Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sacrifice, Transcendence, and Vertical Recollection

Memorial Day -- like any holy-day -- is not a remembrance of things past, but of things present; specifically, it is a remembrance of things surpassed, or of the things that surpass us. Specifically, it is an occasion for vertical recollection of a divine archetype that is present now -- can only be present now -- but requires the substance of ritual in order to vividly apprehend and renew it.

We remember our heroes because they illuminate the eternal realm of the heroic, a realm that we must treasure and venerate if we are to survive as a culture. Not only is the hero a transcendent archetype, but he is only heroic because he has sacrificed something in defense of another archetype -- truth, liberty, beauty, the good, etc. In the absence of this true formulation, neither the heroic nor his sacrifice make any sense at all. This is why to "deconstruct," say, George Washington, is not just an attack on the father of our country, but on fatherhood, God, and the realm of transcendent (i.e., the Real) in general.

Will just left a lengthy comment that touches on many of the things I wanted to write about this morning. I will simply quote him:

"Memorial Day is certainly for honoring the fallen heroes of our military, and John Edwards' attempt to bastardize it for political ends is cheap to the point of 'deconstruction' profanity. Like most leftist stunts, it focuses on something that is, in the highest spiritual sense, truly ceremonial and attempts to tear away its divine resonance.

"So I was thinking, in what way is Memorial Day larger than it is -- as all spiritual ceremonies truly are? Well, as has been pointed out here, it's obvious that Memorial Day is a day for celebrating, honoring, remembering what heroism really means -- courageous self-sacrifice in the name higher ideals, principles, which are, to be sure, *spiritual* ideals and principles. So in one sense, our fallen military heroes are symbolic of this ideal. They are the most vivid, the most tangible representation of this ideal that we have before us. There are others, of course, who likewise are vivid, in-the-flesh symbols of this spiritual ideal: police, firefighters, the occasional citizen who rises to the heroic occasion and is so publicly honored. There is no hero, however, quite as vivid, quite so symbolic of self-sacrificing virtue than the military hero.

"The great wonder of it, of course, is that our fallen heroes are not paintings, statues, images -- they were and are human. They are us. And still they are symbols, ideals in the flesh -- destiny selected them to serve this role. That role is to remind us that we all are potential self-sacrificing heroes, that we all are of divine essence. Somehow, on some level, we must realize this, otherwise we wouldn't have a day for honoring our fallen heroes.

"The other day Bob alluded to the some of the symbolic threads in the Wizard of Oz. Overview-wise, I have long seen WoO as a tale of a journey into the Realm of Divine Archetypes wherein we (through Dorothy) see ourselves, and others, in our real, divine essence. In her eyes, her Kansas friends and acquaintances became Scarecrow, Lion, Tin Man -- became, in effect, their true selves, all on a heroic quest to reclaim their spiritual birthright. In Kansas, they were just dusty average Joes. In the Higher Realm, they were their real selves, knights, heroes.

"Most of us are Kansans. We do not have a symbolic public role to play. And yet there are countless souls who commit unseen (by the public) acts of tremendous self-sacrifice and heroism, whose deeds will never be acknowledged -- in some cases, not by a single other -- in this world. Our military heroes remind us that such heroism is possible. The secular attempt to 'deconstruct' military heroism is no less than an attempt to sever us from our Oz, our spiritual reality. We need daily remind ourselves that we are on the yellow brick road of our personal heroic quest. And we need to remind ourselves that, though our personal acts of heroism may never be acclaimed in this life, we will, in the fullness of time, be acknowledged as the heroes we imagine ourselves to be."

*****

About the only thing I can add is that John Edwards is a yellow prick load.

As a prelude.... I guess it's not a prelude anymore.... But anyway, I am reminded of a couple of particularly resonant lines in Van der Leun's beautiful piece yesterday, Small Flags: "These days we resent, it seems, having [cemeteries] fill at all, clinging to our tiny lives with a passion that passes all understanding; clinging to our large liberty with the belief that all payments on such a loan will be interest-free and deferred for at least 100 years."

Elsewhere he writes, "It is not, of course, that the size of the sacrifice has been reduced. That remains the largest gift one free man may give to the country that sustained him. It is instead the regard of the country for whom the sacrifices were made that has gotten smaller, eroded by the self-love that the secular celebrate above all other values" (emphasis mine).

*****

Ven der Leun touches on many themes that could be expanded into entire posts: the desperate clinging to our tiny lives; the earthly passion that passes all understanding since it denies transcendence; the notion that liberty is free (even less costly than air or water, which at least require the sacrifice of toilet tissue); that death is the greatest gift one man can give another; and that self-love is the polar opposite of true love and sacrifice, and that which causes the country to contract vertically even as it expands in every other way.

Sacred, sacrament, and sacrifice are all etymologically linked; all are derived from sacer, or to the holy and mysterious. This itself is interesting, for holy, of course, implies wholeness, and wholeness is indeed a portal to mystery, just as "partness" is a perpetual riddle that verges on the bizarre. For example, a psychotic person lives in a bizarre world of disconnected objects and experiences that he cannot synthesize into unity, or wholeness. Often he will superimpose a false unity in the form of paranoid delusions -- something we transparently see in a collective form on the left. Paranoia is "a false wholeness," but it is never far from the nameless dread that sponsors it.

A couple of days ago I noted the truism that leftist thought -- even more than being ruled by emotion -- is primarily iconic. Or one might say that the left simply has very passionate feelings about its icons, which they confuse with "thoughts." You can see this same phenomenon in our recent deust-up with the atheist folks, who are also (ironically, but not really) ruled by overpowering feelings about their own sacred icons. Point out where they are wrong, and they hysterically accuse you of calling them animals and depriving them of the humanity which they deprive themselves. Rational they are not. Or, at the very least, the more sober among them prove the adage that there is a form of madness that consists of losing everything with the exception of one's reason.

Back to the leftists. A disturbing number of them not only believe that Islamic terrorists are not engaged in a global war against Western civilization (or "civilization," for short), but that the United States government itself engineered 9-11. Van der Leun alludes to this, where he writes of how increasing numbers of American asses with Rosie-colored glasses prefer "to take refuge in the unbalanced belief that 9/11 was actually something planned and executed by the American government. Why many of my fellow Americans prefer this 'explanation' is something that I once felt was beyond comprehension. Now I see it is just another comfortable position taken up by those for whom the habits of automatic treason have become just another fashionable denigration of the country that has made their liberty to believe the worst of it not only possible but popular."

Yes, the left is insane, but exactly kind of insanity is this? How have they become so detached from reality?

It has to do with the specific reality from which they have become detached. As another fine example of the shallowness and naivete of atheist thought, one of them writes that

"Millions and millions of people died in Russia and China under communist governments -- and those governments were both secular and atheistic, right? So weren't all of those people killed in the name of atheism and secularism? No. Atheism itself isn't a principle, cause, philosophy, or belief system which people fight, die, or kill for. Being killed by an atheist is no more being killed in the name of atheism than being killed by a tall person is being killed in the name of tallness."

This looks like a banal statement -- which it unavoidably is -- and yet, it is quite sinister in its implications, and illuminates all of Van der Leun's points mentioned above. First, atheism is petty and unworthy of man. No one would kill for it, just as no one would die for it, since it is the substance of meaninglessness, precisely. Why sacrifice one's life for the principle that there are no transcendent principles worth dying for?

The least of atheism's baleful effects is that it automatically makes the hero a fool because there is nothing worth defending. The more catastrophic effect is that it leaves the field open to evil-doers who are openly hostile to the transcendent principles that animate our uniquely decent and beautiful civilization. This is why you see an Old Europe that is supine before the barbarians in its midst who wish to destroy it. Socialism has nothing to do with "generosity" or selflessness; rather, it is the quintessence of selfishness, and diminishes a man down to the conviction that his animal needs should be provided for by someone else. The only thing that can rouse his passion is a threat to his entitlements. Only if the Islamists were to threaten their 12 weeks of paid vacation would they be taken seriously by socialist EUnuchs.

This is also why, as Ven der Leun writes, the habits of automatic treason have become just another fashionable denigration of the country that has made their liberty to believe the worst of it not only possible but popular. As I noted yesterday, this is the complete and utter cynicism that results from destroying the reality of the vertical and clinging to one's puny life with the passion that passes understanding.

For just as wholeness, the One, is associated with the peace that passes understanding, the exile from this real human world into the bizarre and fragmented world of the secular left brings not so much the passion that passes understanding, but the passion that cannot comprehend itself because it has no vector or direction beyond the self. In fact, nothing can be understood in the absence of that which it is converging upon, which reveals its meaning. To systematically deny the vertical is to obliterate the possibility of meaning and truth, which is obvious; however, it is also to destroy the hero and that transcendent reality for which he is willing to sacrifice his life.

Only in such a debased and (literally this time) subhuman world can a truly malevolent soul such as John Edwards be considered fit to rule, for there is nothing odd about cannibals electing a cannibal king -- or of the utterly cynical and self-absorbed voting for one of their own.

Of the sacred, Schuon writes that it is in the first place "attached to the transcendent order, secondly, possesses the character of absolute certainty and, thirdly, eludes the comprehension and control of the ordinary human mind. Imagine a tree whose leaves, having no kind of direct knowledge about the root, hold a discussion about whether or not a root exists and what its form is if it does: if a voice then came from the root telling them that the root does exist and what its form is, that message would be sacred."

