Saturday, March 21, 2009

Objectivism & Politics, Part 2

Introducing Vilfredo Pareto. My examination of Rand’s politics will focus on just two aspects of Rand’s theory: (1) the quality (or lack thereof) of its reasoning and (2) the difficulties of implementing this theory. In order to make my case on both these aspects, I will have to rely heavily on the work of the Italian social scientist, Vilfredo Pareto. He’s made occasional cameos on this blog before, but now we have to become more familiar with the so-called “Karl Marx of the bourgeoisie.” From the excellent “History of Economic Thought” website, we learn the following:

After graduating top of his class in 1870, ... Pareto worked as the director of a railway and the managing director of an iron and steel concern, the Società Ferriere d'Italia in Florence. While in Florence Pareto became increasingly frustrated with government regulators.... He sided with the radical democratic movements and the liberals whom, he believed, would replace privilege with meritocracy, restore real democracy, pursue free trade and true competition. Pareto made an unsuccessful bid for office on an opposition platform in 1882.

In 1889, after the death of his parents, Pareto quit his job and moved to a villa in Fiesole... From his retreat, he began writing numerous polemical articles against the government and gave public lectures at a working man's institute. He was quickly targeted as a troublemaker by the authorities. Trailed by police, intimidated by hired thugs, his lectures were often closed down and his applications for teaching jobs blocked (incidentally, being well-trained with the sword, a crack shot with a pistol and equipped with an aristocratic sense of honor, Pareto never let himself be physically intimidated).

[Pareto] would later take up economics and succeed Léon Walras at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.] In a famous 1900 Rivista article, Pareto suddenly changed direction. Heretofore a radical democrat, Pareto now decided to declare himself an anti-democrat. The disturbances of the 1890s in Italy and France led Pareto to realize that, far from restoring true democracy, meritocracy and promoting social welfare, the radical movements were really just seeking to replace one élite with another élite, the privileges and structures of power remaining intact. The struggle was not for a good society, but a squabble among élites over whom exactly was to ... govern. And the ideals and theories they claimed to fight for? Just propaganda, Pareto declared, the way upwardly-mobile folks incite the helpless, hopeless mob to take to the streets on their behalf. For Pareto, humanitarianism, liberalism, socialism, communism, fascism, whatever, were all the same in the end. All ideologies were just smokescreens foisted by "leaders" who really only aspired to enjoy the privileges and powers of the governing élite. Pareto decided to have none of it—and went on a crusade to expose the sham of political ideology and doctrine. He condemned socialists of all stripes roundly in a 1902 book, but took particular aim at logically demolishing the "new gospel" of Marxian economics. For Pareto ... the promised "classless" society that would emerge under communism was merely ideological fodder for socialist leaders to lay on their flock.

[Pareto’s] sociological observations also begin to indicate the future course of his ideas. In 1900, Pareto had entered into a brief controversy with Benedetto Croce. Croce had criticized economists' positivistic approach, particularly the assumption of "rational economic man". Pareto defended economists, but, at the same time, realized that the conventional defense was not even convincing ... to himself. Why did the predictions of economics fail to correspond to reality? Why were its policy recommendations, to him logically irrefutable, not adopted? The explanation, he concluded, echoing Georges Sorel, was simply that much of human activity was driven not by logical action, but rather by non-logical action.

Pareto ... moved to Villa Angora in Céligny, near Lake Geneva... Pareto used his time at Céligny to write his Trattato di sociologia generale [known in English as The Mind and Society], which was finally published, after wartime delays, in 1916. This was his great sociological masterpiece. He explains how human action can be neatly reduced to residue and derivation. People act on the basis of non-logical sentiments (residues) and invent justifications for them afterwards (derivations). The derivation is thus just the content and form of the ideology itself. But the residues are the real underlying problem, the particular cause of the squabbles that leads to the "circulation of élites". The underlying residue, he thought, was the [most fruitful] object of sociological enquiry.

If we focus on Pareto’s career, up until at least the late 1890s, we might be able to make something of an Objectivist hero out of him. After all, he was director of a railroad and steel concern, and he was a champion of economic freedom and an opponent of “intervention.” He fought to educate working man in the principles of freedom and even showed in courage in facing up to attempts by the government to intimidate and silence him. But in 1900, something happened to Pareto that made him much less the Objectivist hero. What happened? Why did Pareto suddenly lose all his idealism and become so “cynical” (as his critics claim) of human nature, particularly the human nature of political elites?

The answer is really quite simple: it is yet another case of the proverbial “mugging by reality.” Pareto, from his own experience, found that trying to convince large numbers of people (whether workers, intellectuals, politicians, whomever) was a hopeless endeavor, and that his attempts to change the social order through arguments based on sound economic reasonings were a waste of time. Instead of trying to change society, he would seek to understand it. In his The Mind and Society, he examined literally hundreds of “theories, theologies, cosmogonies, systems of metaphysics, and so on,” with the idea of trying to “gain some knowledge of the forces which are at work in society — that is, of the tendencies and inclinations of human beings.” The result is an impressive compendium of the non-logical and non-rational in human nature. In four long volumes, Pareto builds a massive empirical case for the important role that "non-logical conduct" plays in human life and in the social order. By demonstrating the logical and empirical ineptitude of most of the theories put forth by intellectuals and philosophers, Pareto gave ample evidence that rationalization, rather than rational pursuit of truth, is what governs most of what passes for thought outside the hard sciences. After reading his massive treatise, it is difficult to ever again to swallow the romantic notion that social conditions can be changed by winning philosophical arguments.

63 comments:

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Pareto gave ample evidence that rationalization, rather than rational pursuit of truth, is what governs most of what passes for thought outside the hard sciences. - Greg
___________________________________




Does above paragraph apply to you as well in regarding some of the statements you have made awhile back?

gregnyquist said...

Red: "Does above paragraph apply to you as well in regarding some of the statements you have made awhile back?"

Which statements are these? I don't make any claim that everything I say is the "gospel" truth; merely that statements seem true, or at least plausible, in light of the evidence that I am familiar with. Of course, some questions are very complicated and involve many variables acting in relations of reciprocal causation. On such issues, one can at best make an educated guess, which may very well turn out to be wrong. Also one should keep note that on a blog one can't be as mindful of stating things with as much "accuracy" as one would in a scholarly paper or an advanced scientific tome. These blog posts are all somewhat hastily written are bound to contain some errors, particularly errors of expression, or when a certain fact may be a bit overstated or important conditions may be glossed over. The fact is, if I sought to express everything as "scientifically" as possible these posts would merely become far too prolix and tedious (they are prolix and tedious enough as they are: no need to make them even worse).

Anonymous said...

Greg,

Do you know of Steve Keen, the Australian economist, and his blog, DebtWatch?

http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/

He has a broader view of Fisher than you do in your book, , Visions of Reality, since he incorporates Fisher's later analysis of business cycles (debt-deflation, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/docs/meltzer/fisdeb33.pdf).

Keen also criticizes modern neoclassical economics, but he is mathematical economist and thinks the problem is more with neoclassical economics than with mathematics. You might be familiar with his "Debunking Economics."

I bought your book (think of that as my widower's mite), and while I enjoy it, I'm sometimes reminded too strongly on the issues with which I am well acquainted (philosophy of mind, evolution and religion, economics) that it's more polemic in nature and not as dispassionate as you might think or intend, which usually leads me to question more what I am not acquainted with or what I have stopped studying ever since I started spending more of my time in middle management in corporate America.

Would like to hear your thoughts on Fisher's paper. If I ever find time to write a review, I will flesh out more substantively my problems with your positions in terms of what is omitted - as polemical articles, they are fine, but they usually fail to explain/account for some important things. As a simple example, what did you think of this essay by Dennett?

http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,2089,Could-there-be-a-Darwinian-Account-of-Human-Creativity,Daniel-Dennett,page9

Sorry, this has been longer than I intended.

Thanks,
Laj

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Pareto gave ample evidence that rationalization, rather than rational pursuit of truth, is what governs most of what passes for thought outside the hard sciences. - Greg
===================================

Does above paragraph apply to you as well in regarding some of the statements you have made awhile back? - Red Grant on 3/23/2009 11:12:00 AM
===================================

Which statements are these? - Greg
___________________________________






These........












____________________________

Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
____________________________



"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." - Luke 16:18

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+16:18



But Bill Johnson is also a therapist and federal probation officer. His work experience has caused him to note that it's awfully popular to be Baptist.

"When I interview criminals going into prison or coming out of prison, most of them are Baptist," he said, laughing.

http://www.adherents.com/largecom/baptist_divorce.html



Is that why the Bible Belt has the higher murder rates than U.S. average?

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n12_v94/ai_21020057




____________________________

Fundamentalist churches, for example, often put a lot of pressure on their congregations to keep on the straight and narrow, which means less dysfunctional people running about in society. I think that's a net gain. - Greg
____________________________






Is that why "Fundamentalist Christian" couples have the highest divorce rates in the nation? (Incidently, atheists have the lowest divorce rates along with perhaps Lutherans.)


Is that why the Bible belt has higher murder rates than the U.S. average, much less Netherland?

Is that why the Bible belt has high teen pregnancy rate, along with high STD rates?

Is that why the Bible belt has high rate of people living together without marriage?



http://community-2.webtv.net/tales_of_the_western_world/BIBLEBELT/

4/15/2008 09:05:00 PM







Rationalization (psychology), the process of constructing a logical justification for a decision that was originally arrived at through a different mental process

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Also one should keep note that on a blog one can't be as mindful of stating things with as much "accuracy" as one would in a scholarly paper or an advanced scientific tome. These blog posts are all somewhat hastily written are bound to contain some errors, particularly errors of expression, or when a certain fact may be a bit overstated or important conditions may be glossed over. The fact is, if I sought to express everything as "scientifically" as possible these posts would merely become far too prolix and tedious (they are prolix and tedious enough as they are: no need to make them even worse). - Greg on 3/25/2009 12:50:00 PM
___________________________________





Yes, I understand that.

However, that does not mean one has to contradict one's own opinion in such a obvious way.


and

refuse to apply the same standard of examining the logical consistency to the 'ethical' standard claimed by different groups.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Keen also criticizes modern neoclassical economics, but he is mathematical economist and thinks the problem is more with neoclassical economics than with mathematics. - Laj
___________________________________





You might have have a point.


Garbage in, Garbage out.

gregnyquist said...

Red Grant: "These..."

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg

I still don't see how this statement proves that I am rationalizing preconceived beliefs. In taking that position, I am taking position that, in many ways, goes against my personal preferences. Moreover, it is a position I used to argue against. I don't have any vested interest in it. It really doesn't matter to me one way or another whether it turns out to be true.

Now the "evidence you provide" against it (about divorce and murder rates) is not entirely convincing. Indeed, the statistical evidence seems to me close to useless because it doesn't it doesn't do a good enough job isolating the many variables that could account for what is going on. What is needed is much more detailed statistical evidence that controls for all the many variables involved. The real question is whether church attendance (i.e., involvement in community) makes an individual (everything else being held equal) less or more likely to behave in a socially functional manner. This question cannot be settled by looking broad statistical aggregates. But if I someone comes out with some statistical evidence that controls for most of the variables involved in these calculations that demonstrates that involvement in church community has either no effect on "morality" or a negative effect, then I'll simply resume my old position.

gregnyquist said...

Laj: "As a simple example, what did you think of this essay by Dennett?"

I found it one of Dennett's less convincing pieces. The computational theory of the mind has always struck me as a reach, and Dennett's attempt to use computer generated music to help establish his point seems to me a clear example of what cognitive scientists call the "Eliza effect," after artifical intelligence psycholigist name Eliza (which I have played with). I listened to some of the computer-generated music and, while the music may have been impressive for a computer, it does not come anywhere close to the models it imitates.

I did a quick read-through of the Fisher article. Fisher believed (apparently as result of his Deft-Deflation theory) that the Great Depression could have been cured (or at least ameliorated) through inflation. He tried on several occasions to convince Roosevelt to conduct an inflationary policy, but Roosevelt could never make up his mind to stick to it. In broad terms, there is a lot of truth in Fisher's theory (as well as his equation of exchange), but I find it a tad superficial. Indeed, the policy he recommends is part of the reason why we've got in this mess (whenever financial markets are in trouble, we reflate). And while it is true that inflation will wipe out bad debt, it is rather a crude weapon for achieving that end. Liquidation of the worst debt along with perhaps some monetization of countyparty debt might be a more sensible approach.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red Grant: "These..."

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
===================================

I still don't see how this statement proves that I am rationalizing preconceived beliefs. - Greg
___________________________________





How had you reached your view that

___________________________________

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
___________________________________


?





___________________________________

In taking that position

[that regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior.],

I am taking position that, in many ways, goes against

my personal preferences. - Greg
___________________________________








What are your personal preferences?


and

why would your personal preferences be, in many ways,

against taking position that

regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior?





___________________________________

Moreover, it is a position I used to argue against. - Greg
___________________________________




You mean before you made the statement:

___________________________________

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
___________________________________


or

after?



If before, then what made you change your mind?





___________________________________

I don't have any vested interest in it. It really doesn't matter to me one way or another whether it turns out to be true. - Greg
___________________________________




This isn't very convincing, Greg.

Considering the fact that you advocated the utility of religion, particularly "Christianity", as the hope of the West, especially U.S.





____________________________

So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
____________________________






___________________________________

Now the "evidence you provide" against it (about divorce and murder rates) is not entirely convincing. Indeed, the statistical evidence seems to me close to useless because it doesn't it doesn't do a good enough job isolating the many variables that could account for what is going on. What is needed is much more detailed statistical evidence that controls for all the many variables involved. The real question is whether church attendance (i.e., involvement in community) makes an individual (everything else being held equal) less or more likely to behave in a socially functional manner. This question cannot be settled by looking broad statistical aggregates. - Greg
___________________________________





Okay, so how did your reach your conclusion that

___________________________________

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
___________________________________



?



___________________________________

I don't make any claim that everything I say is the "gospel" truth; merely that statements seem true, or at least plausible, in light of

the evidence that I am familiar with. - Greg
___________________________________




Your "evidence" in reaching the conclusion that

___________________________________

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
___________________________________





...did it meet the standard you used to judge my statistical evidence?



___________________________________

Now the "evidence you provide" against it (about divorce and murder rates) is not entirely convincing. Indeed, the statistical evidence seems to me close to useless because it doesn't it doesn't do a good enough job isolating the many variables that could account for what is going on. What is needed is much more detailed statistical evidence that controls for all the many variables involved. The real question is whether church attendance (i.e., involvement in community) makes an individual (everything else being held equal) less or more likely to behave in a socially functional manner. This question cannot be settled by looking broad statistical aggregates. - Greg
___________________________________

Wells said...

I would argue that church attendance and criminality would be inversely related. But only amongst people who are communicants in religions that have churches. Not because churches instill morality or whatever, but for completely different reasons.

Consider what you would do if you were wanted by the police. Would you go to a large, easy to spot building on Sunday (Or Friday or Saturday) Morning, who's ownership publicly advertises that an event is going to take place there weekly, and posts the time for this event on a sign outside. Would you be seen in aforementioned crowd, some members of which might know about your crimes and now have knowledge of your whereabouts, and a few of which might even be the cops.
Would you do all that? Or would you lay low?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

I would argue that church attendance and criminality would be inversely related. - Wells
___________________________________




Not necessarily, one could argue just as well that regular church attendance grants one

"respectibility"

and

"moral" "credibility"

which could be a very useful cover

for the sociopath.

would

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

I don't have any vested interest in it. It really doesn't matter to me one way or another whether it turns out to be true. - Greg
___________________________________




This isn't very convincing, Greg.

Considering the fact that you advocated the utility of religion, particularly "Christianity", as the hope of the West, especially U.S.





____________________________

So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
____________________________










Greg, below is a statement from Daniel Barnes to anon:




___________________________________

I don't see how you can keep denying what's written in black and white in front of you, but I suppose people can deny anything if they want. Why don't you just drop all the hairsplitting and say she was wrong to say this, she misspoke, and let it go? - Daniel Barnes
___________________________________

Red Grant said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090331/ap_on_re_us/child_slain_cult

gregnyquist said...

Red: "If before, then what made you change your mind?"

A number of considerations went to causing me to change my mind on this issue. For years, I had agreed with Sumner on the affect of religion on people—namely, that it didn't have any. But Pareto convinced me that (1) religious sentiments were necessary for society and (2) that religious derivations, although they don't have much influence, can have some.

Other considerations that influenced me are:

(1) The fact that, from my own personal experience, I had found that the Christians that I knew tended to be nice and more trustworthy then the non-Christians. Unlike some militant aetheists, I have never been able to use my personal dislike of the theology, the moralism, the makish sentimentality of many forms of Christianity as pretext for having contempt for people who consider themselves Christian.

(2) I have to admit, as much as I would prefer not to, that the secularization of Europe has been a disaster. As much as sympathize with the anti-clericalism of Voltaire, I have to admit that what's replaced Christianity has not been an improvement. I find this particularly disappointing because Europe is culturally superior to the United States, and I would have liked to have seen a civilization based largely on secular culture succeed. It hasn't, and it would be dishonest of me to admit otherwise.

(3) I have also been influenced by a challenge that radio talk show host Dennis Prager has made. Image you're in a bad part of town at night and you suddenly see a group of coming toward you. Would you be relieved to find that they had just come from a Bible study? I have to admit, in all honesty, that I would be relieved, even though I personally would not wish to attend such a study. But just because I don't like something doesn't mean it can't be a good thing for others.

