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The US Recovery, Dow Jones, Sequestration and Pubic Lice

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time record high, so it’s time to celebrate! We the people have regained the wealth we lost five and a half years ago! It’s time to throw a $16 billion par-tay!

I can’t wait to roll around in those kinds of bills, can you? That $16 billion recovery works out to $50.79 per American. But before you run out and get yourself a new toaster oven for this evening’s celebratory Hors d’oeuvres, here’s the caveat: “The rebound in wealth has benefited mostly wealthier Americans. The Dow Jones industrial average has just set a record high, and roughly 80 percent of stocks are held by the wealthiest 10 percent of households.”

Forbes just added 17 Americans to its Billionaires List. There are a total of 442 Americans on the list, more than any other country. This is all part of a growing economy, right? Not so much for the 800,000 people facing furlough and a 20 percent pay cut. And while Americans just can’t hear “too big to fail” too much, they sure as hell can get too much of small businesses, which are now deemed too small to give a rat’s ass about.

This “recovery” doesn’t look at all like the picture painted by the rich. It’s way more like your car stealing, toilet hugging, piggybank stealing alcoholic relatives getting out of the rehabilitation center you paid for who are driving your car past you as you walk to work. Never mind you’ve yet to figure out how to get rid of the putrid smell they left in your bathroom; those jack-offs hit the lottery and are now making headlines that are calling you out as “unsupportive” and “enabling.” And the rest of your family is eating it up.

Dana Saporta, an economist at Credit Suisse, said the $16 billion worth of good news, “Should boost consumption, because as people feel wealthier they tend to spend more. It doesn’t necessarily mean that households will go on a spending spree.” Well, that’s not entirely true.

Sequestration will halt rental assistance to 109,617 U.S. families at an average of $116 per month per family. Meanwhile, Lamborghini has sold all three of their 2013 Lamborghini Venenos, two of them to Americans, for $3.9 million each (before tax). The taxes alone ($780,000 each) that these two Americans paid to Italy on the purchase of this car could keep 13,448 American families from losing their rental assistance.

Literally laboring under the delusion that talking shit about rich people will somehow jinx their own chances of becoming rich, I have heard many times from a lot of hard-working, non-loophole-tax-paying friends, relatives and acquaintances that I should not hold a rich person’s wealth against them. Their most common mantra: “You can’t hate them for their success.”

Like hell I can’t, but that’s not the point. I don’t hate rich people, their wealth or their success. I hate anyone’s indifference to others; whether it’s refusing to call 911 when you know someone needs an ambulance or claiming “U.S. Recovery Remains On Track With Modest Growth” when in reality the ‘U.S.’ has very little to do with it. The U.S. is not just its financial sector, but damned if the financial sector hasn’t convinced too many farmers, teachers, firefighters and grocery store clerks of just that.

No matter how much debt we go into just to maintain our health or try to better ourselves with college, we seem determined to support a swarm of psychopaths who made up for their own self-inflicted losses on our dime without giving anything back to those they’d ripped off; and now they’re saying their good fortune is good news for everyone. Does this dynamic sound familiar to some of you? It does if you’re the parent of an irresponsible teenager, have a substance-abusing relative, or are the person who is fingerprinting a criminal you’ve fingerprinted many times before.

The taxpayers bailed out and then supplemented the already inflated incomes of a lot of very rich people to the tune of $700 billion, which was paid out to 100 percent rich people and zero percent anyone else. The rich are barely taxpayers, enjoying the fruit of lobbying labor that is now so many layers of loopholes that they pay little and sometimes no tax. So where do you suppose all the tax revenue is coming from? And I’m supposed to be cheer them on? It’s as if everyone in America who makes less than $100,000 a year is some kind of dazzled, dreamy-eyed teenage girl who got pubic lice and pregnant from her one date with the captain of the football team who then threw her a wad of $20 bills to “take care of it.” And she still pines after him.

Meanwhile, as part of sequestration’s $85 billion spending cuts, zero percent of the rich are in danger of losing housing, utilities or food while a whole lot of working poor will lose one or all of these things. That’s not hating success or the successful. That’s hating blatant disregard for one’s fellow man that manifests as bullshit headlines and vulgar displays of wealth, a significant part of which was not built with good old hard work, but rather with loopholes and taxpayer-paid corporate welfare that costs so much, small businesses are now being forced down and/or out with no chance of ever becoming too big to fail.

The greatest trick a rich person ever pulled was convincing a poor person that the rich deserve to be defended by the poor. Meanwhile, the financial nightmare many are living is the dream that was sold by the financial sector.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • Clav

    We’re missimg a bet here. We should give all the gun nuts a bounty for the body of every rich person they bring in, then when all the rich are dead (or moved away), and their money given back to its rightful owners, us, round up all the bounty winners, charge ‘em with murder and fry ‘em.

    Two undesirable classes of creeps wiped out in one plan…

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    Taxes were higher under the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations to pay for the high debt accumulated from WW2 and the infrastructure projects needed for a growing population. The same should apply today. We completed the Iraq War and are winding down Afghanistan. Tax rates should be higher to pay off this debt. In addition, the population is growing a million people or more a year beyond the death rate. We’ll need considerable infrastructure to support this new population increase which has continued unabated since 2000. In the year 2000, there were 300MM people in the USA. Now, the population is about 315MM
    people and growing.

  • roger nowosielski

    Great piece, Diana, definitely should be this week’s editorial pick. What’s relatively new, perhaps, about modern times is the contempt with which the über rich regard the rest of us. And of course our media just eats it up.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Nice work, Diana: one of the best rants I’ve read on Blogcritics in quite a while. Certainly got my blood boiling.

    And like the best rants, contains a kernel of eternal truth, which is that the little guy always takes the biggest hits.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Great work as usual, Diana!

  • John Lake

    Really very nicely said, Diana. I especially liked the part about “…that manifests as… vulgar displays of wealth…”

  • Clav

    If we’re really serious about taxing the rich, we should start taxing the churches; many of them far outstrip most of the wealthy individuals in net worth.

    It’s ridiculous that we’ve allowed them to escape taxation in the first place.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Completely agree, Naily.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    If we’re really serious about taxing the rich, we should start taxing the churches; many of them far outstrip most of the wealthy individuals in net worth. It’s ridiculous that we’ve allowed them to escape taxation in the first place.

    You know I’m strong in my faith, but I agree if for no other reason than the simple fact that all churches – the true as well as the false – use this nation’s infrastructure too. Every church pays for electricity, water, and sewer – why not our regular taxes too?

  • zingzing

    “It’s ridiculous that we’ve allowed them to escape taxation in the first place.”

    for now, at least, no politician wants to be the one that starts taxing the churches. and you know it’s not going to be a (GOP) republican, so let’s not even bother with that. it could possibly be a libertarian, but i kinda doubt it. it would probably be a lefty, and someone safe in his/her own district, but the damage would be to the democratic party, which would suffer a massive hit in the next election. it’s just not going to happen, at least for now. but it’s a great idea. the church is a huge scam. great business though.

  • Igor

    What a duo! The church and the rich: one has a grip on your brain and the other on your wallet.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    the church is a huge scam. great business though

    That is true if those who lead that church live an extravagant lifestyle and do not pour as much of the offerings as possible back into the growth of that church.

    If the leader(s) of a church do not live an extravagant lifestyle, and if they use as much of the offerings as possible to help the church to grow, then it’s quite likely that said leader(s) actually believe what they preach and are trying their utmost to follow the tenets of their religion…

    …which means the religion’s not a scam, for a scam is only a scam if the scammer knows what he or she is doing is wrong.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    No surprise you defend the gang you belong to, Glenn, but your logic is flawed.

    It doesn’t matter how church leaders live, they still take money from people who are being exploited and don’t haver to earn their own keep or pay taxes like the rest of us.

    Using the offerings – the profits – to grow the organisation is just spreading the reach of the gang or cult, whilst exploiting yet more people.

    Many scammers don’t believe what they are doing is wrong, so every single point you make is, in fact, simply wrong.

  • Zingzing

    Sounds like the world’s biggest, longest, most self-righteous Ponzi scheme. I don’t think growing the church should be the goal. Using that money to do good in the community is a different, far nobler goal.

  • John Lake

    It has been my experience that some churches, usually but not always in remote areas, have a tacit undercurrent of Satanism. One way or the other, some church members are taught to discriminate against those not involved in their churches. Religious groups tend to dominate areas, and force minorities out by refusing them employment or housing.
    Ours is an era of definitions. Marriage has been redefined. Does the word “church” necessarily mean a place where God is worshipped, or is in still a church if they are secret Satanists?
    I’m sure I have here offended some readers, but I speak from my experience, and stand by it.

  • Clav

    The practitioners of Voodoo (which is widely and openly practiced here in South Florida) call their places of worship “churches.” It’s a church if that’s what you call it.

    Voodoo is widely practiced in the Caribbean and Latin America, which is how it got here in the first place. One of the more important of their practices is animal sacrifice. A few years ago, their right to that practice was fought all the way to the Florida Supreme Court and won. Voodoo ceremonies now legally include animal sacrifice. The workers in the town hall of one of the towns that forms Metro Miami regularly have to walk very carefully into the building on mornings when the town commission is deciding an important (and disputed) new law, in order to avoid stepping on the animal carcasses littering the sidewalk and steps up to the building.

    In Brazil, the religion is called Candomblé. It is very openly practiced, with churches everywhere, though Catholicism is still the primary religion there. In the 1970s, I traveled frequently to Brazil on business, and on one such trip, happened to be there for New Years Eve, a major holiday on the Candomblé calendar. In homage to Iemanjá, the goddess of the sea and giver of good fortune, the various congregations assemble on the beach at nightfall, stake out their areas, and push the sand into a large mound in the center of their area. On the mound, they place offerings to Iemanjá consisting of fruits, candies, and even cigarettes and rum. Each congregation has their own small music ensemble playing the old traditional instruments. The air soon is a cacophony, but nobody minds; they all begin to dance around their sand mounds, and many fall into deep trances as they dance.

    At the stroke of midnight, the young men in each congregation pick up a crude handmade reed boat-raft, load it with the offerings, and carry it down to water’s edge and launch it.

    The legend is that if the boat gets past the waves near shore and goes out to sea, Iemanjá has accepted it and the congregation making the offering will have good luck in the new year. It happened that the year I was there observing, there had been a pretty good storm that morning, so the waves hitting the beach were pretty substantial, and the offering boats were not getting past the waves, at which point, the young men who had launched them jumped in the water and swam them out past the waves to ensure they would get to Iemanjá and bring her favor on the congregation.

    It was a very interesting and picturesque evening.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    *sigh*

    Chris, zing, and John –

    I know none of you believe, and that’s up to you. But when it comes to a church wherein the leader(s) do not live extravagantly, flaunting their wealth, or otherwise fail to use the offerings responsibly, tell me – how is that any different from a counselor? When it comes to a generic not-quite-so-whacked-in-the-head church, what does that church do but counsel those who go to it? Most churches can quite literally be likened to businesses – heck, in the Philippines, a church must be registered as a “corporation sole” (Google it, if you like). Like any business, those churches provide a service and they try to grow…and there’s a heck of a lot of businesses out there that I’d trust less than I would religious organizations!

    The preachers of most churches think they’re doing what’s best for the people, and they certainly do quite a bit of one-on-one counseling and comforting as well – most bereaved and brokenhearted families are deeply grateful for the comfort and solace that a preacher (or priest or mullah or monk or whatever) can give – that’s a crucial part of what they do. What’s more, for every idiot preacher who uses his position to abuse someone and winds up in the news, there’s a hundred who don’t – but you never hear the good news in the news, do you? And when you condemn a religion, what are you doing, really, but condemning the people who belong to that religion? For there is no religion without people belonging to that religion.

    For Chris – I’m not defending a ‘gang’. I’m not even defending the Church of which I’m a member. I’m simply referring to religious organizations in general.

    And for all – you can despise religions as much as you like, but IIRC atheists don’t have such a great record when it comes to keeping the peace, either. This might come as a great surprise to you, but we’re all human, religious and areligious alike.

    To write off the majority of humanity as fools or whatever simply because they believe in this or that religion, to make assumptions about their education or logical facility based on their faith, really isn’t much different from the kind of prejudice I grew up with. Whether the prejudice is against race, ethnicity, disability, age, gender, sexual preference, or religion, it’s still prejudice. It’s all different stenches of the same stinking pile of crap that is prejudice.

  • roger nowosielski

    There’s another fast one that some of the commenters here are trying to pull. In particular, Diana’s rather biting critique — not a rant because ranting comes close to raving — of the entire ethos that pretty much defines today’s US of A is being conveniently ignored, as though amending our tax code was all that was required to turn things around. And so, we’ve changed the topic and stripped the article of its intended venom.

    I said, “trying to pull” so as to give those commenters, whoever they may be, greater credit than they might otherwise deserve. To accuse them of naivete, of truly speaking with a straight face, not suspecting in the least that Diana’s points could well go beyond the simple matter of taxation, would be far more demeaning, IMHO.

    I’m proceeding on the assumption that most BC denizens, although there are always exceptions, are not complete idiots.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Hi all: the site’s spam filter seems to have decided you’re all desperate criminals this evening and is blocking everything. I’ve released your comments and hopefully this will persuade it that you’re not all Nigerian businessmen trying to deposit $15 million into somebody’s bank account.

    I think you should all have my email address, so if you continue to have issues, please let me know.

  • roger nowosielski

    Well, let’s hope it’s not going to be as bad as the last time around.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Clavos — Homeless people come to my church every single day for food, and no, they aren’t required to listen to a sermon. Volunteers from the church bring the food, they cook the food, they serve it, hang out with the people who come to eat, and then these volunteers clean up afterwards. The church isn’t skimming anything off the top from those donations.

