Saturday, August 30, 2008

On Keeping Body and Soul Together While Treasuring Your Eccentricity

We are now up to commandments six and seven (or seven and eight, depending upon your mythsemantics). Maybe I'll repost the last two commandments on Monday, so I can take a day off. That will also allow me to finish up our Saturday review of the best of August 2006, so we can then move into September '06 next week.

***

Let the truth of Brahman be taught only to those who are devoted to him, and who are pure in heart. --Mundaka Upanishad

“You shall not commit adultery.” Like the other commandments, this one has an outward, exoteric meaning as well as an inner, esoteric one. After all, adultery is related to adulterate, which means to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance. In this case, we are talking specifically about the intrinsic purity of the soul, and avoiding activities that corrupt it.

This commandment goes directly to the heart of the mysterious bond between body and soul, that which distinguishes us from the beasts. In Meditations on the Tarot, our Unknown Friend writes that “the power of mutual love unites soul and body. Life, which consists of the union of soul and body, is the marriage of soul and body. For this reason the commandment: ‘You shall not commit adultery’ follows from the commandment: ‘You shall not murder.’ For adultery is essentially a form of killing -- of separating soul and body, whose union is the archetype of marriage.”

Jewish tradition regards the bond between Israel and YHVH as a marriage covenant; likewise the covenant between Christ and the church, or the mystical union between the soul and Jesus, or Shiva and Shakti.

Soul and body form a harmonious union, and the separation of the two in any sphere of activity is a kind of murder, since the higher life is not possible without their union. When we talk about the culture of death, we are really talking about the soulless culture, because so much of our culture has become spiritually barren and soulless. As such, it is both inhuman and antihuman.

In adhering to the soul in all we do, we remain “faithful” to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Conversely, if we transfer our loyalty to that which corrupts us, we will soon discover that it clings to us as much as we adhere it it. The death culture begets death. If we are "in" that culture, it is soon in us. Then there's no escape, since the inscape is blocked.

As we have mentioned before, depth is a dimension of soul, so that achieving depth is a pathway toward recognition of the soul’s existence. In the absence of soul, the world has no depth -- everything is of equal importance, or else simply has the importance our feelings, our genes, or our cultural programming attach to it.

This is why the postmodern strategy of deconstruction is not just bad philosophy. Rather it is murder, specifically, soul murder. And this is why, to paraphrase Richard Weaver, all attacks on religion inevitably result in attacks on the mind itself. Deconstruction is “intellectual crack,” as someone once put it. Likewise philosophical Darwinism. It is pure murder of the human being and the obliteration of his cosmic station and environment.

In fact, any kind of radical skepticism represents nothing more than (in words of Schuon) an "esoterism of stupidity": the lower mind’s ability to doubt anything is elevated to the central truth of our existence. It is the worst kind of soul betrayal, because it operates under cover of a counterfeit pursuit of truth, while simultaneously destroying its very possibility.

Perhaps it should be emphasized that this commandment does not imply some sort of dry, austere, or anti-pleasure approach to life. Quite the opposite. In fact, in Jewish tradition, it is said that the first thing God will ask upon your death is why you didn't partake of all the permitted pleasures He so generously bestowed for your enjoyment.

The point is that existence is embodied, but not only embodied. There are two false paths; one is the descending path into hedonism, distraction, and other various soulless activities. But the other false path is the purely ascending one: going up the sacred mountain with the soul, but leaving the body behind.

This is a persistent message of both Judaism and Christianity. Both, in different ways, stress the embodied nature of existence, and the problem of how to sanctify our lives by re-membering the soul in everything we do.

But clearly, if one stands back and looks at the historical situation from the widest possible vantage point, we can see a problem. Because the Judeo-Christian tradition regards the world as real and worthy of our attention, it can lead to an exteriorizing tendency that ends up severing soul and body.

On the other hand, if we look at the philosophies of the east, they have tended to regard the world as illusory, or as maya, unworthy of being taken seriously. Historically they have made the opposite mistake of becoming too interior: “Brahman alone is real.” Thus, Buddhism and Hinduism have a bit of an interiority complex.

I do believe that the evolutionary task of our age is to bring these two extremes back together -- to fully reconcile soul and body and achieve the Life Divine in a monkey body. In truth, it is merely a matter of emphasis, for there is no question that this is at the heart of the uncorrupted Christian message: body and soul in a higher union.