Now a short word on statistical evidence. I am not aware of any statistical evidence that isolates all the important variables, so the question of the influence of Christianity on conduct cannot be settled soley on statistics. At our current state of knowledge, it comes down an educated guess. My view is an educated guess, but so is everyone else's. But unlike most other people, I am not guessing based on my preferences, but on my experience, and on the preponderance of what facts I am acquainted with. My own preference would be a society whose moral wisdom was derived from high culture—from "the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature. But I'm skeptical of the practicality of this view.

Red: "Considering the fact that you advocated the utility of religion, particularly 'Christianity', as the hope of the West, especially U.S."

My position is a little more suble than this. I don't "advocate" the utility of religion. I suspect, as did Pareto, that some religions have utility in a given set of circumstances. Nor do I necessarily believe that "Christianity" is the hope of the West, although I do think the chances for the West would be greater if the West had not become progressively de-Christianized. Such de-Christianization is a symptom of a dangerous demoralization of society—specifically, the atrophying of those very "religious sentiments," as Pareto calls them, that help motivate large numbers of people to fight. I'm sorry, but if you want a free, individualistic society, you have to fight for it, and I just don't see enough secular people willing to do this.

Kelly said...

Greg, in what was has the secularization of Europe has been a disaster?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red: "If before, then what made you change your mind?"

A number of considerations went to causing me to change my mind on this issue. For years, I had agreed with Sumner on the affect of religion on people—namely, that

it didn't have any. - Greg
___________________________________





I guess then I had a head start relative to you, since I have always been aware of the residual effect religion had on people ever since I was intellectually conscious (as I see).






___________________________________

(1) The fact that, from my own personal experience, I had found that the Christians that I knew tended to be nice and more trustworthy then the non-Christians. - Greg
___________________________________



Not based on my experience.

The most two-faced, back-stabbing, and superficial, and pretentious, intellectually dishonest and philosophically challenged people

I have ever met tend to be "Christians" of especially of "Fundamental" variety.





___________________________________

I have never been able to use my personal dislike of the theology[Christianity], the moralism,... - Greg
___________________________________





What part of the theology[Christianity], the moralism do you

personally dislike?





___________________________________

Unlike some militant aetheists, I have never been able to use my personal dislike of the theology, the moralism, the makish sentimentality of many forms of Christianity as pretext for having contempt for people who consider themselves Christian. - Greg
___________________________________





What about people who claimed to be Christians but

do not practice Christianity, but only pretend to practice them in order to advance their personal agenda (especially of non-economic nature, and that are harmful to others, especially knowingly)?

Do you not dislike them personally?





___________________________________

I have to admit, as much as I would prefer not to, that the secularization of Europe has been a disaster. - Greg
___________________________________




How so?

and

since when?





___________________________________

As much as sympathize with the anti-clericalism of Voltaire, I have to admit that what's replaced

Christianity has not been an improvement. - Greg
___________________________________






Since when Europe ever was Christian?

as opposed to

"Christian"?




___________________________________

I find this particularly disappointing because

Europe is culturally superior to the United States, and I would have liked to have seen a civilization based largely on secular culture succeed. - Greg
___________________________________




In what aspect do you consider Europe to be culturally superior to U.S.?


Since when Europian civilization was largely based on secular culture?




___________________________________

It hasn't, and it would be dishonest of me to admit otherwise. - Greg
-----------------------------------
I don't have any vested interest in it. It really doesn't matter to me one way or another whether it turns out to be true. - Greg
-----------------------------------
So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
___________________________________








___________________________________

I have also been influenced by a challenge that radio talk show host Dennis Prager has made. Image you're in a bad part of town at night and you suddenly see a group of coming toward you. Would you be relieved to find that they had just come from a Bible study? I have to admit, in all honesty, that I would be relieved, even though I personally would not wish to attend such a study. - Greg
___________________________________





Michael Prescott already used that example, which I demolished way back.

Here's a counterexample:

Suppose you are going to do a business deal. There are two candidates.

1. One emphasizes his association,and credentials with Church.

2. The other emphasizes the nitty gritty details of the business and how he/she could help your business interest at a cost acceptable to you and advises you to contact independent third party of your own choosing (strictly based on professional qualification) to check him/her out. (You already know he/she does not believe in religion.)


Which one would you rather do business with?




___________________________________

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
___________________________________




So your statement above was not a statistical statement?





___________________________________

Now a short word on statistical evidence. I am not aware of any statistical evidence that isolates all the important variables, so the question of the influence of Christianity on conduct cannot be settled soley on statistics. - Greg
___________________________________




or

are you contradicting yourself?






___________________________________

Now a short word on

statistical evidence.

I am not aware of any statistical evidence that isolates all the important variables,

so the question of the influence of Christianity on conduct cannot be settled soley on

statistics. -Greg
-----------------------------------
At our current state of knowledge, it comes down an educated guess. My view is an educated guess, but so is everyone else's. But unlike most other people, I am not guessing based on my preferences, but on my experience, and on the preponderance of what facts I am acquainted with. - Greg
___________________________________



So your statement below was an educated guess?

___________________________________

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
___________________________________






___________________________________

My own preference would be a society whose moral wisdom was derived from high culture—from

"the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature. - Greg
___________________________________





Who decides what is "the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature?



If you, then

what standard do you use to decide what is "the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature?


and


how have you come to accept that standard?





___________________________________

But I'm skeptical of the practicality of this view

[that my own preference would be a society whose moral wisdom was derived from high culture—from

"the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature.]. - Greg
___________________________________





Why would you be skeptical of the practicality of that view?






___________________________________

Red: "Considering the fact that you advocated the utility of religion, particularly 'Christianity', as the hope of the West, especially U.S."

My position is a little more suble than this.

I don't "advocate" the utility of religion.

I suspect, as did Pareto, that some religions have utility in a given set of circumstances. Nor do I necessarily believe that "Christianity" is the hope of the West,... - Greg
-----------------------------------
So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
___________________________________





So you recant then?






___________________________________

...although I do think the chances for the West would be greater if the West had not become progressively

de-Christianized. - Greg
___________________________________




Why do you think the chances for the West would be greater if the West had not become progressively

de-Christianized?





___________________________________

Such de-Christianization is a symptom of a dangerous demoralization of society—specifically, the atrophying of those very "religious sentiments," as Pareto calls them,

that help motivate large numbers of people to fight. - Greg
___________________________________





Greg, this is a misunderstanding of Christianity from you.



Christianity is not about fighting worldly enemies to defend the temporal civilization.


It's about the eternal salvation of one's soul.





Btw. since when were the "West" and U.S. Christian?




___________________________________

I'm sorry, but if you want a free, individualistic society, you have to fight for it, and I just don't see enough

secular people willing to do this. - Greg
___________________________________




Another misunderstanding from you.

Christians do not fight worldly enemies for the sake of worldly goals.

Those who claim to be Christians but willing to fight are frauds.










Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But for now my kingdom is not from here." - John 18:36

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

As much as sympathize with the anti-clericalism of Voltaire, I have to admit that what's replaced

Christianity has not been an improvement. - Greg
___________________________________






Since when Europe ever was Christian?

as opposed to

"Christian"?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

I have never been able to use my personal dislike of the theology[Christianity], the moralism,... - Greg
___________________________________





What part of the theology[Christianity], the moralism do you

personally dislike?

gregnyquist said...

Kelly: "Greg, in what was has the secularization of Europe has been a disaster?"

The "disaster" is that Europe is incapable/unwilling to defend itself. America defended Europe against the Soviet threat and we still have close to 100,000 troops in Europe to keep Russia at bay. When a civilization no longer has the morale to defend itself, there is something seriously wrong.

Europe is suffering from a spiritual crisis of sorts, as brilliantly limned by Charles Murray:

"[The European mentality] goes something like this: Human beings are a collection of chemicals that activate and, after a period of time, deactivate. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time as pleasantly as possible... The same self-absorption in whiling away life as pleasantly as possible explains why Europe has become a continent that no longer celebrates greatness. When life is a matter of whiling away the time, the concept of greatness is irritating and threatening. What explains Europe's military impotence? I am surely simplifying, but this has to be part of it: If the purpose of life is to while away the time as pleasantly as possible, what can be worth dying for?"

In short, European man has become increasingly like Nietzsche's last man, which strikes me as something of a disaster. How is Europe to survive as Europe, as the cradle of Western Civilization, with the attitudes that now predominate on that continent?

gregnyquist said...

Red: "Greg, this is a misunderstanding of Christianity from you."

No, I think the misunderstanding is on your side. There is no one "real" meaning of Christianity. There are in fact many different forms of Christianity, and many different domains of it. There are many different forms of Christian theory, just as there are many different forms of Christian practice. There is Christianity as various bodies of doctrine and there is Christianity as various institutions. There are the "formal" meanings of Christianity, and the "real" meanings of Christianity. My focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since I am primarily interested in behavior, not on purported belief. Indeed, if we concentrate merely on the "formal" meaning of Christianity (using "formal" as defined by Burnham in The Machiavellians), then the last Christian died on the cross. But if we defined Christianity that way then there would be no use caviling about it, because there would be no such thing. Whatever influence Christianity, for better or worse, enjoys is primarily institutional; after all, institutions tend to influence people more than abstract doctrines. An institution forms a community, and it is those communal bonds which encourage people to behave better (or worse), out of fear of being frowned on by the group (a powerful motive for many people).

Your tendency to identify Christianity, not with institutions and practice, but with theory and doctrine is perhaps behind your concomitant tendency to identify Christianity with fundamentalism. But fundamentalism can easily mislead us on this question of Christianity's influence, because fundamentalism is a particularly primitive form of Christianity which appeals mostly to those on the left side of the intelligence bell curve. Now lack of intelligence is found to correlate with a number of dysfunctional behaviors; so it's not surprising to find a high divorce rate among fundamentalists. It would be a mistake, however, to assume, a priori, that this speaks to the influence of Christianity: that Christianity caused the divorce rate go higher. Given the fact that most fundamentalists preach against divorce and that it's looked down upon in fundamentalist churches, it's unlikely that the high divorce rate is caused by Christianity. It's entirely plausible that, in the absence of Christianity, the divorce rate would be even higher among fundamentalists; which is why such examples and statistics that you give can't be regarded as conclusive on this issue. Comparing divorce rates of fundamentalists and atheists tells little, if anything, because the intelligence gap is so great between the two groups. How does one know to the extent to which the divergent behaviors are due to "Christianity" or to intelligence? Moreover, it's not as if people who are fundamentalists can be expected to become rational and non-religious. Whatever drove them to become fundamentalists in the first place will still exists; which means they are likely take up something at least as bad, if not worse (and I fear it will be worse).

The general tenor of your post is to glide over these complexities in search of quick and easy solutions that confirm your prejudices. My nuanced view strikes you as a recantation of some of my more generalized expressions—but it's merely a clarification, not a recantation. The issue of the influence of a broad and varied institution like Christianity is very difficult to pin down: and one can hardly make plausible inferences about it based largely on some unpleasant personal experiences with fundamentalists. That is bound to lead to prejudicial results. The influence of anything so complex is bound to be different with different people: positive in some respects with some people, negative in some respects with others. The primary question is: what is the net effect on most people? Positive or negative. I think the net effect tends to be more positive then negative. Such the evidence that I am aware of from my personal acquaitence, from people's who judgment I trust, and from history all suggest. Furthermore, there is the question of what Christianity means as a symptom: for there is not only the effect of Christianity, there is also what it tells us about the people who take the trouble to "live" as Christians (i.e., they take part in a church community). All things being held equal (such as intelligence), is the church goer more likely or less likely to be a socially functional person? Or would they be more socially functional if (1) they did not attend a church; or (2) were involved in some other kind of institution? In the absence of statistics that would allow us to isolate the variables (such as intelligence), this has to be a judgment call based on as wide an experience as possible (including history and the experience of others). But it must be a judgment call that is free from prejudice. It cannot be based on dislike of Christianity as a doctrine or a dislike of people who call themselves Christians (because, for example, they don't follow all biblical prescriptions and are therefore "hypocrits").

gregnyquist said...

Red: "Here's a counterexample:

Suppose you are going to do a business deal. There are two candidates.

1. One emphasizes his association,and credentials with Church.

2. The other emphasizes the nitty gritty details of the business and how he/she could help your business interest at a cost acceptable to you and advises you to contact independent third party of your own choosing (strictly based on professional qualification) to check him/her out. (You already know he/she does not believe in religion.)"

This example is clearly prejudicial and is not equivalent to Prager's, because it stacks the deck against the Christian. There are many factors that go into the judgment of a business proposal besides religious affiliation. Some of those factors may be more important and have more weight than religion. But this does not mean the influence of Christianity tends to be negative. It just means there are many other factors involved, some which may be more important than Christianity. A more meaningful example would be two candidates who are identical in every respect except one is Christian and the other isn't.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red: "Greg, this is a misunderstanding of Christianity from you."

No, I think the misunderstanding is on your side. There is no one "real" meaning of Christianity. - Greg
___________________________________





Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But for now my kingdom is not from here." - John 18:36




So Greg, do you think Jesus's statement above doesn't describe real Christianity?

If not, then why not?





___________________________________

There are many different forms of Christian theory,... - Greg
___________________________________




Ah! but there is only one Jesus.





___________________________________

....just as there are many different forms of Christian practice. - Greg
___________________________________




You mean, "Christian" as opposed to Christian practice?

Do you think just because someone claims to be a Christian make him/her a Christian?


If you believe so, then this is the proof of your ignorance of New Testament, and Christian faith as reflected by statements made by Jesus.


Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But for now my kingdom is not from here." - John 18:36





___________________________________

There is Christianity as various bodies of doctrine and there is Christianity as various institutions.

There are the "formal" meanings of Christianity,.... - Greg
___________________________________





What is the "formal" meanings of Christinaity?



___________________________________

... and the "real" meanings of Christianity. - Greg
___________________________________





What is the "real" meanings of Christianity?





___________________________________

My focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since I am primarily interested in behavior, not on purported belief. - Greg
___________________________________




This is another proof of your ignorance of New Testament and Christianity as reflected by the statements by Jesus.






Jam 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?


Jam 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?


Jam 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?


Jam 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.


Jam 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.


Jam 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?


Jam 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.



From http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jam&c=2





___________________________________

Indeed, if we concentrate merely on the "formal" meaning of Christianity (using "formal" as defined by Burnham in The Machiavellians),... - Greg
___________________________________




First of all, who are this 'we'?

Certainly not I.


Second of all, you and those composing 'we' as you defined them

decide

(with assistance from Burnham from a book written long after the Resurrection of Jesus)

"formal" meaning of Christianity?


not as had been stipulated by the statements of Jesus?



If so, then does this mean you and others composing 'we' as you defined believe that there had been no formal meaning of Christianity

until you, Burnahm and others composing 'we' as you defined them came along?





___________________________________

....then the last Christian died on the cross. - Greg
___________________________________





How do you know that?





___________________________________

... then the last Christian died on the cross.

But if

we

defined Christianity that way then there would be no use caviling about it, because there would be no such thing. - Greg
___________________________________




Again, another ignorance of New Testament from you,

you and others composing 'we' as you defined them

do not decide Christianity.


It had already been defined by the statements of Jesus.





___________________________________

Whatever influence Christianity, for better or worse, enjoys is primarily

institutional; after all, institutions tend to influence people more than abstract doctrines. - Greg
___________________________________





Another proof of ignorance of New Testament and Christianity as reflected by the statements of Jesus from Greg!








5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.

I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6


But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

From http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6:5-8




___________________________________

An institution forms a community, and it is those communal bonds which encourage people to behave better (or worse), out of fear of being frowned on by the group (a powerful motive for many people).
- Greg
___________________________________




Another proof of ignorance from Greg regarding New Testament and Christianity

if his statement above apply to Christianity.






4:20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, 1 and you people 2 say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 3


4:21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, 4 a time 5 is coming when you will worship 6 the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

4:22 You people 7 worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, because salvation is from the Jews. 8

4:23 But a time 9 is coming – and now is here 10 –

when the true worshipers will worship the Father

in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks 11 such people to be 12 his worshipers. 13

4:24 God is spirit, 14 and the people who worship him must

worship in spirit and truth.”

4:25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (the one called Christ); 15 “whenever he 16 comes, he will tell 17 us everything.” 18



From http://net.bible.org/passage.php?passage=John+4:20-25#n18





___________________________________

Your tendency to identify Christianity, not with institutions and practice, but with theory and doctrine is perhaps behind your concomitant tendency to identify Christianity with fundamentalism. - Greg
___________________________________




Another proof of ignorance from Greg regarding New Testament and Christianity.




Romans 3:28 (King James Version)

28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.


From http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%203:28&version=9;



___________________________________

....because fundamentalism is a particularly primitive form of Christianity... - Greg
___________________________________




How do you know that?




___________________________________

....because fundamentalism is a particularly primitive form of Christianity


which appeals mostly to those on the left side of the intelligence bell curve. - Greg
___________________________________





How do you know that?







___________________________________

But fundamentalism can easily mislead us on this question of Christianity's influence, because fundamentalism is a particularly primitive form of Christianity which appeals mostly to those on the left side of the intelligence bell curve.

Now lack of intelligence is found to correlate with a number of

dysfunctional behaviors; so it's not surprising to find a high divorce rate among fundamentalists. - Greg
-----------------------------------
Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
-----------------------------------
Fundamentalist churches, for example, often put a lot of pressure on their congregations to keep on the straight and narrow, which means less dysfunctional people running about in society. I think that's a net gain. - Greg
___________________________________





Greg, why keep contradicting yourself?




___________________________________

It's entirely plausible that, in the absence of Christianity, the divorce rate would be even higher among fundamentalists; ... - Greg
___________________________________





How would you know that?





