Ist Gott tot? (Is God dead?)

By Chemrock

The madman ran through the marketplace shouting “Gott ist tot. Wir haben ihm getötet. (God is dead. We have killed him.)” German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in Zarathustra in the 1880s on the rise of the Rational Man. The invisible, all-powerful Divinity is just a figment of man’s imagination. God is killed in the Age of Enlightenment. The rational mind is fully capable of logically figuring things out. The universe is governed by the Laws of Physics or Nature and there is no Divine Providence.

In a previous blog I promised to respond to Lance on creationism and Darwinism and then realized it’s hard to put ink to paper and do justice to a compelling topic in a blog comment. It dawned on me the topic has relevance to The Society of Honor (TSOH) concerns of the day of declining moral values heading into an election. Diminution in Godliness feeds the rise of amorality and I thought a discussion on this may help restore a little faith in some. So I asked of Joe to accommodate this publication.

Atheists commonly deride the existence of Creator by pointing out the ridiculous idea that out of billions of galaxies, the tiny planet Earth is so significant to God that He waited for billions of years till the environment is able to sustain life, then showed up and created every living creature, only to disappear for the next 7,000 years. It is irrational to believe there is a Creator.

Those who are inclined towards theism (belief in a God) can take comfort in the fact that many great thinkers past and present, many of whom are great scientists, share the belief of a universal intelligent Creator. It doesn’t appear to be irrational after all. Sir Isaac Newton was devoutly religious, as was Rene Descartes. Einstein famously said “God does not play with dice”. The consummate atheist Oscar Wilde converted to Catholicism on his deathbed.

My position is there is a God, the Creator, and that proof of this automatically whitewashes Darwinism. I write from the perspective of the western world, where Judeo-Christian traditions and values have been pushed back by secularization that came out of the Age of Enlightenment and unleashed dangerous consequences that we experience today.

No philosophical theory which I have yet come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that ‘In the beginning God made Heaven and Earth’.
 C.S. Lewis

Ever since cavemen gazed at the stars at night, they instinctively felt there is an unseen Creator. Other than Abraham, Moses and some others in the Old Testament who had felt the presence of God, or seen His manifestation, there is no evidential proof of His existence. In our present day science and technology, it is easy to forget many things we understand today, stuff like gravity, electricity, viruses, the expanding universe, the Earth’s revolution around the Sun and its rotation on an axis, etc, were initially abstracts developed out of logical postulation.

Cosmological arguments originated with the Greek thinkers with Aristotle’s ‘First Cause’ being foundational. Aristotle himself must have wrestled with “Nothing comes from nothing”, an idea of Parmenides who preceded him. These are causality theories that something caused the universe to come into being. It was a search for origins of the universe, not a divinity outing. Thomas Aquinas, a 12th century theological philosopher, was one of the first to provide arguments for the existence of God in his book Summa Theologica. He proposed the quinque viae (“Five Ways”) or five logical arguments regarding the existence of God. Aquinas’ arguments basically shifted the idea of the First Cause to an entity we call God. Cosmological arguments run into a problem of the infinite, as each case has a cause, back into infinity. This is the question of if God created the universe, who created God, and so on.

A modern revision of these cosmological arguments is the Kalam Cosmological Argument proposed by William Lane Craig. This is derived from Islamic thoughts. Craig’s idea is all things that came into being has a cause, thus the Universe has a cause. God willed by Speech (or Words) the Universe into being. God is the Uncaused Cause which transcends the Universe, thus it is timeless, spaceless, infinite. Kalam Argument overcomes the problem of infinite regression.

Let’s pause and reflect for a moment, what is this concept of God. Is it anthropomorphic (has human features)? This is asking about the nature of God, and it is a meaningless question as God is beyond nature, it is supernatural. We can posit on the attributes of God. If it created the universe, it existed before Time began, thus it is Timeless. And it is outside, and not part of the Universe, i.e., God is transcendental – beyond the Laws of Physics and Nature. Its essence is Intelligence, thus it is formless and permeates universally, or Omniscient. That it is Omnipotent and interferes in the affairs of humanity is man’s construct based on faith, revelation and theological philosophy.

A Creator exists but the manner of its substance is unfathomable to man. The idea that there is an external Intelligence outside the consciousness of living things manifests itself in Nature. What explains a shoal of fish to change direction simultaneously? How is it possible that hundreds of thousands of fish in a shoal can all change direction in the same split second? A flock of hundreds of birds in flight move similarly in the sky. Frogs, caterpillars, butterflies and some other creatures occasionally obey an unknown intelligence to congregate somewhere. What explains the mass hysteria seen often amongst Muslim women on factory floors?

A pseudoscientific explanation for the existence of God is the “Intelligent Design” argument. Ironically it’s the advancement of science that points more and more to the plausibility of an intelligent and transcendental designer. Science has revealed so many wonders and the intricacies in so many features in the natural world which are impossible to attribute them to have come into being by pure chance. So many things are so finely-tuned in the world for life to exist. Sir Isaac Newton and many of his peers upheld “that the physical laws ….. uncovered revealed the mechanical perfection of the workings of the universe to be akin to a watch, wherein the watchmaker is God.” William Paley took on the watch analogy that if one were to find a watch, one automatically knows it didn’t come into existence on its own, but that there was a designer responsible for it. Francis Collins, who led the Human Gnome Project, said when he first saw the DNA he felt he was looking at the Book Of Life. There are 3.1 billion bits of information in the DNA gnome mapping. It’s simply mind-boggling. He likened the DNA to the softwares that bring machineries to life, the DNA being the softwares that cause cells to function the way they are supposed to and bring life to organisms. Bill Gates adds that whilst software works in parity mode, DNA coding seems to be of a terribly complex 4-bit level.

The American philosopher Dallas Willard (1935-2013) laid out the most logical proof of existence of a Creator. Willard was heavily influenced by the German philosopher Edmund Husserf who started a new way of philosophical thought called Phenomenology which is the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness. Willard’s 3 conditions for the existence of God:

  1. External condition – It is a physical reality that every physical quantity owes its existence to something else. It does not explain its own existence. It does not will itself into existence. Take for example, an apple. No matter how it is cut up and examined, the apple cannot explain its existence.
  2. Conditions precedent – There is a necessary condition in some specific type of state which immediately precedes a physical quantity in time and is fully existent prior to the emergence of the state which it is. The apple obviously requires an apple tree to bear fruit. The apple tree has to be physically present at the time and space of the apple coming into existence. The apple tree itself does not explain its own existence. It came about from some physical apple seed that was planted in some preceding time. So it goes back a series of physical causes — but no physical quantity explains its own existence.
  3. Self-existent First Term – The natural world is observed in terms of (a) currently existing physical structures whose existence depends on that of underlying structures, or (b) events each of which depends on the occurrence of previous events. This logic leads to an ultimate First Term or Cause which can only be satisfied under 2 conditions — (i) There cannot be infinite causes and time because if there is infinity, then the present physical quantity could not have arrived. This is best explained with dominoes. For example, the 200th tile is knocked down by the 199th tile which in turn was caused to fall by the 198th and so on. We keep on going backwards till the 1st tile. There has to be a 1st tile. It is impossible to have infinity in the regression because if so, we will never arrive at the 200th tile; (ii) Since all the physical quantities or events cannot explain itself, the 1st tile domino cannot explain itself, the First Cause must be outside of the Natural system, ie non-physical or transcendental.

Willard’s idea gets beyond naturalism and open up the strong possibility that the non-physical, self-existence First Cause of the Universe is the Christian God.

“All species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce”… Darwin’s theory

Charles Darwin beat many luminaries of his time to the press to publish “On The Origins of Species” in 1859, which was an epoch shattering moment. Darwinism greatly boosted the Naturalists of the time and drove a spear into the heart of Theistic philosophy in the following decades. Did Darwinism in any way negate the idea of the existence of God? Absolutely not. Darwin was in fact a religious person. He made it clear his theory did not present an explanation on the First Cause. Evolution is not an explanation for ultimate origins. It doesn’t explain the Big Bang. Nor could it explain the Cambrian explosion of species. Natural processes have never been observed to produce the biodiversity and complexity of cell development.

Darwin was merely espousing on micro-variations over a vast expense of time. There was no cross species evolution. Many things could not be explained away by evolution. If the giraffes neck grew so long in order to reach the higher trees for the leaves, would it be wrong to expect Filipinos who lived by the seashores to have grown longer legs climbing those coconut trees? Advancement in sciences in fields like epigenetics and new knowledge on mutation, variation, DNA sequencing, etc, are showing that Darwinism is no longer irrefutable.  (Read ‘One-third of biologists now question Darwinism‘).

“Knowledge enormous makes a God of me” … John Keats

18th century Age of Enlightenment unshackled men from the chains of the Church. It was euphoric times when great thinkers proposed the rational mind could explain everything in the universe with Laws of Physics or Nature. The absolutes from revelation which had guided the western world were no longer the Way. Naturalism and atheism became vogue and Church attendance declined and continues to decline today.

There have been militant atheists out there ever since. In the late 2000s there was an explosion of Atheistic literature that ‘New Atheists’ became a cause celebre. Any discourse with atheists tends to be rabid and with rancor. Men of science look out of their laboratories at faith believers as irrational and ignorant. Very much similar to any engagement with MMTeers. The living atheist high priest is superstar Richard Dawkins, who is happily raking in millions from the sales of his books. His latest best seller “God Delusion” made claims that infuriated David Belinski, himself an atheist, to respond with his own book “Devil’s Delusion” which lambasted the pretensions of scientists.

Francis Bacon said it eloquently:

“It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth philosophy bringeth men’s minds to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them and go no further.”

Atheists will not discuss ‘origins’. As Dawkins puts it, to discuss origin is to bring in religion. And if they must, then they subscribe to Panspermia, a theory of life coming from cosmic dusts contamination caused by travelling space aliens on their star-hopping Odyssey. If pushed, Stephen Hawkins saves them with the Big Bang Theory. But then they are cornered. Big Bang Theory posits the beginning of the world from one tiny dot of singularity. The problem is that quantum physicists agree that at singularity, the Laws of Physics break down. So Atheists’ idea of origin starts off from a state where their Laws of Physics do not apply.

Atheists will attack religion and try to show how irrational it is to believe in faith, without realizing the Science they believe in is in fact, their religion. Invariably, they will point to the destructive nature of religion and how violent religion has been historically. They will point to the hundreds of thousands killed in the Crusades or the Conquistadors, or in the Inquisitions. Yet they fail to see rationalist minds like Maximilien Robespierre drove the French Revolution into its excesses in the period known as the Reign of Terror. Neither do they see the monstrous events of sheer evil madness when hundreds of millions of people were slaughtered in Germany, Russia, China, and Cambodia, all committed by men with no religion.

Atheists do not realize the freedom of thought that allowed them to develop naturalist ideas came from the very Judeo-Christian values and traditions they seek to break from. Compare this to the haunting vacuum of naturalist thoughts from the Islamic or Eastern worlds. Nobody wants a theocracy. That was settled long ago in Jesus’ “Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar; and to God that which belongs to God”. But atheists want to obliterate God.

Where is all this hate for God coming from that is increasingly pulling believers out of Churches? Out of 17th century Age of Enlightenment, rationalists proliferated. These learned minds populated scholastic universities and in 3 or 4 generations, the learning institutions are churning out naturalists and these new learned minds end up in top echelons of governance and the business world. One single person has the capability to change 100,000 minds over time.

Atheistic militancy is nowhere more profound than in the US. America grew as a nation strongly entrenched in Judeo-Christian traditions. Much of the credit for this goes to John Locke who was himself much influenced by Sir Isaac Newton. After World War II, German philosophical seeds crossed the Atlantic Sea as the US took in hundreds of Nazi scientists who became naturalized US citizens. Mostly through the learning institutions the seeds germinated and soon whole new generations of fine minds indoctrinated with nouveau naturalism, took over policy making machineries in government, academia, and decision-making positions in media. And we wonder why the media today are so ultra liberal, churches are hollowing out, and neoliberalism is moving to the extreme left.

Engel v. Vitale 1962 was the landmark case when the US Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to have a prayer recitation in public schools. From hence, Americans under Democrats have gone on to kick the Church out of schools, out of government, out of the Police and Army. 12 years under Obama and the Democrats have not only gone to the extreme political left but has gone to bed with extreme right Islamists. Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff of Hillary Clinton, is a card carrying member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Zaki Barzinji, as liaison to the Muslim American community under the Office of Public Engagement, is the grandson of the founder of Muslim Brotherhood. There were other Muslim Brotherhood affiliates with roles in various levels of the government. Extreme Left Liberals played right into the hands of Muslim Brotherhood’s manual on an Islamic takeover of the US. Today it’s difficult to give a talk on Christianity, nor a civil critique of Islam, without being branded an “Islamophobe”. Entrenched Islamic and Atheist interests in Academia, funded by Saudi Arabian money, will prevent Christian apologetics or Islamic critics, from ever entering US campuses. It’s ironic the naturalists’ disbelief in the Judeo-Christian God paves the way by default to the Islamic God.

“We have not been able to show that reason requires the moral point of view, or that all really rational persons should not be individual egoists or classical amoralists. Reason doesn’t decide here. The picture I have painted for you is not a pleasant one. Reflection on it depresses me … Pure practical reason, even with a good knowledge of the facts, will not take you to morality.” …. Kai Nielsen (atheist).

It is frightening that atheists themselves opine that there is no morality in naturalism. That is not to say that an atheist is naturally immoral. All thinking persons accept that there are laws of morality. If there are laws, there is a Giver of the laws. Atheists reject there is a Giver of Laws of Morality. Naturalists thinkers all wrestle with the issue of morality. The quintessential atheist Betrand Russell said he has no answer to the question of morality and that’s what haunted him. Dawkins submitted that the reality of evil has to be denied if the argument that there is no God is to stay valid.

Nietzsche’s madman asked:

“Whither is God? I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”

What an extraordinary insight. Nietzsche understood Naturalism leads to abandonment of morals. “Unchained this Earth from the Sun” is about the rejection of existence of God. “Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon?” is talking about wiping away Judeo-Christian traditions and values and re-writing them. “Is there any more up and down?” is about high and low moral values. “Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning?” – we are blind to moral values that we need to light up the day in order to see.

The loss of moral values in a godless world is the great danger that philosophers can see, even those who are atheists. With no moral boundaries, hedonistic lifestyle surges. The world is increasingly focused on indulgences of the sensual kind – in food, sex, drugs, alcoholism, gaming, filthy wealth accumulation, pornography, etc. Is it a wonder Extreme Left Liberals champion gay sex marriages and abortion and the killing of millions of fetuses. Is it a wonder to see displays of monstrosities of evil entities popping up in public spaces. Is it a wonder why the ‘Living Dead’ zombies themed movies are churned out. Is it a wonder why folks are tattooing their bodies in vile debasement of the temples of God but calling it art. Is it a wonder why the seductively easy way of MMT economics is popping up at this particular time. Everything makes sense taken in the context of lax morality in a godless world. Moral standards are decaying in western societies. When we discard God, we dismantle the moral boundaries that guide our lives. With no God, nothing is sacred anymore. Marriage is not sacred, your property is not sacred, your neighbours’ properties are not sacred, your words and promises are not sacred, the constitution is not sacred.

Move away from God, and abominations fill the vacuum. How many times must the Bible repeat the same story?

The path of atheism leads to nihilism — meaninglessness. Atheists believe after death, there is nothing – just decaying atoms. Deny the existence of God, then there is no meaning in our lives, no hope. Atheists offer us nothing. Is it a wonder many surveys are showing students say they suffer most from meaningless in their lives, which quite often is a cause for suicides. Nihilism devalues lives which are then taken too lightly. Is it a wonder that godless leaders, who believed in their own powers, led to extermination of hundreds of millions in Nazi Germany, Communist USSR, China under Mao, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and many other wanton unconstitutional killings on smaller scales elsewhere.

Gott ist nicht tot (God is not dead)

Multiculturalism is well and good and it enriches lives. But pluralism is failing due to exclusivity of belief systems. Each community says their way is the right way. Period. Lax immigration policies pursued by extreme left liberalism and Judeo-Christian humanitarian idealism has seen a one-way migration of people from Islamic backgrounds pouring into Western Europe and US. The situation is now untenable and it’s a powder keg waiting to explode. Austria recently closed down many unauthorized mosques and banned foreign imams (mostly Turks) and the reaction of Turkey’s strongman Endrogan is the threat of nuclear war.

On the issue of exclusivity, the reader is pardoned to ask the next logical question –  so, which God? In a world facing a civilization clash, one needs to thread carefully to avoid being labelled a bigot, Islamophobe, or someone agitating religious intolerance. Whether you believe in a compassionate God that teaches Love, in Whom you can seek a personal relationship, and gives you Free Will to make your own decisions, or you believe in a God that demands your total submission and requires world domination by the extermination of non-believers, or you have Gods that manifest themselves in some other ways, it is after all, your belief.

To the reader’s question, I say seek and ye will find. In this, I have found the best teacher in Ravi Zacharia who said any worldview must have answers to four questions – Origin, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny and must stand the tests of logical consistency (coherence), empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. In this manner have I found mine. To this I will add if your faith is strong, never be fearful to allow your beliefs be subject to scrutiny and query, as some faith I know considers it a blasphemy simply to raise a question.

In closing, the words of Dallas Willard:

“The world can no longer be left to mere diplomats, politicians, and business leaders. They have done the best they could, no doubt. But this is an age for spiritual heroes – a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith and in spiritual character and power. The greatest danger to the Christian church today is that of pitching its message too low.”

 

Comments
655 Responses to “Ist Gott tot? (Is God dead?)”
  1. chemp,

    So Atheists (mostly from America) and Muslims (mostly from the Middle East) are the bad guys here?

    I have more to say about Darwin’s transmutation, DNA was discovered in the 1950s so Darwin only covered genes and mutations.

    Thanks for the write-up. Glad to see this as an article and not a mere commentary.

    • chemrock says:

      No bad guys or good guys, but what they bring to the table.
      Atheism, as I indicated, bring a chasm of morality.– excessess and indulgencies of the senses.
      Muslims — not at the people level, it’s the ideology that I have problems. When a religion is based on the premise that I would be slaughtered if I don’t submit, I have a problem with that.

      Bring on your Darwin.

      • “Charles Darwin beat many luminaries of his time to the press to publish “On The Origins of Species” in 1859, which was an epoch shattering moment. Darwinism greatly boosted the Naturalists of the time and drove a spear into the heart of Theistic philosophy in the following decades. Did Darwinism in any way negate the idea of the existence of God? Absolutely not. Darwin was in fact a religious person. He made it clear his theory did not present an explanation on the First Cause. Evolution is not an explanation for ultimate origins. It doesn’t explain the Big Bang. Nor could it explain the Cambrian explosion of species. Natural processes have never been observed to produce the biodiversity and complexity of cell development.

        Darwin was merely espousing on micro-variations over a vast expense of time. There was no cross species evolution. Many things could not be explained away by evolution. If the giraffes neck grew so long in order to reach the higher trees for the leaves, would it be wrong to expect Filipinos who lived by the seashores to have grown longer legs climbing those coconut trees? Advancement in sciences in fields like epigenetics and new knowledge on mutation, variation, DNA sequencing, etc, are showing that Darwinism is no longer irrefutable.”

        I’ll just comment on the 4 bolded sentences for now, chemp (but I promise to have more).

        1). Of course not, you’d need a time machine to observe such a process, or Bran Stark (the Three-Eyed Raven, episode 3!!!).

        2). Are you talking about speciation here? Because it was covered in the book.

        Chapter 6 of Darwin’s book is entitled “Difficulties of the Theory.” In discussing these “difficulties” he noted “Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?” (from Wiki)

        3). the very first “Filipinos” look African, then the next wave came with more Asian features, one took a more direct route from Africa, the others hung out in mainland Asia first.

        But notice they don’t look European, you don’t have to look for long legs, chemp. skin tone, facial feature, hair, etc. etc. is there. Tausugs live pretty much in water, their lungs are different, same as with Sherpas in the Himalayas. fast forward millions of years and separate them geographically, and you’d have a Wallace-line scenario.

        4). Epigenetics isn’t refuting Darwin, chemp. it’s widely understood that Darwin himself didn’t really fully understand what he stumbled upon. Like Einstein couldn’t comprehend a blackhole even though his own calculations predicted them. that’s science, its a process.

        There’s quantum biology now too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton_tunneling doesn’t refute Darwin, just stands on top of it, and higher and higher our understanding goes.

        • chemrock says:

          1. Agreed. In fact dring Darwin’s time, they thought Earth was less than 10 million years old. Darwin postulated for his theory to be sensible, the Earth ad to bee 100 million years old. Current data is what? 3.8 billion years old? There is no denying at the micro level, Darwin’s theory is logical, but it certainly can’t be macro level.

          2. Yes speciation it is, thanks for filling in the word. Noah only took in 2 samples of each species, not all varieties, that’s why his boat could accommodate so many animals.

          3. Agreed they are different. But it’s micro evolution,They are still the homo sapien specie.

          4. Part of epigenetic study shows that no alteration induced by the environment is actually transmitted to the next generation,

          • 1. I think we’re on the same page re Darwin, chemp.

            2. Did Noah take dinosaurs w/ him, because they left a bunch of bones that look a lot like modern day animals namely ostriches and cassowaries; comodo dragons and crocs/alligators too but they are more surviving species from back then.

            3. Yeah, Europeans and Filipinos can indeed mate, hence all the beauty contestants; but you should also consider that Homo Sapiens have also mated with Homo Neanderthalensis.

            4. I understand the possible implications of epigenetics, shows “real-time” mutation, I can accept real time mutation (that was the tangental subject of M. Night Shyamalan “Split“, great movie, when the Beast transformed Kevin Wendell Crumb’s body),

            but just because real-time mutation is now on the table, doesn’t necessarily refute the macro- evolution model. the preponderance of evidence, still points to that.

            Can a Great Dane mate (physically) with a Chihuahua? it would be a form of animal abuse if they did, but my point chemp is we can see macro-evolution, humanity has done so with dogs.

            • chemrock says:

              I’m a fan of Night Shyamalan, I took my younger son to watch The Village when he was about 10. As you know the plot, it was a tale of some monsters but in the end, there was no real monster. I thought the end part would be an anti-climax and disappointment to my son. To my surprise he said that was a great movie. And it was indeed, from the story telling point of view.

              The Homo sapiens/neanderthals and doggie thing is still within same species. Maybe werewolf was an attempt at cross breeding that went wrong. Edward Scissorhands was man-equipment halfbreed.

              • Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis is example of convergence, still fits;

                Chihuahua and Great Dane is example of divergence, no more fit.

                Are you talking about Manatees and Elephants type of relationship, chemp???

    • in 2017, they found fossils of Dugongs on one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California, so they were around this side of the Pacific as well.

      But what’s interesting are fossils found in both sides of the Atlantic and also in Palawan Philippines of sea cows w/ legs. Just Google sea cow fossils with legs.

      Is that macro-evolution enough, chemp?

      • A 20 milion year old fossil of a “serenia” or sea cow that existed only during the Miocene age was discovered by scientists and researchers embedded over the walls of Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in Puerto Princesa City, the capital of the last frontier in the country.

        The fosssilized remains of the sea cow remains in perfect condition, a group of scientists and researchers who explored the PPUR extensively recently revealed in its report Mayor Edward Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa City.

        This discovery persuaded scientists to conduct extensive study at the site since more things could be unearthed dating back to the Miocene age.

        The serenia’s existence has been largely documented in Europe, Mediterranean and Africa. This means that the fossilized remains of the sea cow at the walls of the underground river may be a rarity in the Philippines.

        https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/20-million-year-old-fossil-sea-cow.html

      • chemrock says:

        Did you know the difference between chimps and man in the gnome is just 1%.

        • I’ve read between 1 to 4% difference, chemp.

          Also, that we share about 90% DNA with cats. And 85% with a mouse; 80% with a cow, 60% with chicken— which weirdly is about the same as a banana.

          These “differences” in percentages I don’t really put a lot of weight into, kinda like Listerine kills 99.9% of germs. What convinces me is more the gene expressions, that ‘s easier to see.

          More importantly it fits with the model of speciation, both micro- and macro- .

          Example,

          Neanderthals and humans are different species based on bones we’ve found, but since they haven’t diverged far enough, they were able to mate;

          Lines branch off, lines end, that’s basically natural selection;

          If line converge again before it’s too late, then shared gnome allows for procreation;

          if they diverge like the Chihuahua and Great Dane example above, or today’s tailed Manatees vs. four-legged manatees now in fossils— ie. genitalia size difference, or geographic isolation, niche isolation (nocturnal; day animals), etc.

          • … then mating doesn’t occur, branching off, thus macro– , chemp.

            But again, let me turn the tables here, and ask…

            What has Intelligent Design contributed, aside from just saying this is too cool to simply have happened by chance, it must be designed by my Christian God!!! 😉 I mean , epigenetics is still within the purview of Science, no?

            What new models to our current above ones is Creationism proposing, chemp???

            • chemrock says:

              Re intelligent design
              As far back as I can go, I think Darwin himself referred to the term intelligent design. It wasn’t coined by theology but science that used the term. Some said it was lawyers who first used the term. I mean what does those silly monks hiding in their secluded monasteries know about fundamental physical laws of gravitational and electromagnetic forces and hing or low nuclear forces, right?

              • chemp,

                I get that Intelligent Design is simply about God in the machine. Where the phrase originated isn’t really that important.

                But since youre comparing Darwin’s theory (transmutation, speciation, natural selection, etc.) and equivocating Intelligent Design as something equal or better, I’m simply asking

                HOW IS IT BETTER, chemp. What new models has Intelligent Design contributed here?

              • chemrock says:

                ID throws in the face of science — please explain this and this and this . Eg the latest in gnome mapping. How is this human software written?

              • OK, so it’s safe to say now that Intelligent Design as you’re describing here, chemp, is just simply playing Devil’s Advocate (chance or God?) and is not actually posing another theory, better or equal to Darwin’s.

                example,

                Before Darwin, God created everything.

                After Darwin, yup God still created everything.

                after more studies, using Darwin’s theory, produced advances in science, yup all that stuff God did it.

                So Intelligent Design is just that ????? Why should it be taught in schools, if in the end it’s just…

              • chemrock says:

                Equally if Darwinism is just a theory, which in the interest of knowledge, I support it being taught in schools, why the theory of intelligent design should not be taught in schools. Shouldn’t kids be taught that hey Darwinism is what these guys are thinking that got us here but there is no concrete proof, so just bear in mind there are other ideas out there.

                Where is the proof of Darwinism? We dig a skull and a bone here and there and that’s proof?

                Science has already determined random mutation does not work.

        • sonny says:

          What a difference that 1% makes. Consider the possible combinations & permutations of how the sequencing of the amino acids in the genes. That 1% is mind-boggling. The chemical bonds in the genes are held for the most part by fragile hydrogen-bonding in the steps and sides of the double-helix. Yet the sequencing is well supported and determined.

        • “Equally if Darwinism is just a theory, which in the interest of knowledge, I support it being taught in schools, why the theory of intelligent design should not be taught in schools. Shouldn’t kids be taught that hey Darwinism is what these guys are thinking that got us here but there is no concrete proof, so just bear in mind there are other ideas out there.”

          chemp,

          Calling Intelligent Design a “theory” doesn’t make it the same as the Theory of Evolution.

          The ‘theory’– if you can call it that– in Intelligent Design/Creationism is simply that God (the Christian God ) created everything in their present form. Full stop.

          For something to be a theory it needs to be testable. How do you go about testing that “theory”? it’s already the conclusion.

          Let’s use this graph below as analogy,

          Theory of Evolution attempts to work backwards to connect our modern alphabet we’re using to type with now to its older predecessors ;

          Creationism simply states A-Z is how God (Christian God) made them, and this is the reason A-Z is perfect, didn’t need to evolve.

          So there’s no need to work up to Latin alphabet, Greek, Phonecian, etc. etc.

          if Creationism is simply a declaration that “the Lord God made them all”, why bother with theorizing??? you already have your answer. thus it’s not a theory, chemp.

          “Where is the proof of Darwinism? We dig a skull and a bone here and there and that’s proof?”

          See above graph of alphabets again, start with A and work up, then do E and work up, then K, up…

          there are other letters that aren’t going to be convincing, but that’s how a theory works, the process of being able to work your way up, is the observable part, the wider chart is the theory, ie. there will be holes in the graph, some arrows won’t lead perfectly to a certain letter, but

          if your theory was that our current letters came from some older letters, the theory holds, unless another theory can explain said current letters better.

          But if your competing “theory” simply states that A-Z is as is from the beginning of time, then there is no need to have a theory— you’ve already answered your own question.

          Now convincing others that God created A-Z as perfectly as we now see them, now that’s another matter. 😉

          “Science has already determined random mutation does not work.”

          How ???

  2. edgar lores says:

    *****
    1. God, in the form of organized religion, died for me when I came to the realization that He is not universal.

    2. The central problem for me has always been the exclusivist nature of religions. This is particularly true of the Western Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

    3. In contrast, the Eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism are more tolerant of diversity. Hinduism may be said to be polytheistic while Buddhism is nontheistic. However, even the latter may be said to be rigid in its insistence on the Noble Eightfold Path.

    4. For me, in a nutshell, no God can be true if He is not accepting of all His children and all of His creation.

    5. Apart from the problem of exclusivism are the problems of externality, anthropomorphism, cosmology (destiny), and sex. All these seem to be limited and limiting, products of our poor human imagination. I note that anthropomorphism is dealt with in the essay. So with externality, in a manner of speaking.

    o Externality: If God is omnipresent, does that not mean that He is also in us?
    o Anthropomorphism: Is God male or female? Or transgender?
    o Cosmology (Destiny): Are Heaven and Hell — eternal bliss and eternal punishment — the grandest conceptions of human destiny?
    o Sex: Why are religions homophobic?

    6. The contortions of logic to prove and justify a Creator are endless. The belief in a Creator has to be taken on faith — or not at all.

    7. Morality is possible without religion. Indeed, morality based on religion has been anything but moral. Just read the news. Clerical sexual abuse. Evangelical support for Trump. Christchurch. Sri Lanka.

    7.1. Morality can be based on our innate spirituality divorced from religion.

    8. The world is moving away from religion, either volitionally (as in the West) or forcibly (as in China). From my viewpoint, religions have been the myth of Santa Clause in mankind’s childhood.

    o We can speculate about our origins.
    o We can discover or invent the meaning of our lives.
    o We can behave morally without religion.
    o And we can chart our own destiny — individually and collectively.

    It is time that we grow up.
    *****

      • chemrock says:

        See what I mean when one has a discourse with an atheist?

        • Micha says:

          Religionists make outrageous claims but offer zero evidence. What kind of discourse do you think could come out from that?

          And really, shoals of fish or flock of starlings moving in seemingly coordinated fashion is not evidence for the existence of a Higher Being. It’s just instinctive movement not different from a herd of gazelles being chased down by lions.

          As edgar says, humanity has to start to grow up and discard the immature baby stage development offered by religion.

          • Micha,

            You’re not appreciating chempo’s side.

            “It’s just instinctive movement not different from a herd of gazelles being chased down by lions.”

            What is instinct??? how does it work??? Merely saying that it is ‘instinctive movement’ is no explanation, it’s what chemp (and Nietzsche) would call scientism.

            How do birds and butterflies know where to migrate??? that is going on in their bodies that allow them to move as though they have GPS navigation??? not so easy now.

            • Micha says:

              Why do you pick your nose? Why do you blink your eyes? Why do you turn your head when you hear somebody call you?

              Instinct is what instinct does.

              No miracles or supervening agent needed.

              • If one has a booger, he has a choice leave it in or take it out, free will. Sure that’s not instinct, that’s comfort and mechanical/muscular; how boogers are formed would be a more relevant question.

                There are 2 types of muscle movements, voluntary (which is like the above, sans free will) and involuntary would be the more relevant type of muscle movement, what’s making it move if not you?

                I hope you don’t turn every time you hear your name called, I certainly don’t. But the decision to not or do is where it gets interesting. You have to recognize the voice calling your name.

                sound vibrations, if I told you all 5 of your senses respond by types of vibrations, would you agree or disagree. this is more quantum biology now.

                Which leads us to your, “No miracles or supervening agent needed.” if Physicists are now getting into biology (god knows what else) using quantum mechanics no less; and if you’re familiar with how weird Quantum Physics is

                the whole notion of miracles and supervening agent is all up in the air now, isn’t it. My point, don’t be too sure about “no miracles or supervening agent”, Micha. it’d be scientism if you were.

              • Micha says:

                QM is weird even Richard Feynman profess to not really comprehending it and quipped that “anybody who says they understand QM does not really understand QM”.

              • chemrock says:

                Even a parade commander could not get his greenhorn recruits to execute a smart left-turn at his command on the first day of drill training. I wonder which fish barked the order to turn, is it the front man, the rear guy, or the left or right marker.

            • Micha says:

              Why do you pick your nose? Why do you blink your eyes? Why do you turn your head when you hear somebody calls you?

              Instinct is what instinct does.

              No miracles or supervening agent needed.

            • Micha says:

              And you’ve watch synchronized swimming in Olympic events, right? How is that different from starlings?

            • For swarming behaviour (e.g. shoals of fish, flocks of birds, insects, etc.), it is actually quite easy to explain and visualize if you look at as a structure. A good concept to look up is emergent systems/behaviours.

              // Emergent behavior is behavior of a system that does not depend on its individual parts, but on their relationships to one another. Thus emergent behavior cannot be predicted by examination of a system’s individual parts. It can only be predicted, managed, or controlled by understanding the parts and their relationships.//

              // Why this is important: The concept of emergent behavior is hugely important to solving the sustainability problem because it’s emergent behavior that’s the problem to solve. But when you examine how scholars, activists, politicians, and environmental organizations are analyzing the sustainability problem as a whole, you will discover they are not studying the relevant structure of the system as a whole. They are mostly studying individual parts or subsystems that are not that crucial to resolving the root causes. This is a grave error, pun intended.

              The heart of the concept of systems thinking is that the behavior of a system is an emergent property of its structure, not its parts. Problem symptoms are emergent behaviors. Each symptom can be traced to particular aspects of the structure. It follows that if you don’t know the structure of a complex social system problem, then you will be unable to solve the problem except by trial and error. For difficult problems this is impossible.

              This leads to one of our key principles: If you don’t understand the structure of a difficult problem, then you can’t solve the problem. //

              http://www.thwink.org/sustain/glossary/EmergentBehavior.htm

              ———–

              And this is why I have beef with Intelligent Design. Chalking it up to god “just because” really just doesn’t solve anything. It usually just merely ends the conversation and ceases any effort to understand whatever is being discussed. Just arguing for self-preservation’s sake. Even though it really isn’t mutually exclusive.

              As an example:

              Galileo: “Earth is not the center of the universe because *reasons*.”
              Church: “You’re wrong because god.”

              (Galileo now dead and excommunicated. Idea gains widespread acceptance because of more evidence.)

              Church: “Well, we actually believe that the earth is **NOT** the center of the universe. Because God (With some adjustments and cherry picking now because new evidence cannot be denied anymore).”
              Galileo: “ReALlY?

              ———–

              So as mentioned in a post below, this is the downfall of god.

              (But then again, atheism (especially “new atheism”) is also susceptible to this. Though it probably applies to all humans really.)

              • Addenda:

                I guess in some ways, you could probably say that for many atheists, their god is truth and knowledge. This is why they are mostly knowledge-seekers with leanings towards humanism. But of course, there will always be a bunch that will probably border on scientism and other stupid ‘extremist’ stuff. Though it is probably just a human thing.

                Anyway, coming from a philosophical perspective (from Aristotle), we all have that natural inclination to infinite truth. Whether that is through science and/or religion, the fact stands that that “telos” is in all of us. The method in which we seek it doesn’t matter as much as what we seek .

                Personally, I consider myself as an agnostic because I don’t think we will be able to prove god’s existence. And I don’t think that there is a point really. So I’m also apathetic about god basically. Hence, I do live like an atheist. But again, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is not what you believe in but what you do with what you believe. How you treat other people. How you make other people feel. Etc.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Personal comment: you seem to have grown. No more of the wishy-washy stuff.
                *****

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Well, just a little bit: this wavering between agnosticism and atheism.
                *****

              • Duly noted. =)

                As for wavering between atheism and agnosticism, for clarity, I consider myself as an implicit atheist. The base stance is I don’t know, because well, I know and acknowledge my current limits. Having to start with “Humans can’t understand the infinite” then having the same human put forward a solution that solves the infinite is simply incoherent and illogical.

                Unless humans are able to grasp the concept of the infinite totally, we can never really make any logical decisions about it. But if we are able to do so, we would have probably become gods ourselves by then. Though until then, doing otherwise is just probably prick waving and ego stroking. Or at its best, navel-gazing.

                So anyway, given the “i don’t know stance because of lack of proper definitions and assumption, I do still choose to assume no god out of practicality. Hence the atheism part of the agnosticism.

                Because if I were to say that I am a true agnostic that strives for telos, it could imply that I should entertain every ill-defined and incoherent claim just because it presents itself otherwise. It just means that I’d have to do there work for them.

                Given that my mind is finite, probably best to just dismiss some things outright.

                A practical Occam’s Razor. =)

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Two of the fundamental questions I ask, in terms of teloi, are:

                1. Is the universe purposive?
                2. Is one of the purposes spiritual? And, therefore, embracing of the moral?

                I believe atheism and agnosticism cannot answer these questions positively.

                At the level of the individual, the answers can be positive. But not at the level of the universe.
                *****

              • True. It cannot be answered on the level of the universe.

                However, I’d argue that even theists will not be able to give a purpose that is universal also. Because again, we are currently not able to grasp the infinite.

                At best, humans will only be able to come up with is one that it is anthropocentric.

                Because if we are to talk about morals, well, moral to who? Because I won’t be surprised if it just to humans.

                IIRC recall correctly, I brought up the issue of AI before? One’s response to it will probably determine if the morality being espoused is universal. Whatever ‘universal’ means anyway.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                The cosmologies of the theistic religions provide comprehensive answers to the two questions.
                *****

              • Comprehensive? Sure. Universally logical, coherent, and consistent? I doubt it.

                Again, probably anthropocentric at best. And that is being charitable.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Yes. Comprehensive, coherent, and consistent within the cosmological framework.

                Outside the framework is another question.
                *****

              • So where did logical go? I’m guessing hat was deliberate, no? 😉

                Hmm… Though I am inclined to lean towards cyclical cosmology as it is able to stay logical, consistent, and coherent with the concept of the infinite. (The only questionable assumption being that there is no beginning nor end.)

                Hey, I’ll be more charitable.

                Constraining myself to the cosmological argument, I think that it could be made to be more agreeable. But that is if, and only if, ‘god’ as being the first cause is just define as such: Just the first cause.

                Not an intelligent designer. Not a source of morality. Not a source of purpose.

                Just merely set everything in motion. That’s it. Again, just the first cause.

                Because if I were to say that god started the universe accidentally and did not actually intend any of those to things to develop nor exist, the cosmological argument actually still holds. It is still comprehensive, coherent, and consistent given the framework.

                Hell, I’d think that this even more valid than the ‘moral god’.

                So what is my point? Well, the ‘accidental god’ is an additional assumption that is never really part of the cosmological argument. Just a sleight of hand that is all fluff and smoke. A ‘rider’ if you may.

                And claiming that ‘god’ is directly the source of all those things mentioned above is no different.

              • Also, I am reminded yet again of the conundrum of the “Three Worlds Collide” By Eliezer Yudkowsky. Probably the third time I recommended the short story here. hahaha

                For a quick blurb, it takes the different schools of thought of morality and it takes it to the extremes where things seem to start to break down. And it is in space.

                Interesting read to say the least. =)

                http://lesswrong.com/lw/y4/three_worlds_collide_08/

              • chemrock says:

                @ IP

                Emergent behavior — “Thus emergent behavior cannot be predicted by examination of a system’s individual parts. It can only be predicted, managed, or controlled by understanding the parts and their relationships”

                Are’nt you saying there is intelligence behind the prediction, management and control? Certainly it’s not random cause for the instantaneous direction change of the shoal of fish, So there is an external intelligence that moves them.

              • Prediction, management and control of what and how? Care to elaborate? I’m a bit lost on this.

                Regardless, I don’t actually disagree with you when you say that it the response of the entities is not random. Well, not completely random in a sense anyway.

                Because they do react to some external factor or circumstance obviously. (e.g the environment, other entities, etc.)

                But to say that it is intelligence? Well, what intelligence? It is really just too ambiguous.

              • And as for instantaneous change of direction of shoals of fish, it isn’t really instantaneous.

                When one fish senses something, it will react accordingly, where it is also sensed by a nearby fish, where it will also react accordingly, where it is also sense by another and so on and so on until the whole shoal responds. Rinse. Repeat.

                Nonetheless, each fish doesn’t actually have an idea of what happens in the big picture. Each merely just follows a simple set of rules and reacts accordingly.

                One concept to look up is ‘cellular automata’.

                If I were to simplify the concept: It is complexity born out of nested simplicity. No big picture pre-designing necessary.

          • chemrock says:

            “Religionists make outrageous claims but offer zero evidence. What kind of discourse do you think could come out from that?”

            GK Chesterton said :
            “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

            The Bible and its contents have been subject to hundreds of years of intense scholarly scrutiny. Humanist critical expertise posed an array of questions and all answers multiplied.Great minds have poured over the Holy Book. You obvjously have never ever read of any such inquisitions. There is no other book in human history that has been subject to such intense scrutiny and still stand tall.

            By contrast, the Koran has never ever been the subject of any scrutiny by world scholars. They will never allow it because they know it will fall, but unfortunately for them, scholars are beginning to take an interest in the scrutiny of the Koran. Whereas the Bible passes the coherence test easily, the Koran is totally incoherent.

    • neilmacbuk says:

      At last.
      Some rationality appearing on this site.
      It’s the truth.
      Belief in a god requires total faith. There is no proof of it’s existence. A billion trillion words will not succeed in a QED!
      Religion, and the existence of heaven and hell, is used as basic control of people via fear and the unknown.
      Many quote any of the ten commandments,but break them themselves even as they preach them to the weak-minded. e. g. the Pope, and downwards.
      It really is TIME to put all ENERGY into the fight for the comfortable survival for all remaining human’s here on a struggling GAIA.

      • chemrock says:

        “Belief in a god requires total faith”
        There is a difference between blind faith, and faith driven by intellectualising and philosophising the unknown, guided by what I mentioned — answers the question of origin, meaning, morality and destiny, and passing the empirical adequacy, logical coherence, and experiential .relevance tests. The Bible stands on these inquiries.

        “Religion, and the existence of heaven and hell, is used as basic control of people via fear and the unknown” — disregarding the relevance, I don’t find anything wrong with this. One is motivation, the other is restrain.

        “Many quote any of the ten commandments,but break them themselves even as they preach them to the weak-minded. e. g. the Pope, and downwards.”
        Do we blame the Lord or the deeds of man? It’s free will, remember.For every sinner clergy, there is a saint who had done many good deeds in the name of his Creator.

        • sonny says:

          Slightly off-track, chempo but could be pertinent to thread:

          https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/what-makes-the-christian-worldview-different-from-the-rest

          “One cannot live without developing opinions about the nature of reality, so every well-defined culture and faith naturally introduces its members to a way of seeing the world. While we can easily name many different worldviews, perhaps the five most important ones are: 1) Chinese, 2) Indian, 3) Muslim, 4) secular humanist, and 5) Christian. These views are usually shared by many nation-states and are civilizational in nature.

          … Neither in China nor in India, however, does a personal God who transcends the world have a place. India has many names for God who is understood as an abstract supreme “Reality.” China has practically no gods; it has ancestors. Neither of these worldviews actively seeks to convert others, however. Their cultural power rests in their enormous membership. …

          … The Muslim view, held by approximately one-fifth of the world’s population, maintains that the purpose of the world is that all human beings, including non-believers, are, by force if necessary, to submit to Allah. He is one and alone to be praised. Man can know nothing of his ways. Man is to submit to the will of Allah, whatever it is, peace or war. The central task of Muslim believers over time is to convert or submit all non-believers, by jihad if necessary, to the will of Allah as set down in the Koran, the Hadith, and Sharia. …

          … Secularist and humanist views are not simply a return to paganism. Chesterton said that modern thought is itself indelibly marked with the Judeo-Christian background from which it seeks to shake itself. Whether they intend it or not, leaving behind Jewish and Christian teaching tends to force secular humanists into denying all forms of transcendence. …

          … This background brings us to the Christian worldview, which has its roots in Israel. God and the world are separated. God had no need of a cosmos; creation itself was the result of a free plan to create something besides his Trinitarian life. Within this plan, God’s purpose was to associate in his inner, eternal life not with other created “gods” but with spiritual and intelligent corporeal beings. The physical cosmos was designed to support this intention. Man, as a race of rational, free beings, was given dominion over the earth. …

          … The turmoil, suffering, and sins of mankind that permeate his entire earthly history are primarily due to each individual’s willful rejection of the order of nature and grace. This supernatural destiny was freely offered to him by God who desires each person, including the aborted, to gain eternal life. But because God respects the freedom given man to accept or reject the divine invitation, he allows each person to determine his own fate. …”

          • chemrock says:

            Thanks Sonny
            I like it.

          • chemrock says:

            Sonny
            Now that you mentioned China, I just remembered this. I have it on good authority that China and Russia – which experienced hundred years of godless existence, some time back they invited a certain ministry to their country to give some talks on Christian morality. You know what was their objective? They said they want to know how they can inject Judeo Christian moral values into their godless socialist construct. So while western new thinkers reject the morality anchors of a inutile God, the other half of the godless world want the moral values grounded on the old world God. Funny.

            • sonny says:

              Because of the numbers of thinking Chinese and Russian people, it seems the powers that be are threatened as to how these individuals can be forced to toe the Party line when they become exposed to the powerful logic and friendliness of the Christian message.

