Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Partial Truth Abortions and Full Term Children of of the Light

And so we turn another page of the Theo-Logic. Meanwhile, the tension is beginning to ratchet up in the Theo-Drama, as HvB has set the cosmic stage and cast some of the most important roles. But at this pace, Obama will be out of the White House before we get to that, because each page or two of the Theo-Logic inspires a whole post.

I don't know if you appreciate how freakish this is. I remember reading Edward Oakes' intro to Balthasar a number of years ago, thinking that that would get me up to speed -- you know, just give me the bottom line. At the time, I thought it was a pretty good book. Only now do I realize how hopelessly inadequate it is, probably through no fault of Oakes. Rather, he was engaging in a truly impossible task, i.e., trying to contain the uncontainable.

But if we're talking about "reality," then obviously any book will be hopelessly inadequate. Our words are always shattered by the Word, thank God, because if that weren't the case, we'd all be as boring, predictable, and narrow minded as Queeg or Mtraven.

But more generally, since I only deal in the high end, I can't help being amused by the professional atheist crowd, who can only remain so smugly self-satisfied by discharging intellectual aggression toward religious straw men at the low end. But you have accomplished nothing in besting a yahoo.

Again, take the example of Catholicism, since that is what we're dealing with here. Instead of, say, condemning abusive homosexual priests, why not pick on someone your own size? Why not plunge into the world of HvB, and engage that? In short, why not deal with the best and strongest arguments of the opposition, instead of making fun of the worst? Isn't this the minimum requirement of intellectual honesty? Obviously, the Catholic church must serve a billion souls, and it would hardly be appropriate to feed them all on a diet of HvB, MOTT, or Meister Eckhart, when only 1% might be capable of digesting it.

I'm traveling back in time to my atheist phase, in order to try to understand their motives. Let's see.... Well, first of all, let me be the first to admit that I was a smug and arrogant prick -- in short, the same person I am today from the perspective of our trolls -- but that isn't enough to explain the dynamic.

Also, like any liberal, I had no understanding of the implications of my views, nor did I ever articulate any consistent first principles. That goes without saying. And there was surely an element of sadism, in that I enjoyed prevailing in arguments for its own sake, rather than for any truly higher purpose -- no different, really, than the talking heads on TV.

To be charitable, I suppose that if we take the long view, I think we can say that I was ultimately motivated by love, or else I would have remained a liberal for life. Rather, it was a nasty phase I had to go through in order to get to where I am today, just as today is a gnosty phase I have to go through in order to arrive at where I'll be a year from now.

The question is, how would I have responded at the time if I had somehow had the good fortune to run into a religious genius on the order of HvB or Schuon? How would I have reacted? Well, as a matter of fact, I did run into Schuon, probably as early as 1982 or so. But it had no real impact. He was just one name among others. I certainly wasn't able to place him in any hierarchy, and if I had, would have undoubtedly placed him below an Alan Watts, Ken Wilber or Ram Dass. In other words, I would have entirely conflated my own ignorance and inadequacy with his, as if it was in him and not me.

So I think that must be the main factor: adequacy. The intellectual, mainly due to the contamination of pride, only engages in ideas with which he is capable of comprehending, because that is what intellectuals do: play with ideas. But as soon as an idea is "understood," then the intellectual has elevated himself above it. I'm guessing that most intellectuals pride themselves on the notion that, as intellectuals, the entire world of thought is accessible to them, and that there is nothing they cannot potentially understand.

Which, of course, is arrant nonsense, for when it comes to the sorts of ideas discussed by an HvB, to understand them is to be a believer. To put it another way, if an intellectual does not believe what HvB is saying, then he hasn't understood it -- no different than if someone were to say that he doesn't believe in the law of gravity. If that is the case, it simply means that he hasn't understood it. You can try to explain it to him again, but obviously it would be a waste of time to descend to his level and argue on his own terms about the existence or non-existence of gravity.

Now, here is another critical point: religious truths can never actually be "comprehended" in the way that profane truths can be. To cite an obvious example, a sixth grader can easily comprehend the relative truth of natural selection, being that such a simple idea can be printed on a tee shirt or reduced to a tattoo on Charles Johnson's concave chest. But just try explaining to him the truth of Theo-Logic. Here, let's begin with the first paragraph:

To talk about truth means more than merely to ask whether or not truth exists and, perhaps, to answer in the affirmative. This particular question -- whether or not truth exists -- is the principal concern of critical epistemology, and it is certainly serious enough to warrant a thorough investigation of its own. Ontology, too, should have pride of place in dealing with this issue, because truth is not just a property of knowledge but a transcendental quality of being as such.

