Friday, July 29, 2011

Michele Bachmann--Just Another Christian Trying to Pull the Wool Over the Eyes of the Sheeple

Religion and gods are tools--that have been used by kings, dictators, and governments for thousands of years in their efforts to gain more power and more control. With "god" on their side--how can they lose? Ironically, we all do.

God and politicians walk hand in hand with one another. They are both smoke screens however--used to dupe people into thinking a certain way, and like makeup and false eyelashes, they hide the truth. The latest politician to "walk with god" is Michelle Bachmann--a candidate for the office of the President of the United States. Politicians say and do what they must in order to gain voter confidence, and with the majority of Americans claiming to be Christian, she "fits right in." Michelle is a Christian, and claims to be one of the fundamentalist kind. You know, the kind that are supposed to "submit" to the husbands and all that. The kind of woman that believes the bible is inerrant, when the bible says that women are unclean chattel. The kind that believes a woman has no right to an abortion if she was raped, or her health is in danger. The kind that is a hypocrite if, as the bible tells us, the woman is not supposed to be the "head," but she thinks she can be "head of state." According to the bible, and the fundamentalist interpretation of it, she would still be subject to her husband as he has authority over her. Her husband would be the one making the decisions.

The above clearly illustrates the hypocrisy and duplicity of those who have visions of power and control, and are willing to do whatever it takes to make their visions a reality. They will manipulate the bible and use Humpty Dumpty semantics to make it mean whatever they want it to mean. Very similarly to what Eddie Long and the rest of the "preachers" do when they promote the "prosperity gospel"--when the bible states a rich man has as much chance of reaching heaven as a camel does of going through the eye of a needle. Hypocrisy is nothing new to clergy or politicians.

Most of Bachmann's followers will ignore her contradictory messages, and the hypocricy of her actions, and will focus on how she looks, and her "American values" instead. They will ignore the fact that she was a member of the Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater until just before she began her presidential campaign, and had not even bothered to attend her church for over two years, yet she claims be "Christian." Of course she does, because the majority of Americans are "Christian," she'll say whatever she has to say in order to win. If the majority of Americans were Muslim, I am sure she would be wearing a Burkha instead of pearls and high heels, because she, like every politician before her, will say and do whatever it takes to win an election--whether it's true or not. Am I surprised? Of course not. Christianity promotes lying, cheating and fooling others, which is why politicians and their constituents love Christianity so much. It gives them an excuse to lie, cheat, and manipulate others.

Lying, cheating, and fooling others has been the way of the world for, oh, at least 2000 years now--ever since the dawn of a religion that promotes the idea we are all "born sinners" that cannot help but do the wrong thing. Instead of being told we are perfect, and we can choose to do the right thing, Christians have been told they cannot help but do the wrong thing--which results in politicians that do not tell the truth--among other things. This is where Jesus comes in handy. He's their fall guy, because for a Christian, it doesn't matter if they rape, kill, extort, or lie to their constituents--Jesus is there to take the fall for them. There are no consequences for believers as long as they "repent" so there is no motivation for them to stop lying, cheating, raping, etc. This is why, as long as there are Christians in America that run the country, there will be liars, cheaters, adulterers, murderers, etc. in office. It's been that way since the beginning, and I doubt it will change anytime soon. How unfortunate.

BTW--I am a woman, and this is not a rant against women in office. It is merely an observation of the hypocrisy of those who use religion for their own benefit.

Monday, July 25, 2011

According to WL Craig's Argument, It's "Possible" Yahweh is a Sadistic Monster, or Moogooboogoo is God.

In his paper, "No Other Name":A Middle Knowledge Perspective on the Exclusivity of Salvation Through Christ", William Lane Craig attempts to show that the premises below are compatible with Christian salvation. Using Craig's own words, and the laws of substitution, this post will illustrate how, according to Craig, any: "proposition need not be plausible or even true; it need be only a possibly true proposition, even if it is contingently false."-- essentially means that ANY possibility can be true--even the possibility that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent god of an unknown tribe in the jungle exists, and that if Christians do not know him, they can still be saved. Or, we could also create a new "possibly true" proposition in which Yahweh is a sadistic monster.
Below are the premises from Craig's argument:
"1. God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent
is inconsistent with
2. Some persons do not receive Christ and are damned.
Since (1) is essential to theism, we must therefore deny (2).

In order to show (1) and (2) to be consistent, the orthodox defender has to come up with a proposition which is consistent with (1) and which together with (1) entails (2). This proposition need not be plausible or even true; it need be only a possibly true proposition, even if it is contingently false."

Now, let's apply WL Craig's logic and use the laws of substitution. I can also say that:

1. Moogooboogoo (a possible god of an unknown tribe in the jungle) is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

is inconsistent with

2. Some persons do not receive Moogooboogoo and are damned.

The above premises are "possibly true." Just because Craig does not know about the omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent god Moogooboogoo, does not mean that this god does not exist. What is even worse for Christians, is that according to Craig's claim that a "proposition need not be plausible or even true; it need be only a possibly true proposition, even if it is contingently false" this means I can make substitutions in his argument which need only be possibly true, and it is also "possibly true" that his god is a malevolent, sadistic, misogynistic monster:

1. Yahweh is a sadistic, malevolent, misogynistic monster

2. Some persons do not receive Yahweh/Jesus and are damned.

As an ignostic atheist, I believe there are better explanations for phenomena than saying "goddidit" however, even if we assume his god exists, according to what is written in the bible, my premises are not only possible, they are plausible. I came up with an argument in which (1) and (2) are consistent, and a proposition which is consistent with (1) and which together with (1) entails (2)."