___________________________________

so it's not surprising to find a high divorce rate among fundamentalists.

It would be a mistake, however, to assume, a priori, that this speaks to the influence of Christianity: - Greg
___________________________________




Now, Greg, you're contradicting yourself again, since you had already assumed, a priori, that regular church attendance had positive effect on those attending church.



____________________________

Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
____________________________




I've already asked you how you found out the "fact" above, and you refused to answer so far.





___________________________________

It would be a mistake, however, to assume, a priori, that this speaks to the influence of Christianity:

that Christianity caused the divorce rate go higher. - Greg
___________________________________






Who said that? Certainly not I.


or

are you getting a little confused?





___________________________________

Given the fact that most fundamentalists preach against divorce... - Greg
___________________________________




Does this mean then you believe there is a fundamentalist somewhere who does/do not preach against divorce?


or


if so, then tell who that is/are.


or


do you know what you're talking about?




___________________________________

it's unlikely that the high divorce rate is caused by

Christianity. - Greg
___________________________________






Who said Christianity causes the high divorce rates?





___________________________________

It's entirely plausible that, in the absence of Christianity, the divorce rate would be even higher among fundamentalists; which is

why such examples and statistics that you give can't be regarded as conclusive on this issue. Greg
___________________________________




This is another contradiction from you considering you had made a statement:


____________________________

Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
____________________________



and you have refused to answer my question of

how you found out that correlation above?




___________________________________

Comparing divorce rates of fundamentalists and atheists tells little, if anything, because the intelligence gap is so great between the two groups. - Greg
___________________________________







How do you know that?





___________________________________

How does one know to the extent to which the divergent behaviors are due to "Christianity" or to intelligence? - Greg
___________________________________




Now, Greg, are you disowning/recanting your previous statement then:



____________________________

Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
____________________________








___________________________________

...it's not as if people who are fundamentalists can be expected to become rational and non-religious. - Greg
___________________________________






Taken On Faith
A look into the Baptist Foundation's fall

July 31, 2002 | by Emily Cartwright
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1 | 2 Charles and Wanda Phillips (CBS)



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(CBS) Ever since Enron there has been worry in this country about the security of the money we put away for retirement - it's a shock to see people lose everything they worked for and not even know it.

This past spring, Scott Pelley reported another warning about our retirement funds - the spectacular collapse of an investment fund that wiped out the savings of more than 11,000 people, the investors in the Baptist Foundation of Arizona. Many signed up after hearing a salesman's pitch in their own church.

Baptist Foundation failed in 1999. Investors had $570 million in the fund. It is the largest bankruptcy of a non-profit organization ever. Like Enron, Baptist Foundation concealed its losses, and like Enron and Worldcom, the accounting firm Arthur Andersen audited its financial reports. Today many of the investors say they believed that the security of Baptist Foundation and the credibility of Arthur Andersen could be taken on faith.

Thousands of investors lived on monthly checks from the foundation - the interest on their investments. Then, three years ago the checks stopped coming.

When a letter came to Freda Sanders saying that Baptist Foundation was broke, she couldn’t believe her eyes. “Impossible,” Freda remembers thinking. “Because everyone said they'd been in business so long they would - no way.”

One can understand her shock upon seeing Baptist Foundation's sales pitch, which states "not one investor has ever lost a penny of their investment or the interest they earned."

But as the announcer spoke those words, Baptist Foundation was losing millions. The Foundation started back in the 1940's, paying a high rate of return and using some of the profits to build churches. But in the 1980's came new management. Under CEO Bill Crotts, Baptist Foundation went completely, secretly broke.

A series of bad real estate investments ruined Baptist Foundation. But instead of admitting its losses the Foundation hid them through fraud.

Here's how it worked: Baptist foundation sold its rotten real estate to a company called ALO. The bad investments moved off the foundation's books and over to ALO. But ALO wasn't really a separate company. It was created, controlled, and financed by Baptist Foundation itself. The real estate sales were phony, just an accounting trick to make the foundation's books look good and conceal its overwhelming debt.

Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano indicted eight Foundation officers for fraud including the CEO Bill Crotts.

“As they sucked more and more investors in, there was no reasonable likelihood that those investors would ever get any return on their money,” Napolitano says. “And in fact, they lost all their money.”

Charles and Wanda Phillips put their whole nest egg into Baptist Foundation, $120,000.

“I felt it was safer there than it would be in a bank or any other institution,” Charles says. “Because we thought we were dealing with Christians and a real Christian doesn't steal your money.”

When the checks stopped coming, Wanda became scared about what would happen.

“I panicked,” Wanda says. “I panicked terrible. I couldn't sleep at night or anything else because I didn't know what we were going to live on.”



From

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/07/30/60II/main516922.shtml


Those running the Baptist Foundation of America, were they
religious

or

non-religious

in Christian sense?





___________________________________

Whatever drove them to become fundamentalists in the first place will still exists; - Greg
___________________________________




How do you know that?






___________________________________

Whatever drove them to become fundamentalists in the first place will still exists;

which means they are likely take up something at least as bad,... - Greg
___________________________________






How do you know that?





___________________________________

... which means they are likely take up something at least as bad, if not worse (and I fear it will be worse). - Greg
___________________________________




Like what?


and why?




___________________________________

The general tenor of your post is to glide over these complexities in search of quick and easy solutions that confirm

your prejudices. - Greg
___________________________________





What do you think are my prejudices?





___________________________________

My nuanced view strikes you as a recantation of some of my more generalized expressions—but it's merely a clarification, not a recantation. - Greg
___________________________________






I'll recap below some of the statements made by Greg and my responses to them so that people can see for themselves whether you're recanting/contradicting your own statements.






___________________________________

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
___________________________________




So your statement above was not a statistical statement?





___________________________________

Now a short word on statistical evidence. I am not aware of any statistical evidence that isolates all the important variables, so the question of the influence of Christianity on conduct cannot be settled soley on statistics. - Greg
___________________________________




or

are you contradicting yourself?

















___________________________________

Now a short word on

statistical evidence.

I am not aware of any statistical evidence that isolates all the important variables,

so the question of the influence of Christianity on conduct cannot be settled soley on

statistics. -Greg
-----------------------------------
At our current state of knowledge, it comes down an educated guess. My view is an educated guess, but so is everyone else's. But unlike most other people, I am not guessing based on my preferences, but on my experience, and on the preponderance of what facts I am acquainted with. - Greg
___________________________________



So your statement below was an educated guess?

___________________________________

"Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
___________________________________







___________________________________

Red: "Considering the fact that you advocated the utility of religion, particularly 'Christianity', as the hope of the West, especially U.S."

My position is a little more suble than this.

I don't "advocate" the utility of religion.

I suspect, as did Pareto, that some religions have utility in a given set of circumstances. Nor do I necessarily believe that "Christianity" is the hope of the West,... - Greg
-----------------------------------
So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
___________________________________





So you recant then?







___________________________________

I don't see how you can keep denying what's written in black and white in front of you, but I suppose people can deny anything if they want. Why don't you just drop all the hairsplitting and say she was wrong to say this, she misspoke, and let it go? - Daniel Barnes
___________________________________







___________________________________

The issue of the influence of a broad and varied institution like Christianity is very difficult to pin down: ... - Greg
___________________________________



First of all, Christianity is not an institution.

It's a faith in Jesus.


Now, churches are institutions, but they are not Christianity.



.




___________________________________

... and one can hardly make plausible inferences about it based largely on some unpleasant personal experiences with fundamentalists. - Greg
___________________________________





If you meant me in your above statements, then

you are quite wrong.


I made my inferences based on studying Bible for a long period of time. (almost 30 years)




___________________________________

...and one can hardly make plausible inferences about it based largely on some unpleasant personal experiences with fundamentalists.

That is bound to lead to

prejudicial results. - Greg
___________________________________




Now, that is quite weird, coming from you, considering your previous statement.



___________________________________

I have never been able to use my personal dislike of the theology[Christianity], the moralism,... - Greg
___________________________________







What part of Christian theology, the moralism do you personally dislike?






___________________________________

The primary question is: what is the net effect on most people? Positive or negative.

I think the net effect tends to be more positive then negative. Such the evidence that I am aware of from my personal acquaitence, from people's who judgment I trust, and

from history all suggest. - Greg
___________________________________





What are the examples of the positive effects of Christianity you can think of?

and

the negative effects you can think of?

and if you believe Christitanity has net positive effects, then

why do you personally dislike Christian theology and the moralism?





___________________________________

Furthermore, there is the question of what Christianity means as a symptom: for there is not only the effect of Christianity, there is also what it tells us about the people who take the trouble to "live" as Christians (i.e., they take part in a church community). - Greg
___________________________________





Another proof of Greg's ignorance regarding Christianity and what it means to live as a Christian.



Living as a Christian means accepting the statements of Jesus and living according to His will both in body and spirit.

It doesn't have to involve going to church.


5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.

I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6


But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

From http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6:5-8







___________________________________

I think the net effect tends to be more positive then negative. Such the evidence that I am aware of from my personal acquaitence, from people's who judgment I trust, and

from history all suggest. - Greg
___________________________________





Please show me the evidence to the net positive effect of Christianity from history as you can think of.


If you can't, then


explain why?







___________________________________

All things being held equal (such as intelligence), is the church goer more likely or less likely to be a socially functional person? Or would they be more socially functional if (1) they did not attend a church; or (2) were involved in some other kind of institution?

In the absence of statistics that would allow us to isolate the variables (such as intelligence), this has to be a judgment call based on as wide an experience as possible (including history and the experience of others). - Greg
___________________________________





So why had you said earlier:



____________________________

Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
____________________________

?


in the absence of statistics that would allow you to isolate the variables?



Is this an example of recanting or contradiction

or

both on your part?






___________________________________

But it must be a judgment call that is free from

prejudice.

It cannot be based on dislike of Christianity as a doctrine... - Greg
___________________________________




So this mean you are disqualifed by your own admission and standard.



___________________________________

I have never been able to use my personal dislike of the theology[Christianity], the moralism,... - Greg
___________________________________



your own words, no less.





___________________________________

It cannot be based on dislike of Christianity as a doctrine or a dislike of people who call themselves Christians (because, for example, they don't follow all biblical prescriptions and are therefore "hypocrits"). - Greg on

4/07/2009 01:18:00 PM
___________________________________





So you're disqualifed by your admission and standard.


___________________________________

I have never been able to use my personal dislike of the theology[Christianity], the moralism,... - Greg
___________________________________



So why had you made a statement:



____________________________

Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
____________________________

?





___________________________________

Red: "Here's a counterexample:

Suppose you are going to do a business deal. There are two candidates.

1. One emphasizes his association,and credentials with Church.

2. The other emphasizes the nitty gritty details of the business and how he/she could help your business interest at a cost acceptable to you and advises you to contact independent third party of your own choosing (strictly based on professional qualification) to check him/her out. (You already know he/she does not believe in religion.)"

This example is clearly prejudicial and is not equivalent to Prager's, because it stacks the deck against

the Christian. - Greg
___________________________________




Another misunderstanding from Greg!


I never said the first candidate was a Christian!

I merely pointed out he/she emphasized the credential with the church.




___________________________________

But this does not mean the influence of Christianity tends to be negative. - Greg
___________________________________




So why do you personally dislike the theology of Christianity and the moralism?




___________________________________

I have never been able to use my personal dislike of the theology[Christianity], the moralism,... - Greg
___________________________________








___________________________________

A more meaningful example would be two candidates who are identical in every respect except one is Christian and the other isn't. - Greg
-----------------------------------

So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
___________________________________





So who do you think would be better able to defend the West from Islam?

a Christian

or

a person who does not share the Christian values when it comes to applying physical violence?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

I have to admit, as much as I would prefer not to, that the secularization of Europe has been a disaster. - Greg
___________________________________




How so?

and

since when?





___________________________________

As much as sympathize with the anti-clericalism of Voltaire, I have to admit that what's replaced

Christianity has not been an improvement. - Greg
___________________________________






Since when Europe ever was Christian?

as opposed to

"Christian"?




___________________________________

I find this particularly disappointing because

Europe is culturally superior to the United States, and I would have liked to have seen a civilization based largely on secular culture succeed. - Greg
___________________________________




In what aspect do you consider Europe to be culturally superior to U.S.?


Since when Europian civilization was largely based on secular culture?




___________________________________

It hasn't, and it would be dishonest of me to admit otherwise. - Greg
-----------------------------------
I don't have any vested interest in it. It really doesn't matter to me one way or another whether it turns out to be true. - Greg
-----------------------------------
So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
___________________________________





___________________________________

My own preference would be a society whose moral wisdom was derived from high culture—from

"the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature. - Greg
___________________________________





Who decides what is "the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature?



If you, then

what standard do you use to decide what is "the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature?


and


how have you come to accept that standard?





___________________________________

But I'm skeptical of the practicality of this view

[that my own preference would be a society whose moral wisdom was derived from high culture—from

"the best that has been thought and said" from philosophy and literature.]. - Greg
___________________________________





Why would you be skeptical of the practicality of that view?







___________________________________

...although I do think the chances for the West would be greater if the West had not become progressively

de-Christianized. - Greg
___________________________________




Why do you think the chances for the West would be greater if the West had not become progressively

de-Christianized?





___________________________________

Such de-Christianization is a symptom of a dangerous demoralization of society—specifically, the atrophying of those very "religious sentiments," as Pareto calls them,

that help motivate large numbers of people to fight. - Greg
___________________________________





Greg, this is a misunderstanding of Christianity from you.



Christianity is not about fighting worldly enemies to defend the temporal civilization.


It's about the eternal salvation of one's soul.





Btw. since when were the "West" and U.S. Christian?




___________________________________

I'm sorry, but if you want a free, individualistic society, you have to fight for it, and I just don't see enough

secular people willing to do this. - Greg
___________________________________




Another misunderstanding from you.

Christians do not fight worldly enemies for the sake of worldly goals.

Those who claim to be Christians but willing to fight are frauds.










Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But for now my kingdom is not from here." - John 18:36

Xtra Laj said...

Red,

I haven't had a serious debate on religion as philosophy in a few years - I personally find that a waste of time. I do take some interest in it. When I first heard that Greg had a defense of theism on his site, I was eager to read it, even though he didn't post a complete version there. After reading what he wrote in his book, Visions of Reality, I was fairly disappointed. I got the impression he was appealing mostly to the argument from implausibility and not making sufficient concessions to the gap between what Wilfrid Sellars called the "Manifest Image" and the "Scientific Image" of man.

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it, the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. The closest one can get to freedom is an improved capacity of self-understanding, and since this is often a function of intelligence amongst other things, and there are many correlates between intelligence and its biological/neurological substrates, I think that it would be pretty hard for anyone to seriously argue that if we are free in the sense Popper and Eccles argued, there is a leap of faith involved and we need more than the argument from implausibility (which science cannot use anyways as anything more than motivation). An informed compatibilism is, IMO, the only realistic solution, once one agrees that differences in intelligence seriously affect the quality of choices.

Having said all that, I do like to look at religion as a cultural phenomenon, and Greg makes a point that I have made on many occasions - that some of the failings of adherents of Christianity and even other religions have more to do with things like intelligence and other cultural factors than with the quality of their creed. It is not clear that if less intelligent people had more secular creeds that their behavior would improve.

The other point that needs to be made, though I think the way in which Greg makes it makes him sound more like an advocate for religion than an advocate for conservatism, is that religious creeds and communities transmitted some of the wisdom of the ages. The moral image of man that arises from evolutionary biology is in some ways similar to that of man that arises from Christianity - man is a limited being subject to all manners of passions and is to some degree civilized by social relationships and constraints. Some of these social relationships and constraints were transmitted through religion (weddings, funerals, monogamy/admonitions against fornication and other morals etc.) While some of these morals might have seemed easy to overturn with the advent of liberalism (unequal treatment of women), there have been consequences (women who enter the workplace and don't build families end up having regrets, many hard working culturally stable couples are having children at later ages or not having children at all even though they have the most resources to do so).

Part of the reason why Objectivism appeals to some people is that it gives them a better form of Christianity - a forum to meet with the like minded and an outlet for some of their passions.

I don't know whether the conviction required to build a stable culture of sorts is possible without passion or delusion that borders on religion. But the passions built do matter, and a rationalistic rejection of religion does not come close to doing justice to all the important mores, attitudes and traditions that religion has kept in place.

To cut a long story short, I would not reject Greg's defense of Christianity for at least some segment of society without some good evidence about what passions people become slave to in the absence of religious belief. This is where many have pointed to the lower classes in Europe as exemplifying such, and whether this argument is objective or not must be entertained and dealt with on its merits.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
___________________________________




The first time you had an urge to have sex, with a willing partner,


was the reason you felt free due to mainly because you didn't know what made you want to have sex?

or

was the reason you felt free due to mainly because you had a willing sex partner with whom you want to have sex with?





___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
___________________________________






Does this mean then you believe one is free

just because one thinks one is free?





___________________________________

The closest one can get to

freedom

is an improved capacity of self-understanding,... - Laj
___________________________________




Freedom you used above, is it freedom perceived as such by oneself regardless of what other(s) may think?

or

freedom for one as perceived by other(s) regardless what one thinks for oneself?



or


freedom perceived as such both by oneself and by other(s) in overlapping manner

or

freedom perceived as such both by oneself and by other(s) in

non-overlapping manner


or

freedom perceived as such both by oneself and by other(s) in

both overlapping and non-overlapping manner?






___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
-----------------------------------
The closest one can get to freedom is an improved capacity of self-understanding,... - Laj
___________________________________




Laj, please read carefully your statements above.

