I just dropped in to proffer an explanation of my absence from this blog for the past 18 months or so.
In a word, depression. I have been beset with mental health problems my entire adult life. I have at least four diagnosed DSM-5 disorders. Of these, depression is the worst. It is, quite literally, a life-threatening illness. Fortunately, amongst other things, my life is not mine to take. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Things took a turn for the worse about 18 months ago. Amongst other things, the full implications of having recently been belatedly diagnosed with adult ADHD were sinking in, winter was coming, and my usual coping strategies of injudicious drug use and abnegation of personal responsibility were failing me. But what really got me in a tailspin was when the state started bankruptcy proceedings against me, for alleged failure to pay taxes. I saw my GP about my predicament and he had no hesitation in giving me a medical certificate for WINZ. The upshot is that, since last autumn, I’ve been on the sickness benefit. Yes, that’s right. I’m a ward of the welfare state. So you can see what condition my condition is in.
But that’s enough about me, I don’t want to make this post all about my personal woes. In time-honoured fashion, I want to make it about this country’s political woes. This post will be about the government’s role in providing mental health services and, in particular, it’s role in NZ’s high rates of depression and suicide.
Straightaway, let’s get one thing straight. The government doesn’t actually care. The present National government doesn’t even want to know. Why else would it re-brand what was formerly the sickness benefit as “job seeker support”? A sickness beneficiary already has a job, and they know it! Their job is to get well. Well enough to seek, find, and then hold down a permanent paid position. All of which is easier said than done for the chronically mentally ill. Some of whom should, and do, end up on the invalid’s benefit.
The government doesn’t actually care. Certainly, the neoliberal government we’ve had in this country since 1984 doesn’t give a damn. To begin with, take the fact that the suicide rate for New Zealand males aged 15-19 doubled in the course of three years from 16 per 100,000 in 1985 to 32 per 100,000 in 1988. While trustworthy statistics aren’t easy to find, it would appear that this alarming increase in NZ’s youth suicide rate has held up. I see no reason to dispute the claim that NZ now has the highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world.
Former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall makes a couple of especially pertinent points (notwithstanding his dubious analogy to climate change).
The critical fact is that New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD. This excess of young people’s deaths in New Zealand when compared with other OECD countries must be a result of local factors.
The statistics show that whatever these factors were, they began to operate from 1985 to 1988. That was a time of social turmoil in New Zealand. The economic restructuring that was sweeping the world was imposed faster and deeper in New Zealand than elsewhere.
“No pain, no gain” was the catchphrase of Rogernomics. What it meant was that it was expected that the structural changes would be painful but they would be worth it in creating a more robust economy.
For young people, the changes were rapid and painful indeed. Suddenly, finding a job was not guaranteed and bright future prospects dimmed for many. A reduced welfare safety net meant that many were not sufficiently helped and inequality widened.
I don’t think that we can say for sure what aspect of neoliberalism is to blame, or even that we can definitively blame neoliberalism in the first place for the sustained rise in youth suicides. But it’s certainly a prime suspect.
As ever: what is to be done?
Officially New Zealand has focussed on mental health and mental health services as a means of dealing with the problem. Mental ill-health and lack of mental health services cannot explain the sudden doubling of youth suicide from 1985 to 1988.
Not surprisingly, then, this approach has failed. Mental ill-health undoubtedly has a part to play in many youth suicides, but there is no reason that this should be more of a problem in New Zealand than in other countries.
It is comforting to believe that young people will be safer if our mental health services are improved but it is largely a false hope. Saying so will, no doubt make me unpopular, but so be it.
So be it, and I agree.
Sadly, throwing more money at the problem isn’t going to help much, if at all. In fact, I submit that a big part of NZ’s current mental health crisis is down to excessive reliance on the state to fix the problem. A bigger part is due to state intervention in the first place. It is completely wrong, for example, that the state treats the simple administration of a proven cure for depression as a greater crime than rape or armed robbery, and instead busies itself funding a lolly scramble of often worse than useless placebos.
Whereas I don’t think more government money is going to fix the problem, I do think it’s downright criminal to cut funding to mental health services in a time of mental health crisis. And that’s what this National government has done. My point is that where the state has taken on responsibility for the provision of mental health services, it must honour that commitment in the meantime. Until such time as we can successfully devolve this responsibility to families, friends and support at the local community level. Faceless bureaucracy never made anyone happy.
At a time like this, it is utterly appalling that the government saw fit to cut funding to Lifeline, one of NZs biggest and long-established suicide counselling lines. And instead, allocate that funding to a “new, preferred supplier” called LaVey. All very well, perhaps, except for the six-month hiatus between Lifeline’s funding being cut and the new provider stepping in. Oh, and the fact that Bill English’s wife is on the board of LaVey! Nepotism doesn’t get much uglier. (LeVa, LaVey. Whatever.)
Wait just a moment! Take another look at take the load off. What on earth is that woman friend using to get her mate Dan out of his pit of depression? That’s right, it’s a hangman’s noose.
Sure, it’s supposed to be a lasso. But seriously, what sort of subliminal message are they sending to the suicidal? The people at the agency that created this plagiaristic monstrosity sure have a sick sense of humour. (It wouldn’t surprise me if they were the same outfit responsible for Colin Craig’s election campaign material last election.)
I’m glad that I also have a sick sense of humour and can appreciate it. I hope you do too. To all my depressed friends out there, I say, life is very much worth living, no matter if it seems like a sack of shit right now. Hang on in there!
Today I want to make my rebuttal of a friends defense for Larkin Rose’s expressed position on God/ Deism.
Larken Rose Recognizes the fingerprint of Intelligence within the incredible design of living things yet appears ambivalent towards any further thought or discussion about the ramifications of this Revelation.
He reminds me of the late A Flew… the once High priest of Atheism who in the face of the discoveries of Modern science esp the complexity of living things abandoned his Atheism for belief in Intelligent design… yet never made the full traverse to Bible believing Faith in THE LORD.
Flew was an honest thinker yet ran out of Time…whereas Larken Rose still has time to discover the truth… yet his attitude appears to me to be that of a Man who does not really want to go down that road…and I question his motives.
I argue why Deism may once have been forgivable/ understandable in the distant past, yet is inexcusable today, and that now Reason and Logic are on the side of the Theist.
While both entail the belief in a Creator God, what distinguishes Deism from Theism is that Deism rejects Divine interventions in the affairs of Men… No Miracles to circumvent the laws of Nature… and esp No Divine special Revelations to mankind.
It will be necessary for me to skip over large portions of history and related material for the sake of brevity such as the Deism of the 18th century.
(I will have to do a separate Blog post on these important aspects of this topic at some later date, and insert a link to it here)
Watch Larken Rose Here…
Ten or more years ago I was asked to debate Hamilton based Atheists for the existence of the Christian God.
One of my opponents was Garry Mallett from Act.
Now The only reason I have mentioned this debate is because the 2nd part of my argument was the logical assumption that *If there is in fact a God (in the Full context of the word) and that he made us human beings…as Rational, conscious beings… that it would be a reasonable assumption to think that surely he would communicate with us some how… who he is… why he made us…etc rather than just leaving us Ignorant about such things.