For a senior Raccoon, this amounts to a cliche. But what can it mean to a sixth grader, or a bonehead atheist, or a 25 year-old unBob? Pretty much nothing, I guess.

Again, the point is that HvB's corpus is sufficient proof of the -- to coon a phrase -- "generative uncontainability" of God. In other words, it seems that the closer one gets to the truth, it simultaneously in-forms and shatters. I

t reminds me of a truly generative artist, such as Bob Dylan, who is already off to the next project by the time the old one hits the marketplace. In contrast, the inferior artist will sing the same hit song in the same way for the rest of his life. And most people who call themselves "intellectuals" are analogous to one-hit wonders who really have only one "big idea" that they replay over and over on the oldies circuit known as academia.

But only a handful of intellectuals can play true mind jazz -- and spirit jazz -- in the manner of HvB. There are people who can play the former, and others who can play the latter, but not too many who are equally comfortable in both realms. What I mean is that HvB is without a doubt the most cultured and erudite author I think I've ever encountered. But at the same time, he is obviously a mystic of the first rank, a combination that places him miles above the vulgar atheist or common intellectual.

I didn't intend to ramble so much. This post all started as I contemplated HvB's next sentence, which I haven't yet reproduced: "Every abuse of truth consists in making the fragment self-sufficient to the detriment of the totality."

Right? Right. To say that atheists are guilty of this amounts to a cliche. However, he's also talking about "religious" people who foreclose the living God by clinging to some partial formulation. Again, one can't help thinking of so many members of the "religious right." This is not to condnemn them -- indeed, they are simply behaving in a predictably "all too human" manner, as is the atheist. What unites the two is this emotional/intellectual need to seal off and enclose transcendental being, as if it could ever be tamed.

Nevertheless, HvB points out that "the possibility of this abuse is the root of scandal," which immediately makes one wonder if it may be implicated in our fallen nature. For "Men are scandalized whenever there is a closure to the absolute, encompassing truth from the standpoint of some partial truth."

You might say that man is a partial-truth abortion, in that this ontological foreclosure results in a failure of the "second birth." And the tenured hold the vacuum that sucks the spiritual embryo out of its developing womb.

Naturally, the idea of the Fall has many different angles, but I believe we've hit on a key one, the idea that we "take refuge" in a finite perspective, and that to cling to the finite means to reject the infinite. Rather, we are to cling to the infinite -- or rather, to be "contained" within it, so to speak.

The operative word is "contained," for the atheist, since he doesn't believe in the container, can experience only the terrible "silence of the infinite spaces" when he contemplates this infinite reality. No wonder he plugs the hole with Marxism, or Darwinism, or Obamaism, and other masturbatory forms of spiritual nOnanism.

Ah, here is the clincher: "Man's guilt consists, not in the fact that he knows only a sector of the infinite truth, but rather in the fact that he becomes content with it, blocks himself off from enlarging and complementary vistas, and thus severs himself from the living source of truth."

But just try telling this to 25 year-old Bob or sixth grade Dawkins, Hitchens, or Harris.

Thanks to the movement of self-surrender, love is given a flood of truth, whose chief characteristic is a fullness that never fits completely into any human schema.... No truth proceeding from the center of self-revealing being is ever exhaustible; it carries the promising hint of ever new and deeper truth. --HvB

Below, an uncontainably joyous little feller on the occasion of his fourth birthday:

65 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Good post by Dr. Sanity today on The Political Left: United in Hate With America's Foes.

4/21/2009 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"Happy Birthday" to your boy!

4/21/2009 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Happy birthday to FL - looks like he had a good day :)

4/21/2009 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Cory said...

Rumi wrote (this is paraphrased as I don't have it in front of me): "Sell certainty and buy bewilderment." It has taken me a while to understand this. I find that most knowledge is conditional and that the only knowledge that isn't can't be communicated in a way to make it obvious to anyone else.

In fact, the knowledge that is absolute doesn't really communicate at all except in a very superficial way in comparison to the reality. At least not in words. It communicates much better when demonstrated by example though this is still far short of the reality.

The teachers can only point the way. Of all who read and listen only a few will take the plunge and actually try to follow the designated path. It is not easy to "sell certainty". And bewilderment is no fun at all. But all the sages, prophets and saints have taught that there IS an unshakeable Reality that it is possible to know and to ground our lives on. And the most important aspect of this Reality is that it is alive and aware and will rush to give us the grace we need if we just reach for it. It's that first reach that is the hardest.

