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Jun 25

Skepticism, social justice, and me

I am going to my first skeptic convention in October, CSICon in Nashville, TN. I am totes excited at the opportunity given to me by the kindness of an (almost) stranger. My excitement at going seems a bit strange for me because I don’t automatically identify as a skeptic. I try to think skeptically, yes but I typically won’t ever use the term “skeptic” to describe myself. I describe myself as an atheist. I describe myself as a rational person (who sometimes flirts with irrationality). I describe myself as an activist. I don’t describe myself as a skeptic.

Why?

Well part of it is that the term “skeptic” as a label is a new concept to me. I live in a small town where almost everyone is a believer in some sort of nonsense. If they aren’t, they are too scared to talk about their lack of belief. I still find it amusing how many atheists live in my town that think they are the lone atheist in this godforsaken town. No one talks about their lack of belief here. I don’t do closets though.  Not being good at keeping quiet about the reality of me has subsequently opened the door for all those closet atheists to come out in my company. So I might know most of the non-believers here but it didn’t really occur to me that somewhere out in the big world there was  a collection of non-believers organizing to help teach the world how to think critically.

When I found my fellow non-believers, I also found new people called skeptics. I knew what it meant to be skeptical. I didn’t know what it meant to be a skeptic. I learned that most people who identify as skeptic were like me. They used empirical methods for evaluating truth claims in the world. I tried to do that. They made arguments against ESP, cryptozoology, homeopathy, anti-vaxers, tinfoil conspiracy theorists, and a shitton of stuff I already had arguments against or wanted good arguments against. So yeah, I could be a skeptic. It didn’t matter if many skeptics hadn’t made the leap to being similarly skeptical about their god. I mean we all have our blind spots. I just needed to try and be more cognizant of my own.

I was ready to call myself a skeptic. I was ready to go to skeptic cons and hear all these speakers talk about the bits of skepticism they found most motivating. I still was most motivated by atheism. I still found problems with the separation with church and state to be far more taxing than the neighbors who consult the tarot card reader for marriage counseling.

Then Elevatorgate happened. It didn’t deter me from wanting to join the movement but it did deter me from wanting to associate with some parts of it. Hell, it even motivated me a bit to be more vocal about my side. I mean there were problems here I could help address. This was something I could think skeptically about. I had nothing major vested in anyone. Then it continued for a year. I must have read enough about sexism in the atheism and skepticism movements to fill a bookshelf. Comment threads a mile long. I was ready for this fight.

Then people started arguing that skepticism isn’t about battling sexism, isn’t about combating racism, isn’t about tackling transphobia, isn’t about fighting homophobia. That the skeptics trying to address social justice problems in the movement were being divisive. That opinions on social justice were tearing skepticism apart. That those interested in dealing with these things are all well and good but should get off skepticism’s lawn to do so. That the intersection crowd are just trying to impose intersectional dogma upon the True Skeptics™. That we are going to ruin skepticism for all…Deep rifts…etc.

And all of it left me hanging. Do I want to join a movement that seems so Hell-bent on ignoring the things I consider important? If I join will skepticism end up fracturing along the fault line of social justice? Will I help it do so?

UFOs and Bigfoot are the easy shit.* I (we) can lol at it while pulling out the mountain of evidence in opposition. Our opinions though, our opinions are the meat, the heart, the struggle of skepticism. We are racist. We are transphobic. We are sexist. We are the sum of culture’s influence upon us. No person escapes the bigotry and bias of culture entirely.

Looking at those parts of us that are erroneously biased by culture is hard. It requires accepting that aspects of reality are sometimes measured in anecdotes. People are a collection of anecdotes. People cannot be measured in the same sense that liquids are measured. There is no rule book to humanity. Skepticism as it applies to social justice therefore is pretty messy. It is a dance full of nuance, indignation, apathy, and pleas for truces on all sides. Things like bigotry and harassment and trying to define them tends to leave a bad taste in skeptic’s mouths because much of the time the definition is shaped by the victims. The definition is measured by the effect it has on people. I mean that there is nothing wrong with insults except when there is something wrong with insults. There is nothing wrong with sex except when there is something wrong with sex. The definition is defined by experience because the definition is about experience and it is always messier in the middle.

So I get why some skeptics don’t want us to be involved with social justice. I get that social justice movements are sometimes at odds with each other and that examining them skeptically is fraught with difficulties. I understand if it is too complicated for those skeptics to differentiate between wrong and right so they throw their hands over their ears and say “I can’t hear you.” I get it. Change is painful.

What I want to say to those skeptics though is I am still joining this movement and I am not going to stop caring about skepticism as it applies to social justice.

If and when skepticism fractures along the line of crop circles and social justice, I won’t lament the loss of those who decided that admitting their facts were wrong was easier than admitting their opinions were wrong. I won’t look back in regret at the loss of those conservative skeptics. I will be on the progressive side of this movement feeling a little more comfortable in my self-applied “progressive skeptic” label than ever before. I will be over here watching the conservative side die off as it becomes progressively less relevant to the rest of the world.

*I don’t know whether to say thank you or fuck you to ThunderfOOt for the inspiration to finish the article when I got stuck right at this moment.

72 comments

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  1. 1
    Xanthë

    Another great post Willo. It’s sort of astonishing, the amounts of unjustifiable hyper-skepticism that have been applied to topics around sexism, post-Elevatorgate. You really have to be in serious denial to not see evidence of the maltreatment of groups within society, and in certain social situations related to this specific topic, there is ample demonstration of the fact that some (and by no means all!) antediliuvian straight guys have a colossal sense of entitlement towards women, and that anywhere, any time of day or night might be an appropriate time and place for them to issue a Public Boner Announcement. But no, because we are discussing social issues, not and scientific hard unquestionable Facts™, suddenly the standards of evidence that would be relevant to a massive improbability such as Bigfoot are being ratcheted up to testerically deny the ubiquitousness of mundane sexual harassment. The denial is so strong, they’ve already been washed past Cairo and they’re out floundering in the Mediterranean.

    I’m prone to getting anxieties about the directions society is being pushed or pulled, but over long periods of time it is obvious that society is progressing, however slowly and painfully that progress is. These conservative sceptics are on the losing side of history, and I wish them godspeed to their obsolescence.

    1. 1.1
      WilloNyx

      Thank you Xanthë. I had it halfway written before ThunderfOOt decided to completely make me loathe his existence. I probably would have finished without it but I doubt it would have been near as cohesive. I really don’t know whether to be glad for the horrible post that gave me the tools to finish this one. I am hoping later I can dissect his nonsense line by line but I am promising nothing on that front.

    2. 1.2
      Dalillama

      What pisses me off the most about those kinds of ‘skeptics’ is that there is a shitton of evidence regarding the mistreatment of less privileged groups. Rigorously collected, rigorously analyzed, peer reveiwed evidence no less. We know how disproportionate the number of men in positions of authority is, we know that there’s a huge difference in rates of sexual assault between men and women (although due to issues of reporting and recordkeeping it’s hard to know exactly how big), and we even have pretty good models regarding the the ratio of lower-level antisocial acts relative to higher ones (i.e. each rape implies a certain number of incidents of lesser harrassment). All of these things are facts at least as good as the evidence for the existence of quasars, and considerably more data than we have about Tyrannosaurs, which are things skeptics do not tend to argue with. Given that, the parsimonious explanation for any given complaint/story of harrassment/assault is that it took place as described, barring irrefutable evidence to the contrary (Of the nature, e.g. of the accused being on video in a different location at the time).

      1. Jarreg

        I’m sorry but those rather ordinary claims are going to require some very extraordinary evidence to back them up. That was sarcasm of course.

  2. 2
    Bruce

    Being a “skeptic” is good for even “believers” like myself, but it makes me curious about the correlation of progressivism with atheism. Is this because the Gospels at their core are personal & not collectivist? If so then collectivism is by default immoral & evil & God must be eliminated for collectivism to become moral & good. How can this be? It’s simple. Progressivism/collectivism destroys personhood & personal responsibility & replaces it with collective good. Individual moral prohibitions against such things as murder & theft can be superseded with any value that is deemed good for the collective. So seizing member assets is no longer theft but doing good for others. Killing off the elderly & chronically ill is no longer evil but an expression of care for the young & healthy. The thing that is so disturbing is that these values are those of someone the believer clearly knows – Satan – who embodies all that is evil. The devil comes to kill, steal , & destroy.

    Interestingly you do not address what Social Justice is, but most commonly it is expressed as taking from the rich and giving to the poor. The key word is “taking” not asking, not giving. The social justice advocate proudly displays their compassion by advocating using armed agents of the majority as the storm troopers of righteousness seizing the booty of those who so sinisterly produced great wealth & prosperity while others did not. In Social Justice receivers/takers are the righteous, and producers, workers, gathers, and investors are the unrighteousness fruit ready for plucking & consuming.

    In the end it seems that in order for progressives to prevail they must go to war not against men but God, and destroying him & all that he stands for is paramount. But what you fail to understand is once you have turned reason & truth on their head & consumed the fruit of all those you despise there will be nothing left to seize. It is then that you discover that the storehouse is barren & all that you have left is yourself.

    (i wonder how fast will his get deleted)

    1. 2.1
      Jarreg

      “(i wonder how fast will his get deleted)”

      Please take the time to familiarize yourself with our comment policy. It is short and easy to understand. We don’t censor dissenting opinions here, even if those opinions are nothing more than long lists of fallacious arguments. WilloNyx worked very late and will likely be asleep for some time still so I will try and address a couple of your concerns as best I can from work. I will address each separately as time permits.

    2. 2.2
      Jarreg

      “Being a “skeptic” is good for even “believers” like myself, but it makes me curious about the correlation of progressivism with atheism. Is this because the Gospels at their core are personal & not collectivist? If so then collectivism is by default immoral & evil & God must be eliminated for collectivism to become moral & good.”

      I agree that skepticism is good, even for believers. As far as correlations go, atheists tend to be politically and socially progressive. Not all atheists are. One is not dependent on the other. I don’t think it has anything to do with “the gospels” and you are more than welcome to expand on your use of the word collectivism. As it stands your meaning is neither clear nor does it seem to have anything to do with the discussion at hand. Your assertions about morality seem to assume that anything that falls outside the scope of your own personal religious view is immoral by definition. If that is the case then you have redefined the very concept of morality and your argument is fallacious. The divine command theory of moral philosophy is flawed at its very core. Any action, however depraved and unjust, becomes a moral act by virtue of the fact that some imagined authority deems it thus, with or without explanation. The death penalty for planting two crops in one field then becomes a moral act for no other reason than the bible says so. This philosophy has nothing to do with the concept of morality as it is discussed on this blog or elsewhere in the atheist community.

      1. Bruce

        I would define collectivism as a world view that subjects individual rights in favor of group or state’s imperatives. These include Communism, Socialism & Progressivism (Socialism with a nice marketing/propaganda name). Morality in this world view is defined simply by what some arbitrary leader or governing council decides is best for the group. The legacy of collectivism in the 20th century is genocide on a mass scale (100 million plus maybe) and economic deprivation. Yet we continue to find people who advocate it.

