olat.

          Chesed = grace, benevolence, or compassion
          Zevach = animal sacrifice
          Da’at Elohim = knowledge of God
          Olat = burnt offerings

          There would be no doubt, and there is no doubt, that in this context that everything in this reference hinges in ‘knowledge of God’. And within that ‘knowledge of God’ one discovers a difficult and a demanding group of ethics. And those ethics became part-and-parcel of the early church.

          He spent time with ‘sinners’ to oppose, obviously, a system of religious structure that had little to do with self-transformation. And the lives he touched were transformed through and through in accord with newer principles, or refined principles. That spirit continued in the early church and is certainly obvious in St Paul and all the early Church Fathers.

    • That was the first thing I thought of as well… I hate when people can’t be bothered to know anything about the things they feel so strongly about. If something’s worth believing, it’s worth understanding. It just seems like they’re not really taking it seriously, even though they expect everyone else to.

  2. 1. Of course Krappernick was also playing poorly the last two seasons he was playing in the NFL. Unfortunately, since Maxwell is white, he doesn’t fit into the social justice warrior narrative and won’t get a ton of meaningless awards and speaking engagements, nor a lucrative deal endorsing apparel that appeals to the ghetto folks.

    2. Simple, Jack, because born-again Christians and evangelicals aren’t very good at thinking things through or analyzing nuance, but they are VERY good at memorizing rules and strictly enforcing them. The Bible wasn’t wrong for its time, when homosexual behavior meant the bloodline stopped cold and when it was associated with the non-Abrahamic religions, which the Hebrews, and later the Christians were supposed to distinguish themselves from. Since then it’s come slap up against Western society’s increasing acceptance of homosexuality, and some of us who consider ourselves believers but also thinking people find ourselves grappling with this conflict. My way around it, after much thinking, is to go back to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s,” the same phrase that got pacifistic Alvin York to embrace military service. Most evangelicals just don’t bother thinking, after all, the answers are all right there in the Bible, and they’re being charitable by not taking gays out to the rock pile, same as a former friend told me she can’t talk to me any more because to talk to a single man would be to disrespect her vows to her new husband and therefore disrespect God. Mmmhmmm.

    3. Yup, state-sponsored atheism is just what those folks like American Atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (more accurately titled the Hatred Of Religion Foundation) want, and up till now they’ve been fairly well taken care of in the courts. Oh, they lose on a war memorial now and then, and the war on Christmas was a flop, but by and large they’ve been pretty successful in pushing any mention of this nation’s religious heritage out of civic life, and especially the schools, where Mrs. O’Hair who hates religion can ally with Mrs. Finkeldein who wouldn’t know a mezzuzeh from a tefellin but knows she and her kids are NOT Christian and dammit, she’s going to make the point. They fear that will change under Trump.

    4. (Shrug) To the mainstream media, all those lies that you cite are not lies. To paraphrase a bit from the Book of Jeremiah, there are none so blind as those who refuse to see, none so deaf as those who refuse to hear, and none so stupid as those who refuse to comprehend. Frankly the largely atheistic/agnostic left side of things is as bad as the born-again right in a lot of ways. To them, once a truth is established it’s a truth, and no challenges should be listened to, the same was as a good Christian should not listen to those who try to lead him astray or be a stumbling block to his faith.

    • Re #4: I’d say that, much like Jack often says about Trump, if they’re dumb enough to believe in what they’re saying that absolves them from accusations of “lying.” As you say they’re refusing to consider they could be wrong (and that self-certainty is destructive as hell), but if they honestly believe it then it’s just “wrong,” not a “lie.”

    • Oh, and I fully agree with your line of reasoning in #1. I’m Catholic, I don’t believe gay marriage is a valid sacramental marriage, and I would strongly resist an effort to force the church to recognize it- but by the same token if the secular government is handing out tax benefits and other perks to married couples, there’s no reason the government shouldn’t recognize marriage between any two adults able to legally enter into a contract.

      • You mean #2, right? Just to keep track of everything? I am also Catholic, and the fact of the matter is if we haven’t bent on abortion yet, we aren’t bending on this, and the government would be very foolish to try to force it.

      • What is the ethical argument you can make that you can’t permit plural marriage among consenting adults once you accept homosexuals marrying?

        • The fact that a man and a woman can marry does not force the idea that a man can marry two women- Bigamy remains illegal, and allowing any two legal and consenting adults to enter into that form of legal partnership would not by its face require the creation of an entire new legal partnership structure for multiple people.