Likewise, although Sri Aurobindo is responsible for correcting Shankara's overemphasis transcending maya, he too was simply going back to the original message of the Upanishads: “To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation,” says the Isha Upanishad. Rather, “Those who combine action and meditation cross the sea of death through action and enter immortality." This again takes place through the sacred union of soul and body, spirit and matter, male and female, mamamaya and papurusha (for those who know their punskrit).

I once had a psychotic patient who took one look at my name -- Godwin -- and blurted out, “Godwin -- is that like a combination of God and Darwin?” I thought about it for a moment and knew that he was right, for while he might have been crazy, he wasn't stupid. Because the whole bloody point of the living Raccoon philosophy is to marry Adam and Evolution in such a way that they live happily ever after, both aspiring to the same nonlocal goal 'til death do us part.

***

“Thou shalt not steal.” Why not? As always, the left has found a fruit loophole in this commandment by questioning its premise, i.e., the existence of private property. For one way to eliminate theft is to eliminate or at least question the legitimacy of private property -- which naturally ends with one big thief called “the government.” When liberals talk about "tax cuts for the rich," or "windfall profits," what they really mean is that no one has the right to interfere with their monopoly on theft.

Property, according to Richard Pipes, is “the key to the emergence of political and legal institutions that guarantee liberty.” Look at most anyplace in the world where there is an absence of liberty, and you will find weak property rights.

Liberals -- classical liberals, anyway, not the misnamed leftist kind -- have always understood that property is much more than property. Rather, it is the cornerstone of freedom, its very enabler and protector. And underneath property is the use of legitimate violence to protect said property. For if ever there were “sacred violence,” it is the violence that ensures the protection of property, for without property, humans cannot become fully human and thereby know the sacred. To a leftist, nothing can actually be sacred except false idols such as "diversity," or "social justice," or whatever else is convenient to achieve their worldly aims

For one thing, property is simply a free expression of “what people want,” and to a large extent, what you want is who you are, for better or worse. Therefore, property is an extension of the person. I once read a description of this by the outstanding psychoanalyst and writer, Christopher Bollas, who notes that the self can never be perceived directly, only indirectly, largely through its use of objects:

“Perhaps we need a new point of view in clinical psychoanalysis, close to a form of person anthropology. We would pay acute attention to all the objects selected by a patient and note the use made of each object. The literature, films, and music a person selects would be as valued a part of the fieldwork as the dream.” In so doing, we may “track the footsteps of the true self.”

As I have mentioned before, if I go to someone’s home, there are two things I am most curious about: the books and music it contains. And the medicine cabinet. Likewise, I should think that after I am gone, a psychoanalytic fieldworker would be able to construct a fairly accurate representation of me by merely rifling through my library. A name whose person escapes me referred to reading as “the mystery school of individuation.”

Just consider the odd assortment of books in my sidebar [that used to be there, anyway; the present list is slightly more uniform]. I am quite sure that no one else on the planet has a matching list. There may not be another person in history who has read and assimilated those particular books. I am not saying that to boast, only to emphasize the amazingly unique alchemy of choices we all embody when given the opportunity to freely exercise those choices. As Petey once said, “freedom is eccentricity lived,” and he has a point. Remember the Raccoon credo: if you're not eccentric, you're wrong.

At the very least, freedom is individuality lived, and it is very difficult to live out your individuality without a range of choices before you. Paradoxically, you can only become who you are in the context of liberty. Therefore, culture can only become what it is supposed to be in that same context. And this is again why we so strenuously bobject to the illiberal left, which is necessarily antihuman in elevating multiculturalism over the individual.

In a properly functioning human environment, culture will embody the exteriorization of the soul, while the soul will be assisted on its journey by the interiorization of culture. But to interiorize the culture of death is to.... Well, to paraphrase someone, "nature makes no provision for the death of the soul." Never wonder why the left abounds with so many gangrenous souls, since the "spiritual capillaries" that are supposed to nourish the soul have become completely sclerotic and blocked, so their minds become a dead tissue of lies.

I realize it’s politically incorrect to say this, so that's reason enough to say it. But in the course of my work, I have had the opportunity to evaluate many people from second and third world cultures, and what always impresses me about them is their essential sameness. Their life stories are all remarkably similar, almost as if they were the same person.

And in a way they are, for they were not brought up in a cultural (or economic) space in which they could articulate their own unique metaphysical dream. Instead, their life is dreamt by the collective, either vertically by a ruling class or horizontally by their dopey culture (which psychologists are supposed to "respect," on pain of being called a racist, or imperialist, or Republican). What Bollas calls the person’s “destiny drive” -- the spiritual drive to become oneself -- has been almost entirely squelched. They do not live in a space of infinite possibilities, only a sort of invariant and unchanging now, projected backward and forward and giving the illusion of an actual history.

