The Dream of the Rood.
Brizoni couldn’t resist taking a couple more shots at me. My deluded religious convictions are all he thinks about anymore. We haven’t talked about anything else in more than a year. Ignore this if you had enough a long long time ago. But here’s my fisk of the comment he wanted me to post. It might serve as a refresher on the trench knife of Instapunk after my long absence. Not doing the block quote thing, though. After the break, it’s him at the margin. I’m the one whose comments begin and end with three asterisks. Got it?
Running late, so I’ll respond to just the most egregious part of this post.
***I love it when debaters do this. I’m just hurrying. If I make an ass of myself it’s because I was on my cell and on the run to an important appointment… Right.***
“But what you can’t do is wash away the murderous record of the human societies that have attempted to rule the daddy fable out of the story. Their record is not only catastrophic but inhuman and monstrous. Their defense is rational philosophy.”
Pardon me. Who’s not thinking anymore?
Rational philosophy was their PRETENSE.
*** And yours.***
Their defense was a religion without God.
***And yours. Your determination to exterminate opposing views, dare I say faiths, is consistent with the atheist totalitarians of Germany, Russia, China, Indochina, and North Korea. You just don’t recognize your soul brothers.***
It doesn’t take a daddy fable to believe in something beyond reason.
***But what do you believe in beyond reason? The lingering, holy scent of Ayn Rand? Damn! Just got it. Screw daddy. Mommy!!!**
Marxism doesn’t work. Throughout the Soviet experiment, the exploiting capitalist West throve and the virtuous East starved. It didn’t take long to see, even through the fog of purges. But it took them more than another half century to admit it. China still hasn’t outright admitted it, even though they’ve molted most of the policies that made Communism distinct from good old fashioned dynasticism. You think they’re not religious? Sheeeyit, you think North Korea isn’t religous? They’ve even got a daddy fable of their own. A couple generations of daddies.
***Your dreariest straw man. All daddies are the same daddy. Any daddy will do, and all are delusional…***
How’s that working out for them?
***Not bad at the moment. For the ones in charge. Of course, the freedoms championed and prized by libertarians aren’t doing so well. A reminder, for example, that capitalism as practiced by regimes like China’s is merely an economic system, not the exclusive basis of a free and freeing civilization.***
Relax. That probably doesn’t count. Somehow.
***Duh. A religion that compels people to bow to their political leaders and ranking political superiors is a fake religion. Its basis is force and the power to regulate, not intrinsic moral authority. Think one child policy. (oh that’s right. You’re on record as knowing exactly when a fetus becomes a baby. Three months and two days? Thanks, Brizoni.) That’s why it doesn’t count. The Chi-com government also has the phony official certitude you do. Only their rationally derived decision is that any pregnancy more than one child already born should be terminated on behalf of, uh, “we the people.” Oh. Are they wrong? You gonna tell’em Mr. I’m kinda sorta enliiiiightened in the brain department? Thought not. Unless they’re burning them to keep Shanghai’s smog rate up to snuff, they’ve got a pile of dead tadpoles the size of the Emperor Chin’s pyramid. One dead’un for every clay soldier, at least. Wait for it. The picture of Michelle Obama posing in front of them…
Can we hold the little clay ones they’ve got in their pockets? Malia and Sasha will get a Girl Scout merit badge from Planned Parenthood.
Bet you’re proud, M’sieur B. The world’s biggest nation shares your clinical view of the (un)importance of a human fetus. Why we should trust you implicitly. They’re just working through the growing pains of the post-god phase.***
Dare I bring up the Islamic world?
***Go right ahead. Historically dicey ground for you, I think, but I’m sure you’ve got something specious to offer.***
No one has gone harder in the paint for the daddy fable. What do you think of their virtue? You don’t like it? Why not? God has instituted moral laws by which His people must live. What’s not to like? You say the laws ought to be different? Interesting. How do you presume to know better than God what His laws should be?
***As I thought. A deliberately obtuse and legalistic crock. I don’t presume. I observe and I have faith in the difference between the core figures of both religions. One, a prophet who preached kindness to others regardless of station and offered up his life as a penance for all the sins of the world. The other, a prophet who embarked on a career of military conquest, took child brides to bed, and encouraged his followers to slaughter all of other faiths. There is no point at which I have argued anything other than that the God who pointed the way to modern consciousness and profoundly felt moral conscience is most important for his curiously freeing exhortations to partake of divinity by exploring the glories of creation while preserving the humility of allowing others to do the same. One religion has repeatedly resulted in the expansion of knowledge, individual opportunity and liberty, and the magnificent diversity thereby afforded to human experience. The other has repeatedly bound its followers in poverty, subjugation, and hatred. (Think of the family violations called honor killings.
Slut burned good. Ali Ali Akbar.