Again, the message is sacred and holy because it is transcendent and relates knowledge of the whole.

Therefore, the sacred also represents "the presence of the center in the periphery, of the immutable in the moving; dignity is essentially an expression of it, for in dignity too the center manifests outwardly; the heart is revealed in gestures. The sacred introduces a quality of the absolute into relativities and confers on perishable things a texture of eternity." (Never again wonder at the profound lack of diginity of the left, for it is intrinsic and inevitable.)

Another way of saying it is that the sacred relates to the world as "the interference of the uncreate in the created, of the eternal in time, of the infinite in space, of the supraformal in forms; it is the mysterious introduction into one realm of existence of a presence which in reality contains and transcends that realm and could cause it to burst asunder in a sort of divine explosion. The sacred is the incommensurable, the transcendent, hidden within a fragile form belonging to this world; it has its own precise rules, its terrible aspects and its merciful qualities; moreover any violation of the sacred, even in art, has incalculable repercussions. Intrinsically the sacred is inviolable, and so much so that any attempted violation recoils on the head of the violator."

Yes with regard to the latter, be careful, because I might just drop a house on you!

Which brings us back to Will's riff on the Wizard of Oz. On the one hand, the United States, more than any other nation, is flat and dusty old Kansas. But at the same time, it is Oz, the vertical and shining Emerald City on a hill. We must never forget either fact, one of them Real, the other only merely real.

122 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Brilliant, as usual. Thomas Sowell explans how the left in effect creates a "false transcendent" (i.e., "sugar candy mountain") with its systematic misuse of language.

5/29/2007 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I am somewhat torn on the subject of sacraments, holy days and houses of God. For me, these things are like wells on a flooded plain. This is entirely due to God's pervasive omnipresence and not any personal piety on my behalf: I sought truth only, with no regard for virtue. I also honestly believe that Jesus wanted his students to remember him, the Bread of Life, at every meal and not just a ritual eucharist. But already the apostles seem to have realized that this was unbearable for the layman. It would, as you quote, make the world explode. And so we got the holy days, holy places, holy objects etc, because most people are so receptive to the sacred that being immersed in it would destroy them utterly. I guess it is only by some innate resistance to holiness that I am able to live in a world where God roams free. Strange indeed.

5/29/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous the fez said...

I was meditating on Bob's assertion,

"To systematically deny the vertical is to obliterate the possibility of meaning and truth, which is obvious; however, it is also to destroy the hero and that transcendent reality for which he is willing to sacrifice his life."

and I came to a counter-intuitive and perhaps odious realization that without the horizontally-obsessed enemy, there could be no vertical heroes and no soldiers.

What if there was nothing and nobody to fight? What would then become of the souls of vertical warrior-heros?

Imagine a world of no atheists (all people loving God well and truly), no leftists (all people loving and doing true liberal politics), no criminals, no Islamists.

How would one experience sacrifice? The soldier would be destroyed.

Perhaps this is the meaning of "loving your enemy." The enemy makes us strong; it is good when a fell and fearful enemy crosses our paths. Deep down, are we not relieved that here at last is weighty work to do?

Furthermore, the enemy must pay the heavy spiritual burden of their vile actions, whereas the hero is rewarded in heaven.

Pity comes to my mind; is not the enemy sacrificing herself, albeit unknowingly, so that others may fully ascend?

What say ye bloggers?

5/29/2007 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Two things come immediately to mind: there are certain "inevitable" conditions of existence which are the will of God, even if not willed by him; and "it takes all kinds to make a world."

5/29/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

I believe that no gods exist.

"First, atheism is petty and unworthy of man."

I agree, at least to the extent of atheism being "petty". It is a very minor aspect of belief on the whole. Atheists may believe in supernatural forces, or not; they may believe in evolution, or not; they may believe in an afterlife, or not. To take the single aspect of belief which defines an atheist and use it to cast a brush of shallowness over all atheists is misguided.

"No one would kill for it, just as no one would die for it"

Correct. Some would view this as a positive. Muslims would kill or die for Allah. Christians would kill for the unborn, or let others die due to resistance to some kinds of research. If "transcendent" principles lead one to kill, I would question them.

"it automatically makes the hero a fool because there is nothing worth defending."

Principles other than deities can be worth defending, and these principles do not require deism at their core. You once more fall into the trap of equating atheism with an entire belief system. Defense of principles to the point of violence to uphold them should be based in the strength of the principles themselves, not in an illusion of a supernatural (as in extraplanar) quality of them. Valuing freedom and liberty is not a sine qua non of belief in a deity, and many would argue that the two are opposed.

"The more catastrophic effect is that it leaves the field open to evil-doers "

Religion or belief in a deity has not kept these evil-doers at bay, and has proven susceptible to being manipulated itself in the service of evil.

5/29/2007 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends


Good post! Lots of meat and potatoes! Nice to see it so neatly tied up in a big yellow bow...

"Sacred, sacrament, and sacrifice are all etymologically linked; all are derived from sacer, or to the holy and mysterious. This itself is interesting, for holy, of course, implies wholeness, and wholeness is indeed a portal to mystery, just as "partness" is a perpetual riddle that verges on the bizarre. "

Now I see where the phrase Holy Cow comes from. Hindus...I really like the mandalas. Cosmic maps that capture the beauty of the micro and macrocosmos of truth.

5/29/2007 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

We remember our heroes because they illuminate the eternal realm of the heroic, a realm that we must treasure and venerate if we are to survive as a culture.

Vigil
one riderless horse
warrior's last words struck in stone
clearwater canyon

5/29/2007 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Huh. I wonder if the virtues are the 'Shadow on the wall' cast by the substance, which is Goodness, Truth, Beauty? Or perhaps they are the shadow cast by the whole that is a part? I mused on virtues today, considering them as a kind of whole; but perhaps they are the shadow or reflection of that whole, on the cave wall or so to speak, as they point towards the real whole which is a state of being, whereas the virtues are states of doing.

When you said 'center at the periphery' (which you use quite often, as it is a great Schoun-ism I think) I thought, we're all leaves, and virtues are like the outline of the whole? The true leaf? Whereas Truth, Goodness, Beauty are the substance of it; Virtues have subjectivity while the three have objectivity? in other words the virtues define the boundaries and thus make a subject, while the three are the substance of it and thus make it object.

Dunno. Wheels within wheels of my mind t'day.

5/29/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Religion or belief in a deity has not kept these evil-doers at bay, and has proven susceptible to being manipulated itself in the service of evil.

This is the argument, or the tip of it, in the song 'Imagine' - this leads down the path to the cult of indiscriminateness. By reducing everything to nonspecifics (and thus also eliminating generalities) you gradually eliminate all conflict between man based on ideas; but having no ideas remaining you have only the base nature of man, which is no different than the nature of beasts.

In other words you replace principled (for good or ill) conflict with unprincipled beastly conflict.

You haven't removed the nature of reality, which is irrevocable, you've just flattened it out.

5/29/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Christians would kill for the unborn, or let others die due to resistance to some kinds of research."

These are out-and-out manufactured falsehoods.

"Valuing freedom and liberty is not a sine qua non of belief in a deity, and many would argue that the two are opposed."

It depends on the deity, doesn't it? ;) If it's your self on the throne & wearing the coronet, well, anything goes.

5/29/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Is liberty valuable even without gods? Yes, if by god you mean guy sitting in the clouds playing The Sims with our life.

But if there is no Ultimate that transcends time, if the universe is just a dying child's dream, doomed to be forgotten and unexist entirely... then liberty, joy or suffering become intrinsically meaningless, mere neural impulses to pass through the matter of our brains on the way from nonexistence to nonexistence.

5/29/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

For what it's worth, Bob Dylan had a one-word description of Wiz's signature song, Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (composer Harold Arlen) - "cosmic", Dylan called it.

Fitting adjective, considering.

5/29/2007 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yep, mag, it is really a matter of what one means when one says, "Void".

Here's an example of leftist thinking & indiscriminateness leading science in place of truth...

Here is the real gem:

Patrick Markey says it’s particularly interesting that warm people tend to be promiscuous, because in some ways, it conflicts with the moral thinking that promiscuity is bad.

That's 100% backwards. His thinking clearly is, 'Warmth is good. If people with warmth are more promiscuous, then is promiscuity bad?'

Or, as it really is just a Play of Masks I suppose, down beneath is, "Gee, I'd like to get laid more. Double whammy! If I'm WARMER, which is something easy to do and good, I can get laid more. AND promiscuity is now 'not so bad anymore' because of my circular reasoning!"

Rather, he has proven something we knew all along; personal warmth is attractive, just as confidence is; both the 'cold' and 'warm' person give off confidence; that warmth can be used to get laid is - um - it goes without saying. And, it says nothing about morality.

Its like saying noses are shaped the way they are because of eyeglasses -- ! Guess they really haven't gone anywhere since Candide.

5/29/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

River -

Your musing about the post by crypticlife and Lennon's song "Imagine," reminded of this, from a speech by Evan Sayet, last March:

"See if nobody ever thought they were right, what would we have to disagree about? If we didn't disagree, surely we wouldn't fight. If we didn't fight of course we wouldn't go to war. Without war there'd be no poverty, without poverty, there'd be no crime, without crime there'd be no injustice. It's a utopian vision. And all that's required to usher in this utopia, is the rejection of all fact, reason, evidence, logic, truth, morality and decency. All the tools that you and I use in our attempts to be better people, to make the world more right, by trying to be right, by siding with right, by recognizing what is right, and moving towards it.