Pipes notes that “while property in some form is possible without liberty, the contrary is inconceivable.” And this is one thing that again frightens us about the illiberal left, for as we have said many times, if you scratch a leftist, he will probably sue you. But underneath the scratch, you will discover a conviction that your property doesn’t really belong to you, but to the collective. It is simply a variation of the bald-faced assertion that “private property is public theft,” itself the absolute inversion of the seventh commandment.

Our most precious property is, of course, our own body-mind. However, it is amazing how late in history this idea emerged. For example, the Islamic beasts we are fighting have no such notion. In their cultures, your body and mind belong to the religious authorities, and only they can dictate what you can and cannot do with them. For example, a woman’s body is not her own. She has no choices (or only a narrow range of choices established by others) of how to express it, how to adorn it, and with whom she may share it. (Memo to trolls -- please don’t even bother. The moral issue behind the abortion debate is not whether a woman has a right to do whatever she pleases with her own body, but whether she has that right over another’s body. That’s the whole point.)

Slavery was still legal in parts of the Arab world as late as the 1960’s, and widespread virtual slavery still exists today. This is the penultimate theft (murder being ultimate), the theft of a human soul. But that is hardly the only sort of soul-theft that goes on in the Islamic world. Again, the idea that children are autonomous beings with their own inherent rights and dignity is a very late historical development that has yet to appear in most human cultures. Rather, children are “owned” by their parents, which is a great barrier to psychohistorical evolution. As a parent, your job is to create a space for your child’s true self to emerge, not to enforce your version of whom your child is and what he should become. It goes without saying that this does not exclude boundaries, discipline, and values, but the point of these is to facilitate true spiritual freedom, not to suppress it.

Most religions conceive of a mythical Golden Age, an edenic past in which there was no private property. Likewise, they may speculate about a hereafter in which there is no need for private property because there is no lack of anything. But in between, in our embodied state, there is a me and therefore a mine, a you and a yours. And just as the development of individualism is facilitated by property, property benefits from the arrangement as well. That is, most people do not take proper care of things that do not belong to them. As they say, no one ever took it upon himself to wash a rental car. Likewise, “primitive people are prone mindlessly to exterminate animals and destroy forests, to the extent that they are physically able, without any thought of the future” (Pipes). There is an obvious reason why the most affluent countries with the strongest property rights also have the best environmental records.

Similarly, only when is master of oneself will one feel compelled to make improvements. Here again, we see the left undermining this fundamental assumption, with disastrous consequences. For the entire basis of leftist victimology is that you are not sovereign over yourself and are not responsible for your destiny. Rather, the doctrine of victimology maintains that your life is really directed by others. If you are a woman, you are controlled by men. If you are black, you are controlled by racist whites. If you are gay, you are controlled by “homophobes.” If you are a Democrat, you are controlled by Karl Rove.

In each case, personal agency is undermined and replaced by a collective that, in the long run, will further erode the liberty it claims to advance. Racial quotas simply displace the ceiling further down the road. For example, a recent study proved that easing the standards for admitting blacks to law school simply results in black lawyers with dead-end careers in which they never make partner. The fundamental difference between a leftist and conservative comes down to collective identity (and therefore victim) politics vs. individual (and therefore agent over one's destiny) politics. So it's humans vs. ants, really.

There are many “social justice” or “liberation theology” Christians who maintain that Jesus was a sort of proto-communist, what with his counsel to give to the poor. But there is an infinite moral distinction between voluntary renunciation of one’s wealth and government seizure and redistribution of one’s wealth. Just as one must first be a man before becoming a gentleman, one must first have sovereignty over one’s property before choosing to give it away. And as a matter of fact, statistics demonstrate that there is an inverse relationship between high taxes and charitable giving. Those states with the lowest taxes give the most, while those with the highest taxes -- ”liberal” places such as Massachusetts -- give the least. There is a reason why America is the most generous nation the world has ever known, both in terms of blood and treasure.

And there is also a reason why, say, China, has no qualms whatsoever about stealing billions of dollars per year in American intellectual property, for they now want the benefits of private property without the sacred duty to protect it. For a Marxist, private property is again public theft, so when they steal American music, DVDs, and computer programs, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them: “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine as well.”