          Religious and emotional aspects aside, think of all the legal benefits of marriage- from tax benefits to automatically being the Next of Kin to adoption/custody benefits and beyond. A plural marriage would require a complete overhaul of how all these are legally handled.

  3. #3: I agree it makes no sense, but it’s hard to blame the teacher in that one. They can get into a boatload of trouble if they’re seen to be promoting religion in schools, and so they do everything they can to ignore it.

    Common sense approaches would be better, but I’m not sure that can be fixed on the teacher level.

  4. 3: Hmm appears only on PJ media, written by a regular contributor who–a quick dive into his other stuff shows all the zealousness of a convert–no mention of the school’s side of the story and describes the child as having “missionary zeal”. That last part sounds like more than giving a book report about Daniel and the Lion’s den.

    Verdict. Strawman unless more on this is made available.

    • Even “missionary zeal” is no excuse to censor a student. That source game is the result of selective, biased reporting from other sources. If the mainstream news media won’t cover a story for its own partisan purposes, then a right wing source WILL, for ITS own partisan purposes. The story is completely consistent with the common treatment of religion, especially Christianity in the schools, as the Christmas-phobe principal showed. Do you think a teacher would shut down a Muslim student who wanted to enlighten classmates about the Koran in “show and tell”? Never.

      • I’m not so sure- “missionary zeal” is euphemistic language that could mean anything from “the student was talking about their beliefs rather than just the facts related in the story” to “the student went full-Westboro and started telling the other kids that they were going to burn in hell for their abominable sins unless they joined his specific church.”

        A Muslim student who wanted to talk about the Koran or briefly explain their beliefs probably would be allowed to speak (and rightly), while one who started expounding on how it is the duty of good Muslims to martyr themselves in the name of killing the infidel would probably also be cut off.

        The appropriateness of not letting the student speak really depends on the details hidden by that phrase “missionary zeal.”

        • Ugh. All classrooms are captive audiences, all the time. A fair and competent teacher doesn’t shut up a student who talks about religion; he or she moderates it. You should have heard my presentations about dinosaurs in the first grade, or the Presidents in the 5th. Missionary zeal doesn’t begin to describe them.

      • Which again is if the incident even happened at all. No corroborating evidence combined with the story not having a ring of truth, I continue to be dubious.

  5. #3 is atheism is religion?

    Yes: far too many in government, particularly schools, proselytize on the job. This is unconstitutional establishment of a religion.

    No: then atheism doesn’t qualify for protection. Feel free to discriminate against its adherents.

    • Atheism is non-belief in any gods. I don’t see how you can call that a religion any more than you can call it a religion to believe that kale gets a bad rep because of class-based snobbery.

      Religious discrimination or even persecution is based not only on being a member of a despised faith but also in not being a member of a preferred one. Ergo discriminating against someone for not being a member of a religion is no different than discriminating against a person for being a member of one.

        • So not accepting something that can’t be proved is believing something that can’t be proved? Is not believing in absurd things like gremlins, kitsune, and Trump’s promises to release his tax returns a religion now?

        • Of course atheism is a religion. It’s a belief system, and a philosophical world view, based on faith in something that cannot be proved.

          GK Chesterton’s famous quote makes some sense here:

          “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

          It makes more sense to say that in the absence of a specific religion, that men can (but do not always) become obsessed with other, religious-like beliefs.

            • Because Chesterton was a Catholic, and because he most certainly had received and integrated his Catholicism through sound understanding of intellectual principles, the answer to your question becomes, by necessity, more involved. I made an effort to speak to the larger issue in another post.

              Normative beliefs follow, necessarily, from epistemic definitions and their predicates. That is, a normative ethical program is intimately related to epistemological (and ontological) questions. That is, if you wish to describe Christian Weltanschauung.

              There are many people skilled at conforming their epistemic beliefs to reality who are atheists as a consequence of this skill.

              How do you conform an epistemic belief to reality? Isn’t reality the base of epistemology?

              I think that what you might be saying is that atheists and agnostics (more or less the same in fact) simply have no need to propose that the Cosmic Order necessitates certain strict and, shall we say, absolute definitions. They might be fine with ‘absolute definitions’ that underpin the material sciences, and accept them, but are not comfortable with certain ‘normative’ rules and regulations that inhibit their pleasures.

              Chesterton was likely speaking to the tragic events of the 20th century and to such ideas as were expressed in books like The True Believer. (If you don’t know of the book you can get the sense in the first 5 minutes of this long lecture).

              • “Normative beliefs follow, necessarily, from epistemic definitions and their predicates.”