......So what you have is people who feel that the best way to eliminate rational thought, the best way to eliminate the attempt to be right, is to work always to prove that right isn't right, and to prove that wrong isnt' wrong. To bring about a philosophy - and you see this in John Lennon's song, "Imagine." "Imagine there's no countries." Not "imagine great countries." Not "imagine defeat the Nazis."

"Imagine no religions." And the key line is imagine a time when anything and everything that mankind values - is devalued to the point where there's "nothing left to kill or die for." "

5/29/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

the fez said... "What if there was nothing and nobody to fight? What would then become of the souls of vertical warrior-heros?"

This is the same type of reasoning, not surprisingly leftist at root, which leads to 'observations' such as 'the hoodlum who throws a rock through a shop window, actually benefits the economy by causing the store owner to give back from his savings to employ the window maker to replace his shop window'.

Back in the 1800's, without two centuries of examples & thought behind them to draw on, such a statement was merely ignorant. Today, it is not only ignorant, but stupid - worse, it is willfully stupid (Look up Fredrich Bastiat on the web, particularly 'The Law' and "Economic Sophisms", if you care to catch up with the 19th century).

Where would we be without vandals & thugs? There would be unimaginably more prosperity and growth in this world, both materialy and spiritualy. Those with souls of defending warriors might become explorers, or doctors, teachers - carpenters or cab drivers - Men leading lives to the best of their ability free from the weight of others needing defense from human filth.

The honest do not nead the dishonest, as the healthy do not need disease. The reverse can not be said of the parasites - human or bacterial.

5/29/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Just in case there is any doubt-

"Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity." (Yahoo finance news)

In flatland, one person's vision is always another's nighmare. "And awaaayyyy we go!"

5/29/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Van: Yup. Some people yin their yang wrong. This is another way to say that one cannot describe the variety of relationships with a single symbol or symbolic idea...

This is clear in nature where there are symbiotic relationships; like a farmer and carpenter you have helpful organisms like the little birds on rhinos; but there are parasitic ones like the thug and store owner. Anyone want to tell me we'd be worse off without tape worms? There are levels of parasitism clearly, tape worms (and other types of infectious worms) being the worst offenders - they're like the radical islamists. But some parasites are merely 'pests' - like flies, silverfish, nettles, rats, roaches etc. They're only parasitic when their numbers get too high. The same cannot be said for violent criminals or vicious bandits or suicide bombers.

5/29/2007 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Hi Susannah,

Yes, it would depend on the deity :). Do any condemn slavery? The difference, when one does not delegate their moral principles to a mythical third power, is that one has to be comfortable in one's ethics on their own. Your implication that some are comfortable with quite low standards is not entirely misfounded, but would overstate your case as a general proposition.

As for the "out-and-out manufactured falsehoods", I suspect you know what I was referring to but have some reason for rejecting the statement. I'm willing to let that stand as your opinion, or willing to pay attention if you want to justify it.

Magnus,

Do you really require something to exist eternally before it has significance? Personally, I do not require such grandiosity. Liberty's value is from where it is applied. If liberty has "intrinsic" value, should we rebel against standards of clothing or lament the plight of the bumblebee straitjacketed by its hard-wired nerve cluster?

Personally, the "mere nerve impulses" you speak of hold a great deal significance to me, despite the fact they won't exist after I'm dead. Whether there is some greater meaningfulness to the concepts outside of this plane of existence is not something on which I can base assertions.

5/29/2007 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

bob-

sorry for the OT...

i saw the hero/anti-hero theme in your recent threads, and wondered if you'd seen "V for Vendetta"...sorta Hugo Weaving as an anti-Neo/Guy Fawkes (cf "The Matrix") in "a totalitarian Britain"...

apparently "the Left" (Still!) truly believes only "the Right" has street gangs and goons,star chambers and secret police.
- gumshoe

PS - the director ends the film with the Rolling Stones
"Street Fighting Man".

"Hey! Think the time is right for violent revolution".

"Street Fighting Man
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Ev'rywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
'Cause summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy
Well then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock 'n' roll band
'Cause in sleepy London town
There's just no place for a street fighting man
No!

Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution
'Cause where I live the game to play is compromise solution
Well then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock 'n' roll band
'Cause in sleepy London town
There's no place for a street fighting man
No!
Get down

Hey! Said my name is called disturbance
I'll shout and scream, I'll kill the king, I'll rail at all his servants
Well, what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock 'n' roll band
'Cause in sleepy London town
There's no place for a street fighting man
No
Get down"
______________________________
it truly is the inability
to escape the Oedipal worldview.

hey mate!...snort yer Da's ashes.
what the 'ell.
didja catch my latest flick?

5/29/2007 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Personally, the "mere nerve impulses" you speak of hold a great deal significance to me, despite the fact they won't exist after I'm dead. Whether there is some greater meaningfulness to the concepts outside of this plane of existence is not something on which I can base assertions.

Rather, one might say, The meaningfulness of the things within this plane of existence is how concepts outside of it are asserted...

The nous, is that thing which reacts to the archetypes within existence and says, there is something more to this than just dust and constant shuffling.

It's a two-way street. No faith can exist for long or happily that is detached from reality. In other words, there is some point where these truths impact reality. Either they create life or destruction; it is cowardice to generalize or philosophize them to the point that they can never touch reality.

Unsurprising, The Truth itself left a pretty crater awhile ago; people are still running from the shockwave.

5/29/2007 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Or more simply, true faith is a positive feedback loop between the essence and nature, the substance and form, object and subject, absolute and relative, finite and infinite, etc.

5/29/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

walt: I've seen that speech before. Sent it around to everyone I know... dunno if they watched it. They must think I'm nuts ;)

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

5/29/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Bob,

You wrote:

The least of atheism's baleful effects is that it automatically makes the hero a fool because there is nothing worth defending...

Although those on the left routinely denigrate the sacrifices of our heroes, it seems that they do this, more often than not, in the abstract. When confronted by a case of real heroism (like the story of Marine First Sergeant Brad Kasal), it would take a courageous leftist indeed to mock that heroism. It seems to me that real heroism is a quality that is so (for lack of a better word) convincing, that very few people can fail to recognize it, and to be humbled in confronting it.

And in any case I wonder whether there exists such an animal as a truly courageous leftist?

Jamie Irons

5/29/2007 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Crypticlife,
I doubt I can enunciate this more clearly than did George Bernard Shaw: "What a man believes may be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the assumptions on which he habitually acts."

I have several atheist friends, who loudly assures me that they don't believe in "sky fairies", but who still clearly assume a hierarchical world, in which certain values are higher than other. They intuitively accept that freedom is more important amd worthy of the ultimate sacrifice than white panties, even though they claim that all things as transient and ultimately material in nature. Despite their purported atheism, they accept the part of the cosmic hierachy that is closest to them, but refuse to accept (or even mock) the parts that are further away.

I believe that in most cases, the "atheism" of these people is a rejection of the classical "god", the somewhat irrational cosmic dictator whose whims become moral decrees and who saves or condemns people based on arbitrary and unexplainable personal taste. What honest person would not rebel against such gods? But the people who hang out here don't have that kind of God concept. We have emptied the God-concept of its arbitrary lower values rather than deny that there exists a higher value. Or at least we are somewhere in that process.

5/29/2007 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Well said, Magnus. There are a million excuses for not believing (I think I once claimed them all), but no good reasons.

5/29/2007 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Magnus, yes, that's my impression. There are certainly at least two atheisms; one of absolute materialism and another that is a kind of implicit theism. The implicit theism usually relies on a kind of strawman god to work against; or at the very least the 'god' of a certain fair quantity of the religious, inc. Islamists.

Attempting to understand God as Father while emptying your own conception of him as father -- a challenge worthy of heroes.

5/29/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Use a mirror much?

5/29/2007 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Of course, bigotry in itself is neither here nor there. It all depends upon what you are bigoted against. And when Bob says "subhuman" he means it literally, not as an insult. He is referring to that aspect of humanness that is achieved rather than conferred by virtue of genetics. Thus, for example, countless biological males are not proper men. The usual term is "infrahuman," to distinguish between it and the human and suprahuman planes.

5/29/2007 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

mack - If there is no God, you are guaranteed of being nothing. If there is a God, you at least have the possibility of becoming something. Is it nothing more than a guarantee you seek? Then I guess you have it.

5/29/2007 03:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Alan - you're like my doppelganger with the same first name and almost the same last name!

Anyway, how can Bob dehumanize people who do such a great job of dehumanizing themselves?

5/29/2007 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

He must be from the Bizarro world.

5/29/2007 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"As for the "out-and-out manufactured falsehoods", I suspect you know what I was referring to but have some reason for rejecting the statement. I'm willing to let that stand as your opinion, or willing to pay attention if you want to justify it."

I presume you are referring to the shooting of an abortionist, and stem cell research. Perhaps I'm wrong.

If I'm right, it's a fact (not my opinion) that it's dishonest to state that Christians are for violence against abortionists, and against stem cell research. That simply isn't true. You said it & you can try to justify it if you will, though it won't be possible...I don't feel the need to justify anything.

On what basis would *you* condemn slavery?

Anyway, Magnus already said what I was thinking way better than I could. :)

"Whether there is some greater meaningfulness to the concepts outside of this plane of existence is not something on which I can base assertions."

Yet...

"I believe that no gods exist."

I find atheism so confusing...probably for the reasons that Magnus outlined.