        I would charge that is not me who has redefined morality. Christianity does teach that individuals have an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, but the source for that sense is God. Both Atheism and Progressivism teach that what’s good is basically what “I” define is good for me (or what I can convince the majority is good), and if stealing is what stands between me/us and happiness then I/we will steal for instance. Progressivism markets stealing with the word redistribution, which still is the forceful taking of what belongs to others = theft. The morality of it is said justified by “collective” action. In other words, “Everyone else is doing it mom.” The thing that is clear is that this philosophy is nothing more than an attempt to escape the innate knowledge of what is right and wrong by killing its source. In the end it is nothing but unbounded evil that may not show itself as such initially to its follower but will in the end. Other philosophies beside redistribution/theft that come out of this immoral world view include racism and eugenics – all of which are the legacy of collectivism. In Christianity you find no such core values, but you do find opposition to such values which makes it clear why God must die.

        1. Xanthë

          More fallacies here than you can poke a stick at. Why are you so keen on spitting on your blog host’s good will, seeing as they’ve been incredibly patient at answering your first off-topic ramble? You totally failed to engage with the content of the post, and your response is to serve up another steaming pile of off-topic bovine manure.

          1. Bruce

            My topic is clear and directly related to the post. But to make your point you post a completely off topic statement veiling a not so subtle justification for suppressing my comments. I would expect this from a religious fundamentalist reacting to someone blowing up their world view and having no idea how to respond not from someone secure in that view.

          2. Xanthë

            [meta; off-topic, related to your derailing behaviour] What a shame you had to be dishonest. Your topic (pay attention, it is not the same one as what the thread is about) pays the merest lip-service to Willo’s topic before it Gish-gallops out of sight over the horizon, burning straw atheists/skeptics the whole while. If anything was veiled in my comment, it was the insinuation that among your other lapses you had failed to take up one of the blog owners on his suggestion for reading the blog’s comment policy. (If you had read it by the time you posted your second comment, you clearly ignored it.)

            Bye now.

          3. Bruce

            So basically you have no idea how to respond to my comments other than appealing for a technical foul.

          4. Xanthë

            No, I have no particular desire to respond to your rubbish, because you don’t get the right to frame the debate. You don’t deserve a rational response when you’re repeatedly irrational and off-topic (Jarreg has been remarkably patient, but even he’s reached his limit). My decision not to engage with your arguments is not a concession of victory to you, it is an admission that I have better things to do with my time than educating a recalcitrant ignoramus who shows not the slightest intent of learning.

          5. Bruce

            So rather than address my perfectly on topic statements and questions you go full on narcissist to tell me what rights I have as dictated by you. I have no desire to beat you or anyone else. But it is clear you desire to shut me down or ignore anything that challenges your world view. Can I assume from this that you will be full on behind the purge when the revolution comes? How long do I have before the storm troopers take me to the gulag for daring to challenge you? Rather than do that why not wake up to the immorality of collectivism? I could care less if one is an atheist, but as soon as one becomes an advocate of collectivist philosophies (socialism, communism) one has aligned with an immoral view based on theft and if history is to account murder and poverty. Again I ask is that what this is all about? That being to destroy the moral argument by destroying it’s source in order to feel good about advocating horrid acts?

          6. Jarreg

            So rather than address my perfectly on topic statements and questions you go full on narcissist to tell me what rights I have as dictated by you.

            It has been well established that none of your statements here have been on topic. Giving a word or two of lip service to the topic of the post in question before flying off into paranoid and delusional rants does not qualify as “on topic.” Furthermore, to accuse someone of being a narcissist for asserting that you do not have the right to frame the debate, especially after you felt entitled to hijack the comment section of someone else’s blog post as your own personal pissing ground, well let’s just say the charge of narcissism is a little rich coming from you. Aside from being being downright rude, your continued insistence on calling people immoral and insinuating that they advocate horrid behaviors, based on nothing but your own persistent and willful ignorance, is beginning to piss me off.

          7. Xanthë

            And again with the dishonesty that you’ve been on-topic, when you’ve not even been close. But I enjoyed hearing the accusation of narcissism. You’re funny, Bruce.

          8. Bruce

            And again thank you for accusing ME of being dishonest rather than respond with thoughts about the topic. I can only accept your thesis that I’m off topic if I recognize that I am off topic anytime I make a point that you disagree with; then it makes sense. Not one time have you addressed the topic or anything remotely related. Instead you counter by calling technical fouls and making personal attacks. So the topic apparently is not about the topic by my lack of obedience. I think in the end that clarifies there is no response to my thesis and that you simply do not care about the moral questions posed by either me or the original writer. Surely somewhere in your soul you can admit that you are skeptical about the morality of this movement and are not simply the blind disciple of an ideological cult.

          9. Xanthë

            That’s because I was being polite by hedging about pointing out your blatant dishonesty, and not calling you a demented religious nutter and a liar, which would have burnt bridges sooner; but there is no good reason for me to respond to your inane ranting. Nothing you’ve raved about bears the slightest resemblance to the daily reality of my part of the world. That’s planet earth by the way, not whatever weird alternate reality you live in. Sorry!

          10. Bruce

            I forgot your reality is all that matters. I am just pond scum compared to such an enlightened being who needs not bother to explain anything. After all you know everything about me. I bow and worship you oh great one who knows all truth.

        2. Jarreg

          I am going to try and be patient with you. I am going to give you a few more minutes of my time. After that you are free to rant and argue with others all you like. You claimed elsewhere, in response to Xanthë, that you were on topic. The topic deals with current events and discussions taking place inside the freethought and skeptical communities and you haven’t addressed that topic for any purpose other than to lead into your political and religious rants. You are free to speak your mind here but don’t pretend to be doing so in good faith when you clearly aren’t.

          I would define collectivism as a world view that subjects individual rights in favor of group or state’s imperatives. These include Communism, Socialism & Progressivism (Socialism with a nice marketing/propaganda name).

          All systems of governance require the limiting of individuals in favor of the greater good. It is a key part of the very concepts of government and law. Based on everything you’ve said so far I’m going to presume that you hold right leaning libertarian values. Even a free market system requires that everyone agree on a set of rules for insuring individual rights are not infringed upon. This makes an infrastructure necessary for the purposes of crime deterrent, punishment, just compensation, and the ability to coerce conformity. These are limitations on individuals whose effect is to benefit the collective whole. Even this mythical free market system becomes a social institution that must perform the actions that you seem to vilify. It demonstrates a profound ignorance of both human nature and history to honestly believe that such a system can be reliably self regulating without the collective acceptance of a governing body. Such an idea may be admirable but it is naive to assume that everyone will suddenly sigh a collective sigh, like we all just finished a Leonard Cohen song or something, and respect the property rights and civil liberties of others for no other reason than because we want to. So your your concept of collectivism, as defined by you, is still too broad a concept to be applicable here. All societies function this way to some degree. You will have to do better.

          Morality in this world view is defined simply by what some arbitrary leader or governing council decides is best for the group.

          That sounds remarkably like biblical morality to me. Since you failed to establish that this “collectivism” worldview is something real as opposed to just another figment of your very entertaining imagination, it is hard to believe that the morality of this worldview is any more real. I am not personally familiar with it and it is, after all, the worldview you are trying very hard to saddle me with. Try harder.

          I would charge that is not me who has redefined morality. Christianity does teach that individuals have an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, but the source for that sense is God.

          I am intimately aware of what Christianity teaches. I am also intimately aware that most of it is simply false.

          Both Atheism and Progressivism teach that what’s good is basically what “I” define is good for me (or what I can convince the majority is good), and if stealing is what stands between me/us and happiness then I/we will steal for instance.

          They do no such thing.

          The rest of your paragraph just goes on redefining words and concepts in deceptive and simplistic terms. Being a part of a social contract where everyone contributes to the collective whole in exchange for a benefit is not theft. Those that profit the most from the system will contribute more. If you want to forgo all benefits that society has to offer then I might listen to you when you cry theft for being asked for a contribution. Do people typically take you seriously about this stuff?

          1. Bruce

            Thanks then for your patience. My strain of thought was provoked by understanding the writer to be arguing that Social Justice, and a left wing view of social issues are what she would see as a necessary product of skepticism. I would define those left wings views as core collectivist (Marxist) views. In simplistic terms I think I was agreeing by pointing out that there is a moral connection – God and collectivism are antithetical.

            In my response defining collectivism there is a key difference. What is acceptable to me is a system that prevents one party from infringing on another. What is unacceptable is the group infringing on the rights of one for the benefit of others. As an atheist you may well define what is a benefit or infringement or right differently, since we have different world views. And that is the key problem. For an atheist there is no standard; it’s entirely what conforms to them. Is that not true? I believe rights come from God not man and are clearly defined, and negative rights as well. For instance there is no right to murder or steal – the two basic methods of collectivist states. I would describe myself as a constitutionalist, but in today’s culture that makes me appear libertarian, so I don’t mind that moniker.

            The collectivist world view as I defined it is exemplified in any group that subverts the rights of the individual to the group or state by force. Again Marxism, Communism, Socialism all qualify and require the rejection of God and the ascendancy of man as guardian of the collective. Even in rejecting God do you really think you can so trivially ignore the 3,000 year legacy of Biblical morals and their defining role in almost every society? Apparently even non believers have accepted them in mass as something good.

            Quoting:
            “I am intimately aware of what Christianity teaches. I am also intimately aware that most of it is simply false.”

            Is that not a simple statement of faith? How can you in any way KNOW it is false any more than I KNOW it is true accept by faith.

            Arbitrary taxing is not asking for a contribution it is seizing by armed force. Charging for services is different. For instance you pay for roads by buying gasoline and paying a share to the gov to maintain those roads. Drive less and pay less, etc. Income taxes, property taxes, etc. are simply the seizure of assets from one group to pay for everyone else. I take it you do know 1/2 the US pays NO income tax. Such a system incentivizes waste and greed.

            I would use the Biblical model for an income tax. The Deuteronomic rule was 10% from each to go to the store house to care for the poor, etc. Such a contribution from everyone is not unreasonable. You make more you give more in monetary terms only, but I would be persuaded it be voluntary. All other funds should come from fees for service just like with anything else. That encourages conservation and the careful use of resources, and costs would go down and efficiencies up. In our country which is heavily socialized the result is exploding prices. Medicine is 50% socialized. The parts that are not (lasik, plastic surgery) have gotten better and cheaper. The parts that are socialized have exploded in cost. College tells the same story.

            My bottom line is we need something based on sound moral principles and that actually works. Collectivism fails dramatically, and makes everyone poor. We can do better.

        3. Cale

          You are an idiot and a liar. Your god has nothing moral to offer anyone.

          The bible is full of justifications for rape, slavery, murder, and child abuse. There is no morality in the bible that I can’t also find in LOTR or a comic book, and they arguably have way less rape and murder going on.

          Also, stop licking the collective asshole of the rich and powerful. It’s making me sick. They aren’t gonna reward your loyalty, ever, so why do you do it? Oh yeah… because christianity is all about Power and Privilege.

          1. Bruce

            Did you open with name calling to cover you were about to reveal your massive lack of knowledge of the Bible; it didn’t work. The Bible contains no such justifications as you charged any more than a history book about Hitler justifies genocide. Read out of context by someone with an agenda (you) anything is possible though. That is my core thought in all of this. What is the motivation and agenda behind this stream of thought? Is collectivism a necessary outcome of atheism? Is that what this is all about? That was my question which seems to be at the heart of the writer’s thoughts.