Using WL Craig's logic and the bible, it is just as plausible that Yahweh, if he existed, IS a sadistic, malevolent misogynistic monster, and according to the bible, those that do not receive this monster, are damned--possibly to a life of bliss.

1. Killing defenseless children, fetuses, and pregnant mothers is sadistic and malevolent.

"The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open." Hosea 13:16

2. Yahweh is misogynistic, as women are represented as unclean chattel in the bible, and had been treated as property with no rights of their own for thousands of years due to passages such as those cited below, which are only two of many such passages in the bible:

"How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?" Job 25:4
"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." Col. 3:18

3.  Yahweh is not all good.  For if Yahweh was all good, then he would be all virtuous, but the bible tells us Yahweh is an angry, jealous god--which are vices.  Therefore, Yahweh is not all-virtuous, and not "all-good." 

Therefore, I have gone one step further and have shown that it IS possible and plausible that Yahweh is a sadistic, malevolent misogynistic monster and as such, being "saved" might entail being "saved" to be eternally tortured for the pleasure of this god; and being damned might be the ultimate joke on humanity. It is possible that since so many evil people are rewarded in life, they too might be "damned" with eternal bliss in the after life by this misogynistic, sadistic god. If this is possible, then perhaps Christians would be better off worshipping Moogooboogoo.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why Killing Puppies, Kittens and Babies is "Good" According to Yahweh

Recently, I came across a blog called "The Gospel According to Erik" where Erik, as a Christian, attempted to show that the Euthyphro dilemma really is not a dilemma at all, and that for the Christian believer, there is no quandary. I disagree however, and I have already done so in a posting on Objective Morality. In this post, I will elaborate by illustrating why it is a dilemma.

The Euthyphro Dilemma is a one of the classic arguments raised against God, and origniated via the writings of Plato, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” Which translates to: “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?”

This is a "Catch-22" for theists, because as Eric himself says, it would mean that:"
  1. "God could command any arbitrary thing that popped into his head – like killing kittens – and we’d be obligated to obey and call it good because God says so. Or
  2. God answers to some sort of higher moral standard outside of himself, thus he cannot be the basis for our morality."
Let's take Erik's 1 & 2, and relate them to the bible. Now, according to the bible:

1.  Yahweh killed millions of kittens, and puppies, babies and pregnant mothers in the so-   called "flood" of Noah--and according to Christianity, his murdering all of those kittens, puppies, babies and pregnant mothers would be called "good."


2. Yahweh answers to some sort of moral standard outside of himself and cannot be the basis for our morality. It is true that Yahweh is NOT the basis for morality, as I have already explained in a previous post. Humans develop morals and ethics within societies themselves, and those groups (such as Buddhists and Taoists) that do not posit a god of any kind, do have moral and ethical guidelines. Therefore, it can be said that morality need not come from any god, let alone the Abrahamic god.

Eric goes on to say that God is "light" and god is "love," but again, I can illustrate using biblical passages that logically, Yahweh is NOT love:
"But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:8
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud " 1 Corinthians 13:4
"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me," Exodus 20:5
In the logical form of Modus Tollens, the following is the conclusion drawn from the above passages:  IF god is love, THEN god is not jealous. God IS jealous. Therefore god is NOT love.

Eric goes on to explain that god is "triune," which I have also shown is illogical in a previous posting.  He also claims his god is eternal by quoting John:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Jn. 1:1-3
It can be said that "In the beginning was the Word" but this is an Egyptian reference. Long before the time of Jesus, Thulis, an Egyptian pharaoh, was in the habit of consulting an oracle. On one such occasion, Thulis asked him if there was anyone before him, or that will come after him that was or would be greater than him. His oracle replied:
"First God, afterward the Word, and with them the Holy spirit, all these are of the same nature and make but one whole, of which the power is eternal. Go away quickly moral, thou who has but an uncertain life."
Calling Jesus the "Word" or the "Logos" is an Egyptian reference which Christianity adopted  after his supposed death, and is just another example of the Christian plagiorization of other, older religious texts and beliefs.  (Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, TW Doane, p. 373)

Eric also made the claim that:
"So if God is light and he is unchanging, then He cannot on a whim become a “dark god” and command torture of little babies."
Now, anyone that has read the Old Testament, would know that Yahweh does command the murdering of little babies, and would, according to Erik, be a "dark god." (I will call this torture, as killing defenseless "first born" would be torturous) In Exodus, which is the beginning of the Jewish passover, Yahweh "smites" the first born, and goes as far as ordering the killing unborn fetuses in Hosea 13:16:
On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord." Exodus 12:12
"The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open." Hosea 13:16
Every first born, whether they were kittens, puppies, babies, teens or men were "smited" by this god, who is claimed to be the "god of love." The same god that drowned all of the kittens, puppies, babies and pregnant women in the flood. I see no "love" in those actions--especially since this same god is said to be all-powerful, and could do anything he wants, including freeing his people without resorting to murdering innocent children, puppies and kittens. Please note that the flood was a wasted effort in eradicating "sin." Assume that Yahweh is god.  If Yahweh is "all-knowing," then Yahweh knew ahead of time that killing the kittens, puppies, babies, and pregnant women would be for nothing, as it did nothing to eradicate sin.  Yahweh is all-knowing. Therefore, Yahweh murdered all of the kittens, puppies babies and pregnant women for nothing--most certainly not the actions of an "all-loving" god.