                Yes, but normative beliefs also have to follow from other norms. You can’t get an “ought” from an “is”. Welcome to Hume territory.

                “How do you conform an epistemic belief to reality? Isn’t reality the base of epistemology?”

                What I meant was that people who have demonstrated skill in epistemology, i.e. skill at forming accurate beliefs, don’t believe in the Christian deity.

                It is still quite possible to derive norms for individuals and for societies without being handed them by a higher power. I’ve done it myself.

                • What I meant was that people who have demonstrated skill in epistemology, i.e. skill at forming accurate beliefs, don’t believe in the Christian deity.

                  What you are saying needs to be translated to something a bit different. Here, let me suggest the following:

                  You suppose that you can actually define who has ‘skill’ and who does not in describing Reality. Certain ones, you favor. Those who describe it as you do, are those you favor as *uniquely skilled*. And among those, you have found that they do not tend to be Christians or believe in the Christian deity.

        • That depends on how you define religion. To define atheism in a way that would accurately describe most people labeled as atheists, atheism does occupy the same concept-space as religion, in the same way that I can write “independent” on a political affiliation poll instead of writing down a specific political party. That doesn’t tell you what policies I support, though, or why, and it certainly isn’t a political party itself.

          Admittedly, there are probably some atheists who take it on faith that deities don’t exist, without really understanding why they believe that. However, atheism in general is not based in faith. Moreover, it is not a belief system. Rather, it is a single characteristic of a belief system, in much the same way that “not having morphine in it” is a characteristic of a cake, but cannot be the only ingredient.

          Personally, I am an atheist because it is obvious to me that no supreme force of good is shaping the course of human history. If there is a very powerful being out there controlling things behind the scenes, I’m certainly not about to worship it. More likely, I’ll be trying steal its powers to help make the world a better place.

          • Personally, I am an atheist because it is obvious to me that no supreme force of good is shaping the course of human history. If there is a very powerful being out there controlling things behind the scenes, I’m certainly not about to worship it. More likely, I’ll be trying steal its powers to help make the world a better place.

            I fully understand what you are saying and why you say it! What you are expressing here is quite precisely and in reduced form the very emblem of the scientistic movement against supernaturalism and its metaphysics!

            Atheism in this sense is not really ‘atheistic’. It hinges in and arises out of a rebellion against Scholasticism and its metaphysics.

            It *underpins* not only a general rebellion against hierarchy & distinction (see that chapter in Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences), but illustrates the entire manifestation of scientism’s and materialism’s creations in our world.

            You show how a basic predicate ( a *declaration* as I call them) necessarily lead to revolutionary activity. And that is one reason why Americanism is a manifestation of radicalism, not conservatism. However, I would have to qualify that somewhat and point to Hyper-Liberalism and late American Radicalism that has become infused with Cultural Marxism.

            Please do spend 20 minutes reviewing the initial pages of Basil Willey’s book. I think you would really appreciate it.

            • “I fully understand what you are saying and why you say it!”

              I was prepared to believe that until I read your next sentence.

              “Atheism in this sense is not really ‘atheistic’. It hinges in and arises out of a rebellion against Scholasticism and its metaphysics.”

              If you understand anything about atheism, you’re doing a very poor job of showing it. Atheism is Exactly What It Says On The Tin: a lack of belief in deities. Or, for some, a belief in a lack of deities. Some people may start subscribing to atheism out of rebellion, but that isn’t a fundamental basis of atheism by any stretch of the imagination. Atheism would still exist if nobody ever believed in deities in the first place. It’s not fundamentally reactionary.

              Using fancy made-up words and stringing them together in sweeping sentences doesn’t make any of those sentences true. They still have to make sense and correspond to something in reality. This isn’t academia or a work of fiction, where you can get away with obscuritanism and plausible-sounding garbage. You don’t get points for merely sounding deep.

              Based on your demonstrated ability to understand, generate, evaluate, and communicate ideas, I put somewhere between zero and slightly negative stock in your book recommendations. If you like it, I estimate it is less likely on average to have anything of real value to say. (Chesterton may be an exception.)

              • If you understand anything about atheism, you’re doing a very poor job of showing it. Atheism is Exactly What It Says On The Tin: a lack of belief in deities. Or, for some, a belief in a lack of deities. Some people may start subscribing to atheism out of rebellion, but that isn’t a fundamental basis of atheism by any stretch of the imagination. Atheism would still exist if nobody ever believed in deities in the first place. It’s not fundamentally reactionary.

                Well, thank you in any case for your direct speech. It is always welcome (and appreciated).