            Apparently you hate the “rich.” What a bigot. Why? What did the “rich” do to you? They worked and saved while you didn’t? Is that why you hate “them?” You do give away something by suggesting I want a reward. I suspect it is in fact you who seeks a reward if you are a collectivist: Give me, give me, take, take, take.

            Finally, Christianity is the opposite of power and privilege. If you are going to base your entire life upon opposing something you might try actually knowing something about what you oppose. If you are going to argue say against the Catholic Church you might be right. But that is an entirely different matter. An institutional church is an organization and can be shown to be something Jesus railed against. If you are going to argue against the church I will likely join you, but using those arguments against Christianity is a losing proposition.

    3. 2.3
      Jarreg

      “Progressivism/collectivism destroys personhood & personal responsibility & replaces it with collective good. Individual moral prohibitions against such things as murder & theft can be superseded with any value that is deemed good for the collective. So seizing member assets is no longer theft but doing good for others. Killing off the elderly & chronically ill is no longer evil but an expression of care for the young & healthy. The thing that is so disturbing is that these values are those of someone the believer clearly knows – Satan – who embodies all that is evil. The devil comes to kill, steal , & destroy.”

      I would simply ask that you take the time to define your terms progressivism and collectivism. As it stands this entire section, as I understand those words, is a straw man and has no bearing on reality.

    4. 2.4
      Jarreg

      “Interestingly you do not address what Social Justice is, but most commonly it is expressed as taking from the rich and giving to the poor.”

      Social justice, as it is used here deals with human rights, dignity and equality. This article was written with a certain audience in the skeptical community in mind and those individuals typically understand the meaning when used in this context. Social justice where it concerns economics, income and property redistribution, etc, are valid, if complex, points of discussion but have little to do with the current context, though Willo may have had some of that in mind. I can’t speak for her. Your observations about social justice from an economic perspective are simplistic but are at least philosophically defensible. Unfortunately they don’t speak to the content of Willo’s post. You are welcome to engage her on them of course but do try not to derail the topic.

      1. Bruce

        Again you are using propaganda marketing words to define social justice such “human,” “rights,” “dignity,” and “equality.” Who doesn’t want more of these? But in fact this world view is really inhuman, denies rights, steals dignity and is not equal. How so? Well it is NOT complex. We should strive for equal opportunity. But what social justice is about is not equal opportunity but “equal” outcome. This cannot be done with out denying someone of something. So the prescribed Social Justice outcome for a crack mom, for instance, would be no different than a hugely creative person like Steve Jobs! How can you not see the evil of this! Plus it is totally about greed – “I want what they have, now go give it to me.” In the end it is not about equal anything. It is totally about power, and the corrupt desire to have it by appealing to the greed and envy of others.

        The reason we are a republic and not a democracy is because the founders knew that democracy is nothing but mob rule, and a gateway back to tyranny. Thus they sought to limit government’s power by statute. The very problems we have today are caused by the increased democratization of our constitution and by an utter disregard for its individual protections. When a majority can vote to seize the assets of a minority for it’s own benefit how is this not institutional slavery? When a majority can empower death panels (Progressive Marketing term: Rationing Boards or Resource allocators, etc) how is this not murder? The thing that gets me the most is why can’t progressives see that the fairest system is simply encouraging everyone equally and allowing failure to occur. Failure is part of the learning process and often the precursor to success.

        1. sidhe3141

          1. Equal opportunity requires near-equal outcome. Do you deny that there are fewer opportunities available to the “crack mom” (I’ll let someone else handle the race/class issues involved with the stereotypes there) than to Steve Jobs? For that matter, and I really do hate using this phrase, What About The Children? Would you punish the children of the “crack mom” for not having Steve Jobs as a parent?
          2. You claim that the fairest system is encouraging everyone equally. This would be true in a perfect, or even ideal, world, where the same opportunities are available to everyone. If there were no sexism influencing hiring decisions, employment outcomes would not vary by gender. If there were no racism influencing prison sentencing, prison sentences would not vary by race or color. If education, health care, and the like were equally available to all social classes (even within a narrow age band), opportunities restricted by lack of education, or by childhood disease, would be equally available to all social classes.
          If. If. If.
          The simple fact is, none of these are true. Society, as is is currently set up, privileges some groups above others. There are numerous advantages that some people have over others for simply having had the good sense to be born male, white, cis, able-bodied, neurotypical, heterosexual, and to wealthy or middle-class parents.

          1. Bruce

            I can’t help to see your argument as just justification for what you want to take from others whether it be the wealthy or men. Feminism itself is just misandry in disguise, and it’s rise has created the most anti male culture on earth. Try being a middle age white guy and see what you have to absorb in the way of anti male rhetoric on a daily basis from friends to media. Anytime you claim to be promoting a sect group or gender you by default are advocating the suppression of the other. To answer more directly:

            1. Your thesis that equal opportunity requires equal outcome is ridiculous. There is no way to do that without constantly taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive. The productive then has no reason to produce and no reason to thrive anymore. That is the key failure of socialist. They crap on responsible productive people and treat them like scum and reward those who are lazy, self destructive and unproductive. Does it really take a PhD to figure out the outcome of that? The “crack mom” deserves to experience the outcome of being a crack mom. The kids? That is truly a problem, and in our country the kids are taken away from her. Their chance to succeed is not based on their mom’s choice but their own. BTW: Steve Jobs was put up for adoption by an unwed mom. He seemed to turn out pretty good. There are tons of examples like his. Sometimes bad circumstances produce great outcomes. Creating bad circumstances, which is what socialism does in spades, does not. If you studied up on this you might discover that often the children of the rich do not fair well as they grow up with little to motivate them.

            2. Here is where your assumptions are so crazy. How do you claim to know what is in the heart of people measured by statistics? Is this not self righteousness? Plus you are wrong in many areas. When I was in college men outnumbered women; today it is the opposite. Is this because colleges are misandrous in their acceptances? Can I make that claim? How about medical school where women outnumber men. Do you not see that your points are actually sexist and racist because they reflect prejudicial bias that is not true? It also assumes that no one makes choices. As a white male in the south I can tell you that I have been the victim of anti white racism and misandry incessantly since I was a kid in the 70’s. But the culture has chosen to pretend it does not happen. I don’t sit and whine about it and start a special interest group demanding reparations; I move on.

            If you knew your stats as well as you think you would know that “classes” in the US are not static but extremely dynamic. In just 10 year periods the actually members of rich and poor categories change quite a lot. Some rich move down; some poor move up. That is the way the system should work. Most start with little and if they are not socialist clones they save and invest and acquire wealth. It is not really that hard; it’s just many are choosing to not participate and instead invest their would be creative energy in trying to incite revolution and the seizure of the assets and lives of others.

          2. Xanthë

            Feminism itself is just misandry in disguise, and it’s rise has created the most anti male culture on earth.

            Ding ding ding ding ding!

            citation needed

            Because I don’t like just taking random hyperbolic assertions on face value. See, I’m skeptical.

          3. Bruce

            Citation needed? If a dog craps on your lawn, is a “citation needed” for you to be able to see it? Real life reveals it clearly. Look at statistics about sex offenders. How many are female compared to male? How often is it shown that women who offend are seen as cool where when it’s men they are evil? What about TV shows. Men are depicted routinely as dolts and women as brilliant. All these things are commonly discussed in the culture I’m sure you will find your own references along with plenty of pictures of dog poo.

            Finally, what if I started a group to advocate for white power. What would you call it? Well then why is not a group to advocate for female power not just the KKK 21’st century mode? We both know that is exactly what it is.

          4. WilloNyx

            WTF is this idiocy?

            If you have proof of “feminism being misandry in disguise” please kindly offer it.

            Otherwise don’t pretend offer the rape statistics that clearly show that most rapists are men and most rapes clearly happen against women.

            Don’t offer TV shows that clearly show that women don’t exist except as sex objects.

            And please for fucks sake stop strawmanning feminism. Obviously you have no clue what you are taking about. I hope your male supremacist buddies are more articulate than you.

          5. Bruce

            Yea, and I guess you are in complete denial that women abuse men. Perhaps not commonly physical abuse, but it happens. What is very common is mental, emotional, & manipulative abuse where men are trapped. I was horribly abused my entire life by an older sister, but you may say like so many others, “Well she was a girl, what could she really do.” Today she horribly abuses her own husband. I believe she is trying to push and push and push until he hits her. Then he goes to jail, and she takes all his money, and would be applauded by feminists the entire way. This is a common story and in part it is thanks to people like you who push only your self centered sexist point of view that happens to be overwhelmingly supported at the voting booth by women. There is a complete blindness to the tragedies that men and teen boys endure because of the overwhelming feminization of our culture. This shows no signs of being about equality. Feminism is at its core a female superiority movement.

          6. Jarreg

            Yea, and I guess you are in complete denial that women abuse men. Perhaps not commonly physical abuse, but it happens.

            I’m willing to bet that sidhe3141 would not deny that. Nobody we ally with or associate with denies this. This is a fact. It happens and nobody here thinks it is acceptable.

            What is very common is mental, emotional, & manipulative abuse where men are trapped.

            Are you suggesting that this is endemic on par with the abuses suffered by women at the hands of men? Can you back it up?

            I was horribly abused my entire life by an older sister, but you may say like so many others, “Well she was a girl, what could she really do.” Today she horribly abuses her own husband. I believe she is trying to push and push and push until he hits her. Then he goes to jail, and she takes all his money, and…

            That is unfortunate. I’m sorry to hear that you and your brother-in-law have suffered such abuse. Surely you wouldn’t…

            would be applauded by feminists the entire way.

            …lash out because of your anger and denigrate an entire group of people because of it. Oh. Never mind.

            This is a common story and in part it is thanks to people like you who push only your self centered sexist point of view that happens to be overwhelmingly supported at the voting booth by women.

            It is too common. Here is what you don’t get. The people in our movement, the people that we associate with and fight side by side with, we fight against this type of abuse. Physical, psychological and emotional abuse are all condemned by people like us, quite vocally. What you don’t get is that it has nothing to do with feminism. The aim of feminism is to elevate women to a position of equality politically, economically and socially in cultures that have systematically denied them that equality for hundreds of years. There are fringe groups that might envision superiority but they represent a miniscule portion of feminists.

            How ignorant must you be to sit there and insist you know more about a group that you have never been a part of, that you obviously have never spent any amount of time trying to learn anything real about, more even than the people themselves? You tell feminists that we think and want things that we very clearly do not. You tell atheists that we believe things that we wouldn’t think of believing. You think you get to not only define terms like atheist and feminist but that you get to define people on the other side as well. Christians that aren’t like you aren’t real Christians. Progressives must be at war with god by definition. You don’t get to tell people what they are or what they believe. If any of the assumptions I have made about you are incorrect then all you have to do is clarify that and I will make the necessary adjustments in my opinions. You don’t seem to be capable of doing the same.

            I am not convinced that you read for comprehension well so I am going to sum this up in simple terms. You’re being a dick. You have been graced with infinitely more respect here than a dick of your caliber deserves. Either take a step back and consider what I’m saying to you or go fuck yourself.

