Saturday, August 02, 2008

Reply to Gary

A few weeks ago, I posted an entry titled A Loving God? in which I argued that, contrary to what many believe, the Christian God is not loving and the Christian community is not "love-centered," because: (1) A loving omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient God wouldn't create a world of suffering or allow a hell to exist in which human souls could suffer eternally, (2) A loving God wouldn't require us to love him in order to avoid eternal torture in hell, and (3) Christians are generally no more loving than agnostic, atheistic, and other religious people. I concluded by saying: "It continues to amaze me how human beings can use their intelligence to rationalize belief in a "loving God" that is neither loving nor the least bit plausible."

A few days ago, Gary replied with a thoughtful comment that I think deserves more exposure than it's likely to get buried in the comments section of my post. So, I'm reposting it here along with my reply to each point.

Like Dr. Carl Sagan I am both a scientist and an agnostic.

Unlike you and the late, great Carl Sagan, I am not a scientist, but like you and Sagan, I am agnostic or, as I sometimes call myself, agnostic panentheistic, even if I'm not exactly sure what "panentheism" means.

There is no proof either way to support the existence or non-existence of a God.

Just as there's no absolute proof that there's no, to use the example offered by a later commenter, a "Flying Spaghetti Monster," but this doesn't mean that we don't have ample reason to justifiably and very strongly doubt the existence of both.

I am always amazed at the vitriol that is expended by atheists at those of faith. Why bother? It will not effect a true believer and when taken to the extreme I am reminded of the religious fanatics we all despise.

I'm not surprised by the "vitriol," unless I'm surprised that it isn't far worse.

Suppose you relocated to another country where the dominant religion worshiped the Flying Spaghetti Monster god, and this belief permeated the culture to such an extent that no one could be elected president or to any other high office without espousing belief in this god; people seeking political power ostentatiously wrapped themselves in symbols of this religion to psychologically manipulate the populace into supporting them or their dubious if not destructive proposals; proponents of this religion tried to block or vitiate the teaching of certain kinds of science in the public schools and to have their religious beliefs taught alongside this science and to have public school children pray to their god and pledge their allegiance to a nation existing "under" that God; and these same proponents of a religion that teaches that we should love our neighbors as ourselves and feed the hungry, house the homeless, and take care of the sick were often among the most unloving and uncharitable people around.

Don't you think you might feel more than a little frustrated and consequently angry surrounded by all of this entrenched foolishness, coercion, and hypocrisy? Don't you think you might speak out against it and try, by whatever means you could. to weaken the hold of this religion over the minds and hearts and politics of the people around you?

However, I can't say that I see all the "vitriol" that you suggest is out there. People often accuse the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett of vitriolic diatribes against Christianity, but it seems to me that their books and talks are not so much vitriolic as strong assertions of facts and reason against what is largely religious nonsense.

It has absolutely no effect other than to entrench the fanatics on both sides which invariably leads to violence. This is utter stupidity.

Where is "violence" coming or on the verge of coming from the agnostic and atheist "fanatics"? Indeed, where are these fanatics? Who are they?

Why are atheists so frightened or disgusted by those who choose to follow a religion?

I suspect that most atheists are more disgusted than frightened by monotheists, unless those monotheists happen to be AK-47 wielding, suicide-bombing Islamists, and wouldn't you be too if you were surrounded by believers in the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a setting similar to the one I described earlier?

The vast majority are productive members of society who cause no harm to others(my wife is Wiccan hence the use of the term) and carry on with their lives. Many of them perform charitable (in other words they donate their own money...not relying on the taxpayers to do it for them... or their time) deeds on a weekly basis(something the atheist community does not I might add) and the rest at least on a yearly basis. Why in the world would any group choose to vent their spleen on someone like that?

I think a case could be made that they do cause harm to themselves and others. First of all, their embrace of nonsensical exoteric monotheism may blind them and others to the potential of secular reason or esoteric spiritual practice to evoke actual wisdom, personal growth, and positive transformation of society and culture. Second, monotheistic teachings on hell are monstrous and, when imposed on children, arguably abusive. Third, when theists try to foist some of their religious beliefs (e.g., opposition to evolutionary theory, opposition to birth control, intolerance toward gays) and practices (e.g., school prayer, teaching of some version of intelligent design) and to codify their beliefs into law (e.g., criminalizing homosexual relations and abortion), this could well be harmful. As for religious people being more charitable than atheists, I'm not sure this is true. Can you document the truth of this?

Go after the murderers, or the animal abusers, or the child abusers, or anyone who is doing harm.....but no they instead choose to waste their time and many tax dollars in court going after someone who chooses to believe in a God. What the heck for?

Are you saying that atheists don't "go after" animal and child abusers or others who do harm? Don't atheists, as much as anyone else, revile them, ostracize them, throw them in jail, and sometimes even execute them. What do atheists do to religious believers who act within the law? How do they unfairly "go after" theists in court?

As an aside I allways like comparing the currently held scientific theory(or belief if you prefer) on the creation of the universe by the leading cosmologist in the world.

Briefly cosmologists theorise that the universe started from a singularity about the size of a Neutron(one half of the size of a Hydrogen Atom nucleus) and in a massive explosion between 12 an 20 billion years ago all the matter in the universe expanded from that singularity and spread out in a flat universe billions of light years across. The Christian theory(or belief if you prefer) starts...