Erik also tells us that Christians have a "special advantage." They benefit by having their sins forgiven, but they also have God’s very own Spirit living within them, enabling them with divine grace to keep God’s commands.
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  Ezekiel 36:26-27
The problems with this claim are many. Number one, is the claim that the death of Jesus is said to have absolved Christians from the law. (Jesus said the laws stand until "heaven and earth pass away" in Matt 5:18, however most Christians follow Paul when he said the blood of Christ revoked the laws, as he did in Romans 3:27) That being said, Yahweh made it known in Deuteronomy 7:12 that he would only love his followers IF they followed ALL his laws and commands--just like it implies in the passage Erick cited from Ezekiel.
Having their sins forgiven is a ONE TIME deal for Christians according to Hebrews 10:26-27, as once a believer has the laws written on their hearts and they are saved, there is NO MORE sacrifice for sins. If they sin willfully after being saved--they go to the pit of fire. No repentance. And no, this does not apply to "apostates" as many apologists now claim--it applies to believers who have the laws "written on their hearts."
Moreover, the false belief of Christians that they can continue to sin, repent, sin, repent, and repeat when necessary, has resulted in a society full of Christians who believe they are "born sinners" who cannot help but do bad things. But they have a fall guy in Jesus, so they do not have to take responsibility for their own actions. This belief leads to what Pelagius called "moral laxity" where Christians commit adultery, rape, murder, incest, child abuse, etc. at higher rates than other groups because they believe they are born bad, and can't help but be bad--and they do not have to take responsibility for their "badness", as Jesus does that for them.
Finally, Eric claims that we are "hard wired" to recognize the commands of this god, and that we know internally that we ought "love our neighbors as ourselves."  But this is just the Normative Ethical Theory known as "The Divine Command Theory," which states that whatever God says is right, is right.  But the major flaw of the Divine Command Theory is the epistemological problem, in that we do not know what, if anything any god has ever said. For example, Andrea Yates claims god told her to kill her children to save them from Satan, but Christians would say she is crazy, and by doing so, they dismiss the Divine Command Theory in favor of a different ethical theory.   If we were in fact "hard wired" to recognize the commands of god, then there would be no disagreements about such issues as whether one can or cannot be divorced, or what constituted adultery, etc.--but Christians cannot agree amongst themselves on such issues, so therefore, they cannot be "hardwired." 

 Not only is Erik's claim an epistemological problem, but the "golden rule," has been around for much longer than the bible, as Buddha himself said:
"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."—Udanavarga 5:18
Therefore, we are not "hard-wired" to recognize the commands of god, but we may be "hard-wired" to find ways of living together amicably.--and no gods are required for that, as the Buddhists and Taoists, atheists, and others that live amicably together without gods will tell you.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pride is a Virtue, Not a Vice - Part 3

An attempted rebuttal by David Rodriguez to my first posting on pride, in which I argued that pride is a virtue and not a vice, and that Christians misuse the term, resulted in my second posting on the subject, Pride is a Virtue, Not a Vice - Part 2 . The comment made there by Watkins has resulted in this post, in which I will rebut his rebuttal. I will also be writing an additional 4th post on the subject of humble and humility, and how it relates to pride. This subject is very important, because I think that pride is such an important virtue that we should get it right. In fact, I believe pride is one of the primary virtues, as if one has the justifiable proper amount of self respect, they tend to hold the other virtues. Not to do so, would be to not only disrespect others, but to disrespect themselves. People who lack pride, tend not to hold the other virtues, and tend to exhibit unvirtuous behaviors.

According to Watkins:

"This is very simple. There are two definitions of pride; call them pride 1 and pride2. Pride 1 is an arrogant, boastful love of self. Pride 2 is a proper amount of self-respect. Christians say that pride1 is bad, and pride 2 is good. We label each "pride" simply as a matter of use. If you want to claim otherwise you're simply straw-manning and talking right past us."

To clarify, I am not claiming that the Christians do not use pride in two different ways--that is exactly my point. The Christian claims that pride is a vice AND a virtue. Pride is defined as the justifiable, proper amount of self respect, and then the Christian defines pride as unjustified over abundance of self respect. This is straightforward. As a result, the Christian use of pride lends itself to ambiguity and equivocation, while Aristotle's definition is clear and precise, and does not lend itself to ambiguity and equivocation. Therefore, Aristotle's use of the conception of the use of pride does a better job than the Christian conception, as Aristotle's definition is clear and concise."

