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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Atheism and authority

Theos considers the history of atheism:
Nick Spencer is research director of the (excellent) “religion and society think tank” Theos, and so he views the subject with a quiet Christian scepticism. But it is not his purpose to attack atheism. Instead, he wants to tell its history as it has developed, chiefly in Europe, in the past 500 years.

He points out that atheism often starts in disputes about authority. In a thoroughly Christian society – and indeed, in some Muslim societies today – rejection of God was seen as a threat to public order. Quite recently, a British judge said that the law of England has nothing to do with Christianity. He may wish that to be true, but, historically, it isn’t....

Gradually, “atheisms” – there was never a single form – advanced to challenge authority. Some arose from questioning Scripture (“a heap of Copie confusedly taken”, wrote one brave man at the end of the 16th century). Some, often stemming from priests who had seen appalling abuses themselves, concentrated on the wickedness of church power rather than on metaphysics.

Other non-believers, usually among the grandest in society, saw themselves as bathed in the light of reason. David Hume wrote of “the deepest Stupidity, Christianity and Ignorance”. Percy Bysshe Shelley linked atheism with intellectual superiority: “Let this horrid Galilean [Jesus] rule the Canaille [the rabble]… The reflecting part of the community… do not require his morality.” In the current era of Richard Dawkins and the New Atheism, many atheists call themselves the “Brights”, pleased to make the rest of us out as dullards.

Some atheists – Dawkins, Sigmund Freud, AJ Ayer – resemble, in essence, that clever young schoolboy. They believe they have brilliantly proved religion to be a load of hogwash. In their minds, it seems an advantage that their creed does not appeal as much to women or the poor and ignorant. Indeed, Friedrich Nietzsche saw more deeply how European society’s moral order would collapse with the destruction of faith – but welcomed it. Christianity was a “slave morality”, he said, celebrating weakness and preserving “too much of what should have perished”. People such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler took up such thoughts with deadly enthusiasm.

But precisely because religion, though theologically grounded, is much deeper than an intellectual theory, it tends to regenerate when attacked. The author quotes one Soviet persecutor of Christianity: “Religion is like a nail, the harder you hit, the deeper it goes in.” Spencer believes that the New Atheism is an expression of anger at the curious phenomenon that all over the world, except among white Westerners, God is back.
I find it informative to observe that Western society is visibly collapsing, by a wide variety of objective metrics, even prior to the proclaimed triumph of atheist secularism and the advent of post-Christianity. One of the primary assumptions of atheist thought - the Enlightenment idea that Western civilization did not depend upon Christianity, but was inhibited by it - is rapidly being understood to be as false as the Christian apologists warned it was two centuries ago.

The choice cannot actually be reduced to: if you want to keep your flush toilets, refrigerators, and television, go to church. But that's more or less what it amounts to in the end.

UPDATE: For those atheists too slow to follow the logic, perhaps this illustration might help:
A Nigerian man has been sent to a mental institute in Kano state after he declared that he did not believe in God, according to a humanist charity. Mubarak Bala was being held against his will at the hospital after his Muslim family took him there, it said.... Kano is a mainly Muslim state and adopted Islamic law in 2000. 
In fairness to Kano, there is genuine scientific evidence that atheists are neurologically atypical, if not necessarily "mentally ill" per se.

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126 Comments:

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 July 01, 2014 6:47 AM  

RE: Scientism/ Materialism/ Rationalism; Abiogenesis means "they're fucked". Just go to a laboratory and try it. You know, start with rocks and make a bit of simple life.

Ironically Vox those screaming higher morality are quintessential normalityophobes, conservativeophobes, Christianophobes.

Darwin and Mohammad, statistically speaking, have been Satan's greatest works.

And re: another poster's comments about paranoid schizophrenics; if one does just a little bit of reading/ digging on ritual satanic sexual abuse/ human sacrifices the 'realities' become just that little bit worse than most merely mentally ill people would conjure with nothing but their imagination. And some things are better not spoken of, even on a blog.

Blogger Rantor July 01, 2014 6:52 AM  

While atheism is a problem, I think the post modern rejection of truth in all its flavors (agnostic, liberal churchian, universalist, deistic, etc.) is working with atheism, Islam, and other false beliefs to destroy western civilization.

It is sadly funny that atheists, who would assume the robes of the wise, declaring themselves the greatest development of man, are the self-same that would usher in societal destruction.

The good news of Christ will still be there to undergird Christian efforts to restore civilization, rebuilding nations after they fall.

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 6:56 AM  

Well, this guy just KNOWS that religion is bunkum and wonders why the rest of us small-minded types can't just get with the program of self-knowledge and throw off the binding chains of guilt-ridden fairy tales.

I can only now recognize and give name to the cracks in the world I've seen and felt since high school, which for me was the mid-90s: abandonment of Christianity. I abandoned it myself, in high school, because it seemed that the world had moved beyond it and had better explanations for life, the universe, and everything...except it didn't, and the more I learned, the less I knew, and had to go back to square one, and then realized that I *knew* so much of this all along. I may have needed that foil of unknowing to get back to basics. Blessed are they who have not seen, and believed. But Jesus forgave Thomas, and Thomas evangelized.

Anonymous Gogu July 01, 2014 7:16 AM  

I see a lot of talk about atheism and its effects on society on this blog, but it seems to me that maybe nihilism is the root cause of this decadence (not necessarily Western, it applies to the whole world). It's good that atheism should be revealed for what it really is but, as Christians, we know that atheism is not really here to stay (see Revelations) and the anti-Christian global religion that will be imposed to all people at the end of times is not an atheistic religion, but a mix of all major theistic religions (an ecumenical religion). So, attacking and destroying atheism is just chopping one head of the nihilism hydra. F. Seraphim Rose wrote a very interesting book on the subject.

Anonymous bill July 01, 2014 7:27 AM  

"If you want to keep your flush toilets, refrigerators, and television, go to church."

Churches should start putting that on their outside signs.

Anonymous willneverpostagain July 01, 2014 7:41 AM  

Atheists, Pagans, Satan Worshippers, Materialists, et al can all be put in the same category. As Christ said, "you are either for Me or Against Me". As unbelievers, they are targets for evangelism, but should not be taken seriously in discussions about theology or morality, or even culture. They are not the Enemy, but do serve his purposes.

Anonymous Steveo July 01, 2014 7:42 AM  

Atheists can't outrun the awesome God, their efforts to run are fueled by His gift, allowed by His grace, & even the trails they run are made by His hand. They are disturbed at the truth that they are not God, they will not ever be God and that God still loves them enough to invite them in. They run from the truth and find that the throne they assume sits not in a magnificent palace, but a ghetto of despair and their pride demands they make pretty curtains for the room. At the end of life, have you seen the peace of the Apostles, the joy? Compare them to your favorite atheist proselytizers and ask which has helped mankind rise, asking their best; & which condemns others to anger, bitterness and fear? Eternity is a long time for the lonely because you are only lonely by choice.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2014 July 01, 2014 7:52 AM  

five arguments for phenomenal historical atmospheric change
1 mega fauna
2 mega flora
3 stomatal densities in fossil leaves
4 wing span of spiracle breathing insects
5 total oxygen content of ancient amber bubbles

cf. the CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Foxtel, slow anthropomorphic climate change pantheism that is stuffing an economy near you even as we speak.

keeping a refrigerator, toilet and television may indeed, not be a part of agenda 21 loving greens. VD has nailed with brevity.

reality in stark relief. [lack of capitalization is not necessarily a sign of mental illness - but it is rhetorical]

Anonymous Porky July 01, 2014 8:01 AM  

if you want to keep your flush toilets, refrigerators, and television, go to church

Good God, how did the church ever survive two millenia without these essentials?