                You are nearly 100% incorrect in what you are saying here though. But if I counter your erroneous notions it is not — not ever — to be deliberately offensive. It has to do with defending principles. I hope that you understand this.

                The atheism that you describe, the particular brand and version of it, is directly a result of the Occidental rebellion and redefinition processes to theism and to the ‘normative ethics’, hierarchies political and social, of the scholastic era.

                The atheism that you describe did not come in a ‘tin’ dropped out of nowhere. It is part of a causal chain that is uniquely Occidental.

                Based on your demonstrated ability to understand, generate, evaluate, and communicate ideas, I put somewhere between zero and slightly negative stock in your book recommendations. If you like it, I estimate it is less likely on average to have anything of real value to say. (Chesterton may be an exception.)

                Well, thanks! Hey, wait a minute …

                You and many others, here (and in other places too), have a tough time with the ideas I present because you are radicals in your unique ways. This is a fair assessment and not one of insult. It is a description of a fact.

                My object, the project that I feel is necessary in my life and with my life, is to first be able to distinguish why you reason in the way you do (please excuse the general *you*, there are exceptions of course), and to be able to distinguish how this came about. Then, to arrive at counter-definitions that will enable going forward on all different levels.

                You don’t get points for merely sounding deep.

                Of course that is true. But in your case — and I don’t think you should blame yourself, at least not right now — you just do not understand what I am talking about. It would take an investment on your part.

    • Where do you see people proselytizing atheism?

      You raise an interesting point about the First Amendment, though. Personally, I think epistemology has advanced enough that we can no longer deny that religion is objectively an inexcusable neglect of basic reasoning principles. We don’t let people graduate school without learning to read and do basic math, so why would we let them graduate school without learning how to formulate and evaluate hypotheses consistent with observations? It’s important for people to have the freedom of belief and equally important for people to respectfully engage with and befriend each other despite differing perspectives, but I see no reason government institutions should avoid calling out false beliefs whatever form they take.

      While religion may be a handy gimmick for getting people to develop good character traits, it is toxic to understanding. Such gimmicks only work if you happen to already be pointed in the direction of good character traits, and religions almost always leave out several vitally important ones. My current project is creating a cultural movement that will help everyone develop good character traits without appealing to the idea of a deity.

      As such, I think that it is anachronistic and embarrassing that religion should have any special privileges whatsoever. From an educational standpoint, it’s roughly on par with Flat-Earthers.

      • Is it ethical to dismiss another’s belief based on their experience which you do not share?

        If you had never heard of, much less tried chocolate would you dismiss someone telling you about this wonderful taste they once tasted? You would do so out of ignorance, and could rationalize it away as something that does not exist. You would have government call out chocolate as a false belief simply because you do not know about chocolate.

        Who made you the arbitrator of what is a false belief? Who decides a religion is false, or what ideas within a religion should not be believed? This is the slippery slope to totalitarianism: deciding what thoughts are acceptable.

        Many people have experiences you have not. The distain your post shows for those people is offensive in its implications, EC.

        • I have no intention of denying people’s experiences. I deny the model of the world that they come up with based on those experiences. There are good and bad ways of building models based on your experiences.

          About a year ago, I once had a discussion with someone who believed in ghosts. I didn’t contest their raw experiences (doors behaving inconsistently, emotions and sensations lingering around rooms, or something like that), but I did doubt that the experiences meant what the person thought they meant.

          Over the course of the discussion, I decided that while I didn’t believe in ghosts, I also didn’t disbelieve in them strongly enough based on the evidence. After all, people discover new aspects of reality every few decades. I was, however, skeptical that a person who believed in ghosts didn’t seem to see the potential applications of this phenomenon. (Possibly unlimited energy, for one thing…)

          Ultimately, I figure that it doesn’t matter to me whether or not ghosts exist until I embark on a project that relies on their existence or nonexistence, at which point I’ll find out. I will, however, call out people for subscribing to a particular, elaborate ghost hypothesis without evidence that favors it over other hypotheses. Furthermore, I will oppose any law that reduces people’s quality of life in order to accomplish some sort of ghost-based benefit. (Also, without a public demo, I would vote against government funding for the Ghostbusters. There, I said it.)

          So no, I don’t seek to control what people believe, especially not simply because they’ve had experiences I haven’t, but I will make sure that they show their work in to demonstrate why they think those experiences add up to their claims.

          • Fair answer, and I better understand your stance and can guess at a source of your objections: laws based on unproven religious ideas.

            I agree. I believe law should be proven to produce the intended results, or be rescinded.