Well, I can see that I’ve run out of time before I could come up with any snappy ending. Let’s just say this: in order to create a properly functioning society and a spiritually balanced person, “thou shalt not steal” (i.e., private property is sacrosanct) must be reconciled with “thou shalt not covet” (property isn't everything). We'll get to that one in a couple days, assuming I can steal the time that I so enviously covet.

43 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

"Soul and body form a harmonious union, and the separation of the two in any sphere of activity is a kind of murder, since the higher life is not possible without their union."

This was one of those "Ah ha!" posts today. Thanks.



"And there is also a reason why, say, China, has no qualms whatsoever about stealing billions of dollars per year in American intellectual property, for they now want the benefits of private property without the sacred duty to protect it."

"Similarly, only when is master of oneself will one feel compelled to make improvements."

Perhaps it was obvious to everyone else, but this section pretty much explains the Industrial Revolution. Property allows for liberty, which begets the desire for (and development of) improvements, both horizontal and vertical, which end up benefiting everyone exponentially beyond that which can be produced without property and liberty.

One thing I marvel about, every once in a while, is the fact that I, and so many other people alive today, actually wouldn't be possible at any prior point in history. Or even, it seems, in a lot of current cultures and places in the world. Modern Americans are literally the children of freedom. And yet so many are willing to just hand it over (or rather, take someone else's) in favor of the "common good." Which, in truth is the common evil.

8/30/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous skippy said...

"when they steal American music, DVDs, and computer programs"

Americans routinely steal American content -- in staggering volumes (e.g., the entire "bittorrent" culture).

Very few people below age 30 see anything wrong with this whatsoever. The popular site Digg.com is the primary nesting site for this species: atheist, leftist, coarse, immature, anti-American, "green", and given to theft of intellectual property without the slightest twinge of conscience. (Boing Boing is another popular site specializing in neo-Marxist attacks on private property).

Marxian doctrine has fully seeped into the brainpans of a large portion of our young. "Theft" is an archaic notion to them when it comes to music or movies. How many "Obamas" away are we from a situation where your right to own your car, your house, your dog and your guns are similarly deprecated and eventually abolished?

Am I being too extremist? Probably. But better to err on the side of caution in these matters.

8/30/2008 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous The drive-by fact-checker said...

For your enjoyment...

Little known facts about Sarah Palin

http://www.palinfacts.com/

> Sarah Palin isn’t allowed to wield the gavel at the convention because they’re afraid she’ll use it to kill liberals.
> Sarah Palin once won a competitive eating contest by devouring three live caribou.
> Sarah Palin once carved a perfect likeness of the Mona Lisa in a block of ice using only her teeth.
> Sarah Palin will pry your Klondike bar from your cold dead fingers.
> Sarah Palin doesn’t need a gun to hunt. She has been known to throw a bullet through an adult bull elk.

I knew she had Tongan blood! Also lot's of raccoons up in the Alaska wilderness.

8/30/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

“Thou shalt not steal.”

But if you must, do it right.

8/30/2008 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I used to sing "Steal Away" as a lullabye to my babes...but not like Mahalia.

8/30/2008 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous skippy said...

To his credit, Charles Johnson is not only standing up for Palin (despite the fact that she may be a "creationist"), but has already employed his inestimable skill as an Internet private eye to unmask yet another leftist dirty trick (see LGF today).

Good for him. Although Johnson's obsession with "creationism" is troubling, he is absolutely a man of integrity overall.

8/30/2008 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

If Sarah keeps screwing around with this V.P. B.S., she'll miss the moose season which starts Monday.

8/30/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous boris said...

Her candidacy is diabolical plot of moose and squirrel.

8/30/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Moose and squirrel no doubt being code names for Rove and Cheney.

8/30/2008 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

Robin,

With all due respect to the late Ms. Jackson and Mr. Cole, I believe this kind of stealing is more relevant to the One Cosmos crew.

8/30/2008 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

And for our own Dr. Gagster: a discussion on "The Closing of the American Psyche" that the Head Raccoon might find interesting, what with him being a psych-guy, and all....

8/30/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Aquila:

Thanks! That was very good. I note that they name-checked some of my faves, e.g., Bion and Grotstein. I'm glad Dalrymple and the others took deMause to task -- he has a lot of important ideas, but he often careens off the rails and essentially beclowns himself. Furthermore, he uses his data to support leftist ideas -- as if it's a good idea to raise boys to be feminized Euro-wimps!

8/30/2008 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Aquila, thanks for that article. I wonder how much the avoidance of psychoanalysis has to do with the increased secularization of
academia, as well? When thoughts and the psyche are reduced to biological activity, doesn't it follow that spending time on analysis would take a back seat to fixing the biological malfunctions?