That was my premise for why it is rational to at least consider the possibility that the Bible’s claim to be the Divine Revelation from the Creator of the Universe to be a plausible possibility at least… and that the honest thinking person having first concluded that the Universe and Living things are best understood as the products of intelligent design… that following upon that, that The Bible answers the questions that naturally flow on…. The *Who* is this Great designer of the Universe… and what message does he have for us… his Conscious Rational Moral Free Agent Creations… and most importantly… that such a Revelation is precisely what the rational mind would expect from the God who is there… rather than silence.
This is an argument that places Theism as superior to mere Deism and in fact renders belief in Deism today to be a cop out…poor reasoning at best… mostly willful ignorance.
Deism and Theism both draw upon what has been described as ‘Natural religion’… Ideas about God derived from looking at Nature… looking at what has been described as ‘The Book of God’s works’.
Yet Theism makes an additional claim that we have a second Book that we may also gain direct and infallible knowledge about God.. The Book of his actual words.
Deism/ Natural Religion is great up to certain point, yet severely limited as it can never tell us Human beings *who God is*… only that he is there… and that he is super intelligent and super powerful, and that there is some sort of Objective moral law which We Human beings ought to at least try and live by… that gives our Moral sence some legitimate foundation and purpose… rather than simply being some sort of illusion… mere sentiment… mere feelings.
An Idea such as ‘Kharma’, or ‘Reaping what you sow’… These are the sorts of ideas human beings have arrived at via contemplating nature… ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’ … ‘Be Good’… we know that’Theft is evil’…because we hate it when someone steals from us… so dont steal from others… yet still none of this has anything higher than our own opinion to rest upon… or the opinion of ‘wise others’… and is therefore not impervious to arguments of evil men that assert that all such moralizations are vacuous.
Dark minds may posit the question… Maybe the Deity is Malevolent?
Do not Floods and Earthquakes signal that our creator is far from a caring God! ????
Is the only Moral Rule …contrary to what the wowzers would have us believe…that the Strong may subject the weak?
Are they trying to subject the strong to whiles of the weak?
What the heck is really going on?
Deism cant definitively answer this… yet it gives those whom cling to it a certain self-justification for not being Nihilistic… for claiming they are Moral and good. (something that is necessary because of what the bible describes as our innate knowledge/ consciousness of Good and evil)
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:…”
St Paul. Romans 1:20.
Yet Deism says *Nobody can claim to really know*.
Now I love many of the Great heathen thinkers of classical times, whom both believed a God exists, and that Humanity should be moral, and because of the times and places in which *they lived* I accept that they really had taken ‘Natural religion’ to its highest forms and that they had no ‘Rungs upon which they could possibly ascend higher and closer to God’, and that they were Good, wise, Moral men…In the context of how good any man might be under such circumstances. (Separated/ aliens from Israel, mostly living before the advent of Christ)
It is at this plateau that many of the Great Heathen moral thinkers had arrived.
The Stoic Marcus Aurelius is supposed to have said…
Though Aurelius lived post-Christ and had ‘herd’ about the Christians and held negative opinions about them, I am not sure to what degree he had any real first hand communications with them, or any familiarity with the Old testament/ Book of Genesis, thus I tend to consider his situation as very similar to that of the *Pre-Christ* Gentile thinkers… Aliens from the Divine revelation.
He was a very interesting thinker…God will judge him. Here is an interesting link to this Topic
Now As a Christian Theist who believes the Bible, I know there are Mountains of the most vital truths missing from this Natural/Deistic Faith position because I have the Divine Revelation… The Holy inspired and preserved words of God Almighty himself esp the Facts That Humanity is under a curse because of our Sin, and that our Sin separates us from God and puts us in danger of His Judgement and Damnation.
*It is possible*… because it is so obvious… without the aid of scripture to apprehend by the power of reason alone Humanities fallen/ sinful condition… our wickedness… our depravity… our Cruelty…. and perhaps from this a rationale may be conceived of the need to somehow appease the anger of the God(s)… for justice sake… all sorts of weird Ideas have been proposed… *Yet via reason it would be impossible to conceive of the doctrine of Christs virgin birth, and substitutional atonement for our sins, and resurrection*…from nature alone.
Indeed many Naturally minded people find these Doctrines repugnant… which leads to my main contentions for this blog about Deists living today in western civilization… and their willful ignorance/ rejection of the Divine Revelation… the Bible in which all these doctrines are laid out in the most Logical fashion from the very beginning in Genesis.
As I have said Deism is severely handicapped to what degree it can reveal the nature of God to us… limited in its certainty of moral precepts, etc, none the less *Today*…far from these limits as being considered by trendy thinkers as pitfalls… these people actually *enjoy* them!
Most of these are people *Today* … follow a trend that became fashionable from the end of the Great reformation who… for various reasons…good or bad… *hate organised religion* (which tends to be where Theistic claims of having ‘Divine revelation’ are most prevalent) … they also enjoy what they see as ‘the Freedom to do as they please… the only moral restraints being their own conscience… and esp that Deism can make no emphatic claims of Divine Judgement for moral failures… it cant even emphatically state the validity of any Human Judgement derived from Nature.
They will say that ‘Reason’ is the only Authority they will subject themselves to, and as they have reached to limits of Reason… they cannot be subject to any higher Moral authority or law.
Philosophers love to quote Hume … “you cant get an ‘Ought from an Is”.
Its Funny though that ordinary people seem to be able to do just that without much trouble appealing to sentiment… they are not moved by arguments that say we can have no confidence in these… in fact to my thinking …the rational approach to this mystery of consciousness to the ideas of Good and evil is not to say ‘We cant ever know’… but instead to set out *in faith* on a Pilgrimage to discover some means by which our sentiments can find Objective validation… It is a quest of discovery for the Divine revelation from the Intelligent Creator whose existence is testified by his Natural handiwork.
And It is an Irony that in a work by the great skeptic himself David Hume called ‘Dialogues concerning Natural religion’ in which there is a debate about the existence of God, in which Hume deploys his skeptical arguments in the person of ‘Philo’, yet stunningly… in the final analysis his Book ends by giving the victory to the Theist ‘Cleanthes’!
My contention at the Debate was that not only did the Deity Communicate his existence and expectations of Humanity via Prophets and the written word… He intervened into Human affairs in the Most personal manor…. He visited us… and Walked among us… God was manifest in the flesh.
“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:…”
Now when you add up all the components I have briefly discussed above you ought to be able to grasp why it is that I myself am a Theist… a Bible believer… That the fact that we westerners have easy access to the King James Bible and the book of Genesis therein, that willfully seeking to remain ignorant of the Divine revelation is inexcusable… and why it is that I have a pet dislike for modern Deism… esp its corruption/heresy of what I call Christian Deism which I see as a pathetic retreat from true Christian Theistic faith…caused by a weakness in faith and Bad reasoning… in the face of Atheist sophistry. (Topic for another Post)
I actually struggle to contain my contempt!
I need to take 5… and chill… and remember that it is only by Gods grace that I myself am a Christian at all.
I need to remember *How alien* I once was… How utterly incapable of apprehending the existence of God let alone the truthfulness of the Bible!