Anonymous Jeigh Di July 01, 2014 8:07 AM  

"He points out that atheism often starts in disputes about authority..."

It's often occurred to me that many atheists choose that course not out of any evidence pro or con regarding the existence of God, but because biblical sexual morality cramps their style. I wonder how many members of the SFWA fall into that category.

Anonymous Salt July 01, 2014 8:11 AM  

atheism often starts in disputes about authority

I would even say it ends there too. The atheist says "logic says", such being their authorization as to [_____] and its reasoned correctness. How can an atheist worldview fit with western civilization? Remove the authority which built WS and it shall be destroyed.



Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 8:16 AM  

It's often occurred to me that many atheists choose that course not out of any evidence pro or con regarding the existence of God, but because biblical sexual morality cramps their style.

Bingo. All the rest is a tangent to their desire to follow their tingles to green pastures, but provides convenient rationalization fodder to condemn others for their morals.

I can't help myself; sometimes I read pop culture articles. In this case I'll reference an article about the marriage of Derick Dillard and Jill Duggar, who recently married after a brief courtship and never having kissed before their wedding day. The comments on many an article were full of outrage that Christian parents should be so over-restrictive of their children's exploration of personal relationships that they never, ever even kiss (gasp!) before marriage.

Nevermind that the "kids" in question are both in their 20s, educated, faithful, and went into this marriage with open hearts and minds.

I'm fairly certain those same people who condemn traditional Christian courtship of this type would be loathe to say the same about Islam, publicly, even if they believe, in private, its the same bupkis.

Anonymous DrTorch July 01, 2014 8:23 AM  

the Enlightenment idea that Western civilization did not depend upon Christianity, but was inhibited by it - is rapidly being understood to be as false as the Christian apologists warned it was two centuries ago.


Where are you seeing this? Because it certainly doesn't ring w/ the millennials that I encounter. And a good number of boomers and Gen Xers in leadership don't seem to think it's particularly important.

Anonymous VD July 01, 2014 8:36 AM  

Good God, how did the church ever survive two millenia without these essentials?

You are looking at the relationship backwards. The question is how long those essentials will survive in the absence of the Church.

Where are you seeing this?

Among secular intellectuals, particularly in Europe. I have no doubt that the millennial mouth-breathers don't grasp it yet, to say nothing of a political leadership class that can't grasp the obvious long-term implications of 50 million immigrants.

Anonymous Mike M. July 01, 2014 8:38 AM  

I always found it interesting that men like Sir Isaac Newton - a great scientist - were also devout Christians. They considered science the proof of a rational, benevolent God.

Anonymous Logan July 01, 2014 8:52 AM  

"Friedrich Nietzsche saw more deeply how European society’s moral order would collapse with the destruction of faith – but welcomed it."

I don't think it's obvious that Nietzsche completely welcomed the collapse of traditional morality, specifically Christian morality. His parable of the Madman in 'The Gay Science' doesn't seem very optimistic to me.

Further, Nietzsche believed the collapse of Christian morality would result in nihilism, which in 'The Will to Power' he described as "this most gruesome of guests." Again, that doesn't sound to me like a particularly cheerful description. So, while he did hate Christian morality, he seemed to be genuinely worried about the possible consequences that may result from abandoning it.

How very different that is from the mindset of Dawkins and Co. who don't think the abandonment of Christian morality could come fast enough. At least Nietzsche saw the world a little more realistically.

Anonymous zen0 July 01, 2014 8:59 AM  

Was it Nate who said recently that it all comes down to rebellion.?

Or was it some other secessionist?

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 9:02 AM  

Among secular intellectuals, particularly in Europe. I have no doubt that the millennial mouth-breathers don't grasp it yet,

Vox, do you think this could be a symptom of delayed adulthood due to the school systems and entertainments available to people?

I'm a Gen X-er, I suppose, and while I was always what one might call a malcontent with the "way things are" I noticed cracks and problems. I won't say the view wasn't narrow, but it did not considerably expand until I began truly living as an adult (and for me, I'll say that was when I married and had children and responsibilities beyond my own amusement). Now that amusement is the order of the day, and the longer the better, for everyone...and now that eggs can be frozen so 50 year old women can have their vanity children...and young people can party on and do brain damage without even the aid of drugs (reality TV, etc.)...

Is it the infantilization of people, which seems to tumble down a steeper slope year after year, a factor in this, if not the causal factor? Are they mouth breathers because there is not a significant enough faction that expects them to be anything OTHER than mouth-breathing toddlers who know little other than I want, give me?

And then, how do we go about reversing this trend? The decks seem stacked against rebuilding or making a new can-do, hands-on economy in any but a superficial manner. I appreciate crafters and farmers and artisanal this-and-that, but we're past a point where any but a few can have a go at it in this bankster-run economy. Perhaps I'm limited in my view, or inherently pessimistic, but I don't think artisanal Brooklyn roof-top beekeepers and their honey are going to make a new and viable civilization in this bankster-run economy.

Anonymous CLK July 01, 2014 9:04 AM  

While there is no doubting the decline of society if by no other reasons that what we see every day, ... but the connection between that and decline in belief in God might not be the cause/driver but rather something that is simply declining at the same time. While a completely agree with the analogy regarding toilets, AC and TV... these are not created by religious means but through engineering, science and innovation.

One of the interesting things about atheism and its growth its the timing corresponding to the development of the major Protestant religions. It should not be lost that when the spectrum of religion was expanded past the RCC that the edges of that would include atheism as well.. when you believe in sola scriptura and each individuals belief that they can interpret the Word, its but a small further step to slide to interpret yourself into an agnostic or even atheist position. Plus .. we can see that today's decrease in "belief" is really a decrease in belief in religion, and not really a decrease in belief in a Creator .. people see the flaws in religion today and react accordingly .. not unlike the early Protestants seeing flaws in the RCC and deciding to create their own methods of worship.

"I always found it interesting that men like Sir Isaac Newton - a great scientist - were also devout Christians. They considered science the proof of a rational, benevolent God."

This very fact gives me hope every day and is why I believe that science is in fact the search for God... understand the creation, understand the creator. Its natural as man better understands the universe that they would move away from the supernatural and superstitious beliefs that permeated most religions but this is really a move away from religion, on not God... religion is the flawed attempt to understand God and if approached properly, science can be another, better way to understand God.

Blogger The Remnant July 01, 2014 9:13 AM  

One of my favorite philosophers, Arthur Schopenhauer, wrote an inspired debate between two fictional characters about the truth of Christianity. The atheist is hung up on how the Gospel cannot be proven as fact and must therefore be disregarded as false. His foil points out that even if it were assumed that the Gospel is not factual, it nevertheless conveys fundamental truths about man's nature and capacity for nobility, and it does so in a way that allows a large number of people to grasp it and live according to their higher natures. In other words, the atheist is hung up on literalism and misses the forest for the trees.

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 9:18 AM  

In other words, the atheist is hung up on literalism and misses the forest for the trees.

I wonder if Biblical literalists don't do much damage to the credibility of Christianity by insisting that every single word of the Bible be taken as literal truth, rather than taking a scholarly approach to the various literary and artistic forms that comprise the various books of the Bible, in order to transmit a greater story that transcends space and time and informs human experience.

Blogger annk July 01, 2014 9:23 AM  

John Wright has an interesting take on this. Go to scifiwright.com and search for Restless Heart of Darkness. The first of this four-part series very insightfully summarizes the history that led us to nihilism.

Anonymous Tardo July 01, 2014 9:23 AM  

"by insisting that every single word of the Bible be taken as literal truth"

Wot?