            Don’t ask me how we could make that work in the real world, though.

        • Slickwilly: I suggest ‘stupid’ or maybe ‘pointless’ rather than ‘unethical’. We are all biased by our differing experiences. We think in ‘words’ but those words mean different things to us: particularly words like ‘God’ and ‘believe’ and even in Clintonesque mode, ‘is’. We only risk ‘totalitarianism’ when the ‘arbitrators’ have power. Our greatest freedom is to be able to walk away.

      • Where do you see people proselytizing atheism?

        Here is your answer. It was sitting, with a gorgeous if flamboyant crest, right on your own head! Not particularly melodious, slightly grating, but catchy!

        I think epistemology has advanced enough that we can no longer deny that religion is objectively an inexcusable neglect of basic reasoning principles. We don’t let people graduate school without learning to read and do basic math, so why would we let them graduate school without learning how to formulate and evaluate hypotheses consistent with observations?

        In fact, this is a Cultural Marxist construct, and it is what gives motive power to a basic heresy. You can find the same *intentionality*, the same self-certainty that can see things no other way! operating in a multitude of areas and disciplines.

        As you nicely indicate, the tenets of atheism are taught in the schools, yet too they are *absorbed* by social osmosis. It could be direct but it it more likely subtle. It is sustained and *certain* though. Atheism comes on the scene as a result of *profound shift in metaphysics*. It is definitely linked to materialism, scientific materialism and also to ‘scientism’.

        It is, in fact, a materialistic episteme that is in the process of supplanting, and gutting, the ideational content of the former metaphysics. You are its exponent! What you say — precisely — shows what it thinks, what it desires, what it sets out to do and what it desires to obtain. It is a form of radicalism. Not only are you infected by this ideology but it infects all of us to one degree or another. Remember:

        Heresy empowered by Cultural Marxism defines Hyper-Liberalism©.

        Christopher Dawson wrote:

        The Western mind has turned away from the contemplation of the absolute and the eternal to the knowledge of the particular and the contingent. It has made man the measure of all things and has sought to emancipate human life from its dependence on the supernatural. Instead of the whole intellectual and social order being subordinated to spiritual principles, every activity has declared its independence, and we see politics, economics, science and art organizing themselves as autonomous kingdoms which owe no allegiance to a higher power.

        To turn *all that* around is what we of the Traditional Right seek to bring about. It is a recovery process of what has been shunted to the side and *dismissed* with the intellectual imperiousness of which you give pretty clear demonstration!

        But you do not see yourself as bringing forward a countervailing metaphysic. In fact you do not see yourself as involved in metaphysics at all. What you *see* and what you describe simply seems to you the most rational, the most sensible, the most logical, and the completely necessary.

        Well, that’s how I see it anyway. YMMV. 🙂

        • In the context I was responding to with my question, I meant to ask where Matthew B. saw people in government or schools proselytizing religion.

          Yes, of course I’m proselytizing atheism. I’m not about to let people here who criticize atheism based on misconceptions go uncorrected.

          No, it is not a Cultural Marxist construct. Atheism has been around for hundreds of years before Marx. “Marxism”, “Hyper-liberalism”… those may involve atheism, but that doesn’t make atheists fundamentally Marxist or hyper-liberal any more than using flour for cake means that flour in general is a cake construct.

          You aren’t going to understand things if you keep trying to define them using unrelated, half-baked ideas from centuries past. You’ve picked up a bunch of oddly-shaped puzzle pieces from old books, and you’re trying to fit them all together. Those pieces don’t describe the real world, though. They connect irrelevant concepts together, but you don’t see that because you take the puzzle pieces for granted. You’ll have much more success building things up from atomic principles, the smallest conceptual building blocks you can find.

          Throw out the labels and the puzzle pieces and try doing your own reasoning. Think about specific cause and effect mechanisms, without glossing over them with “-isms”.

          Until you do, nobody can take your reasoning seriously. Your vocabulary is exactly what post-modernists mock, and as long as you use it, you couldn’t so much as persuade a telemarketer to upgrade your service plan.

          • Until you do, nobody can take your reasoning seriously. Your vocabulary is exactly what post-modernists mock, and as long as you use it, you couldn’t so much as persuade a telemarketer to upgrade your service plan.

            A good insult wins you many points as long however that you do not simultaneously froth at the mouth. Nice! I like the one about the telemarketer …

            No, it is not a Cultural Marxist construct. Atheism has been around for hundreds of years before Marx. “Marxism”, “Hyper-liberalism”… those may involve atheism, but that doesn’t make atheists fundamentally Marxist or hyper-liberal any more than using flour for cake means that flour in general is a cake construct.