I have never seen or heard a christian use the term 'pride 1' and/or 'pride 2--I have only heard them say "Pride is a vice." or ""It's good to have pride in your church." and so forth. Never have I heard them say, "I am using pride 1 as opposed to pride 2." But let's accept Watkins' distinction. The fact that he has attempted to label pride in this manner illustrates why he ought not use one word to mean two opposite things, when we have a better explanation and use of terms such as pride and arrogance. Now note, since I gave the definition of pride as the justifiable amount of self respect, that he labels as "pride 2" and then I gave the Christian definition of pride, that he label as "pride 1" I labeled each "pride"as a matter of use and argued that Christians misuse the concept of pride since pride 1 is the justifiable proper amount of self respect, and pride 2 is an unjustifiable amount of self respect. So, I did not commit the fallacy of equivocation as Watkins defined it above, since I did not even use a syllogism in the first place! Furthermore, I did not use pride as a middle term, I merely gave the definition of pride, and contrasted that with the Christian conception of pride--the one you call "pride 2," and showed that these 2 definitions are inconsistent, and to use pride in this manner is to misuse the term.

Now, what Mr. Watkins said above, which I will state again is:

"The fallacy of equivocation is not a matter of ambiguity. It's when you use a word that can't function as the middle term in a syllogism, because the word has different meanings in each premise."

This is exactly how Christians use the term pride! If we were to use the Christian conception of pride in a syllogism, it lends itself to equivocation as it has two contrasting meanings, whereas Aristotle's use of the term pride is clear and concise, and does not lend itself to equivocation and contradiction. As he pointed out, "Things are said to be named 'equivocally' when, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each.--This is exactly what the Christian conception of pride is, as it has a common name and the definition corresponding with the name differs for each--but Christians often times equivocate.

His applying the label 'pride 1' and 'pride 2' helps, but does not fix the problem. According to Watkins, should any one define in what sense each is an animal, his definition in the one case will be appropriate to that case only. In practice, the majority of Christians misuse the term, and it is even misused in the bible, as illustrated below:

"Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech." Proverbs 8:10-13

Let us apply Watkins' label of "pride 1 and "pride 2." Now, let's use the law of substitution. In the above passage, we would have the following:

"To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and pride, evil behavior and perverse speech."


"To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate arrogance and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech."

How odd. It would appear that in this passage they are making reference to "pride 1" and "pride 2." Otherwise, why would they repeat the same meaning twice? In other words, according to what Watkins said, the passage should read:

"To fear the LORD is to hate evil: I hate "pride 1" and "pride 2", evil behavior and perverse speech."

Therefore, the above passage illustrates how the Christian god hates self respect, as according to Christians, they are "dirty, filthy sinners," and they ought not have any amount of "self respect," as that illustrates they think too much of themselves as everything about them is due to God--via God's grace. This Christian argument against pride as a virtue, is expressed in the following passages:

"For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" 1Cor 4:7
"And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day." Deuteronomy 8:18
According to this conception of grace, anything that distinguishes one person from another is a gift from God. Whether a person is intelligent, beautiful, strong, fast and so on, is all due to the grace of God, and is not of their own doing, as is expressed in the following passage:
"So the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?" Exodus 4:11
There is nothing good about a person that is not a gift of god according to the Christian conception of grace. A person has no good characteristics that is a result of his own doing, as is expressed in the following passages:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. "Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, As were all our fathers; Our days on earth are as a shadow, And without hope. "O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own." 1 1Chronicles 29:11-16
The Christian saint, Augustine, uses this conception of grace to argue that all pride is a vice. As Don Schweitzer summarizes Augustine's view:
"We begin by analyzing the critique of pride put forward by Augustine and Reinhold Niebuhr. A critique of pride as sinful is certainly present in the biblical traditions (Prov. 16:18). But it received a new emphasis with Augustine, who sees pride as having been the major obstacle to his reconciliation with God and the primary cause of injustice, war and oppression. In City of God, Augustine defines pride as the exaltation of one's self in place of God (14.13; 1984: 571- 73). Augustine's purely negative description of pride arises in part from his emphasis on the creative and reconciling power of grace and his neo-Platonic metaphysics. According to Augustine, creation and salvation happen through the free and undeserved grace of God. Though humanity was created good, the effect of Adam's fall is that all deserve punishment and are unable to save themselves. As all that is of value comes as a gift from God, there is little cause for pride in one's self."

Now we can see that one Christian conception of pride only sees pride, all of pride, as a vice. Based on this conception, Watkin's use of "pride 1" and "pride 2" fails because on this view, there is no justifiable amount of self respect, as all is due to God's grace. 
Also, none of the following passages taken from the bible seem to use Watkin's conception of pride 1 and pride 2. In fact, they seem to make a sweeping generalization against "pride"--both 1 and 2, which is consistent with the Christian conception of pride as a vice I have just illustrated above.

