My Two Cents (12/20)

  • Advice to bloggers and commenters:  "To love others means to characterize them; to caricaturize them (except
    when appropriate) is not to love our neighbor as ourselves."
  • Male and Female in Relationship:  Scott, in his ongoing series on women in ministry, has a good article on "headship", and this excellent summary of the male/female responsibilities in scripture:

1. There is a submit/sacrifice for wives/husbands.
2. There is a body/head for wives/husbands.
3. There is a respect/love for wives/husbands.

  • Catholic Flight to Evangelicalism:  Both my wife and I are both ex-Catholics, now evangelicals (although I was nominal).  Some reasons from this article include:

1. Lack of active participation: 25% practice their faith.
2. Lack of scriptural and theological sophistication.
3. Lack of appropriate and effective Catholic catechesis.
4. Anemic parishes and preaching.

I would echo one of the commenters – "I think that if you were to ask those 30-35% why they left, most of
them would say they were not Christians when they were in the Catholic
Church, that is certainly the case for me. I was an agnostic Catholic
for 20 years. heard the gospel, believed, came to believe in the
authority of scripture and salvation by faith alone and left the
church. This is the experience of most of the former Catholics I know.
They typically were raised Catholic, had a conversion experience in
college or their early adulthood, realized that Catholic teachings did
not jive with their newfound beliefs and found evangelical churches
that did."

  • Outsourcing the Family – I am the head of a two income family with small kids, but I think we should go back to one income, and not farm out daytime care of our kids to daycare.  We also farm out our housecleaning, lawn maintenance, and our meals (we eat out way too much).  What’s wrong with this picture?

This article has 26 comments

  1. Here is my 2 cents :) Trust me you will think this is pretty cool!
    History – of – Religion
    How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!

  2. Here is a really beautiful video called Lapses in Light I need to watch this after every conversation with Seeker to bring my blood pressure back down. Just kidding Seeker. You know you're my boy :)

  3. When I still attended the Episcopalian church I used to know some ex-Catholics. They left because of the RCC's excessive social conservatism and authoritarianism: anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-sex, etc. I also knew some who had left fundamentalist/evangelical sects for much the same reasons (although these types also fled the anti-intellectualism so endemic to those cults). Then there are those like myself who just got fed up with the whole enchilada and fled to reason.

  4. Then there are those like myself who just got fed up with the whole enchilada and fled to reason.
    Louis,
    You might find this interesting…
    Now we know how to make the IDists dance in their petticoats: blaspheme.

    The latest panty-twisting at Uncommon Descent is over the Blasphemy Challenge. The poor dears are so concerned about all the heretics damning themselves that DaveScot is moved to weep and pray over them, and William Dembski writes a letter to Richard Dawkins asking him why he doesn’t expand the challenge to torment the Moslems (note that Dawkins is not responsible for the Blasphemy Challenge, has nothing at all to do with it, and hasn’t promoted it, so it’s rather peculiar of Dembski to act as if he is the Grand Overlord of All Atheists).
    This wouldn’t be worth following, except that I think Dawkins’ reply is absolutely perfect.
    “I had not given the Blasphemy Challenge any thought until you called it to my attention. Now that you have done so, I do not seem to feel strongly one way or the other. As that admirable bumper sticker has it, Blasphemy is a Victimless Crime. So, am I going to send in my own film clip denying the Holy Ghost? No, that is not what Oxford professors do, they write books instead. Do I find it offensive that so many young people are sending in their film clips? No. I hadn’t listened to any of them before you raised the matter. I have now done so, and I must say I find them more charming than offensive. They mostly seem rather nice young people, and they are doing their bit, in their own lively and entertaining way, to raise consciousness and set an example to their peers. I am especially pleased to note how young they are, for organized atheists have, until recently, been noticeably and discouragingly grey-headed. I think we may be witnessing the beginnings of a shift in the tectonic plates of our Zeitgeist. I am delighted to see so many young Americans taking part, in a way that suits their age group better than mine or yours.”
    It’s a weird and rather stupid request Dembski has made. The reason they are denying one of the Christian gods is because that’s what most of these people have been brought up to believe; Dembski himself would probably have no hesitation about denying Mohammed, so that wouldn’t be much of a challenge. What these people are doing in these clips is rejecting the dogma with which they were indoctrinated, and I agree with Dawkins that this is a most excellent and wise thing for them to do. I would similarly think it excellent if young Moslems were all to cheerfully deny Allah, and young Jews to deny their god, and a whole wave of outspoken unbelief were to sweep across the world.
    There’s another great bonus that Dawkins didn’t notice: the spectacle of the creationists weeping and having the vapors at the thought of people rejecting their superstition is simply too delicious.