It is with all this in mind that I decided to keep calm and write this post..
Recently A friend of mine tried to justify the Deism of one of his Favorite thinkers Larkin Rose, which I had critisised as being pathetic… because he refused to make the most basic inference that Intelligent design demands *GOD* and that from this obvious conclusion… if he was an honest thinker… would demand he then begin a personal pilgrimage to discover *Who* this Grand designer is.
My friend began to repair to the arguments *of Classical Deism* and the limits that Logic faced in that direction… as if that excuse… which of course appears quite valid when looking back to heathen lands… and times before Christ… aliens to the Divine Revelation, Yet This blogpost is my express rebuttal to that argument when applied to modern thinkers like Larkin.
It is invalid for Thinkers today to simply rest on that ancient Plateau… because they live post Christ and have access to the Bible and history.
This makes them fully culpable for rejecting Jesus Christ.
Socrates on the other hand was not privy to the Bible… and I even conjecture that he would have become a Christian had he been given the opportunity… so many of his conclusions about Divine things being in perfect harmony with the scriptures… that he never had opportunity to read.
I say that If Socrates would have considered the Gargantuan explanatory power for the first chapters in the book of Genesis…plus all the rest… the Biblical explanation for the existence of Evil…The explanation of why God has separated himself from mankind… why we die… why there are Natural disasters, etc etc that it is very possible that he would have realised that this divine revelation gives a great logical basis for Biblical theistic faith when one applies it to the world about him.
That in fact the Bible *Is the Revelation* of the Intelligent designer of everything…his message to us his creatures… esp telling us *Who he is*… and what is *Really* going on.
So I question why it is that though Larken Rose sees through the delusion of atheistic evolution, he still is apathetic towards discovering *Who God is* and challenge him to Read the King James Bible… to really contemplate it’s message… and that in doing so he would no longer be in a position to argue that Logic ends at the plateau of Natural religion.
The Bible is a logical extension from the Plateau at the top of the Mountain… upwards out of the stratosphere all the way… a direct line of communication to the Deity… a logical vindication of Bible believing christian Theism.
Of course Satan and his minions have been attacking the Bible, and via sophistry undermining faith in its veracity as The Bible is the Ultimate Fortress of God for the believer. It is the Ultimate Lighthouse in the storm of life Shining its beams upon the treacherous Rocks of peril, and a Guide of Safe passage… salvation to every soul who sees its light and navigates into the Harbour of God’s love and Grace.
Satan is the enemy Of God and Men’s souls…The Father of Lies… it was by cunning craftiness that he was able to deceive Eve, and get her to disbelieve Gods word and to Eat of the forbidden fruit, and he has been at this game the whole time… Deceiving… yet the word of God remains like a Rock
Happy Resurrection Day!
Protestant, 1611 King James Bible believer, Dispensationalist, Christian Libertarian.
The last paragraphs of Humes Dialouges concerning Natural religion…
If the whole of Natural Theology, as some people seem to maintain, resolves itself into one simple, though somewhat ambiguous, at least undefined proposition, That the cause or causes of order in the universe probably bear some remote analogy to human intelligence: If this proposition be not capable of extension, variation, or more particular explication: If it affords no inference that affects human life, or can be the source of any action or forbearance: And if the analogy, imperfect as it is, can be carried no farther than to the human intelligence; and cannot be transferred, with any appearance of probability, to the other qualities of the mind: If this really be the case, what can the most inquisitive, contemplative, and religious man do more than give a plain, philosophical assent to the proposition, as often as it occurs; and believe that the arguments, on which it is established, exceed the objections, which lie against it? Some astonishment indeed will naturally arise from the greatness of the object: Some melancholy from its obscurity: Some contempt of human reason, that it can give no solution more satisfactory with regard to so extraordinary and magnificent a question. But believe me, Cleanthes, the most natural sentiment, which a well-disposed mind will feel on this occasion, is a longing desire and expectation, that heaven would be pleased to dissipate, at least alleviate this profound ignorance, by affording some more particular revelation to mankind, and making discoveries of the nature, attributes, and operations of the divine object of our faith. A person, seasoned with a just sense of the imperfections of natural reason, will fly to revealed truth with the greatest avidity: While the haughty Dogmatist, persuaded, that he can erect a complete system of Theology by the mere help of philosophy,
disdains any farther aid, and rejects this adventitious instructor. To be a philosophical Sceptic is, in a man of letters, the first and most essential step towards being a sound, believing Christian; a proposition, which I would willingly recommend to the attention of Pamphilus: And I hope Cleanthes will forgive me for interposing so far in the education and instruction of his pupil.
Cleanthes and Philo pursued not this conversation much farther; and as nothing ever made greater impression on me, than all the reasonings of that day; so, I confess, that, upon a serious review of the whole, I cannot but think, that Philo’s principles are more probable than Demea’s; but that those of Cleanthes approach still nearer to the truth.
How Old is this planet? Get This straight… The Bible *does not* set a date for the creation of *The Planet Earth*. A person does not have to embrace ‘Young Earth’ Creationism to be a committed Bible believer.
This is a subject that though I have discussed many times on line, I ought to have blogged my definitive argument before now… given how important it is to defense of the Bible believers position in the trustworthiness of the Bible.
Tonight I will at least make a start.
My opening statement makes my position clear, so that it only remains for me to prove/ argue my point.
So many people on all sides of the Atheism vs Christian Theism debate are convinced that a necessary corollary of claiming to believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God (esp the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis) is that such a view *demands* also embracing the arguments of that reviled group of Christians known as ‘Young Earth creationists’ …. whom argue that *The Bible says* God Made the Universe… and the Earth… a mere 6000 years ago.
This date they have arrived at using an Historical Chronology tracing backwards the lineage of Christ to Adam … a practice that has been going on since at least the 17th century… see here the methodology of Ussher chronology
Though this period of time is not precisely recorded and requires some ‘educated guesses’, Most calculations vary by a mere decade, so that the Basic argument… that according to the Bible God made Adam approximately 6000 years ago… is sound.
So then it appears to many that to believe that God created the Earth for Adam and Eve, requires a person to believe the *Earth itself* was created *5 days* prior to his creation of Adam…. so in faith… that is precisely what millions of YEC Christians choose to believe.
In support for their faith, (like myself) they are aware that the Theory of Evolution is Full of holes… most Bible believers in fact see the theory of Evolution (of Man from Ape, from Rodent, from amphibian, from fish, from worm, from germ…) to be the very height of foolishness and absurdity, and also appreciate the *true advances in the science of Biology and genetics* continually validate the ancient claims of scripture… such as the species being locked into ‘Kinds’, and that the entire human race… is *one family* all carrying the genetic tags of being the offspring from a *single woman*… Mitochondrial Eve.
The Myth of Evolution… requires the Magic and imagination of Countless Millions of Years… and countless numbers of fortuitous unguided accidents to blindly transform Magic Bugs that spontaneously generated from the lifeless mud…into people, and so this Godless ideology conveniently postulates *an ancient Earth…in an ancient self assembling/ evolving Universe.
