Saturday, October 28, 2006

Richard Dawkins: Intellectual Fraud

This debate by David Quinn & Richard Dawkins was pretty interesting. Its not that there were any eye opening points brought up on either side but it was just utterly amazing the denial and delusion Richard Dawkins is in. If you have time I woulf read the full article but I would like to respond to a few choice statements he made

Well the word delusion means a falsehood which is widely believed, and I think that is true of religion.

Wrong. From dictionary.com:

1. an act or instance of deluding.

2. the state of being deluded.

3. a false belief or opinion: delusions of grandeur.

4. Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact: a paranoid delusion.

(Dawkins) Many young children have an imaginary friend. Christopher Robin had Binker. A little girl who wrote to me had a little purple man. And the girl with the little purple man actually saw him. She seemed to hallucinate him. He appeared with a little tinkling bell. And, he was very, very real to her although in a sense she knew he wasn’t real. I suspect that something like that is going on with people who claim to have heard God or seen God or hear the voice of God.

Actually, he has somewhat of a point here. I agree that nearly all who claim to 'hear from God' are experiencing a very similar phenomenon as what he describes here. This is due to rampant sentimentalism in the Christian world today. (See my post on the different ways God talks to us) However, I of course believe that some people have heard from God.

(Turbidy) You describe God as a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Homophobic? This is such a cowardly and fraudulent term. Actually, that is a convenient word. As soon as you hear it used, you can immediately identify that the one who said it is not interested in real dialogue. They merely want to call names. (If I was an atheist that's all I'd want to do too... After all as you can see from the debate Mr. Dawkins really doesnt have any valid arguments and constantly ignores Mr. Quinn's). Although these terms are merely name calling, anyone who has read the Old Testament knows where he's getting these from. Despite the fact that he's undermining his own beliefs by insinuating that there's something wrong about these things...it's very easy to refute/explain as tomes and tomes have been written on these very subjects. Apparently Dawkins hasn't done his homework.

(Dawkins) Well, not really because no serious theologian takes the Old Testament literally anymore, so it isn’t quite like that. An awful lot of people think they take the Bible literally but that can only be because they’ve never read it.

While it's true what Mr. Quinn said (that this is part of a straw man argument Dawkins sets up) many serious theologians do take the Bible literally. There are always certain parts that are obvious metaphors or can be explained in alternate ways...but for example many 'serious' theologians still take the flood story quite literally. Most seem to prefer a localized flood but there are some who believe in a global flood. Whether its right or wrong he's trying to undermine Christianity in general by the false statement he made here.

(Dawkins) but I do think that people are a bit confused about where they get their morality from. A lot of people think they get their morality from the Bible because they can find a few good verses. Parts of the Ten Commandments are okay, parts of the Sermon on the Mount are okay. So they think they get their morality from the Bible. But actually of course nobody gets their morality from the Bible, we get it from somewhere else and to the extent that we can find good bits in the Bible we cherry pick them. We pick and choose them. We choose the good verses in the Bible and we reject the bad.

While there is certainly truth to this statement (especially with Protestants), Mr. Dawkins is merely displaying his utter lack of understanding for what morality truly is. (Of course its obvious that he is woefully confused on the subject since he's an atheist who also believes in morality). True Christianity does not and never has derived its morality solely from the Bible. He is referring to the heresy of Sola Scriptura started in 1521 by Martin Luther. Again, he needs to do a little more homework before entering these types of debates. Furthermore, no Christian considers himself under the Torah.

(Dawkins) Well I think that people are sometimes remarkably adept at compartmentalizing their mind, at separating their mind into two separate parts. There are some people who even manage to combine being apparently perfectly good working scientists with believing that the book of Genesis is literally true and that the world is only 6000 years old. If you can perform that level of doublethink then you could do anything.