So I'm not supposed to change my DNA from human into mustard seed?

Anonymous Josh July 01, 2014 9:25 AM  

I wonder if Biblical literalists don't do much damage to the credibility of Christianity by insisting that every single word of the Bible be taken as literal truth, rather than taking a scholarly approach to the various literary and artistic forms that comprise the various books of the Bible, in order to transmit a greater story that transcends space and time and informs human experience.

They do. Anyone who has ever studied a foreign language knows that the literalists are idiots who've decided to worship a book.

But even the literalist isn't really a literalist. Look at song of Solomon or Ecclesiastes.

Anonymous Tardo July 01, 2014 9:26 AM  

If you look at Hollyweird (the propaganda arm of the Elite)... you're not really seeing much atheism nowadays.

The Next Big Thing is paganism. That's why you're seeing more movies about wizards, magic, monsters, comic book superheros, etc.

Anonymous Anti-Dentite July 01, 2014 9:29 AM  

"One of the interesting things about atheism and its growth its the timing corresponding to the development of the major Protestant religions."

So this explains why 99% of atheists are ex-Romanists?

Did you know Richard Dawkins was a Southern Baptist?

I can't wait until your Pope comes out in favor of "Gay Marriage" just to watch the head explode on every super-Papist on these threads. "It's Martin Luther's fault!!!"

Anonymous ex-Papist July 01, 2014 9:32 AM  

"when you believe in sola scriptura and each individuals belief that they can interpret the Word, its but a small further step to slide to interpret yourself into an agnostic or even atheist position"

Yup, it's the fault of those who read God's Word as God's Word -- and don't worship a cracker.

Anonymous Alas July 01, 2014 9:33 AM  

Unfortunately it is going to work the other way around -- people will only start going to church after they lose the flush toilets, refrigerators, and television.

Blogger Nate July 01, 2014 9:38 AM  

"Was it Nate who said recently that it all comes down to rebellion.?"

Outlaw and I have been saying that for years mate. Atheism has nothing to do with disbelief or reason... and everything to do with rebelling against God.

Anonymous Anti-Dentite July 01, 2014 9:38 AM  

It is sickening to watch the "Super-Papists" troll these threads (like CLK) with their own "Black Legend" about non-Catholics.

I blame Moldbug (the Jew) for popularizing this meme. A large number of so-called "Neoreactionary" Catholics like to blame other Christians for the failures in their church.

Somehow it's John Calvin's fault that Progressivism is popular -- never mind their own Pope is a progressive leftist.

Anonymous hygate July 01, 2014 9:40 AM  

"Anyone who has ever studied a foreign language knows that the literalists are idiots who've decided to worship a book."

Usually the King James version

Anonymous Josh July 01, 2014 9:40 AM  

It should not be lost that when the spectrum of religion was expanded past the RCC that the edges of that would include atheism as well..

The spectrum of religion was never just the RCC.

There was this rather large bunch called the orthodox. And other non Roman Catholic churches.

Anonymous FrankNorman July 01, 2014 9:41 AM  

Logan July 01, 2014 8:52 AM
Further, Nietzsche believed the collapse of Christian morality would result in nihilism, which in 'The Will to Power' he described as "this most gruesome of guests." Again, that doesn't sound to me like a particularly cheerful description. So, while he did hate Christian morality, he seemed to be genuinely worried about the possible consequences that may result from abandoning it.

How very different that is from the mindset of Dawkins and Co. who don't think the abandonment of Christian morality could come fast enough. At least Nietzsche saw the world a little more realistically.


I think you have put your finger on it, with the part of your post I've bolded. Compared to someone like Nietzsche, Dawkins and co don't think.

The mindset of the self-proclaimed "Brights" seems to be all "Everyone look at MEEE! Aren't I so CLEV-AH!"
They don't really care so much about anything beyond that.

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 9:44 AM  

But even the literalist isn't really a literalist. Look at song of Solomon or Ecclesiastes.

I seldom encounter people who ask me to prove that Eden existed, or that Noah and his ark were real, or that Jonah was really in the belly of a whale for three days, but I think that is mostly out of a sense of them being polite and not wanting to embarrass me by exposing my childish Christian faith. I've noticed that many people who are only passingly acquainted with Christianity think all Christians are YECs and BLs, and have zero notion, absolutely none, of the scholarship and preservation of knowledge that the Church has engaged in for almost two-thousand years.

Ask them about Aristotle and they think they know it all; inquire about Aquinas and they claim they know nothing, and why should they, Aquinas was a Catholic and limited by his belief in God...all the while knowing nothing about either man or his philosophical systems, nor how Aquinas gave fullness to Aristotle's knowledge. Mental midgets, poorly read and even worse, they think that a Bachelor's degree of any sort gives them authority to speak the final word on matters of metaphysics they've not even begun to contemplate with any seriousness.

Anonymous FrankNorman July 01, 2014 9:44 AM  

Even if Protestantism were the cause of the rise of Atheism (a claim I consider to be nonsense) it would still be better to have some people going to Heaven for being Christians, and some going to Hell for being Atheists, than to have all of them alike going to Hell for being ignorant, superstitious, pope-worshipping Roman Catholics.

Anonymous Brother Thomas July 01, 2014 9:45 AM  

Vox (or anyone else here),

Have you read "Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism" by Paul C. Vitz? It's a short and interesting book.

Anonymous A Kind of Alaska July 01, 2014 9:45 AM  

"a political leadership class that can't grasp the obvious long-term implications of 50 million immigrants"

Oh believe me, they grasp the implications just fine... and those implications are exactly what they want.

Anonymous Anti-Dentite July 01, 2014 9:47 AM  

Even YECs like Ken Ham don't "worship a book." You spread worse propaganda about your own Christian brothers than the most vile atheist.

Anonymous Josh July 01, 2014 9:47 AM  

all of them alike going to Hell for being ignorant, superstitious, pope-worshipping Roman Catholics.

Oh, so this is going to be one of those threads...

Carry on.

OpenID gnardopolo July 01, 2014 9:47 AM  

I think it's evident that society recognizes that the puzzle is missing some key pieces. Unfortunately, popular culture steps in with New Age hopey-chaney crap to fill the void where God used to be. And when each attempt to connect with a greater truth ends in disillusionment and frustration, they wonder where to go next.

But religion can't be the answer, especially Christianity. After all, every Christian on TV is either an idiot, an extremist, or a charlatan.

Blogger Nate July 01, 2014 9:48 AM  

"I blame Moldbug (the Jew) for popularizing this meme."

Moldbug deserves to be a weekend guest of Ramsay Snow.

Anonymous Stickwick July 01, 2014 9:48 AM  

Mike M.: I always found it interesting that men like Sir Isaac Newton - a great scientist - were also devout Christians. They considered science the proof of a rational, benevolent God.

That's not the way they regarded science. I understand the point you're making here, but it's important to get this right. Men like Newton believed deeply in the existence of God, and from that belief came modern science. They believed in a rational, knowable God, so, naturally, His creation would also be rational and knowable -- and through study of that creation we would know our Creator even better. Science is a product of Christianity, which is why it only works in a Christian society. The more a society drifts away from Christianity, the more corrupt its scientific endeavors become (e.g. "global warming").

Anonymous A Kind of Alaska July 01, 2014 9:49 AM  

"ignorant, superstitious, pope-worshipping Roman Catholics"

Pope-worshipping. Huh.

You were saying something about ignorant, superstitious......

Anonymous Anti-Dentite July 01, 2014 9:52 AM  

"worshiping a book"

You were saying something about ignorant, superstitious......

