I Am Not a Christian, But . . .

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Religious belief is ok with me.belief pic

So is not-belief.

I wish more Libertarians – and even “conservative” minarchist (small government) types – were also ok with either.

There is an important lesson to be learned from the Russian Revolution. The Bolsheviks were the minority. Yet they achieved power. Why? Because the Mensheviks and other not-Bolsheviks squabbled endlessly among themselves rather than concentrate on their common aims  – and common enemy.

The liberty movement is similarly fractured.

Especially over the fault lines of religious belief – and lack thereof.

People who otherwise agree on the basics – roughly, at least – will often nonetheless heap their greatest contempt and expend the most energy on marginalizing like-minded people who happen to not share their Christian faith.

Or any faith at all.

It is a tragedy – and a disaster.

I, like many Libertistas (like that one?) began my journey hop-scotching over the works of greats such as Leonard Read, Bastiat, Henry Hazlitt and then – of course – Ayn Rand. I admired Rand – and still do – but she probably more than any other among the pantheon crippled the movement as much as she helped to awaken it by insisting on rigid, doctrinaire unanimity of belief rather than acceptance of the Non Aggression Principle (NAP) as the basis of her philosophy. One must revere Rachmaninoff – never Wagner. If you inclined toward Doric or Ionian columns rather than Frank Lloyd Wright, you were suspect. And other such nonsense.

Of course, Rand was a spittle-spewing atheist above all else – reserving some of her most volcanic eructations of bile for those who “believed.” She called them “mystics” and “witch doctors” and much worse than that.

This Stalinist sense of life (to use a favorite phrase of hers) immediately gave me pause – even though I myself am not a believer, either and – like her – don’t understand religious belief. Highlining

But the difference between myself and Rand – and between myself and most latter-day “conservatives” – is that I do not see a conflict between advocacy of liberty, the movement toward a voluntarist, free society – and people’s personal preferences – their beliefs about whatever.

So long as they accept as their premise (again, to use one of  Rand’s favorite words) the NAP. To refrain from aggression. To leave other people alone.

To live – and let live.

It is incredibly depressing that so many “conservative” small government people regard non-believing Libertarians as  untrustworthy because they derive their sense of value, their ethics, from secular rather than sectarian sources. Agnostic and atheistic Libertarians are suspicious folk – because they do not believe in the God of the Bible (or any gods at all). Yet these are people who have intellectually rejected aggressive violence, including theft-by-ballot!

And they are cast as the enemy – not to be allowed around kids, etc.

It would be funny if it weren’t so god-damned tragic.

I do not worry about Trekkies – people who dress up like Klingons and Mr. Spock and immerse themselves in role play. Nor do I worry about the gender of consenting adults who wish to marry – or have sex with each other. Why should I worry about people who revere a man in a white costume with a funny hat, who like to eat a special cracker every Sunday and who get a sense of great relief from having done so?let live picture

Who cares?

I am inclined toward a belief in the actuality of life – technologically advanced life – outside the solar system. In fact, I believe strongly that the universe is crowded with life, with civilizations – and that we here on Earth are currently in a position not unlike the Spaniards of 1491, on the verge of discovering that – yes – there is an undiscovered country beyond the horizon. I also have this oddball liking for black velvet Elvis paintings – and I prefer ’80s hair rock to Bach.

Who is harmed by any of it? Why can’t belief in whatever not only be tolerated – but embraced as glorious, the ultimate manifestation of individual liberty – rather than an affront to some orthodoxy that must be stomped?

Heterodoxy in all things – except the one thing: Trying to impose your will, your way of life, your beliefs, on someone else. Orthodoxy against that only.

Those who read this column regularly – and the comments that follow – have probably read some of the back and forth I’ve had with a reader named David. He’s a believer, an ardent Christian. But we are not enemies. Though we’ve never met in person, I regard him as a friend. Because he does not insist that I believe what he believes. And I, for my part, do not mock his beliefs – much less demand that he shed them – “be rational” – else be the object of ridicule. Or at least, not allowed in the proverbial clubhouse.

We are allies where it counts. He knows I will defend his right to believe – and I know he will defend my right not to believe.

Belief – and non-belief – can co-exist in exactly the same way that my preference for Kawasakis (and Pontiacs) in no way precludes my ability to bond with those who prefer Hondas or Fords. We both like bikes – and cars.

And – per myself and David – we both like liberty.

The liberty to believe what seems right to us – or simply appeals to us, whether it’s “rational” being utterly beside the point.So long as we’re not hurting unconsenting others. That’s the thing – the only thing.

I like to lift heavy weights. It’s bizarre, arguably. But – so what?If you don’t want to do it, don’t. It’s so easy – and so, things ought not to be so got-damned hardvoluntary pic

I don’t pester Dom (EPautos.com’s webmaster) about his gross (to me) habit of dipping snuff. And if he told me he dressed up as a Klingon sometimes, I’d probably snicker – but never censure.

What matters is the essential thing: The NAP. If we can agree on that, the rest is incidental – and our ultimate victory assured.

If, however, we continue to peck at one another – and insist on orthodoxies outside the NAP – it is likely, probable, that the liberty movement will go the way of the Mensheviks.

And we’ll have lost a battle we should have won.

Throw it in the Woods?

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  313 comments for “I Am Not a Christian, But . . .

  1. MamaLiberty
    January 29, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Amen, Eric. Well said. :)

    • Hot Rod
      January 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Eric,

      Just wanted to let you know that I already knew you weren’t Christian ;). That said I’ve seen religious versus no religious talks in here as being nothing more than logical debates of truth. That said I view all people suspiciously even those who hide behind of cloak of Christ ministry (actually even more), that is because there are people who act more evil and opposite spectrum who act more decent. To deny the good versus bad thesis to me is setting oneself up for a decent fall. Many of otherwise bright people I’ve met seem to think everyone is in it together and we are all one happy family. My own experience in this life is that is a falsity. There are extremely bad people too, and even bad people in the liberty movement (lawless moral relativists) that want anarchy so they can literally do to anyone else as they please without considering other peoples rights (natural rights or where do these come from?). Whereas there are people who believe that anarchy as in a natural law without disorder would exist because there are checks in balances (natural law) in something more behind the scene. I’m pretty sure that anarchy can’t exist in good form in a society lacking morality. There also those who savor anarchy because they could use their bully ways on their neighbors without the fear of the policeman. That said I cannot go along with all liberty movements, especially if at least the entire majority of such movement believes that liberty means no self restraint in respect or in other words no morality. Yes I have met atheist that do have morals and I get along perfectly well with such people. Though I don’t buy their theories and they have every right not to buy mine. I don’t trust them neither for motive is a force of our reason for doing our works. A man without a good motive can change his beliefs much more readily than one who has for good measure thought out his reasons for why he acts the way he does.

      I’m not a moral prude either, though I see no good coming from people such as atheist that pretend morality can exist in a vacumn, even if they acknowledge that they would not kill, steal or rape. Under such conditions as an atheist to argue that one system (anarchy versus government) is better than another is to suggest that one primates neurons firing one way is more righteous than another. Such thinking is absurd without acknowledging some mold or natural force to keep deviance in check without any of humanities institutions.

      I don’t go to Christian church and Asian Buddhists, Moslems, and Hindi made my best friends in the past. And I’ve had many athiests as friends too, though we have had many interesting debates. And I’ll say that in fact I actually do like athiests more than some theists, because they have a passion for what they believe. I’d rather have someone hot or cold and not lukewarm, as at least in a debate everyone is going to try that much harder to be logical to their true convictions. I’d wager that if Christ were alive that one thing he’d not be is Christian. And that last statement is a quote but I’m not sure who said it (Hemingway?)…just not sure and don’t feel like googling it…

      I’ve enjoyed your site very much in the past few years. And I’ve learned much from many in here and I hope I have inspired many as well. In fact one of the reasons I’m doing so good in business right now is because of the topics on LRC and this forum that have made me rethink what is true. That said I’m getting so damn busy in the busyness that I have little time left to conjecture much anymore, so if it seems that I’m not coming here anymore or walking away from half debates, know that it has nothing to do with anyone turning me off or the arguments themselves. We all have different views on the world and we all will hopefully find what we are looking for. Its been fun discussing atheism versus theism with the atheist on here. Its been fun talking about buddhism and its fun talking about knowing the different beliefs amongst Christianity. All of these are important because liberty cannot exist in a vacumn neither, there has to be a thread we share in common if we are too believe in it. Time will tell if such a thread exists, yet if it is found anywhere I’d conjecture it would be here of all places.

      Time stops for nobody and its certainly not something we get back so use it wisely and that said I’ve got a huge plate of things to do and not enough time. I thank my father for all these blessings and in knowing all of you. God bless on your journeys that you find your freedoms.

      Eric someday I’ll need to advertise on your site, I’m thinking of the perfect product that addresses your visitors where I too can make money.

      Best Regards,
      HR

      • eric
        January 30, 2014 at 3:13 pm

        Thanks, as always, Hot Rod!

        I’ll condense what you said what Bill said to Ted: Be excellent to each other!

        That movie had some good stuff in it – and not just George Carlin. Here’s a great scene from the sequel:

    • Rob
      February 4, 2014 at 2:41 am

      Strictly speaking minarchism or mini-archism is traditional anarchist community. For more on world Libertarianism see http://www.libertarianinternational.org

  2. David
    January 29, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Good stuff.

    I’ve never liked Ayn Rand much for precisely the reasons you describe, my faith is important enough to me that seeing somebody constantly ridicule it is enough to make me want to ignore them. Most Christians (Who are not necessarily libertarians) would probably be worse in this regard. Walter Block (atheist libertarian) excellently destroys the idea that religion and libertarianism are incompatible here:

    http://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block206.html

    Now, with regards to unbelievers being “evil” or what have you, I’m not sure what types of arguments you’ve encountered along these lines. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned. Isaiah 64:6 says that our good deeds are like filthy rags.

    Imagine a courtroom. Ten people have committed murder (“murder” representing sins against God in this analogy). The judge gives up his life in the place of two of them, allowing the other eight to suffer the natural consequences of their sins. Any good deeds the eight murderers may commit while in prison will not help them. Of course, it would be better for them to help somebody out rather than murder another person, but as far as their ultimate fate it doesn’t matter, they’re going to die.

    Now, take the heavenly courtroom. We’ve all sinned against God. Not just non-Christians, but everybody. We’ve all broken God’s laws at some point or another. For this, we deserve to go to Hell. Christ gave himself up on the cross as propitiation for his people. If you believe, his righteousness will be imputed to you in his place. In other words, you’ll be declared innocent before God because Christ died in your place. If you have NOT so believed, according to God you are still guilty (And I don’t just mean you, I mean anybody) and will eventually suffer the consequences of your sins.

    Now, I don’t know what kinds of people you’ve encountered and what they mean by some of the statements that they make. If they think non-believers will necessarily harm their children or something like that (As per the original rant) they are missing the point of those scriptures. Some non-believers may well be, in a temporal sense, better people than some believers. Frankly, I think with your understanding of the NAP you probably follow more of Jesus’ ethical teachings than most Christians. Of course, as far as theology goes, living a good life isn’t the point.

    At any rate, I’d vote for an atheist libertarian, and shame on any atheists who refused to vote for Ron Paul because of his Christian belief.

    • mikeLL
      January 29, 2014 at 11:36 am

      David,
      Can you explain to me why religious belief is so important to Christians but in other faiths such as Judaism religious practice is emphasized? I have observed that Christians seem to want others to know what they believe, as if trying to convince other mortals of the strength of one’s conviction is the point rather than convincing God. After all, God knows what you really and truly believe so why bother discussing belief at all? However, one’s practice as a Christian, or Jew, or what have you, is what God really wants to see, no? And isn’t it practice that gives people a way to live their lives in peace and not belief per se?

      I don’t know, this is something about religion that I have been pondering lately. I’d appreciate your insights.

      And great piece, Eric. I agree with everything you said, especially the part about Dom being a snuff-dipping Klingon.

      • David
        January 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        The reason is because most religions are fundamentally works based. They actually believe that what you believe is less important than what you do. True Christians do not believe this. We know that we are not good enough to work our way into heaven, and that we need Christ as our substitute. For the believer, Christ has taken their place on the cross so that they can have eternal life. Other religions deny this doctrine and instead claim they can earn heaven for themselves.

        • mikeLL
          January 30, 2014 at 7:21 pm

          David, thank you for responding. Two questions: 1. Does the admonition to “practice what you preach” having any meaning for a Christian? 2. Can a non-believer who is only interested in this life and not afterlife find any value, and perhaps even meaning, in religious practice (e.g., tithe, fast, marry, sabbath day, etc.)? thank you.

          • David
            February 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

            #1: “Practicing what you preach” is extremely important. Good works are an inevitable result of salvation. But they don’t save. That’s the important point. A non-Christian who has “good works” yet does not have Christ as his representative will not be saved. As for #2, I don’t really know since I’ve never been an unbeliever, but I see no point in trying to practice if you aren’t one. I do expect people to leave each other at peace, though (And that goes for both sides.)

          • mikeLL
            February 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

            David,
            If there is no point in practice for the non-believer then what would have been the point of religious practice before Christ? Were they wasting their time or did practice have value in and of itself?

            I think you might be missing something about the value of practice regardless of one’s faith. Belief might serve some other purpose.

      • Drone target
        February 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm

        Christians, and more precisely Catholics, are to go forth and let our light shine. Evangelicize, preach, try to convert, trying to save your soul as the gospel writes..That is the difference you notice . Judaism is a birthright, the tent only holds so many, Muslim is an ideology not a religion, and atheism is a belief. Simple quick explanation.

  3. David
    January 29, 2014 at 10:54 am

    One thing that’s important to understand about evangelical Christians in particular, and which will be something people like you will have to learn to deal with, even if you don’t like it, if you want to win them as allies, for us our faith comes first. I do place a higher emphasis on political issues, particularly the importance of the non-aggression principle on ethical grounds, than most Christians do, but ultimately, my goal is still that Jesus Christ come first, and politics second. For most, this will be even more the case. Again, you don’t necessarily have to like this, and I certainly understand how, from an agnostic perspective, politics would come first and religious debate second, if not third or fourth or (etc.) but you’re never going to convince most evangelicals (and this includes me) that our faith should not be considered important, or the “secondary” issue, or whatever.

    Because, ultimately, we believe there’s a next life, and that’s more important to us (or at least, we believe it should be) when compared to this one. Ultimately, my first priority is to tell people how they can be saved from Hell and go to heaven. Politics, as important as it is, is secondary to that, for me and for most evangelicals.

    Something to keep in mind.

    • MamaLiberty
      January 29, 2014 at 11:16 am

      No, David… “politics” are not my primary issue at all. Life, and being left alone to live that life as I see fit without aggression, and defending myself from attack -that’s issue number one for me. I’m not interested at all in any religious debate, or care if “christians” are allies or otherwise. I don’t want to be preached at, evangelized or lectured about any of it, and it’s too darn bad if you feel obligated to do that.

      Just so you know, I spent a good part of 50 years in church, studying the bible, all the rest. The more I studied, and the longer I lived, the less I believed of any of it. I think “god” exists, in some form or another, but I have nothing but the creation itself to work with. Energy/life is never destroyed, only changed, so that’s the “next life” that seems most likely… but nobody on earth knows what that means for individuals, and no amount of “belief” can change that.

      A bunch of books written by men over the centuries is not proof of anything except their desire to communicate what they believed. And that’s fine, but is certainly not binding on anyone who chooses otherwise.

      • David
        January 29, 2014 at 11:20 am

        You’re welcome to feel however you want about evangelists, as long as you understand the distinction between persuasion and force (And that goes for both sides.) Beyond that, you’re entitled.’

        BTW: My goal in having this discussion is not really to convince you guys to believe what I believe. I can’t do it, its not my job to do that, and at any rate you guys know where I stand. What I am trying to do is to explain how evangelical Christians think in relation to the OP.

        • MamaLiberty
          January 29, 2014 at 11:35 am

          David, you said this just above:
          “Ultimately, my first priority is to tell people how they can be saved from Hell and go to heaven.”

          Either evangelization is your priority, or it is not. You can’t have it both ways.

          I don’t want to be “persuaded” any more than I want to be “forced.”

          • David
            January 29, 2014 at 1:53 pm

            If you think persuasion is morally equivalent to force than you have no business calling yourself a libertarian, and no knowledge of what libertarianism is. And it is this liberal spin on the “live and let live” doctrine that turns some Christians away from it. They are RIGHT to reject this form of liberal moral relativism, they wrongly assume that the NAP naturally leads to it.

            With regards to my evangelism, my primary goal in life is to see people come to Christ. Politics is, at least ideally, secondary to that.

            But the reason I’m having this discussion here is not to try to convince you all to become Christians. The reason I’m having this discussion here is to help you understand how Christians think. I know Eric won’t like the fact that evangelical Christians will naturally put their faith first and political advocacy of the NAP (even assuming they are convinced to accept it) second, and he’s entitled not to like it, but short of convincing these people that their faith is wrong, he is not going to be able to change it. I don’t know what Eric’s knowledge of the evangelical community looks like, or the rest of you, so maybe I’m telling you what you already know. If not, its something that needs to be understood if any kind of cooperation between people like Eric and most evangelical Christians is going to get anywhere.

            I know that you’re hostile to what I believe, which is fine. Its frankly not any skin off my back. I know that people are unable to believe in their own strength anyway. But most Christians would instantly dismiss you for statements like you made. If you’re OK with that, well, whatever. I hope Eric and any other relatively easy going agnostics know who they should and shouldn’t ally with politically. Here’s a hint, its NOT the people who falsely confuse persuasion with force. Doing that is going to completely destroy this movement.

          • Boothe
            January 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm

            David – I will refer you to Mathew 10:14 “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” In other words, if the party (or parties) you are trying to “persuade” doesn’t want to hear it, one should accept that and move on. To continue to attempt to persuade them becomes an annoyance and I personally have seen this type of evangelism turn people off to Yeshua’s message completely. MamaLiberty already informed you that they spent the better part of fifty years in the church. It didn’t take nearly that long for the “xians” to “unchurch” my wife (also a nurse BTW) and me, I assure you.

            Then we looked in “home churching.” One of the leaders of that movement homed in on me and tried to get me to take on a leadership role. I could see exactly what was going on; just another attempt at establishing their particular flavor of authoritarian religious control. I left that seminar and never looked back. Religious people have done more to turn me and many others away from the organized “xian” church than anything pagans, satanists, muslims or any other anti-xian group could hope to accomplish in their wildest dreams!

            In fact, I went through a long period of agnosticism myself David; thanks to “the church.” But I came back to a Deistic belief based on Yeshua’s teachings on my own. If you pay careful attention to His lessons, the message is indeed one of self determination, individual responsibility and yes, non aggression; the only way that Liberty can truly exist as opposed to chaos and then tyranny. The “church” had nothing to do with “evangelizing” me “back into the fold.” Attempting to “persuade” someone who is not interested and doesn’t want to be bothered is indeed a form of aggressive behavior. If one comes up to me with the “Brother are you saved?” routine, I find that highly annoying. If I tell them “Enough!” and they persist, I might just get downright ugly with them.

            And although I don’t know her personally, I am confident that after nearly fifty years in the church, MamaLiberty has heard about all of it she can stand. When you get older and have had more life experience, you may very well look back on what you accept as the irrefutable truth today with a jaundiced eye as well.

        • MamaLiberty
          January 29, 2014 at 2:13 pm

          I wasn’t going to continue in this thread, but you can’t put words in my mouth. I never equated persuasion with force in the least, simply said I don’t want one any more than the other… whole different thing.

          I’m also not at all “hostile” to you or your faith. You are absolutely free to believe any damned thing you wish. What I dislike is the self righteous tone. And the subtle pressure that we who do not “believe” must somehow pussyfoot around so “christians” will be our allies.

          If they can’t be allies simply as non-aggressors, I don’t know why I’d want to bother. And if “christians” dismiss me for that… too bad.

          • David
            January 29, 2014 at 2:26 pm

            OK, maybe I was too harsh in my comment, I apologize for that.

            You don’t have to pussyfoot around it. You can hate us if you want, as long as you leave us alone. I just don’t think having a hostile stance on faith will actually help you. If you don’t care about that, if opposing faith is more important to you than working for liberty, that’s fine. But as a strategic point, I don’t think being hostile toward faith, or peaceful proselytism, is going to get any evangelicals to move in your direction.

            For me, myself, I’m already a voluntarist, so you don’t need to convince me. I guess my question to you is, what’s most important to you? To convince Christians to stop peacefully proselytizing? Or to bring down the State? If its the former, we don’t really have the same goals, which is fine as long as you yourself pursue your goal peacefully. But if the latter, I don’t think being hostile toward the former is really helping your cause. On top of that, as an unbeliever, you don’t have any moral obligation to try to stop peaceful proselytizing the same way I do to peacefully proselytize.

          • LSJohn
            January 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm

            I think you and I may know each other (online) from waaaay back, and if you are who I think you are, I’m not accustomed to disagreeing with you.

            However (from a fellow atheist/agnostic):

            “What I dislike is the self righteous tone. And the subtle pressure that we who do not “believe” must somehow pussyfoot around so “christians” will be our allies.”

            On both points I think you have misread David. I don’t read him at all as self-righteous, nor do I think his suggestions about the best way to find allies among dedicated Christians amounts to “pussy-footing.”

            I think it would be as foolish for us to proclaim or even imply that being a dedicated Christian obviates strict adherence to the NAP as is would be for them to tell us we can’t be “good” without faith. I think all David was saying on this point was that faith and non-faith need not play any role in serious discussions of adherence to the NAP, its merits, and its logical consequences.

            Anyway, good to see you, especially if you are who I think you are.

        • MamaLiberty
          January 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm

          No, I do not “hate your faith.” I simply do not share it. I want to be left alone, as you say you wish to be left alone. We agree on that, don’t we?

          My priority is _not_ to oppose anyone’s faith, _nor_ to “bring down the state.” My priority is to live my life the best I can, in voluntary association with others who share a commitment to non-aggression and integrity. I don’t much care what else they believe.

          • David
            January 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm

            You seemed like, based on the way that you responded, that you consider peaceful evangelization/proselytization also to be a violation of “wishing to be left alone”, which I don’t agree with. I do agree that using force against anyone else for any reason other than in self-defense or in order to force someone who violated the NAP to pay for his actions. I do not agree that peacefully trying to persuade someone to become a Christian or to repent of their sins is in any way wrong.

          • eric
            January 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm

            It’s only wrong if it’s a violation of private property, or involves coercion. Standing on the sidewalk with leaflets or whatever is ok. Shoving them at people, using your body to prevent them from getting by you is not. We get Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, local evangelicals, etc., at the door every now and again. I tell them “not interested” – and they (so far) leave without incident. Again, no problem. If I had a No Trespassing sign and they came onto my property, that would be rude, minimally – and arguably, cause for me to threaten to kick them in the hiney (or whatever it took) to get them off my land.

            I think most of this involves simple civility/manners. I have no problem with someone mentioning religion to me; if I’m not interested, I’ll tell them and – hopefully – that’ll be the end of it.

            I don’t particularly like the pushy Salvation Army guy who loudly greets you when you try to enter the supermarket. He’s not assaulting you, you’re free to ignore him (or not shop there) but I do think it’s bad manners and makes me much less likely to want to give the SA anything.

          • MamaLiberty
            January 29, 2014 at 3:08 pm

            ” you consider peaceful evangelization/proselytization also to be a violation of “wishing to be left alone”, which I don’t agree with.”

            So… what part of “NO” – or “GET OFF MY PROPERTY” don’t you understand? Being left alone means just that… left alone. I have no obligation to listen to anyone, regardless of their sincerity. And I don’t give a darn if you agree or not. If I don’t want to hear it, “NO” should be enough. But the idiots keep coming back…

          • David
            January 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm

            Obviously if trespassing were involved it would no longer be “peaceful” now would it?

          • David
            January 30, 2014 at 10:30 am

            Eric’s got it.

          • Klavdy
            February 2, 2014 at 9:07 am

            “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
            …Stephen F Roberts

        • LSJohn
          January 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm

          It’s easy to see why you and Eric get along so well… heck, you’d both get along with anyone who wasn’t a moron. :>)

          You da Man!

          • January 29, 2014 at 9:38 pm

            Depending on how “moron” is defined, I don’t always get alone with everyone who isn’t a moron. If its defined in relation to political common sense, most people I encounter on a daily basis are indeed “morons”, which gets frustrating after awhile. But there are other areas in which those people are not morons.

            I love this place. Always an intellectual challenge in the areas I enjoy. Thanks for a great site, Eric.

          • eric
            January 30, 2014 at 8:04 am

            Thanks, David!

            To this day, I carry with me a “tool” Ayn Rand gave me: Her description of the anti-conceptual mentality. Clover is an example of this phenomenon. A person who cannot discern – or refuses to acknowledge – concepts/principles as they relate to particular things.

            A person who, for example, cannot comprehend – or refuses to acknowledge – that if one accepts arbitrary searches in one case, then one has accepted the thing in principle and there is no longer any way to make a principled objection to any arbitrary search.

            I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the quality separating the fully human consciousness from the not-quite-human consciousness.

            Concepts/principles are the integrative mechanisms without which higher thought is simply not possible.

          • February 1, 2014 at 1:31 am

            Hey, Eric.

            So, by your definition, is Clover “not human” (Admittedly, I wouldn’t be too shocked if he’s a government computer… lol).

            By your definition, an infant wouldn’t qualify as human either, and thus, logically, the NAP would not apply for them, I really hope that’s not what you’re trying to say.

            Of course, I find people like Clover really annoying. Most people honestly have a lot of Clover in them, they just don’t post on sites like this one. I wish they would. I’m a better apologist for liberty online, and almost all of the commentators here, including yourself, are better at it than I am.

            Most people don’t care if they are logically consistent. I care, a lot. I agonize over it if I’m not.

            See this thread here for an example: http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?442792-Jack-Hunter-%93Mitt%94-teaches-us-to-separate-the-political-from-the-personal/page4 (“FreedomFanatic” is my name on RPF)

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 7:53 am

            Hi David,

            No – not literally.

            But Clover’s mindset is in a very real way not quite fully human. It is, indeed, more like an animal’s mind in that animals feel and react (by rote, by instinct) but lack the capability to conceptualize things, to see the proverbial forest rather than the trees.

            There is a doctrine in law about attaining the age of reason – as applied to children. It is that subtle, hard to pin down moment when a kid begins to understand external reality (as distinct from internal fantasy) understands he’s a specific individual and begins to relate to others in an adult manner.

            But, the process is imperfect and – in the case of Clover, et al – it may never be fully realized. You end up with a mind that is still a child’s mind – in a very real way. It feels rather than reasons. It is impatient, wants what it wants (right now!).

            The question we face is: How do we deal with these adult children? They are a very real threat to us, yet we must always abide by the NAP.

            My opinion on this is kind of New Age-ish in that I think what’s happening is a gradual evolution – an awakening – of human consciousness to the wrongness of violence and coercion as the basis of interaction. A handful of humanity has “turned on” to this, “gets it.” But it will take time for a working majority to come around. In the meanwhile, we’re compelled to engage in a process of holding the line (trying to prevent the world from going completely crazy, into another orgy of collectivism) while trying to spark the minds of as many people as possible, in order to achieve that critical mass of humanity necessary to throw aggression in the woods forever.

  4. Bryce
    January 29, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Personal Disclosure Statement: I am a devout Roman Catholic with Jewish ancestry, Oldsmobile, Mopar and Subaru aficionado, and a registered Republican.

    That said, one of my major beefs with Republicans and conservatives in general is that they talk about getting Uncle Sam’s grubby mitts out of every sphere…EXCEPT when it comes to legislating morality and waging war.

    These folks be like, “How dare the government tell car companies what cars to build and what health care employers can offer their employees! But the government must tell people who they can marry and what they can do with their bodies.” To hear them talk, some would even be OK with the US being an Evangelical Christian version of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    They also be like, “A politician who has an affair is unfit to govern, but one who gets us into unnecessary wars and doles out favors to special interests we favor is OK.”

    And they be like, “Welfare is a bad thing, and FDR/LBJ-esque programs are bad…but corporate welfare and “creating jobs” through unnecessary wars are OK.”

    I be like “Live and let live.”

    • David
      January 29, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Yes, I very much agree with this (Except that I’m Protestant and not Catholic). Most conservatives are hopelessly hypocritical when it comes to these types of governmental controls, and I call them out on it whenever I get the chance.

      My dad and I were having a political conversation this morning and eminent domain came up. My conservative father is like “Well, eminent domain is wrong now, but when a nation is just starting up, maybe its necessary” and I’m like: “dad, you just lost your moral argument if and when they decide to take your house.” Voluntarism > Conservatism.

      • Phillip the Bruce
        January 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm

        Eminent Domain, originally included in the Magna Carta, was an improvement over the existing conditions at the time – the King could take anything, any time. At least with ED (no, not the one they make blue pills for) you received some compensation. But it still means that the Gunverment, not you, actually owns the property. Kind of like property taxes, zoning, and that sort of crap.

        • David
          January 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

          I understand that, and it makes sense that they demanded it at the time. That doesn’t make it right. If we could pass a law requiring the government to pay ten times market value in eminent domain cases, that would be an improvement, but it would still be wrong that they could do it at all.

          Once you give up the principles, you lose. My dad, who is frankly better than most people on politics and a legitimate constitutionalist, still doesn’t get this point. Hey, there’s always more time, right?

          • David
            January 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

            During this conversation this Biblical story came to mind:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naboth

            In this story, the “divine right” of kings to do whatever they want is rejected and even when Ahab tries to give Naboth more money than the vineyard is worth, he retains the right to refuse. So when Christian statists start arguing for statism for this, that, or the other reason, blame them and not our Bible.

          • Phillip the Bruce
            January 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm

            If the 5th Amendment were understood in the sense that “just compensation” is determined by the seller, not the buyer, it might be acceptable in many cases. But the right of refusal must also be recognized. Your example of Naboth is spot on.

        • David
          January 29, 2014 at 2:22 pm

          I wouldn’t call that eminent domain, if the seller decides. I would just call that a property sale. Of course, anything the State owns, buys, or sells is stolen, but that’s a separate issue. I don’t believe taxation is moral either.

  5. Tor Libertarian
    January 29, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Thwocckkkk!!! – Hit this one out the park!!!!