    The churches in the city have divided up the responsibilities for caring for the poor. Some focus on food, others on shelter, clothing, transportation, medical needs….

    See the thing is, you have to have a place to COOK the food, to serve the food, and it would be nice for the homeless people to have a HEATED building when they come in from the cold., You have to have a place to store the diapers, and the coats, and the toiletries that are distributed…

    Tax the churches if you think you’re going to be helping the homeless by doing so. But before you do, you might want to follow some homeless people around for a week, and observe the types of places where they are getting help day-to-day.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And if you really think that preachers are all hucksters pushing scams, let me relay to you one particular name: Dr. Martin Luther King.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Tax the churches if you think it will help the poor. Before you make the decision, through, you might want to follow a few homeless people around for a week and see where a lot of them are getting help day-to-day (food, shelter, toiletries, diapers for their kids, clothing, medical care, transportation.)

    A lot of people, when they are down and out, come to the church for help. The churches aren’t in competition with all those soup kitchens the atheists are hosting. People serving the poor need all the help they can get.

  • roger nowosielski
  • Capt. Hook

    Irene,#21:

    Except for the idea that it’s time we start taxing the churches, I didn’t say (I didn’t even imply) any of those things you’re accusing me of in your comment. Perhaps you’re addressing another commenter?

    But to answer one of your points: I don’t advocate taxing the churches to help the poor, and the taxing I advocate would be along the lines of the income tax for individuals and corporations: graduated and progressive according to income, so the poor churches would pay little to no tax, while the televangelists and the Vatican outposts, as well as other wealthy churches (Creflo Dollar, Billy Graham, Church of Scientology, e.g.), would pay in accordance with their wealth.

  • Capt. Hook

    (And if you really think that preachers are all hucksters pushing scams, let me relay to you one particular name: Dr. Martin Luther King.)

    Good, he offsets Jimmy Swaggart, Marvin Gorman and Jim and Tammy Bakker.

    Want more names of religious whores?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    25 I didn’t address Capt. Hook.

    But there are two different people you’re talking to, Cap’n. (25,26)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    That’s an accusation??? “Tax the churches if you think you’re going to be helping the homeless by doing so.”

    Capt. Hook, I’m sure you’ve weathered a lot worse.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    My job involves getting homeless people into housing, and Irene’s got a very good point. Many of the biggest players providing services to the poorest and most desperate in my city are faith-based organizations, notably St Vincent de Paul, who help thousands of people a day and have a truly impressive top-to-bottom set-up.

    Churches are certainly in a unique position to do this, but I’m with Clav (who is Captain Hook tonight due to all the spammy blockage) in that I don’t think this in itself is a justification for them not being taxed just like everyone else.

  • Clav

    Irene:

    25 I didn’t address Capt. Hook.

    Yeah you did. The Capt. & I are one and the same (it’s a long story)

    But there are two different people you’re talking to, Cap’n. (25,26)

    I know. #26 is addressed to Glenn.

  • Clav

    Irene 28:

    That’s an accusation???

    All depnds on your POV. Since it is not my purpose to help the poor by advocating taxing the churches, it’s an accusation, yes. Helping the poor by taxing the churches that feed them sounds stupid, so by implication you accused me of being stupid, yes.

  • roger nowosielski

    Interestingly, churches don’t seem to need a license or a permit to distribute/serve food — as opposed to organizations such as “Food, Not Bombs” which, according to Anarcissie, are being harassed to no end.

  • Zingzing

    Charitable activities should obviously be a write-off. Then again, churches would have to hire accountants because things would become much more complex and their ability to spontaneously help out would be restricted. Mega churches that are in the business of making money should be taxed… But how can you quantify religious scencerity? In 100 years, maybe 20, this won’t be an argument, but it is now. Interesting times.

  • Zingzing

    Sencerity.

    Drugged.

  • Clav

    I don;t think you need to quantify their religious sincerity to tax them, zing; it;s irrelevant to the process of taxation. They should be taxed, as we all are, on their AGI, and I agree that their charitable activities should be deductible.

    They should also be taxed in accordance with the laws of their respective states, and on their real property and intangibles, if applicable.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, you are now showing us why faithists are so intellectually corrupt.

    Counsellors don’t bring the twisted baggage of religion with them, to say nothing of you trying to equate them to church leaders.

    Churches don’t counsel, they rope you in to their con, which is totally different.

    I trust businesses far more than I do churches – not that I trust either a lot – but at least a business is simply just trying to sell me something…

    It might be true that most preachers “think they’re doing what’s best for the people”, but that doesn’t mean it is true, it just means they have convinced themselves of that.

    When it comes to bereaved and heartbroken families, this is when we see the absolute worst of faithism, exploiting people’s grief, distress and emotional vulnerability in the name of their faith. It is truly nauseating to see such abuse of people.

    And, no, when you condemn a religion, you aren’t condemning the people who belong to it, that is just another of the deceptive lies of faith.

    And, yes, you are defending a gang; a criminal enterprise that exploits people in a bitterly deceptive way whilst posing as something good.

    The scale of it is impressive but, as we all know, a big lie is easier to sell than a small one, and the arguments of faith are the biggest lies of all.

    Your argument about atheists and their “record when it comes to keeping the peace” is a pointless red herring, so the only thing to do with that is ignore it.

    Your next argument that to “write off the majority of humanity as fools” is another classic bullshit argument of the defenders of faith. That isn’t what was said, so tilt away at your imaginary windmills, it just makes you look sad and pathetic.

    Your attempt to try and attack the arguments against belief by trying to tie it to racism is simply mind-boggling in its stupidity and offensiveness.

    Religion is based on a lie about our origins and exploits people’s natural inherent feelings of reverence by telling them massive lies that are impossible to substantiate and challenging to disprove.

    Irene, your argument is unusually silly; donations of food from faithists to the homeless are in no way related or comparable to the donations churches receive.

    Taxation of churches has no relationship to the help for the poor, it is simply a crass and manipulative argument in defence of the indefensible, the kinds of manipulation of people on an emotional level that is so characteristic of faithism.

  • troll

    Chris…are there ways that faith – abstracted from its religious content if you like – serves a valuable function for humans? Does it have some survival value so to speak?

    Dianna – as a member of a military family are you conflicted about being the hammer behind the application of current US economic policies internationally given the stratification that they have led to at home?

  • troll

    Clavos – I can’t believe that you want to give the government access to more wealth

  • troll

    (apologies for the extra ‘n’ Diana)

  • roger nowosielski

    @37, second paragraph

    Good question, although if memory serves, Diana has a stellar record as an activist in the early sit-ins and boycotts as part of the unfolding Civil Rights movement.

  • roger nowosielski

    As an example of how the recent shift of focus on taxation (see %18) misses the boat (in addition to, as “troll” has just remarked, “give[s] the government access to more wealth”), try this for size.

    It’s a recent practice in the township of Alameda to charge the customer $80.00 fee just for diagnosis of what’s wrong with your vehicle, a fee which, BTW, is over and above the cost of fixing the problem, if that’s what you decide. At first, I thought it’s an isolated case of an unusually greedy mechanic until I found out the practice has become widespread. As another BTW, this practice was virtually nonexistent ’bout four yours ago or so, when I temporary relocated from CA to KY. I guess the hard times must have had something to do with its inception. Just sayin’.

    Now, try to remedy this, for example, by extra taxation.

  • troll

    …I’m not questioning her decency Roger

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    troll, that’s a tricky one, but I’d say yes, and no, depending on the context…

  • roger nowosielski

    of course you weren’t …

  • Clav

    @#38:

    I know, troll, I’m a bit conflicted about that myself. But my motivation is 1) Fairness. It’s just plain wrong that the churches, have skated this long, and 2) if they are paying taxes, some of the burden on us might be relieved (don’t say it, I know that’s just a pipe dream) and 3) If we’re going to increase the taxation of the rich, it is really wrong that people like Creflo Dollar (Net worth $27M) and Billy Graham ($25M) and Benny Hinn $42M!) are allowed to enjoy such riches without giving any back. Everybody whines about the likes of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and never even mentions these religious snake oil salesmen!

  • troll

    …I’d say people giving religious shysters money need to get lives

    problem solved – tar…feathers…poles

  • John Lake

    #21 Irene Athena
    Did I detect some condescension or disdain in your referral to “all those soup kitchens the atheists are hosting?” Secular is a good word. Pragmatist is my choice. I don’t doubt that some, maybe the majority working in secular soup kitchens (or housing pregnant girls, or homeless families) are in fact good Christian (in the broad sense) people trying to do good work.
    In the spirit of my skeptical view expressed in #15, while many churches, particularly in the big cities serve the poor without discrimination, we easily imagine a time when the conservative politicians have their way, the welfare of the poor moves from government to “the religious community,” and there will be churches that insist on helping only “their own people.” We can see where that could cause problems.

  • roger nowosielski

    the logical way to look at this, of course — churches are nonprofit, and just like any honest-to-goodness nonprofits, ought to be tax exempt. The problem is, to keep them “honest-to-goodness.” So singling out churches, as the majority of the commenters on this thread are so keen on, is … shall I say it? the atheist’s favorite hobby horse.

    It’s all the more ludicrous, of course, in light of the tons of tax loopholes that are available to the largest of nationals or multinationals.

  • I Hate That D**ned Technorati Filter

    Chris –

    You’re only showing your ignorance. All you’re doing is showing how little you know of the necessity of there being somewhere to turn in times of crisis.

    Here’s a question: where, other than government-funded organizations like 911 and crisis hotlines, can someone turn to at no cost to themselves in times of personal crisis, whether of considering suicide, or domestic abuse, or addiction problems? Other than religious organizations, I can’t think of a single one that can be found in just about every community on the free world – can you?

    That last set of italics, btw, is to emphasize that while there are some charitable nonreligious organizations that provide such functions, none of them are available 24/7 in pretty much every community in the free world.

    Every Sunday someone comes from the Catholic church to visit the elderly woman we care for. We strongly disagree with Catholic doctrine, but we wouldn’t even think of getting in their way. Why? Because when they show up, she’s getting attention (from someone other than us) that she would not otherwise get…and she’s getting hope that she might not otherwise have. And she doesn’t give a penny to them. You might not realize this, but when one is in the twilight of one’s life, the attention and hope that she’s getting from the Catholics is priceless.

    She’s quite fortunate, actually – her son visits her at least once a week. In the world of the elderly, this is very much the exception to the rule. Even once-a-month visits by one’s family members is better than average. All too often the elderly sit in front of the television in nursing homes, unable to leave, unable to contact their family, listening to their fellow residents crying out for their family members, breathing in the stink…

    …but they’re very happy when a preacher comes, or people from a local church who come to sing for them, for at least then someone’s giving them attention, and giving them hope.

    You’re going to get old someday too, Chris. I honestly hope you never have to face what these people live with every day – it’s heartbreaking, especially when you can’t be with your wife or your family, and your family hardly ever visits you. As I’m typing this, our resident is using her cell phone to dial the only number she knows – that of her daughter two thousand miles away. She dials this number many, many times a day – those with dementia can be compulsive like this. Her daughter never answers, but does call back usually every day (which is much more often than is usual in the world of the elderly). And every day she tells her daughter that today’s the day that her son is coming to pick her up and take her home.

    There’s a quote I included in my book: ‘Old age needs so little but needs that little so much.’ And our resident’s face brightens up whenever the Catholic representative shows up to give her attention, to give her hope in the personal decades-long time of crisis that is old age in America.

    Again, Chris, you’ll grow old someday. I hope you don’t wind up like this, but if you do, you’ll find out firsthand why those people are so deeply grateful for their local church.

  • Clav

    A few words from the pen of C.S. Lewis are appropriate to this discussion:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised
    for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be
    better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral
    busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity
    may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own
    good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of
    their own conscience.”

    I can certainly see shadows of the faces of a number of contemporary televangelists looming behind Lewis’ words; and right alongside them, the growing shadows of Bloomberg, Gore and other political leaders as well as that of the federal “nanny” government also loom.

  • Clav

    Yeah, Glenn, it’s names are Chris and Doc.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, here’s a question for you; where is the honesty or integrity in making up stupid questions that are designed to suit your argument but have nothing to do with the subject under discussion?

    Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with being ignorant, but thinking you know something when you don’t is really bad, so I’d put more effort into your own many failings rather than pointlessly trying to lecture me.

    None of your windbag waffle in your #49 has any relevance to the points I made, so I have nothing to say in response.

  • roger nowosielski

    @50

    The irony is, the very same C. S. Lewis, the don of Oxford, had become one of the most eloquent defenders of Christianity (as a result of Tolkien’s influence). So, do we have the date for the citation in #50?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/diana-hartman/ Diana

    #3 Thank you, Roger.

    #4 Thank you, Dr. Dreadful.

    #5 Aw shucks, Christopher :)

    #6 Thank you, John

    #37 No.

    #39 Apology accepted. My parents were poor. They could only afford the one “n.”

    #40 Roger, your comment reminds me of something one of my child’s friends said: “He called me ‘good people’. I didn’t know if made a grammatical error or if he was calling me fat.”

    The first sit-in took place at the Dockum Drug Store in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas in 1958 (although the 1960 Greensboro, North Carolina sit-in is still thought by many to have been the first). I would not be born for another four years after the first sit-in. So while I appreciate the intention of your comment, I must set the record straight and tell you I was too young to be involved. My perspective of the whole thing was very different. I didn’t know black women weren’t in charge of the world until I was about 10 years old, but by then it didn’t matter what the rest of the world thought. I knew what I knew.

  • Clav

    Roger:

    The tyranny quote is from “God in the Dock,” 1948.