When I was in college, going from being a secularist to an atheist, one of the concepts I absorbed (not sure if I learned it or just concluded it) was that thoughts didn't much matter. If there's no eternal spark, then whatever goes on inside your head dies with you. For instance, there's no reason to try and control or understand your murderous impulses, so long as you don't actually act on them. It's perfectly okay, therapeutic even, to wish someone dead, diseased or maimed (a la BDS). So long as you can function in a socially acceptable manner, and so long as you feel alright (which aids in functioning in a socially acceptable manner), more or less, then the rest is just mental gymnastics and random neurons firing.

Obviously, I came to my senses (OC - come for jokes, stay for the introspection ;). Thoughts do matter. In fact, from the individual's perspective they're pretty much everything, and if you don't have the slightest idea why you think what you think, you're likely to find life baffling, frustrating, miserable and wretched.

Given how intensely uncomfortable (or downright painful) it can be to try and understand the unconscious processes, and given that even with good psychoanalysis there's no guarantee of successfully taming the mind parasites, and it can take such a long time before any results are experienced by the patient, it's no surprised that quick fixes are so desperately sought.

Damn - running out of time. Maybe I'll finish this thought later, but there's a good chance this train'll be derailed.

8/30/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

The agenda of the left is control. This is best achieved by impoverishment.

No property, no education, no liberty.

8/30/2008 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"In adhering to the soul in all we do, we remain “faithful” to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Conversely, if we transfer our loyalty to that which corrupts us, we will soon discover that it clings to us as much as we adhere it it. The death culture begets death. If we are "in" that culture, it is soon in us. Then there's no escape, since the inscape is blocked."

That is the horrid part of modern culture, that as you nod your head to it, with good natured 'tolerance', you acknowledge it as being acceptable, and allow it in. Once in, the worm grows and gnaws away at you, disabling your ability to appreciate "the Good, the True, and the Beautiful", interferes with your ability to metabolize the Truth - for if you accept the unvirtous, the ugly, as 'Ok'... it's "Just kid stuff" or something similar, like a Vampire tapping at your window, it is powerless over you until you invite it in - it uses your best qualities as tools to destroy you with.


"This is why the postmodern strategy of deconstruction is not just bad philosophy. Rather it is murder, specifically, soul murder."

Damn straight.

"In fact, any kind of radical skepticism represents nothing more than (in words of Schuon) an "esoterism of stupidity": the lower mind’s ability to doubt anything is elevated to the central truth of our existence. It is the worst kind of soul betrayal, because it operates under cover of a counterfeit pursuit of truth, while simultaneously destroying its very possibility."

I'd like to paint that on the hallways of every school of the land. Putting it in the classrooms would be pointless, the educationist would only question it. Paint it in the halls, and the kids might learn to defend themselves.

You know what our 'public' schools really nead? A Defense against the Dark Arts class... problem is they expelled the professors about 50 years ago.

8/30/2008 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"“Thou shalt not steal.” Why not? As always, the left has found a fruit loophole in this commandment by questioning its premise, i.e., the existence of private property. For one way to eliminate theft is to eliminate or at least question the legitimacy of private property -- which naturally ends with one big thief called “the government.” When liberals talk about "tax cuts for the rich," or "windfall profits," what they really mean is that no one has the right to interfere with their monopoly on theft.

Property, according to Richard Pipes, is “the key to the emergence of political and legal institutions that guarantee liberty.” Look at most anyplace in the world where there is an absence of liberty, and you will find weak property rights. "

How well these two of the Commandments go together. Oh... I know I said 'one last ref' earlier in the week... but maybe just one last, one last time

"They didn’t espouse those rights to property just in order to gain and keep ‘things’, but because for the first time in Human History, they understood that your ability to live Your life, to have an unbreached soul, depended upon your ability to make the choices necessary for a worthy and virtuous life, and those choices depended upon these rights being recognized and upheld.

The Founders did not think of property as simple things, but as extensions of the soul into the world, and to interfere between owner and property, to interfere with the owners choice to do with his property as he would, was to perpetrate something akin to an unholy act, certainly unjust, and in no wise lawful. Locke also argued that if a ruler violates any of his subjects’ property rights he is “at war” with them, and therefore the ruler may be disobeyed."