Balthasar sounds like a fascinating and enlightened man and one of these days I will get around to reading him (I hope). But one of the things that has happened since I read One Cosmos is that the bibliography of "must reads" has suddenly burgeoned and I find both time and cash stretched pretty thin as a result.

4/21/2009 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

"By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." -Heb 11:3

No truth proceeding from the center of self-revealing being is ever exhaustible; it carries the promising hint of ever new and deeper truth. Naturally, the idea of the Fall has many different angles, but I believe we've hit on a key one, the idea that we "take refuge" in a finite perspective, and that to cling to the finite means to reject the infinite. Rather, we are to cling to the infinite -- or rather, to be "contained" within it, so to speak. This one's a keeper, the kernel of being in the world but not of it. FL gets that already, at four!

We planted a mess of starter seeds yesterday. I hadn't looked at them as being "in" but not "of the earth", but that's key, isn't it? They will germinate, flower, bear fruit, and reveal something entirely Other in the process.

4/21/2009 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Partial Truth Abortions and Full Term Children of of the Light"

Wow... title alone deserves a comment... I don't have it at the moment... but it deserves one!

wv:pightsi
What condition do young boys leave the livingroom in after a Birthday party?

4/21/2009 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amadaus Traul here.

Bob, you've managed to articulate your own particular malady rather well.

You seem firmly convinced that atheists are in the wrong.

However, you have seized on a partial truth and taken it for the whole, the original scandal, as you suggest.

You have failed to consider that perhaps God wants atheists that way. I think you understand intellectually this is possible, but if you believed it, then you would cease your vitriol regarding the atheists.

The better approach would be to take a single individual, close to you, and do shaping on them rather than converging on a mass phenomenon which clearly you don't have a firm intuition about.

You are in fact operating on a spiritual basis for much of your writing, however when you track on to the atheists you drop a notch into the plain intellect and proceed to scandalize yourself.

I'm no better, but I can still call a spade a spade when I see it.

4/21/2009 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Cory,
"...the bibliography of "must reads" has suddenly burgeoned..."

Yes, it's funny how that happens when you start lingering around the coonosphere :)

You might like Walt's post today, and QP's for a visual demonstration.

4/21/2009 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of partial truth abortions, yesterday I saw a lot of spin that the infamous handshake was simply a matter of courtesy. I was even half-convinced, watching a video clip of the circumstances. In light of this, however, now I don't buy it at all.

4/21/2009 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous word veri said...

Rantra: the refutation power phrase used by flatlanders to maintain their nonbelief.

4/21/2009 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Robin,

I hadn't looked at them as being "in" but not "of the earth", but that's key, isn't it? They will germinate, flower, bear fruit, and reveal something entirely Other in the process.

And yet, the mystery of plants is that while they aren't of the earth, they are undeniably of the earth - the seed takes into itself the substances that it touches - first earth and water, but later also air and fire, and transforms them from dead chemicals and particles of energy into living, breathing, growing, beautiful structures. Truly, plants are the bridge between matter and life. Animals don't get direct sustenance from earth, water air or fire (even though we do receive nourishment from the elements); in order to live, we must consume life. Food for thought, there...

4/21/2009 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

"Every abuse of truth consists in making the fragment self-sufficient to the detriment of the totality."

Reminds of:

“…it is necessary to not be hypnotized…to not disparage a mountain because of a fissure and, conversely, praise an evil because of an inevitable particle of good.” ~ Schuon

4/21/2009 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“Ah, here is the clincher: "Man's guilt consists, not in the fact that he knows only a sector of the infinite truth, but rather in the fact that he becomes content with it, blocks himself off from enlarging and complementary vistas, and thus severs himself from the living source of truth."”

I just knew somebody was going to say “content”…the potential downside to receiving a high school diploma…or degree from a so-called institution of higher learning. I think more so with the former. You are endorsed, under peer pressure you could say, to regard yourself as having completed your education. Go forth and…do something else.

4/21/2009 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous cerremo said...

"And the tenured hold the vacuum that sucks the spiritual embryo out of its developing womb."

Love you, Bob, but that was a bit much...

4/21/2009 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous mtraven said...

Vee vill make you schtep into line Herr Godvin.

4/21/2009 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>> . . I can't help being amused by the professional atheist crowd, who can only remain so smugly self-satisfied by discharging intellectual aggression . . <<

I think that for the professional intellectual the so-called "life of the mind" is really an ersatz spirituality - after all, the life of the mind is relatively quiet, the university scene can be relatively bucolic, one is surrounded by books, students seek out the intellectual elite for guru-like insights and wisdom, etc. Many regard all this as a kind of spiritual atmospheric. It's really another slice of "ape of God-ness."