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 9:53 AM  

There was this rather large bunch called the orthodox. And other non Roman Catholic churches.

Yes. The Antiochans and Byzantians might have some beef with the notion of one all-encompassing Church, though the Byzantian Orthodox are considered in communion with Rome.

I am RC. I don't worship the Pope, though I can see how some would see that worshiping the Pope and some crackers is what RC's do. I can't detach myself from the RCC as a believer, but I don't align myself with its current politics and teachings...it's a tough pickle to be in. Where do I go, what do I do? I find myself drifting towards a sedevacantist position and desiring a more strict, strong, and true religion than the Catholicism I see practiced now in America.

This past Sunday we celebrated the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the men who gave form and substance to the Church. I found my mind wandering during the very good sermon by our deacon to what the church was, and what it is now, and what it could (or should) be. I would welcome anyone into the arms of the church, but I fear many would find it difficult to stay under the conditions the church imposes, and rather than lose those members, the church reduces its restrictions until all manner of sin is tolerated for the sake of asses in seats, for all the good that does.

Blogger Nate July 01, 2014 9:54 AM  

so do you two intend to take up the whole thread with your internecine dick measuring or at some point will you actually discuss the topic at hand?

Anonymous zapbrannigan1 July 01, 2014 9:55 AM  

@Anti-Dentite

(Love the handle, BTW)

If you're waiting for Pope Francis to extend the Church's blessing on gay marriage, you'll be waiting a long, long time. He doesn't have the authority to do so. Christ is the head of the Church, not Francis, and the Pope serves at His behest. It is bedrock Catholic theology that marriage is a sacrament to be entered into by a man and a woman for the purpose of taking part in the miracle of new life. That's not going to change.

Pope Francis has definitely raised my eyebrows a few times since he was elevated. However, each Pope is a different man with a wealth of life experiences that have formed his faith, so each one will necessarily show a different facet of Christ's nature. With Benedict we saw His love in the form of wisdom; with Francis, it is Christ's love in acts of mercy.

Anonymous FrankNorman July 01, 2014 9:56 AM  

Josh July 01, 2014 9:47 AM

all of them alike going to Hell for being ignorant, superstitious, pope-worshipping Roman Catholics.

Oh, so this is going to be one of those threads...

Carry on.


Blame the drive-by Internet Papists for that. They throw a punch, they should expect to get something back.

Anonymous zapbrannigan1 July 01, 2014 9:58 AM  

Nate: "...Atheism has nothing to do with disbelief or reason... and everything to do with rebelling against God."

Yes. We can probably end this thread right here.

Anonymous Porky July 01, 2014 9:58 AM  

You are looking at the relationship backwards. The question is how long those essentials will survive in the absence of the Church.

I don't accept your premise. These are not essentials - as evidenced by the fact that the church flourished for millennia without them.

I think it's fallacious to tie invention to Christianity. Plenty of civilizations built amazing things and 'modern' conveniences without ever hearing about Jesus.

What they didn't have...was liberty. True, God-given liberty.

Anonymous Josh July 01, 2014 10:01 AM  

These are not essentials - as evidenced by the fact that the church flourished for millennia without them.

No one said they were essentials for the church.

They are seen as essentials for modern life today.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus July 01, 2014 10:05 AM  

Hail Mary, full of grace;
Help my horse to win the race!

Anonymous Porky July 01, 2014 10:05 AM  

They are seen as essentials for modern life today.

Television? Really?

Blogger Desiderius July 01, 2014 10:06 AM  

Vox,

Thank you for the link. from the article:

"William Blackstone argued that the oath in court was the necessary foundation for justice: 'All moral evidence… all confidence in human veracity must be weakened by irreligion, and overthrown by infidelity.'"

The heart of the matter.

Semper fidelis.

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 10:07 AM  

Porky, think of the Church as a galvanizing force for civilization. No one with even a small sense of history would argue that contemporaneously "modern" amenities attended all civilizations. But the high trajectory of innovation that occurred once Christianity met Europe is undeniable. It has persisted and gone through continual improvement.

We passed the nadir of the West when Christianity was abandoned in heart and soul by its inhabitants, who seek pleasure above all else, and import their replacement population in the form of people who neither believe in nor share the values of the West.Though those replacement people might be nominally Western or Christian, they are not European. There is something to this marriage of Christianity and Europe that is important, but I don't pretend to know what it is, or that I'm even right. It's just an inkling I have.

Anonymous Conservative Buddhist July 01, 2014 10:11 AM  

Only when I started practicing Tibetan Buddhism did I fully appreciate the genius of the 1st amendment as well as the Western culture and ethics that spawned it. It will be shame when it goes away.

Anonymous Josh July 01, 2014 10:12 AM  

Television? Really?

Oh stop with your wise man Amish act.

More Americans in poverty have tvs than have microwaves, air conditioning, or phones.

Anonymous bw July 01, 2014 10:13 AM  

As RJ Rummel notes, there were an absurd number of human beings killed in the 20th Century in the name of the new God - the State (democide).
Not only was God dead and dying in the biggest and best way, so were hundreds of millions of human beings.
Of eggs and omelets, and the like...

I have estimated it to be 174,000,000 murdered, of which (atheist) communist regimes murdered about 148,000,000. Also, compare this to combat dead. Communists overall have murdered four times those killed in combat, while globally the democide toll was over six times that number.

Anonymous hygate July 01, 2014 10:16 AM  

The mindset of the self-proclaimed "Brights" seems to be all "Everyone look at MEEE! Aren't I so CLEV-AH!"
They don't really care so much about anything beyond that.


Yep, there main pleasure in life seems to be demonstrating how much smarter they are than the rest of humanity.

And they do that not by producing anything of worth, they do it by holding the "correct" beliefs.

Cause if you hold the correct beliefs that makes you an independent thinker.

Anonymous FrankNorman July 01, 2014 10:17 AM  

Cranberry July 01, 2014 9:53 AM
I am RC. I don't worship the Pope, though I can see how some would see that worshiping the Pope and some crackers is what RC's do. I can't detach myself from the RCC as a believer, but I don't align myself with its current politics and teachings...it's a tough pickle to be in. Where do I go, what do I do? I find myself drifting towards a sedevacantist position and desiring a more strict, strong, and true religion than the Catholicism I see practiced now in America.


Someday I'd like to try the experiment of pointing out to a Sedevacantist that the logic of his position means he's technically a Protestant, just to see the reaction.

But yes, the whole "anything goes as long as it fills the pews - and the coffers" mindset is the chronic problem there. It's precisely why the Roman Catholic leadership tolerate a laity most of whom, as I said, are ignorant and superstitious.
And some of them literally do worship the pope. But those tend to be in South America.

Anonymous FrankNorman July 01, 2014 10:20 AM  

hygate July 01, 2014 10:16 AM
Cause if you hold the correct beliefs that makes you an independent thinker.


And they just do not seem to grasp the self-contradiction there.

Blogger Nate July 01, 2014 10:21 AM  

"Plenty of civilizations built amazing things and 'modern' conveniences without ever hearing about Jesus. "

sure. It just so happens that alternating current wasn't one of them.

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 10:24 AM  

FN, you'd have to get around transubstantiation, something sedevacantists still hold as true. I would say its actually V-II Catholics who are the protestants, not the other way around.

OpenID cailcorishev July 01, 2014 10:28 AM  

I don't accept your premise. These are not essentials - as evidenced by the fact that the church flourished for millennia without them.

C'mon, Porky, you're not this dumb. If indoor plumbing requires Christianity, that doesn't mean Christianity requires indoor plumbing. This isn't hard.