It is, and was, the ungrounded skepticism of Descartes and Hume, that opened the gates of hell into modernity, turning one of our finest qualities, curiousity to know and Reason to understand, against our ability to know anything, whether there was anything you could have a Right to, and then whether 'You' had a right to prevent the All from having all you had. That accomplished in the minds of 'those who know', whether or not 'property' is still legally maintained, the Principle of Individual Rights has been lost, and necessarily along with that the ability to revere anything (unselfconsciously? Without a snicker? or without a glance to make sure that no one sees you taking it seriously? For all intents and purposes, if not lost, it is certainly concealed from our popular culture), then to even question whether there was anything that was or could be Good, Beautiful or True.

As depressing as that may sound, it is easily reveresed... all it takes is a few well placed laughs at the pompous liars expense, the refusal to deny what is obviously true, and to clearly state it as being so when others snidely deny it.

We do face evil, but evil is pitifuly weak, the only strength it has is our willingness to use our strength against ourselves. It really is laughable.

8/30/2008 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Back to MSNBC for a second, even Maher noticed things are getting a little strange.

8/30/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Popemobile said...

Bob,
This is exactly what I needed to hear. I wish you would never leave.

"On Keeping Body and Soul Together While Treasuring Your Eccentricity" is positively my favorite title. Though, I wish you would write the original posts for "Ten Commandments of... Satan!" into a book, because they were extremely good.

8/30/2008 08:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok. Here's my reply .

BTW, I find it even more amazing what identification does to the immature.


"He who wishes to enter the Kingdom of God must first enter with his body into his mother and die there." --Paracelsus

8/31/2008 01:11:00 AM  
Anonymous enquiring mind said...

Is this an answer to a question from yesterday or last week?
BTW, got any more lame poetry?

8/31/2008 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"As Petey once said, “freedom is eccentricity lived,” and he has a point. Remember the Raccoon credo: if you're not eccentric, you're wrong."

This reminds me of that song:
If Bein' Eccentric Is Right
Then I Don't Wanna Be Wrong

OK, technically I haven't actually written the song, per say, but if the title is any indication then we are in for a real treat. :^)

8/31/2008 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Skippy said-
"Although Johnson's obsession with "creationism" is troubling, he is absolutely a man of integrity overall."

Although I would like to believe that, Skippy, after reading so many comments Charles has made on the numerous evolution/ID (and related) threads, I disagree.

He has said some vile things about Christianity and Judaism, and he has fostered an irrational paranoia of Christianity on par with something you might read at the Daily Kos.

But please, don't take my word for it. Go ahead and read just Charles comments going back a few weeks, or months, if you need overwhelming evidence.

Not to mention the ones he allows from the anti-theists, compared with the Christians he has banned to be truly sickened.

But I warn you, you will be repulsed.

8/31/2008 03:58:00 AM  
Anonymous skippy said...

uss ben:

Well that' sad to hear. I basically stopped reading LGF around the time the constant attacks on religion began.

Part of the problem is that virtually everyone in America -- on both sides -- flails away at straw-man arguments whenever this topic arises. One Cosmos is one of the few places in the cosmos where an obviously "designed" world is in no way incompatible with the underlying science behind such phenomena as species adaptation, genetic mutation, and micro-evolution in general.

Frankly if evidence were to appear that aspects of macro-evolution were true I don't see how that would preclude "creationism" (properly understood). In any case the "creationists" -- even with their silly literalism (e.g., earth is 4,576 literal years old) are closer to Truth than reductionists, whether right- or left-wing.

Question:

Are we Christians closer in temperament with a Christian Democrat, or an atheist Republican?

I'm in agreement with pretty much everything Gagdad Bob writes, however there are many good and decent Christians who vote democrat, and there are many vicious, hate-filled atheist conservatives who pound out screeds all the day long...

8/31/2008 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Are we Christians closer in temperament with a Christian Democrat, or an atheist Republican?"

This is a good question. I've often asked myself whether I would vote Democrat over Republican if the party planks on abortion were reversed.

I think I would.

The reason being: abortion is such a watershed issue. It affects the very soul of the party. A party that *really, truly* "stands up for the little guy" will be, I think, more likely to promote human freedom in the long run.

Of course, in order to change their outlook on this one issue, the Democrats would have to reject some of the thinking that Bob has pinpointed in this very post. So much does this watershed issue affect everything else. A basic regard for human dignity will mean not playing to the worst aspects of human nature, for instance.

The Democrats were not always this way.

8/31/2008 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Not "I think I would." I *know* I would.

8/31/2008 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I still don't see how a self-described Christian can vote Democrat as things stand now, though. How do you ignore something like infanticide and square that with a Biblical worldview?