That is certainly true that people are very adept at compartmentalizing their mind. (My friend often made the statement, "people just seem to put on their stupid caps when they come to church. When I hear the types of questions these adults ask, its amazing to think that these same people are also succesful professionals in other areas of their life... If they were to employ this level of reasoning at their job, they'd be fired immediately" Apparently he's never been to my workplace.. Just kidding. I digress)

Mr. Quinn later points out his straw man tactic here by explaining that most Christian scientists believe in an old universe / earth & some also believe in evolution. (Of course evolution is clearly antagonistic towards the Christian world view) yet there are many who believe in it. But aside from that Mr. Dawkins also makes another error. He is assuming God doesnt exist to begin with. Well of course young earth is a ridiculous belief if God doesnt exist! Of course belief in creationism is ignorant if God isn't real. But assuming He is, both beliefs are extremely plausible. The only unreasonable belief would be the one that rejects those a priori.

And finally:

(Quinn) Myself and Richard Dawkins have a clearly different understanding of the origins of morality. I would say free will. If you’re an atheist, if you’re an atheist logically speaking you cannot believe in objective morality. You cannot believe in free will. These are two things that the vast majority of humankind implicitly believe in. We believe for example that if a person carries out a bad action, we can call that person bad because we believe that they are freely choosing those actions. … And just quickly an atheist believes we are controlled completely by our genes and make no free actions at all.

(Dawkins) I certainly don’t believe a word of that.

There is nothing more pitiful than an atheist who believes in free will & objective morality. It's like a Nazi who has a Jewish wife. You can see now the total hypocrisy in his world view. Eventually he must come to grips with what other atheists like Nietzsche did: there is no morality without God.

Again, you can read the full debate here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Why Move to the Suburbs?

The Charlotte Observer (formerly owned by Knight Rider) is just another mainstream liberal newspaper. It linked to this blog post that I felt compelled to refute.

It’s conventional wisdom that families move to the suburbs to get cheaper housing.

Sure that's part of the reason but only a small part of it. A bigger reason is to get away from the crime in the city and yet another is to get away from taxes. Liberals don't want to admit either of those. They don't want to admit that their policy of (to quote Jesse Jackson) "educate not incarcerate" is a miserable failure. They don't want to admit that every time liberals like (Mecklenburg County's own) Parks Helms & Pam Syfert open their mouth the only words that come out are "let's raise taxes".

I, like many other middle class white Americans who still live in the city, have plans to move to another county and possible another state (South Carolina). Although it may be true that I can find marginally cheaper housing in some cases (and in some cases much more expensive housing) the price of the housing never entered my mind. My top reasons are #1 to escape the crime & #2 to escape the taxes.

Charlotte Observer linked to her post not because it contained anything worthy of news, but because it aided their liberal propaganda. They think government's job is to think for the people. Conservatives think that the goverment's job is to serve the people. These liberals want everyone to have a compact car (or none) and live in a cubicle in a densely populated urban setting. They want to spend more on arts than on crime prevention & defense. They want to waste money on mass transit programs that don't work. (Then they waste even more money than they told you they would!) Why don't they just move to Canada...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Corruption In North Carolina Politics

I try not to be too political with my blog but sometimes I just feel the need to expose the left wing for the frauds they are. Here is an excert from a recent email I received from Robert Pittenger the president of the Foundation for NC Future.

Any one who has lived west of Durham for any period of time accepts the reality that eastern North Carolina receives a disproportionate amount of state spending. Whether it’s right or wrong, we understand that is the way it works and that Piedmont and Western North Carolina’s roads, outerbelts, flood repairs (Hurricane Floyd), courts, etc., needs seem to be met at a much slower pace than those from the east.

...

The kicker here is that while we may accept the reality of state spending favoring eastern North Carolina, we really have no idea as to how egregious the allocation gap really is.

Here is a comparison of a small chunk of the recent pork barrel spending in North Carolina:

Western NC
$ 2,020,000
3.56%

Piedmont, NC
$ 8,508,500
15%

Eastern NC
$ 46,189,991
81.14%

For those of you who live outside of North Carolina, it should be noted that NC's two largest metro areas (Charlotte & Greensboro-Winston Salem) are in the Piedmont area. Mike Easley, Jim Black & all the other corrupt NC politicians need to be voted out of office. Enough pork already! (But it's especially appalling to see how biased Raleigh is against the Piedmont).