            The men who began the materialistic revolution in the Occident were all of them definite believers in God. The modern doctrine of atheism is an evolution of their views and ideas and was built on their materialistic doctrines. It gained added wind with Marx. And the *atheism* of our day does have a relationship to the Cultural Marxism I describe.

            Basil Willey wonderfully describes how this came about starting in the Seventeenth century and he does it with a certain panache as well. (He also wrote books examining the 18th and the 19th centuries).

            I will, as the months roll into the years, and as the years into the decades roll, devote more time to *explaining* Cultural Marxism. I do not use it as a vague attack-term. American Cultural Marxism is what you see *our there* eating away at all things like hyperactive enzymes. It is an especially virulent form. I think most people intuitively grasp this. But they just don’t know how to confront it. It may take me a year but I will get there.

            In the meantime, thanks for the engagement! Eventually, the marks I left will fade away . . . 🙂

            • I wrote that in a calm, level voice, but if you choose to read it in a maniacal rasp, you’ll find it easier not to listen to me. I think that’s part of why discussions on the internet don’t work as well. It’s even easier to imagine the words coming out in a really obnoxious voice, or in the same inflection as, “duh, I’m stoopid.” It’s easy to ignore someone if they can’t bring over any of their in-person charisma, and then you can imagine negative charisma for them.

              “The modern doctrine of atheism is an evolution of their views and ideas and was built on their materialistic doctrines.”

              No, that’s wrong. Atheism is not defined by any doctrine. Secular, sure. Materialistic? Arguably, but it doesn’t offer any official measure of success, so it’s not like atheism precludes dedicating your life to a higher purpose.

              How do you explain atheists who are also capitalists? Does Cultural Marxism allow for someone to support capitalism over communism? At some point, you have to stop calling it Marxism and just tell us what it does.

              By the way, did you read my article on fundamental liabilities yet? It’s not very long, and I’m interested to see what you think of the concepts I define.

              • Can an octopus smile? You must always hear irony and humor in what I write and the way I communicate.

                By the way, did you read my article on fundamental liabilities yet? It’s not very long, and I’m interested to see what you think of the concepts I define.

                You did not agree to read the first chapter of Willey’s book. I offered a trade: you read that chapter, I read your essay. I’ll even take notes.

                Deal?

                No, that’s wrong. Atheism is not defined by any doctrine. Secular, sure. Materialistic? Arguably, but it doesn’t offer any official measure of success, so it’s not like atheism precludes dedicating your life to a higher purpose.

                The late school of Occidental atheism, if it can be called that, arose out of resistance to certain doctrines and specific hierarchical structures. Fact. It has a causal history in the world of Occidental ideas.

                How do you explain atheists who are also capitalists? Does Cultural Marxism allow for someone to support capitalism over communism? At some point, you have to stop calling it Marxism and just tell us what it does.

                I said that the term ‘Cultural Marxism’ is a precise term. The men of the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Horkheimer, etc.) began as traditional economic Marxists but, perhaps when the revolutionary project envisioned did not materialize as they’d hoped, they adapted their neo-Marxism to one of general ‘critical theory’.

                These men came to the US and set up (intellectual) shop and their ideas had a far-reaching impact. Cultural Marxism, very strangely, functions within ultra-capitalist forms: within corporation-culture for example. And it has found a castle of a home in America.

                Have you not been listening to your Jonathan Bowden?!? What’s up with you my friend?

                Here, listen to this wonderful talk on New-Left Marxism and The Frankfurt School.

                Now, talk about a grating voice! I like and admire Bowden but Good Lord he is hard to listen to.

                • Sorry, somehow I completely missed that comment. I agree to the trade. I’ll let you know when I’ve finished the first chapter.

                  If you’re going to talk about the history of groups of atheists, that’s fine, but you can’t make statements about atheism in general like that. Individual people frequently become atheists without any influence from historical schools of thought.

                  As for voices, I hear your text as kind of a cheerful, lilting, spacey kind of voice, like Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter movies.

                  • Another excellent insult. You are *two for two* as they say! It had a little bite and yet was not mean. The victim laughs with you – huar huar, huar huar! It was probably true (as to the timbre of the voice) and yet, of course, you’ll never know. But even in that it was a *proper projection* based on *hearing* of what cannot be heard. A good example of inductive reasoning.