    All true freedom loving Americans are pro-Corinthian of course! The founders all agreed and enshrined it in their founding Architecture of America!

    http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/architecture-elements/corinthian-columns

    “Corinthian columns are the most ornate, slender and sleek of the three Greek orders. They are distinguished by a decorative, bell-shaped capital with volutes, two rows of acanthus leaves and an elaborate cornice. In many instances, the column is fluted. Columns in this style can be found inside and outside of the buildings on Capitol Hill, including the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court Building, the Russell Senate Office Building, the Cannon House Office Building and the Library of Congress. If you don’t prefer Corinthian, you are a communist or a fascist, or maybe both.”

    • Bevin
      January 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

      Dear Tor,

      It’s funny how one’s perceptions about practically everything is subtly altered by raised awareness about the illegitimacy of governmental authority.

      The elaborate trappings that surround the institution of government lend it an illusory air of moral legitimacy. These days when I contemplate this phony packaging, I’m disgusted rather than impressed.

      All the legal documents, all the government buildings, all the official titles, all the shiny badges, all the official limousines, all the motorcycle escorts, all to sustain the Myth of Authority.

      Disgusting.

      • Tor Libertarian
        January 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm

        Twitter feed for vdare:
        Virginia Dare ‏@vdare 12 hours ago

        There’s in depth analysis about how much clapping there is in the Head of State’s address. What is this, North Korea? #SOTU
        - – - – -

        I wish I had your composure about the state of the world #SOTW

        I get frothingly bent out of shape about it all. #MADDOG. Eventually I lash out on the internet at Bevin, MamaLiberty, David, Eric, and other entities here I who I genuinely want to relate to and learn from #biteTHEhandsTHATfeedYOURsoul.

        What’s next, I buy a 40 of Mad Dog 20/20. a white tank top, and start beating my wife and kids? #anarchohillbilly.

        Eight More Days To Obamaween, Silver Shamrock!!! #JohnCarpenterIsTheUbershit!!!

        Get out and buy more, consume faster. #fearshop #theENDisHEEEEERE #theENDisNearrrrr!

        Smoke more #hashtag
        - – - – -
        But seriously, what about I put most of my OT stuff under a blanket posting titled: “Off My Meds”

        When you declare you’re off your meds, everyone is instantly more tolerant of your aberrations because, you know, just to be safe. #JTBS, #JK. #willhavementalbreakdownforfood

        #TY for your suggestion of paragraph breaks and other ideas you gave me that one other time. It’s easy to forget there are serious writers here, and I have to elevate if I want to participate, #amiright?

        • LSJohn
          January 29, 2014 at 5:06 pm

          “I have to elevate if I want to participate, #amiright?”

          Oh, please don’t.

          Most of your stuff is over my head already. :>)

      • Tor Libertarian
        January 30, 2014 at 6:06 am

        It’s really, really, awful. Happy New Year by the way!

        Chinese New Year: those born in Year of the Horse urged to lie low

        http://www.smh.com.au/national/chinese-new-year-those-born-in-year-of-the-horse-urged-to-lie-low-20140130-31osh.html

        Chongzhen calendar

        The Chongzhen calendar (pinyin: Chóngzhēn lì) or Shixian calendar ( pinyin: Shíxiàn lì) was the final lunisolar Chinese calendar. It was developed by the Jesuit scholars Johann Schreck and Johann Adam Schall von Bell from 1624 to 1644, and was dedicated to the Chongzhen Emperor but he died a year after it was released, so it was propagated by the Shunzhi Emperor in the first year of the Qing dynasty who changed its name to Shíxiàn calendar. The calendar was used from the early Qing period continued into the modern era.

        Why are there Jesuit scholars in the first place. Why are they spending there time making calendars. Why are they aiding and abetting force-based empires and dynasties? It slays me how the Chinese are always depicted as being enlightened by the West.

        It’s ridiculous. The Chinese had calendars since before the Jesuit’s ancestors drew their first stick figure Moses parting the scribbled line of the Red Sea on their first sheet of papyrus.

        Isn’t the purpose of official calendars to rigidly organize the mind of the people? Making them hyperaccurate to astronomical phenomena is a relatively trivial consideration.

        Even if the West invented everything, which they didn’t, it’s how you apply technology that matters. If Western minds are generally unfocused. If they eschew long term and very long term planning.

        If they eat all their seed corn and also mortgage their cropland to the hilt to the Chinese Triads. And then still go arrogantly larking about like a pack of hooting hillbillies instead of being productive and coming to grips with their idiocy. They’re going to perish. Spectacularly so.

        Everything is crashing down around them, and all they can say is, “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.” If by Lord they meant Blankenfein or Rothschild, they’d at least be saying something intelligible. They don’t of course. They’re stunted trolls and mental midgets. What is the cause?

        Maybe the whole Joseph, Mary, Yeshua myth was probably a PSYWAR gambit by the Han Dynasty. And that is the cause. The crafty Han created a movement to nullify the Roman Empire and the rest of Europe with no loss of Han life at all.

        Joseph and Mary were well compensated and given a script by their Han handlers. Baby Yeshua was actually identical twins. The twins were secretly trained as master magicians and high caliber orators.

        The true nature of the PSYOP miracles comes into focus. At the wedding feast: Yeshua One pours some water into a wine skin. After a little misdirection, Yeshua Two shows everyone that the wine skin is full of wine. Ta da! In actuality there were two different wine skins all along.

        The biggest trick of course was the crucifixion. Yeshua One really did die on the cross. A real Han hero he was. It was Yeshua Two who emerged a few days later, and caused everyone to believe he had risen from the dead.

        What if everything Yeshua taught was all part of the greatest most societally damaging advice ever conceived of by the minds of the warmongers? Even unto this day, their war is our peace. Our mental slavery is their freedom. Our harebrained ignorance is their strength.

        The force is strong in the ones who know the old Jesuit mind tricks. Who really taught the Jesuits their mind tricks, though?

  6. mamba
    January 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I agree that everyone should be free to practice whatever they chose (be it cracker eating or trekkies as your examples) but there’s one MAJOR difference that I’m surprised you of all people didn’t mention:

    The uber-christians are literally writing the laws based on THEIR beliefs, and YOU will have to follow them.

    As a Libertarian, isn’t this 100% the opposite of your beliefs concerning freedoms and the right to be left alone? These christians are in essence telling you that they are right, you are wrong, and you must follow the laws because instead of an idiot cop or politician pulling it out of their ass, it’s a priest. what’s the difference as it still smells like shit?

    As a simple example, give me one NON-religious reason that abortion or prostitution is illegal? Or why would a bible-thumper who genuinely believes that the end of the world is coming soon bother to plan LONG-TERM on the environment, ignoring the simple fact that non-believers plan to have their children in a nice planet and not the wastelands that would follow?

    All paid holidays are christian. (christmas, easter, etc…) yet if a non-christian demands the same or at least the balancing of the playing field by NOT having ONLY that religions holidays paid for, they are seen as persecution.

    So these people AREN’T just praying and believing…they’re IMPOSING their beliefs on you and I…and yet you say you have no problem with this? Weird…since if it was a cop saying this you’d be justifiably calling him down to the lowest.

    • David
      January 29, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      I’m not going to refight the abortion issue unless someone challenges me on it, and even if they do I’m really not the most knowledgeable on the issue, but I’m with Dr. Paul, and against most people here, on that issue. Abortion should not be accepted in a free society because the NAP should be held sacrosanct in a free society. As human beings, the unborn are entitled to protection in a free society, whether you or anyone else likes it or not. That some people want to depersonify some human beings is no exception for permitting this.

      For those who will inevitably complain that I’m supporting government intervention here, do you want murderers to have legal protection? That’s really the bottom line. Its not about the monopolistic State (Which I oppose), its about the right of ALL human beings to life. I believe Eric disagrees with me on this issue, and would thus object to my beliefs on this point.

      Prostitution, drugs, or whatever else the Christians you see are advocating banning are very different than this because those are actually victimless crimes and should never be illegal. That some evangelical Christians (And lets be clear, its not ALL of us, I don’t support those laws, nor does Ron Paul, nor does Laurence Vance, nor did John Robbins, nor did Augustine*, and so many others…) are advocating against freedom in these areas is not an issue with evangelical Christianity as such.

      • Phillip the Bruce
        January 29, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        David – I agree with you (and NOT Walter Block) regarding abortion. The Non-Agression Principle applies to the pre-born, or it means nothing.
        I am a Theocrat, but that does not mean I want to force anyone to live in a Theocratic State with me. See: http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/dismantle-the-welfare-warfare-state-abolish-it/
        A theocratic state might well have laws against prostitution, etc. But it would be your choice whether or not to “belong” to that state. I believe in the blessings of God on those who keep His commandments, whether they believe in “Him” or not. As such, I expect that living in a Theocracy as I perceive it will become beneficial to the point that even some non-believers will want to be a part of it. Such was the case in OT Israel, where one law – God’s Law – applied to everyone living in the land. This was the first case of equal justice under the law. All other governments at the time (and most since then) existed only for the benefit of their ‘citizens’ – and that was usually limited to adult males as well as having other restrictions.

        • David
          January 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm

          Hmm… this is some interesting stuff. I don’t have a problem with the idea on principle, but I do have questions about the concept, which make me wonder if its possible.

          Different legal systems with regards to drugs, prostitution, etc. might be possible. But what if there was one “government” who didn’t want any laws against murder? People who joined that “government” could kill anyone they wanted as part of their law, even people outside that “government.” What then?

          I also frankly don’t think that those types of laws are the best way to have a moral society, even if they are voluntary in the way you suggest.

          With regards to OT Israel, I frequently use OT Israel as an argument for how anarchy/voluntarism is definitely possible. I don’t agree with imposing every law from OT Israel, I believe some were intended only for the Holy Land (Homosexuality being punishable being one example) but it does show that its possible.

          With regards to abortion, I actually like Walter Block a lot. I just disagree with him on this issue, and to a lesser extent, the “right” to sell yourself into slavery (Now that one would be an interesting discussion that I doubt we’ve had before. Eric, have you ever considered writing a post on that?)

          • LSJohn
            January 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

            ” the “right” to sell yourself into slavery ”

            My opinion for what it’s worth:

            Can one rightfully sell his sovereign authority to adhere to the NAP?

            If not, one cannot rightfully contract for all of the terms that we usually consider consistent with slavery.

            The right to control and use one’s own property is not unlimited. The property cannot be rightfully used to violate the NAP, so a contract to do whatever one might be ordered to do would be invalid on its face.

            One can sell 100% of his time and labor, but not his sovereign authority to abide by the NAP.

    • Shoal Creek
      January 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      mamba: “The uber-christians are literally writing the laws based on THEIR beliefs, and YOU will have to follow them.”

      SC: It isn’t the “uber-christians” that are doing this. It is the “I-want-political-power-and-control-so-I-pretend-to-be-a-righteous-Christian” that does this. The uber-christians (being one myself) believe that there is no room for any moral action without the non-aggression principle. People must choose to believe in God, if they will, of their own free choice. One can try to non-aggressively persuade, cajole, or otherwise convince to convert one to another belief; however, attempting any sort of force to convert to a belief system, including using the force of law, is a violation of the NAP and a violation of true Christian belief as taught by Christ, Paul, Peter, and John.

      mamba: “As a simple example, give me one NON-religious reason that abortion or prostitution is illegal?”

      SC: Abortion is not illegal; however, it should be as it is a violation of the right to life of the unborn child. It is not just a clump of cells once it has become a fetus. It is, quite literally, a murder to abort a child without some sort of mitigating circumstances (e.g. to abort in defense of one’s own life–a rare but possible circumstance–is a justifiable killing in self-defense).

      SC: Prostitution started as something that was illegal likely because of religious belief; however, there are health reasons that it could be deemed a danger or violation of rights. That being said, I say that prostitution should be legal, with the caveat that if one contracts a disease through prostitution, said prostitute is civilly liable to anyone downstream who contracts a disease from the prostitute (e.g. an innocent spouse of the one that went to the prostitute or even the one that went to the prostitute in the first place). Furthermore, a person that is in a committed relationship (marriage, civil union, or has children together) that goes to a prostitute (a “John”) should be in danger of having parental rights terminated in any ensuing divorce or legal separation (i.e. the partner emotionally harmed by the “John” could choose to have the “John’s” parental rights revoked in the ensuing divorce/separation).

      mamba: “Or why would a bible-thumper who genuinely believes that the end of the world is coming soon bother to plan LONG-TERM on the environment, ignoring the simple fact that non-believers plan to have their children in a nice planet and not the wastelands that would follow? ”

      SC: Because a “bible-thumper” should know of the commandments of God to exercise a righteous stewardship over the land (i.e. take care of things in a way that improves them without harming others), no matter how much time is left and that blatant disregard to this commandment is evidence of disbelief and lack of faith in God, subjecting the serious “bible-thumper” to the dangers of being sent to hell. God created the Earth and gave us a directive to take care of it in a way that improves it.

      SC: That being said, many “environmentalists” don’t really understand what is involved in taking care of the earth. Case-in-point: many environmentalists are aggressively moving to have sage hens added to the endangered species list, with the purpose of removing cattle from “public” range lands (public range lands are something that should not exist in the first place, but that’s a whole other discussion). This is counter-productive to the sage hens because they nest in and around the areas where cattle bed. The two species are in a symbiotic relationship and benefit one another. The times in history with the largest sage hen populations are (1) when there were large herds of another bovid–the American bison (early 1800′s) or (2) when there were large herds of cattle (early 1900′s–cattle allotments began to be reduced in the late 1950′s, cattle grazing allotments peaked in the mid-1950s and so did sage hen populations).

      SC: A better simple example of religious “zealots” overstepping their bounds is the substance prohibition and regulation laws (“blue laws”). That was (and still is in some locations) a pure, unadulterated attempt at restricting something that might be harmful (but isn’t harmful until it is abused) based on religious beliefs.

      mamba: “All paid holidays are christian.”

      SC: This is an outright lie. Independence day in the U.S. is a paid holiday for companies that give paid holidays. It’s only tie to Christianity is that a majority of the founders in this country were Christian; however, this holiday has nothing to do with religion other than it is partially celebrating the freedom to believe how one wishes. Next, Memorial Day is usually a paid holiday as well. It is an entirely secular holiday. Third, Labor Day is always a paid holiday and is entirely based in the labor union movement and is even somewhat related to atheistic communism. Yet, you cannot find many, if any, Christians complaining about Labor Day. Fourth, Thanksgiving Day is also paid. While it can be said to be “religious,” it is hardly an exclusive holiday for Christians. Only in the U.S. and Canada is this holiday even observed. EVERY major religion, including Luciferianism, Satanism, various pantheistic religions, and even non-theistic religions recognize that giving thanks (recognizing that much of what you have that is good is because of someone else) is a good thing to do. Finally, New Year’s Day is a paid holiday that originated in the Roman Empire. In modern times it is hardly religious (although it used to be in celebration of a Roman deity), let alone Christian. Of the major paid holidays, that leaves only Christmas and Easter, both of which have pagan counterparts and could be argued to not really be Christian holidays. Furthermore, government workers get ALL government holidays as paid holidays, including MLK Day, President’s Day, Columbus Day, and Veteran’s Day.

      SC: In summary, you need to grow up and quit your whining. Your victimization attitude is sickening. Attitude is what makes the NAP really take effect in your life.

      External locus of control = “NAP will be violated by others all the time and I have no control. Because of their actions, I violate others’ rights in self-defense.”

      Internal locus of control (what a real man or real woman believes and does) = “NAP will be violated by others all the time, but I will never violate the NAP and will teach the NAP to everyone who will care to listen so that word is spread and society eventually becomes better.”

      • mamba
        January 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm

        If uber-christians aren’t writing the laws, then they are using uber-christians and their beliefs to make the same laws. Or can you find a single athiest in politics…just one? Or why creationalism or prayer is even discussed in politics if you ignore religion. Only a fool would say that christianity doesn’t dictate the laws of the land with a heavy overtone.

        As for the stweardship of the land, if you believe God will make it all better if you ask nicely enough, and you believe that the rapture or equivilant death-bringer from god (second coming of Jesus, etc) is real, then your plans will be biased on that premise. It’s not possible to think otherwise. You don’t plan your 150th year birthday, do you?

        As for the paid vacations being christian, let me word it another way. Name any OTHER RELIGION’S holidays that are paid? Why christmas instead of Hannakua, or the 8 sabbot of Paganism, or Musleum holidays? If you give people paid holidays for Easter and Christmas simply because it’s a christian holiday and you try and claim it’s not the religion getting special treatment, good luck defending that one. That was my point…bad wording on my part. I meant to say all religious holidays that are paid are the christian ones only.

        …and I’ll stop whining when a religion stops telling me what to believe, how to act, and having the political power to enforce those wishes…not one day before. Gouvernment’s not supposed to care about religion and their beliefs…so they have to stop factoring them in their decisions. Period. This is a view that Eric and all should appreciate, yet pointing this out is called “whining”? Too funny…

        • David
          January 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm

          Evolutionism is just as much “religious” as creationism. It just takes the presupposition that there is no God rather than the presupposition that God created the heavens and the earth. Everybody ultimately worships something. I choose the God who created the universe. You can worship whatever you want.

          • Inconsistencies
            January 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm

            David: “Evolutionism is just as much “religious” as creationism. It just takes the presupposition that there is no God rather than the presupposition that God created the heavens and the earth.”

            I call bullshit on this one. Are you saying that you can’t acknowledge the possibility of evolution and God? I do. I also disagree with your assessment that evolution requires some kind of religious faith. Look around you. Evolution is everywhere. To evolve is to “change over time”. What is excluded form this??

            “Everybody ultimately worships something.”

            You are projecting your traits onto all of humanity with this blanket statement. Ridiculous! I worship nothing, but value many things in life.

            Look, I can imagine the comfort in believing you know the answers to life’s mysteries, but I really think this type of belief inhibits rational thinking and exploration of life. Blind faith halts personal evolution.

          • Phillip the Bruce
            January 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm

            @ Inconsistencies – you need to clarify the difference between microevolution – which as you note happens all the time – and macroevolution, the change from one species into another. Despite Darwin’s expectations (150 or so years ago), there is NO evidence in the fossil record that this has ever happened. No intermediate forms.
            I believe in creation because I cannot fathom the kind of faith it takes to believe that the universe “evolved” itself – from nothing. Even the Big Bang theory requires the preexistence of something to go bang. Where did that come from?

          • Inconsistencies
            January 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm

            @Phillip the Bruce – “there is NO evidence in the fossil record that this has ever happened”

            When did the religious man suddenly need evidence? Nonetheless, time passes and theories evolve while conclusions stagnate.

            “The Big Bang… Where did that come from?”

            I am at peace with my ignorance of the origins of the universe, but have hope that I may discover the truth one day. The point is, I have not stopped exploring this amazing place while I am able. It would be such a shame to waste precious life focusing on an improbable destination while overlooking the gift of the journey.

          • Bevin
            January 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm

            Dear David,

            So in other words, science is not objective truth, or even an earnest effort to ascertain objective truth.

            It is nothing more than rival superstition that someone else chose to have blind faith in, just as you chose to have blind faith in your own superstition?

            Now remember, you said this. I didn’t. I merely “unpacked” it.

            David, you really need to follow your own assertions to their inevitable conclusions.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            January 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm

            “science is not objective truth, or even an earnest effort to ascertain objective truth.” – That makes sense to me.

            Consider it in this light:

            “What would happen if it became common knowledge that most people diagnosed with the flu don’t have the flu?” …

            http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/a-new-giant-vaccine-scandal-exposes-government-lies-and-psyops/

            “Have researchers ever actually isolated (found) the West Nile virus? You should be asking that question. ” …

            http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/west-nile-theyre-lying-to-you-again/

            “Remember these terms: La Gloria, PCR test. They are important in understanding how a fake pandemic can be invented from scratch, based on no evidence. You see, it’s not the germ, it’s the false announcement of the germ. It’s the concoction of an apparition, a ghost, a phantom. That’s how you launch a fake pandemic. That’s how you sell fear. That’s how you try to make people take their vaccines and keep their mouths shut.” …

            http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/how-swine-flu-was-invented/

            “Let’s go deeper. In general, so-called contagious diseases are caused, not by germs, but by IMMUNE SYSTEMS THAT ARE TOO WEAK TO FIGHT OFF THOSE GERMS.

            When we put the cart and the horse in proper alignment, things become clear. I fully realize this isn’t as sexy as talking about bio-engineered gene sequences in viruses, but the cart and horse must be understood.

            GERMS ARE A COVER STORY.” …

            http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/germ-theory-and-depopulation/

            “The NIH decides what areas to explore and what areas to ignore.

            If a lone doctor in Michigan comes up with a revolutionary treatment for cancer, NIH decides whether to look into it. They decide how to look into it. They decide whether it will threaten the trillion-dollar cancer treatment business. They decide whether to take on a study that, when twisted by their own minions, will discredit the lone doctor. ” …

            http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/the-vaccine-mafia-and-its-jury-of-thugs-your-rulers/

            “On January 15, 2009, the NY Review of Books published a devastating quote from a woman who, for 20 years, edited the most prestigious medical journal in the world:

            “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

            (Marcia Angell, MD, “Drug Companies and Doctors: A story of Corruption.” NY Review of Books, Jan. 15, 2009.)” …

            http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/the-government-knows-its-a-medical-killing-machine/

          • January 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm

            Bevin: I have several reasons for believing Christianity is true. Personal experience, seeing OT prophecies fulfilled in the NT, and logical consistency being three such reasons. Now, I’ll freely admit that I can’t really just prove Christianity to you, but here’s the thing, I never claimed I could. And I’ve never claimed my faith is scientifically provable. I have indeed claimed certainty of its truthfulness, but not scientifically provable.

            WRT evolution, yes, when I use that term I mean “macroevolution”. Microevolution is scientifically provable, by observation. By contrast, nobody was here millions of years ago, so nobody really knows if the earth was around at all, or what, if anything, populated it. Bashing “creationism” as unscientific (Which is true) yet trying to indoctriante students in public schools to accept Darwinian evolution is a double standard. And I’d freely agree that the same would be true if “creation” and “evolution” were reversed.

            I’ll give our reader the benefit of the doubt and assume he doesn’t favor government schools. Even then, he is acting like indoctrination to believe in creationism is somehow worse than indoctrination to believe in evolutionism. This comes from the logical mistake that that which is “secular” is fundamentally neutral, that presupposing that God does not exist is somehow more neutral than presupposing that he does. This is a mistake. Not only are both presuppositions, but the belief that God does not exist is a greater leap in logic, much like the belief that this computer was formed by chance would take a much greater leap in logic than to assume someone built it.

            You’re welcome to teach your kids that God doesn’t exist and that evolution is true. I won’t help you with this in any way, but you’re welcome to teach them such. Just don’t pretend that you aren’t biased when doing so. And for the record, I freely admit to being biased. I do not claim that I am not.

          • Bevin
            January 29, 2014 at 9:55 pm

            Dear Inconsistencies,

            You wrote:

            “When did the religious man suddenly need evidence?”

            Amen to that. Religious faith is the antithesis of appeal to fact and logi. Don’t take my word for it. Just ask any of the revered Christian saints.

            “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”
            – Saint Augustine

            Augustine’s “logic” if you can call it that, is flagrant, unapologetic confirmation bias.

            This for the record, is NOT the same as “spiritual knowledge.” That is if I’m not mistaken, what Bobbye was talking about earlier. Spiritual knowledge is valid, since it is about inner experience, rather than absurd claims about the earth being created a few thousand years ago.

            As mystical philosopher Ken Wilber correctly notes,

            “Spiritual knowledge, like all other forms of valid cognitive knowledge, is experimental, repeatable, and publicly verifiable,” albeit by different means.

          • Bevin
            January 29, 2014 at 9:59 pm

            Dear Pan,

            Apples and oranges, Pan.

            Gubmint pseudo-science does not equal genuine science.

            Don’t we libertarians believe in genuine science, as opposed to gubmint pseudo-science?

          • Bevin
            January 29, 2014 at 10:08 pm

            Dear David,

            My argument with you is not over your inner level spiritual experiences. You say you underwent certain spiritual states. I have no reason to doubt you.

            I engage in Zen style meditation practices. I experience certain spiritual states as well. They are real. They are of course not material in nature, but they are still real.

            As I said to Inconsistencies,

            This for the record, is NOT the same as “spiritual knowledge.” That is if I’m not mistaken, what Bobbye was talking about earlier. Spiritual knowledge is valid, since it is about inner experience, rather than absurd claims about the earth being created a few thousand years ago.

            As mystical philosopher Ken Wilber correctly notes,

            “Spiritual knowledge, like all other forms of valid cognitive knowledge, is experimental, repeatable, and publicly verifiable,” albeit by different means.

            My argument with you is over the outer level material realm, over absurd religious claims about astronomy and geology for example.

          • January 29, 2014 at 10:19 pm

            Bevin, I recall to making no absolute statements about astronomy or geology. In fact, I believe I’ve specifically stated I don’t really know, or care that much, how old the earth is.

            Frankly, I doubt you know either.

          • eric
            January 30, 2014 at 7:35 am

            Hi David,

            But we can know (if one wishes to pursue the facts, the evidence) to a very high degree of certainty the approximate age of the Earth. It is approximately 4.5 billion years old – and the evidence in support of this is physical, testable – real.

            To deny/disagree is very much of a piece with denying that 2 +2 =4.

          • Bevin
            January 29, 2014 at 10:27 pm

            Dear David,

            You raised too many unrelated points to cover, so I’ll pick just one at a time.

            You wrote,

            ” Bashing “creationism” as unscientific (Which is true) yet trying to indoctriante students in public schools to accept Darwinian evolution is a double standard. ”

            1. You do realize you’re talking to a hardcore market anarchist, don’t you? Therefore, my only response can be, “What double standards?” Non-theistic market anarchists such as myself have no problem whatsoever with the Amish and the Quakers teaching theism in their own parochial schools. We, or rather I, do have a major problem with public schools teaching anything, even if it by some miracle it happens to be true.

            2. “Public schools teach Darwin. Those who teach of Darwin are public schools.” Do you really not see the logical fallacy in your reasoning?

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            January 29, 2014 at 10:36 pm

            Apples and oranges, yes and no.

            How do you define, ‘genuine science’?

            If genuine science uses governmental science as a basis, it’s all the same.

            Therefore, It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research.

            The picture is incomplete, similar to religion?

            And, as I was told once, there’s no such thing as absolute.

          • eric
            January 30, 2014 at 7:17 am

            For me, any assertion/idea presented must be backed up with logical support and – in the case of the physical sciences – tangible/testable evidence. For example, the age of the universe (estimated to be about 13.8 billion years) is not a mere assertion that one is enjoined to “believe” on the basis of an appeal to authority. It is based on meticulous (and testable) mathematical calculations and real phenomena (red shift). In the same way, light “bending” in the vicinity of Earth confirmed Einstein’s theory – or at least, provided strong physical evidence of its correctness.

            On the other hand, to assert that “God created the heavens and Earth” is just an assertion. There is no fact in support of this claim.

          • Bevin
            January 29, 2014 at 10:46 pm

            Dear David,

            Creationism, David. Creationism. You said it.

            Now if you dissent from other Creationists about astronomy and geology, including claims that the earth is only a few thousand years old, please feel free to clarify. I will respond accordingly, based on your disclaimers.

            You wrote:

            “Frankly, I doubt you know either.”

            This is what I’ve been getting at. The underlying overtones of dogmatism that make non-theistic libertarians uneasy about theists’ bottom line commitment to “live and let live.”

          • Bevin
            January 29, 2014 at 10:57 pm

            Dear Pan,

            “If genuine science uses governmental science as a basis, it’s all the same.”

            “If.” Yes.

            But who says it must? I sure as hell don’t. Do you?

            I’m pretty sure we libertarians want genuine science and not gubmint pseudo-science.

            Take another example, genuine economics (Austrian) vs. gubmint pseudo-economics, or voodoo economics (Keynes). The former is verifiably true. the latter is verifiably false.

            I don’t see any problem on this count.

          • TIA
            February 7, 2014 at 10:43 am

            Y’all do realize that science is based on faith, don’t you?

            At its foundation, science assumes that the universe is rationally intelligible and that universal, unchanging, uniform laws govern it. But those assumptions are not rationally justified–they are believed by faith. Science can’t even begin apart from a faith commitment.

            I know what your response will be, and I’m ready for ya…bring it on!

        • January 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm

          Hey goofball, take it down like eleven notches. Your main problem is that you’re casting an outrageously wide net to catch your fish. Yes, of course, there exist some people who do evil things in the cloak of Christianity. People are denying this? The problem is that you see this and claim that Christianity itself is to blame.

          No “religion” is telling you what to think, man. They don’t have the ability to do so. You’ve made up a convenient straw-man to bash for the actions you dislike of numerous individuals. None of the Christians here on EPAutos have ever told *me* what to believe or how to act. Have they done so to you? Which ones? In what way? And is this something to be ascribed to “Christianity” and not merely to people being irritated with your rather flip attitude?

          Because, I mean, really. If you’re going to presume to lecture on theological issues, you could at the very least look up how to spell “Muslim.” And discover that there is not in fact any religion called “Paganism,” but that this is in fact a catch-all term used to describe (usually in a negative light) non-Abrahamic faiths.

          • liberranter
            January 31, 2014 at 3:15 am

            Yes, of course, there exist some people who do evil things in the cloak of Christianity. People are denying this? The problem is that you see this and claim that Christianity itself is to blame

            I’m fond of pointing out that almost all of what is called “Christianity” today is more accurately called “churchianity.” It is entirely devoid of any genuine biblical underpinnings, is barren of spirit, has long since been co-opted by the secular culture (as in seventeen-plus centuries of co-opting), and bears not a smattering of genuine resrmblance to the body established by its founder in Judea in the first century AD. I think this is what Boothe was referring to in his response to David upthread.

            I point this out to illustrate the fact that most of those who today label themselves as “Christians” are about as much the genuine article as Tom Cruise was a genuine fighter pilot in Top Gun. They know just enough of the talk to put on a front (which usually fools no one but themselves) and can’t even fake the walk without smoke, mirrors, and diversions (usually not well executed at that). Were they “the real articles” that could both really talk the talk and walk the walk, they would know two things as second nature and live their faith accordingly:

            1. Salvation in Christ is an entirely personal path that cannot be induced from without, no matter how much proseltyzing they do (which too often degenerates into pathetic shaming) and

            2. God does not need the backup of man’s pitiful excuse for temporal power to have His will done on Earth (something Amerikan warvangelicals can’t seem to get through their empty, inbred heads).