The higher intellect exists, of course, but in the modern scheme of things, the lower intellect prevails. The lower intellect - the mind that relishes argumentation, confrontation, and ridiculous competitiveness - is basically a *physical* process that depends on how fast brain synapses exchange electricity. The capacity for rapid synapse electrical exchange is a nice gift, of course, just as is physical strength and energy, and an attractive physical appearance, but that's all that it is, nothing more. It's good for quick calculations, but unto itself, it has no insight into spiritual matters.

When the so-called intellectual comes to champion the lower intellect above all things, the result is not much different than if they championed raw physical strength - a kind of predatory nature, divisive and bitter, comes to the fore. Still, the "intellectuals" are convinced that theirs is the best the mind can offer, and so, aping genuine spiritual insight, they become the priesthood of the secular order.

4/21/2009 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"I didn't intend to ramble so much. This post all started as I contemplated HvB's next sentence, which I haven't yet reproduced: "Every abuse of truth consists in making the fragment self-sufficient to the detriment of the totality." "

Yes indeedy.

"Naturally, the idea of the Fall has many different angles, but I believe we've hit on a key one, the idea that we "take refuge" in a finite perspective, and that to cling to the finite means to reject the infinite..."

To put it into a pure flatland example, computergeekspeak, I'm tracking down errors in a project, and without getting too geeky (too late, oh well), it builds deep hierarchies of objects (think of a 20 questions of Concepts starting from 'Animal' and building down the tree to 'Raccoon'... concepts within concepts within concepts), and as it builds these for each level, the programmer needed to have coded it to examine and fill the available objects with data... or if they didn't, then one of the objects will be less than empty, it is null, and depending on how it was handled, when another process touches that object, it will either pass over it as if there was nothing there (reminds me of 'literalist fundies'), or notify the user that something's missing (which a Raccoon will see as flagging an opening for even more depth), or explode with an error that shuts down the application - insert the craven ones here, rather than examine the opening and seek to be filled, they just shout it down and run away...

"Ah, here is the clincher: "Man's guilt consists, not in the fact that he knows only a sector of the infinite truth, but rather in the fact that he becomes content with it, blocks himself off from enlarging and complementary vistas, and thus severs himself from the living source of truth.""

... like so.

4/21/2009 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "...spin that the infamous handshake was simply a matter of courtesy..."

I was rolling my eyes at both sides... by the time of the 'incident', it was just that, an incident. What was important, was not that Chavez strolled up with handshakes, anti-American books & diatribes, but the extensive lead up to that moment, which made such a thing thinkable by shovez. The apology tour to the world, the exposure of the CIA memo's, etc - with that ground laid, whether or not the handshake occurred, the same message was sent.

As evidenced by Julie's link which shows Netanyahu received the opposite message than shoves did.

Incidental note - not in any way an equivalent to our world or people today, but a possible occasion of history setting up a rhyming phrase - folks ought to look into what caused Caesar to return to Rome, not with a speech, but with an army. Had to do with his previous actions being made prosecutable after the fact.

CIA CYA… eieiOHHHHHHHH!

4/21/2009 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Had to do with his previous actions being made prosecutable after the fact.Nothing to see here, folks... just move along...

Sometimes, I wish we really were as whacked out as our detractors keep screeching we are. Because then all those subtle and not-so-subtle signs that something very bad could be happening soon would be all in our heads, there'd be nothing really to worry about, and we could all go happily back to sleep, with visions of sugarplum udopias dancing in our heads. That choking sound that suspiciously resembles the Constitution being garroted by giggling madmen? Nah, that's just the dog barking in her dreams...

4/21/2009 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

hmm... since you brought it up... going into full crazed
mode"Moshe Feiglin, head of Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership Movement) said last week that if he was elected prime minister, he would try to rebuild the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem. "I don't know if I will have the merit of doing something that is the aspiration of every Jew," said Feiglin. "But if I become prime minister I will take away control over the Temple Mount from the Wakf [the Islamic trust] and reinstate Jewish sovereignty over the entire mount and, hopefully, rebuild the Temple."
"

Perhaps Nomo could supply the relevant quotes to follow that up.

(uh... not suggesting anything untowards Nomo...)

4/21/2009 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

WHAT IN THE HECK IS UP WITH BLOGGER & LINE BREAKS?!?!?!?!