5/29/2007 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Use a mirror much?"

LOL!

5/29/2007 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2007 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does "Siggy" comment on this blog?

I like to talk with "Siggy" because he never fails to make a big idiot out of himself. He likes to pretend that he is really smart and that he is saving the world from Islam. He does not have much self-esteem. Sadly, he has chosen to hang around with a bad crowd who like to lie all the time. So I have no sympathy for "Siggy". I am not sure that I would say he is a liar, but he is not smart enough to realize that he goes on and on and on while saying nothing of substance. He also likes to draw ridiculous conclusions. If you criticize him, he will call you an anti-Semite. That's our "Siggy"!

5/29/2007 03:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

alan mckenzie I am not an atheist but you have better critical thinking skills than most here, congratulations sir. I hope you will also apply your skills to ridiculous assertions like "liberals are insane" or "liberals are aligned with terrorists." Most of the people here are not very smart, and spit out all kinds of gobbledygook that in no way proves anything.

Also, if you know "Siggy", please invite him here.

5/29/2007 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Did I miss something? Who the heck is Siggy?

I thought "anonymous II" (I lose track of them) was making an cryptic joke about Freud. :D D'oh!

Whoever he is, he appears to be an obsession. As does Bob.

5/29/2007 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

A, McKenzie -

I can't speak for everyone here, and you can't take my word for it, of course, but what Bob has to say is most definitely not incomprehensible. If it was, I wouldn't bother frequenting the site.

It is incomprehensible to you because - bottom line - you are limited in a certain type of perceptual ability, a certain type of intelligence.

With respect to your limitation, of course I would regard you as inferior, as would Bob. With respect to other human capacities, I'm sure you would regard me as your inferior, rightly so. There's no bigotry involved in such.

As to the destructiveness of the secular left - I don't know how anything could be more self-evident. Consider what it's already done and is doing to your own moribund country.

In any event, because of your limited perceptual capacity, very little of what Bob or I express is going to make sense to you. If you have any kind of spirit of adventure and honest inquiry, you would consider the possibility that perhaps some people do, in fact, possess an insight, a type of vision that you yourself lack. I might mention that even avowed atheist Sam Harris gives some credence to the concept of higher modes of consciousness.

However, if you are not of a mind to do so, then please go away. There would be absolutely no point in your being here, other than for you to voice objections and ask questions - and thus far, your objections and questions are pointless.

Pointless in what way? I can hear you asking from across the pond.

That's my point. You don't have the perceptual ability to comprehend just how pointless they are.

5/29/2007 05:17:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Alan M: You sound like the cyclops giving a beautifully reasoned argument for the non-existence of stereoscopic vision. The irony is, of course...

JWM

5/29/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susannah I like to talk about "Siggy." I do not do it on his own blog though, because no one reads it.

I find it deliciously ironic that you people seem to think you can pick whether or not God truly exists. As such, I understand your adoption of the right-wing doublethink! The Republicans have been wrong about every single thing they've said (Saddam caused 9/11, Iraq has WMDs, the levees won't break, the insurgency is in its "last throes")...and yet...it's those pesky "leftists" who are insane! Some douche with a "blog" TOLD me so!

5/29/2007 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2007 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/29/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Well, Alan, if you'd prefer the long version to my little simile you could address what Will posted while I was busy writing.
But you know what? Here's my guess. You're here trolling a community of believers because there is something about the whole God business that really gets under your skin. You can piss and moan all you want about our perception of you as an atheist. Why does it bother you? We're a bunch of faceless posts on a blog. What bothers you is the God thing.
I used to despise religion. All that God and Jesus stuff positively gave me a case of the willies. Bad willies. There was a time when I would have applauded the comments you dropped here. Was. Now your comments appear flat, shallow, and frightened.
I know, I know. I haven't refuted any of your brilliant arguments. Because they all boil down to this one:

You can't prove to my satisfaction that God exists.

And you are right.
But you can prove it for yourself if you have the courage to try.

JWM

5/29/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The never ending process that is true religion transforms every aspect of your ones life. True religion, then, is a primary requirement of human beings. It is not merely something something that comes down through time via rigidified institutions, and that is merely used to command moral and socially useful behaviour. In Truth it is a culture of practice and a key mechanism for the fulfilment of what a truly human life is about, or what we are purposed to be because we are born in this human form. It is a heart matter. And it is about ecstasy, or self-transcendence.

And how do you tell if anyone is practicing the process of True Religion? You look at the quality of their lives altogether.

Do they look radiantly happy? Are they sane and healthy? Do they offer and practice compassionate service to all beings? What is the quality of their speech and their public communications?

Or are they a bunch of self-righteous crazy fanatical people, who call themselves true believers but have no clarity, no humanity, no love, and no ability to inspect and transcend themselves.

5/29/2007 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

For my part, I freely confess I'm not the brightest bulb in the bunch. In addition, I am a mother of six, so my musings--shallow enough in their inception--have only a few minutes to percolate in between emergency milk runs, meals, diapers, bedtimes, and "no, you can't have cake for lunch."

But I do understand (I think) what Bob means by saying we are "subhuman" when we reject the transcendent. He can correct me if I'm wrong.

I put things in theological terms, because that is how I understand the world, so forgive me.

"People like you," just the same as people like me, bear the imago Dei. One and all, we are image-bearers. One and all, we are recipients of common grace. Common grace is the reason you can find meaning and purpose in what you deem an otherwise purposeless universe.

In every one of us, the divine image is marred by sin. Every one of us is also a potential recipient of redemptive grace. It is freely available to all, and it's the *only means* by which we can set out on the path to become our "Edenic selves." Until we are aware that we are sick and need a doctor (as Jesus put it), we cannot access that grace. But that is really the *only* road to becoming fully human, and to fulfilling our created potential. Jesus called it "abundant life."

To reject redemption is to reject the only path to your true self, the self God intended you to be...the self that is truly human in every respect.

Are we there yet? No kids, we are not there yet. We are on a path of "sanctification" to use another God-knower-term. We are living in the tension between the now and the not yet.

But we have a downpayment, and that is the Spirit of God who dwells within us.

It's fair to say that those "of the Spirit" have a less-defaced imago Dei than those who are not "of the Spirit." Those who have been regenerated from above have in fact been set free from the law of sin and death, and now live under the law of love. Thus indwelt by the life of God, humanity can come into full flower.

However, that doesn't change the unredeemed person's innate value in the least. Your infinite value arises from the image of God in you. God is no respecter of persons, and the only person who can stand in the way of the full flowering of your humanity is you. (Hint: The most common stumbling block is pride. I speak from personal experience.)

Alan Mackenzie, you must have ears to hear. You are deliberately twisting Bob's meaning so you can justify your disdain.

(And no, son, you can't have cake for breakfast, either. Sheesh!)

5/29/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Alan Mac sez: I am quite happy in my job, with my family, my friends, my hobbies, and I don't need ad hoc human constructs to make them better.

Yet, somehow, you need our particular constructs to kick against in order to gain some sense of forward motion.

Please explain how you know this? Where is your Nobel Prize?

Ah! Now we know the god you serve! Pseudo-intellectual calling upon an agreed-upon Standard-of-Truth by-Elitist-Committee! Hey, even Rush Limbaugh is a nominee! Oh! How that must gall you.

5/29/2007 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

A. Mackenzie,
Have you noticed we didn’t go to your website offended, demanding answers or attacking your beliefs and then insulting you for believing such nonsense?
My gut feel is you are desperate for some kind of answer.
Dr Bob’s area, obviously. But that is the general sense I get from your comments. You don’t sound as if you are convinced of what you are stating. There is too much emotion.

And then, “I am quite happy in my job, with my family, my friends, my hobbies, and I don't need ad hoc human constructs to make them better. Life is great without Gods.”

Then why are you here? You don’t sound happy.

Actually, I know why you are here. And I don’t blame you.

Completely off topic but I got a kick out of your profile: “Industry: Government”
That’s a good one.

5/29/2007 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I object to the troll ranking me a notch above Siggy. In the right side up world, that means that Siggy is a notch above me, and that is something a Godwin man will not allow to stand.

5/29/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Anonymous said,

"Or are they a bunch of self-righteous crazy fanatical people."

Ummmmm...okay, I'll own up to
crazy.

5/29/2007 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>You have a kind of strange overconfidence about yourself, and a way of dividing people that one would normally find in a religious cult<<

Dividing people, right. The division is innate - life is naturally hierarchical, on many levels, as I'm sure you've noted. Underscoring an existing division is not at all a bad thing - unless, of course, that division is a projection of the mind and has no basis in fact. In any event, the problem in the world today is not in dividing - it's the multicultural, moral equivalence pretense that no division exists.

But of course everybody "divides" in one sense or another. If you assume a political stance - or if you're registering complaints about theists - then you're "dividing."

I think your real problem here is not my or Bob's alleged dividing, it's that when we point out a natural division in human psyches, you fail to comprehend the nature of the division. I perceive that the division exists. You don't.

Instead of railing against my dividing, you'd be better off asking, is his perception valid?