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Truth About Islam

When is the left wing media gonna just be honest about Islam. Listen to this quote from the Charlotte Observer:

Ramadan is a month of blessing marked by prayer, fasting and charity

Yea chumps you forgot to add suicide bombings, sectarian violence and genocide. Quit trying to paint a picture of a "peaceful" Islam. No one with an IQ over 75 is gonna buy that.. Here's the full article: http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/news/15831201.htm

The Church is Our Mother

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce

I wonder how many Protestants would agree with that quote. No, to be honest I don’t wonder. I’ll tell you right away that most of them think that this quote has some good meaning to it. They like to separate the idea of ‘religion’ and ‘personal relationship’. How is it that an obscene, perverse comedian with very worldly orientations could say something so antagonistic towards the church and yet be accepted by many so-called Christians?

I became aware of this quote upon hearing it from a Protestant who was passing it along by email as if it were worth something.

He cannot have God for his father, who has not the Church for his mother.
- St. Cyprian

How about that for a quote? You can find this early on in the Catholic catechism. Do people stray from the church, losing this baggage of ‘religion’ to pursue the true personal relationship that God has intended? Let me put it in laymen’s terms: NO. As stated before in my posts on Sola Fide, Scripture never replies to the question of ‘how to be saved’ by saying ‘just believe’ and it certainly never mentions anything about having a ‘personal relationship’ as having anything to do with salvation. The Chuch is there to guide us.

An analogy I like to use is this: The world is like living (as a child) in a stranger’s house. In this house there are many other children and there is but one adult (the wife). The husband is away on a long journey but has left specific instructions in writing. Who interprets the instructions? The children? No, the wife! What if she is wrong? Of what concern is it to the children?! Will the husband condemn the children for the error of his own wife?! Furthermore will the husband return to find that you have disobeyed his wife continually yet consider you guiltless? Such is the situation of the church. We know that the Church is the bride of Christ. When Christ returns, He will enforce by His power what the Church (His bride) has maintained for the 2,000 years since He left. Jesus Himself said this very thing(1).

And it's not that the wife (the Church) is even wrong. Christ (the Husband) has sent His Spirit as a helper to guide the Chuch into truth. Yet even if that weren't the case, the analogy above should show that the Church (and yes.. gasp.. organized religion) is right and the individual is wrong. There is no risk in obedience to the Holy Catholic Church. This individualism we see in Protestantism and with false Catholics (like John Kerry & Rudy Giuliani) is for purely rebelious reasons.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Donahue on the War on Christianity With Colbert

A friend passed this video on to me. This makes a nice follow up to my previous post on a similar topic. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Comedy Central doesn't only air trash like the Daily Show. Check this video out if you have a few moments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbVaKbKc7JA

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pornography & The War On Christianity

We talk about the war on terror, the war on drugs and the war on poverty a lot, but easily the most unsung non violent "war" going on today is the war on Christianity. (In some cases it is violent of course). Not only are Muslims out there killing nuns and burning churches, but the American & European leftists are constantly trying to undermine everything Christian, everything pure and basically everything good. (If it's good, the left hates it... not surprisingly the left loves the violent religion of Islam and has proven to be it's greatest ally). As if it weren't enough to be constantly at war with evils like those, there are others working in more subtle ways. This online Jewish magazine article details the ways some Jews feel about Christians and how they are using utter perversity in order to fight against Christ. A friend passed this article on to me. Here are some exerts:

According to Ford, Jewish X-rated actors often brag about their ‘joy in being anarchic, sexual gadflies to the puritanical beast’. Jewish involvement in porn, by this argument, is the result of an atavistic hatred of Christian authority: they are trying to weaken the dominant culture in America by moral subversion.

Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw, said (on lukeford.net), ‘The only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks. Catholicism sucks. We don’t believe in authoritarianism.’ Pornography thus becomes a way of defiling Christian culture

Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, you can read the full article here. Bottom line: Christianity & especially Orthodoxy is under attack so don't let your guard down. Unfortunately for the contemporary "feel good" branch of evangelical Christianity, those who are true followers of Christ are in a constant spiritual battle. The visible evidence of this war can be seen in the violence against Christianity from Islam and from atheist goverments (such as the VietCong... and if you don't believe me just ask the Montagnards). However, aside from visible and tangible evidences like those and the article quoted from above, their exists unseen evidence that every true Christian can attest to.

So quit singing "Shine Jesus Shine", get off your ass, pick up your proverbial sword and join the fight. You're either for us or against us.


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NBC Wont Show Madonna On a Cross

It's nice to hear some good news for a change here and there: NBC recently announced that they will not show Madonna's blasphemous depiction of the crucifixion on television. I am glad they for once acknowledged the Christian voice. Christians: keep letting them know you have one!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Should Women Be Ordained?

One of my main goals for this blog is to refute three mainline liberal ideas that are rearing their perverted heads in modern Christianity (in no particular order): ordination of women, condoning of same sex marriage, and the permission of abortion.

However, I am currently building a foundation on which to begin laying out my case against these ideals so I have been relatively quiet on these three issues since my arguments will rest largely on apostolic succession (not that this is the only angle by which to attack these weak positions as protestants often do it and do it well using other angles). However, on a recent business trip to Atlanta, I rode home in a van with several other co-workers who were all (but 2 of us) mainline denomination Protestants. While trying to hold my tongue on the conversation that sprung up concerning ordination of women so as not to offend, I found them nearly making fun of another co-worker (not present) who was openly opposed to ordination of women since he was from a conservative Protestant denomination.

I could no longer hold my tongue. After the short and suprisingly not too terribly heated debate, we observed a short period of akwardness and then moved on. Later I felt compelled to write an email to several of the participants explaining my viewpoint and his and trying to open up a little more dialogue on the subject. While you may have to guess at some of the missing context, the email follows (names changed to protect anonymity):

I hope I didn’t come across too strong in our conversation in the van regarding ordination of women in the van. Initially I wasn’t trying to argue one way or the other I was just trying to defend Joe Bob’s view point when it was brought up. I'm Catholic so my belief on women in the priesthood is obvious but I never intended to imply at all that women have no place in leadership roles or in ministry in the Church. Of course Catholicism has always had a strong role for women in ministry as well as men long before Protestants ever started allowing this. Of course Catholicism also teaches that the greatest Saint and most blessed of all creation was a woman.

I guess what really upset me about that was the kind of attitude some people (not you and I wont mention names) seem to have towards Joe Bob and his theological beliefs or beliefs like his. The only point I really intended to make was that his belief (maybe its wrong, maybe you don’t agree with it) but the fact is that his belief is orthodox.

Of course, just because a belief is old doesn’t make it right. Arianism is a very old belief but its wrong. The point I was making about the early church believing and teaching such (I didn’t finish it) was that it is known what the early church believed on many contemporary issues (such as this one, homosexuality and abortion etc…). Some mainline evangelicals would like to brush it off as a mistake due to influence from a culture which was in the wrong (I.E. a culture that suppressed women). Despite the fact that Christianity grew and replaced many pagan religions in that very time & culture which featured prominent existence of female deities as well as female priestesses (take the Roman worship of Isis for example) which certainly casts at least doubt on the theory that it was for mere cultural reasons; the main point I was trying to make was that evangelicals accept without question the authority and inspiration of the canonization of the Bible. This gradual process didn’t even have any notable beginnings until a couple hundred years after what we consider the ‘early church’ but it was conducted by the same bishops and saints of the early church as the ones who propagated the views above which some evangelicals like to brush off. How can the selection of the bible be so unquestionable while the other unanimous teachings not be?