            • sonny says:

              Chempo you might be referrng to this book & review:

              https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/what-dark-ages.html

              “… some time back they invited a certain ministry to their country to give some talks on Christian morality. You know what was their objective? They said they want to know how they can inject Judeo Christian moral values into their godless socialist construct. So while western new thinkers reject the morality anchors of a inutile God, the other half of the godless world want the moral values grounded on the old world God. Funny.”

              “… he quotes from a study group of Chinese scholars who have been trying for at least two decades to figure out the success of the West, as compared with China itself and Islamic culture:

              … Christians introduced into the larger world a perfectionist vocation — to be co-creators, as it were, in making the world a better place — and a vocation of inquiry.

              One of the things that we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.

              Many others in China seem to have made a correlative judgment. Whereas at the rise of Mao in 1949 there were perhaps two million Christians in China, today there seem to be one hundred million, tested and toughened by persecution and martyrdom. Upwardly mobile Chinese seem especially attracted to Christianity, which they see as the key to modernity.

              And here is how Stark begins his concluding three pages:

              Christianity created Western Civilization. Had the followers of Jesus remained an obscure Jewish sect, most of you would not have learned to read and the rest of you would be reading from hand-copied scrolls. Without a theology committed to reason, progress, and moral equality, today the entire world would be about where non-European societies were in, say, 1800: A world with many astrologers and alchemists but no scientists. A world of despots, lacking universities, banks, factories, eyeglasses, chimneys, and pianos. A world where most infants do not live to the age of five and many women die in childbirth…. The modern world arose only in Christian societies. Not in Islam. Not in Asia. Not in a “secular” society — there having been none.

              This, then, is Stark’s thesis. He does not make as clear as I think he could its premise, viz., that Christianity based itself upon the wisdom of Judaism, including its (so to speak) metaphysics, or vision of reality and its idea of progress. One of the social effects of the rapid growth of Christianity, then, is that it made known around the world the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and a Hebrew metaphysics, as tiny Judaism alone could not have done. …”

              • “How had the barbarian, hunting-and-gathering peoples of Europe advanced so far? Why did they leap ahead in metallurgy, shipbuilding, and (when they settled down and turned their minds to it) even agriculture? For one thing, they had the monastic libraries that kept alive practical lessons learned in the past, and kept adding to them.”

                This was a great article, sonny!

                The above I completely agree, I don’t agree with the rest of Stark’s oversimplification , Jared Diamond’s is wider in scope, but both guys didn’t even touch on libraries.

                It’s been said that the official start of the Dark Ages was the eventual destruction of the Serapeum of Alexandria (the Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed by Caesar, the remaining works that survived went in here). Also when Hypatia was murdered.

                It’s no mystery that the monks in Ireland saved much of the Latin works, while ancient Greek scripts were saved by Muslims, Greek orthodox saved Christian texts, didn’t really care for ancient Greek stuff, which the Muslims subsumed. thus Latin and Greek works were saved.

                I believe the oldest school libraries in Europe are located in Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

              • Hypatia.. in this movie by Alejandro Amenabar the Christians look and talk and act like Middle Eastern fanatics, which they basically were then.

              • Interesting take. Especially the following:

                // Moreover, the name of the Christian God (in the first line of the Gospel of John, for instance) is Logos: translatable not only as Word but also as Insight, Intelligence, and Reason.//

                If this were actually the case, then I’d say that I’d like, if not even already, believe in such a god. But as of present, it (the Christian god) seems to have slowly strayed away from it because it is now trying to distinguish itself too much from science and technology which had started to take on the mantle. And it is pretty much a losing battle.

                Also not that I’m discrediting that it did contribute some of those things, I can’t help but feel a bit peeved on how the article gave too much credit for a lot of things that were mostly sourced from the Greco-Romans…

                Anyway, just remember that empires and institutions that stagnate and become complacent is bound to fall sooner.

              • chemrock says:

                @ Sonny

                Re the China talk – no I was not referring to that book or review, which I never heard before. I got the info from one of the groups that presented the talks. The spoke to top political leaders in both China and Russia.

                The Russian talk was dramatic. About 20 top military-political leaders there. They looked like remnants from Kruschev’s days, From the beginning of the talk, they made it clear they don’t like the speakers, and they all loked like ready to shoot the visitors. They were grudgingly made to attend the talk. After the talk, all 20 lined up at the door to shake the hands of the speakers. The Russian leader of the group took the lead speaker aside, and said almost teary-eyed, “You know, after 70 years without God, it is very difficult for us to believe again”

                There is a race going on. Growth of Islam through high birth rates vs growth of Christianity through conversion of Chinese. Chinese converts will far outstrip Islam’s birth rates, that is, unless the government clams down on religion in the country, which is what they seems to be doing.

              • Chinese going Christian is an interesting thought, chemp.

                1. Christians in the Middle East , they mostly left for Islam.

                2. Christians in Europe, that was a good run but very violent.

                3. Christians in the Americas, also violent (natives & slaves), but otherwise struck a good balance, considering 1 and 2.

                4. Christians in China, the Church of the East has been there before in 7th century pre-Islam, then some exposure again with the Portuguese, etc.

                but Chinese Christians, I can totally see, most Chinese churches here are Taiwanese , but there seems to be an affinity, i guess yin-yang stuff just doesn’t cut it for them. 😉

                the problem I foresee with Chinese Christianity though is that it’ll mostly be the Evangelical variety, which is to say American Christianity #3 , no connection to #1 and #2 , though Christianity technically reached China first before America, so that’s a good start, look there.

                here’s a good book on pre-Islam Christianity in China, on pdf :
                http://www.learnassyrian.com/assyrianlibrary/assyrianbooks/Religion/The%20Church%20of%20the%20East%20-%20A%20concise%20history%20-%20Wilhelm%20Baum%20and%20Dietmar%20W.%20Winkler.pdf

            • karlgarcia says:

              https://www.gluckman.com/ShanghaiJewsChina.html

              At the start of communism, the Russian Jews moved to Northern China and there were Chinese Jews there.
              The Jews disappeared, but they came back after the fall of communism.

    • chemrock says:

      1. First Cause, the Uncaused, Creator, Designer — is universal, being transcendental. It’s humanity that creates the exclusiveness.

      2 +3. I’m not too familiar with Hinduism. Buddhism is not a religion, there being no God. Yes exclusivity is an issue, but there is only one God that want you killed if you are not with them. The others are OK with co-existence, but you are not saved in the afterlife. So make the right choice. Free will.

      4. For me, the Creator reserves his right, having laid out the moral laws and rules and regulations. In Christianity, my only issue is what Christopher Hichens pointed out. You can pardon someone by forgiving his debts, even dying in his place for him. But you can’t pardon someone for his irresponsibilities. This is something I need to work out.

      5.
      – Externality: I can only offer from Christian perspective, as I understand it. We are made in his image doesnt imply physically for sure, but a connectivity and thus the possibility of a personal relationship. Those of us who are too smark or schmuck never understood whny someothers can live very fulfilled live when they say they have God in their hearts.
      – Anthropomorphism:” Is God male or female? Or transgender?” — Irrelevant. God is not a natural state. It’s beyond human understanding as of todate. I speculate he is just pure Intelligence with ho physical embodiment.
      – Cosmology (Destiny): “Are Heaven and Hell — eternal bliss and eternal punishment — the grandest conceptions of human destiny?” Maybe we are forms of energy after our release from Earthly physical structures — so we evolve into positives or negatives, or some other duality concepts. Bliss/suffering – heaven/hell are concepts that we can grasps at the moment.
      – Sex:” Why are religions homophobic?” — maybe absolutes are meant to be sacred. No tolerance for defects?

      6. On the contrary — the logics are limited. There is only a handful of them.For thosngly more e with greater trust in science, the intelligent design argument looks increasingly more appealing with advancements in scientific knowledge.There are thousands of features that the universe has to get it just right for our planet to sustain life. The probability of the coincidence of all these features to occur is simply way to high to subscribe to chance.

      7. Morality — as I indicated, invariably, all arguments on religious morality will point to violence in the name of religion, but will not measured against violence by men without God. One such leads Philippines at the moment and 23,000 dead..
      Sexual miscreants are everywhere, even in Vatican and mosques and temples, no doubt about that. Is that a problem of man, or the religion?
      Morality is innate in man is a considered argument. The evidence is still lacking. Boy I sure wish those cannibal head hunters of yore had better innate qualities.
      Are we born good and corrupted by society as per Jean-Jacques Rousseau?
      Or are we born as brutes and civilized by culture as per T.H. Huxley thought?
      The past few hundred years acceptance seems to be we are born blank states, amoral, and acquired knowledge of right and wrong through life’s experiences and stuff taught by teachers, parents, religion. These are views of intellectual giants like John Locke, Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget.

      8. I’m diametrically opposed to your standpoint and I would still quote Francis Bacon on that. I think part of the chaos in the western world is due fundamentally to the godless culture that’s gaining space. It’s all out of revelations playbook, which of course, I’m certain is mumbo jumbo to you.

      • edgar lores says:

        *****
        1. Therefore, one should reject all exclusivist religions?

        2&3. Why limit choice to a religion? Atheism and agnosticism are choices.

        4. Isn’t the paradigm of salvation absurd? Why the need for judgment, for salvation?

        5. Problems

        o The externality of God is an assumption. As is my assumption of internality, of course.
        o Anthropomorphism. No, not irrelevant in so far as the Abrahamic religions and Hinduism are concerned. The salvation paradigm of a judgmental Heavenly Father is anthropomorphic.
        o Cosmology. Heaven/hell are grand versions of the Marshmallow experiment? The analogy is imprecise, but the choice seems to be between little or no faith and great faith.
        o Sex. Why is homosexuality a defect? Is the defect in the observed or in the observer – as in the expectation of compatibility and symmetry of opposites?

        6. The God debate has been going on for centuries. Volumes have been spoken and written.

        7. Morality.

        o Duterte believes in his own version of God.
        o Morality may be innate. In the same way that immorality may be innate. It’s all potential. It may depend on which seeds are watered.
        o Cannibalism is Us vs. Them logic, which is the same as exclusivist religions.
        o Babies and dogs react positively/negatively to good/cruel treatment.
        o Why do you instinctively root for the bida and not the contrabida?
        o If you believe we are made in God’s image, then wouldn’t morality be innate?

        8. So the fate of the universe is predestined according to Revelations? What is the reason for the play? And why are there different playbooks?

        o Re Bacon: I would think that nonbelievers have thought about religion longer and deeper than most of the faithful. Most are accidental believers.

        o Can’t the growing chaos in the world be attributed in great part to religious conflict and the failure of religions?

        9. In 5, I neglected to mention:

        o The problem of evil. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, if He is the author of good, then is He not also the author of evil?

        o The problem of religious evolution. Religion has undergone – is undergoing – an evolutionary process. From animism to polytheism to monotheism to… non-theism? At the leading edge are secular humanism, transhumanism, and non-religious-based awakening. Why single out a particular version of monotheism to be the truth?

        There is no need to respond. I just bring up these further statements and questions for reflection.
        *****

        • “If God is omnipotent and omniscient, if He is the author of good, then is He not also the author of evil?” I shall use the matrix logic of the Philippines to answer this.

          According Zarathustra from Persia, Ahriman is the author of evil and Ahura Mazda of good.

          Since Richard Heydarian is LINKED to Persia by his origins, we may therefore ask whether he is responsible for both good and evil, and ask the PNP to check his Twitter postings.

        • chemrock says:

          Edgar, your questions I find are the toughest to respond. So I leave it to last, after I have my coffee.

          1. I have no answers for the problem for exclusivity that’s giving pluralism a bad name and giving Europe a big existential headache. Trump has spared US from this problem for the moment. Maybe the problem will end with Islam having all the whole world to themselves after the women folk has given them each 20 kids. For their sake, let’s hope the Shias, Sunnis, Twelvers, Zaydis, Nizari Ismailis. Da’udi Bohras, Sulaymani Bohras, Alavi Bohras, Sufris, Azariqa, Najdat, Adjarites and Ibadis, Quranist Muslims, African American Muslims, Ahmadiyya, don;t screw the world they take over by going another round of exclusivity.

          2&3 – “Why limit choice to a religion?” – The premise is moral anchor from religion.Reason does not reside here.

          4. “Isn’t the paradigm of salvation absurd? Why the need for judgment, for salvation?” — Let those who have never sinned raised their hands.

          5. Anthropomorphism – how to express a transcendental presence to the ancients? He is Father due to the Patriarchial societies of the time. This is straight out of Irineo’s book.

          7. Morality — See my separate thread below.
          8. On endgame — depends on which theatre one goes to.

          9. “Why single out a particular version of monotheism to be the truth?”
          As I mentioned, I’m writing from the Judeo-Christianity perspective. And I mentioned the worldview that can answer Origin, Meaning, Morality & Destiny and survice the coherence, empirical adequacy and experiential tests. In my opinion. none of the other religions I know off can withstand this scrutiny.

          Re Buddhism that stands on its pillar of karma. We go through rebirths till Nirvana. So your existence here is to learn more. So let’s work the regression route. After so many re-births and finally you are here. Your first birth — from whence you re-incarnate form?

          Many others left unanswered. All thought provoking. This grasshopper has’nt left the mountains yet, Edgar.

  3. neilmacbuk says:

    Richard Dawkins wrote “The god delusion”
    NOT David Hawkins!

    • chemrock says:

      Of course you are right. Thanks. I’ll do the edit.

      • RankMerida says:

        Chemrock, no offense meant, but if you confused David Hawkins with Richard Dawkins, as neilmacbuk said, does it mean you have not read the book?

        “Deny the existence of God, then there is no meaning in our lives, no hope. Atheists offer us nothing.”

        I turned atheist at 50. I wish it was earlier because I have never been more hopeful, and my life more meaningful ever since.

        As for those scientists of old who were faitheists, well, they have not read the works of Dawkins, Sagan, Grayling, Pinker, Hitchens, etc. 🙂

        • I am reminded of grammar police who are more concerned with form than substance. For myself, as the editor of this blog, I’ve done so many errors in the interest of inspiring dialogue that one cannot easily count them, yet the substance of debate invariably moves right on past them. It would be small of heart under religion or atheism not to appreciate the dialogue Chemrock has inspired today, no matter what books he has read or level of imperfection he has attained. I am very grateful to him for the rich and thoughtful pieces he produces here for nary a peso.

        • chemrock says:

          No offense taken, Rank media.
          I kept getting Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawkins mixed up as I fast type, and dealing with a keyboard that often gets the characters out in different sequence. At first I thought I’m getting old and my finger coordination has gone wacky. Thankfully it’s the keyboard.

          But hey, I’m familiar with the 2 gentlemen, both brilliant in their own ways. And you will note I got Dawkins and his bus correct.

          I read God Delusions and I follow Dawkins somewhat in his various public debates.

          I have taken a different route from yours. Born Taoist, mixed with Buddhism, imbibed with Confucianist values, grew up free thinker, and baptised not too long ago. I had some issues with Christianity in my younger days, and my free thinking mind thought I was so smart I had some originality in my thoughts on Christianity that made me unable to accept the faith. But one thing kept me having a foot in the door to the Church. I saw great differences in the lives of my Christian friends. They have a sense of contentment, more purposeful in their outlook on life, a more organised life and good ethical and moral sense. Church sermons and bible studies cannot sway me because they are of lower intellectual levels. I’m not saying I’m smarty two boots, but I need intellectual boosters to convince me. So late in life I made the effort to learn and scrutinise various issues that I was uncomfortable with. Now I know better. .

  4. Micha says:

    Another long ridiculous piece. Offering nothing of evidence but postulates too much.

    “Evolution is not an explanation for ultimate origins. It doesn’t explain the Big Bang.”

    Of course it does not! Why would it? It’s a biological explanation on the origins of all life forms on planet earth. Why expect it to explain the big bang? That’s the job cut out for physicists and astronomers.

    • chemrock says:

      Big bang attempts to explain the origin of the universe that precedes life form.
      Darwin never explain how life originated, period. He had no starting point, that’s what I was trying to say.

      • Micha says:

        Science and scientific resources were limited in Darwin’s time, not to mention the prevalence of hostile religious dogma. Today, NASA scientists are tackling the question of origins at their Jet Propulsion Laboratory taking cues from the logical and scientific coherence of evolution.

        https://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-scientists-build-primordial-ocean-to-recreate-origins-of-life/

        To imagine that simple self-replicating molecules from the earth’s primordial ocean some 4.5 billion years ago started the process might be too hard for religious creationists.

        • chemrock says:

          I agree religious dogma was a big problem in the past. There were existential reasons for it, rightly or wrong is not the issue. That’s a deep deep tangent so I’m, not going there.

          However, today the Church welcomes scientific scrutiny in lots of issues. I get the feeling advancement in science has paradoxically increased in science supporting many aspects of the faith for their new found confidence.

          “self-replicating molecules from the earth’s primordial ocean” — how does the molecules self-replicate? who caused it?
          Are you talking of organisms? If so then life is already there. How did it originate?
          If you are talking about putting a smorgasbord of matter and somehow brief life into it, I am watching excitedly how it can be done. After creating organisms out of matter, I life to see how they put consciousness into the lifeform. After putting in the consciousness, I like to see how they put a soul into the form thus created.

          One of the basic failure of Darwinism is that in biology, they cannot put theories in mathematical representations, such as what physicists can do in their field, so that tests can be applied to see if they work. In other words, Darwinism requires faith and intelligent speculation. Sounds familiar.

          • Micha says:

            @chempo

            Self-replicating molecules are RNA’s, the precursor of DNA. Organic chemistry started the process in the primordial ocean by spontaneously producing amino acids and lactate – forms of proteins that are the building blocks of life. From chemistry the whole of biology emanates. The timeline is at least 4 billion years.

            “One of the basic failure of Darwinism is that in biology, they cannot put theories in mathematical representations, such as what physicists can do in their field, so that tests can be applied to see if they work”

            I’m sorry but this is as stupid a comment one can get. Biology deals with living things, their chemical components, metabolism, reproduction and physical/physiological features. You don’t need much mathematical modeling in biological studies.

            Physics, on the other hand, deals with measurements of distances and weights, and movements, and force, and energies, and vectors so it’s mathematics heavy with equations and formulas.

            • sonny says:

              “Organic chemistry started the process in the primordial ocean by spontaneously producing amino acids and lactate – forms of proteins that are the building blocks of life.”

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primordial_soup

              “The spontaneous formation of complex polymers from abiotically generated monomers under the conditions posited by the “soup” theory is not at all a straightforward process. Besides the necessary basic organic monomers, compounds that would have prohibited the formation of polymers were formed in high concentration during the Miller–Urey and Oró experiments. The Miller experiment, for example, produces many substances that would undergo cross-reactions with the amino acids or terminate the peptide chain.”

              The Oparin experiment (almost same time, Haldane used UV light to simulate primordial times) … while the Miller-Urey experiment used an electric arc (presumably to simulate the action of lightning in primordial times)

              • sonny says:

                (Note to me: amino acids are in polypeptides; some polypeptides are proteins; proteins are polymers; RNA/DNA belong to these classes)

            • chemrock says:

              @Sonny

              Thanks for the chemical lesson.

              @Micha

              Ah Micha you are offering what I call the Kickapoo Joyjuice argument. A smorgasbord of compounds from the periodic table and then lightning strikes and something creeps out of the ocean.

              In short, your science here is call CHANCE. What are the chances of all these periodic table matters coming together to form life? To bad NHerrera is no here to compute.

              Don’t worry. Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle has a way to describe this probability. He put it this way. If there is a huge warehouse full of all parts that go into a construction of a Boeing 747, there is absolutely no chance that a tornado passing through the warehouse can cause a Boeing 747 to be formed.

              By the way Richard Dawkins used this description in his God Delusion. He named it his Boeing 747 Gambit — that there is no chance of there being a God.

  5. Did Nietzches madmen read my article or what?

    http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/god-is-dead-lets-be-bad/

    ..Jesus was just a white man, and colonialism is over now! No more lessons from abroad please! And who wants to tempt the joke made by some Filipinos about the American preacher saying: “kapag napunta kayo sa langit, magkakaroon kayo ng mga pakpak” with an American “a” that makes pakpak, wings, sound more like pekpek, pussy? Who wants to go to heaven if it means turning into a pussy? Better be mature: go to hell and have big balls..

    • chemrock says:

      Irineo, I remember that article. An understatement of great frustration.

      Only thing difference between Filipinos and Nietszche’s madman is that the German’s had enlightened minds. So rational minds kill God, which leads to laz morality and depravity. It’s reverse in Filipins – moral depravity leads to death of God.

  6. 1. Kali is a legit deity in Hindu.

    2. Baal is Phonecian (maybe earlier?), same ‘baal’, in Hannibaal (the guy who sacked Rome), yup he was Phonecian.

    3. IMHO, Satan worship is just a reaction to the Bible, but the above picture is more parody than anything; I’ve seen an interview of the guy who made that statue, and it’s a religious right stunt, ie. if you guys can have your religions officially recognized, why can’t i.

    if you want real evil , chemp, you should’ve added this photo,

    • “Atheism, as I indicated, bring a chasm of morality.– excessess and indulgencies of the senses.”

      I’m sure religious folks also indulge, chemp.

      I don’t know what the stats would be but from my experience, atheists/agnostics tend to be less materialistic— i don’t count the folks who just don’t give a f*ck, when I say atheists/agnostics I’m talking about folks who take the time to read other religions and decide, none of this is for me.

      TL;DR folks who’ll willy-nilly say they don’t believe, I don’t tend to count as atheists/agnostics. just ignorant. atheism/agnosticism is a process. reading about other religions kinda precludes everything. how else do you decide that you don’t believe.

      I think what we bring to the table is pure amorality, thus cynicism. which is useful during times like the inquisition, holocaust, wars, etc. etc. when killing is good.

      “Muslims — not at the people level, it’s the ideology that I have problems. When a religion is based on the premise that I would be slaughtered if I don’t submit, I have a problem with that.”

      That’s not all together kosher, chemp. Islam allows for non-believers to exist along side believers, though you pay a special tax— kinda like a tourist tax. or the 51%/49% arrangement in the UAE.

      What they’ve brought to the table is they saved both Greek and Persian thought. So when Europe was in the Dark Ages, they didn’t forget. Arabs did to Greek/Persian works, what the Irish did to Latin works.

      • chemrock says:

        Islam is a religion of peace Part 1

        Lance
        Islam allows co-existence : Much as I don’t wish to get too much into a Islam debate because you can’t critique them the way you can with Christianiy and Buddhism, I need to object to this. As you know when it comes to Islam, we need to treat it with kids’ gloves, but you are allowed to bash Christianity. If i ruffle any feathers I apologize. However, do note it’s FACT based, note my opinion.

        There are 2 parts in the Koran . First part Koran is peaceful – because the Prophet was starting out, trying to gain membership. Second part is violent – it’s the expansionary phase. It fires the hearts of bedouins to go out and capture lands for Allah. This is the 7th century caliphate environment that ISIS wants to return to.

        So which part has relevance? Well as I mentioned in some other thread on the Lower level and Deeper level structures of some organisations. The ordinary Muslims are told the peace story. Many sincerely believe the peace story primarily because the Koran is in a language they cannot understand. Many just muster the recitation, without understanding. And they cannot challenge anything in the books. Same story people like Obama and all politically correct inclined people accept at face value.

        FACT : Islam has an Abrogation Doctrine. What comes later supercedes all before. So the violent part is the real playbook

        FACT : For the violent part, refer to what is known as the Clause of the Sword. There you will find whether you will be spared.

        Are you one of the following :

        1. Jews ? Sorry old chap. Off with your head. Why do Iran, Nasser, Palestinians and many militant Muslims always say wipe Isreal off the Earth? They are simply following Allah to exterminate all Jews. On the supernatural level, who would want to takeout Yaweh’s choosen people ?

        2. Christians? – Allah has a soft spot for Christians, and its not out of love, it’s economics. Christians are allowed to live but they must pay a special tax Jizya, llke you say. It’s a protection racket. PLUS you omitted, by design or ignorance, Christians must accept themselves as second class citizens with all sorts of discrimination. They must wear a certain sign to show who they are (Hitler did the same to Jews), when they see Muslim on the streets, Christians must cross to the other side of the street because Allah say Christians are the lowest dirtiest animal on Earth. No no no, avoid Christians like leepers. Thus Muslims spit on them. When they pay the Jizya they must bow low to tax collectors – reason ? Strip them of all dignity. Those who think this is big bullshit – it’s what was practiced in ISIS territories Go to the Muslim towns in UK today and see for yourselves. Brits don’t understand why these immigrants spit on them. Just obeying Allah, bro.

        3. Khaffirs – that’s you Lance, and all other practicing and non-practicing athiests and people of all other faiths. Off with your heads. But Allah give you a way out. Submit and convert and you will be spared.
        Do note ISIS chopping off heads – Western political correctness says oh it’s just what it is. Terrorism is about acts to strike terror and fear. Ignoramus all . ISIS was simply following their book.

        4. It just gets more interesting. 1-3 is for us macho guys only. LGBTs? Off with their heads. Womenfolks and children? Your wives and daughters? Taken as sex slaves, sold as slaves. More money for the Treasury. And children — paedophilles aplenty out there. And we wonder why Muslim male immigrants go on rape rampage in Europe ?. They are simply obeying Allah. I watch a video once. Media interview Muslim in Germany. The respondent said straight to the face of interviewer without battling an eyelid – “We are coming for your daughters, and there is nothing you can do about it”.

        Are all these nasty me ? No. Verifiable facts.

        I’m not done. Part 2 below when I get my lapton. Damn difficult to work on mobile. Q

        • chemp, much of all this has been discussed here: https://joeam.com/2015/11/22/the-islamic-renaissance-in-the-philippines/

          here’s your 1st and 2nd parts of the Qur’an:

          But just some minor push-back, though I agree with you maybe 80%,

          1. The state of Israel was formed in 1948, there were thriving Jewish communities in North Africa and the ME. 1/4 of old Damascus was Jewish. most rich Jews in Beverly Hills here are mostly from Iran, left after Khomeini (Jews are still in Iran now, though mostly gone in Arab countries). I’m not saying they were 1st class citizens but Jews in the ME and N Africa thrived, they had temples, etc.

          2. Christians run Syria pretty much, and during Saddam’s time a bunch of Christians held high status in Iraq. Coptics in Egypt are mostly poor. but in Oman, there are a bunch of Christian churches (it’s allowed, but Oman is Kharajite), but the Christians are not from there, no Christians in the Saudi peninsula . in Iran , Assyrian (Chaldeans) Christians have been there since. unlike Jews pre-1948, economically it was hit or miss for Christians in the ME.

          3. Kafeers is just non-believer (can apply to any non-Muslim). so it’s kinda like don’t ask don’t tell, and you’ll be fine. for vociferous folks like me, atheists in particular , in Arabic we’re called MULHAD (Godless) and same as how Christians picture us no morals, thus deserving of death. that’s why when I was there, I pretended to be a Muslim or said I was Christian, but never Godless— reaction to that would be sad pity to violent death, depending on who you talk to. 😉

          4. You’ll be surprised how “tolerant” they are to sodomy, chemp. In Arab armies there’s this tradition they call JUNDI RAQAM TIS’A (that’s “soldier number 9”) I guess every night they draw lots and number 9 gets to be the woman for the night, read gang bang. For a heavy patriarchal society, you can’t even be alone with a woman, society turns a blind eye to stuff like this. For some lesbian action, girls have the luxury to hide under their ninja suits. but if you start waving rainbow flags and doing Pride parades for sure you’re gonna get your head cut off.

          My point here , chemp, is that living in the Middle East today, even if not a Muslim, it’s not really as crazy as you’re making it out to be. some places are better than others, of course (there are places currently at war).

          For example, if you lived in Oman, it’s a lot more chill. Syria before the Arab Spring was relaxed (but then again it was runned by Alawites and Christians); Gulf States was cool, just expensive, they were cool with non-Arabs/non-Muslims. Egypt too, but there were a bunch of poor neighborhoods, same as any 3rd world country just stay away from them.

          Iran and Saudi Arabia are both theocracy, if you don’t go against the system, they’ll pretty much leave you alone.

          • I understand you’re talking about literal Qur’an stuff, chemp. I’m just saying, all that you’re saying the on-the-ground reality for much of the Arab world, non-Muslims can and have lived in Muslim countries with minimal problems. sure it’s not like the West, but non-Muslims have and still do live in the Arab world.

            • chemrock says:

              There used to be hundreds of thousands of Jews in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Lebanon, Syria — where are they now? Where are the churches now?

              Why are millions of Muslims running away from what they say oppression in their own countries?

              I spent a few months in Kuwait — one of the more moderate countries. As a Chinese walking I was fine, they treated me well. Cars stopped at pedestrian crossings for me. Shopkeepers paid attention to me. Taxi drivers were friendly. I went to my offices to work, my wife alone in hotel. Day 1 and 2 she went out look see. After day 3 she stayed in hotel whole day. Because she said all men looked at her like they wanted to rape her. I have eyes and I saw the way they treated Bangladeshi and Pakistani workmen – like shit. And surprise, how they treat their fellow Arabs the Palestinians. No better than Bangladeshis. They throw curses and threated to kill Isrealis, but in reality Palestinians are shit to them. And these are Kuwaities. I shudder at Saudis and some others.

              Qatar, UAE and Dubai are ok with foreigners. Because if foreigners pack up, all hotels and condos and malls will be empty, nobody to run the airports and trains.

              I sound rascist, but I just want to temper your high level view with a bit of low level reality.

              • “I sound rascist, but I just want to temper your high level view with a bit of low level reality.”

                If edgar hasn’t called you racist yet, you’re fine, chemp.

                I’ve seen all that you’ve seen don’t get me wrong, I hate going over there ; but it’s not as bad as you’re making it seem, is my point.

                “There used to be hundreds of thousands of Jews in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Lebanon, Syria — where are they now? Where are the churches now?”

                1948 was crucial, when Israel formed. many Jews thought going home was cool; those who decided to stay, many of them (like the Jews in old Damascus) were eventually kicked out because of all the politics and wars that ensued after 1948. Arab-Israeli politics.

                Again, there are still plenty of Jews in Iran. They didn’t join the anti-Israel party til Khomeini. But Jews still live there.

                https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/world/inside-iran/2018/08/29/iran-jewish-population-islamic-state/886790002/

                “Why are millions of Muslims running away from what they say oppression in their own countries?”

                Wars and drought, I know you’re hinting Muslim invasion, but IMHO is more because we’re pushing 8 BILLION on earth, chemp.

              • chemrock says:

                “We are pushing 8 billion”

                You hit a nerve on this growth of Islam comments.

                Mother Earth has a capacity caveat. We are now 7.7 billion, which is already unsustainable as fishes are no longer meeting their replacement capabilities, agricultural grounds are sufficient, etc..

                Many countries, by intent or by social choices, go for smaller families. China took a decision that we have to appreciate when they implemented the one-child policy. If not for this, we would be over 8 billion now. These are responsible acts, notwithstanding their motives may be purely personal or national interest.

                On the other hand, some less developed countries are still having very high birth rates. For whatever reasons, poverty seems to favour procreation. India presents a big problem. Irineo probably can write a lot about this.

                But it is the Muslim world I’m calling out on this. Their birth rate is 4-5 per couple average. Is it intentional so that they can take over the world? It is sheer selfish irresponsibility on the part of one particular religion.

              • I don’t think it’s intentional, just poverty stricken, most people screw when there’s nothing to do.

                But that high birthrate for Muslims, isn’t necessarily Arab Muslims, but mostly India-Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia.

                I read an article about how millennials aren’t going out and hooking up anymore, because they’re too busy playing Fortnite, etc.

                So if you wanna nudge them to not having kids, more tech apparently is the answer, give ’em something to do.

          • chemrock says:

            Re
            Renaissance — we never spoke of Abrogation Doctrine did we? The peaceful part is passe.

            You were lucky to live amongst Muslims. The are forebidden to live amongst non-believers:

            “In the Sunnah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I disown every Muslim who settles among the mushrikeen.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2645; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.”

            That is the reason where it comes to immigration all over the world, we don’t have problems with everyone except Muslims. There will not integrate with us dirty fellas.

            • Your experience in Kuwait matches mine. No money , no honey. Which is similar also in the Philippines, when they deal with poor Muslims, and non-Muslims like the Badjaos. you don’t really need religion to be an a-hole to your fellow man.

              As for Abrogation, I know this. But just as there are different flavors of Christianity, same same with Muslims. Cool Muslims tend to go with Meccan suras, and a-hole Muslims like to focus on Medina suras;

              when these two camps (I’m over simplifying now) meet to debate (they don’t usually) the cool camp usually wins because they invoke the totality of the suras, like the Jewish tradition, you’re not suppose to cherry pick but attempt to understand God, when He’s nice and when He’s mean.

              same with Christians , there are cool ones and there are a-holes, now the latter like to screw with the LGBTQs (i have no idea what Q stands for), before now they screwed with slaves and with the American indians here, before that the Inquisition, and the Crusades. and round and round we go, cool ones and a-holes of all religions.

              Muslims are actually fine when they immigrate here, chemp, most of their kids go to school and become rich, like Huma and Zaki (case in point they are participating in democracy). there are those that fall behind of course but comparatively, I think it’s because most immigrate here are from the merchant class and not the bums,

              compared to other immigrant groups, Muslims do well over all. Now if we had a rush at the borders a la Europe , then I foresee a big problem and everything you say comes into play. but Muslims right now are actually fine in America.

              • chemrock says:

                Abrogation simply means Medan is out, Medina is in.

                “Cool Muslims tend to go with Meccan suras, and a-hole Muslims like to focus on Medina suras”
                Cool Muslims are nowhere to be seen when Churches are destroyed — Iraq, Lebanon. Sri Lanka, Indonesia. Medina and cool Muslims are out in force whne media prints a picture of the Prophet.

                “compared to other immigrant groups, Muslims do well over all”
                It’s only 1.1% the population of Muslims in US. Wait till it goes 3% then 5% than 7% then you see the demands — Muslim towns, no-go zones for white folks, shariah law, etc etc.
                You should go visit Saville Town, Blackburn and several other towns in UK.

      • chemrock says:

        Islam is a religion of peace Part 2

        Lance

        This is the Dhimma (Contract For Christians To Sign) that ISIS forced all Christians to sign. It;s not some fairy tales or hate spreading, it’s the real thing that happened. They were simply following the Koran.

        1. Christians may not build churches, monasteries, or hermitages in the city or in the surrounding areas.

        2. They may not show the cross or any of their books in the Muslims’ streets or markets, and may not use amplifiers when worshiping or during prayer.

        3. They may not make Muslims hear the reciting of their books or the sounds of church bells, which must be rung only inside their churches.

        4. They may not carry out any act of aggression against ISIS, such as giving refuge to spies and wanted men. If they come to know of any plot against Muslims, they must report it.

        5. They must not perform religious rituals in public.

        6. They must respect Muslims and not criticize their religion.

        7. Wealthy Christians must pay an annual jizya of four gold dinars; middle-class Christians must pay two gold dinars, and the poor must pay one. Christians must disclose their income, and may split the jizya into two payments.

        8. They may not own guns.

        9. They may not engage in commercial activity involving pigs or alcohol with Muslims or in Muslim markets, and may not drink alcohol in public.

        10. They may maintain their own cemeteries.

        11. They must abide by ISIS dress code and commerce guidelines.

        The contract states that a Christian violating any of the articles will be treated as a enemy combatant. What do they do to combatants????

        Patr 3 follows

        • And ISIS is no more, chemp.

          I agree with Trump, Obama did technically create ISIS, I mean when the Marines held western Iraq the Sunnis were satisfied , Shi’as were now in-charge of Iraq but they had some say. Obama abandoned them in Western Iraq, then fanned the flames for eastern Syria, thus handing everything to ISIS in a silver platter.

          But they are done, chemp.

          • chemrock says:

            Of course they are done, and Praise be to God haha.

            The point I brought this in is they way it should be for when they are in charge. That is in their play book.

            Do you think ISIS lost this round without learning anything for a regroup and replay?

            • Keep in mind the US didn’t really defeat them, chemp. sure SOCOM got to have their very own theatre of operation , but Muslim countries all participated.

              Saudi, Turkey, Iraq , Syria, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon (under the Shi’as) all thought ISIS was a bad idea, they just figured America was gonna foot the bill again,

              but when push came to shove , they all carried their weight, bad for all countries surrounding. That is the point to ISIS , chemp.

      • chemrock says:

        Islam is a religion of peace Part 3

        Lance

        Remember the Muslim US Major who did the Fort Hood shooting?

        In a report CNN played the peaceful Islam card (Obama pals) and quoted Quran 5-32 thus :

        ” Anyone who kills a human being – it shall be though he has killed all mankind. If any saves a life, it shall be as though he has saved the lives of all mankind”

        Beautiful, peaceful Islam is’nt it?. I have tears in my eyes reading this, how dignified and merciful. Now where did CNN get this quote from? MY bet — your friendly Muslim Brotherhood peaceful friendly plants in Obama White House.

        Except they don’t tell you, by design or ignorance, possibly both, what are the texts that came before and after the CNN quote. The don’t explain the full context of Quran 5-32. And it’s just what all majority Muslim honestly believe in and will tell you. Peaceful Muslims at the Lower levels, Lance.

        What came before :

        An islamic apologetic or imam came out with what came before the CNN text to reinforce the peaceful Islam propanda. His text :

        “For this reason we prescribe ……. that who ever saves a soul, …………., it is as if he slew all men, and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept all men alive”

        Beautiful peaceful Islam is it not? I have tears again. But what they don’t show you is the actual text reads like this :

        “For this reason we prescribe TO THE CHILDREN OF ISREAL that who ever saves a soul, UNLESS IT BE FOR MANSLAUGHTER OR MISCHIEF IN THE LAND, it is as if he slew all men, and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept all men alive”

        Whoa what’s this all about and why redact the upper case words? It’s all in context Lance. This verse was in relation to a discussion on Abel and Cain. It was discussing the killing of Abel and trying to rationalise why Abed did not want to protect himself. (Remember I wrote about the coherence of the Bible? In Quran, there is much incoherence. Lots of Biblical figures, events, and Hebrew children tales pop up here and there).

        The point here is the CNN text and the text that came before, it was addressed to the Jews, not to Muslims. It is not a teaching of peace to Muslims. So ISREAL was redacted. What about MANSLAUGHTGER and MISCHIEF? Well the Muslim apologetic cannot condemn the US major shooter, can he?

        What comes after the CNN text:

        It gets better. Here’s the text :

        “For those who wage war against Allah and his apostle and strive to make mischief is only this, that they shall be murdered or cruxified or their hands and feet should be cut on opposite sides and they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world and in the hereafter and they shall have a glorious chastissement.”

        Sure powerful peace speech this makes don’t it? By the way mischief is whatever the imam or ayatollah says it is — draw a cartoon of the prophet, say something badof the Perfect Man, do evangelism, smuggle a Bible into a hotel, etc etc.

        Lance, we can tear the Gospels and subject it under the microscopes and debate till the cows come home, and be disparangly smeared, and its alright. But there cannot be any proper discourse on Quran. Because its the Perfect Book, it is God’s actual spoken words, who are we men to say anything about it. Muslims know it cannot stand up to scholarly scrutiny. That is why they do not want a discourse on it. And when you don’t open up and talk about it, ignorance persists and anger for those who want to speak out but can’t do so. And this was what exactly the NZ church shooter mentioned, a frustration out of inability to talk about it.

        I am sorry going of tangent, but I just felt this is something that out to be said.

        • chemp,

          You’re seeing yourself as part of a righteous team; Muslims are bad.

          But from a guy (that’s me) that’s seen both teams, the two teams look the same:

          both you and them, like to over-fetishize Satan, as something bigger than God, which I’m sure is just wrong.

          granted your Christian soteriology is more sophisticated but IMHO its because it’s had time to develop, hence theres an absence of Jesus actually laying out the deal,

          Muslims are more punishment-reward soteriology, but their conception of heaven is more tangible.

          but where they get you beat (at least in their minds) is that they’ve stayed monotheistic, just One.

          Where you Christians have messed around with saints , idols, and most importantly the 3-in-One conception of God.

          thus, Christians are no worst than atheists. like I said, it’s very easy to play the a-hole playbook, they do it, so we do it. etc. etc. histories given us full of examples.

          Like you said Scientology , “No danger to me” ; well I feel the same way of Muslims, don’t get me wrong i’ve seen a-hole Muslims and cool ones (and like any sample group for any religion, again Jainism tends to be unique, same amount of a-holes and cool ones, cool ones usually outnumber the few a-holes).

          But Christians here are the ones pushing Intelligent Design in schools, pushing for America as a Christian country (when the Founding Fathers were well aware of religion as tyranny),

          but most importantly, I’ve seen evangelicals abroad, with their pockets full of money, and they are exporting Bible belt sentimentally, read Trump supporters, as much as I like Trump, i’m fine with him in the US only, but export Trumpism, and there will be

          no AOC and ilhan Omars out there, I guarantee this. there’s a reason Bible belt Christians overwhelming support Trump, they all say everything you’re saying here and more, chemp.

          like I wrote in my Islam renaissance blog awhile ago, I see Salafi/Wahabi/takfiri Islam as dangerous, but not as dangerous as what’s spewing out of our Bible belt, chemp.

          • chemrock says:

            Lance : “Where you Christians have messed around with saints , idols, and most importantly the 3-in-One conception of God.mm”

            I don’t see anything wrong with saints. If one believes in the afterlife, then those that have gone before us are out there. For those worthy of our rememberance and respect, I see nothing wrong in doing so. What’s wrong with canonising people like Paul and the other apostles. For me I don’t see anything wrong with representations of of those that we cherish, be it photos, paintings or statues. These are not pagan gods.

            Trinity — this is to the part of Christianity that’s hard to grasp for most people. If you don’t get it, that’s your position.

            THE SATANIC VERSE :

            Lance : “.. where they (Muslims) get you beat (at least in their minds) is that they’ve stayed monotheistic, just One.

            Your memory may have faded, but the fatwa on Salman Rushie is still executory. Salman wrote the Satanic Verses, a novel that satirised a very controversial part of the Quran. So controversial that for thousands of years, no Muslim will address it, not even to this day. It is sacrileges for anyone to talk about this.

            To cut a long story short, verses 18-22 in surah An-Najim of the Qur’an, Mohammud’s utterances permitted prayer to three pre-Islamic Meccan goddesses: Al-lāt, Uzza, and Manāt—a violation of monotheism. It’s paganism. They have tried their best to redact this, but it can still be found in some texts. Of couse it can be explained off — it was Satanic utterances forced onto the Prophe. Maybe he was high on something? Quran has lots of incoherences, this hits the roof. This is the verse that made people like Rushdie leave the faith.

            • Trinity is actually the Christian dogma, Jesus-Holy Spirit-God.

              yes, I’m familiar with the Satanic verses, but to Muslims credit they’ve nipped it in the bud.

              Christians doubled down on Trinity (though there was push back on this)

              Muslims nipped it in the bud. Thus only one God. That they don’t pray to these 3 Meccan goddesses (i’m sure their idols were kept inside the Kaaba during Mohammed’s time) that is testament to their monotheism, IMHO.

              The Christians of old who just wanted one God lost, and their writings with it.

              It ‘s in the application, chemp. Both played the redaction game.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanic_Verses

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity

              • “For me I don’t see anything wrong with representations of of those that we cherish, be it photos, paintings or statues. These are not pagan gods.”

                chemp,

                Saints are in heaven, and people pray to them to get things done down below. What’s the diff?

                In the Philippines, certain churches are designated by locals as the place to go for this and that, ie. you have cancer go to this church, that saint will cure you; if you wanna get pregnant go to this church; etc. etc.

                Cops and soldiers who’re Catholics will have St. Michael as good luck, how is he a saint, chemp, he’s an angel???

    • chemrock says:

      Kali is goddess of death and violence. Long time ago we had a very depraved cult murder in Singapore. A medium with 3 mistresses — they had kids in ritualistic killings. Mistress had sex with the boy. Kali was their goddess. It’s a Hindu diety, but the perpetrators were Chinese. Kali is embraced across racial lines.

      Baal is a Canaanite diety. Jews always return to Baal when they turn away from their God. Baal is mentioned in the Bible over a 100 times.

      Satan worship is not some kinky fun thing kids do. There is a Deep State and a Deeper State. The Deeper State drives the Deep State. What if humanity is just a playoff between powers we cannot comprehend? Between forces of good and evil. We are their chess pieces. If you ask them what does the statue of Baphomet mean? They will say it represents Freedom. But freedom from what? Freedom from Yahweh, that’s what they mean.

      Give me a while. I have something on this Baphomet thingy, it will drive you crazy that there is an organisation behind all this.

    • chemrock says:

      Scientology is a cult, they are not out for world domination. I dont care much for them. No danger to me.

      • Every religion is out for world domination, chemp.

        That’s kinda the point, no? Jainism is the only one that isn’t. Their monks don’t even fly for fear of hurting a bug or bird along the way, though they’ve convinced a layman or two to establish Jain temples. (I believe now they’ve started flying in more liberal monks/nuns, but it still is a big issue for them because of the bugs and birds issue, that’s pretty out there).

        1. Kali , I’m no Hindu, is understood in context with other Hindu deities. Because all deities are expressions of the One. Just because a deity represents death and destruction doesn’t make it Evil, chemp.

        2. Canaanites are Phonecians. if Jews were competing with their neighbors up north, doesn’t it make sense that they’d be talking smack about them in their books? and Vice versa.

        3. I’d be interested to hear more about Deep State/Atheists/Satan connection, but keep in mind the concept of Satan came out of the Book of Job, the oldest and also non-Jewish, book in the Old Testament.

        roughly translated to ‘the Accuser’ (Satan), described in the Book of Job almost like the 10th Man doctrine, remember everything that happened to Job was green-lighted by God himself:

        • chemrock says:

          Lance I need to call you out here. There is only one religion I know of that calls for world domination by the sword. Christainity seeks world salvation. You have free will to do what you want.

          Every religion has exclusivity, maybe that’s what you mean.

          Kali is a Hindu Goddess of violence. Often received by persons of ill repute. The good guys won’t have a Kali image in their homes.

