How to Argue With Yourself, If You Must
It also reminds me of one of Schopenhauer's central insights, that most men simply stop asking "why" at an arbitrary point, and then call it their "philosophy." My four year-old knows better than that, as he never stops asking why. Yesterday he asked me why we couldn't just paint the grass green instead of getting new sod.
But for tenured children, their philosophistry tends to breed a kind of aggressive defensiveness, because deep (really, it's not so deep, but we'll let it pass) down they know that their ideology is inadequate, since it isn't truly grounded in Reason. In my opinion, this is what makes leftists, Darwinists, global warmists, etc., so contemptuously hyper-aggressive and intolerant of dissent. You know, "if you disagree with Al Gore, you, sir, are worse than Hitler," or "if you see some problems with Darwinism, you secretly wish to impose a fascist theology."
I've noticed that this is the primary mode of argument of all the regular idiotiorialists of the New York Times -- FriedmanDowdKrugmanRich, et al -- who would never lower themselves to the level of actually engaging a conservative argument instead of simply hurling abuse.
Look at how Deepak Chopra characterizes Sarah Palin. Note that he cites no evidence for his kooky beliefs. Rather, since conservatives are self-evidently evil in the religion of leftism, evidence is beside the point. Thus, "Behind [Palin's] beauty-pageant smile lurk[s] the shadow, the dark side of human nature." Really? That's a pretty bold statement. Exactly what is that supposed to mean? Could you define your terms and cite an example?
"Her tactic of appealing to the worst impulses of the electorate had a long history in the Republican Party. Indeed, Palin inherited the selfish, mean-spirited values of another politician with a gleaming smile, Ronald Reagan."
This qualifies as pure hate speech -- a term I hate, but it is what it is. It is certainly not based on anything resembling fact, logic, evidence, or even reality. For example, just ask the millions of people in Eastern Europe if they think Ronald Reagan was a selfish and mean-spirited embodiment of the dark side of human nature. "Oh, sure. Worse than Stalin. And he was so mean to our kind overlord, the USSR, calling them evil and all that."
The term projection -- i.e., the defense mechanism of seeing one's own traits in others -- tends to be thrown out too casually, but what can you say about this gem from Deepak: "I hope the left will take a deep breath and stop treating Palin like a diabolical force."
Er, okay. You mean like seeing her has the embodiment of human evil?
Was Oldbob ever as dark and demented as Deepak Chopra? No. He never took himself that seriously. Truly, his number one priority was having fun. He was a frivolous popinjay, more to be pitied than censured.
I'm not sure where he came up with the next argument. Possibly from Bertrand Russell, who provides one of the finest examples of how genius and wisdom have no necessary relationship whatsoever. More often than not, genius is hijacked by narcissistic mind parasites; like politics, academia tends to be "show business for the unattractive."
At any rate, Oldbob claims that the apostles believed that the Second Coming would occur in their lifetimes, and since it didn't, the whole theological house of cards falls. But the apostles no doubt believed a lot of erroneous things, as they were only gradually instructed and transformed in the Holy Spirit.
Indeed, you might even say that human error is the default setting for the closed system of our animal nature. Only when something breaks in from the outside can we begin to see things as they are. So I don't assign any weight at all to this meager argument. After all, the truth doesn't become false just because you once misunderstood it.
Oldbob then brings up the question of everlasting punishment, which he calls a "doctrine of cruelty" full of "vindictive fury," which "outrages the most ordinary notions of justice and mercy."
Well, that's certainly one way of looking at it. But you will notice that atheists generally pick from the most literal of a variety of interpretations in order to vent their own abuse. I personally don't give any thought to medieval notions of hell. Undoubtedly they were valid in their day, as they addressed themselves to the mentality of the time.
In fact, I don't even give much thought to the afterlife, since it's inconceivable anyway. I see Christianity as a doctrine that teaches us how best to live in this world, not some other world. And since there can be no good in the absence of the Sovereign Good, simple logic dictates that a good Creator cannot be unjust. Thus, I have a kind of faith that we will all get what we deserve in the court of cosmic justice, but I don't bother thinking about it beyond that. Virtue is its own reward anyway. I don't need threats or rewards to obey the Law, any more than I need threats to adore truth or love beauty. It comes to me supernaturally.
Next, one of the oldest untruisms in the atheist ploybook, "either God cannot abolish evil, or he will not; if he cannot, then he is not all-powerful; if he will not, then he is not all good."
There are so many ways to approach this question. First of all, in a nihilistic universe of random Darwinian change, what cries out for explanation is not evil, ugliness, hatred and deception, but decency, truth, beauty, and love. Either the latter are ontological realities, or they are nothing. There's no in between, no matter how atheists try to spin it. And even the ability to distinguish between good and evil implies freedom and transcendence.
But more generally, religious metaphysics -- at least Judeo-Christian metaphysics -- begins (literally, for it is the first sentence in Bible) with the idea that there is a Creator and a created, and that these two are very different realities. It would be easy enough for God to abolish evil, if reality were "only God" -- i.e., if there were no creation.
But the world is not God, and we are not in heaven. Or, to be precise, the world is God, but God is not the world. As a result, there are ontological "degrees of distance" from God, and this is sufficient to account for evil. Again, free will is exercised in that vertical space between good and evil. To eliminate evil, one would obviously have to eliminate free will with it.
Which, of course, the left routinely does as part of its project to destroy the foundation Western civilization. Most recently we all saw how the Islamic terrorist at Fort Hood was instantly transformed into a victim of our own so-called aggression against Muslims. For the leftist, only white heterosexual males have free will, not blacks, Muslims, feminists, Palestinians, etc., or any other victim of those of us who do possess free will.
to be continued.....