  • Clav

    Roger,

    Further to my #55, the specific essay for that quote is: “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment.”

  • roger nowosielski

    “God in the Dock is a collection of essays and speeches from C. S. Lewis. Its title implies “God on Trial”[1] and is based on an analogy[2] made by Lewis suggesting that modern human beings, rather than seeing themselves as standing before God in judgment, prefer to place God on trial while acting as his judge.” a citation from Wiki

    So it would seem, from the above, that C.S. Lewis was already in his “Christian mode.” and that his biting comment was directed vs. organized religions and some of the practitioners, rather than vs. the dogma itself.

    Do you agree?

  • roger nowosielski

    @54

    I stand corrected, then, although your take on some of the conditions in present-day America do seem to suggest that you were present even at those sit-ins — if only in spirit. And if that were the case, I would have envied you, kinda . . .

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    What you did in #52 was nothing more than avoiding what I pointed out, which was showing that churches do much more than simply counseling (which you seem to think they don’t do at all).

    But let’s go back to your #36 that you seem to think I didn’t address at all:

    Counsellors don’t bring the twisted baggage of religion with them, to say nothing of you trying to equate them to church leaders. Churches don’t counsel, they rope you in to their con, which is totally different.

    And if you’d read and actually tried to understand what I wrote, you’d have seen that I pointed out that churches do much more than simply counseling, especially when it comes to crisis counseling.

    I trust businesses far more than I do churches – not that I trust either a lot – but at least a business is simply just trying to sell me something…

    If you’d read and actually tried to understand what I wrote, you’d have seen where I pointed out that there is NO business that is there for you 24/7 in every community in the free world when you need counseling, especially in times of crisis like suicide prevention, domestic abuse, and addiction. But I guess you couldn’t be troubled to read and understand before insulting the people you disagree with.

    It might be true that most preachers “think they’re doing what’s best for the people”, but that doesn’t mean it is true, it just means they have convinced themselves of that.

    Hey, you’ve just described every counselor – religious or atheist – on the planet!

    When it comes to bereaved and heartbroken families, this is when we see the absolute worst of faithism, exploiting people’s grief, distress and emotional vulnerability in the name of their faith. It is truly nauseating to see such abuse of people.

    I’m sorry, Chris, I wasn’t aware that you were an expert in counseling bereaved and heartbroken families!

    Here’s a story – a son of a good friend of ours decided to blow his head off with a shotgun. She was heartbroken, she was bereaved in the worst possible way. In times like this, Chris, a mother doesn’t tell herself “well, I’ll just go to the mall and buy some time with a counselor”. She was the loneliest person in the world, and she needed people to come to her. Government agencies rarely do that. Businesses sure as hell don’t do that. Churches do as a rule.

    Sure, that’s a time when one needs one’s friends, but one cannot count on having a trained and experienced counselor among one’s friends…and whether you like it or not, most preachers are trained and experienced counselors, if not in the way that you personally demand. Most importantly of all, the government usually doesn’t give a damn, businesses almost never gives a damn, but preachers almost always give a damn.

    And, no, when you condemn a religion, you aren’t condemning the people who belong to it, that is just another of the deceptive lies of faith.

    Huh? Come again?

    And, yes, you are defending a gang; a criminal enterprise that exploits people in a bitterly deceptive way whilst posing as something good.

    says the guy who didn’t read, much less tried to understand what I wrote – because if he had, he’d have seen what I wrote about the nothing-but-good that the church people do who pay attention to the elderly who are deeply grateful for the attention and the hope.

    The scale of it is impressive but, as we all know, a big lie is easier to sell than a small one, and the arguments of faith are the biggest lies of all.

    And if I hadn’t been led to the Church of which I’m a member, I’d have been in complete and utter agreement with you.

    Your argument about atheists and their “record when it comes to keeping the peace” is a pointless red herring, so the only thing to do with that is ignore it.

    I’m sure that the families of the tens of millions that died under Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot might have something to say about that. BTW – there’s a lot fewer people being sent to the gulag for being religious now that Russia’s no longer officially atheist.

    Your next argument that to “write off the majority of humanity as fools” is another classic bullshit argument of the defenders of faith. That isn’t what was said, so tilt away at your imaginary windmills, it just makes you look sad and pathetic.

    Have you not stated before that faithists are fools? If so, then you’re writing off the majority of humanity as fools. The fact that billions of people believe in God doesn’t make them right – but neither should it make them targets of your bile and spittle.

    Your attempt to try and attack the arguments against belief by trying to tie it to racism is simply mind-boggling in its stupidity and offensiveness.

    Chris, prejudice is prejudice is prejudice, whether it concerns race, ethnicity, political belief, level of education, religion, nationality, disability, whatever. It’s all prejudice and works in the very same way. I can show you examples of where people of each of these groups were rounded up and murdered just for being part of that group. I cannot believe you can’t understand that.

    Religion is based on a lie about our origins and exploits people’s natural inherent feelings of reverence by telling them massive lies that are impossible to substantiate and challenging to disprove.

    Again, if not for finding the Church of which I’m a member, I’d be in complete and utter agreement with you.

    Irene, your argument is unusually silly; donations of food from faithists to the homeless are in no way related or comparable to the donations churches receive.

    Ah, so all the preachers live in mansions and drive Rolls Royces, hm? Here’s a clue, Chris – most preachers are economically in the middle class. For many of them, preaching is something they do on the side. For the ministers of the Church of which I’m a member, very, very few of them live at any level above the lower middle class, and they are on call 24/7. They work very hard – but of course since you haven’t seen that, you can’t believe it.

    Taxation of churches has no relationship to the help for the poor, it is simply a crass and manipulative argument in defence of the indefensible, the kinds of manipulation of people on an emotional level that is so characteristic of faithism.

    Tell that to the elderly who are so glad to see the people from the church showing up to give them the attention and hope that they all too often don’t get from their children.

  • roger nowosielski

    The poster of #49 comes awfully close to our own Contrarian.

    Stand up and be counted

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    It is me in #49 – and the Technorati filter is giving me fits. I’ve got another long comment that’s been blocked and now I have to wait on the good graces of either Doc or Chris to unblock it.

  • Clav

    Do I agree, Roger? Hmm….

    Yes, I think so, but I also read in it a more generalized nonreligious critique of anyone (or any entity) which thrusts its “help” on one whether or not one has asked for it. This, of course, is a phenomenon we have all seen coming from individuals, coming from organizations, religious and lay, and in recent years from the government itself.

    And the opening sentence of the presentation of such “help” is always some variation, always unspoken, of “Come here, you feckless, worthless wretch; I, who am so superior to you, in philosophy, in intellect and in the eyes of God and humanity, will help you. I will make you whole again and show you the way, the truth and the light.”

    Replies the “wretch,” “But I don’t want any help…”

    “That doesn’t matter! Whether you want it or not, you need it; not only for your own good, but for the good of humanity (society),” Thunders the individual/church/”charitable” organization/government.

    Now, admittedly, this kind of “help” is usually extended by authorities, not charitable organizations, but it isn’t unknown among the less palatable of the latter.

    Lewis may not have been thinking that when he penned those words, but it seems likely he was.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    No, Glenn, that’s not what I did. You are deluding yourself.

    You routinely show us that you are terrible at listening to other people and mostly want to wander through your own mistaken and wrongheaded beliefs and that is all that is happening here.

    Like most faithists, you desperately want to avoid real communication whilst delivering your sermons. In that sad sense, mission accomplished…

  • roger nowosielski

    Yes, I agree that it’s a generalized kind of critique, as you describe.

    As to the invitation, “come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” I wouldn’t find it objectionable if issued from the mouth of Christ, the Son of God. It would be pretentious, however, when uttered by a human.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    And the opening sentence of the presentation of such “help” is always some variation, always unspoken, of “Come here, you feckless, worthless wretch; I, who am so superior to you, in philosophy, in intellect and in the eyes of God and humanity, will help you. I will make you whole again and show you the way, the truth and the light.”

    With many of them – especially the televangelists – you’re quite right. BTW, which side of the political section is home to the great majority of such people? Wonder why that is….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    “It is the growling man who lives a dog’s life” – Coleman Cox

    “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”
    Dale Carnegie

    Of course none of this applies to you, for you are so good and wise, and I’m just a poor deluded fool that does no good for anyone….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/diana-hartman/ Diana

    Per the discussion about churches and whatnot, there have been studies done that “show” how much good it does a person to belong to a church and believe in this or that.

    I call horse manure, though. If they removed whatever religion and whatever god from the study’s equation they would get the same result. Many would say that without faith, church, religion, etc there would be no reason for everyone to get together or help each other, but those are the people who have forgotten that each other was the only reason to do so all along.

    There is zero evidence that you need religion or faith of any kind to be better toward others. All you have to do is stop counting your own blessings.

  • roger nowosielski

    @68

    Except that we’re ever forgetful, Diana. It’s awfully hard to maintain this kind of focus, day in and day out.

    The idea of “prayer,” removed now from any theological underpinnings (other than purely spiritual), the psychological mechanism behind it, i.e., what makes it work, is to keep on reminding ourselves so as to stay the course.

    This, of course, is not any kind of endorsement of organized religions.

  • Clav

    There is zero evidence that you need religion or faith of any kind to be better toward others. All you have to do is stop counting your own blessings.

    QFT

  • Clav

    BTW, which side of the political section is home to the great majority of such people? Wonder why that is….

    I dunno. You tell me. The ones in the government are all; all, from Bloomberg to Obama, Democrats.

    Can’t be Republicans; they don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves. Isn’t that what all good Democrats believe and say?

    Tax the churches. Income, real property and intangible taxes — all of ‘em.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Clavos, if you’d included in your original recommendation to tax the churches (comment#7) this section from #31 “…and the taxing I advocate would be along the lines of the income tax for individuals and corporations: graduated and progressive according to income, so the poor churches would pay little to no tax…

    …then I wouldn’t have written comment #21, to elicit from you the admission that churches do, in fact, help the poor.

    “Helping the poor by taxing the churches that feed them sounds stupid, so by implication you accused me of being stupid, yes.”#31

    I’m sorry you felt that way, Clavos. No one likes to be accused of being stupid, or to be accused of accusing someone else of being stupid. So, for that reason I’ve juxtaposed your remarks from #31 to your remark in #71, so that it doesn’t happen again.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Correction, I don’t think it would bother Christomper Rose to be accused of accusing someone of being stupid. That’s why I quit whining about his doing so ages ago.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    But being accused of accusing you of being stupid, that really hurts, Clavos.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Has anyone else noticed Glenn’s pattern?

    Whenever his arguments are demolished, first he goes off on one or more irrelevant tangents, when those fail he tries a weak fail to authority by selecting some “illuminating” quotes and rounds things off with what he appears to think is sarcasm?

    It’s an ineffective as it is formulaic…

    Diana, there is something beneficial and good about belonging to a group or community, we are collective,social animals after all, at biological, emotional and intellectual levels.

    The problem with monotheism, as with any other religion and many other philosophies and theories, is that it is based on lies. This is why what we allow ourselves to believe is so important.

    Religion exploits that important human quality in an oddly divisive way and, as you so rightly say, we would all be better off without superstitions.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Well, to be fair, Christopher Rose doesn’t say I’m stupid in every way, just stupid for believing in Jesus. And I did, in fact, at one time, whine about this, and he wrote a very nice apology to me on one of the threads, and he began the apology by saying he was motivated to do so by someone else talking to him about the way he talked to me. It was less of an apology actually than an a description of his own spirituality. Anyway, there was a lot less hostility for awhile.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Irene, it may well be true that “No one likes to be accused of being stupid” but I doubt the second half of your sentence “or to be accused of accusing someone else of being stupid” is actually true.

    If it is any consolation, I find myself being stupid about one thing or another several times a week and often give myself a telling off for it.

    What I actually wrote to in the two instances I used the word with reference to Glenn was firstly

    “Your attempt to try and attack the arguments against belief by trying to tie it to racism is simply mind-boggling in its stupidity and offensiveness”. If you don’t find that a stupid argument I would be surprised and rather disappointed.

    The second instance was “where is the honesty or integrity in making up stupid questions that are designed to suit your argument…? I’m happy to characterise the remarks he posted in that way, simply because they are. It’s called the truth.

    I find it more interesting that you use the word accused so much; nobody is on trial! Or are they, in your world?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    As to yourself, I have a lot of interest in what you have to say when you’re not on the faithist theme.

    Just for the sake of accuracy, I didn’t say you were stupid in my earlier remark to you.

    What I said was that “your argument is unusually silly; donations of food from faithists to the homeless are in no way related or comparable to the donations churches receive”.

    I can’t actually see how anyone could realistically make such an argument and I was most surprised to see you do so…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Christopher, comments are often filled with gaps and assumptions. If you are curious about the accusations and accusations of accusations that Clavos and I were allegedly making vis a vis homelessness and taxing churches, I don’t think I could sum it up any better than I did in #72.

    We all leave gaps and make assumptions in our comments from time to time. How much moreso would it be in comment threads than in face-to face-communication, where conflicts are esolved by each party repeating himself, and asking for clarification, and repeating and asking again, until each can see the issue from the other’s point of view.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Now that I have you on the edge of your seat listening to what I have to say about conflict-resolution and communication skills…I shall resume in my usual faithist fashion….but I don’t think it will put you off because…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    Has anyone else noticed Glenn’s pattern?
    Whenever his arguments are demolished, first he goes off on one or more irrelevant tangents, when those fail he tries a weak fail to authority by selecting some “illuminating” quotes and rounds things off with what he appears to think is sarcasm?

    You didn’t ‘demolish’ my arguments – you didn’t even address them. You didn’t answer the questions I asked either. All you did, even when I directly addressed the points you tried to make, was to pretend I didn’t address the points you tried to make.