          Baal is the pagan diety of Canaaite. The Canaanites have a pantheon of Gods much like ancient Greece. Baal is like Zeus, the top honcho. Info about the Canaanite pantheon is in the Ugaritic tablets discovered in 1928 in Syria. Baal festivities is about celebrations of seasons. But the thing about Baal celebrations is that they were X-rated — full of sex, bestiality, anal stuff, ritual sacrifices, and all obscenities you can conjure up. I think some of these stuff they practice in the Bohemian Groove.

          • Yes, Islam has state sponsored violence within the Qur’an, but notice its intial spread tend to not be violent, comparatively w/ Christianity, I’m talking about Caliphate times all the way to Andalusia, ie. its initial spread. During the times of the Crusades yeah there was a healthy back and forth.

            New Testament is all about non-violence, yet if you notice its spread prior to Islam’s rise, it was very violent. A bunch of people in the ME and North Africa just decided Islam was a better choice.

            The two rise I’m sure are related, cause-effect, ie. IF Christianity’s spread as the official Roman religion and then under Byzantium, wasn’t so ripe with violence, Islam’s initial rise wouldn’t have been so easy.

            Kali I’m reading is all about Shakti, girl-power, hence Hindus love for her. I’m not Hindu, but I’m not gonna take your word for it, chemp. Kali seems legit with Hindus, not some Santa Muerte figure ala Mexican drug cartels of today.

            As for Baal, again I’m gonna exercise some healthy skepticism here as per your’s (or your internet findings) of Baal, as I understand it religions tend to talk crap about each other, ie. Jews eating their babies, etc.

            Phonecians/Cannanites spread across the Med during Roman and Greek times , they were essentially the first Venetians. So benefit of the doubt goes to them, chemp. sorry.

            • What will be true about Babylon, Egypt, Phoenicia – there are more historical sources – is the highly sexualized nature of many of their rituals, especially harvest feasts.

              Why did specifically Jewish morals then curtail sex? I think of three reasons:

              1) to give beta males (most of us) a certain illusion of equality. Babylonian and Egyptian harvest feast rituals highlighted the alpha male king. Monogamy meant most men get wives.

              2) to increase fertility. Sleeping with the same woman most of the time makes more babies. Having mistresses was a known way for high-ranking men in history to have less children.

              3) to keep the population healthy. No scientific knowledge yet of venereal disease but certainly some knew about mysterious “wages of sin”.

              All in all, it meant a healthy, stable and loyal population with more potential warriors.

              • Sex I can buy, Ireneo. But beastiality and all obscenities, I ‘m gonna reserve judgement. Kali seems theres enough online to fairly assess, ie. Kali’s legit. Baal, as Dionysian , sure, but beastiality ??? this is akin to baby eating with the Jews.

                Sex , whether curtailed or promoted, always springs eternal, this I understand. Why St. Paul’s letter focused on this. Humanity is humanity after all. King Solomon had some erotic poems, had jungle fever.

          • chemrock says:

            @ Lance

            Let me return to this Deep State and Deeper State thing.
            Sorry I took so long to get back in. I feel like I’m facing the Sanhedrin alone and there are so many points to address and respond. Too much for a part-time blogger trying to find food for the table.

            As I said in various other threads, one level of Kali and Baal is they are just statutes, artefacts, just dieties relevant to some ancient people for whaever they believe in. On another level, relevant in our day, these are representatives of abandonment, perversions, abominations. Whilst at it, thrown in Baphomet, a symbol of Satanism. It’s the very reasons why atheistic movements chose these because it represents ultimate Freedom. Again like I said, freedom from what? From God, and all his moral gibberish.

            There are levels of reality. New recruits into the Temple of Satan will be given Lance’s views. It’s just a symbol. We don’t belief in a God personality, that’s all. Satan is just a figuratively way of putting it. It’s like the Masonic Lodge. The junior level will tell you there is nothing secretive about Freemasonry. Just as in the Bohemian Grove where members think its just some high society people get together. I saw a video of Ronald Reagan at Bohemian Grove. His face told the story — he looked dazed and incredulous at what was happening before his eyes. On one level oh it’s nothing, just some folks who don’t belief in some religious mumbo jumbos, on another level is ultimate supernatural Satanic interactions. He is the Great Deceiver after all. Lance said it’s Lot’s creation, but the Deceiver was there from the very beginning in Genesis in the Garden of Eden. Yeah yeah Lucifer indeed, I can hear rational minds going off their tops. Did’nt we hear the opposite before, when the Church wanted to hang Galileo for saying the Earth was round? Supernatural is nothing but a state that is not natural, does not conform to natural laws, that’s all. Could’nt that be a 4th dimension?

            There is often a layer concealed to the lower layer membership. One is just a front for the other. It is the same as the Deep State. Now this is no longer a secret. Deep State is real and has been there for centuries. The power of the Deep State is far reaching. Alex Jones, a radio show host, was the guy to ever sneak into Bohemian Grove to break the story. He has been hounded and all sorts of charges heaped onto him to persecute and annihilate his credibility absolutely. He is now branded the king of conspiracy theories and a nut case. The same forces came down to bear on Trump in the last 2 years. But what did we know, the Russian collusion is turning out to be a lie, and the table is turned now on Hillary Clinton for colluding with Ukraine to meddle with the US election. How did all this happen? Because the Deep State has a strangle hold on almost all aspects in American life. Except for Fox News and I think Washington Post, every other mainstream media are under extreme left liberal hands.Chanels for information has been captured for so many years.

            The Deep State are the globalist elites. These are the godless group who wants no God in their game. They will rule by Reason alone. But what these globalist themselves do not comprehend is that there is another hand behind them, a Deeper State, and that is the supernatural who is fighting a different battle.

            That is the background to what I wish to comment on this Baal and Baphomet thing.

            The temple of Baal is in Iraq, Palmyra which ISIS captured and destroyed lots of ancient structures and artefacts. Some people wanted to reconstruct the temple in NY City. The plan was rejected. They went on to recreate only the Arch of Baal. This is the entrance into the temple grounds. I know the company that reconstructed this using state of the art 3D printing etc. But who are the funders behind this and what is their purpose?

            They first place the Arch of Baal in London, at Trafalgar. Of course there were lots of publicity and festivity on its unveiling. Next they shipped it and displayed it in Washingto DC in conjunction with Global Cultural Heritage Week. Then off to Capiton Hill NY. The significance of Washington DC and NY City? Both key cities for the abotion-on-demand bill and Baal was about power, fertility and child sacrifice. Same brouhahah all publicity. Due to lots of criticisms in London, they now call it the Arch of Palmyra. Next it was shipped over to Italy, Florence for the G7 Culture Meeting where kings and princes and globalist met. This time they called it the Monumental Arch of Palmyra.. then off it went to Dubai, displayed for the World Government Summit.

            It was carved out of special stones from Egypt, as close as possible to the original. It was reconstructed with immaculate precision to the original. The production cost and the logistics and shipment etc all requires huge funding. Who is taking care of this and why spend all this on something meaningless? The answer is the founding of the One World under the Temple of Baal.

            In ancient days, everyone must pass through the Arch of Baal to go to and out of the Temple. So what’s this saying is now all princes, CEOs, world leaders are passing under the Arch. These globalist think is all of them rationalists saying there is no God, our Reason is our God. They don’t comprehend it’s real significance is the Deeper State declaring that now all these are all mine. Middle finger to you, ye Almighty One.

            If all these are just coincidence and unbelievable, go google the opening celebration of the Goddard Tunnel in Switzerland. People just cannot comprehend why the Swiss chose to celebrate with bizzare dance acts involving figures of babies, sexual innuendoes throughout, half nude dancers, and a grand figure of a goatlike man all with full long horns. Look at this image that shows the goat figure and what seems like folks from the Christian era longing for the lord the goat.

            It was a display of perversion and a trespass on the sacredness of the Lord. What were the Swiss doing putting up a display the sexual persions and child sacrifice exactly the way the Canaaites prayed to their Baal? All these for the princes, CEOs, globalist elite VIPs at Goddard opening.

            My friends, there is a supernatural Dark hand in all these, such as the bible warned us.

            • Have you read any of the Mueller report? He and his team wrestled mightily with the matter of collusion. To dismiss the matter as ‘lies’ gives little justice to the two years of fact-finding that took place. I really dislike such simplifications of complex matters in ways that editorialize, politicize, and emotionalize what ought to be, outside of the political spectrum, a rational discussion. We are already at each other’s throats because this mainstream method of short-shrift, emotionalized dialogue is what defeats us from the getgo. Where do you leave room for a different shading?

              • From Wiki, where the shadings and complexities are much clearer:

                The Mueller Report found that the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” and “violated U.S. criminal law”.[3][4][106] The report relayed two methods by which Russia attempted to influence the election.[67][69]

                The first method of Russian interference saw a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency, waging “a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton”.[6] The Internet Research Agency also sought to “provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States”.[107]

                The second method of Russian interference saw the Russian intelligence service, the GRU, hacking into email accounts owned by volunteers and employees of the Clinton presidential campaign, including that of campaign chairman John Podesta, and also hacking into “the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC)”. As a result, the GRU obtained hundreds of thousands of hacked documents, and the GRU proceeded by arranging releases of damaging hacked material via the WikiLeaks organization and also GRU’s personas “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0”.[8][9][10]

                Conspiracy or coordination

                To establish whether a crime was committed by members of the Trump campaign with regard to Russian interference, investigators “applied the framework of conspiracy law”, and not the concept of “collusion”, because collusion “is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law.”[108][109] They also investigated if members of the Trump campaign “coordinated” with Russia, using the definition of “coordination” as having “an agreement – tacit or express – between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference.” Investigators further elaborated that merely having “two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests” was not enough to establish coordination.[110][111]

                The investigation found there were numerous contacts between Trump campaign advisors and individuals affiliated with the Russian government, before and after the election, but the evidence was insufficient to show an illegal conspiracy.[112] The New York Times estimated as many as 140 contacts between “Mr. Trump and his associates and Russian nationals and WikiLeaks or their intermediaries” in the report.[113]

                The special counsel identified two methods the Russian government tried to communicate with the Trump campaign. “The investigation identified two different forms of connections between the Internet Research Agency (IRA) and members of the Trump Campaign…First, on multiple occasions, members and surrogates of the Trump Campaign promoted – typically by linking, retweeting, or similar methods of reposting – pro-Trump or anti-Clinton content published by the IRA through IRA-controlled social media accounts. Additionally, in a few instances, IRA employees represented themselves as U.S. persons to communicate with members of the Trump Campaign in an effort to seek assistance and coordination on IRA-organized political rallies inside the United States,” the report states.[106] The special counsel found that Donald Trump’s sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump cited or retweeted content from IRA-controlled social media accounts.

                Secondly, the report details a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016. The intent of the meeting was to exchange “dirt” on the Clinton campaign. There was speculation that Trump Jr. told his father. However, the special counsel could not find any evidence that he did.[106] The office declined to pursue charges for two reasons: the office “did not obtain admissible evidence” that would meet the burden of proof principle beyond a reasonable doubt that the campaign officials acted with general knowledge about the illegality of their conduct; secondly, the office expected difficulty in valuing the promised information that “exceeded the threshold for a criminal violation” of $2,000 for a criminal violation and $25,000 for a felony punishment.[114]

              • This Washington Post article provides some elaboration on the Hillary Clinton/Ukraine matter. It seems to me to be rather like the Dengvaxia witch hunt going after President Aquino, a presidential political play to fire up the base.

                https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/26/ukraine-just-showed-us-how-foreign-power-can-play-trump-its-own-ends/

              • chemrock says:

                I have to say I’m no expert in what’s going on regarding the investigation. Lots of false flags flying around, lots of truths and half truths.

                I’m not comfortable on a few points
                – Mueller went into the investigation with a framework — he’s guilty, Go get the proofs.
                – The case against Trump rests on the Steele dossier which is a report by ex Brit spy employed by the company GS Fusion who was engaged by the DNC to dig up the dirt on Trump.
                – Why would Putin want to support Trump when it was Hillary Clinton who authorised the sale of uranium to the Russians. Surely a Clinton win is makes more sense for Putin.

                But I’m sure there will be some ways Trump will have a problem due to his immense business deals all over the place. Jared Kushner I heard had a big problem in Qatar. I never liked Trump as a person, I never liked some policies of his, but he made some existential decisions which I like.

                Any way I’ll’ back off from a discussion on Trump due to ignorance.

                Here’s a different perspective, quite interesting.

                https://news.yahoo.com/democrats-taste-own-medicine-103037354.html

              • 1. If Mueller had a conclusion to prove, he could have done so. He didn’t.
                2. There is a lot more to it than the Steele dossier. It was not a witch hunt but a follow-up to clear Russian meddling.
                3. Clinton is not an amoral person, as are Trump and Putin. She would not be so easily schmoozed and gamed.

                I don’t find the article credible. It is full of the partisan rancor and name-calling that is the biggest threat to civility and hope for governments of dignity and earnest cause.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Yes, interesting. First pro-Trump article I’ve read.

                The author is Conrad Black. I remember him as a shady character.
                *****

              • Joe,

                I finally understand how an event like this can take place:

                “In the fall of 2016, the personal email account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, was hacked in a spear-phishing attack, and his emails were subsequently made public by WikiLeaks. Proponents of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory falsely claimed that the emails contained coded messages referring to human trafficking and connecting several U.S. restaurants and high-ranking officials of the Democratic Party with an alleged child sex ring involving the restaurant and pizzeria Comet Ping Pong, located in Washington, D.C.”
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizzagate_conspiracy_theory

                remember that story? it’s nuts. 😦

              • chemrock says:

                Joe sorry I gave you the wrong link. This is the one. It’s from The Hill which more centre- left in their reporting .
                https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/440730-how-the-obama-white-house-engaged-ukraine-to-give-russia-collusion?amp

            • “It’s like the Masonic Lodge. The junior level will tell you there is nothing secretive about Freemasonry.” Many members of the Philippine Propaganda Movement (Rizal, Luna), Revolution (Bonifacio) and First Republic (Aguinaldo, Luna) were freemasons.

              Not just Aguinaldo’s stamp bears the mark of masonry, as do many “anting-anting” or magical talismans worn by Bonifacio’s men. The Philippine flag and it’s triangle with the sun and stars – help they are yellow what does that mean for us?

              “every other mainstream media are under extreme left liberal hands.Chanels for information has been captured for so many years.” Is Rappler included? Or only the real left? Is there some truth in Duterte’s Matrix? I am scared! Are we in fact bad!

            • edgar lores says:

              *****
              What did I just read? That’s some conspiracy theory!
              *****

            • Lance said it’s Lot’s creation, but the Deceiver was there from the very beginning in Genesis in the Garden of Eden. Yeah yeah Lucifer indeed, I can hear rational minds going off their tops.”

              Satan = Book of Job

              snake = Book of Genesis

              Lucifer = Book of Isaiah

              chemp, if you treat each OT books are separate they are not the same.

              1. Satan answers directly to God in the Book of Job.

              2. serpent is a deceiver , trickster type , pre-dates Genesis and can be found in other older writings in the NE. much like the coyote here in N. America.

              3. the Morning Star is found in the Book of Isaiah, as a fallen angel.

              here’s Lucifer in full, chemp…

              Isaiah 14 King James Version (KJV)

              1 For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

              2 And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.

              3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,

              4 That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

              5 The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

              6 He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.

              7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.

              8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.

              9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

              10 All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

              11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

              12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

              13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

              14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

              15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

              16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

              17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

              18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.

              19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.

              20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.

              21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

              22 For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the Lord.

              23 I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts.

              24 The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:

              25 That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.

              26 This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.

              27 For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

              28 In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden.

              29 Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.

              30 And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant.

              31 Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times.

              32 What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.

              (which is related to this other NE tradition, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yazidis#Taw%C3%BBs%C3%AA_Melek,_the_Peacock_Angel )

              • 1. Satan, seems more like an agent of God than anything… <<<

                a). Book of Job (1st appearance)

                b). 1 Chronicles King James Version (KJV)

                1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

                2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.

                c). Zechariah King James Version (KJV)

                3 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

                2 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

                3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

                2. serpent, just one appearance… <<<

                Genesis King James Version (KJV)

                13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

                14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

                15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

                3. Lucifer, is supposed to be the King of Babylon… <<<

                "How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: ‘Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?'”

                is preceded by,

                “On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labour forced on you, you will take up this taunt against the King of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!”

                ((( In conclusion, all three are separate characters in the Old Testament, only later were they consolidated and added new characteristics. )))

        • thanks for the extra links , karl.

          I gotta admit I ‘ve never really thought about all this devil stuff til now. So I’m searching the Old Testament for descriptions and characteristics and surprisingly it’s slim pickings really.

          1. The serpent in Genesis reads more like Aesop’s fable, than evil stuff, ie. you tricked Eve now you and your progeny will be bludgeoned in the head, crawl and eat dust where ever you go forever.

          2. The Satan is literally the accuser in the employ of God, ie. he can’t do anything without God’s approval. He works for God.

          3. The Morning Star seems just that a poetic taunt for the King of Babylon.

          But more importantly, it seems the Old Testament folks didn’t really factor in Evil as some separate entity from God, but instead from one source. read that Isaiah quote above.

          Now the question is where did all this Devil iconography all get started then ???

          • karlgarcia says:

            Maybe it is only during the witch hunts that Satanists began.
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_Satanism
            La Sorciere, by Jules Michelet.
            The worship of Satan was a frequent charge against those charged in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe and other witch-hunts such as the Salem witch trials. Worship of Satan was claimed to take place at the Witches’ Sabbath.[48] The charge of Satan worship has also been made against groups or individuals regarded with suspicion, such as the Knights Templar, or minority religions.[49] In the case of the Knights Templar, the Templars’ writings mentioned the word ‘Baphomet’, which was a French corruption of the name ‘Mohammed’ (the prophet of the people who the Templars fought against), and that ‘Baphomet’ was falsely portrayed as a demon by the people who accused the Templars.

            It is not known to what extent accusations of groups worshiping Satan in the time of the witch trials identified people who did consider themselves Satanists, rather than being the result of religious superstition or mass hysteria, or charges made against individuals suffering from mental illness. Confessions are unreliable, particularly as they were usually obtained under torture.[50] However, scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Santa Barbara, has made extensive arguments in his book Witchcraft in the Middle Ages[51] that not all witch trial records can be dismissed and that there is in fact evidence linking witchcraft to gnostic heresies. Russell comes to this conclusion after having studied the source documents themselves. Individuals involved in the Affair of the Poisons were accused of Satanism and witchcraft

      • “If all these are just coincidence and unbelievable, go google the opening celebration of the Goddard Tunnel in Switzerland. People just cannot comprehend why the Swiss chose to celebrate with bizzare dance acts involving figures of babies, sexual innuendoes throughout, half nude dancers, and a grand figure of a goatlike man all with full long horns. Look at this image that shows the goat figure and what seems like folks from the Christian era longing for the lord the goat.”

        I just Googled this one, and it is fucking weird!!! hoping Ireneo could shed some light, I know Germans are parodied for art forms like this, lots of gay stuff and weird shit. But this is waaaay over the top. I’m not gonna attribute conspiracy theories to it though, but the choice of crap like this should definitely be examined.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volker_Hesse that’s the director.

        They should’ve just invited Ariana Grande. 😉

        • Many people were uncomfortable with the “Sacre Du Gotthard” performance.

          Sacre du Printemps is the French name of Stravinsky’s “Rites of Spring” which was a ballet showing the pagan past of Russia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rite_of_Spring

          For me, just a crazy artist trying to portray some of the weird pagan traditions of the Alps without really knowing them as part of his own living tradition. The Alps do have weird folklore of their own, horned beasts of winter and stuff.

          The Gotthard performance looks like a bad mix of that and Fellini movies.

          I would also be careful to put too much meaning into it. I have Filipinos who are on this extreme Christian trip who believed in viral mails that interpreted Satanism into the gibberish of the Las Ketchup Song. Seeing the “Jewish global conspiracy”, the Bilderberg group, the Illuminati, the Muslim Brotherhood, Satanists, vegetarians, the Knights Templars etc. all over the place is something books like Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendelum warn us about.

          • Ah, thanks, Ireneo! love your European perspective!!!

            Me and karl are trying to figure out when exactly the Devil iconography started, is it safe to say then that chemp’s Baphomet figure actually comes from the Alps??? thus, chemp , unknowingly, just took us on a fun trip thru circular logic? 😉

            You’re telling me this is all just Christmas fun, ireneo!!! Lol!

    • “The Deep State are the globalist elites. These are the godless group who wants no God in their game. They will rule by Reason alone. But what these globalist themselves do not comprehend is that there is another hand behind them, a Deeper State, and that is the supernatural who is fighting a different battle.”

      chemp,

      This isn’t about Creationism vs. Darwinism; Christians vs. atheists (et al) , any longer.

      This is something completely different now, chemp. a subject also of deep interest to me personally, when I was over there there was talk of old ladies who become monsters at night and separate themselves from their torsos to either fly or crawl around looking for babies or small children to eat. I remember Filipinos in the province weren’t fucking around , they believed in these monsters as such ensured their house was sealed shut at night.

      Arabs also had monsters and demons, but I was more interested in their take on Jinns (or Genies).

      Either way, I hope you expand and write about this subject in another blog. Thanks, chemp! 🙂 ex., are the DEEP STATE folks also in the Philippines (who they are, etc.) and what does the DEEPER STATE look like in the Philippines, cuz if you’re worried about Kali and Baal and Satan iconography, man, Filipinos have crazier monters/demons stories, ever heard of the White Lady, weirdly these stories seems be connected to Spaniards, and is all over the Philippines both in the province and cities.

  7. Goodness, Badness, Morality…

    1. Are people good or bad by nature? I think they are simply AMORAL.

    1a. Some caring and love exists due to the need to reproduce and raise children.

    1b. Conflicting interests make for potential hatred and abuse in groups of people.

    2. Smallest groups of people can be self-regulating, but our minds can only process about 150-250 personally, after that everyone else is a stranger. Leaders/mediators are also helpful in avoiding all-out conflicts between people and groups of people. The bigger the group, the more the leaders have to claim some special kind of authority and proclaim general rules as the only way to behave. Witness the symbolism of ancient kings including the Pharaohs and their priesthoods.

    3. Religion first started with animism, and then proceed toward polytheism. The first ones with an idea of monotheism were the devotees of the Aton (sun god) and the Pharaoh Echnaton. The idea of good and evil extremes may exist in Hindu Vishnu and Shiva already, or Norse Thor and Loki, but the idea of opposed extremes was first in Persia under Zarathustra: Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. The Jewish religion first combined those two principles: God, and good/evil.

    4. Codification of good and bad via rules like the book of Levi and the Ten Commandments is useful in keeping a larger society together. People being drilled with those rules early also helped the society be seen as a little bit fairer, increasing solidarity with the larger group.

    5. Rule of law is an attempt to make judgement and punishment in society more objective. Morals do tend to be subjective in nature, with the danger of extremists judging others. Roman legalism did allow for the largest empire until then to be ruled with some efficiency/fairness.

    People may or may not need the idea of God to stick to moral rules. Do Filipinos need the idea of Tatay Digong to fear the law? That is where the questions start..

  8. QuietPoetic says:

    Thank you for this article, Chemrock. I recently have been introduced to C.S. Lewis writings and currently enjoying Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity has been assigned in a book club I want to participate on.

    I guess one of the reason why people push back on Christianity is because people cannot take the hypocrisy of what we call “Churchians.” They go to church – and judge people who do not – but commit adultery, steal, lie, etc. The Churchian nature is the first thing that turns people off.

    The irony with the atheist and agnostic types (in the West and also in the Philippines) is that the mere fact that they see the hypocrisy is a Christian value. They act and think like Christians but they don’t know it. Wasn’t it Jesus who said that ‘he who has not sinned cast the first stone’?

    • This is the first I’ve read of “Churchian” vis-a-vis Christianity, QuietPoetic. But I agree w/ you re atheist/agnostic (I’m agnostic, but will be atheist just for this article).

      But i’d go farther than just “adultery, steal, lie, etc.”. Those are Churchian office politics type drama, like when Couples for Christ (Catholic) becomes a den for adultery. Protestants have the same issues. And actually these same issues factored greatly in St. Paul’s letters, ie. hey, stop screwing around and pray, for chrissakes!

      You get a bunch of people together, ie. MILFs and slave boys and gay men, and you’ll get these messes. Christianity’s anti-gay stance should be understood as this. Just folks screwing around, when Paul’s focus was prayer and redemption.

      That’s one thing, and as an atheist/agnostic, I don’t really judge that portion. It ‘s human nature to screw around. Not important.

      But what I do judge is how Christians throughout history have used violence and murder, and mass murder (much like other religions who enjoyed power at one time or another, Jainism is the only major religion that hasn’t dabbled in violence).

      Greek (Orthodox) Christians were famous for their genocidal riots; then Latins formed their own, Catholic Church, same-same, they unleashed themselves on the pagan north and west. When Luther and Calvin separated then unleashed violence on other protestants, same with the Anglican church, over here slavery and manifest destiny were backed by Christians (granted other Christians pushed back, ie. Quakers and Shakers, etc.).

      That’s not mere “Churchian” , that’s power wielded by Christians throughout history; every group that’s wielded power, even before Christianity came in the picture, have done similar, the Old Testament records some of them.

    • chemrock says:

      Lance/Quietpoetic

      The hypocrisy line is a real lame fallacy attack on Christianity. Man of whatever religion, race, status in life, are by nature weak. All are challenged by moral demands, and most are found wanting. Is’nt it incredible that the Christian faith is so deeply entrenched on this idea of SIN and forgiveness? This concept differentiates Christianity from all other belief systems and to me, raise it to a much higher intellectual level. The average Christians, and non-believers, understand the Christian idea of SIN at the very simplistic level. Oh it’s the original sin, the apple that Adam and Eve ate, from then on all humans sinned, thus Jesus died on the cross to wash our sins bla bla bla. There is a very deeper level of the idea of sin that few really understand.

      As I mentioned in the article, criticisms on the Bible always fall back of the violence committed by the Church. Added to this is the hypocrisy fallacy. Then of course the Sexcapades. As if people of other religions don’t do this, if not of greater magnitudes. We have to separate the man from the religion. Man is fallible.

      I agree violence is a big issue in the old testament. I’m not an apologetic and I’m not too sure of what was going on there. According to Spinoza, the Bible is about prophecies and how it is being played out. The Holy Book merely decribes the unfolding events. As for new testament, Jesus was a man of Love and he preaches Love, something that no other religions do. Perhaps God too has a learning curve as He graples with the fallibilities of man. Compare this to to the Koran — the first part was lovey dovey, the second part all violence. Progression and Regression?

      .

      • chemp,

        it goes to the heart of your argument no? re Christian God. if Christians themselves can’t be like Christ then what’s the point? if only a very select few can understand it how is Christianity superior? that’s like saying i’m the cutest guy in the world, but if I’m not attracting the ladies, am I really? one hand clapping.

        My point is Christianity has to be judged, as idea and as practiced.

        “Is’nt it incredible that the Christian faith is so deeply entrenched on this idea of SIN and forgiveness? This concept differentiates Christianity from all other belief systems and to me, raise it to a much higher intellectual level.”

        Where exactly in the Gospels (not Paul’s or others’ letters) does Jesus explain that his death = forgiveness of all sins? We’re getting into the holy of holies now, chemp. But please also continue with transmutation above, we’ll multi-task. 😉

        • QuietPoetic says:

          My point is Christianity has to be judged, as idea and as practiced.

          it has been. Christian nations, mainly the Western world, is a high-trust society. Christianity gave us democracy. You can’t possible say that you’re living in democratic society wherein you can speak your mind because of Islam, Judaism or atheism.

          • QP,

            Check your history. Christianity didn’t give as democracy.

            Democracy as we now know it ; not the ancient Greece variety, where everyone participated which we saw in action during Socrates trial, written down by Plato and Xenophon, with like 500 Greeks as his judge & jury.

            I’m talking about our current imaginings of Western democracy, it was imagined first by Baruch Spinoza, from there trickled down to Locke, then to America (USA), ie. separation of church and state.

            Guess what was happening during Spinoza’s time, why he was a transplant from the Iberian peninsula, yup the Inquisition; guess what happened during his time while he was in the Netherlands, yup more persecution from the Protestant side.

            Without the American founding fathers, the Protestants and Catholics and Anglicans would still get their say, bring Europe to the New World, but they effectively de-powered them, Locke is usually credited for this, but Spinoza was the first guy who wrote about it.

            Then the French Revolution, and Napoleon took it to its logical end. and that’s the gist of the story of Western democracy. No thanks to Christianity, really, QP.

            As for your question on Judeo-Christian relationship , that too is answered in Spinoza’s book, that was the point of his book, to pull the rug under the Old Testament, since the New Testament is used to justify it. Essentially that the Old Testament is crap.

        • chemrock says:

          About judging Christianity — QuietPoetic’s point should be well taken,

          Let’s not get into the details of democracy and stuff like that. Just superficially — compare human worth in western societies with African, middle-eastern and eastern countries.

          You have lots to cover. I’ll respond in due course..

          • “Just superficially — compare human worth in western societies with African, middle-eastern and eastern countries.”

            I agree, chemp, but what made the West the West of today, it’s separation of Church and State, which then trickled to England, but first with the French Revolution, which Napoleon ran all the way with, they got rid of their high borns.

            This “democracy” that QP alludes to, is first mentioned here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tractatus_Theologico-Politicus

            “Spinoza bases the superiority of democracy on two central claims; namely, that democracy is the most rational as well as the most natural regime. It is most rational in the sense that a large collectivity of individuals is less subject to irrational and destructive passions than a single monarch or an aristocratic elite. It is most natural in the sense that democracy “approaches most closely to the freedom nature bestows on every person” (TTP 16.11, 20.14).”

        • chemrock says:

          @ Lance

          “My point is Christianity has to be judged, as idea and as practiced.”

          I get your idea, but is’nt there any value to distinguish between the man and the book? We certainly can talk of Duterte and the Philippines Constitution can’t we? There is really nothing wrong with the Constitution – it’s the godless leadership that’s the problem, is there no value in understanding this?

          Jesus’s death and forgiveness:

          Hope we don’t go too far into this because I’m not trained in apologetiics. But as i noted in my closing quote of Dallas Williard “…this is an age for spiritual heroes – a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith…” to stand up and be counted, here’s my answer to your querry, based on the little I know.

          Christ himself never did say I will die for you on the cross and take your sins away. but this idea keeps popping up in various places in the old testament. It was in fact prophecised. This is what I meant that worldviews need to stand the test of coherence, and when you tear into the old and new testaments, there is so much coherence in story line, time and space, etc. There may be minor differences, but the main points stick.

          Isaiah 53 :

          “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

          • “I get your idea, but is’nt there any value to distinguish between the man and the book?”

            Of course, chemp!!!!

            and you’ve seen my commentary here before espousing Jesus and his teachings over and over again. I AM a fan of Jesus, chemp, more on his love and poverty, not so much his salvation doctrine— which I suspect comes more from Paul and others and not from him direct. He fits with what I know to be good.

            But your article isn’t about distinguishing man and book here, is it? It’s a Christian vs. atheist (and all others) article. Which I am not taking offense of, like Micha, but it’s a hit piece as such open to all sorts of polemics, no?

            “Hope we don’t go too far into this because I’m not trained in apologetiics.”

            We don’t have to go into this. And I do know there’s a lot of Old Testament prophecy stuff, but much of that can be explained as Christ using said OT passages to fit his needs, ie. riding donkey to Jerusalem; And/or thru anachronism, ie. slipped in along the way by scribes with agenda.

            If we had continued on this topic, I was gonna ask why Luke 22:19-20 is missing in older Luke Gospels. Which leaves only Mark and Matthew’s blood/body promise for forgiveness. Both Mark and Matthew were Jews; Luke wasn’t and since this was more Passover liturgy (in the Jewish tradition) makes sense that Luke didn’t really give it much importance, then harmonized later along the way.

            But the question still stands, is there really a dying-for-salvation deal on the table said by Jesus. Because that cuts thru your whole premise about how Christianity is so different from other religions. And I do agree this is what sets Christianity apart; I just doubt Jesus really said anything of the sort, chemp.

            “The extrele left liberals seek to stamp out God in all public spheres. And by God they mean the Christian God only.”

            Again this is more a Church vs. state issue, chemp.

            Muslims don’t really have iconography and we don’t really have Hindu icons in public spaces, so it makes sense the fight is only about Christian iconography, and they are the only pushing for it; for example , do you think a cross or a statue of Jesus should be placed in a court of law here? NO.

            “The separation between State and Church is something very American, nowhere else was it done first, that’s Made in USA, chemp. it deserves to be defended. Without it we’d be like Europe and the rest of the world, with their religious wars.” Did’nt the concept came from Jesus himself?

            chemp, I’m a fan of,

            Matthew 22:21 King James Version (KJV)
            21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

            But if you take note of history, after Christ said that, it kinda went over everyone’s head, until America came around…

            “Is there any important part of US histoery where the church specifically steps in and deamnd something? Do note this is an honest question, not in contempt.
            The defense for Christian fervours in public space is because USA was founded by protestant fathers who consecrated the country to the Christian God. “In God we trust” has been there ever since.”

            No one church ever developed in the US, chemp.

            But you are right America was a very Christian country, percentage-wise, but that is where the Founding Fathers really made their bones, taking stock of what happened in Europe, they ensured all Christian sects, Anglican (ours changed its name to Episcopal) , Catholic, Lutherans/Calvinists, then all other various groups professing Christian precepts (ie. Mormons, JW, etc.), etc. etc. the Founding Fathers wrote in the separation of Church and state.

            In theory, it was in the books, but in practice because most Americans were church goers, there were unofficial movements, ie. manifest destiny, where the brunt of the violence, ie. genocide was actually in California and Oregon; slavery, was kept together and justified using Christian doctrine with very similar sentiments you alluded to earlier, chemp, ie…

            ” — maybe absolutes are meant to be sacred. No tolerance for defects?”

            So no , chemp, “In God We Trust” if you read the debate the founding fathers had in creating this republic, they made sure, that “God” is not Protestant, or Catholic, or Hindu or Muslim, or even the Native American god, it’s a very universal inclusive concept, not favoring one or another, so closer to Spinoza’s God.

            ###

            chemp: “Christianity has mostly been apologetics, seldom aggressive. Here’s a real story. Sometime back a school in Malaysia had a talk by a foreign Islamic imam. Somewhere in the talk a school administrator, a Christian Chinese, stood up to ask a doubting question. The imam asked the administrator to go up the stage. He went onstage and stood in front of the imam.To everyone’s surprise, the imam slapped the administrator right across the cheek. Before anyone could react, the imam asked “Does’nt your religion say you will give me the other cheek?” The admin defiantly gave his other cheek and received another tight slap. As he was about to walk away, the imam said are’nt you supposed to give me your pants. The admin turned to his school children and said I’m sorry you have to see this, but it is what I have to do. He stripped off his pants and left the hall. Hours later the admin was surprised to see a long queeue of his Muslim pupils outside his office. They lined up to apologise for what happened.

            Christians never attack, but offer salvation, if only you want to listen.

            But lately, I think the Christian leadership now understands to be polemic as well. This comes at a time when western thinkers are beginning to scrutinise the Koran. From these studies have come forth tons of mistakes discovered in the Koran that point to a lot of fallacies. These polemical platforms and events are being hounded out of social media by what is termed “Internet Jihardists” when all they are doing is to portray the truths pointing out to the errors based on factual evidence.”

            ###

            chemp,

            You are correct that secular folks are fighting evangelicals (and Christians) here, but this is an American thing, the Founding Fathers gave us a republic and everyone’s participating in ensuring no one camp dominates here.

            If an Intelligent Design lobby came to my town to force teachers to teach Creationism (not gonna happen in California, probably up north of Sacramento, but this is the norm in the Mid-West), i’d probably participate in fighting this attempt to inject religion into public sphere, namely our public school.

            It’s not all the same across the USA, cities and counties, are inserting their religion into public spaces. But at the states and Federal level, thanks to groups like the ACLU, etc. , they are not gaining ground; though Justice Kavanaugh slipped in (that’s more politics, ie. progressive vs. conservative, though the same fight ).

            So you’re right legislatively, this Evangelical movement your lionizing here, is not winning here, though the push-pull is constant, and they have more money. But because this is a multi-billion dollar industry, they’ve also exported their “Christian” values, and where they are winning legislatively is in Africa, so we can forecast what we have coming if we let them win here,

            https://www.thenation.com/article/its-not-just-uganda-behind-christian-rights-onslaught-africa/

            These guys aren’t heroes , chemp, they are full of HATE. and that’s why we fight them. 😉

            • chemrock says:

              Lance

              I’ll jusr adress this point –

              “Christ using said OT passages to fit his needs, ie. riding donkey to Jerusalem”

              Do not think I have a blank mind and then filling it blindly with everything from the Bible. I did say Sunday church sermons and bible studies cannot satisfy me because these are the Low level stuff. As a teenager I had lots of debates with pals over religious stuff. What you say was exactly one of my concerns. Hey guys you can’t con me with OTs and twist it to satisfy a post-fact event. This is exactly why I do not understand Muslims never ask why the prophet is always posed with a problem and then he goes up the mountain omes down with a new proclaimation. (Salman Rushdie, in his Satanic Verses, ridiculed this in a very funny way) Remember the part he was lusting after the wife of his adopted son? He soon had a new message from God. Adoption is forebidden. So now he has no adopted son. The ex-adopted-son divorce his wife and the prophet married her. (Whos dares to reject the Perfect Man). They lived happily ever after. But Muslims are now denied the most humanitarian act we can do to persons in distress — adoption. Bet you don’t know this.

              I agree with you the donkey part is suspicious. Henry Lincoln in the best seller Holy Blood Holy Grail, mentioned they did lots of research into the book. 5 years I think. So during biblical times, there were lots of ‘prophets’ — like lots of Joel Osteens type. One thing all these ‘prophets’ had was they attach something unique or supernatural to themselves for street credibility. So there were sons of pagan gods, etc etc and of course virgin birth. But as I have repeatedly said, it’s the coherence of the Bible in it’s totally that’s more important.

              However, Isaiah 53 is arguable from experiential angle. Now look at it this way. Jesus was a superstar. Everybody knew him. His star was on the ascendance.It goes against credibility to say someone in his station in life want to work towards hara kiri of the most painful type in order to realise Isaiah’s prophecy? If the donkey ride made him a con-man, it is not the physchological nature of con-man, or trickster to commit self-destruction. More likely he would have bought himself out of trouble.

              • chemp,

                all true. But my theory is why not just write it in later??? just like his childhood stories (do you really think he and St. John the Baptist were cousins and moved around their mom’s tummy when they were close together?) , etc. etc.

                As to Jesus being a rock star at this point, remember Jesus doesn’t even figure in for the Roman historians (Josephus, Pliny, Suetonius and Tacitus ) writing about that area, John the Baptist figures in (he was the rock star).

                early Christians after Jesus death were written about, but Jesus himself wasn’t a blip in anyone’s screen.

                So I think after Jesus death, which was very uneventful, folks just decided to insert meaning, some very literally. IMHO he wasn’t a trickster at all, he just fought the law, and the law won.

                p.s. I totally agree with you re Mohammed’s trips to the mountains, ie. guys God just told me taco Tuesdays every Thursday from now on, woooooooooooooooohooooooo!!!

              • chemrock says:

                Ancient historians wrote about Christ. Both from friendly and enemy historians;

                (In contrast, the name Mohammed and the word Muslim never appeared unto the 3rd Caliphate Al Malik. 500-600 years after the death of Mohammed then we see the name Mohammed and the word Muslim inscribed oin this mosque. This is also where Al Malik inscribed the Sahada — this is your Islam’s icon, the Sahada. Before this, when the Arabs were on the warpath against Europe, they were know as Saracens. No one called them Muslims. Do explain how come the mosque from which Mohmmed supposedly went up to meet Allah was built 500-600 years after the event occured?_

                Josephus on Jesus:- Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63
                “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”

                Tacitus:
                “Nero fastened the guilt … on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of … Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome”

                Babylonian Talmud: A.D. 70-500
                “On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald … cried, “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.”

                Lucian of Samosata 2AD Greek satirist :
                “The Christians … worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…. [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws”.

              • “(In contrast, the name Mohammed and the word Muslim never appeared unto the 3rd Caliphate Al Malik. 500-600 years after the death of Mohammed then we see the name Mohammed and the word Muslim inscribed oin this mosque. This is also where Al Malik inscribed the Sahada — this is your Islam’s icon, the Sahada. Before this, when the Arabs were on the warpath against Europe, they were know as Saracens. No one called them Muslims. Do explain how come the mosque from which Mohmmed supposedly went up to meet Allah was built 500-600 years after the event occured?_ “

                I don’t know anything about building inscriptions, chemp. But Mohammed does get named in the Qur’an: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_in_the_Quran

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahada#Origin is also in the Quran, as something you have to officially recite to be Muslim, i dunno when that started to happen.

                Saracens, was what Europeans called them, there’s two vying explanation, Arabic for robbers (sharaqeen) or Arabic for Easterners (al-Sharq al-Awsat, means the ME, sharqeeyeen).

                Islam just means “submission to God” (its the same word basically for military surrender), so the person that surrenders is a Muslim “submitter to God”. are you saying it wasn’t originally called Islam???

                chemp, there’s his tomb (inside a mosque) in Medina, he died and was buried there;

                and there’s the Al-Aqsa mosque which is where he supposedly went to heaven, the Muslims took the current Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem (the top of the old Temple ruin), claiming this was the same mosque (or place) Mohammed took his night journey (that’s the sura’s name) from. the Qur’an doesn’t really provide a map , so no one knows really if it was the Al-Aqsa mosque of today.

                BUT for sure it was the Jewish temple torn down by the Romans.

              • chemrock says:

                You asked why not write it in – details of Christ life. New testament gospels were written shortly after his death certainly by people who new him, or those who knew people who knew him. The focus of the writing was on his teachings. They were not building a personality cult. My issue is the complete silence on his teenage years.

                On the historicity of Mohammed you said he is mentioned in the Quran. But where are the ancient historians? Both with and outside the faith.

                How many times was Mohammed mentioned in the Quran? Surprise! Just 4 times, plus 1 time when he was mentioned as Ahmed. And surprise! The Quran mentioned Jesus (Issa) 25 times.

                Jesus is mentioned many times in the Bible, depending on which version. But any one of them — at least 900 times.

                Quran was written some 150 – 200 years (something like that) after his purported death. And they say it is a Perfect Book because it is ad verbatim from Allah brought via the Angel Gabriel. Of all persons to relay to, Allah chose an illiterate Messenger.

                On Al Aqsa mosque – they say Mohammed went up the haven to meet God from there, but the mosque was built 500 to 600 years after fact. The mosque was built facing The city of Petra, not Mecca.

                History explains the hordes of bedouins suddenly moved out of the desert and conquered European lands and Eastern Roman Empire. Their success attributed to the Quran that fired Muslim hearts. Seen in context, it didn’t happen this way. It’s more like this:

                1. Europe was weakened by the plague. It’s population decimated and economy collapsed. Thus Arabs won battles easily.

                2. Eastern Roman Empire and Babylon were weakened by decades of war.

                3. Roman Empire use locals to manage frontier security. Think outsourcing. So the whole swathes of Mediterranean and Arabian lands the Romans used bedouin Arabs to control the area. When Rome, Europe and Babylon weakens, the Arabs, know as Saracens then, grown in strength and naturally soon realised they don’t need an outsource contract when they can be in the business themselves. They soon found how Rome managed to get all those wealth prviously. Subjugate lands and collect tax. That’s the same motivation for imperialism in human history. Nothing about glory for God. Allah has not yet arrived on the scene.

                4. A weakened Europe was easy picking and so Arab army kept on going. Soon aris the Umayyad Empire, the 7th century that was know as the golden years that ISIS want to return to. Where they have taxes, captured slaves, all these foreign women for sale.

                5. Then came the 3rd Caliph Abdul Malek. That’s when Islam Allah and Mohammed came into being 500 years after his death. All indications point to a post-fact creation of the faith. Al Malek who ruled a huge empire must have realised you need an ideology to gel everbody together. Rome had their Christianity, Babylon has theirs. The Umayyad must have their own.

                6. Sounds blasphemous but there has been a lot of research into this. That’s why I say Islam will not allow themselves to be scrutinised the way we did to Christianity. Write an ideology and try to back date it 5-600 years, invariably you find lots of incoherence. I’ll just quote 4 examples here — (a) Mecca was never on the old trade routes. Ancient maps proved this. The Mecca of today didn’t seem to exist at the time of Mohammed. In fact, the description of the city in the Quran seemed to fit Petra. (b) If Mecca was so important why was the Umayyad Caliphate capital not based there. (c) Today, Saudi Arabia is carrying out a massive redevelopment of the land around the Kaaba (where the black stone is housed). Everything old building is torn down to make way for hotels malls etc to cater to the pilgrims. There is a place where reputably Mohammed was supposed to have lived. Should’nt the place be venerated for posterity, or at least dug for archaelogical findings ? No Sir, it’s gone. Because there is nothing there. (d) The smoking gun – the Quran was written in. style of Arabic text that has’nt yet been established in Mohammed’s time.

                7. Yes literary and Arab advancements in philosophical thoughts and mathematics shone for a while. They were smart enough to have so many literary works converted into Arabic. But the light shone only for 300 years due to one bright Islamic authority that came along. Forgot his name. He banned Scientific studies – its satanic. Without science, Islamic countries’ progress came to a halt. That’s their problem today. Remember I wrote – 1 man can affect millios. In this case it’s 1.6 billions.

              • Let’s see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Muhammad

                ..Today, only a minority of historians of early Islam doubt the historicity of Muhammad..