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
One version is that which I am most familiar with, the other was written thousands of years ago by a primitive non-scientific people and yet...they sound pretty similar to my ear.

For one thing, scientific cosmology eliminates the extra and possibly needless step of invoking a cosmic personage who intentionally designed, created, and presides over the universe and who rewards those who love and obey him and tortures those who disbelieve in him and disobey him. And science isn't faced with, in my opinion, the impossible of task of reconciling an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent creator God with the ubiquitous presence of evil and suffering. In other words, scientific cosmology seems more pleasingly parsimonious and plausible than the monotheistically religious one.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a simplistic moron.

Nagarjuna said...

Care to elaborate? "Simplistic" how? "Moronic" how?

Anonymous said...

No, I don't care to elaborate.

Nagarjuna said...

Of course you don't, because you're all hot air and no beef. :-)

Anonymous said...

Why?

Nagarjuna said...

I don't know why you're all hot air and no beef. Maybe you're the "moron" you accuse me of being. Or maybe you're just an impotent little troll. Or maybe you actually have some good points to make, but, for some reason, you're reticent to make them, succumbing instead to the impulse to "hit and run" with your silly little verbal jabs. Judging from your behavior so far, I guess we'll never know for sure.

Anonymous said...

You still haven't answered the question, Why?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why you've become so hostile.

Gary

Anonymous said...

Hello again,

It is late(and my keyboard is failing so if some of my words are a tad weird so please forgive me) so I will briefly respond to a couple of your points.
First off you are either agnostic or a spiritualist; by your admission to tend toward pantheism you are clearly spiritual. And there is absolutley nothing wrong with that! Pantheism means simply you believe in multiple deities. I AM surprised by the vitriol because it is coming from supposedly "enlightened" secularists who go to great pains to preach tolerance for all ideas and cultural relativism.
Sounds like the same thing hppening to scientists who won't jump on te Global Warming band wagon. Amazingly enough when you study history yu find that wht you are talking about was commonly practiced by atheists as well. I refer you of course to Stalins USSR, Mao's China and Hitlrs Germany. Amazingly enough more peple have been murdered by socialist atheist governments than by religios zealots ad the zealots have at least a 3000 year head start.
Stalin murdered at least 50,000,000
Mao at least 150,000,000 and Hitler at least 3,000,000. Not to mention he Turkish genocide of Armenians, Pol Pot, and a whole hot ofothers. Of course their "religion" was Socialism or does that not count? It seems to me that the person dying really could care less whether they are being killed by a religious or a socialist fanatic, they are still dying.
When I mention violence just think of teh Branch Davidans. So long as they were left alone they harmed no one. Then the ATF decides that instead of calling Koresh on the phone and asking him to surrender they must instead attack the compound with the eventual deaths of 80 some odd peopl as well as 4 agents. The same will happen with religios zealots. You push them verbally enoug and they will push back physically, then it will spiral out of control as the secularists will be forced to defend themselves. Gee I wonder where we have seen that before?
I think yu are taking my observation on the actions of atheists a little too literally. Of course many do indeed go after the predators in our midst, but the atheists we allways hear about are those like the guy who keeps suing California to keep "under God" out of the pledge of allegiance. Who cares? That is a tremendous waste of time, money, and Court time, that could have been better used dealing with criminals.
You are correct about Cosmology doing away with a GOD but once again who cares? Secualrists will point out the violence that religious zealots perpetrate while blissfully ignoring the far greater harm that socialists have done.
I am sorry but I have read the reports written by the British
Intelligencia extolling the virtue of Stalin and how he is such a great man for doing that which needs to be done to further the interest of the State. All the while KNOWING that 3,000,000 people are dying so that Stalin can collectivize the farms.
Every argument that you have given
describing the evils of religion are true. But, those same actions have been perpetrated by socialist governments with far greater harm.

Gary

Nagarjuna said...

Gary--
I strongly question conventional or exoteric monotheism, but this doesn't mean that I'm "hostile" to it or to you.

Yes, I would place myself in the "spiritual but not religious" category in that I lean toward pantheism or panentheism even though I'm ultimately agnostic with respect to whether there is ANY kind of divine reality. However, "pantheism" is not belief in "multiple deities" but belief in a unified universe as the one God or ultimate reality, whereas panenthiesm, as I hazily understand it, says that "God" is the unified universe and more.

Again, I'm not sure I see the same level of "vitriol" coming from "supposedly enlightened secularists" that you do, and I'm curious to know who you consider these individuals to be and what you consider to be examples of their "vitriol." However, I and another commenter explained in our previous replies why we think agnostics and atheists oppose conventional theists and their conduct as much as they do.

I agree that terrible things have happened under "secular" regimes, although it could be argued that even these regimes--e.g., Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, and Maoist China--wrapped their ideologies in quasi-religiosity producing a fanatically religious-like fervor resulting in inhumanity and destructiveness analogous to that found in religious crusades and inquisitions of earlier times. It could also be argued that only the technologies available to these later secular regimes made them so more destructive than the religious regimes of the earlier times.