Im not trying to convince you to change your opinion. I just want to say that it is a very reasonable view that Joe Bob and the overwhelming majority of Christianity today and for the last 2000 years hold to.

One of the recipients declined to comment but the other approached me and thanked me for the email. She said she would like to have further dialogue on the subject. So lesson learned: Protestants shouldn't make fun of Orthodoxy!


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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Book Review: Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley

I purchased & read this 500+ page book while I was still a Protestant. Yet even then, Mr. Shelley's transparent attempts and disguising his hatred for the Catholic Church were apparent to me. (I remember thinking "Wow, this guy really hates Catholics"). That was when I had no inkling whatsoever of joining the Church. Now as a Catholic, I can look back and see even more that he wrote which was anti-Catholic and revisionist history.

Don't get me wrong, if you're comfortable with evangelical ignorance and are not interested in facts this book comes highly recommended! (Although the lack of chronology throughout the book left me very confused). Well how biased is his book? Less than half of the book is devoted to the first 1520 years of Christianity. (The remaining 60% or so is devoted to the last 485 years) Anyone who can even spell the words "Church History" will know that the first 1500 years are far, far more rich and critical to Christianity than the last 485. That's whether you're Protestant or Catholic or whatever. These first 1500 years contain the apostles, the great martyrs, the church fathers, the great synods and councils which shaped orthodoxy and lets not forget Christ Himself. Yet Shelley would rather devote the majority of his book to the heretics who were excommunicated from the apostolic Church in the mid 1500s and the subsequent divisions between them.

Protestants are decievingly quiet about the real history of the canon. They have to be. Their entire doctrine of "sola scriptura" rests on logical fallacies made possible by historical ignorances as protestant books like this intentionally propogate. People must remain ignorant of the histories surrounding the selection of the canon or else they might just convert to the true Church. If Protestants realize that councils of the Catholic Church (and not Jesus Christ) selected which books would be in the Bible, they would also realize that the few weak arguments supporting Sola Scriptura completely break down. If they realize that the early Church along with Christ and the apostles used the Septuagint which included the apocrypha and that the earliest list of canonical books in the same order we have today by Athanasius in 367 AD also included the apocrypha (forget the fact that the early church routinely included it in virutally all of their canons) then they might realize how silly this basic protestant belief is. Of course, Shelley tries his best to keep all of this knowledge hidden. On page 67 he shows a chart of the canons as accepted by various churches and times. The fact that such vast differences existed and were only gradually eliminated by various councils (of the Catholic Church) should clue Protestants in that Sola Scriptura is a doctrine a few cards short of a full deck but aparently it doesnt. His account does mention some various early Church father documents such as Hermas and the Didache but fails to show the OT which would have included the apocrypha in the early Church thus clearly showing the unorthodoxy of the Protestant bible.

In the early pages he did mention many of the heroes of the faith such as Justin Martyr and St. Clement of Rome (the 4th pope) and he does paint them in favorable lights (if only in passing). Of course, he has to on some level since these are the early martyrs and fathers of the faith whether you're Catholic or not. But he fails to give any insight into their beliefs which are unequivocally Catholic and Orthodox. He spends much more time focusing on the ideas and heresies promoted by the reformers some 1500 years later than he does on those of the fathers and martyrs of the faith! If it were made clear how unanimously Catholic the early Church was, there would be more Protestants out there who would start wising up to the fact that they have been misled their entire life (I know... I was one of them).

As I progressed in the book his thinly disguised hatred for celibacy became very apparent. He even went as far to refer to the "evils of celibacy". It is mind boggling how aggressive Protestants get when you mention that word. They think celibacy is nearly a sin (forget the fact that both Christ and Paul advocated it). His bitterness against celibacy was so clear that you could tell he only grudgingly mentioned a portion of the great accomplishments made by the monks and nuns over the years and he by no means does that topic justice.