Blogger jamsco July 01, 2014 10:34 AM  

"I find it informative to observe that Western society is visibly collapsing, by a wide variety of objective metrics"

Hey Vox, I'd be very interested in a list of these objective metrics of collapsing society.

The most damaging to the Atheist argument would be metrics that the left would agree with.

(i.e. "Fridges and Flush toilets" and not "There are more women in power").

Anonymous DrTorch July 01, 2014 10:34 AM  


But yes, the whole "anything goes as long as it fills the pews - and the coffers" mindset is the chronic problem there. It's precisely why the Roman Catholic leadership tolerate a laity most of whom, as I said, are ignorant and superstitious.


Frank, I agree with what you've written. But it's only fair to concede that those same issues are a problem in Protestant churches. Even "conservative" or "orthodox" ones.

Blogger slarrow July 01, 2014 10:39 AM  

Nate, how would you evaluate the claim that "all sin is rebellion against God"? I've long thought that, either against following God's rules or challenging His right to make them, but I'm unsure how to classify impulsive sins or sins of weakness where people just succumb to temptation. I don't know if those are separate things or just rebellion manifesting itself in different ways. I'd appreciate your thoughts.

As for the post itself, I return to the "cut flowers" thesis, the idea that just as cut flowers stuck in dirt won't grow, the precepts and prescriptions of Christianity do not long survive their separation from the religion itself. Without that grounding, charges like "care for the poor" cease to be obligations instead of preferences, and imposing one's preferences on another without justifying them more deeply is simply a power play. People who like watching Game of Thrones for its amoral power struggles probably won't enjoy it near as much when they have to live in that world.

Anonymous Roundtine July 01, 2014 10:40 AM  

Plenty of civilizations built amazing things and 'modern' conveniences without ever hearing about Jesus.

The Chinese were quite inventive for a time, but I don't think atheists would really want to replace Christianity with Confucianism would they? It would be funny to see the look on their faces when told we're tossing the whole sky god thing, but we're going to institute an even more rigid form of social control because ORDER. If you don't like it, we kill your family to the third degree. Have nice day!

Anonymous VD July 01, 2014 10:46 AM  

I think it's fallacious to tie invention to Christianity. Plenty of civilizations built amazing things and 'modern' conveniences without ever hearing about Jesus.

You're wrong. The core foundation of methodical science is the Christian concept of a rational, consistent, finite universe. And the core foundation of equality under the law is the Christian concept of a Higher Being who defines right and wrong.

Take away those two things, and it won't be too long before you don't have electricity or toilets that flush. Hell, even insufficient average time preferences can do it. See: Detroit.

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 10:52 AM  

FN and Torch, ignorance is a problem. I went to Catholic schools, very good albeit small and not prestigious ones, but our pastor was against Vatican II and only phased in its forms in a superficial manner - and this was well into the 1980s. He would not permit girls to serve on the altar and it wasn't until he was dead that the altar rail was removed and people received Communion in their hands. I attended Catholic HS for two years and took Latin and had a very good science education. By the time I arrived in my local public school, I was years ahead of my peers, and bored to death.

I recently looked at local Catholic schools for our eldest, who is Kindergarten age (TL;DR, homeschool not an option for our family). Too expensive, and being White and middle class we don't qualify for aid or scholarships. The curriculum tracks the NJ Core Curriculum, making Catholic school little better of an option than public school, except that our kids would be kept on a schedule of worship as part of their schooling.

Catholic schools have become watered-down like the Church itself, accepting everyone and demanding little of anyone, paying the way for people who won't, or can't, internalize the knowledge or the mysticism.

Leaving education largely to secular forces has been a bane. Religious institutions would do well to eschew them, if possible, or counteract them at every turn. Ceding control of education to the atheists means, naturally, that atheists will assume an attitude of superiority in knowledge to backwards Christianity and a deferent attitude towards Islam and Judaism (because both are superior to Christianity, because Not Christian).

Blogger IM2L844 July 01, 2014 10:52 AM  

Oh believe me, they grasp the implications just fine... and those implications are exactly what they want.

They grasp the short-term implications (4, 6, 8 or maybe 10 years at the outside). They do NOT grasp the long-term implications.

Anonymous Judean People's Front July 01, 2014 10:55 AM  

All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Anonymous hygate July 01, 2014 10:56 AM  

See: Detroit.

Half of Detroit thinks someone else should pay for their water.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140701/OPINION01/307010002/0/LIFESTYLE06/Editorial-Water-shut-offs-aimed-scofflaws-not-needy

Blogger IM2L844 July 01, 2014 11:01 AM  

The most damaging to the Atheist argument would be metrics that the left would agree with.

They refuse to accept the truth, jamsco. Just try explaining to an atheist liberal that women actually wielded more long-term power and influence from within the family structure than the ever will as CEOs, politicians and libertines.

Anonymous Porky July 01, 2014 11:02 AM  

We passed the nadir of the West...

I doubt this.

...when Christianity was abandoned in heart and soul by its inhabitants, who seek pleasure above all else

Which imo begins with the message "if you want to keep your flush toilets, refrigerators, and television, go to church."

There is something to this marriage of Christianity and Europe that is important, but I don't pretend to know what it is, or that I'm even right. It's just an inkling I have.

Me too. My inkling is that invention is an outgrowth of liberty. I see tremendous invention in Europe about the time that feudalism and serfdom were ended. And alternately, with the advent of Neo-feudalism, we are beginning to see first the degradation of arts, which I believe will be followed by a similar degradation of invention.

But if it's just flush toilets you are after, the Indus Valley had them way back in the bronze age. Not because of Christianity, but because they were a society which valued and practiced liberty.

Anonymous Anti-Dentite July 01, 2014 11:06 AM  

Atheism seems to ebb and flow based on the whims and agendas of the Global Elite.

My thesis is we are at Peak-Atheism... and Earth-Worship isn't sticking either.

So what is the replacement theology for the proles?

Blogger Cranberry July 01, 2014 11:10 AM  

Your argument boils down to you can have Christianity, or you can have liberty, but you can't have both?

Can you have flush toilets without some over-arching form of organizing a society? At what point is liberty curtailed in service of the greater good? Some have to give so others can get. A hierarchy is formed.

I will reiterate: Christianity is a galvanizing force for civilization. The only force? No, and no one is arguing that it is. A lasting one, though, now that is the question. When Christianity is gone, and "liberty" takes its place, what do you imagine the world will be?

Anonymous Porky July 01, 2014 11:17 AM  

When Christianity is gone, and "liberty" takes its place, what do you imagine the world will be?

Well, the guillotine was a helluva invention, was it not?

Blogger Quadko July 01, 2014 11:23 AM  

RE: Catholics and Protestants

Don't forget that every time a Protestant church splits they are just following the precedent presented by the Roman Catholic Church's split with Luther and earlier with the eastern church. The precedent says that it doesn't matter if one is a lover of God and member of the body of Christ, the Church Universal, one still cannot be a part of our earthly church organization. Differences in doctrine, style, or challenge to the power of the leadership are sufficient cause to split organizations, though of course the invisible body of Christ is still unified.

The Catholic Reformation/Counter-Reformation and now references to Protestants as "separated brethren" prove my point - 50 years later the Roman Catholic church adopted similar reformations to the ones that got Luther and his compatriots invited to leave, and the Roman Catholic church recognizes Protestants as part of the Universal Church.

In fact, if you believe (as Catholics really must) that the Pope is correct in such matters, then he was right to start the Protestant church by excluding members of the Church Universal from the Roman Catholic Church and letting them pursue God and godliness apart from the earthly organization. When you get down to it, either the Pope was right or wrong to excommunicate Luther, who the church recognizes as a brother in Christ with valid reforms (just 50 years too early?), and the Pope can't be wrong in such things - right?

