Friday, July 09, 2010

Tantric Christianity

We've covered faith and hope. We now move on to love, which I hope to weave into some other areas. I think this is especially necessary in the case of love, since the word is already quite saturated, plus we want to avoid any descent into mere sentimentality. Remember, theology is a science, not some kind of airy-fairy enterprise like climate change, keynesian economics, or gender studies.

As Lewis quipped, "Give a quality a good name and that name will soon be the name of a defect." Conversely, give a defect a Nobel Prize and soon he will have a good name -- Arafat, Carter, Gore, Kofi Annan, et al. The point is, language is a tricky business, because once you drop a word "into the the dynamic processes of living language," it undergoes changes and mutations beyond anyone's control.

Look at the "Big Bang," for example. At first this was a term of ridicule hurled at scientists who were foolish enough to imagine that the cosmos actually had an absolute beginning -- you know, like those religious nuts.

Hell, people forget that "Raccoon" was at first a term of abuse for the manner in which our mischievous furbears were so disruptive in church. Why? Not just because they refused to leave their beer outside, but because they asked a lot of embarrassing questions that the typical self-styled holy man was ill-equipped to answer, like "if the Bible is literally true, what does it mean that Christ is a door? Isn't that a metaphor?"

Anyway, it seems that to toss a word into the great tumbler of language ends up with a lot of edges smoothed off, so that distinct meanings begin to converge and look alike. Thus, people still talk about "love," but you rarely hear them distinguish it from eros, caritas, amor, agape, and all the other varieties.

For example, Pieper mentions that pietas, which is related to pity -- and therefore mercy -- is an aspect of love. This immediately places the Jesus prayer in a slightly different light: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me means more than just "Lord Jesus Christ, give me a break."

Pieper also mentions affection, which has the feature of passio, which does not necessarily connote "passion" per se, but the passive aspect of love. As often as not, love is not something "chosen," but something undergone, even suffered.

For example, I certainly didn't choose to have all those painful crushes back in junior high and high school. Rather, I suffered them. One doesn't choose to be attracted to this or that person. Rather, it's out of one's conscious control. Looked at this way, "affection" means to be affected, or "passive," in relation to the loved object.

Another fascinating example is studium, which connotes a different kind of attraction and close examination. I especially relate to this one, because it means that theology, or the "study of God," is indeed a distinct manner of loving. It is possible to be warm for the form of God.

Come to think of it, I don't study things I don't love, which is one of the reasons I didn't do very well until graduate school, at which time I was able to devote all of my energies to the subjects I truly loved. Note also that this type of pure love is fruitful. It's safe to say that I bore no intellectual fruit until I was able to cultivate these lovingly studious relationships with subjects of my choice. Note also that picking a vocation before one is mature enough to do so can be like an arranged marriage.

I think it's also important to point out that love converges both at the top and bottom of the cosmic hierarchy. Think back to the illustration (borrowed from our unKnown Friend) we have used on many occasions, of the two cones placed base-to-base, one atop the other.

If you're with me, you'll see one point at the top, a wide equator, and another point at the bottom. Now, imagine this as a crystal, with pure "white light" entering at the top. At the equator we will see maximum differentiation of the white light into all of the diverse colors of the rainbelow. At the bottom, all the colors merge back together into a black point.

So to say "God is love," is to refer to that point of pure light at the top. But as it descends into the herebelow, it breaks out into all of its many varieties alluded to above. But with the passage of time -- at least if we are not conscious -- these distinct colors blend together into the mere blob which the vulgar like to call "love." It is because of this cosmic blobbiness that love has become so saturated, and why it simultaneously refers to "everything" and "nothing."

As I mentioned in a comment yesterday, one of the watchwords of the Raccoon path is integration. Now, this integration is not a result of some kind of forcing or blending together of these distinct qualities. Rather, it occurs naturally as we ascend the Cosmic Cone and get closer to the source of the white light, which we might as well call O.

Only in so doing can all the varieties of love be seen and experienced in their proper divine light, whether we are in the realm of the body, mind, or spirit, or whether we are in the vertical or horizontal. This is why, for example, sex detached from eros and amor becomes nothing more than a bodily function -- zoological, not psychological, much less spiritual: "We are in flight from eros -- and we use sex as the vehicle for that flight" (Rollo May, quoted in Pieper).

But with integration, we experience all the varieties of love as prolongations of God's creative love. Furthermore, we are able to integrate and focus the different kinds of love on one person, instead of having, say, a kind of filial love for one's wife but an erotic love for the mistress. Men often do this because of a split in their own psyche. I remember reading about how Elvis could no longer have sex with a woman if she became a mother, because he couldn't integrate the two types of love.

When it comes right down to it, the Raccoon way is a tantric way -- which doesn't just refer to sex, but to the divinization of everything. Truth be told, Christianity is a kind of tantric yoga. It would require too much time to explain what I mean by this and to avoid inevitable misunderstandings, but the main point is that Christianity does not attempt to escape the world but to divinize it; thus, it is mainly a descending path.

Part of the integration alluded to above involves the realization that we are always in the vertical, but to bring this realization into the world, i.e., the horizontal. Unlike some of our competitors, we do not wish to flee into the white light, but appreciate the colors by tracing them back up to their source in O. This is what it means to truly love beauty, or virtue, or truth. And this is why, say, childrearing, can be just as profound a spiritual path as the most exalted theology.

In fact, it is difficult to imagine a more profound path than raising a child. However, most people are so unconscious, that they miss this entirely, or at least don't take advantage of it to the fullest. One problem -- as discussed in the book -- is that parenthood evokes one's most primitive mind parasites, so that one is in danger of doing to one's infant what was done to oneself.

Pieper has a beautiful discussion of this, noting that merely "coming into the world" in the biological sense is not sufficient to become human. This should be a tipoff that in man, we are dealing with a fundamentally spiritual creature, for in order to become human, the infant must be loved by another person. "For a child, and to all appearances even for the still unborn child, being loved by the mother is literally the precondition for its own thriving." This love is simultaneously a confirmation and activation of being, without which the person will go through life with a permanent hole inside.

Just yesterday I was mentioning to Mrs. G. what a beautiful and loving childhood Jesus must have had in order to say some of the things he did. Especially noteworthy are his unprecedented statements about how we should even become as little children, and cultivate an attitude of innocent trust.

It is difficult for us to realize how radical a notion this was, since in the ancient world (excluding the Jews), children were generally regarded as without intrinsic value. Infanticide was practiced everywhere. Childhood was not a privileged state that must be protected. Rather, children were just defective adults. If you want to get a sense of this, all you have to do is look into childrearing practices in the Muslim world.

I might add that in giving one's love to the child, one discovers wells of love in oneself that are so deep as to be painful. This is why for even lousy parents in the west, it is virtually impossible for them to imagine murdering their daughter for holding hands with a Christian boy, or hoping they will blow themselves up with as many innocent children as possible. But we are dealing with cultures rooted in a deeply primitive hate, where, for example, a mother is about to be stoned to death for infidelity. These monsters sit on the UN Commission for Women's Rights, and yet, liberals do not condemn the UN as one of the primary abettors of evil in the world, but actually want us to give up more of our sovereignty to it. One can't help wondering about what kind of childhood some of these people must have had. Or how they actually feel about women.

153 Comments:

Blogger Northern Bandit said...