How Old?… well Every Time Evolutionists state their ‘Scientific Facts’… it is only a matter of months rather than years that *some newly discovered ‘Truth’, forces them to extend the Date of the creation of the universe Backwards by hundreds of millions… sometimes billions of years… proving the whole business to be highly dubious… Guesswork… based upon naive ignorance.
And foolish imaginations run wild… the more Billions of Years the Atheists claim … somehow the mystical powers of evolution are supposed to be *more believable*… as to their way of thinking…this multiplies the number of times their Zombie Goddess ‘Mother nature’ gets to roll her dice. They imagine that Germs can … slowly slowly…. become people…
On the other hand the YE creationists *Dont require to pre-suppose a Multi-billion year Timescale for their cosmology… on the contrary… by their interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis appears to Forbade such a Time-frame… They insist the Bible only allows a time scale of a magnitude in the very low thousands of years… that is the pre-supposition they labour under… and contend for.
Without continuing down this diversion, it is sufficient for my purposes to have pointed out the ideological presuppositions, and dubious nature of the ground upon which the the Bible Critics stand to oppose the YE Creationists, and the basis at the heart of Y E Creationist thinking.
Both groups are keen to subject the Data taken from observation and experiment to the explanatory power of their own bents.
Now having to some degree identified the basic positions of the antagonists… that are supposed to stand as a dichotomy.
An ‘Either- Or choice that people must assemble under one banner or the other…. Bible believers must be Young Earth Creationists… People who accept the theory of Evolution… must Reject the Book of Genesis as being Literally believable, and assume that the planet Earth has existed for Billions of years (last count I herd was the Universe is now supposed to being 13 billion years old, and the Earth 4 Billion.)…
Because of the bundles of suppositions entailed in the two camps, The pseudo-scientific Ideas of Darwinian Evolution has driven a rift within the Masses of people whom call themselves ‘Christians… so that in what is now being called ‘the post Christian Era’… a growing percentage of Christians have abandoned faith in the inerrancy of the Scriptures… and walking enmasse to join the camp of the Atheist Bible rejectors… and like them… choosing to place their faith in *Evolutionary Scientists* rather than the literal veracity of the Scriptures.
And they do this without so much a wink…. they claim that in abandoning the traditional Christian beliefs that they are acting in a more ‘enlightened manor’… and are shedding off ‘an ancient superstition’… that only continues to be embraced by Religious whackos….. Luddites whom have no grasp of science.
Ie… Though these Modern Bible rejecting Christians are now Standing with the infidels… and embracing their Skeptical rationale with respect to the believability and veracity of the Bible… they nonetheless claim *That they are the Holy defenders of the faith!*
That *They are saving Christianity from the dustbin*… by synthesizing Evolution with a Neo-Christianity.
This Form of Christianity *Puts Human Scholarship* and *Evolutionary anthropology*… and Many of the Tenets of Materialism… in authority … Not The Bible… that is rendered to be… a collection of Myths and Fables… only believed by the primitive mind.
This is how the modern liberal Christian sees the ‘The cult’ of Young Earth creationism…’The Cult’ of King James Bible believers…. etc.
Thus the Modern Liberal Christians put *Rationalism* ahead of Faith in Divine revelation and preservation of the scriptures.
And what is the greatest tragedy is that they do not appreciate that they have been absolutely deceived… that they have abandoned the high ground… and retreated in the face of Atheist delusions.
They are also now Free to ‘cherry pick’ what portions of the scriptures they find ‘pleasing’… and reject everything else as some sort of Human error or folly.
To them the Bible is no longer a supernatural book, but concur with the atheist anthropologist that the bible is just another collection of ancient religious texts that has been exposed to all the Human factors … priest-craft, etc… over the millennia.
With Glee they abandon *any scripture* that is difficult to defend… such as Noahs Flood, Joshua’s extermination of the Canaanites, The Doctrine of Hell, The doctrine that Homosexuality is sinful, The doctrine that woman ought to voluntarily subordinate themselves to their husbands, etc etc.
Satan laughing spreads his wings.
So when we stand back, we can perceive just how disastrous Darwin’s Ideas have been to Christendom, and how they have caused a great loss of Faith in the literal truthfulness of the Book of Genesis, and in many of the most fundamental christian values… in favor of Godless liberalisms.
Bible believers are becoming an endangered species.
Their faith is under constant attack… not just from Atheist Infidels… but also now from so-called Christian infidels… this Division of Christianity can very accurately be understood as Christian *Theists* who hold the traditional veiw that the book of Genesis is trustworthy and literally accurate, whereas the Modern Liberal Christian whom embraces Evolution may justly be described as ‘A Christian Deist’.
It is now time to state my own position more clearly.
Let me state that while I agree with the Young Earth types that the theory of Evolution is false…and that God Created Mankind as a special and distinct creature totally unrelated in the hereditary sence to apes, fish, etc… thus My cosmology does not demand aeons of time past… nonetheless,…intuitively… when I examine the geology and geography of the world about me, I find the supposition that the Earth has existed for Many aeons as the most plausible proposition.
I do not deny that The YEC’s have produced many interesting scientific arguments and evidences that undermine the assumptions of the Evolutionists time-frame, yet still I tend to agree with the sceptics of YE Creationism about the age of the Earth being a mere 6000 years old.
And Below I will seek to show you how my interpretation of the scriptures allows me to have a foot in *both camps*… thus I contend that the Dichotomy is false… ie That it is possible to be a Believer in the veracity of the Book of Genesis… and still accept the probability that the Earth is of ancient origin.
Unfortunately for me *my position* is not welcomed by either of the two antagonistic groups… yet for opposite reasons.
What is of the greatest weight, and why I disagree with the young Earth creationist interpretation of the First chapters of Genesis is that they make a fundamental error… they miss the fact that ‘The Earth’ as mentioned in these verses *does not represent the creation of *The Planet Earth* but the restoration of *The Dry Land* from a prior state of void inundation.
The importance of this is appreciated when you realise that Genesis chapter one is not the absolute beginning… the Ex nihilo creation of the Universe, world, etc for humanity… but the restoration of the planet and especially the emergence of *Dry land*… that pre-existed in a submerged state of Darkness and deluge… for an indeterminate period of time.
Let me now take you on a journey through time *as I believe the Bible teaches*… which comes to light with a deeper understanding of the scriptures… revealing the fact that A Bible believer *Ought not to assume* the Universe and the Earth are relatively recent creations… and that such a young view only results from an erroneous interpretation.
Above is a Chart by the Late Great Dispensationalist Clarence Larkin. (1850-1924) which shows the existence of Earth Before Genesis 1…
What needs to be understood is that there are two *Different* beginnings in the scriptures.
The one we are discussing in Genesis, and one in the first chapter of the Gospel of John….
John 1Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Now it is my contention that this beginning spoken of in John is the real beginning of all creation… the Chronology of events (dispensational scheme) may be understood as follows…
First… before the first ‘beginning’ there was just God the Trinity.
Then he made the angels in heaven (Lucifer and co).
Then God …the pre-incarnate Jesus/The Word made the Universe and the original Earth (This is when the stars of heaven/Angels sang in wonder (Isaiah).
This was in the ancient past possibly billions of years ago.