Consider the following passages:
"But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
"The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight. 2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:1-2
"Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice." Proverbs 13:10
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud." Proverbs 16:18-19
"A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor." Proverbs 29:23

Which "pride," (pride 1, or pride 2) are the above passages making reference to? It is interesting if we look at Aristotle's conception of pride, as pride is a virtue, and is the mean between the two vices of humble on one side, and arrogance on the other. It is difficult to distinguish which pride the above passages are making reference to, as it would appear that both definitions can be deduced to be vices from the Bible, and in fact was/is deduced to be a vice by Christians like St. Augustine. 
Mr. Rodriquez provided a quote, which cites two passages from the bible which is supposed to illustrate what you call "pride 2"--that is, pride as a virtue:

"He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say." 2Cor. 12:5-6

But now note, that in this passage, there is no term 'pride.' It would seem that they are making reference to the word 'boast.' But boast, like pride has two meanings, one as a virtue and one as a vice. Paul refrains from using the term in reference to himself, so no one will think more of him than is warranted by what he dose or says. It is interesting because today if a person says, "I have pride," a common Christian response is, "Pride cometh before a fall." They do not ask, are you speaking the truth, and if so, reply, "you are justified in your pride." They do not distinguish between the two different meanings. They tend to reason along the lines of St. Augustine. The Christian conception of pride lends itself to misuse.

The second passage offered to show that the Christians have a positive conception of pride as a virtue, is:

"I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds." 2Cor. 7:4

The context of this passage and the one above illustrates pride as a virtue. But they also illustrate the need for clarity. I have asked many Christians if pride is a virtue or a vice; 99% of the time I was told that pride is a vice, and they made no distinction otherwise. As I have shown above, one Christian conception of pride is that all pride is vice, while in a few passages, some form of pride is a virtue. As Mr. Rodriguez pointed out, it is usually considered a vice though--and as I have shown above, we now know why that is the case.

The use of pride 1 and pride 2 fails in the case that no one is deserving of any kind of pride. For in this case the use of pride 1 and pride 2 not only fails--it is ruled out all together as it makes reference to pride in a general sense as being a vice, which encompasses both pride 1 and pride 2. Thus, we can see that we have two Christian conceptions of pride, the main one where all pride is a vice and one view where some form of pride is a virtue and some form of pride is a vice, and both conceptions of pride are depicted in the bible. This results in a contradictory, convoluted, ambiguous and misuse of the term 'pride' by Christians. 
Now on the issue of humble and humility, I also agree with Aristotle's definition, in that being humble, and having humility is a vice. Pride is a virtue and a mean between arrogant on one side, and humility on the the other. Christianity teaches that we must be humble—have a poor self-esteem, have a feeling of insignificance and worthlessness, etc. – and that having pride (self respect) is bad. 
Therefore, Christians misuse the term 'pride,' and Aristotle's conception of pride does a better job than the Christian conception of pride, as the Christian conception of pride is contradictory, convoluted, and ambiguous.

As a final note, I find it interesting that the "Rational Gang" have swept Satan under the rug, even though the confusion in the meaning of the word pride can be somewhat attributed to the belief that Satan was a fallen angel that was kicked out of heaven due to his excessive "pride."  After I explained the history of Satan, and that there is no "fallen angel" story in the Old Testament, and that Satan is one of the "sons of god" in Genesis 6, and is a spy and adversary of men who works FOR Yahweh in the Old Testament according to the Jews who wrote the text--they did not bring up the subject again.  Interesting.....;)

Addendum:  I emailed the "Rational Gang" (I find the name rather amusing, for many reasons) and asked them to either offer a rebuttal, or admit the truth.  I'm still waiting.....
Addendum 2 - As of June 2012 (the last time I checked) the "Rational Gang" is no more.  Perhaps they couldn't take the "heat."--lol.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pride is a Virtue, Not a Vice - Part 2

Recently I came across a site called "Rational Gang" **which posted an attempted refutation on my post on Pride. In this post, I will show that his rebuttal does not work, and in fact, I will use his failed attempt to further illustrate the point that I made about the Christian conception of pride in my first posting. In my first post, I argued that pride is a virtue, and the Christian conception of pride as a vice misuses the term. I will also use Mr. Rodriguez's failed rebuttal to show that the Christian conception of pride is contradictory, convoluted, and ambiguous, and thus lends itself to equivocation.

In my original post, I used Aristotle's definition of pride. According to Aristotle, a virtue is a mean between two vices. In the case of pride, pride is the mean between the vices of being arrogant/boastful and humble. Thus, pride is a virtue as it is the proper amount of self respect. According to Aristotle, a virtue is a mean between two vices. I used Aristotle's definition because in this case, it is a better explanation and interpretation of what a virtue is--in particular pride. The Christian conception of pride is contradictory, convoluted, and ambiguous. Mr. Rodriguez rightly points out that the Christian view of pride is for the most part, a vice, in that it means being egotistical, vain, arrogant and boastful; as well as being a virtue--which is a contradiction, as it would make pride be a virtue, and not a virtue.