Aren't they self-contradictory?






___________________________________

An informed compatibilism is,

IMO, the only realistic solution, once one agrees that differences in intelligence seriously affect the quality of choices. - Laj
___________________________________





What do you mean by 'informed compatibilism'?





___________________________________

An informed compatibilism is, IMO, the only realistic solution,

once one agrees that differences in intelligence seriously affect

the quality of choices. - Laj
___________________________________







The quality of choices in what way?






___________________________________

Having said all that, I do like to look at religion as a cultural phenomenon, and Greg makes a point that I have made on many occasions - that some of the

failings of

adherents

of Christianity and even other religions

have more to do with things like intelligence and other cultural factors than with the quality of their creed. - Laj
___________________________________





Here's what you and Greg misunderstand the nature of religion.


Someone who neither understands nor follows the creed of a religion is not an adherent of that religion even if he/she may claim to believe in it

even if he/she may thinks him/herself to believe in it.

For example, someone who robs, kills, rapes is not a Christian

even if he/she claims that he/she is,

even if he/she may thinks he/she is,

even if he/she goes to church every Sunday.



If someone claims to be your friend, but tries to "stab you in the back" (after all, you've been in mid-level corporate track, so you probably know what I'm talking about)

,then he/she is not your friend, whether he/she thinks he/she is,

or

acts as if he/she is one

or

for that matter, even if you think

or

want to believe he/she is your friend.

It's as simple as that.



___________________________________

It is not clear that if

less intelligent people

had more secular creeds that their behavior would improve. - Laj
___________________________________








Less intelligent than whom?









___________________________________

It is not clear that if less intelligent people had

more secular creeds


that their behavior would improve. - Laj
___________________________________






More secular creeds than what?






___________________________________

It is not clear that if less intelligent people had more secular creeds

that their behavior would improve. - Laj
___________________________________






That their behavior would improve in what way?











___________________________________

It is not clear that if less intelligent people had more secular creeds that their behavior would improve. - Laj
___________________________________







Is it clear if less intelligent people had less secular creeds then their behavior would improve?


If so, then less intelligent than whom?

and

less secular than what?


and

their behavior would improve in what way?


and

would your sentiment above apply to Islam?



___________________________________

The other point that needs to be made, though I think the way in which Greg makes it makes him sound more like an advocate for

religion than an advocate for conservatism, ... - Laj
-----------------------------------
So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
___________________________________





You're mistaken, I don't remember Greg advocating Islam.

Does this mean then Islam is not a religion?



___________________________________

The moral image of man that arises from evolutionary biology is in some ways similar to that of man that arises from Christianity - Laj
___________________________________






In what way?

and who/what decides what is moral?





___________________________________

While some of these morals might have seemed easy to overturn with the advent of liberalism (unequal treatment of women),

there have been

consequences (women who enter the workplace and don't build families end up having regrets,

many hard working culturally stable couples are having children at later ages or not having children at all even though they have the most resources to do so). - Laj
___________________________________





Okay, so does this mean you believe because of those consequences, woman should not enter workforce?

and

hardworking, culturally stable couples should be forced to have children at younger age than they want to

or

forced to have children even when they don't want to?





___________________________________

Part of the reason why Objectivism appeals to some people is that it gives them a better form of Christianity... - Laj
___________________________________




Better in what way?





___________________________________

I don't know whether the conviction required to build a

stable culture

of sorts is possible without passion or delusion that borders on religion. - Laj
___________________________________






Do you believe stability is more important than dynamism?



Did U.S. get to where she is, because she had a dynamic culture

or

because she had a stable culture?







___________________________________

I don't know whether the conviction required to build a stable culture of sorts is possible without

passion

or delusion that borders on religion. - Laj
___________________________________






Do you think people cannot be passionate without religion?




___________________________________

But the passions built do matter, and a rationalistic rejection of religion does not come close to doing

justice

to all the important mores, attitudes and traditions that religion has kept in place. - Laj
___________________________________





Who decides what is just?






___________________________________

...to all the important mores, attitudes and traditions

that religion has kept in place. - Laj
___________________________________





Important in what way?






___________________________________

But the passions built do matter, and a rationalistic rejection of religion does not come close to doing justice to all the important mores, attitudes and traditions that religion has kept in place. - Laj
___________________________________






Would you apply your above sentiment to Islam as well?






___________________________________

To cut a long story short, I would not reject Greg's defense of

Christianity... - Laj
___________________________________





This is where you are mistaken. Greg is not defending Christianity.

He's defending people who merely claim to believe in Christianity.

Not only that he's defending something that is really anti-Christianity, but pretends that a form of anti-Christianity is Christianity.





___________________________________

To cut a long story short, I would not reject Greg's defense of Christianity for at least some segment of society without some good evidence about what passions people become slave to in the absence of religious belief.

This is where many have pointed to the lower classes in Europe as exemplifying such, and whether this argument is objective or not must be entertained and dealt with on its merits. - Laj on 4/09/2009 03:58:00 AM
___________________________________






Since when Europe ever was Christian?

Xtra Laj said...

Red,

When someone asks as many questions as you do while not advancing as many positive points, I usually request that the person answer my questions in as much detail as I answer his, so that we can be on the same footing. I have a reason for this:

http://www.geocities.com/amosapient/coherence.html

With that in mind, we can proceed.

Your question on free will and sex:

I chose to have sex. Now, do I know why I chose to have sex? I can explain it in terms that sound convincing to me, but those terms do not have to be true - they might just be rationalizations. After all, I've also said I'd never have sex with certain women who I ended up sleeping with.

So now, tell me Red, do you think that your decision to get aroused by women is a free choice? As in you choose to find certain women attractive and some women unattractive? At what age did you start making this choice?

Freedom based on self-analysis: It is a freedom perceived by oneself, and it is often regardless of what others may think, though it might be informed by the thoughts of others who notice patterns in one's behavior.

So Red, tell me: do you have an patterns to your behavior or predictable responses that are known to your friends and family? For example, when you post, is your style of posting well known and discernible? If so, why do you repeat the same actions?

On the contradiction between determinism and the capacity for self-understanding: There is only a contradiction if you think in absolutist terms.

So Red, tell me: do you have to understand how a car works completely to drive it? If so, what is wrong with a limited understanding of how one behaves influencing how one perceives oneself? Please be very specific.

An informed compatibilism: freedom is found in the capacity for self-reflection, and that there is no need for indeterminism to support free will. Moreover, the informed compatibilist can support scientific inquiry into human behavior as well as defend the empirical nature of the capacity to choose in human beings who can do so.

So tell me, Red, what is your position on the question of free will and what is your logical defense of it?

On your argument over the definition of Christianity:

Greg and I are discussing religion as a cultural phenomenon and, in some ways, a symbol of Western Civilization. You are, unfortunately, following the Aristotleian practice of debating definitions. The fact that you are trying to define what a Christian is has no bearing on the substantial point that Greg is making.

Your counterexample is actually vitiated by my real life experience. I once had to sleep in my car overnight during the winter because my best friend was shagging a girl while I was staying in his apartment when I was without a job. He's still one of my best friend till this day because we've learned better to accept each other's limitations as people.

You seem to be caught up in the Aristotleian trap of thinking in terms of essentials rather than looking at the world.

Was President Bush a Christian? Were the Catholic Priests who molested Children Christians? If your answer is "no", then we have nothing further to discuss unless you provide examples of Christians who are popular and fit your definition. Your definition of Christianity is then useless to the point that I am trying to make unless you explain its empirical significance.

Less intelligent: I mean by IQ testing. Less intelligent than the cognitive class and less able to use rational foresight to make intelligent decisions.

Tell me, Red, how much have you studied IQ testing and the degree to which it can be used to predict social status in America today?

On secular creeds and decision making: I'm not a Christian, and maybe I'm just a boring guy, but I often know that if I drink alcohol, I won't be able to wake up tomorrow morning, so I've quit drinking. For some people, the fact that drinking alcohol is a sin before God motivates them not to drink. The question is whether we can posit religion as a cause for more disciplined, better civic behavior in individuals in general, especially the lower class. Greg is saying yes.

If I wanted to analyze a society in which Islam was dominant, I'm fairly sure that some of my analysis would apply to Islam too. There are benefits to having a common culture and Greg's point of view is partly ethnocentric and motivated by a Western view of issues. I am not born of the West, but I understand his perspective.

Red, could you please define who is truly a believer of Islam? Please be very detailed as to what qualifies someone as a believer and what does not. Please show how this is consistent with your definition of Christianity.

On who defines what is moral: common sense morality is good enough for me. If it's not for you, let me know.

Could you please define morality and explain what its relevance to you is?

On Greg's advocacy of Christianity: I've written about this already. But Greg is both interested in Christianity as spirituality and Christianity as a cultural phenomenon. You are interested in Christianity as you define it. All well and good, but it might require that we continue to speak past each other on this issue.

On women working and delaying childbearing?

I offer no universal solution to life's dilemmas other than to claim that all choices have benefits and costs and should not be viewed from an absolutist perspective. Moreover, human beings have natural drives that they (the humans) may fight against, but these drives will assert themselves whether we like it or not.

Red, answer your own question on that you posed to me that I just responded to. and explain to me how you would answer a woman who followed the feminist dream of delaying having kids, grew up to 40, regretted never having kids, and started saying that she would never have made the choices she did was she better informed?

On dynamism vs. stability - The US has been a nation with a dominant cultural majority for a fairly long time. I consider it very stable and only recently changing.

So could you please explain in your own words your view of American history that makes it a dynamic nation? How have social demographics radically shifted for most of its 200 years of existence?

On Europe and Christian: This sounds like another definitional game, so I'll await your detailed responses to my questions before continuing. You could answer your own question substantively so I can better appreciate your perspective and decide whether this conversation is worth continuing or not.

Thanks.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red,

When someone asks as many questions as you do while not advancing as

many positive points,... - Laj
___________________________________




What do you mean here, by "positive points"?

Applying your own words:

___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________


Please be very specific.



and who gets to decide what is positive or negative points?




and for whom?




___________________________________

I chose to have sex. Now, do I know why I chose to have sex? I can explain it in terms that sound convincing to me, but those terms do not have to be

true... - Laj
___________________________________





True according to whom and/or whose and/or what standard?


Applying your own words:

___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________



Please be very specific.








___________________________________

So now, tell me Red, do you think that your decision to get aroused by women is a free choice? As in you choose to find certain women attractive and some women unattractive? - Laj
___________________________________





Your question needs to be phrased more articulately, since I cannot get physiologically aroused after having sex for some durationg of time no matter how much I think I want to get aroused with the very same woman I found attractive enough to have sex with just before.



___________________________________

So Red, tell me: do you have an patterns to your behavior or predictable responses that are known to your friends and family?

For example, when you post, is your style of posting well known and discernible? - Laj
___________________________________




Discernible to whom?

and

in what way(s)?


Applying your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________



Please be very specific.








___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
-----------------------------------
The closest one can get to freedom is an improved capacity of self-understanding,... - Laj
===================================

Laj, please read carefully your statements above.

Aren't they self-contradictory? - Red Grant
===================================

On the contradiction between determinism and the capacity for self-understanding:

There is only a contradiction if you think in absolutist terms. - Laj
___________________________________




Why is there

[On the contradiction between determinism and the capacity for self-understanding]

a only contradiction if I think in absolutist terms?



Applying your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________





Please be very specific.




___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
-----------------------------------
The closest one can get to freedom is an improved capacity of self-understanding,... - Laj
===================================

Laj, please read carefully your statements above.

Aren't they self-contradictory? - Red Grant
===================================

On the contradiction between determinism and the capacity for self-understanding:

There is only a contradiction if you think in absolutist terms. - Laj
___________________________________





Does this mean then you believe there would be no contradiction between

determinism and the capacity for self-understanding

if I thought in non-absolutist terms?


If so, then please explain what would be those non-absolutist terms.

Applying your own words:

___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________


Please be very specific.





___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
-----------------------------------
The closest one can get to freedom is an improved capacity of self-understanding,... - Laj
===================================

Laj, please read carefully your statements above.

Aren't they self-contradictory? - Red Grant
===================================

On the contradiction between determinism and the capacity for self-understanding:

There is only a contradiction if you think in absolutist terms. - Laj
___________________________________





Okay, Laj, does this mean then you believe your choice to have sex with women in your life was based on determinism?




___________________________________

So Red, tell me: do you have to understand how a car works completely to drive it?

If so, what is wrong with a limited understanding of how one behaves influencing how one perceives oneself? Please be very specific.
___________________________________




Laj, first of all, who said there is something necessarily wrong with a limited understanding of how one behaves influencing how one perceives oneself?




___________________________________

An informed compatibilism: freedom is found in the capacity for self-reflection,.... - Laj
-----------------------------------
On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than

I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
___________________________________






So you believe one is free because one thinks one is free?


If so, are you not contradicting yourself?







___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
===================================

The first time you had an urge to have sex, with a willing partner,


was the reason you felt free due to mainly because you didn't know what made you want to have sex?

or

was the reason you felt free due to mainly because you had a willing sex partner with whom you want to have sex with? - Red Grant
===================================

Your question on free will and sex:

I chose to have sex. Now, do I know why I chose to have sex? I can explain it in terms that sound convincing to me, but those terms do not have to be true - they might just be rationalizations. After all, I've also said I'd never have sex with certain women who I ended up sleeping with. - Laj
___________________________________




Does this mean the reason(s) you chose to have sex with women in your life

is/are indeterminable?



If so, then




___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
-----------------------------------
...and that there is no need for indeterminism to support free will. - Laj
___________________________________





Are you not contradicting yourself?



___________________________________

So tell me, Red, what is your position on the question of free will... - Laj
___________________________________






In what way?



Applying your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________





Please be very specific.






___________________________________

On your argument over the definition of Christianity:

Greg and I are discussing religion as a cultural phenomenon and, in some ways, a symbol of Western Civilization. - Laj
___________________________________




This is where both you and Greg are mistaken and deluding yourselves.


Christianity is a matter of faith and spirituality and the salvation of one's soul in afterlife through the faith in Jesus, and those with the faith will do the work.


Churches are not Christianity. People trying to get the votes by surrounding themselves with mere symbolism and props of the church are not Christians.

In fact, they are practicing a form of anti-Christianity.








__________________________________

You are, unfortunately, following the Aristotleian practice of debating definitions. - Laj
___________________________________




The definition of Christianity had already bee given by Jesus from New Testament.

I'm merely looking at Christianity as it really is.




You and Greg are trying to pretend something that is/are not Christianity as if they are.







___________________________________

The fact that you are trying to define what a Christian is has no bearing on the substantial point that Greg is making. - Laj
___________________________________






Again, this is where you're mistaken. I did not define Christianity.

Jesus did. I'm merely either quoting or at best, paraphrasing His words as written in NT.








___________________________________

If someone claims to be your friend, but tries to "stab you in the back" (after all, you've been in mid-level corporate track, so you probably know what I'm talking about)

,then he/she is not your friend, whether he/she thinks he/she is,

or

acts as if he/she is one

or

for that matter, even if you think

or

want to believe he/she is your friend.

It's as simple as that. - Red Grant
===================================
Your counterexample is actually vitiated by my real life experience. I once had to sleep in my car overnight during the winter because my best friend was shagging a girl while I was staying in his apartment when I was without a job. He's still one of my best friend till this day because we've learned better to accept each other's limitations as people. - Laj
___________________________________





Are you saying your friend "stabbed you in the back" in the sense I used the word in my hypothethical example?


Didn't he give you access to his apartment for your basic living needs for either free or for very nominal fees less than most other people in the world would have charged?

except on occassions when he felt he needed more privacy for romantic/sexual purpose?



Did you feel "betrayed"?





___________________________________

You seem to be caught up in the Aristotleian trap of thinking in terms of essentials rather than looking at the world.

Was President Bush a Christian? Were the Catholic Priests who molested Children Christians? - Laj
___________________________________






Are you saying a Christian could kill

or

molest children against their will?






___________________________________

If your answer is "no", then we have nothing further to discuss unless you provide examples of Christians who are popular and fit

your definition. - Laj
___________________________________






Again, this is where you misunderstand Christianity.

I did not define Christianity.

It had been defined by the statements of Jesus from New Testament.

I merely quote and/or paraphrase from His words.





___________________________________

It is not clear that if

less intelligent people

had more secular creeds that their behavior would improve. - Laj
===================================

Less intelligent than whom? - Red Grant
===================================

Less intelligent: I mean by IQ testing.

Less intelligent than the cognitive class

and less able to use rational foresight to make intelligent decisions. - Laj
___________________________________




...and who is this cognitive class?




___________________________________

Having said all that, I do like to look at religion as a cultural phenomenon,and Greg makes a point that I have made on many occasions - that

some of the failings of adherents of Christianity and even other religions... - Laj
___________________________________





Like what kind of failings?

and what are other religions you mentioned above?


Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________


Please be very specific.










___________________________________

Having said all that,

I do like to look at religion as a cultural phenomenon,

and Greg makes a point that I have made on many occasions - that some of the failings of adherents of Christianity and even other religions have more to do with things like intelligence and

other cultural factors than with the quality of their creed. - Laj
___________________________________




What are

other cultural factors

you hold partly responsible for the failings of adherents of Christianity and even other religions which you like to look at as a cultural phenomenon?


and


how does intelligence play a role in some of the failings of the adherents of Christianity and even other religions?




Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________



Please be very specific.
















___________________________________

Less intelligent: I mean by IQ testing. Less intelligent than the cognitive class and less able to use rational foresight to make intelligent decisions.