    That’s the big difference between you and Clavos. You and he share much the same opinion on religion. Clavos will usually take the time to make a cogent, detailed argument that will make sense on at least some levels. You, on the other hand, simply resort to snide insults and sweeping assumptions without going to the trouble of adding detail or examples to back it up.

    And here’s a prime example of your refusal to back up your claims. You said that preachers don’t counsel, that you trust business far more than religion. I pointed out that government and business are not available 24/7/365 for crisis counseling, but preachers are. I pointed out that government and business really don’t give a damn about your personal crisis, but almost all preachers do.

    And you not only ignored the point, but pretended that you ‘demolished’ my argument.

    I really pity you, guy.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    …(to Christopher, continued from comment #79) because you may not realize how much of your criticism of faith and faithists in general strikes a chord in me. If the church smells that bad from the distance created by the 39-foot-pole you use to poke and examine it, imagine what it’s like sitting next to it, in the pew. Imagine what if feels like to pick up the scent on one’s own clothes. The greed, the self-righteousness, the lazy roads to nowhere paved with good intentions.

    In your discussion with Diane (somewhere in the 70 – 74th comment territory) the part that had me nodding my head was not the part about belief in God being a lie, but the part about religion necessarily causing division, and diverting from, even perverting, a natural inclination for human beings to help one another.

    Truth is truth, Christopher Rose, and you don’t have all of it and neither do I. The people who have the closest understanding of who the Creator is don’t come from any particular religion, although, from my vantage point, the ones whose motivations I can best understand are certain followers of Jesus.

    They put themselves in the middle of the evil that appears to be doled out by the hand of God himself, and they still have the faith to ask for God’s help in countering it, to count on God’s help in countering it. They see themselves as being in a cosmic conflict of good against evil, except they don’t just watch the conflict, they are fighting in it.

    Many more people who need miracles (like the kind that comes from a syringe containing an amazing vaccine–perhaps developed by an atheist–or release from the bonds of human trafficking prison or some other kind of oppression) would get them if we stopped wasting time arguing about whose faith is the right one, whose philosophy (God vs no-God) is correct.

    God’ll show up here, if he shows up anywhere, right in the middle of people fighting the filth. GOd’s got a lot of explaining to do. That’s where the atheists and the believers with a sincere hatred for evil, and the most sincere questions about the existence of evil, will be.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, you have a real problem with understanding and following a conversation. Let me make one last effort to straighten you out.

    In comment #12, you made some poorly constructed and inaccurate remarks in defence of religion against the scam argument.

    In #13, I briefly pointed out the inaccuracy of your argument.

    So far, so good.

    You then followed that up in #17 with an extended but again poorly constructed defence.

    In my #36, I wrote a longer and more detailed point by point rebuttal of your arguments and religion in general, in my view pretty comprehensively demolishing both of them.

    Your reaction to this, #49, started off by insulting me and then went off on a variety of tangential arguments, none of which had anything at all to do with my previous remarks.

    In #52 I tried to get you to consider this.

    You followed that up in #59 by accusing me of avoiding the non-responsive irrelevancies you posted in #49 despite my having clearly told you I wasn’t going to.

    It’s true that churches do more than just counselling, they also encourage people to turn to their imaginary deity, as I said before, and you did not and have not tried to defend that, presumably because you can’t.

    You seem so proud of the little claim you made, that “there is NO business that is there for you 24/7 in every community in the free world when you need counseling, especially in times of crisis like suicide prevention, domestic abuse, and addiction”.

    As I pointed out, that is a meaningless statement that you set up to try and justify the churches against the scam argument, even though it has no bearing on that point.

    As far as the point itself is concerned, so what? The fact of the ubiquity of churches has no particular significance.

    Your next so called argument was this:

    “It might be true that most preachers “think they’re doing what’s best for the people”, but that doesn’t mean it is true, it just means they have convinced themselves of that.

    Hey, you’ve just described every counselor – religious or atheist – on the planet!”

    I don’t agree that all counsellors fit that depiction. Many have actual training in psychology and social work. Preachers generally don’t and, even if they did, they are doing it for very different motives and in service of very different ends.

    You followed up that glib and shallow remark by trying another one:

    “When it comes to bereaved and heartbroken families, this is when we see the absolute worst of faithism, exploiting people’s grief, distress and emotional vulnerability in the name of their faith. It is truly nauseating to see such abuse of people.

    I’m sorry, Chris, I wasn’t aware that you were an expert in counseling bereaved and heartbroken families!”

    Nothing about my pointing out how faithism exploits people when they are vulnerable has anything to do with being an expert in counselling, so your argument is meaningless and banal.

    I could go on pointing out the subtle deceptions and blatant irrelevancies in your attempts to rebut my points but don’t see where that would get us, as you clearly can’t follow arguments that contradict your belief system.

    As I pointed out earlier, you have a pattern of response and stick to it, er, religiously…

  • Clav

    I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. No matter how much you and I may disagree, Irene (and we do, though I think we agree more than disagree overall), I am always impressed by the tone of your arguments (as in polite, respectful and pretty doggone open minded as well), the restraint with which you debate with each of us, and overall, the thinking you have so obviously put into your comments (the vast majority of the time).

    So, kudos to you, lady. When I was young, my mother, who was in many ways old-fashioned, but a kind and warm human being (and VERY much a “faithist”), used to explain to me that not all women are ladies, and ever since, I have been sparing in my use of the term.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Irene, I have never ever in my life, not even for one moment, thought I had all the truth or all the answers; indeed, my speciality is questions.

    As I’m sure you’d expect me to say, I can’t make any real sense of the rest of your remark as I don’t believe there was a creator, for the simple reason that there is zero evidence to support that idea, whereas there is considerable evidence to support other perceptions about universal, planetary and human origins.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    But dang if I didn’t point Christopher Rose to comment 71 (wherein I called him “Christomper”) instead of 72 where I meant to direct him when he had questions about yada, yada…

    …I’m glad we’re good, Clavos. :)

  • roger nowosielski

    But Irene, you knew that all along, about Clavos, that is.

  • roger nowosielski

    “Christomper”?

    Do you care to take that back? It’s quite a burden on anyone, even Christopher Rose. For think, even under the worst of all possible scenarios, Pascal’s wager is at stake, not to mention the possibility of eternal infamy.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I pointed out that government and business really don’t give a damn about your personal crisis, but almost all preachers do.

    What do government and business have to do with anything? Your statement makes about as much sense as saying that your hairdresser and your dentist don’t give a damn about your deductibles, but your tax accountant does.

    Governments and businesses may often claim they care about people’s personal wellbeing, but that isn’t their primary function.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    For think, even under the worst of all possible scenarios, Pascal’s wager is at stake, not to mention the possibility of eternal infamy.

    Roger, why would not believing in a god have this consequence? I somehow don’t think you personally buy into the Judeo-Christian-Islamic idea that failure to do so results in “eternal infamy”.

    Pascal’s wager, as you well know, falls down right there as well, since even if God exists, you’re still going to hell if the particular version of God – or religion – or denomination – you chose to put your faith in turns out to be the wrong one…

  • Costello

    Christomper’s (excellent nickmane Miss Irene as it accurately describes his clumsy, lead footed arguing style) only speciality is childishly attacking religious folks, which he has done for as long as I have visited this site. Unfortunate he is unable to take a step back and see the way he presents himself [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • roger nowosielski

    Dreadful, not everything I post here is meant to be taken literally.

    As to Pascal’s wager, I believe it concerned only the existence or nonexistence of God, without regard to any particular creed or denomination (although one would assume it would accord more or less with Christian beliefs).

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    Aw Costello, Christomper’s all right. Has fixed many a link for me in his time. I suspect my God-talk bothers him more than his Christomping bothers me. Christ is used to stomping.

    There are other attacks that the comment editors and/or Clavos have protected me from, and I won’t soon forget that, no matter how much we disagree.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Roger, Pascal made one big assumption, which in the context of his times was arguably excusable. This was that God, if he existed, necessarily must be the Christian God.

    I dare say that he regarded Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians (if he’d heard of them) and adherents of other faiths as no different than atheists.

    (Hopefully that link works. It’s to a specific quote in the Google Books edition of Pascal’s Pensées. If it doesn’t, whizz through to page 81.)

  • roger nowosielski

    Well, France was a bastion of Catholicism, so yes, I’d presume that Pascal, being a Frenchman, was talking of a Christian idea of God. If I failed to imply this, my bad. But you do seem to take the idea of “the wager” out of context in the sense that the interpretation usually attached to it is not as narrow as you’re construing it. It’s the idea of a wager that counts here (which isn’t to say I agree with the logic).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    In comment #12, you made some poorly constructed and inaccurate remarks in defence of religion against the scam argument. In #13, I briefly pointed out the inaccuracy of your argument.

    Um, no you did not. You felt you did, and apparently your own opinion is all the proof you feel is necessary. First, you said that the clergy “don’t earn their own keep”, which merely shows your rank ignorance of what most of them do. When it comes to scams, I’ll be the first to agree that there are many religions that are scams…but there are many that aren’t. For instance, AFAIK Muslims not only do not collect offerings during their prayer services, but among Sunni Muslims they do not have any kind of central authority to their religion. So where’s your scam there? Where’s your claims about lazy clergymen there?

    So far, so good.

    You then followed that up in #17 with an extended but again poorly constructed defence.

    In YOUR quite-biased opinion, that is.

    In my #36, I wrote a longer and more detailed point by point rebuttal of your arguments and religion in general, in my view pretty comprehensively demolishing both of them.
    Your reaction to this, #49, started off by insulting me…

    I call you ‘ignorant’ of something – which means you actually don’t know something – and you immediately take that as an insult? Dude, that’s not an insult. Try looking at the plethora of insults you yourself have made in this very thread…and yet you castigate me for ONE word – ‘ignorant’ – and the context clearly shows that I’m referring to how little you know of helping people in times of personal crisis. That’s not an insult, Chris – that’s a statement.

    …and then went off on a variety of tangential arguments, none of which had anything at all to do with my previous remarks.

    Really? If you’ll go back and read #80, I pointed out (for the second time) how I directly addressed your remarks, and how you refused to answer my points.

    In #52 I tried to get you to consider this.
    You followed that up in #59 by accusing me of avoiding the non-responsive irrelevancies you posted in #49 despite my having clearly told you I wasn’t going to.

    My arguments were quite relevant, Chris – the only reason you claim they’re otherwise is because you really don’t wnat to engage in actual debate.

    It’s true that churches do more than just counselling, they also encourage people to turn to their imaginary deity, as I said before, and you did not and have not tried to defend that, presumably because you can’t.

    Wait – first you said that churches don’t counsel, and now you’re saying they do? That’s the thing about BSers, Chris – they’ve got to have a very good memory.

    You seem so proud of the little claim you made, that “there is NO business that is there for you 24/7 in every community in the free world when you need counseling, especially in times of crisis like suicide prevention, domestic abuse, and addiction”.

    As I pointed out, that is a meaningless statement that you set up to try and justify the churches against the scam argument, even though it has no bearing on that point.

    Hm. Let’s see here. You claim that clergy don’t earn their keep, that they don’t counsel (yes sir, you said that), and they’re just a scam…and when I point out to you something that is considered a core duty of almost every member of clergy, that they’re expected to be available to do 24/7/365, and its something that no business or government can do or cares to do, what do you do? “Well, Glenn, that’s just a meaningless statement.”

    And you never even saw the disconnect in your own thinking. Like I said, you’re not interested in honest debate. You’re much more interested in tearing down those people that you’ve decided that you don’t like.

    As far as the point itself is concerned, so what? The fact of the ubiquity of churches has no particular significance.

    I explained the reason for that very significance – but of course anything that is said that is not in complete compliance to your personal beliefs is of no consequence.

    Your next so called argument was this:
    “It might be true that most preachers “think they’re doing what’s best for the people”, but that doesn’t mean it is true, it just means they have convinced themselves of that.
    Hey, you’ve just described every counselor – religious or atheist – on the planet!”

    I don’t agree that all counsellors fit that depiction.

    You mean a counselor might not think that what he or she is doing is the best thing for the person they’re counseling? Then that person really doesn’t need to be a counselor!

    Many have actual training in psychology and social work. Preachers generally don’t and, even if they did, they are doing it for very different motives and in service of very different ends.

    Again, you’re showing your ignorance. You’re going on the rank assumption that most preachers give counseling for mercenary motives, to bring more people into their church. Truth be told, there are many who do…but there are many more who do the counseling because they simply want to help the person and – unlike the (usually) government-funded counselors – don’t get paid a penny extra for doing so.

    You followed up that glib and shallow remark by trying another one:

    “When it comes to bereaved and heartbroken families, this is when we see the absolute worst of faithism, exploiting people’s grief, distress and emotional vulnerability in the name of their faith. It is truly nauseating to see such abuse of people.

    I’m sorry, Chris, I wasn’t aware that you were an expert in counseling bereaved and heartbroken families!”

    Nothing about my pointing out how faithism exploits people when they are vulnerable has anything to do with being an expert i counselling, so your argument is meaningless and banal.

    You made the broad-brush (and therefore fallacious) judgement that it is in times of grief that we see “faithism at its very worst”. I sarcastically implied that you obviously don’t have a great deal of experience or expertise in helping bereaved or heartbroken families…and then you claim in so many words that your expertise or lack thereof has nothing to do with your ability to accurately pass judgement on how well religions address the needs of people in times of personal crisis.