                ..Historian Michael Cook takes the view that evidence independent of Islamic tradition “precludes any doubts as to whether Muhammad was a real person” and clearly shows that he became the central figure of a new religion in the decades following his death. He reports, though, that this evidence conflicts with the Islamic view in some aspects, associating Muhammad with Israel rather than Inner Arabia, complicating the question of his sole authorship or transmission of the Quran, and suggesting that there were Jews as well as Arabs among his followers.[45] For Patricia Crone, a single Greek text written at around the time of Muhammad’s death provides “irrefutable proof” that he was a historical figure. There is also, she says, “exceptionally good” evidence that Muhammad was an Arab political leader and prophet. She says we can be “reasonably sure” in attributing all or most of the Quran to him. She takes a view that Muhammad’s traditional association with the Arabian Peninsula may be “doctrinally inspired”, and is put in doubt by the Quran itself, which describes agricultural activity that could not have taken place there, as well as making a reference to the site of Sodom which appears to place Muhammad’s community close to the Dead Sea..

              • The plague in Europe was around 1350. Definitely it weakened the continent for Turkish attacks. The 7th century was long before that plague which came from Asia.

                Justinian tried what Mohammed (or the Arabs) succeeded in doing about a century later. First half of the 6th century Justinian tried to get back old Roman territories under an Orthodox Christian theocracy. What he could hold nobody else after him could.

                Is it possible that the theocratic example of Justinian inspired an Arab imitator?

              • Battle of Tours, 732, is when Charles Martell (the Hammer), Charlemagne’s grandfather, defeated an Arab army in Southern France – keeping them from advancing further North than Iberia – where the Arabs had landed in 711 and defeated King Rodrigo..

              • chemp,

                your 1-4 is all one, explanation of how the lands which the Arabs initially spread to were already weakened. But remember around this time Christians were, religiously speaking were already powerful. the questions you wanna ask, is why didn’t the Eastern Christians fight back? martyr themselves, why did they all wholesale convert to Islam.

                the other theory to this, is that because of all the ‘Jesus as God’ and ‘Jesus as man’ traditions, Islam theologically speaking made more sense to Eastern Christians. otherwise you’d have a hunkering down situation like the ME Christians now, solidification of identity.

                But instead, people in Damascus, and else where simply abandoned their faiths and converted to Islam, why the ME is mostly Christian now– though there are Mid-East Christians that survived til today, same with Jews, which means there were no forced conversions, they had free will to chose.

                Most chose to be Muslim, chemp.

                5-6, this is new to me, chemp. But i have some counters just off the top of my head,

                (a) “Mecca was never on the old trade routes. Ancient maps proved this. The Mecca of today didn’t seem to exist at the time of Mohammed. In fact, the description of the city in the Quran seemed to fit Petra.”

                Did Pacific islanders have maps? Bedouins not having maps seems kosher to me, chemp. I believe the Nabateans became so rich precisely because of this , they kept secret their frankincense source.

                looking at Nabatean trade routes, Mecca won’t figure in , because it seems out of the way geographically speaking. Google earth it, chemp. But mecca would be in the perfect middle between Ta’if and Jedda, kinda like how Jerusalem is situated, in the middle of it all.

                I wouldn’t doubt Mecca being small time in the time of the Prophet. but not non-existent.

                (b) “If Mecca was so important why was the Umayyad Caliphate capital not based there.”

                I believe this also coincides with the Shi’a split, basically the folks that ended up running the Caliphate were Westward looking, kinda like MacArthur, after Seoul, went up to Pyongyang, then straight for the Yalu river. the same way , Mongols didn’t make Karakorum their sole capital when spreading.

                (c) “Today, Saudi Arabia is carrying out a massive redevelopment of the land around the Kaaba (where the black stone is housed). Everything old building is torn down to make way for hotels malls etc to cater to the pilgrims. There is a place where reputably Mohammed was supposed to have lived. Should’nt the place be venerated for posterity, or at least dug for archaelogical findings ? No Sir, it’s gone. Because there is nothing there.”

                No, in Islam (especially the current Salafi strain) you don’t venerate thingss like that, it’s considered a form of idolatry. Israelis love historical digs, because it provides more opportunity for them to lay claim to the land; if Mecca indeed was a small blip in the trading routes, it would make more sense that there would be nothing there, chemp.

                Medina (Yathrib) would have more as far as artifacts. Aside from that cave in Mecca (jabal al-noor) where the Prophet got his initial recitations, there wouldn’t really be anything significant in Mecca, chemp.

                (d) “The smoking gun – the Quran was written in. style of Arabic text that has’nt yet been established in Mohammed’s time.”

                Even Arab Muslims themselves will say that their Arabic came from the Qur’an, they were speaking something more barbaric, but Arabic still, before. they do get (especially Arab peninsula Arabs) get pretty proud of their Arabic, ie. because it comes from the Qur’an.

                Remember those videos I linked to in my Islamic renaissance in the Philippines article, there was this word that had no Arabic translation, but it was simply understood as something tasty and good, and heavenly even, so along the way it got translated to virgins, also good, tasty and heavenly (LOL!).

                out came the 72 virgins story,

                it turned out in Arahmaic houris were just grapes!!! LOL! raisins, not virgins!!! LOL!

              • sonny says:

                The Nabateans (nomadic Arab tribe) kept their trade secret (frankincense/myrrh) absolutely guardedly. They avoided the known oases to avoid interaction with other Arab tribes. Their sources were in the vicinity of Yemen & Somalia and involved also sea routes (hugging the Indian Ocean) and the Red Sea. They did brisk frankincense trade for the necrologies of Egypt and Rome. They were around only from late century B.C. and totally disappeared by 200 A.D. My guess they chose to be wiped out rather than give the secrets of their sources and their routes (land & sea); these they did leaving Petra and environs as their legacy.

              • sonny says:

                As usual, Neph, another link in your catena aurea worthy to be bookmarked for precious reference. Thank you.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Catena Aurea.
                There is a Teleserye here currently airing.
                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadenang_Ginto

              • chemrock says:

                @Irineo

                Thanks for tour perspective.

                1. On the historicity of Mohammud:

                You brought in Michael Cook and Patricia Crone, both are contemporary historians. So now we are to rely on the opinions of these 2 historians. Where are the ancient historians both friend and foe to the subject. Why are we having different sets of standards on the historicity of Mohammed and Jesus. For Jesus there are several ancient historians that mentioned him. For Mohammed there is none. You may find his name cropping up in some ancient text but it’s all a reference to the Quran.

                Michael Cook and Patricia Crone offered opinions. The late Patricia Crone actually weote something damaging to Islam. Based on her research on ancient trade routes and maps, she concluded Mecca did’nt existed at the time of Mohammed. Her reasons were powerful, supported by ancient trade route maps and shipping records.

                2. Yes you are right, the plague was in 1300s. The Muslim expansion phase in Europe was in 1300s up to 1600s. It supports the theory of a Europe decimated by the plague making Muslim advance easy.

                3. As I mentioned the terms Allah, Mohammed and Muslim appeared with the 3rd Caliphate, I think about 8th century AD under the Caliph Abdul Malik. Right up to the First Crusades the Arabs were still known as Saracens.

                4. During 6th century, Mohammed’s time, and in fact even way before that, the whole Levant region was full of maurading bedouins whose business was trade caravan raiding. Mohammed, if there was such a personality, was probably a bandit leader. In fact the Hadiths portrayed him in his slave trades. Where do slaves come from? Captured caravan traders . In any case there were a lot of small scale warfare going on all the time. All these fighting eventually led up to the Umayyad Empire. All these inital stages of fighting, there was no Quran, just bedouin Arabs.

                6. Why the fastidious insistance on no pictures drawing of the Prophet? If he was real at the time, and a bandit leader, it certainly makes sense not to publicise him. If he was a post-dated creation, more so no pictures, because none could have been obtained.

              • “the plague was in 1300s. The Muslim expansion phase in Europe was in 1300s up to 1600s. It supports the theory of a Europe decimated by the plague making Muslim advance easy.” That was the period of Ottoman advance in Southeastern Europe:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_Empire was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt (modern-day Bilecik Province) by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I.[10] After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.[11]

                Turks, though they also became Muslim shortly after entering the Middle East from Central Asia, are a different language and culture than Arabs. The Ottomans indeed took over the office of the Caliph from 1517, so the last Caliph and Ottoman Emperor was 1922-1924.

                The Turkish advance in Europe should not be confused however with the earlier advance of the Saracens/Moors into Iberia (8th century) and their control over Sicily (Emirate from 831-1091, most converted to Christianity or left by two centuries later)

                Of course the Arabs of the Peninsula were nomadic – very different from the older city cultures of Syria, Egypt and Iraq – or Persia. In Yemen, the old lifestyle is still very alive.

                No pictures? There were also “iconoclasts” among Orthodox Christians.

              • Some more from my trip to Sicily last summer.. (and some other trips)

                1) Muslims also helped build tiles in Sicilian cathedrals after the Emirate (Norman period). Our tour guide mentioned that the tiles had certain markers on them to denote the clan which was responsible. Obviously Arab artisans were also organized in clans. BTW both Spain and Portugal have an old tradition of tilemaking that comes from the Muslim period. Beautiful graphics were of course preferred as pictures were forbidden.

                2) By the Spanish period in Sicily (Aragonese from the 14th century onwards) there were no more Muslims there. But there were watchtowers to guard against Moorish pirates. Most islands in the Western Mediterreanean (even Majorca) suffered from that until the 1700s.

                3) The Maltese though they are just a few km south of Sicily speak a Semitic language. Therefore they pray to “alla” though they are Catholic due the Crusaders from hence.

                I will have to look into this more, but I guess Sicily, Malta and (also Spanish) Calabria + Naples were the main line of defence after the Turks lost at sea in Lepanto back in 1571. Malta’s capital Valetta (just a few km north of Tunis) will not look like an aircraft carrier for nothing. Though Malta is so dry that it cannot survive without grain from Sicily. Remembering a bad sunburn from a long time ago when I visited the island..

              • chemrock says:

                On the existence of Mecca in the 6th century AD:

                1. How does the Quran describe Mecca?

                – In a valley
                – With a stream
                – With a pillar of salt
                – With trees, grass, clay and loam
                – There were olive trees
                – Mountains overlooking the Kaaba

                All these are mentioned straight out of the Quran. Does it describe the Mecca of today? Let’s see.
                – Mecca is not in a valley, but on mountain top 900 ft above sea level
                – There is no stream in Mecca.
                – There is no pillar of salt.
                – Mecca is arid and hot. There are no trees and grass. Even the geology is wrong.
                – There are no olive trees
                – Kaaba is 900ft above sea level. No mountains overlook it.

                All descriptions in the Quran actually fit Petra
                – It is in a valley
                – There is a stream running through it
                – Petra is near Sodom and Gomorrah. When Lot and his family fled the doomed city, they were instructed by the angels never to look back. Lot’s wife turned back and was immediately crystalized. On the outskirts of Petra there is a huge pillar of salt locals call Lot’s wife.

                – Petra is in Jordan, Mediterranean region. Olive trees indigenious there.
                – Petra is a city cut into rocks at the base of the valley. Mountains overlook it from both sides.

                Sonny mentioned Nabeteans . There were great traders of the time. Apparently they were wealthy because they engaged building technologies and experts from the Roman empire to build all those Greco-Roman structures into the limestone mountains. Nabeteans were Arabic stock, thus tent dwellers.But they set themselves apart from the other Arabs. Nabeteans disappeared after a great Earthquake in 363AD. It is from the Nabeteans that the Arabs got their written language from.

                So where is Petra? 600 miles to the North of Mecca.

                2, How important is Mecca?

                The Quran stated Mecca is the first sanctuary, where Adam and Eve were thrown down to, it is the mother of all settlements (Saddam HUssein was’nt the one to coin ‘mother of xxx’ term) where Abraham lived, where Mohammed was born, and the centre of Qibla.

                It is supposed to be a great trading town, very important place in those days, agriculturally rich etc. Yet Quran mentioned Mecca only 2 times!

                Quran and Hadiths mentioned Mohammed in his everyday discourse, comes into contact with people from various places. These were mentioned :
                – Ad got 24 mentions, Thamud got 24 mentions, Midian7 mentions.
                The trouble is these places were 600 miles North of Mecca. How could Mohammed, living in Mecca, be rubbing shoulders with people living 600 miles away?

                3. The inconvenient truth of the Qibla:

                Qibla is the direction to face when praying. Jews faced Jurelsalem, the Muslims too must have theirs. So Quran directed all prayers to face Mecca. That’s the directive in AD 624. . In hotel rooms the little green arrow at the ceiling is the Qibla.

                Yet hundreds of mosques failed to have the Qibla pointed to Mecca. Al Aqsa mosque in Jurelsalem had their Qibla facing Petra. Nothing to do with no compass or GPS. Arabs were great travellers who move across simply by looking at the stars. If there’s anyone who knows direct, It’s the Arabs. The implication is there was no Mecca at the time.

                4. Lance : “I wouldn’t doubt Mecca being small time in the time of the Prophet. but not non-existent.”

                Quran said it was the mother of all settlements, you said it was small town. Quran described the hive of activities in Mecca, not reflective of a small town.

                5.Lance – ” looking at Nabatean trade routes, Mecca won’t figure in , because it seems out of the way geographically speaking.”

                Precisely Lance. Mecca is off Nabetean and Roman trade routes. Yet the narrative is Mecca was a bristling tade centre along trade routes. Romans mapped the area and Mecca never showed up.

                6. Byzantine trade route:

                Byzantine 7th century trade route there was no Mecca. (The Mecca location in the map is an insertion by me to show where it should be) Romans were scientific — they had regions fully mapped.

                Products from India and China used to come from the seas and up the Persian Gulf, then overland all the way to Mediterranean ports. This route would have made Mecca irrelevant as far as trade is concerned. Montgomery Ward came up with a theory – Trade Route Theory. Due to the 200 years of war between the Byzantine and Selucid Empires, the overland part became dangerous. Instead of going into the Persian Gulf, the marine routes were diverted to circumnavigate the Arabian Peninsula and ended up at Eden. So all the goods were off-loaded and travel by camel up North 12,000 plus miles all the way to the Mediterranean. So Mecca must be along this trade route. The Byzantine map did not show it’s existence.

                Contemporary Muslims are delighted with this theory. It resolves a thorny issue.
                But looking at the map, my friends, what’s wrong with this theory? Can you figure out?

                Why offload at Eden? Why should’nt the ships sail all the way up the Red Sea? This makes more sense — firstly, it’s cheaper by ship than by land. Secondly, overland trade trades are high security risks with lots of bedouin caravan robbers. .

                These are the factual inconvenient truth about Mecca.

              • karlgarcia says:

                I see that some of Chempo’s comments was taken from here.

                http://abdullahsameer.com/blog/was-muhammad-from-petra-or-makkah/

                In addition, the ancient word for Mecca was Bakkah

                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakkah

              • MECCA

                chemp,

                Your most important point is how Mecca is “described” in the Qur’an. Just like Al-Aqsa, which isn’t really described but since it shows up in Sura al-Isra ( Bani Israel, tribe of Israel) it’s assumed that it’s their Temple in Jerusalem.

                Now I just Googled Qur’an and Mecca, and it’s essentially the same problem. Here’s what I got ,

                mentioned by name “Makkah” one time Chapter 48 verse 24

                mentioned by name “Bakkah” one time Chapter 03 verse 96

                mentioned by the name “Umm Al-Qura” which litarelly means “the mother of villages” twice Chapter 06 verse 92 and Chapter 42 verse 7

                mentioned by the name “Al-Balad Al-Ameen” which litarelly means “the safe town” one time Chapter 95 verse 3

                mentioned by the name “Al-Balad” which means litarelly “the town” three times Ch2-V126 & Ch14-V35 & Ch90-V1

                and mentioned several times (more than 10) vertually by talking about the holy mosque and the Kaaba (from Quora commenter)

                so, twice or thrice it’s mentioned by name, but then there are these poetic names that maybe or may not be Mecca, the Kaaba is mentioned, since Kaaba is in Mecca ergo that has to be mecca.

                I understand Muslim tradition may prefer interpreting them as Mecca, but some skepticism is called for here.

                Poetic town names can be describing real or pretend places, the Qur’an shouldn’t be taken literally, just like Jewish holy books and Christian holy books.

                You’d have to verify if the geographic descriptions directly name Mecca or “the mother of villages”.

              • “Contemporary Muslims are delighted with this theory. It resolves a thorny issue.
                But looking at the map, my friends, what’s wrong with this theory? Can you figure out?

                When offload at Eden? Why should’nt the ships sail all the way up the Red Sea? This makes more sense — firstly, it’s cheaper by ship than by land. Secondly, overland trade trades are high security risks with lots of bedouin caravan robbers. .”

                Aaahhh…. this one I do know, personally, chemp. Sea wind/current, it’s seasonal. So if youre moving goods up and down the north-western Indian ocean, you’re mindful of when winds go north and south, that’ll take you to the ports indicated on your map.

                I’m sure ships went up the Red sea, but if you got free wind staying outside the Red sea, why go into it??? unless there’s extra pay for offloading in Egypt or Palestine. I’m assuming no one’s coughing up, so ship captains stayed in the Indian ocean, chemp.

                Hence, majority of the trade was overland.

                Maybe it was the case of IF it ain’t broke Why fix it, where Arabs were happy just following ancient Nabatean routes.

              • QIBLA

                chemp,

                Originally qibla was set for Jerusalem, then word came down to set it to Mecca, I have no idea when management decided to switch, but I do know from Jerusalem, direction to Mecca, would also be same-same as Petra— Google map it. 😉

              • Pillars of Salt

                FWIW, there’s plenty of pillars of salts in that area called Lot’s wife, just like there’s plenty of tombs of Jesus in Jerusalem, chemp. my point, as a geographic reference, Lot’s wife salt pillar is like say near a stop light.

              • chemrock says:

                Lance

                Where I have provided factual, or at least with refered facts, you countered with anecdotes and your intuition.

                QIBLA:

                Al-Aqsa mosque was built by Umar, the 2nd caliph after Mohammed’s death. It was just a small prayer hall at the time. Mohammud died 632, mosque built after him. Remember, it was from this mosque that he ascended to heaven. Unless the Prophet did some time travelling, that event could’nt have happened.

                The Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik and son al-Walid rebuilt it in 705 CE. &45 an earthquake destroyed it, and was rebuilt again in 754, rebuilt yet again 780, another earthquake again 1033 and rebuilt 1022. Short history of the mosque.

                The Quran verse 2.144
                Mohsin Khan: “Verily! We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad’s SAW) face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid- al-Haram (at Makkah). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction. Certainly, the people who were given the Scriptures (i.e. Jews and the Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka’bah at Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.”

                Lance I don’t know which Muslim friend told you about changing Qibla from Jurasalem to Mecca. From the beginning, the Quran instructed Qibla to face Mecca.

                Mohammud died 632, Al-Aqsa prayer hut built after his death, and folks during Mohammed’s time pray facing a mosque in Jurelsalem that has’nt been built yet?

                Many old mosques, as far away as China and Europe, faced Petra, as well as a lot of other old mosques. Al-Aqusa itself faced Petra. One wonders why, unless there was nothing in Mecca back then.

                ON TRADE ROUTE:

                Montgomery Ward’s trade route theory so enamoured Muslim scholars that they accepted it, Lance you rejected it. Your local sea winds knowledge may be correct Lance, I dunno why Muslim scholars accepted the theory.

                THE SALT PILLAR – LOT’S WIFE:

                I mentioned the particular pillar near Petra, which has significance to the description of Mecca in the Quran.
                You said there are many salt pillars there. Show me a salt pillar in Mecca area if you can?

              • QIBLA

                Here’s qibla, chemp, https://orias.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/styles/openberkeley_image_full/public/general/dhowports_10.jpg

                RED SEA DHOWS

                I don’t know how big the sea trade route would’ve been in the 7th century, chemp;

                but we have the ancient Nabateans’ route on land, then Red sea https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhow s , which were captained by Yemini/Sudanis as well as Indians,

                let’s suppose that the Red Sea did become popular, does it then follow that the old Nabatean routes indicated in your map above, disappears. NO. you can have both lines, on land and on sea.

                And Mecca would be in the middle. Again set up just like Jerusalem in the middle of the action, geographically.

                Lot’s Wife

                I’m simply saying that’s a common geographical item over there, not saying its in Mecca or not, chemp. A secondary point is that these things like sand dunes, are not permanent. So you can have one that’s still standing, but another that’s been torn down by nature or man.

                for example, Petra’s pretty dry now, chemp, it wasn’t then, so there’s stuff you have to consider that may have been around then but not anymore.

              • karlgarcia says:

                https://www.islamic-awareness.org/history/kaaba

                Location Of Makkah

                Makkah is at the intersection of latitude 21 to 25 degree north and longitude 39 to 49 degree east. It is set in a rugged landscape consisting mostly of solid granite, with rocks sometimes reaching 300 meters (1,000 feet) above see level.

                Makkah is enclosed by the Valley of Abraham, which is surrounded by two nearby mountain ranges to the east, west and south. The northern range comprises the Al-Falaq and Qu’aqi’an mountains, while the southern range consists of Abu Hudaidah mountain to the west, Kuday to the south and Abu Qubais and Khindimah to the south-east.

                There are three main entrances to Makkah: Al-Mu’allat (also known as Al-Hujûn), Al-Musfalah and Al-Shubaikah.

                It is generally agreed that Al-Mu’allat includes all areas which are higher than the Haram and Al-Musfalah covers all areas that are lowers.

                Ka’bah & Makkah In History

                Edward Gibbon writes about the Ka’bah and its existence before the Christian era in his book:

                ….. of blind mythology of barbarians – of the local deities, of the stars, the air, and the earth, of their sex or titles, their attributes or subordination. Each tribe, each family, each independent warrier, created and changed the rites and the object of this fantastic worship; but the nation, in every age, has bowed to the religion as well as to the language of Mecca. The genuine antiquity of Caaba ascends beyond the Christian era: in describing the coast of the Red sea the Greek historian Diodorus has remarked, between the Thamudites and the Sabeans, a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians; the linen of silken veil, which is annually renewed by the Turkish emperor, was first offered by the Homerites, who reigned seven hundred years before the time of Mohammad.[1]

                Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian of 1st century BC who wrote Bibliotheca Historica, a book describing various parts of the discovered world. The following lines are the English translation of Greek quoted by Gibbon from the book of Diodorus Siculus (Diodorus of Sicily) describing the ‘temple’ considered to be the the holiest in the whole of Arabia.

                And a temple has been set-up there, which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians.[2]

                It is interesting to know that Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria, mathematician and astronomer, flourishing about a century after Pliny, undertook to make an atlas of the habitable world. He was not a descriptive geographer, and his book was intended to be no more than a commentary on his maps. He enumerated some hundred and fourteen cities or villages in Arabia Felix.

                For example, Dumaetha, placed by Ptolemy just outside the northern boundary of Arabia Felix, must be the mediaeval Arabian Daumet, which is today the chief village of the great oasis of Jauf. Hejr, famous in the “times of ignorance” as the seat of a kingdom, and now Medayin Salih, is Ptolemy’s Egra. His Thaim is Teima, now known for its inscriptions to have had temples and some sort of civilization as far back as 500 BC. It is the Tema of Job. In Lathrippa, placed inland from Iambia (Yambo), we recognize the Iathrippa of Stephan of Byzantium, the Yathrib of the early Arab traditions, now honoured as El Medina, the City of Cities.[3]

                Apart from this a place called Macoraba is also shown which is identified as Mecca (please refer to the map facing page 17 of reference [3]). G E von Grunebaum says:

                Mecca is mentioned by Ptolemy, and the name he gives it allows us to identify it as a South Arabian foundation created around a sanctuary.[4]

                Makkah In The Scriptures

                The Qur’ân talks about Bakkah (the older name of Makkah) being the first house of worship appointed for mankind. It also addresses this place as Umm ul-Qurâ i.e., Mother of the Settlements.

                Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-‘Alamin (the mankind and jinns). In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham); whosoever enters it, he attains security. And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah], then Allah stands not in need of any of the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinns). [Qur’ân 3:96-97]

                The Bible also mentions about the valley of Baca in connection with the pilgrimage. Below is the quote from Psalms 84 (NIV):

                1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!
                2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
                3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young– a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
                4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
                5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
                6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
                7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
                8 Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob.
                9 Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
                10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
                11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
                12 O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

                The interpretation of the valley of Baca in the The Jewish Encylopedia is quite interesting, though it does not provide a complete evidence and leaves the reader with a suggestion. Below is the full quote.

                Baca, The Valley Of: A valley mentioned in Psalms LXXXIV:7. Since it is there said that pilgrims transform the valley into a land of wells, an old translators gave to Baca, the meaning of a “valley of weeping”; but it signifies rather any valley lacking water. Support for this latter view is to be found in II Samuel V:23 et seq.; I Chronicles XIV:14 et seq., in which the plural form of the same word designates a tree similar to the balsam tree; and it was supposed that a dry valley could be named after this tree. Konig takes Baca from the Arabian Baka’a, and translates it “lack of streams”. The Psalmist apparently has in mind a particular valley whose natural condition led him to adopt its name.[5]

                The translation of Arabian Baka’a as “lack of stream” seems to throw some light on the nature of the valley before the appearance of the stream of Zam-Zam near Ka’bah which was a dry place with no vegetation whatsoever.

                The Anchor Bible Dictionary does not throw any light on it, albeit, there are some suggestions in it too like the The Jewish Encylopedia. Below is the full quote.

                Baca, The Valley Of (PLACE): [Hebrew ’emeq habakka’], The valley of Baca (Psalms 84:1) is either a historical place name or a symbolical expression for “deep sorrow”. The first part of Psalms 84:6 seems to mean that by “passing through the experience of deep sorrow, righteous ones can make it the source of life.” The Septuagint translated the phrase into Greek as “the valley of weeping”. The word ’emeq “valley” has the root meaning of “deep”, so the expression may mean “deep sorrow”.

                However, some have considered it as the “valley of the balsam tree” from the same word in plural form found in 2 Samuel 5:24. This is based on the assumption that baka may be a “gum-exuding [weeping] tree”. Another possibility is that the word beka’im (plural of baka) may mean “weeping wall-rocks” in the valley of Rephaim on whose tops David and his troops were waiting for the coming of the Philistine army passing through the valley below (2 Samuel 5:24). It seems safe to seek the meaning of baka in relation to the dripping water, since we often find this word in the names related to rivers and wadis, such as Wadi al-Baka in the Sinaitic district and Baca on the wadi in the central Galilee area, W of Meroth. It is also possible to understand beka’im as the place of “weepings” of the Philistine army for their defeat by David. After all these considerations, the expression of “valley of baka” can best be taken as a symbolic expression “weeping” or “deep sorrow” which fits well in the context of Psalms 84:6.[6]

                The interpretation of the valley of Baca as a “the valley of weeping” makes sense because of the distress which Hagar(P) underwent when she was left with Ishmael(P) in the barren desert with no means of living.

                The two interpretations of Baca, viz., “lack of stream” and “the valley of weeping” appears to fit in the context of pilgrimage to Bakkah, the older name of Makkah where the Ka’bah is situated. Ka’bah has been a place of reverence by all Arabians before the Christian era as we have seen earlier.

              • karlgarcia says:

                https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/coin/hd_coin.htm

                Global Routes and Local Markets
                Lastly, we might consider the spaces where trade occurred, both along routes and in cities. Archaeologists have drawn attention to the value of material culture in documenting Byzantine and early Islamic trade networks. The Red Sea, for instance, has emerged as an important corridor for long-distance trade between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Study of networks like these allows us to track the cultural exchanges made possible by the movement of people and goods along prescribed routes. For example, Mecca and Medina at the time of the prophet Muhammad were important cities at the intersection of trade networks, pilgrimage routes, and migrations of local tribes.

                Similarly important are the urban settings of trade in the form of local markets. In some instances, the early Islamic period witnessed the construction of new marketplaces, as in Baisan (Beth Shean, Scythopolis) in the early Umayyad period. An impressive blue and gold wall mosaic there names the caliph Hisham as the market’s patron and the date 120 A.H./737–87 A.D. In other cities, the transition was more organic, as older urban fabrics transformed to accommodate burgeoning trade. For instance, in Tadmor (
                Palmyra
                ), present-day Syria, the stately columns of the city’s classical decumanus (main east-west thoroughfare) filled up with the ramshackle stalls of a suq (bazaar or marketplace). Whereas such structures were once viewed as symptomatic of the decline of the pristine ancient city, they are now understood more positively to reflect the vibrancy of commerce and cultural interaction during the transitional period.

              • chemrock says:

                @ kARL

                “”I see that some of Chempo’s comments was taken from here.– http://abdullahsameer.com/blog/was-muhammad-from-petra-or-makkah/

                I do not know about this blog. My info came from various sources — mostly research historians and academicians.

                It’s very dangerous to rely on blogs that one does not know anything about, especially on the subject of religion. That said, no one should take my blog at face value.

              • chemrock says:

                @ Lance

                QIBLA
                Thanks for pointing out the reference to change of direction. As I indicated before, the Quran pointed from the very beginning to the Qibla pointing to Mecca. There were older mosques pointing to Petra, the Dome, and another location (I forgotten where). So apparently there were a lot of confusion in the early days. Why so? Unless Mecca never existed and everything was a post-fact attempt to creating an ideology and the deveils in the details screw things up. The Qibla is just one incoherence, there are many other problem areas.

                TRADE-ROUTE AND RED SEA

                I grant your explanation may have some credulence. Personally I think the Persian Gulf and then overland by camel to Mediterranean is more likely, despite the wars going on. There reason — it probably takes a few months less than via the Red Sea route. Plus there are many historical records of the trade activities along the Persian Gulf route, but very little on the Red Sea route.

                PILLAR OF SALT

                I don’t think there is any salk pillar at the present Mecca region. It is a few hundred feet above sea level. So the Quran could’mt be describing Mecca, that’s my point.

              • chemp,

                I understand youre trying to chip away at the myth-making here. Remember i’m of the view that all this stuff is myth making too. but the simplest explanation usually is the best.

                Petra has never figured in Muslim lore, chemp, it’s Mecca (prophet was born there) and Jerusalem (Al-aqsa mosque story, plus Mohammed could’ve just been copying the Jews, ie. see we’re like you). Just two Qiblas observed.

                I’ve looked at these Petra-theorists websites, and they show all sorts of Qibla directions, via satellite imagery of ancient mosques. I’m gonna need more than these satellite photos, with arrows, chemp, because to figure out Qibla direction you can’t really tell from outside.

                Inside is where the mihrab ‘s gonna be, but more importantly the folks praying in the direction of the Qibla.

                Remember many mosques used to be churches so building alignment won’t necessarily prove qibla direction. For example , there are small mosques over here which are previous buildings (usually churches) converted, then direction is set to Qibla, they can’t move the whole building obviously, so they have to make do.

                if the building is facing directly East, and qibla is say southeasterly, if the space is cube, the attendees won’t pray in an angle just to accommodate Qibla, that won’t be the most wise use of space.

                My point, qibla isn’t perfect, chemp. there’s other factors in play. But I’m sure only Jerusalem and Mecca are the two qiblas (Qiblatayn, the ‘tayn’ at the end makes anything two). Petra just doesn’t factor in, chemp.

              • chemrock says:

                @ Karl

                You drew your info from islamic-awareness.org, There are lots of polemic and apologetic literature out there from all brands. One needs to be careful drawing info from such sites. They need to be fact-checked. There are many fair and reliable sites, but there are more falsehoods, half-truths, and nuances out there. I’m not saying this particular site in bad, though. Notice that Mecca is enclosed by Valley of Abraham, it is not in the valley. It is 1,000 ft above sea level in the mountains.

                Mecca, Makkah, Maccah, Bakkah etc — of course there are inconsistencies due to various reasons. But Psalm 18 Baca has nothing to do with this. Let’s not drag this in.

              • chemrock says:

                QIBLA

                Lance : “Remember many mosques used to be churches so building alignment won’t necessarily prove qibla direction”

                What we are trying to do is a historical critique. I mentioned old mosques not pointing to Mecca initially but to Mecca, and then switched later on to Mecca. The Quran states Qibla to be facing Mecca, so why did those earlier mosques face Mecca. This confusion supports the theory that the Quran was a cooked book almost 2 centuries after Mohammed’s death.

                You gave lot’s of rational anecdotes when it is so easy to prove this accusation. Somethings rationality can also get dogmatic which athiests never seem to see. Qibla is not necessarily the building facing, but the prayer hall.

                I’ll show you just a few

                1. Masjid al-Qiblaṫayn, Saudi Arabia 624 AD-
                One of the oldest mosques, located in Medina. From 622 to 624 it has Qibla towards North — line cuts through Petra and Jurelsalem (so it could be facing on or the other). It was here 624AD that Mohammed received revelation to change the facing to Mecca. It was torn down after 2 years and rebuilt to face Mecca. Strange?

                2. Great Mosque Of Guangzhou< China 627AD
                This is the earliest mosque know to face Petra. And it ain't no Church converted to mosque.
                Degree of error 2.81

                3. Cherman Juma Masjid, China 629 AD
                This ain't no old church.
                Points to Petra. Degree of error 0.26

                I could go on with many other examples. The info comes from Dan Gibson, author of books on early history of Arabia and Islam. Gibson went to various countries to study the Qiblas of old mosques.He visited hundreds of them all over the world. Qibla is the direction of prayer, not necessary the actual facing of the mosque building. There is a Qibla wall, this is the facing for the prayers. Lance, Gibson did'nt use google map. He used the latest Japanese GPS surveying technology.

                Gibson did what Islamic scholars should have done years ago. They are too scared to face the inconvenient truth. Today, Gibson is a hated figure, and often attacked in social media.

              • karlgarcia says:

                @Chemp,
                Point well taken.
                Apologies for making my guess sound so sure. (About source)
                We should always fact check, but one way of fact checking too is to allow somebody more informed and knowledgeable to correct you.

                Ps
                I agree including the psalms in Bakkah is way far-out.

  9. People have been duped by ‘religion’ since the beginning of time. They are good people by most measures. Just easily misled for not having any ability for discernment. Subscribing to the ‘herd mentality’ they will ‘believe’ all they cannot prove, only because so many have ‘believed’ before them. The poor are particularly susceptible to these fairly tales.

    • chemrock says:

      Fairy tales to some but not to others.

      But I agree majority go to Church and just go through the motions and don’t really understand what it is they are doing. I once thought church sermons could be better improved but then I realised that majority of the lay are just common folks so the sermons had to be kept simple. I’m not talking of sermons as by those prosperity preachers , but raise the intellectual level a few bars higher.

      I was a non believer, but made the attempt to understand Christianity from intellectual and philosophical points of view. I did my own scrutiny of the scriptures without any bias and came out a believer.

      The reality is the Bible has been thoroughly scrutinised, but many who profess disbelief never really made any attempts to find out more. Most just know the scriptures only at the superficial level which to a rational mind, is not believeable.

      • QuietPoetic says:

        I agree (although I never called myself an agnostic nor an atheist). I also recently began reading the New Testament – just to read it for what it is without the filter of a priest or a minister. I am influenced by Catholicism from childhood til early 20s then INC til the church scandal erupted, that’s when I understood the word “Churchian.” I don’t shy away from the fact that I once belong to both religions at a certain point in my life.

        RECOMMENDED READING: THE IRRATIONAL ATHEIST by VOX DAY

        Anyway, my question is you mentioned “Judeo-Christian values” 6 times and heard from a podcast that the term is like a wizard trick used by the Jews to fit in with the Western world. Some Westerners claim that it is only Christianity that influenced the west. Judaism today could not have been more against Christianity as what their holy book Talmud suggests. Do you subscribe to that idea or know something about the subject?

        • chemrock says:

          There is a lot of parrellism of J-D. Values of Christian charity and humanitarism comes from Judaism. Remember my blog on usury — no usury on loans, foregiveness of debt on Sabbath year, etc. Moses 10 commandments.

          • QuietPoetic says:

            I’m in the position that Jews of today are not of the same faith of the Jews from Moses or even Jesus’ time. Jews killed Christ (fact!) and the Jews of today are outside God’s covenant (otherwise, they’ll be Christians).

  10. “A pseudoscientific explanation for the existence of God is the “Intelligent Design” argument. Ironically it’s the advancement of science that points more and more to the plausibility of an intelligent and transcendental designer. Science has revealed so many wonders and the intricacies in so many features in the natural world which are impossible to attribute them to have come into being by pure chance. So many things are so finely-tuned in the world for life to exist.”

    chemp, I’ll stop here for now for fear of dominating the thread (per Joe’s advice awhile ago). But you have plenty of points for argument here, and I have to thank you for this.

    So let me turn the tables here, and ask…

    What has Intelligent Design contributed, aside from just saying this is too cool to simply have happened by chance, it must be designed by my Christian God!!! 😉 I mean , epigenetics is still within the purview of Science, no?

    ‘Einstein famously said “God does not play with dice”’

    Remember Einstein also said,

    “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

    His playing with dice statement was in response to Bohr’s Quantum Physics.

    A debate that was cut short by WWII , never picked up again, until John Bell, who said,

    “Bohr was inconsistent, unclear, willfully obscure and right. Einstein was consistent, clear, down-to-earth and wrong.”

    among Quantum Physicists , i’m not one, Einstein was wrong, they’ve since gone forward, God does play dice. my position, Quantum mechanics doesn’t necessarily refute God, just that he plays dice.

    • here’s more on Bell,

      https://joeam.com/2016/09/01/the-akashic-records/#comment-278782

      “John Bell’s great achievement was that during the 1960s he was able to breathe new and exciting life into the foundations of quantum theory, a topic seemingly exhausted by the outcome of the Bohr-Einstein debate thirty years earlier, and ignored by virtually all those who used quantum theory in the intervening period. Bell was able to show that discussion of such concepts as ‘realism’, ‘determinism’ and ‘locality’ could be sharpened into a rigorous mathematical statement, ‘Bell’s inequality’, which is capable of experimental test. Such tests, steadily increasing in power and precision, have been carried out over the last thirty years.
      Indeed, almost wholly due to Bell’s pioneering efforts, the subject of quantum foundations, experimental as well as theoretical and conceptual, has became a focus of major interest for scientists from many countries, and has taught us much of fundamental importance, not just about quantum theory, but about the nature of the physical universe.

      In addition, and this could scarcely have been predicted even as recently as the mid-1990s, several years after Bell’s death, many of the concepts studied by Bell and those who developed his work have formed the basis of the new subject area of quantum information theory, which includes such topics as quantum computing and quantum cryptography. Attention to quantum information theory has increased enormously over the last few years, and the subject seems certain to be one of the most important growth areas of science in the twenty-first century.”

      https://physicsworld.com/a/on-the-case-of-the-missing-helium/

  11. popoy says:

    Have not read all of the brilliance of the above, But I remember a piece which I like to share. Sorry t’s a bit long.
    If God Is History

    If God is both history and oracle
    (A Reminder to Wannabe Dead Heroes)

    If God is both history and oracle
    Then God works not in mysterious ways
    But in glaring obviousness.

    Take the French Revolution to see
    Floods of blood to wash cleaned
    The folly of excess of the elite.

    Shed tears for St Joan of Orleans
    By her people her own she was betrayed,
    she burned at the stake
    To nullify her victories in the name of angels.

    Lament India’s Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation
    Own’s country independence was no Kevlar
    Against bullets of his tribe’s assassin.

    Catholics forget short-lived Pope John Paul I
    Poisoned by the devout and devoted
    He only wanted to be Jesus-like in his ways.

    Shake your head for Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Shot not for having a dream but for talking
    So, his people may live like true human beings.

    Remember Jose Protacio Rizal, scientist and artist
    Who thought liberation is won by ways of peace
    Whose politicians remain yoked and shackled by avarice.

    Look down on lowly plebeian Andres Bonifacio
    The rightness of his cause killed by status quo
    Wrongly believing that good prevails over evil too.

    Remember Ninoy Aquino killed by the hand of one
    Of a people he thought worth dying for; when no one
    Is sure what it was about after all is said and done.

    Remember Ninoy’s widow, Cory Cojuangco when only
    Very few know why she was attacked with so many coup,
    People only knew when many have served well Gloria Arroyo.

    Think of Obama’s typology of bad and good side of history.
    Think of the villains and victims of God’s obviousness.
    Think of His son, speared and crucified, and be ready.

    And you will know, no noble cause, no humble prayer
    Or ferocious thrusts is safe from pious or Godless
    Woes dimmed by oracles, chronicled by history.

    If God is history and oracle, isn’t it a fact ?
    His obviousness remain a mystery
    Only to the unaware of murder and treachery.

    If God is history and oracle, read therein
    Which time has made well written
    That man not Eden is evil’s flourishing garden.

    March 1, 2010
    Constant Winds p.19

    • popoy says:

      another one written earlier:

      Circle

      I knelt before the wisdom of creation, knowing
      yet not doubting the purpose of it all.
      To be born, nay, to decide to be born is to
      understand, agree and accept the reasons why
      all living creatures must live and die.

      I grew up in blissful ignorance of the power to
      exist and banish; of the connections between man and beast.
      Like the caveman I awaken every morn agitated like fire,
      more cunning than beast, more patient than night I kill,
      ignorant no more of the nexus between predator and prey.

      I slowly open my eyes and blink to years of brightness
      of the eternal sun, heating, wrinkling my skin into old age.
      I snort and exhale the season’s wind; angry storm, spanking
      mountain trees, serene breeze, calming smoldering seas;
      yet nature’s helpless to lend resilience to my aging flesh.

      I am water filling my organ, tissue, cell and protoplasm.
      Water I am not from brooks and streams, free flowing spring
      and gurgling fountains; they seem to last forever while
      my organ, tissue, cell and protoplasm dehydrate and die.

      Barbarians and their cavemen ancestors live and die
      knowing, worshiping wind and water and fire.
      Wind, water and fire; Are not these in Earth the essence
      of their existence? I am caveman, I am barbarian
      till I learned God’s circle, His creation equation.

      November 22, 2004
      Constant Winds p. 8.

  12. karlgarcia says:

    https://www.chesterton.org/quotations/ATHEISM/

    Atheism
    “Atheism is indeed the most daring of all dogmas . . . for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”
    – “Charles II,” Twelve Types

    “It is still bad taste to be an avowed atheist. But now it is equally bad taste to be an avowed Christian.”
    – “Introductory Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy,” Heretics

    “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”
    – “The Case for Complexity,” Where All Roads Lead

    CLICK TO TWEET
    “There is no bigot like the atheist.”
    – Magic

    “The atheist is not interested in anything except attacks on atheism.”
    – “Frozen Free Thought,” The Well and the Shallows

    “Progress is Providence without God. That is, it is a theory that everything has always perpetually gone right by accident. It is a sort of atheistic optimism, based on an everlasting coincidence far more miraculous than a miracle.”
    – “Wells and the World State,” What I Saw in America

    “There are arguments for atheism, and they do not depend, and never did depend, upon science. They are arguable enough, as far as they go, upon a general survey of life; only it happens to be a superficial survey of life.”
    – Illustrated London News, Jan. 3, 1931

    “I do not feel any contempt for an atheist, who is often a man limited and constrained by his own logic to a very sad simplification.”
    – “Babies and Distributism,” The Well and the Shallows

    “Even in an empire of atheists the dead man is always sacred.”
    – “The Meaning of Dreams,” Lunacy and Letters

    “Somehow one can never manage to be an atheist.”
    – “The Swords Rejoined,” The Ball and the Cross

  13. Leo J. says:

    If nothing comes from nothing then who created god?

    Moral is possible without god or religion. If you cannot tell right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion.

    • chemrock says:

      “If nothing comes from nothing then who created god?”

      I thought I addressed this in the article. This is the question of infinite regression.Who created the God who created the God etc….I explained the imposibility of infinite regression. From a present position, if you go backwards, there has to be a start point. If there is no start point, you can never arrive at the present point. (The dominoes example in the article)

      That leads to the rationale that there is a First Cause. As laws of physics say no physical quantity can explain its own existence, it is caused by a Cause outside of it. Thus the First Cause has to be outside the system, or outside the Universe, ie means Transcendental. Since no pysical quantity can explain its own existence, the First Cause is not physical, ie It is non-physical.

      “Moral is possible without god or religion. If you cannot tell right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion.”

      Thanks for brining this up. Also raised by Edgar and Irineo. Please see my separate thread comment below

  14. karlgarcia says:

    True story or not, I agree that Christianity(not just Roman Catholics) is more of Community than of faith and the Bible people, if you will, want to change that.

    https://odb.org/2006/07/08/an-atheists-point-of-view/

    An Atheist’s Point Of View

    Three young men who say they are atheists decided to “sample” and report on several churches in their city. One of these men said, “There is something other than teaching that is appealing to people. We didn’t see a lot of doctrine. . . . The appeal was mostly the community. The content in most churches isn’t nearly as important as the packaging.” The three atheists offered this explanation for why thousands of people in their area attend church each Sunday: The attraction stems more from a person’s Christian identity than from what the religion teaches.

    Their experience agrees with the observation of author A. W. Tozer, who said, “Increasing numbers of [Christians] are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe, but their beliefs have been so diluted as to be impossible of clear definition.”

    The apostle Paul knew whom he believed, and he instructed Timothy to “hold fast” to the truth he had been taught (2 Timothy 1:12-13). We too need to hold tightly to our beliefs based on the unfailing, God-inspired Bible. What we believe about God is more crucial than any feeling we get by being in church. Tozer calls us to stand “firm on the Word of God that lives and abides forever.”

  15. karlgarcia says:

    Another one from the Daily Bread.

    God does not need our defending, he needs us (believers) to represent him and be like him and that takes time, restraint and love.

    https://odb.org/2017/05/23/defending-god/

    Defending God

    The anti-God bumper stickers covering the car seized the attention of a university professor. As a former atheist himself, the professor thought perhaps the owner wanted to make believers angry. “The anger helps the atheist to justify his atheism,” he explained. Then he warned, “All too often, the atheist gets exactly what he is looking for.”

    In recalling his own journey to faith, this professor noted the concern of a Christian friend who invited him to consider the truth of Christ. His friend’s “sense of urgency was conveyed without a trace of anger.” He never forgot the genuine respect and grace he received that day.

    Believers in Jesus often take offense when others reject Him. But how does He feel about that rejection? Jesus constantly faced threats and hatred, yet He never took doubt about His deity personally. Once, when a village refused Him hospitality, James and John wanted instant retaliation. “Lord,” they asked, “do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” (Luke 9:54). Jesus didn’t want that, and He “turned and rebuked them” (v. 55). After all, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).