So all that to say, what's with the whining about the separated brothers in Christ pursuing pursuing the patterns taught by the Pope, part of the united Church Universal, with a relationship to the Roman Catholic Church that the Pope himself created and enforced by kicking Luther, et al, out?

(Hey, We even got labeled with the Roman Catholic 'Protestant' terminology, even though most 'Protestants' aren't protesting, may not know what they are 'supposed' to be protesting, or define themselves in relation to the Roman Catholic church. Nice PR win on that one, guys!)

(With thanks to Dr. Rodney Stark for his books on religion and Christian history)

Anonymous Porky July 01, 2014 11:24 AM  

Your argument boils down to you can have Christianity, or you can have liberty, but you can't have both?

No, not at all. Christianity is true liberty at the individual level.

This is why I don't exactly disagree with Vox on this - Christianity begets liberty begets invention.

What I disagree with is the formulation that if you want invention (modern conveniences) you must have Christianity. History debunks this quite readily.

Anonymous Anti-Dentite July 01, 2014 11:24 AM  

Plenty of civilizations built amazing things and 'modern' conveniences

For example, the Aztecs invented heart surgery...

OpenID gnardopolo July 01, 2014 11:38 AM  

So what is the replacement theology for the proles?

The Tyranny of the do-gooder?

Anonymous Alas July 01, 2014 11:38 AM  

When Christianity is gone, and "liberty" takes its place, what do you imagine the world will be?

The answer was given 65 years ago:

A boot stamping on a human face, forever.

Anonymous roo_ster July 01, 2014 11:42 AM  

Cranberry wrote:
"I would welcome anyone into the arms of the church, but I fear many would find it difficult to stay under the conditions the church imposes, and rather than lose those members, the church reduces its restrictions until all manner of sin is tolerated for the sake of asses in seats, for all the good that does."

Deviations from doctrine may keep some backsides in seats for the short term, but it is just a way to flush the denomination's doctrine while accelerating the decline in the mid and long term. Those who would insist on such accommodation will not remain long and will not pass on even their shriveled, compartmentalized faith to their children. If they have any children. Deep down past the superficial level where the sensualist romps many desire some discipline and structure. The culmination of these two approaches playing out (doctrinal decay vs doctrinal health) can be seen in the American denominations. Those that hold fast decline more slowly or increase, while many of the old dominant denominations wither.

Of course, now many who rode that wave have reached the crest and are sliding down into the trough. The flop-sweat panic to keep those seats filled has manifested itself in some odd takes on the Gospel.

==================

*Christianity and Science (Engineering and Invention Implied)*
Given the example of all the other cultures, it is difficult to maintain that Christianity was not a prime driver leading to modernity, to include the development of science, the philosophies that made it conceivable, and its methods for exploring the universe.

James Hannam's book is the most accessible of those delving into the genesis of the scientific revolution. Well-written and engaging. Edward Grant's book is much, MUCH drier and can be a bit forbidding. It is very useful in that it also devoted chapters to summarizing Aristotelian natural philosophy. If you have not had the benefit of such study, this is a handy Cliff's Notes version that will familiarize you with it.

The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution
James Hannam

The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages
Edward Grant

Anonymous DrTorch July 01, 2014 11:43 AM  

With thanks to Dr. Rodney Stark for his books on religion and Christian history

Yes, I agree emphatically w/ Quadko. Stark's book on Christianity and capitalism is a great read, and provides details as it lays out support for its thesis that capitalism and invention (over a long time) are derived from Christianity. And it was still Rome that got things going, so Francis' recent comments are ironic and ignorant on multiple levels.

Anonymous Roundtine July 01, 2014 11:43 AM  

James Burke on why the West invented science: Connections I- Distant Voices

Anonymous Porky July 01, 2014 11:49 AM  

For example, the Aztecs...

Good example. Ethnically segregated city-states are great little petri dishes for liberty, and thus invention.

The Mayans are an even better example. They had flush toilets too.

Anonymous patrick kelly July 01, 2014 11:49 AM  

"Was it Nate who said recently that it all comes down to rebellion.?

Or was it some other secessionist?"

Hah, now that's comedy.

Anonymous patrick kelly July 01, 2014 12:01 PM  

"The Antiochans and Byzantians might have some beef with the notion of one all-encompassing Church, though the Byzantian Orthodox are considered in communion with Rome."

Not sure who you mean by "Byzantian". I currently worship with a church under the Antiochian Patriarchate, in communion with many other Patriarchates, none of which I have ever heard referred to as "Byzantian". Perhaps you mean the Patriarch in Constantinople?

If so, you are mistaken about being in communion with the Roman Church, at least from our Orthodox perspective. This would not be the first time I've encountered a Roman Catholic or Protestant Christian for that matter with a very different understanding of Orthodoxy than we have, heh.........

The discourse between Constantinople and Rome has softened a bit over the years, I no longer hear as many words like "heretic" or "anti-christ" or "apostate" slung toward the Roman Pope from Constantinople as of late, but the schism is firmly in place AFAIK.

And just fyi, in case anyone reading cares, the Patriarch of Constantinople is often called Ecumenical Patriarch, but is in no way considered "the" Orthodox Pope, and has no authority over other jurisdictions. He serves as a common figure head, presiding over any Ecumenical Council should one ever be called again (rumors of one are common), and serves as a conduit for peace and reconciliation should there be disputes or disagreements arising between any of the Patriarchates. My opinion and understanding as and Eastern Orthodox Christian, ymmv.

Blogger CM July 01, 2014 12:07 PM  

I am RC. I don't worship the Pope, though I can see how some would see that worshiping the Pope and some crackers is what RC's do. I can't detach myself from the RCC as a believer, but I don't align myself with its current politics and teachings...it's a tough pickle to be in. Where do I go, what do I do? I find myself drifting towards a sedevacantist position and desiring a more strict, strong, and true religion than the Catholicism I see practiced now in America.

This is basically me in the Anglican church. I'm not Catholic, though I greatly admire catholicism. There is some sticky theology that I don't hold to that traditional anglicanism has taken out of their theology while keeping a large chunk of the rest.

I hate distinguishing the church as "christians and catholics." I think that's pigheaded and brutish and ignorant of protestants who take that stance.

I think its equally ridiculous for catholics to make the same claims about protestants. There are some basic theologies of each denomination that I find ridiculous, to say the least, but I don't care if you are baptist, methodist, or Presbyterian if you are willing to acknowledge christ as your savior and the Holy Spirit with the Word as the ultimate authority given to us until His return.

That doesn't mean "sola scripture" or whatever - though I have to say, those who hold to sola scriptura are far less likely to write off submission and homosexuality as just a byproduct of the times. People who interpret scripture based on social and cultural relevance are usually the ones who have adopted alternate methods to studying scripture. So while the strict literalists make us look foolish to men who hate God, they aren't the ones subjecting our churches to internal rot by compromising the Word of God all for the sake of being "enlightened".

Blogger James Dixon July 01, 2014 12:22 PM  

> These are not essentials...

In my experience, most people who don't think indoor plumbing is an essential either live in (sub)tropical climes or have never lived without it.

> Take away those two things, and it won't be too long before you don't have electricity or toilets that flush...

We already don't have toilets that flush, Vox. Thanks to government regulations. It's gotten so bad that many hotels are keeping a plunger in the bathrooms.

Anonymous cranberry July 01, 2014 12:28 PM  

I'm referring to Byzantine rite. Sorry for misuse of terminology. You've definitely exposed my ignorance and put me in my place. Consider my maleducated Catholic bottom spanked. I was under the impression that Byzantine rite Christians were partially reconciled with Rome.