  5. I think Dembski’s point was that these people are afraid to blaspheme if it could be dangerous to their physical bodies. It may be silly to blaspheme something you weren’t raised with (this blogger’s statement), but it’s also cowardly not to.

  6. Yes, it’s probably dangerous to blaspheme the cretinous belief in the demonic “allah” nowadays given the barbarous state of islam and its demented believers. However, it is also right and proper to attack and dispel the evil miasma emitted by monotheist cults, and to do so publicly, lest we fall back under their absolutist influence and the pyres are relit.
    Fortunately, the followers of mahoud haven’t, as yet, made slaves of us all and we can still think and speak freely. Long Live Liberty!

  7. right and proper according to whom? Where did this notion come from? pre-biotic soup?
    Unfortunately, atheistic cults have no answer. Long Live Liberty (as determined by our genes and environment, with a dash of randomness to make it completely meaningless)!

  8. Reason, knowledge, experience, history. And not from some invisible babysitter.

  9. Unfortunately, reason, knowledge, experience and history are meaningless as they are relative to your interpretation. The exact same 'reasons' can be used for someone elses point of view. You can't say "History tells me this is bad" because that means you are saying "This was bad in history". You know that from further back history? Same goes for all the other "reasons".
    You have to push your arguments to the limits.

  10. Unfortunately, reason, knowledge, experience and history are meaningless as they are relative to your interpretation.
    So, according to this argument, God is meaningless.

  11. Right. From this worldview, nothing means anything. You can't come up with a reason for anything other than feelings, which have no basis for morality unless you imply that you have some king of 'super-natural' knowledge that your feelings are correct… Unfortunately, this is not allowed from the very worldview in question. If God does exist, then both reason and reality have a meaningful foundation. But from the position that God doesn't exist, any argumentation is pointless, because it results in no meaningful consequences… and by that I mean: atoms interacting in different ways in a godless universe have a significance-meaning-level of precisely nil. There is no other conclusion.

  12. Right. From this world view, nothing means anything.
    So, I can conclude that you're argument about reason knowledge, history, etc is not serious but was meant as sarcasm.
    You can't come up with a reason for anything other than feelings, which have no basis for morality unless you imply that you have some king of 'super-natural' knowledge that your feelings are correct…
    Are your feelings themselves not meaningful to you? If you love someone, like your Mom or Dad, does that not mean something regardless of whether there is a God or not or is it just atoms? In other words, if it turns out there is no God, does that mean that loving your parents was meaningless?