          7. Bruce

            I dealt with that abuse long ago, but it has continued due to the fact there is nothing to stop it short of a restraining order, and I have not elected to go that far, yet. No this is not the sole source of my opinion. There are many examples in our culture to see. Take Jane Fonda a well known feminist. She lived here for quite some time. She did a lot of philanthropy; I even contributed to some of it. It never occurred to me to look closely at what she was doing until someone brought it to my attention a few years ago. The thing that jumped out is that her philanthropy only covers things that directly affect women; it appears a prerequisite is that men are excluded. Further when you look closer at her own words about her faith you see a person that has had to feminize it by ignoring whole parts thus elevating women over men. It is clear she is anti male. When you consider healthcare how much do we see things about breast cancer: it’s everywhere, yet thousands of men die of testicular cancer and most men do not even know that, because it is ignored. A few years ago there was a big education initiative to promote a focus on girls. Interestingly girls now lead boys in almost everything. Is it because boys are being discriminated against? I don’t know the answer, but it’s worth looking into. The point is when a single subgroup is singled out for promotion it invariably discriminates against someone else.

            If your eyes are open you see these examples a great deal. It’s everywhere. A man who did what Fonda does would be called a pig. CNN would be destroying his character. Misandry is broadly based in our culture; it is acceptable; it is encouraged. Think how many times you have seen guys in media and real life say, “Well I’m nothing compared to her.” It is subtle and pervasive. Women are depicted as better, smarter and more successful; men are depicted as dolts. If you wish to be a denier for whatever reason then so be it. I want an MLK, JR world where people are judged by the content of their character not their color or reproductive equipment. In such a world people excel on their own merit. What feminism and other isms are about is giving someone a partial advantage for no reason other than their outward characteristics. The real winners and promoters of these schemes are those seeking power through fostering and running them. It is all about their power and nothing else. The biggest losers are all of as as these isms teach their target audience a new sanctioned prejudice and a victim mentality that justifies the prejudice. The result is division and more unfairness. I think we can do better.

          8. Jarreg

            Lance Armstrong has been the most vocal and successful advocate for men with testicular cancer in the world. He is not vilified for it. It is an important issue for men and nobody is saying that he is a misogynist for his advocacy. I mean since you seem to think that high profile anecdotes count as evidence, how do you explain this in a world where the evil feminist is waiting around every corner. Where is this big campaign calling Lance Armstrong a pig as you say? You only see what you want to see. You put on your paranoid, delusional, conspiracy theory goggles every time you step out into the world and you see everything through those lenses. This is what everyone here has been trying to get across to you but you can’t see it. You can’t even stop to consider the possibility that this elaborate world you have constructed for yourself might not be the real world after all.

          9. Bruce

            I’m not familiar with Lance Armstrong’s quest. I would suggest it is not prominent in the media or I might have seen it somewhere between one of those “Fight Breast Cancer” commercials raising money. Nor is it something that would qualify for him being called a misogynist, because testicular cancer advocacy is not a parallel to feminism.

            I have laid out a proposition that communism, socialism, etc. are immoral. The writer suggested she felt atheism and collectivism (socialism and related disciplines) seem a natural outflow from atheism. I raised the question then, is this because the moral conflict that arrises from Christianity must be overcome in order to have socialism, communism, Social Justice (seizure of assets)? In other words which is the chicken and which is the egg – atheism or communism? That is a legitimate and thoughtful question. I have had atheists in the past argue to me that there is no truth and no moral arbitrary center. Therefore, it was argued to me that if I was in his way and he wanted to kill me it was justified because it was good for him. Perhaps you would not agree, but you have to admit that the moral POV of atheism is different than Christianity because you deny the source of Christianity’s ethic. Atheism has no basis for an ethic that I can discern, because it is fluid, not static, and fits the model that the example above reveals. It is simply mob rule ethically. I have heard it is based on reason? But what the hell is that? Who or what group’s reason? I should point out I have no issue with one being an atheist – great, have at it. But declaring one a communist declares something different. It is declaring war on one’s fellow human. To suggest atheism fosters communism or such is to muddy the waters for atheism as well.

            But rather than respond to my assertions such as that socialism is immoral I get responses like, “Well its you that’s narrow and immoral following a God who did evil” Really? No one has made the case to show that communism and socialism aren’t based on taking which is theft. No one has made clear that the elimination (killing) of resistors to communism is wrong. So I have to assume these things must be seen as moral. I don’t think one can say otherwise. After all how can you expect to TAKE other peoples assets and not be willing to kill them? But the assertion that I follow a God who advocates evil is pathetic. The Old Testament is an account of the history of a people growing in their understanding of God. It is a progressive revelation of the character and person of God. That character is clearly revealed as most purely – love, and love most purely as placing the other before self. The teachings and directives are consistent. His love for us is infinite though he allows us to go our own way if we choose. I don’t see him as hating anyone or rejecting anyone. People reject God; God never rejects people. I see him as even having the patience to endure me and you; something clearly lacking here in the system you are advocating. My view is the full message of the Bible as held by millions for 2,000 years +, not a personal rendition.

            I have not called you names; I have attacked your ideas. Instead of responses to my ideas, questions or suppositions I get – you’re ignorant, an idiot, etc. etc. I’m told I’m being tolerated, when that very statement yells, “I won’t tolerate you.” Why? Why? What am I missing here? I thought your core tenant was tolerance. I see little. It seems in the end I am hated for following a loving God who stands with the needy, the poor of spirt, the hurting but gives a direction of morality that will make life better. What I am seeing in response feels like a cult of hate that rallies around a rigid corrupt ideology – one that reminds me of the most rigid fundamentalist Baptist church.

            I know you guys think you are all about doing good promoting communism, socialism, etc. But in fact in promoting that you are declaring war on your fellow man. You are declaring that one day the storm troopers are coming after you and we will be sending them there to take you out. I think you need to understand how serious that advocacy is. Most people who boosted Hitler, Stalin and Mao into power knew they were doing something good. So what is it that you think you have gotten free from? It sounds more like tyranny than freedom. In these brief discussions I have been amazed to see this is not openness at all. It is a cloister where normally abhorrent ideas can foster and grow. That is as long as you can quash dissent and the questions someone SKEPTICAL might pose must be dispatched and ridiculed along with that skeptical soul.

            BTW: I might close by saying I cannot prove God exists; he might not. I accept it by faith. I do so because after examining the Bible at length as an adult it testified truth to me. I saw love, compassion, help, acceptance and truth – not these things from the church necessarily but from God. I see no other system that offers these characteristics or hope. Am I skeptical? Of course. I have no way to prove anything. But I am not persuaded that a better world view exists and that in itself is a small confirmation of what my heart tells me. I will say this that our discussions have certainly convinced me that atheism offers neither love, compassion, help, acceptance and certainly not truth. I think you guys need to find a better way to demonstrate the virtues you claim. I would accept you guys openly if we met, but over time I must admit I have begun to fear what you would do to me.

          10. WilloNyx

            I’m not familiar with Lance Armstrong’s quest. I would suggest it is not prominent in the media or I might have seen it somewhere between one of those “Fight Breast Cancer” commercials raising money. Nor is it something that would qualify for him being called a misogynist, because testicular cancer advocacy is not a parallel to feminism.

            I am just going to lay this site here and this other site here so you can look at the rates of breast cancer verses the rates of testicular cancer. Maybe, just maybe you will realize for one small instance that the disparity between advocacy has something to do with the prevalence. Or maybe you will just whine that men suffer from breast cancer too so the pink ribbons are really “misandry in disguise,” completely forgetting that equating pink with women is sexism too. Yes breast cancer happens to men. Yes testicular cancer happens to trans women and to cis men (although those two terms probably aren’t even on your radar). Feminism doesn’t deny either, nor does it expressly concern itself with either. I will remind you that you made the parallel, not us. Don’t pretend we are off your expressed topic in your gish gallops as the point of a gish gallop is to throw out as many topics as possible, hoping when opponent doesn’t address one, you by default win. I am not stupid. This shit isn’t new to me. Me tolerating it doesn’t mean that you are “in the right” by doing so. It just means you are a fun little chew toy in my spare time.

            I have laid out a proposition that communism, socialism, etc. are immoral.

            You only laid out that proposition by equating god with morality. I argued the assumed morality of your god in order to address the premise. You have no more sense of supposed morality than I do by default. You have to define your morals within the somewhat rigid framework of the bible, and I argued that by doing so you may in fact be less moral than I am. Once again, don’t pretend it is us who are off topic in your gish gallops. You won’t win that conversation.

            The writer suggested she felt atheism and collectivism (socialism and related disciplines) seem a natural outflow from atheism.

            The writer said that social justice as it pertains to fighting sexism (including sexism against men), racism (including racism against whites), transphobia, and homophobia are the issues that skepticism should address (at even a higher priority than the UFO shit.) The writer said nothing about income stratification or wealth redistribution in the original topic. Our twitter conversations have nothing to do with this article and you superimposing your definition of my terms over my very clear actual definitions is being off topic.

            No one has made the case to show that communism and socialism aren’t based on taking which is theft.

            That is because the original article has nothing to do with theft or wealth redistribution. But if you insist… No, wealth redistribution is not inherently theft. It is better for economies and societies to practice some forms of wealth redistribution (that means it is better for the wealthy too.) It is bad for economies and societies to practice complete wealth redistribution. It is a balancing act and we are on two very different opinions on how best to find that balance. You seem to think I am on a side that I am not on. Advocating for single payer systems in health insurance where citizens are taxed progressively reduces costs across the board and is not absolute wealth redistribution. It is partial wealth redistribution which is entirely based on the size of the wealth. The purpose of incremental wealth redistribution is because without it, wealth becomes ever more stratified within a capitalist society until everyone but the select few have a 100% propensity to spend. That means everyone but the select few will also have less opportunity to escape the ever growing income gap. The inability to escape limits entrepreneurship because entrepreneurship exists highest at the middle class. Without calculated wealth redistribution the middle class ceases to exist.

            Seriously do you argue that socialist fire departments are theft? I should hope not because you surely know that everyone (including the wealthy) benefits from them.

            No one has made clear that the elimination (killing) of resistors to communism is wrong.

            No one argued that because no one here thinks it is right. You talking about it was a straw characterization of our positions. We don’t have to address all the straw men in your gish gallop. Not talking about it doesn’t not mean we advocate it. You didn’t talk about transphobia or homophobia once in your off topic rants. Does that mean you advocate transphobia and homophobia?

            So I have to assume these things must be seen as moral. I don’t think one can say otherwise. After all how can you expect to TAKE other peoples assets and not be willing to kill them?

            What.the.fuck. This is a total non sequitur. It doesn’t follow that advocating wealth redistribution means advocating murder to achieve it? You are making no sense.

            God never rejects people.

            What the fuck do you call hell then? Hell is the eternal rejection by god. It is the “well you didn’t believe in me so fuck you” statement that you can never come back from. So you think rejection of a assholish god is deserving of eternity in hell? You think the act no of non belief deserves eternal punishment. Yeah talk to me about morals. There is not one thing you can do in one lifetime that is worthy of eternal torment. Nothing.

            I know you guys think you are all about doing good promoting communism, socialism, etc.

            Don’t assume you have any idea what we are promoting here. You obviously have no fucking clue.

            But in fact in promoting that you are declaring war on your fellow man. You are declaring that one day the storm troopers are coming after you and we will be sending them there to take you out. I think you need to understand how serious that advocacy is.