My Ukrainian Orthodox MIL would be happy to meet you. She never misses an opportunity to tell me how much better her Christianity is than mine.

^^This is the divisive crap Christianity suffers from.

Anonymous What now? July 01, 2014 12:34 PM  

For example, the Aztecs...

Good example. Ethnically segregated city-states are great little petri dishes for liberty, and thus invention.


This is a joke, right?

The Aztec Empire was many things, but a "petri dish for liberty" it was not.

Anonymous SirHamster July 01, 2014 12:35 PM  

What I disagree with is the formulation that if you want invention (modern conveniences) you must have Christianity. History debunks this quite readily.

History is that modern convenience came out of Christianity. That's our only data point - unless you have recently discovered a non-Christian civilization on par with our current one.

A single tech used in the past is not enough to be equivalent.

Blogger James Dixon July 01, 2014 12:36 PM  

> This is a joke, right?

I believe the term you're looking for is "sarcasm",

Anonymous Porky July 01, 2014 12:47 PM  

The Aztec Empire was many things, but a "petri dish for liberty" it was not.

How so?

Blogger lordabacus July 01, 2014 1:11 PM  

Two things I've learned from this thread:

1. I am a nonbeliever not because I have examined the arguments and evidence for various religious systems and found them unconvincing, but because I hate God and don't want Him interfering with my sexual deviance (Whatever deviance that might be. Why bother with details? Apparently, so many of you just KNOW this much about my mind. Jesus is not just co-pilot and shepherd, but psychic friend to boot.)

2. After the inevitable ebb of secularism, Christians can and will resurrect those halcyon days in which a significant number of shits was actually given when they argued and warred with each other over questions of doctrine and church hierarchy.

Anonymous Cranberry July 01, 2014 1:19 PM  

You forgot: the Indus Valley gave us flush toilets, and the Aztec and Maya were paragons of liberty, until ebil Christians quashed all sense of individuality and ritual murder from their collectively independent and spectacularly sanitary awesomeness.

Anonymous corvinus July 01, 2014 1:25 PM  

Someday I'd like to try the experiment of pointing out to a Sedevacantist that the logic of his position means he's technically a Protestant, just to see the reaction.

They have some superficial similarities, such as believing we're in the Great Apostasy and that Pope Francis is the Antichrist's false prophet or whatever, but the big difference is that they accept Popes up to the death of Pius XII as valid. Many sedevacantists claim there was some monkey business going on in the conclave of 1958 that produced John XXIII, so they date the Great Apostasy to that point. Protestants have been calling the Popes Antichrist for hundreds of years.

Sedevacantists don't reject any Catholic dogma. This would put them at odds with Protestants, who, for example, hate hate hate transubstantiation. Vatican II Novus Ordo catholics are wobbly on dogma, but sedevacantists accept it as true.

If you want to consider Sedevacantism anything, look at it as the Catholic version of Puritanism -- trying to remove anything from their Catholic beliefs that has any tinge of Protestantism, Modernism, ecumenism, and so forth.

Anonymous MATH WHIZ July 01, 2014 1:30 PM  

"After the inevitable ebb of secularism, Christians can and will resurrect those halcyon days in which a significant number of shits was actually given when they argued and warred with each other over questions of doctrine and church hierarchy."

You really want to compare casualty counts of the Reformation vs. the secular 20th century?

Anonymous MATH WHIZ July 01, 2014 1:35 PM  

"I have examined the arguments and evidence for various religious systems and found them unconvincing" <-- Calling bullshit on this.

Blogger lordabacus July 01, 2014 1:40 PM  

"You really want to compare casualty counts of the Reformation vs. the secular 20th century?"

No, nor does what I wrote in any way suggest that I do. I am satirizing Christian infighting, not accusing Christians of being more violent than non-Christians. If you can't tell the difference, that's a problem for you, not me, so you might want to find a different direction in which to jerk that knee of yours.

Anonymous MATH WHIZ July 01, 2014 1:44 PM  

Yeah, that's it. Watch the goalposts moving already. It's a miracle!

Blogger lordabacus July 01, 2014 1:44 PM  

MATH WHIZ, I am calling bullshit on you calling bullshit (See how easy that was, and how there was no actual content in this post?)

Anonymous MATH WHIZ July 01, 2014 1:48 PM  

Was there content in your original post?

Blogger lordabacus July 01, 2014 1:52 PM  

That's not ultimately for me to decide MATH WHIZ, but I would say yes, some satirical and rhetorical content. Little to no informational content.

Anonymous MATH WHIZ July 01, 2014 1:56 PM  

The social autism is strong with this one.

Blogger James Dixon July 01, 2014 2:07 PM  

> ...but I would say yes, some satirical and rhetorical content. Little to no informational content.

I would have to agree with that assessment.

Blogger James Dixon July 01, 2014 2:09 PM  

However, lordabacus, I should also point out that being a non-believer doesn't necessarily make you an atheist.

Blogger Gunnar von Cowtown July 01, 2014 2:19 PM  

@ Logan "I don't think it's obvious that Nietzsche completely welcomed the collapse of traditional morality, specifically Christian morality. His parable of the Madman in 'The Gay Science' doesn't seem very optimistic to me."

I find in oddly hilarious that "God is dead"... devoid of all context, mind you... is the only Nietzsche quote the average person knows. Other than his aphorisms in "Beyond Good and Evil" (which are the concise bits of folkish wisdom I've always misguidedly sought from fortune cookies), his writing reads as multiple streams of consciousness arguing multiple sides of any given philosophical issue, with unclear conclusions that he often revisits in the same book or later books. Fred clearly had mixed feelings about certain aspects of Christianity, but he was certainly not an atheist.

@ Tardo The Next Big Thing is paganism. That's why you're seeing more movies about wizards, magic, monsters, comic book superheros, etc.

I think you're on to something and this ties in with Vox's occasional allusions to "blue-bottomed savagery". The question is which paganism? They're not all the same. I can see the people who run Hollywood delighting in mass acceptance of a more feminized paganism like wicca, but I really don't think they'd feel the same way about mass acceptance of masculine Germanic paganism. If I were one of the typical bigwigs running Hollywood, I'd be terrified of these guys. Wolves of Vinland

Blogger Me Guerrero July 01, 2014 2:26 PM  

So much paranoia here :C

Anonymous Me Sombraro July 01, 2014 2:27 PM  

Me like budda in my butt.

Anonymous Ymar Sakar July 01, 2014 2:36 PM  

An atheist is someone that refuses to believe in the existence of God, gods, or the authority of god. Thus it can take many forms, such as the Throne of God is empty because God is dead.

But in the form of Dawkins, they aren't atheists, since they believe that the human they create is god. That's not atheism, it's just another religion.

Anonymous Brother Thomas July 01, 2014 2:36 PM  

For anyone interested, I recommend the book "Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism" by Paul C. Vitz. It is a concise interesting book about the psychology of atheism. I think it worthy of your consideration. If anyone here has read it, I'd be interested in reading your critique of it.

Blogger RobertT July 01, 2014 2:45 PM  

"Western society is visibly collapsing."

I adhere to a school of thought which i first encountered in a paper I haven't been able to find since, that theorizes economic dominance shifts every 200 years or so and has been shifting thus since Portugal yielded the title to Spain. Thence to France, Great Britain, the U.S. and now to China and the Pacific Rim. Christianity may very well play a role, but this concept intrigues me. My fundamental interest is the Black Swan type things that arise during economic turmoil, and these shifts create that in spades. I also found a history of the Rothchilds in Great Britain during it's rise very interesting along these same lines. The opportunities they ran into were basically mind boggling.