            In short, “real” Christians, the kind who actually read and commit to the Bible, especially the Gospels, not only cannot possibly object to the NAP, but couldn’t live any other kind of life that is in harmony with the Word. Because the clergically fascist, tax-exempt, state-co-opted corporations that dare call themselves “churches” not only preach none of this, but actively discourage it, it’s no wonder that the face of “Christianity” is usually hate-filled aggression, often with the assistance of the secular state.

          • eric
            January 31, 2014 at 7:19 am

            Hi Boothe,

            This Christianity appeals to me. Not David’s, which strikes me as vengeful, petty, tribal.

            I don’t necessarily buy into the spiritual component, but the sentiments you’ve expressed strike me as the sort one ought to encounter emanating from a benevolent, universal deity.

          • February 1, 2014 at 1:10 am

            Hey, Eric, can you define what you mean by “vengeful”, “tribal”, etc.?

        • Shoal Creek
          January 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm

          You have heard of the RINO (Republican in name only)? Well, most politicians who fail to practice the NAP are Christian in name only. That was my very first premise. I have nothing against atheists who practice the NAP. At that, I have more against self-proclaimed Christians who fail to practice thee NAP than I do against atheists that fail to practice the NAP. At least the atheists have an excuse to not practice the NAP, as they do believe once they die, they are just gone and whatever they do in this life won’t affect them again. That was my point in saying such Christians were the “I-want-political-power-and-control-so-I-pretend-to-be-a-righteous-Christian” Christian. Just because they convince a large number of weak-minded individuals to go along with them doesn’t mean that is what the uber-Christian does. It’s what the casual Christian that is a hypocrite does. If you recall your bible stories, the only time Christ ever got angry was when he was driving the casual Jews with the same attitude out of the temple. Christ was an uber-Jew.

          Christ also gave the key to tell the hypocrite Christians from the uber-Christians: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” If their fruits are banning anything to do with Christ in schools (or any other organized religion, for that matter) and instead require teaching the religion of dialectical material humanism (which is, in its own right, one of the most aggressive religions possible), then the people passing the laws and sitting in black robes in the Federal Courts (pagan practice, btw) are not really Christian. Even the graduation ceremony in public schools is based on European Druid practices. The very fact we have public schools shows that the legislators are not really Christian. They are secular humanists that proclaim themselves Christian to get votes; thus, they are Christian in name only. If you want to see the writings of a real Christian counterpart to Eric, go to themattwalshblog.com. Matt is a Roman Catholic uber-Christian. Or there’s Michael Alford (michaelalford.blogspot.com). He is an uber-Christian protestant street preacher that believes in the NAP fully. There are other uber-Christians on the very front lines of the battle. I cannot name them here because it may be used against them if I did. Many have withdrawn their implicit consent to this government by stopping all tax payments and not filing a single paper to even acknowledge the legitimacy of this government. They are doing it because they do not agree with how the government is killing innocent people abroad and at home. They do it because they don’t want their tax money supporting infanticide. They do it because they believe the government has no business in controlling who they freely associate with. They do it in dire risk to their very lucrative businesses and even their basic freedoms. How many atheists are doing that? Are you doing that? Or do you bow to the government every time they say you need a permit, a vehicle registration, a driver’s license, a marriage license, a business license, or to file a tax return?

          Next, there are many “Christians” that may rationalize their poor choices about taking care of the land. They do so to their detriment, and they know that they do badly if they understand their Bible. (See the parable of the good steward and its accompanying explanation in Matthew 24. These were Christ’s words where he condemns those that fail in their duty at His second coming. In fact, the only ones accepted at the second coming are the ones that are good stewards of their land.)

          Now, to answer your question about holidays, the reason these holidays are chosen is because a majority of people would not work on those days anyway, so the lawyers in DC passed a law making them official. If you want other holidays to become official federal holidays, and thus have leverage to make them paid by a private employer, you need to get a large number of workers to begin skipping work on such holidays so that there is motive to Federally recognize such holidays. Halloween is really close. The only thing it lacks is getting enough people to skip work that day. Then, you would have a bonifide pagan holiday that is still recognized as a pagan holiday. Still, it would be up to private employers whether they paid on that day or not.

          Finally, there is no religion that has the political power you claim, with the exception of maybe Luciferianism and its accompanying humanism (worship of human “progress”). With that, I agree with you that they should stop forcing us to observe their rituals and practices. Don’t blame Christians for what closet humanists do. EVERYTHING those people do is to gain more power, whether it is in the name of Christianity or in the name of Environmentalism. They use humanism as the official state religion to get everyone to accept their Luciferian overlords while proclaiming themselves Christian to keep the votes that they want. The true, uber-Christian does not seek political power in any kind of aggressive manner and will most often accept it very reluctantly if recruited by a large number of people.

          I guess I should start whining because the government makes me pay taxes to support secular humanist schools that teach anti-Christ doctrine and conduct wars of which I do not approve. I could talk about all of the oppression that secular humanists exert over me and ram their values down my throat because of their beliefs in biological, political, and technological macro-evolution. I could whine that they abridge business owners’ freedom of association by making me deal with homosexuals or women who are having pms. But guess what, I don’t. I don’t care whether you believe in atheism or pantheism or the non-theistic branch of Buddhism. I take responsibility for what I can do and I do all I can to help others do the same.

          Your problem is not with religion or with Christianity, it is with government, humanists, and hypocrites.

          • MamaLiberty
            January 29, 2014 at 5:31 pm

            “Your problem is not with religion or with Christianity, it is with government, humanists, and hypocrites.”

            Tell that to the victims of the Salem witch hunts, the crusades, the star chambers… etc. Those and many more were part and parcel of “religion.”

          • LSJohn
            January 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm

            @ Shoal Creek

            My “You done good” was directed at you, but the “Reply” button didn’t indicate that.

            Anyway, I like your style.

          • TIA
            February 7, 2014 at 10:37 am

            @MamaLiberty,

            The same is true of atheists. The 20th century clearly showed us that.

            The real issue is: What is true and who actually lived out the truth they believe?

      • LSJohn
        January 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm

        You done good.

    • BOB
      January 30, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Aborition isnt illegal. abortion is aggression against a living thing. prostitution is illegal bc of feminism. women dont want to see other women trying to fuck there men. thats two without relidion booyah!!!!

  7. Brandonjin
    January 29, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    When is a soul created?

    • David
      January 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      I believe at conception, but I’m not really sure why it matters. If we’re going by the Bible, the BIble teaches that life begins at conception. Otherwise, science tells us the same thing. Take the NAP as the basic presupposition, what else is there to debate?

      • Brandonjin
        January 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm

        I was curious as to people’s answers. I was unaware a soul was scientifically proven. Do all creatures have souls? Do bacteria?

        • eric
          January 29, 2014 at 4:35 pm

          Hi Brandon,

          The existence of a soul is conjecture; there’s no objective (testable, tangible) proof such a thing exists. But there is a great deal of evidence that consciousness is a function of biological processes and organs – neurons and synapses; the physical brain. If the brain is damaged, so (often) is consciousness. It seems to be the case that when the brain dies, consciousness ceases. It’s fine to conjecture that it may not cease. But to assert that it does is nothing more than that – an assertion. Not a fact.

          • Brandonjin
            January 29, 2014 at 8:36 pm

            So would it be safe to assume you say a soul is created when the brain is formed? Fully formed? It is indeed a tough question to answer. I was thinking more along the lines of when a creature becomes self-aware.

          • eric
            January 30, 2014 at 8:07 am

            Hi Brandon,

            No. I have no idea whether there is such a thing as a soul – that is, an ineffable “essence” that exists independently of our physical bodies. There is certainly no tangible/testable proof such a thing exists.

            Now, consciousness exists (and in man, also self-awareness; possibly in some of the animals, too). As to when “the lights go on” – it’s hard to know.

            In principle, though, it is probably knowable. In the same way that it is possible to identify the exact moment at which a fetal heart begins to beat.

          • BOB
            January 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

            You assume you know what the definition of a soul is from a Hebrew perspective. other wise you all you have is the Anglo definition. Define it before dismissing it.

      • January 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm

        Well, in all honesty (and I mainly agree with you), there’s quite a bit else to debate. For one, there’s some equivocation here; what “science” teaches us is that, at conception (or a little while thereafter; neither here nor there), cells begin to replicate. Is that a definition of human life you’re comfortable accepting? I, for one, have something of a hard time accepting a zygote as a human being. It’s literally just two cells. If the combination of those two cells constitutes a human being, does either of them separately? Or does either of them constitute *enough* of a human being that killing that cell is an act of murder?

        I scratch skin cells off all the time. Accidentally, on purpose, whatever. I do not consider this an act of murder, and I suspect most people agree with me. Sperm cells and egg cells are both also shed on a fairly regular basis; this similarly does not constitute a killing. I have difficulty seeing how it’s murder to shed a combined pair of them if it isn’t to shed the exact same two cells separately.

        Yes, I know I’m extending this all the way through the other side of absurdity. But this matters to me. Where is the line? It’s all fine and good to say that “life begins at conception” and close the book on it, but wherein does it do so? What identifiable *thing* is the fundamental difference between a human life and so many cells?

        • Brandonjin
          January 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm

          “What identifiable *thing* is the fundamental difference between a human life and so many cells?”

          That Darien, is the question.

      • LSJohn
        January 29, 2014 at 4:29 pm

        ” Take the NAP as the basic presupposition, what else is there to debate?”

        The problem is, neither the NAP nor the Constitution presumes to protect “life.”

        The Constitution specifies “person” and the NAP as understood by many (and I think most) libertarians, does not apply to anything other than people.

        Is a fertilized egg, before or after implanation, a person, a “people”? Is a stem cell, which might be capable through cloning of producing a living human being, a human life? There’s a lot of wiggle room for each side of these and other arguments, hence, debate.

        IMO, there’s a point some significant time prior to birth at which a fetus becomes a child, but even if everyone agreed on that point, there’d be little change in the differences between the proponents of various solutions. My impression is that it is not at conception, but definitely by 7 months, and I also think that holding that it’s at conception makes far more sense than claiming that it hasn’t occurred after 7 months.

        Do you think there’s reason to treat differently situations in which children were conceived in rape or incest? (I don’t… if there is a child, how that child was conceived should have no bearing on the rights of that child.)

        • Phillip the Bruce
          January 29, 2014 at 6:27 pm

          Any point in time between conception and parturition is arbitrary. Advances in medical science keep moving back the point of viability – unless you mean independent viability, which even 21 years won’t guarantee.

    • BOB
      January 30, 2014 at 11:38 am

      The moment Spirit and flesh combine.

      • Brandonjin
        January 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm

        Certainly. When exactly does this occur?

  8. MamaLiberty
    January 29, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    LSJohn – I used to be managing editor for The Sierra Times on line news magazine (long gone). My own website is “The Price of Liberty” here: http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/

    I’m also a Sr. Admin for The Mental Militia here: https://www.thementalmilitia.com/forums/index.php

    Might give you some reference points.

    • LSJohn
      January 29, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      “Mama Liberty” is a handle more than one person might choose, so I may have you mis-identified. I’m thinking of a lady who used to post on LibertyForum, and on the-boondocks after that.

      She was definitely a live-and-let-live libertarian (anarcho-capitalist, if I recall correctly) and defending the concept outlined in the 2nd Amendment was of greater interest to her than some other issues.

      Either way, it’s either nice to see yo agin or nice to meet you. :>)

      • MamaLiberty
        January 29, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        Yep, I was part of the “liberty forum” and the “boondocks” at some point. I carry a gun all the time, everywhere, but I don’t give a rat’s ass about the constitution or the 2nd amendment as such… they are not relevant to the right to self defense.

        But nice to meet you in any case. Visit my blog and we can talk. :)

        • Phillip the Bruce
          January 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm

          Best reason for a woman to carry a handgun is that a rifle or shotgun won’t fit in her purse.
          The 2nd Amendment (and many of the other aspects of the Bill of Rights) is recognition and acknowledgement of human rights. In no way intended to create or grant rights.

  9. mikeLL
    January 29, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Here’s a relevant post from over at LRC. Full link below text.

    Libertarianism, in the words of Murray Rothbard,

    is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral, or aesthetic theory; it is only a political theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life. . . . Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal. Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit except invade the person or property of another. What a person does with his or her life is vital and important, but is simply irrelevant to libertarianism. It should not be surprising, therefore, that there are libertarians who are indeed hedonists and devotees of alternative lifestyles, and that there are also libertarians who are firm adherents of “bourgeois” conventional or religious morality. There are libertarian libertines and there are libertarians who cleave firmly to the disciplines of natural or religious law. There are other libertarians who have no moral theory at all apart from the imperative of non-violation of rights. That is because libertarianism per se has no general or personal moral theory.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/other-perverts/

  10. January 30, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I don’t remember who it was that linked this guy but I was reading one of his posts and it completely describes my position as it relates to the OP, other Christians, and other libertarians:

    http://michaelalford.blogspot.com/2013/06/this-is-post-that-loses-some-readers.html

  11. Garysco
    January 30, 2014 at 7:16 am

    @Eric – The more I read and look into Rands world (1930′s to the 80′s) the more I cut her some slack on her egotistic pronouncements. Her beef was mainly that the USA was turning into the USSR (a “mixed economy” headed for the collective death camps as she put it) under everyone’s nose. Well, on her predictions she gets high marks.

    The divide and conquer techniques (by our betters) are best seen in the religious wars that have killed millions in the name of … pick your deity. In reality they have all been over resources, crowd control and keeping everyone on the mental plantation. To my knowledge God has not made it perfectly clear that he championed or authorized a single winner or looser in all those battles.

    So true that the NAP’ers can’t get it together as they should. But we have all been so propagandized and mislead by special interests all our lives that there are few who have really taken the time to acquire self formed critical thinking knowledge. Most just want it delivered in a concise email to do list.

    • eric
      January 30, 2014 at 7:48 am

      Agree, Gary.

      No one’s perfect. A cliche, but true nonetheless. Expecting perfection is both dangerous and disillusioning. I very much admire Thomas Jefferson, who was a genius and a great humanist. But he was flawed – and he did some execrable things. It was part of who he was. On the whole, though, his good outweighed his bad – in my opinion, heavily so.

      Same a regards Rand. She was among the most effective popularizers of the freedom philosophy – and for that all freedom advocates owe here a debt of gratitude.

  12. Tor Libertarian
    January 30, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Jesus was a sith lord?
    http://politicaljesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Jesus-Sith-Lord-absolute.jpg

    Matthew 12:30
    http://pbible.com/versions/40-mtt-012-030.html

    Original Greek New Testament.
    The-one lest being with of-ME, down of-ME it-be, and the-one lest leading-together with of-ME, it-scattereth-to

  13. Tor Libertarian
    January 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Can one imagine how history would have been changed had the Church of Lexington, Massachusetts, and all of the churches of Colonial America for that matter, been occupied with the kinds of ministers we have today?

    Pastor Chuck Baldwin – It’s Not Over!
    http://www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin787.htm

    There are thousands of Christians who are leaving these say-nothing churches and starting home churches or are meeting with small groups of believers who also share their love of liberty.

    In addition, we have hundreds of believers who, because they cannot find a patriot pastor in their community, are tuning into the service at Liberty Fellowship each Sunday afternoon at 4:30 Eastern Time.
    - – - – -

    Forget the following the usual channels & chains of authority & donning the official robes. Declare yourself a Patriot Pastor and gather your flock today!

  14. Boothe
    January 30, 2014 at 10:10 am

    A point to ponder: If YHWH (the Abrahamic conception of “One True God”) is omniscient (all knowing), (omnipotent) all powerful, eternal (without beginning or end), never changes and is THE Creator, then how can “He” be anything other than everything that has existed, does exist and will exist? In other words The Creator would have to be the infinite all that is and we, as His “creation” are each merely a small part of this limitless sea of energy.

  15. mikeLL
    January 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Restaurants get you in with food to sell you liquor; religions get you in with belief to sell you rules (e.g., avoid debt). People can understand the notion of God, not unexplained rules, interdicts, and categorical heuristics.

    From: The Bed of Procrustes by Nassim Taleb (2010)

  16. BOB
    January 30, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Wow, this is always so funny to me. Christians dont know the Scriptures, and therefore argue from a failed position. “Christians” are responsible for the murder of hundreds of millions of innocent lives. The letter “J” is less than 500yrs old so there is no one named jesus. Christianity is the ancient Babylonian religion practiced in Rome and put forth by the roman catholic church. Out of 1800 bishops that were called to the counsel of nicia only 350 showed up, they were the ones who could be bought by Constantine. The plan was unification of all pagan clans and tribes, to accomplish total control over the minds of the populous. So they brought all pagan symbols together, adulterated the ancient texts and created christianity. Yea!!! What a croc. The white hats the priests wear are the fish heads of the priests of dagon. The crucifix is the ancient symbol of tammus. the cracker is the sun nimbus of ra, sol invictus, the sun god etc,etc. Christianity IS paganism. Christ-mas the 25th of December is the winter solstice celabration of saturnalia a feast to the god saturn. Easter or ishtar celabrations are more sun worshiping and cute little eggs are a representation of the fertility rituals were they would sacrifice a human child and dip the eggs in its blood, remember next easter. Its all a giant lie devised by the same sociopathic minds that run the world today they just took a different angle and used the most powerful thing at the time to do it, which was the massive rise of the resurection story coming out of isreal which was aunder roman control at the time. It amazes me that no one every talks about the roman records of the crucifiction they do exist and i never hear anyone bring them up. On the othe hand the Scripture IS the very root of the NAP do not steal do not murder do not fuck another mans wife strict liability if you burn your neighbors field up you give him the very best of your own field in compensation. The problem people seem to have is they view the Scripture as a religious book, but its not. Its a legal treatise on how to live in piece with your fellow man. Libertarians and anarchists are often asked what to do with rapists and murders, and Ive actually heard people suggest shunning and banishment as a means to punish these offenders. What happens when the offenders become so numerous that they dont want to be banished any more and come back. The Scripture is a practical guide on how to live a happy well balanced life free of illness and stress. People have a problem with xians if they have a problem with the Scripture its because they havent read it, and understood.

  17. BOB
    January 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Eric, when you speak of physical proof of the earths age, are you speaking of Radiometric dating? If so its all based on assumption and the evidence is false based on the assumption.

  18. David
    January 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I forget where all the comments were, and have to post quickly, but with regards to the age of the earth and “creationism”… I was raised a YEC and still lean toward that view, but frankly it doesn’t matter to me that much. Too many Christians will die on the hill of a 6,000 year earth (Which I don’t accept, for the record) and yet have no clue what the atonement of Christ actually is, or what the term “murder” actually means. I personally don’t really care. With that said, radiometric dating assumes that the rocks started with 100% uranium, rather than some of it already being broken down into lead. As far as I can tell, that’s an assumption without evidence.

  19. babydriver
    January 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    WOW.
    Please don’t judge Christ for what ‘Christians’ do or say.
    That being said, If you want to live forever in peace, contentment and Love, embrace Jesus.
    If you don’t, don’t.
    God is Love. Jesus is God. I choose to Love Love.
    Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
    You have been told the Truth and have only to believe it.

    • Inconsistencies
      January 30, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      “You have been told the Truth and have only to believe it.”

      And if you don’t, you will burn in Hell for all eternity. Because God is Love.

      • eric
        January 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

        Indeed.

        If it is the truth, one should be able to confirm. Demanding that someone just “believe” is for the followers of Jim Jones, et al.

        Not for me!

      • David
        January 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm

        What you fail to understand is that Hell is what every person DESERVES. Either you have Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to your account, or you will go to Hell for the sins you’ve committed. Unbelievers view God as unjust and harsh because they don’t understand just how Holy God is.

        • eric
          January 30, 2014 at 5:20 pm

          I don’t think I’ll ever understand – much less accept – this doctrine, David.

          Yes, all men are all guilty of having done bad things in their lives, some more than others. But – to me – what makes a man good is conscious effort to do the right thing, even at personal cost.

          This notion that we’re all rotten to the core – irredeemable as such (on our own) and cannot be other and deserve horrific, indescribable torture forever for temporal “sins” is an awful – a cruel and vengeful – doctrine.

          It’s also grossly unilateral.

          Most of the human beings who’ve lived – and died – did so without ever hearing “the good news.” Surely – logically – a universal god would not share knowledge of himself (and the path to salvation) only with a relative minority of “chosen” people? The doctrine espoused is tribal, racial – and vicious.

          This is one of the major reasons why I don’t buy Christianity.

          • January 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

            I don’t usually bother to get into the Calvinism/Arminianism debate unless talking to other believers, but frankly, you’re too logical a person to just miss the issues unless we deal with them.

            The issue of a minority of people hearing the gospel is only a problem if God intends to save all of those people. Arminians, who believe in free will and that God wants every single person to be saved from the torment they deserve, have a theological conundrum to deal with. Why doesn’t God present absolutely irrefutable evidence that he exists to and for every single person?

            The Calvinist does not have this issue because he knows that God only intends to save a select group of chosen people. Therefore, he does not ask questions like these, because he knows God saves who he wishes and allows the rest to suffer the torment they deserve.

            I don’t know what you mean by “unilateral”.

            The bottom line here is that God is inconceivably holy. You punch me in the face, there’s a finite penalty for that. But that’s because I am of similar status to you, a sinful human being. If I punch a dog in the face, there is a lesser penalty or (under the NAP) none at all. God, similarly, is far higher than us and thus our transgressions against him carry far more weight.

            One thing is for sure. You will reject this doctrine for as long as God allows you to do so, and not a moment more. I pray he opens your eyes.

          • January 30, 2014 at 9:10 pm

            I take issue with the statement “he knows that God only intends to save a select group of chosen people.” He does not precisely *know* any such thing; he believes this, but to claim inerrant knowledge knowledge thereof is to remove God from the equation altogether. It is entirely possible that God intends to save absolutely everybody; the true mind of God is known only to God.

            In terms of salvation, I’m more of a Barthian than anything else (if you haven’t already noticed); salvation must be entirely by grace, and God’s sacrifice in the person of Jesus Christ is the payment for that salvation, but beyond that nothing is truly knowable. To assert otherwise is to attempt to limit the sovereignty of God.

          • February 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm

            Eric,

            I certainly, understand WHY you don’t believe you deserve Hell. The bottom line is that according to Christian doctrine, you do. If you can’t understand that, you can’t understand the rest of what I’m getting at. As far as it goes, that’s OK. I can’t convince you.

            But, regarding the disproprtionate argument, it stems from a failure to understand that God is not just another person. He is far greater.

            Temporal example: If a dog bites and seriously wounds a human being, it is likely the dog will be put down. But for a human, you really have to commit murder before it will generally be considered OK to put them to death. Why? Because a dog is much lower than a man.

            Bevin, I’ll answer you more later (you too, Eric, this was a quick comment) but I do not believe my religion commands me to violate the NAP.

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm

            My position is that the doctrine is vile. Evil.

            This god character, if you elect not to believe in him, casts you into a roiling incinerator forever?

            Horrible.

            And utterly at odds with an concept of justice or fairness.

            Oh, I know – God’s concepts of justice and fairness are not like ours. Different standards apply.

            Yes, vindictive, cruel standards.

            And: To get back to the Trinity/monotheism thing and your example of the egg. That’s not gonna fly. The Bible has Jesus clearly addressing another individual, his Father. It’s an evasion – and requires mental deformation – to parse this as other than multiple gods. Two of them, minimally.

        • Bevin
          January 30, 2014 at 6:57 pm

          Dear David,

          When you make such hellfire and brimstone declarations, the below video illustrates how you come across to non-theists.

          Sam Harris how christianity appears to non believers

          (Not an endorsement of the speaker’s entire belief system, but only particular insights)

          • February 1, 2014 at 1:18 am

            Bevin,

            Sam Harris makes an absolutely pathetic point and completely fails to grasp the slightest bit of Christian theology.

            What he fails to understand is that it is not unbelief that condemns the non-Christian to Hell, it is their sins. The only way to get into heaven is to keep God’s Law perfectly, which you cannot do. Thus, you need a substitute, which God mercifully provided for any who would not believe in Christ.

            Those who go to Hell deserve no better than what they get. But God has mercy on his elect.

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 8:14 am

            This is a logic pretzel, if I’ve ever heard one:

            “The only way to get into heaven is to keep God’s Law perfectly, which you cannot do. Thus, you need a substitute, which God mercifully provided for any who would not believe in Christ.”

            Christianity claims to be monotheistic, the definition of which is one god. Yet the Christian God “begets” a son – whom he sends to die as a sacrificial offering to (somehow) atone for the crimes (“sins”) of others.

            How can a monotheistic god have a son? (And no quibbling or parsing; the language in the Bible is very clear that Jesus is the literal son of God the father. Jesus talks to God. If he’s actually talking to himself, then Jesus needs a rubber room.)

            What sort of ethical-moral system is it that deliberately sends an innocent man to a horrible death in lieu of the guilty?

            How does a (necessarily, by definition) immortal deity die? Or even suffer physical pain, for that matter? Put another way, the notion that “Jesus died for us” is, bluntly a sham. A god cannot die. The death on the cross is like the old hobo trick of a coin with a string attached – so he can pull it back after “paying.”

            And most of all, there is this simply awful idea that no matter how vile a person is, no matter how despicably he has lived his life, if he professes belief he is – just like that – saved. Into the company of god, in heaven forever.

            But the man who lived decently, who tried his best to be a good man, who may have caused minor harms in life (but came to see the harm, and did all he could to atone for them with real action).. he goes to hell – to be tormented forever – merely because he failed to profess belief.

            Yack. No thanks.

            In truth, I’d prefer to go to Hell rather than bend knee to such an odious deity.

            Thankfully, I doubt such a deity exists – because I doubt such a thing is possible. That the world, the universe, was created and is governed by a petty, vengeful, racial-ethnic foot-stomper who sounds as though he ought to be sitting on a pedestal made of skulls and bones.

          • Bevin
            February 1, 2014 at 1:28 am

            Dear David,

            You asked Eric

            “Hey, Eric, can you define what you mean by “vengeful”, “tribal”, etc.?”

            Then you responded to me with

            “The only way to get into heaven is to keep God’s Law perfectly, which you cannot do… Those who go to Hell deserve no better than what they get. But God has mercy on his elect.”

            Wow! Did the irony of that go right over your head?

            Some of the other Christians who comment at EPA have a far more humane understanding of their religious faith if you ask me.

            They have made clear that what matters to them is not being “holier than thou,” and deriving smug satisfaction out of seeing “sinners,” aka dissenters, “burn in hell,” but merely finding inner peace and tranquility for themselves as individuals.

            Is that really so unacceptable to you? And why?

          • February 1, 2014 at 1:58 am

            Bevin, if I took any joy or satisfaction out of seeing people go to Hell, I wouldn’t bother having this conversation. I’d just skip it, move on to the next political discussion, and laugh at your ignorance of Christian theology as you walk down the road to Hell.

            It is precisely because I do not want you, or anyone else, to go to Hell that I bother having this conversation.

            My saying that every human being deserves to go to Hell by no means implies that I want them to go there. Nor does it make me better. I’m saved because of Christ, not because of anything within myself.

            I’d be curious how the other professing Christians here would deal with my comments here. Frankly, any theological system that denies the reality that heaven can only be attained by Christ’s sacrifice isn’t exactly Biblical.

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 7:38 am

            Not to be mean, David (and I think you know that’s not my intent) but when you say “I’m saved because of Christ” it’s exactly as much a statement of fact as someone saying “George Bush is a shape-shifting reptile.”

            You believe the former intensely. But then, so do the believers in the latter. Intensity of belief is not knowing. It is intensely held belief.

            Nothing more.

            Not until you can demonstrate the truth of the thing. Which means, providing objective evidence. Not saying “it is written.” Etc.

            The exclusionary doctrine you’ve laid out about God partitioning humanity into those “to be saved” and those who just get thrown away (the majority of humanity, it must be pointed out – the cohort that either lived and died before the “good news” arrived, or who lived in other parts of the world, where the “good news” was unheard of) is, to me, a pretty vicious doctrine and hardly (as I see it) compatible with the notion of either a universal or a benevolent deity.

            Indeed, one of the obvious – and, I submit, devastating – critiques one might level at Christianity (or Islam, for that matter) is that it is tribal, regional – and not universal. How is that the “one true god” confined himself to one small part of the world, to one small ethnic group? And didn’t deign – and still doesn’t deign – to provide access to the “good news” to vast numbers of people? How is it that not all people are his people?

            The Christian god is fundamentally a racial-ethnic-tribal god. He “chose” his special people. The rest are fodder for Hell.

            What a sad – and petty – doctrine.

          • Bevin
            February 1, 2014 at 8:28 am

            Dear David,

            You wrote:

            “… your ignorance of Christian theology as you walk down the road to Hell.”

            Wow.

            And all this time, I thought I was walking down the road to individual rights, personal freedom, and political liberty.

            All this time I thought I was giving “Hell” a wide berth by scrupulously honoring the Non Aggression Principle, by never initiating brute force coercion against my fellow man, by respecting their right to live their own lives according to their own convictions.

            Who knew I was woefully deluded? Who knew those “works” counted for nothing? Who knew I was merely a contemptible sinner who, “would not believe in Christ, would go to Hell, and would deserve no better than what he got.”

            Nice to know this is how you feel about a fellow libertarian who does his utmost to abide by libertarian principles. Nice to know where adherence to libertarian ethics ranks relative to professed religious affiliation.

            Don’t you think something is just a little out of kilter here?

            Really, think about it.

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 9:27 am

            Hi Bevin,

            It’s startling, isn’t it?

            David seems like a nice guy; he’s certainly an articulate and thoughtful guy. And yet, every now and then, he lets fly with doozies such as the one you deconstructed.

            There is a meanness to his sort of Christianity that absolutely repels me – and I cannot begin to understand how any person of goodwill can find it palatable.

            Eternal punishment for the temporal “sin” of not believing.

            Wow.

            Not because you’re a vile person; not for horrible things you’ve done. But just because you didn’t believe and bend knee to the Great Massa in the Sky.

            And it’s actually much more – and much worse – than that.

            The majority of human beings currently alive – and who’ve already lived and died – get fast-tracked to Hell without even having been given the opportunity to believe.

            Where was “the word” in Central and South (and North) America before the arrival of the missionaries? Straight to Hell, you savages.