This is why for even lousy parents in the west, it is virtually impossible for them to imagine murdering their daughter for holding hands with a Christian boy, or hoping they will blow themselves up with as many innocent children as possible.

I agree totally that such acts are barbaric in the extreme. What I do not agree with is that the West is fundamentally and categorically different.

Our society is currently preparing to install as a supreme jurist a woman who defends the practice of forcing a live child to be partially born before murdering it. This is every bit as brutal and evil as anything Muslims do. The only differences is that just as the Muslims are blind to their own grave flaws, we here just sigh and assume that's the way things are. Just because it's "legal" and supported by a large percentage of the population does not reduce the inherent evil.

Will there ever be a society which truly extends protection against murder and torture to the innocent? I sure don't know, but I'd be willing to wager that the US has the best shot at attaining that goal some day IF the Left can be sufficiently countered by people who look to O for direction, instead of "neuroscience".

7/09/2010 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I agree that partial birth abortion is an evil, but I also believe there are gradations of evil. Evil though it may be, I would not place it on the same plane as murdering a 16 year old, nor would I say that "it is every bit as brutal and evil as anything Muslims do." Evil can be evil without all evils being equally evil. Indeed, this is how one ends up with Muslim justice, in which stealing is so evil that it merits having one's hand chopped off.

7/09/2010 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It reminds me of how certain pro-lifers compare abortion to the Holocaust. If that were an apt comparison, then we would most certainly be compelled to impose capital punishment on women who have had abortions, and to kill doctors who perform them. I call that moral insanity.

7/09/2010 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"One problem -- as discussed in the book -- is that parenthood evokes one's most primitive mind parasites, so that one is in danger of doing to one's infant what was done to oneself."

The sins of the father (or mother). Some folks might call it a family curse.
Unfortunately, just being soory doesn't mitigate it.
There are no mulligans or do-overs when raising a child.

That's not to say that there can't be healing, but a father that passes his sin (a mind parasite) to his child can't undo it by himself.
That takes the childs free will and God to heal and it can be a long and slow process, but it is possible.

7/09/2010 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"But with integration, we experience all the varieties of love as prolongations of God's creative love. Furthermore, we are able to integrate and focus the different kinds of love on one person, instead of having, say, a kind of filial love for one's wife but an erotic love for the mistress. Men often do this because of a split in their own psyche. I remember reading about how Elvis could no longer have sex with a woman if she became a mother, because he couldn't integrate the two types of love."

These are good points. Seems to me that adolescents at some point confuse or conflate love and sex and many don't mature beyond that. As if love or recognition of feminine beauty can only only be expressed by a sexual act. Like Pavlove's dog. Nail? ---> I have a hammer, that'll do. Light bulb? ---> I have a hammer... Pieta? ---> I have hammer..

7/09/2010 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ben!

7/09/2010 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Gagdad Bob said...
I agree that partial birth abortion is an evil, but I also believe there are gradations of evil.

I concur. The Bible mentions certain sins, for example, that God hates more than others.

God hates all sin, of course, but there are gradations He hates more.
Jesus implied there is a special place in hell, so to speak, for those who hurt children or little ones.

7/09/2010 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"Just yesterday I was mentioning to Mrs. G. what a beautiful and loving childhood Jesus must have had in order to say some of the things he did. Especially noteworthy are his unprecedented statements about how we should even become as little children, and cultivate an attitude of innocent trust."

This was one of the reasons I thought that it must be a virgin birth -- which had little if anything to do with virginity as we use the term today. Virgin or purity maybe was a statement about how she was to treat her child. And then ours by her example.

7/09/2010 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Along the lines of what Ben said, I also think it's important to point out -- although it's a vast subject -- that the dichotomy of heaven/hell is a simplification of the post-mortem situation. Yes, it's "close enough for rock & roll," but as Dante illustrated, there are degrees and planes, and furthermore, that spiritual growth continues after death. It would make no sense to say that everyone gets the identical reward as either Stalin or Mother Teresa, with nothing in between.

7/09/2010 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Rick!

I like hammers. Just sayin'. Of course they can't do the jobs that duct tape does.

7/09/2010 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Like this?

Light bulb + hammer = duct tape?

:-)

7/09/2010 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"there are degrees and planes"

The tenured get corporate jets?
..figures..

7/09/2010 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent formula!

7/09/2010 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

we would most certainly be compelled to impose capital punishment on women who have had abortions, and to kill doctors who perform them. I call that moral insanity

One can consider abortion to be murder without advocating more murder as a solution. Granted, there are gradations of evil. Intentionally taking the life of a viable unborn child is however IMO in the same category as intentionally taking the life of a 16 year old girl. How can it not be when as we learned from today's post unborn children respond to the love of their mothers?

As for extreme measures, the Germans themselves (who after all are part of the Western world, millions of whom settled here over the past 250 years) did not generally speaking believe the actual Holocaust was evil enough to warrant taking up arms against the perpetrators among them.

Anyhow I don't want to get into some sort of pointless debate. I do believe -- and this is just my opinion -- that some conservatives have a rather Manichean view of the Muslim world which whitewashes Western flaws while magnifying those of Muslims. Unlike the vast majority of conservatives I've met, I've been to 12 Muslim countries and have met many of them on their home turf. I also think you'll find that our soldiers who have spent time in those countries are of course against Islamism (as am I, naturally) but generally speaking do not particularly dislike Muslims as such. Finally it is true that some of the worst customs are actually ethno-cultural practices.

Is Western society superior to that of the Muslim world? Absolutely. But we're all human and the West has contributed more than its share of bad things to the world along with the good. I find it pretty difficult to accept that the average Muslim who worships God in the only way he knows -- flawed as it is -- is less decent than the vicious atheist eco-fascists calling for the destruction of humanity itself. That is a purely Western invention.

7/09/2010 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

In the Christian world, it was common to use the death penalty for what we now consider minor offenses (stealing, vagrancy, and "strong evidence of malice" in children aged 7-14 years of age). This persisted well into the 19th century. So if we consider the Muslim punishments for stealing barbaric, that has nothing to do with Christianity, since Christians were happily executing, mutilating, and torturing people for 1800 years. Rather, it is attributable to modernity.

7/09/2010 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm also thinking of Jesus' comment that people who harm children should have a millstone hung around their neck and be dropped into the sea. People seem to interpret this mainly from the punitive side, whereas it is equally the affirmation of an unprecedented level of empathy for children. Again, imagine saying such thing in a world where people didn't give a second thought to casting infants onto a dungheap.

7/09/2010 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"One can consider abortion to be murder without advocating more murder as a solution."

Killing a murderer is not murder. God repeatedly commands us to put murderers to death. Ergo, if you feel abortion is first degree murder, then it is a capital crime.

7/09/2010 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"it is attributable to modernity."

What a strange sentiment -- as if modernity can travel back to premodernity and change it!

Rethink this idea and come back to us. You're getting closer.

7/09/2010 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

imagine saying such thing in a world where people didn't give a second thought to casting infants onto a dungheap

One thing I've learned at OC is the unbelievable barbarism and cruelty which formed the background of much of human history. Surely it is a primary duty to do what we can to move away from those dark times.

7/09/2010 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

NB-

I concur there are many muslims that don't come anywhere close to the barbarity of Islamofascists.

The Kurds in Iraq, by all accounts are grateful for their liberation and treat ourTroops like heroes.

I don't believe Bob is talkin' about all muslims but only the radical fundie sort and I would think that's understood by anyone who reads OC.