Tell me, Red, how much have you studied IQ testing and the degree to which it can be used to predict social status in America today? - Laj
___________________________________







Which IQ testing?













___________________________________

On secular creeds and decision making: I'm not a Christian, and maybe I'm just a boring guy, but I often know that if I drink alcohol, I won't be able to wake up tomorrow morning, so I've quit drinking.

For some people, the fact that drinking alcohol is a sin before God motivates them not to drink. - Laj
___________________________________






Is that why Prohibition failed?










___________________________________

The question is whether we can posit religion as a cause for more disciplined, better civic behavior in individuals in general, especially

the lower class. - Laj
___________________________________




Who are the lower class?

and

how are the lower class determined?




___________________________________

The question is whether we can posit religion as a cause for more disciplined, better civic behavior in individuals in general, especially the lower class.

Greg is saying yes. - Laj
___________________________________





Did Greg define who are the lower class

and

explain the method(s) used to determine the lower class

and

explain for the reason(s) used to determien who are the lower class?



If so, then please re-state who they are,

explanation for the method(s),

and

explanation for the reason(s) for the method(s).



Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________



Please be very specific.





___________________________________

The question is whether we can posit religion as a cause for more disciplined,

better civic behavior in individuals in general,

especially the lower class. Greg is saying yes. - Laj
___________________________________






Was U.S. around (give or take 20 to 30 years plus and minus) the turn of the 20the century more "religious" (in the sense you've used, and the way you said Greg had used above)

than now?





___________________________________

If I wanted to analyze a society in which Islam was dominant, I'm fairly sure that

some of my analysis would apply to Islam too. - Laj
___________________________________




Which one(s) of your analysis?



Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________




Please be very specific.





___________________________________

There are benefits to having a common culture... - Laj
___________________________________



What kind of benefits?

and to whom?

and at whose expense(s)?

Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________



Please be very specific.





___________________________________

There are benefits to having a common culture... - Laj
___________________________________



Any culture so long as it is common?



If so, then it doesn't have to be a religion or

a culute based on religious symbolism?



___________________________________

Red, could you please define who is truly a believer of Islam? - Laj
___________________________________




Are you asking that question because you do not know the answer?



___________________________________

Red, could you please define who is truly a believer of Islam?

Please be very detailed as to what qualifies someone as a believer and what does not.

Please show how this is consistent with

your definition of Christianity. - Laj
___________________________________




Again, you are misunderstanding Christianity.

I did not and cannot define Christianity.

The statements of Jesus from New Testament did.

I merely quoted and paraphrased His words from NT.





___________________________________

On who defines what is moral:

common sense morality is good enough for me. - Laj
___________________________________




...and who decide(s) that common sense morality?

...and using what standard?



Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________



Please be very specific.






___________________________________

Could you please define morality and explain what its relevance to you is? - Laj
___________________________________






Morality in what sense?



Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________



Please be very specific.




___________________________________

On Greg's advocacy of Christianity: I've written about this already. But Greg is both interested in Christianity as spirituality and Christianity as a cultural phenomenon. - Laj
___________________________________



and I have written about this already.

Greg is mainly interested in using Christian symbolism and the frauds either deluding themselves to be Christians or posing as Christians

for temporal, worldly, anti Christian purpose.

Below are the statements made by Greg himself.


___________________________________

In taking that position

[that regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior.],

I am taking position that, in many ways, goes against

my personal preferences. - Greg
___________________________________






___________________________________

Regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior. - Greg
-----------------------------------
It really doesn't matter to me one way or another whether it

[that regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior.]

turns out to be true. - Greg
___________________________________







___________________________________

So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
___________________________________




___________________________________

I have never been able to use my

personal dislike of the theology, the moralism, the makish sentimentality of many forms of Christianity... - Greg
___________________________________



___________________________________

...although I do think the chances for the West would be greater if the West had not become progressively

de-Christianized.

Such de-Christianization is a symptom of a dangerous demoralization of society—specifically,

the atrophying of those very "religious sentiments," as Pareto calls them, that help motivate large numbers of people to fight.

I'm sorry, but if you want a free, individualistic society, you have

to fight for it,

and I just don't see enough secular people willing to do this. - Greg on 4/01/2009 01:40:00 PM
___________________________________







These are Greg's words, read them and please ponder.




___________________________________

You are interested in Christianity as you define it. - Laj
___________________________________




Hardly. I look at Christianity as it really is, as defined by the statements of Jesus from New Testament.






___________________________________

While some of these morals might have seemed easy to overturn with the advent of liberalism (unequal treatment of women),

there have been

consequences (women who enter the workplace and don't build families end up having regrets,... - Laj
===================================

Okay, so does this mean you believe because of those consequences, woman should not enter workforce? - Red Grant
===================================

I offer no universal solution to life's dilemmas other than to claim that all choices have benefits and costs and should not be viewed from an

absolutist perspective. - Laj
___________________________________





So what would be non-absolutist perspective?


Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________



Please be very specific.







___________________________________

While some of these morals might have seemed easy to overturn with the advent of liberalism (unequal treatment of women),

there have been

consequences (women who enter the workplace and don't build families end up having regrets,... - Laj
===================================

Okay, so does this mean you believe because of those consequences, woman should not enter workforce? - Red Grant
===================================

I offer no universal solution to life's dilemmas other than to claim that all choices have benefits and costs and should not be viewed from an absolutist perspective.

Moreover, human beings have natural drives that they (the humans) may fight against, but these drives will assert themselves whether we like it or not. - Laj
___________________________________





So what do you offer?


Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________




Please be very specific.





___________________________________

Red, answer your own question on that you posed to me that I just responded to. and explain to me

how you would answer a woman who followed the feminist dream of delaying having kids, grew up to 40, regretted never having kids, and started saying that she would never have made the choices she did was she better informed? - Laj
___________________________________





Are you saying whether I think women should enter the workforce or not because there have been

consequences (women who enter the workplace and don't build families end up having regrets)?



Are you saying purely from my perspective?

....that is, no one else's?




___________________________________

I don't know whether the conviction required to build a

stable culture

of sorts is possible without passion or delusion that borders on religion. - Laj
===================================

Do you believe stability is more important than dynamism?

Did U.S. get to where she is, because she had a dynamic culture

or

because she had a stable culture? - Red Grant
===================================

On dynamism vs. stability - The US has been a nation with a dominant cultural majority for a fairly long time. I consider it very stable and only recently changing. - Laj
___________________________________






Do you believe stability is more important than dynamism?

Did U.S. get to where she is, because she had a dynamic culture

or

because she had a stable culture?












___________________________________

On dynamism vs. stability - The US has been a nation with

a dominant cultural majority... - Laj
___________________________________



...and who was that dominant cultural majority?


Using your own words:


___________________________________

Please be very specific. - Laj
___________________________________




Please be very specific.





___________________________________

On dynamism vs. stability - The US has been a nation with a dominant cultural majority

for a fairly long time. - Laj
___________________________________




For how long?

and

from when till when?




___________________________________

On dynamism vs. stability - The US has been a nation with a dominant cultural majority for a fairly long time.

I consider it very stable and only recently changing. - Laj
___________________________________





Very stable in what way?

and how recent?





___________________________________

So could you please explain in your own words your view of American history that makes it a dynamic nation? - Laj
___________________________________




Are you implying then your view of American history makes her not a dynamic nation?


If so, then how so?




___________________________________

How have social demographics radically shifted for most of its 200 years of existence? - Laj
___________________________________






Which social demographics?






___________________________________

This is where many have pointed to the lower classes in Europe as exemplifying such, and whether this argument is objective or not must be entertained and dealt with on its merits. - Laj on 4/09/2009 03:58:00 AM
===================================

Since when Europe ever was Christian? - Red Grant on 4/09/2009 08:56:00 AM
===================================

On Europe and Christian: This sounds like another definitional game,... - Laj
___________________________________



Laj, are you being paranoid?

By Christian, I meant Christian as it really is, as defined by the statements of Jesus from New Testament.

Do you think there could be Christianity undefined by the statements of Jesus?






___________________________________

While some of these morals might have seemed easy to overturn with the advent of liberalism (unequal treatment of women),

there have been

consequences (women who enter the workplace and don't build families end up having regrets,

many hard working culturally stable couples are having children at later ages or not having children at all even though they have the most resources to do so). - Laj
___________________________________




Does this mean then you believe because of those consequences,


hardworking, culturally stable couples should be forced to have children at younger age than they want to

or

forced to have children even when they don't want to?




___________________________________

Part of the reason why Objectivism appeals to some people is that it gives them a better form of Christianity... - Laj
___________________________________




Better in what way?







___________________________________

I don't know whether the conviction required to build a stable culture of sorts is possible without

passion

or delusion that borders on religion. - Laj
___________________________________






Do you think people cannot be passionate without religion?




___________________________________

But the passions built do matter, and a rationalistic rejection of religion does not come close to doing

justice

to all the important mores, attitudes and traditions that religion has kept in place. - Laj
___________________________________





Who decides what is just?






___________________________________

...to all the important mores, attitudes and traditions

that religion has kept in place. - Laj
___________________________________





Important in what way?








___________________________________

The moral image of man that arises from evolutionary biology is in some ways similar to that of man that arises from Christianity - Laj
___________________________________






In what way?






___________________________________

On Greg's advocacy of Christianity: I've written about this already.

But Greg is both interested in Christianity as

spirituality

and Christianity as a cultural phenomenon. - Laj
___________________________________




...and you're quite incorrect on that one.



Below is a statement made by Greg in this thread no less:


___________________________________

My focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since I am primarily interested in behavior, not on purported belief. - Greg
___________________________________




___________________________________

The question is whether we can posit religion as a cause for more disciplined,

better civic behavior in individuals in general,

especially the lower class. Greg is saying yes. - Laj
___________________________________





Really? Maybe you should be reminded of what Greg said!




___________________________________

It really doesn't matter to me one way or another whether it

[that regular church attendance tends to be correlated with lower crime rates and better overall behavior.]

turns out to be true. - Greg
___________________________________



His own words no less!

Xtra Laj said...

Red,

I have learned that it is impossible to have a reasonable discussion when one person holds the monopoly on doubt and asks the other person to continually justify himself as you do. If I believed that all convictions were rationally justifiable, I could waste my time debating you on these issues. But I do not, and for me, discussion is more about the exchange than the belief that I must be right.

Since you've not even tried to make a positive argument that explains the logic of your position in detail or respond to *any* of the questions that I asked in detail, and expect me to reciprocate, I see no point in continuing any further. If you decide at any point that it is worth your time to meet me half way and actually answer some of the questions I asked with the same level of detail that I answered yours, then we can continue.

Thanks.

William Scott Scherk said...

Red Grant writes:













___________________________________








Less intelligent than whom?









___________________________________






-- an interesting discussion between Laj, Greg and Red. But . . .














Red, can you try to make your formatting less loopy and full of . . .


















space?


Thanks

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red,

I have learned that it is impossible to have a reasonable discussion when one person holds the monopoly on doubt and asks the other person to continually justify himself as you do. - Laj
___________________________________




Laj, I'm merely asking you to clarify your question to the specifities on level with

the specific answers you demand from me.


I cannot give specific answers you demand

if your question is not specific enough.

Daniel Barnes said...

Hi WSS

I too enjoy Red's posts, and don't mind a little stylisitic non-conformism, but also find his formatting to user-unfriendly to engage with at length. Life's too short for that much scrolling, sadly. I'm not sure he's interested in changing however, as other commenters have criticised his style to little effect. Whaddaya say, Red? Wanna give your public a break?...;-)

Red Grant said...

Daniel Barnes,


I utilize spaces between quotes and my responses to them so as to make it easier for people to disntiquish what I am quoting and my responses to them.


Now sometimes I go through "quote hunting" in deep layers so as to let public know what was the original question that prompted my responses as to prevent people misjudging or taking my responses out of context.

I learned to do this because many times people simply mispoke but due to lack of intellectual courage, they don't want to admit it.

Instead, they strive to misconstrue
or try to put words (either wittingly or unwittingly) into my mouth something that I had never said so as to make what they misspoke appear correct.




That's what Greg and Laj tried to do in this thread, and I can prove it using their own words. (If you've been following the discussion, you know that's the case.)

If you disagree, then please say so, and explain why.


If people want me to stop engage in "Quote Hunting" in layers, then all they have to do is this.


1. Don't misspeak.

2. When you did misspeak, admit it.

3. Or at least stop continuing it.

4. Don't contradict your own statements.

5. If you do, and get caught, either admit it or at least stop continuing it.




Below are your own words:

___________________________________

I don't see how you can keep denying what's written in black and white in front of you, but I suppose people can deny anything if they want. Why don't you just drop all the hairsplitting and say she was wrong to say this, she misspoke, and let it go? - Daniel Barnes
___________________________________

Daniel Barnes said...

Hi Red

I'm not sure why you consider identifying another's misspeaking requires eccentric formatting that you call "deep layers". There are standard ways of doing this that AFAICS do the job perfectly adequately. For example, quote marks, itals, bold, my emphasis, linking to the original etc as well as traditional internet styles. While you are welcome to format your replies as you wish, you are also entitled to my opinion on it, and that of your would-be, but somewhat off-put, audience...;-)

Xtra Laj said...

Laj, I'm merely asking you to clarify your question to the specifities on level with

the specific answers you demand from me.


I cannot give specific answers you demand

if your question is not specific enough.


Red, the protocol I'm used to is that you should provide some answers with some level of detail and allow the person to probe. My criteria was that answers have to be as specific as the ones I gave and you can't argue that *none* of my questions were specific. You can focus on one or two questions if you choose, or pick one or two questions you require me to answer - the fact that you skipped all the questions (which were just as vague/specific as yours, by the way) is puzzling. Just as you claim that you are using my own words to try to show that I am avoiding hard questions (and anyone who reads my answers can see that I am doing anything but that, even admitting some of the limitations of my answers), I can claim that you are simply trying to be the only person who can be critical by presenting no intellectual target. A "positive" response requires you to advance and substantiate an argument/thesis with evidence. You've not even responded to ONE question I've posed and you want me in all fairness to respond to your numerous questions? Be as specific as you want in the initial step - just answer the questions. I'm not as skeptical as you are about your ability to read fine, common sense meanings into my questions.

But if you want to continue to quote me without answering, that's fine. I think that if what it boils down to for you is your claim that you are revealing mistakes on the part of others (whether those are mistakes as much the siren seduction of Aristotleian verbalism I'll leave to readers to discern), I think that I have revealed to some degree what you are doing.

Reflect upon what it would mean if you had a conversation with yourself just posing questions.

When someone asks a question as vauge as "true according to who or what standard" without *any* substantiating commentary as to why this question is relevant, I wonder whether their motive is to raise germane questions or to just be annoying (not that both are mutually exclusive).

As Daniel said, there is simply too much stuff out there in the world to spend forever on one conversation (unless you have piles of money and time). I don't so unless you can make the conversation worthwhile for me, I'll pass. Cheers.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

While you are welcome to format your replies as you wish, you are also entitled to my opinion on it,... - Daniel Barnes
___________________________________




So you do not disagree with my argument that both Greg and Laj misspoke?

If you do not rebut, I'll consider it as yes.

You only have an issue with my style of presentation?


You can call my formatting style whatever you wish, I couldn't care less.



___________________________________

On Greg's advocacy of Christianity: I've written about this already.

But Greg is both interested in Christianity as

spirituality

and Christianity as a cultural phenomenon. - Laj
-----------------------------------

My focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since I am primarily interested in behavior, not on purported belief. - Greg
___________________________________





Laj, did you misspeak?

Xtra Laj said...


Laj, did you misspeak?


No, I did not. Greg wrote a whole essay on "Realism and the Spiritual Life", published in his Visions of Reality, where he argues that having a spiritual life is not inconsistent with the truculent realism he espouses. His main model of religion (and spirituality) was Christianity, though a Christian fundamentalist would likely have issues with how Greg discussed the subject. He didn't go into the Bible for quotes or deal too seriously with eschatology (apart from investigating some near death experience (NDE) claims), but he did take some Christian claims about the positive influence of Christianity on their lives and other issues more seriously than most atheists, especially militant ones, would.

Greg's response to you used the word "focus" not "interest" and "purported belief" not "spirituality". His point was that he was dealing in these issues from a cultural perspective, and not from the perspective of someone who is advocating the literal correctness of the Bible. How this makes him uninterested in Christian spirituality, a term I was using in the sense Greg uses it, is beyond me. After all, Greg is interested in Objectivism, but one would find it hard to say that Greg is an Objectivst. Even when Greg said he was indifferent on the question of whether Christianity made people behave better or not, he meant that he wasn't simply as invested in his position as you made out. You raised genuine questions about this, but Greg's point is that the link between religion and moral behavior is not as important for his position as the link between say churches and community bonds, or the link between belief in God and a desire to fight for one's values.

If I have misconstrued Greg, I do hope he says so, but that is my informed opinion which I reluctantly provide, since I'm still yet to see a *single* substantive response to any of the questions I posed.

Daniel Barnes said...

Red:
>So you do not disagree with my argument that both Greg and Laj misspoke? If you do not rebut, I'll consider it as yes.

I haven't followed your argument in any detail, Red, because your chosen style as the Socrates of the Scrollbar makes it too difficult to follow. However the quote of Greg's you've provided doesn't necessarily clash with what Laj says - Greg says he is primarily interested in behaviour over belief, not that he is completely uninterested in belief. But if Laj is wrong, so what?