            I am not declaring war on anyone. I am advocating the implementation of some socially progressive policies though a the republican political process, and I wasn’t even advocating that in the original topic. I am not advocating absolute wealth redistribution. Your paranoid delusions about what I am advocating are false.

            It sounds more like tyranny than freedom.

            Do you go into socialist fire departments shouting about their tyranny over you? If so…wow.

            BTW: I might close by saying I cannot prove God exists; he might not. I accept it by faith. I do so because after examining the Bible at length as an adult it testified truth to me. I saw love, compassion, help, acceptance and truth – not these things from the church necessarily but from God.

            I saw murder, rejection, xenophobia, and other horribleness. They are both in there.

            But I am not persuaded that a better world view exists and that in itself is a small confirmation of what my heart tells me.

            I never said my world view was the most moral, but then again, I am not walking around declaring myself god. I know my morality is better than gods because my morality is reflective of my current understanding of the world and is subject to change when new information exists. Your god’s is reflective of the limited information of its inventors some thousands of years ago. Even if you god is real, its morality and the lack of fluidity limits it to predisposed assumptions about ever changing people. You may argue that they aren’t predisposed assumptions if your god knows all but arguing for an all knowing god by default strips you of any perceived free will you might have. It preordains my atheism and therefore my eternal stint in hell. Your god is so mean.

            I think you guys need to find a better way to demonstrate the virtues you claim.

            The best way I can demonstrate my virtues is by actually doing good things in the world. I do those things. I am a teacher. I am a mother. I non violently fight against various forms of oppression. I help others find access to resources. I volunteer for various projects. I loan money to my friends when they need help. I raise my children to be critical of bigotry. I do shit all the time that helps make the world a better place but according to the straw man you have built up I am a murderous thief. Of course you are scared of me because you believe I am something I am not.

            I have not called you names; I have attacked your ideas. Instead of responses to my ideas, questions or suppositions I get – you’re ignorant, an idiot, etc. etc. I’m told I’m being tolerated, when that very statement yells, “I won’t tolerate you.” Why? Why? What am I missing here? I thought your core tenant was tolerance. I see little. It seems in the end I am hated for following a loving God who stands with the needy, the poor of spirt, the hurting but gives a direction of morality that will make life better. What I am seeing in response feels like a cult of hate that rallies around a rigid corrupt ideology – one that reminds me of the most rigid fundamentalist Baptist church.

            I am attacking this paragraph last. I do not tolerate tone trolling here. If you don’t like vitrol, please leave. That being said let’s talk about the name calling. Yes, I have called you names, and yes, you have called me names. You have said feminism is misandry in disguise. I am a feminist so therefore I am a misandrist? You have underhandedly called me a shitton of names by creating a straw characteristic of my position. I not whining about being name called because I am spending my time showing you that I am not actually those names. You continue to dig yourself deeper into the position of fuckwit I categorized you in. You are welcome to dig yourself out anytime. I doubt you will though.

            Let’s talk about tolerance. I tolerate people. I don’t tolerate bad ideas. I have tolerated you and even if I banned you from speaking here it wouldn’t be intolerance of you. It would be intolerance of your ideas. If I tried to get you banned from speaking everywhere it would be intolerance of you. Because I tolerate you I am not striping you of your first amendment rights. Because I am intolerant of your ideas, I might eventually strip you of the graciously provided platform for which to spout those ideas. The “cult of hate” you talk about is only hate of your ideas. You likewise hate my ideas. I don’t go around calling your hatred of my ideas a “cult of hate” nor am I whining that you are calling my ideas such. Don’t complain about your treatment here. We are critical of you because of the ideas you hold. That isn’t intolerance.

            Time to stop complaining Bruce about us being off topic. You have been shown how far you strayed from the original topic multiple times. I haven’t complained because you have limited it to these posts. If you continue to whine that we are the ones really of topic though I will stop being so generous with my platform.

          11. Jarreg

            I’m with Willo here. The Gish-Galloping needs to stop. If you sincerely want to engage in discussion instead of preaching you should have no problem tackling a single issue at a time. I’m going to resist my urges to dismiss you completely in spite of you giving me so many reasons not to. One piece at a time.

            You have dodged questions of where you stand specifically on several issues. Two related questions first:

            Question 1: Is the Bible, with emphasis on the New Testament, an authentic text representative of the of the will and word of your god. In other words, were it and those who authored it under the direct inspiration of your god?

            Question 2: Do you feel that your opposition to and vilification of socialism reflects a logical and consistent position as regards the will of your god in terms of how society should be structured as reflected in the New Testament?

            Answer these two questions without skirting them and without wandering off topic. I am giving you the opportunity to back up your claim that you are interested in having a real discussion.

          12. Bruce

            Excellent, I’ll be glad to respond to your questions:

            #1. I do believe that the MESSAGE of the OT and NT are representative of the will, word and character of God when interpreted by the person of Jesus. I know the potential weaknesses of such a statement. The classic ones have been raised – what about OT prescriptions that seem cruel and evil. These are definite problems but they are not without solution. First, the Bible as a whole is a historic text. I do believe those writers were “inspired” by God, but that is not the same as them taking dictation as with say Islam & Mormonism. Thus I believe there is human frailty present. Events and narratives I believe represent how those writers interpreted God at that time and place. But when taken as a whole including the NT a progression is seen and validated in Jesus. I’ve seen charges that God is misogynist which may come from a focus on OT culture for instance, but in Jesus you see someone who went against his culture and elevated women in a way not seen before. So yes, it is not a oral recitation of God but an account of the history of his dealing with a people. Yet as a whole I do find it and it’s message whole, complete and not advocating any of the evil that has been claimed.

            #2. I do feel my view of socialism is completely consistent with the NT, OT and Jesus. Here’s why. First take the 10 commandments. There are prohibitions against coveting and theft. Both, I feel, are the emotional root of socialism. I do not believe that God arbitrarily prohibits something but only does so as a parent caring for a child. He is saying these things are not good for you. It is not about arbitrary obedience. Bad choices lead to bad outcomes, but if you prevent every bad choice your kid makes how does he grow? There was a post yesterday where someone pulled up prohibitions against eating shell fish and pork as examples of him being arbitrary, but in fact if you think about it in a primitive culture shell fish were dangerous because there is no good way to preserve them. Pork is dangerous because of trichinosis. So it can be argued that these were again protections from danger. Today doctors cite shell fish as a danger of cholesterol. Seems God beat them to it.

            But one could say forget all that; socialism works. Well in fact it does not work. A. It de-incentivizes production. It gives producers less reason to produce and non producers less reason to begin to produce. B. It skews markets causing supply/cost imbalances. Socializing costs causing consumers to not care about the cost which causes costs to rise, waste to rise and supply or availability to fall. All markets are capital markets. If you control costs a vicious cycle erupts of declining supply. Decontrolling is shown to cause temporary price spikes (oil crisis in the ’70’s prime e.g.) but then costs fall and supply increases. This is simply because suppliers will not supply when they cannot get a fair market price.

            In healthcare you have a 50% socialized system in the US. The socialized system does not pay it’s share of the costs thus dumping those costs to be recouped by those who are and are not insured. Plus much of those costs being paid are being paid with money that does not exist (borrowed from the fed). That bubble will burst. Single payer systems in Europe are heavily subsidized indirectly by US taxpayers in the form of having their defense expenses paid by us and by free market citizens paying more for drugs that can’t be sold in their system. If we all go socialist new drug research will likely dry up since there will be no market to sell them into to recoup the cost. Socialized medicine leads to rationed care. There was a report this past week that something like 130,000 Brits die a year due to denied care. In other words a board decides you are too sick to invest in. Is this a good thing? There are many chronically ill patients who will find themselves eventually cut off when the bureaucratic machine decides they are a burden. Something tells me the socialist who’s cut off then regrets he’s a socialist.

            What is the solution? Free markets. Costs can not be charged that can’t be paid in a free market. Third party payers are the problem not the solution. So I would suggest a system where only catastrophic care is insured, and we each pay for our physicals and routine care. Such costs should be deductible. In such a market you DO care what it costs and costs are driven down. Doctors and hospitals then dream up new ideas and incentives to get you to choose their care. Take Lasik. It is entirely free market. There is no third party payer. Costs have fallen dramatically and care has improved just as dramatically. The same can be found in other segments like plastic surgery. What will drive innovation in socialism? Nothing.

            Charity just like before gov medicine can fill the gaps. My dad was a doctor and in the 50’s he said all doctors gave at least 10% of their care for free. Gov medicine forced an end to that for the most part. All it does is drive up costs, drive down efficiency and increase red tape and waste.

            So am I and the NT consistent. I’d say without a doubt. Because this view is the compassionate view that makes things work BETTER for everyone. Socialism reflects emotion and not an understanding of how things work. I seek a better system. Socialism seems to be about pulling people down not lifting them up when you consider all the horrid things it produces. My system lifts people up as is proven by history that the only systems that have lifted people out of poverty and squalor are free market systems.

          13. Jarreg

            Ok Bruce. Now tell me. How long has it been since you actually read the New Testament in its entirety? I’m not trying to pass judgment. It has been a few years for me too. I just think that maybe, maybe in the twenty years since you graduated from seminary your memory might need refreshing. Tell me if any of this rings a bell:

            Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.

            This is a description in Acts about how the Apostles organized their social structure based on their personal understanding of the message of Jesus. These are the people that are supposedly a generation or less removed from the direct teaching of the founder of the religion you claim to be such a wonderful example of. You state explicitly that societies based in such a way are denizens of thieves and murderers and yet the very first church, the one graced with enough power from your beloved holy spirit to cast out demons, heal the sick, and even raise the dead, that very church was unmistakably a socialist society. I have read the New Testament nearly a dozen times. I have made a thorough study of these narratives. In the full context of the Acts of the Apostles that is the only honest interpretation. Tell me why the very first people under such a strong and supposedly direct influence of your resurrected god felt they were instructed to be socialists. They didn’t learn this from anywhere else. This very well may be the first truly socialist system of governance described. It gets better. In chapter five, when Ananias and his wife choose to hold back some of their wealth instead of redistribute it, your god kills them both for it. Now we have gone from a simple socialist system to an outright communist regime with coercion through fear of death and all. Were the Apostles evil? Were they murderers? Please explain this glaring contradiction.

            ;

          14. Bruce

            No I am very familiar with this text and in fact often cite it in discussions like ours. There is no question that this looks like socialism on the surface, but there is one HUGE HUGE distinction. It is that they GAVE; they did not TAKE. This is about a collection of believers who are one heart and mind under Christ and the Holy Spirit. They CHOSE to give and sacrifice freely in a spirit of charity. I am all for that, and there is nothing to prevent one from joining or creating such a community. The problem arises when you compel. It then is no longer giving and no longer charity, and the entire system will then collapse as the emotions of greed and jealously take hold and cause behaviors that implode the system. So yes this system makes sense where all are of “one heart and soul” under the teachings of Christ which not only foster charity but other positive attributes such as thrift, work and responsibility. So it appears to be socialism but it is not.

            The other thing I take away from this text is that this experiment eventually failed. I would suggest this occurred because this early group began to stray from the teachings and morals that made it possible. After all this is a fallen world and that infection does effect believers who are as apt to behave badly as anyone else. In other words they were not perfect. The writings of Paul make clear these early Christians were prone to wander off the path and problems arose. Much of his writing addresses these problems. His directive that those who do not work shall not eat would be an example of a corrective action to some who began to take advantage of the community.