    It may surprise us to consider that God doesn’t need us to defend Him. He wants us to represent Him! That takes time, work, restraint, and love.

  16. Leo J. says:

    “Where is all this hate for God coming from that is increasingly pulling believers out of Churches?”

    There’s no such thing, How can atheists hate something that doesn’t exist?

    I’ve seen lots of exchanges between believers and non-believers, nobody wins, and it will go down to one final argument/dismissal: “It’s because God has a plan.”

    “Kids dying from cancer, war, plague, and abuse?” We’ll, it’s because God has a plan.

    Why did God create evil? We’ll, it’s because God has a plan.

    If God is perfect then we should be perfect, Because He created us. We’ll, it’s because God has a plan.

    If God has a plan then why pray… to stop storm/war/plagues etc.? God has a plan, let him finish it.

    Please, don’t generalize against atheists. Just like theists, majority of them are kind and rational people and there are some bad apples of course.

    My mother is a Muslim and I’m married to a “Sagrado Katoliko”, they are the most wonderful thing that ever happened in my life.

    The extremists are the ones that create the problem, theists. They will rub their religion on your face and accuse you of being evil if you refuse to accept everything that’s written in their Holy Scriptures. I think this triggers atheists to react and challenge the accuracy of scriptures.

    no intention to disrespect anyone.

    • karlgarcia says:

      That is more of a problem, they hate something that supposedly is non-existent.
      Is there no hate involved? If yes, good.

      • karlgarcia says:

        If it is live and let live, then there is no problem.
        Jews went to the gas chamber and Nietzche was not unhappy.

        • Leo J. says:

          1 person, Nietzche’s atheism doesn’t represent my atheism. And I’m 100% sure that you’ll agree with me if I say that those millions of Nazis who whore belt buckles that say “Gott mit uns” don’t represent your faith too, sir.

          “Hate” is a strong word.

          Have a great day, everyone.

          • Interesting thought, that atheism has sects and one can choose which one to join.

            For myself, I think morality is religion, a commonality of understandings as to what is best for us amongst the many mysteries delivered to us by God or science. One believes . . . and has faith . . . in what is right.

            • Leo J. says:

              It depends on how you define “sect”. You can be an atheist and be (vegetarian or whatever) at the same time. That’s not a sect, that’s a choice.

              Nietzsche was an atheist whose point of view regarding the Jews differs with mine. Different sects of atheism? No! we’re just two persons with different point of views regarding the subject.

              Nazis claimed that their “God is with them ” while they’re sending Jews to gas chambers. Is this another sect in Christianity?

              I don’t remember myself roaming around the neighborhood, knocking on doors, and asking people to “join me” or “join my sect”.

              For myself, The Constitution should be the basis of morality, it’s not perfect but it’s the closest thing we have to real justice.

              Good day, again sir.

              • Nietzsche wasn’t an anti-Semite:

              • Well, thank you for inspiring me to think about this. A sect is a subset that has similar beliefs or understandings. If there is not such a configuration to atheism, it suggests that atheism is nothing but individuality with no rules. It is haphazard as to what one gets when discussing anything. Which, interestingly enough, explains the hostility that commonly emanates from atheists who do not allow the religious to have their own individuality or collective beliefs.

              • Joe,

                As for me, I wouldn’t wanna join an Atheist or Agnostic group, what are we gonna talk about??? how cool it is to dis-believe? there’s just no reason to come together. I’d much rather join a bowling team, and I hate bowling.

                I’m sure this goes for most atheist/agnostics.

              • Okay, so it is individualism and people’s rational conclusions can differ, so there is no pure atheism, as such, just an aspiration.

              • Well, not really individualism per se, Joe.

                I’m sure parentage has influence, ie. my parents didn’t drag me to church. who you hang out with. And readings too, before I found out about Spinoza and Thomas Paine’s ‘Age of Reason’ and Nietzsche, there were novels and short stories that already pointed me to that direction , atheism/agnosticism.

                It’ s something you learn, read, hear about and internalize then move on, there’s no need to affirm it, I don’t think once you chose to be atheist/agnostic you revert back.

                But what’s interesting about this discussion is that atheists are the bad guys, when atheism has only been around say about a century (give or take); can you imagine being an avowed atheist or agnostic in the 1800s; or 1700s, or farther back??? Spinoza had to publish anonymously, Paine was cast out; Nietzsche (well he kinda invited, ie. anti-Christ) was vilified.

                For longer, people who expressed their disbelief and who were vocal about it were ostracized or worst killed. I think the fact that atheist/agnostics are a-holes is just that for longer period of time we couldn’t voice our opinions.

                Now we can. Conditions are favorable, but if you take into account the greater history, you get the hint that this is just blip , we’ll go back to killing folks who don’t quite fit. Justifying it thru this and that, hence the importance of amorality.

                Atheist/agnostics IMHO are more averse to group-think.

              • I am trying to put order to Leo’s observations that he and other atheists disagree on issues, but that morality is clear as to what is right or wrong. If there is no common intellectual or rational commonality among atheists, then why cannot belief in God be among the rational commonalities permitted, given that atheists cannot prove Chemrock’s First Cause, one way or another. It must be taken on faith that we came to exist. Atheists become faith-bound to believe there is a rational reason.

                I am also perplexed about Leo’s view that atheists know right from wrong. Where is it codefied? And are we not sacrificing ourselves to that morality, just as a religious person sacrifices for his faith?

                It seems to me that atheism is a free-for-all amalgamation of a lot of knowledge and ignorance and determination that somehow religions are restrictive of intellectual reason. I’d be inclined to think that is not true. Perhaps religions empower the best of organization around a common set of rules, empower intellectual expansion around moral anchors, and stretch us in terms of non-rational elation. Religions are an organized component of individualistic expression, beyond explicit reason. Atheism tries to pull it back into a purely pragmatic analytical treatment of life, without being able to agree to the moral principles that promote the species’ well-being. Because once agreeing to those principles, faith is introduced.

              • Faith is introduced to resolve the disagreements among atheists. There must be a commonality somewhere, or there is chaos. Atheists have faith that reason can find a solution to the mysteries that religious people say are of God.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                1. The First Cause argument, in my view, is an assumption… despite its pedigree. It can neither be proved nor disproved.

                1.1. The scientific equivalent of the First Cause argument is the Singularity of the Big Bang theory.

                2. The First Cause argument, per what has been written here, is based on the impossibility of Infinite Regression. Again, this is an assumption. Given an eternity of time, infinite regression (or progression) is tenable. There is the theory that the universe expands and contracts in endless cycles. Eternal Return (or recurrence).

                3. Why does the morality of atheists need to be codified to prove they have it? It could be an individual quality. One cannot argue that all atheists do not possess the quality of empathy. Indeed, one reason that atheists push for their unbelief is the perceived savagery and barbarity in the world. Such a world, they argue, cannot be created by a perfect God.

                3.1. Although not an atheist, I have codified a secular code of ethics.

                4. The roots of atheism are skepticism and inquiry. These are healthy attitudes which force us to examine ourselves and the world.

                4.1. Is not the rabidity of atheists equaled (or exceeded) by theists?
                *****

              • Thanks.

                4.1 I suspect rabidity is a human condition found in equal proportions everywhere.

                4.2 This confirms to me that atheism is an aspiration, not a finite intellectual or behavioral standard.

                3.1 And a mighty good one, too.

                3.0 I wrestle with a non-codefied atheism because it suggests to me an amoral quality not unlike that of the Duterte government. To win is the code and empathy is irrelevant. God is irrelevant, or useful as an object to praise or condemn in the interest in gaining the win. Atheism without a moral code is individualistic self-dealing, hedonistic, or cruel. Atheism with a moral code is a hair’s breadth short of religion with Reason as the deity.

                But this is mere quibbling, and I’ve reached the end of my ability to draw conclusions on the matter, nor do I believe it is necessary to solve every mystery to live well.

              • @Edgar: could it be that the morality of atheists is only possible because the of the morality of the culture as a whole, conditioned by centuries of religion?

                Just like democrats can be law-abiding because that also was conditioned by society?

                We take a lot of things for granted which probably are just Version 20.19.4 of the software running on our brains, upgraded by generations before and by our parents.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                I can only speak for myself.

                1. I went through an atheistic phase before an agnostic phase. The former, usually at puberty, precedes the latter because total rebellion accompanies the confusion resulting from the crack in the cosmic egg afforded by religion.

                1.1. Then, perhaps, one goes through peak experiences in one’s teenage years and one changes one’s mind and becomes an agnostic. The world, after all, is not such a cruel place. It can be a wondrous place of excitement and discovery. A first smoke. A sip of beer. The feel of a woman’s breast.

                2. If I take my experience to be typical of most atheists, I would say that my personal sense of morality was higher than the ordinary believer. As the light of reason led me to rebellion, it also led me to question the norms of society. I saw many things wrong with society, a society supposedly living in goodness and godliness under the umbrella of religion.

                3. So, yes, I would say that the morality of atheists is a reaction against and a rejection of ordinary conditioned morality.

                4. Perhaps it is not true to claim that atheists have a higher form of morality. I used the phrase “personal sense of morality” because our notions of right and wrong are – more or less – universal. So the higher sense of morality of atheists is a return to the fundamental norms. It is not the discovery of new norms.
                *****

              • I agree with edgar’s comment above, but number 2 especially.

              • sonny says:

                @
                “1. The First Cause argument, in my view, is an assumption… despite its pedigree. It can neither be proved nor disproved. … 1.1 …. Singularity of the Big Bang theory. ”

                For me, Aristotle & Aquinas & Georges LeMaitre seem to be good places to start a common sense approach to this cosmology.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Argument by authority?
                *****

              • sonny says:

                No, not by authority but by resonance of what they say to my own experience.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Excellent.
                *****

              • chemrock says:

                @ Leo

                “Nietzsche was an atheist whose point of view regarding the Jews differs with mine.”

                Just a bit to clarify here Leo. Nietsche was a brilliant thinker. He was merely pointing out that man cannot live by Reason alone. Rational thinking alone provides no morality foundation and this will lead to hedonism and ultimately totalitarianism because from it will arise stongman leagers and master race mentality. He actually warned us of Hitler -types.

                If there is such a word as amoral, then I would describe Nietsche as aChristian, aJew, and aanti-semitic. He wrote on both sides of the coin because search for truth was important tom him. Obviously his words can be taken advantage by any interested party, such as the National Socialist of the time.

                Nietsche did not actively come out in support of the Jews, as some other great thinkers of his time did. But he wrote in support of Jews and Christianity in many of his other works. Such as :

                In his book “Human, All Too Human” he talked of the highs and lows. ie the higher and lower cultures and moralities, he clearly associated Christianity with the highs when he wrote : “We owe to Christianity, to the philosophers, poets, and musicians, a superabundance of deeply agitated feelings, the hot flow of belief in ultimate truths, which Christianity, especially, has made so wild”

          • karlgarcia says:

            I think I get your point. Sect simply means sector, or section. Individual differences still has to find a common denominator. Thanks.

            • Leo J. says:

              Atheism like “magnetism” or “criticism” is not an organization, group or a club where people can join, it can’t have a sect. Rules? Can you tell right from wrong?
              When atheists meet they usually talk about everyday life, politics, work, family, hobbies etc.
              Do theists talk about how cool it is to be a believer every time they meet?
              I don’t think so.

              Sorry Karl, I had to use your space. It’s the only reply option Available. Thanks sir. PS we don’t eat babies.

              • karlgarcia says:

                👍

              • “Do theists talk about how cool it is to be a believer every time they meet?
                I don’t think so.”

                I’m not so sure about Catholics; but as for Protestants, they are always getting together for Bible studies and always start off with something like AA intros, called testimonials, and they do talk about how cool it is to be “saved”, etc. All the time, even sing about it.

                I’d wager that’s the reason they are all meeting up. To affirm each others’ beliefs.

                With atheism and agnosticism , I find it hard to affirm the negative— at least in a group setting. I just Googled atheist/agnostic groups and there is one called the American Atheists organization. seems more like a redundant organization to the ACLU.

                This is interesting though, like Joe, I’m now Googling atheist/agnostic organizations near me, just to see what they talk about.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                There are national, international atheist organizations and conventions.

                o Philippines – Freethinkers Society
                o America – American Atheists
                o International – Global Atheists Convention

                Some links:

                https://www.aacon2019.org/
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Atheist_Convention
                *****

              • chemrock says:

                @ Leo

                Don’t get me wrong. I do not mean Atheist are cruel men out to get anyone. Their belief systems on Naturalism leads to issues with loss of morality, that’s the danger and the thrust of my article. And what I meant by militant atheist — atheism is in vogue in western countries. The intelligent ones can make lots of money out books and appearance in the talk circuit and other appearances. Its big money, much like prosperity preachers.

                “Do atheists talk about how cool it is to be a believer every time they meet?
                I don’t think so.”. Of course not. They don’t talk about themselves. They are polemical. So if they don’t talk about atheism, what do they talk? Well Christianity of course, Attack attack attack.

                So they do their best to kill Christianity. And a big problem happening in America now, Christian apologetics’ opportunities to defend the faith is getting narrower and narrower due to regulatory restrictions in the name of religious equality. But atheists have the floor all the time, because it’s not a religion.

                Why do atheists not attack Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, or Shintoism or some other religion?

              • “So they do their best to kill Christianity.”

                chemp,

                And what was Christianity doing before that? Embracing atheists and non-Christians?

                The separation between State and Church is something very American, nowhere else was it done first, that’s Made in USA, chemp. it deserves to be defended. Without it we’d be like Europe and the rest of the world, with their religious wars.

                ACLU, does this; and apparently there’s the American Atheists organization. 😉

              • “Why do atheists not attack Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, or Shintoism or some other religion?”

                Well, like you said most atheists are from America. And right now the biggest threat to separation of Church and State are Christians, American Christians , mostly evangelical types but Catholics too who hate Pope Francis.

                Atheists don’t have to defend themselves (notice the counter-insurgency term there 😉 ) from Islam, Hindu and Buddhism and Shintoism, because we have Christians to attack them.

                Christians also like attacking them by the way. But remember I wrote about the Islamic renaissance on here for the Philippines. So at times, an atheists can “attack” (ie. argue) both Christians and Muslims.

              • chemrock says:

                Lance

                “And what was Christianity doing before that? Embracing atheists and non-Christians?:

                The conquistadors was a shameful episode for Christianity, absolutely undefendable.
                But all Christian outreach in peaceful times are offers for salvation. If you like fine, if not, that’s ok. No one is attacking anyone.
                The extrele left liberals seek to stamp out God in all public spheres. And by God they mean the Christian God only.

                “The separation between State and Church is something very American, nowhere else was it done first, that’s Made in USA, chemp. it deserves to be defended. Without it we’d be like Europe and the rest of the world, with their religious wars.”

                Did’nt the concept came from Jesus himself? Is there any important part of US histoery where the church specifically steps in and deamnd something? Do note this is an honest question, not in contempt.
                The defense for Christian fervours in public space is because USA was founded by protestant fathers who consecrated the country to the Christian God. “In God we trust” has been there ever since.

                “Atheists don’t have to defend themselves (notice the counter-insurgency term there 😉 ) from Islam, Hindu and Buddhism and Shintoism, because we have Christians to attack them.”

                Christianity has mostly been apologetics, seldom aggressive. Here’s a real story. Sometime back a school in Malaysia had a talk by a foreign Islamic imam. Somewhere in the talk a school administrator, a Christian Chinese, stood up to ask a doubting question. The imam asked the administrator to go up the stage. He went onstage and stood in front of the imam.To everyone’s surprise, the imam slapped the administrator right across the cheek. Before anyone could react, the imam asked “Does’nt your religion say you will give me the other cheek?” The admin defiantly gave his other cheek and received another tight slap. As he was about to walk away, the imam said are’nt you supposed to give me your pants. The admin turned to his school children and said I’m sorry you have to see this, but it is what I have to do. He stripped off his pants and left the hall. Hours later the admin was surprised to see a long queeue of his Muslim pupils outside his office. They lined up to apologise for what happened.

                Christians never attack, but offer salvation, if only you want to listen.

                But lately, I think the Christian leadership now understands to be polemic as well. This comes at a time when western thinkers are beginning to scrutinise the Koran. From these studies have come forth tons of mistakes discovered in the Koran that point to a lot of fallacies. These polemical platforms and events are being hounded out of social media by what is termed “Internet Jihardists” when all they are doing is to portray the truths pointing out to the errors based on factual evidence.

    • QuietPoetic says:

      watch the debate of Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D’souza:

    • chemrock says:

      ON FREE WILL

      @ Leo
      “There’s no such thing, How can atheists hate something that doesn’t exist?”
      – I refer to Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s tweets again regarding the church bombings in Sri Lanka. Both referred to “Eastern worshippers”. Don’t Christians exist?

      “We’ll, it’s because God has a plan” — why God create Evil? Why God allow this guy to die, etc etc.
      Leo — I’m glad you asked these questions. These sort of questions are the most common questions Christian apologetics have been asked. Nothing new. What we are dealing here is Free Will. As far as I know, the Christian God is the only one that allows man Free Will — the freedom to determine your own actions. Goad has a plan (See Sonny’s comment – beautifully answers your question). Why did God allow Cain to kill Abel? Free will. God doesnt create evil, he allowed free will. God has a plan, but man’s free will may alter his plans.

      Free will is a very important and intellectual concept. One can go on and write tons of mateirals on the subject to explain a lot of stuff in life.

      “Please, don’t generalize against atheists. Just like theists, majority of them are kind and rational people and there are some bad apples of course.”

      I agree. If I have come across as guilty, I apologise. This goes the same across the board for Hindus, Muslims or another other sects of schools of thought. We may have issues with certain doctrines in the ideologies, but most believers are just ordinary chaps who are’nt even aware of nor comprehend those issues.

      “The extremists are the ones that create the problem, theists. They will rub their religion on your face and accuse you of being evil if you refuse to accept everything that’s written in their Holy Scriptures. I think this triggers atheists to react and challenge the accuracy of scriptures.”

      There you go. You too, Sir, are just as guilty. There is something that I just wish to point out — I feel the Christian outreach objectives are honourable — they want to offer they path to salvation to others. The idea is not recruitment into a sect, nor to gain your submission. Notice those that come into the faith say — I accept Christ into my Life. Some others say I submit to xxxxx. That’s the big difference.

      Why I say discussions with atheist are often rabid — because I follow a lot of these discussions and debates. That’s what I saw. Of course I agree most free thinkers or atheists are just ordinary guys — the good the bad and the ugly exists everywhere.

  17. Leo J. says:

    Thanks everyone.

  18. popoy says:

    There is so much here and now on the wisdom and good eche bucheche about agnosticism, atheism and theism that’s original analytic, borrowed cut and paste, and links to surviving knowledge all in sincere pursuit of the truth about God. To have one’s feet planted firmly on the ground, a teacher may have ask: Is there really God? Regardless, is God fair or unfair as pigment or truth of one’s imagination? What seems to be God’s significance to a harmful political reality? A presumptuous poem of theist cynicism was written almost 15 years ago:

    ——————————

    Balance

    I asked God why when He created the world
    He gave my country more than many other country
    very rich natural resources:
    silver and gold mines, rich veins of oil,
    rainforests from tall and big mountains,
    great waterfalls, thousands of fertile islands,
    a happy people of beautiful maidens and industrious men,
    a wholesome climate and a sea teeming with fish.

    I implored, is not the Lord being unfair to other peoples
    and countries of the world?
    And the Lord said: You have not understood
    the divine principle of balance in my creation.

    Other countries will be thankful I have given them less
    as they will be spared of the world’s worst
    corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, of presidents
    and their families whose greed for power and material wealth,
    will shock and awe even the devil himself.

    “Your country shall have too, my own children dirt poor,
    hungry and sick for generations. But soon the poor
    and the victimized shall make them
    pay equal to their transgressions and
    in the transience of eternity
    everything will be balanced.”

    –November 1, 2004
    The idea from a joke rationalizing the existence of
    crooked politicians and leaders in government.
    Constant Winds p. 13.

  19. popoy says:

    MUSINGS on two kinds of thinking:

    Looking and thinking back in the UP Aggie Campus during the mid-fifties, I got immersed, like many students– into the idea of being a free thinker. Over four decades in the real world with farmers and students of governance, with silent pride I thought that to be a free thinker is not to get paid for what I think of issues outside of the job I am paid to do; to share free the thoughts I have for those who are a bit interested. If I may, free thinking is not fake thinking where fake thoughts are written and paid for as fake news expertly written by fake-thinkers.

  20. popoy says:

    Like many others who are free of the shackles of compelling piety, I like to share my own version of a revisionary prayer which should be individual and personal, non-denominational and universal. I have been saying it for years now any time, any where as my body and soul needs divine intervention. I found it effective and responsive like calming the waves of white bubbling seas.

    A PRAYER . ..

    My Father, I know You are in heaven
    I worship Your name; to Your kingdom
    I shall come because here on earth
    And also in heaven Your will on me
    Shall happen.

    Give me today what my body needs and
    Forgive me the wrong I have done
    To myself and to others as I have
    Forgiven those who have wronged me.
    Tempt me not for anything and
    Keep the devil or evil away from me.
    Amen.
    —————
    There you go, I have written it for the first time what gives me bliss
    and succour in countless moments of my times of need.

  21. chemrock says:

    ON THE ISSUE OF MORALITY

    This was brought up by quite a few bright commenters.

    This is a very fundamental issue on the subject matter of atheism, a topic big enough for a separate blog. It is central to my thoughts in this article so to place its importance in our understanding, permit me to respond to the Leo, Edgar and Irineo in this separate thread.

    Firstly, I’m very surprised folks make light of this when all many great naturalist proponents and thinkers past and current, who actively champion their atheistic views, including Richard Dawkins himself, all falter at the issue of morality. They cannot answer how to place morality in their godless ideology. The intellectual issue is that there is no morality in Reason. A problem can be rationalised by enlightened minds, but Reason does not stand on morals. Kai Nielsen said it very well in the quote I placed in the article. Rationalism leads to moral chaos. Bertrand Russell could’nt sleep because of this. Dawkins too know about this. Nietszche himself knew. He warned us. Perhaps this was the cause of his insanity in later years of his life. And somehow deep in his insanity he longed for his Christian morality as he went around mumbling Bible verses in his lost world.

    Leo says “If you cannot tell right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion” Edgar says man has innate moral values. Irineo says atheist is amoral.

    Firstly, knowing what’s right or wrong is knowledge. It is not moral values. What are moral values? These are like the parameters that guide your actions. Moral values are the stuff you are made off that makes you do the right thing even when no one is watching – it’s called principles. They are the stuff that makes you do the right thing even if it cause you time, effort, pain, inconvenience, or money — it’s called sacrifice. By the way, I’m sure a law maker like Bong Reville knows that plunder is wrong..

    Secondly, are moral values innate in men? I thought we have spent the greater part of our time in TSOH engaged in how Filipinos can work at improving ethical and moral standards in their lives?

    It’s a Nature vs nurture question – .are we born good and corrupted by society, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought? Are we born as brutes and civilized by culture, as what T.H. Huxley thought. Or a more dominant theory for the past few hundred years voiced by John Locke, Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget- are we born as blank slates and acquire knowledge about right and wrong through their parents, teachers, and other civilizing engines of culture, and God??? The judges are still out, but Sigmund Fried and company seems to be the flag carriers.

    Are man hard-wired at birth with moral values, or acquired via nurture? This will probably never be proven by Science. Take that, Dawkins. But what has been proven is that when the chips are down, moral values go out the windows for most people. Duterte wins the Presidential Election and scalawags start jumping ship. Everybody has a price – so said Howard Hughes Moral values only remain strong when there is the fear of God in us. Morality from godliness is the greatest restraining factor.

    The Renaissance and the Enlightenment Age placed man in the centre stage, instead of God. A cultural change has been going on for a few hundred years with the idea of the sufficiency of human reason challenging Judeo- Christian values, This challenge is now at sophisticated levels which I allude to militant atheism. Basically, extreme left liberals want to get the Christian God out of the way. You would have seen the recent tweets of Hillary Clinton and Obama regarding the bombings of churches in Sri Lanka — a co-ordinated reference to “Eastern worshippers” — they don’t want to mention the word “Christians”.

    The cultural change in the West is the creation of “self-absorbed” attitudes. Individuals have the right to construct their own values, their own absolutes. What is the impact? Michael Josephson, of Josephson Institute for the Advancement of Ethics, said “Far too many young people have abandoned traditional ethical values in favor of self- absorbed, win-at-any-cost attitudes that threaten to unravel the moral fabric of American society.” The new value system of naturalism has created an ethical vacuum lacking solid moral foundations. Theists turn to the Creator, Atheists turn to themselves. This is the fundamental change in western societies.

    We are now experiencing exactly what Nietsche predicted. With no God, there is no purpose (destiny), so live life now for the moment. C’est la vie. Enjoy life whilst you are alive. Kids are bombarded with this new naturalism ideals every day, everywhere they go. Rock bands like Nirvana sock it to them the meaninglessness of life and universe. Meaningless was the reason for Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain’s suicide.

    Naturalism sets the tone — men live by reasons alone, morality is not an issue. I set out to explain the dangers at the social level. What is even more dangerous this trend of thought gave rise to ‘POLITICAL NATURALISM’. Niccolo Machiavelli wrote ‘The Prince’ during this period of Enlightenment in Europe. This book is basically Government 101 for the rulers of Italian Cities of the time. Basically, it taught Princes preservation of power without consideration for ethical values – learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity. Whatever strengthens the state is right.

    Michavelli’s ethical thinking influenced Ludwig Feuerbach (God was merely a human invention) and all this ideas found their way into Karl Marx, Lenin and Stalin. Political naturalism is the foundation of communist states. Wipe out religion, create a state entirely in an entirely human space. That led to the institution of an entirely intolerant and militant form of religion. In the process, whole generations of cultured minds had to be exterminated. This is the inconvenient truth that atheist never discuss.

    Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampt clearly showed he was heavily influenced by Nietsche. Hitler was essentially taking Atheist philosophy to its logical conclusions. The Master Race was not Hitler’s but Nietsche’s concept. Hence exterminate the Jews and the weak citizens. Hitler actually sold Nietsche’s idea to Mussolini and look what happened to Italy. Did you know Mussolini’s thesis for his MBA was about Michavelli!.

    Godless men are big problems, no bones about it. Because they are greater than God with their own power to reason unbriddled by morality. They have no anchors for moral values, they have no after life concerns there being no God, there is no one to answer to, life is meaningless so do your damn best what you want in your life. If human reason is unaccountable to no Higher Being, it’s sole function is Power. History has taught us through and through.

    On militant atheism, you will note that it is Christianity that is under assault. No extreme left liberals or atheist will dare put the moral values of Eastern religions under the same torches. Christianity is open season. Others, especially Islam, is hands off. You will note also the ‘no religion’ restrictions in all public spheres do not apply to atheists. They are free to preach the religion of science and attack Christianity.

    Irineo is right, Atheism is amoral. I certainly recognise that many atheists can have good morals. It is the bigger community picture that is worrying. .

    • I learned this in my first day of kindergarten , chemp. it pre-dates Christianity. though I didn’t know it then.

      • chemrock says:

        Love thy neighbour…NO?

        • Jainism and Buddhism are older than Christianity, they already got that covered, chemp. thus Christianity is not the source.

          • karlgarcia says:

            The ten commandments were during the time of Moses, way before Jesus.

            • I know it’s in the OT too, karl.

              I’m referring to the Gospels. i’m sure chemp too. since we’re more focused on what Jesus said, it’s kinda a Christian vs. atheist blog right now. Also different wording in the 10 Commandments, no ‘love’.

              ex.

              Matthew 22

              34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

              37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

              ###

              “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” is like 8 or 9 of the 10 Commandments. Jesus promotes it to 2nd. see the difference?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Jesus summarized it to two.
                Without reading the first five commandments tells people what not to do to show their love for god and the next half their love for their neighbor.

                No other gods before me, honor sabbath,etc shows love for God.

                Do not steal, do not bear false witness, Do not covet thy neighbors wife, etc shows commsndments of loving your neighbor.

                May someorhers can correct me if wrong or reinforce me if I am right.

              • (sure you can intuit and imply ‘love’ in the OT, karl, but the OT God is kinda temperamental. safer to go with Jesus’ version here IMHO)

                but here it is… 😉

                Exodus 20 King James Version (KJV)

                20 And God spake all these words, saying,

                2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

                3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

                4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

                5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

                6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

                7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

                8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

                9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

                10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

                11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

                12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

                13 Thou shalt not kill.

                14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

                15 Thou shalt not steal.

                16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

                17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Tough love, LCX

              • karlgarcia says:

                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_love

                Edit
                One of the core commandments of Judaism is “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), sometimes called the Great Commandment. This commandment stands at the center of the central book in the Torah.[1] The Talmudic sages Hillel and Rabbi Akiva indicated that this is the central commandment of the Torah. The commandment emboldens individuals to treat each other as equals which requires first valuing oneself in order to be able to mirror that love onto others. Similarly, another significant commandment is to “not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16), which can be exhibited in many forms. Some Jewish sources have emphasized the importance of self-sacrifice in regards to putting our needs second to another’s, but Rabbi Akiva’s teaching of “Your own life takes precedence to that of another,” contradicts his own principle of loving thy neighbor as thyself.[2]

                This commandment of love, with the preceding sentence, “Thou shalt not avenge nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people,” may originally have referred, and has by some scholars (Stade, “Gesch. des Volkes Israel,” i. 510a) been exclusively referred, to the Israelitish neighbor; but in verse 34 of the same chapter it is extended to “the stranger that dwelleth with you . . . and thou shalt love him as thyself.” In Job xxxi. 13–15 it is declared unjust to wrong the servant in his cause: “Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?”[3]

                Romantic love is included in the command to love one’s neighbor, but romantic love per se is not a central topic in classical Jewish literature. Some medieval rabbinic authorities such as Judah Halevi wrote romantic poetry in Arabic, though some say that Halevi regretted his romantic poetry, which he wrote in his younger years.[citation needed]

              • thanks, karl.

                I see. So Leviticus is same-same as Genesis, but just more friendly in tone, with love.

                Leviticus 18 is better backgrounder to Leviticus 19 passages you’ve posted, me thinks,
                https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+18&version=NIV

              • karlgarcia says:

                From Wiki:

                ” redirects here. For 24th weekly parsha, see Vayikra (parsha).
                The Book of Leviticus (/lɪˈvɪtɪkəs/) is the third book of the Torah and of the Old Testament. Most of its chapters (1–7, 11–27) consist of God’s speeches to Moses, which God commands Moses to repeat to the Israelites. This takes place within the story of the Israelites’ Exodus after they escaped Egypt and reached Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1). The Book of Exodus narrates how Moses led the Israelites in building the Tabernacle (Exodus 35–40) with God’s instructions (Exodus 25–31). Then in Leviticus, God tells the Israelites and their priests how to make offerings in the Tabernacle and how to conduct themselves while camped around the holy tent sanctuary. Leviticus takes place during the month or month-and-a-half between the completion of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:17) and the Israelites’ departure from Sinai (Numbers 1:1, 10:11).

                The instructions of Leviticus emphasize ritual, legal and moral practices rather than beliefs. Nevertheless, they reflect the world view of the creation story in Genesis 1 that God wishes to live with humans. The book teaches that faithful performance of the sanctuary rituals can make that possible, so long as the people avoid sin and impurity whenever possible. The rituals, especially the sin and guilt offerings, provide the means to gain forgiveness for sins (Leviticus 4–5) and purification from impurities (Leviticus 11–16) so that God can continue to live in the Tabernacle in the midst of the people.[1]

                Scholars generally agree that Leviticus developed over a long time and that it reached its present form in the Persian period (538–332 BC).

      • Leo J. says:

        Can’t argue with that. Very true, sir.

    • Small clarification: atheism before all these ideas of God arose (or among people who have not internalized morals) is amoral.

      Hobbes and Rousseau were both wrong. People in their original state were and are probably more like the Binays = “be nice” to those in your family and in-group, others matter less.

      Post-Christian atheists are more like the humanists Sonny mentions who are more Christian in their root values than they care to acknowledge.

      Chemrocks critique of the Enlightenment and pure rationality is correct. Though rationality plus morals has led to ideas like human rights, rationality alone does not create morals.

      The bad side of the Enlightenment leads straight to Xi Jinping’s state and social credits.

    • edgar lores says:

      *****
      1. What I said was: “Morality may be innate. In the same way that immorality may be innate. It’s all potential. It may depend on which seeds are watered.

      2. Strictly speaking, atheism is amoral. Its doctrine is simple: God does not exist.

      2.1. This is NOT equivalent to saying that atheists are amoral. That is, that they are not concerned with right or wrong.

      2.2. Admittedly, atheists do not have a common moral framework.

      2.2. But as I have said, atheists — individually — have probably a higher standard of morality than ordinary theists.
      *****

    • Micha says:

      @chempo

      If your only source of morality is your fear for God punishment, you are a wicked person.

      How arrogant for you to assume that only believers can be moral.

      How stupid for you to assume that because atheists don’t believe in any gods, they would then go out there and start raping and murdering and stealing.

      The American Humanist Association has Good Without God for its slogan.

      Go figure.

      • The ability to separate argument from person making it completely escapes you, does it? I guess stupidity comes in all forms.

        • Micha says:

          There are several comments above that demonize atheists, why are you not calling that out?

          • Because none of those atheists is participating in this discussion, and they are public figures. My job is to preserve civil discussion on challenging topics and not have the discussion become animalistic. In other words, encourage participants to strive for a higher atheism and not descend into hyenas chewing on each other’s carcasses.

            • Why is it others can respond to opposing arguments without taking them personally, but you cannot?

            • Micha says:

              No, this is a flashpoint religion topic which does not always end up very well because strong beliefs blur logic and rationality. By chuckling at comments which caricature and demonize atheists, you are encouraging the descent to incivility.

              • When I complement Edgar on his superb response to my questions, I am doing what, exactly? I’ve not made any declaration of my personal belief other than admitting to confusion on a point or two, in the interest of seeking clarity. I am troubled with the amoral quality of atheism, and the knowledge that a lot of humans are of insufficient bearing to point their behavior toward humanistic values, as Edgar does.

                Because this is a flashpoint topic, I have little patience for your personal attacks. The rest of the contributors are showing or developing their capacity to debate the flashpoint topic in a mature manner that avoids personal attack. Why can’t you do that?

            • Micha says:

              Filipino atheists could number as high as 10% of the population. By tolerating the demonization of atheists in this forum you are abridging their freedom to disbelieve.

            • Micha,

              Get your head in the game, man!

              This is the Battle of Winterfell right now and you’re arguing with the ref, c’mon man we need you here,

              It’s me, you and edgar vs. chemp, karl, sonny, popoy, QT and others.

              Don’t get benched now , make your arguments w/ no ad hominems!

              • Micha says:

                No, joe is not a neutral arbiter in this topic. He’s on the side of the creationists.

                I’m taking issue with the apparent okey-ness to demonize non-believers.

              • Ad hominem. And wrong. I am on the side of knowledge and civility.

              • Oh, I get it now. You were offended by Karl’s list of pokes at atheists, and my enjoying the laugh. Okay, I apologize for having a sense of humor.

              • Micha says:

                No, it does not seem you are picking on atheists. You are encouraging demagoguery by not calling out comments that caricature and demonize atheist population in general.

                As Bernie Sanders famously retorted, it’s not about me, us.

              • It is not my job to point the discussion in any direction by calling out comments on points of substance. There is no demagoguery here that I can observe. Just a lot of very sincere, very intelligent comments from a variety of perspectives. You don’t have to like my choices as moderator, and are completely free to leave the forum if you believe it is not being conducted fairly and in the best interest of the Philippines. You can go to other forums and criticize the blog to high heaven, I don’t care. Do what you need to do but kindly stop trying to run my show.

                The one thing that I have learned here is that atheism is not consistent, as religions are. There is no doctrine. There is no common morality or understanding. It is a big enough bucket that it can hold both Edgar and President Duterte. They define their own atheistic platforms differently, Edgar along humanistic lines and Duterte along authoritarian might, stacked on privilege. There is no God for either one of them. Religions, on the other hand, are pretty clear on their doctrines, and consistent within each, and generally have a humanistic moral foundation. They tend to be arrogant, however, criticizing sinners and non-believers, which is weird considering they cannot explain the many mysteries or histories that hold them together.

                I’d recommend that atheists spend less time worrying about organized religions and more time developing reasoned moral doctrines that promote more Edgars and fewer Dutertes. Atheists have met the enemy, and it is them, more often than not.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                “The one thing that I have learned here is that atheism is not consistent, as religions are. There is no doctrine.”

                That’s right.

                Atheism is not an organized school of thought. It is a single-doctrine proposition.

                Attaching and deriving other propositions — such as Naturalism, Materialism, and the absence of morality — to it is not valid. To do so is setting up and knocking down strawmen.

                o Atheism denies the existence of a supreme Supernatural entity (monotheism) or a set of Supernatural entities (polytheism). But it does not necessarily deny the existence of spirits or spirituality.

                o Atheism does not necessarily adopt the philosophy of materialism.

                o Atheism does not invalidate morality. Morality can exist outside of religion.

                ***

                We seem to be going around in circles… as all debates on the subject have progressed in my experience.

                What is the object of the exercise here?

                o Is it to prove God exists (theism)?
                o Or is it to disprove the argument that God does not exist (atheism)?

                To my mind, accomplishing the second object does not necessarily prove the first object.

                Ultimately, to disprove atheism one must prove the existence of God.
                *****

              • The object of the exercise is knowledge, for each individual participant. We go in circles the way the world goes in circles, trying to figure things out on the fly. The object is not to prove God exists, or does not, as greater minds than ours have failed to do so. But as individuals who are not nailed to floor, and with knowledge as the prybar, we can at least seek to understand where others are coming from and grow richer ourselves for that understanding. For sure, the discussion has helped me to understand atheism better. People point to various bibles written by committed atheists and maybe I should study one. But which one is the true WORD? I don’t expect to try to read them all to figure out which is the TRUTH. I’m fine with the wisdom of Paul McCartney’s mother, “Let it Be”.

              • “Ultimately, to disprove atheism, one must prove the existence of God.”

                Interesting. Atheism is unbridled reason, as you have explained it. The ultimate atheist would be the one who proves the existence of God. I’m not sure where that ends up.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Ahaha! Again, the paradox.
                *****

              • Yes, seems rather classic to me. 🙂

              • karlgarcia says:

                I apologize too.

              • “The ultimate atheist would be the one who proves the existence of God.”

                His name was Baruch Spinoza and that book was his “Ethics”.

                Einstein’s “Spinoza’s God” above.


                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics_(Spinoza)

              • Thanks for the introduction to Spinoza. His work falls into the category of philosophy, so I think he only proved the existence of God to his own satisfaction, and that of his . . . er, followers, or believers. I wish I could have studied him in more depth in College, as I think I could fall comfortably into believing he has mastered the art and science of existing better than Hume or the ever-depressed Camus. I admire your ability to scan the knowledge base for pertinent lessons. You are becoming a quality teacher, and it is very enriching.

              • chemrock says:

                Beautiful sub-thread here.

                That’s the whole idea of TSOH – A learning and sharing process, from different angles and different frames of mind, even for a tough topic like this.

                I know from the git-go this is an inconvenient topic, but I was driven to respond to Lance comment in the other blog. That’s commitment.

                I think Joe saw with crystal clear clarity the perils I tried to convey in unbridled human rationality and he framed the discussion beautifully in this thread.

              • “I know from the git-go this is an inconvenient topic, but I was driven to respond to Lance comment in the other blog.”

                No complaints from me, chemp. I think this is your first foray into this field, outside of banking and business on here, and truly appreciate your insights. God help me, I do love to argue , chemp.

              • “better than Hume or the ever-depressed Camus.”

                Thanks, Joe.

                My PhD’s in Google, so I tend to focus on philosophers I like, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Camus (Thomas Paine’s my favourite founding father, but he was more just a pamphleteer much like a blogger today).

                Camus and Nietzsche are hopeful reads for me, their styles kinda get in the way, but it works for me, i can see and appreciate their trolling. 😉 I’ll write more on Nietzsche since chemp mentioned him above tomorrow.

      • chemrock says:

        @ Micha

        “If your only source of morality is your fear for God punishment, you are a wicked person.”

        I said fear of God, I never said fear of His punishment. You I presume, don’t believe in God, and feel all your intelligence and achievements all came by your own clever self. So you will never understand why believers Love and Fear God.

        “How arrogant for you to assume that only believers can be moral”
        Where did I make that asummation? It’s your arrogance to assume that I make the assumation.
        I stated that morality has an anchor in belief in God. Naturalism has no such anchor. This is a critical point whic Joe saw clearly.

        “How stupid for you to assume that because atheists don’t believe in any gods, they would then go out there and start raping and murdering and stealing.”

        Of course I certainly don’t think Edgar, Lance, Joe, you, Leo and millions of atheists won’t do what you recommended. But this outburst of yours certainly displays your lack of catching the critical point that this article teaches. And that is, one person can influence and change millions of persons. that is what history taught us with Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Roberspirre, Pol Pot. How many minds do you think Dutere influenced?

        “The American Humanist Association has Good Without God for its slogan. Go figure.”

        Fox news 12 Feb 2014:
        The American Humanist Association sent that message to a school in Robbinsdale, Minn., accusing them of violating the U.S. Constitution by allowing students to participate in a community service project at a church that involved preparing meals for impoverished children in Haiti.

        Fox News 27 Jul 2015:
        US Bureau of Prisons agrees to recognize humanism as a religious preference
        Hmmmm it’s a religion now?

        The Supreme Court is currently arguing a case The American Legion v. American Humanist Association on whether Is It Constitutional to Allow a Religious Symbol on Public Land?

        This is the pursuit of kicking out God in all public spheres. And so Baphomet fstatutes have the right to be there. This is OK as per Lance, It’s all Freedom of expressions. But freedom from what?

        So yeah, thanks Micha, I figured out what it’s all about long ago.

        • “This is the pursuit of kicking out God in all public spheres. And so Baphomet fstatutes have the right to be there. This is OK as per Lance, It’s all Freedom of expressions. But freedom from what?”

          chemp,

          there ‘s a bunch of artists and sculptors here, both secular and religious, and they all wanna show off their art to everyone. some foot the bill, others ask for donations or tax payer’s money, ie. get a commission out of it.

          I’m not paying for anyone’s art work, unless i like it (and i’ve never paid for art). So money aspect of this aside, the next important condition for me is,

          if it’s on private land, have at it.

          but if it’s on public land, it should inspire (i know art strives to do more not just inspire, but if it’s on peoples’ land, people’s taste should be taken into account).

          So,

          1). Kali on Empire State building , private land (I don’t get a say, but from what I read it was some Save the Earth thing, with Kali representing as Mother Nature, ie. destructive and creative forces).

          2). Baal arch in DC, public land (I’ve been to Baalbek, Palmyra, all before shit went down, etc. gotta say I don’t know much about Baal or Canaanite rituals, but I do appreciate archeology & history, and this one’s special it represents the archeology being targeted by ISIS, so it ‘s also a political statement, ie. protect these ruins , which I’m totally for , so for me — not really considering beastiality and anal stuff — I’m for the Baal arch ).

          3). Baphoment statue (I don’t like it, I hate horror flicks and it reminds me of “the Exorcist”, so no I don’t wanna see it on public land).

          So if a Baphomet statue came to my town, i’d probably voice an opinion or two against it, if it’s a traveling thing and its just there for 1 or 2 days, fine. others wanna see it, no tax payer dollar involved its fine.

          Like I said from an interview i caught on this statue it’s some religious right stunt, ie. if you guys can have your religious statues why can’t i.

          kinda like this,

          • chemrock says:

            1. Private property/public sphere:
            This is maybe a bit difficult for most people to comprehend. Properties may be privately owned, but if it’s open for public use, it is legally defined as public places. A cinema, a mall, a coffee shop, an office building, etc are all public places.

            2. Kali and Baal — they are all pagan dieties representative of something in the past — fertility, war, weather, birth etc. But in time they have been venerated to and associated with evil and desecration of things we hold morally correct. Baal celebration is total abandonment of the self – copulations of the most perverted manner takes place.It thus represents something to atheist — the absolute in Freedom.

            3. From the art perspective, I agree — if it’s in private property, who cares. One may also like the architectural aspects — like Pergammon, etc, nothing wrong with that. But one wonders if these specifically evil-related artefacts or buildings should be promoted at all, unless for some dark reasons that the unseen hand holds dear.

            • “Properties may be privately owned, but if it’s open for public use, it is legally defined as public places. A cinema, a mall, a coffee shop, an office building, etc are all public places.”

              But at the end of the day, chemp, they are in fact private, which means the owners can support or not support whatever art pieces is put up. Then it s up to laws of economics, the invisible hand and all, as the final arbiter whether that space continues or not.

              Example,

              Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby are businesses that are very vocal and Evangelical espousing similar sentiments you’ve posted on here, chemp. Because of this, they tend to only be found in like-minded locations. They are thriving as businesses. I’m sure their profits also goes to Africa.

              In-n-Out burgers is similar to Chick-fil-A but they are more quiet about their Christian values, not political as the two businesses above, thus there are in suburbs as well as urban areas. Again thriving business. I’m sure their profits don’t end up in Africa.

              I’ve eaten at both, Chick-fil-A and In-N-Out, but if they two are side-by-side, I’ll make a point to support In-N-Out.

        • Micha says:

          @chempo

          1. “I said fear of God, I never said fear of His punishment.”

          Spare me the word contortions here because that’s saying essentially the same. You’d always hear children being told by their elders to behave or else, magagalit si God. We’ve been conditioned to fear God’s wrath since time immemorial. And indeed God’s wrath had been distinctly accounted for in biblical passages legitimizing the mechanism for mind conditioning control.

          2. “I stated that morality has an anchor in belief in God.”

          Blatantly false. Are you saying that conceptions of morality were totally absent in the pre-Christian era, or in any era prior to the establishment of organized beliefs?