Afterall, it would be very time consuming if Bob had to qualify his intent everytime he uses a generality.

7/09/2010 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Ergo, if you feel abortion is first degree murder, then it is a capital crime.

Americans were in a similar bind during the era of slavery. For decades many people were in fact tortured by a similar feeling that they really should take direct action against something which is an obvious evil to any morally sane person. Nonetheless nobody did anything for the most part except write about it, at least util the 1860s.

Abortion -- especially in its more gruesome (Kagan) and arbitrary (a shocking % of Swedish women use it literally as a form of birth control) variants is a profound evil. This much is obvious. I don't buy the argument that because I don't go out personally and start killing abortionists that mt belief that abortion is a form of murder is unjustified. It pains me deeply to have to live in a culture of which this barbaric practice is the law of the land, but all I can do practically speaking is protest in order to change minds. And to give money to people who are trying to do the same, which I do.

7/09/2010 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ben -- Yes, I'm making generalizations, without which thinking is impossible. For example, to say that the United States is the greatest nation that has ever existed is hardly to excuse it crimes, or to say that it has no evil people. Likewise, to say that Muslim culture bottoms out the scale is not to say that it has no pockets of sanity and virtue.

7/09/2010 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This is a good example of how oversaturated words can appear to mean whatever we take with us when we read them.

It's important to remain undetached in a loving way.
Which is easier said than done sometimes, but it does become easier to recognize what sets our emotions off and pulls our trigger so to speak, and control our emotions rather than allowing them to control us.

7/09/2010 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

I don't believe Bob is talkin' about all muslims but only the radical fundie sort and I would think that's understood by anyone who reads OC.

Ben:

I hope you'll realize that I am -- as always -- 99% in agreement with everyone here. I am raising a point where my view is a bit different than some others. I certainly am willing to hear any and all differing views, and will adjust my own thinking if they are compelling.

7/09/2010 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"I don't go out personally and start killing abortionists"

That begs the question. If you knew you could get away with it, would you kill abortionists? Because I'd certainly kill murderous nazis or Islamists in a heartbeat.

7/09/2010 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"As I mentioned in a comment yesterday, one of the watchwords of the Raccoon path is integration. Now, this integration is not a result of some kind of forcing or blending together of these distinct qualities. Rather, it occurs naturally as we ascend the Cosmic Cone and get closer to the source of the white light, which we might as well call O."

Yes indeedy. ANd this also points to how and why ideas and philosophies which DISintegrate, are so dark and destructive, they impeded and even prevent our integrating our thoughts, ideas, feelings with reality and those (that) which we would wish to love.

7/09/2010 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

to say that the United States is the greatest nation that has ever existed is hardly to excuse it crimes, or to say that it has no evil people. Likewise, to say that Muslim culture bottoms out the scale is not to say that it has no pockets of sanity and virtue.

That's pretty much exactly what I was trying to say first time around.

7/09/2010 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

If you knew you could get away with it, would you kill abortionists?

There's a big difference between hunting down crack dealers, and being prepared to defend the life of an innocent against a crack dealer if one happened to be in a position to do so.

If an abortionist was about to kill a healthy 8 month fetus and in some imaginary scenario (how would it ever possibly happen in real life?) the ONLY way to save that life was to physically stop the abortionist using lethal force, then yes I would do that.

I also know that theoretically I could spend some of the money I've made on software finding out who the "hitmen" are for drug gangs and then paying to have them killed. Just because I don't do that doesn't make me culpable for their crimes.

7/09/2010 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

So you do believe abortionists should be put to death. Just wanted to make sure.

7/09/2010 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I assume you would kill the mother as well, since she is the ultimate cause of the murder?

7/09/2010 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

I.e., what I'm talking about above is akin to the laws around self-defense. You are entitled to kill someone who poses an imminent threat (Texas notwithstanding), however you can't follow someone around for days and assassinate them because you believe they are a threat.

The equivalent scenario would almost never happen when it comes to abortion. Unlike self-defense (or defense of others) you have to just happen to be there and have no other reasonable recourse.

7/09/2010 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

'These monsters sit on the UN Commission for Women's Rights, and yet, liberals do not condemn the UN as one of the primary abettors of evil in the world, but actually want us to give up more of our sovereignty to it.'

When your ideas are explicitly non-integrating, let alone adverse to identifying (a vital precondition to integrating), what else could follow but non-sense, hatred and all the appearances (if not the conscious and deliberate fact) of evil?

And how could the leftist mind possible identify that fact, let alone avoid it? As below, so belower.

7/09/2010 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

NB:

Then you are begging the question again, and avoiding the consequences of your moral beliefs.

7/09/2010 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

No I sure wouldn't kill the mother. There is an obvious difference between a distraught pregnant woman and a man who makes his living specifically doing late-term abortions.

And I didn't say I think abortionists should be "put to death" any more than hit-men should be "put to death" unless one happened to be in a position to stop an imminent death, with no other recourse. As I also said, this scenario would be basically impossible in the real world (as opposed to defense of others killings, such as shooting a 7-11 hold-up man point blank in the head).

7/09/2010 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I mean, we rarely catch any murderer in the act. Rather, we impose justice on them later.

7/09/2010 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Even within the US there are fairly major differences in how/when/why one can use lethal force. An act that is perfectly legal in Texas is manslaughter or worse in many other states.

Just because there are gray areas around life and death issues like this in no way means that abortion is not ultimately a form of murder.

7/09/2010 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

NB--

You are muddying the waters, either intentionally or unintentionally. We are talking about how society should punish first degree murder. You're the one who started this discussion by insisting that abortion was no different than Islamic terror.

7/09/2010 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Rather, we impose justice on them later.

So, was every American who failed to take "direct action" against the worst of the slaveholders a hypocrite? Did the failure to act mean that somehow slavery wasn't evil then, but became evil later once it was abolished?

7/09/2010 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

This just in...

"Once, in a land very very far away there was a post about love.
And some jokes.
Because it's Open Joke Friday."


Carry on..

7/09/2010 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

What a strange sentiment -- as if modernity can travel back to premodernity and change it!

Uh, what? What I said was that the fact that we consider execution for offenses like stealing is pretty clearly a function of modernity, not Christianity. There's nothing strange about that. Of course modernity emerged from premodernity, but no time travel or reverse causality is involved.

wv: peterna (seriously!)

7/09/2010 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I wish Gil Bailie were here. He'd know what to do.

Carry on..

7/09/2010 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"pretty clearly a function of modernity"

Ah, I get it now. I'm a little slow. This explains why modern Germany didn't commit the Holocaust.

7/09/2010 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

You're the one who started this discussion by insisting that abortion was no different than Islamic terror.

Actually I said partial birth abortion was no different than "honor killing" in terms of brutality and degree of evil. That may or may not have been an overstatement. The point was that we hear an awful lot about Muslim brutality when all except a handful of Muslim countries (for example) have lower rates of homicide than does the US.

Anyhow the whole thing is just as difficult for you or anyone else who is morally sane if the question is reversed. Just how bad IS abortion to you? If not murder, is it as bad as breaking a leg? Shoplifting? I'm not trying to be flippant, but that's no easier to answer coherently than the questions you're pinning me with.

7/09/2010 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Anon,
I think Bob's point is Christianity is progressive.
(giggle)

7/09/2010 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

NB:

Now you're getting kooky. Nor do I trust someone who can't give a straight answer without equivocating. We are not talking about hypocrisy, but about what is the just punishment for first degree murder.