    Chris, like all retired military I’ve had quite a bit of training in counseling, and I’ve given such counseling many, many times. This simply means that while I may not be a professional counselor (and there certainly are quite a few retired military who are not good counselors at all), I do have a great deal of experience in counseling and I do have a clue. It’s because of my training and experience that I can affirm that yes, clergy DO counsel, especially in times of crisis, and most of them do it not because of their desire to propagate their faith, but because they see someone in need and they sincerely want to help.

    Now maybe you’ve done a truly world-class job of hiding your level of knowledge, experience, and training in counseling – and particularly crisis counseling – but looking at everything you’ve written, sir, it’s glaringly obvious that you do not have a clue.

    But the worst part is that deep inside, you know you have this glaring lack of training and experience, but you still think that what little you think you know gives you the wherewithal to pass judgement on why preachers give counseling or whether they do so in the first place.

    You’ve got a little knowledge, Chris, but your pride is keeping you from seeing just what a dangerous thing a little knowledge can be.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Costello –

    Thanks – I really appreciate that. I’ve got a glass of Merlot that’s calling my name when I get off this computers….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    What do government and business have to do with anything? Your statement makes about as much sense as saying that your hairdresser and your dentist don’t give a damn about your deductibles, but your tax accountant does.

    Governments and businesses may often claim they care about people’s personal wellbeing, but that isn’t their primary function.

    And that last sentence was precisely my point. What I was referring to, Doc, was earlier in our (Chris’ and my) argument where we were discussing counseling. He said in comment #36:

    Counsellors don’t bring the twisted baggage of religion with them, to say nothing of you trying to equate them to church leaders.

    Churches don’t counsel, they rope you in to their con, which is totally different.

    I trust businesses far more than I do churches – not that I trust either a lot – but at least a business is simply just trying to sell me something…

    Afterwards I repeatedly pointed out to him that businesses do not and have no interest in doing what churches do when it comes to counseling, in being available to provide crisis counseling 24/7/365 in pretty much every community in the free world. I expanded it to include government as well in order to emphasize my point of how churches fulfil a need in society – that of crisis counseling – to an extent that no other sector of society – whether in business or in government – can hope to match. The real professionals are in business and government and no mistake…but they’re not available 24/7/365 in just about every community in the free world. As you said, that’s not their primary function. All I was doing was pointing out to Chris that regardless of how much he trusts the business community more than the religious community, when it comes to counseling, business cannot match and would have no interest in matching the efforts of the religious community.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I expanded it to include government as well in order to emphasize my point of how churches fulfil a need in society – that of crisis counseling – to an extent that no other sector of society – whether in business or in government – can hope to match.

    Glenn, I can’t help but feel you’ve constructed a strawman here, or that somebody has. There are more sectors in society than just business, the government and churches. The first two don’t do counselling and nor should they. You’re overlooking the nonprofit sector, a fairly large part of which is secular, and even many religiously-affiliated organizations provide non-religious counselling and services (which at least here in the US is a condition of receiving federal funding). Nonprofits are neither business nor government.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, the clergy doing the work of a religion isn’t work as we usually know it, except in the most technical of ways. Try telling a coal miner or a filing clerk that pottering around giving bad advice to people is work.

    As to your example about Islam, that’s too easy. As there are no deities, all the religion does is manipulate people’s lives, particularly those of women, based on nothing but some bad outdated ideas, pretty much the same as Judaism and Christianity do. It is, therefore, a scam, on emotional, logical, social and financial levels.

    Yes, Glenn, I am biased, biased in favour of the verifiable, because in balance the facts tend to support my view, just as they do with many other things I believe, because verifiable evidence is so important. Your testimony is not evidence, it is just story telling.

    However I’m not prejudiced or stuck within the bad logic of a dogma, as you have apparently been in both a political and a religious way all your life.

    Of course, you’ve switched dogmas several times, which undermines all of them, whilst revealing you as someone with a real need to believe in something.

    I’m not going to play the faithist word dance with you, Glenn. We all know that you, like any doorstep preacher, will twist and turn any way they have to to avoid the glaring fallacy that is this creation myth.

    You, despite your frequent claims to follow the facts, will seemingly never have the intellectual honesty or strength of character to accept that there are no gods, that people are responsible for what they do, or that we should all be trying to make our lives and this world a better place right now, because when life is over, it is simply over.

    As the Doc points out, you have created a strawman with your counselling argument, just one of the many strawmen that you deploy to cover the gaping holes in your logic.

    I understand you have to do this and even why, so I forgive you your inability to transcend your beliefs. I will always defend your right to believe whatever you want to, whilst opposing any attempt to portray what you believe as in any way factual or true. I think we should just leave it there as you are clearly not capable of any kind of meaningful debate and I don’t want to distress you any further.

  • roger nowosielski

    Glenn.

    I didn’t want to dump on you, neither earlier nor do I wish to do it now, but my response would have been very much along the lines of Dreadful here. Yes, I was gonna mention nonprofits, NGOs, social workers, college/university counselors, even professional counselors, such as trained psychologists or “shrinks.”

    The other point that needs repeating is: it’s not organizations that do the counseling but people do. I know it’s kind trivial, but in your zeal to defend the institution of the Church, you certainly appear to have been carried away to the point of confusing and/or conflating a corporate entity with an individual. And a Church is a corporate entity (in every sense other than when she’s regarded as the bride of Christ); so strictly speaking, churches do not do counseling: they provide it.

    Thirdly, since it’s an individual(s) who do do that — with various degrees of skill and or success, it goes without saying — it’s rather presumptuous of you to say that Chris, or anyone else for that matter, have no clue whatsoever when it comes to counseling (simply because you may have taken some courses in it when in the Navy). “Counselling” is what people do, whether it is solicited or not, again with varying degrees of success, so we may not always be very good at it, but to say that we’re completely clueless …

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Glenn, I can’t help but feel you’ve constructed a strawman here, or that somebody has. There are more sectors in society than just business, the government and churches. The first two don’t do counselling and nor should they. You’re overlooking the nonprofit sector, a fairly large part of which is secular, and even many religiously-affiliated organizations provide non-religious counselling and services (which at least here in the US is a condition of receiving federal funding). Nonprofits are neither business nor government.

    The reason I didn’t include nonprofits – and I did think about them already in this current debate – is because I grew up in a place where nonprofits pretty much didn’t exist. There are nonprofits in all the major- and medium-sized cities, but not so much in the small towns, particularly out in the country where I grew up.

    In fact, one of the largest nonprofits is as you allowed quite religious – the Salvation Army. I don’t agree with their doctrine, but you get the point. In any case, most of America (though not most of the population) is quite rural, and when you’re out in small-town America, there are few if any non-profits to turn to. That’s why I didn’t include them.

  • roger nowosielski

    In the interim, your can take this quiz.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    Your diatribe above is less insulting than normal, and I appreciate that. You’ll find that if you try, the fewer the insults you post, generally speaking, the more effective you are. Look at Doc Dreadful – I’m sure that he, in the longstanding tradition of graduates of English academia, is quite able to use insults to devastating effect. But he chooses not to do so. Not only does this garner the respect of those who recognize his discretion, but it also makes the very rare insults that he might use that much more effective. Learn from him.

    Now, as to your comment, it’s long past time you checked your assumptions at the door, starting with this:

    I’m not going to play the faithist word dance with you, Glenn. We all know that you, like any doorstep preacher, will twist and turn any way they have to to avoid the glaring fallacy that is this creation myth.

    I am not a creationist. I’ve got no reason to not believe that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. Here’s the argument I use against creationists: one can use simple geometry to show how far away distant stars and galaxies are. When we see that the Andromeda galaxy is 2M light years away, that means the light has been traveling 2M years to get here, which would require that in creationist theory, God would have had to not only create the Andromeda galaxy, but He would also have had to place the light supposedly coming from Andromeda only 6K light-years distant from earth so that we could see it today. I strongly doubt that’s something God would do, for that would make Him a deceiver in that we’re supposed to believe that creation happened 6K years ago when we can prove that light form Andromeda’s been traveling for 2M years.

    Noah’s flood is also an obvious myth. IMO it was originally a legend, a metaphor that was meant to illustrate not that all God’s creatures but those on the ark were killed, but that out of all the people in the world, there were only eight people left who still worshipped God.

    And then there’s the chlidren of Adam – they found wives in the land of Ur, which means that not only were there people elsewhere but that there were named lands elsewhere. Creationists have a hard time tap-dancing around this one.

    And the prohibitions in the Bible against homosexuality are nothing more than social prejudice that found its way into Scripture. ‘Christians’ will tell you that Scripture is infallible, but the prophet Jeremiah pointed out in Chapter 8 that the scribes did insert their own prejudices into Scripture.

    Okay? I can go on all day long showing where I strongly disagree with most of ‘Christianity’. I’ve sat with the clergy of the Church of which I’m a member and told them all this and more. So why do I remain a strong member? Because after sifting and sorting through all the metaphor, the legends, the falsehoods, and the prejudice, and after allowing for the vagaries of human nature, I found that I cannot disprove the Church of which I’m a member. I can disprove all other religions quite easily, but I can’t disprove this one. That’s why I remain a strong member.

    Okay? You’ve obviously been working with the assumption that I’m some kind of idiotic Michelle Bachmann clone who insists that everything in the Bible must be taken literally, that it’s the infallible word of God. But I cannot deny science for the sake of religion – if the religion cannot be explained in the face of scientific fact, then the religion is false.

    I’ve told you at least twice before that if not for the Church of which I’m a member, I’d be every bit as atheist as you. I hope that by reading the above, you can see that I wasn’t kidding…and hopefully, when you and I discuss matters in the future, you’ll do so with the understanding that not all ‘faithists’ are blithering idiots worthy only of your bile and spittle.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    1. In my first (blocked) comment to reply to Doc, I address the question of nonprofits. I really don’t want to try to retype it, so hopefully you’ll read it when they unblock the comment.

    2. Your second point – that organizations don’t counsel, but people do – is quite well taken (and it’s something Chris should bear in mind). And I strongly agree that churches must in many ways be run as businesses in order to succeed – the model’s not that much different. But to expand upon your point, yes, the great majority of counselors do care greatly, regardless of the organization to which they belong. That said, the only organizations that are available 24/7/365 in pretty much every community in the free world are religous organizations. That’s why I keep saying that no set of organizations – governmental, business, nonprofit, or all three combined – can hope to fulfil the role that religious organizations fill on the local level.

    3. You said: it’s rather presumptuous of you to say that Chris, or anyone else for that matter, have no clue whatsoever when it comes to counseling (simply because you may have taken some courses in it when in the Navy). “Counselling” is what people do, whether it is solicited or not, again with varying degrees of success, so we may not always be very good at it, but to say that we’re completely clueless

    Roger, only those who have spent a decade or more in military service can even begin to appreciate the importance the military places – must place – on counseling. It’s an everyday thing, especially given that unlike in the civilian world, we’re quite literally responsible for our subordinates’ conduct 24/7, wherever we’re at. AFAIK there’s no equivalent of this level of responsibility in the civilian world.

    That’s why literally half the job of senior enlisted IS counseling, in teaching the subordinates about ethics and conduct and crisis mitigation…essentially teaching the subordinates about life. I’m sorry, Roger, but only those who have experienced that level of responsibility for the 24/7 conduct of others can really understand what I’m talking about here.

    Of course some of us are more skilled at counseling than others, and some shouldn’t be counseling at all, but there’s a reason why there’s a “Troops to Teachers” program. Google it sometime. Retired military are valued as teachers not just because we know how to maintain discipline in the classroom, but because we’ve spent much of our military careers counseling kids just out of high school.

    You don’t have to take my word for any of this – almost any retired military person will tell you much the same, at length, with a sparkle in their eye…and if you’ll ask them what they miss most about their military career, almost to a man (or woman) they’ll tell you that they miss taking care of their troops and teaching the kids how to succeed in the military and in life in general.

    Again, Roger, I’m sorry, but you can’t know unless you’ve been there (and spending two years in the military as Chris did isn’t enough to give him the least clue). That’s why I strongly encourage you to ask other retired military. Heck, go on any of the military forums and ask them if I’m wrong.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Roger –

    Per your quiz, my score most closely matched “Rocky Anderson” of the Justice Party, followed closely by Jill Stein of the Green Party.

  • Clav

    Much to my astonishment (and probably all of you as well), I came out of the quiz as “Moderate Liberal!”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Actually, I’m not that surprised. If I read you correctly, when it comes to social and cultural issues you are fairly liberal – more than once you showed me that my assumptions about you were completely off base. It’s usually the economic issues where we butt heads.

  • roger nowosielski

    Can you believe my dismay when I scored “Hard Core Liberal”? Woe be me!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Clav, I once told you you were a liberal and now it’s confirmed! :-)

    As for myself, I came out as a “libertarian-leaning liberal”. Try saying that fast five times.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I can disprove all other religions quite easily, but I can’t disprove this one.

    Glenn, you’ve always been very coy about the Iglesia ni Cristo (you seldom even refer to it by name) and exactly why you regard its tenets as irrefutable: specifically this mysterious miracle it’s supposed to be the custodian of.

    It just seems odd to me – and it should to you – that of all the girls of all the nationalities in the world you just happen to have married a Filipina, and that she (I’m assuming) just happens to be a member of this church, and that church, out of all the thousands of faiths, sects, denominations and cults in the world, just happens to be the sole repository of revealed truth.

    Sounds like nothing more than an unlikely coincidence to me.

    “Observable, measurable, testable, falsifiable and repeatable”… as I remarked yesterday on another thread.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doc –

    Glenn, you’ve always been very coy about the Iglesia ni Cristo (you seldom even refer to it by name) and exactly why you regard its tenets as irrefutable: specifically this mysterious miracle it’s supposed to be the custodian of.