            Where was “the word” in Asia before about 1700? Straight to Hell, heathens.

            And Africa. And elsewhere.

            Only “god’s elect” get saved.

            Yet God created them all – right?

            But some of his creations are – in the Christian scheme of things – more valuable than others. Indeed, some are worth everything. And some worthless.

            Not because of who they are, or what they do – or don’t do.

            But because of where they happened to be born – and when. And because of professed belief.

            Someone hand me the puke bucket again…. hurry.

          • mikeLL
            February 1, 2014 at 12:04 pm

            Eric and Bevin,
            I agree, the emphasis in Christian theology on belief over works and practice is something that I do not understand (as I alluded to near the top of the comment thread above). Moreover, I think that Christian folk may be losing something in rejecting the structure that practice gives to life that is normally beset with severe opacity, i.e., uncertainty and ignorance regarding the way the world functions. For example, who doesn’t think that the following edicts, formalized by scripture but probably very ancient, are useful regardless of belief:

            -Respect marriage
            -Fast occasionally
            -Observe the Sabbath
            -Tithe (i.e., donate to charity)
            -Attend “service”

            And so on.

            One does not have to understand why observing each of these practices may make life a little easier, and indeed the ancients did not know anything about the proximate metabolic basis of fasting and the role of insulin-like growth factor in regulation of insulin metabolism. And besides, our scientific theories might be (and probably are) incorrect. But it doesn’t matter why it works just that it does so do it anyway, even though you must blindly accept the practice as a matter of “faith.” Practice has evolved over millennia and should be respected for that reason alone.

            David counters that practice is insufficient to get you into Heaven, but what about living today? Isn’t there value in adhering to rules, even if they are unexplained?

          • February 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm

            Eric,

            The reason you find this doctrine harsh is because you believe that you don’t deserve Hell. If you can’t grasp that part of it, you won’t understand God’s mercy. The reality is that God is merciful to everyone, even the non-elect, by not sending them to Hell immediately.

            Imagine a wealthy man driving by ten beggars, who have been made poor and destitute by gambling away everything they have. He gives eight of the beggars a hundred dollars. He knows full well that they’ll gamble it away. But he’s still giving them some mercy, a chance to start over, even though he knows it will likely fail. But he shows special mercy on two of them, invites them into his car, takes them home, and adopts them as his children, paying for everything they need and taking care of them for the rest of their lives.

            This man clearly did an act of mercy for these two beggars. But did he wrong the other eight in any way? Of course not. In fact, he even did give them grace, though it was not enough to save them from their situation.

            Until you accept that God is perfectly righteous and that we, all fallen human beings, are not, you’re not going to get this concept.

            *****

            WRT Jesus as the Son of God, the Trinitarian doctrine is that God is three persons but only one God. The best analogy that I know of for this concept is the egg. The egg shell is completely egg, the egg yolk is completely egg, and the egg white is completely egg, yet added up it still makes only one egg. This isn’t a perfect analogy though, that God can be three persons yet only one God is something we take on faith.

            BTW: Who believes George W. Bush is a shape shifting reptile? I might if that were a metaphor or something, lol.

            @Bevin (And everyone else, with regards to Bevin’s comments): I have always been up-front about the fact that my faith comes first, hence my responses to this topic. I view your advocacy for the NAP as admirable. I’d argue that in doing so you are more moral than most Christians. But the bottom line is that your trying to create a peaceful society cannot atone for your sins. That is not to say that you should not work for a peaceful society. I do too. But I don’t pretend like doing that will somehow atone for my sins. The only atonement for our sins is Jesus Christ. Without Him, you cannot be saved, I could not be saved, nobody could be saved.

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm

            You’re right, David. I don’t believe I deserve Hell.

            Eternal torture – simply for not acknowledging the rulership (or whatever you want to call it) of this God character. That’s my main “sin.”

            A tad disproportionate? A bit over the top, perhaps?

            Endless agony – no respite, no reprieve …. because I don’t “believe.”

            But, a Hitler or a Stalin who professed belief… they’re “saved”?

            It’s the most vicious, despicable doctrine I think I’ve ever come across.

          • Bevin
            February 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm

            Dear Eric,

            You nailed it.

            It’s the reason faith-based commitments to liberty make me uneasy. Being a hardcore libertarian, I take such commitments at their word — on the outer level.

            But on the inner level, in my gut, they just don’t strike me as all that dependable. I keep thinking they could go off the rails at any minute. If a person’s declared motive for championing liberty is “An invisible person in the sky with magical powers ordered me to do so on threat of unspeakably cruel punishments,” you’ll pardon me if I don’t feel terribly reassured.

            If on the other hand, a person’s declared motive for championing liberty is “Because it’s the right thing to do. Because human beings need freedom just as they need air,” I tend to feel a lot more confident about their solemn assurances.

            I’m funny that way.

            Of course I’m talking about inner feelings, not outer behavior. For example, I would not heap moral condemnation upon them. I certainly would not threaten them with dire consequences if they refused to parrot my own values.

            I would merely do what I normally do. Not think about them and live my own life. I might occasionally wonder whether they are preparing to impose their religious doctrines on me by means of government coercion. But that’s about it.

          • Bevin
            February 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm

            Dear David,

            You wrote,

            “… trying to create a peaceful society cannot atone for your sins… don’t pretend like doing that will somehow atone for… sins.”

            Wikipedia says, “In Abrahamic contexts, sin is the act of violating God’s will.” If your definition differs, please clarify.

            Where to even begin?

            You do realize I am an atheist, don’t you? Not a Deist. Not even an agnostic. I’m a “unrepentant” atheist. I totally reject all of your beliefs about religion as complete nonsense.

            I don’t say “I’m not sure whether there is a god.” No. For me that’s far too wishy-washy. I say “I’m absolutely positively there cannot possibly be a god — as you define god, an invisible person in the sky who does magic tricks.

            Since I know absolutely, positively that there is no god, why would I allot even one millisecond of my time worrying about “atoning for my sins?”

            You have the inalienable natural right to believe whatever you choose, and live however you choose. You talk about “sacred?” That to me is “sacred.” Your natural rights and individual liberty.

            I will never violate your rights. Why? Because for me, my commitment to the NAP trumps all else. In return, I hope you will not allow your religious doctrines to override your commitment to the NAP and violate my rights.

            You will forgive me for being dubious about your commitment to the NAP. After all, you yourself openly acknowledged that your commitment to your religious doctrine trumps your commitment to the NAP.

      • Bevin
        January 30, 2014 at 5:14 pm

        Dear IC,

        Definitely an inconsistency if there ever was one. It’s a wonder that those who utter it, don’t see the irony in it.

        If non-believers created a fictional character who uttered such words, they would be accused of straw man arguments.

        But as we have seen, this is what many, possibly most theists actually believe and say.

    • eric
      January 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Babydriver,

      I have no issue with Christ – except for one. No one really knows anything about him. The man existed, of that there is little doubt. But as to what he “really” said (and did) we have very little in the way of hard, incontrovertible evidence. He himself left no letters, no books. Everything attributed to him comes to us years after his death, at second (and third) hand. It is very much like trying to discover what your great, great, great grandfather was “really” like – on the basis of hearsay.

      I don’t mean to offend and hope you do not take my comments that way. I’m simply calling it as I see it. If I am wrong on any of the points mentioned above, I’m very eager to learn how.

      But, please, don’t refer me to the Bible – which is just more hearsay. Heavily edited (and re-translated) hearsay written/collated hundreds of years after the events described.

      Also, “just believe” and “have faith” or “you must know the Lord” to understand doesn’t cut it, either.

      A believer in Ra or Ahura Mazda or Zoroaster or Zeus could say the same things with exactly as much substance supporting the claims.

      Which is to say, none.

      Again, I have no issue with what anyone believes – so long as the beliefs do not translate into actions that impinge on the liberty, the rights, of others.

      Some believe in Klingons – or shape shifting reptiles. Or any of a million different unusual things. It’s cool. Provided they don’t demand I believe it, too.

      • David
        January 30, 2014 at 5:20 pm

        If you accept that Matthew and John wrote the books bearing their names (If you don’t, I cannot really prove this to you at the present time, except to say that early church tradition unanimously accepts these as the authors)… both of these men knew Christ personally. So, its not really like trying to figure out what your great great great great grandfather or whatever was like. Imagine that I wrote a long letter about my father. Since its not inspired, its prone to error, but its still probably pretty accurate. Or even, say my dad dies tomorrow, and in twenty years I tell my (Yet future) son about my dad, and then I die. If he writes a letter based on what I told him, that’s still probably somewhat accurate, albeit not as much so because he didn’t meet my dad himself.

        Of course, I believe the scriptures are inerrant, by divine inspiration. But even if you reject that, as you do, that’s not cause for throwing out the gospels as a valid source, IMO.

        And finally, there’s the fact that 500 people claimed to have seen Jesus resurrected. Many of them died for that belief. How many people would die for something they KNOW to be false? Few, if any. Therefore, the resurrection actually happened. That should really be enough.

        • eric
          January 30, 2014 at 5:24 pm

          It’s still hearsay, someone else’s account of events/persons written many years later. There is no way to verify the truth of any of it.

          People don’t die for something they know to be false – they die for something they believe to be true. Jim Jones, Heaven’s Gate. Kamikaze pilots.

          Do you believe the Mormon claims about “golden plates” dug up in Vermont? “Witnesses” testified to it.

          • January 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm

            Eric, the problem is that eyewitnesses, hundreds of them, laid down their lives for that which they claimed to have seen. They all claimed to have seen the same thing.

            Of course people die for things that they believe are true, but aren’t. But you’d have to be crazy to say that hundreds of people saw, and died for, the same fake thing.

          • eric
            January 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm

            But David, there are any number of examples of people laying down their lives for something they believe in – it does not mean their belief is true.

            Hundreds of people willingly drank cyanide-laced Kool Aid for Jim Jones.

            Am shin riki (spelling probably not right) Japanese cultists did the same.

            So did the followers of Marshall Applewhite.

            Their willingness to die shows commitment, utter belief in their … well, belief.

            But it’s in no way confirmation that their beliefs were true.

          • David
            January 30, 2014 at 6:27 pm

            Eric, you’re missing the point.

            Its not just that they believed it was true. There’s a reason I didn’t use modern Christian martyrs as my argument.

            I’m talking about people, hundreds (including 11 apostles), who claimed to have actually seen Christ rise from the dead, and then died for it. Why would they all see the same thing, and then die for it, unless it was true?

            Was Paul delusional when he saw Christ on the road to Damascus? I don’t think so, but maybe one guy is screwed up in the head. Hundreds? I don’t think so.

            You’re really stretching logic here to say that hundreds of people would all see the same false thing at the same time.

          • Bevin
            January 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm

            Dear Eric,

            One prominent non-theist summed it up nicely.

            “While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society. Religion is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about. It is telling that this aura of nobility extends only to those faiths that still have many subscribers. Anyone caught worshipping Poseidon, even at sea, will be thought insane.”

            This is not a blanket endorsement of his entire belief system, but merely this particular point.

          • Henry7
            January 30, 2014 at 7:49 pm

            ” One prominent non-theist summed it up nicely…” { Bevin}

            ~

            – and another summed it up well to sincere Christians (like David) as:

            “We are both atheists – I just believe in one fewer god than you do.
            When you understand why you reject all other gods, you will understand why I reject yours as well. “

          • February 1, 2014 at 1:42 am

            (Joseph Smith allegedly dug up the Golden Plates in Manchester, New York: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_plates

            Sorry, carry on)

          • Bevin
            February 1, 2014 at 1:53 am

            Dear Darien,

            The Golden Plates were, how shall I put it, “interesting.”

            They were held together by a three ring binder that is the spitting image of the type I had in junior high school in Washington, DC.

          • February 1, 2014 at 2:06 am

            Yer. There’s a lot of… interesting history surrounding the Golden Plates. None of which is proof of anything, of course, but it certainly is… interesting.

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 7:23 am

            The Mormons are a cult I can dig. They’re polite, well-scrubbed industrious and self-sufficient. They don’t seem belligerent about their beliefs – a major plus for me.

            I think they’re kooks, of course. But then, so am I!

  20. January 30, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    30 January

    As a Calvinist Presbyterian, I recognize that God is sovereign over all. What someone else believes is up to them. I agree with Thomas Jefferson, who said “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or there is no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg”.
    Why do we even bother to argue about this?
    Queen Mary of Scots once questioned John Knox as to if he thought subjects could resist their rulers. John Knox replied “If the princes, Madam, exceed their bounds and go against that for which they ought to be obeyed, then they may be resisted, even by power (force)”.

    • eric
      January 30, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Well-said, Rich.

      The Jefferson quote says it all. I ought to have included it in the article!

      • Inconsistencies
        January 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm

        “It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg”

        Until it does. Ask the Christians in Syria.

        • January 30, 2014 at 9:16 pm

          Oh, so, wait. The problem those Syrian Christians have is that other people believe different things from them?

          Clearly not. The problem is violent action taken by other individuals. One could argue that this violence takes place only *because of* the religious differences, but there’s no way to know that with certainty; perhaps the religious differences are a convenient pretext for violent actions that are desired for other ends. Regardless, however, it’s clear that the violence *itself* is the problem, yes? That people have every right to disagree with one another about anything at all, as long as they do so peacefully? Or do propose to eliminate — how? — all potential points of disagreement between individuals in some sort of mad attempt to stave off situations escalating into violence?

  21. Tor Libertarian
    January 30, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

    You’re basically killing each other to see who’s got the better imaginary friend

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    Don’t pray in my school, and I won’t think in your church

    Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions

    When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.

    Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer

    George Bush says he speaks to god every day, and Christians love him for it. If George Bush said he spoke to god through his hair dryer, they would think he was mad. I fail to see how the addition of a hair dryer makes it any more absurd.

    I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours

    The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one

    And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence. Just for one moment let’s imagine that there IS a god. Not the one that’s mentioned in any of the holy writings but a practical god. And his sole aim is to sort the gullible from the astute.

    We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes

    There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.

    Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! ..But He loves you.

    Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

    With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

    I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish

    You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep-seated need to believe.

    “If god doesn’t like the way I live, Let him tell me, not you.”

    “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

    The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike

    You keep believing, I’ll keep evolving

    The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church

    Religion does three things quite effectively: Divides people, Controls people, Deludes people.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

    A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

    The Government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion.

    Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet

    Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities

    The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason

    People who don’t like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn’t have such funny beliefs

    History teaches us that no other cause has brought more death than the word of god.

    An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished.

    If the Bible is mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust it to tell us where we’re going?

    I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.

    Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a God superior to themselves. Most Gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.

    The sailor does not pray for wind, he learns to sail

    He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave

    Blind faith is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence.

    Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders or is God one of man’s?

    So you really think that God would plant a bunch of bones in the earth to test your faith? Either you’re in denial or God has some serious self-esteem issues.

    I do not think it is necessary to believe that the same God who has given us our senses, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means the information that we could gain through them

    Russian Proverb Pray to God, fine; but keep rowing to shore.

    We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don’t stand up to experimentation, Buddha’s own words must be rejected. Science does not explain things, it provides questions for us to explore.

    The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.

    I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.

    People aren’t truly religious, they just think they need a backup plan.

    The little charitable work the catholic church does, is just a smoke screen for all the evil it performs. I would liken them to the mob but that would be giving the mob a bad name.

    The way I see it is this. Either the top positions held in all religions, Archbishops, Popes, Imams, Chief Rabbis etc., are held by individuals who themselves are either plausible liars, or they are among the most gullible people on the planet.

    The scripture says if thine eye offends then pluck it out, if thine hand offends then cut it off. You don’t see many one eyed one handed priests, monks or nuns walking about, they obviously don’t practice what they preach.

    The holy books appear to have been written on a WWI Enigma machine in Klingon by a Martian who was having to work in the dark hold of a Spanish galleon on a storm tossed sea.

    According to Christianity, the only way GOD could satisfy his own system of justice was to torture and crucify HIMSELF !

    Another million years from now and it’ll maybe be the turn of the six foot thirteen stone cockroach with the opposable claws.

    I still believe Christians got off lightly in the Colosseum. I mean, they only ever had to do one performance, the poor lions were on every blinkin’ night!

    • Bevin
      January 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Dear Tor,

      Yup.

      The glaring logical absurdities simply cannot be ignored.

      This point I find particularly compelling.

      “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      True believers in any particular organized religion routinely dismiss all other organized religions as patently absurd and utterly incredible.

      The reasons they give why all other organized religions are patently absurd and utterly incredible are often remarkably lucid and persuasive.

      But then they turn around and give their own patently absurd and utterly incredible organized religion a free pass, and insist that “It’s different.”

      This point is also illuminating,

      “Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you.”

      Sounds uncannily like the national security state that Edward Snowden and others have sounded the alarm about, does it not?

      The parallel between existence under the all-seeing eye of God and the all-seeing eye of the NSA is remarkable, and alarming.

    • February 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Hey, Eric, did you see that last sentence? Do you still think Christians are the tribal, malicious ones? The anti-theists are even worse.

      It doesn’t bother me, of course. I fully expect it. When the gospel is preached it makes people mad; just as much so today as in the 1st century. Of course, Tor shows a complete lack of understanding of the NAP with that last line.

      • eric
        February 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm

        Hi David,

        It’s important, I think, to chose words carefully. An “anti-theist” is opposed to all theisms. We were discussing one specific theism, Christianity – and in particular, the interpretation that claims belief trumps all (including a lifetime spent being a sociopath or mass murderer) and that only a few “elect” are even given the opportunity to believe (because most of the human beings who have ever lived never heard thing one about Jesus or the Gospels and thus, never even had the opportunity to decide whether it was something they ought to believe in).

        Boothe recently posted an interpretation of Christianity without the tribalism, the regionalism, the meanness that characterizes other interpretations of Christianity.

        I’ll stick with trying to do the decent things in life, to improve myself, to empathize with others, to help them when I am able, to try to understand as much as I can about life and how best to live it.

        If that’s not enough to put me in better stead with the Sky God than a mass-murdering psychopath who “accepted Jesus” as his savior, that’s fine with me.

        I want nothing to do with such a god as that.

        • PanarchistamericanHelot
          February 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm

          eric wrote, “Remember: The Christian God only makes himself known to a few; the rest are outside his protection. They’re to be disposed of as garbage – consumed in an eternal incinerator – because they did not believe.”

          Not all Christians believe this is so. None of it. So, please stop lumping every tribal Christian group together when you slam individual tribal beliefs?

          And, I for one, think the NAP is not separate and apart from Christian belief. There is no, “my religion is above the NAP’. They are intertwined.

          Therefore (Bevin) I will Never have my religious doctrines override my commitment to the NAP and violate the rights of others.

          Which means, count me in the tribal camp which says, a person’s declared motive for championing liberty is “Because it’s the right thing to do. Because human beings need freedom just as they need air,”

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

            Roger that, Panarch.

            Your version of Christianity seems ok to me. Not that I believe in its “divine” status anymore than I believe in David’s. But it seems at least benevolent, not mean-spirited and petty.

            I’ll adjust my future comments accordingly!

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 1, 2014 at 2:43 pm

            I have no problem with you not believing. I myself do not “blindly” believe. It’s quite similar, for me, to why I believe George Washington crossed the Potomac River. Some guys were there, they saw it happen, they wrote it down. That’s why I believe it happened.

            I also believe that someday people such as yourself might see things to cause you to believe in something more as well, perhaps even in something specifically. Time will tell.

            For others, they may just get a glimpse of something non-specific, for example:

            http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-near-death-experience.html

          • Bevin
            February 1, 2014 at 7:12 pm

            Dear Pan, Eric,

            Ditto.

            Pan wrote:

            “Therefore (Bevin) I will Never have my religious doctrines override my commitment to the NAP and violate the rights of others.”

            Now that is considerably more reassuring than “I was upfront. My religion trumps the NAP,” or words to that effect.

            One point is worth reiterating, because it can be easily confused.

            Many non-theists are leery of theism. Not because they are paranoid, but because of past experience. The many Inquisitions involving torture, the many Crusades, Witch Hunts, Jihads, Sharia Law, Zionist territorial expansionism, etc.

            These were all instances in which powerful attachment to their religions precepts overrode any commitment they might have had to the NAP. The premise being that “God’s law trumps man’s law,” or to use more anacap oriented concepts, “God’s law trumps secular morality and ethics.”

            Non-theistic libertarians such as myself, and I’m sure Eric, will of course never take “preemptive action” against theists on the basis of such suspicions. But we can hardly be blamed for fearing a replay of past history.

            It is true that non-theists must not lump all theists in the same category. I agree with that 100%. For example, I never lie awake at night for fear that the Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish are going to initiate a Bushian War on Terror. They have a pretty good track record in that department.

            But if someone starts talking about how “Unbelievers will burn in hell!” unbeliever such as myself start to get a little nervous. Can you blame us?

      • eric
        February 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm

        By definition, Judeo-Christianity is tribal. The “chosen” people; God’s special group. It’s not open to everyone – including decent, caring, empathetic people who’ve never done their fellow men any serious harm and who do their best to live – and let live. Millions of such good men (and women) are – according to your doctrine – consigned to eternal torment because they did not “believe.” Even if they were never exposed to the “beliefs.”

        Remember: The Christian God only makes himself known to a few; the rest are outside his protection. They’re to be disposed of as garbage – consumed in an eternal incinerator – because they did not believe.

        That’s a pretty vindictive doctrine. An evil doctrine, in my opinion.

        Excessive, retributive punishment. The desire to inflict suffering.

        It’s unspeakably horrible.

      • Tor Libertarian
        February 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm

        I really like reading you’re stuff, David. I’m happy you read my comment. You’re really doing great here.

        I really wasn’t that fond of those last few aphorisms, but I left them there anyway. In point of fact, 5,000 animals a day died in the coliseum, so it is highly unlikely any lions survived their forced performances for long. How is writing on a blog a violation of the NAP? It is only words, though maybe inflammatory and unnecessary, but words to be read or not read, right?

        I think you misunderstand how the NAP will spontaneously emerge and gain influence. It will never be the law of the land, but I do pray that it will become the custom of the realm, or at least some portion, without use of force.

        For the record I don’t stand under anything if I can help it. What goes up, must come down :)

        Following a sincere arduous path, I’ve come to the supposition that there’s a small chance the Abrahamic Spirit is closer to a flawed Watchmen Doctor Manhattan type deity, than he is a being of perfect love.

        Even if true, if he is the only one capable of creating life, then it would seem to follow: His planet, His rules.

        I also wonder if he somehow returned to Earth in 1997 just like he said he would and walks the lands of submission as a quasi-corporeal spirit among the Muslims.

        Perhaps he is just as the Ancient Hebrews conceived of Him, or something else entirely.

        I created my own alphabet and language I use to write to myself and the LORD, there thousands of pages written, though I’m not sure how many exactly.

        No offense, but your use of Yeshua-centric reasoning (Yeshua, who is also known as the Logos) would be akin to Eric advocating strict adherence to the owners manual in the glove box as the end all be all of automotive salvation.

        How would it sound to your ears, if Eric said all drivers who fail to follow their car’s owners manual diligently are lost. How would he sound when he says the car maker has put it in your glove box because he cares about you, so read it and drive happy, return to the road of redemption, never again deviate from the car care guide that has been provided, go and drive in peace.

        I have for one have 5 prayers memorized that I say nearly every day, once in Latin, once in English. As an adolescent, I begged him to help me on blind dates, and all manner of similar supplications since.

        I’ve played keyboards for 1,000s in services and weddings since age 7 and been back up church choir director off and on not long after. I like Jesus, bleibet meine Freude cantata best in the G major with baroque tuning of A 415 hz, but then YMMMV(your music ministry may vary)?

        I have countless pages of notes and answers to the following questions, but I fear they’re all still wrong, can I proof them with yours just for comparison? (what do you put in the blanks: “[__________]“)

        - -

        The LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? [__________] 3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

        4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? [__________]Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements–surely you know! [__________]Or who stretched the line upon it?[__________] 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?[__________]

        8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth from the womb; 9 when I made clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, 11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?[__________]

        12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, 13 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?[__________]

        14 It is changed like clay under the seal, and it is dyed like a garment. 15 From the wicked their light is withheld, and their uplifted arm is broken. 16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep?[__________]

        17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?[__________] 18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?[__________] Declare, if you know all this.

        19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, 20 that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home?[__________] 21 You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!

        22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?[__________] 24 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?[__________]

        25 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, 26 to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man; 27 to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass?[__________]

        28 “Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew?[__________] 29 From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?[__________] 30 The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

        31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion?[__________] 32 Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children?[__________] 33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?[__________] Can you establish their rule on the earth?[__________]

        34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?[__________] 35 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’?[__________] 36 Who has put wisdom in the clouds, or given understanding to the mists?[__________] 37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom?[__________] Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, 38 when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cleave fast together?[__________]

        39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40 when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? 41 Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?[__________]

        1 “Do you know when the mountain goats bring forth?[__________] Do you observe the calving of the hinds?[__________] 2 Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they bring forth, 3 when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young?[__________] 4 Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open; they go forth, and do not return to them.

        5 “Who has let the wild ass go free?[__________] Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass, 6 to whom I have given the steppe for his home, and the salt land for his dwelling place?[__________] 7 He scorns the tumult of the city; he hears not the shouts of the driver. 8 He ranges the mountains as his pasture, and he searches after every green thing.

        9 “Is the wild ox willing to serve you?[__________] Will he spend the night at your crib?[__________] 10 Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you?[__________] 11 Will you depend on him because his strength is great, and will you leave to him your labor?[__________] 12 Do you have faith in him that he will return, and bring your grain to your threshing floor?[__________]

        13 “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly; but are they the pinions and plumage of love?[__________] 14 For she leaves her eggs to the earth, and lets them be warmed on the ground, 15 forgetting that a foot may crush them, and that the wild beast may trample them. 16 She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear; 17 because God has made her forget wisdom, and given her no share in understanding. 18 When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider.

        19 “Do you give the horse his might?[__________] Do you clothe his neck with strength?[__________] 20 Do you make him leap like the locust?[__________] His majestic snorting is terrible. 21 He paws in the valley, and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. 22 He laughs at fear, and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword. 23 Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear and the javelin.

        24 With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet. 25 When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’ He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

        26 “Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads his wings toward the south?[__________] 27 Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high?[__________] 28 On the rock he dwells and makes his home in the fastness of the rocky crag. 29 Thence he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it afar off. 30 His young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there is he.”

        1 And the LORD said to Job: 2 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?[__________] He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

        6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: 7 “Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me. 8 Will you even put me in the wrong?[__________] Will you condemn me that you may be justified?[__________] 9 Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?[__________]

        10 “Deck yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. 11 Pour forth the overflowings of your anger, and look on every one that is proud, and abase him. 12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked where they stand. 13 Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. 14 Then will I also acknowledge to you, that your own right hand can give you victory.

        15 “Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. 16 Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly. 17 He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. 18 His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron.

        19 “He is the first of the works of God; let him who made him bring near his sword! 20 For the mountains yield food for him where all the wild beasts play. 21 Under the lotus plants he lies, in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh. 22 For his shade the lotus trees cover him; the willows of the brook surround him. 23 Behold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightened; he is confident though Jordan rushes against his mouth. 24 Can one take him with hooks, or pierce his nose with a snare?[__________]

        1 “Can you draw out Levi’athan with a fishhook, or press down his tongue with a cord?[__________] 2 Can you put a rope in his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook?[__________] 3 Will he make many supplications to you?[__________] Will he speak to you soft words?[__________]

        4 Will he make a covenant with you to take him for your servant for ever?[__________] 5 Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on leash for your maidens?[__________] 6 Will traders bargain over him?[__________] Will they divide him up among the merchants?[__________]

        7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons, or his head with fishing spears?[__________] 8 Lay hands on him; think of the battle; you will not do it again! 9 Behold, the hope of a man is disappointed; he is laid low even at the sight of him.

        10 No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he that can stand before me?[__________] 11 Who has given to me, that I should repay him?[__________] Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

        12 “I will not keep silence concerning his limbs, or his mighty strength, or his goodly frame. 13 Who can strip off his outer garment?[__________] Who can penetrate his double coat of mail?[__________] 14 Who can open the doors of his face?[__________]

        Round about his teeth is terror. 15 His back is made of rows of shields, shut up closely as with a seal. 16 One is so near to another that no air can come between them. 17 They are joined one to another; they clasp each other and cannot be separated. 18 His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.

        19 Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth. 20 Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. 21 His breath kindles coals, and a flame comes forth from his mouth. 22 In his neck abides strength, and terror dances before him. 23 The folds of his flesh cleave together, firmly cast upon him and immovable.

        24 His heart is hard as a stone, hard as the nether millstone. 25 When he raises himself up the mighty are afraid; at the crashing they are beside themselves. 26 Though the sword reaches him, it does not avail; nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin. 27 He counts iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood.

        28 The arrow cannot make him flee; for him slingstones are turned to stubble. 29 Clubs are counted as stubble; he laughs at the rattle of javelins. 30 His underparts are like sharp potsherds; he spreads himself like a threshing sledge on the mire.

        31 He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 Behind him he leaves a shining wake; one would think the deep to be hoary. 33 Upon earth there is not his like, a creature without fear. 34 He beholds everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride.
        —– —–

        - “The wings of my ostrich family wave proudly; but are they the pinions and plumage of love?[__________] 14 For my wife leaves her eggs and chicks to the earth, and lets them be warmed on the ground, 15 forgetting that a foot may crush them, and that the wild beast may trample them. –

        - How will your like be of help whenever – 16 She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear; 17 because God has made her forget wisdom, and given her no share in understanding.[__________] -

        • February 1, 2014 at 4:59 pm

          Tor,

          I didn’t read that whole comment, but with regards to the NAP, there’s a difference between following the NAP, and believing in the NAP. If I were to say that all homosexuals should be executed, that statement would not, in and of itself, be a violation of the NAP. I would still be following the NAP, unless I acted on that belief. But even saying or believing it shows that I do not believe in the NAP, at least on that one issue.

          Most people follow the NAP, but few really believe in it.

          I don’t honestly know what you mean by some of your posts, so maybe your comment wasn’t serious. But, if you actually believe that Christians being thrown to the lions was a good thing, you don’t actually believe the NAP, even though you might follow it.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm

            Imho, commenting about a comment, without reading the comment in question, is kind of bad form.

            As I looked, the phrase, “got off lightly” does not seem to equate to, “actually believe that Christians being thrown to the lions was a good thing” but that’s just me.