I believe God created life on earth and put the Dinosaurs here.
Lucifer and the angels would walk upon the earth too.
Next was the Great Rebellion of Lucifer, and the beginning/ origin of evil.
In consequence… God’s Judgement was forthcoming.
God not only judged Lucifer and co but also destroyed the earth/ and maybe even the whole universe by flood.
All the above happened *Before the Time of the Book of Genesis.*
It is *now* that the *2nd beginning* mentioned in the Bible begins… Genesis Chapter 1 starts with the Earth and Universe already in existence… but in a state of Darkness and void. (Text at bottom of this post).
This is when the earth (dry land…not planet) was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep (The scriptures tell us God did not originally create the world without form or void in Isaiah)
…‘Time’ went by and then Gods Spirit moved across the face of the waters.
Genesis 1Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day”…. etc
Here we have the second beginning, or the preparation of the earth for Adam and mankind. Now *this beginning* would have happened in the recent past around 4000bc. This is when God abated the waters and re-established the universe for Mankind…after the fall of Lucifer and the scene was set for the story of the fall of Man.
And it is this *Second beginning* *Virtually Everybody* mistakes as being the time God created the planet Earth, and the universe.
Thus it is at this point… the creation of Adam, that I begin to concur with many of the truly traditional doctrines of theistic Christianity embraced by the Young Earthers… ie that the Book of Genesis is Literally true with regards to the Creation of Mankind, their Fall into sin and separation from God… the story of Noahs flood and God’s judgement of the Wicked… etc.
All things that the Modern Liberal Christian Deist recoils from.
… the rest of the Biblical narrative carries on… From Noah… through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel)…
Another Hidden Spiritual gem that comes to light via this doctrine is the appreciation that when God chose to destroy Wicked humanity by Flood… that he was in fact in keeping with a previous precedent of Judgment *already established*.
Noahs Flood was *the second flood*… a Second judgement of wickedness… The first happened when Lucifer Rebelled… the second when the Earth filled with Violent and wicked Children of Adam.
This is why though I endorse the Book of Genesis, and the whole Bible as being the inspired and preserved revelation from God that I contend such Bible believing faith does not corner me into also having to believe in a young Earth.
So what Age do I suppose the Earth to be?
*I dont know* 🙂
I dont have even a ball park figure… 100 thousand…1 million… 1000 million years?
Probably millions of years is my conjecture.
What is important to state is that The Bible does not say.
I understand *why* the various vested interests seek to overthrow the ideas of their antagonists, I am on my guard… and watching how any novel ‘proofs’ are fielded, and contended with.
I will say that this doctrine teaches us that the Earth has suffered at least two major cataclysms… of a Global scale…and that the Geological evidence is there… yet falsely ascribed to ‘Ice ages’ rather than Divine Floods.
This is a worthy topic for another Blog post.
I must say that though I do not endorse their ‘Young Earth’ premises, I am impressed by much of their ‘outside the orthodox box’ Scientific arguments, such as their evidence that Dinosaur Fossils probably are nowhere as old as the Evolutionists have claimed…
One of the traps of science is how erroneous ideas can become entrenched as ‘Orthodoxy’… and vested interest form that seek to protect these ‘orthodox’ views from challenges… and so via un-objective bias Bad Ideas can remain in currency long after they ought to have been thrown out. We are witnessing this as true not only with 150 years of Darwinism and their failure to conclusively establish anything near a believable lineage of Human evolution (or anything else)… but also with regards to *How Oil reserves are formed*, *That Dinosaur Fossils contain soft tissue*, That Fat in our diets is the chief cause of western obesity, etc etc.
The world needs people capable of questioning ‘orthodoxy’ and of pursuing un-orthodox ideas to see where they lead because so much can be learned when the mind has been unfettered from pre-conceptions and dares to imagine new possibilities.
So it is that though I dont endorse YE Biblical premises as to the age of the Earth, none the less it is exciting to see the sorts of Challenges their un-orthodox thinking is producing.
Important note: It is essential to apprehend the monumental difference between the theory of the ‘Darwinian Evolution’ of life, from the natural processes that are at work in the greater universe… the Laws of thermodynamics, Motion, gravity, etc… by which the whole universe is undergoing constant transformation. that can be thought of as the Hands of a clock changing position via the Cogs … as the spring slowly looses its tension… and the pendulum inevitably reaches a point of rest.
If we are to call the continuous results of the Blind yet Law-bound natural processes of the Material world ‘Evolution’ … then only a handful of dullards will not accept the veracity of these mechanistic activities… ie I in no way dispute the argument that with vast periods of time… the coalescence of clouds of particulate matter could form larger bodies… Barren Rocks, ice comets, etc, and that in fact these very forces are what maintain the semi-stable ‘Galaxies and solar systems.
It is astounding to me that Myriads of sheeple cannot apprehend *The stark contrast* between the sorts of phenomena that can be rightly explained and understood as a result of the interactions of the blind forces of Nature, from that most different and special classification of phenomena that can only be rationally understood as *intelligently assembled* … to the degree that both A fish… and a submarine belong under the same qualification… segregated from such things as Rough Diamonds and ocean currents. (which though at a deeper level are themselves intelligently ordered… they function in blind obedience to simple Laws)
It is at this juncture that the assertions in ‘Payleys Watch’ Lords Rational supreme over the Absurdities of Dawkins ‘Blind watchmaker’… and all the ridiculous Atheist rantings about Celestial teapots, Multiverses, etc.
It is worth noting here that the march of Science has in fact *Vindicated faith in the scriptures* in that today it is well understood by Science… that the universe did indeed *have a beginning* … which was an article of Biblical Faith poo pooed by Atheist materialists whom asserted the universe was eternal.
They were proven wrong… and in such a monumental fashion that the whole materialist argument has been proven false.
The Laws that Govern the Universe are not supreme, but temporal… and so greater… super-naturalism is now the fully vindicated *Rational position*… The Bibles assertion that the universe had a beginning and will also have an end… is now something *virtually everyone concedes.
A Greater *un-created Supernatural reality *of logical necessity* exists* from which this temporal universe… and Mankind… came into being… The Fundamental being of Reality… God.
Vindicating the scripture that says Gods certain existence is easily seen by the things that are made.
“…For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Rom 1vs20
You would think that such a devastating Death punch to infidelity would render Materialist Atheism an abandoned superstition… yet so fanatical is the Zeal of the Godless to reject the Bible, that they choose to bury their heads in the sand… They Leap like frogs from their sinking lily pad onto another… pretending the knowledge that the universe had a beginning as being a support for their ‘reformed atheism’… that now hinges on the idea of a Godless Big Bang… and the slow evolution of the Universe via the blind forces of physics as I have already mentioned as being always at work (postscript 2.).
I understand the basic dynamics of their Godless theory… how from their measurements of the size of the Universe they compute a timescale, and Datum for the Big Bang.
I understand the rationale they employ as to *How they attempt to explain the existence of things like our moon*… using computer model simulations… inputting the values of the natural forces… postulating imaginary planet X of convenient size and velocity… working in conveniently calculated time frames… in fortuitous collision angles… stacking the Deck completely… and then claiming the resulting ‘result’ as a confirmation of their scientific Objectivity and the certitude of their whole Evolutionary premises.