8/31/2008 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said, Skippy, and I cooncur!
Johan made a similar distinction between fundamentalists and relativists at Walts place a few days ago.

As for your question, I see your point. It seems to me there are a growing number of anti-theists that are republican, that want to eradicate Religion from the GOP.

On the other hand, they are, thankfully, still a small percentage of the GOP, but they are very loud, which makes them appear to be bigger than they are.
And they revel in causing all sorts of destructive mischief irt any conservatives who embrace Religion.

They are akin to the far left loonies and use the same tactics produced from a seared conscience.

As for the religious left, I'm sure there are some that we have things in common with, but I have a hard time understanding how someone can have a leftist philosophy and still be religious past a certain point.

Which begins with the sanctity of life.

I'm all for pro choice if the child gets to choose.
There's someting deeply wrong when a convicted murderer gets several appeals and legal representation while an unborn child gets absolutely no rights whatsoever.

I'm all for the compassion, tempered by truth but not the "good intentioned" communist/socialist charity that so many on the religious left embrace.

I reckon they just don't realize that G-d/Jesus is for Liberty and never for communism in any form.

Charity must needs be an individual committment, freely given or it means less than nothing.

Anyway, sorry for rambling.
Despite those glaring differences, I know there are some on the left that don't believe that, and may even be pro life, but are simply ignorant irt the economy or foreign affairs so they vote democrat.

I know there are some conservative democrats, but that number is few and dwindling quickly.

I'm sure we have much in common with any conservative democrat that "hold these Truth's to be self evident" and respect our Constitution, but for the life of me, I can't understand why they would choose to be democrats.
I'm sure the reasons are many and vary.

At any rate, I appreciate your comments, Skippy. :^)

8/31/2008 07:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

From Dilys!

Baberaham Lincoln

Yeah baby!

8/31/2008 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Skippy said "Are we Christians closer in temperament with a Christian Democrat, or an atheist Republican?"

The issue comes down to how much thought they give to the issues. The Democrat agenda DEPENDS on people not giving the issues much thought. They depend on people seeing Welfare as Generosity soaking the rich as stopping Snidely Whiplash from grabbing all the cookies off the table and keeping people from getting what they deserve, of Diversity as being polite to people because they're people no matter their appearance, and stopping overzealous puritans from putting people who don't believe as they do into stocks in the public square.

Every remark and response they make will be to deflect any 'threatening' delving into Ideas, Principles, their sources and implications, preferably in a manner that doesn't invite further thought, which usually means insult, ridicule and demonization.

For the person who gives the issues little thought and buys into themes of Generosity and polite manners, those people could very possibly be closer to us in temperament than some republicans. The ones who have gone beyond the surface, who understand that the issues truly come down to matters of force and infringing upon peoples liberty, for forcing people to behave as decreed - for those people, there is no hope, barring a sudden and massive change of heart and mind (a 911 moment perhaps), they are lost.

Conversely, the little 'r' republicans who DO want to use Gov't to force the 'proper' choices and behaviors from the public - those who haven't given much thought to what Morality is beyond the appearance of peoples actions, the ones who equate religion with 'talking snake stories' and ignorance, but consider Truth to be real and important, they may be close to us in temperament but those who don't give a damn about morality, about Truth, but just want to force public conformance to their opinion, those who don't give a damn about Truth or Principle, but only want Order to be maintained, and 'the right people' to benefit from it, they are as lost and in opposition to us, as the conscious leftist.

Although there are always exceptions, I think we can safely assume, prior to learning more about an Individual, that we have little common ground (in political and moral terms) with someone who identifies themselves as a liberal or progressive, and that we're always on potentially shaky ground with someone who identifies themselves as a 'republican' (See McCain or Luger), hugely more solid ground with someone who identifies themselves as a Conservative, and nearly rock solid ground with someone who identifies themselves as a Classical Liberal; those who understand that Individual Rights are a consequence of being rational, moral Human Beings, that all of our Rights are weakened when Property Rights are undermined, and that the purpose of Gov't, is to defend those rights against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

(I should add that although I'm in deep sympathy with the Christian message, especially as understood here, and the Truth I think Christians and I revere, I'm not technically a Christian)

8/31/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Skully - Dilys - That is a good one. Did you follow the links back to the original source? Interesting to see the 'thinking' of the ground floor leftists. (Only takes minor rinsing to remove their taint - not up to kos stain levels)

8/31/2008 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous skippy said...

van, ben et al,

Thought-provoking responses. Several points raised I hadn't considered before...