            The take away then is this, and I will try to avoid ecclesiastical terms. This is a world full of brokenness and evil. People are prone to be selfish. So how do we respond to this? I believe the Christian response is that we construct a system that works in THIS world, that elevates as many as can be lifted by giving opportunity and requiring responsibility. It is a diverse world where everyone does not agree with the principles that the apparent “socialist” example of ACTS would require. So what a calm compassionate person does is look out at what works. Capitalism, though flawed, works far far better than anything dreamed up for an entire society. Liberty I believe is the core overarching value from the beginning to end of the Bible. One must be free to pursue his own dreams ambitions and desires as long as they do not impact others negatively. With that freedom are responsibilities to love, care for and provide for others as one can and make the world a better place not first for self but first for all. If you do things that foster freedom and charity the world will prosper and images of the example of Acts are much more likely to arise from that than from socialist morals which encourage division, class envy and hate whether intended or not.

          15. Jarreg

            Oh come on Bruce. Surely you learned to wiggle out of a contradiction better than that at seminary. These people believed. To abandon their teachings and community was to resign themselves to Hell. To withhold any of the wealth they were required to give was a crime worthy of death as demonstrated with Ananias and his wife. Surely you don’t mean to suggest that the threat of Hell on one side and the peril of death on the other translates as a legitimate choice without coercion. Even if it walks, talks, and quacks like a duck, it isn’t a duck if it conflicts with your opinion. Just give you a minute to come up with a good justification. This is pretty lame, even for you Bruce.

          16. Bruce

            Whoops I forgot your reference to Ananias. Yep that is some tough stuff isn’t it. Yea, let’s just throw the whole thing out about loving your neighbor cause this verse makes no sense, right?

            You can certainly argue this was compulsion, but I don’t see that at all. Ananias and his wife were voluntary members of this community of believers and could have left any time they wanted. Their sin is not regarded as “holding back” but of lying to the Holy Spirit. Elements of this teaching are pervasive in both OT and NT. The only unforgivable sin is denying the Holy Spirit. In other words it is denying the Holy Spirit in the form of turning one’s back to God. This act of lying seems to be implying the same thing. The lesson is that turning one’s back on God results in death. Here it is hard and fast but the lesson is metaphorical as well.

            Faith is a simple thing as argued in texts such as Romans 1. It declares that all have an innate sense of God and that sense is enhanced by seeing the glory of the universe around us. Jesus makes clear God is calling to us always and all we have to do is respond. The choice is simple. God asks us to join him in a relationship as a friend. We can deny that invitation and choose otherwise. The result is that we get what we choose – ourselves. That is the essence of hell. As one author put it hell is going home and finding there is no one there. How this works ultimately is God’s business, but what Romans makes clear to me is that every individual on this planet that has ever existed knows everything he or she would ever need to know to make a true choice. No it does not require calling out the name of Jesus. I take it by faith that this is fair and reasonable and that some do choose to go their own way in spite of understanding the consequences. I would say Ananias may well have been real but the important thing is that this story is just another strain of the bigger story I just laid out though on a very low moral level. If you are familiar with Kolberg’s levels of moral development then you should know what I mean. http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm

          17. Bruce

            There is no contradiction. You are creating a contradiction out of whole cloth appearing to do so to justify a predisposed belief that fits your case against God. Plus that comment is way to broad and generalizing. You can’t possibly know what was in the hearts of these individuals any more than I can truly know what’s in your heart. No where do I see a compulsion to join any order or sect in order to avoid hell. Are you just making this stuff up? The choice of faith has nothing to do with a group. It is personal between one person and God.

            BTW: I did not see this post until after my Ananias comments.

    5. 2.5
      Jarreg

      “In the end it seems that in order for progressives to prevail they must go to war not against men but God, and destroying him & all that he stands for is paramount.”

      This very well may be true as it concerns your personal concept of God. If we understand God in terms outside your very narrow scope, however, it simply isn’t true, demonstrably so. The vast majority of progressives are believers and their progressive philosophy doesn’t demand they go to war with their God. Simply fallacious.

      1. Bruce

        My narrow scope of God? Is that not a massive projection of your position? You are charging that it is entirely personal and narrow, is that not atheism at its core? Faith is personal, but with Christianity it is corporate (I don’t mean the institutional church) by choice as well. The key difference from collectivists is the individual is valued above the collective and one can leave. No one is sacrificed, but some/many/most will choose to make sacrifices. The key is choice. In collective systems choices are made for the individual whether good or bad and the morality of that is irrelevant. Denying one the choice to sacrifice is to depreciate one’s humanity.

        1. Jarreg

          Yes. Your definition of God is narrow. It is not broad and mysterious like the mystic’s nor broad and undefined like the Deist’s. It is narrow and pointed like that of Mormons Muslims and (insert denomination/ religion here). You strayed insanely away from my point. You insisted that being progressive made you the enemy of God. I corrected you. It only makes one the enemy of a god defined in a certain way. Most progressives in this country are Christians. That is a fact. I am the enemy of your god concept. Getting to know you better makes me more proud of that fact with every passing moment. I may disagree with anyone who sincerely believes in a god but that doesn’t make me their enemy. I find myself allied on a regular basis with many Christians. Most of them believe in a completely different god than you do. (You have just been prompted to give some version of the No True Scotsman Fallacy. You may accept or reject this invitation at your leisure)

          1. Bruce

            Again you are showing a lot of prejudgement in evaluating my definition of God based on a few posts not related to that definition. Is your definition not the narrowest of all, which is that you are God? That is atheism by definition.

            I’m curious did you used to be a “Christian” fundamentalist group leader of some kind in your past?

          2. Jarreg

            Again you are showing a lot of prejudgement in evaluating my definition of God based on a few posts not related to that definition. Is your definition not the narrowest of all, which is that you are God? That is atheism by definition.

            Do you deny that your God fits within such a definition? Is your god male? Is your god All-powerful? Is your god the one that commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac? I haven’t made these assumptions based solely on your posts here. I made that clear before. If these are not particular, defining characteristics of your god then quit with the passive-aggressive bullshit and fucking say so. It does you no good to make a point that I am assuming something about you unless those assumptions aren’t true. Stop hiding behind these vague statements. If your god isn’t the Yahweh of the Hebrews, the father/son/holy spirit of the new testament then say so. Otherwise cut out the bullshit.

            Atheism is the lack of belief or rejection of belief in a deity. That is the definition of atheism. You don’t get to redefine that.

    6. 2.6
      WilloNyx

      It tried once replying to this comment thoroughly but accidentally double clicking cause it to disappear shortly before it got posted. I doubt this one will be that thorough. I am mostly annoyed now.

      Being a “skeptic” is good for even “believers” like myself, but it makes me curious about the correlation of progressivism with atheism.

      Thinking skeptically is good for everyone and one day I hope you can try and apply that skepticism to your belief. I am not sure what correlation you mean. I did not express a positive correlation but you may be saying that there is a positive correlation. I can only say that my progressivism is causal in my atheism. Caring about social issues was at odds with my belief and therefore partially caused my non belief.

      Is this because the Gospels at their core are personal & not collectivist?

      You don’t define collectivist here and a simple Google search gives a huge variation in meanings. As I am not a philosophy buff I feel uncomfortable in assuming what you mean but I will try to give it a go nonetheless. Please let me know if I am wrong. By collectivism you mean focusing on the collective as opposed to the individual.

      I can’t speak to what the gospels are at their core except to say that they are non primary source accounts centered around a mythology and are clearly at odds with each other. Beyond that I have no clue whether they are personal or collective.

      If so then collectivism is by default immoral & evil & God must be eliminated for collectivism to become moral & good.

      Here you suggest that the gospels somehow offer proof of a god. Then you equate god of the gospels with morality. Beyone that false equivalency you have a false dichotomy that suggests anything “not of that god” is “not moral.” Basically everything is false in that sentence. The gospels offer no proof of the god. If they did there is nothing to suggest that god=moral or “not of god”=/=immoral. You will have to prove a few premises before I accept any of these conclusions.

      How can this be? It’s simple. Progressivism/collectivism destroys personhood & personal responsibility & replaces it with collective good.

      I originally had a blog length response to this but I don’t feel like retyping it. I am just going to say that this dichotomy is again false. The two are not mutually exclusive. People can be personally responsible while still fighting for collective good. I in fact feel I have a personal responsibility to fight for social justice.

      Individual moral prohibitions against such things as murder & theft can be superseded with any value that is deemed good for the collective. So seizing member assets is no longer theft but doing good for others. Killing off the elderly & chronically ill is no longer evil but an expression of care for the young & healthy.

      But don’t you see that you put your faith in a god whose most effective means for communication is the bible which relies on the evolution of language to allow for any flexibility whatsoever. That means if god of the gospels is real. If that god is the pinnacle of morality, then followers are morally obligated to view those who eat shellfish in opposition to the god of the gospels expressed prohibition are deserving of death. That means that whether they enact the punishment or not, morally they are obligated to assume that their neighbors who eat clams deserve to die. That isn’t personal responsibility. That is biblical responsibility. Every time a person defends their neighbors transgressions at not worthy of death, they are expressing personal morality outside that if god. I deem the defense of a person’s right to ingest shellfish to be more moral than that of the god of the gospel’s condemnation of the same person’s choices. But then again I have no problem calling myself more moral than the god of the gospels.

      The thing that is so disturbing is that these values are those of someone the believer clearly knows – Satan – who embodies all that is evil. The devil comes to kill, steal , & destroy.

      If you think implying that I am the devil or “of the devil” is gong to get under my skin you forget that I don’t believe in it either. Furthermore I don’t like your god. I would much rather side with its antithesis than be its fan.

      Interestingly you do not address what Social Justice is, but most commonly it is expressed as taking from the rich and giving to the poor. The key word is “taking” not asking, not giving. The social justice advocate proudly displays their compassion by advocating using armed agents of the majority as the storm troopers of righteousness seizing the booty of those who so sinisterly produced great wealth & prosperity while others did not. In Social Justice receivers/takers are the righteous, and producers, workers, gathers, and investors are the unrighteousness fruit ready for plucking & consuming.

      Believe it or not, this post isn’t for you. The audience I am writing to should have a pretty good idea what I mean by social justice. However if it does have a different and common use than I intend I would appreciate a link that explains that common use. Wealth redistribution is only one aspect of social justice. You like to equate it with theft but that assumes that all wealth is morally gained. It puts undue faith in capitalism.

      To clarify social justice to me is about the intersection of many forms of activism. These include but are not limited to fighting: sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, income stratification, and may other things. The purpose of social justice is to level the playing field for everyone and seek a more egalitarian culture. This is part of the greater good and part of my personal responsibility. There are some activism that are narrow in focus. Social justice is not narrow and its focus on intersection is the catalyst for me using the term in this post.

      In the end it seems that in order for progressives to prevail they must go to war not against men but God, and destroying him & all that he stands for is paramount.

      Yes. Going to war against what the god of the gospels stands for is paramount for social progress. The belief in primitive dogmas continues to be a source of oppression. So long as it is your god is oppressive, it is my enemy.

      But what you fail to understand is once you have turned reason & truth on their head & consumed the fruit of all those you despise there will be nothing left to seize. It is then that you discover that the storehouse is barren & all that you have left is yourself.