7/09/2010 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

NB said,
I hope you'll realize that I am -- as always -- 99% in agreement with everyone here. I am raising a point where my view is a bit different than some others. I certainly am willing to hear any and all differing views, and will adjust my own thinking if they are compelling.

I know. I mainly wrote that for the benefit of any new readers.

Incidently, Bob has gotten flack from some readers because Schuon was a Sufi.

But as Bob has repeatedly mentioned, that in no way cancels out the truth in much of what Schuon said.

7/09/2010 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

If you're saying that (for the sake of argument, late-term, medically unnecessary) abortion is not any form of homicide, then what is it?

I know from past posts you consider it to be an evil, but in what sense?

BTW: If this gets uncomfortable to discuss or whatever, let me know and I will of course drop the topic.

7/09/2010 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And to say that the murder rate is lower in the Muslim world is just absurd. I'm sure it was lower in the USSR as well.

7/09/2010 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Abortion is an evil and it is a sin, even a grave one. One could even say that it is "murder," but we all recognize "degrees" of murder. But I think abortion is sui generis, and cannot easily be compared to other forms of murder.

7/09/2010 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

NB said-

"The point was that we hear an awful lot about Muslim brutality when all except a handful of Muslim countries (for example) have lower rates of homicide than does the US. "

Okay two things:
1. The best guestimate of the numbers of islamic radicals in muslim countries is 10%, which I think is a bit low since that don't count the muslims who implicitely support them.

At any rate, that is still 100,000,000 radical muslims. Hardly a handful.

2. How can anyone trust the reports of the murder rate in predominately muslim countries?
I mean, to them "honor" murders and stoning of "adulterers" doesn't constitute murder.
Regardless, the governments of predominately muslim countries are notorious liars.

7/09/2010 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

We are not talking about hypocrisy, but about what is the just punishment for first degree murder

The just punishment is at minimum life imprisonment. If one takes a certain biblical perspective then we should as you say put murderers to death.

7/09/2010 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

And to say that the murder rate is lower in the Muslim world is just absurd.

As in the US, there are isolated pockets of extreme violence. Detroit for example is 30 times as lethally violent as Toronto, which is a few hundred miles away. It is 80% as homicidal as Bogota.

I'm not defending all of the bad things about Islam or those countries. However the CIA website publishes murder statistics and countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, etc just aren't that high on the list. Now the CIA could well be totally wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

7/09/2010 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Abortion is an evil and it is a sin, even a grave one. One could even say that it is "murder," but we all recognize "degrees" of murder. But I think abortion is sui generis, and cannot easily be compared to other forms of murder.

I can agree with that completely. As I said to Ben above, I am perfectly willing to adjust my thinking given compelling alternative views. That's a big part of the reason I read this blog.

7/09/2010 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I don't know about hunting down abortionists if I could get away with it -- I'd have to think about that a little.

I was really glad to hear that Paul S. Smith, the Hawk Point, Missouri pedophile, offed himself after releasing the little girl he had abducted and probably abused. I have some sympathy for him since at least he didn't cut her throat and toss her in a dumpster or a cave as these creeps often do. And he was decent enough to save the taxpayers a bunch of money in these difficult economics times. I wish some politicians had his sense of civic responsibility.

Can I substitute politicians for abortionists?

This particular pedophile was a repeat offender, having been convicted for sodomizing a ten-year-old boy (he had cut the little girl's hair I assume to make her look more like a boy). The parasites that drive these people are so powerful that they are very resistant to rehabilitation. The only solution is to lock them up for life or kill them. Or, as the legal system does now, turn them loose every once in a while to hurt another child and attempt to propagate their parasite.

If I were going to hunt anybody down and kill them, it would be these guys. However, and seriously, I am about to give up on doing God's job for Him, or telling Him how to get it done. I'll admit I'm a slow learner.

7/09/2010 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

I.e., If I have certain attitudes or beliefs which I hold true, but someone comes along and offers a different interpretation which strikes me as a closer approximation to Truth then of course I will incorporate or adopt it.

If I wasn't able to do that I'd still be a leftist.

7/09/2010 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hi Rick!
I was thinking the same thing. loved the post. The comments went grim pretty quick, though.

7/09/2010 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

The comments went grim pretty quick

My fault, and I apologize for that.

FWIW, Bob's definition above is extremely useful to me. So much so that I won't raise that topic again.

7/09/2010 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

What I said was that the fact that we consider execution for offenses like stealing is pretty clearly a function of modernity, not Christianity.

Christianity's "job", as it were, is to transform culture, but it does it one soul or one heart at a time. It is, as Rick said, truly progressive because it is moving to an end point of kingdom righteousness.

It starts with with the cultural it finds and moves it toward the "measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" in an evolutionary way. "Modernity" in the sense that it is more "humane" is an evidence of the pressure of the Judeo-Christian truth.

Medieval culture was more theocratic and more religious in the same way that Iran is theocratic and religious. But it was not more Christian.

Islam does not have the same impact on culture. It exerts no evolutionary pressure, but rather a devolutionary, antichrist, reactionary pressure.

7/09/2010 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

NB said-

If I wasn't able to do that I'd still be a leftist."

That's what I like about the occasional disagreement here.
But better than that, we can discuss and debate and aree to disagree if it comes to that without taking personal offense which is a good thing since Raccoons are notorious for bein' straight shooters.

7/09/2010 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Ah, I get it now. I'm a little slow. This explains why modern Germany didn't commit the Holocaust.

WTF?

Obviously modernity gave rise to a great many different things, some good and some bad.

7/09/2010 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Brilliant vacuity! Did you come up with that yourself, or does someone else help you suck like that?

7/09/2010 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Mushroom:

Agree, but with one minor modification: one assoul at a time.

7/09/2010 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Indeed. :0)

7/09/2010 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

You said: Indeed, this is how one ends up with Muslim justice, in which stealing is so evil that it merits having one's hand chopped off.

And I pointed out that kind of punishment was also the norm in the Christian world until relatively recently.

You can evade the point all you want. But I thought you folks were interested in Truth and Reality.

7/09/2010 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And it's all thanks to good bad modernity!

7/09/2010 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, this gives me an idea for a new book: Modernity: Land of Good and Bad.

7/09/2010 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Hi Julie!

7/09/2010 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Sure, modern Germans killed all those Jews, but at least they didn't cut off their hands. Good-bad.

7/09/2010 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I admit to being in sympathy with NB on this one. :)

I believe like Bob there are gradations of evil. Clearly, some sins have greater repercussion for self- and other-destruction than others.

It seems obvious to me that abortion is in the highly destructive category, cutting off not merely life, not merely individual potentiality (bad enough), but also potential future generations--not a legal or moral concern for most of we Westerners, but definitely a matter of divine concern, if Scripture is any indication.

Mothers in the past (in England, anyway, whence our legal system originated) were sometimes transported to Australia or executed for infanticide, though I gather it happened infrequently, probably only in egregious cases where a jury did not sympathize... but again that was not state- or doctor-assisted infanticide.

In a case like the U.S.'s, where the justice system and medical practitioners are complicit (soon to be all the more complicit, if Kagan is confirmed), I should think the mother would be the last person to target as the culprit.

Which is precisely why the pro-life movement reaches out in compassion to mothers, and keeps the battle targets on a legislative/judicial plane.