Yeah. we gotta kill sis because she got raped by my best friend. That’s the ticket. Ali Ali Akbar. Now let’s suck some rug for Mohammed. Pretty much the same as Christians picketing at abortion clinics. Evil religions. Eeeeevillll.) All the same to you, I understand, because every religion is bad unless it’s the particular one you believe with fanatically hostile and polemically evangelical ferocity. You know. The same bad awful horrible things we needn’t draw distinctions between. Hmmm. No wonder you’re willing to share couch room with the Islamists. Only a reasonable person can see the horrifying commonalities between al Qaeda and Iowa Methodists.***
Oh, so their God is fake and your God isn’t? Can you prove it? What’s your evidence? By what standard can you judge the laws of one daddy fable better than another?
***Guess I covered this mostly already. All I’ll add: I don’t think their God is a fake. I think their prophet, the one they interpose between men and God, is a fake who plagiarized the Bible to create the earliest template of totalitarianism — a religion vested in the state, ruled by men masquerading as priests for the purpose of controlling subjects. My conclusions come from faith guided by intelligence. But since there is no definition in your lexicon for the word faith, I’m sure my answer, however commonsensical, will strike you as delusional, dumb, and nonresponsive. So be it, genius.***
No, I’m sure the Muslims don’t count either. Maybe you think Christianity is the only daddy fable that works (whatever that might mean absent a standard above obedience to God).
***Whatever that might mean? Back to my “moral infant” reference. To you, no religion possesses any content other than superstition. We’re all just fools grabbing at a Sky God who relieves us of the responsibility to charge boldly into this Brave New World you advocate. Which is a pure demonstration of your ignorance and incapacity to discuss this subject at all intelligently. At a rational level (for your sake), I would argue that Christianity is the daddy fable that works best on the basis of results. It is the cultural taproot of a western tradition that has given you, in all your insolent ingratitude, the greatest personal liberty (which thanks to your rational authoritarian fellow secularists you are presently losing at a rapid rate) enjoyed by any people in history. As a matter of faith, I subscribe to the reduction offered by Hemingway: “Moral is what you feel good after; immoral is what you feel bad after.” Don’t know if Hemingway believed in God or Christ. But when he said this, he was standing full square on Judeo-Christian principles. If you like, you can be so advanced as to cease feeling bad about lying, cheating on your spouse, doing harm to your family, stealing, killing, regarding yourself as the center of the universe, etc, but when you do that you are entering a realm where facts would seem to suggest nobody winds up feeling good. (Picture Stalin forcing his senior officers to drink and dance with him at his dacha all night, lest they be shot for treason in the morning.) Alternatively, you can declare your allegiance to such elementary principles of virtue while believing you have the power and the right to amputate yourself from their source. I think that might be your position. But in my human experience, which is far longer than yours, reason is a popgun against the temptations of life. And there does come a day when everything that went around (or by) comes around again. (Btw, spare yourself the pain and sorrow you claim to feel about my pitiful delusions regarding matters of faith. I enjoy a continuing sense of wonder about the universe and the interrelatedness of its affairs, both large and small, from quarks to galaxies, and all the human stuff in between that I would not trade with any man, most particularly you.)***
Maybe you think century after century of Catholic kneading didn’t prepare the German mind to receive Hitler’s message about those verminous you-know-whos. Maybe you honestly think the Dark and Middle Ages were a thriving, perfectly respectable ramp-up to the Renaissance– after all, they produced lots of cool Viking tribal art and a single poem– wait, sorry, are we praising Beowulf or sneering at it as primitive this week?
***This is argument? Really? Where your ignorance is not only insulting but astounding in one who presumes to characterize a millennium he knows nothing of he didn’t obtain from TV documentaries and graphic novels. What a lunkhead jerk you can be when you think you’re closing in for the descabillo. Even people who know better can be terrified into doing wrong.
Thank, er, uh, there are people like Brizoni who never get scared because they have their rational convictions about the correct ethics of every situation. Otherwise we might need a faith in something stronger than German reason.
Why something better than your soulless, solipsistic rectitude is necessary. And King Harald’s Saga ain’t the Dream of the Rood or even Beowulf.***
Maybe you think a thousand years is a reasonable amount of time for a philosophy to marinate before producing any demonstrable results in the way of civilization. Which lets Latin America off the hook for being a Third World toilet of tribal warfare. They’ve got another, what, four hundred years before all that Jesus really kicks in? I just thank God they don’t have enough Jews to scapegoat as a group when the time comes.