  13. Cineaste,
    My argument wasn't meant as sarcasm, but serious from the standpoint that any kind of judgement call requires something more than personal (or corporate) opinion. For example, Reason doesn't even say anything about Morality. It helps explain one's position on Morality, but Reason by itself cannot give you: "You ought not to hurt little children." After that, any 'reasons' you give, only require further reasons, till you end up with something like "just because".
    Are my feelings meaningful to me? If, as I'm told to believe, atoms and energy are all that exist in the Universe, than I'm fooling myself if I think that love means anything. Love requires freedom and freedom, Liberty, etc. do not exist in a "laws of physics is all that exist" world. Love is a chance feeling based on chemical (atom) interaction in my brain. Once I 'know' this… I'm deluding myself to think that everything isn't an illusion. In fact, "I" am not a 'self'. I do not have separation from "all that is". I am just a cog in the mass conglomeration of interacting atomic bits. non-selfs do not love mom and dad non-selfs.
    This is a hard thing to grasp because none of us 'actually' live that way. We live as though these things are meaningful. But they only are if you are actually a 'self' that has significance. And your significance isn't based on how 'valuable' to society, or to your parents, or to humanity you are, otherwise you end up with a scary utilitarian world where people are 'removed' because they aren't valuable enough to whatever happens to be perceived as a worthy goal from those in power. And from a Christian perspective, this significance comes from us being made "in God's image". I'll leave my response at that, even though, of course, much more can be said.
    That's my take on things. I don't think it is a simple "Liberty or invisible babysitter" choice.

  14. I don't agree with you and I'll tell you why in a bit. But first, you didn't answer my question directly. If it turns out there is no God, does that mean that loving your parents was meaningless? Yes? no?

  15. I'll be interested to read your reasons.
    As far as your question: Yes. Meaningless.

  16. If it turns out there is no God, does that mean that loving your parents was meaningless? Yes? no?
    Yes. Meaningless.
    I disagree. Well, you have already made up your mind that without a God everything is meaningless. Even love. Why should I even tell you what I think if you have already come to this conclusion? Your mind is closed to the possibility that without a God, existence is meaningful. Your reasoning is circular: God exists, therefore lives have meaning and lives have meaning therefore, God exists. If you had an open mind about this subject, where you could admit those who disagree with your assessment, those who believe in meaningful love in a Godless universe is real, then we might have had something to talk about. That's why I asked you the question.

  17. Cineaste, I'm not going to get into this too much with you. I've already outlined a little why I think the way I do.
    My mind isn't closed. I've just never seen a good argument for believing in a meaningful Universe without God. The only arguments are some kind of hope and illusion. Can you give me a good argument? Or is your mind already made up to the fact that God doesn't exist? Why should I even tell you what I think if you have already come to this conclusion?
    My argument isn't circular (or the way you put it). My argument is life only has meaning if God exists.
    You can tell me I'm not open to other conclusions but you can't tell me any good arguments for other conclusions. You simply don't have the fortitude to face the idea that love is meaningless in a godless universe.

  18. Can you give me a good argument?
    Yes, absolutely. But you've already told me, not matter how good my argument is, it's invalid to you. For example you say, "The only arguments are some kind of hope and illusion." Well, you leave me nothing to address don't you?
    Or is your mind already made up to the fact that God doesn't exist?
    Not at all, God may indeed exist.
    My argument is life only has meaning if God exists.
    You think life does indeed have meaning. Ergo, God exists. This seems like circular reasoning I outlined, "God exists, therefore lives have meaning and lives have meaning therefore, God exists."
    You can tell me I'm not open to other conclusions but you can't tell me any good arguments for other conclusions.
    I don't have to tell you. You have already said, "There is no other conclusion." I feel I have very solid, logical arguments but when you say this, it tells me I can't even discuss this with you. I can't reason with you if you only see one possibility. Whats more, your argument hinges upon the supernatural. Other supernatural beings are, as you know, Leprechauns, Allah and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I'm just telling the truth here, it's not intentionally harsh. It's proper to be dubious about the existence of such beings.
    You simply don't have the fortitude to face the idea that love is meaningless in a godless universe.
    Think, when you say things like this it makes me feel as if you are a young person, at least much younger than I am. I can tell by the tone. You have no idea what I have faced in my life. There is no need to lash out. There has been nothing uncivil or unfriendly in my discussion.

  19. All I’m saying is I’ve made a conclusion based on the arguments presented. Please give me a good argument and I may change my mind.
    I’m not lashing out. You can’t accept the idea of a meaningless universe. I don’t expect you to. I can’t either. But that’s the logical conclusion of a godless universe.