I'm very surprised by your defense of the Branch Davidians. They were a cult of nutballs led, brainwashed, and abused by, from many accounts, a practicing pedophile who was raping children within the cult. The government had every reason and right to raid the compound and detain David Koresh while they investigated him for child molestation and illegal firearms possession. Even in view of what ended up happening at the compound, which was the fault of Koresh and his adult followers and not of the government, the government had every right and reason to take the action that it did.

And I have real difficulty with your argument, as I understand it, that we must not say anything uncomplimentary about Christianity lest we anger and "push" Christian extremists into acts of violence. Do you also think we should say nothing against Islam and such barbaric Muslim practices as stoning accused adulterers to death or female circumcision lest we engage Muslim terrorists in more violence against us?

I have no problem with atheists mounting principled but LEGAL opposition to "God" being in our pledge of allegiance or to school prayer. I DON'T think it's a waste of either time or money, just as you might not think it was a waste of time to oppose public school prayer to or references to the Flying Spaghetti Monster God in your adopted nation's pledge of allegiance.

Anonymous said...

".....although it could be argued that even these regimes--e.g., Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, and Maoist China--wrapped their ideologies in quasi-religiosity producing a fanatically religious-like fervor resulting in inhumanity and destructiveness analogous to that found in religious crusades and inquisitions of earlier times. It could also be argued that only the technologies available to these later secular regimes made them so more destructive than the religious regimes of the earlier times."

With the exception of possibly Nazi Germany, go ahead and present your arguements and "facts" explaining what was their "quasai-religious" fanatasism and how it then resulted in millions of deaths.

"I'm very surprised by your defense of the Branch Davidians. They were a cult of nutballs led, brainwashed, and abused by, from many accounts, a practicing pedophile who was raping children within the cult. The government had every reason and right to raid the compound and detain David Koresh while they investigated him for child molestation and illegal firearms possession."

They could have picked him up on the streets of Waco at any point since he did go in there for business reasons without going in with a troop of armed agents. Are those people better off dead than alive under the influence of Koresh? At least they would have an opportunity to ralize the error of their ways.
Do you sanction govenment approved tyranical techniques to keep a populace under control?

Nagarjuna said...

Stalin embraced "communism"--an arguably quasi-religious ideology--and built a "cult of personality" around himself that made him out to be the nation's virtually godlike savior. And then he appropriated modern communications and other technologies to spy on, arrest, torture, incarcerate, and kill those he regarded as threats to his power and pursuits.

Yes, I agree that, in hindsight, the government could and should have arrested Koresh "on the streets of Waco." But it nevertheless had the right to arrest him at his residence, and, again, it was Koresh and his followers who illegally resisted the government's rightful actions, and THEY are the ones at fault for the catastrophe that ensued.

No, I don't "sanction government approved tyrannical techniques for keeping the populace under control." But then, again, I don't think this is what happened in Waco. I think the government took legitimate action against someone reasonably suspected of being a dangerously crazy cultist child molester accumulating a growing cache of illegal weaponry that posed a potentially serious threat to others.

Anonymous said...

Hello again,

Please show me where I supported the Branch Davidians. My comment was how the arrest of Koresh could have been simply accomplished(he had surrendered to the local sheriff on a murder charge before without trouble) instead of the catostrophic deaths of 28 innocent children. Or is it still OK to kill them to save them? And I have a copy of the original search warant and nothing in the warant is illegal. What drove the investigation was a persoanl vendetta by one of the ATF agents who didn't like Koresh(this is well documented BTW, I suggest you watch the Academy Award winning documentary Waco The Rules of Engagement to further your knowledge of The Branch Davidians) and he perjured himself to obtain the warrant in the first place. Was Koresh a nut case? Absolutely! Was the death of 4 agents and 28 children(not to mention the other adults who died) justified by that....well if it is your opinion that we should not have gone into Iraq then to think that the actions at Waco were appropriate is hypocritical at the very least.

Socialism under Mao, Stalin, and Hitler specifically denies religion and replaces it with the religion of the STATE. In socialist countries the people exhist for the benefit of the state. The state does not exhist for the benefit of the people. In other words if someone died for Stalins USSR during the Great Patriotic War(that is what they call it) it was expected of them. That is one of the reasons the Soviets lost over 25,000,000 soldiers while killing only 3,000,000 German soldiers. Of course the Germans had the advantage of better tactics and generalship but in the beginning the Soviet People had no value. Equipment was more valuable. So it was very common for Soviet soldiers to link arms and march through minefields to clear them. I don't wish to live in a country that shows such callous disregard for its people. Here in the US for all of our problems, if a soldier dies we are grateful for his or her sacrafice....it is not expected. As regards the numbers, the vast majority of those who are killed are killed through disease and starvation so technology plays no real part in the quantity of people murdered, it is based on the willingness of the government to murder vast quantities of their populations that make it possible.
As far as the vitriol I refer to, please go to your local newstand and read virtually any issue of Skeptic or the Sceptical Enquirer and you will see what I mean.
Finally at no point do I state that reasoned criticism of particular groups of religious folks is innapropriate. What I am observing is that there is a lack of reason, and a lack of civility and it is getting worse. It is considered inappropriate to call into question any of the extraordinarily harmful aspects of a very small group of Islamic fundamentalists, but it is considered OK to attack the local Christian group down the block. Why is that?
And as far as the Court battles against God in the pledge, once again who cares. My daughter is 25 months old. She knows her letters and is beginning to learn to read. By the time she is in school she will have a well rounded grounding in history, comparative religions, philosophy, and any of the hard sciences that catch her fancy. And you know what, I think she will be quite capable of saying to herself. "Oh pooh, I have to listen to this nonsence again...drat!" then quite merrily go on about her business. I believe this because I don't believe it takes a village to raise a child. I do believe it takes a loving parent or guardian who values education and reading and passes that on to their child.
It's as simple as that.
Socialist countries invariably fail because eventually the people realise that there is nothing for them to do. They have no rights and no responsibilities and so why bother. Let the kids run amock and the government(or whats left of it will take care of them) until the wheels come off of that government of course.