According to Mr. Rodriguez:

"The unfortunate thing about her argument is that its foundation is entirely based on a straw man of Christianity’s teachings on pride. Pride, in a Christian sense, is NOT Aristotle’s definition of being the mean of humble and arrogant. Rather, Christianity depicts pride as having an egotistic, vain, arrogant, and boastful view of oneself. Throughout the post, Cooper reiterates her caricature of pride as being self-respect or self worth. In one sense pride can be self-respect or a “dignified sense of what is due oneself or one’s position or character,” such as telling your child after a game, “I’m proud of you son! You did well!” [2] However, this is NOT the view of pride that Christianity expresses as a vice. This is precisely why Cooper is also guilty of equivocation. Glenn Miller responds to the question ‘can pride be good?’ in the following,

Pride: A reasonable or justifiable self-respect; or improper and excessive self-esteem known as conceit or arrogance. The apostle Paul expresses a positive kind of pride when speaking of confidence in Christians (2 Cor 7:4) or of strength in the Lord (2 Cor 12:5, 9). However, it is the latter sinful meaning of pride, which most frequently appears in the Bible, both in the OT and the NT.” [3][Emphasis added]"

According to Mr. Rodriguez, I misrepresented the Christian conception of pride, and he claims I equivocated. But note, according to Mr. Rodriguez, and the quote that he cited above, he proves my point, and it is he and other Christians who equivocate with the use of the word "pride," and he illustrates that the Christian conception of pride is ambiguous and unclear--and is, therefore, an equivocation. The definition of equivocate means to to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead. According to Mr. Rodriguez, and the Christian explanation, pride is a virtue and pride is a vice--which is ambiguous and unclear, and is, therefore, a case of equivocation. This is why, via Ockham's Razor,* Aristotle's definition, which is clear, makes more sense. Let me illustrate this for you. I will now show you how Aristotle's definition of pride does a better job than the Christian conception of pride. We can do this by comparing and contrasting the two:

The Christian Conception of Pride = Pride is a virtue, and pride is a vice

Aristotle's Conception of Pride = Pride is a virtue, and arrogance is a vice.

See how clear and precise Aristotle's definition is, and how it does not contradict itself. Let me illustrate further with the following examples:

1. Assume you have a cake recipe that calls for just the right amount of salt. And then, the recipe also says that this amount of salt is too much. Now, note, it cannot be just the right amount of salt, and too much salt, as that would be nonsensical. If pride is the justifiable amount of self respect, then you cannot have too much pride.

2. Consider the statement, "John has pride." Now, on the Christian side, we would not know whether that means he is virtuous or he is un-virtuous with respect to pride. However, if we use Aristotle's conception of pride, it would be clear that John would be virtuous with respect to pride and that he is not arrogant.

3. Mary is proud of her mother. Does this mean that she has a justifiable amount of respect for her mother, or is it the case that she has a arrogant, blown up out of proportion perception of her mother. You might think that the context makes it clear. But note, that when a child says "I am proud of my mother." she might be arrogantly boasting about her mother, and meaning by this, "My mother is better than your mother!"--when in fact, she might not be. Given the Christian conception of pride, it could be either. The Christian might say, "Well, she had too much pride in her mother." But given the definition of pride as being the reasonable, justifiable and proper amount of self respect, then how could she have too much pride in her mother? She could not. On Aristotle's conception of pride however, we could say that she had a reasonable, justifiable and proper amount of respect for her mother. If she had a blown up out of proportion conception of her mother, we would say she is arrogant with regards to her mother.

See how simple and straightforward Aristotle's conception of virtue, and in this case, pride is. Therefore, via Ockham's Razor, Aristotle's conception of virtue and pride does a better job than the Christian conception of pride. Aristotle's conception of virtue and pride does not lead to convolution, contradiction, and/or ambiguity; while the Christian conception of pride clearly does lead to convolution, contradiction and /or ambiguity.

According to the Christian conception of pride, it is a vice because of the so-called "sin" of the so-called "angel" known as Satan, who is said to have rebelled against God in heaven because he was too full of "pride." How ridiculous!! The view that Satan was a "prideful angel" is not in the Old Testament. It comes from references from Milton's epic poem, "Paradise Lost." In Paradise Lost, Satan rebels against god in heaven (which is paradoxical, as how could Satan sin in heaven, if heaven is without sin??) due to his excessive pride in himself. Christians cite the passages of Isaiah 14 which tell of a "shining star" that fell as a reference to the "fallen angel." This is why Christians began calling Satan Lucifer, as Lucifer means "shining star" (A reference to the King of Babylon.)This view of Satan is entirely fabricated by Christians.

The passages in Isaiah 14 actually make reference to the King of Babylon, who was defeated by the Persians who had attacked him because he had disrespected them on an earlier occasion. As payback, he was struck through with a sword, killed, and was not given the proper burial of a king--even an enemy king. Instead, he was thrown into a common grave. Since he was killed, he could not be Satan, as according to Christians, Satan is alive and well and working in the world. According to the Jews, this king who thought he was a "shining star" was arrogant, as he had a blown out of proportion view of himself, and when he fell, the Jews who wrote the text were mocking him.

To the Jews who wrote the Old Testament, Satan is one of the "sons of god" in Genesis 6, and comes in the entourage of "sons of god" in Job. Satan is a spy, and adversary of men who works FOR Yahweh--not against him--according to the Jews who wrote the text. The "sons of god" in Genesis 6 are neither angels (angels do not procreate), idols (idols do not procreate either!) or nephilim (they were the sons OF the sons of god) which are the explanations most Christians give for this passage. The sons of god were exactly that--sons of god. The Jews were polytheistic, as Jeremiah 11:13 illustrates, before the tribes merged, and Yahweh was made numero uno.

Christians also cite passages in Ezekiel 28 to make reference to Satan, but these too speak of the King of Tyre--not Satan.