    Look back at what I wrote to Chris about fallacies in the Bible – if I were some kind of starry-eyed Pollyanna just looking for something to believe in – or just trying to make my girlfriend happy – would I directly tell not just clergy, but senior clergy that I believe they’re wrong about Noah’s flood and so forth?

    That said, the most important parts of doctrine – the ones that deal with salvation and with identification of the true Church – have squat to do with creationism, Noah’s flood, opinions on homosexuality, and so forth.

    I know you meant no insult in your comment about who I married and why, but I’ve heard the same statement from others in a deliberately insulting tone, and it’s difficult to separate their insulting tone from your statement.

    But if you really want to talk about unlikely coincidences, it’s a heck of a coincidence that I grew up racist in backwoods Mississippi, and now my son just got his Filipino citizenship less than two weeks ago and is going to college there. Besides, I can just imagine people from two thousand years ago living anywhere from the Indus to Gibraltar pointing out to their friend what an unlikely coincidence it is that he’s marrying a Jewish girl and she just happens to be following a guy who says He’s the Messiah. Or, if you want another example, how likely do you really think it was that the most popular musical band in human history would wind up spending time with the Mahareshi Yogi, or that Tina Turner would turn Buddhist or whatever.

    The point is, Doc, life’s full of unlikely coincidences. Sometimes, though, some of us think a coincidence is so unlikely that it might well be something other than coincidence.

    “Observable, measurable, testable, falsifiable and repeatable” – again, look back at what I wrote to Chris in #103 – I’m not a wide-eyed idiotic Michelle Bachmann clone, okay?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I’m sceptical that any religion can actually be disproved as they aren’t based on any facts.

    Furthermore, it isn’t necessary to disprove such theories, it is necessary to prove them and that has never been achieved.

    Moving on, an article I read last night reminded me that we are all spending time debating the undebatable here on Diana’s fine article and I thought re-posting some of the most interesting points from it might be useful.

    It’s an article titled “It’s Time To Focus On Creating Value, Not Profit

    According to the article, American companies are achieving the “highest profit margins in history” but at a considerable cost in terms of value to their customers, employees and society.

    One result of this focus on corporate profit is that ” big American companies are now paying the lowest wages as a percent of the economy in history” and therefore that a “record-low percentage of the vast wealth these companies have is being shared with the people who help earn it”.

    The cumulative effect of this and other corporate profit maximising tactics is both damaging the US economy and depressing economic growth rates.

    The article makes several compelling points and I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the perspective of Ms Hartmann or anyone concerned about the effects of corporate policy on the society off which it feeds.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, you might be amused to learn that I got the exact same result as you on that quiz.

  • troll

    …’liberal libertarian’ here

  • roger nowosielski

    @112

    Haven’t read it yet, only your description of it, Chris, but it’s right on target. I refer you back to my earlier comments on Diana’s fine article (page one, I believe) regarding shift of focus from her biting critique of the underlying ethos to such marginal or peripheral matters as “taxation” — peripheral because they don’t constitute the fix.

    And re: your #113, it’s all in the questions.

  • Clav

    @ Doc #110:

    He’s still being coy. Gave you seven graphs in #111 and totally ignored your remark about his coyness.

    There’s something piscatorial there…

    Just sayin’

  • roger nowosielski

    And btw, the very idea of “creating value” is a very useful and easily understandable concept. I’ll make certain to put it to a far greater use in my theoretical meanderings, or musings, as zingzing is so fond of saying.

  • roger nowosielski

    . . . piscatorial and/or picaresque?

  • troll

    …see Khan Academy for an example of corporate profits (Google initially) creating value – in this case resources to “flip the classroom”

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Clav, I think Glenn can’t do anything but be coy. Part of his brain knows that reason can defeat any religion because they are all just imaginings, not discoveries.

    That’s why he likes to write about science and present as someone who will follow the facts. It allows him to give himself some intellectual cover for what is ultimately an anti-intellectual choice.

    Ultimately he is caught in a potentially world changing (for him) trap, which is why his responses on the topic of faith are so meandering.

    I’d be coy too if I was in his situation, because any real engagement with the issues would probably lead to apostasy and Glenn clearly has a strong need for belief so, until he can get past that, coyness will always be his option.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    troll, although I think what the Khan Academy is doing is a good thing (although far from unique), I’m unsure if it is truly creating value. It may, in fact, cause a lot of damage to the education system; we’ll have to wait and see. A lot of what the internet enables is both good and bad at the same time. Maybe there should be a Church of the Internet, lol!

    One thing the Khan Academy is NOT is an example of corporate profits creating value. KA effectively started in 2004, was incorporated as a non-profit in 2008 and didn’t get its Google funding until late 2010…

  • Clav

    Maybe there should be a Church of the Internet, lol!

    You mean the Internet isn’t a church???

    Oh no!! I’ve wasted so much time!

  • troll

    Chris

    despite the timing corporate money has gone to the creation of software – actual products which are currently used freely by some teachers and students

    seems like the creation of value without emphasis on profit to me…unless we are restricted to the absolute good alone constituting value

    maybe good – maybe bad – best to wait and see…as you use it seems to apply to most all things certainly all technology

    but we don’t have that luxury

  • Clav

    While it in no way can be considered definitive because it appears to be written by one individual and offers little in the way of backup for its assertions, this web site nevertheless appears to present at least some small insight into the INC and its founder, Felix Manalo.

    One thing that is apparent: the INC is virulently anti-Catholic, which makes sense from a recruiting standpoint; the INC is a Filipino church, the Philippines are, by some accounts, more than 80% Catholic, so anti-Catholicism is an excellent way to recruit from the ranks of disaffected Catholics.

    In fairness, here’s a link to the INC’s own official web site.

  • troll

    (and oh yeah – Khan’s work is just one example as you noted)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Look back at what I wrote to Chris about fallacies in the Bible – if I were some kind of starry-eyed Pollyanna just looking for something to believe in – or just trying to make my girlfriend happy – would I directly tell not just clergy, but senior clergy that I believe they’re wrong about Noah’s flood and so forth?

    And?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    AND I’m quite satisfied with my life choices, Doc. You can make all the assumptions you like, but I am living a very happy life. One thing I’ve learned is that happiness is in one way just like misery – it loves company. When one is miserable, one tends to wish ill on others, whereas when one is happy and fulfilled, one wishes everyone else could have the same – even the ones he doesn’t like. That’s why you never see me wish anyone ill – ever, not even in my thoughts.

  • Dr Dreadful

    But I’m not assuming anything, Glenn: that’s why I asked. I’m curious as to exactly what it is that you can’t disprove. That’s all. At no point did I accuse you of being some brainwashed cult zombie.

    Unfortunately, on the basis of your non-response thus far, I’m beginning to lean toward the assumption Clav makes in #116…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    That’s your prerogative, Doc. Call it coy if you like, but look at how long my comments tend to be and bear that in mind when I say that describing a life journey that led me to this juncture cannot be effectively summarized even in a long BC article. It would require a book with many, many religious and historical citations and investigations into the proper translation of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic – and that’s before I’d even begin addressing Church doctrine. To try to summarize this in one BC article is a ludicrous notion at best, for it could not hope to achieve the intended aim.

    And yes, if I were in your position I would feel that this is simply avoiding the question, and Chris and Clavos are certainly smugly patting themselves on the back. I can’t help that.

    The worst part for the purpose of this forum, too many tend to rush to judgement, the moment they see some who is a ‘faithist’

  • Clav

    Well, Glenn, you must admit that it’s hard not to “rush to judgement” when confronted with someone who believes in an imaginary being for which not a scrap of proof has ever, in 2000 years been unearthed.

    And all on the word of a slick talking salesman (also 2000 years ago)who insisted that not only did this being exist, but that he was the being’s son?

    And all this without so much as an iota of proof.

    “Rush to judgment,” indeed…

  • Glen Contrarian

    Clav –

    Hm. This from someone who thinks that 98% of the world’s climatologists and the vast majority of the rest of the world’s scientists are wrong about AGW.

    No, Clav, I don’t think I’m going to adopt your definition of what is ‘proof’.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, typical sloppiness again; Clav didn’t define “proof”, he just said “without so much as an iota of proof”, which there isn’t…

    He’s probably wrong about AGW, but there is nothing to link that to this argument anyway, so not only are you being sloppy, you are using very dubious logic. No surprise there, of course.

    Furthermore, just because someone is wrong about one thing doesn’t mean they are wrong about everything, one can simply be mistaken.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Chris –

    And you are forgetting to try to understand what is written, for if you did, you’d understand that what I’m referring to is that different people have sometimes wildly different defnitions of what they personally consider ‘proof’. Anyone who’s been watching politics should know that!

    Oh, and one more thing:

    just because someone is wrong about one thing doesn’t mean they are wrong about everything, one can simply be mistaken.

    Unless, in your eyes, it’s me saying almost anything about almost anything. Would that you’d learn to apply what you said in all your comments rather than throwing out your bile and spittle willy-nilly at those whom you have chosen to despise.

  • roger nowosielski

    @130

    “Well, Glenn, you must admit that it’s hard not to “rush to judgement” when confronted with someone who believes in an imaginary being for which not a scrap of proof has ever, in 2000 years been unearthed.”

    Faulty logic, Clav.

    I’m referring you now to Chris’ earlier comment on this thread, #112, and I quote:

    “I’m sceptical that any religion can actually be disproved as they aren’t based on any facts.

    Furthermore, it isn’t necessary to disprove such theories, it is necessary to prove them and that has never been achieved.”

    I might take slight exception to Chris’ use of the term “facts” (my view is that “facts” are much more theory-laden than most of us suppose, while his interpretation is more straightforward and “literal,” something approximating what we consider as “evidence,” especially “scientific evidence”) Christopher had nailed it.

    There is a significant difference between (1) propositions which cannot disprove and (2) propositions we can “prove,” to mean, propositions we can back up in terms of supporting evidence (“facts”). (In fairness, on another thread, can’t locate it now, Chris did admit the relative validity of testimony as evidence, in courtrooms, for instance.) Anyway, it’s precisely this lacuna, this in-between, “nether” land, that is the proper object of faith. Or in terms of St. Augustine, “Faith is to believe what you do not see” (belief in things unseen).

    Strictly speaking of course, proofs are mathematical and/or logical, and they usually concern, are embedded in, the rules of language, deductive rather than inductive. Hence the old distinction between analytical statements/propositions and the synthetic ones, as per the following ”Wiki article, though the distinction is not without controversy: see the subsection #4, “Criticisms.”

  • Dr Dreadful

    And yes, if I were in your position I would feel that this is simply avoiding the question

    Absolutely you are avoiding the question, because you brought it up in the first place and now refuse to engage.

  • Clav

    Uh Roger #134:

    This:

    someone who believes in an imaginary being for which not a scrap of proof has ever, in 2000 years been unearthed.”

    And this:

    it isn’t necessary to disprove such theories, it is necessary to prove them and that has never been achieved.”

    Say pretty much the same thing, so where’s my “faulty logic?”

  • roger nowosielski

    What I’m saying. Clav, there are plenty things we happen to believe for which there’s no “proof” in the sense I used it.

    Like, for example, on the basis of the available evidence, I take you for, believe you to be, an honest and honorable person. I may be proven wrong, eventually; but not having “the proof” to the contrary doesn’t stop me from relating to you and or treating you on the basis of my present belief (which some day may be falsified).

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, unlike you, I don’t just make stuff up when it suits me. You didn’t respond to what Clav wrote, but your interpretation of it, causing immediate bullshit. This isn’t bible class, stop trying to read between the lines, don’t guess and don’t make stuff up!

    As to your total bs remark addressed to me, we agreed on something only last week if you remember!

    However, in your case it isn’t “just because someone is wrong about one thing doesn’t mean they are wrong about everything”, it is “just because someone is right about one thing doesn’t mean they are right about everything”!

    Roger, I’ve freed your comments from the duff spam trap. Hopefully this problem will go away when Blogcritics moves to its new platform, although Technorati’s track record with us is not entirely reassuring!

  • roger nowosielski

    Well, I’m copying & pasting some of my longer comments unto a word document, and then break ‘em down if need be. Thus far it had worked.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doc –

    Absolutely you are avoiding the question, because you brought it up in the first place and now refuse to engage.

    Actually, the subject started when Clav said that churches should be taxed and I agreed. Then zing said that churches are a scam, I said that it’s not a scam if the people involved actually believe that what they’re doing is the right thing. Then Chris jumps in and things went downhill from there.

    So if you’ll look on the first page of comments (numbers 7, 9, 10, 12, and 13,), you’ll see that I wasn’t the one who brought up the subject of church, okay? Not only that, but I was agreeing with Clavos on the proposal to tax churches.

    Good grief!

  • Glen Contrarian

    Chris –

    Oh! I see now! You’re right about everything! How could I be so stupid as to not see that your straight-as-a-laser logic blasts right through any of my idiotic, incredibly presumptive statements! I’ve been SO wrong about everything, and you’ve been right about everything!

    *falls down on the ground and quivers uncontrollably in the face of Chris’ unassailable logic, unfathomable intellect, and unlimited understanding of the human experience*

  • roger nowosielski

    Glenn, you’re only setting yourself up. Can’t
    we possibly dish emotion for the time being and stick to the argument?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Sigh…

    Nobody is right about everything and you aren’t stupid; it is just that your perception is thrown off by what you think you know, what you believe.

    Setting aside your tragically weak attempts at, let’s be generous and call it humour, as usual your #140 misses the point the Doc was making.

  • Glen Contrarian

    And Doc –

    Something to bear in mind – the people on BC are not only generally very intelligent people, but we’ve also a generally higher-than-average level of education and experience in the world. We have wildly differing views on different matters, but none of us are idiots. What’s more, we’re all fairly honest here about what we think and believe – we all have a significant measure of integrity. Yes, our opinions and beliefs clash and raise our collective tempers and blood pressures, but without that clash there would be no debate.