Thx

8/31/2008 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Quoting from the My Plea link on 'Baberaham Lincoln':

"I've watched the blogs, discussions, and tv reports all day, and while national dems have regaled themselves in last night's speech from obama, and laughed about Sarah, and while the media has had its field day, I've relived the emotion of having Sarah shark us 2 years ago, and felt dread.

We are, as of today, 30 points down, and we're going to need to work hard to make this the victory it should be.

I hope to be proven wrong. I hope she ends up being a horrible pick, but my gut feeling is it won't be that easy, it never is when you're dealing with Alaskan politicians."

8/31/2008 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"For the person who gives the issues little thought and buys into themes of Generosity and polite manners, those people could very possibly be closer to us in temperament than some republicans."

You've just described my MIL. One of the most generous people you'll ever meet, and also votes democrat (go figure).

I would add, easily led by emotional appeal.

8/31/2008 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Coming back from WalMart a few minutes ago, I passed a car festooned in bumper stickers, driving slowly on the freeway (and no doubt contributing more than its share of carbon to the atmosphere). Prominently displayed in one of the windows:

"I'm too informed to vote Republican"

8/31/2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Now, these boys are informed.

8/31/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Time for a bit of weekend diversion: A very important scientific experiment.

I would so love to try this one sometime :D

8/31/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Related (and really beautiful) video by the same mad scientist here. I can't begin to say how deeply I covet his camera.

8/31/2008 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Julie,
I agree; such a camera would be awesome as a tool to precisely measure the explosions of hot, empty, gaseous emanations from Obama's or Deepak Chopra's mouths, or the projectile diarrhea emanating from the pens of Paul Krugman or Michael Moore.

8/31/2008 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Bob,
those two clowns are the perfect examples of projection; I believe that that is how all leftists see conservatives. The Green Day song "American Idiot", an anthem of infantile sour grapes over 2004 if ever I heard one, is a good example.

8/31/2008 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

"Our most precious property is, of course, our own body-mind."
Please, please, America, remember this phrase when some bureaucrat attempts to regulate what you can eat or regulate talk radio content, or when the campus Red Guards attempt to shut down yet another conservative speaker. This is Grand Theft on the largest scale, the theft of our own thought and liberty.

8/31/2008 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Raccoons, I have a modest proposal. It's a bit long-winded, but bear with me:

I've been toying with learning the guitar lately, because why not? But then again, why? After all, I'd probably never play it except to amuse myself. Somehow, this led me to thinking about Kate Walsh, who recorded an album using her friend's computer, in his living room (and became a top seller on iTunes, which I thought was kind of awesome). Which bounced into another idea that's wandered into my head a time or two (wouldn't it be fun to make an animated music video, with a raccoon as the main character? Not that I have the foggiest idea how to make an animated music video, but that doesn't usually stop me). But of course, to make a video, there first needs to be music. Which leads to my proposal:

With all of the musically talented people who hang out at OC, I wonder if it would be possible to create a virtual song? Start with some lyrics and a basic melody, hand off (via email, possibly? I don't have a clue how big the files would be) to various instrumentalists/ vocalists to play with (maybe just one at a time, so they're all building on the same musical structure), overlay their part, then pass along... each person would need a half-decent microphone (to record their part) and compatible software, probably the kind that comes free with most computers would be fine (GarageBand or similar?). Again, not that I know how to work with it, but it's supposed to be fairly user friendly. If we keep it simple, it could possibly work.

I don't know how many of you will be interested, or if there's interest how well it would come together; I'm sure some of you have a much better grasp of the tech aspects, for instance, and maybe it's not as feasible as I think. But then again, you never know until you try.

Anyway, it just struck me as something that, if nothing else, could be a really fun and interesting collaboration. There's no lack of creativity here, nor a lack of musical ability. And admit it - you'd love to hang out and have an impromptu jam session (or even just sit on the sidelines and listen to the results). This could be the next best thing.

So what do you think? Anyone want to give it a try?

9/01/2008 12:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

"After all, adultery is related to adulterate, which means to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the addition of a foreign or inferior substance. In this case, we are talking specifically about the intrinsic purity of the soul, and avoiding activities that corrupt it."

Watch out for dilutions of grandeur. :)

9/01/2008 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

Good idea Julie.
I happen to know there are lyrics sittin' on the wordpress site.
The Author can't get it recorded cause of regular type worldly problems.
I know He'd appreciate some help to pull it together.

9/01/2008 07:08:00 AM  

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