***This your vedugo? Fall on it yourself, contemptuous one. It’s been a rough go for Latin and South America (I’m sure you’re lumping them in together, because you’re a truly accomplished lumper inner…) since the Spanish arrived on their shores in 1014 AD (for the punctilious, a scant half century before the Norman invasion of England). I concede that. And 785 years later, certainly, they should have been ready with their mimeograph machines to copy verbatim the constitution of the only nation on earth that organized itself from the start as a government based on the Christian idea of inalienable human rights embedded in law. Sure. As straw men go, an excellent choice. Unless not all of Latin America is, what was your phrase, “a toilet of tribal warfare.”
Tribal toilet trash who would have wised up to Christianity if there was anything in it a thousand years ago.
Think they’re more ready for the enlightened wisdom of Ayn Brizoni now, do we? Ready for Hayek and Rand ya think? Good luck with that.***
Let’s look at this from another angle, just to be safe. Remind me how Japan has adopted the (correct) daddy fable. How else have they stopped being a genocidal world power? They must be Godding it up like crazy! But in fairness, their economy isn’t doing as well as it could. That’s enough excuse to say they too don’t count.
***Sometimes when you go cherry picking, the cherries you pick don’t make for good pie. Japan might fall into that category. Of course, Japan counts. But if you knew anything about their ancient history, as far back as 1945, for example (that’s a couple centuries in Brizoni time), you’d know that the miracle of a peaceful and prosperous Japan began with a conquering Christian nation who decided to rebuild rather than rule them, a Christian military governor who wrote them a constitution modeled on that of the United States, and a uniquely speedy transformation from Occupation to most favored nation trading status. Do they buy it all? No. Their legal system is still quasi feudal (better than 90 percent conviction rate on all crimes charged), suicide is still a national scandal, women have the vote but are subject to the most dehumanizing kinds of graphic novel rape and humiliation, and the concept of individual liberty empowering people to aspire beyond the bounds of family tradition remains problematical. Are they Christian? No. Are they unaffected by the Western Christian tradition? No. But I guess you’d have to know something about Japan to discern the differences.
I’m sure you’d pick up this cover at the newsstand and read it on the subway all the way home to your loving wife, right? Guess what. That’s what Japanese husbands do. Still.
Hey. They’re all just women, right? Wait for the dismemberment at the end…***
Your pet notion that atheism as such caused the horrors of the 20th century is an old rusty shank of Christian propaganda that was wedged in your head at a young age.
***”Atheism as such”. Good one. More semi-slick misdirection. “An old rusty shank of Christianity wedged in your head at a young age.” Fantastic. Now you have the nerve to know what it was like to be me growing up with Russian ICBMs aimed at a city 40 miles from where they told us to hide under desks. Maybe, under such circumstances, you start to think for yourself before anyone else gets beyond the stage of instructing you with Noah’s Ark coloring books. I’ve written about my own process of grappling with Christian faith before. You just never listened or understood. Because all you’ve been raised to do is do what you want, when you want, whenever you want to do it, and nobody, not even God, has the right to tell you anything different. Hmmm. Seems I wrote a book about this once. And I’m the deluded, presumptuous, cowardly, witless one. What I’m suggesting is that Christianity has ameliorated many of the world’s ills, for many centuries, you utter fool.***
And that you lacked first the wit and then the courage to dislodge. You’ve built too much of your worldview around it. Now it’s a keystone. Or so you fear.
***The stupidest insult of all. There is nothing about you or anything you have to say that I fear. Quite the contrary. I find you and your hysterically rigid positions incredibly — I-n-c-r-e-d-I-b-l-y — boring. My weariness with your pseudo intellectual arguments is practically unbounded. You really think you can lecture me about wit and courage? Really?***
Ask yourself this. If “rational philosophy” is to blame for our modern ills, how did you come to that conclusion? Did you reason that reason is the enemy? By doing things like weighing the evidence and all that? If not, what method did you use? And if reason isn’t the enemy, why do you insist on conflating avowed rationality with authentic rationality?
***Avowed rationality versus authentic rationality. Yeah. I think I know the difference now. Avowed rationality is the work of manipulative, controlling despots who don’t agree with you. Authentic rationality is the work of manipulative, controlling despots who are named Brizoni.
As I said above, reason is a tool for building arguments. It revolves around itself and ultimately consumes itself — as with the post modernists — if it is unhooked from Truth, meaning the anchor provided by thousands of years worth of basic human definitions of goodness and virtue. About which you seem to know astonishingly little.***
We are all the tree. The cross was always a simplification. Why so many of the pioneering quantum physicists believed in God and understood the Christian imagery: Planck, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, and Einstein. The demarcations between creator and created are impossible to make. It’s said Einstein didn’t believe in a personal God. But he also said, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” Illustrating an apocryphal question by a long dead saint. If we can envision a God who creates the universe, how can we deny that he might also be a personal God? Surely the first is a greater power than the second. Including the question of whether or not he ever plays dice.
Here’s something Einstein definitely said: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” I agree.