Gary

Anonymous said...

"Stalin embraced "communism"--an arguably quasi-religious ideology--"

Please.




"No, I don't "sanction government approved tyrannical techniques for keeping the populace under control." But then, again, I don't think this is what happened in Waco."

Did you watch any of the video footage of what happened during the initiation of the "seige"? Or for that matter any of the lead up interviews or subsequent tactics used?
I thought as you did until I informed myself.

Anonymous said...

"Stalin.... built a "cult of personality" around himself that made him out to be the nation's virtually godlike savior."

See any current political scenarios going on right here in the good ole U.S. of A.?




....Didn't think so.

Nagarjuna said...

Gary--

"Please show me where I supported the Branch Davidians."

It seemed to me that you defended them when you wrote: "So long as they were left alone they harmed no one." It seems to me that, at minimum, they were harming themselves and their children and that the government not only had the right to investigate them but would have been terribly remiss if it hadn't. Could it have gone about its investigation and detaining of Koresh in a less heavy-handed and more effective fashion? Yes, I agree with you that it could and should have. Was the search warrant and attempted search itself, along with the final raid that resulted in all those deaths illegal or improper? I don't know. I'm not a lawyer, I haven't seen the film you recommended, I wouldn't know for sure how accurate or truthful the it was if I did see it, since a skilled filmmaker can make virtually anything seem plausible on his or her own terms, and "hindsight is 20/20." However, I take your recommendation seriously and will view the film when I can.

It seems that you and I agree that the deaths and suffering inflicted in and by Nazi Germany, Stalinist Soviet Union, and Maoist China WERE done by quasi-religious regimes--i.e., regimes whose actions were fostered and rationalized by, to use your own words, the "religion of the STATE."

As for supporting government intervention in Waco and not in Iraq, I see no inconsistency between a government enforcing laws and trying to protect the people in its own jurisdiction and honoring, however reluctantly, the sovereignty of another country unless and until it has extraordinary cause to violate that sovereignty and incur the tremendous cost--i.e., hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands if not hundreds of thousands of psychological and physical maimings deaths--in lives and money that results from violating it. I believe that such cause did NOT exist with respect to Iraq.

I don't know why you've turned this discussion into a denunciation of socialism. To the extent that socialism, communism, or any religious or quasi-religious movement elevates irrationally or unsoundly zealous ideology over the rights and needs of human beings, it is potentially, if not actually, dangerously destructive. But such an ideology could also include completely unregulated free-market capitalism. That too could be considered a STATE religion, and it too could result in terrible suffering of an increasingly large number of "have-nots" tyrannized by an increasingly small number of extremely powerful "haves."

Even though I don't know what you've seen in the publications you mentioned that you consider to be unjustifiably "vitriolic" against Christianity and other religions, I both agree with you that more civil dialogue between theists and agnostics and atheists would be ideal, and understand the animosity that some people in the latter groups feel toward what they consider to be religious nonsense and its widespread political and other misuses and misguided manifestations.

Nagarjuna said...

I don't see Obama presenting himself as a Messianic figure, despite Republican Party attempts to suggest otherwise. I see him inspirationally calling upon each of us to be and do our best as individuals and as American citizens to work together to solve the very serious problems that confront us.

Anonymous said...

Republicans eh?

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile lauded Obama as a "metaphysical force," but even that exaggeration pales in comparison to American Prospect writer Ezra Klein's gushing confession of faith. "He is not the Word made flesh," says Klein, "but the triumph of word over flesh." For those unfamiliar with Christian theology, "the Word made flesh" is a popular description of Christ's essence.

An equally explosive Jesus-Obama association appeared in The Washington Post, care of a grassroots fan: "Obama is like the new wine." Wine, traditionally, is closely related to Jesus' saving grace.

MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews raved, "This is bigger than Kennedy. Obama comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the new testament."

Depak Chopra says that he will raise the consciousness of the world.
He has also been referred to as a "light worker" and several articles have been published documenting this.
Obama hinself said; "a light is going to shine down and you will have an epiphany and you will say, 'I have to vote for Barack.'"
In addition to his lowering sea levels.
Obama refers to his rapturous supporters as "believers." At a church in October, he asked a crowd to pray that he serve as an "instrument of God," going on to pronounce, "I am confident that we can create a kingdom right here on earth,"
He is, in Oprah's words, "The One.