Therefore, I DO NOT equivocate, and as I have argued and proved above, the Christian conception of pride is convoluted, contradictory, and leads to ambiguity, and easily lends itself to equivocation and Aristotle's conception of virtue and pride does a better job than the Christian conception of pride. Mr. Rodriguez's rebuttal has been rebutted! 

* Ockham's Razor is a principle that generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, when the hypotheses are equal in other respects
**As of the last time I checked (June 22, 2012) the "Rational Gang" is no more.  Therefore, I have inserted the photos I took of their post in their stead.

David Rodriguez pride

David Rodriguez pride christian rational gang

David Rodriguez pride Rational Gang Christian

David Rodriguez, pride, Christian, Rational Gang

Monday, July 11, 2011

Atheists and Unicorns, NOT An Emotional Appeal--A Rebuttal of JW Wartick's Argument

Recently, I successfully rebutted the Christian blogger, JW Wartick's claim that the unicorn argument is merely an appeal to emotion--which it is not. I demonstrated that there is as much historicity for unicorns (Actually, there is more, as the Greeks, the Chinese, and even the bible mention unicorns!) as there is for his god. In the course of my rebuttal, Wartick offered the cosmological argument against the unicorn, which I showed that if we accepted his argument, that it would be a proof that Jesus is not divine! It was at that point that he refused to post my last two comments, even though they did not violate his TOS.

This is a clear illustration of how disingenuous and dishonest "Christians" can be. It is no surprise however, as their doctrine tells them they are "born sinners" and can't help themselves from lying, cheating, stealing, raping, killing, etc. It's their "nature" after all--according to their religion. (I disagree however, as we can choose to do right or wrong, or in this case, to be a legitimate scholar.)   Here is a brief excerpt to entice you to read the entire conversation:

In the course of our discussion, Wartick asked: Show me manuscript evidence that states that Brahman transcends the world and is not the world itself, etc, etc.

Which I did. I showed him the passage which states that Krisha, as stated in the Bhagavad Gita, is the “infallible one” (18:73), and is perfect.

Wartick then made the statement that: The cosmological argument (of the Leibnizian variety) could only support a necessarily existent deity. Anyone who does any kind of research about gods of the past would know many would not be ontologically necessary (they could be killed, for example).

I countered with the following: The other gods I mentioned (Dionysus, Quetzalcoatl, Krishna) died and were resurrected. According to the bible and Christianity, Jesus DIED on the cross. Either he was dead or he was NOT dead. If Jesus could be killed, then according to what you wrote, he could not be a god. If he could not be killed, and he did not die on the cross, then his pretend "death" would have been meaningless.

Please go here to read the argument with only the comments made by myself and Wartick, or go to Wartick's blog and read it in its entirety. I have posted my last comment that he did not post below:

"I gather that you know that I set your argument out correctly and showed how ridiculous your claims are, which is why you did not post my last response, which I have repeated below. You want your readers to think that you are correct, instead of just "manning up" and admitting your mistake. Your intellectual dishonesty is pathetic. If you want to redeem yourself, post this, and answer to it. Your best answer would be to admit that you made a mistake. At any rate, I will be writing a post related to our conversation (yes, I take pictures of everything--even the things I write that you do not post out of fear--and for no other reason!) I am making reference to your claim about the cosmological argument and your claim that if someone dies, they cannot be god. 

 Here is my last posting, that you refused to post.--Post it if you dare....;)
"The other gods I mentioned (Dionysus, Quetzalcoatl, Krishna) died and were resurrected. According to the bible and Christianity, Jesus DIED on the cross. Either he was dead or he was NOT dead. If Jesus could be killed, then according to what you wrote, he could not be a god. If he could not be killed, and he did not die on the cross, then his pretend "death" would have been meaningless. If you do not think that Jesus' death meant his nonexistence, what makes you think the death of Krishna, Dionysus and Quetzalcoatl means their nonexistence?--oh yes, that's right, your religious prejudice.

I won't repeat my pragmatic position again, but nothing I said undermines experiences, and what you said about experiences applies to Hindus who experienced Krishna, Greeks who experienced Dionysus, and Mexicans who experienced Quetzalcoatl.

You cannot just "dismiss" arguments. You must show that they are invalid, not sound, provide a counter argument, or show that they are weak (in the case of inductive arguments) You have failed on all accounts. Your "mere assertions" do not change the fact that your arguments hold no water.

You cannot just "ignore" arguments and hope they disappear like magic. You have not shown any logical errors in my arguments, and my dilemma arguments cannot be used against everything. It can be used to do what it was intended to do--to show the strength of the unicorn argument, and shows that you cannot provide any more proof for the Christian god, than the Greeks can for Dionysus, and the Hindus for Krisha, and many other gods. It cannot be used against the claim that Obama is the president of the United States right now--see how easily your claim is refuted. I didn't just dismiss your argument, I provided you with a legitimate counter argument.

According to Fu Hsi, in the Bamboo Annals, unicorns are not rhinoceroses, and they rule from heaven, and they never use their horn for evil, and they bring good to humans.

My dilemma argument does not undermine all beliefs--just the ones implied by your arguments, which I have already refuted. It does not for instance, undermine the fact that Obama is the president of the United States right now.