They pretend that all their loading of the dice is somehow conclusive proof that God did not thoughtfully order the universe… that it is a mere fluke the The Earth, moon and sun are all so precisely arranged so as to be so fantastically conducive to the sustenance of life.
They delude themselves that they have proven *The whole shebang* to be Godless, Purposeless, meaningless, …
From all this I hope that my readers have apprehended that while I perceive the convoluted plausibility that Natural forces… astronomic impacts… might conceivably… in theory… produce phenomena *like the moon* … a Dead dusty Rock… that this in itself doe not *Prove* the moon was in fact made that way.
It is a symptom of the incredulous modern mind… so trapped in the naturalistic box… that it finds contemplation of anything spiritual, or miraculous painfully unbearable
There is no Science that disproves the idea that God made the universe almost exactly as it appears to us today.
Newton believed this.
He was convinced that the perfect proportionality of the cosmos smacks of the Divine.
The assertion that the moons was formed by natural means is simply an article of faith… stemming from an aversion to Super-naturalism.
Some Modern Liberal Christians whom fully embrace Naturalistic evolution will not wink at declaring that “God made everything… via evolution”.
They are deluding themselves via foolish sophistry….equivocating … ie Re-defining the Term ‘Evolution’ from it’s essential characteristic… that of being an ‘Un-purposed’ ‘unguided’ series of happenstances… into some sort of Divine plan….
I have always argued that if there was *No Earth*… *No Life*… No People… No cars and truck, etc… just a universe full of Burning Stars, and Barren Rocks… like the moon… like Venus, Mars, etc… well then *That sort of Universe* *would be wholly explicable in atheistic terms… Yet The existence of these *Super-natural* things absolutely refutes Atheism.
These things I deem to be *Intelligently designed*… some with the extra special quality of possessing *A soul*… consciousness… all things that *cannot be understood via the purely Materialist paradigm… though Darwinian Evolution does its very best to attempt this very feat.
*Which is in itself the fundamental driving force behind the religious fanaticism of the Atheist materialists*
They are hell bent on maintaining a belief that they have No God to thank for their own existence… No God to answer for how they go about their lives… they must maintain this delusion… at all costs… They simply *cannot allow* the Bible to be believed as scientifically or historically valid.
They delude themselves that they have a rational and scientific basis for their faith… boy are they in for a surprise!
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (NIV)
Life is what happens … while you’re busy making other plans.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (ESV)
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines?
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (NIV)
Make a new plan, Stan! … Just get yourself free.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (KJV)
Leave the sorrow and heartache before it takes you away from your mind. When sadness fills your days, it’s time to turn away. And then tomorrow’s dreams become reality.
Such a great pic of David Jones fraternising with Ian Kilmister circa 1970. Too bad it’s photoshopped!
My brother Tim and I grew up listening to the likes of Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. At our family lunch on Christmas Day I reiterated to him that I was still undecided about whether or not to go see Black Sabbath play Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on 30 April this year. I mentioned that 30 April is Walpurgisnacht. I also mentioned that it wouldn’t be reasonable just to assume that all three remaining band members will be well enough or even alive four months hence to play the gig, so if I did decide to go ahead ticket insurance would be a must!
I then mentioned that Motorhead’s drummer “Philthy” Phil Taylor had died recently and that Motorhead’s main man Lemmy had only the previous day (Christmas Eve) celebrated his 70th birthday. Rock music’s founders (excepting members of the 27 Club) are mostly still alive but getting well long in tooth and claw.
My brother then morbidly observed that we can expect half of the big rock legends of our youth to die in the next ten years, and the other half to die in the ten years after that. At the rate of about one per week.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (NIV)
We didn’t care to speculate who would be next, but by a strange coincidence it was Lemmy himself! You can read my co-blogger Tim’s wonderful tribute to Lemmy here.
And then David Bowie! You can read my co-blogger Blair’s wonderful tribute to Bowie soon. 🙂
The day a person dies is better than the day he was born.
It is better to go to a funeral than to a party.
We all must die. Everyone living should think about this. (ICB)
I confess. I’m not even a big fan of Motorhead (or Lemmy’s original band, Hawkwind). But I still enjoy listening to them from time to time, of course, what self-respecting metalhead doesn’t?!
I’m not even a fan of Bowie at all. Well, I thought I wasn’t. But now I’ve been given the opportunity to peruse his back catalogue, it’s amply confirmed what I always knew about David Bowie. He’s out of this world talented. So put me down as a small fan of David Bowie. 🙂
Anyone who’s spent any time in serious study of the Bible (or even someone who’s only delved into it intermittently) will have discovered, for themselves, apparent contradictions, of which there are very, very many.
Just for example, Ezekiel 33:11 (and Ezekiel 18:32) and Psalm 37:13 seem rather at odds.
Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ (NIV)
but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. (NIV)
How should a Christian respond to such apparent contradictions? It’s not easy maintaining contradictions. Maintaining a contradiction is surely the very essence of cognitive dissonance, and cognitive dissonance is something we all naturally seek to minimise.
Of particular concern are the apparent contradictions in Bible verses about salvation. Is justification through good works or by faith alone? Enquiring minds want to know.
The inerrantist response is to hold that the Bible is inerrant. On the premiss (due to Douglas Stauffer) that
God will preserve His word, and not allow it to pass away.
And then try to explain away the apparent contradictions. All of them. One attempt to do this (with particular emphasis on what the Bible says about salvation) is the doctrine of Dispensationalism due to John Nelson Darby.
Now, I can see that the above premiss has merit and that Dispensationalism is, in some sense, a reasonable response to the apparent contradictions in the Bible.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV)
Dispensationalism is complicated. Doesn’t God’s fundamental message have to be intelligible to little children and simpletons? Because Dispensationalism isn’t.
The errantist response is to hold that the Bible is not inerrant. To concede that it’s full of contradictions, some of which cannot be adequately explained away. But that, nonetheless
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (KJV)
and that Jesus’s fundamental message remains intact, which it does.
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
My reason for writing this post is my concern that those who hold that the Bible is inerrant are fooling themselves. In a bad way. Notwithstanding that Douglas Stauffer (already quoted above) tells us that
Satan has reveled in creating doubt concerning the authority of the words of God.
the simple fact is that there is doubt concerning the authority of scripture as it has been handed down to us. Not to acknowledge and to express doubt such as this is to deceive oneself and maybe others too. It’s my considered opinion that those who persist in maintaining that the Bible is inerrant are involved in more convolutions and contortions than David Bain trying to explain his movements on the morning of 20 June 1994, more turns than a sluggard on his bed, more preposterous suspensions of disbelief than an atheist proclaiming that this blog post is an anticipated result of the Big Bang. They’re playing the exegetical version of Twister—the game that ties you up in knots.
[WARNING: This blog post contains lots of very strong language and is practically guaranteed to give offence to weak-minded prudes. Please proceed at your own risk.]
The use–mention distinction is a foundational concept of (Western analytic) philosophy. To fail to recognise the distinction is, at best, to invite disaster.