What makes this such a black mark on our culture in comparison to other, more barbaric cultures, is that "to whom much is given, much is required."

"The times of ignorance [in the past] God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

(Which resurrection I do not take to be metaphorical, btw. ;) )

Otherwise, another great post. I really appreciated this:

"Part of the integration alluded to above involves the realization that we are always in the vertical, but to bring this realization into the world, i.e., the horizontal. Unlike some of our competitors, we do not wish to flee into the white light, but appreciate the colors by tracing them back up to their source in O."

wv: mastersi (saying "yes" to the Master)

7/09/2010 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anunce said "You can evade the point all you want. But I thought you folks were interested in Truth and Reality"

As if we are interested in Truth and reality, and you aren't... getting a little sloppy in your evasions there.

7/09/2010 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Sorry, the comments took off while I wrote mine...didn't mean to drag it back up.

7/09/2010 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Susannah:

I don't really disagree with anything you said. It's just that we were discussing more the practical judicial aspect: if abortion is first degree murder, full stop, then what is the appropriate penalty? I will just say that there is no moral feeling in me that says "death penalty," whereas that feeling is quite pronounced with regard to other forms of murder. Obviously feelings cannot be our moral guide, but nor should they just be ignored.

7/09/2010 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

Nice post. Comment section was a feast of contention. Love it.

My analysis is that NB stepped out of the party line and gave the Muslims some tepid praise.

This caused Bob to go postal and thrash it around with NB on an unrelated issue. But I'm not fooled. Its because Bob gets pissed if you sympathize with his pet enemies.

Bob is having a bad hair day, apparently. I can't feel the love.

7/09/2010 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

b-hole:

As usual, 100% wrong. What actually happened was:

1. I posted off the top without really thinking -- basically a mind-parasite grabbed control.

2. Bob smacked me a few times until I started thinking a bit more clearly.

3. Bob offers a clear definition of the matter which is what I've been looking for now for some time.

4. Whatever remaining disagreements are minor points. Basically I know that raccoons are speaking in general terms about Islamic culture, and not individuals. My ranting was basically in the wrong forum. It belongs in some of the other sites I read on occasion where there really are some conservatives who obviously hate Muslim people qua people. That is obviously not the case here.

Conclusion: OC works as intended, at least for me.

7/09/2010 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

I don't belive for a minute that you are simpleminded enough to believe that a vast historical phenomenonon like modernism (or Christianity or Islam for that matter) can be treated as purely good or purely evil. So you are just playing dumb because you want to avoid honest dialog.

7/09/2010 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

I'm weighing in to say I'm in agreement with Susannah and her lovely wording, especially the notion that she would think "the mother would be the last person to target as the culprit."

Dateline: April 2010. Slowly climbing out of one level of Hell is Nebraska, First to Allow Women to Sue for Psychological Injury After Abortion: Doctors Must Screen for Coercion and Other Risk Factors for Abortion Complications.

A blessed consequence of this first of its kind legislation, of course, will be the slowing down of the assembly line process inside Planned Parenthood's money-making, person eliminating mills.

I have no doubt, In.spir.a.tion for the rational argumentation in the bill came from The Holy Spirit and a 1985 article written by the group 'Feminists for Life'. Ho!

And so I am encouraged by this glimmer of light and I will hope that our society's misplaced reliance on the moral authority of science will be put in its proper place.

7/09/2010 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

NB:

I worry about you. What happened looked like a domestic abuse cycle. Sure he slapped me, but I deserved it.

You SURE you're comfortable now?

Violate some other OC PC tenet here and then see who your friends are.

Sacred cows include: Muslims bad. Obama bad. Climate Change bad. MSM bad. Palestinians bad. Atheists bad. New age authors bad. Etc. You get the point. Even the most qualified, minimalist praise to any of these entities will get you in hot water stat.

Its really quite black and white here. Fall in or get out.

Now is that right, I ask you?

7/09/2010 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

black hole:

Whether it's right or not is immaterial.

It is hopeless when one fails to acknowledge that one has many mind parasites. It is I believe equally dangerous to pretend that they can be completely overcome, once and for all. I'm no different than most people in that I try to keep a lid on these stray tendrils of thought which do not originate from an integrated core but rather emerge in whole or part from some form of Mauvaise foi.

Note that I'm not saying here that everything I said above has no merit (though in the end I entirely agree with Bob's statement, as noted). I'm saying that I started this whole thread because of... what exactly I'm not sure -- probably some latent anger I have at certain redneck right-wingers who are just as illiberal as any leftist, but who most certainly are not present among raccoons.

That is what Bob reacted against. Had I broached these topics in a manner which demonstrated a genuine desire to find the truth (and not partially driven by misplaced anger) then I know the reaction would have been different, because I've seen the difference here many times.

Bottom line: he called me out because he recognized I was at least partially being an asshole. In my own defense I can say I'm only an asshole part-time. He is able to do that because for one thing its his freakin' job to know when people are pulling a Hitchens.

The difference between me and you, b-hole, is that I get all this. I have enough insight into myself that I can work on my bad habits and pesky parasites. From what I've seen nothing seems to make a dent in your flat certitudes.

7/09/2010 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I believe Ramesh Ponnuru discussed the practical judicial aspect in his book (which I haven't read...I've only read his internet writings thereupon). I personally regard him as a pretty clear thinker on the subject.

7/09/2010 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

NB, the last time I went off target (chasing aninnys rather than O), it was as a proxy for a pet peeve of mine. So I sympathize in more ways than one! LOL!

7/09/2010 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Well, speaking of love and children - when my son was only a few months old, I went to a company dinner and one of the ladies I worked with brought her teenage son. He was so polite, intelligent and respectful to everyone. I was really impressed. He seemed like the perfect kid - she had done an excellent job. Because of my own upbringing, I was worried about being a mother and knowing how to do it right, and she told me it's simple. Just LOVE them.

And turns out that IS the formula. Not to say we didn't have rough times, especially when he was a teenager, cuz face it, those hormones and stages will make them seem crazy at times. But because I loved him and he knew I loved him, he never went too far. And when the smoke cleared, I had a wonderful young man.

7/09/2010 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In most cases, love is not nearly enough.

7/09/2010 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Dianne, some of my favorite parenting mentors call that "tying the heart-strings." :)

7/09/2010 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

GB - I know. I'm probably over simplifying because it worked for me. I just know I loved him and did everything I could to make sure he was safe, well-fed and cared about and that he KNEW he was cared about. When he talked to me, I listened.

God knows, I wasn't able to give him riches or a Harvard degree.
But he seems happy in life, he LOVES his own baby and doesn't consider looking after him as "babysitting." He's not bitter about anything - at least that I know of - his personality doesn't show it.

I think even tho a lot of parents love and care about their child, they treat them like a piece of furniture, or an accessory to cart around in the mini-van to ballet or soccer games. Got to live the parents dream of what modern media tells us parenthood should be like - right?

7/09/2010 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The problem is that a steady diet of nothing but maternal love -- especially for a boy -- is a recipe for sociopathy. It's one of the reasons a boy needs a mother and father, or one parent to merge with (usually the mother) and one to idealize (usually the father). In other words, oneness from mother, twoness from father -- two different kinds of love. Also, a father's love tends to be more conditional, which is critical.

7/09/2010 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And mother love is rooted in biology. It is, after all, what the female body was designed to do. As a result, holding the baby releases extremely powerful hormones that make it possible for you to take care of a newborn without going insane (usually).