      I don’t fail to realize what you seem to think I fail to realize. I know a life without god isn’t barren as I live a fruitful one everyday. I know that if we fail to give oppressed groups the opportunity to show the world new forms of beauty we will continue to have a very bland sense of aesthetics. I know that social justice is the right path for my personal morality.

      (i wonder how fast will his get deleted)

      Laughable.

    7. 2.7
      Dalillama

      Being a “skeptic” is good for even “believers” like myself, but it makes me curious about the correlation of progressivism with atheism.

      This sentence is a non sequitur. The scare quotes around believer and skeptic make it impossible to determine what you might mean by those terms, and the second part doesn’t follow from the first. That said, statistically, atheists are more likely to be progressives compared to the general population, although the majority of people who identify as progressives are believers of one sort or another.

      Is this because the Gospels at their core are personal & not collectivist? If so then collectivism is by default immoral & evil & God must be eliminated for collectivism to become moral & good.

      The gospels are fanfiction written about a mythological figure, and have no validity as guides to fact or morality. Incidentally, they also advocate for collective ownership of wealth and distribution of all goods to the needy (see for example: Acts 2:42-47), so you’re wrong on two counts:what they say, and whether anyone should care.

      How can this be? It’s simple. Progressivism/collectivism destroys personhood & personal responsibility & replaces it with collective good.

      This is quite a large strawman, but I will treat it as though it were serious, mostly for my own amusement.

      Individual moral prohibitions against such things as murder & theft can be superseded with any value that is deemed good for the collective.

      This is hysterical, coming from an advocate of morality by divine command. Even the strawman version of progressivism that you portray here is better than ‘individual moral prohibitions can be superseded by some dipshit convincing himself that god told him to kill and kill again.’ At least in your strawman there’s some reason for overriding the ordinary rules.

      So seizing member assets is no longer theft but doing good for others.

      Who decides what property belongs to a particular person? Society as a group makes that decision and always has. The idea of theft requires that there be a legitimate ownership claim, and a society determines what such an ownership claim consists of. Therefore, by definition, when society claims assets for the greater good, it cannot be theft, as any individual claims of ownership are not legitimate by definition.

      Killing off the elderly & chronically ill is no longer evil but an expression of care for the young & healthy.

      This one’s a complete strawman. Name a self described progressive who advocates this, now or ever. Go ahead, I’ll wait. On the other side, we have conservative believers such as Bryan Fischer advocating that we should let the poor and sick die in the streets.

      The thing that is so disturbing is that these values are those of someone the believer clearly knows – Satan – who embodies all that is evil. The devil comes to kill, steal , & destroy.

      There is no devil anymore than there is a god. Nonexistent entities cannot act.

      Interestingly you do not address what Social Justice is, but most commonly it is expressed as taking from the rich and giving to the poor. The key word is “taking” not asking, not giving. The social justice advocate proudly displays their compassion by advocating using armed agents of the majority as the storm troopers of righteousness seizing the booty of those who so sinisterly produced great wealth & prosperity while others did not. In Social Justice receivers/takers are the righteous, and producers, workers, gathers, and investors are the unrighteousness fruit ready for plucking & consuming.

      Once again, this is a pathetic strawman, based on a number of fallacies. First off, no captain of industry in history has ‘produced great wealth and prosperity.’ The wealth created by an industry is created by those who do the actual work of creating that wealth. Philip Knight did not create the wealth of Nike Inc, that wealth was created by thousands upon thousands of people who wove cloth, processed rubber, and shaped the resulting materials into shoes, tshirts, etc. All of that could continue without Knight’s presence, and he added no value whatsoever to the company except his initial (and now discontinued) shoe design. Working by himself, he could not have made even .01% of the shoes sold by Nike, let alone actually sold them all (working alone, any time he spent making shoes is time he couldn’t spend running a storefront or contacting existing storefronts to try to convince them to take them on commission). Therefore, the people who are taking things they have not worked for are the wealthy, which is why people concerned with social justice would like to see less wealth under their legal control.

      In the end it seems that in order for progressives to prevail they must go to war not against men but God, and destroying him & all that he stands for is paramount. But what you fail to understand is once you have turned reason & truth on their head & consumed the fruit of all those you despise there will be nothing left to seize. It is then that you discover that the storehouse is barren & all that you have left is yourself.

      We must go to war with the belief in gods, certainly. There’s no way to declare war on a nonexistent entity, so no one’s declaring war on gods. The rest of this bit is basically flailing. You’ve shown no comprehension of reason nor knowledge of truth, so you can’t really speak to how they’re being applied. You completely misunderstand the nature of economies and societies, so the next bit’s crap, and the last sentence is pretty much just the standard ‘well you’ll see’ pout that’s always used by those who have no argument.

  3. 3
    Jarreg

    Dearest Bruce

    You have used up what currency you had with me. I engage in discussions with the implied assumption that they will progress into something more substantial, not descend into deeper and deeper levels of ignorance and headdesking. When and if you decide to follow through and learn something about actual atheism or feminism or progressive ideas instead of regurgitating canned talking points and terms from the fox news lexicon, maybe I will take you seriously. With every new comment you demonstrate how far removed you are from the conversation that is taking place. Atheists don’t just invent values from thin air. With very VERY few exceptions, feminism is not veiled mysandry. I have studied the history of the bible enough to say with great confidence, not absolute certainty, that many crucial foundations of Christianity are factually incorrect. There was no literal Adam and Eve and no literal Garden of Eden. This negates a literal fall which negates the concept of a literal redemption and atonement for what turns out to be an imaginary original sin. This is not only foundational to the veracity of Christianity, it is absolutely essential. This is a confidence based on evidence that has been rigorously tested and verified.

    Do you see the problem here? With every subsequent response you reveal a vast vacuum of ignorance that I will then have to waste my time trying to fill before we can even begin to have constructive discourse. You are amazingly ignorant of feminism, atheism, and the philosophies of the people you straw man. Based on these observations and the fact that your peculiar combination of terminology, philosophy, and misunderstanding very often result from a rigorous self indoctrination into a very predictable set of opinions, I have to assume you are also ignorant of biology, evolutionary theory, what the term scientific theory even means, the psychology of authoritarianism, etc, etc. What this means is that until you take some fucking initiative and make an effort to learn something more than the echo of your own pre-formed opinions, talking to you does absolutely nothing but waste my time. I have been more than generous with my time already.

    1. 3.1
      Bruce

      Finally what left wingers almost always descend to – a self proclaimed intellectual superiority. Our universities once bastions of light have declined into miserable refuges where deluded souls gather and award each other adulation and praise for being so much better and smarter than the low life scum who toil in the fields below. Brilliance is associated with the ability to use words even if they have no meaning. This is not much more than a social pathology rejecting true intellect for word games with the most clever constructionist leading the way. In the end foolishness becomes not only tolerated but predominate.

      Here you have set yourself as final arbiter and judge. The conversation cannot exist unless I show signs of recognizing your mental superiority and bowing to you as my mentor. Thus a low life like myself must be dismissed back to the fields where I toil and can only dream of being as worthy. But I should not despair because when the world is made right brilliant intellectuals who have dismissed God and truth will reward me with my own little piece of utopia as long as I obey.

      You assume so much; even to know me. You do not; nor do I know you. I would not be at all surprised to find you a likable guy, but it takes years to know a person.

      What is clear is that your mind is closed. You have made your choice, and you are not interested in anything that might challenge your fragile world view. My points which challenge the fundamentals of your alternate faith should be opportunities to show me what I do not understand, but what you have revealed is I understand all too well. Citing Fox talking points is hilarious. I can’t imagine anyone on Fox being bright enough to make any of my points. But it is a clever ploy to demean and diminish my challenges before a perhaps watchful flock.

      Your brief take on scripture is enlightening. Most atheists I have encountered over the years were once hard edged fundamentalists. You show signs of it in your rigid literal citing of scripture. The Bible is a collection of all kinds of literature that bring a consistent message to the one who’s mind is open to hear it. Adam & Eve did not have to exist, nor the garden for the story to teach a lesson. The 1st creation story is a poem and its purpose is to argue against polytheism. There is only one God. Adam and Eve represent us and our ability to choose, and there is so much more in those first few chapters I could fill a book. What is head turing though is the claim that you KNOW these things don’t exist. There is no way to know such a thing, or that they did! Claiming to KNOW what cannot be known is not skepticism it is faith.

      You might notice that I have assumed little of your background and abilities until now. You assume to know all of mine and are not even close. This is called bigotry. I would give you a list of my credentials, but I have no need to impress myself or anyone else with such and suspect you are happier not having your prejudice challenged. You might be right that you are wasting your time if your effort is to simply dismiss any evidence or argument one lays before you choosing to embrace instead the comfort of a philosophy that meets your needs. I have no such issue. I enter debates with those who think differently than me all the time, because at heart I want to find what I am missing. What is it that you know that points to truth that I don’t see. In this you failed because you revealed nothing. And in almost all of these debates I find that the other side retreats and makes efforts to shield itself from even seeing any challenges.

      I offered a postulation that no one has successfully challenged. The core thought being that progressivism and atheism do share a dependent connection, because progressivism is a direct denial of God and his moral order. Where is there any evidence that “redistribution” helps anyone, but the powered elite? Where is there any evidence that elevating one group does no harm to others? Where is there evidence that feminism (female power) is any less reactionary and ignorant than a bunch of white guys screaming white power. I don’t think such evidence exists. In order for these questions to not have moral significance their source must be dismissed. Thus God must not just be denied; he must be destroyed.

      It is not that I deny in anyone a sincere desire to be helpful; it is that I see massive evidence of not being willing to accept what is true, and a huge tendency to follow down a path of self destruction, envy and hate. I wish that for no one, but it is what I have observed in history and real life. I truly wish for you and those who you seek to convert that such fruit is not what awaits, but I fear that it is.

      1. Jarreg

        I’ve assumed far less about you than you would have people here believe. I took the time to read things you have written elsewhere. Bravo though. I have never seen the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense laid out in so many words.

      2. Jarreg

        Next I would like to see what you can do with “nah nah na boo boo, stick your head in doo-doo.” No less than a thousand words. Go.

  4. 4
    Bruce

    No, I think just sticking with facts and reason will do just fine. After all I am not the one promoting an evil world order that blesses the values of tyranny, murder, theft and destruction as foundations of righteousness. I will continue to hang with such terrible values that God would bless such as life, beauty, love and liberty and let others choose as they will.

    1. 4.1
      Jarreg

      “After all I am not the one promoting an evil world order that blesses the values of tyranny, murder, theft and destruction as foundations of righteousness.”

      No one here is promoting such a word view. No one. And that was way less than a thousand words by the way.

    2. 4.2
      WilloNyx

      Would you like some more straw to stuff your scarecrow with? I let you go off topic only because there wasn’t really a conversation going on here. Otherwise you would have a warning to stay on topic. Your idiocy just keeps showing with every post though and I find it rather amusing.

      You want to talk about the values of your god? Let’s throw down the story of salvation based on your theology. First there was the creation. Your god lies to his two dolls telling them not to eat of a tree or they will die. He doesn’t kill them. You might explain mortality for the human race as a metaphor for death. That is fine. Then your god continues for thousands to millions of years (depending on how much of an idiot fundie you are) insisting the wages of sin is death. There is no indication that the wages of sin is eternal punishment. No, if you committed a sin against god you are condemned to death. That is it.