He has a list of popes and in order to conceal the true orthodoxy of the Catholic Church, he begins the list at 440 AD! This is such an unbelievable and clear bias.. hardly the work of a true historian! Whether you believe in the Catholic Church or not, the succesors to the Apostle Peter are well documented. He does have a footnote that reads "The Roman Catholic Church lists 48 popes before Leo I"... He should add "I removed them for the sake of deception".

He conveniently leaves out the fact that Luther and Calvin split from the church because they disagreed with the Pope and Church tradition yet imprisonned and even killed those who dissagreed with them. Although on page 243 he does mention briefly (in an apologetic manner) the massacre of over 100,000 peasants ordered by Martin Luther when they demanded an abolishment of serfdom since they had "turned to violence". He goes on to mention that many of the survivors returned to Catholicism now recognizing Martin Luther as a "false prophet".

Similarly he spends quite a bit of time on the Spanish Inquisition (which is routinely overblown in modern books) and completely ignores or mentions only in passing the many atrocities the various Protestant Churches are guilty of.

If I had read the book recently, I would be far more aware of the bias in this book than I was since I was Protestant when I read it and these are only the things I remember (since I wasn't looking for any of this). But I think you get the picture: DONT READ THIS BOOK. A Protestant writing a book on Church History? Hah!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Is Evil Learned Behavior or Does Sin Nature Simply Compel Us To Sin?

The message of Christianity is deeply dependant on the doctrine of sin nature and or the story of original sin. It is because of this that I have always found it a little troubling that sin or evil seems on the surface to be strongly correlated with intelligence.

For example, who sins more (by all practical and observable means): a man with a severe mental handicap or ... a doctor? Consider how if you treat a dog unfairly, it will still love you… yet if you treat your co-worker unfairly he will quickly and without hesitation nurse a grudge against you and develop a bitter hatred for you. Who is more full of guile, an 8 year old cub scout or a trial lawyer? So what is the difference here?

Why is a retarded person at least perceived as having more innocence than someone with a healthy mind? Aren’t they both exposed to the same original sin according to Christian theology? Why are young children more innocent minded than their elders who should by now know better? In short, why are the simple less sinful than the crafty?

These types of questions have always been troublesome for me. A friend once suggested that it was because evil is learned behavior. That really got my gears turning. Is it true? If so, how much better to be born an idiot!

This type of theory certainly helps to partially explain various phenomena of life such as the fact that a person brought up unexposed to certain evils will be immeasurably less likely to commit those evils than another who was exposed.

Anyway I’m gonna cop out now and just say I don’t really have good answers for these questions.. Just food for thought…

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

NFL Power Rankings News & Commentary

My friend and I started a new unrelated blog dealing mostly with the NFL complete with Power Rankings, News, Opinions, Commentary and Stats. http://10-yards.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sola Fide Smack Down Part 4

This is a followup to my previous posts on the subject: Part 1 Part 2 & Part 3

I came across this quote from St. Irenaeus' famous work "Adversus Haereses" or "Against Heresies"(1):

Wherefore also they maintain that good works are necessary to us, for that otherwise it is impossible we should be saved. But as to themselves, they hold that they shall be entirely and undoubtedly saved, not by means of conduct, but because they are spiritual by nature.

Isn't it just a bit disturbing how closely the modern day evangelical belief of Sola Fide resembles the early heresy of gnosticism? The gnostics believed that neither action nor obedience were necessary because they were 'spiritual by nature'. Protestants believe the same thing but for a different reason. They insist that action is not required because they "believe". Even as St. James clearly and unequivocally explained that this is a grave mistake, they continue to believe and teach it. Somehow I have a sneaking suspicion that St. Irenaeus would have a word or two to say to the Protestant Church if he were still alive today...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Filler Post

I just got back from Atlanta. Work is entering the busy season and my life has just been busier than normal recently so I havent had a chance to post as much as I would like to. But in the mean time here are a couple of good links from Catholic Education:

1. On the current issues with Islamo-Catholic relations

2. A really good article on the evidence for life after death

Enjoy