                    Still I had to look it up (never having seen those movies):

                  • If you’re going to talk about the history of groups of atheists, that’s fine, but you can’t make statements about atheism in general like that. Individual people frequently become atheists without any influence from historical schools of thought.

                    If you keep bending like this you will eventually have to concede my points!

                    Counter-fact One: An individual could *become an atheist* but that individual would do so relationally to theism.

                    Counter-fact Two: We do not exist in vacuums. If we suddenly *think some thought* and imagine we do so independently, we are likely wrong. It is not possible to be ‘free’ of ‘influence from historical schools of thought’.

                    This should not be taken to mean that I do not respect the atheist’s position. I have looked into it and in fact I read a few titles. I understand its logic. I have at certain times thought that in regard to some topics and atheistic position is a more sound one. (But not as it pertains to the Large Picture of existence itself).

                • Alright, finished the first chapter of Basil Willey’s Seventeenth Century Background. I appreciate the nuance, and agree that empiricism doesn’t have all the answers that some people would like to think it does. That said, I still disagree with most of the conclusions of scholasticism that he thinks are important. I understand why people would believe them, and I appreciate their consistency and the thought that went into them, but ultimately they rely on too many assumptions, false concepts, and inconsistencies with how the world is set up, not on a merely physical level, but on an ethical level.

                  I would recommend substituting existentialism instead of scholasticism. Willey approaches existentialism and the “map-territory distinction” when he talks about how what defines a satisfactory explanation is what purpose we want it for. When the purpose is to exert control over material reality, scientific explanations matter. However, while the explanations of scholasticism are better than nothing when it comes to offering people meaning and purpose, and forming a foundation on which to order societies, they’re much worse than what we could have if we employed fewer biases and assumptions and more applied existentialist philosophy. I think my article introduces some important concepts that are necessary for building any adequate replacement for scholasticism.

                  • …and agree that empiricism doesn’t have all the answers that some people would like to think it does.

                    Well, that is some part of the point surely. But the other part is that we would have to ask what role these different modes of knowing serve. Empiricism is linked to material investigation. It seems to be about gaining material control within material contexts.

                    But the concerns of the Schoolmen, and the concerns of those in religious hierarchies in other cultural contexts as well, are not directed toward gaining material power and domination.

                    That said, I still disagree with most of the conclusions of scholasticism that he thinks are important.

                    Such as, for example, the notion of *salvation of the soul*? Or the *existence of a soul*? Or of metaphysics? There are entire Orders of Ideas that arise out of and depend on recognition of a Deity.

                    What I think is relevant and interesting (aside from the potential personal ramifications in belief vs non-belief) is simply to be able to see what happens when one Metaphysical Structure collapses and another rises up to replace it.

                    First, whole orders of *meaning* necessarily become seen as falsely contrived. One then can only see Life as material and biological process, which are brutal and horrible, and that ethics and morals as they have been arrived at . . . are empty shells. It follows then that as these new doctrines, which are a toppling of old doctrines, become established that the social and ethical mechanisms of society become industrial-mechanical.

                    You speak of ‘existentialism’ and I propose that a *real existentialism* is the eventual complete disregard for the *individual* as conceived through Christian metaphysics and philosophy, and the total intervention of a mechanical-biologically focused industrial State. It seems to me that one must notice that this is the understructure of all dark, dystopian visions. One must also notice that we are living in, or right on the threshold, of such eventualities.

                    Another interesting factor is that Scholasticism, for all its erroneous conclusions, is a form of multi-tiered Existentialism. But it operates within what Richard Weaver calls a ‘metaphysical dream of the world’, and in that case of a tree-tiered world. The absolute dense and absolutely captivating *world* of Hell, our intermediate world where we have free will to choose in what direction we will go, and the Over-World or the Angelical World of freedom and of alliance with supra-physicality.

                    I am so happy that we are having this conversation, EC! Do you have a Rosary (er– do you have eight of them I suppose I should have asked!).

                    However, while the explanations of scholasticism are better than nothing when it comes to offering people meaning and purpose, and forming a foundation on which to order societies, they’re much worse than what we could have if we employed fewer biases and assumptions and more applied existentialist philosophy.

                    No, it is not quite like that, of course. You see *it* from the outside looking in. But *it* sees you on the outside and floundering. It is true, or potentially true, that the Christian Story is imperfectly fabled. It is, after all, a story in many respects: a story that elucidates *truths* that are require a Narrative. But yet those who explore the episteme (centuries of the lives of Saints in their inner work and meditation) pale the accomplishments, on any level, of ‘atheists’. Atheism can build nothing because they do not have proper elements for construction. Let me rephrase that: what they will end up building, because it follows naturally and logically from their predicates and nothing else can, is a mechanical world and a scientistic elite class who will manipulate human protoplasm and biological-idea through chemistry and computer technology. Oh wait! Just what e see forming now! The individualism and individualism, and the Rights of Man, are obstacles to be overcome. I would suggest not failing to take into account some of the more darker inflections when the predicates of *atheism* are realistically assessed . . .