            As to following the NAP vs. really believing in it. I guess I could care less if others really really believed in the NAP, just so long as they follow it, that’s what counts.

            It’s not like the NAP is designed to eradicate envy, greed, lust, and such from the world. Its only a way to deal with it all.

          • Tor Libertarian
            February 1, 2014 at 10:52 pm

            @David, you read enough of my post to respond to my post. You might not believe in my post, but you definitely understood the part of my post in your referenced in response to my post.

            There’s a powerful rhythmic symmetry in how you write and think. BTW, that above paragraph is my attempt to write like you, but in a more obvious and transparent way. Also the two paragraphs directly subsequent to this one are also my attempt at an homage.

            There’s a difference between following the NAP, and believing in the NAP. Most people follow the NAP, but few really believe in the NAP.

            If you believe that Christians having been thrown to the lions was a good thing, you don’t believe in the NAP, even though you might follow the NAP.

            What Is NLP?
            http://www.nlpu.com/NewDesign/NLPU_WhatIsNLP.html

  22. PanarchistamericanHelot
    January 30, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Just from reading most of this thread, I’m seeing a lot of evidence – from all sides – this is true:

    “If [...] we continue to peck at one another – and insist on orthodoxies outside the NAP – it is likely, probable, that the liberty movement will go the way of the Mensheviks.”

    Wasn’t there a scene in the film, ‘The Patriot’ where religious types and non-belief types got along well while in a swamp? …That kind of thing doesn’t last for very long, does it?

    • Tor Libertarian
      January 30, 2014 at 9:32 pm
    • Bevin
      January 30, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Dear Pan,

      It’s entirely possible that this sort of open dissent will undermine “political unity” in the near and mid term.

      As I see it, it may depend on our time frame. What sort of time frame are we most concerned about?

      Are we are more concerned about near to mid term political consensus, or are we more concerned about long term civilizational enlightenment?

      Also, there is the question “Will the different beliefs concerning the existence or non-existence of deities lead to differences in political principles?” and If so, to what extent?

      We already know that religious beliefs have a bearing on laws pertaining to abortion. This will not go away. It can be shelved in the near term and mid term. But it cannot be swept under the rug long term.

      So what should be done? Should we stay away from it, just for now? Or should we tackle it head on?

      There is no easy answer to this question. Personally I tend to be of the face it head on school. But that’s just me.

      • PanarchistamericanHelot
        January 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm

        If people approached it like you described here:

        http://ericpetersautos.com/2014/01/29/katy-perry-eeevulll/#comment-143557

        Perhaps add a big dash of Panarchy, focus more on how that would work? …then maybe there’d be no need to, “face it head on”?

        However; I think the notion of Panarchy simply freaks people out too much. When they hear of the idea of Panarchy it’s similar to when a gun shy dog hears a blast.
        Is a gun shy dog always gun shy forever, or can that be overcome?

        • Tor Libertarian
          January 30, 2014 at 10:51 pm

          Interesting thought about dogs. Some are not bothered by the gun, others are. In other words, for some dogs, gunfire is an “archy” but for other dogs it’s not.

          Should the mentally stable and well composed dogs aid the gunshy dogs in a loving nurturing environment where differences are tolerated and dealt with in a condemnation free environment? Or should they bark out “dude what the H?”

          I subscribe to the theory of “survival of the archy-ist” Which is to say whatever authority instills the greatest fear, becomes the alpha archon.

          Both dogs and people are under all manner of archy, some are even contradictory, wherein if you obey one archon, you disobey another.

          It’s gotten so I am an extreme anti-hierarch for the most part. Perhaps excessively so.

          Woof. I might be barking up the wrong trees. Oooh maybe that’s the right tree over there!

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            January 30, 2014 at 11:27 pm

            Tor posed the question, “Should the mentally stable and well composed dogs aid the gunshy dogs in a loving nurturing environment where differences are tolerated and dealt with in a condemnation free environment? Or should they bark out “dude what the H?” ”

            Rather instead, they should just go hunting.

            I’ve yet to come across a non-gun shy dog that didn’t quiver in excitement at the expectation of going on a hunt. I’m thinking the human equivalent is Opting Out?

            …I don’t know.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            January 30, 2014 at 11:32 pm

            It’s kind of funny, but every gun shy dog I’ve known loved to go on the hunt too. It was just that at the first blast they were gone in a flash.

            I imagine that’s how many people see Republicans RE: limited goobement and less taxes. And so too, many people see the Democrats the same way RE: civil liberties, etc…

        • February 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm

          What is panarchy? how does that relate to other voluntarist theories?

        • February 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm

          What is panarchy? how does that relate to other voluntarist theories?

      • February 1, 2014 at 1:25 am

        Bevin,

        AFAIK abortion is the only area where I disagree with you politically. I do believe life begins at conception, and I believe this right should be protected. I don’t really need the Bible to prove this. I simply appeal to the NAP. The NAP applies to ALL human beings, thus abortion is a violation of the NAP regardless of how hard a time you have granting personhood rights to certain fetuses. The NAP trumps your personal feelings on the matter.

        I seriously doubt the voluntarist system, whatever is derived by it, could produce a solution worse than the status quo, which is not only to force every area of the country to allow abortion, but to also steal money from taxpayers to fund it. At the very least, the legalized theft wouldn’t be a problem in the free society.

        In the short term, I’m fine with leaving the issue to the states to decide. It isn’t uncle sam’s business. Long term, I believe voluntarist law should protect the unborn, but I doubt it will actually do so everywhere. I guess I’d wait and see what happens in that regard. But I would protest any legal system that made it illegal to use violence to protect the unborn.

        • Bevin
          February 1, 2014 at 1:37 am

          Dear David,

          First you wrote, “I do believe life begins at conception.”

          Then you wrote, “The NAP applies to ALL human beings.”

          This is known as “bait and switch.”

          Quite of few of us had some pretty heated arguments about his a while back. I’m too tire to retype all my lengthy arguments.

          The short version is “A future human being is NOT YET a human being. It is still merely a part of the mother’s body.”

          I said what I had to say on that topic already.

          Feel free to express yourself on this, but I will probably not revisit the debate.

          • February 1, 2014 at 1:53 am

            I didn’t say anything about a future human being. I’m talking about a human being that is yet unborn.

          • Bevin
            February 1, 2014 at 1:58 am

            I said what I had to say on that topic already.

  23. Tor Libertarian
    January 30, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I’m not a christian, but I play one on TV.

    Said every US president since FDR first appeared on the black and white bollox box.

    A date that will live in infamy, a different, unofficial and sinister infamy

    http://www.history.com/topics/franklin-d-roosevelt/videos#fdr-a-voice-of-hope

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-presidential-speech-on-tv

    • Bevin
      February 2, 2014 at 1:13 am

      Dear Tor,

      Yes. It works both ways.

      The cruel and vindictive Christian god that many theists envision bears an uncanny resemblance to Roman emperors such as Caligula.

      If I were a Christian I sure as hell would not want a god like that giving my religion a bad name!

  24. Tor Minotaur
    January 31, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Don’t you see, it’s all me? Creating the fact and the friction, The human condition, against your tradition, Here’s my prediction: I believe what’s in front of me.

    My premonition: You’re just a little naive. Let go of what you think you know.
    If you could only see my prediction: I believe what’s in front of me.
    And you can’t fake that kind of reality.

    Fact or Friction -The Nearly Deads

    I’m not anti-anybody. I just prefer the real monarch to the artifice.
    http://www.si.edu/Imax/movie/71

  25. Tor Libertarian
    February 1, 2014 at 9:46 am
  26. MamaLiberty
    February 1, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    mikeLL – not a chance.

    -Respect marriage

    *by what criteria or definition? Yours?

    -Fast occasionally

    *if it works for you, fine. This is not some universal “truth,” by any means.

    -Observe the Sabbath

    *only relevant if you recognize it and find that meaningful.

    -Tithe (i.e., donate to charity)

    *there is a vast difference between the “tithe” and charity. The tithe is a tax, a levy on servants.

    -Attend “service”

    *again, meaningful to those who believe, but without function to anyone else.

    And none of it means anything to those who do not accept “the bible” as the whole basis for human life and endeavor.

    The basic “rule” necessary for all of us to get along is the rule of non aggression and the inalienable right to self defense. The very practical rule of each one minding their own business, voluntary association and cooperation… all of which ties in neatly with each individual living his or her life doing what they believe is best for themselves. The logical outcome of living by these principles is that individuals then find they have little incentive to harm others. This has always been true, and requires neither bible nor god to be true for everyone.

    But if you accept as right and good the irrational aggression of a god, then it is easy to justify any other aggression and harm to others… as long as you believe your “god” approves.

    • mikeLL
      February 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      MamaLiberty,
      Just to be clear, I am not defending religious doctrine. I am trying to understand why people practice religion at all. I am suggesting the hypothesis that practice is useful regardless of belief; thus, my examples were to highlight the fact out that most practice has by now become secularized and so must have value outside of formal religion. Moreover, I do not think that any of the practices that I listed are at odds with the NAP but are instead a complement to a life of non-aggression. Indeed, I do not see how practice can have any meaning at all unless it is undertaken voluntarily.

      • MamaLiberty
        February 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm

        No, you didn’t make that “clear” at all. Thanks.

    • February 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      God is not bound by the NAP with regards to humans, for man of the same reasons humans are not bound to it with regards to animals. Only worse, man didn’t create the animals.

      The tithe, in the Biblical sense, was not a tax. There was no enforcement agency if you didn’t pay the tithe. You’d fall under God’s judgment, but there was absolutely no human authority to enforce it.

      • eric
        February 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        So god owns us; we are his playthings, to be disposed of at his whim. Whatever he does to us is “righteous” because we are his – literally. Chattel. Like a farmer and his cows.

        What an ugly doctrine.

        • PanarchistamericanHelot
          February 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

          eric wrote, “Chattel. Like a farmer and his cows.

          What an ugly doctrine.”

          That to me, isn’t so much as doctrine, or philosophy, as it’s just simply the fact of life.

          If humans had immortality perhaps then humans could say they truly owned themselves and God did not. We own ourselves only so long as God allows us to live.

          I mean, because we all die, no one can be said to really own anything.

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm

            Dunno ’bout that.

            I own my Trans Am. But I might not own it next week – if I chose to sell it. Does that mean I do not own it now?

            In any event, the existence (or not) of a supernatural whatever-you-want-to-call it (“god”) is pure speculation, nothing more.

            Maybe. And maybe not.

            No one really knows.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm

            Well, as has been pointed out elsewhere, gooberment is claiming to own that Trans Am. If you do not wish to sell that Trans Am, and yet gooberment takes it from you tomorrow, did you really own it today?

            The true owner has the power of taking.

            Seems to me The Supreme Being over us all has the power to take us at any time. In the meantime, we are granted a temporary ownership over ourselves and all that we produce or posses.

            The problem seems to be, from an atheist or non-atheist point of view, is that gooberment is attempting to become that Supreme Being over us all. Maybe that’s why continuity of gooberment appears to be the main goal of gooberment, a kind of immortality?

          • eric
            February 1, 2014 at 3:12 pm

            Yeah, but that’s a quibble. What I mean is, assume we did not have a government that asserted quasi ownership rights over our property. It is possible; it was the fact once.

            In that case, people did own things – truly owned them. They could do whatever they liked with them. Owed no one anything to keep them – and so on.

            Whether they own them tomorrow in no way invalidates the fact of ownership today.

            I agree with you on this business of government seeking to establish itself as a sort of deity.

            We’re on the same page there!

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm

            eric wrote, “Whether they own them tomorrow in no way invalidates the fact of ownership today.”

            Well sure it does.

            Say for example the state sent you a letter telling you they are taking it the next day. You probably wouldn’t spend the time and effort to wax it that day. Why? Because your ownership just got invalidated, or because you never really owned the thing in the first place?
            Under the current system, complete ownership is an illusion. Which should not be the case.

            On the other hand, without immortality, complete ownership is also an illusion. However; there is a temporary form of ownership, i.e. from my cold dead hands.

            Is that clear as mud now?

        • Bevin
          February 2, 2014 at 1:04 am

          Dear Eric,

          Ya gotta wonder.

          Would anyone who believes that “God is benevolent” and “God loves you” concoct a deity who resembles nothing so much as a psychopath who tortures small animals in his basement?

          Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) said “Man created God in his own image.” If so, a man’s image of “God” reflects that man’s inside, and in this case, his dark side.

          What kind of man insists on worshiping what can only be described as a sadist? A masochist, perhaps? Replete with self-flagellation and hair shirts.

          If as a thought experiment I were asked to create of profile of MY Christian god, I would make him a Ron Paul or a George Carlin, not a Chuck Schumer or Dianne Feinstein. I would make him a champion of a spiritual free market, not of a spiritual police state. A laid back guy who threw a party and let his guests kick back and enjoy themselves.

          There would be no Book of Job in my Bible.

          • February 2, 2014 at 1:14 am

            You realize Ron Paul is a baptist, right?

            You atheist anarchists make Ron Paul in your own image. Its no surprise you’d do so to God as well.

            Here’s the problem: Christians didn’t create God. God created us.

          • eric
            February 2, 2014 at 7:24 am

            David,

            RP is appealing in part because he rarely (if ever) conveys the sort of strident, condemnatory religiosity you do routinely. I’ve followed RP for longer than you’ve been alive and have always admired the humanity he expresses in his public utterances. His private beliefs may indeed be very similar to your own. But he does not make a big issue of it; he is not “in your face” about it.

            I suspect – and no intent to be condescending – the issue here is your youth. I tell you this from the perspective of one who was also 19 once – and who is not so old that I can’t remember what it was like.

            I’ve learned not to make public pronouncement of certainty about things I can’t prove. It’s off-putting to others, especially when it involves imputations of their personal worth, of their ethics (and so on).

            An example of this is “Christians didn’t create God. God created us.”

            I understand you believe this. Fine. But since you cannot prove it, why not keep it to yourself?

            Consider, that to a non-believer, your statement comes across very much like the statement – George Bush is a shape shifting reptile! – probably comes across to you.

            If I get pushy about it – insist that it’s true, that I know George Bush is a shape-shifting reptile – and impute that those who do believe it are minimally ignorant and very possibly defectives in some serious way… well, how do you suppose you’d take that?

            And yes, the two things are exactly the same insofar that they are nothing more than gratuitous assertions of belief that the believer insists be taken as knowledge, as truth.

          • Bevin
            February 2, 2014 at 1:21 am

            Dear David,

            Clearly you didn’t look at many previous posts in which I specifically singled out Ron Paul and said I wished more Christians were like him.

            I said he is evidence that Christians are not necessarily authoritarians.

            I said it was reassuring that the rationale he offers for upholding the NAP is political, NOT religious. He appeals to the Constitution, NOT the Bible.

          • February 2, 2014 at 1:38 am

            The Constitution doesn’t provide any argument whatsoever for the NAP. It does provide a framework for limited government, and should immediately discredit many actions which conservatives support (war being the worst one), but it isn’t in and of itself a defense of the NAP or private property rights. I happen to believe that the Bible is, specifically the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, etc.

            With that said, I greatly admire Ron Paul. And while many Christians do not listen to him, they have no excuses for not doing so. I could understand why some Christians would not want to listen to some of the people here, considering how anti-Christian that they come across.

            Which leads me to bring up this topic again. Even if you don’t believe in God, continually bashing traditional Christian theology is not helping your case among Christian Americans. And you aren’t going to get anywhere unless you can convince at least some evangelical Christians that the NAP and absolute private property rights are moral goods (I’ve been convinced some time ago, as have some others, but most have not.) I’m not saying pretend you believe in Christian theology, but some of the comments here seem to be borderline implying that Christian theology is somehow inherently an NAP violation, which is going to lead many Christians to refuse to consider it at all. I don’t think that’s helping.

            Frankly, I don’t understand the way some atheists and agnostics approach this subject. As a Christian, I have a reason to want you guys to agree with me. Maybe you find it annoying, but at least I have a reason. I want you guys to go to heaven, and not to Hell.

            But for an atheist, does it even really matter? If I die believing or not believing, I’m still dead, so who cares? Why bother trying to convince me that I’m wrong? Why does it matter to you at all that I believe what I believe?

            And before it is inevitably brought up, Christianity has never murdered or stolen from anyone. It is true that professing Christians may have done those things, but ultimately, it is through the ideology of STATISM that these things are justified. Not Christianity. Your real enemy is statism, not Christianity. Not to mention that the greatest tyrants in history were both statists and atheists.

          • eric
            February 2, 2014 at 7:07 am

            I look upon the Constitution as a repudiation of the sentiment of rights expressed by Jefferson in the Declaration. The two documents are very much at odds. One lays out the natural rights of man; the other catalogs and enumerates the powers of the state – defined purposely in such a way as to assure their expansion. The Constitution is Hamilton’s dirty work – and Hamilton was the ur enemy of natural rights, of liberty. I will not pull punches. He was evil. An evil genius.

            On the rest: Bevin explained it nicely. It’s hard not to react with indignation to someone announcing that those who do not “believe” in his deity will be roasting in eternal torment forever. Hard also not to bee concerned that a person who believes in such a thing – and other similar things – might not, if he had the power, impose terrible things on those who do not “believe.”

            For myself (and Bevin and others) the NAP is the source waters of our philosophy. For Christians who believe as you do, the source waters are very different. Hence the problem.

            And it is a one-sided problem.

            Our philosophy, our ethics, preclude – by conscious personal choice – interfering with other people’s personal lives, their decisions, with anything they do – so long as their actions are peaceful. The very bedrock of our attitude toward others is magnanimous. Live – and let live.

            Yours, unfortunately, is not. While you say you respect the NAP, your god – your religion – does not. Mind, here I am not speaking of all Christianity (hat tip to Panarch). I am speaking specifically about the proselytizing, fire and brimstone, with us – or against us – sort of Christianity. The Christianity that gave the world the crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms, stonings, human bonfires; which threatened to kill men like Galileo – and which did kill many other outstanding men whose lives enriched humanity.

            And no, the record is not all bad. But that’s a straw man argument. Akin to pointing out the Autobahn or the VW or the worker’s vacations and anti-vivisection laws the Nazis pioneered. What about all the good things Hitler did?

            Note, as Bevin has, that one cannot lay mass murder (or mass misery) at the feet of esoteric spirituality – Buddhism, for instance.

            But the Abrahamic religions – exoteric religions – have a long historic track record of not being content to pursue their beliefs in peace and quiet, leaving others free to do the same. Instead, they insist others “believe,” too…. or else.

            This is ugly, but it’s the plain truth.

          • Bevin
            February 2, 2014 at 4:20 am

            Dear David,

            Yes! Statism IS the enemy.

            But guess what? The same controlling, dictatorial, clover attitudes behind secular statism, are behind theocracy, aka religious statism.

            Secular statism is essentially theocracy stripped of its religious baggage. It is nominally more “modern” but actually just as primitive.

            The title of the market anarchist non-fiction book “Democracy: The God that Failed” embodies that notion. Democracy is a secular religion. Champions of Democracy have the same blind faith in Democracy that devotees of a given religion have in their belief system.

            The parallels are clear enough that quite a few libertarians have made note of it. Here’s one:

            Anarcho-Capitalist Free Thinker
            Similarities between Religion and Statism
            http://www.ancapfreethinker.info/?page_id=58

            This would not happen if religions were esoteric. This happens only because the religions in question are exoteric rather than esoteric.

            If the religions were esoteric, and their practitioners were engaged solely in private meditation, prayer, and spiritual exploration, there would be no problem.

            But too often the religions in question are exoteric, and their practitioners engage in public condemnation of unbelievers, preaching, evangelism, crusading, and in the process becoming a serious problem.

            “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”
            – Ann Coulter

          • eric
            February 2, 2014 at 7:30 am

            Amen, Bevin.

            And thanks for bringing up the story of Job. Straight out of the DSM – a textbook case of clinical sadism. God and his beer buddy – who in the story are a lot like Zed and his buddy in that infamous scene in Pulp Fiction – torture a man for their own entertainment, over a bet.

            It’s filthy, loathsome – literally unbelievable to me that anyone could reconcile such a creature as described in this story (and others) with benevolence and love.

          • Bevin
            February 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

            Dear David, Eric,

            Re: Ron Paul and the Constitution

            Correct! We anacaps know full well that the Constitution is not actually consistent with the NAP.

            I myself have repeated linked to Larken Rose’s video “I’m allowed to rob you,” which points out how the Constitution violates the NAP.

            But that’s not what I meant to say, in this context.

            I meant to say that given that Ron Paul is a minarchist libertarian, as opposed to an anarchist libertarian, I was glad that despite his Baptist faith, he cited non-religious arguments for his libertarianism over religious ones.

            I would of course prefer that he cite Murray Rothbard and Hans Hoppe over the Constitution. But I will take what I can get.

            Hope that clears it up.

          • Bevin
            February 3, 2014 at 12:06 am

            Dear Eric, lib,

            Re: connection between secular statism and theocracy.

            http://stopthelie.com/tragedy-and-hope-made-easy.html

            … according to statesman like Kissinger [and Cardinal Richlieu, whom Kissinger praises], the moral and legislative laws that limit the actions of ordinary men do not apply to a select few. To escape accountability, the ruling class needs only to invoke the name of the state. This, of course, is the same position held by past rulers who justified theft, deceit, torture, slavery, and slaughter in the name of God. The tactic has simply been modernized. Our new rulers have substituted “the state” for God. And conveniently for them, they are the state…and not just any state; they are the emerging, omnipotent, global state.

            PS: The term “statesman” is usually contrasted with the term “politician.” The premise is usually that a “statesman” is good, a “politician” is bad.

            I used to buy that. No longer.

            Now I think the term “statesman,” which includes the word “state,” cannot possibly represent good. The term “statesman” implies that someone who is part of the machinery of state can also be some sort of enlightened visionary.

            The reality of course is otherwise, as all anacaps who understand how all states violate the NAP know.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 3, 2014 at 1:19 am

            Well, wait a minute, Bevin. RE: statesman. I thought that was what made Ron Paul a bit different from the rest? He was a statesman. Of course….

          • Bevin
            February 3, 2014 at 1:28 am

            Dear Pan,

            Well, give me a moment will ya?

            I gotta memo Winston Smith over at the Ministry of Information first. Revising history takes time you know!

          • February 3, 2014 at 2:03 am

            Eric,

            I hope you aren’t taking my statements with regards to this the wrong way, or that it will cause you to disregard what I have to say about other issues. Keep in mind that I agree with almost everything you believe that doesn’t have to do with this.

            I find the “youth” argument interesting, because I’ve had it used against me several times in political debates, most notably, in one case because I shared a generally negative opinion of police. I think its funny how these things come around full circle. I don’t think I’m taking your comment in the wrong way. It doesn’t offend me that you say that, but I do think its interesting how that same argument gets thrown out all the time. I also think its funny that, while you guys mostly think I am “In your face” about religion, most religious people who I know IRL who don’t agree with the NAP think I put far too much time and energy into defending the NAP. I’m not saying this actually proves anything, but I find it interesting how different your guy’s reaction to me is from people I know IRL.

            I cannot give you irrefutable evidence that my faith is true. I can show you scriptures that were written about Christ before he was ever born, and show you from the New Testament how those prophecies came to pass. I can show you passages that predict King Cyrus before he was ever born. And I could discuss the fact that, in my personal life, I’ve seen some pretty incredible things happen because of my parent’s prayers. I believe that the existence of the earth is enough evidence, in my mind, of a creator. But ultimately, I cannot prove anything to you.

            Honestly, if I were to ever go into politics, I would probably be more like Ron Paul in style than I am right now. Ron recognizes, rightly, that Christianity has been used as a manipulation tactic by other Republicans for political brownie points, and he wants people to accept him because of his policies, not religious manipulation. I respect that, and I agree with him. I also understand how, being in that position, he has to attack issues from the governmental level, and thus cannot make the same types of statements about soldiers and cops that we might make.

            I, by contrast, have no political office at present, nor am I running from one. I like to think I’m an intelligent thinker, talking to other intelligent thinkers. I don’t feel so much need to “pull my punches” in that situation, if that makes sense. Frankly, I wish I could have more conversations IRL like we do here (Logic and reason being supreme, and not so much worry about hurting people’s feelings.) I recall to one point where you accused me of aiding and abetting theft because I took financial aid. I don’t agree with you on that point, but I wasn’t offended by that statement. I think its unfortunate that its socially unacceptable to have those kinds of conversations IRL most of the time. We should be able to tell what we believe is the truth, even if it hurts. I wish people generally had thicker skin with regards to those things. I appreciate that you guys, for the most part, do.

            I feel the same way about this issue. You may not like what I have to say about this issue, or agree with me, but I still think its an important discussion to have.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 3, 2014 at 2:21 am

            Good comment, David.

          • February 3, 2014 at 3:16 am

            Eric- I totally agree with you on Hamilton. He was evil. WRT: the constitution, I’d have to say in relation to what? Ron argues for it in relation to what we have today, and in that light, it would probably fix 90% of our issues if applied strictly. In Hamilton’s case, he wanted to apply it instead of the AOC, which in practice probably multiplied government by a factor of 10.

            With regards to the rest, I simply don’t think we’re going to agree on this. I disagree entirely with your fundamental view of God. I think its probably fruitless to continue along these lines. You aren’t going to agree with me on this.

            That said, I completely, 100% agree with the NAP. What I meant by my comments about the NAP VS faith were not that there is any conflict between the NAP and faith (Which I do not believe there are.) My issue was with regards to ADVOCACY for one VS the other. Bevin’s mentality is that it doesn’t really matter what we believe about God or eternity because we both believe in the NAP (Oddly, you guys seem to be failing to follow this rule with regards to me, I view this as the failure to tolerate intolerance fallacy.) Whereas for me, religion is extremely important, so much so that advocating for the gospel is more important to me than advocating for the NAP. Not that my Christian faith is in any way antithetical to the NAP.

            Have you ever seen Kirk Cameron’s “Monumental”? Although Kirk Cameron does not hash it out exactly as I would, I think if those principles were actually followed by Christians and by society in general, we’d have a much more anti-aggressive society than we have today… not in spite of evangelical Christianity, but because of it.

            @Bevin- I think its funny, I probably agree with you more on actual policies than Ron agrees with either of us. I don’t want ANY State interfering with either of our lives. Government; maybe, depending on how defined, but only voluntary ones, and no State. Ron supports a minimal state. I find it interesting that in spite of this you prefer Ron’s philosophy over mine. I think that you, and Eric, care more, at least in this particular case, about having your feelings hurt WRT being told that your agnostic/atheist belief systems are damnably wrong, than you are in actually tearing down the State.

            Don’t get me wrong, I like Ron Paul, a LOT. I even like Rand on certain points. I don’t discount people I don’t completely agree with. That goes for you guys too. But if you’re going to write me off, and people who think like I do, because of our exclusionary religious beliefs, we’re not going to get anywhere.

          • eric
            February 3, 2014 at 7:27 am

            Hi David,

            I used to be a Constitutionalist – that is, I was conned by the Constitution.

            Hamilton’s genius was to incorporate weasel words such as “general welfare” into the document – which laid the foundation for the unlimited central authority we suffer under today.

            The Bill of Rights is the only part of the Constitution worthy of admiration – and it was only included grudgingly. Hamilton and his supporters would very much have preferred to have thrown it in the woods.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 3, 2014 at 3:35 am

            I’m starting to think this is a built-in flaw of some kind, it’s like both sides are chickens and they see a red spot on the other (you Do know about how that works, don’t you?) Pardon my repeat:

            Just from reading most of this thread, I’m seeing a lot of evidence – from both sides – this is true:

            “If [...] we continue to peck at one another – and insist on orthodoxies outside the NAP – it is likely, probable, that the liberty movement will go the way of the Mensheviks.”

            – from both sides – above, is in Bold.

            WFD.

          • eric
            February 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

            Hi Panarch,

            A lot of this is just good table manners – not really a “rights” issue.

            What I mean is this:

            David (and so on) has every right to state his beliefs, including the ones many of us (me, at any rate) regard as obnoxious and factually insupportable.

            But is it good form to state beliefs that one knows others will regard as obnoxious – in particular, when they are really just personal beliefs without objective, factual support?

            A good example comes to mind: Evangelical/proselytizing Christians get uncomfortable when gays make an issue of their gayness. It’s arguably rude for them to do so. Why not just go about your business and leave it at that?

            Mind, I don’t expect David (et al) to embrace “the gay agenda,” either. But just as he no doubt doesn’t want to hear talk about same-sex this/that, others are not interested in hearing about how they’re going to Hell because they don’t “believe” – and so on.

            Per Bevin, there is something off-putting about people who don’t “keep it in their pants” when it comes to their spiritual quest. It’s fine if someone asks you about it – initiates the conversation. But I’ve had my fill of people putting me in a very awkward position by asking me whether I have “heard the good news” or insisting that I am going to Hell to be tormented forever because I do not share their unsubstantiated beliefs.

          • Bevin
            February 3, 2014 at 9:23 am

            Dear David,

            You wrote,

            “@Bevin- I think its funny, I probably agree with you more on actual policies than Ron agrees with either of us. I don’t want ANY State interfering with either of our lives. Government; maybe, depending on how defined, but only voluntary ones, and no State. Ron supports a minimal state. I find it interesting that in spite of this you prefer Ron’s philosophy over mine. ”

            Nope. Not at all. That’s a major misunderstanding. I prefer your stated political positions over Ron Paul’s. But, here’s the rub. Your evangelical zeal makes me doubt your commitment to them. You yourself openly declared that your religious faith has priority over your ethical code.

            By comparison, Ron Paul’s secular, non-theological justification for his minarchist principles feels like more of a sure thing. Especially since I’ve tracked his voting record for 30 years.

      • MamaLiberty
        February 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm

        Good grief, what a totally disgusting philosophy.

    • Giuseppe Crowe
      February 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      MamaLiberty wrote:

      “The basic “rule” necessary for all of us to get along is the rule of non aggression and the inalienable right to self defense. ”

      My basic premise from which things like the NAP was (in my case) derived is simply that each individual owns his or her own body. By extension, each individual owns whatever (s)he produces without infringing on the self-ownership of others. Right to self-defense springs from self-ownership as well. Where the abortion debates enters is that the pro-life position posits that legal proscription of abortion is OK, but in actuality it amounts to (yet another) assertion that individuals or groups of individuals can justify enslaving a woman by denying her right to do with her body whatever she wants.