I suppose you could then argue that I don't hold Greg or Laj to the same standard as Ayn Rand when she makes mistakes. But that would be to miss the point, which is that I'm not aware of anyone claiming that Greg or Laj always speaks with absolute precision, always mean exactly what they say, that because of this their every thought is worth preserving in book form like "Xtralaj Answers", that they are the greatest philosophers of the last two thousand years and that their epistemological theories are the key to man's continued survival on the planet. Yet this is what is claimed by Objectivists about Rand. So she has to be held to a quite different standard, obviously.

>You only have an issue with my style of presentation?

Yes! You can criticise Greg, Laj, myself, or anyone as much as you like.

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Greg's response to you used the word "focus" not "interest"... - Laj
-----------------------------------
My focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since I am primarily

interested

in behavior, not on purported belief. - Greg
___________________________________





But, Laj, Greg did use the word, "interest", in the form of "I am primarily intersted".


Did you misread?

and/or

did you misspeak?

Greg said his focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since he is primarily interested in behavior, not purported belief.

So Christian spirituality as used by Greg and you are not based on purported belief?

If so, then what is it based upon?




___________________________________

His point was that he was dealing in these issues from a cultural perspective, and not from the perspective of someone who is advocating the literal correctness of the Bible. - Laj
___________________________________





Then Greg should have used the word, "Christianity" exclusively when dealing with the issue as you presented above, not Christianity.



Since Christianity undefined by the statements of Jesus from NT would be nothing more than an act of blasphmy and charlatanism.


___________________________________

His point was that he was dealing in these issues from a cultural perspective, and not from the perspective of someone who is advocating the literal correctness of the Bible.

How this makes him uninterested in Christian spirituality, a term I was using in the sense Greg uses it, is beyond me. - Laj
___________________________________




Then you and Greg are misapplying the word, Christian spirituality.


There is no Christian spirituality undefined by the statements of Jesus from NT.



___________________________________


Greg wrote a whole essay on "Realism and the Spiritual Life", published in his Visions of Reality... - Laj
-----------------------------------
His main model of religion (and spirituality) was Christianity, though a Christian fundamentalist would likely have issues with how Greg discussed the subject. He didn't go into the Bible for quotes... - Laj
-----------------------------------
but he[Greg] did take some Christian claims about the positive influence of Christianity on their lives and other issues more seriously than most atheists, especially militant ones, would. - Laj

After all, Greg is interested in Objectivism, but one would find it hard to say that Greg is an Objectivst. - Laj
___________________________________




Indeed, I agree Greg is interested in Objectivism, and that is why he studies the writings of Ayn Rand so that he could critically examine Obectivism, despite the claims of Obectivists who talk about the positive influences of Obectivism on their lives.

But of course, that doesn't necessarily make him an Obectivst.




So if Greg is also interested in Christian sprituality, then why did he accept the claims of some who claim to be Christians of the positive influences Christianity had on their lives and other issues without quoting from NT?



Isn't Greg being inconsistent on this issue as explained by you?




___________________________________

Even when Greg said he was indifferent on the question of whether Christianity made people behave better or not, he meant that he wasn't simply as invested in his position as you made out. - Laj
___________________________________





Laj, this is simply false, Greg is deeply worried about the future of the "West" and "U.S.".

and he thinks "Christianity" is the hope.



____________________________

So if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
____________________________






___________________________________

You raised genuine questions about this,... - Laj
___________________________________





I know I have, anyway thanks for the official complement.(as I see it.)




___________________________________

... but Greg's point is that the link between religion and moral behavior... - Laj
___________________________________




I'm sorry for interjecting, but this is where not only Greg, but also all these so-called Objectivists become mum when challenged by me.


What is morality in universally objectively valid sense?

and who decide(s) it as such?



___________________________________

... is not as important for his position as the link between say churches and community bonds, ... - Laj
___________________________________




Yes, I agree tenatively, but the problem remains for me, again, regarding to the nature of morality as you used it and who decide(s) it as such.




___________________________________

... or the link between belief in God and a desire to fight for one's values. - Laj
___________________________________




Let me qualify your statement above.

You're not talking about Christianity, but a form of anti-Christianity passed off as Christianity.




___________________________________

If I have misconstrued Greg, I do hope he says so, but that is my informed opinion which I reluctantly provide, since I'm still yet to see a *single* substantive response to any of the questions I posed. - Laj
___________________________________



I'm sorry if I ignored you, but I,too, am pressed for time, even though I do enjoy our little repartees.

You have many questions, and I have many questions, and Daniel is worried about public having to scroll too often.(A bit odd, since he never raised an issue out of it before until just a few days ago.)


So I'll strive to answer at least one of your questions per post and give you one besides the questions I may have raised from your immediate previous post.






Here's one of your questions:


___________________________________

So now, tell me Red, do you think that your decision to get aroused by women is a free choice? -Laj
___________________________________




From psychological perspective (as I see it as of now), yes.


From physiological perspective, not necessarily (as I see it as of now),


___________________________________

As in you choose to find certain women attractive and some women unattractive? - Laj
___________________________________




Psychologically yes, (as of now, as I see it).

Physiologically not necessarily, (as of now, as I see it as of now).



___________________________________

At what age did you start making this choice? - Laj
___________________________________




As I remember it from now (and as of now), 12.





Now, I've answered 3 of your questions.



Here's one of mine you've left unanswered. (as I believe as of now)



___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than

I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
___________________________________






So you believe one is free because one thinks one is free?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Red:
>So you do not disagree with my argument that both Greg and Laj misspoke? If you do not rebut, I'll consider it as yes.

I haven't followed your argument in any detail, Red, because your chosen style as the Socrates of the Scrollbar makes it too difficult to follow. - Daniel
___________________________________




Finally, I got you to respond on this issue, anyway, I never thought someone would be calling me a Socrates, I'm just a 41 years old guy who has a problem getting it off as often as I used to.






___________________________________

On Greg's advocacy of Christianity: I've written about this already.

But Greg is both interested in Christianity as

spirituality

and Christianity as a cultural phenomenon. - Laj
-----------------------------------

My focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since I am primarily interested in behavior, not on purported belief. - Greg
___________________________________




___________________________________

However the quote of Greg's you've provided doesn't necessarily clash with what Laj says - Greg says he is primarily interested in behaviour over belief, not that he is completely uninterested in belief. - Daniel
___________________________________






Okay, so your statement implies Greg is somewhat interested in the purpoted belief.

Also, Laj claims Greg is interested in Christian spirituality.

Christian spirituality is based on the purpoted belief, without the purpoted belief from NT, there is no Christian spirituality.


So why is Laj saying Greg didn't get into quoting from the Bible if he is at least somewhat interested in Christian spirituality?


By logic, Greg is not interested in Christian spirituality (whether he thinks or wants to believe he is or not).

Otherwise he would be taking up the Bible and study it the same way he studied Ayn Rand's writing in order to critically examine the Christian sprituality.


One cannot examine Objectivism critically whether to praise it or to critisize it unless one studies the writings of Ayn Rand.

One cannot examine Christian spirituality critically whether to praise it or to critisize it unless one studies the statements of Jesus from NT.





___________________________________

But if Laj is wrong, so what? - Daniel
___________________________________




Indeed, I have been wrong before, and I acknowledge it freely when caught.

So has Damien to his credit, though not all the time and so has Jay, who to his even greater credit did own up to it, most of times when logically shown.

So has Greg when he made some mistakes regarding presentation issue, even though in matters more substantial, ususally regarding religion or psuedo-religion, he didn't.



In contrast, most of these so-called Objectivists never owned up to it, to their ever lasting discredit.


Now, so far, you have not made a single mistake as far as I know in matters of consistency in posting or presentation of facts. (As far as I know as of now.)




___________________________________

I suppose you could then argue that I don't hold Greg or Laj to the same standard as Ayn Rand when she makes mistakes. - Laj
___________________________________



No, I couldn't because of the reasons you have succintly provided yourself.

I knew that even before you posted your reasons.



However, I do have to hold Greg for examining these "Christians" philosophically inconsistently from the way he examines these Objectivists.

He wants to critisize Objectivists based on discrepncy from reality, and historical evidences, primarily based on Ayn Rand's writings.

But he doesn't want to critisize "Christians" based on discrepency from reality/historical evidences primarily based on the statements of Jesus from NT.

Laj is in denial of the fact that Greg is passing off a form of anti-Christianity as Christianity.






___________________________________

...that they are the greatest philosophers of the last two thousand years and that their epistemological theories are the key to man's continued survival on the planet.

Yet this is what is claimed by Objectivists about Rand. So she has to be held to a quite different standard, obviously. - Daniel
___________________________________




Yes, I critisize them for the very same reason.

My problem with Greg is not only his refusal to be critical of "Christians" for their claim in the same manner he is to Objectivists, but also his acceptance and defense of their claims in such an uncritical manner with no examination of NT, supposedly these "Christians" hold as the inspiration for their actions.
___________________________________

>You only have an issue with my style of presentation? - Red Grant

Yes! - Daniel

4/12/2009 01:39:00 PM
___________________________________






A bit confusing, how come you never raised an issue of my format style before, when I actually engage in it far more actively when dealing with Jay, and to a lesser extent, with Damien, and Greg?


In fact, you actually cheered me on when I was "battling" some hardcore Objectivists, making no issue of my format style.




Besides I'm curious of that fella who just popped off to make comments on my format style for his first post.


Pretty odd, don't you think?


I hope he participates more in debates.

Daniel Barnes said...

Red:
>A bit confusing, how come you never raised an issue of my format style before...

Look I don't want to go on about this more than it's worth. I didn't raise it before because a) others were making the point, eg Ellen Stuttle, so I felt I mightn't have to and b) while I was liking what I'd read of yours when I read it, I wasn't following your other debates with Damien etc because the scroll factor was making it offputtingly hard to follow.

>Besides I'm curious of that fella who just popped off to make comments on my format style for his first post. Pretty odd, don't you think? I hope he participates more in debates.

OK, well now you seem to be implying that WSS is some kind of sock puppet invented to comment on your format style. Please. There's absolutely nothing "odd" about this. Bill Scherk exists. He's a net friend of mine who comments here occasionally. And no, I didn't solicit his comment about your formatting! This is just silly. Just take Bill's remark for what it is:some more user feedback that appreciates what you've got to say, but would appreciate it more if you said it a slightly different way. Whether you act or not on constructive feedback like this is, as always, up to you. And with that, enough already!

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

OK, well now you seem to be implying that WSS is some kind of sock puppet invented to comment on your format style. Please. There's absolutely nothing "odd" about this. Bill Scherk exists. He's a net friend of mine who comments here occasionally. And no, I didn't solicit his comment about your formatting! This is just silly. Just take Bill's remark for what it is:some more user feedback that appreciates what you've got to say, but would appreciate it more if you said it a slightly different way. - Daniel
___________________________________





Please forgive my paranoia. I've had too many times "moderators" creating sock puppets to pounce on me when they were losing a debate by emphasizing some problem that had nothing to do with ongoing debate.

As for my style, I'll try to rein in my inner Socrates, but too often people use certain words, terms confusingly (whether by design or not) in context.



___________________________________

I suppose you could then argue that I don't hold Greg or Laj to the same standard as Ayn Rand when she makes mistakes. - Laj
___________________________________





I'm sorry, I meant you, Daniel, not Laj.

I MISSPOKE! (Now, that was easy, wasn't it?)

Red Grant said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090414/ap_on_re_us/girl_in_suitcase

Daniel Barnes said...

Red:
>Please forgive my paranoia.

No problem, we all make mistakes. Even I do...once, back in 1972 as I recall....;-)

Xtra Laj said...

But, Laj, Greg did use the word, "interest", in the form of "I am primarily intersted".


Did you misread?

and/or

did you misspeak?
Why should I misspeak?

If I know that something is true

but cannot explain why,



and I see a false argument with


a valid structure,


but cannot explain why it is false,


do I accept the falsehood,


or stick to the truth?


Greg wrote an article on the


spiritual life and theism. That


is evidence of his interest


in Christian spirituality.

The rest

is

verbalistic

gymnastics.

So Christian spirituality as used by Greg and you are not based on purported belief?

If so, then what is it based upon?
Define

what

Greg meant by

"purported belief".


Red Grant's opinion:
There is no Christian spirituality undefined by the statements of Jesus from NT.Thank you

for

your

OPINION.

So if Greg is also interested in Christian sprituality, then why did he accept the claims of some who claim to be Christians of the positive influences Christianity had on their lives and other issues without quoting from NT?Did

you

accept

Founders College

as an Objectivist institution

despite

denials

by its

founders?

Laj, this is simply false, Greg is deeply worried about the future of the "West" and "U.S.".

and he thinks "Christianity" is the hope.
Quote

where Greg said what

you claim.

Like a wise Laj once said:

"Please

be

very specific".

What is morality in universally objectively valid sense?

and who decide(s) it as such?
Morality is the field that studies/recommends rules for value-based decision making.

Any intelligent human being will understand what the above means. And if any intelligent human being pretends not to understand, I will ignore him for my sanity.

Let me qualify your statement above.

You're not talking about Christianity, but a form of anti-Christianity passed off as Christianity.
If you say that

only gold is money,

and proceed to say that fiat money is not money,

because it is not gold,

you are right,

but don't be surprised,

if the world around you,

ignores you,

even if people see where you are

coming from.

Xtra Laj said...

OK - just practicing :). Will improve that over time.

Xtra Laj said...

Now for the meaty stuff.

-----------------------

From psychological perspective (as I see it as of now), yes.


From physiological perspective, not necessarily (as I see it as of now),
-----------------------

Please define


psychological

and

physiological,

and explain how they relate to

the issue of being

aroused

by a woman you find attractive.

As I remember it from now (and as of now), 12.Why 12?


Why not 11?

Or 22?

Or 5?

Did you not know any women when you were 5?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Greg's response to you used the word "focus" not "interest"... - Laj
-----------------------------------
My focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since I am primarily

interested

in behavior, not on purported belief. - Greg
___________________________________





But, Laj, Greg did use the word, "interest", in the form of "I am primarily intersted".


Did you misread?

and/or

did you misspeak? - Red Grant

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

Why should I misspeak?

If I know that something is true

but cannot explain why, and I see a false argument with a valid structure, but cannot explain why it is false,

do I accept the falsehood,

or stick to the truth? - Laj
___________________________________




Laj, did you misread?


or


did you misspeak?






___________________________________

Greg wrote an article on the
spiritual life and theism. That is evidence of his interest in Christian spirituality. - Laj
-----------------------------------
His main model of religion (and spirituality) was Christianity, though a Christian fundamentalist would likely have issues with how Greg discussed the subject.

He didn't go into the Bible for quotes... - Laj
___________________________________




There is the proof in your own words that Greg is not interested in Christian spirituality.


There's not Christian spirituality undefined by the statements of Jesus from NT.




___________________________________

The rest is verbalistic gymnastics. - Laj
___________________________________



Like you trying to deny you misspoke or misread by claiming (falsely) that Greg used the word, 'focus', instead of 'interest'.


___________________________________

So Christian spirituality as used by Greg and you are not based on purported belief?

If so, then what is it based upon? - Red Grant
===================================

Define what Greg meant by"purported belief". - Laj
___________________________________




No, it's up to either you and/or Greg to define what Greg meant by "purpoted belief".


I was merely quoting what you claimed Greg had said in regard to "purpoted belief",

but I do know one thing, whatever Greg meant by "purpoted belief" as you had said it is not Christianity.

Since Christian spirituality is based on the statements of Jesus from NT, and you explicitly stated Greg was not quoting from Bible when he talked about Christianity.



___________________________________

Red Grant's opinion:

There is no Christian spirituality undefined by the statements of Jesus from NT.
===================================

Thank you for your OPINION. - Laj
___________________________________




Now, Laj, this time, you're engaging in a lie.

I have already explicitly claimed I merely quoted and/or paraphrased the words of Jesus from NT.


I'm merely saying what Christianity is, not based on my opinion, but based on the very definition of Christianity as given by Jesus.


...and there is no Christianity undefined by the words of Jesus from NT.

If anyone claims otherwise, they are engaging in either blasphemy or charlatanism(either knowingly or not).





___________________________________

So if Greg is also interested in Christian sprituality, then why did he accept the claims of some who claim to be Christians of the positive influences Christianity had on their lives and other issues without quoting from NT? - Red Grant
===================================

Did you accept Founders College as an Objectivist institution despite

denials by its founders? - Laj
___________________________________


Ah! Laj, but you forget, Christianity was founded by Jesus, and He said so himself!



___________________________________

Even when Greg said he was indifferent on the question of whether Christianity made people behave better or not, he meant that he wasn't simply as invested in his position as you made out. - Laj
===================================

Laj, this is simply false, Greg is deeply worried about the future of the "West" and "U.S.".

and he thinks "Christianity" is the hope. - Red Grant
===================================

Quote where Greg said what you claim.

Like a wise Laj once said:

"Please be very specific". - Laj
___________________________________





Easy, Laj,

___________________________________

so if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg - 4/13/2008 09:16:00 PM - "Objectivism & Religion, Part 1"
___________________________________





___________________________________

... but Greg's point is that the link between religion and moral behavior... - Laj
===================================

What is morality in universally objectively valid sense?

and who decide(s) it as such? - Red Grant
===================================

Morality is the field that studies/recommends rules for value-based decision making.

Any intelligent human being will understand what the above means.

And if any intelligent human being pretends not to understand, I will ignore him for my sanity. - Laj
___________________________________




But Laj, you misunderstood my question.

My question was not just about any morality, or morality as an endeavor in philosophy.

It had, "universally, objectively, valid sense" at the end.


Meaning, morality that is not dependent on prevailing whim based on where, when, and whom(whether those whom would be "intelligent" or "less than intelligent" and by whose standard, and whether they be religious, or irreligious, or "religious' or "irreligious").