It seem Republicans are only pointing out what Democrats are already thinking, and saying

Nagarjuna said...

How pathetically desperate political conservatives in this country must be to imply that Barack Obama is another Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, or Chairman Mao in the making. The fact is, if this inspiringly charismatic person were the REPUBLICAN nominee, ostentatiously sporting a glittering American flag pin and preaching "small government" (except when its military picks fights with hapless armies of third world nations and its intelligence agencies want to spy on everybody) and "trickle down" economics (which Ed Asner once said is allowing the rich to get obscenely richer so that they can contemptuously urinate on the the rest of us), they'd be tripping all over themselves to kiss his posterior and trumpet him as the savior who will deliver us from the fecal mess in which criminally incompetent George Bush has mired us.

But conservatives are saddled with doddering and curmudgeonly "I don't know much about economics" John McCain, who has about as much charisma as a moldy, shriveled-up old sponge and who seems poised, if elected, to follow Bush's lead and bury this country so deep in war, debt, and class inequality that we can never climb out.

It's no wonder conservatives pull out all the stops with their "OSAMA HUSSEIN Obama" mantras and ridiculous Hitler comparisons. That's just about their only recourse, and they know, from long experience, that enough of the American public is stupid enough to fall for it.

Anonymous said...

Tell us how you really feel.

you said,
"It's no wonder conservatives pull out all the stops with their "OSAMA HUSSEIN Obama" mantras and ridiculous Hitler comparisons. "

Isn't that His name?
Do you have any proof of this or is this scenario only in your fantasy world.
You talked about Republicans speaking of Obama as a Saviour. I point out that it is the Domocrats who are actually the ones doing it. So is it the Dems or the Repubs? Then you jump to Republicans calling Obama Hitler? I thought Bush was Hitler? That one is easy to prove who calls who what also.
Point to one prominent Republican who has referred to Obama as Hitler, Staln Mao etc.
He is definitely a socialist, if that's what you mean. Are people allowed to point that out or is that too, out of bounds and racist?
Why is your logic so disjointed? Is it the learning disability?

Anonymous said...

If a Republican had said some of the over the top statements which Barak Obama has, he/she would have been called a delusional megalomaniac and laughed off the stage.
Admit it, since you have no religious saviour in your life, Obama has become "The One".

Anonymous said...

"... conservatives are saddled with doddering and curmudgeonly...John McCain".

And despite all the fawning by the press and Hollwood types, he's still in the race. Whoda thunk?
Obama should be ahead by 30 points with all the ass kissing goin on. Why is that? Why?

Nagarjuna said...

(Safely) Anonymous,
I think YOU may be the one with a learning disability manifesting itself in this case. For if you read the thread of comments leading up to my previous one, you'll see (or should be able to see) that a previous conservative commenter (Was it YOU or someone YOU know, perhaps?) implied a similarity between destructive demagogues such as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao and Obama: "Stalin.... built a "cult of personality" around himself that made him out to be the nation's virtually godlike savior."

See any current political scenarios going on right here in the good ole U.S. of A.?"

No, OSAMA is not Obama's first name, and he doesn't emphasize his middle name the way some conservatives LOVE to. Don't play dumb about this. You know darn well how conservatives love to play with his name and what they're trying to accomplish by it.

You also know that Republicans would LOVE to have as charismatic a candidate as Obama and would shower him with adulation if they had one. Instead, they're stuck with John McCain, and they're desperate.

As for Obama "definitely" being a "socialist," how do you define "socialist"?

Nagarjuna said...

"Why is that?" Perhaps it's because, as I suggested in a previous comment, Republicans will never lose elections underestimating the intelligence of a significant portion of the American population.

Anonymous said...

"No, OSAMA is not Obama's first name, and he doesn't emphasize his middle name the way "

Provide examples please. I don't operate out of your fantasy world. I was kind enough to do it for you.

Americans are stupid huh?

Nagarjuna said...

WHAT "over-the-top" things has Obama said? As for me, Obama is NOT some Messianic "The One." But he IS a whole lot more appealing than the hidebound, warmongering, suck-up-to-the-rich alternative. And you know darn well that if McCain had Obama's charisma and Obama had McCain's dismal lack thereof, you'd be gushing with pride and joy or, if you were at one of his rallies, you'd be screaming and fainting like a silly schoolgirl at a Beatles concert.

"Provide examples" of WHAT? Barack HUSSEIN Obama? OSAMA Obama? Where the hell have you been for the past umpteen months? In the "fantasy world" you falsely accuse ME of occupying?

I don't know how many American's are actually, literally "stupid." But there are plenty of gullible, if not stupid, ones. How else could Bush have been elected and reelected?

Anonymous said...

Actually it was Ted Kennedy who called him Osama Obama while introducung him at a campaign rally early in the race.
Google Kennedy Osama Obama and watch the You Tube video for yourself.
Again, provide examples of Conservatives calling him that.
Until you do that, it will remain a figment of your imagination.

Anonymous said...

And for the record, I'm no McCain fan.

Anonymous said...

""Provide examples" of WHAT? Barack HUSSEIN Obama?"