      Many religious people follow the “moral” tenets of their religions while not applying ethics to their positions. The issues always come when people seek to apply religious tenets to political control and this seems to be a universal application…..the God is on our side syndrome.

      By the way, many dogmatic, single-issue individuals act in the same way. It’s ironic really…..

      P.S. – my comment about government employees as game animals was supposed to be flagged as black humor but the WordPress posting mechanism filtered that out….oh well….

      • MamaLiberty
        February 1, 2014 at 2:16 pm

        Absolutely! Self ownership and self responsibility are the only rational basis for those “rules.”

  27. Pinko
    February 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Eric, you said, “The Christian god is fundamentally a racial-ethnic-tribal god. He “chose” his special people. The rest are fodder for Hell. What a sad – and petty – doctrine.” .. I think this about sums up all of your problem with ‘christianity’ quite neatly. But, you may be surprised to learn that a great many churched believers have suffered under the same delusion and have been duly tormented thereby.

    Including yours truly.

    But you may be equally surprised to learn that all of that doctrine is a satanic deception and is no more biblical than, well, just about any other doctrine that is highly esteemed in the church (e.g., 6-day-Creationism, global flood of Noah, ‘Rapture’ theory, etc., etc.). I certainly understand your frustration with David’s proselyzing, and your disgust with his conclusions about the God he professes belief in, but you should know that there are a few—the Bible calls them a “remnant”—who have had their eyes opened to these deceptions. I am one.

    I just wanted to tell you to be at peace. There is no hell. God loves his creation. And He is currently doing a “strange work” in the earth.. to the ultimate end of creating man in his own image. THAT is our purpose here! This is a long process, begun in a garden (Eden), sealed in a garden (Gethsemane), and one day culminating in a garden (‘Paradise’, the “New Jerusalem”, the “City of God”), in which ALL of his creation will be redeemed, created anew, in the very image of God.

    Caveat: there will be some suffering along the way.

    That’s the message of the prophets, the message of Jesus, the Son of God, and the message given to his apostles as relayed to us in the New Testament. Indeed, the church has muddled things up a bit…

    • Bevin
      February 1, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Dear Pinko,

      You appear to be referring to the crucial distinction between ESOTERIC and EXOTERIC religion. If so, then I am in substantial agreement with you.

      A few of us referred to this in a previous debate over religion. Believe it or not, I can actually get behind Esoteric Christianity, which treats the mythology not as objective fact, but as spiritual metaphor. Not as a moral club by which to beat non-believers over the head, but as guideposts for one’s own individual’s inner journey. I have no problem with that at all!

      As one esoterically oriented website observes:

      Any meaningful discussion about religion must take at least two different dimensions of the religious experience into account. First, there is religion in its exoteric or “outer” form, largely consisting of the rituals, beliefs, and dogma of a particular tradition. This is what the majority of people think of when they hear the word “religion”, often associating it with old myths, pre-rational thinking, and obsolete ideologies. Whenever you hear Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, or any of the other “new atheists” railing against God and religion, it is always this mythic exoteric form that they are attacking.

      There is another side to religion which, by definition, is very often overlooked: the esoteric or “inner” core that invites us to actually experience divinity for ourselves. This esoteric core is almost entirely composed of vivid (and occasionally enigmatic) descriptions of spiritual devotion, transcendent truths, and timeless realities. But there is so much more than just poetry at the heart of religion—esoteric spirituality represents a very real technology of transformation, offering profoundly enriching practices of meditation and prayer to help us all experience these things for ourselves, rather than just taking it as a matter of faith.

      The former is a collective outer crusade. It is not okay. It is essentially the religious counterpart of a secular totalitarian dictatorship, with a control freak “clover” deity in place of a control freak “clover” dictator.

      The latter is an individual inner journey. It is okay in my book. More than okay. It is a positive good.

      • Tor Libertarian
        February 2, 2014 at 12:50 am

        Thanks for explaining that distinction, Bevin. For our purposes, is it generally preferable to remain exoteric, as opposed to discussing one’s own thoughts or feelings?

        Disclosing individual secret cabalistic knowledge would seem more likely to become a sensitive subject and more likely to lead to disagreements.

        China Buddhist Encyclopedia
        http://www.chinabuddhismencyclopedia.com/en/index.php?title=Exoteric

        Exoteric refers to knowledge that is outside of and independent from anyone’s experience and can be ascertained by anyone.

        Confer with: Common sense.

        It is distinguished from esoteric knowledge. Exoteric relates to “external reality” as opposed to one’s own thoughts or feelings. It is knowledge that is public as opposed to secret or cabalistic.

        It is not required that exoteric knowledge come easily or automatically, but it should be referenceable or reproducible.

        Most philosophical and religious belief systems presume that reality must be independent of what an individual makes of it. However, even before the days of Plato, a prominent alternate theory of knowledge insisted that the perceived outside reality is merely an internal fabrication of the observer and that it has no existence or substance outside the imagination of the observer.

        The Buddha saying “All that we are arises from what we have thought” and Descartes’ saying “I think therefore I am” are reminiscent of this.

        The Japanese swordsmaster Miyamoto Musashi, in his The Book of Five Rings, noted that when he teaches people martial arts, “since he generally makes them learn such things as have actual relevance to addressing deeper principles, there is no such thing as a distinction between the esoteric and the exoteric.”

        Religious context

        The term exoteric is mostly used in conjunction with religions and spirituality (as “esoteric” is often associated with esoteric spirituality), in which the teachings shift the believer’s focus away from the exploration of the inner self and towards the adherence to rules, laws and an individual God.

        The term exoteric may also reflect the notion of a divine identity outside and different from the identity of a human, whereas the esoteric notion claims that the divine is to be discovered within the human identity. One step further, the pantheistic notion suggests that the divine and the material world is one and the same.

        • eric
          February 2, 2014 at 7:37 am

          Hi Tor,

          I don’t think most people (not me) have any problem with, say, friends talking about their respective beliefs over a beer or coffee – or whatever.

          Life is about conversation, the quest to understand.

          The line is crossed when people get pushy about their beliefs – as regards beliefs that have no basis in objective fact and which entail condemnation (and the implicit threat this implies).

          I will support to the end the right of someone to dance around a bonfire in goatskin pants – or handle snakes and gibberish in “tongues” – provided they do so on their own property, on their own dime, leave me out of it – and shut up about it in public.

          Mind: I would not support suppressing their right to proselytize/speak out in public. But it’s never a good policy to be an asshole, even if you have a right to be.

          • Tor Minotaur
            February 2, 2014 at 8:19 am

            It’s deeply rooted in me, “the flaw” which you describe. The need to esoterically bleed.

            As a work around, karmic consequence, I’ve spent most of my life among my social status inferiors and the lesser endowed who for whatever reason don’t trigger “the flaw.”

            Whenever I accidentally let if fly, I can usually observe the good people slowly backing away in real time and politely sort themselves out of my convo stream.
            - – - – -
            Also, since in the long run, I know I’ll eventually fail to say the right things, I try to mitigate by a double dose of doing the right things, like finding awesome articles to share, for example.
            - – - – -
            Sorry Fake Libertarians, Capitalism Requires Anarchy
            http://www.christophercantwell.com/2014/01/25/sorry-fake-libertarians-capitalism-requires-anarchy/

            - I’m inclined to mentally edit out all of Cantwell’s extraneous labels used for his ideological opponents. His excellent analysis stands quite well on its own, IMHO.

          • February 3, 2014 at 2:44 am

            Honestly, Eric, not only could I see a statist making a similar comment (with regards to “pushiness”) about politics, but I actually have heard similar with regards to politics.

            I’m sure you can come up with some reason that the two aren’t comparable, I’d even agree that they aren’t strictly comparable, but it still seems similar.

            BTW: I’d agree with you about not being pushy. The Bible says not to throw pearls before swine. So far, you guys here have shown an interest in discussing the issue, even if you strongly disagree with me. But if at any point you guys basically had a “Shut up, we don’t want to hear it” attitude with regards to faith, I’d let it go, lest I unnecessarily waste my time.

            But I suspect at least some here would regard ANY kind of proselytizing as “pushy”, and that’s where I think you err. If evangelists come to your door and you ask them to leave, than yes they’re being pushy if they don’t. But they aren’t being pushy just by showing up.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 3, 2014 at 3:20 am

            eric wrote, “will support to the end the right of [...] – provided they do so on their own property, on their own dime, leave me out of it – and shut up about it in public.”

            Oh no, mang. Imho, you should encourage every one and every asshole to strut their stiuff in public. The more, the better.
            On your land, no doubt, STFU. But in public, let the fire burn, and stoke it! Until there is no more such a thing as “public property”. Or at least, very very little.

            Unless of course they get in your face and invade your personal space and don’t back off when requested. But that only happens when you’re talking to the coppers, eh?

            Even the beggars usually back off. But the coppers…

  28. Tor Libertarian
    February 1, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Squabble. What a word! The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature. Mere dictionaries are artificial repositories, assembled and dispassionately put together well after the languages they claim to define.

    Eric has repeatedly told us his religion. He believes in the divine power of the written word. That is what he respects and finds sacred. He is a faithful and pious Logos-ian. Why ask of him to adopt your particular doxology and kaddish? To what end, oh ye of little [_____]?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos

    Logos (“I say”) is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion. Originally a word meaning “a ground”, “a plea”, “an opinion”, “an expectation”, “word”, “speech”, “account”, “reason”, it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus (around 535–475 BC), who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos_(Christianity)

    In Christology, the concept that the Christ is the Logos (Greek: Λόγος for “word”, “discourse” or “reason”) has been important in establishing the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his position as God the Son in the Trinity as set forth in the Chalcedonian Creed.

    The Christian concept of Logos derives from the opening of the Gospel of John, which is often simply translated into English as: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the translations, “Word” is used for Logos (λόγος), but in theological discourse, this is often left untranslated.

    Chalcedonian Creed – 415 A.D.
    We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable and rational soul and body.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxology

    - Eric’s Logos, and Christianity’s Logos, I would assert are one and the same.

  29. Tor Libertarian
    February 2, 2014 at 8:51 am

    “I also have this oddball liking for black velvet Elvis paintings – and I prefer ’80s hair rock to Bach.”

    Elvis Presley Painting with Cheese Puffs on Velvet – Cheesy Art in Cheetos
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXigfZGqsLM

    For all you non-meriKans and hypenated-meriKans, this video is about as screamingly 100-proof-meriKan as you can find. Watch it and understand.
    - – - – - – -

    Four religious leaders who recently attended a faith and immigration conference at the Council on Foreign Relations weigh in with their views of reconciling religion and immigration law.

    The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Mark Tooley argues religious leaders have been too quick to side with illegal immigrants, and that there are strong “faith-based arguments” for enforcing the law while still treating people compassionately.

    But the National Association of Evangelicals’ Galen Carey contends if “we reform our laws that will make it much easier for our laws to be enforced and respected.”

    Arturo Chávez of the Mexican American Catholic College says programs that will allow people to come to the country legally “on some kind of temporary workers’ program” will help put a stop to cartels’ human trafficking, which he says is currently being treated as simply another illegal immigration issue.

    Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says that treating people in a “less than fully humane way,” such as jailing undocumented children, violates their basic human dignity and the insistence of most religions “to treat the image of God in the person before you.”

    - I wonder why it is, that religious leaders accept invitations to CFR events? Should a pastor or holder of even higher religious office accept such an invitation? WWJD?
    - – - – - – -

    Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) (aka Chatham House Study Group)
    http://www.whale.to/b/riia_q.html

    The Illuminati in 1919 created the RIIA. The American equivalent to the RIIA is the CFR. The RIIA and CFR set up the Round Table Groups(RTGs)

    The Knights Templar have become the driving influence at the highest levels of all the secret societies among the adepts known as the Illuminati. The most accessible font of their influence will be found in the (Cecil Rhodes) Roundtable Group (The Group), The Royal Institute Of International Affairs, the Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City, the Council On Foreign Relations, the Jason Society, the Skull and Bones Society (Russell Trust), the Scroll and Key Fraternity, the highest Degrees of the York and Scottish Rites of Freemasonry, the Ancient Order of Rosae Crucae, and many other secret societies which collectively make up the modern equivalent of the “Brotherhood of the Snake” also known as the “Guardians,” the “Builders,” the “Philosophers of Fire,” or the “Illuminati.”

  30. liberranter
    February 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    But if someone starts talking about how “Unbelievers will burn in hell!” unbeliever such as myself start to get a little nervous. Can you blame us?

    If anyone making such a pronouncement then takes it upon themselves to “help” such unbelievers on their way through acts of violence, then the unbelievers have an absolute right, but, I would argue, a DUTY to fight back in their own self-defense. The “believers” (in violrnce) are certainly NOT acting in accordance with Scripture, however loudly and violently they proclaim otherwise. As I said upthread, there is nothing in the Gospels that in any way exhorts believers to use any form of violence to coerce unbelievers into believing and following (this is of course not true of the State-co-opted, politicized pseudochurch birthed by the Emperor Constantine 1700 years ago and that has almost completely erased the original New Testament church). The fire-and-brimstone breathing demogogue who incites his followers to violence will wind up in hell sooner than any non-believer.

    • eric
      February 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      I dig this point of view, Lib – and my money says that more people would dig Christianity, too, if it came across this way rather than the other way.

      • February 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

        Eric,

        I completely agree with what lib says about violence. He’s 100% correct. Christians who use violence to attack unbelievers for unbelief (This is rare today, but was common in the past) are living incompatibly with Christian teaching, and I would argue were probably never actually regenerated by Jesus Christ.

        I support spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ by peaceful persuasion, never by violence.

        • Pinko
          February 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm

          David, you seem sincere when you say you eschew violence and would rather spread “the gospel of Jesus Christ by peaceful persuasion”. And I’m sure you believe in your heart you are doing just that. But try and see things from the point of view of the un-pursuaded. Because to rational thinking people, you come across as either pathologically conflicted or quite possibly demented.

          You say you represent a God of Love, and you yourself would never lift a finger to hurt a soul who remains in unbelief, but… BUT… Your god WILL. Ultimately, you preach that he in fact has already decided who he was going to torture in endless horrors of hellfire. Nothing anyone can do about it, and no explanation offered. Indeed, the vast majority of his creatures have been slated for destruction, simply because “they deserve it”. Billions of souls, in fact, who never heard of Christ, tens of millions of Muslim children in orphanages, sick and poor and hungry, once reaching some mystical “age of accountability” and succumbing to their earthly tortures, awake an instant later in a burning furnace, in eternal terror. Because that’s “justice”. Because god “loves them” (well, used too)… Or did he? I mean if they were always slated for hell, how can you rationally say he ever loved them?

          You appear to earnestly believe this bald-faced contradiction. While you maintain you follow a god of love and peace, your implicit threat of a thousand deaths for all who disagree with your doctrine… a cosmic NAP turned upside down, where the maw of eternal darkness swallows all light, where the greatest Moral Being has decided, on a whim, how to dispose of most of his pathetic, forevermore unloved creatures…reeks of hatred and malevolence. And you think this is not the very essence of violence?

          • February 3, 2014 at 11:47 pm

            Where have I said a thing about an “Age of accountability”? I do not believe any such thing exists.

            What you fail to understand is that, through Adam, all human beings DESERVE eternal torment. No person will suffer torment beyond that which he deserves.

            As for “threats”, I make none. If you really don’t believe God exists, why do you care?

          • eric
            February 4, 2014 at 6:54 am

            Hi David,

            Echoing Pinko (and Bevin), when you write things like “What you fail to understand is that, through Adam, all human beings DESERVE eternal torment,” us unbelievers/questioners get very uncomfortable.

            Not because we fear God (we don’t believe in such a god). Because we fear people who so earnestly believe in such a vicious – such an insane – doctrine. It makes you sound exactly like an uuu-lating (sp?) Jihadist or would-be Torquemada – just itching to see those who “DESERVE” it punished horribly and eternally. For what amounts to being disrespectful toward your asserted God; denying or questioning this confected being’s absolute authority – the ultimate “sin” in your theology.

            This is not about “failing to understand.” (Italics added) Your mere assertion is not fact. It is just your belief. There is nothing to “understand” about arbitrary assertions – except that you believe the arbitrary assertion. But your statement is one of strident certainty – and of judgment. That people who do not “understand” – that is, who refuse to simply believe what you believe – are basically deliberate fools (actually, much worse than that) who have rejected the obvious, the demonstrably true – like someone who scoffs when another states that New York City is a real place, an actual city located at such and such longitude and latitude. But your Adam/original stuff is not the same stuff as that. It is a religious – and utterly arbitrary, devoid of objective fact – assertion of belief.

            PS: Someone beat me to this, but in re “No person will suffer torment beyond that which he deserves,” well, there is Job.

            A “righteous” man – the Bible’s description of him – sadistically tormented by God to win a bet with Satan.

            Remember: Job “believed.” I guess that wasn’t enough.

            PS: Doesn’t the obvious anthropomorphism of that story bother you just a little? If God is an omniscient deity, creator of everything, outside time and space, then he already knew the outcome of the bet. After all He knows everything before it happens (from our point of view as temporal beings). He must – by definition – else he is not omniscient and the whole “god” thing just kind of falls apart.

            The bet over Job therefore is meaningless and pointless. God would have to know the outcome before torturing Job.

            It’s another example of the crudely anthropomorphic god depicted in the Bible. A very human god – with severe anger issues – whose main obsession is that his peons acknowledge his absolute authority and never question anything he dictates.

            Basically, Stalin in the Sky.

            It’s spiritual S&M. It amazes me that any psychologically normal person would do anything but laugh – or run, screaming at the top of his voice – from such a doctrine.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 4, 2014 at 12:48 am

            David wrote, “No person will suffer torment beyond that which he deserves.”

            Pastor Murray [shepherdschapel.com] makes that same conclusion. He says, “If it happens to you, you deserve it.”

            It seems to me that’s an easy way for many american’t Christians to turn a blind eye to injustice, torture, murder, and worse, all done in their name.

            Pastor Murray knows a lot. I agree with much of what he says. But that,… some guys may be mystified about the story of Job and (to me) make the wrong conclusions, but one thing to come of that story is: Job didn’t “deserve it”.

            Go from there.

          • Bevin
            February 4, 2014 at 12:49 am

            Dear David,

            Seems to be some confusion here.

            I’m guessing Pinko was paraphrasing, and referring to “Day of Reckoning.”

            Day of reckoning
            From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
            Day of reckoning refers to the Last Judgment in Christian belief, and is also specifically mentioned in the Qur’an and thus is a Muslim Belief.

            Do you believe in the Last Judgment? It’s pretty integral to Christianity.

            Actually, I’m hoping you don’t. Why inflict “eternal torment” upon yourself worrying about it? Why not just live your life in an upright manner, with kindness and consideration for others? Why isn’t that enough? I really don’t get “hellfire and damnation” Christians.

            You wrote:
            “As for “threats”, I make none. If you really don’t believe God exists, why do you care?”

            Many of us really don’t believe there is an invisible tyrant in the sky who will punish us for not bowing and scraping before him. It’s not “Him” we fear. “He” doesn’t exist. What’s there to fear from “Him?”

            It’s Holy Warriors and Jihadists here on planet earth, who have a pretty spotty record in the “live and let live” department, that we fear.

            It’s not you specifically. But when you make sounds disturbingly similar to the sounds made by Holy Warriors and Jihadists, we “unbelievers” get a little nervous. We start to wonder, just how thin is the line dividing them from you?

            Sounds such as “What you fail to understand is that through Adam, all human beings DESERVE eternal torment.”

            I don’t think I deserve eternal torment. What’s more, I don’t think you deserve eternal torment either! Even if you were to conclude one day, “Hey, I don’t believe in the Abrahamic God any more.” you would still not deserve eternal torment.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 4, 2014 at 1:26 am

            Bevin wrote, “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
            Day of reckoning refers to the Last Judgment in Christian belief, and is also specifically mentioned in the Qur’an and thus is a Muslim Belief.”

            That’s just one more indication to me that all the great religions of the world are the result of a revelation from the same Supreme Being.

            Anyway, I was listening to a radio station eric would likely Never listen to, the lyrics to the pop music song were,

            “Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive!”

            Not that it has any bearing on this conversation, it just reminded me of you all. Er, most of you, anyway.

          • eric
            February 4, 2014 at 6:30 am

            Excellently said, Pinko – thank you.

            I hope David will consider your words….

          • Bevin
            February 4, 2014 at 8:52 am

            Dear Eric,

            “Basically, Stalin in the Sky.”

            Well put.

            Why would anyone who values individual liberty and human dignity invent a religion with a god who resembles a power mad tyrant obsessed with unquestioning obedience?

            Is it unfair to infer that the human authors of the Bible projected their own dark sides into the text?

            Here’s a thought. Judeo-Christian belief is not actually “carved in stone.” Former heresies are current orthodoxies. Newer heresies relentlessly emerge and jettison older orthodoxies, in a never ending progression.

            Judaism led to Catholicism/Eastern Orthodoxy, which led to Protestantism, which led to Sectarianism, which led to Liberal Christianity, which led to the New Age Movement.

            One might say that Darwinian evolution was improving Christianity, forcing it to become more humane, in keeping with human social and political evolution.

            Therefore, why not radically overhaul the Bible and make it consistent with a libertarian society? If one cannot bring oneself to jettison the concept of god altogether, why not at least make the Christian god a libertarian god, instead of a Stalinist god? Why not make him (or her) a champion of spiritual independence, instead of spiritual obedience?

            Whaddya say David? If you became a New Age Movement evangelist who preached such values, even I might come and listen to your sermons.

          • eric
            February 4, 2014 at 9:34 am

            Hi Bevin!

            Jefferson did exactly that – excising from the Bible the portions he found loathsome or indefensible.

            The idea that the Bible is the inerrant, immutable “word of God” is palpably silly. It is a mishmash collated and edited by men. Of other men’s writings.

            Whatever Jesus really stood for has been very much lost in translation.

          • Bevin
            February 4, 2014 at 9:54 am

            Dear Eric,

            Right!

            Liberal Christian exegesis

            The theology of liberal Christianity was prominent in the Biblical criticism of the 19th and 20th centuries… the Bible is not considered a collection of factual statements, but instead an anthology that documents the human authors’ beliefs and feelings about God at the time of its writing—within a historical or cultural context.

            … liberal Christian theologians do not claim to discover truth propositions… Liberal Christianity looks upon the Bible as a collection of narratives that explain, epitomize, or symbolize the essence and significance of Christian understanding.[2]

            Thus, most liberal Christians do not regard the Bible as inerrant, but believe Scripture to be “inspired” in the same way a poem is said to be “inspired” and passed down by humans.

            This strikes me as infinitely more compatible with libertarian psychology.

            Maybe the Old Testament fire and brimstone was consistent with primitive tribalism two thousand years ago. But it is hardly consistent with modern individualism and a post industrial “world that is flat.”

          • David
            February 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm

            Eric, I could provide a lot of thoughts here, but for the sake of time (since I only have a couple minutes ATM)… my very simple answer is, I believe I deserve eternal torment too. So its not a “I want to see the unbelievers suffer” sort of thing. I admit, I don’t completely understand why you, or I, deserves eternal torment. I believe God’s standards are infinitely higher than ours, and I do not believe that God will sentence anyone to a punishment greater than that which he deserves.

            WRT Job: Its not really a “bet” in the way you describe it. Satan is the one that caused Job to suffer, not God. Why God allowed Satan to do it, I don’t really know. Is it problematic? Maybe. but not to the same extent that you think it is.

            Will follow up later.

          • eric
            February 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm

            Hi David,

            I know you believe it. It just strikes me as sad, unjustified and masochistic. I’m glad you concede at least some of this. You’re a (barely) 19-year-old guy. What awful thing have you done to merit Hellfire forever? That you (according your theology) are tainted by original sin as a result of descent from Adam?

            What sort of ethics condemns a man for something his father (or great great great grandfather x 50) did? And what was Adam’s great crime?

            Seeking after knowledge – to know what “good” and “evil” were (according to the Bible). This was an act of disobedience which God (according to Christian theology) could not abide and for which Adam and Eve were “cast out” and as a result of which, all subsequent human beings are fundamentally corrupted and – as you’ve put it – deserving of Hell.

            Wow.

            PS: Once again, note the silly anthropomorphism of this story. God – who is omniscient, let’s not forget – loses track of Adam and Eve in the garden. Where have they gone? The omniscient God has no idea!

            And this omniscient being – who by definition must know in advance (from our perspective) that his pitiful creation will be “tempted” by the serpent – yet allows the poor puppet to be tempted anyhow, knowing that will mean eons and generations of horrible suffering for the creature and his progeny.

            And again, what is their crime? They sought to know. To use their brains – the brains God ostensibly made. To weigh good and evil for themselves, rather than live as automata.

            Again, wow.

          • David
            February 12, 2014 at 1:13 am

            This is kind of tough because of the format, but I will simply state this: God isn’t us. He isn’t bound by the same rules. You may not like that, but that’s what I believe.

            Its funny, because I had this debate with a couple of other students on my college campus today. Needless to say, I absolutely destroyed them, because they had absolutely zero foundation for what they believe. I ultimately proved to them that their agnosticism, when taken to its logical conclusion, could not hold up a system of absolute morality. They wound up saying that being a serial killer is wrong “for them” but not for a sociopath, and that their moral positions were no better, objectively, than Adolf Hitler’s. And frankly, that’s the logical conclusion of agnostic “nobody knows” relativism.

            I don’t totally know how libertarian these guys are, but one of the two students that was debating with me essentially said that he didn’t mind what I or anyone else believes as long as that belief does not lead to violence. I of course agreed that violence was incompatible with the Christian faith, but I then asked him how he could possibly claim “Violence is wrong” and that it would be wrong for me to use violence against him, since he has no absolute standard by which to claim so. He would up using the argument that he was trained in self-defense and could beat me up. Which is correct in his case (I’m awfully out of shape) but it wasn’t true for the Jews that Hitler exterminated (He and his armed goons overpowered them.) Needless to say, he had absolutely no good reason why the atrocities of Adolf Hitler were wrong. Without any absolute standard, there IS no good reason for such.

            Eric, you’ve mentioned the golden rule before with regards to this, and I agree with the golden rule. But treating others the way you would want to be treated is a rule that comes from Jesus Christ. In a secular worldview, it doesn’t make sense. If you are Hitler, Obama, or some other tyrant with immense power who has enough armed goons that he can prevent himself from ever being harmed, there’s no self-interest argument against him taking advantage of everyone, is there? So, why is it wrong? Quite frankly, because God says so, period.

            And to a Christian, such as myself, this issue is more important to me than any other issue. This is the issue where Bevin got confused and assumed that I was saying that my religion could cause me to violate the NAP. This is not the case. But to me, the root of the problem is right here, why is aggression wrong? Because the highest authority in the Universe, God, says it is.

            With regards to eternal Hell, if you cannot accept that the Creator of the Universe is infinitely higher than you are, and therefore sinning against him leaves you (Anyone, not just you) with a debt too great for you to pay, I don’t really know what to tell you. I guess I’m a “child abuser” because I teach this “sociopathic doctrine” to kids every week at my church. (*rolls eyes*). More seriously, though, if you think you’re basically, good, I don’t really know what to tell you. This doctrine will never, ever make sense to you from that perspective.

            At any rate, there are a lot of people who believe in Christianity, so frankly, the extreme anti-Christian bias from some here (oh, I know you accept more “liberal” forms of Christianity that don’t actually teach the Bible) isn’t going to help you reach Christians, even if that’s really what you think.

    • Bevin
      February 2, 2014 at 10:53 pm

      Dear lib,

      “As I said upthread, there is nothing in the Gospels that in any way exhorts believers to use any form of violence to coerce unbelievers into believing and following (this is of course not true of the State-co-opted, politicized pseudochurch birthed by the Emperor Constantine 1700 years ago and that has almost completely erased the original New Testament church).”

      Well said indeed!

      This is consistent with the esoteric vs. exoteric dichotomy I spoke of earlier.

      Esoteric theism, which looks inward, and devotes its energy to individual spiritual discovery, is never a problem, regardless of faith or denomination.
      Example: a medieval monk who retreats into a monastery and brews wine and meditates.

      Exoteric theism, which looks outward, and devotes its energy to imposing doctrinal orthodoxy, eradicating unbelief and even heresy, is always a problem, regardless of faith or denomination.
      Example: the Knights Templar, who waged Holy War, their Bushian successors, and their Muslim counterparts.

      • Giuseppe Crowe
        February 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        Bevin wrote:

        “Exoteric theism, which looks outward, and devotes its energy to imposing doctrinal orthodoxy, eradicating unbelief and even heresy, is always a problem, regardless of faith or denomination.
        Example: the Knights Templar, who waged Holy War, their Bushian successors, and their Muslim counterparts.”

        I’d ask for a definition of exotheric as an adjective. I cannot find a definition anywhere. I would think that jihad or crusade would be a better word. In that light, this term can also apply to other, non-religious movements. For instance, the AGW movement that enacts bans by fiat and brands opposing views as “so-called skeptics” (or in other words heretics) really fit into that mold. It’s only a matter of time before violence erupts as a result of their actions. “OK buddy, is that an incandescent bulb I see on your front porch? Up against the wall…resistance is futile…..

        • Bevin
          February 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm

          Dear GC,

          Here is one online explanation. It’s as good as any other I guess.

          … the great religious battle of our time is not that between believers and nonbelievers, but the battle within religious traditions between exoteric and esoteric versions of those traditions.

          In simple terms, for those for whom the terms are unfamiliar, the exoteric focuses on religious law and seeks to form a community publicly obedient to divine command, whereas the esoteric is more concerned with the inner experience and devotion of the heart… the monotheistic religions have not found it easy to reconcile their exoteric and exoteric sides.

          Needless to say, those of us denounced as “sinners who will burn in hell” are not terribly reassured by the “focus on religious law and attempt to form a community publicly obedient to divine command.”

          Especially if exoteric theists openly declare that their religious law trumps secular moral precepts such as the NAP.

        • Bevin
          February 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm

          Dear GC,

          “In that light, this term can also apply to other, non-religious movements. For instance, the AGW movement that enacts bans by fiat and brands opposing views as “so-called skeptics” (or in other words heretics) really fit into that mold.”

          Absolutely! Agree totally. As I said in another post, Secular authoritarianism has the same emotional and psychological roots as Theocratic authoritarianism. Both originate in a compulsive drive to impose uniformity, by force if necessary.