___________________________________

... or the link between belief in God and a desire to fight for one's values. - Laj
===================================

Let me qualify your statement above.

You're not talking about Christianity, but a form of anti-Christianity passed off as Christianity. - Red Grant
===================================

If you say that only gold is money,
and proceed to say that fiat money is not money, because it is not gold,

you are right,

but don't be surprised, if the world around you, ignores you, even if people see where you are coming from. - Laj
___________________________________




Your answer does not refer to whether Christians have a desire to fight for one's values or not.


What does the factor whether only gold is considered as money, and not fiat money has to do with whether Christians have a desire to fight for one's values or not?



___________________________________


Please define


psychological

and

physiological, - Laj
___________________________________




Not so fast, Laj, you have not answered the question that I had asked for your three questions I had answered.



___________________________________

On the related but disparate issue of free will vs. determinism: as Spinoza said in much more poetic terms than

I will put it,

the main reason you think you are free because you don't know what makes you do what you. - Laj
===================================

So you believe one is free because one thinks one is free? - Red Grant
___________________________________

Red Grant said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090415/ap_on_re_us/girl_in_suitcase

Xtra Laj said...

Red Grant: Laj, did you misread?


or


did you misspeak?
AND

Like you trying to deny you misspoke or misread by claiming (falsely) that Greg used the word, 'focus', instead of 'interest'.-------------------------------
"interested" <> "interest"

So,

no,

I obviously did not

misspeak or misread.

As I explained,

I appealed to

*a wider context*

when reading Greg's post.

Now, if you consider

"interested" = "interest",

let me know,

and we will take it from there.

Because you will be appealing to

meaning, not literal statements.

And you cannot eat your cake and

have it (unless eating your cake

is your means of having it).
------------------------
There is the proof in your own words that Greg is not interested in Christian spirituality.


There's not Christian spirituality undefined by the statements of Jesus from NT.
---------------------------
Here is proof

that you know *little* about

what you write about

*Christianity* -

the first mention of

*anything*

related to

"Christianity"

in the

*Bible*

is around the time of the life of

*Paul*

not

*Jesus*.

So, Red Grant, did you pretending to know something you know little about? Or can you provide evidence that Jesus spoke about *"Christianity"* in his lifetime?

Please answer the question, as I have answered yours.

Quoting the Bible is neither proof nor a rebuttal of interest in Christian spirituality.
-----------------------------
Now, Laj, this time, you're engaging in a lie.

I have already explicitly claimed I merely quoted and/or paraphrased the words of Jesus from NT.

I'm merely saying what Christianity is, not based on my opinion, but based on the very definition of Christianity as given by Jesus.


...and there is no Christianity undefined by the words of Jesus from NT.

If anyone claims otherwise, they are engaging in either blasphemy or charlatanism(either knowingly or not).
---------------------------
And you have engaged in lying to
do so.

Tell me where Jesus defined Christianity in the Bible. If you cannot, you are a shameless liar.

If you want to play this word game, I can play it too. Most of the Christian movement is the work of Paul.
--------------------------
so if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg - 4/13/2008 09:16:00 PM - "Objectivism & Religion, Part 1"-------------------
I have not seen that quote before, which is interesting in its own right.

But it doesn't answer *my question*, which was how

*Christianity* making people behave more *morally* in society

is a position that Greg is vested in. That Greg holds this position is

*interesting*,

but it is

*irrelevant*

to the original position which you claim he had vested interest in.

------------
But Laj, you misunderstood my question.

My question was not just about any morality, or morality as an endeavor in philosophy.

It had, "universally, objectively, valid sense" at the end.


Meaning, morality that is not dependent on prevailing whim based on where, when, and whom(whether those whom would be "intelligent" or "less than intelligent" and by whose standard, and whether they be religious, or irreligious, or "religious' or "irreligious").
--------------

Make yourself clearer by use of

*analogy* or *anecdote*

if you want to continue this

line

of discussion.

----------------
Your answer does not refer to whether Christians have a desire to fight for one's values or not.


What does the factor whether only gold is considered as money, and not fiat money has to do with whether Christians have a desire to fight for one's values or not?
-------------

My analogy might have flown over you, but

my point is that

if I present an example

of Christians who have fought for their beliefs,

you will simply claim that they are not

*real Christians*.

So is there any point in debating the issue, when you will simply say,

"Oh, only Gold is real money, so

you may have 1 million dollars in

the bank,

but you don't have real money!"

The Church controlled

a vast part of Europe.

You don't do that without fighting

for your beliefs. And you can't

fight without passionate belief,

which no,

is not exclusive to religion,

but is probably most commonly

exercised in its defense..

Xtra Laj said...

Not so fast, Laj, you have not answered the question that I had asked for your three questions I had answered.____________________________

This is ridiculously inconsistent. You've barely answered any of my questions, and the few you've answered, you've not gone into any depth and I've answered most if not all of yours, and now you're telling me that you can't answer a question without my answering one of yours?

Say you don't want to answer, but stop being so ridiculous.

So you believe one is free because one thinks one is free? - Red GrantNo, I believe one thinks one is free because one cannot understand the causes of one's behavior in any way that can eliminate the feeling of freedom.

I cannot think of how I behave without assuming that there is this "me" with a soul that is choosing to do this and that. This is my manifest self-image.

My scientific self-image tells me that I have a brain and a nervous system. If I touch a hot pot, I retract my hand, but I don't choose to retract it per se - the retraction is a reflex action.

As Hume said (and Popper agreed), we perceive cause and effect everywhere. The problem is how to discern illusory causation from actual causation. As Popper said, we can never be *logically* certain of a particular instance of claim to know cause and effect, but that does not vitiate the importance of making such claims to human survival.

Now, I have not read a single book of Popper, so I hope that doesn't certify me as someone who is uninterested in Popperian Epistemology!

Now, can you please answer the questions I have posed to you, and stop using the excuses that make no sense coming from you?

Red Grant said...

___________________________________

Greg's response to you used the word "focus" not "interest"... - Laj
-----------------------------------
My focus is always on the practical, institutional aspect of Christianity, since I am primarily

interested

in behavior, not on purported belief. - Greg
-----------------------------------

no,

I obviously did not

misspeak or misread. - Laj

___________________________________





But, Laj, Greg did use the word, "interest", in the form of "I am primarily intersted".

You're engaging in a lie/denial.




___________________________________

The rest is verbalistic gymnastics. - Laj
===================================

Like you trying to deny you misspoke or misread by claiming (falsely) that Greg used the word, 'focus', instead of 'interest'. - Red Grant
===================================

"interested" <> "interest"

So,

no,

I obviously did not

misspeak or misread.

As I explained, I appealed to *a wider context* when reading Greg's post.

Now, if you consider "interested" = "interest", let me know, and we will take it from there.

Because you will be appealing to meaning, not literal statements. - Laj
___________________________________




Now, poor Laj is engaging in verbal gymnastics he doesn't apparently approve of from others, and he doesn't even know it!




___________________________________

Greg wrote an article on the
spiritual life and theism. That is evidence of his interest in Christian spirituality. - Laj
-----------------------------------
His main model of religion (and spirituality) was Christianity, though a Christian fundamentalist would likely have issues with how Greg discussed the subject.

He[Greg] didn't go into the Bible for quotes... - Laj
===================================

There is the proof in your own words that Greg is not interested in Christian spirituality.

There's not Christian spirituality undefined by the statements of Jesus from NT. - Red Grant
===================================

Here is proof that you know *little* about what you write about *Christianity* - the first mention of *anything* related to

"Christianity"

in the *Bible* is around the time of the life of *Paul* not *Jesus*.
___________________________________





This is another example of your ignorance regarding Christianity and statements of Jesus from NT.

Bible talks about Christianity, not "Christianity".

Now you use the word, Christian spirituality when Greg talks about it without quoting from Bible,

yet you talk about "Christianity" when you mention it in regard to the New Testament.

Christian spirituality is based on the words of Jesus from NT.




___________________________________

So, Red Grant, did you pretending to know something you know little about? Or can you provide evidence that Jesus spoke about *"Christianity"* in his lifetime?

Please answer the question, as I have answered yours. - Laj
___________________________________




Easy, Laj, Jesus did not talk about "Christianity" from NT.

He talked about Christianity, and that is, from New Testament.

Now, whether Jesus really existed and if he did, then he really talked about things as in NT or not has nothing to do with Christianity.

What matters to Christianity is Christians believe He did and He was and is as told in NT.


This is another proof of your ignorance of Christianity.



___________________________________

Quoting the Bible is neither proof nor a rebuttal of interest in Christian spirituality. - Laj
___________________________________




Another proof of Laj not knowing the meaning of Christian spirituality.

There's no Christian spirituality without the foundation of the statements of Jesus from New Testament.

Only blasphmy, and charlatanism (whether wittingly or not).




___________________________________

Red Grant's opinion:

There is no Christian spirituality undefined by the statements of Jesus from NT.
===================================

Thank you for your OPINION. - Laj
===================================

Now, Laj, this time, you're engaging in a lie.

I have already explicitly claimed I merely quoted and/or paraphrased the words of Jesus from NT.

I'm merely saying what Christianity is, not based on my opinion, but based on the very definition of Christianity as given by Jesus.

...and there is no Christianity undefined by the words of Jesus from NT.

If anyone claims otherwise, they are engaging in either blasphemy or charlatanism(either knowingly or not).
===================================

And you have engaged in lying to
do so.

Tell me where Jesus defined Christianity in the Bible. If you cannot, you are a shameless liar. - Laj
___________________________________






Poor Laj, getting desperate!





Here they are, from New Testament




Acts 15:11 (New American Standard Bible)

11"But we believe that we are saved through (A)the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."


John 7:25-29 (Today's New International Version)

Division Over Who Jesus Is


25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from."

28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."


___________________________________

If you want to play this word game, I can play it too.

Most of the Christian movement is the work of Paul.- Laj
___________________________________




But, without the divine inspiration from Jesus, there would have been no Paul as a conduit of the message of Jesus.

Paul was merely a messenger.





___________________________________

Even when Greg said he was indifferent on the question of whether Christianity made people behave better or not, he meant that he wasn't simply as invested in his position as you made out. - Laj
===================================

Laj, this is simply false, Greg is deeply worried about the future of the "West" and "U.S.".

and he thinks "Christianity" is the hope. - Red Grant
===================================

Quote where Greg said what you claim.

Like a wise Laj once said:

"Please be very specific". - Laj
===================================

Easy, Laj,

___________________________________

so if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg - 4/13/2008 09:16:00 PM - "Objectivism & Religion, Part 1"
===================================

I have not seen that quote before, which is interesting in its own right. - Laj
___________________________________





Laj, then you're becoming intellectually groggy in reading my posts since I've quoted that statement from Greg several times in this thread.




___________________________________

so if I need Christiantiy to defend the West from Islam (and I believe that's the case)... - Greg
==================================

But it doesn't answer *my question*, which was how *Christianity* making people behave more *morally* in society is a position that Greg is vested in.

That Greg holds this position is *interesting*, but it is *irrelevant* to the original position which you claim he had vested interest in. - Laj
-----------------------------------
You raised genuine questions about this, but Greg's point is that the link between religion and moral behavior is not as important for his position as the link between say churches and community bonds, or the link

between belief in God and a desire to fight for one's values. - Laj
___________________________________



Laj, obviously you're in denial.

Greg holds this position because he believe he has a deeply vested interest in preserving what he considers Western values and civilization, of which he considers himself part of.

Otherwise, he wouldn't have insisted on Christianity as the hope of the West.

One of the attrbutes Greg claims needed for the survival/preservation of what he calls Western civilization was the effectiveness in motivating people to fight, and he attributed that to Christianity.





___________________________________

... but Greg's point is that the link between religion and moral behavior... - Laj
===================================

What is morality in universally objectively valid sense?

and who decide(s) it as such? - Red Grant
===================================

Morality is the field that studies/recommends rules for value-based decision making.

Any intelligent human being will understand what the above means.

And if any intelligent human being pretends not to understand, I will ignore him for my sanity. - Laj
===================================

But Laj, you misunderstood my question.

My question was not just about any morality, or morality as an endeavor in philosophy.

It had, "universally, objectively, valid sense" at the end.

Meaning, morality that is not dependent on prevailing whim based on where, when, and whom(whether those whom would be "intelligent" or "less than intelligent" and by whose standard, and whether they be religious, or irreligious, or "religious' or "irreligious"). - Red Grant
===================================
Make yourself clearer by use of *analogy* or *anecdote* if you want to continue this line of discussion. - Laj
___________________________________




No, you make yourself clearer by what you mean by moral behavior. Since you have brought it up first.



___________________________________

Your answer does not refer to whether Christians have a desire to fight for one's values or not.

What does the factor whether only gold is considered as money, and not fiat money has to do with whether Christians have a desire to fight for one's values or not? - Red Grant
===================================

My analogy might have flown over you, but my point is that if I present an example of Christians who have fought for their beliefs, you will simply claim that they are not

*real Christians*. - Laj
___________________________________




Of course, Christians don't fight in worldly sense. They have no reason to. Their goal is eternal salvation of their individual souls by following the example of Jesus.

Jesus Christ did not preach political salvation.

He preached spiritual salvation by accepting Him as the Messiah.

All Greg had to do to silence me in this matter is to admit that he wants to make use of frauds who either delude themseves to be or pose themsevelves as Christians for worldly purpose.



___________________________________

So is there any point in debating the issue, when you will simply say,

"Oh, only Gold is real money, so

you may have 1 million dollars in

the bank,

but you don't have real money!" - Laj
___________________________________




But I didn't say it, and I won't say it!





___________________________________

The Church controlled a vast part of Europe.

You don't do that without fighting
for your beliefs. - Laj
___________________________________




But that Church was not Christian! Christians don't fight in worldly sense, they have no reason to.

People who controlled that Church and supported that Church were frauds, and charlatans who actually practiced a form of anti-Christianity.

They were anything but religious in Christian sense.

They were psuedo-religious, not religious by the standard of Christianity.



___________________________________

And you can't fight without passionate belief, which no, is not exclusive to religion, but is probably most commonly exercised in its defense.. - Laj
___________________________________




It only applies to religions that allow fighting in worldly sense.

Not Christianity.




___________________________________

Not so fast, Laj, you have not answered the question that I had asked for your three questions I had answered. - Red Grant
-----------------------------------

This is ridiculously inconsistent. You've barely answered any of my questions,... - Laj
___________________________________




As I have explained before you need to ask a specific question if you want a specific answer.


___________________________________

... and the few you've answered, you've not gone into any depth - Laj
___________________________________




When your question was not specific enough, and I have asked to make it specific.


___________________________________

...and I've answered most if not all of yours,... - Laj
___________________________________



Now, Laj, you know that's a lie. You definitely have not answered most of my questions. (as of now)


___________________________________

...and now you're telling me that you can't answer a question without my answering one of yours? - Laj
___________________________________




Now, you're being hypocritical as well, wasn't that your original complaint against me?



___________________________________

Say you don't want to answer,.... - Laj
___________________________________



Of course, I want to anwer, but you have to make them specific first, only then I will answer the question in specific sense.




___________________________________

....but stop being so ridiculous. - Laj
___________________________________




No, you stop being such a hypocrite and a cry-baby.



___________________________________

So you believe one is free because one thinks one is free? - Red Grant
===================================

No, I believe one thinks one is free because one cannot understand the causes of one's behavior in any way that can eliminate the feeling of freedom. - Laj
___________________________________




Then you've just contradicted yourself, Laj.

Since you've already stated that the closest one can get to freedom is an improved capacity of self-understanding.



___________________________________

...and stop using the excuses that make no sense coming from you? - Laj
___________________________________





But I didn't.








Now, as for your question I'm going to answer for you answering my question:



___________________________________

Please define psychological and
physiological, - Laj
___________________________________




As I see it as of now,

psychological means something that one thinks one senses happening even though that may not necessarily be the case.

physiological means something that does happen to regarding living organisms in physical way, whether one necessarily sense it or not.



___________________________________

...and explain how they relate to the issue of being aroused by a woman you find attractive. - Laj
___________________________________





I need to be physiologically ready to be aroused physiologically.

In fact, if you stroke my penus long enough I would be aroused physiologically.

I don't necessarily have to physiologically ready to be psychologically aroused.



___________________________________

As in you choose to find certain women attractive and some women unattractive? - Laj

At what age did you start making this choice? - Laj
==================================

As I remember it from now (and as of now), 12. - Red Grant
===================================

Why 12?

Why not 11?

Or 22?

Or 5? - Laj
___________________________________





Very easy, Laj, such an asinine question.

Because by the time I turned 12 (as I remember it as of now), I had accumulated enough knowledge for me to decide what triggers my psychological arousal.

Xtra Laj said...

But, Laj, Greg did use the word, "interest", in the form of "I am primarily intersted".

You're engaging in a lie/denial.
___________________________________

Did he use the word

"interest"

or not?

If he used the word, he used it.

"Form" means he used another word.

And if he did not use the exact word

(and even if he had, though that would be a different story and I would be literally a liar),

then I am allowed to read his statement in the context of other statements.

Which I have, and you are simply trying to tell me how to think. I read the statement in the context of his writings, his book recommendations etc.
___________________________________


Now, poor Laj is engaging in verbal gymnastics he doesn't apparently approve of from others, and he doesn't even know it! _________________________________

"Never debate with a fool, because he will bring you down to his level, and shame you with his experience".

___________________________________

This is another example of your ignorance regarding Christianity and statements of Jesus from NT.