Anonymous Stickwick July 01, 2014 3:09 PM  

Gunnar von Cowtown: @ Tardo The Next Big Thing is paganism. That's why you're seeing more movies about wizards, magic, monsters, comic book superheros, etc.

...

I really don't think they'd feel the same way about mass acceptance of masculine Germanic paganism. If I were one of the typical bigwigs running Hollywood, I'd be terrified of these guys. Wolves of Vinland


What happens at Ulfheim is designed to create authentic brotherhood between men. It’s about escaping to another world, not just for an hour or even a day, but for good. The Wolves of Vinland are becoming barbarians. They’re leaving behind attachments to the state, to enforced egalitarianism, to desperate commercialism, to this grotesque modern world of synthetic beauty and dead gods. They’re building an autonomous zone, a community defined by face-to-face and fist-to-face connections where manliness and honor matter again.

Two things about this. First, it looks like this is strongly motivated by rejection of state-imposed feminine authority, and who can blame them for that. I have to admit, though there is a very unpleasant nihilistic element to this sort of paganism, that there is also something rather appealing about it -- the otherworldliness, the masculinity, the strong sense of the ritual. Which leads to the second point: the Christian religion used to provide those things. Not only is the return to masculine Germanic paganism a response to a feminized Western society, but I think also to the general failure of the Western church to remain otherwordly, masculine, and strong in sense of tradition and rites. Most people long for those things -- it's hardwired into us. That's why, as Tardo pointed out, entertainment featuring wizards, magic, superheroes, etc. is so popular right now. I don't think it's out of an explicit desire to return to paganism so much as it's out of a implicit desire for the qualities most of us long for.

Anonymous patrick kelly July 01, 2014 3:09 PM  

@Cranberry: "I'm referring to Byzantine rite."

Ah, ok, the terminology I'm more used to is to call it "Eastern rite", and yes, there are Eastern rite Catholics under the Pope in Rome. There are also non-Roman-Catholic Western rite Orthodox faithful.

My response was not intended to spur division or be some kind of "my gal is red hot, your gal ain't doodly squat" gloating, just trying to be informative.

Please forgive me if it came off otherwise.

Anonymous Cranberry July 01, 2014 3:16 PM  

I'm sorry too, Patrick. I don't think you meant to come off that way, I read it with a chip on my shoulder, and I'm letting it get to me as I'm not feeling 100% today. But my point about MIL, and other Orthodox I meet, stands. Any IRL interaction I have with them is about their perceived superiority and "authentic" Christianity compared to my Catholicism. It's pretty sad, and petty, especially when everything I read about Eastern Rite tradition is so beautiful and I see a lot of opportunity for a strong church if a wholesale reconciliation could take place.

Blogger Desiderius July 01, 2014 3:50 PM  

Vox,

"insufficient average time preferences can do it"

Belief in everlasting life, however well-founded, has the effect of extending time-preferences.

Likewise the opposite, although Keynes in fact looks to be something like undead at the moment.

Anonymous Athor Pel July 01, 2014 4:23 PM  

" Anti-DentiteJuly 01, 2014 11:06 AM
Atheism seems to ebb and flow based on the whims and agendas of the Global Elite.

My thesis is we are at Peak-Atheism... and Earth-Worship isn't sticking either.

So what is the replacement theology for the proles?"



Remember, it's the Beast that destroys the Whore of Babylon.

Blogger Gunnar von Cowtown July 01, 2014 4:28 PM  

@Stickwick "Not only is the return to masculine Germanic paganism a response to a feminized Western society, but I think also to the general failure of the Western church to remain otherwordly, masculine, and strong in sense of tradition and rites. Most people long for those things -- it's hardwired into us."

Well said, Stickwick. (Full disclosure: I'm a Christian, too.) Needless to say, I think you're spot on with your diagnosis. Furthermore, I'm picking up on a recurring theme throughout the insert-your-term-of-choice-here-O-sphere over the past week or so, and it keeps leading to the same conclusion. If there's any hope for Western Civilization, it lies in sexual dimorphism; biological and social. I'd wager our adversaries know this as they've been making the full court press for the past few decades toward ever increasing androgyny.

Blogger Michael July 01, 2014 5:23 PM  

I attend a traditional Latin mass. This is made possible byhttp://www.fssp.org/en/ They use the pre 1962 missal. When you've been to a high mass, you can feel the reverence and peace. I encourage anyone interested to try it. It works for me, and I was not raised a Roman Catholic.

Anonymous Gara July 02, 2014 3:31 PM  

I think it's fallacious to tie invention to Christianity. Plenty of civilizations built amazing things and 'modern' conveniences without ever hearing about Jesus.

You're wrong. The core foundation of methodical science is the Christian concept of a rational, consistent, finite universe

This is hilarious in light of the fact that a man considered to be one of the greatest contributors to the scientific method (Galileo) was forced to recant his findings by the christian church of the time.

In any case, and as other people have already pointed out, there are countless examples of other civilizations achieving invention and advanced knowledge without the christian concept of a "rational, consistent, finite universe". The chinese invented the abacus, the compass, the printing press and gunpowder around a thousand years before the west, pagan greeks built the first analog computer, the indians laid the foundation of modern mathematics, etc, etc.

That Europe was the place where science really caught hold has to do with many different factors, but had Europe collapsed earlier. it would have probably appeared somewhere else.

And the core foundation of equality under the law is the Christian concept of a Higher Being who defines right and wrong

lol...the guy who argues that women should not be allowed to vote teaching us a lesson about "equality under the law".

Anonymous map July 02, 2014 4:35 PM  

Gara -

"This is hilarious in light of the fact that a man considered to be one of the greatest contributors to the scientific method (Galileo) was forced to recant his findings by the christian church of the time."

Nope. That is a myth like the one insisting that the world was flat.

"The chinese invented the abacus, the compass, the printing press and gunpowder around a thousand years before the west, pagan greeks built the first analog computer, the indians laid the foundation of modern mathematics, etc, etc."

These things are not true. Inventing things as obviously useful as printing presses, gun powder and the abacus while not allowing these technologies to have any impact on civilization defies credulity.

Anonymous Jay July 03, 2014 12:52 PM  

"Friedrich Nietzsche saw more deeply how European society’s moral order would collapse with the destruction of faith – but welcomed it. Christianity was a “slave morality”, he said, celebrating weakness and preserving “too much of what should have perished”. People such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler took up such thoughts with deadly enthusiasm."

Vox, this is disingenuous. There is a big difference between not preserving what should perish, and actively murdering everyone. Nietzsche was anti-national socialism. It was his sister who twisted his words after he died, and made him something he wasn't. And hitler didn't take up his ideas, rather he co-opted them.

This quote form nietzsche should really settle the matter:

"The whole problem of the Jews exists only in nation states, for here their energy and higher intelligence, their accumulated capital of spirit and will, gathered from generation to generation through a long schooling in suffering, must become so preponderant as to arouse mass envy and hatred. In almost all contemporary nations, therefore - in direct proportion to the degree to which they act up nationalistially - the literary obscenity of leading the Jews to slaughter as scapegoats of every conceivable public and internal misfortune is spreading."
— Friedrich Nietzsche, 1886, [MA 1 475][17]

Anonymous Jimmy July 06, 2014 10:25 PM  

I love it Vox has finally found his advanced culture to look up to and model himself after... the Nigerians. I wish Vox would spend some time in this golden land of Nigeria to glory in the splendor of his civilizational vision realized. It is true we secularists do not have the wisdom to wish to turn the West into another Nigeria, you'll have to excuse us being "too slow to follow the logic".

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