        • Bevin
          February 3, 2014 at 10:59 pm

          Dear GC,

          I assume you watched the reimagined “Battlestar Galactica” TV series when it aired several years ago.

          It delved surprisingly deeply into religion, and touched on some of the very issues we have been discussing.

          Monotheistic religions, especially the Abrahamic religions, find it difficult to resist the temptation to wage Holy Wars and Jihads. Not impossible. But difficult.

          The monotheistic belief that one’s god is the “one true god,” as opposed to merely one of many gods that can peacefully co-exist, makes it difficult for monotheists to resist the temptation to ram it down infidel throats. The attitude tends to be, “We know we’re right. So what the hell are we waiting for? Let’s roll!”

          Born-Again ‘Battlestar’
          Drawing from Mormonism, Roman polytheism, and even Buddhism, the reimagined sci-fi TV series is steeped in religion.
          BY: Ellen Leventry

          Taking inspiration from a post-9/11 world, the religious universe of the new “Battlestar Galactica” is as diverse and as complex as our own.

          The refugee humans, the Colonials, are polytheists in the mold of the Romans and Greeks, while their creations, the mechanical Cylons, have a strict belief in a singular God and in the soul, and are on a mission to eradicate the non-believing humans.

          “I sort of assumed that the Colonials would have a belief system and figured it would probably be polytheistic, that seemed to be what they referred to in the original,” explains [series creator Ronald D.] Moore. “But it wasn’t really until relatively late in the game that I sort of randomly gave the Cylons a belief system.”

          “I was in the middle of creating the characters and I was working on some lines for Number Six (a Cylon character) and I thought it was interesting if she professed a belief in God, in a single God.” Inspired by the theme of the rise of monotheism in the Western world and how it came to displace pagan religion, Moore decided to delve deeper.

          “There came this notion of this outside monotheistic belief of the one true God that could not tolerate others, that started to drive out pagan worship and that fit very nicely with what we were doing with the show.”

          Among the show’s human beings, there are those who believe in the gods, the Lords of Kobol, and those who are atheists. The most spiritually complex of the humans is President Laura Roslin, played by Mary McDonnell. The only high government official to survive the apocalypse, she begins to take on the role of a “born-again” prophet/oracle. She experiences visions brought on by medication used to treat her aggressive breast cancer and attempts to lead the remnant fleet to the holy land known as Earth.

          While we see subtle acts of devotion on the human side, it is the religious zeal of the Cylons that drives the show.

          When not busy hunting down the last of the twelve tribes of man, or trying to convert those who can help them, the Cylons spend much of their time musing about metaphysical matters: the nature of their souls and the legitimacy of their claims, as machines, that they possess souls at all.

          “The Cylons in the show focus on the soul; they firmly believe that they have a soul. .Human beings have souls given by the gods, and Cylons have a soul given by their one true god and that has to be just as valid,” says Moore.

          “It seems so far that the Cylons are almost a caricature of robotic evangelicalism,” says Reiss. “It could be that the writers are trying to make a statement that this is what happens when evangelical Christianity runs amok, the militant nature of it.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 4, 2014 at 12:00 am

            Wow, “Battlestar Galactica” has really changed since the original.

            …Female Cylons???

            I think maybe, not getting cable, was a good thing.

            In the background Dirk is saying “The A-Team” was the last best TV show. Or, something like that.

            I’m beginning to agree.

          • eric
            February 4, 2014 at 6:47 am

            The new BSG is different (very – Starbuck is a girl!) but overall, it was pretty good. Much less cheese, for one. I don’t mean so much the special effects. It’s not fair to criticize the original; it was 1978 – they did a good job with what they had available. I mean some of the plot/story lines. The new show is much more adult in that respect – and interesting. The Cyclons are “humanized” and you grow to empathize with them. In fact, that theme is very Libertarian. Man built intelligent machines – and enslaved them. The intelligent machines threw off their shackles…

            Sub-plot: This has happened before – and will happen again. Man’s technology gets ahead of him, gets out of control.

            In the final episode, the ship “jumps” (FTL travel) to Earth – the earth of 400,000 years ago. After taking with them just basic supplies – no advanced technology – they program the Battlestar and all the other ships to fly into the sun, to be destroyed.

            Turns out the Galacticans are us….

          • Bevin
            February 4, 2014 at 7:15 am

            Dear Eric,

            I agree.

            I wasn’t terribly impressed with the original BSG. It struck me as mere “space opera.” Not bona fide SF.

            The reimagined BSG, by contrast, was surprisingly profound, especially considering how often the “high concept” of machines turning on man has been debased in countless B-movies.

            The creators milked the ending a little too much I think. Reminds me of what Peter Jackson did in the Third installment of the LOTR Trilogy, which “ended” six times!

            The film version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which runs around three hours, features about 25 minutes of denouement. Each character gets his farewell, resulting in a long sequence of “endings” (six of them!) that leaves some viewers restless.

            As Honest Trailers put it, “A film that took so much of Peter Jackson’s life, he didn’t want it to end, prompting five completely separate endings that go on and on forever, making it really hard to hold in your pee.”

            That said, it was understandable. BSG was truly addicting. Viewers became deeply invested emotionally in the fate of the characters. How could they not? They were us! Mankind, facing extermination.

            Writing teachers teach that in order to invest a story with power, the stakes must be high. The higher the better. The survival of mankind? You can’t get any higher than that!

            I have the entire series on disc. The last time I watched it was several years ago. I just might go through it again.

  31. liberranter
    February 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    God is not bound by the NAP with regards to humans, for man of the same reasons humans are not bound to it with regards to animals..

    You’re correct, David. The problem arises when MAN attempts to violate the NAP in God’s name, something that is NEVER moral or scripturally correct.

    To put in casual secular terms, God is perfectly capable of fighting His own battles, thank you very much.

  32. Tor Libertarian
    February 3, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Patrick Henry hated clerics and religionists. He loved Jesus Christ, Christians, and the Bible.

    I’m trying to adopt the right definitional framework. If Patrick can be considered a good source, then Christians are the heroic force who pushed out the forces of tyranny from the Old World. It is clerics and religionists with whom I have my quarrel.

    It was the drunken warmonger and religiously indifferent ruffian George Washington who agreed to ascend the Republic throne in 1789 and allowed the clerics and religionists to regain their full power once and for all.

    Patrick Henry quotes:

    “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…. The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able must have a gun.”

    “Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”

    “Congress may carry on the most wicked and pernicious of schemes under the dark veil of secrecy. The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

    “They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.”

    “The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I Am Not A Virginian, But An American!”

    “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

    “Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Beside, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.”

    “When the American Spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different; Liberty, sir, was then the primary object.”

    “The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery”

    “The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable; and let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come!”

    “Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings – give us that precious jewel and you may take everything else!”

    “It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope and pride. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

    “Will the adoption of this new plan pay our debts! This, Sir, is a plain question. It is inferred, that our grievances are to be redressed, and the evils of the existing system to be removed by the new Constitution. Let me inform the Honorable Gentleman, that no nation ever paid its debts by a change of Government, without the aid of industry. You never will pay your debts but by a radical change of domestic economy…The evils that attend us, lie in extravagance and want of industry and can only be removed by assiduity and economy.”

    “Gentlemen may cry peace, peace- but there is no peace! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why should we idle here?…I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

    “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship.”

    “Suspicion is a virtue as long its object is the preservation of public good”

    “Fear is the passion of slaves.”

  33. Dave P.
    February 3, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I’ve come to realize that “religion” is entirely man-made, often by those who would create God in their image. Therefore, regardless of it you believe in an afterlife, there is no religion in heaven, only pure, unadultered truth.

  34. Tor Libertarian
    February 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

    A libertarian Christianity is certainly worth considering. The various dogmas of Christianity are based on a small fraction of the original sources and ancient dogmas. The written sources go all the way back to Mesopotamia and beyond, to the oral histories and traditions of antiquity.

    The library I grew up in included tens of thousands of books both secular and religious. I chose my own sources and developed my own doctrines as I began to read and attain understanding.

    I think I was put in that doctrinal environment in the same way and for the same reasons that today’s parents put their kids in front of the TV and hand them an Ipad. In my childhood, it was expected I would either be working, learning, or outside with other kids playing and doing our own thing away from the adults.
    - – - – -

    Some definitions

    dogmatism
    1. a statement of a point of view as if it were an established fact.
    2. the use of a system of ideas based upon insufficiently examined premises. — dogmatist, n. — dogmatic, adj.

    dogmatic (adj.) 1670s, from Late Latin dogmaticus, from Greek dogmatikos “pertaining to doctrines,”

    intolerance – unwillingness to recognize and respect differences in opinions or beliefs
    - – - –

    I don’t know that I’m against statism and collectivism in and of themselves. It’s the way they are imposed on me dogmatically that I have a problem with. Especially when the dogmatists have official uniforms and the color of law to back them up.

    The typical Non-Christian puts his nation and society as his Alpha dogma. He assigns his dogmas of belief a subordinate role. The typical Christian does just the opposite. His Alpha dogma is his religion. He sees nation and state as subordinate dogmas, he follows them only as guided by his religion.

    Governments, which are built on Dogma, see religionists as extremely valuable servants. These religionists provide a second layer of legitimacy. State religions serve as a sort of Meta-Dogma. Together they form an Iron Tautology. The State is a creation of God. Obey the State because it is the servant of God.

    If you attack either the State or the State Religion, both will come to the other’s mutual aid. Together they become nearly Invincible.

    I don’t like being told I’m a bad person because I don’t believe in climate change, religion, evolution, monogamy, and any other type of dogma. I especially dislike being taxed and put in a cage to strengthen and enforce a national collection of dogmatic doctrine known as government, state, and state religion.
    - – - – -

    Dogma is anything that’s just words on a page. Just a doctrine. This includes the American constitution, laws, and customs. It includes all rituals and commandments of the mainstream churches. Until evolution is made self-evident to a non-science believer, it too will remain a dogma in my eyes.
    - – - – -

    Science only rises above dogma when it’s predictions are proven independently by the human senses. Gravity is good science, because it can be seen and proven by non-scientists. It doesn’t need any Latin jargon or arcane mathematical priests to make its truth apparent to others. Science rises above dogma when it is made explicitly obvious. Also especially when it is used by entrepreneurs to create new and beneficial technology.

    I for one do not hold any truths to be self-evident. I operate using many assumptions, through faith, but I try to remember that at root, things I accept as faith and and things I know to be fact are two different things.

    No matter how many people believe in something, that doesn’t make it true. Sanity, which is the ability to abide by the law, which means to conduct yourself in subordination to the law, is not something I consider a virtue. It is supported only by faith and not by fact. Sanity is not statistical.

    The non-aggression principle, and the live and let live principle. Those are the underpinnings of a new definition of sanity. They are the truths we have found to be self-evident. We can only do our best to prove them in the usual doctrinal manner. And using Austrian economics and Praxeology. And using science and proof as best we can. We can only make the strongest case for them possible. And hope they become accepted. Possibly even statistically dominant.

    Then our version of sanity will become statistical. Our sanity will become a part of the popular will.

    • Bevin
      February 4, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Dear Tor,

      Yes. I see no reason why not.

      After all, Christian doctrine has undergone continuous revision for two thousand years.

      Why stop now? Why stop here?

      How ironic. Hardline atheists such as myself find ourselves trying to save Christianity from itself!

      • Tor Libertarian
        February 4, 2014 at 10:33 am

        Religion is a dogma. Race theory is a dogma. China is a dogma. Capitalism is a dogma. International diplomacy is a dogma. Male, female, familial roles are a dogma. Language is a dogma. America is a dogma. Socialism is a dogma. Buddhism is a dogma.

        Dogmas are based on doctrines. They can be broken down into component words. They are Logos. Believe them or don’t. Some are better supported than others. Some ideas rise from being mere dogma to attaining the status of fact. This acceptance is conditional, and subject to falsification. Authority does not make something a fact.

        One thing stronger than Logos is Techne.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Techne

        All of us are seeing these words on a device. A device made with Techne. Devices powered by Techne.

        Techne also supports Logos. There are internet packet delivery protocols. Hypertext protocols. Software protocols. Logos that do not exist without the underlying Techne.

        My interest in spirituality is also based on Natural Techne. How is our solar system made and maintained. The Logos of whoever or whatever makes everything interests me. Or the process by which is spontaneously arises. As it were.

        I am viewing this on a Samsung monitor made by Samsung out of Seoul, Korea. It was manufactured by them in China or Indonesia or whatever assembly plant, that is a fact, not dogma.

        Techne is more real and essential than Logos, I would be inclined to accept dogma from the sources of Techne. Those who do and make, are always to be preffered over those who say and dogmatize.

        Perhaps Christianity can lay claim to the amount of effort expended to develop Techne. If so, then they are still in the game. But perhaps Christianity can not. Perhaps Christianity causes more harm than benefit. It is an open discussion.

        “Then Yeshua said to his disciples, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

        By extension, a believer could conclude: the bible is there to serve man, not man is made to serve the bible.

        American mainstream Christianity has not been a good servant lately. It is not keeping the American State and Government in check by any definition I am aware of. It should absolutely be abandoned or replaced, possibly by American Libertarian Christianity or something else entirely. Or simply discarded. The sooner the better.

  35. Tor Libertarian
    February 4, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Story of Job, from The Skeptics Annotated Bible:

    Job was a perfect man, the richest in all the east. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters that liked to party. The sons often invited their sisters over to party with them.

    Nobody’s perfect. Well, except for Job (and Noah).

    “His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that This man was the greatest of all the men of the east.”

    “His sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.”

    God makes a bet with his son, Satan. God tells Satan to do nasty things to Job to see if he can get Job to curse God to his face.

    “The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.”

    Satan is the son of God! How many sons does God have?

    “And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

    Does God know everything? Is the Devil free to roam?

    “The LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man?”

    “Satan answered … touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.”

    “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power.”

    “So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”

    To start off God and Satan’s gruesome game, Job’s slaves and animals are burned to death or killed with swords. Then Job’s children are killed in a windstorm while partying.

    (God’s 130th Killing)
    “There was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house.”

    “They have slain the servants with the edge of the sword.”

    “The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them.”

    And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:
    And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
    And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

    While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

    While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

    While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:
    “Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind … and they are dead.”

    God kills (or allows Satan to kill) Job’s children, but Job doesn’t “foolishly” blame God.

    “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped.”

    “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

    “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

    “The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” Satan is the son of God — the only one that God ever seems to talk to.

    God asks where Satan has been lately (Apparently he didn’t know.)
    Does God know everything?

    “Job …was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”
    Has there ever been a righteous person?

    God and Satan play a little game with Job. God allows Satan to torment Job, just to see how he will react.

    “Thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Satan “moved” God to kill Job’s children for no reason at all.

    “Put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.”
    Satan says Job will curse God to his face if God tortures him a bit.

    “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.”

    “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” Who brought evil to Job?

    “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.”

    Job’s wife rightly says that if Job is to keep his integrity, then he should curse God (for playing vicious games with Satan) and die. Job replies that she is talking like a “foolish woman.”

    “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”
    Is God the creator of evil?

    Skeptics Annoted Bible
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/job/1.html
    - – - – -

    Contradictions in the Scripture:

    Wisdom is a good thing…

    Proverbs 16:16
    How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
    Proverbs 23:23
    Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
    Ecclesiastes 9:16-18
    Wisdom is better than strength … Wisdom is better than weapons of war.
    James 1:5
    If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

    Wisdom is a bad thing….

    Genesis 3:6
    And when the woman saw that the tree was … to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.
    Job 37:24
    He respecteth not any that are wise of heart.
    1 Corinthians 1:19
    For I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

  36. KePtalkin
    February 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I’ll state up front that I am a freedom-loving, “Live and Let Live”, Libertarian who was originally raised in a very legalistic non-denom Christian church which I thankfully found my way out of.

    What amazes me about Christians (those who actually study the bible) is how they cannot grasp the very plain and open teachings by Paul that “sin” was a transgression of the Law of Moses, which was fulfilled and is no longer in effect, that “where there is no law, there is no offense” (about the simplest concept one can put forth), and that the whole purpose of Christ’s life was to free the Jews’ minds from the prison of judgment and condemnation that said Law cast them into.

    Christ said the entire Law hung on two things, love God and love your neighbor.
    It would be quite difficult to have issues with our fellow man, as Libertarian Americans, if we but sought those two things.

    As for Christianity and being “saved”… if I am not in judgement of myself I have nothing to be saved from… which is why I no longer subscribe to Christianity, though I do believe in God. As a matter of fact, further following the bibles own teachings, it is absurd for one to say they do not believe in God, when God is plainly described there as being Love and Life. It seems to me that any man who lives and claims not to believe in the existence of Love or Life is certifiably insane.

    That’s my 2 cents. ;)

    Carry on, mates.

    • methylamine
      February 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      Well-said–and a very interesting take!

      I too “fell away” from the Christian church; I think 95% of “Christian” churches out there are disgusting statist war-worshipping dens of iniquity and hypocrisy.

      But I believe there’s a God; the universe is too orderly, too perfect, to be accidental…

    • PanarchistamericanHelot
      February 5, 2014 at 12:45 am

      I like this bit: “God is plainly described there as being Love and Life. It seems to me that any man who lives and claims not to believe in the existence of Love or Life is certifiably insane. ”

      …Or maybe momentarily misdirected?

      Anyway, this thread reminded of a short film I saw (The Magnificent Universe) which is at the bottom of this link, perhaps you’d all like it?:

      http://foundingfather1776.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/there-must-be-something-more/

    • Bevin
      February 5, 2014 at 12:57 am

      Dear Kep,

      I have no problem at all with such a “Liberal Christianity” take on god. I had a friend in junior high whose family was Unitarian Universalist, and he explained that was how they interpreted god. I never had any problem with it.

      Why?

      Because it focuses on “love and life” not “hellfire and damnation” and “fire and brimstone” for “unbelievers and sinners.” With such a psychological orientation, it is unlikely to lead to crusades, inquisitions, or witch hunts. It is unlikely to lead to violations of the NAP against me.

      It is also far more consistent with the assertion that one’s god is good and benevolent. I would think that anyone living in the modern era would want that.

      • David
        February 6, 2014 at 6:44 pm

        Unitarian Universalism is NOT Christianity. I wish they’d just stop pretending, honestly. I find atheists and agnostics much less annoying than people who pretend to be Christians yet metaphorically throw their Bibles in the trash.

        • Tor Libertarian
          February 6, 2014 at 7:07 pm

          UUism comes from a Christian tradition, but is not a Christian church per se , it does however welcome Christians
          http://www.uubloomington.org/worship/beliefs/Jesus.php

          Maybe it is surprising but the people you see on TV are not a real sample. Americans aren’t that rich, interesting, good looking, etc.

          It may also surprise you to learn people you read about in books and scripture are also not a real sample. They are likewise aggrandized, most likely to increase sales and gain followers.

          Just something to consider.

        • Bevin
          February 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm

          Dear David,

          “Unitarian Universalism is NOT Christianity.”

          “Yea? Well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion man.”

        • Bevin
          February 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm

          Dear David,

          You do realize what you’re implying, David?

          You’re implying that the “one true god” must be a “Stalin in the Sky,” otherwise it’s heresy and “NOT Christianity.” You’re implying that anyone who advocates a benevolent god is merely “pretending” to be a Christian.

          Actually, I take that back. You’re not “implying” it. You pretty much made it crystal clear.

          Real Christianity is S&M. God is the sadist. Real Christians are the masochists.

          Man, I could never make this stuff up in a million years. It would sound like some Hollywood screenwriter’s anti-Christian caricature.

          Is it any wonder “Liberal Christianity” has marginalized “You sinners will burn in hell for not believing in god” Christian fundamentalism?

    • eric
      February 5, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Hi Kep,

      This, I dig.

      It’s a shame that more professed Christians do not (apparently) dig it also.

      • KePtalkin
        February 8, 2014 at 8:11 pm

        Hi Eric,

        I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the conversation.

        I worked too many hours this week to be able to come back and keep up with what’s been said, but I will read it all when I have a few minutes of quiet time.

        • eric
          February 9, 2014 at 7:57 am

          You bet, KePtalkin!

          Good to have you with us….

  37. Tor Libertarian
    February 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    driven by simple curiosity, Louis CK does some investigative reporting and finds out some surprising things about the Catholic Church…

    Louis CK learns about the Catholic Church

    • Bevin
      February 8, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Dear Tor,

      Left a comment at the YT vid.

      Bevin Chu
      1 second ago

      ROFLMAO.
      More devastating even than a dozen talks by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris.
      Reply
      ·

      • Tor Libertarian
        February 9, 2014 at 6:54 am

        I think there is a lot of truth in that video.

        The point of government is the boy-fucking (and boy-caging, boy-enslaving, and boy-murdering).

        All the other stuff is just busy-work.

    • Bevin
      February 8, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      Dear Tor,

      Illustrates a larger principle. Evil is an opportunist. Create the opportunity. Evil arrives PDQ.

      And if Louis CK is to be believed, “proactively” in the case of the Catholic Church.

      Another clear example is the TSA, a haven for sexual molesters of all kinds.

      The victims of sexual molestation are legally prohibited from refusing, and the sexual molesters get paid for it!

      Such a deal!

  38. Tor Libertarian
    February 6, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Agnosticism And Proof – By Andrew Bissell

    Obectivism states that there is no proof that the supernatural exists. However, wouldn’t the Objectivist assertion that the supernatural does not exist require proof as well? Does a lack of proof in the affirmative justify the negative?

    As a result, wouldn’t the more rational position with regards to the supernatural (ghosts, gods, afterlife, etc.) be “We have no information on which to make a decision” (agnosticism) rather than “The lack of information proves the negative” (atheism)?

    Answer: Consider what it would take to try to prove that there is no such thing as a supernatural realm. What evidence would you cite to prove that proposition? Which pieces of data are necessary to establish such proof?

    Actually, such data does not exist and cannot exist. If there is no such thing as a supernatural realm, there will be no evidence of its existence. So to establish the nonexistence of the supernatural, the only thing we can point to is a lack of evidence in its favor.

    One cannot prove a negative like “there is no God” in the same way that one can prove an affirmative statement like “this apple is red.” But this inability to establish a proof arises from the nature of the claim being tested, not from some defect in our perceptual or rational faculties.

    An affirmative proof of a negative is impossible, and demands for such proof require that one entertain any claim, no matter how fantastic or ridiculous, simply because there is no evidence against it.

    We do not face a “lack of information” when it comes to the existence of God or the supernatural. What we face is a complete and total lack of evidence in favor of these propositions. This absence of evidence is one kind of information, and it suggests that these fantastic notions are just that: fantasy.

    As a matter of logic and epistemological necessity, one must affirm the negative when one has no evidence for the positive. Otherwise, one would have to remain open to an infinite number of arbitrary claims.

    Personally, I turned to agnosticism for several years when I first began to doubt the existence of God. That belief represented—as I believe it does for many agnostics—a hedging of my bets, a fearful unwillingness to acknowledge what my reason and logic had concluded: that there is no basis for a belief in an invisible man in the sky (or on some higher plane of existence) who watches over and protects us.

    Agnosticism may seem like an appealing third way between mysticism and “cold, calculating” reason. But no matter how delicately one tries to straddle the agnostic fence, one cannot evade the fact that one must take responsibility for one’s own life.

    One will be granted no second chances by a benevolent creator or an immortal afterlife in an ethereal realm. The effective application of reason demands that we reject those propositions that have no evidence to back them up.

  39. February 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Please, take a second and read the following few lines:
    It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man’s little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.
    …Here, again, we have further proof that private ownership is in accordance with the law of nature. Truly, that which is required for the preservation of life, and for life’s well-being, is produced in great abundance from the soil, but not until man has brought it into cultivation and expended upon it his solicitude and skill. Now, when man thus turns the activity of his mind and the strength of his body toward procuring the fruits of nature, by such act he makes his own that portion of nature’s field which he cultivates – that portion on which he leaves, as it were, the impress of his personality; and it cannot but be just that he should possess that portion as his very own, and have a right to hold it without any one being justified in violating that right.”
    This was an excerpt from the 1891 Encyclical “Rerum Novarum” (“About New Things”) by Pope Leo 13th, in which he states the Church’s opposition to Socialism. Please read it. There is no contradiction between Christianity (at least as Catholicism is concerned), and the concept of property rights as classical liberals intend it.

    • Bevin
      February 8, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      Dear Leo,

      ” There is no contradiction between Christianity (at least as Catholicism is concerned), and the concept of property rights as classical liberals intend it.”

      Agree.

      The Papal Encyclical, perhaps unintentionally, implies correctly that right and wrong have a solid secular rationale having nothing to do with any imperial edict issue from on high by the absolute dictator of the universe, aka “Him.”

  40. PanarchistamericanHelot
    February 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    eric wrote (way above in this thread) “to assert that “God created the heavens and Earth” is just an assertion. There is no fact in support of this claim.”

    I thought of that (and Bevin’s and David’s discussion) when I read this bit about T-Rex soft tissue being found, pretty interesting facts there and in the links within.

    Nothing concrete, perhaps, however; it’s an example of science not always getting the complete picture.

    Which is, “pseudo-science” and which is, “genuine science”? And, are they often mixed? [Is this a bowl of apples and oranges, Bevin?]:

    Fact Check: Did Bill Nye Tell A Huge Lie About The Fossil Layers?

    http://www.infowars.com/fact-check-did-bill-nye-tell-a-huge-lie-about-the-fossil-layers/

    • Bevin
      February 8, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      Dear Pan,

      You are right when you say “There is such a thing as pseudo-science.”

      There most assuredly is. Pseudo-science co-exists alongside science. Both exist.

      Example: Keynesianism co-exists alongside Austrian Economics.

      That of course does not mean that “science = pseudo-science.” If that were true, we wouldn’t need the adjective “pseudo” in front of it to differentiate the two.

      The existence of pseudo-science means we have to be MORE scientific, in order to distinguish it from science.

  41. PanarchistamericanHelot
    February 9, 2014 at 4:28 am

    For what it’s worth, I thought I’d pass this conversation onto here. I was reminded of this thread when they alluded to the saying, “There’s no atheist in foxholes”:

    Canadian Vet says:
    Comment ID: 2931957
    February 7, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    You can’t really prepare for the realities of violence. I’ve read Col. Grossman’s books cover to cover repeatedly, did some stress inoculation, been on all sorts of exercises and I still initially lost my shit first time I came under indirect fire in KAF. Took me a few moments to remember what I was supposed to do and and get my ass in gear.

    Oh, and I’ve never fired a shot in anger, although I’ve gotten close a few times. And every time, I was praying to every deity out there not to have to pull that trigger.

    Basically what I’m saying is that even those who’ve been there done that could have an issue with combat and killing bit have a leg up on those who haven’t been. Granted, there will always be those who can naturally deal with it in healthy ways and the psychos who either don’t care or even enjoy it, but as a rule of thumb, there are no real ways to be ready for that shit.

    Canadian Vet says:
    Comment ID: 2931963
    February 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    To add to my last, one should prepare themselves for post-traumatic stress. Again, I don’t care how tough you think you are but only a complete psych/sociopath wouldn’t be affected by the horrors SHTF has in store.

    I know mental health isn’t a popular topic but be aware, you will have nightmares, flashbacks, cold sweats, become ineffective, curl up into a ball crying for your mother. You and yours MUST be able to tell something is wrong with you and be there to help as much as they can. Otherwise, your survival will become severely compromised.

    durango kidd says:
    Comment ID: 2932039
    February 7, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Prayer, meditation, a healthy diet, sunshine, exercise, and a close personal relationship with your Creator will keep the demons away.

    Go within. For you evolutionists and atheists, find the amoeba within. :-)

    Canadian Vet says:
    Comment ID: 2932054
    February 7, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    There are absolutely no guarantees when it comes to preventing that crap. However, faith has been known to help with dealing with the aftermath.

    And from personal experience, there is no such thing as an atheist in a war zone.

    However, one should assume they will lose their shit and feel the full brunt of post-traumatic stress. If they don’t, bonus. But if you are prepared for it you will deal with it better than if you play the macho card and think it only affects sissies and you are too awesome to be affected by these horrors.\

    durango kidd says:
    Comment ID: 2932235
    February 7, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Been there. Didn’t do that. You need a mind set that can release past events rather than dwelling upon them. In my case, a young lifetime of sports playing ball every day, picking up teams, winning or losing, starting over, picking new teams, winning or losing, etc, etc, etc.

    This is the mindset of athletes who move from play to play and do not dwell on the fumble, the bad throw, the dropped ball, or the strike out. They just focus on the task ahead and shake it off, intent upon winning the game.

    That mindset can be applied to events and experiences in war. Like anything in life, you can be a victim or you can move from victory to victory to victory ….. however long it takes. Determination, resolve, and application always win and strengthens the spirit in the process.

    Life yields to those who will not quit. Engage. :-)

    Canadian Vet says:
    Comment ID: 2932276
    February 7, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    There is a world of difference between sports and combat. For one, in sports the other guy isn’t actively trying to kill you, regardless how fierce the rivalry between the teams.

    Also, you might see your buddy carted off the field/ice/diamond on a stretcher and he might be bleeding and unconscious. But he isn’t going to have extra holes in him from bullets and shrapnels, he isn’t going to be burnt to a crisp, he isn’t going be missing limbs, you won’t be standing in the Tarmac watching a stainless steel box carrying what’s left of him in the back of a a Herc so he can have a closed-casket funeral back home.

    I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but likening the stresses of athletes to those of combat just doesn’t work. You screw up playing football, your team doesn’t make the championship. You screw up in a war zone, people die.

    durango kidd says:
    Comment ID: 2932854
    February 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I am an Ex Marine and Vietnam Vet. I know the horrors of war first hand, having seen it all and body bags stacked 3 feet tall.

    I know whereof I speak and I stand by my statement. Time heals all wounds if WE do not dwell upon the negative. Get your mind right and get your life back.

    You can be a victim or you can be the victor. Like everything else in life WE get to choose one or the other. :-)

    durango kidd says:
    Comment ID: 2932858
    February 8, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    21 Canadian dead in 7 months of combat? I have seen that many Marines dead in a week. We lost 50,000 Americans in that war.

    Imagine a 13 month tour. The dead have my sympathies. You do not. Don’t be a pisser, moaner, whiner or crier. Suck it up and quit feeling sorry for yourself. Let the dead bury the dead.