Geez... thing works like a junior high school 'hello world' application.

argrulmph.

4/21/2009 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

(psst... the secret now is to make sure you put a space after any html tags; you can see above where I forgot again...))

4/21/2009 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And the tenured hold the vacuum that sucks the spiritual embryo out of its developing womb.

A bit much? Yes. Yes it is. The truth isn't always pleasant. Sometimes, it's utterly revolting.

4/21/2009 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Just Sayin... said...

Julie,

I was referring to the graphic allusion to abortion, sucking embryo's out of the womb with a vacuum and such...

Just because it's an unpleasant reality doesn't mean that it should be referenced so callously.

Like I said before, I am a big fan of Bob and his work, but that reference distasteful and a bit much in my opinion.

Just sayin...

4/21/2009 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Again, take the example of Catholicism, since that is what we're dealing with here. Instead of, say, condemning abusive homosexual priests, why not pick on someone your own size? Why not plunge into the world of HvB, and engage that? In short, why not deal with the best and strongest arguments of the opposition, instead of making fun of the worst? Isn't this the minimum requirement of intellectual honesty? Obviously, the Catholic church must serve a billion souls, and it would hardly be appropriate to feed them all on a diet of HvB, MOTT, or Meister Eckhart, when only 1% might be capable of digesting it."

Good point. One should approach Islam in the exact same manner--make your arguments with Ibn Arabi, Rumi, and Hallaj. Or, more recently Hossein Nasr and Martin Lings.

4/21/2009 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

The ultimate “in but not of” is of course Jesus Christ. Fully God and fully man. One person, two distinct natures. He is not merely a man who "had God within Him" nor is he a man who "manifested the God principle." He is fully God, second person of the Trinity. His natures are not "mixed together," nor are they combined into a new God-man nature. They are separate yet act as a unit in the one person of Jesus. At least that is the overall picture painted in scripture. Perhaps the best label we have for this is “Hypostatic Union” – which of course comes up infinitely short.

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Heb 1:1-3

“Jesus willies” anyone? I sure hope not. For there is no more sure way to grow in the knowledge of and relationship with the Living God than to believe in (truly understand) Jesus. By the way, that would be the Jesus of the Bible (there are so many others that you have to be specific).

4/21/2009 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I have no real quibble with them, only with the Islamists, the millions of Muslims who support them, and the political and cultural values of the wider Muslim world, e.g., Saudi Arabia, Iran, the "Palestinians," etc.

4/21/2009 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

Happy Birthday to your son! (My daughter's birthday is on Thursday.)

"Naturally, the idea of the Fall has many different angles, but I believe we've hit on a key one, the idea that we "take refuge" in a finite perspective, and that to cling to the finite means to reject the infinite. Rather, we are to cling to the infinite -- or rather, to be "contained" within it, so to speak."

This lines up with what I was reading last night in MOTT (The Star)...

"...grasp the agent of growth in action instead of occupying ourselves with its fossilized products..."

"It is not the 'states', simple snapshots we have taken once again along the course of change, that are real; on the contrary, it is flux, the continuity of transition, it is change itself that is real"

"...the fluidic mode of thought instead of crytallised thought..."

And the use of the antithesis of the thesis "there is nothing new under the sun" from Ecclesiastes 1:9...

"What has been is that which prepares what will be, and what has been done is that which prepares what will be done; there is only that which is new under the sun. Each day is a unique event and revelation which will never be repeated."

Our God is a living God. Or as one Rabbi named his book, "God is a Verb". We are called to live and continually grow in love and knowledge. And I would venture to say, grow into Love beyond this life for all Eternity. In other words, we'll never exhaust the Love and Mystery that is Life; that is God. Things will be ever fresh, ever new...

The thought alone is awesome.

4/21/2009 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just sayin:

From the standpoint of eternity, a spiritual abortion is surely as catastrophic as a physical one.

4/21/2009 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger mtraven said...

Argh...can't resist...

Again, take the example of Catholicism, since that is what we're dealing with here. Instead of, say, condemning abusive homosexual priests, why not pick on someone your own size? Why not plunge into the world of HvB, and engage that? In short, why not deal with the best and strongest arguments of the opposition, instead of making fun of the worst?Two things: One, for what it's worth, I was making about the same argument several years ago.

Two, perhaps you should apply that standard in evaluating the left. Rather than gathering up the worst examples of leftist thought and action and attempting to smear the whole, maybe you should focus on the best, such as, say Martin Luther King's struggle for civil rights or more mundane achievements such as the 40-hour workweek, food safety laws, and the fact that you can breathe decent air in LA these days. I'm not sure why you would expect your opponents to extend courtesies to you that you won't reciprocate.