  20. Please give me a good argument and I may change my mind.
    Of course, this is untrue. You won't change your mind. I'll leave you with this…
    Can moral "oughts" be derived from nature?
    You can't accept the idea of a meaningless universe. I don't expect you to. I can't either.
    Perhaps you can't but I can. The universe may very well be meaningless. I just don't automatically posit a supernatural being to easily and neatly explain everything between creation and morality. Existence is much too complicated for such a simplistic solution IMHO.

  21. I cannot open that link. I still have never been able to get through to the links you emailed me either Cineaste. I am sorry. I will try again this evening if I have time, though.
    I have very solid, logical arguments
    I think our versions of solid logic are not the same. I think this is why we are at odds. I have been thinking about this a lot.
    Why is it wrong in your opinion for a person to believe the Bible…why is it wrong in my opinion for a person to ignore the Bible…
    I think we actually agree on lots of stuff. But we base our arguments for our opinions on the same but opposite presupposition. Does that make sense ?
    Our hypotheses on the origins of life and the purpose of life and the perpetuation of life as well, all differ.
    My relationships are meaningful to me. Many people do not have meaningful relationships at all. I think that is very obvious by the divorce rate and crime rates in our country. But my relationships are more meaningful because I read the Bible and realize it is not all about me.
    I fight with myself over that all the time, and the Bible is sometimes the only thing that keeps me from throwing it all away.
    I can definitely say that if I did not have the Bible, I would not be married to my husband right now. I would probably not have my little two year old. I would not be able to look myself in the mirror and think I am worthy of what I do have either.
    Maybe that is ignorance. Maybe it is knowledge on how to live a secure and happy life.

  22. Life may, indeed, be meaningless in some theoretical, absolute sense. However, as humans, we can create our meaning for ourselves. And this isn't entirely arbitrary. As I have indicated before, we can rely on reason, knowledge, experience and history to formulate our meaning. To dismiss this as merely "hope and illusion" in favor of some religion is simply silly, as one could very well dismiss religion as mere "hope and illusion."

  23. Guys,
    All is "hope and illusion" if there is only a material universe, whether 'morality created by man' or religion. If you believe in a material universe and don't believe in Determinism: that is silly, because all you can say is that every state of the universe (including your brain), is simply a result of a previous state of the universe. Whether it feels like you are learning something from past experience or it feels like you are not determined is delusion. Why? Nothing you do matters. Nothing. Ever. It makes people feel good? Arbitrary values.
    I can't see that link Cineaste. sorry. Any "meaning" we think we can make is arbitrary, and, in the long-run, completely meaningless.
    You may not 'see' this, but it is 'truth'.
    Positing some God or 'Religion' to 'solve' this problem isn't the easy way out… (there is no way out otherwise).
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year(s)

  24. So what? Why this dogged need for meaning, anyway? (I, personally, have posited several different possible meanings for human life: Earth is used by aliens as an insane asylum; humans evolved – or were created – as food for bacterium and viruses; humanity is nature's way of committing suicide; humanity is a giant video game for the gods – or god).
    Once we free ourselves of this useless quest and desire for "meaning," we can at last be truly free to simply be. The need for "meaning" leads to pointless discussions like the above – that is, nowhere. It's better to clear away useless concepts and see what's left. Know thyself. Search, discover, learn, think, love, live: these are the values which lead to a true "meaning" which needs no verbal formulation and tiresome debate.
    Happy Winter Solstice.

  25. If you believe in a material universe and don't believe in Determinism: that is silly, because all you can say is that every state of the universe (including your brain), is simply a result of a previous state of the universe.
    I don't believe in a completely material universe though. I doubt many Atheists do. Logic is not material. Math is not material. The laws governing the universe are not material. Ethics are not material. Our conception of them is tied to our brain chemistry true, but these concepts themselves are not material things. We can have free will without any need for a God. http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2006/
    This explains how moral oughts can be derived from nature. Try the link now Think and Lawanda. These experiments provide a lot of the basis for my arguments.