The following true statements illustrate the distinction.
(1) Salt is an ionic compound, viz., sodium chloride (NaCl).
(2) ‘Salt’ is a four-letter word.
The first sentence is a statement about the substance called “salt”—it uses the word ‘salt’ to refer to that substance. The second is a statement about the word ‘salt’—it mentions the word without using it to refer to anything other than itself.
‘Salt’ is a four-letter word. Salt is not a four-letter word. And neither salt nor ‘salt’ is a four-letter word in the usual idiomatic (and only incidentally numeric) sense of the term. It’s perfectly polite and indeed good table manners to ask someone please to the pass the salt!
In this post I want to say a few words about four-letter words (e.g., ‘fuck‘ and ‘shit‘) and their cognates (e.g. ‘fucking shit‘) and briefly discuss whether (and in what contexts) Christians ought or ought not to be using such vulgarities and profanities.
And it struck me that the perfect way to make the main point I want to make is to recycle the metaphor that Jesus uses in Matthew 5:13 right after the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says to his followers
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (NIV)
George Carlin aptly refers to the words I’m talking about as “just words which we’ve decided not to use all the time.” And “that’s about the only thing you can say about them for sure.” Carlin’s bang on the money! Because, if we used the words all the time, they’d lose their “saltiness”! They’d no longer be effective cuss words and they’d no longer be good for anything more than just plain old communication. Which would be a dingleberry of a disappointment.
(Or would it? If we no longer had an inventory of “reserved” words with which to insult others effectively, we’d have to relearn the art of the insult. And our prose would begin to be colourful like Bill Shakespeare‘s or Martin Luther‘s prose is colourful. And actually that would be fucking awesome!)
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Is probably the one blog post of mine I regularly link to. It explains how (according to me, but I’m not wrong) words acquire their meanings. The meaning of a word (any word) is determined by the conventions that govern its use. And those conventions can and do vary between different communities of language users. Amongst the kind of people I usually hang out with, the words ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ are used fairly indiscriminately. They’ve pretty much lost their saltiness in those contexts. (But I use those words extremely judiciously, if at all, if I’m having dinner with, say, my mum or any of her older friends.) Whereas both I and my peers still tend to hold back on using the terms ‘cunt’ and ‘motherfucker’. Those two words remain mostly reserved for when we need convenient terms to refer to truly despicable people, such as Peter Dunne.
But here’s the interesting thing. In the circles in which I usually move, the words ‘cunt’ and ‘motherfucker’ can cease to be insults at all simply by prefixing them with the words ‘good’ and ‘formidable’ respectively. To call someone a good cunt is to pay them a genuine compliment. And it is a mark of utmost respect to call someone a formidable motherfucker. Mohammed Ali was a formidable motherfucker. Vladimir Putin is a formidable motherfucker. Good or evil, you don’t want to cross such people! Not unless it’s from a safe distance, anyway. (I.e., well outside of Russia in the latter case.)
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. (ESV)
Here’s a picture taken Wednesday evening of me (on the right) and a couple of good cunts. 🙂 🙂
Now to the question, ought Christians to be using the sort of language I’ve been using here? The answer is simple common sense, really. It depends on the context and the occasion and the company. None of the cuss words above is at all appropriate during a church service, for example. (But you may say “piss” if you’re reading from the KJV.) Such terms should be used sparingly, if at all, in polite company. Because they’re impolite. But in impolite company (such as on my Facebook page) they’re not impolite. Here’s what the Apostle Paul says
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (NIV)
It’s contextual, you see. Don’t go calling someone a good cunt if it’s “out of place” to do so. But do go calling them that if it’s “helpful for building them up according to their needs.”
I’ll finish by noting that there’s a big tension between being a good cunt and being a formidable motherfucker. If you succeed at being both simultaneously then you’re practically a saint.
Just love it when after the Evolutionists wax lyrical about ‘Their discovery’ of a Cataclysmic Flood … merely thousands of years ago that Joe blerts out that their assertion that Mankind came from a Shrew was way harder to accept than their assertions about the mega Flood!
They of course claim their dating of the flood @ 10 000 years ago is ‘solid’, and dont fail to say that Cataclysms (like the supposed Comet that wiped out the Dinosaurs) are the impetus of Evolution!
Pause and contemplate just how absurd that idea is… Disasters foster evolution!
I will expand on this as time permits, yet I will simply say that This ‘new evidence’ of the Flood, like so many facts that I have gleaned is not the biased opinions of vested interests trying to validate the Bible, but comes from those who claim the bible is a myth!
As much as 90% of the supporting evidence I have found comes from such sources.
You just have to recognise the implications of what is being presented, and have the nouse not to be deluded by their Qwazi-excuses and personal bais that they try and foist upon the hard data.
Not only does this take away any infidels ability to claim the facts are subjective fabrications… it also just goes to show how incredulous the Atheists are themselves… that they can stare straight at the evidence that proves the bible is true… yet miss the boat completely.
They have blinders on…. Satan Laughing, spreads his wings.
The Truth is that with the process of time, and the progress of science more of What we Christians believed by Faith becomes grounded in Scientific fact, and with the advance of Biblical theism… it is atheism that is in Retreat!
Atheism exists in an ever decreasing ‘Gap’ in Human knowledge.
Hang your heads in shame all you liberal Theologians who have abandoned faith in the scriptures in favour of Infidel philosophies.
Nor should we just focus on the Judgement of God upon the wickedness of Humanity, for the Story of Noah is not just about destruction, but also about Salvation, the Arc being a type of Christ and the new life of the redeemed.
1611 King James Bible believing Christian Dispensationalist.
If you don’t agree that property rights are restrictions on freedom—if you think instead, for example, that property rights are a prerequisite of freedom—then either you haven’t been paying attention, or you’ve been reading too much Rand, or, at any rate, you’re using the word ‘freedom’ in a particular sense of the word that’s packed with presuppositions—and freedom might as well be just another word for nothing left to lose because with our differing conceptions of freedom now in play we’re all ready, set, go to miscommunicate spectacularly.
Other people’s property rights are restrictions on your freedom, and your property rights are restrictions on other people’s freedom. Is this not obvious from the textbook definition of property?
Property. That which is peculiar or proper to any person; that which belongs exclusively to one. In the strict legal sense, an aggregate of rights which are guaranteed and protected by the government. … The term is said to extend to every species of valuable right and interest. More specifically, ownership; the unrestricted and exclusive right to a thing; the right to dispose of a thing in every legal way, to possess it, to use it, and to exclude every one else from interfering with it. That dominion or indefinite right of use or disposition which one may lawfully exercise over particular things or subjects. The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying, and disposing of a thing. The highest right a man can have to anything; being used to refer to that right which one has to lands or tenements, goods or chattels, which no way depends on another man’s courtesy.
As wrong as it sounds on the face of it, libertarians are actually all in favour of giving up a little freedom in order to gain … what? Property rights, that’s what. Your freedom ends (where my property rights begin). Property rights are restrictions on freedom.
Ownership is the central concept in political philosophy. Every political ism (capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.) is defined by its theory of property rights. Every political ism says what belongs to whom, and who belongs to what. So it’s important to think about this topic until you actually get it.
