Bad Grief

Certainly there is some rage against the idea of God, but the idea that theists are stupid because they’re theists is a stupid idea. Anyone who cares to could find out in about five seconds that there have been many theists who were frighteningly intelligent. There are many now. I don’t think belief in God is a question of intelligence to begin with, but I do think it’s a question of values. This isn’t a criticism. In the amusing documentary, Religulous, Bill Maher said to a few trucker-Christians that he considered atheism a luxury. He was right. Atheism is a luxury.

This is why atheism is a luxury: Continue reading

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Choking on a Smile

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, was asked to clarify his views on homosexuality. Mr Farron, who says he’s a Christian, was asked if he thought homosexuality was a sin. He chose not to answer immediately, then did answer. This is how Christopher Hope put it:

‘Tim Farron has finally clarified his view on gay sex after admitted that it had come a distracting “issue” for his general election campaign. The Liberal Democrat leader said in a BBC interview that gay sex is not a sin, after five days of pressure to clarify his stance on the issue. Mr Farron had faced criticism for days for failing to answer questions about his position on homosexuality. Mr Farron refused to say four times in an interview with Channel 4 News last week whether he believed being gay was a sin.’

The most interesting story is missed.

Consider the debate between writers Andrew Sullivan and Douglas Wilson on the question of same-sex marriage. Douglas Wilson is significantly Christian. Andrew Sullivan claims to be a Catholic while being significantly homosexual.

In their debate it was asked of Wilson what his position would be if, for instance, his son told him he was gay. Sullivan – after Wilson offered the slippery ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ line, asked an odd question. (The question was odd because if Sullivan is a Christian, one wonders why he didn’t already know the answer to a question which relates directly to his own sexuality.)

He asked Wilson:

‘What if he said “I’m gay and I’ve never had any sex with any other man”? What sin did he commit?’

Wilson replied:

‘I don’t believe that homosexual orientation is a sin.’

This reasoning should be obvious as sitting under the ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ line. Wilson’s reasoning seems to come straight from the Bible, specifically Leviticus (20:13) which states:

 “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.”

It is plain that homosexual acts are the problem. This formulation gives the Christian (if they know their Bible) the ‘get out’ clause which allows them to state, no, they do not think ‘being gay’ is a sin.

This is why the fuss made about Tim Farron is missing the point.

Why didn’t Farron immediately state that ‘being gay’ isn’t a sin? Why refuse, four times in an interview, to answer this question using the get-out clause above? It would have ended things right there.

Days later, he says that ‘being gay’ isn’t a sin – something the significantly Christian Douglas Wilson knew straight away.

Why didn’t Farron close the entire line of questioning down immediately by saying the same thing? It was Farron’s refusal to answer which got the press excited. By the time he popped up saying ‘being gay’ isn’t a sin, the hounds have worked out that isn’t the same thing as homosexual acts being sins, which is why the hounds sharpened their question to ask about ‘gay sex’.

And now Farron has been forced to state that he doesn’t think ‘gay sex’ is a sin, when the Christian book states it is. What of Farron’s position now?

Is he lying about his views to avoid being battered by the press as a homophobe? Would a professional politician do that? If he would, what does that say about his Christian convictions?

And the answer to that might be why Farron didn’t immediately play the sin/sinner card to begin with.

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Fighting the Inevitable

Many of us thinks that the ‘I’ they use to refer to themselves is separate from their physical self, and perhaps takes the form of a little person who sits inside our head, looking through our eyes the way Captain Kirk looks through the screens of the Enterprise. Those who think this way are likely to be mistaken, but the mistake is a common one, and many people make it without knowing they’re doing so.

Many persons are more religious than they realise.

A person said to me recently, on the topic of what some call ‘gender reassignment’, that some of us are ‘born into the wrong body’. This is a common expression, used by persons to explain what causes a person to want to change their gender.

The idea that a person can be ‘born into the wrong body’ is physically, chemically, biologically, and philosophically illiterate. What makes the expression an interesting one has nothing to do with the ‘truth’ it contains, but rather what the expression presupposes.

The following isn’t perfect, but it will do. Imagine a factory, in which bodies are on a conveyor belt: robot arms insert the conscious mind into each head. Now imagine a fault in the celestial software which makes the belt lurch forward, throwing the bodies out of synch to their mind-inserting arms, and what is presupposed becomes clear.

Persons are not ‘born into’ their bodies at all. It is impossible, therefore, for a person to have been born into the wrong body. Every person is as nature ‘intended’.

(I marked the word out because I’m aware that ‘intention’ presupposes agency – which is obviously nonsense – but the expression is another good example of how our thoughts are saturated with the idea that consciousness can exist without the brain.)

Under ‘born into the wrong body’ is that very idea – that consciousness can exist without the brain.

What is under that idea?

Under that is the belief that we survive death.

And what is under that?

Under that, motivating everything else, is the fear of death.

Could it be that, a person can make a ‘throwaway’ remark on a topic about gender surgery, and what motivates it is a fear of death – something we weren’t talking about?

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Gay Cakes and the Whiff of Something Else…

That the ‘gay cake’ business found its way into a courtroom to begin with is an outrage to reason: one showing how rotted our national mind has become thanks to the thought-cancer of political correctness.

Alright, Mr Lee might be a total hoodwinker, but are the bakers any better?

I don’t think Mr Lee was asking the bakers to agree. That the bakers disagreed with the message is irrelevant. Their disagreement with the message did not prevent them from making the cake.

How do I know this to be true?