      Enter Jesus. Supposedly Jesus is our gift. Our salvation. He gives us the opportunity for eternal life. Right? No Jesus gives us the opportunity for hell. If I don’t believe in your Jesus, no matter how moral I am by your god’s standards otherwise, I am going to hell. I belong in hell. On the other side of the coin people that have murdered, raped, and stolen are fully welcome to eternity in heaven so long as they ask for forgiveness for those actions, and even in some sects, so long as they just believe.

      See your god values belief in him higher than he values true morality. Your god is vain. Your god is pathetic. Don’t talk to me about values.

    3. 4.3
      Cale

      YES YOU ARE. You are TOTALLY ” promoting an evil world order that blesses the values of tyranny, murder, theft and destruction”.

      Have you actually READ the bible? What about lot’s daughters? What about King David and Bathsheba? What about Jericho? All of those are tales of rape, murder, and theft, and god is clearly on the side of the rapists, murderers, and thieves in all of them. (You could argue that David was ‘punished’ by the death of his unborn son… which is also typical of your god. Punishing someone else for something one of ‘His Chosen’ has done. And it’s not like Davey lost the crown over that.)

      Your values are absolutely fucking terrible. You are a terrible person, Bruce. I say it without reservation. Now go piss up a rope.

      1. Bruce

        Not judgmental at all are you? It is you who clearly does not understand the Bible. Are you suggesting that God instructed David to do what he did? Do you know so little about literature that you cannot tell the difference between a historical account and an ethical prescription? Does this anti God narrative make you feel better about the destruction, greed and bloodlust that dwells within? I don’t need to go piss up a rope since you’ve already murdered me in your heart for making you face your own imfamy it would seem? So where is your compassion and tolerance now? That’s right it doesn’t exist.

  5. 5
    Amblebury

    “Interestingly you do not address what Social Justice is, but most commonly it is expressed as taking from the rich and giving to the poor.”

    I think you’re mistaking a complex set of social and political beliefs for Robin Hood. Which is a folk myth based on some historical events. You know, like the Bible.

    1. 5.1
      Bruce

      “A complex set of social and political beliefs?” Robin Hood? Are you serious? You can hide behind all the complexity you want but Social Justice is a clever marketing term for redistribution of wealth, and redistribution of wealth is a clever marketing term for taking from a prosperous person and giving that (after skimming off some for the seizing agency) wealth to someone else who is not properous. All of that is just a cleverly disguised marketing system for that which is at it’s heart theft via an independent third party agent (government) who enriches itself and it’s power by embracing said system.

      1. Timid Atheist

        “…clever marketing term for taking from a prosperous person and giving that (after skimming off some for the seizing agency) wealth to someone else who is not (sic)properous.”

        Hmm, so ensuring that a woman of color has an opportunity to get a student loan and attend college is taking money from whom?

        Let me guess, a white person who wanted to go to college but can’t because the woman of color took his scholarship?

        Just who do you think is doing this marketing scheme?

        And just an FYI, if you actually were paying attention to the news you’d know about Lance Armstrong. But I have a feeling you ignore all the good things that are going on for men and instead focus on the fact that some women are being helped and assume that men aren’t being helped. Men are the default. They are helped as a normal, every day occurrence. And if you’d like to blame anyone for the problems with men’s health then you might want to look at all of the social norms that say men are suppose to sacrifice their health for the good of their family. Men are raised to be like that by other men. They’re told that’s what it is to be a man. Well screw that. We need to stop telling our children it’s not okay to cry and to “man” up and whatever other bullshit we spout on how to be a man. You stop that and you’ll find things start turning around. It isn’t feminists hurting our children, it’s the assumption that we have to have strict gender roles. And those roles were created by…. *drumroll* Men.

        1. Bruce

          It seems pretty racist to stereotype this “woman of color” is somehow so dysfunctional she can’t work her way through school or has no family to help her out naming just two alternatives. The sense of accomplishment is greater from having worked for something that from having it given to you. Considering college an “entitlement” that should be free also fosters a selfish entitled world view rather than an accomplished charitable one. There is increasing evidence that college is quickly becoming something not really worth the money for most people.

  6. 6
    Xanthë

    Hey Brucie-bubs, a suggestion, look up liberation theology or Christian socialism some time if you really want to break your brain trying to encounter challenging views, since you’re so wedded to your weirdo Christofascist prosperity gospel, anti-Communist regressive worldview – the one, I might add, which you’ve actually failed to define precisely anywhere in the thread, despite depositing elephantine quantities of verbal manure all over the place. Hope you enjoyed it! Xx

  7. 7
    Bruce

    I am very familiar with liberation theology, Christian “socialism” and other forms of “liberal” Christian theology. The problem with all of these is that they are well just wrong. They seem to be isogetical readings of the scripture not exegetical. That is they project into the scripture a meaning that violates it’s core values and is simply not there. I just posted two in depth responses above that cover your issue. My response to the book of Acts suggested socialist community directly addresses this.

  8. 8
    Leigh Williams

    You know, Bruce, those of us who are pretty knowledgeable about Christian theology might take you more seriously if you knew how to spell “eisegesis”. As if is, though, you seem to be just another Christofascist. You don’t have a clue what the core values of the Bible are, and you bring disgrace to the name of Christ. I don’t fear the skeptics, but people like you who claim to be Jesus’s followers are killing the Body.

    Willo and company, you’ve gone above and beyond in dealing with this contemptible asshat. There is no reasoning with people so consumed with finding a rationale for their selfishness. He’s just crapping all over your threads and stinking up the joint. Ban him outright, and save your time and effort for those who deserve them.

  9. 9
    Bruce

    Great we’ve descended to the point of calling spelling fouls to invalidate truths you cannot ignore otherwise? A Christofascist. You guys must be the most bigoted group I’ve ever run across. You have more hate group labels than one can imagine. Were you wearing a white sheet while you typed that? You advocate a system of sending armed agents of the government to confiscate the assets of others and I’m a fascist. Is this brainwashing I’m seeing? This kind of comment sends me to images of Hitler youth snapping to attention when the Fehrur passes by and denials of the horror they supported and advocated. You may not be there now, but that is the future of the philosophies you advocate.

    Speaking of reasoning, mine is sound and logical, and it must be hitting home based on all the spit and hate being spewed both here and on Twitter. It seems to be confirming more and more that what this is all about is needing to reject God in order to be free to wallow in hate, bigotry and darkness.

    1. 9.1
      Jarreg

      I imagine it doesn’t take much to turn your imagination to thoughts of Hitler. You have been given the opportunity to learn something and engage people honestly. You have refused at every turn. You still insist that you know the hearts and minds of those you disagree with and then criticize us when we infer your own directly from your words. You continue to insist on your own definitions of words and ideas that have no basis in reality. You claim the high ground of logic and reason and then when presented with strong evidence to the contrary you descend into long, paranoid bouts of apologia. WilloNyx and I have given you a wide latitude. This forum doesn’t belong to you. You have come here, been welcomed, and then proceeded to shit on the furniture and called it a gift. This is a warning. Further defecation on our furniture will not be tolerated. Reevaluate and correct your behavior or you will be held in Contempt.

      1. Bruce

        Your minion’s response to my argument was to demean me because of my faith and spelling and call me a fascist. Apparently you have no problem with that, do you? But it does seem you all have an issue with addressing my thesis and arguments honestly.

        I noticed your cohort’s claim in another post that she is more moral because she is an atheist. How is that not self righteousness on steroids, and how is your position that you are to teach me not even more so? You are projecting that you are beyond learning; you’ve captured the whole and complete meaning of everything and only are here to teach those who will submit. I get it.

        This started with one of your minions bullying a very ill 24 yr old on twitter and making deeply bigoted comments about him and his faith. Her response to people responding to her was to run and hide – a true drive by cowardly tweeter.

        In all. you guys have taught me a great deal. The emotional rants, personal attacks, the vulgar comments and bigotry I have seen in response to my logical thesis shows you guys know you aren’t more moral but less and are hiding behind atheism as a cover for dismissing any morals you find inconvenient. No wonder Jesus made you so uncomfortable; now you can turn his message of love on its head and feel good about it.

        As for Hitler that was a valid comment. Collectivism is a slippery slope toward total government control. Hitler, Stalin & Mao maybe the extreme end, but it is in that direction that your group would force your fellow citizens to follow thus enabling such an outcome. In other words, you all are perfectly willing to give up your personal freedom and take mine, but for what? For power and money in the form of having others pay your expenses. Likewise progressivism isn’t actually progress in a forward sense but a movement backward toward monarchy and serfdom.

        There are numerous leftist groups that wish to take through revolution. The Weather Underground had such plans and to prevent counter revolution they estimated they would need to kill 25 million Americans to prevent it. Is this abhorrent to you all or just part of the plan? We on the right want less government, less law, and less regulation and to leave people alone to follow their own pursuits. Now I’m told that is on the left/fascist side. So how do I not conclude you are brainwashing your minions into believing such false logic? We know from fascists & communists that it is possible to brainwash an entire nation for a time.

        The bottom line is that I see nothing from any of you that shows tolerance for your fellow man. I see hatred of any who don’t accept your “faith” and bigotry toward anyone that you think looks like the straw man faither you hate so much. Where is love, acceptance and charity? I know you claim it’s reflected in giving time to those who you see as vulnerable, oh – and most likely to become members of the group. So give it up Jarreg you are still running a cult just like you did in the basement of the so called church you despise.

        If you guys wanted to develop your own community great. But what is clear is that your goal is to attack the larger culture around you and transform it from within starting with the young and vulnerable in our schools. That changes everything and makes it so that challenging you and more importantly exposing your evil, immoral and corrupt POV is all the more important. It is no different than you having declared war on the rest of us. The difference is that our side has the advantage because your ideas will crumble and fall in the light of truth just as they have for thousands of years.

        1. Jarreg

          Your minion’s response to my argument was to demean me because of my faith and spelling and call me a fascist. Apparently you have no problem with that, do you? But it does seem you all have an issue with addressing my thesis and arguments honestly.

          Had you made an effort not to insult everyone here multiple times by accusing us of advocating theft and murder I might have some small twinge of sympathy for your whining. What parts of your thesis are coherent or not self-evidently false have been dealt with by people here. You can’t respond to these criticisms without insulting us and then whining like a child if we don’t bow to your moral superiority.

          This started with one of your minions bullying a very ill 24 yr old on twitter and making deeply bigoted comments about him and his faith. Her response to people responding to her was to run and hide – a true drive by cowardly tweeter.

          No. THIS started when you followed WilloNyx to our blog because a friend of ours asked a question about health insurance and she answered honestly that we can’t afford it. The paranoid business owner who imagines storm troopers hiding behind the bushes, waiting to steal his money, insisted that everybody can afford health insurance and now he has to come and preach against the ills of philosophies and people he has no understanding of.

          What you have written here will remain. Everyone is welcome to read your words and make their own decisions. You, on the other hand, have been found to be in violation of our comment policy and will be held in contempt. A short profile of your violations and your tactics will be placed in our contempt page so others can be kept informed. Goodbye.

  10. 10
    Xanthë

    What a train wreck. Bye bye Brucie! Xx

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