Thomas Hobbes is the founding father of modern political philosophy. In a Hobbesian state of nature, everyone is perfectly free. And life is total shit. Why? Because
In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, not culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
To extricate ourselves from such a dire circumstance as perfect freedom, we need to (hopefully) agree on a few rules (and abide by them and enforce them). The first and most obvious one (subject to caveats later, but we’ll get to that) is the non-initiation of (physical) force. The NIOF principle. My freedom ends where your nose begins. And vice versa.
Voila! with this one simple rule, we have property rights, in the form of self-ownership. Your ownership of your body, your property rights in your body, are restrictions on other people’s freedom to do what they please with your body. With this one simple rule, the NIOF priniple, in place, you now own your body because you remain free to do as you like with your body, but no one else is now free to do as they like with your body.
The general point here is that all property rights correspond to a set of restrictions on the freedoms of non-owners. Property rights in tangible goods mean that owners of said goods are free to determine the use of such goods, and no one else is. Get your hands off my stuff! Intellectual property rights mean that owners of ideas can copy them, but no one else can. You wouldn’t download a bear!
Thus the central question of political philosophy is, what property rights should people have? Or, what restrictions on people’s freedoms should there be? And these amount to exactly the same question.
This post is the first in a new series about property rights. And in it I want to take a look at the issue of land ownership. This is topical because the issue of land ownership is closely tied to the issue of national borders. Should we allow unrestricted “open borders” or should we control border traffic to a greater or lesser extent?
Did you notice my equivocation on the central question of political philosophy? I said above that
Every political ism (capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.) is defined by its theory of property rights. It says what belongs to whom, and who belongs to what.
but I also said above that
the central question of political philosophy is, what property rights should people have?
What property rights do people have? Is one question. What property rights should people have? Is another question. And why should people have those particular property rights and not others is another question altogether. It is mandatory pedantry to point out that these are three separate questions. If we confound these three distinctly different questions then we’re all ready, set, go to miscommunicate spectacularly.
Notice how loose-talking Lew mixes it up.
In order to … reach the appropriate libertarian conclusion, we have to look more closely at what public property really is and who, if anyone, can be said to be its true owner. … Certainly we cannot say public property is owned by the government, since government may not legitimately own anything.
Rockwell is quite wrong in what he actually says. Certainly we can say that public property is owned by the government. Firstly, does government have property rights in government-owned land? Yes, government-owned land is owned by the government! But, secondly, should government have property rights in what is currently government-owned land? Rockwell says no, government may not legitimately own anything. I won’t argue with that. Thirdly, why may government not legitimately own anything?
To be clear, the central question of political philosophy as such is the second of these questions. What property rights should people have? Or, what restrictions on people’s freedoms should there be? As noted already, these amount to exactly the same question. But I think it’s more instructive to focus on the question’s second formulation. So now let’s get down to business and ask it with respect to land ownership.
With respect to land use, what restrictions on people’s freedoms should there be? Exactly what forms of land ownership are available in the fabled land of Anarcho-Libertopia? And what is their justification?
I’m only going to point in the general direction of beginning to answer these questions. Suffice it to say, I have a nuanced view. The idea that there should be restrictions on land ownership, or even that people shouldn’t be allowed to own land at all, isn’t new. For example, geolibertarianism is a Georgist school of thought within libertarianism. The New Mutualists are their anarchist counterparts. So I’m in very good company.
So now let’s look at what Lew Rockwell says to discredit himself. How low does he go?
Now if all the parcels of land in the whole world were privately owned, the solution to the so-called immigration problem would be evident. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that there would be no immigration problem in the first place. Everyone moving somewhere new would have to have the consent of the owner of that place.
When the state and its so-called public property enter the picture, though, things become murky, and it takes extra effort to uncover the proper libertarian position.
What we believe in are private property rights. No one has “freedom of speech” on my property, since I set the rules, and in the last resort I can expel someone. He can say whatever he likes on his own property, and on the property of anyone who cares to listen to him, but not on mine.
The same principle holds for freedom of movement. Libertarians do not believe in any such principle in the abstract. … I cannot simply go wherever I like.
Rockwell totally plumbs it.
He gets it totally wrong. True libertarians absolutely do believe in freedom of movement as an abstract principle. We’re freedom-fighters and we believe in freedom! Derp.
Land ownership is a restriction on people’s freedom of movement. Any such restrictions on people simply going wherever they like must be justified.
The problem with unrestricted land ownership is that by buying up all the land surrounding someone’s else’s slice of heaven you can effectively lay seige to that person, cut off their vital supply lines, and kill them. Only a moral monster would give the green light to, let alone actively encourage and enforce, a system that allowed such perverse and depraved outcomes. Sadly, we in the West (that is to say, our governments) have shown ourselves to be exactly this depraved, by turning away refugees at our national borders, condemning them to take their chances back in their homelands from which they were already fleeing for their lives and the lives of their children.
From here, observes Carson from his vantage point on the moral high ground
Rockwell continues to elaborate on an argument whose basic assumptions are — I say without equivocation — mind-numbingly stupid.
As both Franz Oppenheimer and Albert Jay Nock argued, the land of the entire world will never be universally privately appropriated by legitimate means. The only way in which every single parcel of land can come under private ownership is through what Oppenheimer called “political appropriation” and Nock called “law-made property.” And it’s no coincidence, as both of them argued, that universal appropriation of the land is a prerequisite for economic exploitation. Only when people are cut off from the possibility of homesteading and subsisting on previously vacant land, and employers are thereby protected against competition from the possibility of self-employment, is it possible to force people to accept employment on whatever disadvantageous terms the property owners see fit to offer.
That says something right there about the kind of people whose wet dream is an entire world without an unowned place to stand on, without some property owner’s permission.
Today the Rothbard-Hoppe-Rockwell kind of people that Carson rightly vilifies for their despotism in the guise of libertarian purity call themselves ancaps. And they’re fair game. You can read the rest of Carson’s demolition of Rockwell’s “wretched turd of an article” here.
So what forms of land ownership (restrictions on other people’s movements) should we allow?
In the first chapter of the Book of Job, God convenes a meeting with his angels, and Satan shows up.
The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” (NIV)
Satan freely roams the earth, going back and forth on it. How should we restrict Satan’s movements? Because no one wants Satan trampling all over their cabbages. But we don’t want to restrict anyone’s freedom of movement unnecessarily. So where do we draw the right lines when it comes to restricting land use? And how do we justify drawing the particular lines that we determine we should?
Well, as I said, I’m only going to point in the general direction of beginning to answer these questions. But let’s go right back to Hobbes and his state of nature, and ask why we would restrict our own and anyone’s freedoms at all?
It’s so that we can have a place for industry, and the fruit thereof. It’s so that we can enjoy culture of the earth, navigation, the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, commodious building, instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, knowledge of the face of the earth, account of time, arts, letters, and society. Without continual fear and danger of violent death.
In short, we justify having property rights (restrictions on our freedoms) on consequentialist grounds. We allow such property rights as we do for the greater good of the greater number in society.
That’s my conclusion and I don’t like it much either. I welcome your comments. 🙂