5/29/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

Mr Mackenzie,is,
as Bob has frequently written regarding some who share Alan's views,an intelligent man, a "modern man",who believes mankind has "outgrown" religion...he believes he himself is one of the vanguard.

what he seems not to recognize or acknowledge is that he himself posesses and lives according to a "metaphysic",a cosmic view,a set of
examined and unexamined beliefs that he's in the process of refining...

he feels very strongly
that the "metaphysic",the cosmic view,the set of examined and unexamined beliefs,that others are in the process of refining are wrong,dangerous,and erroneous
if they include ANY concept
of God or a superior being.

clearly he doesn't object to efforts at gathering like minded people,
or,perhaps, even "cults"....his own web site is an attempt at the former,at minimum.

it's a very interesting arguement
for such a "thinking person" to
declare that religions *only* produce bad,negative results, and behaviours,regardless of the religious doctrine(s) in question.

that's quite a pronouncement.

clearly this is an important building block of Alan's metaphysic,of his identity:

God=bad

religious people=evil and/or stupid

beginning with that yardstick,
what can one measure?

5/29/2007 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Infrahuman animals on the loose.

5/29/2007 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Susannah said: For my part, I freely confess I'm not the brightest bulb in the bunch.

Every time I hear you say that I put on dark glasses before finishing your post. You're a strobe, Susannah.
;)

JWM

5/29/2007 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

JWM - I'll be needing those shades back...thank you.

Definitely brilliant, Sus.

5/29/2007 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Mr. Mackenzie,
you remind me of my grandmother. As she aged, she developed an array of health problems, as humans do. One of hers was poor vision made worse by cataracts and diabetic complications. She insisted, for a very long time, that her eyes weren't that bad. Since her symptoms came on gradually, nobody really knew how truly appalling her vision was. When she finally decided to seek treatment, her eye doctor was shocked; she had the worst cataracts he'd seen in a very long time. She underwent surgery for the cataracts, along with some laser vision correction. For months afterwards, she had pain; the unaccustomed brightness hurt, and she refused to stop wearing her old glasses (they were rose colored, and thick as old soda bottles). Eventually, she gave them up, but she always resented having to make that change. Instead of embracing the good of her surgery, she lived in spite of it, and actively tried to return to the distortion to which she had been accustomed.

You don't like what we say here and how it reflects (loosely and in broad generalizations) on people with whom you identify, even though it is not and cannot be personally directed at you unless and until you show up and start hurling insults. Why do you care what a bunch of crackpot theists think? Goodness knows we don't care what you think, except that you insist on posting it here. Are your cataracts being prodded, perhaps?

When the light seeps in, it's agonizing, isn't it. You don't recognize the face you glimpse in the mirror; it's older, and it has cares, worries and scars you don't recognize; it's also maybe not as pretty as you expected. The things you aren't proud of seem to stand out the most prominently, while those bits you most want to admire are rather small and spotty.

It's far safer and easier to live with the blurred edges, Alan; you don't have to change anything you do, or think differently about yourself. Maybe you shouldn't let the doctor poke at your cataracts anymore, since all it brings you is pain.

5/29/2007 10:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Scary said...

Alan MacKenzie, turn the other way and don't look back. This nest of coons is one of the most vilely malicious abodes of regressive thinking that you'll find on the internet.

And can you believe that Gagdad actually gives therapy for a living?!

5/29/2007 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ah, what a rotten week to have so little time for commenting!
Alan MacKenzie, pardon me for being a little behind the curve here, going on a a quick scan of the latest comments - well, better yet, let me ask you a few questions from a purely secular point of view -

1. Is it your position that some variant of leftist/progressive/marxist and/or socialist is superior to that of Classical Liberalism (frame of reference being Edmund Burke, Fredrich Bastiat, Henry Hazlit, Von Mises, Thomas Sowell - a wide frame, but gives a gist)?

2. Do you believe that reality is most accurately represented as being One, and with which our minds perceive, and must respond to, in a conceptually heirarchical manner based upon free will, or do you adhere to a deterministic, post-modernistic conception of 'reality' which each person is free to deal with in a fashion most pleasing to them at the time?

3. Do you believe the concept of Truth to be valid? Or instead that the universe is a random structure, that there are no coherent principles we can rely on to perceive it, and that there are many, and sometimes contradictory truths we must deal with?

4. Do you believe that based strictly upon observable reality, that valid principles of ethical behavior and political organization can be inferred (with Western Civilization in general, and America in particular being the best representatives of them to date), or do you believe that each culture is valid in it's own setting, none being more Propper or Moral than another?

I ask this, because coming from an Objectivist background and... I won't say I was actually athiest, because I considered it to be as silly a position to claim, as being aGnome-ic, or aVenutian... but a thoroughly non-believer point of view. Talking snake stories being a particularly eye-rolling topic for me. I haven't comprimised any of my core beliefs or principles, but after several months of reading here, and then commenting for the last year, I've found a very deep and satisfying extention to them - no fundie positions here. So I'd like to get a gist of your position on reality, truth and ethical morality first.

Your John Edwards & Nobel Prize comments lead me to guess at your responses, but I'd like to see if there is a basis for discussion first. If so - great, could be interesting. If not, we can move to whackatroll mode.

Eagerly awaiting your replies.

5/29/2007 11:01:00 PM  
Anonymous interlocutor said...

I have repeatedly asked Bob not to attack atheists, but he has ignored my advice and so now a couple of atheists are here at his blog-site.

Nothing good can come from the mixing of the two factions, which behave like oil and water.

There is no hope for reconciliation this way. If God wants any of these guys, He'll do the intervention himself.

Stay away from atheists; we can't help them nor they us.

5/29/2007 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Ok, scary, I've learnt my lesson.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."

--Jesus

(Although I'm sure he didn't *mean* to dehumanize anybody with his choice of metaphor.)

5/29/2007 11:33:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Alan Mac,

Yeah, make like scary, turning away and never looking back.

Riiiiiiiight.

You said:
"Where is your Nobel Prize? Oh, of course, Nobel Prizes are an example of something worthy of achievement,...."

Didn't that vile scum of a murderous terrorist snake and worthless piece of human garbage Yassir Arafat win one of those?
An over-acheiver, that one!

5/29/2007 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Hey, but JWM and Nomo...y'all are too kind! :)

5/29/2007 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Why sacrifice one's life for the principle that there are no transcendent principles worth dying for?

There's no way I would even consider it.
Atheists, or at least atheists that "feel" like it's their mission in life to eradicate Religion and Absolute Truth, are nothing more than a cult that accuses Religion of the very things they do everyday.

If the United States (God forbid!) consisted entirely of atheists and leftists, I sure wouldn't willingly put my life at risk for them, because it would be a wasted effort.

Let the dead bury the dead...

5/30/2007 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

interlocutor said...
I have repeatedly asked Bob not to attack atheists, but he has ignored my advice and so now a couple of atheists are here at his blog-site.

I'm shocked! Bob ignored YOUR advice?
Heh!

5/30/2007 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Magnus wrote, "And so we got the holy days, holy places, holy objects etc, because most people are so receptive to the sacred that being immersed in it would destroy them utterly."

and, "For me, these things are like wells on a flooded plain."

Just wanted to see it again. Thanks, Magnus.

5/30/2007 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The Fez said-
"Pity comes to my mind; is not the enemy sacrificing herself, albeit unknowingly, so that others may fully ascend?"

Your pity is wasted then.
Sacrifice requires free will and Honor, Courage, Love, etc..

Homicide bombers and megalomaniacs are simply murderers. Nothing more.
If you knew the meaning of the words you so carelessly throw about, you wouldn't be writing such nonsense.

Nonsense...google it (it's before stupid and after crap).

5/30/2007 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hoarhey said:
"Didn't that vile scum of a murderous terrorist snake and worthless piece of human garbage Yassir Arafat win one of those?
An over-acheiver, that one!"

Speaking of vile scum and talking snakes...Carter got one too.

5/30/2007 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ricky Raccoon said-
"And then, (Alan Mackenzie said) “I am quite happy in my job, with my family, my friends, my hobbies, and I don't need ad hoc human constructs to make them better. Life is great without Gods.”

"Then why are you here? You don’t sound happy."

Ha ha! That was pure gold, Rick!
You know, I noticed that Alan Mac's blog is certainly not happy.
No humor whatsoever.

Atheist humor- Why bother?

5/30/2007 12:51:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Interlocutor - Bob would be "attacking" atheists only if he invaded their sites, something he's got enough self-respect and decency not to do.

As a torchbearer for the Real, for transcendent thought, he obviously has an obligation to address atheists and atheism. To do anything less, to scant the subject of atheism - the forces of which seem to be growing in militancy - would be the old sand head-sticking shtick. You know, like Europe and its "cartoons of blasphemy" retreat from reality.

That's hardly what's called for these days.

5/30/2007 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Last April, in similar circumstances, Hoarhey left me the following data in a posted comment:

hoarhey said...
Walt,
'Will's Law of Differing Consciousness' was kind of a joke postulated about a year ago when we had a particularly nasty infestation of trolls who regardless what was explained to them, went on as if they were talking to themselves in a mirror. It was amazing to watch.
Will wrote about how it is extremely difficult (virtually impossible?) to dicuss concepts from a higher level of consciousness to a lower level of consciousness and have those concepts understood. And that either a person will hear it and "get" it or they won't.
So the basic tenant of the "law" is that if a person is at not at a similar level of consciousness as another in a discussion, nothing said would ever be understood and/or integrated. This was evidenced by the fact that even the most focused, laser beam explainations went over these trolls heads as if nothing was spoken. It was as if the words were invisible to the troll. It became a complete waste of time.
Another aspect of the law was that the more accomodating people were to these trolls, the more it raised the troll ire. Sort of a "no good deed goes unpunished" paradox. Akin to the reaction of a jihadist sensing appeasement and going for the jugular. The trolls were here to teach the ignorant, not to engage in dialog. Of course many here had already been there and done that as far as the troll philosophy was concerned and said as much. That really pissed them off.
They would admit to the intelligence of the conversations but as soon as their ox was gored,(i.e. leftist cause du-jour worldview) look out.
The attitude is unmistakable when it arrives on scene.
It was around this same time that I uncased the Louisville Slugger. ;)
And as far as I can tell, the law still holds true. 4/14/2007

5/30/2007 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Ha-ha, gotta watch what we say here, lest it makes commenter 'Scary' run away:

"This nest of coons is one of the most vilely malicious abodes of regressive thinking that you'll find on the internet."