But father love is much more "cultural," so to speak, and in fact, one could argue that the category of "father" is the basis of culture. In other words, mother-baby is a biological thing. Only when the father sticks around do you have a family, which is the basic unit of culture.

That's the short version, anyway....

7/09/2010 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

GB - I understand that too. Which is why I "ran away from home." I moved from the bottom of the coast to the top of the coast, without him. All of his friends and his in-laws think I'm a bad parent now because I "deserted" my son (when he was 25 - LOL). He had already moved away from home.

When really my motivation was "tough" love. I realized he had to at least feel like he was on his own to learn to be independent. And he still knows he can call me anytime and I'd give him sanctuary in a second, but he doesn't want to admit defeat, and plus it's one hell of a long drive. And especially now, he doesn't want to leave his baby, and he does love his wife. But now I'm not in the middle and I'm not any kind of bone of contention.

So they can all think what they will. There's a method behind the madness. :)

I do feel that that can go in a wrong direction, and I came very close to the edge, in that I almost made him entirely dependant on me without even realizing what I was doing. In the end, I had to make myself out to be the bad guy to give him room to make his own life.

I think he understands that now, tho, which is why I said in a previous post, I hadn't expected to hear the words of gratitude so soon.

7/09/2010 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

I totally agree that a father is sooo important. But we didn't have that luxury. I was married when I got pregnant, but my husband left before the baby was born. We were both VERY young, and he could leave, but I couldn't.

My son and his father are now friends, I think. His father paid for the rehearsal dinner for the wedding and even travelled MANY miles to go to the wedding. I never tried to sever any kind of relationship they might have, I always fostered it, because if anything ever happended to me, I didnt want my son to be alone with no family.

LOVE, not vengence.

7/09/2010 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Luckily I had a clue about that, Bob...it's almost hilarious now to watch my husband's interactions with our sons. The banter, the play-slapping each other around, the gross-out sessions, the smack talk... had I not been clued in early, my feminine soul would otherwise want to cry, "Mean!"

Or...

wv: inever

7/09/2010 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

And also about what anon said, Here's his post.

"In the Christian world, it was common to use the death penalty for what we now consider minor offenses (stealing, vagrancy, and "strong evidence of malice" in children aged 7-14 years of age). This persisted well into the 19th century. So if we consider the Muslim punishments for stealing barbaric, that has nothing to do with Christianity, since Christians were happily executing, mutilating, and torturing people for 1800 years. Rather, it is attributable to modernity."

You are full of crap. Show me ONE instance where Christians cut off someone's hand or tortured someone for the sake of God or Jesus!

7/09/2010 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Actually, punishment was unspeakably harsh, even at the time of the American Revolution. Example.

7/09/2010 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Show me ONE instance where Christians cut off someone's hand or tortured someone for the sake of God or Jesus!

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Come on, torture was a routine part of the administration of justice in the premodern Christian era, everyone knows that. There are entire museums of torture instruments in Europe.

And one of my favorite passages from the Bible, Deuteronomy 25:11-12 (I know, not really Christian, but I can't resist):

If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

wv: offing (I am not making that up)

7/09/2010 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Not saying that punishment was not harsh. But people always like to blame the Christians for every societal law of punishment.

How much power did Christians ever have? There was the Catholic Church or monasteries in the dark ages, but would you rather, looking back, had not had them?

Just because Christians existed in those societies, doesn't mean they had power over the people who really SUCK. Just like we have no control right now over Obama or Pelosi.

We might be perceived as a Christian nation, but how much are the Christians really in control? Not at all.

7/09/2010 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Oh - the Spanish Inquisition.

Do you know what CAUSED the Spanish Inquisition? Of course you don't.

It happened because of an islamic invasion. It was a completely defensive movement on the part of Spain. They may have gone a little overboard, but maybe not, because they are not currently an islamic country.

7/09/2010 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Actually, the religious wars between Catholic and Protestant were so cruel and sadistic as to beggar belief.

7/09/2010 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

So disturbing, in fact, that I didn't even want to finish a recent book on the subject.

7/09/2010 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Anon - And one of my favorite passages from the Bible, Deuteronomy 25:11-12 (I know, not really Christian, but I can't resist):

When was the last time that was enforced?

You're really stretching and just being obtuse there.

7/09/2010 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. The nook about Catholics Vs. Protestants, wasn't that one in the sidebar a while back? I seem to remember it coming up at some point.

7/09/2010 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

*book*
stupid phone keyboard...

7/09/2010 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

"Actually, the religious wars between Catholic and Protestant were so cruel and sadistic as to beggar belief."

I'm glad I wasn't there and I don't doubt it.

Maybe a growing pain.

I just know that Christians aren't reponsible for every bad thing that ever happened in history and I will not apologise or feel diminished for being a Christian, because I can't think of anything else I'd rather be.

7/09/2010 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

JUlie -- Yes, I tried to read it on the plane to Sarasota last February, I think it was. Bleak stuff. I would still give a slight edge to Muslims in terms of the ingenuity of their sadism, but not by much. I read about the latter in the excellent Power, Faith, and Fantasy.

Obviously, this is a subject I attempted to address in the book, i.e., why humans are such violent beasts. It's certainly something that needs explaining, but is generally ignored by conservatives and liberals for different reasons, -- by romantic conservatives such as Schuon who idealize the past, and by romantic liberals who idealize man (with the exception of western man).

7/09/2010 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For example, in California, the left has made it literally against the law for public textbooks to place any culture in a negative light, no matter how monstrous.

7/09/2010 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Also, just because some people claim to be something, doesn't mean they are.

I don't think Jesus ever said anything that would take either side of a violent group.

7/09/2010 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Brief history of the mostly religious, 'THIRTY YEARS War.'

7/09/2010 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Could it be compared to the current fight between the democrats and the republicans?

7/09/2010 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No, not at all.

But it is true that Christianity is ultimately self-correcting in a way that Islam may not be able to be, since when Christians do bad, they are being un-Christian, whereas when Muslims do bad, they are being good Muslims, e.g., jihad.

7/09/2010 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Really, the more history you read, the more you appreciate the miracle of the United States.

7/09/2010 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Just that I can see in the future that anon's children's history books will say that the American Christians were at war with each other. Not separating one ideology from the other. We're all just "Christians" lumped together who can't get their shit together.

Meanwhile, the lesbians, vegans and nudists saved the day.

7/09/2010 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's definitely a religious war that only one side can win. But hopefully it can be won with superior ideas. If not, you can turn out the light for mankind.

7/09/2010 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Yeah - things are looking kind of grim right now.

7/09/2010 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

But then again, I'm a self-confessed coward.

Screw it! Bring 'em on!

7/09/2010 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Every generation has to relearn what happens when the left gets power. Time to take it back, that's all. And it's not as if the GOP won't screw it up when they get back in power. As always, it's the evil party vs. the stupid party. It does no good to get emotionally caught up in it.

7/09/2010 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

It's always a choice between a douche and a turd sandwich.

7/09/2010 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

This about sums it up.

7/09/2010 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Anon, what are you doing chiming in? I said douche and turd sandwich, not send in the clowns.

7/09/2010 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Hm, Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor was a "Christian," by this measure, then. ;)

Let's just say there's a spirit in the world that likes to pervert, negate, and ultimately annihilate what God has declared good. It's the dominant spirit of this world, and its always associated with the ago-old human hunger for power. You can be 100% certain that anytime the state in particular gets involved in anything, including religion, that spirit is at work.