    You are alive. Enjoy it. Go get laid. :-)\

    Canadian Vet says:
    Comment ID: 2933012
    February 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    DK, my apologies, I had no idea you were a vet yourself.

    And while the number of dead my tour suffered seems barely significant to you, it is extremely high to me. Hell, it was high in our global mindset, seeing how a lot of Canadians, me included were still in the “Bosnia” mind frame in term of deployed operations, where deaths in theatre weren’t from combat action but from accidents.

    Also, I wasn’t even born when you were in Vietnam. In fact, I wasn’t even a twinkle in my father’s eye yet.

    And while I’d love to go into more detail here, last thing I want is saying something I shouldn’t over these means. But given half a chance, I would buy you a beer.\

    Average Guy says:
    Comment ID: 2933087
    February 9, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Good God, durango kidd, you come across as a Complete psychopath here. You too, Canadian Vet, for wanting heap praises upon him. What’s wrong with you two?

    Your nonchalance is deafening.

    Your respect for empire is despicable.

    Are you sure you wouldn’t be more happy on The Other side with TPTB?

    It sure seems like it. …Or, are you already,.. and forevermore?\

    Average Guy says:
    Comment ID: 2933092
    February 9, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Compare and contrast:

    One guy says: “The psychos who either don’t care or even enjoy it, [...] only a complete psych/sociopath wouldn’t be affected by the horrors SHTF has in store.”

    Another guys says: “You can be a victim or you can be the victor. Like everything else in life WE get to choose one or the other. [...] Let the dead bury the dead. You are alive. Enjoy it. Go get laid.”

    There’s a lot of sick S.O.B.’s in this world…, and a lot of them love empire. Watch out for them, they’ll stab you in the back quicker than shit, and they won’t think twice about it.

    Average Guy says:
    Comment ID: 2933095
    February 9, 2014 at 1:53 am

    I guess I learned more form the medic who sang with an opera voice to comfort those who suffered while they died at a young age in their foxholes during the war against the people in Vietnam than I do from some arrogant obeyer who seems to revel at the fact they counted body bag stacks while praising the benefits of being in the service to empire.

    YMMV.

    May God have mercy on your soul.\

    laeagle says:
    Comment ID: 2932698
    February 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    DK, CV, your comments are appreciated. Combat is very different than sports, especially the consequences and end results, but the two have much in common, i.e., physical training, mental training, tactics, strategy, etc. Perhaps DK’s observations could be helpful in developing a resilient mindset!?

    lonelonmum says:
    Comment ID: 2932946
    February 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    It may be something seemingly insignificant that finally triggers PSTD years after an event. The human mind is a mystery to science still.

    Even the toughest vet may finally crack when it’s his wife/son/parent that’s murdered in front of him, or when his cousin dies of some previously totally treatable common illness.

    Arrogance gets you killed too, unless you are a clinically defined pyschopath.

    durango kidd says:
    Comment ID: 2932959
    February 8, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Worked for me. Am I special? It will work for anyone, athletes more than most. They are typically disciplined and mentally tough to begin with.

    Every one cries in war. Everyone grieves. Everyone suffers. Divorce can be just as devastating. If WE didn’t grieve there would be something wrong with US as human beings. There is a time for it, when there is time for it, then that time is over.

    Life is a cornucopia of opportunity. Engage. :-)

    Me: Sports. again! It’s just training for war, for the most part. It’s despicable how TBTB and brainwashed individuals utilize it to manipulate the masses.

    Also, I can’t help but notice how the word, ‘engage’ is being used by my local community college in advertisements to entrap people to get into debt to try and get jobs that are not there. The word is being used everywhere!
    It’s as if Captain Jean-Luc Picard was trying to get everyone to jump off a cliff to certain death. Much the same way realtwhores try to get people to buy a home with N.I.N..J.A. loans or something?

    It all reminds me of a comment Housing Analyst over at TheHousingBubbleBlog.com says quite often, something about: anyone who bought a house prior to 1998 wayy over paid, and they will get fucked.

    • Bevin
      February 9, 2014 at 4:51 am

      Dear Pan,

      “There are no atheists in foxholes.”

      The expression is well known, of course. But is it true?

      The experience of WWI foxholes contributed to the rise of Existentialist and Nihilist beliefs and the conclusion that “God is dead.” Kubrick’s film “Paths of Glory” depicted the existential despair.

      Others who did not fall into such despair, were led to atheistic (“no god”) Eastern mystical philosophies. Somerset Maugham’s novel “The Razor’s Edge” which was made into a film with Tyrone Power, depicted one man’s search for answers.

      • PanarchistamericanHelot
        February 9, 2014 at 5:27 am

        Interesting response, Bevin.

        Couple of books and films I’m not familiar with.

        When you write, “The experience of WWI foxholes contributed to the rise of Existentialist and Nihilist beliefs and the conclusion that “God is dead.” ” All I thought was, that experience for many individuals was more about man’s free will, and unbridled something or other, while being subject to it.

        I imagine a giant pinball game.
        God refuses to tilt, …or flip, until he decides.
        Humans make shit up in the meantime.
        That’s free will.

        • Bevin
          February 9, 2014 at 5:43 am

          Dear Pan,

          Speaking of “existential despair,” the TV series “The Walking Dead” is about to premier this Sunday night.

          http://www.businessinsider.com/walking-dead-season-4-what-you-need-to-know-2014-2

          I know I’ll be watching. I’m a fan.

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 9, 2014 at 5:58 am

            Dang, Bevin. You almost make me want to watch cable TV.

            But I’ve cut that shit, Off.

            The stuff might not kill you, but most of it rots your brain.

            Besides, I think of a cable bill in terms of yearly costs. $60 month x 12 months = 720 per year. That’s more than half an ounce of gold you’re wasting!

            I just cannot do that. Not for TV. …Internet is bad enough.

            I’ll look for the series at yard sales (For 99 Cents!) while I walk in ignorance.
            Besides, zombie viewing is free for me, all I gotta do is drive,… or walk through WalMart, or the grocery store.

          • eric
            February 9, 2014 at 6:42 am

            Hi Panarch,

            I found a solution: AppleTV. For about $100 (the cost of the little box, it’s a one-time expense – no subscription) you can pipe free (and small fee) YouTube from the Net to your TV. Also streaming Netflix, which means you can pick, a la carte, the shows you’d like to watch – and not pay for those you don’t. There’s a whole menu of “channels” – some free, some not, to choose from on an individual basis, as you like.

            Much cheaper than cable – and you don’t have to buy packages that consist of two-thirds scheisse you don’t want to get the one-third not-scheisse that you do.

            Last night I watched, via YouTube (and for free) an excellent documentary about the Gemini, Mercury and Apollo missions: When We Left Earth.

            AppleTV is pretty cool – I recommend checking into it!

          • Bevin
            February 9, 2014 at 6:17 am

            Dear Pan,

            Re: Christian faith

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otm4RusESNU

            It is clear by now that neither side is going to convert the other. So why not leave the issue of religion out of libertarian advocacy altogether, and talk about where we agree?

            Re: The Walking Dead.

            You don’t have to get cable.

            1. You can rent the DVDs after they come out.

            2. Or, if you reject political mainstream legal arguments for “IPR” you can download the episodes via torrent shortly after they are uploaded by open source advocates, usually the same day they are broadcast.

            Consider the case of “Game of Thrones.”

            Piracy

            At the time new seasons are broadcast, they are available only through HBO or its affiliates, not through third-party video on demand services, and in many countries not at all. This delay in availability has contributed to the series being widely pirated.[60] The file-sharing news website TorrentFreak estimated it to be the most-pirated TV series of 2012[61] and 2013.[62] One episode was downloaded about 4,280,000 times through public BitTorrent trackers in 2012, about equal to the number of broadcast viewers.[63][64] Piracy rates were particularly high in Australia, due to the delay of international airings.[65] This led US Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich to issue a public statement[66] condemning Australian piracy of the series in 2013.[67] One copy of the third season’s premiere was the most simultaneously shared file in the history of the BitTorrent filesharing network, with over 160,000 sharers and more than a million downloads.[68]

            But get this:

            In 2013, series director David Petrarca remarked that illegal downloads did not hurt the series’ prospects, as it benefited from the resulting “buzz” and social commentary.[69]

          • PanarchistamericanHelot
            February 9, 2014 at 6:40 am

            Bevin wrote, “It is clear by now that neither side is going to convert the other. So why not leave the issue of religion out of libertarian advocacy altogether, and talk about where we agree?”

            I agree, or as eric wrote, “If, however, we continue to peck at one another – and insist on orthodoxies outside the NAP – it is likely, probable, that the liberty movement will go the way of the Mensheviks.”

            And, it’s good to see IP isn’t the be-all-to-end-all as some would say it is, i.e. “In 2013, series director David Petrarca remarked that illegal downloads did not hurt the series’”

            Contrary to many who have argued the point, I think that’s what Shakespeare would say too as he hawked tickets to his play.

            Also, “Game of Thrones.” ain’t half bad, the better half really likes it, but I do not have the bandwidth to download it.

          • Bevin
            February 9, 2014 at 9:25 am

            Dear Pan,

            Re: Mensheviks

            As I wrote earlier, I personally don’t think it’s that serious. My concern is more that past a certain point, it amounts to wheel spinning.

            Re: bandwidth.

            I sometimes forget I actually have it pretty good here on Taiwan. The PC industry is big here, and despite being backwards in other ways, ordinary consumers enjoy many advantages, including excellent broadband.

            Eric’s suggest of AppleTV sounds good too.

          • methylamine
            February 9, 2014 at 11:48 am

            @Bevin–I love The Walking Dead too, but for one aspect that drives me monkey-shit crazy–the shooting. They’ll do running head-shots at twenty yards with a frikkin’ revolver, one-handed. But then–I’m paraphrasing–they’ll be standing next to a solid barrier with an AR, the Really Bad Guy (BTW an excellent portrayal of a sociopath) is standing dead still…and “I can’t take the shot, he’s at least fifty yards away!”

            WHAT?!??!?1one?

            I could pick which eye to shoot at that range!

            And there have been several similar firefights at very close range where they waste precious ammo in full-auto with shots my 70-year-old mom could make.

            But still. Awesome show.

            @PAH and @Eric–two words re: TV: Sick Beard

            It’s a program that pulls shows and movies off the newsgroups from a torrent-like format called NZB. Commercial-free, high-def, and usually with a few hours of air time. You’re technically violating copyright by pulling them, but unlike torrents you’re not re-publishing them. You’re not “sharing”…so the incentive to come after you is much less.

            I pay about ten bucks a month for my newsgroup subscription. Other than that, totally free.

          • Eightsouthman
            February 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

            @Bevin, thanks for the heads up. meth, those shots they take are so hokey I hate to see most of them. One guy is making perfect between the eyes shots with a handgun at 50 feet while another has a scoped rifle he can’t take a shot for fear of missing at 50 yds. What? I and my friends have been killing animals all our lives at 100 yds taking eye shots with a .22 so the meat or pelt isn’t ruined. Works the same for nearly anything. Kodiak bear is hard to stop but get one still for a second and that .22 would do the same thing.

          • Eightsouthman
            February 9, 2014 at 5:09 pm

            @ Bevin, bandwidth is harder to come by in the US than Africa according to my friends. I used to sell Wild Blue and HughesNet both and they were both very expensive as well as being stingy with their bandwidth, as in cutting you back continually if you use much from the first of the pay period. It’s right there in the contracts too although it’s in fine print and they certainly don’t want you to read it. They’re not shy about letting you know once you wonder why your paid for speed of something like 1500Kbps(and it’s always advertised as 3MB) is only 500. Gee, I can do shit. Really, we intended it that way. You can pay $3-400/month and get almost enough speed to stream video, well, if it’s not HD. So what is their main purpose? Simply to take you for the most amount of money, efficiency be damned. I really think(because I have been involved in the industry)they have a two fold conflict, the need to provide a service but the contraindicated need to NOT provide that service since they are all part and parcel of the corporate America that wants to keep you in the dark and simply get your “money for nothing” as Dire Straits might say. Do a search on eric’s fav for certain things, things you remember from over a decade ago that you saw and now want to find again. No matter how you type that search in you can’t find that. Funny huh? I specifically remember that site they had the inside videos and audios of 9/11 but I can’t find it now to save my life. No shit. And you won’t on that search engine. Not happenstance, not anything like that. And that same BS comes down the pike of corporate profit and affects things such as plain old broadband service or lack thereof.

            NO no, CIA, NSA not involved anywhere here. Just move along, nothing to see here, now, just move along…….or we’re really gonna fuck you up. Facebook and Twitter work fine, just keep your ass in there. For you and me, think Ixquick, Startpage. ATT repairman here yesterday and finally said “You need satellite” as we look at the Wild Blue dish on my roof. Well, if it were affordable I might, but it’s not if you want to stream and since digital tv, I have no air tv service since it requires a big tower, an expensive antenna, a booster and then you get ABC, NBS and CBS for all your time, trouble and expense. According to my sources who have worked in the heart of Africa, no such problem there. High speed service nearly everywhere and cell phone service in the furthest reach much better than my farm. The FCC doesn’t let those providers who wish to service locales far away have any power, limiting them to very low output. I’d be in some really remote, mountainous locale in Mexico but they’d have high speed DSL and the people not near any town had good air card service. Can you say “collusion”?

          • Bevin
            February 9, 2014 at 6:07 pm

            Dear meth,

            Yeah. The can’t hit the broad side of a barn — from the inside.

            Musta trained at the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy!

            http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy

          • Bevin
            February 9, 2014 at 6:19 pm

            Dear 8sm,

            Re: lousy marksmanship

            I replied to meth on this, but I might have gotten my TV tropes mixed up. I might have confused it with “A Team Firing.”

            http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ATeamFiring

            In any event, the WTF! inconsistencies in depicting guns and shooting on TV and film sometimes get to me too!

            I do my best to give them a pass, just so I can continue to remain immersed in the story.

            But sometimes the Too Dumb to Live tropes in some slasher films force me to stop the video and throw up my hands in “Nobody could be that dumb!” disgust.

            http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TooDumbToLive

            The Walking Dead is usually better than most in this regard. And of course it has a great libertarian premise.

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/09/paul-cantor/the-walking-dead-2/

          • Bevin
            February 9, 2014 at 6:24 pm

            Dear 8sm,

            Re: bandwidth

            I should be grateful!

            But… on the other hand, private citizens can’t keep and bear arms here. Really pisses me off. I can’t tell you how much.

      • PanarchistamericanHelot
        February 9, 2014 at 5:45 am

        You and eric mock the story of Job as being about a cat toying with a mouse.
        To me, it seems more about free will.

        If I own something and I take my hands away from it and I “let things play out”, am I being sadomasochist or whatever freaky shit, or am I just letting things play out?
        If the thing I owned were a person, and I take my hands from them, isn’t that allowing free will to take place?

        If some jerk comes along and fucks with what I let loose, is that my fault?
        Even if I say, “Go ahead”,… isn’t it on them (or that Devil) and not on, me?

        I think you guys miss much.

        • methylamine
          February 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

          @PAH:

          I look at the Job story like this–and keep in mind I don’t call myself Christian, but l’m coming back to being a Theist…

          What if our existence here is a very temporary arrangement; if we have a “soul”, or whatever nebulous thing it is that animates our sentience…the OS of our brain which is itself merely a physical computer?

          And what if the Mind that make that soul knows this…and sees our lives here much like a proud father sitting on the sidelines of his son’s little league game? And that same Mind watches the son’s tribulation on the field–which the son takes VERY seriously–knowing it’s just a small trial, a character-building exercise…a game…but with important lessons to be learned, and a will to be forged for greater trials later?

  42. Tor Libertarian
    February 9, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Phaedrus: What would you prophesy?

    Socrates: I think that he has a genius which soars above the orations of Lysias, and that his character is cast in a finer mould. My impression of him is that he will marvelously improve as he grows older, and that all former rhetoricians will be as children in comparison of him. And I believe that he will not be satisfied with rhetoric, but that there is in him a divine inspiration which will lead him to things higher still. For he has an element of philosophy in his nature. This is the message of the gods dwelling in this place, and which I will myself deliver to Isocrates, who is my delight; and do you give the other to Lysias, who is yours.

    Phaedrus: I will; and now as the heat is abated let us depart.

    Socrates: Should we not offer up a prayer first of all to the local deities? By all means.

    Socrates: Beloved Pan, and all ye other gods who haunt this place, give me beauty in the inward soul; and may the outward and inward man be at one. May I reckon the wise to be the wealthy, and may I have such a quantity of gold as a temperate man and he only can bear and carry. -Anything more? The prayer, I think, is enough for me.

    Phaedros: Ask the same for me, for friends should have all things in common.

    Socrates: Let us go.

    http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/phaedrus.html

  43. David
    April 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    OK, I want to try this again, because its the most important subject in the world, at least for me.

    Most of you here say that if eternal torment existed it would be “unfair” and that humans do not deserve such.

    How do you know? What standard do you use to judge that unjust? For that matter, if God created you, aren’t you using the thoughts he gave you to call him unjust?

    • mikeLL
      April 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      David,
      There is no God, only religious rules, practice, and categorical heuristics that, if followed with wisdom and compassion, might make our lives a bit easier to endure. Thus any effort to make rational sense of the concept of a divine deity will fall flat on its face: God does not “make sense.”

      • Phillip the Bruce
        April 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

        MikeLL – it’s easy to say there is no God, but you can’t prove it, because it is logically impossible to prove a negative. What you are saying is either that you do not believe there is a God, or you don’t WANT to believe there is a God, because then you would be responsible to Him to keep His rules.
        Maybe you mean that no one who fits your definition of God exists. But if there is a God, you do not get to define Him.
        God may not ‘make sense’ to you, because His ways are higher than your ways, and His thoughts higher than your thoughts. So said the prophet Isaiah.

        • eric
          April 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm

          Guys,

          Let’s keep the discussion to things that can be objectively proved or disproved – i.e., no god talk.

          Please.

          • Tor Libertarian
            April 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

            Sorry, I already chimed in.

            Perhaps we can allow it, but only on Sunday, during church hour?

            Or if by some miracle, the March goal was reached today.

            If such a miracle could occur, then perhaps it could be time for a discussion of other miraculous things?

          • David
            April 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

            OK, than I guess we might as well just stop discussing libertarianism. After all “the State is evil” isn’t exactly a claim you can prove in the same way as “The sky is blue”.

          • eric
            April 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm

            Hi David,

            How so?

            If a state oppresses people, it is objectively tyrannical. If it kills them, it is objectively evil. Harming people – abusing them – is morally wrong.

            And no, one need not refer to a religious authority to make such a claim.

            The standard of value (so to speak) is man. If you do not wish to be harmed, if you regard those who would harm you as cretinous – then it follows that others have an exactly equal right to expect not to be harmed, and to regard those who do harm others as cretinous.

          • David
            April 3, 2014 at 12:12 am

            You contradict yourself, Eric. On the one hand, you make a claim that it is objectively wrong to abuse people (a claim I agree with, but one I don’t think an agnostic can rationally justify beyond “guesswork”) on the other hand you say “man is the measure of all things.”

            Most men do NOT think its objectively wrong to abuse others judging by the libertarian definition of the term (they make exceptions for governing authorities that are elected by majority.) Since you have already granted that “man is the measure of all things” you have ceded any ground for an OBJECTIVE statement that aggression is wrong. Period.

            Which way do you want it? Do you want absolute truth, or do you want man to be the measure of all things?

            If man is the measure of all things, anything goes. So, people have the right to create a State that opresses you and steals from you for the “common good.” Who are you to complain about it? You already said that man is the measure of all things. I guess you could go further down the “rabbit trail” and say that man is the measure of all things and thus my calling you out on a hypocritical argument is subjective. But I’d reject that because I d NOT agree with the “man is the measure of all things”

            On the other hand, if you believe in absolute truth, you must defend where it comes from. Saying “yourself” is obviously arrogant, and any other person could say the same thing. Furthermore, you would have to be 100% consistent at all times. Since your system is self-generated, any human errors of inconsistency render the whole system meaningless.

            Whatever axiom you come up with to justify your moral basis (and it will be an axiom, there is nothing you can objectively claim to be true without acceptance of at least one axiom) you’ll need to explain, first of all, why it works, and second off, why your axiom is any better or more objective than me using the Bible as my axiom.

            If you can’t do it, you are just as “religious” as I am.

            Obviously its your site so if you want to define “religion” as “theistic arguments” feel free to do so. But I think that’s a lame definition and inherently biased.

            As for people getting offended or “turned away” I’m not sure why they couldn’t just avoid the thread. If it was coming up in topics that were completely unrelated to religion I could see the issue, doubly so if there was no contextual basis for it. I wouldn’t go into a random thread on another subject and start talking about Christianity. But that’s kind of what this thread is about. And if someone doesn’t want to discuss it (And, this could apply for a Christian who doesn’t want to see Christianity critically exammined just as much so as an atheist who doesn’t want to see it defended, this isn’t really “one sided” on my part) I don’t see why they couldn’t just stay out of the discussion thread with “Christian” in the thread title. Judging by the recent comments it seems like there was at least one or two people that did want to debate it before you told them not to. Of course, its your website, and I’m not going to discuss it if you’re telling me not to discuss it here, I just don’t really see the issue.

          • eric
            April 3, 2014 at 5:16 am

            I don’t think so, David.

            Men often compartmentalize. For instance, virtually everyone agrees that theft is wrong. But call it taxes – and most people accept it. Yet the thing in itself – the taking of someone else’s property – is accepted as wrong pretty much universally. So also abuse – the thing itself. Whether people have been conditioned to regard it as ok under different names (or circumstances) is beside the point.

            In re “man is the measure” – certainly, it’s objective. Man is real. He exists. He has the capacity to suffer. He does not want to suffer – and therefore (logically) imposing suffering upon others is something he cannot justify, if he himself prefers not to be made to suffer. Live – and let live – requires no reference to a Sky Daddy. The individual’s existence, as such, entitles him to his life in the same way that the existence of other individuals entitles them to theirs.

            When you write “People people have the right to create a State that opresses you and steals from you for the ‘common good’” (Italics added) you are collectivizing. There are no “people” – other than in a rhetorical sense. There are individuals. Your assertion – deconstructed a little – is that some people have the right to oppress you… Well,no, they don’t. No one has the right to oppress anyone else. Nor a group of people, either.

            In “absolute truth” – this is not a mathematical issue. It is an issue of morality. Morality is a function of man’s existence. See points made earlier.

          • Helot
            April 3, 2014 at 12:43 am

            Seems to me, most men Do think it’s objectively wrong to abuse others, they just rationalize it away, or flat out don’t think things through.

            I could be wrong, I can’t read minds.

            That’s just my take.

            Imho, people Do have the right to create a State that oppresses you and steals from you for the “common good.”

            It’s called, Panarchy.

            If people want that, it’s their own choice.

            It’s when people cannot break free of that ‘State’ that here comes problems.

            Anyway, what I wonder is, David. Have you been all over those links Tor posted at Reddit?

            It seems like you’re kind of beating a dead horse on this thread.

            Have you thought about writing some articles to post on Tor’s link or elsewhere?

            I had hoped you’d find a way to write something to post online and tie it into a classroom credit.

            I only wish I had that option available to me when I was in school/coed-prison.

            It seems like you have passion, and that’s good.
            A Lot of people don’t.
            And that’s bad.

            Shine like a diamond.

          • Helot
            April 3, 2014 at 12:54 am

            I meant to write, “Shine – bright – like a diamond”.

            It seems so dull the other way.

            Also, I wonder if you’d benefit from reading this:?

            How To Leverage Your Job or Calling

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/2012/02/gary-north/how-to-leverage-your-job-or-calling/

    • eric
      April 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      David,

      The religious stuff really turned off a lot of people; let’s leave it alone, ok?

      • mikeLL
        April 1, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        Ok, Eric. Will do.

        • methylamine
          April 1, 2014 at 3:32 pm

          Or he’ll beat the crap out of you! And get away with it!

          Oh sorry. Thought we were on a government forum for a minute there.

          :)

    • Bevin
      April 2, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Dear David,

      The masthead of this site reads,

      Eric Peters Autos
      Automobiles, Motorcycles, and Libertarian Politics

      It does not read,

      Eric Peters Autos
      Automobiles, Motorcycles, And Christian Morality

      Regardless of what you may believe, this is his website, not yours. Can we please respect his right to establish the ground rules in his own domain?

      There are probably tens of thousands of Christian websites where you can go to receive all the affirmation you might crave about how “God decides what is right and wrong.” Use your search engine.

      Why must you impose your personal religious beliefs on others at a website dedicated to motor vehicles and secular politics?

      Please! Spare us!

      • eric
        April 3, 2014 at 5:30 am

        Thanks, as always, for the back-up, Bevin!

        • Bevin
          April 3, 2014 at 6:13 am

          Dear Eric,

          Absolutely!

          You posted that article on Christianity as a generous concession to David. You bent over backwards attempting to find middle ground where you could “agree to disagree.”

          But lo and behold, instead of accepting that compromise, David chose to adopt a “give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile” attitude. It was presumptuous and inappropriate.

          No violations of rights were involved of course. Merely violations of good manners. Let’s hope we can put it behind us.

          • eric
            April 3, 2014 at 6:38 am

            “Amen” to all of that! (I couldn’t resist.)

            For me, one of the most appealing aspects of Libertarian political morality is its universality – derived from the premise that all men have the equal (and thus, complementary and not conflicting) right as individuals to be left in peace so long as they are peaceful.

            In a very real way, this is an axiom – per David’s comment.

            There’s no “if” or “but” or other exclusionary clauses. And no appeal to authority (natural or supernatural) is necessary to defend the principle.

          • Bevin
            April 3, 2014 at 8:20 am

            Dear Eric,

            I was tempted to use the “Amen to that brother” gag too, but already hit the “Reply” button before it occurred to me to add it!

          • Bevin
            April 3, 2014 at 8:32 am

            Dear Tor,

            Double Atheist? That’s the first time I’ve heard that one! I guess I am.

            I’m going to leave it at that, because I want to be consistent, and stay away from issues unrelated to motor vehicles and secular politics.

          • David
            April 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

            What compromise did I “not accept”? I’m genuinely confused on that point.

            All that said, WRT: your original comment, you are of course correct, Eric’s site Eric’s rules. Though, to be fair, the top of the site doesn’t say “Cars, motorcycles, and secular morality” either;) I accept most of the same beliefs about politics as you guys, the difference is I don’t take those political beliefs, or the NAP, as my axiom. Rather, I derive these conclusions logically from the Bible. And I consider this non-arbitrary because I believe God gave us the Bible. Rather, if you use the NAP as an axiom, its just as subjective as using the universal right of the most charismatic people to run The State as an axiom.

  44. Tor Libertarian
    April 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    The Zen solution, is to assume the worst. You will on the day of your death onward, be subject to the most hideous and excruciating torment.

    Now that you’ve accepted your fate. All that remains, is to make the very most out of the short time you have been given, to act and to live, before you descend, into your eternal life of torment.

    Be as moral as you are able, but know in your heart, it will be insufficient, and you will one day be writhing in wretched agony, all of your time after your life ends.

    This frees you to go forward to the next step.

    You were created in order to act. Why stand paralyzed and do nothing, out of fear of torment. If you spend your days trying not to do something, here is what you can expect to hear:

    Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

    “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

    “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me. And they will go away into eternal punishment.”

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A31-46&version=NLT

    Summa Theologica — Saint Thomas Aquinas

    Objection 1: It would seem that an eternal punishment is not inflicted on sinners by Divine justice. For the punishment should not exceed the fault: “According to the measure of the sin shall the measure also of the stripes be” (Dt.25:2). Now fault is temporal. Therefore the punishment should not be eternal.

    Reply to Objection 1: Punishment has not to be equal to fault as to the amount of duration as is seen to be the case also with human laws. We may also reply with Gregory (Dial. xliv) that although sin is temporal in act, it is eternal in will.

    http://biblehub.com/library/aquinas/summa_theologica/whether_by_divine_justice_an.htm

    The perceived emotional importance of a subject is irrelevant. It is like currency, only a fleeting feeling without permanence.

    Better is a transaction. Quid pro quo. This subject is important to me, so I make an exceptional effort to only broach it in the most genial way. I take all possible care not to tax or ask for favors, but rather go to great pains to present my arguments in a way that is pleasing and accessible to them.

    If eternal torment exists, what is the point of doing anything? Why bother learning to repair your own car. Or understand Austrian economics. You’ve got 75 years here on Earth, and then an eternity somewhere else.

    Why create something with independent abilities and then “give it thoughts?”

    Thomas Aquinas’ Christian Aristotelianism
    http://www.quebecoislibre.org/06/060122-5.htm

    The 13th century rediscovery and revival of the corpus of Aristotle’s teaching and Aquinas’ synthesis of it with the tenets of Christian faith effected a dramatic change in medieval political thought. Through his writings, Aquinas provided a solid bridge from the ancients.

    Reason and Faith

    According to Aquinas, philosophy and theology do not contradict one another and play complementary roles in the quest for truth. For Aquinas, the whole of human knowledge forms one all-encompassing, orderly, hierarchical system with sciences at the base, philosophy above them, and theology at the top.

    It follows that human values and truths are not eradicated by the revelation of higher ones. Faith does not contradict nature, human knowledge, or science.

    Philosophy proceeds from principles discovered through the use of human reason and theology emanates from authoritative revelation. Philosophy and religion are equally valid in their respective spheres and reason and faith cooperate in advancing the discovery of truth.

    Aquinas emphasizes that divine revelation in no way contradicts that which men discover by the use of natural reason.

  45. April 3, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I am too, even though I attend church and inconsistently waiver as to what my beliefs are.

    The instant a state uses force, I stop believing in it. The instant a church uses force I stop believing in it.

    If only states and churches were like music, something you can appreciate, or ignore, as you choose. Then I would believe in them.

    Yeah, in an ideal world, I’d love to talk about motor vehicles.

    But having to drive in a congested area with a deadly mix of lollygagging tourists and leadfooted terrorists in mirrored SUVs without plates isn’t especially fun to talk about.

    Today, for the hundreth time, while at a red light, I was told by a panhandler to buckle my seatbelt in a commanding tone.

    That’s the quintessential clover right there. He’s got nothing to lose. No property to defend. He makes his own hours and does whatever work he pleases. Equalizes the wealth. Takes a hands on approach to the nanny state. The perfect man.

    I guess I am the Obsolete Man
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDn3tcPiMRA

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