Nicely, as I am wont to repeat, "saying it doesn't make it so."

When we write a comment, we hope it will mean something, and be understood. It's always a challenge to convey coherent thought in little Blogger boxes. Sometimes, the one on the sidelines, the one "just reading" and not actively involved in the debate, is finding...gold nuggets.

For me, such were Will's and Susannah's (obviously, I was not alone in this) comments, last evening. Their intended audience, Mr. Alan, may or may not appreciate them; but I understood each sentence, and thought they were remarkably clear - a "quality" I don't take lightly.

I am "helped" by a lot of you folks, in different ways and at various times, even while you're talking among yourselves.

5/30/2007 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Hoarhey said "Didn't that vile scum of a murderous terrorist snake and worthless piece of human garbage Yassir Arafat win one of those?
An over-acheiver, that one!"

Hmm. I think... let me check my signed 1985 World Series Champ Louisville Slugger (from that other city in Missouri) bat... yes, I think so... was that a 42 oz. cluebat you used there? Nice heft to it...

5/30/2007 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said "For my part, I freely confess I'm not the brightest bulb in the bunch."

That would hold more weight if I didn't have these blue dots in my eyes after reading your comments....

5/30/2007 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Walt - Ixnay on the ahLay of ifferingday onsciousnesscay, it's hard enough having a hobby that people already want to put you on the wagon for, without having to worry about transgressing laws too... sheesh.

wv:plyem - exactly.

5/30/2007 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

At least Cline didn't show up.

*knocks on wood*

5/30/2007 05:35:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The cult thing is a laugh riot. Its kind of like the oldest charge against Christians - Atheism!

Making a cult out of us is like organizing cats - as soon as you get two or more in a box the rest have jumped out a window to hunt birds or sun themselves... while we all share certain common beliefs beyond that our religions are quite different as night and day.

And Mackenzie, your reaction to JWN's simile was just lame. You are intelligent enough to know a simile when you see one, in this case it just looks like you're feigning idiocy.

I think I may have been the first one to leave a comment at Cline's site - it was registered in defense of his accusation that Bob was writing 'nonsense' - which is far from true. Why did I do it? I can't stand ignorance. The quote I used was from Jesus himself.

I get the feeling - if Bob was speaking nonsense he would know it.

Also, speaking in tongues? Do you even know what that means? There is record of a person speaking in tongues - someone else's tongue, such as russian, english - and the other person understanding. (Naturally.) I recall a russian man who knew no English praying in tongues. An american there said, "Does he know English?" The response was, "No- that's his 'Prayer Language'" (Meaning the tongue given to him to speak.)

There may come a day when speaking in tongues becomes explainable by science - but I'm not holding the phone on that. There is a concept known as the 'non-locality' which seems similar to either the subconscious or the supra-conscious planes. Either way, it is apparent that a fair number of people in the total population can do far-seeing - it does not take 'psychic powers' or whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.

You probably have an interesting calling; but its up to you to accept it. Your world is so permeated with Christianity that the only one who would stop you from opening the door is yourself.

5/30/2007 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

Van-
You might want to leave that one set up in print - best set of questions to get to the heart of things ever.

We're so proud of your t-engaging progress. Pfffttt!

5/30/2007 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Mackenzie, it is as much Ad Hominem to treat something that is not an attack as an attack as it is to make a personal attack.

Just as it is fallacious to claim someone is using 'Ad Absurdum' when they really are not.

5/30/2007 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Alan MacKenzie and his friends at his blog seem to be having trouble with the concepts used here, so I left this at his site:

"Does anyone understand what this guy is talking about, because there is no content that I can discern."

Yep. let me give this a shot.

"For just as wholeness, the One, is associated with the peace that passes understanding"

When you have a non-contradictory, unified worldview, complete with a highest value, there is a peaceful sensation associated with it - a state of non-anxiety, even in the face of anxious situations. Think of that highest value as being similar to the pinpoint tip of a conceptual cone - it is the focal point of each of the 360 degrees in the bases circumfrence. You can easily understand each of the seemingly separate concepts at each degree of the base, as you rise to the top of the cone, the lower concepts are capped with higher concepts subsuming them, and as you rise further, they begin to blend together, becoming more and more difficult to differentiate between the concepts, until finally you reach that tip where all descend from, and all the concepts which seemed separate at the base have blended into One. There is a definite sensation of Peace associated with that pinacle, but it is beyond words ability at that point to describe the whole, without again descending to the base and reviewing each individually, one by one.

The previous description is the proper state of the human mind. A non-contradictory set of concepts and understanding which blend seamlessly into a smooth whole.

" the exile from this real human world into the bizarre and fragmented world of the secular left brings not so much the passion that passes understanding, but the passion that cannot comprehend itself because it has no vector or direction beyond the self. "

A small example might help here, say Photography (of which I know zip) - if you are well versed and experienced in all the basic principles, there's a sense of confidence and peacefull satisfaction, even eagerness, associated with the term 'Photography'. If on the other hand, you know little of photography, but pass yourself off as a Pro, the mere mention of the term is going to flare up all those missing sections of understanding in your mind, and the 'whole' associated with the term in that persons mind, is going to be unsymmetrical, disjointed - agonizing, especially as they try to go through the motions of passing themselves off as a photographer - especially if someone who is experienced wanders by.

Such a person doesn't know which way to even look, towards the synthesizing focalpoint tip of Photography. And while they are frantically dashing about brandishing lightmeters & reflectors, trying to impress their customers, they have no idea what to do, or where to look for direction.

"In fact, nothing can be understood in the absence of that which it is converging upon, which reveals its meaning. "

That would be the focalpoint tip (the Vertical) of the conceptual cone - beyond words itself, except in contemplation of its lower (horizontal) concepts.

"To systematically deny the vertical is to obliterate the possibility of meaning and truth"

That would be the hack photographer saying rules of using f-stops are for the birds.

", which is obvious"

one hopes.

"however, it is also to destroy the hero and that transcendent reality for which he is willing to sacrifice his life."

Passing himself off as a Professional Photographer, devalues the entire profession. So much for Photography, so much more so for the wider ideas Gagdad was speaking about. And by the way, most everyone who is a regular at One Cosmos got what he was talking about.

Well I'm late. I left you a set of questions near the end of the comment section you referenced, would be interested in your replies.

I am so late for work.

5/30/2007 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

River-
You know, what really blows my mind sometimes, is how Bob can speak in tongues in english.

It sounds like a foreign language to non-believers and leftists who identify themselves as Christians.

Truth seekers can (and do) spend hours meditating and contemplating the hearty meals that Bob serves up!

After awhile, Bob's writings become so clear they cut like a knife!

Those who don't believe in Absolute Truth, no matter how smart they are (or think they are), can't gno...can't grasp the surprisingly simple but amazingly deep and complex messages that Bob
conveys.

For those of us hungry for the Good, Beautiful and True, who stuck it out and allowed God to mold us as He will, it's a Holy experience that can't properly be described!

5/30/2007 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 06:41:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>what really blows my mind sometimes, is how Bob can speak in tongues in english<<

Heh, Ben, nice. It's worth some reflection that Bob and Schuon and others' expression of the transcendent really is a kind of poetry - another type of expression that is lost on a lot of people.

Poetry of course compresses, turns time inside out, makes calypso leaps of logic, analogizes by way of the law of likenesses, underscores archetypes, etc, etc. - and nothing can get at the truth more expediently, more directly.

5/30/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

A.M.--

You continue to deliberately misunderstand what we are saying here. Julie was trying to illustrate that you must have eyes to see. You then go on to prove her point.

Please...if you cannot see that we are advocating the *opposite* of murder, tyranny in all its forms, torture of the faithful, and so on then we can only conclude that you are fonder of your coke-bottle lenses than clarity of vision.

You cannot perform surgery on the specks in our eyes until you get the great, big log of intolerance out of your own, Alan Mackenzie.

The Inquisition... How you must think us ignorant rubes, incapable of comprehending history. You may be able to read history, but you are doing so with cataracts. Rip off your coke-bottle lenses and submit to God's laser surgery!

Thank you for condescending to educate me, but I grew up reading Foxe's Book of Martyrs. I grew up learning church history. In our home, the focus was on the move of the Spirit of reconciliation in northern Ireland. Undercurrent though it may be, it is there, believe it or not!

The good news, Alan Mackenzie (I like your name, it has a euphonius quality), is that God is on the move, whatever mess the world is in at the moment, whatever schemes the movers and shakers, the rich and infamous, the power-brokers, the over-educated-but-spiritually dead may be plotting against His ways.