                    I think my article introduces some important concepts that are necessary for building any adequate replacement for scholasticism.

                    Oh Good Lord! Are you going to hold me to reading that?

                  • Good Morning. I did make an effort to read your essay. I must confess that I struggled with it. I cannot say that I understood well enough what you are getting at except to make an effort to describe an ‘existential problem’ related to existence and, I would gather, without needing to carve out, shall I say, or stress a relation to higher existence or *metaphysical existence* as I might say.

                    Your writing though fits with your general presentation and I think I can say that I understand where you are coming from, though I cannot say that I understand where you are getting to.

                    However, while the explanations of scholasticism are better than nothing when it comes to offering people meaning and purpose, and forming a foundation on which to order societies, they’re much worse than what we could have if we employed fewer biases and assumptions and more applied existentialist philosophy. I think my article introduces some important concepts that are necessary for building any adequate replacement for scholasticism.

                    I do not think that Willey is trying to revive scholasticism. I think that he sees what its flaws are (and they are definite and real flaws). I think that what he tries to illustrate, and I think he does it very well (I have not encountered any other work that said it as elegantly and directly as he does), is the degree to which we exist within a liminal area between one total and complete metaphysics, and another developing one. I think it is fair (and necessary) to say that Mechanism and Materialism are indeed metaphysical positions, though of course they could not see themselves as such. They see themselves as *what is* and not as choices or impositions.

                    Where I must confuse you — and where you see me as involved in deep error (and your position as an anti-metaphysical atheist necessitates this view) — is in keeping open the *conceptual pathway* to a higher order of Being*. Simultaneously, what must also irk and confuse, is holding to the other side of the same equation: a Hell-realm, or an afterworld of absolute ill-effect.

                    I will admit to you that with *all this* I (and ‘we’) are dealing in difficult, and even murky, territories that require clarifications. That is why definitions and redefinitions are in order. What does ‘sin’ mean? What does ‘salvation’ mean? Each term is loaded and complex. And to *reconsider* them in our present means to review an olde territory. That territory is Medievalism. But I think that we could say, we would agree, and truthfully, that there can not ever be a *return* (to anything) but only a going forward into something.

                    Obviously, you and I differ extremely in how we see ‘going forward’.

  6. The Bible was wrong about homosexuality, but that’s forgivable, since thousands of years ago even the smartest, most ethical and thoughtful people were wrong about a lot of things.

    To say that the Bible is wrong is wrong.

    Our Lord God HaShem is to be obeyed.

  7. 2. Good for Daigle. She’s following in the bootsteps of some of the Christian best in the C/W music world.

    In the late 1990’s, Chely Wright was on top of the country charts. Her career continued to blossom into the 2000’s, when she began high-profile relationships with country artists Vince Gill and Brad Paisley to hide her growing realization that she was a lesbian. In a 2010 interview with People Magazine, Wright became the first country singer to come out as openly gay.

    Later that year, she released a memoir, Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer, that shared in detail her experience of dealing with her sexuality while in the music industry. (She also publicly apologized for knowingly putting the men in her life and other friends in the position of having to lie for her.)

    In 2014, Kacey Musgraves, a 25-year old Texas native, became the first gay country singer to take home the CMA Song of the Year award, for “Follow Your Arrow,” written by two LGBT songwriters.

    Huffington Post quoted a gay-hostile Colorado pastor, Kevin Swanson, saying “If she had sang [sic] that thing in a country bar in the 1920s or 1880s in Denver, somebody would’ve called for a rope. She would not have made it out of town.” The “thing” was the hit tune of her album Same Trailer, Different Park.

    That same year,Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman came out within hours of each other, followed by two award-winning songwriters, Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark, long known in the industry to have same-sex partners.

    And so it goes.

    When accosted by people with “God Wants You Dead”-type signs who are haranguing passersby with that and other homophobic messages, I have been known to use the quote I took from Wright’s biographical movie, “Wish Me Away”: Nobody so mean as somebody who’s mean for Jesus.

  8. The Bible was wrong about homosexuality

    But somehow murdering the firstborn of Egypt and genociding the Amalekites was very legal and very cool?

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