The workings of the Spirit of God, on the other hand, unfailingly operate in the unseen undercurrents of history, through those things and people the world-spirit regards as "foolish and weak," and not worthy of mention in the history books.

Anon, what did I tell you? God is very concerned about future progeny. Deliberately mangling a guy's "equipment" was a serious offense.

7/10/2010 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I read Foxe's Book of Martyrs once (school assignment). I couldn't stomach the torture and cruelty & will never read it again.

"...why humans are such violent beasts. It's certainly something that needs explaining, but is generally ignored by conservatives and liberals..."

What you said, about the U.S. being unique and unprecedented in history.

We are blessed to live in times of unprecedented freedom, peace and prosperity (though of course certain elements in our power structure are only too happy to bring that to an end). But we've also become complacent, not realizing we are only a heartbeat away from the savagery that characterized so much of history-- especially now that we have, by and large, rejected the only possible Foundation of our freedom.

7/10/2010 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Think about how unbelievable it is that a nation that possessed a weapon like the atomic bomb, put it away after securing the end of war, and thus the safety of its fighting forces with the enemy's surrender, and went back home to live in peace. No empire-building, no pushing forward to conquer the world. Rather, helping re-build the nations with which it was formerly at war.

When has that ever happened before?

It shows that Foundation so clearly.

7/10/2010 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Also, and I know I'm over-commenting, but there is something to be said for the "hard virtues." We are all about the "soft virtues" these days (virtues I would regard as essentially "feminine" in nature), but they need to be brought into balance with the hard virtues. Some of what our feminized tenured regard as "savagery" does fall into the category of the hard virtues. Though plenty of out-and-out unjustifiable violence characterizes the story of humanity, I find the simplistic leftist revisions lacking in "nuance" when it comes to sacrifice, fortitude, nobility, duty, courage, justice (the type that is blind not the preferences that masquerade as lefty justice), etc.

7/10/2010 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's interesting, isn't it, that if you ask a Christian why Christianity has at times been corrupt or stupid, he has a ready answer: man.

But if you ask a leftist why socialist countries are so corrupt and messed up, they will never say man. Rather, if they can only take a little more of your money and tweak the system a little more, then they can perfect man, eliminate inequality, and create paradise on earth.

Who's the naive one? Christians know what man is (and also what he can be). The left will never learn.

7/10/2010 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

Think about how unbelievable it is that a nation that possessed a weapon like the atomic bomb, put it away after securing the end of war..

You have got to be kidding. After WWII, there was an enormous proliferation of nuclear weapons, a nuclear arms race between the US and USSR, a Cold War that came very close to a catastrophic nuclear exchange. Have you never heard of these things? The US had over 30000 nuclear weapons deployed at the height of the Cold War and still has 10000 today -- is that what you call "putting it away?" Are you really so ignorant of the basic facts of recent history?

No empire-building, no pushing forward to conquer the world.

What do you think the Cold War was about? Why do you think the US has over a thousand foreign military bases? Just for fun? Just out of the goodness of our pure American hearts?

You people astound me.

The country is being hollowed out from the inside, as our infrastructure collapses, our schools decline, as our economy becomes little more than a shell game. A big chunk of the reason for our current woes is the enormous amount of money we spend of our foreign military empire. But you idiots don't even know it exists, and that is why it will continue to do so.

7/10/2010 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Sounds like somebody's been imbibing revisionist history. Building a defense against nuclear proliferation obviously doesn't amount to using them to take over the world. It might stop others from doing that, though. Much to the benefit of the world. That's a pretty far cry from the imperialism you imply.

"A big chunk of the reason for our current woes is the enormous amount of money we spend of our foreign military empire."

LOL! Speaking of idiotic...

7/10/2010 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"What do you think the cold war was about?"

Duh! Obviously it was about the US conquering the Soviet Empire so we could occupy their lands and enslave their peoples, as proven by post-1989 history. What a stupid question! Just ask the Polish, Czechs, Armenians, East Germans, and all the other lands we've colonized.

7/10/2010 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's almost as bad as what we did to the South Koreans, preventing them from being ruled by the North.

7/10/2010 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To think I used to believe the sort of ignorant and hateful nonsense spewed by Anon! There but for the grace of God...

7/10/2010 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Yeah, the Soviets never meant us any harm...they *had* to build up weapons to ward off our evil, imperialist designs. And I guess the Rosenbergs were just poor, innocent, persecuted commies too.

Time to update the "hippie fiction" section of the ol' library, anon.

7/10/2010 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

Sorry -- one of your acolytes says that the US put aside nuclear weapons after WWII. I point out that this is undeniably, completely false -- something any schoolchild should know -- and I'm the one spouting nonsense?

Maybe you should try to separate out matters of fact, matters of interpretation, and matters of value. The history of the US nuclear program is a fact. That the US presently has by far the largest military in the world, incuding a huge network of foreign bases, is a fact.

Whether that constitutes an empire is a matter of interpretation, and whether that empire is good or bad for the world, morally justified or unjustified, is a matter of value. Maybe it was a perfectly justifiable response to Soviet aggression -- that is certainly an arguable position. But don't try to pretend it isn't there.

7/10/2010 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This guy reminds me of Lee Harvey Oswald, the leftist who killed Kennedy because he thought he was being too mean to the communists.

7/10/2010 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Anunce said “. A big chunk of the reason for our current woes is the enormous amount of money we spend of our foreign military empire.”

Oh. Now I see why you so rarely actually state what you believe.

It must be so painful for you to expose such stupidity and blindness. So your evasions and unwillingness to explain your thoughts, it’s a defense strategy, is it?

Poor dear.

And with the facts so easily found, the psychic bruising must be… extensive. Oh, and for ‘hollowing out’, scan down and peruse the “Mandatory spending and entitlements” portion. If your… um… constitution… ever becomes strong enough to advance beyond wiki, come back and see us.

In the meantime… run awayyy!!! (we’ll understand).

7/10/2010 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Not to mention that education spending from all levels of government far exceeds defense. And what a rip-off!

7/10/2010 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Anon, I was *born* on one of those foreign bases. Oddly enough, we didn't take over Germany, west or east, now did we? But the east Germans have a little bit to thank our influence for, wouldn't you agree?

When I said "pack it up and go home" in so many words, what I obviously meant (obvious to everyone who hasn't deliberately blinded himself with leftist tripe) was that, in gaining victory, we didn't go on to do what conquerors have done from time immemorial--Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ottoman Turks, Napoleon, yada yada. Do you deny this? Or will you just go all shifty-argument on us again?

7/10/2010 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think he's already answered that naive objection in a manner worthy of Chomsky or Castro:

"What do you think the Cold War was about? Why do you think the US has over a thousand foreign military bases? Just for fun? Just out of the goodness of our pure American hearts? "

7/10/2010 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Please name one instance in which even the *threat* of nuclear destruction was used to build an American empire.

7/10/2010 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Susannah:

You must realize that for the left, the US is evil, so that everything they do is therefore evil. It's a sophisticated thought process that most people can't master.

7/10/2010 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Unless you have a graduate degree in political science from an elite university, I wouldn't even try.

7/10/2010 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Yes, and I keep forgetting that they afford themselves complete authority to change the definition of words at will. You *think* you're just talking about army bases in allied nations, but you're really talking about is an empire. Duh.