Just obtain a copy of his birth certificate for that one. Easy.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant;

"I don't know how many American's are actually, literally "stupid." But there are plenty of gullible, if not stupid, ones. How else could Obama get elected."

Anonymous said...

" It seems to me that, at minimum, they were harming themselves and their children and that the government not only had the right to investigate them but would have been terribly remiss if it hadn't."

That my good friend is a slippery slope. Using that logic then the invasion of Iraq is certainly justified because Saddam and his cronies were murdering somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 of Iraqs citizens every year, not to mention the the near industrialized rape factories they had created for the ruling elites amusement.

I do not agree that socialism under the worst dictators in history was "quasi religious" Religion had absolutely nothing to do with their governments. When I refer to the religion of the STATE I mean that the state had taken unto itself all power and responsibility for determing what was ethically and morally correct.

The reason why I devote so much energy to the exposure of Socialism
and its inherent evil is simply because most people don't understand it. I agree with you that Capatalism run amock is evil as well. But at least in a Capatalist society the workers have some inherent value. Even when they are old and can no longer work their experience is still valued. In a Socialist society that is not necessarily true. If you are no longer productive you are a burden and in a Socialist society gone to the extreme you are terminated. Granted none of the socialist countries out there have become that bad yet but give them time and they will. Socialist societies remove the burden of ethics and morality which then allows the worst characterisitics of humans to emerge. Lon Horiuchi the FBI sniper who was present at both Ruby Ridge and Waco would have fit right in with Rheinhard Heydrichs SD(Sicherheistdienst, or SS Secret Police). For those who don't know Heydrich was the author of the "final solution" and kept files on all of the NAZI leadership. He was eventually assassinated in Prague while acting as the Reich Protektor of the region.
Socialism in its worst guise is the most destructive governmental type on the planet. Look through the history books and you will find that the worst genocides were perpetrated by Sociaist countries.
Capatalist societies can only exhist if they allow the paople their freedom which is why capatalist societies have never had genocides on that scale. There are certainly limited genocides that occured in the past(the Trail of Tears is a excellent example from the US history) but mass murder perpetrated by the government against its people will not happen in a capatalist society if for the simple fact that the people are armed and can defend themselves. As the US becomes ever more socialist you will see gun rights stripped away and then all others will very quickly follow suit. I refer you to an excellent little book callled the Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen where he describes what happened in Germany and how the laws were incrementally passed and how that led to the horror of Nazi Germany. We are following very closely and have even implemented some of the firearms legislation(word for word in one case) that allowed the Nazis to take over.


Cheers
Gary

Anonymous said...

"And you know darn well that if McCain had Obama's charisma and Obama had McCain's dismal lack thereof, you'd be gushing with pride and joy or, if you were at one of his rallies, you'd be screaming and fainting like a silly schoolgirl at a Beatles concert."

Like you with Obama?
I'm not looking for charisma, I look at ideals and core values.

Nagarjuna said...

Gary--
It's obvious that you and I don't see eye-to-eye on much, but I want you to know that I have always appreciated your respectful, intelligent, and substantive comments. I wish I could have more of these kinds of discussions with people on and off the Net. I wish we ALL could.

In brief response to your points (because, unfortunately, I have so little time):

I wonder if you believe our invasion of Iraq was justified, whether you think our government has the right to investigate cults like Koresh's or the Mormon spinoff in the news recently and the treatment of children within those cults and, if you do, how you think it should exercise this responsibility; and whether you think our government's jurisdiction over its own people is greater than its jurisdiction to interfere in the affairs of other governments and their peoples.

When I call movements such as Nazism, Stalinism, or Maoism "quasi-religious," I mean that they rally people around, to use one dictionary definition of "religion," "A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion." In other words, they were movements with virtually all the trappings of religion except belief in a supernatural agency or power. The secular ideology and/or a nation's leader takes on the role of "God" by whatever name.

I think we both agree that unadulterated socialism or capitalism is evil. Where we seem to disagree is over the degree of need for government involvement in the lives of its people. I believe that government needs to play a bigger role than you appear to in helping to create the best opportunities for the broadest range of people for health and happiness. Too much involvement is, as you say, a bad thing, but so is too little. For humans do, indeed, have "inherent worth," and not merely the extrinsic worth, as in a purely capitalistic society, derived from how much they can produce or help, with their "experience" and knowledge, others to produce. A very delicate, optimal BALANCE of capitalism and socialism is, in my opinion, what is most likely to honor this worth.

Thanks again for your comments, Gary.

Anonymous said...