4/21/2009 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie,

How many people lit up like a Christmas tree in your presence lately;)

wv sithe

4/21/2009 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Just Sayin said...

Bob,

I agree that spritual abortion is just as bad as the phyical one. Perhaps even more so given that it occurs further down the develpmental path towards full actualization.

It's just that your choice of language was unusually graphic in my opinion.

Maybe abortion has become so commonplace that it is now appropriate discourse to discuss "embryo's being sucked out of wombs."

It just sounded very callous and insensitive when I read it. And I've never even been touched by the abortion issue personally.

It was almost like driving by one of those protests outside of an abortion clinic with the really gruesome depictions of abortions.

The underlying message is spot on, but the way its delivered is so sensational and unneccesarily graphic.

I very much enjoy your writing style and all the creative allusions and whatnot... This just seemed a bit over the top.

Perhaps I am being a bit-oversensitive. Just calling it like I see it.

4/21/2009 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MTraven has a point. It is Bob's weakest link in that he invariably points out faults in the opponent that he himself has in spades. Its almost comical.

What will he say next? It's sure to be a good one.

4/21/2009 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous And Now... said...

How about some more positive imagery?

4/21/2009 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

On the topic of politics, Israel and the Middle East...

If anyone is interested, Joel Rosenberg, who has appeared on Glenn Beck a few times, has an interesting perspective and intimate knowledge of the subject. (He's worked closely with Netanyahu and continues to on some level today, I believe.) He sees things mainly from an Evangelical/apocalyptic worldview, but it doesn't all seem so out there anymore. At least from where I"m sitting. His book "Epicenter" was quite good.

4/21/2009 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

Just to come to Bob's defense a bit. From reading this blog, it sounds like he's had extensive and intimate knowledge of the other side, considering he used to hold those particular views and followed some of its proponents quite closely. Whereas, mtraven appears to have no intimate knowledge of this kind with the subject he attacks.

As for MLK, I wouldn't consider him a "leftist" as they are defined today. I would say he's more (and what Bob has often referred himself to as) a classical liberal. I think MLK would be appalled by the hatred and vitriol of the left today. He was a God fearing man, after all.

4/21/2009 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

VP Cheney said, "The world outside there, both our friends and our foes, will be quick to take advantage of a situation if they think they're dealing with a weak president or one who is not going to stand up and aggressively defend America's interests."

Unfortunately, I think a great many (especially on the left) wouldn't admit that America even has any valid interests to defend...and if so, certainly not aggressively.

By the way, I just bought my first gun.

4/21/2009 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous cory said...

I do believe that the questions of civil rights and 40 hour work weeks were settled decades ago.

And in fact I am quite certain that Bob was very much in favor of full civil rights for all - as defined by our Constitution - as well is the 40 hour work week. Bob has said, over and over, that he was and is a classical liberal. I bet he even believes in women's suffrage and that homosexuals should not be harrassed by government or anyone else.

But what do any of these issues have to do with today's left? Today's left rides the coattails of their betters who led the democrat party in times gone by. Today's left uses the democrat party to advance an agenda that is anti-American and anti-freedom and in their pursuit of this they relentlessly attack true religion because it is in true religion that the things they particularly despise are rooted. Like the traditional family. Like the elevation of life as a gift from God. Like free will exercised within the constraints of morality as defined by the Lord.

To the degree that democrats go along with this tripe they are culpable and worthy of censure.

And where persons on the right support this sewage they too are culpable and worthy of censure.

And if you bothered to go back and read this blog you would find that Bob has said all this many, many times.

4/21/2009 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

mtcraven said “Rather than gathering up the worst examples of leftist thought and action and attempting to smear the whole, maybe you should focus on the best, such as, say Martin Luther King's struggle for civil rights or more mundane achievements such as the 40-hour workweek, food safety laws, and the fact that you can breathe decent air in LA these days.”

Excepting the better aspects of the Civil Rights movement, you are going to take the fallen chaff of policy politics… as being the best, and presumably most significant contributions, of leftist thought?

What an insignificant pipsqueak you are.

4/21/2009 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous mtraven said...

Cory said,

"Like free will exercised within the constraints of morality as defined by the Lord."

You have got to be kidding, right? What about the Crusades?

4/21/2009 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

You mean these Crusades?

He's right. Some religions can be scary..

(HT Julie :-)

4/21/2009 06:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Ivory Tower said...