7/10/2010 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's quite amazing that the left has assembled this whole elaborate crock of revisionist history in order to persuade immature minds such as anon who are impressed by arguments from authority. That's how it was for me. It never occurred to me when I was reading that stuff that many of these people are liars at best, and sometimes frank sociopaths.

7/10/2010 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Anon, I was *born* on one of those foreign bases.

Well, then you should know better.

Please name one instance in which even the *threat* of nuclear destruction was used to build an American empire.

You are conflating two different issues. Nuclear weapons were never very good tool of empire or even war -- that's why both sides of the Cold War adopted detterence policies, and we can be very grateful that they worked (there were several instances where we came so close, including the Cuban missle crisis and the lesser known case where a Soviet officer violated protocols to avert a mistaken retaliatory strike). The horror and uselessness of nuclear weapons ensured that the imperial conflict between the US and the USSR was relatively low-level and carried out by proxy wars in third-world backwaters.

That didn't stop politicians and military types from longing to unleash the awesome destructive power that was so available but aso so annoyingly difficult to use. Nixon contemplated using them on North Vietnam but was restrained (!) by Henry Kissinger. MacArthur wanted to use them on North Korea. The Cheney/Bush administration was thinking about using them on Iran. Whole generations of tactical nuclear weapons were developed for battlefield use, but never used. They were deployed in Western Europe as a defense against a possible Russian invasion, then withdrawn.

7/10/2010 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Speaking of empire: there is an interesting debate going on, between serious people, about whether the US Empire is a good thing or a bad thing. I am more on the latter side, but at least I acknowledge that Niall Ferguson usually knows what he's talking about.

But maintaining that the US Empire doesn't exist -- that the long hisory of our foreing military ventures from the Phillipines to Afghanistan is something else -- is not really a serious position.

Also, for those who think my views are dismissable as wooly-headed leftist academic mush, you might take a look at the writings of Major General Smedley D. Butler.

7/10/2010 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh my. I'm afraid General General Butler is an anti-Raccoon of the first rank:

"In 1924 he took an extended leave to become director of public safety in Philadelphia, pledging to uphold prohibition and end street crime. He offered a promotion to the first officer who killed a robber, closed up 973 speakeasies in his first forty-eight hours on the job, and designed for himself a splendid militarystyle uniform with a blue cape lined with crimson."

No thanks.

7/10/2010 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Come to think of it, Toots Mondello had some sort of run-in with the General in one of those speakeasies... He always said that "when tyranny comes to America, it will be in the form of some flamboyant demagogue asshole trying to take away our beer."

7/10/2010 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Well, our houseguest has arrived, but...

Thanks for providing a clear picture of a mind distorted by moral equivalence. Somehow, fighting communist takeovers morphs into "empire building."

7/10/2010 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anunce said “. Nixon contemplated using them on North Vietnam… . MacArthur wanted to use them on North Korea… “

Yes… why was that? Were we just hungering after all those rice patties? Was Big Rice behind it?

“The Cheney/Bush administration was thinking about using them”

I don’t suppose there was any reason for that, was there? I mean, seeing as though they didn’t use them, it’d seem as if wasn’t just a matter power lust and a deep seated hatred of colorful rugs, otherwise they wouldn't have merely considered, but implemented those nefarious plots, but maybe you’ve got some more insights on the matter you’d like to share?

“They were deployed in Western Europe as a defense against a possible Russian invasion, then withdrawn.”

Uh-oh… how’d you let that one through the lefti-filtration system?

7/10/2010 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

As always anunce, even when you have facts that are accurate, you are unable to accurately determine what they mean.

Fergusson’s book is pretty good, btw, but he misses key points as well (I’ve read several of his books, and he’s quite good, very informative, has a number of quality insights… but a blinded spot, and affinity for power and decision making being entrusted to an enlightened elite – keep that in mind, and his columns and books are well worth the time of reading), influence is not the same as command.

A military behemoth bestriding the world like a colossus, who can be expelled from a valuable military base established in a foreign country, not by force of arms, but by revocation of contract (Philippines, Panama Canal (please bite), Turkey, etc) – that is not an empire, at least not one of the power based sort.

However, the comparisons between America and Rome are not completely off base, if you’ve read into Roman history, particularly prior to the period between Marius and Caesar, there are many, many parallels - but they’ve got much less to do with Empire, than a society based upon family units, piety, rule of law, property rights, and a success which outruns their understanding of what made it possible.

The best examination and analysis I’ve found of the two so far is with "Empires of Trust: How Rome Built--and America Is Building--a New World".

Oh, and the idea that “War is a racket!” what an amazing insight, I’m sure any 19 yr old today (12 yr old of Smedley’s day) would be very proud of their discovering that bit of knowledge. Who’da thunk it!? A fact of humanity as old as civilization, involving the lives, interests and concerns of entire peoples… that such a thing might be found to lend itself to profit making… zounds!

And Thank God it does, by the way, the Corsair’s, the B-17, 24, 25,29,52, etc] bombers, and so on would have come from no other source (witness Japan & Nazi Germany (even though they had the intellectual firepower)’s failure).

7/10/2010 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Anon's comments are of the highest rank. Like a tedious bore of the highest rank.
Seriuosly.

7/10/2010 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

True, but what he lacks in profundity he more than makes up for in vacuity.

7/10/2010 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Say, does anon remind anyone else of Olbermann, who "is forever missing the bigger point in the hopes that he can appear to be smarter than he is by latching on to some perceived misstatement. Usually they wind up doing exactly what Olby did here... confirming their status as a weak minded public joke."

7/10/2010 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Yes.

7/10/2010 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Jack said "Jim Morrison anyone?"

With a strong David Bowie streak. And a touch of Alcibiades.

"I think the Beethoven *Mythos* has been an archetype underlying Rock music--or at least it was for me."

Oh yeah, here too. The intense, glowering, creative outlaw shtick (which I think is about all 'we' managed to pull off. lol.).

""There is no rule which cannot be broken for the sake of greater beauty" Which could very well be the motto for the Promethean outlook! "

That little line went a loOong way....

7/10/2010 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

We of the left have no choice but to "talk down" our own culture, because we are the white man's culture.

Until we get things flip-flopped so that brown women are on top, we have to deconstruct our own culture.

Likewise we have to support the odious Arab women-haters, because they are non-white.

After we get things fixed up properly, we'll show all men the what for.

A lesbian negress is of the highest order, which is why I get invites to every party in town. And proud of it.

7/10/2010 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

It's a pretty sure sign when someone resorts to childish insults and evasions that they have nothing substantive to say in defense of their position.

I guess because Smedley Butler did some enforcement of prohibition we can discount whatever he says, regardless of his military service in Haiti, the Philippines, Central America, and France during WWI; his numerous decorations; and the fact that he may have prevented a fascist coup right here in the US.

His "War is a Racket" was a precursor to Eisenhower's famous speech about the military-industrial complex. Ah Ike...I remember those days when there was such a thing as a sane and mature Republican.

7/10/2010 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anunce said "...sure sign when someone resorts to childish insults and evasions that they have nothing substantive to say ..."

Please, it's unseemly to talk about yourself so.

"... famous speech about the military-industrial complex..."

Yeah... that whole idea of govt and business being in bed together. Disgusting proregressive idea. Downright anti-American, don't you think?

7/11/2010 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I pray that more liberal politicians aside from Dennis Kucinich cite the great Smedley Butler as an influence.

7/11/2010 06:21:00 AM  

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