          Also, you have alluded to the corruption and descent towards selfishness in western societies and attributed its cause to the lack of religious beliefs. That is, at best, again a distortion of reality. The corruption of western societies emanates more from its economic system which prizes hyper individualism. It might surprise you that folks in the bible-thumping American south are the most ardent endorsers of I-get-what-I-can-and-I-don’t-care-about-the-others neo-liberal free market crap.

          3. ” Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Roberspirre, Pol Pot.”

          Ah yes, cobbling together the usual suspects of genocidal maniacs as supposed poster boys for the evils of atheism; never mind that their crimes were actually committed in the name of political expediency or that Christian emperors and kings also slaughtered millions of people or that Hitler was actually a Catholic born to a Catholic mother.

          4. It’s not clear what’s your beef with the American Humanist Association other than stringing some Fox News items devoid of any context or sufficient details. You’ve clearly not figured out yet what “good without God” meant in the context of you exclusive religious morality.

          • chemrock says:

            “Spare me the word contortions here because that’s saying essentially the same. You’d always hear children being told by their elders to behave or else, magagalit si God. We’ve been conditioned to fear God’s wrath since time immemorial. And indeed God’s wrath had been distinctly accounted for in biblical passages legitimizing the mechanism for mind conditioning control.”

            Bertrand Russel said all religions are born out of fear. I assume you subscribe to this.
            This is a half truth for is he saying athiests have no fear? People of all sorts of shades and characters and belief systems are afflicted with some sort of fear.

            What is true is that only people who has a fear of being bankrupt, when a person looks inside and find the spiritual bankruptcies only then will the person convert. Thus it is said, blessed are the poor, for these are the ones who will accept the faith.

            “The corruption of western societies emanates more from its economic system which prizes hyper individualism.”

            hard Dawkins is pushing the New Atheism envelope for his nex multi-million best seller. Yeah I guess that’s a good example of hyper individualism.

            “Christian emperors and kings also slaughtered millions of people”
            Name me one that’s got a million deaths on their hands.

            “It’s not clear what’s your beef with the American Humanist Association”
            They did inhumane act in the name of humanism.

    • “Nietszche himself knew. He warned us. Perhaps this was the cause of his insanity in later years of his life. And somehow deep in his insanity he longed for his Christian morality as he went around mumbling Bible verses in his lost world.”

      chemp, I don’t think Christianity factored into his going crazy, but I do think his craziness did factor a lot into his Philosophy.

      You’re spot on re Nietzsche bio, but I don’t agree with your take that he surrendered to nihilism , his whole philosophy was about affirming humanity w/out God.

      ###

      “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss will also gaze into you”. (Friedrich Nietzsche, “Beyond Good and Evil”. Aphorism 146) That quote is really popular among military and police , but understood wrongly, externally. Nietzsche meant it as going internal. Into the Self… as deep as you can. I guess he went a little too deep. But that’s another matter all together.

      He wasn’t a trained philosopher he majored in philology study of Greek and Roman texts. He was closely familiar with ancient Greek philosophers and Roman stuff (which were usually Stoicism and Epicurean focused , the other Greek stuff was too deep for Romans, they were more builders & rulers). but as far as modern philosophy goes, Nietzsche just basically focused on Schopenhauer, who was heavily influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism from India (via the English)

      Schopenhauer i guess didn’t read up on Jainism, so he concluded that life was suffering, thus the logical end… make it as short as possible. that’s Schopenhauer in a nutshell, which Nietzsche was responding to (ie. no… it’s not just about suffering, you use suffering as a lever to overcome, become ‘over’ man or woman). Schopenhauer was actually a bit deeper and he and Hegel were both responding to Kant. But that’s another matter. We’ll not cover that.

      In his life, there were two big thoughts that reverberated, “the Communist Manifesto” (1844) and “On the Origin of Species” (1859) —- Communism and Social Darwinism. So that’s the basic backgrounder, now for his books…

      Nietzsche became a professor at the University of Basel in Switzerland, when Wagner was still living in Lucerne, Switzerland which was only a couple of hours away. So Nietzsche and Wagner took hikes and talked about Schopenhauer and Germany, etc. and his first big book (he’d written some works before) in 1872 was basically written for Richard Wagner (that’s the 1st in the timeline above “the Birth of Tragedy”).

      then still as professor in Basel University he writes a series he titled “Untimely Meditations” or i guess also translated as “Unfashionable Observations”, over a 3 year period, the third and fourth in that series is Nietzsche de-coupling himself from Schopenhauer and Wagner philosophically, where he starts developing his own thoughts.

      He meets Paul Rée. Around the same time quits his professorship due to headaches and bad health, but gets a pension (worker’s comp?). Then publishes “Human, All too Human” which he dedicates to Paul Rée. So he starts earning as an author, since his pension was only good for 6 years.

      Still influenced by this conversations with Paul Rée he publishes another book in 1881, “Dawn of Day” , but around this time there’s a third person between Nietzsche and Paul Rée, Lou Andreas-Salomé (she’s really interesting).
      and she’s basically the reason for his next book, “the Gay Science” or Joyful Science , who Nietzsche names as his one and only disciple, that’s Lou Salomé (remember her). This is also the book where Nietzsche introduces Zarathustra.

      Nietzsche had a falling out with Paul Rée and Lou Salomé , which produced “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”. His masterpiece. It’s so fucking up there that he had to follow it up with 4 other books just to explain it better, if you wanna study Nietzsche, read the 4 other books first (and also its prelude “the Joyful Science”) if you ever attempt to tackle “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”.

      1. “Beyond Good and Evil” 1886

      2. “On the Genealogy of Morality” 1887

      3. “Twilight of the Idols” 1888

      4. “the AntiChrist” 1888

      then finally, his autobiography “Ecce Homo” where he also reviews all his books mentioned above under the heading “Why I write such Excellent books”, LOL! 🙂

      So Nietzsche starts to blossom around “the Gay Science” and fully blooms at “Ecce Homo” so read there first and work backwards. That’s the best way to understand Nietzsche IMHO.

      ###

      Now, for Nietzsche’s trifecta, his fight against nihilism:

      I. Übermensch … the Beyondman, or Overman, or Hyperman, or Superman (the “Overcomed” -man is probably the best translation)

      II. WILL to Power

      III. Eternal Recurrence

      ###

      Let’s start with Will to Power first and do Überman last.

      I.

      So Will to Power is a concept he’d been toying around with since his first book. But fully develops it and makes it his very own original concept in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”.

      Remember Nietzsche was reacting to his time, mid-1800s. Bismarck was consolidating Germany into one big new country from small kingdoms and duchies. But also there was Communism and Social Darwinism (not Darwin’s , but people’s interpretation of Darwin’s findings applied to society ).

      It’s best to understand Will to Power by understanding what Nietzsche was against.

      Karl Marx said “Religion was the opium of the people”. and Nietzsche ‘s response was ‘… and you guys are positioning yourselves as the new opium of the people’ (that’s not a quote that’s a summary of Nietzsche’s view on Communism at that time). He was anti-Communist.

      He was also famously anti-religion. Here’s Nietzsche’s famous quote in full, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?”, BUT

      actually Nietzsche used the phrase “God is Dead” in a figurative sense, to express the idea that the Enlightenment had “killed” the possibility of belief in God or any gods having ever existed. So his most famous quote isn’t really anti-religion, he meant it as anti-academia and ant​i-science.

      Nietzsche’s critique of religion was more towards institutions and its clergy, and how they enslave peoples’ minds, BUT he was a big fan of how Jesus and St. Francis lived (though not so much a fan of St. Paul’s proselytizings or St. John particularly the Book of Revelation ).

      He was also anti-philosophy, and called his own philosophy ‘the philosophy of perhaps’, he was suspicious of systems of thoughts which was what other philosophers were selling. He took, Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” and turned it upside down. Basically asking, is ‘think’ really the product of ‘I’ , or is it the other way around?

      Descartes does anticipate that thought but doesn’t really entertain it fully, with the Evil Demon though experiment.

      Evil Demon – Wikipedia
      The evil demon, also known as malicious demon and evil genius, is a concept in Cartesian philosophy.In the first of his 1641 Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes imagines that an evil demon, of “utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me.”This evil demon is imagined to present a complete illusion of an external world”.

      The evil demon argument is also best understood as Brain in a Vat,

      From Nietzsche all this got transferred to Freud, via Lou, hence all the id-ego-super ego stuff, But the study of the subconscious was all Nietzsche’s .

      To attack Social Darwinism, Nietzsche directly attacks Darwin’s Will to Survive (that’s what Nietzsche called it), criticizing it as passive and reactionary, his Will to Power was the opposite, it was active and dynamic, forming the environment instead of the environment forming you. so anti-Darwin.

      to re-cap, Nietzsche was:

      anti-Communist
      anti-academia
      anti-science
      anti-philosophy
      anti-Darwin
      anti-Christianity
      anti-religion

      There’s no real good way to pin-point his Will to Power, but if you know what he was ‘against’ , it becomes easier to grasp, anti- herd mentality is its essence.

      II.

      The idea of Eternal Recurrence is easier to explain. Basically, he states that things that have happened have happened before and will keep on happening.

      What Physicists are now entertaining as Big Bang/Big Crunch cycle of the Universe(s). He writes, ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence’ (from “the Gay Science”) , would you live it differently? or exactly the same? If differently, then you’ve not exercise your Will to Power.

      Eternal Recurrence is more a thought experiment than Nietzsche’s actual metaphysics.

      its essence is what he called amor fati (you have to really love your fate). “Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” — Camus.

      III.

      Which brings us to Überman. Nietzsche ‘s answer to nihilism, basically …

      to be the guy (or gal) that wields Will to Power and think in terms of Eternal Recurrence, so be powerful and unapologetic.

      that is Nietzsche in a nutshell. 😉

      • chemrock says:

        I read only one of his books and many dissections of his works by other illuminaries. Thanks for taking time to put out the long comment in the spirit of sharing. Actually his books are in my bucket list.

      • No problem, chemp.

        here’s the Spinoza connection, he’d just read of him when he wrote this letter to his buddy:

        “I am utterly amazed, utterly enchanted! I have a precursor, and what a precursor! I hardly knew Spinoza: that I should have turned to him just now, was inspired by “instinct.” Not only is his overtendency like mine—namely to make all knowledge the most powerful affect—but in five main points of his doctrine I recognize myself; this most unusual and loneliest thinker is closest to me precisely in these matters: he denies the freedom of the will, teleology, the moral world-order, the unegoistic, and evil. Even though the divergencies are admittedly tremendous, they are due more to the difference in time, culture, and science. In summa: my lonesomeness, which, as on very high mountains, often made it hard for me to breathe and make my blood rush out, is now at least a twosomeness. Strange! Incidentally, I am not at all as well as I had hoped. Exceptional weather here too! Eternal change of atmospheric conditions!—that will yet drive me out of Europe! I must have clear skies for months, else I get nowhere. Already six severe attacks of two or three days each!! — With affectionate love, Your friend”

        Friedrich Nietzsche, postcard to Franz Overbeck in Sils-Maria dated July 30, 1881.

        and this I just found on Reddit while searching for the quote above, I’ve not read this particular bio either but know of it:

        Michael Della Rocca’s excellent Spinoza, from which I pulled these quotes, dedicates a section (292-303) to assessing the relationship between Nietzsche and Spinoza.

        Here is a choice quote on their fundamental commonality:

        “Because, for both philosophers, our nature consists in the striving for power, they agree that in all inquiry our beliefs, our judgments, are liable to be skewed by our desires. Indeed, for both Spinoza and Nietzsche, there is no sense to be made of an affectless intellectual inquiry. For Spinoza, this means that, because our intellects are not perfect, because they are limited, our inquiries achieve only a relative truth and not the genuine article. As we saw, for Spinoza we are inevitably subject to inadequate and confused ideas in which the truth is obscured by our limited perspective. Nietzsche also sees all human perspectives, all human inquiries, as partial and not able to grasp any absolute truth precisely because each inquiry is a manifestation of one individual’s will to power which is—very often—opposed to another individual’s will to power. For Spinoza and Nietzsche both, human inquiry is affective and thus self-interested, and thus the truth we arrive at is not absolute truth, but truth from the perspective of a certain locus of power.” (300)

        And their difference:

        Nietzsche also holds that there is no standpoint from which there is truth full-stop, absolute truth, to be had… But for Spinoza, of course, there is objective truth, and God grasps it. Indeed, for Spinoza, we cannot make sense of our limited perspective unless we invoke the objective, divine perspective. Further, we can, for Spinoza, have access to this objective perspective when we enjoy adequate ideas. And although we inevitably have very many inadequate ideas, we can know that there is an absolute perspective from which ideas are true absolutely (and things exist absolutely).” (300-301)

    • The two paintings above are related.

  22. karlgarcia says:

    Found another interesting read.

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/scholarly-writings/the-existence-of-god/theistic-critiques-of-atheism/

    Theistic Critiques Of Atheism
    William Lane Craig

    SUMMARY
    An account of the resurgence of philosophical theism in our time, including a brief survey of prominent anti-theistic arguments such as the presumption of atheism, the incoherence of theism, and the problem of evil, along with a defense of theistic arguments like the contingency argument, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, and the moral argument.

    • Micha says:

      Lane Craig always brandish the Kalam Cosmological Argument which had been falsified by virtue of infinite regress. There’s no utility revisiting this topic other than to flare emotions.

      • karlgarcia says:

        OK, thanks.

      • karlgarcia says:

        What about this college essay in defense of atheism from an atheist of Jewish background, Would you care to comment?

        https://ffrf.org/outreach/item/19670-in-defense-of-atheism

        • karlgarcia says:

          Like all of us here, I do not just look at one point of view.
          Here is the essay of the atheist.

          If I were asked to identify my religion, I would reply that I am a Jewish atheist. While this may seem to be a contradiction in terms, it makes perfect sense to me. My family is Jewish, and to ignore this fact would be to disavow my heritage and ancestry, along with a good share of my personal values. Yet I am an atheist, because I have never believed in the existence of a god. Granted, I went to Sunday School and celebrated my bat mitzvah, but then I decided not to attend confirmation class or any more Shabbat services. I realized that the prayers I had muttered automatically on Friday nights held no meaning for me. Religion had been a sort of mechanical reflex that I simulated because it was comfortable and familiar. Once I recognized that I did not find any meaning in the prayers or the chants of the Jewish faith, I could not continue to be a practicing Jew without feeling dishonest.
          Even though I do not accept the beliefs of Judaism, I will always be Jewish. My religious background is an indelible component of my identity. That is why, on the few occasions when people have made anti-Semitic remarks to me, their slurs have stung acutely. I have now learned to appreciate my Jewish heritage for the unique perspective it lends me. Although I do not believe in the religious tenets of Judaism, the secular Jewish values have unquestionably flavored my personality. If I had been born into a Christian or Muslim or Buddhist family, I would have grown up to be a very different person than I am today. Not better or worse, but different. Being culturally Jewish is something entirely separate from believing in Judaism–something that will always be a part of me, like the color of my eyes or the timbre of my voice.
          In short, I still feel a powerful connection with Jewish history and the Jewish community, despite the fact that most devout Jews would probably refute my claim to the label of “Jewish.” I have not entered a synagogue in years, and I have had very few Jewish friends or classmates over the course of my life. All the schools I have attended have been predominantly or officially Christian: in elementary school, my uniform actually included a little badge embroidered with a red Cross of St. Michael. I did not mind wearing the cross, because it allowed me to fit in with my peers. Actually, what bothered me was having to remain seated during the morning chapel services, according to my parents’ wishes, while everyone else kneeled. At that tender age, I simply wanted to be like all the other kids.
          At my high school outside of Philadelphia, I was one of just a handful of Jewish students. My parents wanted me to go to another private school in my area that had a larger Jewish population, but I insisted on enrolling at the Agnes Irwin School. I was adamant on this point because I was accustomed to having Christian friends and peers, and I never regretted my decision. If every Jewish girl in my neighborhood chose to go to the “Jewish” school, and every Christian girl attended the “Christian” school, then our suburban community would become self-segregated and narrow-minded. It is imperative that students of all different backgrounds intermingle and learn from each other, thus helping to prevent prejudice from taking root in their young, impressionable minds.
          The majority of my friends at Rice are agnostics, raised in the Southern Baptist Church but too smart and intellectually curious to mindlessly accept as truth the propaganda they were fed there. At some point, they all came to realize that people of other faiths or sexual orientations do not, in fact, deserve to go to hell. My friends and I have engaged in many an animated late-night conversation on the topic of religion, and we have shared countless laughs over the Landover Baptist website (a parody of the type of church to which my friends once belonged). My experiences and relationships at Rice have allowed me to flesh out my thoughts on religion with a more nuanced understanding of the world and of myself.
          Furthermore, I now have enough confidence in my religious convictions–or lack thereof–to publicly defend them. No longer am I a timid little first-grader, sporting the red cross and anxious to conform. This past February, a guest column entitled “Recent woes do not discredit all religions” appeared in the Rice University newspaper. The author, attempting to defend the Catholic faith, had the audacity to downplay such tragic historical events as the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades. She went on to blame the deaths that occurred in the U.S.S.R. on Communists’ lack of religion as opposed to their faulty political practices. Finally, adding insult to injury, she claimed that “Christianity led to the great majority of humanitarian causes.” Her assertions were not only untrue and unsubstantiated but also extremely offensive, and I wrote a letter to the editor saying as much.
          In the following weeks, I was commended by dozens of my peers for taking the guest columnist to task. By implying that all atheists are hard-hearted, amoral, and even murderous, this writer had outraged not only the atheist students but many religious ones as well. My rebuttal caught the attention of the host of “What’s Your Point,” a talk show that airs on Rice Broadcast Television. The host invited me to appear on her show to discuss Christianity on campus (particularly the points I made in my letter to the editor) with three other student panelists. Two of these students were staunchly Christian, and the third was a Conservative Jew. While my fellow panelists squabbled over various interpretations of the bible, I managed to successfully propose a defense of atheism and argue the impropriety of proselytizing on campus.
          Not everyone is readily accepting of my atheist views. My grandmother frequently assures me that as soon as I have a child, I will gaze at the tiny, perfectly formed human being in my arms and exclaim, “This is a miracle. There must be a God!” But I am certain that I will have no such reaction. The birth and development of a human being is indeed amazing, but it must be accredited to the wonders of nature, not the powers of God. There is a scientific raison d’etre for every aspect of this universe, from babies and galaxies to languages and the feeling of love. People may find it difficult to wrap their minds around such awesome concepts, but that is no reason to deny the legitimacy of rational explanations.
          I am very privileged to have been born to parents who, unlike my grandmother, are supportive and understanding of my ideas on religion. Part of their tolerance can be attributed to the fact that neither of them has chosen to be an actively practicing Jew. But in my estimation, their intelligence is an equally important factor. I associate piety with close-mindedness, self-importance, a lack of intellectual inquisitiveness, and a certain amount of cowardice. Many people are afraid to admit that we do not have any special purpose on this Earth, and therefore they delude themselves into believing that a god created the human race to fulfill his mission. They disregard scientific evidence of evolution and abandon any inclination they might have had to “question the answers.” For the life of me, I cannot comprehend how any well-educated person can blindly believe in God. Fortunately, my mother and father were among those parents who are enlightened enough to refrain from imposing religion on their children.
          I have been taught that it is impolite to bring up my opinions on religion, for fear of offending other people. This impulse to be tactful and courteous often compels me to keep quiet when my classmates are espousing their belief in God. But then I ask myself why I go to such lengths to resist attacking their views when they are attacking mine. Why is it that I must be respectful of their values when they claim that people with my values will be eternally damned? We are told that religion is not an appropriate topic of conversation, that we should not make an issue out of it, but how can we not fight back when violations of the separation of church and state are overt and omnipresent? I have the right to be offended when every coin I use declares “In God We Trust.” I have the right to be disturbed that almost every person who testifies in court is forced to swear, “So help me God.” Those who advocate silent prayer in school argue that the children can pray to the god of their choice, but what if those children do not wish to pray to any god at all? Although we Americans consider ourselves to be the most free-thinking citizens of any nation in the world, it is clear that we have a long way to go before freedom of religion (including the freedom to refuse religion) is fully granted.
          Happily, it seems to me that more and more Americans of my generation are privately rejecting religion and releasing their minds from its shackles. The next step is to channel our potential as a political force and as a voting bloc. Many of today’s politicians are infecting our government with religious drivel and drowning out the voices of all who oppose them; perhaps we would be able to make ourselves heard if we spoke out in unison. It is time for Americans to recognize that the idea of a society stunted by ignorance and self-delusion is much more frightening than the acknowledgment that there is no god watching over us.”

    • karlgarcia says:

      I will just drop this excerpt from Craig.

      Presumption of Atheism. Theists have complained that the usual arguments against God’s existence do not pass philosophical muster. One of the most commonly proffered justifications of atheism has been the so-called presumption of atheism. At face value, this is the claim that in the absence of evidence for the existence of God, we should presume that God does not exist. So understood, such an alleged presumption seems to conflate atheism with agnosticism. When one looks more closely at how protagonists of the presumption of atheism use the term “atheist,” however, one discovers that they are sometimes re-defining the word to indicate merely the absence of belief in God. Such a re-definition trivializes the claim of the presumption of atheism, for on this definition atheism ceases to be a view, and even infants count as atheists. One would still require justification in order to know either that God exists or that He does not exist.

      Other advocates of the presumption of atheism use the word in the standard way but insist that it is precisely the absence of evidence for theism that justifies their claim that God does not exist. The problem with such a position is captured neatly by the aphorism, beloved of forensic scientists, that “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” The absence of evidence is evidence of absence only in cases in which, were the postulated entity to exist, we should expect to have more evidence of its existence than we do. With respect to God’s existence, it is incumbent on the atheist to prove that if God existed, He would provide more evidence of His existence than what we have. This is an enormously heavy burden of proof for the atheist to bear, for two reasons: (1) On at least Christian theism the primary way in which we come to know God is not through evidence but through the inner work of His Holy Spirit, which is effectual in bringing persons into relation with God wholly apart from evidence. [5] (2) On Christian theism God has provided the stupendous miracles of the creation of the universe from nothing and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, for which events there is good scientific and historical evidence—not to mention all the other arguments of natural theology. [6] In this light, the presumption of atheism seems presumptuous, indeed!

      The debate among contemporary philosophers has therefore moved beyond the facile presumption of atheism to a discussion of the so-called “Hiddenness of God” —in effect, a discussion of the probability or expectation that God, if He existed, would leave more evidence of His existence than what we have. Unsatisfied with the evidence we have, some atheists have argued that God, if He existed, would have prevented the world’s unbelief by making His existence starkly apparent. But why should God want to do such a thing? On the Christian view it is actually a matter of relative indifference to God whether people believe that He exists or not. For what God is interested in is building a love relationship with us, not just getting us to believe that He exists. There is no reason at all to think that if God were to make His existence more manifest, more people would come into a saving relationship with Him. In fact, we have no way of knowing that in a world of free persons in which God’s existence is as obvious as the nose on one’s face that more people would come to love Him and know His salvation than in the actual world. But then the claim that if God existed, He would make His existence more evident than it is has little or no warrant, thereby undermining the claim that the absence of such evidence is itself positive evidence that God does not exist. Worse, if God is endowed with middle knowledge, so that He knows how any free person would act under any circumstances in which God might place him, then God can have so providentially ordered the actual world as to provide just those evidences and gifts of the Holy Spirit which He knew would be adequate for bringing those with an open heart and mind to saving faith. Thus, the evidence is as adequate as needs be.

      • edgar lores says:

        *****
        Karl, this sounds like sophism to me.

        atheist
        /ˈeɪθɪɪst/

        noun
        a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.

        It is not up to atheists to prove God does NOT exist. How do you prove a negative?

        Craig is shifting the burden of proof.
        *****

  23. Leo J. says:

    @chemp

    “From a present position, if you go backwards, there has to be a start point. If there is no start point, you can never arrive at the present point. (The dominoes example in the article)

    That leads to the rationale that there is a First Cause. As laws of physics say no physical quantity can explain its own existence, it is caused by a Cause outside of it. Thus the First Cause has to be outside the system, or outside the Universe, ie means Transcendental. Since no pysical quantity can explain its own existence, the First Cause is not physical, ie It is non-physical.”
    ————————————————————–

    Our ancestors followed the same way of thinking. They can’t answer the question “where did we come from?” so they created one: “Malakas and Maganda” and every culture has their own version, finaly the mystery is solved.

    Then someone asked “Where did the stars, moon, and sun come from”? so they created “Alamat Ng Araw, Buwan At Mga Bituin”, again every culture has their own version, finally the mystery is solved. nobody asks those silly questions anymore.

    etc…

    The first cause argument leads to a problem: If this God was created by another God then whom shall I worship, my creator or the God who created my creator… or the one who created the creator of the creator of my creator? Am I worshipping the right God?
    Not to mention that scripture claims that there’s but one God and no God before or After him. He is Alpha and Omega.

    If we use the Law of Physics to justify the existence of an all powerful God then this God is not powerful at all because he is still bound to the laws of nature.

    There are circumstances that the law of Physics breaks down too, i.e. in singularity, blackholes.

    My point is we cannot insert “faith” on questions that we don’t have any answer yet.

    https://socratic.org/questions/how-do-black-holes-break-the-laws-of-physics

    check out this link:

    Good Evening Everyone!

    • chemrock says:

      Very good, Leo, All cultures have their own origins story. But one can surely discern the difference of great philosophical and intellectual arguments from … from… let’s just say village folks.

      Do we relegate people like Plato and Socrates to …to..

      “The first cause argument leads to a problem: If this God was created by another God then whom shall I worship, my creator or the God who created my creator… or the one who created the creator of the creator of my creator? Am I worshipping the right God?
      Not to mention that scripture claims that there’s but one God and no God before or After him. He is Alpha and Omega.
      If we use the Law of Physics to justify the existence of an all powerful God then this God is not powerful at all because he is still bound to the laws of nature.
      There are circumstances that the law of Physics breaks down too, i.e. in singularity, blackholes.
      My point is we cannot insert “faith” on questions that we don’t have any answer yet ”

      You don’t do justice to me, Leo. I did explain no infinity in regression. I did mention no physical laws at big bang, thus First Cause is outside of the Universe, transcendental.

      This is where we stand on Faith. Naturalists on the Left and Believers on the right. I did mention there is a difference between blind faith and faith based on philosophical arguments.

      Truth and Faith works like this:
      The wife knows the son is theirs in Truth.
      The husband knows the son is theirs in Faith.

  24. Quaddie says:

    Try this. God’s Debris by Scott Adams.
    The answer could be in there:

    http://images.ucomics.com/images/pdfs/sadams/godsdebris.pdf

  25. caliphman says:

    Please pardon me but I find much of this essay and discussion on God, religion, atheism.and morality a bit like a soiree on how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. I find it extremely difficult to believe that without God, religion, mankind would be immoral or amoral, or there would be no right or wrong in society, nature, or in the physical universe. One has to be living in a black hole that through the centuries and until today, what passes for human has slaughtered the most innocent of his kind in the most unconscionable way in the name of his God, or his religion,or what his perception of should be absolutely or metaphysically immoral or moral. To see the video of a wealthy, well educated, thirty something Sri Lankan man patting a little girl on the head before detonating the huge bomb in his backpack and blowing himself up along with a churchful of innocent people might give more insight of about where morality and right or wrong should come from. Forgive me if I say I find it all rather a bit bizarre as even if in my salad days in Jesuit college I found the same philosophical academic debates intellectually engaging and fascinating. But sometimes, this is what blogs and bloggers find worth doing. So please do just carry on.

    • How do you propose to reconcile the differences that generate all the unconscionable behavior? Ignore it? That is one way. Another is to establish a platform of reason and dialogue and use it to shape ideas. That’s what we do here.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Wading in.

        I feel like I have a Swiss knife in a meeting of the Nuclear Club. Everyone is erudite, book literate. I can only present my puny mind.

        Maybe that’s the reason Jesus recruited fishermen whose business it was to catch fish, and by extension, men and women of faith.

        Jesus is risen. He rose from the dead. Without that historical fact, Christianity is an exercise of futility.

        Adam. Noah. Abraham. Isaac. Joseph. Moses. Elijah. Isaiah. Jesus the son of God. Mother Mary. Peter. Pope Francis. God works through one person, a tablespoon of saltwater because the ocean will drown a prospective convert. T.M.I. it will be. Too Much Information kills.

        Faith evaporates with intelligence. Not because faith is illogical and difficult to defend, but because it is immense. Humans are not equipped to understand divine principles. Just. Not. Equipped.

        So, fishermen, God working through one man at a time, a spoonful of faith now to save souls, rather than a destructive tsunami of otherworldly knowledge.

        I said one man, so this is how religion has touched this man, this puny mind, me:

        One, the world as we know it may end anytime, but no worries, this isn’t the last station. This is in fact a central station where we get to choose our destinations: Atheism this way, Godliness over there, Don’t Care One Way or the Other right here, and so forth.

        Two, if we do get to quaff beer, you may get an inkling of where I’ve been and where I am now. Connect the dots and appreciate a believer, with no offense meant for the unbelievers.

        Three, Duterte. How can I survive this fluke in history without lobbing expletives from my foxhole? There’s a story of faith right there.

        Micha, I won’t dare convert you, but I will shine a light wherever I go, and if my light catches you, we’ll never know. St. Augustine was a famous sinner until he followed his friend St. Dominique in sacredness. By sermons? No. By actions, showing what it was like to be a Christian.

        I constantly pray the prayer my parents taught me. It’s the Holy Rosary. Ask Senator Trillanes about my group, Stand Up for God. Ask VP Leni. Ask Senator Leila in detention. Ask Judge Andres Soriano. Ask me. “Hail Mary full of grace” repeatedly, and we may have stemmed the tide. Who knows?

        Thanks, Chem and Joe and the rest. It’s good to give my brain a workout. It’s not a time for brains. The heart is primary weapon of choice.

        • I’m glad you added your comment to the discussion, Will. I’d been hoping you’d offer your take. Thanks.

          By the way, Samira is proving to be the rock star you described. What a refreshing, candid woman. Daggers and smiles.

        • edgar lores says:

          *****
          Will, you are doing God’s work.
          *****

        • Micha says:

          Kuya Will,

          I honestly would rather not delve into this contentious faith and non-faith paradigm. You can keep your beliefs as much as you want and I can keep mine and the only thing we might possibly have in common is the desire for spirituality.

          But this article is not about being able to affirm or validate what we believe. This article is about looking for somebody to blame for the sorry state of affairs in our country. And chempo thinks he found the culprit, it’s those damned atheists.

          This is a dangerous and erroneous idea that needs to be called out.

    • chemrock says:

      Thanks for joining in. You’re a good person Caliphman — that’s faith.

      Of course Reason must never die.
      For me, it’s important that Faith too must not die.

      In Philippines admin, both Reason and Faith are gone, I think.

  26. caliphman says:

    One who does not pose even the most naive or even the most unanswerable questions, even in blogs, will never find any or EVEN the answer. So my comment is not about the worth of blogs or about what questions to discuss in it, that perhaps is Joe’s perogative though I suspect its how things are discussed and less the subject. So thanks to my friend Chemmy for raising a couple of unanswerable questions. And my two cents was to answer the question about where morality or lack of it comes from, with another question, hehehe. Only that I prefer one that is less bookish but poses a contradiction grounded in human history and experience which is perhaps why John Lennon lamented religion in his song Imagine.And Willy, i tend to be an agnostic and therefore its not a pocket but a huge Bowie knife you bring when you propose that it is Faith rather than Reason where some of these answers may mostly be found. Finally I had more than enough Kant (pardon the pun)in Philosophy 101 eons ago that reasoning from metaphysics alone may be inadequate to prove the existence of God. Nevermind the question of whether any deity or religion is theoretiically needed for morality to exist or to be restored (in these times of Duterte).

  27. Micha says:

    The issue about the existence or non-existence of God had been debated by great minds throughout history ad infinitum without ever coming into reasonable agreement. We can do the same here and debate til we are blue in the face and we’ll probably get the same result.

    So what then is the utility of posting an article like this? Per chempo’s own account, he’s doing this because it has “relevance to The Society of Honor concerns of the day of declining moral values heading into an election”.

    So this article is not about settling or adding new knowledge into the God issue. This is about finding a culprit for the country’s state of affairs in the Duterte era. And so it is becoming clear now why there was the ensuing demagoguery towards atheists in general. Those atheists are the evil ones who are responsible for all that corruption and violence and promiscuity and scandals. It’s much like how the Germans blamed the Jews for their woes.

    Can’t blame chempo for his skewed perspective but he is seriously barking up the wrong tree. I would contend that far more harm is being done by the cruel and atomizing effect of our current economic system which distorts our conception of community and indeed also, most of all, morality.

    • Leo J. says:

      Actually, I thank the author for giving me the chance to correct the common misconceptions about atheism, atheists, and agnostics. Theists will continue to distrusts us but I don’t mind. As technology and science continue to advance more questions will be answered. Theists will get tired as their politicians and church leaders will continue to utilize religion to manipulate them.

      New Galileo and Copernicus will publish their works on the internet without the fear of being persecuted by their churches.

      In fact I encourage Chemp and others to write more thought provoking articles like this one, and I hope someone from the atheists side will write one too (with JoeAm’s approval).

      Hate quotes, ad hominem, and memes don’t work. It robs the argument of its substance and only fuels hate in the comment section.

      Thanks to everyone for all the links and new information to explore.

      • Thanks for joining the discussion and keeping it civil.

      • Micha says:

        As far as belief vs. non-belief debate is concerned, there’s nothing much new information here; it’s already been covered before. Creationists just love to engage in this exercise because it gives them certain veneer of legitimacy, notwithstanding the illogic and irrationality.

        More than that however, this article is really about finding an object for demagoguery.

        • Leo J. says:

          Don’t get me wrong, I understand where you’re coming from, but forums like this one is not the best place for a debate. I can paste all the contradicting passages in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation to prove my point but it will just invite division and heated exchanges, not healty. Let’s just say not all atheists are Dutertes and not all theists are morally upright. Let’s just look at this forum as a place where mature people meet to discuss things and stuff and laugh at each others boo boos.

          Good day, Micha.

          • Hahaha, perfect description of the blog. Thank you.

            • I tend to look at it as an exclusive club, but without the wine or cigars or soft overstuffed chairs. Admission requires brains and that maturity of which you speak. We natter and chatter and take turns enlightening or amusing one another. We are unlikely to remake the world.

          • Micha says:

            Not all topics here are contentious like this one. Needless to say each contributor has different approach or motivations for their efforts in forming a narrative or consensus. You’re free and welcome to craft yours.

            • Micha, contentious is good. You’ve been in trouble before, I’ve been in trouble before for being to argumentative (amongst other things 😉 ) , now you have a green light to go after chempo (not personally, but his ideas). Think of it as a game of tag— there’s no tantrums in tag.

              For example, I’m gonna stick to what I know, because if I over reach, chemp’s gonna tag me back. the guy’s smart. But have fun!

        • chemrock says:

          Micha

          Thanks for joining in.
          But your vitriolic sure is encouraging. However, as a blogger, I have more patience than Joe for your style.
          Ego aside, it may help if you will review your comments here to see what you have contributed to the discussion.
          Why don’t you take a leaf off Edgar? He counters my view with such civility, Puts questions out there that are so difficult to respond. Perhaps greater apologetics out there have answers to his questions, but I’m not that experienced enough. I’m just a fun blogger like a guy on a fun fishing trip, throwing some bait into the water and having fun tussling with the fishes. But here’s why Edgar stands on such a higher ground than you. He threw some questions well knowing I’ll be stumped, but he put in a waiver at the end — no need to respond, just something to ponder over.
          Does it matter if you are athiest and I’m a faith believer? The blog here is a place to draw arguments, and by here, I mean arguments in logic.
          Edgar is on the opposite of the aisle, but I’m sure he appreciates arguments against his views even though he disagrees.
          At least do take away 2 good advises here :
          From Lance — be cool
          From Will — watch out for his light

        • chemrock says:

          And here Reason, being ultimate determinists that absolutes are her and her domain only, sees not what more brilliant thinkers, themselves athiests, and have warned that Morality does not reside in Rationality, takes into her hand to charge me for demagoguery. Thanks to Grace, that for Reason has no God, I have not been charged for heresy.

          As I survey the ups and downs in this blog, unable to find any clenched fists, anger, rantings, or orders for the Light Brigade to charge, but instead I see beautiful philosophical quotes, I stand as in Calgary, absolved of all crimes, but at the gallows to be snuffed by hands that think they know what they do.

          Ah my fate is the harbinger of what I myself preach. That Reason unbridled is the fuel for power, to master race mindset.

  28. caliphman says:

    Edgar, the only view of a Supreme being I am prepared to share is that perhaps the same entity affirmed by the other major monotheustic religions. Its certainly not based on the orthodox versions detailed in the Bible, Koran, Torah, and other scriptures or preached by the Vatican,rabbinical, Islamic or other creaking church bureaucracies. It is necessarily vague and
    evolving as one religious and spiritual beliefs do change over time as one goes through life changes experiences, and ways of thinking. You and others may have made similar journeys when conceptions of who and what God is and how that is relevant to how one lives is to be expected unless that is spoonfed from a catechism, holy book., or a pulpit.Unfortunately whatever I partake of the latter, I tend to chew a lot, and many times do not swallow 🙂

  29. caliphman says:

    Edgar, the only concept of a Supreme being I am prepared to share is the same entity affirmed by the other major monotheustic religions. Its certainly not based on the orthodox versions detailed in the Bible, Koran, Torah, and other scriptures or preached by the Vatican,rabbinical, Islamic or other creaking church bureaucracies. It is necessarily vague and
    evolving as one religious and spiritual beliefs do change over time as one goes through life changes experiences, and ways of thinking. You and others may have made similar journeys when conceptions of who and what God is and how that is relevant to how one lives is to be expected unless that is spoonfed from a catechism, holy book., or a pulpit.Unfortunately whatever I partake of the latter, I tend to chew a lot, and many times do not swallow 🙂

  30. karlgarcia says:

    https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/what-nietzsche-really-meant-by-god-is-dead

    “It’s been 134 years since Friedrich Nietzsche declared: “God is Dead” (or Gott ist tot, in German), giving philosophy students a collective headache that’s lasted from the 19th century until today. It is, perhaps, one of the best known statements in all of philosophy, well known even to those who have never picked up a copy of The Gay Science, the book from which it originates. But do we know exactly what he meant? Or perhaps more importantly, what it means for us?

    Nietzsche was an atheist for his adult life and didn’t mean that there was a God who had actually died, rather that our idea of one had. After the Enlightenment, the idea of a universe that was governed by physical laws and not by divine providence was now reality. Philosophy had shown that governments no longer needed to be organized around the idea of divine right to be legitimate, but rather by the consent or rationality of the governed — that large and consistent moral theories could exist without reference to God. This was a tremendous event. Europe no longer needed God as the source for all morality, value, or order in the universe; philosophy and science were capable of doing that for us. This increasing secularization of thought in the West led the philosopher to realize that not only was God dead but that human beings had killed him with their scientific revolution, their desire to better understand the world.

    The death of God didn’t strike Nietzsche as an entirely good thing. Without a God, the basic belief system of Western Europe was in jeopardy, as he put it in Twilight of the Idols: “When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole.””

  31. karlgarcia says:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/05/passionate-atheism-me-christianity-nietzsche

    “The Big Ideas series has for several months now explored the meaning of a number of familiar intellectual phrases, among them Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message”, Hannah Arendt’s “the banality of evil” and Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”. But none of these feels quite as big an idea as Friedrich Nietzsche’s “God is dead”. After centuries of Christianity, a new dawn is being announced. And the language Nietzsche uses in his famous passage from The Gay Science reflects the enormity of his discovery: “How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon?” Nothing again will ever be the same.

    But what is his discovery? It isn’t a eureka moment in which Nietzsche comes to understand that God does not exist. Indeed, he is not all that interested in the question of God’s existence. The Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson recently told me that he would be an atheist even if God walked into the restaurant. Similarly for Nietzsche, it’s not a question of evidence or the lack of it.

    He is in a completely different place to the new atheist brigade of Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling. If God walked into the room, Nietzsche would stab him – for his “God is dead” revelation is that humanity can only become free if it rejects the idea of the divine. Christianity is not a mistake. It is wickedness dressed up as virtue.

    Nietzsche himself was raised in an overly pious religious household. And on the death of his father, who was the local pastor, Nietzsche was brought up to fill his father’s shoes. In his first year away from home he wrote some nauseatingly sentimental Christian poetry and won the university preaching prize.

    But all this weight of expectation was profoundly claustrophobic and so it was almost inevitable that rejecting God came as a great release. Indeed, such was the enormous freedom that Nietzsche felt in throwing off his Christian upbringing that he came to describe it in terms of salvation. With the most extraordinary rhetorical daring, he borrowed the language of Christianity to articulate the liberation he discovered in this new-found lack of faith. Which is why one of European culture’s most dedicated atheists can sound so religious. And why the death of God story feels so much like a biblical parable.

    Nietzsche’s case against Christianity was that it kept people down; that it smothered them with morality and self-loathing. His ideal human is one who is free to express himself (yes, he’s sexist), like a great artist or a Viking warrior. Morality is for the little people. It’s the way the weak manipulate the strong. The people Nietzsche most admired and aspired to be like were those who were able to reinvent themselves through some tremendous act of will.

    I have never seen anything to admire in Nietzsche’s view of morality or immorality. He was badly interpreted by the Nazis. But his ethics, if one can call them that, are founded on the admiration of power as the ultimate form of abundant creativity. His hatred of Christianity comes mostly from his hatred of renunciation and the promotion of selflessness. Jesus was a genius for having the imaginative power to reinvent Judaism but a dangerous idiot for basing this reinvention on the idea that there is virtue to be had in weakness. The weak, Nietzsche insists, are nasty and cruel. They take out their frustration on those who have the power of genuine self-expression.

    It may seem perverse but it was Nietzsche who was partly responsible for my own conversion to Christianity. As a philosophy student in the 1980s, I had served my time with the analytic tradition and its logic-chopping ways. Like many students, I was expecting something more from philosophy than an ability to break down “the cat sat on the mat” into its semantic parts or wading through dreary and unconvincing proofs about the existence of God. I wanted the excitement of big ideas. Marx did it for a while. But my own public school version of revolutionary communism was inevitably a brittle thing, despite its evangelical fervour.

    As radical socialism collapsed around my ears, Nietzsche invaded my consciousness with a whole range of new and exciting questions. I took the anti-God line entirely for granted. As a good communist, atheism had always been my unexamined default position. And because Nietzsche was so passionate an atheist, I had my defences down to his unusually intense religiosity and elliptical desire for salvation. Which, I suppose, is how the question of God crept under my intellectual radar.

    Nietzsche hated Christianity with all the intensity of someone who had once been caught up in its workings, but he would have equally loathed the high priests of new atheism and their overwhelming sense of intellectual superiority. “How much boundlessly stupid naivety is there in the scholar’s belief in his superiority, in the simple, unsuspecting certainty with which his instincts treat the religious man as inferior and a lower type which he himself has evolved above and beyond”, he wrote. Nietzsche’s big idea goes much deeper than a belief that there is no God. His extraordinary project was to design a form of redemption for a world beyond belief. And to this extent he remained profoundly pious until his dying day.”

  32. Leo J. says:

    A view from all sides.

    an audiobook is available in librivox:

    https://librivox.org/the-brothers-karamazov-by-fyodor-dostoyevsky/

  33. “Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff of Hillary Clinton, is a card carrying member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Zaki Barzinji, as liaison to the Muslim American community under the Office of Public Engagement, is the grandson of the founder of Muslim Brotherhood. There were other Muslim Brotherhood affiliates with roles in various levels of the government. Extreme Left Liberals played right into the hands of Muslim Brotherhood’s manual on an Islamic takeover of the US.”

    chemp,

    I finally got around to Googling these names, i’ve come across them in the news and such, but had to look up the Muslim Brotherhood connection. hadn’t heard of this really.

    Huma Abedin

    Cosmopolitan women married to Jewish dudes (Weiner) tend not to be practicing Muslims, chemp. what’s circulating in the internet is some Saudi rich guy throwing money around, and I guess Huma’s family were recipients of this money. she was also part of Muslim student organization in college. There’s no connection , chemp. just conspiracy stuff.

    Zaki Berzinji

    supposed to be a grandson of a guy who started a Muslim Brotherhood group in the US, under some Virginia mosque. Zaki himself was active in some Muslim student organization tied to Muslim Brotherhood. much of the connections are happenstance to actual active groups or operatives. But grandson and grandfather were never participating in anything terrorist. just Muslim groups, chemp. No solid connections really to big Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and KSA.

    Huma Abedin is obvious no connection, for me ; Zaki Berzinji is no connection for me because , what about the father, terrorism skips generations??? Lol.

    I know the DC crowd , chemp. there’s a lot of drinking and screwing of other people’s wives, a devout Muslim would stick out. These two are DC types who’re leveraging their Arab and Muslim heritage to get a job. Simple.

    As to Muslim Brotherhood manual, sure there’s a manual. but are they actually running things like Hydra, nope too many evangelical Christians as well as Mormons— these guys will turn any Muslims into Mormons.

    • there’s a bunch of Liberty and Regent law schools graduates in DC, not to mention other Evangelical and Catholic colleges grads. under Trump I’m sure a bunch of his political appointees will be the same folks. So whatever Muslims appointed by Obama, they are long gone. such is the nature of political appointments, 4 years if you’re lucky. lobby gig is even better.

      Between the Muslim Brotherhood and Evangelicals, I’m more worried about the latter, chemp.

      • chemrock says:

        I dont wish to get into a discussion on Muslim Brotherhood because if my views are fully articulated some algorithms will track it down and TSOH will be suspended. In deference to the welbeing of TSOH I will just say a few points :
        1. MB has being working on the world domination plan for a century while everyone else were sleeping.
        2. The term Islamophobia was coined by MB to play the victim card. See how successful this has been. Anytime you say terrorist they and Obama and Hillary raise this card.
        3. Choose your sleeping partners well. Its too late for Sweden and Germany. Great violent tragedy will be the end result of EU sleeping with the wrong partners.