They could have made the cake without agreeing. Publishers publish things all the time without necessarily agreeing with their contributors.

Their refusal to make the cake might be more revealing than they realise. Indeed, their refusal to make the cake suggests they don’t really believe in God.

One assumes the bakers consider God to be an actual agent – a thinking being – who feels a great deal of love and is capable of forgiveness and so on.

One also assumes they believe God has the powers many have attributed to Him over time: the power to see-all and know-all, etc.. These are fair and reasonable assumptions. Indeed, this should be the least of it.

So why did they choose not to make the cake?

Surely to goodness, given what they claim to believe about the universe, they could have chosen to believe God would understand why they made the cake, would know they disagreed with it and that their principles remained unshaken, and been duly understanding and forgiving.

Is it possible the bakers were motivated by something else, and were using their “conscience” as cover for it?

This question is fair and reasonable.

In his Mail on Sunday column, Peter Hitchens takes a certain position on this case. His column is here.

Mr Hitchens also mentions Israel in this column.

Look at the colour of Mr Hitchens’s position in reply to those who criticise Israel with more enthusiasm than they criticise other countries for similar violence.

Mr Hitchens says these Israel critics are / might be, motivated by a dislike of Jews.

Apply that logic here.

(I mean, for heaven’s sake, a Christian who secretly doesn’t believe isn’t that weird an idea. I can read no minds, but consider Andrew Sullivan, no doubt a fine gentleman and an interesting person. Does he give anyone else the impression he is significantly unafraid of God?)

Had the bakers used the brains they were at least born with (or actually believed what they claimed to believe) they could have disarmed Mr Lee without a shot being fired. Their all-knowing God might not have understood this, but Sun Tzu would have.

These Christian bakers, thanks to their paw-licking, posing and preening, have done more than make themselves look like idiots: their tactical incompetence has resulted in yet more ground being won by the enemy.

They might not have meant to do that, but they did.

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No True Christian

Yesterday I speculated that many journalists and commentators and so on will begin to spew the politically correct line that the doctrines of Islam have nothing to do with the Paris horror. I used Sam Harris’s explanation of how weak and politically correct mainstream journalists will blame everything except religion for the behaviour of religious lunatics. I quoted from Piers Morgan (a chap with a large audience). Some of what he wrote in his response to the Hebdo killings was absurd.

Morgan is doing similar, here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3318410/PIERS-MORGAN-Paris-brace-blood-Churchill-said-Nazi-barbarians-never-in.html

His article is less feeble than his Hebdo response, but there’s still the denial in the core of his mind which damages the coherence of this thinking.

ISIS aren’t real Muslims, as some still maintain. They’re just gangsters who’ve hijacked Islam to suit their nefarious aims, cloaking their hatred and violence under the faux umbrella of religion.”

ISIS are real Muslims, and someone with Morgan’s audience should just tell the truth as a matter of honour. That ISIS take the Koran literally, something most Muslims don’t do, doesn’t mean the Koran isn’t at the core of their beliefs.

Think about Christians for a moment. There are some horrible and stupid things in the Bible, and the behaviour of Christian authorities for hundreds of years proved it.

We know this is true. We don’t deny it. We know Church authorities burned humans alive for reading the Bible in English; we know that Bloody Mary enjoyed toasted Protestant for breakfast; we know that the Catholics weren’t always fond of scientists, and liked to torture and kill them in the name of God. We know that Oliver Cromwell was a schizophrenic, puritanical religious lunatic, who was on a mission from God to rid England of superstition, and who gave the Irish good reason to be less than fond of him today. These are hardly the only examples I could have picked. But who would deny them?

Who tries to argue ‘Oliver Cromwell wasn’t a real Christian’? Who says ‘Bloody Mary wasn’t a real Catholic’? You get the idea.

We all know, and have no problem stating, that the Bible was at the root of their doings.

But what happens when the violence has the Koran at its root?

Suddenly it’s denial-city, with tones of self-loathing thrown in. This is a little example of that from Boris Johnson. He is a person who might one day be Prime Minister of Airstrip One.

When the Islamist killers opened fire, they killed and maimed people who were entirely guiltless of any provocation or disrespect to their religion. They murdered and maimed men and women who have had absolutely nothing to do with Western policy in Iraq or Syria – and who may well have been either entirely ignorant of the policies of President Francois Hollande, or indeed have disapproved of them.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3318892/ISIS-sick-narcissistic-death-cult-defect-writes-Boris-Johnson.html

Read Johnsons words slowly. Allow the meaning to gently enter your awareness.

That is what a pig wearing lipstick looks like.

Boris Johnson thought about that before he wrote it. That is a considered statement from a leading political figure. I’m going to rewrite it, to demonstrate what Johnson could have said, but chose not to:

When the Islamist murderers opened fire, they murdered and maimed people who would have been innocent victims even if they HAD provoked or disrespected their religion. They murdered and maimed men and women who would have been innocent victims even if they had EVERYTHING to do with Western policy in Iraq or Syria- and even if they had FULL KNOWLEDGE of the policies of President Francois Hollande, and indeed loved those policies.

Some acts are unjustifiable, no matter what provocation a person wants to claim.

Johnson’s denial (and he won’t be the only one) is like a mind-cancer, twisting and manipulating thoughts under the surface, so that when the words get to the surface, they’re greasy and smelly because the denial-puss is seeping out from below.

In the days to come there’s going to be more and more of this bullshit, and the idiot public will carry-on claiming ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ as if it was their own thought, not the parroting of garbage from dickheads like Morgan and Johnson.