Lil' raven, nice view, huh?

4/21/2009 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

M/T,
I’m sorry, I have another question. What does: “I don't expect to be spending much time commenting here in the future; it seems like a waste of energy.” mean?

4/21/2009 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger mtraven said...

The comments at 09:59:00 AM and 05:56:00 PM are forgeries and were not by written by me.

I don't know, I would think that people who claim to be devoted to God, Truth, the Absolute, and other such fine abstractions could find a better modus vivendi than acting like halfwitted douchebags.

4/21/2009 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous whah whah said...

I don't know, I would think that people who claim to be devoted to God, Truth, the Absolute, and other such fine abstractions could find a better modus vivendi than acting like halfwitted douchebags.
Not that there's anything wrong with halfwitted douchebags, I have a mysterious attraction to them.

4/21/2009 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous mtraven said...

mtraven 09:07:00 PM,

I don't believe you.

4/21/2009 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

From empty raving's blog (yeah, I finally went there...yawn):

"Reflecting on my current sniping with Gagdad Bob and his minions." (Like you matter here one whit.)

"My mild efforts to tone down the conflict have been unsuccessful." (Wow, you're a regular Gandhi.)

"We are bitterly insulting each other, the internet equivalent of war, and over what?" (You sound gay...are you gay?)

"Abstractions called "left" and "right", which can't even be defined consistently." (Abstractions? Speak for yourself.)

"Nonetheless they are terribly real in their effects." (Thank you...that's the first nice thing you've said.)

Again, MT, how can we miss you if you won't go away?


wv: aeteat (nearly)

g'night

4/21/2009 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must know Bob has a spirit guide named Petey who tells hims what is true and what is not true.

Petey never weighs in on atheists (that I know of). I suspect Bob is winging it when he writes about atheists, with no spiritual authority given.

No human being can presume to know the root causes of atheism, and discern what purpose it serves here. One can only follow instructions, and that's it.

What mandate has Bob to write what he does about atheists? I suspect he is indulging his impulse to clear himself of his guilt at being a former atheist.

Bob fits the profile of a marginal prophet. His may be a tormented ego under the forces of transformation and his followers should ask him to present his spiritual credentials and mandate to pursue his obseession with atheists, leftists, darwinists and other unfortunates. He has not stated how he has been sanctioned, from where he gets authority, and to what end he is engaged in with his aggressive and critical ministry.

One must have a clear mandate from the Holy Spirit to engage in the type of aggressive attack ministry which Bob undertakes her daily. One may not just shoot from the hip.

Bob, if you have been called then identify for the faithful your orders, when you recieved them, from what source they came, and how you authenticated them.

Otherwise we must suspect you are engaged in an outlaw and unsactioned critical ministry and this is not to be tolerated.

I expect a prompt and cogent reply on this question.

Amadaus Traul.

4/21/2009 11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yes, I am ghey.

Amadaus Traul

4/22/2009 12:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike O'Malley said...

It seems to me that MTraven etc. should first acknowledge that MLK and the Civil Rights movement were Christian endeavors by Evangelic and Pentacostal ministers and liberal Christian supporters to a large degree. And the AFL? Catholic,Irish and social conservative. Can MTraven tell us of the Irish Catholic labor martyrs of Carbon County, PA?

4/22/2009 04:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike O'Malley said...

LOL! We can not presume to know the origins of atheism! My goodness! Atheists constantly presume to tell us about the "origins" of religion!

4/22/2009 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Nomo says mtcraven said “…which can't even be defined consistently."

He ... he actually used the word ‘defined’? In a sentence? As if… as if… he understood it to actually mean something?

Heh… ah hah…AH HAH…ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4/22/2009 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“halfwitted douchebags”

Man, diplomatic talks have really broken down…
Let that be a lesson to you.

4/22/2009 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“"We are bitterly insulting each other, the internet equivalent of war, and over what?"”

Man, he’s bitter. And insulting.
I’m not going to visit his site.

4/22/2009 05:08:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Nope. Nope. nope.
Don’t EVEN try to talk me out of it.
I won’t do it.

4/22/2009 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Admiral Toots,
I believe we should treat this as formal declaration of war. He sed so.
Shall I break out the feather dusters?

4/22/2009 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, and the comfy pillows.

4/22/2009 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Very good, Sir,
After we capture their King, can I do his nails this time?

(No offense Nail-doingists)

4/22/2009 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

click click click

Crap.
My douchebag’s out.
Skully, you got a clip?