        • 1. I agree. But they’re not so powerful now, in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia (biting the hands that fed them).

          2. I agree, Evangelicals also play the victim card well, so do Jews (Israeli lobby) and Muslims. blacks too. But when victim cards are laid out, the best thing to do is look at their coffers, Evangelicals (rich); Israeli lobby lots of money; Arab interests more oil money; MB won the Egyptian elections by vote, but they couldn’t even stop a military coup (Egyptian military is pro-US).

          3. I agree they are more prominent in Europe, precisely because they have no Evangelicals and conservative Catholics, and Israeli lobby, etc. there’s a push and pull here, chemp. the game has not been won. if anything MB is on retreat— Brexit is a reaction to MB amongst other things.

          ( * if you’re hinting at money laundering and moving around the world in secrecy today, chemp, that’s pretty much been squelched too, money laundering is now played at a higher level, off-shore bank accounts are now easily tracked; the US is where you play that game— i would venture to say solely now— and the buy in, the MB cannot afford, maybe UAE and Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but no more Cyprus accounts or Panama accounts for sure, front companies, the name of the game is buy your politicians so you can hide mone).

          • 3. more aspects:

            a) Europe is reachable on foot, literally.

            b) Western Europe is more secular, but has started to define it’s values more sharply: I watched part of the German parliament debate on sharpening consent laws in the light of the New Year’s attacks on women in Cologne which codified what had been implicit here..

            c) Eastern Europe is not so secular, especially the Orthodox countries. It also applies to migrant groups. Russian-Germans very often vote the populist AfD.

            d) Many Arabs, Turks, Persians over here are among those opposing religious extremists.

            e) Western Europeans are often as suspicious of the US religious right as of Islamists.

            • c) Also because they’ve had more interactions with Muslims, in their institutional memory, no? Thanks!

              • “a) Europe is reachable on foot, literally.”

                I think chemp’s more talking about MB funds in Swiss banks and MB fat cats in European mansions. Which I think is more early 2000s stuff.

              • c) True for Southeastern Europe which only recently (150-200 years ago) shook off 3-4 centuries of being dominated by the Ottoman Empire.

                Russia has returned a bit to its pre-Communist narrative of “Moscow = 3rd Rome”.

                a) anti-money laundering has advanced a lot over here in Europe in response to threats from all kinds of black money including Russian. You are right they try to buy states now, Cyprus and Malta seem most vulnerable to that, like Philippines and Cambodia in ASEAN.

  34. I have read the word Dhimmi in chemrock’s postings now, what is coming next, taqqiya?

    This all sounds like the closed world of those who are insisting the Muslims are out to “get us”.

    Jews were accused of that too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protocols_of_the_Elders_of_Zion

    Any form of radicalism or “absolute truth” (religious, ideological, racial) is dangerous in itself I think.

    Because it will accuse the other side of wanting world domination while wanting it also for itself.

    • Christian Spaniards BTW were tolerated over centuries of islamic rule in Al-Andalus.

      They did not extend the same tolerance to Jews and Muslims after the Reconquista.

      The Inquisition especially went after Muslim converts, fearing “taqqiya” (deception)

      ———————

      Extremism begets extremism. Greek independence also ushered in a period of mutual “ethnic cleansing” were they expelled Turks and Turks expelled Greeks over decades.

      China treats Islam as mental illness, I have read regarding Uigurs in reeducation camps.

    • chemrock says:

      Protocols of the Zions is a fakem mastermined by Pierre Plantard. It’s out in the open.

      I do agree all forms of radicalism is dangerous. However, consider the following:

      May 1998 Jonathan Miller, ABC News, interviewed bin Laden. This is what he said:

      Osama bin Laden “I am one of the servants of Allah. We do our duty of fighting for the sake of the religion of Allah. It is also our duty to send a call to all the people of the world to enjoy this great light and to embrace Islam and experience the happiness in Islam. Our primary mission is nothing but the furthering of this religion.”

      Nov 2001, Hamid Mir, the editor of an Arabic-language journal.

      Hamid Mir: “Can it be said that you are against the American government, not the American people?”

      Osama: Yes! “We are carrying on the mission of our Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). The mission is to spread the word of God, not to indulge [in] massacring people.”

      OK fellas you are safe. But then Quran 9-5 The Verse of the Sword:

      “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful”

      Show me a similar verse in any other holy books.

      • I think the teachings of fundamentalists everywhere are hostile to people of other faiths. Although the words in this article may not call for overt slaying of people of other faiths, it is a pretty hard statement that religions other than Christianity are false and punishments are awaiting those who worship wrongly.

        http://biblereasons.com/other-religions/

        There is a great danger in characterizing an entire religion based on fundamentalists or extremists, or to take words as literal truths, as it doe not allow for moderates and reason/compassion to temper interpretations. Context is king. Samira Gutoc is running for the Senate. She deserves to be heard, not condemned because she is of the wrong faith. I think she is perhaps the strongest opposition candidate and would do wonders for peace and progress within the Philippines.

        I don’t know how one achieves tolerance without being tolerant. The alternative is the kind of exclusiveness or exceptionalism portrayed in the article, and that has for sure failed time and time again throughout history.

        • chemrock says:

          Eagreed on that.
          But please do note, critique here has been on the ideology not the believers. That’s why I said we need to separate the man (believers) from the book. And I’m also of the opinion many believers of religions are at the Lower levels, thus knowledge is actually shallow.

          • Thanks for re-emphasizing the point. Ideology taken literally for words penned ages ago gives little credit to more knowledgeable, informed, and compassionate views. It’s hard for me to be so judgmental, except when the judgments of others are too hard to permit moderate interpretations. I don’t care much for fundamentalists of any religion. I note that Muslims are not of one view, fight amongst themselves, and atheistic China is cruel in its suppression’s of faith. Pope Francis is having a hard time taking the Catholic Church in more informed directions because the conservatives object. So “faith” in any church has a time and a context. It is complex enough without adding fuel to the conflagration by generalizing, particularly to the extremes.

        • OK fellas you are safe. But then Quran 9-5 The Verse of the Sword:

          “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful”

          Show me a similar verse in any other holy books.

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

          chemp,

          as in anything religious, there are more than one way to read this, the a-hole way is the takfiri (MB, ISIS, etc.) way and then there’s the regular way it’s read, which most cool Muslims do

          as something very specific, which happened in Medina. like I said, and Ireneo, Muslims have treated non-Muslims with tolerance, from meh to really great accommodations, that’s in history.

          but I don’t wanna talk history anymore, your last sentence is a challenge (and I love challenges). I ‘d agree there is no similar line in any other holy books, but youre making it out like “the Purge” series of movies,

          let me offer a counter challenge, show me other verses in the Qur’an where there is no conditional like the above you see in the verse you’ve just quoted.

          • let me cut thru the chase, chemp (I know Joe doesn’t like stuff like this), there are none. Every violent verse you find, will always have a “But if…” conditional.

            Which somewhat explains what Ireneo said above about Muslim rule in Andalusia, the Crusades were similar. Some say Muslim chivalry predated all the Knights stuff, i dunno. but it kinda makes sense though,

            Qur’an, love it or hate it, is on-the-ground stuff, when early Muslims were finally running a city, they had to come up with rules , in war they had to come up with Rules of Engagement (ROE), in punishment same-same.

            The New Testament never got around to that, hence much of its ROE came later, via Constantine, then eventually St. Augustine. Old Testament is scorched earth ROE, but the practical application is that Jews were always getting enslaved— God always did the dirrrty deeds for them.

            So recounting your story,

            “Here’s a real story. Sometime back a school in Malaysia had a talk by a foreign Islamic imam. Somewhere in the talk a school administrator, a Christian Chinese, stood up to ask a doubting question. The imam asked the administrator to go up the stage. He went onstage and stood in front of the imam.To everyone’s surprise, the imam slapped the administrator right across the cheek. Before anyone could react, the imam asked “Does’nt your religion say you will give me the other cheek?” The admin defiantly gave his other cheek and received another tight slap. As he was about to walk away, the imam said are’nt you supposed to give me your pants. The admin turned to his school children and said I’m sorry you have to see this, but it is what I have to do. He stripped off his pants and left the hall. Hours later the admin was surprised to see a long queeue of his Muslim pupils outside his office. They lined up to apologise for what happened.”

            The foreign imam did make a very solid point , albeit painful , but solid. That there are no ROEs in the New Testament. the school administrator doubled down on Jesus, and because of it gained respect from his students, ala MLK jr. and Gandhi. but

            there’s more than one way to skin a cat…

            Had he read St. Augustine’ City of God, after he took off his pants, he should’ve squared up with the foreign imam, put his right palm up and then his left palm and asked the foreign imam, which city do you live in???

            answer: City of man , slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!!! (in the face);

            second answer: City of God, slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!!! (other cheek).

            foreign imam: why’d you slap me twice ???

            school administrator: they are both the same, one is out of love; the other is out of hate.

            foreign imam: So which one’s which?

            school administrator: Only God knows.

            (picks up his pants, hangs it over his shoulder, and saunters off… 😉 )

            My point, you can make up ROEs as you go, chemp. and that’s “the City of God” in a nutshell. 🙂

            • chemrock says:

              Bad advice Lance.

              For me I will turn to my students and teach them the distinction between the teachings of LOVE and HATE in the 2 religions. Love is standing in front of Hate.

              • I completely agree, chemp. non-Violence is the best option. but for me, as someone who doesn’t enjoy getting slapped not once but twice on stage and having to undress in front of everyone,

                there was another way— and the foreign imam would respect the school administrator more. because that wasn’t a religious debate, that was a physical confrontation, as such other doors open at your disposal.

                back to Vengeance and Proportionality; slap him twice also, but don’t make him take off his pants, to show mercy. that was the school administrator’s school, he had every right.

                But that is a good summation of “the City of God”, chemp. 😉

      • Leo J. says:

        Never a fan of posting scripture verses unless it’s requested.

        Kill Nonbelievers

        “They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)”

        • chemrock says:

          Bro
          Do you know the Old Testament well ?

          This ain’t equivalent to the Verse of the Sword.

          This is a rededication pledge repeated after a few hundred years. Its a rededication of the convenants of their forefathers with God during the Exodus. They pledge complete faith to God and destruction upon themselves of those who don’t believe.

          Please be kinder Bro. You totally misunderstood the context of this verse.

          • Leo J. says:

            And that’ll be cherry-picking. Remember, the Ten Commandments” is in the Old T too, and some other things that will not look good on God’s resume.

            The usual response : “You totally misunderstood the context of this verse” – this is the reason why I’m not a fan of posting Bible verses.

            UPDATE: Interesting enough because according to New T. – Romans 1 :29-32, people like me who lacks understanding are worthy of death. We’ll I’m just exaggerating, I know you mean well.

            Romans 1 :29-32 “Those filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hate for god, despite, proud, boasters, inventions of evil things, disobedience to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, unnatural affection, implacable or unmerciful nature: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death.”

            Have a good day, Sir.

            • chemrock says:

              Leo

              Gosh, your logic is fascinating. You cherry-picked Chronicles 15-12 and mis=represented its meaning to be Christianity’s equivalent to Islam’s Verse of the Sword.

              And when explained the proper meaning you said chee our default explanation “You totally misunderstood the context of this verse”

              Did you not see thefallacy? You were the one who cherry-pick, and you were the one with the default answer.

              Leo. it’s OK to say oh you might have been wrong with that one. We are learning here.

              Romans 1:29-32
              Once again you cherry-picked and quoted the part to justify your point of view that people who don’t understand the scriptures are condemned.This is where Paul went into Sin and a lot of explanation.
              Leo, you are absolutely off-the mark with Romans1:29-32
              This is a very very deep and rich part of the Scriptures and I’m not expert here and way too long to explain here. Just a brief on it:

              1. It is addressed to those who knew God but chose to turn away.
              2. It specifically relates to those who already knew God.
              3. You began the verse with “Those” whereas the correct word is “Being”. That betrays your trying to sneak in ad twist the whole meaning.
              4. This veser talks of “God gave them over” — mean he washes his hands. If you Sin, you face Divine judgement.

              Leo, in a way I thank you for bring this verse up here (it;s just a small part). It is about Man’s loss of morality by walking away from God. EXACTLY what this blog is all about.

              This is the part that discusses what Sin is all about, how man;s heart was darkened, how it can be saved, touches on innate moral quality of man. and lots of other stuff on morality, etc.

              It touches on Sin is not a disease, not lack of intellect, but darkened by the supernatural and how the Light of Grace can overcome this.

              And this is the judgment that light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil (John 3:19).

              Leo, you have been cherry-picking and you claim the evils of cherry picking by believers.

              J. M. Gillis commented that:
              “Only in Atheism does the spring rise higher than the source, the effect exist without the cause, life come from a stone, blood from a turnip, a silk from a sow’s ear, or a Beethoven Symphony or a Bach Fugue from a kitten walking across the keys.”

  35. edgar lores says:

    *****
    THE ENDLESS JOURNEY

    1. My religious journey has been a long one. It started from boyhood and even now, in old age, it has not ended.

    2. My objections to organized religion are summed in these 5 major issues:

    o The problem of exclusivity
    o The problem of evil
    o The problem of eschatology
    o The problem of externality
    o The problem of anthropomorphism

    2.1. Exclusivity. This is the non-acceptance of nonbelievers by a religion. Consider that the greater portion of mankind will perish if they do not adhere and believe in the Faith. From my viewpoint, God is not merciful, not omnibenevolent. I found this unacceptable.

    2.2. Evil. This is God’s responsibility for good and evil. If God is responsible for one, he must also be responsible for the other. From my viewpoint, if this is not so, God is not omnipotent. I found this unacceptable.

    2.3. Eschatology. This is the paradigm of salvation. We are here on Earth to believe or not to believe. If we believe, we are saved. If we don’t, we will perish. From my viewpoint, this smacks of bullying, a kind of Prisoner’s Dilemma. Believe or else. There is no Free Will if you are given just two choices. Free will must include the option not to accept and participate in those two choices, to reject, in its entirety, the Christian cosmology. That God does not seem to know each individual’s choice means that He is not omniscient. I found this unacceptable.

    2.4. Externality. This is the concept that God is a Supreme Being outside of time and space. From my viewpoint, God is outside and not in the Universe and therefore not omnipresent. I found this unacceptable.

    2.5. Anthropomorphism. This is the concept that God is possessed with human qualities. He is depicted as a heavenly father who shows hatred, jealousy, anger, and has a need for adoration. From my viewpoint, God is petty in this regard and not self-possessed. I found this unacceptable.

    3. The above is an overview and a vast simplification. I have debated and wrestled with these issues most of my life. I have considered and dabbled in several options as you may know.

    o Atheism
    o Agnosticism
    o Buddhism
    o Spinoza’s God

    3.1. I rejected the first two because the universe, for all the dreadful goings-on, is too beautiful, too wondrous.

    3.2. I am still engaged in the open inquiry of Buddhist philosophy. Most everything must be questioned and examined.

    3.3. My default stance is the fourth option. Why?

    3.4. Spinoza’s God (SG) is pantheism. God is not outside the Universe. God is the Universe.

    3.5. SG eliminates or neatly sidesteps the 5 major issues. In my interpretation:

    3.5.1. Exclusivity does not apply. God is not a brand.

    3.5.2. Good and evil are conditions of existence. They are the twin currents in the river of life. God is responsible for neither. God does not intervene in the workings of the universe. This is important. It means that we are responsible. More importantly, we have to rely on ourselves.

    3.5.3. Eschatology does not apply. The universe is an open system and not a closed one. There is no plan, no foreordained destiny. We actively participate in our destiny. The universe moves according to the laws of physics.

    3.5.4. Externality does not apply. God permeates the universe. God resides everywhere. God may be said to be Light Matter and Light Energy. This is important. God is in you. Jesus confirmed this: ”The kingdom of God is within you.”

    3.5.5. Anthropomorphism. God is not an entity and cannot be personified.

    4. Allow me to backtrack a little.

    4.1. My religious philosophy begins with Krishnamurti’s dictum: ”Truth is a pathless land.”

    4.2. Alternatively, if you are enamored of Nietzsche: ” No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.”

    4.3. Or you might settle for Caliphman: ”[The view of a Supreme Being] … is necessarily vague and evolving as one religious and spiritual beliefs do change over time as one goes through life changes experiences, and ways of thinking.”

    4.4. I take all of the above quotes to be true.

    5. What are the ends of religion? There appear to be two modalities.

    o For the Abrahamic religions, it is union with God.
    o For the Eastern religions, it is liberation from the cycle of rebirth (moksha).

    5.1. The basic difference seems to be that the first seeks to preserve Self (in eternal life) while the second seeks the dissolution of Self.

    5.2. In the first, all that is required is faith. In the second, dissolution is attained after enlightenment. In the first, you have but one chance and you are rewarded or punished for eternity. (Proportionality, anyone?) In the second, you have as many chances as you need.

    5.3. I tend towards the Eastern modality. I believe I have attained momentary states of enlightenment but it is an intermittent state. Momentary, few, and unsustained. Except for those brief moments, I reside in ego. Perhaps it is a case of trying too hard.

    6. The state of belief in the Philippines is pre-Enlightenment. Which is to say it is blind faith which rejects rationality. The quality of blind faith is the same whether directed to the Christian God, to the Muslim Allah, or to Duterte.

    6.1. My harsh statement that religions have been “the myth of Santa Clause in mankind’s childhood” refers to this unexamined pre-Enlightenment blind faith.

    7. I believe the best statement about religion comes from the Dalai Lama. He said, ”My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” The world would be a better place if we followed this teaching.
    *****

    • chemrock says:

      Thanks Edgar, your thoughts are deep. I like to respond to some points where I can. Let me do it tom when I’m re-united with my laptop. I’m relaxing in neighborhood park now, appreciating the trees and the cool breeze.

    • Leo J. says:

      As Sartre said: “We are condemned to be free”, which is the basis of Chemp’s concern about morality, with too much freedom and no moral standards = “chaos”.

      If I understand it correctly, Spinoza was suggesting that you may keep your religion as basis for morality, “too keep people in line”, but remove everything that it’s not in accordance with the Golden Rule aka (Kindness) and then test it with science and reason.

      Great win/win.

      I call it “The Constitution.”

      • Like I said above, Leo, democracy as we know it now, comes from Spinoza.

      • chemrock says:

        Leo

        This is just a tickler.

        Solomon’s wise decision.

        Two women A and B both claim a child is theirs. King Solomon said chop the kid in half. A said go ahead. B said no, I’ll rather give up the kid. Solomon said aha B must be the mother for no mother will sacrifice her own child.

        Eveyrbody knows the story. So your Golden Rule of kindness wins right?
        Suppose we put the child to a DNA test and A was the real mother. Science wins, right?

        Then how?

        (B could have backed off out of humanitarian reasons, not because she was the real mother)

    • chemrock says:

      Edgar:

      I’ll isolate and address your points as it’s a very long comment (but very good one)

      2.1. “Exclusivity. This is the non-acceptance of nonbelievers by a religion. Consider that the greater portion of mankind will perish if they do not adhere and believe in the Faith. From my viewpoint, God is not merciful, not omnibenevolent. I found this unacceptable”
      3.5.1.” Exclusivity does not apply. God is not a brand.”

      I agree, and which I stated in my article — exclusivity is a big problem for humanity. But let’s just all agree for argument sake, that there is a Creator. So there is only right. So it’s humanity that messed it up by creating separate entities. So once again I say it is not a problem of the book, it is man. Question is back to which Book is the Truth and once again I say the once that answers the questions of Origin, Meaning, Morality and Destiny.

      God is a brand, but there is only one brand.
      Choose the wrong one, then if it’s all true, too bad for you, eternity is a looooong time.
      Choose one and turns out there is nothing out there, then have you lived a wasted live? Hell, does it matter at that time?
      .

      • edgar lores says:

        *****
        My argument is from the level of the Abrahamic religions and the holy books (Torah/Bible/Quran).

        Your counter-argument is from a meta-level — above the Abrahamic religions.

        The theory (of a brandless God) is not the practice.

        And the practice is what is stated in the holy books of the Abrahamic religions.

        And the books are supposed to be the word of God/Allah.

        The basis for my non-acceptance is the conceptualization of God/Allah as contained in the holy books. Individually, each God is a jealous god.
        *****

        • chemrock says:

          Understand what you are saying.

          Your view : All 3 faith believers say the same, there is only one God, but their brand is the right one. Should be 3+1 to include your position.

          I said: There is only God — 2 out of the 3 are wrong, To each his own – figure out which is correct. My way is based on Origin, Meaning, Morality and Destiny. If you get it wrong, just remember eternity is a very long time to ponder your mistake.. .

          The Christian God made no attempt to hide it — He did say He is a Jealous God. .

    • chemrock says:

      @ Edgar

      “2.2. Evil. This is God’s responsibility for good and evil. If God is responsible for one, he must also be responsible for the other. From my viewpoint, if this is not so, God is not omnipotent. I found this unacceptable.”

      Whilst at this I suppose one can throw in the whole spanner — why create earthquakes, diseases, sorrows etc.

      Why don’t give us a Rose Garden?
      Now wait a minute, he did did’nt he? Somewhere in Eden long ago.

      Before Leo can pull anything out, let’s be clear. Isaiah did say God created ‘evil’.
      Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (King James version)
      There is a context to this — “רָ֑ע” in hebrew has several meanings — bad stuff, calamity, disasters, moral evils. King James chose evil, other versions use other interpretations.

      Taken in context, it was about God rewarding those that obeyed him, and punishment for those that don’t. It’s more to causing suffering to those who don’t.

      Under atheistic conventions, is there no sufferings for violations for the constitution and the laws? Same O same o.

      Evil is within us. It lies in the heart of man. God did not show Cain how to kill Abel. Cain did it out of the evil that laid in his heart.

      If I may be so harsh on this question of evil, should I now ask of atheists who say so arrogant of Chemrock to say that only those who believe in religion has moral values and thus implying non-believers have no morals, should I now ask do atheists then believe evil resides only in believers and not those with rational minds?

      Jesus healing the blind man is a lesson here. Blindness is a physical tragedy, but worse than physical blindness in able-bodied persons with spiritual blindness. Jesus healing the blind was to drawn the spiritually blind to him and let him heal their souls.

      Evil lies with man, but whence did it come from? Comes from rejection or resistance from, or disbelief in, the Holiness of God. That is where God works, to bring Light to man’s heart, chase the darkness away, and transform souls — a transformation that starts with the Cross.

      Some will ask, if God is so great, why than allow man to harbour evil? Why not create all man with nothing but goodness in them? This would be a deterministic world where everything is pre-determined by God. Is that life meaningful? God is beyond our understanding and obviously see the folly of a creation based on pre-determined laws. Thus we have Free Will, the essence of our lives.

      Again it comes to the point — morality is anchored in a religion. Belief in a God provides a great restraining pullback from evil deeds. That does’nt mean all Christians will do no wrong nor all athiets will stray. Simply saying rationality does not provide any moral restraints.

      • edgar lores says:

        *****
        Thanks for the Isaiah quote.

        There are two kinds of evil as shown by the different interpretations:

        o Natural evil (calamities)
        o Moral evil

        Whatever the interpretation, God is responsible for both. I do not put much emphasis on the first which is the result of natural processes. I do emphasize the second.

        If immorality is innate, then so is morality.

        If, per Isaiah, (a) God is light/peace as well as darkness/(calamity or evil), and (b) that, per Genesis, God created man in His image, it stands to reason that immorality and morality are innate.

        (Note that I said that man has the potential to be moral or immoral. With or without religion. The potential is in our make-up.)

        From the above sequences, the argument that immorality comes from a rejection (or resistance/disbelief) of God is a red herring. Immorality and morality are innate, whether a man accepts or rejects God.

        We know that a man of faith can be immoral. Conversely and equally, we can reason a man of no faith can be moral. Rejection or acceptance of God is not a necessary factor. (One can google famous atheists/agnostics.)

        Therefore, the first derived conclusion that religion provides the anchor to morality is false.

        The second derived conclusion that rationality does not provide moral restraint is questionable.

        Without religion, I doubt that rationality is the first line of defense. I would say that conscience is the first… and perhaps the last line. I would classify conscience as intuition rather than rationality.

        When we are tempted to do something that is morally reprehensible, it is not Reason that sends that first twinge of doubt and guilt. It is intuition. At some level, we know — or intuit — that what we are about to do is morally hazardous.
        *****

        • chemrock says:

          Edgar
          Crossing sword with you is educational. So here’s my thrust .

          On moral evil – laying it on God as the cause for man’s bad deed is the good old buck passing mentality. Imagine Bong Reville saying He made me do it! Moral evil is man- made, take responsibility or open the impunity floodgate wide.

          Whether moraliy or amorality is innate or one has conscience as the keeper of one’s action, or intuition is a better faculty, these are irrelevant. The question here is with no moral law giver, who sets the standards? All self- judgemental standards? How to apply a national or world view standard? How much do you rely on the intuition or conscience of Duterte?

    • chemrock says:

      Edgar

      3.2 Buddhism — I respect Buddhism for the moral lights. I have only 2 issues with Buddism –(a) There is no origins, (b) can’t answer the question — where does the first reincarnation come from?

      3.3 Spinoza – I can see why Spinoza is your guy, and Lance’s. He’s for agnostic-leaning people. But Spinoza, upon gazing at the wonders and vastness of the universe and the millions of questions philosophers ask, he too had to fall back on the concept of a God. However his idea of God is just something out there IN the universe, it has all the attributes of all things in Nature. In other words, his God is not an entity, and it is within the system, or our universe. He is immanent, not transcendental. Spinoza’s God does not answer to Origins, Meaning, Morality, Destiny. So he does not fit our concept of God in the theological sense. Spinoza was just providing us with a Manager for the Universe.,

      3.5.2. Good and evil — please see my comment re Trilemma to Leo below April 30, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      3.5.4.”THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU” — Nonsense !
      Kindly permit me to point out a false quote here. I don’t blame you. 90% of Christians make the same mistake. The fact is, nowhere in the Bible did Jesus ever said that. The misunderstanding came from this verse:

      Luke 12 (King James)
      ***And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God will should come, he answered them and said “The Kingdom of God cometh, not with observation: Neither shall they say, (Lo, here!or, Lo there! for, behold) the Kingdom of God is within you.” ***

      The parenthesis are mine for easier reading. The syntax is tricky.

      The Christian God seeks personal relationships with believers. We say put Jesus in your heart, meaning to cherish and always be reminded of the Word. Believers seek salvation to go to the Kingdom of God in the afterlife.

      3.5.5. Anthropomorphism – Christian God is an entity. He is personnified as male and Father in the way that the ;laity can grasp, but his essence is unfathommable to man.

      6. Pre-enlightenment Christianity. Perhaps like you, Spinoza is also my kind of guy, to a certain extent, except I believe in a transcendental Creator. — I’m theistic, but that does’nt mean I reject rationality. I would be a nut case. I do agree pre-enlightenment Christianity was over-bearing dogmas and chains of the church everywhere. (But then, the church was a monoleithic organisation operated directly from Rome and had to maneuvre themselves in order to survive the politics of kings). .Age of Enlightenment benefited Christianity as clergies too opened their minds to new challenges and understanding. I strongly feel Science is good for the Church. The fears for Science as in Gallileo’s days are gone.

      As to Filipinos being in pre-elightenment days I think that’s not fair. It’s a modern open country, not a hermit. Followers of the faith unfortunately understand the religion only at very superficial levels, that’s the real problem. but this is where we measure Faith vs Rationality. Faith gives hope. Thus we find in Filipinos, whether they support of hate Duterte admin and understands the difficult political situation, they still have Hope.

      7. Daila Lama — as for the Dalai Lama, exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhism, with his principal doctrine of Detachment, one wonders why is he attached to a homeland he is fighting for.,

      • “He is immanent, not transcendental.” How do you tell the difference, chemp??? follow-up question, IF you yourself cannot tell the difference, how do you apply said difference to Spinoza’s God and the Christian God ???

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_demon

      • “The parenthesis are mine for easier reading. The syntax is tricky.” True, syntax is tricky because the original Koine Greek script had no punctuation, but IMHO edgar is correct,

        and here’s the original Greek, https://biblehub.com/text/luke/17-21.htm

        midst
        /midst,mitst/

        preposition ARCHAIC•LITERARY
        preposition: midst
        1. in the middle of.
        noun

        noun: midst; plural noun: midsts
        1.
        the middle point or part.
        synonyms: middle, center, midpoint, halfway point, kernel, nub, focal point; interior, depth(s), thick; in the course of, halfway through, at the heart of, at the core of
        “the anecdote occurs in the midst of a digression”

        • FWIW, this sentiment is echoed in the Gospel of Thomas, which is apochryphal but theorized to be an even old version of the Mark, Matthew and Luke, because of the absence of a narrative,

        • chemrock says:

          Lance

          Whichever way you twist the syntax it comes up the same, None teach the kingdom of God is in you. There are various other versions where the interpretation is “amidst you” or “amongst you”> Just understand the context. Jesus was talking to the Pharasees. How can he say the kingdom of God is in the Pharasees, his accusers and non-believers.

      • edgar lores says:

        *****
        3.2. Yes, Buddhism is not concerned with the beginning or end of the universe. These are unknowable. Its main concern is the attainment of enlightenment. Life and the universe are cyclic.

        3.3. The Universe is transcendental in its splendor.

        3.5.4. I stand by my interpretation.
        *****

    • edgar lores says:

      *****
      5.1. There is another way of summarizing the difference between the Western and Eastern religions. It has to do with their respective views on the perfectibility of man.

      o In the Western modality, man is forever imperfect and can only be perfected in union with God.

      o In the Eastern modality, man can attain enlightened perfection through his own efforts.

      I like the optimism of the East. It is as if each man is Sisyphus — as well as the rock — and it is possible that, after an immensity of time in the struggles of the soul, the rock will not roll back.
      *****

  36. Bert says:

    In the beginning there was God. Then he created everything, as in everything, most notable of which is this world we live in, and all living and non-living things in it including two people, a man and a woman. God gave the two guys rules to follow. They did not follow the rules. God failed. Then God issued a decree by way of The Ten Commandments for people to follow. God failed again. People simply disregard the commands. God, most probably in desperation, sent his son Jesus who is God Himself, to redeem Himself or redeem the world I don’t know. Jesus failed as well. For thousand and thousands of years up to the present nothing has changed, the world is as chaotic as ever, and people, well, we are all still confused as ever or at least I am.

    Now, do I want to believe in a failed God? No way.

    But maybe a good explanation from Chemp can convince me, who knows.

    • Bert’s back!!! Where have you been, Bert?

      • “God, most probably in desperation, sent his son Jesus who is God Himself, to redeem Himself or redeem the world I don’t know.”

        Bert, so you’re saying He is literally the first Motherfucker? LOL!

        • chemrock says:

          See Lance, no fatwa on you. Free will to express what you want. Try the same on the Messenger from the Arabia.

          • Nothing as funny as that, because the Messenger is not God and son at the same time.

            ummmm…. the Messenger is a pedophile??? tragic-comedic maybe but not as funny you gotta admit.

            but both are based on “facts”. 😉

            • chemrock says:

              You high on something Lance?

              Can’t decipher.

              • Jesus was a Motherfucker = Trinity

                Mohammed was a kid fucker = haddiths

                One’s funny because there’s a play of words, plus shock value; the other is more a criminal accusation, not as funny— though some might think so, like James Gunn (from Guardians of the Galaxy).

                My point , aside from comic analysis, is that both are considered “facts”, by Muslims and Christians alike. but from an atheist’s point of view one’s a funnier statement than the other.

                More importantly, i was building on Bert’s satire. 😉 because he loves satire.

              • karlgarcia says:

                ????

              • sonny says:

                Me too, LC. ????

      • Bert says:

        Always here, Lance, but mostly enjoying the earth now here in Bicol. If by any chance you’re here in the Philippines and want to try living a hermit’s life for a while, come to my place. That goes to Edgar, too.

    • Leo J. says:

      This is the reason why I’m not a Duterte Supporter. “Kill, Kill, Kill” approach is doomed to fail.

      “You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” …. floods, genocide, and issuing threats of eternal damnation in hell simply don’t work.

      Edgar’s “Kindness” and Lance’s “Golden Rule” is the way of reason.

      • Leo, expanding on the Golden Rule, there’s even one more golden than that, that never even figured-in in the Old Testament or the New Testament, nor the Qur’an.

        …and that is its Cross Species application.

        • chemrock says:

          If I were a murdering bastard who likes to kill kill kill, so my dogma is OK?

        • chemrock says:

          Lance

          At a debate someone once asked how can the Gospel be compared to the Quran. You only have 10 commandments, in Quran we have rules anbd regulations for every aspect of life.

          Lance, it’s true the Quran regulates every aspect of a Muslim’s life. They have to follow the example of the Perfect Man, the Messenger of Prophet, exactly the way he led his life (except for the 9 wives and the 6 year old bride — no he was not a paedophille, he did’nt consumate the marriage …. till she was 9 years old). The Hadith (compilation of the Prophet’s saying — as narrated by someone who narrated what the Prophet said or did) tells you everything you have to do, including how you must eat with the Left hand, not the right hand (because Al Shaitan eats with that hand, how to use odd numbers of stones in toilet etiquette — they have Islamic Hygiene Jurisprudence do you know that. So yes they are far superior in that sense.

          But for the Bible — just 2 things :
          1. Love thy God with all your heart
          2. Love thy neighbour as you love yourself

          From these 2 ‘dogmas’ (I’m deferring to atheists’ sensibilities) spring forth a whole host of humanitarian morals.

          • chemp, that’s the Jain symbol and in the middle of it (the palm) is “AHIMSA”. Gandhi’s main advisor was a Jain.

            So, waaaaay before Jesus uttered the Greatest Commandment,

            1. Love thy God with all your heart
            2. Love thy neighbour as you love yourself

            Jainism had already extended non-violence to all creatures (Buddhism adopted this but not as rigidly as Jains have). if you notice in the Old and New Testament it’s just about God and man really, the animals are there for people.

            I get that the Greatest Commandment, regardless of whether all creatures are part of that deal or not, is very good.

            As easy as it is, why is it so difficult for Christians to practice? for example, if I had a Muslim neighbor next door, I’m not gonna harass him about his prophet being a pedophile or that he wipes his butt with stones. 😉

            My point, is Christians need to practice what they preach.

            • sonny says:

              “My point, is Christians need to practice what they preach”

              LC, the reality is: some Christians do, some Christians don’t. I feel there is a matter of timing and learning to account for the difference. The point of responsibility and accountability starts when the principle is learned & applied.

              • I do get that, sonny.

                And I have been in countless debates like this in the military (and other venues).

                I agree with caliphman, it is like splitting hair (no point to said discussion in the end).

                But the practically lies in trying to herd (like cats) Muslims to your cause,

                then you have some young LT or over zealous SNCO spouting all this, and weeks of you rapport building just

                goes out the window.

                So diplomatically speaking you don’t convince Muslims by saying their religion sucks (puts them in a defensive mode),

                you convince them by simply practicing Jesus’ Greatest Commandment (skip the Old Testament).

                The problem with Christianity isn’t Jesus, the problem with Christianity is Christians.

                too many of them don’t practice what Jesus’ preached.

              • chemrock says:

                Lance

                I detect some leftist liberalism thoughts here.

                “So diplomatically speaking you don’t convince Muslims by saying their religion sucks (puts them in a defensive mode),”

                This is so lame, Lance. Of course what you said is true — in a word — empathy. But this is across the board for everything under the sun. Why this victimisation reproach for Muslims? In any case, I always say, one should not take it against Muslims in general, it’s a discussion on the ideology. Again as I said, it is OK to reproach Christians.

                “you convince them by simply practicing Jesus’ Greatest Commandment (skip the Old Testament).”

                I totally agree with you. All those Muslims who convert to Christianity, they all cross the line by 2 ways. They cross over either — (1) they have some vision of Chrits, in dreams or whatever other ways, or (2) they came into close contact with Christian community and are amazed at the Love they felt, that started them wanting to learn more.

                “The problem with Christianity isn’t Jesus, the problem with Christianity is Christians.too many of them don’t practice what Jesus’ preached. ”

                There you go, shoot them. Come on Lance, you can’t convince me all Judaism practitioners or agnostics are holiest saints, nor Muslims and Buddhists or Hindus, or athiests for that matter adhere to their faith 100%. Christians don’t monopolise this iniquity.

                Strange, when I was a kid growing up, when someone who does something bad and happens to be a Christian, the local taunt is “What? Even a Christian does that?” The implication was that Christians were seen as morally higher, so it was a surprise the perpetrator was a Christian. 40 years fast forward, now it’s that’s the problem with Christians.
                .

              • “Christians don’t monopolise this iniquity.”

                But your premise is that Christians are more special than the rest, chemp. Now I’m focused on deed, you should’ve kept me focused on the Darwin stuff. 😉

              • “I detect some leftist liberalism thoughts here.”

                How? We’ve both already agreed that Islam is in need of some change. We’re talking about practical applications now.

                Specifically how to use Jesus’ Greatest Commandment out there. 🙂

              • chemrock says:

                Lance

                “But your premise is that Christians are more special than the rest”

                Surely you can do better. That’s rather juvenile, pardon my slip.

                The article was NO Moral Giver –> No Morals –> Hedonism

                About morals, one needs to talk from some perspective. I chose Judeo-Christian perspective. To express what value is there I need to establish why I think the Christ brand Is real. To be real, I said a worldview need to explain ORIGIN, MEANING, MORAL and DESTINY and it need to pass the test of logical coherence, empirical adequacy and experiential relevance. That’s the truth test in epistemology. It is through these reviews that I took the leap of faith in my brand. That’s the best brand for me and there is nothing wrong to express my thoughts on that. I did not set out to disparage any other brand. It is only in the course of discussion that I critique other brands, which is inevitable. But the criticism is based on the same prism of truth test, and have been factual.

                Now I would gladly take questions based on the truth test prism if you feel my brand does’nt measure up. Short while ago you indicated no ancient historians wrote on the Christ the person (which I responded adequately). Now this is the kind of challenge I respect,

                On Darwin stuff — hahaha don’t worry, I’ll be right back.

              • “It is only in the course of discussion that I critique other brands, which is inevitable.”

                It’s in the article read it again, chemp. What surfaced in the commentary was the DEEPER state stuff.

              • chemrock says:

                I need to bitch on this because it touches on the personal.

                The part in the article which has reference to other religions :

                “Lax immigration policies pursued by extreme left liberalism and Judeo-Christian humanitarian idealism has seen a one-way migration of people from Islamic backgrounds pouring into Western Europe and US. The situation is now untenable and it’s a powder keg waiting to explode. Austria recently closed down many unauthorized mosques and banned foreign imams (mostly Turks) and the reaction of Turkey’s strongman Endrogan is the threat of nuclear war.

                On the issue of exclusivity, the reader is pardoned to ask the next logical question – so, which God? In a world facing a civilization clash, one needs to thread carefully to avoid being labelled a bigot, Islamophobe, or someone agitating religious intolerance. Whether you believe in a compassionate God that teaches Love, in Whom you can seek a personal relationship, and gives you Free Will to make your own decisions, or you believe in a God that demands your total submission and requires world domination by the extermination of non-believers, or you have Gods that manifest themselves in some other ways, it is after all, your belief.”

                Are these not factual, and is there anything polemical about it?

              • It’s scapegoating.

                Since one could also counter say American Evangelical Christians in Africa creating anti-homosexual sentiments, thus pushing certain segments of the population to flee; same with neo-con policies which created conditions for wars , thus refugee crisis— remember W. Bush as a born-again too.

                But when you mix your article with your commentary below re Deeper State, then it turns into a witch hunt. Your no Trump or Mugabe, chemp, so I’m sure all this is falling on deaf ears.

                Though from a polemical perspective, one should always counter scapegoating and witch hunts , as a rule. that’s my wider position, chemp.

              • chemrock says:

                Lance

                What are we discussing here?
                I said didnt say bad on Islam in the article, but critique it only in the comments because it can’t be help as this topic is bound to bring contentious issues into play.
                You then asked me to refer to my article – meaning I had bad faith and that I did write bad on Islam.
                Thereupon I pasted the part of my article which referred to Islam but was something factual and I dont think anyone else will say is it’s bad stuff.

                No you pulled out the victimisation card — “scapegoating “. Like I said, why is it anything to say about Islam we need to put on kids’ gloves? Let’s stop the victim game and see who are the real victims in the world today.
                Latest situation regarding religious persecution – from BBC.
                https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-48146305

                Lance, you are on a runnaway train here. I’ll leave this train as it’s adding nothing to knowledge.

              • Don’t pull out yet, chemp, you’re in the middle of refuting an entire religion. Please, stay for the QIBLA, MECCA & MOHAMMED discussion. remember you introduced this , not I. let’s finish it.

                I stand by scapegoating and witch hunt, chemp. You can rationalizing some other way, but that’s essentially what you’re doing, whether planned or not.

          • but here’s my take on it anyways,

            1). Pedophilia. 7th century, how old were girls married then? I’d venture around 12 would’ve been the norm, east of the Arabian peninsula , as well as west to Europe. I’d also guess, no one at that time really was dependent on age as the main arbiter of sex and/or marriage , back then they went with nature, meaning puberty , period— for girls this can happen around 10 to 12 years of age.

            What was the norm for 7th century??? Judge base on that.

            2). Left-hand cleaning with odd number stones. I know for Arabs, if there’s no water they can use sand to cleanse before they can perform their prayers. It would be difficult to wipe your butt with sand, so using stones (rounded and smooth , I’m assuming) makes sense.

            Odd numbers makes less sense, but between 1 or 2; 3 or 4; 5 or 6; 7 or 8; 9 or 10… obviously odd numbers tend to be less, so maybe it was just a way of saying, Hey save some stones for me, dummy!!!

            As for Left vs. Right— Sinister and Dexter in Latin; and in Tagalog kaliwete also means try-door, left-handed. Not so crazy really.

          • chemrock says:

            Jainism started 7th – 5th BC, 10 commandments 6,000 plus years ago. Regardless of who started, my point is the clarity of thoughts and morals springing from the central theme of LOVE.

            Regarding Muslims neighbours, me too I have them left and right. I don’t piss them off and neither do they piss me. I’m separating the man from the book. And whenever the ‘peaceful’ card is raised by Obama types, that’s when I’m pissed.

            • chemp, the 10 Commandments and Jesus’ Greatest Commandment , in the Old Testament and the New Testament are patently differently, the first reads more like a threat.

              Exodus 20 King James Version (KJV)

              1 And God spake all these words, saying,

              2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

              3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

              4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

              5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

              6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

              7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

              8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

              9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

              10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

              11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

              12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

              13 Thou shalt not kill.

              14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

              15 Thou shalt not steal.

              16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

              17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Beeert! It took this topic to get you out of your island paradise.
      I missed you.

      • Bert says:

        Hi, karl. I’m always here with you guys but just lurking. Composting earth is hard work but my papayas and avocados and cucumber and tomatoes and so many others looked happier now so I’m happy, too.

        It’s almost summer now here in Bicol and the weather is getting fairer and fairer although the wind still showing its tantrum from time to time but good already for a visit. Come to Tabaco, karl, anytime, you have a place in my home. And see my island paradise.

    • edgar lores says:

      *****
      Ah, a short but sharp critique of the history of Christian belief from the garden of Eden to the paradigm of salvation.

      Thanks, Bert.
      *****

    • chemrock says:

      Bert

      Thank you, you just answered a burning question we have here in this discussions. Is man wired morally at birth?

      Assuming teachers are all good — in any class there will be those that excel and those that fail. Do we blame the teachers or the kids? (That they may have various reasons for failing is not the issue)

      There are wonderful parents who did every thing right they can for their child. The child turns out to be a brat. Do we blame the kid or the parents?

      “My Lord’s way doesn’t measure up.” Is it my ways that don’t measure up? Isn’t it your ways that don’t measure up, house of Israel?” Ezekiel 18-25

      Why don’t you consider this way Bert:

      We are here in this world for maybe 100 years. Afterlife is Eternity. Pick the wrong choice you suffer eternity.

      • let me ask you this, chemp (I don’t think Bert’s gonna pop on back soon, though I might just take him up on his offer at a bit of some island life).

        DOES talking crap about Islam (the book) and Muslims (the man) get Christians some guarantee into going to Heaven?

        p.s. — before you start separating book and man again, Islam = Muslims, just as Jesus Christ = Christians.

        BUT how is going on offensive (online or off) against everyone who is not Christian guaranteeing you a place in the Afterlife ???

        And how is all this related to the Greatest Commandment ???

        that’s what I wanna know. Connect it for me, chemp.

        That’s a soteriology/morality question. To wrap up this whole thread. 😉

        • chemrock says:

          Lance

          1. As a Christian, I will stand up and be counted to defend the the teachings of Christ. As an apologetic, not a warriror kind. Not militancy here, absolutely.

          2. What I have said about Islam are all factual. I added nothing. I don’t talk crap on others.

          3. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Janism all I respect because their ideology does not talk about killing me and those I love.

          4. I hate to go polemic on Islam, I really do. I am extremely uncomfortable because it is against my nature. But I feel bound to share certain aspects that I know are existential threats to people outside their faith. Why, because there is a lot of deceit and concealment and the religion is on stealth warfare which you say is hogwash like you mention Muslim Brotherhood is beaten back by Egyptian Army and US. The octopus has tentacles all over the world and their time frame is centuries, ours are just till the next presidential election. Turkish Army was powerful and secular. Look where is Erdogan now, who just threatened Austrian with nuclear war because the Austrians closed down illegal mosques and banned Turkish imams in the country.

          5. I’m just enjoying intellectual arguments here, not promoting my brand.

          • 1 and 3 and 5 are all related so I’ll address them first.

            I respect that you’re Christian, chemp,

            a born-again to boot ( who came to it late in life). And sorry if this line of questioning now seems personal, it is not. I am dissecting your Christianity, chempo’s Christianity. since there are no Muslims here (I don’t think) no harm no foul; as for atheists (and agnostics) we love this stuff (dunno about Micha though), so again no harm no foul there. Polemics is polemics, we both know the rules to this game, so I’m sure we’re cool too.