He has always been on the move, and He will *always* be on the move. He chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He uses the foolish things, the despised things, to shame the wise and learned. Where there is a pastor in a Chinese prison, beaten and tortured, there He is. Where there is a family, stripped of their property and driven from their home because of Christ, there He is. There is a power in suffering for Christ that you will never understand--not unless you open your heart to Him. It is in our *weakness* that His strength is best demonstrated. All these things--the worst that man can do to man, destruction of property, of the body--are nothing in comparison to the weight of glory.

You don't know the first thing about the Inquisition, Alan Mackenzie. You couldn't possibly understand.

Perhaps you should retreat to to the mocker's corner and ridicule us from afar. You really can't help us. Speaking for myself, I am a hopeless God-lover. :)

5/30/2007 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Will-
Your comments are another example of the "wheel within a wheel" messages I was tryin' to describe.
And I appreciate that Will!

So deep I get the bends sometimes. :^)

But it is well worth the dive into the innerverse, and well worth repeat visits, because, as Van has pointed out, the layers of Beautifully True Goodness go on for Eternity!

True aspects, different angles, peelin' back the layers, and at the same time, cutting away the darkness; the mind parasites we all have.
Bein' molded and forged through the fire of Truth.

Oh yeah! Sometimes it hurts like the dickens, but were talkin' about God-molded Character!
We also sharpen each other!
WOOO!

All the Coons contribute in their own way, and they all have something to add. Something to learn from and take to Heart!

This is Church, this is Religion,
can I get an Amen? :^)

5/30/2007 07:23:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Alan, please understand the temptation of some to refer to you simply as "Mackenzie".

Back in the early 80's, there was a very short-lived television comedy series here entitled "Mackenzie" that over the years has gained something of cult status.

"Mackenzie", the show's eponymously named protaganist was actually an incredibly indolent Himalayan cat who had a manner of stumbling into situations like a wedding or something and totally wrecking it.

The shows would generally conclude with people shouting, "Mackenzie! He's done it again!"

They gave Mackenzie these ironically toned voice-overs, including the now famous, "What a dipstick" and "Maybe he'd have better luck with chopsticks."

5/30/2007 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I'm giving in. He ate his oatmeal so I guess I'll give him some cake. Yes, it's 10:30 in the morning. Anyway, once it's eaten, he can't beg for it anymore.

5/30/2007 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"There is no excuse for ignoring what Bob, and others said about atheists."

Alan Mackenzie, if you really think that Coons literally think Atheists are no better than Dogs...you are worse than Amelia Bedelia, sir. You have the most literal mind I have ever seen.

I guess you also think that Jesus thinks those who trample the holy underfoot the holy are literally dogs and pigs. (See above, ref. Matt. 7:6.)

5/30/2007 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Oops, little lapse in proofing there. Just remove the second set of "the holy" and you'll get my gist.

5/30/2007 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous fergus the cat said...

Will, re: the tv show Mackenzie, to be honest, those were your favorite Mackenzie droll-isms. Others have their own favorites, such as:

"Spuds away!" (you had to have seen the show to fully comprehend)

"Vector five! Vector five!" (which I never understood, must have been a show I missed)

"You didn't just miss the boat, Junior, you missed the whole wharf." (speaks for itself)

A book came out a few years ago titled The Book of Mackenzie, which lists all the Mackenzie-isms. Obviously this was a book targeted at the fan-faithful.

5/30/2007 07:52:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>> . . . as Van has pointed out, the layers of Beautifully True Goodness go on for Eternity!<<

Yes, Ben - we refer to it as the Forever Onion.

5/30/2007 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Will-
I love O'nions!
Preferrably sauteed in butter and olive oil (with mushrooms and steak), salt to taste, sage, a bit O garlic, peppered with chives and parsley.

Sorry, I'm very hungry! Time to eat!

5/30/2007 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Big Black Steinway said...

"I, in fact quite enjoy religious music,"

I'ma call bulls**t on that one...

Sentimentality ain't enjoyment.

By my keys, How many times will I have to hear 'you put so much feeling into it' and have to say, "It ain't about 'feeling'."

Everyone loves fuzzy puppies. But sentiment and love are different things. Enjoyment is the same way. If you say you enjoy religious music - I think yer sayin', you like the sound of the notes. That doesn't mean you enjoy religious music it just means you enjoy music. To enjoy religious music you must in fact BE religious. Just because Bach sounds nice to the ear doesn't mean you can claim to enjoy religious music.

I'll be damned if I let that one slide. Don't patronize me.

5/30/2007 08:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Big Black Steinway said...

In fact, you're the most defensive little bugger I've ever seen. You take every damn thing literally and demand, demand, demand. I'm frickin' tired of it. You demand evidence. But what evidence would you believe? What, scientific studies that are often poorly premised and inaccurate? It's a load of crap. You just want to have a debate on some kind of horsesh*t rational level where you hold all the cards. OR you think you do.

Anyway, since when was Ad Hominem against the law? I for one don't intent to have a competition with you. Look, I'm sure you ain't a bad guy. That's not what we're sayin'. What we're saying is everyone is kind of messed up - that's what its about. Just cause you don't see it doesn't mean ya can call foul and expect us to agree wit ya.

You call foul, we call bullsh*t on your foul, and you get all defensive about it.

Maybe yer the one speaking in tongues?

Maybe I need a tune up.

5/30/2007 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Alan Mackenzie, I'm starting to feel neglected - is there a reason why you are ignoring my questions & comment for you?

5/30/2007 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van-
Don't be surprised if he dismisses your questions out of hand or perceives them as ad hominem attacks. :^)

I'm kinda surprised he believes in spirits though.
A true atheist does not.

5/30/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Alan Mackenzie, I am going to try to speak your language...

"There is a huge gulf between critiquing someone's arguments, and disregarding someone's basic human rights."

That's a bald assertion. You have not provided any evidence to prove that Bob or the Coons are denying anyone his basic human rights. Are you not an advocate of free speech?

"Where is your evidence that I'm deliberately misunderstanding you and others here?"

See above.

Disagreement does not equal "intolerance".

This sword cuts both ways, and one should be careful in wielding it.

If Bob were actively lobbying to criminalize leftwing ideology and impose capital punishment as the penalty to godless thought, you might be justified in calling him intolerant. As it is, you are applying a double standard here.

You are over here on someone else's space, annoying the heck out of everyone with your unwelcome and factless accusations, but that's not intolerance, under your rubric, that's simple disagreement. Whereas Bob, blogging on his own space, writes things that annoy the heck out of you, but that's not simple disagreement, that's intolerance.

The irony is, you cannot tolerate Bob's opinions. If you could, you would discuss them with us. Instead of "asking, seeking, and knocking," you come here in full battle armor making baseless accusations, such as: Bob is "dehumanizing you" and trying to eliminate your "human rights" and somehow we're all dangerous proto-Inquisitionists. The fact is, you are projecting all of this.

*That's* intolerance.

5/30/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

BTW, I don't agree about music appreciation. There's that common grace thing.

However, I do get more out of Bach than Chopin.

5/30/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Oh, Alan...

You really are humorless, aren't you?

5/30/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Interesting.

To those who claim you're not being insulting, you might reflect on that you've referred to atheists as "sub-human". Protests that this is meant literally, and not as an insult, are a bit hollow. Would you refer to someone who didn't know calculus as "sub-human"? Do you not find it insulting when Dawkins refers to those who believe in a deity as mentally ill?

That said, I don't care. Insult all you like, but be aware of what you're doing. Or phrase your points more carefully.

Susannah,

Yes, that's what I was referring to, but your simply saying "that's a lie" doesn't tell me what part of it you disagree with. Clearly you recognize there have been shootings of abortionists. I sense we're heading towards "No True Scotsman" (with whatever validity that may have). It's generally reported that Christians (ah, or perhaps that's only Catholics?) are against stem cell research.

Slavery is, generally, forced labor without justification or recompense. As such, it's an unnecessary and unhelpful impingement on social freedom. There should be an optimal level of social freedom to allow society to provide general welfare and happiness to its citizens, and slavery would be incompatible with this.

magnus,

That does help, though I am curious to how many here it applies. Generally theist-atheist discussions gloss over the definition of a deity, and perhaps they should not.

If you've removed the lower values from the god-concept, are there other aspects of this concept that have been removed? Does this god have emotions? Is it properly termed an entity at all, or is it more of a spiritual force? I've seen references to Jesus here in these comments, how does that fit in, given that the Christian deity is apparently rather tied up in "lower values"?

Merely stating that one has a value system does not mean that they have a de facto belief in a deity (though I'm no longer sure the words "a deity" make sense in your cosmological view). If all white panties were destroyed, the net effect on people and the world would be rather minimal (okay, it might force a renaming of "white day" in Japan). The effect of eliminating freedom would be far greater. It doesn't matter if nothing exists in fifty years, if freedom is eliminated now it's bad for those on this earth. Having an extranatural "badness" of it adds no force to the argument.

river,

Many theists argue that most religious wars have not been over religion at all, but simply used religion as an excuse for power or land struggles. If this is the case, we already have "beastly conflict".

5/30/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Do you not find it insulting when Dawkins refers to those who believe in a deity as mentally ill?"

No, not in the least. For one thing, I coonsider the source. I think he's nuts.

5/30/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

alan mackenzie, the comment came second, how about the questions?

5/30/2007 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Cryptic, I really don't have time but...

Christians are not against stem cell research. They are against destroying human embryos. And in fact, the most productive lines of stem cell research are actually those using *adult* stem cells. Read up on it. I'd post all the news stories that show the promise of legtimate stem cell treatment, but I don't have time to search right now. It's also true that uninformed reporters do not distinguish between types of stem cells used in promising treatments.