4/22/2009 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Say watcha want about God, but at least he had the decency to include some people in his Eden.

4/22/2009 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Oh no wait, I think I see a guy in a Sponge Bob costume.

4/22/2009 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger mtraven said...

M-O-M: It seems to me that MTraven etc. should first acknowledge that MLK and the Civil Rights movement were Christian endeavors -- yes, so? That is evidence for one of my points; namely that it is possible to be both religious and leftist, progressive, universalist, humanitarian, and sane.

I don't understand what point you think you are making by citing the Molly Maguires, which of course I have heard of. They were Irish Catholic but the Church supported the mine operatores and excommunicated the strikers. But it's neither here nor there, since the point I was making had nothing at all to do with religion.

When I started out commenting here I was interested to see if I could separate out the spiritual stuff from the retrograde politics. It doesn't seem to me that they are logically connected, but apparently they are inextricably intertwined in your minds. Why is that? There is, after all, a religious left, although it's pretty quiet these days, not like when Dr. King was active. I've even advertised one such group that I've done some work with.

4/22/2009 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous lame duck said...

"...it is he who, in spite of thorns,
Envy and derision,
Walks, bent under your remains,
Gathering tradition.
From fertile tradition
Comes all that covers the world,
Everything that heaven can bless.
Every idea, human or divine,
Which is rooted in the past,
Has its foliage in the future."

--Victor Hugo

4/22/2009 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

mtcraven said "When I started out commenting here I was interested to see if I could separate out the spiritual stuff from the retrograde politics. It doesn't seem to me that they are logically connected, but apparently they are inextricably intertwined in your minds. Why is that?"

Wow. What a grasp of philosophy you have.

'Yeah, I mean, like, it's not as if there's only One truth which all are derived from and integrated with... man... you need to get over that whole retrograde head-trip of True and False, Right and Wrong, Good and Evil(!) that's sooo last century... there's like spiritual truths... and literature truths... and political truths... and they're like not in any sort of conflict... they just all get along... if we all will just stop trying to be judgmental like and stuff... I mean, look at me, I'm so far advanced, I can easily point out how retrograde you people are, how you hate liberty and real rights and are fascist and stuff, without having to even bother knowing anything about what morality, or rights or other stuff like that are or mean or... stuff... I just like let 'em mean what I want them to mean, and let it be... dude.....'

Sheesh.

Hint - "It doesn't seem to me that they are logically connected" is the key you don't have, until you find it, your comments are a complete waste of your time, and Gagdad's html, because without that, it is glaringly obvious to us, that you have no point to make.

4/23/2009 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike O'Malley said...

MTraven on 4/22/09 wrote in response to my earlier post above: I don't understand what point you think you are making by citing the Molly Maguires, which of course I have heard of.Why of course you don't understand. I didn't ask about James McParland's fictive "Molly Maquires". I asked you to tell us of the Irish Catholic labor martyrs of Carbon County, PA. Obviously you are unable to tell us the real story about what happen to these real men, these Irish Catholic labor martyrs. This is what I expected when I asked.

And but "of course" you have heard of the Molly Maquires. You left evidence that you read Wikipedia's webpages on the Molly Maguires on 4/22/09 after I asked my question above.



["No kidding. This is one of the worst-written Wikipedia articles I've come across. It's one thing to be biased, it's another thing to do it in such a hamfisted way. Mtraven (talk) 17:37, 22 April 2009 (UTC)"]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Molly_Maguires



.



MTraven went on" They were Irish Catholic but the Church supported the mine operators and excommunicated the strikers.LOL! You are telling us that an Irish Catholic bishop supported mine operators over the interests of Irish Catholic Labor! Why that's preposterous! And given the fact that the offending mine operator/owner power baron was a murderous bigoted Protestant Ulsterman you clearly have passed beyond the point of silliness!

Moreover, you don't read critically. Bishops Woods didn't excommunicate the strikers, he "excommunicated" a group that did not exist in America, a fictional group that was fabricated by James McParland and that same murderous Protestant Ulsterman power baron,Franklin Gowen. Bishop Woods and the Irish Catholic labor leaders were dealt a very very bad hand, but they took their inevitable losses and played the hand they were dealt very very well. Carbon County may well have been the nadir from which the Irish ascended by way of labor to the top of American society.

.

MTraven wrote: But it's neither here nor there, since the point I was making had nothing at all to do with religion.However, my point is that you don't know what you are talking about and that you presumptively attribute the good works of others to today's Left. That was my point which you have helped me demonstrate.

4/23/2009 05:11:00 PM  

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