Hello again,

No I don't think we should have gone into Iraq. I think that it was wrongheaded to do so and ultimatly will do great harm to our country. Conversely I believe that the policy at home should be the same as the international policy as well.
I am a constitutional fundamentalist. I believe if you want to smoke dope and lay about chewing on chips that is your right. What I don't agree with is that very same person, after they have killed someone, blaming the drugs they took. They CHOSE to take the drugs thus they are responsible for their actions in all cases. Apply that same logic to cults. If a person is a member of a cult they are there because they wish to be for the most part. If on the other hand the cult crosses the line and kidnaps people or holds people against their will who wish to leave then, and only then, should the government get involved. People should have the right to do as they please so long as they do no harm to others(a wiccan term I have borrowed from my wife) if you try to harm someone else then they should be allowed to protect themselves. And if they can't then the government should help them. That is what a government is for, to help those who can no longer (or could never)help themselves. I despise multi generational Welfare families of all colors because they are leeches on society. They can work they choose not to(the vast majority of them, for those who truly can't work see the philosophy above) in my perfect world this is a free society and they are free to starve if they won't work. I went to school in New Zealand and saw first hand what socialism does to a society. New Zealand has a population of around 3 million people and when I was there (1980's) 700,000 actually worked all of the rest were on the Dole. They paid 70-90% in taxes, a good friend of mine made 160,000 a year, his take home was 16,000 a year. The people on the dole though were making the equivalent of 25,000 per year in benefits. Do you see a problem there? I certainly do. So in summary the person responsible for you is you. If you can't take care of yourself then the government has an obligation to step in and help. All of those who can take care of themselves should pay taxes to help those who can't. But the taxes should be reasonable and carefully used. California is bankrupt (which is amazing considering it is the 8th largest producer in the world...though it used to be 6th) because the Liberal socialists in power are driving the producers away. Other than the dot.com boom and bust California has chased approximately 750,000 workers away that made over 40,000 per year. Those jobs have been replaced by minimum wage service industry jobs. That is ridiculous. And yet the politicians think that that is wonderful. In the next 5 years you are going to see some very significant problems develop in California and I fear they are going to sweep worldwide.
Back to the state religion, yes you can apply that definition to virtually any grouping of people who get together for a hobby or a sport as well, thus I think it is a little too vague(or liberal if you prefer) a definition.
We absolutley agree that ANY endeavor carried out by people if it is taken to th extreme is terrible, I am not limiting it to governmental types, but any activity. Too much of anything is simply not good..there must be some balance. Some people require religion to give them that balance, some require drugs, some use sport. Guess what not all people are alike. So long as what they do doesn't hurt anyone else they should be left alone.

You believe that government needs to play a bigger role I say that is wrong. Governments by their very nature are incompetant. They can't balance a budget, they can't
teach our children, they can't protect us(nor are they required to), they can't even keep your personal records safe from computer hackers. So what on earth makes you believe that they can be beneficial.. The most beneficial government is that which has the least interaction with you. During the great depression there was no social security, there was no welfare system, there was NOTHING that the government could do for those in need. And guess what, there was no mass starvation, there was no rampant crime, people were able to survive....how? Other PEOPLE helped them. Churches, and those who could, provided food and shelter for the needy. The PEOPLE were able to do just fine without governmental help.

Johnson with his WAR ON POVERTY spent about 5 trillion dollars to
do away with poverty in America. The result is there are now more people below the poverty line than when he started. I have a American Communist Party pamphlet produced in 1932 and in there they state that 2% of the US population controls 76% of the US's wealth. Very soon after that Liberal Democrats took control of both houses of Congress for 40 continuous years. They also had the Presidency a good amount of the time as well. Guess what after a 40 year run, 1% controlled 90% of the wealth. So either they were working for the rich or they are the stupidest group of people on the planet.

I believe that most humans have inherent value as well, where you and I disagree is when it comes to those who have only done harm. I am sorry but compared to you, who do good things(I assume), keep your family healthy and provided for, help those in need when you can, clean up the local park when it needs it etc., the local gang banger who goes out and rapes and murders for his enjoyment has no value, in fact he has a negative value. He behaves in all manner as a rabid dog would. I believe he should be treated accordingly.
Not killed but placed in prison and never let out, because when they are let out they continue the cycle. A good analogy is a virus.
Smallpox killed millions of people, then through a massive multi governemntal program(one of the very few to have actually worked I might add) Smallpox has been eradicated except for samples in bio weapons labs(don't get me started on what I think of that suffice to say I don't like it), why in the world would you ever let it out again? This is the one problem I have with liberals. They just don't seem to understand that some people shouldn't be here. They only cause harm, they will only ever cause harm, so why give them the opportunity?

Cheers
Gary

Anonymous said...

On another note, don't waste your time trying to carry on a conversation with someone whose response is limited to name calling. Trust me they are too simplistic a moron to understand;)
I certainly won't

Gary

Anonymous said...

BTW, did you watch the Osama Obama Kennedy video?

Gary

Nagarjuna said...

Gary--
Thanks again for you comments. We seem impossibly far apart in too many areas to warrant extending this particular discussion. So, I'll end my part of it with the following relatively brief response:

"If a person is a member of a cult they are there because they wish to be for the most part. If on the other hand the cult crosses the line and kidnaps people or holds people against their will who wish to leave then, and only then, should the government get involved."

What if there are credible allegations not only of physical, sexual, and psychological child abuse but also of adults being brainwashed into willing what they ordinarily wouldn't?

"Governments by their very nature are incompetant. They can't balance a budget, they can't
teach our children, they can't protect us(nor are they required to), they can't even keep your personal records safe from computer hackers. So what on earth makes you believe that they can be beneficial."

I believe that this is much too one-sided. Governments HAVE provided and continue to provide many beneficial services, and if they don't do a perfect job of this, neither do private citizens or businesses. For instance, private business also hasn't done a sterling job of keeping our "personal records safe from computer hackers."