Lastly, your emotional appeal to your readers is neither here nor there. I say to all--reread the above arguments carefully. If you do not understand logic and argumentation, please read and study an Intro to Logic text. Take each argument and set them out on paper and go over the pros and cons.

It ought to be clear to you that Wartick's claim that the unicorn argument provides no reason, and is just an emotional appeal, was refuted. This is why over the past post, he has stayed away from the conclusion he drew in his original unicorn argument. He has not mentioned it in his postings against me in quite some time. That is because he knows his argument has been refuted, and that is why he keeps trying to put forth weak red herrings, and stays away from his original conclusion. I have argued successfully and I provided a plausible reason, and similarly showed that the unicorn argument is a good correlation to the argument for god’s existence. The strength of the unicorn correlation is to remind Christians that there is as much evidence for their god, as there is for unicorns, and that their lofty claims of “knowing” god exists, has no foundation or support. Likewise, the fact that there are competing gods and goddesses and hypotheses and interpretations, is again to illustrate to the Christians, that they can offer no more proof for Yahweh, than a unicornist can for unicorns, or the Greeks can for Zeus, or the Hindus can for Brahman, etc. "

Addendum:  I sent Wartick a note telling him I wrote this post, and below is the photo of that comment:
Comment to JW Wartick

Friday, July 8, 2011

Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Rebecca Watson---and Why We Still Have a Long Road Ahead

In the last week or so, there has been many articles and blog posts circulating the web in regards to the incident that occurred between the feminist, Rebecca Watson, and the infamous "man on the elevator." My original post regarding this incident can be found here.

I have spent some time reading views that support Rebecca, and those that do not, which is the subject of this post. I agree that the behavior of the "man on the elevator" was inappropriate, but the reaction to this incident by one of the so-called "enlightened" men of this age was also rather disappointing. It saddened me to read how Richard Dawkins trivialized the experience of Rebecca Watson in a rather sarcastic comment he made on PZ Myers' blog:

"Dear Muslima
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and … yawn … don't tell me yet again, I know you aren't allowed to drive a car, and you can't leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you'll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.
Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep"chick", and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn't lay a finger on her, but even so …
And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Although I find Professor Dawkins remark disheartening, I understand why he made it. Notice how Professor Dawkins highlights the "chick" part of "Skepchick." This was the subject of my previous post, and in a response to the comments against his comment, Professor Dawkins claimed  that all the man in the elevator did was that:

"He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that."

What he implies by the above statement is that words don't really matter--which is silly.  Words DO matter.  As Foucault would say, "Everything is political."  This is illustrated when claiming that "All MEN are created equal"--when in the times of slavery, this only applied to white property owners, which meant that they had an image of a white man who owned property--excluding women, children, African slaves, and everyone else as being part of humanity.   Even today, when a boss uses the phrase, "I am going to hire the best man for the job," he already has a bias, as he has an image in his mind as to what kind of "man" he is going to hire.   

Words DO matter, and Professor Dawkins seems to contradict himself when he highlights the word "chick" (as if the word mattered) and then says what the man in the elevator said was "just words." (i.e., they DON'T matter)  Regardless, a woman who labels herself as a "chick" (it makes no difference how she views it) is going to be viewed and treated as a "chick" (i.e. brainless and fluffy) by men in elevators, and men such as Professor Dawkins. This is how the matrix works, and how it works against women.

Men such as Dawkins, and Mr. Hitchens are said to be more "enlightened" than most, which is why so many were taken aback by his remarks--but I have my doubts as to how "enlightened" they really are. They may claim to support the rights of women, and may stand up for the rights of women--but the insidiousness of the Abrahamic doctrine that women are "sexual objects" is still in their thoughts, even if they don't think so. This was illustrated by Professor Dawkins' sarcasm, and also by Mr. Hitchens in his book,"God is Not Great."

In his book, Mr. Hitchens spoke about the late professor A.J. Ayer,* whom he viewed as upstanding moral man, when in fact, he had broken "every sexual commandment" there is to break. Mr. Hitchens swept aside Professor Ayer's acts of "disrespecting the sexual code," i.e. disrespecting women, as he qualified the man as an outstanding moral figure by listing his virtues as a loving parent, an excellent teacher, and a man who fought for human rights and free speech--as if disrespecting women (especially his own wife) in this regard was meaningless. Mr. Hitchens said nothing about the rights and feelings of the women Ayer had used and abused during his life, but I do not believe Mr. Hitchens meant to disrespect women intentionally. What his statements do illustrate however, is how insidious and pervasive this patriarchal view of women is in society, as even men such as Mr. Hitchens, and now Professor Dawkins, see nothing wrong with men objectifying women, and say nothing in defense of the women who are hurt and abused (such as Professor Ayer's wife, and Rebecca Watson) in this manner. If this were a world where women were as valued as men, even Mr. Hitchens, and Professor Dawkins would see Professor Ayer's behavior, and the behavior of the "man in the elevator" as inappropriate. It is when women are objectified, that such behavior is seen as "acceptable" by society --and this, it seems, is still how Professor Dawkins, and Mr. Hitchens view women as well. 

It certainly illustrates that society as a whole (as Rebecca herself labels herself as a "chick") has a long way to go.....

* God Is Not Great, p. 186