Bible talks about Christianity, not "Christianity".
__________________________________

Please explain the difference between "Christianity" and Christianity and tell me which one you might be speaking about and which one we might be speaking about.
__________________________________


Now you use the word, Christian spirituality when Greg talks about it without quoting from Bible,__________________________________

It is a distinction without a real difference.
___________________________________

yet you talk about "Christianity" when you mention it in regard to the New Testament.

Christian spirituality is based on the words of Jesus from NT.
_________________________________

By the way, I thought "Christian spirituality" was two words, but even if we overlook such excusable sloppiness, you still haven't explained why we have a whole Bible, including the letters of Paul and the wholte Testament, is Christianity is based on the words of Jesus in the NT. What happened to the rest of the Bible? Is it just filler?

Lots of things form the basis of Christianity, ranging from the Jewish tradition to the words of Jesus to the teachings of many Apostles after Jesus died. What I can't understand is why you are insisting that despite the evidence that the Bible has even undergone revision over time by different Churches, you keep acting as if there is only one true way to be a Christian or to practice Christian spirituality.
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Here they are, from New Testament__________________________________

None of those verses use the word "Christianity", and none of them say that you cannot call yourself a "Christian" if you do not do these things. None of them say that you are uninterested in Christianity if you do not quote the Bible in writing one essay.

In other words, you are still trying to use your opinion to claim facts. How rational!

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But, without the divine inspiration from Jesus, there would have been no Paul as a conduit of the message of Jesus.

Paul was merely a messenger.
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How omniscient of you. So how do you know that Paul could not have started his own movement based on some other events without Jesus, if we assume that Jesus and Paul are largely as the Bible describes them?
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Laj, then you're becoming intellectually groggy in reading my posts since I've quoted that statement from Greg several times in this thread.___________________________________
You simply snipped it and didn't reference it in any accessible/verifiable way. I usually think of such behavior as being dishonest. And it's hard to follow the details of your scroll-bar-exhausting posting style. I'm making the extra effort to do so probably against my better judgment.
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Laj, obviously you're in denial.

Greg holds this position because he believe he has a deeply vested interest in preserving what he considers Western values and civilization, of which he considers himself part of.

Otherwise, he wouldn't have insisted on Christianity as the hope of the West.

One of the attrbutes Greg claims needed for the survival/preservation of what he calls Western civilization was the effectiveness in motivating people to fight, and he attributed that to Christianity.
_________________________________

Is this a long winded way of saying that you cannot show that Greg is committed to Christianity inspiring more moral behavior, which is not the same thing as saying that Christianity is the hope of the West?
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No, you make yourself clearer by what you mean by moral behavior. Since you have brought it up first.
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Well, I think my statement was perfectly clear and I still don't get your objection to it. Morality is based on human nature, prevailing sentiment, evolution etc. Different individuals will have different views of how to act morally because of self interest and subjectivity but there is significant agreement on what is right and wrong in an impersonal context (lots of tests on children have shown that there is an innate moral compass that helps people agree on many acts being right or wrong and fair ad unfair even when people do not follow it for various reasons).
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Of course, Christians don't fight in worldly sense. They have no reason to. Their goal is eternal salvation of their individual souls by following the example of Jesus.

Jesus Christ did not preach political salvation.

He preached spiritual salvation by accepting Him as the Messiah.

All Greg had to do to silence me in this matter is to admit that he wants to make use of frauds who either delude themseves to be or pose themsevelves as Christians for worldly purpose.
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Now we get to the rub of the matter. You want to apply your narrow definition of Christianity to this debate. Feel free to do so. It just makes your writing more irrelevant, since the Christian missionaries who went all over the world, many of whom spread science and education and influenced how Christianity is practiced world over could never be Christians by your definition.

And with that note cementing your irrelevance, have a good day on this line of discussion!

Xtra Laj said...

As I have explained before you need to ask a specific question if you want a specific answer.___________________________________

Oh, I know better now. I threw out the good faith assumption a long time ago when debating with you.
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Now, Laj, you know that's a lie. You definitely have not answered most of my questions. (as of now)
__________________________________

Oh, I sure have. I've been working 13 hour days, including weekends, and I've done an immodestly awesome job debating with a verbalist (I've even adopted your debating tactics)!

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No, you stop being such a hypocrite and a cry-baby.__________________________________

Wow. Even my five year old nephew can do better than this. Is that the ceiling of your ability to come up with ripostes?

You are a ridiculous poster who has no clue how to write with any honesty!
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As I see it as of now,

psychological means something that one thinks one senses happening even though that may not necessarily be the case.

physiological means something that does happen to regarding living organisms in physical way, whether one necessarily sense it or not.
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There is so much that makes no sense in these distinctions, which are very artificial. I'll mention one: when "one thinks" or "one senses", does that not have a physiological basis?

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No, I believe one thinks one is free because one cannot understand the causes of one's behavior in any way that can eliminate the feeling of freedom. - Laj
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Then you've just contradicted yourself, Laj.

Since you've already stated that the closest one can get to freedom is an improved capacity of self-understanding.
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I'm not sure what the contradiction is, but I don't have any problem realizing that you will be able to imagine a few, since you have a kind of mental disability that makes you incapable of reading for intent. My first reference to Spinoza (maybe you should google the quote) shows that I think freedom is an illusion. Has anything I wrote contradicted that? In fact, the man who has no understanding of why he acts the way he does could probably experience the greatest feeling of freedom, but could be the most irrational slave to his passions.
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I need to be physiologically ready to be aroused physiologically.

In fact, if you stroke my penus long enough I would be aroused physiologically.

I don't necessarily have to physiologically ready to be psychologically aroused.
_________________________________

I know this is not a family webpage, and I appreciate the honest answer, but could you please exhibit a modicum (surely, that is not too much to ask from a verbalist like you) of decency?

But again, this distinction between physiological and psychological is a bit hard to swallow. What do you think of the idea that the *nervous system* is how to think of these issues, rather than a split between physiological and psychological? What you consider a split might be simply different parts of the nervous system which might be in harmony, or might not be.
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Very easy, Laj, such an asinine question.

Because by the time I turned 12 (as I remember it as of now), I had accumulated enough knowledge for me to decide what triggers my psychological arousal.
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So age and experience were causal determinants of your ability to arrive at a certain conclusion. Is that correct?

What is your position on free will? Determinist, Free Will, or Compatibilist? Or some other school I left out?

Laj

JayCross said...

I do not always see eye to eye with Red but I have to agree with him here. The Bible is clear that fighting for worldly goals and conquests is antithetical to Christianity. This means that "Christians" who are fighting political battles and wars are violating Christian doctrine.

Xtra Laj said...

I do not always see eye to eye with Red but I have to agree with him here. The Bible is clear that fighting for worldly goals and conquests is antithetical to Christianity. This means that "Christians" who are fighting political battles and wars are violating Christian doctrine.I think from personal experience that it is very rare that the Bible is *clear* on anything.

What is far more common in my experience is that individual personality traits lead to people emphasizing/interpreting or de-emphasizing/reinterpreting certain parts of it based on their own agendas (and Greg is no exception).

In our age of material wealth, it is easy to assume that the words of Jesus were common knowledge in the past since today there are books and Bibles all over the world. In reality, in the past, Bibles were the property of a very wealthy and small theological and political class. Barzun argues it was the invention of the printing press that enabled the Lutheran revolution that encouraged to some degree individual, direct relationships to Jesus/God.

The idea that there is this *one* definition of Christianity that is the only correct one can only make sense to someone who has not seen the width and breadth of human nature.

A strong devotion to Biblical literalism (when reading the statements of authority figures in the Bible), Christian fundamentalism and eschatology is very rare and only common amongst those who aren't that intelligent. More people in the world today are allegorical in the faith.

For many Christians, they were just raised in a culture that enables them to make sense of many of their goals, belief etc. in the context of Christianity.

The one thing that many religions can create, is a belief in transcendence which is what the anti-materialists fight against (and in the anti-materialist camp, I would also place the Popperians and the Objectivists). It's just that belief that without there being God or something like him, how do you make sense of higher purposes and doing good etc.

I don't have an answer, and I'm still on the fence as to whether an answer is needed (though I do sympathize with the desire for higher purpose), but I do know for sure that Christianity and Objectivism are not the answers. I think that some form of the perennial philosophy should be adopted and advocated by individuals with taste for such stuff and the rest is just a desire to change the world.

Jay said...

Laj,

Believe me, I'm not defending the Bible as a consistent or logical piece of literature. In fact, I think the only reason so many people still look to it for inspiration or guidance is because they have never read more than a few passages of it. Between calling for the death of anyone who works on Sunday, the stoning of unfaithful women and the murder of disobedient children, the Bible is a pretty horrifying book! If it weren't for the inertia of history and people not actually reading it, I doubt it would have nearly as important a role in present times.

That said, the passages Red quoted are pretty unmistakable. I'm not saying people who call themselves Christians while also waging wars are terrible people or necessary worthy of our condemning...but the bare, crass fact is that they are NOT Christians as defined by the founder of Christianity in the defining book of Christianity.

This applies to Objectivism, too. I am in many ways inspired by the Objectivist ethics, by Hank Rearden (Atlas Shrugged character), and by the general thrust of making of life what you desire without compromising your principles for other people. But I am in many important ways NOT an Objectivist - for example, how I am now more apt to consult what scientific research has to say on something rather than just dogmatically deducing the knowledge I hold from "axioms." I also consider myself more tolerant and understanding than Objectivist writings allow. So while I am inspired and influenced by Objectivism, I am NOT an Objectivist.

Seems like the same thing to me. Thoughts?

JayCross said...
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JayCross said...

An example: (not sure if Red will agree, but let him chime in if not.)

George W. Bush is not a Christian. He may claim Christian values and even practice some of them, but waging those 2 wars is a direct contradiction of Christianity. I don't necessarily oppose those wars, but whether I or anyone else opposes them is entirely beside the point. The fact is Bush (like many "Christians") cherry-picked the Christian values he cared to abide by and the ones he did not based on expediency and worldly concerns.

Is there a problem with being inspired by, but not a strict adherent of, a philosophy? Not at all! The problem is when you're not a strict adherent but claim to be so you can use a false appearance of virtue to win power, money, respect, etc.

Xtra Laj said...

Believe me, I'm not defending the Bible as a consistent or logical piece of literature. In fact, I think the only reason so many people still look to it for inspiration or guidance is because they have never read more than a few passages of it. Between calling for the death of anyone who works on Sunday, the stoning of unfaithful women and the murder of disobedient children, the Bible is a pretty horrifying book! If it weren't for the inertia of history and people not actually reading it, I doubt it would have nearly as important a role in present times.___________________________________

Jay, no, the reason why most people use the Bible for inspiration is the message of Christian love and salvation for all, the weak and the strong etc. a message not based on race or wealth, is a powerful and ennobling one which for whatever reason, secularists like to dismiss as if there is any secular reason to believe it. The Bible is the book which is used to transmit that message, but the message and its effects on people is what gives the Bible its relevance.

The Bible is a book of stories whose basis can be a variety of things, depending on how deeply you study the book. In other words, the capacity for understanding one brings to studying the Bible often determines what one gets from it. It is situated in a particular time and describes the events of that time. There is no need to rewrite the events of that time in order to interpret the Bible. It describes of the gamut of human nature - the mendacity, the love, etc. There are many things that one can find in the Bible that are scary etc., but they rarely square with how actual Christians practice their creed.

While the Bible can be interpreted in various ways, it is often the *Christian* culture in which the Bible is used that determines how it is interpreted. And on this score, anyone who has done an empirical study of the history from first sources often comes to the same conclusion every single time - Christianity has a mixed history, but does not promote evil any more than human nature permits. One could just as well indict any other religious creed of having the same problems, and many do not have the history of benevolence and charity that Christianity does.
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That said, the passages Red quoted are pretty unmistakable. I'm not saying people who call themselves Christians while also waging wars are terrible people or necessary worthy of our condemning...but the bare, crass fact is that they are NOT Christians as defined by the founder of Christianity in the defining book of Christianity.___________________________________

What you really should do is point out which of the quotes that Red cited defined "Christianity". Real - as in individuals who identify themselves as - Christians often wrestle with and debate their faith, and many of them would interpret those statements differently. After all, we don't think Ayn Rand solved the "is-ought" gap, but some Objectivists do. Are we going to prove how they interpret what they read by imposing our definitions on them?

It is easy to point to parts of the Bible in an attempt to ridicule it, but just about any creed, religious or supposedly secular, which makes formal pronouncements about how to behave that are based on events in its time, will have similar issues which as time progresses, will either be ignored or reinterpreted.

Even the history of Christianity (and scientists) is full of various kinds of individuals. After all, Newton, Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler were all Christians! Many people like to create a sharp divide between religion and science, but there was a time when both were continuous parts of society with no strong dissociation. Many of the best scientific institutions had religious support.
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This applies to Objectivism, too. I am in many ways inspired by the Objectivist ethics, by Hank Rearden (Atlas Shrugged character), and by the general thrust of making of life what you desire without compromising your principles for other people. But I am in many important ways NOT an Objectivist - for example, how I am now more apt to consult what scientific research has to say on something rather than just dogmatically deducing the knowledge I hold from "axioms." I also consider myself more tolerant and understanding than Objectivist writings allow. So while I am inspired and influenced by Objectivism, I am NOT an Objectivist.

Seems like the same thing to me. Thoughts?
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Social labels like these are necessarily vague.

You could call yourself an Objectivist, and let others classify you, could you not? And you've explained why you don't want to call yourself an Objectivist, so it gives us an idea of what you think being an Objectivist entailed. But if you called yourself an Objectivist, some might agree with you and others might not. But the idea that there are only "true" Objectivists and there aren't "true" OBjectivists is more about debating advantage than reality.

There is no common cultural agreement on what constitutes an Objectivist as there isn't one on Christianity, so why should anyone claim to have the one correct definition? Both terms have much more of a cultural context than anything else as opposed to an idea like the number "one".

I often claim Ayn Rand as one of the biggest influences in my life because almost everything I believe right now was in response to a strong study of science and philosophy after I tried to see what others had to say on the issues that issue. I'm clearly not an Objectivist, IMO. But her influences on how I think are obvious if you dig deep enough and I could write things that could make me sound like one to those without deep knowledge of the philosophy. In the same sense, many Christians argue that even what some secularists claim as their culture has many Christian influences.

Our goal is to empirically study an issue, not to dwell forever on definitions. But Christianity has had many more schisms and cross cultural transmissions tha Objectivism, schisms and transmissions that would allow for a harder rigorous definition of Christianity based on some kind of Biblical literalism which even the philosophical greats of Christianity like St. Augustine or Aquinas would not support. Neither was an exponent of Biblical literalism, and if those two aren't Christians, then what is the point of calling anyone a Christian?

Red would claim that Newton, Galileo and Kepler were not Christians, while if you asked each of these men whether they were, they would tell you they were Christians. So in the end, we can settle this discussion in two ways - either by getting detailed about how people who have actually called themselves Christians (George Washington, John Adams etc.) behave, or by simply defining them as anti-Christians who called themselves Christians. Red would prefer the latter. But that is his opinion. You can share it, but there are other views on the subject and if Red doesn't want to accept them because of he is sure that his view is the only one with merit (however dubious that might be), well, there is no money involved in this, so he is free to do so.

George W. Bush is not a Christian. He may claim Christian values and even practice some of them, but waging those 2 wars is a direct contradiction of Christianity. I don't necessarily oppose those wars, but whether I or anyone else opposes them is entirely beside the point. The fact is Bush (like many "Christians") cherry-picked the Christian values he cared to abide by and the ones he did not based on expediency and worldly concerns.Well, if I argue too seriously that Bush is a Christian, then I'm guilty of precisely the same error that I'm arguing against right? And I did explain that allegorical treatment of Christianity has been a part of the religion for a *long* time and the growth of Christianity was in part based on how it influenced certain cultural mores.

The idea that one has to have one interpretation of the Bible and its messages and that if one doesn't subscribe to or act in perfect accordance with that message, one cannot be a Christian begs credulity, IMO. On such issues, let's just use our common sense rather than rely on strict standards that can be shown up by the kind of logic exhibited by the ancient Greek who defeathered a bird after hearing someone define "man" as a two legged featherless creature.

Red Grant said...

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But, Laj, Greg did use the word, "interest", in the form of "I am primarily intersted".

You're engaging in a lie/denial. - Red Grant
===================================

Did he use the word

"interest"

or not?

If he used the word, he used it.

"Form" means he used another word.

And if he did not use the exact word

(and even if he had, though that would be a different story and I would be literally a liar),

then I am allowed to read his statement in the context of other statements.

Which I have, and you are simply trying to tell me how to think. I read the statement in the context of his writings, his book recommendations etc. - Laj
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So, Laj, you're engaging in verbal gymnastics, which you don't approve of from others.

Then, not only you engaged in a lie/denial, you're being a hypocrite.

Xtra Laj said...

__________________________

Red Grant:

So, Laj, you're engaging in verbal gymnastics, which you don't approve of from others.

Then, not only you engaged in a lie/denial, you're being a hypocrite.
__________________________

Xtra Laj

"Never debate with a fool, because he will bring you down to his level, and shame you with his experience".

I was hypocritical to debate with you, but is anyone surprised you brought me down to your verbalistic level?

Sometimes, it hurts to be shown up using your own methods, but live with it!

Red Grant said...

Laj, I am truly sorry, if I offended you.

Your post just above has just proven to me you are not intellectually cowardly as I thought.

For a moment, I thought you were like Herb Sewell. (Just ask Daniel, who or what he was.)


I hope this could start as fresh start, and I promise I will strive to restrain my inner Socrates.

Abolaji said...
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