    There’s nothing in that previous paragraph that you (and most of the other BC regulars) did not already know. While we’re all human and subject to human failings, none of us have shown much proclivity for wild conspiracy theories or similar stupidities that plague human society. The only one who did in recent memory was kicked off here for repeated and egregious acts of plagarism – even after it was pointed out to him on numerous occasions, he could not grasp that plagarism (in addition to being unethical and sometimes illegal) was a violation of standards of integrity.

    It’s that combination of intelligence, education, experience, and integrity that keep me here…but of all these, the most important is that personal integrity – the insistence almost all of us have on presenting what we really, truly think or believe, even though we sometimes wind up being savaged by the BC peerage.

    So what’s my point? When we on BC start talking about religion (as Clavos and zing did on this comment thread before I even mentioned the Church), if I do happen to mention the Church of which I’m a member, that does not in any way mean that I’m pushing my religion on any of you. All I did was refer to my experience therein. If you’ll read my comments, it was never my intention in this thread to debate Church doctrine…and if all of you insist on attacking ‘faithists’ for their beliefs, then the very next time that Baronius mentions his faith, then the BC atheists should attack his beliefs with the very same enthusiasm as they do mine; after all, few religions have as much dirty laundry as does Catholicism. That’s not an attack on Baronius or his belief, but a matter of historical record.

    Doc, I’m not stupid. I’m neither an idiot nor a fool (though sometimes I am foolish). If I tell you that it is not given to me to describe to you the deeper beliefs of the Church of which I’m a member, then please bear in mind that I am somewhat intelligent/educated/exprienced and take me at my word that I honestly believe that there is good and proper reason for this – not because it’s something that I’m just trying to hide, but because it’s not given to me to preach…and that when I have done so before, that it was wrong of me to do so.

    When I write something, Doc, it’s like I’ve said several times before – always take what I write at face value, because even though I might be wrong, I try hard to say what I mean and mean what I say. It’s not obfuscation or avoidance of a question, it’s a matter of belief. I’m not asking you to believe as I do (though I admit it would be good if you did), but I am asking you to understand that I am being honest and forthright. Please take what I say at face value, for that’s precisely how it’s meant.

  • Dr Dreadful

    If you’ll read my comments, it was never my intention in this thread to debate Church doctrine…and if all of you insist on attacking ‘faithists’ for their beliefs, then the very next time that Baronius mentions his faith, then the BC atheists should attack his beliefs with the very same enthusiasm as they do mine; after all, few religions have as much dirty laundry as does Catholicism.

    Here’s the thing though, Glenn. Catholicism is regularly criticized on these threads. Baronius is perfectly capable of defending it, and does so regularly and ably. There’s nothing coy about his faith. We have a fairly good idea of why he’s a Catholic and he’s a pretty good apologist in spite of not being a clergyman nor, as far as I’m aware, a member of the laity.

    In contrast, all we ever get from you are semi-regular references to “the church of which I’m a member”. It comes across as rather smug, especially when you introduce the claim that you can’t disprove their doctrine and then refuse to explain why.

    take me at my word that I honestly believe that there is good and proper reason for this – not because it’s something that I’m just trying to hide, but because it’s not given to me to preach…

    You know how that looks, don’t you?

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doc –

    On BC I’ve seen the Catholic church criticized only once, and I’ve never seen anyone else attacked for their belief to the extent I have…but I must admit that I have seen less of BC than you have so I may have missed the criticism to which you refer, and the level of attacks I’ve received may be due to how (and how much) I will defend my belief.

    And as to “how it looks”, I tried to appeal to your understanding, that you would consider my statements not in and of themselves, but that you would judge their veracity on what you feel my pattern of veracity has been over the years. After all, I would think it unlikely that I would post as sincerely as possible for years, that I would be willing to state pretty much what I thought without reservation for years, yet when it comes to this one subject, but all of a sudden I become “coy”, that I suddenly “avoid the question” when it comes to religion.

    So that’s your choice – am I:

    1 – completely sincere except for when it comes to my religion, or

    2 – sincere only when it suits my purpose, or

    3 – sincere in everything, including concerning my religion.

    The choice, of course, is yours. I’ll leave the last word to you, and I’ll do my best to develop a thicker skin in the future.

  • Dr Dreadful

    On BC I’ve seen the Catholic church criticized only once

    Glenn, the RCC gets beaten up on all the time around here. Just type the word “Catholic” into that little search box at the top right-hand corner of the screen and see what you come up with.

    So that’s your choice – am I:

    I’m going to go with option 1, but with a proviso. I don’t think it’s you not being sincere as much as your church. I’m not sure why the Iglesia ni Cristo would want to discourage a member from witnessing for them, particularly one as articulate and inquiring as yourself. Unless… Hmm.

  • roger nowosielski

    @148

    “On BC I’ve seen the Catholic church criticized only once, and I’ve never seen anyone else attacked for their belief to the extent I have…”

    How can you say such a thing, Glenn? Have you forgotten about Irene?

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doc –

    So much for me letting you have the last word!

    Did you not see where I admitted that I may have missed the criticism to which you refer?

    And your choice of option 1 – fine, go ahead. Remember, I sat down with senior clergy and told them where I thought they were wrong – evolution, Noah’s flood, homosexuality – but I’m somehow afraid to ‘witness’ for them? Come now!

    Is it that I’m being manipulated, or might you instead be working with the wrong paradigm, that of ‘witnessing’? If you’ll look back at the Bible, look at the believers in the NT who were not clergy – did they tell everyone the details of what they believed, or did they simply invite people to listen to Jesus or the apostles?

    When it comes to learning, Doc, do you start out with the complicated stuff, with the details of the higher concepts? Or do you start out with the simple stuff? And when it comes to education, should you want to learn from a layman, or from a teacher? Sure, a man on the street might be able to tell you what the Pythagorean Theorem is in some detail, but it’s unlikely that he or she could teach you how to appreciate its usefulness and simplicity. That’s why we learn geometry from geometry teachers and not the man on the street. I know most of the details, but that does not mean that I can effectively present those details to you.

    Now, given that to my mind, the salvation of one’s soul is the most serious of all possible topics, why would I – the man on the street – want to give you detailed explanations about topics that I know are much more effectively taught by those who have deeper knowledge of those topics and are properly trained to teach those topics?

    Like I said, Doc, you’re familiar with the protestant paradigm of ‘witnessing’…but that doesn’t mean it’s the right paradigm.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Roger –

    How can you say such a thing, Glenn? Have you forgotten about Irene?

    Did you really read what I posted? Here: On BC I’ve seen the Catholic church criticized only once, and I’ve never seen anyone else attacked for their belief to the extent I have…but I must admit that I have seen less of BC than you have so I may have missed the criticism to which you refer, and the level of attacks I’ve received may be due to how (and how much) I will defend my belief.

    Okay? I admitted ahead of time that I could be wrong, that I simply may not have seen it.

    But I must also admit that part of this is somewhat personal, because I want to see Chris be an equal-opportunity I-hate-all-religion Bill Maher clone. He’s been all over me any time I had the temerity to even mention religion, but I notice there’s an utter dearth of his spleen-venting in this article that’s been out for several days even while he’s been telling me in so many words…well, I won’t go there.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    How about option 4?: believes he is being sincere even though he isn’t…

    Glenn, I don’t hate all religions, just as I don’t hate astrology. I’d argue against either as a way of living your life because they are both based on false premises.

    The main difference with religions as compared to astrology is that they have real power, financial, political and social power, which makes them dangerous or potentially dangerous.

    It also makes their adherents difficult to trust because you can never be certain if or when they are going to act out according to their belief system.

    As these religions exploit people’s natural feelings of community, sharing and reverence, I find them abhorrent as they are based on, let’s say, naive perceptions about the nature of our existence.

    As to the article about the election of the new leader of this international criminal conspiracy, I don’t have anything to say about it.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Remember, I sat down with senior clergy and told them where I thought they were wrong – evolution, Noah’s flood, homosexuality – but I’m somehow afraid to ‘witness’ for them? Come now!

    I didn’t suggest you were afraid, I suggested they’d advised you not to. I also suggested that if true, this reflects more on them than on you.

    If you’ll look back at the Bible, look at the believers in the NT who were not clergy – did they tell everyone the details of what they believed, or did they simply invite people to listen to Jesus or the apostles?

    Glenn, there were no clergy in the first century church, and by no stretch of the imagination were the early Christian martyrs, many of whom were put to death by the Romans and others for preaching their beliefs, all church leaders. Good try, but no cigar.

    That’s why we learn geometry from geometry teachers and not the man on the street. I know most of the details, but that does not mean that I can effectively present those details to you.

    And yet this doesn’t stop you from writing copious articles and comments about politics, economics, quantum physics and many other topics which you know a lot about but which are not your profession.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    You deserve a break today.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    (Not a comment on the level of discourse here. Just some relief, comic and otherwise.)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield DrDrfl

    OMG LMFAO LOL @ IRN :-)

    ;-)

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doc –

    Glenn, there were no clergy in the first century church,

    Actually, you’re quite mistaken on that point. One of my favorite passages is from Romans 10:

    14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

    15 How will they preach unless they are sent?

    The New Testament is quite clear that one must be sent in order to preach…and not everyone is sent. The implication is clear: those who are not sent to preach, are not supposed to preach. Remember, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

    Only those who are sent to preach are meant to preach…and when I screw up and start telling everyone the deeper concepts and teachings of the Church, it is these verses of which I’m falling afoul.

    It’s like I told you above – it’s a significantly different paradigm than what you’re used to, especially since there’s a part of you that (like me) strongly believes in freedom of speech, of being able to say anything that you think needs to be said.

  • roger nowosielski

    Glenn, that’s as bullshit a comment as I’ve ever come across one, especially the last paragraph. It makes no sense at all. And as much as I tried to stay above the fray until now, as far as I’m concerned, Clav and Dreadful pegged you down. To a T.

  • Clav

    Wow! Imagine allowing the scribblings in as fallacious a source as the bible to override your civil liberties…

  • roger nowosielski

    Scribblings it is and nothing more than scribblings. I’m glad you said it, not I.

    I don’t have the requisite kind of patience as you or Christopher or Dreadful, so let me check out and bid you all adieu.

    I hope it’ll have the desired effect but I doubt it, very seriously doubt it. The bad penny is always liable to turn up, count on it. And so will our Glenn, God help him.

  • roger nowosielski

    BTW, my use of the term “scribblings” made reference only to Glenn’s own. As to the book itself, you do know that some of it at least is wisdom literature.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Glenn (@ #156):

    First of all, preacher is not a direct synonym for clergy. It can be used in the same sense, but it literally just means “one who preaches”, which can encompass anyone from the Pope to Pastor Steve giving his Sunday sermon to that lunatic with a loudhailer on the corner of Park and Broadway.

    This is recognized by the translators of, for example, the New International Version, who render that verse as: “And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” There are several other versions that have the same interpretation. You can make side-by-side comparisons of any of them right there in your own link.

    Secondly, if one reads Romans 10 in its entirety, it’s clear that this is precisely Paul’s meaning. He’s making the not unreasonable observation that people aren’t going to hear the word of Christ unless Christians tell them about it. And by this he means all the Christians in Rome, not just your imaginary proto-priesthood – as is clear if you go back and look at Romans 1:7.

    Thirdly, I’m not asking you to preach: I’m just curious to know, oh, anything at all about the doctrine of your church and what’s supposed to be so fantastically irrefutable about it.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Clav and Roger –

    That’s why most of us admire doc. In the firefight of debate where you two bring machine guns and the occasional mortar while I’ve got my trusty Daisy pellet gun, he brings a damn lightsaber. And he smiles.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, these are not the Gentiles you’re looking for.

    ;-)

  • roger nowosielski

    It’s still of little or no effect on you, whether it be Dreadful or Christopher or Clavos or yours truly.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Okay, Doc –

    It took me a while to dust off the brain cells, but here’s an answer.

    The word ‘apostle’ (Greek apostolos) refers to those who are sent:

    1) a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders
    a) specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ
    b) in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers
    1) of Barnabas
    2) of Timothy and Silvanus

    Now, for a side trip:

    You’ll note that ‘apostle’ is at first glance not much different from ‘angel’ (Greek aggelos, Hebrew malak) which means:

    i>a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God

    But if you’ll check in the Bible (I did), the Greek aggelos and the Hebrew malak are translated variously as ‘angel’, ‘messenger’, ‘assassin’, or ‘spy’ – in fact, the spies of Rahab were referred to in the OT as malak and in the NT as aggelos. Before the Catholic saint Jerome published his Latin Vulgate, it was understood that ‘angel’ didn’t refer only to heavenly beings with wings, but simply to someone who was sent to do something of some importance. That’s one reason why the Latin Vulgate was such a tragic translation – it made most of us lose the understanding of what ‘angel’ really meant.

    So in the Hebrew and the Greek, ‘angel’ variously referred to preachers, prophets, assassins, ambassadors, and spies…but for our discussion, it must be noted that while ‘angel’ referred to anyone sent to do something without reference to God or divine purpose at all, ‘apostle’ specifically referred to those who are sent by God or Jesus.