"During the great depression there was no social security, there was no welfare system, there was NOTHING that the government could do for those in need."

For one thing, big government helped countless people, including my grandparents, through massive work projects that paid desperately needed wages, and these projects also helped strengthen the nation's infrastruture.

"I believe that most humans have inherent value as well, where you and I disagree is when it comes to those who have only done harm."

I believe that ALL humans have "inherent value" and that many more may have the capacity for redemption than you seem to believe. I'm not saying that people who commit serious crimes, and not just of the violent variety, shouldn't be isolated from society for long if not lifetime periods. But I AM saying that NO human being should be "despised" or hated, and that, so far as gangbanging or other condemnable behavior and lifestyles are concerned, "there but for the grace of God (or fate)", go ANY of us.

Anonymous said...

Hello Again,

I personally don't think we are that far apart. I think we both desire the best possible living conditions for the people of this country, if not the world(I would like to see the world a better place I just don't think the US is wealthy enough to do it all on our own).
Now to your points........
"What if there are credible allegations not only of physical, sexual, and psychological child abuse but also of adults being brainwashed into willing what they ordinarily wouldn't?" Of course in this situation governemental investigation is warranted(please see in my prior comment where I stated that this was expected and appropriate. BTW the Branch Davidians were extensively investigated and all allegations were proven false.
"I believe that this is much too one-sided. Governments HAVE provided and continue to provide many beneficial services, and if they don't do a perfect job of this, neither do private citizens or businesses. For instance, private business also hasn't done a sterling job of keeping our "personal records safe from computer hackers."
Please detail exactly what beneficial services are being provided that could not be done better and cheaper by a private firm? There are a few that I can name but I would like to hear your examples as well. As far as private businesses losing data, that is true, but you are not REQUIRED to give data to them like you are the government.
"For one thing, big government helped countless people, including my grandparents, through massive work projects that paid desperately needed wages, and these projects also helped strengthen the nation's infrastruture."
This is partially true, but the actual number of people employed was fairly small. In fact at the height of the depression the unemployment rate was 25% and while that is high it is not considered abnormal in some socialist countries which will hover between 20-30% unemployment on a regular basis. What is not recognised is the cost to civil liberties that occurred to bring that about. Roosevelt took the US a long way down the socialist path in his 15 years in office. The following is a little taste of the War Powers Act that Roosevelt promulgated just after he took office in 1933 and which to date has not been rescinded

"In writing the Constitution for the United States of America, James Madison said that states in order to enhance their power, often resorted to “the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for accumulating force in the government.” The idea is to foster an emergency, and then step in to “save the people” by drastically increasing state power. This is precisely the scenario since 9-11-2001 in the United States , but includes as well the response to droughts, floods, depressions, illicit drugs, acts of war, and so forth. There is virtually no natural or man-made disaster which cannot be used to garner greater power into the hands of an increasingly greedy-for-power government.

The United States Bankruptcy of 1861 placed the country under Emergency War Powers (12 Stat 319), a situation which has never been repealed and continues to exist in Title 50 USC Sections 212, 213, 215, Appendix 16, 26 CFR Chapter 1 paragraph 303.1-6(a), and 31 CFR Chapter 5, paragraph 500.701 Penalties.

To add insult to injury, the United States on October 6, 1917 , passed the Trading with the Enemy Act (H.R. 4960, Public Law 91) -- ostensibly in connection with World War I. This extraordinary act gave the President immense, unconstitutional authority (particularly over any private ownership of gold and silver), but included within the term, “enemy”, individuals “other than citizens of the United States .” The Emergency War Powers had been greatly extended, but thus far had not been directed against the people of the United States . This was not to be the end of the matter, however.

Just when the citizens thought it was safe to go into the water again, The Amendatory Act of March 9, 1933 was passed, and which included the people of the United States under the definition of “enemy”. Essentially, “any person within the United States of any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof...”

This reprehensible act was passed just after Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration as President of the United States , and significantly at a time when the United States was not in a shooting war with any foreign foe. Emergency war powers in time of peace may seem to be a contradiction in terms, but not in government"

Finally I despise and hate no one. But I do recognize that some people are inherently violent and enjoy harming others. Those individuals I believe can sometimes be redeemed, but theyare not to be trusted because time and time again they lose control and someone else dies. Why is it considered acceptable to allow innocent families to be victimized by these individuals. They have proven they are not to be trusted so don't. They have proven that they have no regard for the rights of others so why should we care about theirs? I don't know if there is such a thing as Karma but I like the basic theory. They bring it on themselves. And finally I disagree with your final statement. I was born into a middle class family and then basically abandoned by my mother when I was 3 years old. My father had been chased away when I was one. I was raised by my grandfather and lived in a truck from the age of fourtill I was 14 when we moved into a trailer. The one thing my grandfather did for me was encourage me to read. So I did and I worked my ass off in school. I now have a wonderful family and am a self made millionaire. I still work very hard and volunteer at a local family resource center. Fate (or GOD if you wish) presentedme with a pretty crappy beginning and you know what I have never been drunk or stoned in my life and I have never commited a crime. According to every theory about crime I should have become a criminal. I didn't because I didn't want to! There were plenty of oportunities for me to take a different path, I chose not to.

Cheers
Gary