So no, Christians are not for denying people life-saving research. We are against *consuming our own young* for that purpose.

Clear enough?

I have no idea the extent of your understanding of Christian doctrine, but do you really believe murder to be compatible wiht it? I read a brief entry a couple of days ago in which an atheist disavowed the horrific human toll of atheistic Marxism. I think Christians can be allowed, then, to disavow the murder of an abortionist.

I could go on, but I'm ready to say bye-bye to this now and move on to better things. Plus, my kids are asking for lunch.

5/30/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

alan mackenzie's reply on his bog was:
Alan Mackenzie said...
Van,

"I'm afraid that your assessment of Bob's writings came over like an astrology reading. I sincerely doubt that you understand Gagdad Bob's writings any more than he does.

Vagueness does not equal sound or valid argumentation.

Long, important-sounding paragraphs does not equal ground-breaking revelation.
"
Followed by another snippety offense taking asnide about how someone here noticed he seemed humorless. Go figure.

Snippety tone and Evasion will not substitute for valid argumentation either. You dissapoint me Mr. Mackenzie. You have gone out of your way here to seek any opportunity to take offense, and have been rude about it as well.

Finally, my comment was clear as could be to anyone seeking to understand. Doesn't mean it couldn't be disagreed with, but to compare it with an astrology reading & dismiss it as vague is just juvenile pettiness.

You have either purposefully misinterpreted several commentators here (JulieC, Susannah, Will, etc), or are so unbelievably ignorant and dense as to trully haved missed their true intent. Either way you are useless here, you will convince no one here with your adolescent appraisals.

Your only use from here out will be as whackatroll fodder. Do Enjoy.

5/30/2007 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Big Black Steinway said...

Stop bitchin', man.

"How so? I get shivers down my spine when I listen to Handel's Zardoc the Priest. Music stimulates the same area of our brains responsible for language, something proven by the sciences."

So does anyone who enjoys music. Yer seemin to think that somehow being of a religious subject makes it no longer a bunch of tones and rhythm. So religious music is well composed. So what? You still don't enjoy religious music, you enjoy music. Its the same argument people make to make themselves look non-racist - you know, 'I have black friends!'

I mean, either you do or you don't. You can't enjoy th' music as religious music at all - the only reason you know its religious is cause someone told ya. Tell me some music that is religious that you enjoy that doesn't say its religious and I might believe ya.

Fer cryin' out loud. It sounds like an elitist argument but its still true. What's so significant about Zadok the Priest that makes that song especially poignant? Or is it just neurons firin'?

Why should it be named 'Zadok the Priest' then? Just call it 'Song number [n]' and be done with it.

Don't lump me in w/ the rest, I'll show no quarter about this crap.

"To enjoy religious music, you need to be a human theist. To not enjoy it requires one to be a subhuman atheist. I'll be damned if I let that one slide."

Didn't say ya couldn't enjoy music. Yer missin' the distinction. Its like sayin' you enjoy the Bible. Yeah, and you also enjoy Wuthering Heights, and Emma, and Watership Down, and so forth. Telling me you enjoy it because it fires certain neurons in your brain only tells me how your body responds and not why it is actually enjoyable. You know? I'm askin' for the principle of th' thing, like yes, a car runs on an internal combustion engine. But WHY?

All you've done so far is get offended - which is a bad choice considerin' I've got enough insults t' keep you spinnin' for the rest o' yer days.

Am I guilty of a hate crime? I don't believe in 'em. So, I couldn't know what yer talkin' about.

Besides, yer arguin' with a frickin' piano. I mean, bein' big and black and all I'm kinda intimidating, but man.

5/30/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

"river,

Many theists argue that most religious wars have not been over religion at all, but simply used religion as an excuse for power or land struggles. If this is the case, we already have "beastly conflict"."

Correct. No principles exercised, good or evil. Also, it need not be symmetrical - one side may be fighting 'beastly war' while the other 'principled war'. As a theist, one looks for the reasoning behind conflicts in the people making the decisions as well as in those carrying out the orders to determine the intent. It seems quite often that people automatically assume all war is 'beastly' - I.E. just about power/land struggles on an animal level and then go from there to justify that generalization. Mostly they just reveal their inability to see anything higher than the material.

5/30/2007 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

a.m. rude-eu said " Ask yourself why you don't believe in Wotan, Thor, Allah, or Apollo"

Because they sound like a new line of skateboards.

Further explaination would be lost on someone with such self restricted imagination as yourself.

5/30/2007 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

a.m. rude-eu said "How so? I get shivers down my spine when I listen to Handel's Zardoc the Priest. Music stimulates the same area of our brains responsible for language, something proven by the sciences. You imply that I am being dishonest, and in doing do, yet again, like many other readers here, you are implying that I am being dishonest, without arguing why you know that. "

Open your cataracted eyeballs and look at what you're trying to appear to argue with. Big Black Steinway said "Everyone loves fuzzy puppies. But sentiment and love are different things. Enjoyment is the same way. If you say you enjoy religious music - I think yer sayin', you like the sound of the notes. That doesn't mean you enjoy religious music it just means you enjoy music. To enjoy religious music you must in fact BE religious. Just because Bach sounds nice to the ear doesn't mean you can claim to enjoy religious music."

His argument is clearly not that you don't enjoy music, but that by missing the religous conotations, you miss that portion of the music that it was specifically written to address. You enjoy music, you are unable to enjoy religous music.

That's his argument. Argue it, or don't, but don't try to evade it.

What a maroon.

5/30/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah - 5/30/2007 08:52:00 AM = AOK!

5/30/2007 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

a.m. rude-eu said "Yep, another attempt to compare atheists to other animals. Oh, I'm much too of a "literal minded" subhuman to appreciate the symbolic meaning of the Mackenzie-Pussy analogy, right?"

AH! LOL!

What an absolute goofball! (I do wonder about your reading in the 'Pussy analogy' though... could be a few insecurities purring through?"

5/30/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Offspring fed.

I can't remember if I addressed this:

"Once again, like other people here, you are making an additional assumption about a complete stranger, which requires additional qualifications. You could say that I lack a complete knowledge of the Inquisition. You could ask me to provide my views on the Inquisition, but instead you say that I cannot possibly understand it. You are erecting an artificial barrier, by making a priori assumptions about strangers which need supporting with evidence."

Alan, you came here making a priori assumptions about us, too. You assumed we needed correction, education, enlightenment. You assumed that we do not already engage in critical thinking here.

You assumed that we overlook, excuse or condone religious conflict. Else, why would you have felt the need to go into a history lesson to assuage our ignorance?

You may be able to comprehend the facts of history. When thus-and-such occurred, who did what, which edict was issued by whom, etc.

By your own admission, however...

"I'm afraid that there is no evidence for the existence of God, and hence no reason to believe that there is one. I would quite happily believe in Gods if there was evidence available, but there isn't any. There is evidence for belief in Gods, but that does not prove that Gods exist, or are plausible." (and so on)

...you are bound by purely sensory information. If there isn't sensory evidence for it, it doesn't exist. Do I misunderstand you? If so, please correct me.

*Therefore,* yes indeed, it is utterly impossible for you to understand the spiritual significance of the Inquisition. Based on the information you yourself have provided me, I have come to the only possible rational conclusion here. Without the spiritual component, all you know are the dry facts of history. You cannot access the living marrow of history, and in a similar way, the living marrow of language (parable, metaphor, etc.) is utterly lost on you.

5/30/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I don't see how God is a matter of plausibility.

"I'm afraid that there is no evidence for the existence of Alan Mackenzie, and hence no reason to believe that there is one. I would quite happily believe in Alan Mackenzies if there was evidence available, but there isn't any. There is evidence for belief in Alan Mackenzies, but that does not prove that Alan Mackenzies exist, or are plausible."

That's what your statement sounds like to the ears of the religious.

5/30/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/30/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

"studied lessons learned from history" means that he's only read things that agree with his point of view. Because, if you actually read history, you see all those times that Christianity has been a civilizing force for good. Do you think slavery in the Western world would have gone away without Christians demanding that it go away. (You might read a bit about the Quakers, starting with John Woolman if you disagree.) And of course, the whole point is that we are to bow down to Mr. Mackenzie's superior knowledge, which is the only reason I can think of for the tone of his posts here. As for making assumptions about someone you've never met, he seems to be doing a lot of that himself.

5/30/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

a.m. rude-eu said...
"One of my atheist pals had this to say in explanation of your sophistry:

The technique these people are using is just another version of that old sophist's trick, the 'hermeneutic circle'... one cannot understand the parts unless one firstly understands the whole. The trick, for it is a trick, is attributed to Wilhelm Dithey.... "

Might want to check into upgrading your consultation pals. The problem here, is that we are not just discussing ideas, but experience entwined with ideas.

You can not properly know an experience until you have experienced it. If you've never experienced skiing down the face of a mountain and going off a jump, flipping and landing right at the sweet spot & swishing to a stop [or insert other unique experience here], you can nod or shake your head at someone who is describing it to you all you want, tell them they didn't feel that weightless exileration, freedom and other sensations all you want - they are going to ask "Have you ever done it?"

When you say "no", they're going to look at you like the goofball you are, and say "After you've done it, come back and we'll talk", and of course as you turn away, they're going to make 'loser!' jokes behind your back & laugh your comments off.

5/30/2007 02:07:00 PM  

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