    Now let’s look at the other offices:

    The office of ‘Bishop’ comes from the Greek i>episkopos:

    1) an overseer
    a) a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent
    b) the superintendent, elder, or overseer of a Christian church

    The office of ‘Deacon’ (which is my office) comes from the Greek diakone?:

    1)) to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon
    a) to minister to one, render ministering offices to
    1) to be served, ministered unto
    b) to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests,
    1) of women preparing food
    c) to minister i.e. supply food and necessities of life
    1) to relieve one’s necessities (e.g. by collecting alms), to provide take care of, distribute, the things necessary to sustain life
    2) to take care of the poor and the sick, who administer the office of a deacon
    3) in Christian churches to serve as deacons
    d) to minister
    1) to attend to anything, that may serve another’s interests
    2) to minister a thing to one, to serve one or by supplying any thing

    Note that the word ‘minister’ in the above definition refers not at all to the act of preaching, but to assisting and serving as would, say, a teacher’s aide or a nurse.

    And, most importantly for our discussion, ‘preacher’ comes from the Greek keryx:

    1) a herald or messenger vested with public authority, who conveyed the official messages of kings, magistrates, princes, military commanders, or who gave a public summons or demand, and performed various other duties. In the NT God’s ambassador, and the herald or proclaimer of the divine word.

    Okay? Not just anyone can preach, Doc – it must be those who are chosen to do so. In the examples above:

    The deacon is someone who assists;
    The angel is someone who is sent to do something (and doesn’t necessarily refer to someone sent by God or the Church);
    The bishop is a superintendant, an elder, overseer, or curator – note that there’s nothing in there about a bishop preaching;
    And the preacher is someone sent as a herald, ambassador, to proclaim God’s word.

    Now that you can see that only certain people can preach, only those who are chosen and sent by proper authority, you can look again at Romans 10 and see it in the proper context, and why we so strongly emphasize the word “sent”:

    14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

    15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

    I can’t preach, Doc – I’m not sent to do so. I’ve almost certainly overstepped my bounds by going this far. But I hope this helps.

  • Clav

    I’m sure that convinces you, Glenn.

    But for me (and millions more, including many allied to other major religions), it has no more authority than, say, Tom Sawyer, or Mad Magazine.

    You may not be able to preach, Glenn, but it’s your choice. Your choice to believe the unproven and your choice to allow other believers to exercise authority over you for no tangible reason.

    Me? Nobody can tell me not to preach. Like you, I choose not to preach, but unlike you, not because someone arbitrarily tells me I can’t.

  • troll

    …don’t most religions end up being about submission to authority

  • roger nowosielski

    Was Paul sent by the disciples to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles? It was his own idea, I believe, and it was contrary to the common understanding that the message (kerygma)was intended first and foremost for the Jews. In fact, Paul wasn’t even a disciple. His conversion on the road to Damascus made him a believer.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Again, nice try, Glenn, but that word keryx, according to your own link, is not the word translated as preacher in Romans 10.

    I’ll pass over your angels, bishops and deacons as they aren’t mentioned at all by Paul in this context and are therefore red herrings, a fish of which you seem quite fond.

    Astoundingly, it turns out that there are other sources besides the New Testament that give us a picture of how the early church was organized. Although there were elders who held various titles (from which the names of the modern church offices derive), they were more administrators than ministers. As this article notes, a hierarchical clergy didn’t exist in Paul’s time and didn’t emerge until well into the second century.

    You certainly won’t find anything in the Epistles in which church members not in leadership positions are urged to shut up about Christ because they don’t know squat about him…

  • Clav

    …don’t most religions end up being about submission to authority

    Yep, they do.

    Just like gummints.

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    Doc –

    Try this link – preacher does derive from ‘keryx’.

    Those ‘red herrings’ weren’t included in order to deceive or distract, but rather to show you that words don’t always carry the meanings you think they do. Tell me, did you really know the original meanings of all those words before you read my comment? I had to include them to show just how different the original meanings of those words – including ‘preacher’ – are from what most people today believe them to be. That’s not a ‘red herring’.

    The definition of ‘keryx’ makes it quite clear that it was an assignment, a duty. Otherwise, Paul would not have needed to be ordained as a preacher:

    1Ti 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

    The fact that one had to be ordained in order to be a preacher carries the inescapable implication that one can’t preach unless one is ordained.

    Really, Doc, after all this time, do you really think I liked finding out that I had to keep my Morton-Downey-sized mouth shut? It took a long time to understand and appreciate why that must be so, and even now I slip up as I have in this very comment thread.

    But on a different subject, Neil Degrasse Tyson just blew my mind by putting a spin on relativity I hadn’t heard before.

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    Clav –

    Just like gummints.

    Hm. Just like working in a business, too.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Glenn: that’s the word in Timothy again. Using that very handy lexicon (indispensible for those of us who don’t speak biblical Greek), the word translated as preacher or someone to preach in Romans 10 is kerysso. Obviously from the same root, but with a broader meaning. As I opined before, it can mean a minister, but it can just as easily mean someone who spreads the word.

    And that will have to be my final logos on the subject. :-)

    Dr Tyson always has something interesting to say and excels at showing familiar(ish) scientific concepts in a new light. I’ll have to take a look at that link and tell you what I think.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Gotta shout when the Spirit says shout.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    My cents of twain, ya can keep the change. My final logos, too. (Hallelujah!)

  • Clav

    Hm. Just like working in a business, too.

    Nope.

    The Gummint AND religion demand my submission AND my money.

    Business demands my submission as well, but PAYS ME.

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    Doc –

    You’re forgetting the fact that Paul said he was ordained as a preacher and as an apostle. A person can’t ordain oneself. I don’t see how you can get around that.

    But I understand if you want to call this discussion here, since this is not normally what one finds in BC Politics. Thanks for the challenge. Actually, that’s why I spend much more time here than on religious forums since the people usually (but not always) are more intelligent and educated.

    But the intelligence and education to which I refer isn’t because this is a political forum, but because it’s this forum. Otherwise, I don’t see much difference in the level of discourse between political and religious forums.

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    Clav –

    Business demands my submission as well, but PAYS ME.

    And if you work for the government, it pays you, too.

    It’s still people getting paid for working for other people…and as much as you don’t want to think so, they’re all people – some great, some terrible, but most are just regular people.

  • Clav

    And if you work for the government, it pays you, too.

    So what? That’s a non sequitur, Glenn.

    It has nothing to do with my point: I don’t work for the government, yet it demands both my submission and my money anyway.

  • Dr Dreadful

    You’re forgetting the fact that Paul said he was ordained as a preacher and as an apostle. A person can’t ordain oneself. I don’t see how you can get around that.

    Yes, but exactly who is Paul saying ordained him? Perhaps he regarded his conversion on the road to Damascus as his ordination.

    In the NT, the apostles are a special class and were ordained by Christ himself. There’s no reason to suppose that Paul saw his own case as any different.

    Besides, he isn’t talking about himself in the passage we’ve been analyzing.

  • Clav

    Every time Doc posts a new response to Glenn, the sound of Glenn squirming is so loud, it makes it all the way from the Pacific Northwest to South Florida…

  • roger nowosielski

    I very much respect Dreadful’s intelligence, erudition, and reasoning powers, but let’s not get carried away. I, for one, would be embarrassed by such accolades, and I’m certain he’d be too.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    That was an observation more of Glenn than of me, I suspect, Rog…

  • Clav

    And you’d be dead right, Doc…

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    Clav –

    “squirming”?

    Please.

    Doc’s good, but I’ve debated much stronger detractors in years gone by. That’s not a hit on Doc – you know I hold him in high regard – but simply a by-the-by that this is nothing I haven’t faced before. Besides, how do you think I learned to dig into the old Greek and Hebrew? And it’s not just that – it involved digging into references like Gibbon, like Herodotus (who said that the priests of Ba’al had chaste priestesses for Ba’al’s “pleasure”) and the Catholic Encyclopedia (which says that Ba’al was part of a trinity) In debate, you either step up or you fall by the wayside. I stepped up – I had to.

    Your “squirming” comment is nothing more than your simply wishing that it was so.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, the only thing you’ve learned is how to avoid following logic and going straight to meaninglessness when put on the spot. That isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, stepping up.

    I’ve debated with many faithists over the years and they all do the same thing, presumably because it is the only thing they can do when faced with people who don’t buy into empty arguments.

    So, Clav is right, you are squirming.

  • Dan

    “That $16 billion recovery works out to $50.79 per American.”—Diana Hartmann

    It’s trillion, not “billion”. It works out to over 50 thousand per citizen. About the same as the National Debt.

    I’m not a one percenter, or even rich. (perhaps “richish” to people with so little grasp of economics) But I am a lot better off now because I understood that the so called “great recession” was a politically inspired exaggeration.

    Somewhere on these pages I recommended buying stocks all the way to the bottom. Index funds specifically. (don’t buy them now though) I also recommended gold at 962 an ounce, where I bought, when it became apparent that Democrats were able to sell the idea that the fix for the fallout from their failed Community Reinvestment Act housing bubble was to borrow and spend even more.

    Hating the rich is stupid. In the new age of globalization the wealthy will become more international as emerging markets peopled by much more appreciative and accomodating types with a thirst for capitalism beckon them and their skill set. This is already happening. Why would they stay and have their wealth confiscated to pamper an ignorant, spoiled and dependent populace hell bent on ever more expansion of the social safety net, and willfully flooding the country with low human capital third world immigrants in order to maintain democratic hegemony for their “transformational” political leaders to assist them in their suicidal march downward to full blown cultural marxist poverty.

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    The big difference between you and Clavos, Chris, is that he (like Roger) at least speaks with some gravitas. You, on the other hand, seem to speak with that particularly mean-spirited spite found only in those who have not yet seen the need to call into question their own deeply-held concepts.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Wrong again, Glenn (you should consider changing your name to “Wrong Again Glenn”, which is far more accurate than your current pseudonym).

    It isn’t spite at all, that’s just yet another projection you made up as a defence mechanism.

    You also made up the notion that I haven’t “seen the need to call into question their own deeply-held concepts”. You have no fucking idea what I have ever called into question.

    If you want to earn some respect, stop making stuff up, it’s pathetic. That isn’t spite by the way, it is contempt; righteous contempt for the dishonest and untruthful…

  • Zingzing

    C’mon, guys… Think about what Glenn is trying to defend. It’s an impossible task and I’m sure he knows it. No matter what he says, no one who doesn’t believe in such things would ever find one bit of his argument even a bit plausible. He might as well be arguing that unicorns are real. Deep down, I believe, Glenn wants no part of this, but he can’t help himself. No need to pile up on him for what you automatically consider foolishness. Religion causes enough problems in the world without bashing on the benevolent religious people. Let them be foolish. Save your ire for those who turn religion into hate.

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    There’s a joke about ‘Zinners’ just waiting there, but I can’t dig it out yet.

    Zing, you’re right that this was an argument I wasn’t looking for. – to me, it’s not unlike telling the racists in my family how wrong racism is, for (to paraphrase you) no one who doesn’t believe in civil rights would ever find one bit of my arguments against racism even a bit plausible.

    I know that to compare prejudice against the Church to other forms of prejudice really doesn’t fit in the eyes of most people, and in most cases I’d agree.

    No, I wasn’t looking for this argument, but I will defend what I believe (again, as you pointed out). I don’t mind doing so with people who approach the subject with the respect I feel it deserves (like Doc), or with people who refuse the very idea of religion but don’t go overboard in their refusal (like Clavos), but Chris is simply being mean-spirited. His attacks are more of a personal nature regardless of the subect du jour. He’s no different from a schoolyard bully, with all the insecurity that implies. I wasn’t kidding when I said I really, truly pity him. He’s an adult and should know better by now.

  • Zingzing

    You go on and do your thing, Glenn. But if I were you, I’d let this one go. Trust me, I’ve been in a few of these types of arguments around here about different things, and you can keep digging the hole, but it just gets more and more full of mud.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, yet more bullshit; you haven’t defended what you believe in, you’ve simply criticised me in an inaccurate and personal way for pointing out your own obvious rational shortcomings, something you indulge in yet again in your #191.

    You can pity me all you want as you strive to find ways to maintain your irrationality, but I think most people can see who and what is truly deserving of that emotion.

  • roger nowosielski

    Glenn, one way to get Chris off your case is to stop calling him names or saying such things like “I pity you.” Once an exchange degenerates to that level, no one’s a winner, that’s common sense. If I were you, I’d take a different tack. Talk if you must about the difference faith makes in your life, give that kind of testimony. No one will try to shoot you down for that, even if they think your beliefs are not justified.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Apologies to Dan, zing, Glenn and other legitimate commenters who are still having their comments blocked. The spam blocker’s zealotry seems to be confined solely to this thread for some reason. Chris and I will continue to monitor it extra closely so if you continue to have problems, rest assured we’ll address them if we can.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Roger, in response to a question you asked scores of comments ago up-thread, I found a conversation (across time and space):

    If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having, neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is. [So] you must wager. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that he is.– Blaise Pascal

    I have always considered “Pascal’s Wager” a questionable bet to place. Any God worth “believing in” would surely prefer an honest agnostic to a calculating hypocrite. — Alan Dershowitz

    The kind of religion that isn’t a burden to the believer and everyone around him…is all about falling in love with God. A person can’t be reasoned into falling in love, with God or anything else; neither can a person can’t be reasoned into falling out of love with God.

    So this is how I try to navigate. God’s on one side, Not-God is on the other. Draw, don’t push. When pushed, don’t push against. Instead, be drawn away.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    POOF “neither can a person can’t be reasoned” magically is becomes “neither can a person be reasoned” And with that I’ll say goodnight.

  • Clav

    “Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight”

    Lovely song.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    :) :O smile and sleepy yawn. ‘night Clavos.

  • G l e n n C o n t r a r i a n

    Roger –

    Your #194 is sage advice – you’ve given much the same before and it was right and appreciated then as now.

  • roger nowosielski

    Glenn.

    being right is not as important as being loving. Irene tries, whenever she can, to impart this message, and I’m thankful every time that she does.

    Just like everyone else, I need a reminder.