            My main issue is 2 and 4, here’s my response.

            You gotta admit that this is a hit piece, whether intended or not.

            Your thesis is that Christianity is the best, and Muslims and atheists suck. Then you go on to equate Muslims and atheists as Devil worshipers (knowingly or unknowingly), thus a threat to everyone.

            Yes, you’re correct re Islam, I also agree with you that the Qur’an is a product of the 7th century.

            The difference between our views, is that I don’t taint my facts with Devil stuff. I don’t think Jesus’ point in the Gospels was to fear the Devil (Jews certainly didn’t over-fetishize the Devil), but to practice the Greatest Commandment.

            “…their ideology does not talk about killing me and those I love.” This is the same bs that Bible belt, Trump supporters always talk about. now if you did business in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or Yemen or Libya, etc. and had your family with you, sure that would be a legit and reasonable statement to make.

            But if you’re in Wisconsin or Singapore (now), you’ll likely die from a vehicular accident and/or heart disease. if youre in Europe , i’d say from nationalists and/or White supremacists. A lot of people , think they’ll die of terrorism, its on the news a lot after all, and forget other more pressing threats to them.

            so that’s Islamic terrorism in a nutshell, high probability/low impact ; low probability/ high impact.

            Again, I agree with your assessment of Islam vis-a-vis modernity, what i don’t agree with is your over-fetishizing of the Devil, with Deep and DEEPER STATE and in the MB as having tentacles everywhere, I assume in your imaginings they are one and the same.

            “As an apologetic, not a warriror kind. Not militancy here, absolutely.”

            You gotta understand, chemp, that once you’ve de-Humanized and/or Demonized others, whether you are not a warrior nor without any sort militancy, intended or not, others of similar thought will gladly follow thru with all this de-humanization and demonizations,

            and take it to its logical end. A logical end that’s completely anathema to Jesus’ Greatest Commandment. 😦

      • Leo J. says:

        I’ll drop “Assuming teachers are all good” part and go straight to the point:

        A God who has “Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Perfect, and a Loving Father” description in his “About Me” page will condemn his own children to eternal damnation because they didn’t measure up to his standards?

        That’s a cruel punishment. Even through determinism or by free will, this God you’re referring to is not the ideal role model for “Morality”.

        Following through your argument, choose reward or punishment, who created evil in the first place? Why would God allow this evil to harm/tempt his beloved children?

        Sorry, Chemp. I think Mr. God is not the best mentor in the Morality Department, I’d look somewhere else.

        Good day, sir.

        • chemrock says:

          Leo

          You said God created evil —
          This is the kind of thinking that leads to impunity. It’s high time we grow up and accept responsibility and have at least a thief’s honour to own up to our culpability. Man commit crimes, not God.

          You ask why should a Good God punish those who does evil?
          That is somewhat petulant and also wrong in logic.

          God is Good.
          God punish evil doers.
          Therefore God is bad.

          By this logic, Philippines Constitution is also bad as it has laws that punish criminals.

          But I’m glad you raise this important point. Allow me to frame it in a more intellectual way.

          Why does a good God allow evil and suffering?

          This is what atheists call the TRILEMMA. It is also called the evidential argument against the existence of God. A simple question which touches on 3 problems – logical, existential and theological.

          On the logical:
          When we talk of EVIL and SUFFERING, we assume there is such a thing called GOOD. Just like if there is HIGH there is LOW, right? If there is GOOD, there must be MORALS. If there are MORALS, there must be a MORAL LAW. If there is a moral law, there must be a MORAL LAW GIVER.

          If there is no moral law giver, then there is no Good. If there is no such thing as Good, then there is no such thing as Evil and Suffering. The question then, does not stand.

          On the existential:
          You will no doubt say, as all rationalists do, that there is no need for God to be a good man. Absolutely correct, theorectically. If everybody is good, the world is a better place. There is no need for God. We are in Utopia already. The question is – who sets the standards? We rely on all self-referenced judgements? How do you set the world wide standards for the morals? You see, this is what bothers brilliant minds like Nietsche and Betrand Russel.

          On the theological:
          Every religion wrestles with the issues of evils and morals, except atheism. Each great religion has its own approach to handling the issues presented in this Trillema. I can’t say for others, but in Christianity, the Way of Jesus is by Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness.

      • (Wiki) “There is no surviving written text of Epicurus that establishes that he actually formulated the problem of evil in this way, and it is uncertain that he was the author. An attribution to him can be found in a text dated about 600 years later, in the 3rd century Christian theologian Lactantius’s Treatise on the Anger of God , where Lactantius critiques the argument. Epicurus’s argument as presented by Lactantius actually argues that a god that is all-powerful and all-good does not exist and that the gods are distant and uninvolved with man’s concerns. The gods are neither our friends nor enemies.”

        • sonny says:

          A note on Lactantius:

          “Among the works of his pen extant, the earliest is the “De Opificio Dei”, written in 303 or 304 during the Diocletian persecution, and dedicated to a former pupil, a rich Christian named Demetrianus. The apologetic principles underlying all the works of Lactantius are well set forth in this treatise, which may be considered as an introduction to his great work “The Divine Institutions” (Divinarum Institutionum Libri VII), written between 303 and 311. This the most important of all the writings of Lactantius is systematic as well as apologetic and was intended to point out the futility of pagan beliefs and to establish the reasonableness and truth of Christianity. It was the first attempt at a systematic exposition of Christian theology in Latin, and though aimed at certain pamphleteers who were aiding the persecutors by literary assaults on the Church, the work was planned on a scale sufficiently broad enough to silence all opponents. The strengths and the weakness of Lactantius are nowhere better shown than in his work. The beauty of the style, the choice and aptness of the terminology, cannot hide the author’s lack of grasp of Christian principles and his almost utter ignorance of Scripture.” — Catholic Encyclopedia

  37. distant observer says:

    Thank you chemrock for this input of yours. The following discussion (as it is the case most of the time in TSOH) provided much more insight than the article itself. I agree with many things you say, although I can also understand micha’s critique.
    For all the commenters who in principle dismiss so-called “conspiracy theories”; just always keep in mind that reality is stranger than fiction. I, for my part, was never a big fan of applying Occam’s razor as an epistemological scythe.
    @ Irineo, Foucault’s Pendulum is an absolutely fantastic book to read. Of course, Umberto Eco warns us to see a world conspiracy behind everything. But then on the other hand, if you read the last page (as far as I remember) of the book carefully, he also hints towards something else.
    It is my understanding that there is a war going on in the invisible world, which also manifests itself in politics and society. To concern oneself with these processes would of course make one an expert in these things. But then I also found out already that – in the long run – it is healthier to concern oneself with light and life, not darkness and death.

  38. karlgarcia says:

    Conspiracy theories?
    How come the Carlyle Group has no media mileage?

    https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2003/06/26/c-for-capitalism

  39. karlgarcia says:

    Chemp mentioned the Gupta Brothers, I wonder how many wars they financed in Africa.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gupta_family

  40. caliphman says:

    So I do not want to prolong the commentary on this topic of whether morality originates from a belief in a god or God as this horse has been whipt beyond death. But at the end of all the discussion, is an Islamic suicide bomber immoral or any less moral because he is just doing what he believes it is what his god says is the right thing to do.Or is this a case of my God trumps your God and his version of morality. Maybe befote this blog, an essay on what morality is or what it should be needs to be gone over so we know what we all are talking about, n’est ce pas?

    • edgar lores says:

      *****
      Ahimsa. Primum non nocere. Do no harm.
      *****

      • caliphman says:

        Thats a possible start of a morality essay. But that does not sound divine in origin nor absolute but depends on who is saying it and questions on what and whose harm is bein referred to. And its likely collateral ‘harm’ may be unavoidable. Maybe moralityhas and should be relative but these may be the questions to ask before figuring out where it should come from? Its not clear that belief in a god and the the question of what morality is and where it should come ftom is one and the same issue.

        • edgar lores says:

          *****
          We can only speculate about the origins of morality.

          The template of living things — in so far as physiology is concerned — is encoded in the genome.

          The template of the spiritual aspect — under which I subsume morality — is nowhere to be found. I surmise it is innate and that there is a “spiritual genome.”

          As to the absoluteness of morality, I have this to say in my essay “The Seven Commandments of Secular Ethics”: “As envisioned, the commandments are absolute but must be applied relatively.”
          *****

        • Morality can be discussed at an academic level or an applied level. At an applied level, the 1987 Constitution represents a consensus view of what is right and just in the Philippines. That the ordinary Filipino does not relate to or buy into that morality is itself a moral dilemma. Do you change the moral rules to have a more authoritarian sense of right and wrong, versus consensus, or do you teach the subscribed morality differently and impose it on people. Right now, the moral dogma is shifting away from what was agreed to in 1987 to the authoritarian model that Filipinos are more comfortable with. I guess pragmatics represent a morality of their own. I personally have no interest in writing an academic treatise on morality, and the pragmatic one will play out as it plays out.

  41. You say that atheists owe what they have to Judeo-Christians. So what? It could it also be argued that Judeo-Christians owe what they have to some other religion. And this other religion to some pagan tribe. And this pagan tribe basing it to some other previous tribe. And so on and so on.

    I guess what I just want to point out is that the human experience does not exists in a nutshell. But many people usually like to believe that it does. That whatever their view is would be the peak of human ideals. And it is mostly exclusive to whatever group that they belong to. But really now: It isn’t.

    But then again, I am sure that many of you here are already aware of this.

    Anyway, in this day age, if you [your ideas, moralities, beliefs, whatever you calll it] are to survive, what is really important now is context context context. Because like natural selection of genes as described by Darwinian evolution, it can also apply to these abstract concepts. As Richard Dawkins called it: These are memes. And it does also compete, breed, and propagate.

    And given the exponential increase of information and its diversity today, one really does have to get a hold of this tendency for homogeneity more than ever. As an observation, this tendency is usually an unchecked defense mechanism brought upon by the instinct for self preservation.

    Not that it is bad or anything though because, well, it is self preservation. But there does come a point where stagnation and extinction becomes all the more closer. Especially as the meme pool becomes too homogeneous. And that is probably what is happening now: The eventual downfall of groups and institutions that fail to evolve and adapt.

    To quote a part of comment I posted here before:

    // Colonel [AI]: The digital society furthers human flaws and selectively rewards the development of convenient half-truths. Just look at the strange juxtapositions of morality around you.

    ….

    Colonel [AI]l: You exercise your right to “freedom” and this is the result. All rhetoric to avoid conflict and protect each other from hurt. The untested truths spun by different interests continue to churn and accumulate in the sandbox of political correctness and value systems.

    Rose [AI]: Everyone withdraws into their own small gated community, afraid of a larger forum. They stay inside their little ponds, leaking whatever “truth” suits them into the growing cesspool of society at large.

    Colonel [AI]: The different cardinal truths neither clash nor mesh. No one is invalidated, but nobody is right.

    Rose [AI]: Not even natural selection can take place here. The world is being engulfed in “truth.”

    Colonel [AI]: And this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper. //

    https://joeam.com/2018/04/18/politics-power-and-processors/#comment-249876

    So is the god you described dead? I don’t think so. But it is “dying”. Though it can never really die to begin with anyway.

    To quote Voltaire:
    “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

    And humans will. Constantly and consistently.

    • // “Who’s to judge what’s right and wrong?” The correct reply is, “We all are – every rational being on Earth must make moral judgments and be prepared to be held responsible for one’s own actions.” As Ayn Rand said, “Judge and Be Prepared to Be Judged.” We are to judge based on the best reasoning we can supply, in dialogue with other people and other cultures, and with sympathy and understanding.” //

      – Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong (2006)

      So do try to guess what is going wrong now.

      • Since Avengers Endgame came out, ip (Good to see you here again , by the way 🙂 ).

        There’s been competing theories on how the story line is probable , or not.

        There’s the Mobius strip theory, and the Klein bottle theory. there’s a third theory, but that would spoil the plot. I’m sure there are others, but those three I like so far.

        “We are to judge based on the best reasoning we can supply.” When I saw the movie last Sunday, I was sure I had the right theory; but then Googling for better explanations, I came upon better theories, thus evolved my thinking on top of my previous one.

        And recently, i read that the best way to understand Avengers Endgame is to watch a little known Netflix series (from Spain) called “IF I Hadn’t Met You“, so I’ll add that to the stuff that I’ve already chewed over.

        Come Friday (or Saturday), I’ll go watch Avengers Endgame again, just to test out all the theories presented, but especially to see if it’s as or more enjoyable than the initial viewing. The operating word there is ‘enjoyable’. 😉

    • karlgarcia says:

      Nice to hear from you again IP.

    • “like natural selection of genes as described by Darwinian evolution, it can also apply to these abstract concepts. As Richard Dawkins called it: These are memes. And it does also compete, breed, and propagate.” God is a meme, just like good and evil are memes.

      Certainly humanity has both good and bad by nature, but it is more of the simple goodness towards relatives and other members of the simple hunter-gatherer group and the caution up to hostility there was towards members of other groups encountered in the jungle.

      Agriculture may have brought about first chieftains, based on the idea of “father” from family and “alpha male” from natural situations, usually a bit of both. Morals may have already developed before God was thought about, but probably it was easier to enforce them in bigger groups like an entire nation on the move and without police or military to enforce stuff (Jews under Moses) with the idea of a “Father” but somewhere up there.

      Upbringing, school and last but not least reality determine meme passing and survival.

      Commodore Garcia’s articles about honor, posted by Karl in this blog, are examples of how the meme “honor”, passed from West Point to PMA, survived (and mutated) in the somewhat different Philippine environment. Christianity and democracy also mutated in the tropics.

      • Morality as a meme only may have had a short shelf life in the Philippines.

        The upper classes usually gamed it, the lower rarely benefitted from it.

        https://opinion.inquirer.net/121070/desensitized

        “People need to be able to relate to the violence, to be able to feel their own vulnerability: That child could have been my child.”

        What if the morality in the Philippines has usually been more like “I am happy me and my small group are not affected, so I better not meddle as I might get into trouble to” – and also “if I do care, nobody else will” – unfortunately the latter has often been proven to be true.

        • // What if the morality in the Philippines has usually been more like “I am happy me and my small group are not affected, so I better not meddle as I might get into trouble to” – and also “if I do care, nobody else will” – unfortunately the latter has often been proven to be true.//

          Not just the latter. Both actually seems to be true.You could escape the first, but you’ll end up on the latter.

          Though taking Lance’s advise on getting one’s feet on the ground, I’ll get more ideas about it eventually. It is still an ongoing process and assessment yet I am a tad bit optimistic.

  42. caliphman says:

    Liike Micha, am just as averse to an academic or philosophical discussion of divine existence and tie morality and the lack of it in the Philippines or elsewhere because it comes from God or religion. But if the idea is to to try and explain the increasing immorality and acceptance of it by society, one has to have an analytical framework or one just thrashes about aimlessly. I tend to agree with Edgars point of departure and though I am not clear what a pragmatic view or discussion of morality means, but it starts from understanding that moral values form and evolve from either a genome, innate or instinctual level which becomes germane to our desired discussion goal when it develops to social morals or accepted social behavior. When these mores are institutionalized and codified by religion or constitutions, and when a government like Duterte sworn to observe if not enforce established societal laws and norms breaks it intentionally and brazenly, whats more unprecedented us most of Filipino society not omly accepting it but supporting if not complicit in it. This is what is happening. To understand and explain it is a worthy discussion effort in my opinion. But a discussion to condemn most of Filipino society for not following social mores, values,or codes of conduct it no longer or has never really subscribed to may be cathartic but useless in my opinion.

    • Agree. The understanding of why Filipinos accept authority over democracy has been discussed on several threads. I’ve not condemned Filipinos myself, other than leaders who ought to be smart enough to know the importance of Constitutional values, but do not follow them.

    • chemp , I’ve brought down your comment under karl’s thread (much easier to find for me).

      I. Josephus— John the Baptist and James the brother of Jesus are both consistently written, as historical with no religious innuendos, then with Jesus there is?

      It just doesn’t jibe, meaning either it was written later or Josephus converted to Christianity, thus its style. Anachronistic is my point.

      III. Tacitus— that’s more of a backgrounder on why Christians are called Christians.

      III. Lucian— similar to Tacitus.

      IV. Jesus in the Talmud— this one’s new to me, chemp. thanks.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_in_the_Talmud#Text-criticism,_versions,_and_alterations

      But if said passage is true, what are Christians gonna do , throw out all their crosses and start hanging and praying to nooses??? 😉

      Josephus is your strongest suit, but its kinda like “the Kingdom of God is within you” , so I’ll bow to your Josephus as evidence that he wrote about Christ. 😉

      • I take it back, chemp.

        “hanging from a tree” is also in Acts 5:30 , https://biblehub.com/interlinear/acts/5-30.htm the phrase appears twice in Acts.

        maybe, a metaphor for crucifixion???

        But said Talmudic passages is dated 13th century. 😦

      • and here’s more on that Talmud connection, there’s tampering of texts around 13th century on, but this link is saying even earlier this Pantera connection appeared,

        now I’m curious about that book’s historicity… hmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

        “Jesus, son of Pantera”
        by Robin Helweg-Larsen

        About 177 AD the Greek philosopher Celsus, in his book ‘The True Word’, expressed what appears to have been the consensus Jewish opinion about Jesus, that his father was a Roman soldier called Pantera. ‘Pantera’ means Panther and was a fairly common name among Roman soldiers. The rumor is repeated in the Talmud and in medieval Jewish writings where Jesus is referred to as “Yeshu ben Pantera”.

        In 1859 a gravestone surfaced in Germany for a Roman soldier called Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera, whose unit Cohors I Sagittariorum had served in Judea before Germany – romantic historians have hypothesized this to be Jesus’ father, especially as ‘Abdes’ (‘servant of God’) suggests a Jewish background.

        Tib(erius) Iul(ius) Abdes Pantera
        Sidonia ann(orum) LXII
        stipen(diorum) XXXX miles exs(ignifer?)
        coh(orte) I sagittariorum
        h(ic) s(itus) e(st)

        Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera
        from Sidon, aged 62 years
        served 40 years, former standard bearer (?)
        of the First Cohort of Archers
        lies here

        The gravestone is now in the Römerhalle museum in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.

        It appears this First Cohort of Archers moved from Palestine to Dalmatia in 6 AD, and to the Rhine in 9 AD. Pantera came from Sidon, on the coast of Phoenicia just west of Galilee, presumably enlisted locally. He served in the army for 40 years until some time in the reign of Tiberius. On discharge he would have been granted citizenship by the Emperor (and been granted freedom if he had formerly been a slave), and added the Emperor’s name to his own. Tiberius ruled from 14 AD to 37 AD. Pantera’s 40 years of service would therefore have started between 27 BC and 4 BC.

        As Pantera would probably have been about 18 when he enlisted, it means he was likely born between 45 BC and 22 BC. He could have been as old as 38 or as young as 15 at the time of Jesus’ conception in the summer of 7 BC.

        In 6 AD when Jesus was 12, Judas of Galilee led a popular uprising that captured Sepphoris, the capital of Galilee. The uprising was crushed by the Romans some four miles north of Nazareth. It is possible (and appealing to lovers of historical irony) that Pantera and Joseph fought on opposite sides. As Joseph is never heard of again he may well have been killed in the battle, or have been among the 2,000 Jewish rebels crucified afterwards.

        So Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera is indeed a possibility as Jesus’ father. The only thing we know for certain is that Mary’s husband Joseph wasn’t the father, and that Mary was already pregnant when they married. It could have been rape, or Mary may have been a wild young teen who fell for a handsome man in a uniform, even if he was part of an occupying army. It happens.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiberius_Julius_Abdes_Pantera

        • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Word

          2nd century AD. Still not as old as Josephus. But unlike Tacitus & Lucian, this Celsus fella does tackle the historical Jesus— not just who Christians are.

          No mention of Pantera in the wiki above though.

          • chemrock says:

            Lance
            This part of our chat on historical evidence of Christ serves to establish the historicity of Jesus, not about asserting his divinity. He has lots of mention from historians on his side, and those who were enemies — Romans. The mentions were from people who either lived during his life time, or knew of people who lived in his live time.

            Remember I wrote of the test of empirical adequacy.

            Now, I am more interested in your view of the historicity of Mohammed in comparision. You have read my comments on this above somewhere I assume?

  43. karlgarcia says:

    You talked about intelligent design, again I thank wiki for having a comprehensive article.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design

  44. sonny says:

    All in all I have learned many things from this blog-installment. My thanks to chempo and Joe for keeping the balance in the discussions. And everyone really for a most productive exercise.

  45. karlgarcia says:

    Atheism as a belief system

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/the-heresy-of-atheism
    Conclusion
    The atheist movement is possibly the most politically active “belief system” in America. While various Christian churches, and non-Christian religions in America seek to find common ground, common concern, and peaceful dialogue; atheism seeks to confront, belittle, legally eviscerate, and marginalize religions in the public square, and in the judicial and political arena. It has aligned itself with the most radical movements of secular relativism that seeks to totally discard the traditional Christian values upon which America was founded. If the word religion coming from the Latin religio be translated in its original sense, as “people gathered together for a purpose,” then atheism is truly a religion, a religion of anti-theism

  46. karlgarcia says:

    An academic discussion about atheism and other topics

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/peterson-craig-encounter-missed-opportunity

  47. chemrock says:

    @ Lance – let’s talk Darwinism

    alphabets
    Re your comment with the A-Z chart

    You said : “Creationism simply states A-Z is how God (Christian God) made them, and this is the reason A-Z is perfect, didn’t need to evolve.”

    Christian don’t say Perfect”. They say God’s universe is Glorious and a Wonder. Modern Christianity don’t deny micro adaptive evolution. Old testament had man living a few hundred years to 100+ to our present miserable 80+ years. That’s evolution right there in the Bible.

    You said : “if Creationism is simply a declaration that “the Lord God made them all”, why bother with theorizing??? you already have your answer. ”

    Creationism is an explanation, not a theory. I hope you are not one of those who visualises God as -a man-like entity out there who waved his hand and created the Universe one day. God is an entity which we cannot fathomise. We cna’t comprehemd what it is. Is it energy, intelligence, or what?

    AN ETYMOLOGICAL SURPRISE :

    Here’s something that might come as a surprise to all ye naturalist minds who has it all figured out by yourself, Darwin never mentioned the word evolution, not once, in his book “On the Ori.
    gins of Species….”. He called it transmutation. This sounds very much out of the X-men movies.

    What does mutation mean?
    In Physics – the changing of one element into another by radioactive decay, nuclear bombardment, or similar processes.
    Means what? Means there is design. Someone’s doing some work.

    In Biology – the conversion or transformation of one species into another
    Means what? Speciation.

    Darwin never proposed a dinosaur transmuting into a bird. He merely indicated adaptive random mutation.
    Means what? – No cross species. After 3.8 bnillion years, the damn appendix is still in me, and yet there have been proposals some creatures came out of the primodial sea and turned into homo sapiens. Does the giraffe come from antelopes? The why are antelopes still around?ON?

    Why Darwin never use the word EVOLUTION

    During his time the word evolution had 2 connotations:
    – From the French influence — it has a military reference, of formations changing in the battlefield.tin
    – From Latin influence — it refers to action like the rolling down or up of a scroll.
    So in the Latin sense, using ‘evolution’ for his theory would suggest something like rolling back time to explain biological changes. The good old idea of regression. So what’s wrong with that? Well, good old Darwin will hit the great wall of FIRST CAUSE.

    YOUR A-Z Cng.HART EXPLANATION

    Your chart to explain the evolution of alphabets is self-defeating.
    You are doing the same old regression path that will lead you to the same great wall of FIRST CAUSE.
    On top of that, you are proving INTELLIGENT DESIGN at the same time. Each ‘evolution’ there is a brain behind it. When archaelogist discovers some tablets or broken pottery, they did’nt think it was chance, they think “intelligent design”.

    THE WEASEL PROGRAM:

    Since you are talking alphabets, here’s something.
    .
    In order to prove intelligent design is hogwash and that chance is the driver, Richard Dawkins came up with something he called the weasel program. It’s an algorithm that will have alphabets thrown at it, When certain characters that can form some words are located, it will accept that character. After many iterations it should be able to randomly form words. Dawkins rolled the machine and after 40 or 50 iterations, lo and behold, the machine formed the words:
    “methinks it is like a weasel”

    Wow Dawkins’ machine could pick out a Shakespeare quote (Hamlet) by pure chance. No design involved.

    Dawkins never mentioned that the weasel words were pre-selected and all that the program did was to accept the alphabets thrown at it that could be used to construct the sentence.

    Dawkins was playing scrabble!

    RELIGION IS A VIRUS:

    Since I’m talking Dawkins, and the blog’s point that Morality does not reside in Reason, thus heading to hedonism. this is the celebrity atheist’s view of religion, and by implication, how to solve it.

    Dawkins said religion is a virus, to solve the problem of closed minds, we kill the virus.

    So here we are — self-referencing judgement. He proclaimed himself not inflicted by virus.I wonder if he thinks agnosticim and Jainism are also viruses. How about all those transcendental gurus in India? Are these viruses too?

    Hitler took Nietsche’s ‘master race’ idea to its logical conclusion. Will one day an extreme left liberal take Dawkins’ ‘virus’ idea to its logical conclusion?

    ,

    • Most interesting lesson. Thanks.

    • First and foremost, please do understand that evolution is not just about random chance. You seem to be forgetting about natural selection and how those that survive propagates. (This is essentially the concept of machine learning. Setting goals and ‘breeding’ the samples that are closest to reaching it. )

      And as for a question about micro and macro-evolution, can I ask how “micro” is micro-evolution? And where do you draw the line? What you have to consider is that it is actually a gradient where with each step, a sample will branch off slowly and intermingle with other samples that are near enough. And given enough time, they will grow to be vastly different especially as with how the environment around them changes.

      Thinking of it as merely instantaneous branching, as many would usually think, is a common misunderstanding. Again, view it as a system and understand the structure. Not just look at the individual parts.

      • This is a very intuitive application of the idea. (Machine learning application also)

        Here are the basic steps:

        0.) Introduce a batch of homogenous entities with ‘joints’ and ‘muscles’.

        1.) Let the entities react and spasm. Given the reactions of the ‘muscles’, It’ll probably generate some movement.

        2.) Given the movement generated, make a new batch of entities based on their performance. Make more of those that move further and faster. and make less of the lower performers.

        3.) introduce *little* random “mutations” to each entity made. (mutations = little changes in joints position, muscles reactions, etc.)

        4.) Go back to step 1.

        Now, if were to take the latest generations and compare each other, there will probably be times that they will not look alike. (Though some may also share similarities.) Though it all came from one root entity, where would you draw the line for a new species?

        (Note that this is just one algorithm. There are also other aspects that do something similar but uses other factors also.)

    • 1. I say perfect, you say glorious and wonder, but my point in the analogy was that Creationism doesn’t attempt to figure out the origins of the letters, ie. from Phoenecian alphabet and on. Creationism is totally fine just appreciating the glory and wonder of our modern A-Z letters. God made them that way.

      2. “Creationism is an explanation, not a theory.” Good we cleared that one up, chemp, because you called it one, ie. theory vs. theory in schools.

      3. “He called it transmutation.” I’ve been calling it transmutation from the very beginning, chemp. Here: https://joeam.com/2019/04/04/almost-no-one-will-read-this-article-because-it-is-long-and-contains-the-word-paucity/#comment-276706

      I agree with you Darwin wouldn’t have thought of dinosaurs becoming modern birds, he only focused on what he found in the Galapagos.

      Since Darwin, there have been more studies in DNA and in archeology, finding more bones. Darwin didn’t mess around with bones, he merely observed birds and turtles and lizards, and saw differences, thus thought of transmutation as possible explanation.

      We’ve had no other competing theory since.

      4. The theory of Evolution isn’t setting out to explain First Cause, chemp.

      it started with finches in the Galapagos in the early 1800s, now we’re talking homonids, and manatees, and whales, how mammals ended up in the oceans. You’re proposing a theological search, First Cause is incidental in science, chemp, the main search is for evidence and theories to match with said evidence. the manatee bones are the first complete cross species indications. You don’t have to have a complete set of bones, just enough to imagine a wider picture.

      You’re putting the carriage in front of the horse, with First Cause. evidence first, then a theory.

      5. “Hitler took Nietsche’s ‘master race’ idea to its logical conclusion. Will one day an extreme left liberal take Dawkins’ ‘virus’ idea to its logical conclusion?” Hitler didn’t take Nietsche’s ‘master race’ idea, Nietzsche’s ideas were anathema to Hitler and Hitler knew it, he actually wanted non-Ubermen , he wanted followers. Obedience vs. Overcoming, which was Nietzsche’s.

      Every idea is a virus , chemp, its meant to spread. But sadly , not every idea is good and meant to spread, so we’ll see if Dawkins will catch on, I’m not a fan, never read his stuff, I agree with Nietzsche’s view on scientism, yes it can be a religion, if you don’t learn

      the process of scientific method.

      (I think I’ve addressed all points? 😉 )

      • “Your chart to explain the evolution of alphabets is self-defeating.
        You are doing the same old regression path that will lead you to the same great wall of FIRST CAUSE.”

        The point of the chart was to illustrate that there is actual comparing and contrasting of different alphabets, a process involved, if no match then move on, if there’s a match then proceed, until the path is exhausted.

        it’s playing detective essentially, chemp. Not every door you open will lead anywhere, but the most important, is you don’t put the cart before the horse, following the evidence where it leads, not begin with First Cause, ie. A-Z is how God made them.

        “On top of that, you are proving INTELLIGENT DESIGN at the same time. Each ‘evolution’ there is a brain behind it. When archaelogist discovers some tablets or broken pottery, they did’nt think it was chance, they think “intelligent design”.’

        The mutation happens and then transmitting said mutations, transmutation. there’s no assumption that there’s some invisible hand guiding those mutations, chemp. Maybe there is , maybe there isn’t, but it’s not important for the scientific process to continue.

        archaelogists find fossils or pottery accidentally, ie. in a construction site, or a some dig non-archaelogical; or they actually study terrain and historical records to find the best spot. the process of fossilization is completely chance, most living things decompose

        but if conditions are just right, stuff calcify , same with pottery, they break apart or paper they crumble to dust. I guess if you find some really rare item, you can say, “Thank, god”,

        because finding things from thousands or billions of years intact is very difficult. But why attribute it to Intelligent Design.

        • Duterte would attribute it to the “Tsayniss” (Chinese), von Däniken to some aliens.

          The Romans called such solutions/explanations Deus ex machina.

          • sonny says:

            Irineo, I’d love to read explanations to the artifacts that von Daniken alludes to, e.g. the huge slabs of Stonehenge, the perfect masonry of the builders of Machu Pichu, (my favorite would be the gigantic “navigational” images drawn by ?natives of Nazca). 🙂 I think my paperback copy of Chariots of the Gods is somewhere in our old house.

            • There are many things that are hard to explain, but we do have examples for how many things unexplainable before became explainable later.. and of how much KNOWLEDGE supposedly “primitive” peoples had in the past.

              Think of how the Germanic tribe of the Ubii kept using Roman aqueducts around 500 AD but in the same way Filipinos used the railway lines left by the Spaniards and Americans. Also how the Forum Romanum was a field of ruins, covered by earth and grazed over by cows, until well into the 18th century. Or how no one managed to outdo the Roman Pantheon of Marcus Agrippa or the Hagia Sophia until Michelangelo, 1000+ years later – and that cement, which was used for the Pantheon, was reinvented even much later.

              The Pantheon still stands today – and even more miraculously, the Hagia Sophia. Only recently have researchers found how sophisticated the technology of the times was in making an earthquake-resistant building. Though we constantly advance, there are always lost arts and crafts, there are always periods were civilization goes backwards and old capabilities get lost. BTW I already mentioned the Inca aqueducts and their near perfection, and how they still are maintained and used today. With or without “alien” help, the culture that made Machu Picchu and the Inca aqueducts had a strong grasp of engineering and also the math needed for it. Also BTW the art of how Polynesians navigated the Pacific is slowly being uncovered, explanations that fulfill Occam’s Razor more than Stargate does. What is most fascinating BTW in the documentation about the Hagia Sophia (I have been inside that wonderful building) is how a special mortar made a whole lot of difference.

              • When I visited Sicily end of last summer, I also relished how the tour guide described the way Greek temples were made – including showing us the quarries near the cities, where the stone was so obviously the same as the one of the temples. It was fascinating to hear for the first time how with a mix of relatively simple technology (pulleys, inclines and gears) plus muscle power people of those days were able to move enormous stones and make them into buildings that stand until today. And also how the first generation of Greek temples was not yet earthquake-resistant, and how the second and third ones were, and WHY.

              • “Chariots of the Gods” was a good read. But if you wanna track the progress of von Danickens theory, you’d have to watch Ancient Aliens (now on their 14th season), he’s on there a lot too.

                They’ve long left archeology and now into gene splicing and alien transmutation.

            • sonny says:

              As a believer looking at images brought back by Hubble of billions & billions of galaxies one has to ask “what is the point in this huge number?” The words beauty, awesome, God’s scale of magnitude, come back just as fast. Then also going through the endless images of nature and humanity in action in the pages of National Geographic, only the chemistry of Carbon pops up, the fuel of life. Then juxtaposing these two I come up with only one other element, Hydrogen, the fuel of galaxies. Really mind-boggling. IMO.

        • chemrock says:

          We are going in a circle on the A-Z alphabet evolution.

          What I’m saying is you got the version 10 alphabet today. You work back to version 9 to see how it evolved. You keep regressing back. At each stage of improvement or evolution is an intelligence. Till you reach version 0. Can you regress back further? Sure you can, they don’t use alphabets but some means of communication, Back and back we go till we reach the First Cause again. What explains the first cause — origins? Singularity? No physical laws?

          • https://joeam.com/2019/04/24/ist-gott-tot-is-god-dead/#comment-280184

            // Constraining myself to the cosmological argument, I think that it could be made to be more agreeable. But that is if, and only if, ‘god’ as being the first cause is just defined as such: Just the first cause.

            Not an intelligent designer. Not a source of morality. Not a source of purpose.

            Just merely set everything in motion. That’s it. Again, just the first cause.

            Because if I were to say that god had started the universe accidentally and this god did not actually intend any of those to things to develop nor exist, the cosmological argument actually still holds. It is still comprehensive, coherent, and consistent given the framework.

            Hell, I’d think that this even more believable than the ‘moral god’.

            So what is my point? Well, the ‘accidental god’ is an additional assumption that is never really part of the cosmological argument. Just a sleight of hand that is all fluff and smoke. Just a ‘rider’ if you may. //

            So again, claiming that an ‘intelligent god’ is directly the source of everything in the universe is no different from an ‘accidental god’, a ‘dick god’, or a ‘flying spaghetti monster’.

            What is even more plausible is that we are merely simulations of higher-level entities that don’t even know what they are doing.

            But can we disprove that? Probably no. But can we prove it? Probably still also no.

            So what explains the first cause then? It’s simple really: It’s just you.

  48. edgar lores says:

    *****
    Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    You said, “However, I’d argue that even theists will not be able to give a purpose that is universal also.”

    And I said, “The cosmologies of the theistic religions provide comprehensive answers to the two questions.”

    ***

    I was not referring to the cosmological argument. I was simply referring to the belief system — the model, if you like — of the theistic religions. Each has its own comprehensive model of the universe. There is a God. Perhaps, a Devil. There are Heaven and Hell. There is judgment. The moral purpose is to live per the teachings and commandments of the religion and the spiritual purpose is union with God in the afterlife.

    Within the referent religion, the model is logical, and it is comprehensive, consistent, and coherent.
    *****

    • Ah. I see. Then I misunderstood as well.

      But if that were the case, then atheism and agnosticism can answer the two questions you brought up positively as well. As long as the model only need be logical and consistent within the referent religion/irreligion.

      If I were to attempt to answer the questions now given this condition:

      1. Is the universe purposive?
      – Yes.The purpose of the universe is to move towards disorder. This is known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the entropy of a closed system will never decrease. And to quote the following:

      “The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature.” — Arthur Eddington

      2. Is one of the purposes spiritual? And, therefore, embracing of the moral?
      – Yes. And you’re probably wondering how the tendency of the universe to move towards disorder could be spiritual and positive?

      Well, given this insight that disorder has a natural tendency to increase over time? The only thing we can do is to push back against it. We can counteract that tendency by expending energy — and it reveals the core purpose of life.

      We must exert effort to create useful types of order that are resilient enough to withstand the unrelenting pull of entropy. Basically, we have to make our time worthwhile. So how? As the poster behind Dawkin’s picture says:

      “There’s probably no god [god = purpose?]. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

      …So the moral and spiritual purpose is to make purpose.

      Hmm… I’d argue that this model is logical, comprehensive, consistent, and coherent. For both theists and non-theists.

      For my view, I think the following video is covers a good chunk.

      // …It’s not as if we found out everything there is to know. We don’t know why the rules of the universe are as they are. How life came into existence, what life is. We have no idea what consciousness is or if we are alone in the universe. But we can try to find some answers.

      There are billions of starts to visit, diseases to cure, people to help, feelings to be experienced, and video games to finish. There is so much to do.

      If this is our one shot at life, there is no reason to not have fun and live as happy as possible. Bonus points if you made the life of other people better. More bonus points if you help build a galactic human empire.

      Do the things that make you feel good. You get to decide whatever this means for you. //

      And one big factor is: I don’t think most religions will care about building a galactic human empire. hahaha

      “Ex astris, scientia”

      • edgar lores says:

        *****
        Ahaha! You make a good argument… but I don’t think entropy is a positive, spiritual telos.

        In your argument, entropy is not a telos in itself but a driver, a motivator, for creating purposes (teloi). It is not a primary purpose.

        Good lateral thinking though.
        *****

        • Wait. I seemed to have mixed some things up. haha

          The universal telos is to exist. And to continue to exist by pushing against entropy.

          Entropy is the universe‘s telos. Not *the* universal telos. And yes, the universe’s telos is not a positive purpose. But also not negative. It merely doesn’t care as it just is. And this is actually similar to how religions justify god?

          Hmm… Thinking about it now, could I then say that god is also not a telos in itself then? That it is also a driver, a motivator, for creating purposes (teloi), hence also not a primary purpose?

          Nevertheless, I were to use your statement and edit some things out:

          From:
          “The moral purpose is to live per the teachings and commandments of the religion and the spiritual purpose is union with God in the afterlife.”

          To:
          The moral purpose is to live and the spiritual purpose is to continue to live.

          So is this not positive?

          …As a realization just now, I guess this could be a reason why many people look towards an afterlife. It is an attempt to look for order after falling to the inevitability of disorder.

          And for most, if not all, atheistic entities: They just accept and acknowledge this inevitability.

          • edgar lores says:

            *****
            “The moral purpose is to live and the spiritual purpose is to continue to live.

            To my mind, living (or mere existence or mere survival) is not in itself a moral purpose. The moral purpose is HOW we want to go on living and the spiritual purpose is WHY we want to go on living.

            Morality is HOW we conduct ourselves, how we behave, how we interact with Self and with Others.

            Spirituality is WHY we conduct ourselves as we do.

            Having said that, living for ourselves to satisfy our basic existential needs (Maslow’s hierarchy) is neither moral nor spiritual. Although the manner in which we satisfy our basic needs can be moral and spiritual. But generally, we have to go to the higher levels in the hierarchy to be purposive — morally and spiritually.
            *****

            • Most 3rd world countries are similar in that most 20-somethings, skilled or not, schooled or not, all aspire to have a family.

              Get married , have kids… since they are in the 3rd world (unless really rich, but even that isn’t really antidote), marriage dissolves , either because wife or husband cheats, or gambles money away; kids become miserable because of above or other outside forces.

              My point, especially in the 3rd world, best to read Nietzsche, skip the norm (of getting married and having kids, you’ll just multiply misery for everyone including yourself).

              Make your own way. whatever your purpose is, don’t get married and have kids. 😉

            • I do agree with you that merely living is not moral or spiritual per se. Doing merely as such would be no different from living like animals.

              But yeah, I am making my position too ambiguous in an attempt to maximize coherence. So thanks for calling that out. 🙂

              Also, I didn’t really grasp the specifics of what you mean by moral purpose and spiritual purpose. But as you elaborated more on it, I am getting a better picture so I am seeing some possible inconsistencies on my part.

              ———-

              Processing it for a bit (using now the HOW and WHY structure), this is probably how my statement was interpreted:

              HOW: To live
              WHY: To continue to live

              So writing it down like that, it does seem a bit, uhm… iffy? Can’t find the right word for it. Hmm…Just that there is indeed this gut feeling that the statement is surely wrong and lacking.

              ———-

              So to try to rephrase and revise my statement again, I got to:

              HOW: To live well
              WHY: To continue to live well

              So, it is somewhat better but it is still a bit vague with still some undesirable repercussions. Something along the lines of Randian and Anarchistic tendencies. Basically some unavoidable problems with radical individualism.

              ———-

              So to revise that yet again:
              HOW: To live well. Where “well” can become more agreeable with more and more people.
              WHY: To continue to live well. With consistency and predictability.

              In a way, it is inline with what I quoted above in my initial post.

              // “Who’s to judge what’s right and wrong?” The correct reply is, “We all are – every rational being on Earth must make moral judgments and be prepared to be held responsible for one’s own actions.” As Ayn Rand said, “Judge and Be Prepared to Be Judged.” We are to judge based on the best reasoning we can supply, in dialogue with other people and other cultures, and with sympathy and understanding.” //

              – Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong (2006)

              ———-

              So to sum it up, this is my main issue with ‘god morality’: It tends to be too static and unrealistic.

              Yet in reality? We do continually revise and adjust our position. We do have to establish consistency and predictability in cooperation with other people because, well, other people are inevitable. In a way, we do actually tend towards more disorder.

              And with more disorder, there will be more and more ‘links’ and ‘relations’. Basically, it is more ‘information’.

              So as time goes on, we will surely need to exert more and more effort to maintain some semblance of order in this universe. Though I’d say that ‘god’ surely helped in doing this. But it is becoming less and less effective as we move towards more chaos. So a paradigm shift is probably in order.

              • edgar lores says:

                *****
                Nice elaborations.

                As an individualist, I agree, all things being equal, we should listen to and stick with our conscience, our heart and our reason. At the same time, we need the check-and-balance of the input of others.

                Where there is conflict, my proposed solution is the filter described in my essay “The Moral Landscape: Part 2 – The Three Sieves of Ethics”.
                *****

    • ip,

      you might be interested in reading this book,

      • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilatus_(mountain)

        The mountain is where he and Wagner use to hike up on. And why he seems to have an affinity for Pilate,

        • chemrock says:

          PILATE THE RATIONAL MAN:

          I stand crestfallen that Nietsche, a brilliant rational mind, out of a magnitude of characters in the New Testament, should find that one questionable personality of Pilate, the only person he respected. Both Josephus and Philo of Alexandria did not write well of Pilate. He did what he did as a politician, by handing Jesus over to the Pharisees. Technically, he handed down the death sentence although he thought his hands were clean. Thus he made peace with the Jews who wanted Jesus dead. As Prefect, his region of responsibility will not give Rome an uprising headache. In so doing, he chose not to make peace with God.

          A dishevelled, young, bearded radical made contentious claims against the ruling elites. He challenged the cultural status quo and corruption in the administration. The local authorities felt threatened and branded him a terrorist. They conducted a night raid with soldiers, hauled him to court to face trumped up charges of trying to destabilise the community. They interrogated him and forced him under torture to confess. With no confession, the court found him guilty and brought him to Pilate, the highest authority in the land, for sentencing.

          Being a rationalist, Pilate knew Jesus was not guilty of treason, but that he was being silenced to prevent further damage to the elites. Pilate toyed with Jesus with some taunting questions and then asked where is his kingdom.Jesus sidestepped the minefield and said “My kingdom is not of this world”. Pilate asked ‘what is truth?’ twice, but never stayed for an answer. Rather than discuss what was the truth, Pilate chose to dwell on the nature of truth.

          You see, truth has a cost, and most people may find that unbearable, thus they take the expedient way out – the path of least resistance. It’s mostly comfort over truth.

          “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”…. C.S. Lewis

          • I don’t think Nietzsche respected Pilate, or thought he was rational, chemp. Like I said above the mountain that he and Wagner used to hike on was called Pilatus.

            “What is truth?” was Nietzsche’s philosophy. That’s just his way of saying he’s better than the New Testament and the Old Testament, remember he was studying to be a pastor first, his dad was one. He was groomed to be one.

            He switched majors, then later went into philosophy— without really going into philosophy, ie. academic stuff.

  49. karlgarcia says:

    https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/bible-answer-man/read/articles/five-differences-between-sharia-and-old-testament-law-by-david-wood-17343.html

    Although numerous politicians, reporters, and Muslim organizations assure concerned Westerners that the actions of ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, and the Taliban have little or nothing to do with Islam, anyone familiar with Islam’s most trusted sources knows that beheadings, terrorism, and the sexual exploitation of female captives were practiced and promoted by Muhammad and his companions. Hence, challenging the actions of terrorist groups ultimately requires challenging the teachings of Islam.

    But there is a difficulty for Christians who oppose violence committed in the name of Allah. The Old Testament contains harsh punishments similar to those found in the Qur’an and the Hadith,1 and the wars of Joshua bear some resemblance to the wars of Muhammad and the “rightly guided” caliphs. How, then, can Christians condemn the attacks carried out by ISIS without thereby condemning our own scriptures? Are we simply being inconsistent?…….

    ASSESSMENT

    While there are many other differences between Mosaic Law and sharia (we would have to go command by command to explore them all10), we have seen enough to dispel charges of inconsistency. Christians who condemn ISIS-style beheadings, sexual exploitation of women, and oppression of religious minorities are not being hypocrites, for the similarities between the Law of Moses and the Law of Muhammad are superficial. Hence, atheists and Muslims who bring up the Bible when sharia is questioned or criticized would do well to open a Bible and see what it really says.