If Kerry Wants To Make Peace in the Middle East…

…He Should Just Put God In Charge…

The real problem is symbolic. Jerusalem, beyond being a real place, is a very symbolic place. It’s too symbolic for its own good, perhaps, but it is what it is. Because of this, neither side can countenance concessions in matters of principle. Even were Israeli or Palestinian leaders to consider such a thing, rabid partisans of one side or another—probably both—would crucify them for all their trouble. (I use the word advisedly.) It’s just not possible to divide a mystical whole. Things or places with the aura of eternity floating about them somehow defy the law of integers.

The two sides—and others with an interest like Hashemite Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Christians of various descriptions—can far more easily swallow a no-national-sovereignty solution. Human nature being what it is, it’s much easier to accept not having something if your rival doesn’t have it either…

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Bertrand Russell on Christ’s Wisdom and Moral Teachings

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF MY CRITIQUE ON RUSSELL’S “WHY I AM NOT CHRISTIAN”.

I am writing this to address a friend of mine, Makagutu, on Bertrand Russell’s views on moral failings of Jesus Christ. This post is not about what I think of the morals of Christ, biblically, but what Bertrand Russell thinks.

You can find the essay “Why I am not Christian” here. I critiqued the essay before, and you can see that here.

In the context of Russell’s time, most atheist intellectuals believed that although Christ was not divine, possibly never existed, and albeit wrong in his views, was “the best and the wisest of men”. Russell does not agree himself, and sets out to explain why.

Firstly, Bertrand Russell concedes Christ did have great moral teachings and wisdom, and claims he agrees “with Christ a great deal more than the professing Christians do” (scroll down to subsection “The Character of Christ”). To assert this, he cites various teachings of Christ most Christians do not follow, such as “whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also“, “judge not lest ye be judged“, and “if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor“. He brings up Stanley Baldwin (the British Prime Minister of the time), Christian law courts, and the general Christian public, who do not practice these teachings. Russell, for his many moral failures, sees himself better and closer to Jesus Christ then most Christians.

Secondly, Russell proceeds to explain why Christ is not the wisest of men. His reasoning is that Christ really did think ” that the second coming was going to be very soon.” Clearly, Christ was wrong, and clearly, Christ was not the wisest of men because of that. His logic for why Christ is not the wisest of men is valid but perhaps not sound – I must confess not everyone is right always. Likewise, flawed knowledge does not necessarily mean flawed wisdom. He aught to have defined it himself.

Thirdly, “you come to moral questions”. It is hear Russell truly fails to make any reasonable argument at all. His logic runs as so:

  1. Hell is immoral
  2. Christ used the fear of hell in his arguments
  3. Therefore, Christ is immoral

I don’t know how Russell decided this was valid logic. His premise has nothing to do with his conclusion – that hell is immoral has nothing to do with Christ’s mortality. Indeed, Christ really did “[believe] in hell”. Although Russell really did “think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would [not] have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world” because he does not believe in hell, it does not make sense that Christ should be held to the same standard since he does believe in hell! Russell sums up his own snobbishness nicely:

I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture; and the Christ of the Gospels, if you could take Him asHis chroniclers represent Him, would certainly have to be considered partly responsible for that.

Lastly, “there are other things of less importance,” such as killing the fig tree and sending devils into swine. Those criticisms are alright, I suppose, although it appears is bit picking more then anything else for these arguments of “less importance.”

Bertrand Russell’s criticisms of Christ, evidently, are at best half measures. I was aghast at his foolish argument on hell, especially coming from one of the greatest mathematical minds of our age. While I do recommend reading most of the lecture, you might as well not waste your time on his erroneous discussion of Christ.

“Humility is th…

“Humility is the most undervalued virtue in modernity.” — cducey2013

A fellow Catholic blogger of mine, when referencing Pope Francis.

 

Like Pope Francis? You’ll love Jesus.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/like-pope-francis-youll-love-jesus/2013/12/11/cf2d4fd8-610d-11e3-8beb-3f9a9942850f_story.html

This expresses a lot of what I’ve been thinking lately. I never said much because either way, it’s difficult to talk about the Pope when you know little about Catholicism. Then again, what does Time know about Catholicism?

 

SEE WHAT ELSE WE’VE SAID ABOUT THE POPE

 

Everyone Is In Love With Ideology

Except that he misused the terms “intelligent design” and “evolution” (see the comments), the Ethical Warrior does it again! I’d like to recommend to him and you all this TED talk; it is relevant:

http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_drori_on_what_we_think_we_know.html

Cheers, Lux.

The Ethical Warrior

Everybody is in love with ideology.  Actually, it would be more correct to say that everybody is in love with their OWN ideology.  The truth is that many people don’t care about other people’s opinions, and they feel justified because they are certain that they are right.

Ideology is a wonderful thing.  Where else can a person be absolutely certain about something that they might know very little about?  One of my favorite sayings along these lines is from Dorion Sagan who said, “The difference between science and philosophy is that the scientist learns more and more about less and less until she knows everything about nothing, whereas a philosopher learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything.”

With regards to science, Paul Feyerabend, a philosopher of science himself, said that, “…it (science) is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in…

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“War is the por…

“War is the pornography of violence.” — Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is an anti-war journalist and Christian theologian.

A Non-Political Pope?

I’ve been perplexed by the Pope Francis’s recent seemingly contradictory responses to gay rights and such. This answers the confusion.

LAW AND RELIGION FORUM

You can’t tell too much from one interview, of course, but the interview Pope Francis gave an Italian Jesuit journal last month, and which was released last week, seems like a blockbuster. Everyone understands this. Progressive Catholics are elated. After long years in the wilderness, they believe, they have one of their own as pope. Traditionalists have been more circumspect, but it’s hard to miss the sense of alienation. Traditionalists are used to thinking that, however much they have to battle with progressives at the local level, the pope has their back. Now, that’s very unclear.

As an outsider, I don’t feel right getting involved in intra-Catholic debates. There’s too much I don’t know, and anyway it’s not polite. But this interview does suggest three observations. First, Pope Francis has a definite vision for the Catholic Church. When he gave his airborne interview on the way back from Brazil last…

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Secular Humanism: A Eurocentric Ideology (Response to a Critic)

This man is a genius. Almost as smart as me. Almost.

Interpreting Scripture

People seem to insist that it is okay to take a divine command of scripture, and then carry it out by means the scripture criticizes. This is literalism.

People seem to insist that it is okay to have presuppositions and then force those presuppositions onto scripture. This is arrogance.

People seem to insist that it is okay to pull a quote out of scripture and leave the context of the scripture. This is cherry picking.

People seem to insist that it is okay to give timeless and placeless scripture a time and place. This is playing God.

Henry VII did all four. John Locke did all four.

Al-Qaeda does all four. Robert Spencer does all four.

Rush Limbaugh does all four. Karen Armstrong does all four.

Elijah Muhammad did all four. Archbishop John Carroll did all four.

Quit the crap. Please. Take it for what it means or don’t take it all. I don’t confess to know the truth of every holy book, but I’m not going to make up my own truth depending on my mood.

When you interpret scripture and tell it to the world, as a preacher or a pastor, an imam or a guru, you are signing on behalf of God. Pay attention.

“Preach the Gos…

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” –Francis of Assisi

A 12th century patron saint of Italy