Christianity

Chained to the Cross

Off the keyboard of Ray Jason

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Published on The Sea Gypsy Philosopher on November 8, 2013

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AVENTURA at anchorThere is no calendar aboard AVENTURA, and I often lose track of what day it is. Actually, down here – south of many borders – the seasons are so similar to each other, that I often lose track of what month it is! But I always know when it is Sunday. That’s because a veritable armada of cayucos will stream by my boat on their way to church.

A few weeks ago one passed very close, and as always, I waved with neighborly enthusiasm. Seven or eight of the kids waved back just as vigorously. But there was one young, teen-aged girl who responded differently. Apparently she had never been so close to one of these sailing boats, and she studied it carefully. I watched her gaze drift from bow to stern and then from the waterline to the top of the mast. Then she noticed my boat’s name which is the Spanish word for “adventure.”

With the cayuco only 10 feet away, I delighted in seeing her happy smile as visions of travel, freedom and exotic elsewhere’s danced in her head. But swiftly her face changed, and I witnessed something that a man in his Middle Years never wishes to see in the eyes of someone so young. As she looked directly up at me, I watched as her youthful joy was suffocated by despair. There was surrender in that look – the realization that her dreams for a life that could cross over the borders of her birth, might never be achieved.

This experience touched me so deeply that I created this little story, which tries to depict what she is experiencing at this threshold moment in her life. And even if this tale is not accurate in the case of this young woman, it surely is for someone else her age – and probably for many, many others out there who also feel caged by the circumstances of their birth.

 

*******

 

I will name her Dolores, which is the Spanish word for “sadness.” She was the second born of 8 children. As is often the case, in an effort to keep up with her older brother, she tended to be tomboyish. If he could row the cayuco across the bay in 20 minutes, she would try to do it in 18 minutes. If he caught 4 fish she would strive for 6. But one thing that they did not compete in was sea turtles. They both loved the big creatures, and would drift for hours amongst them in their little native canoe.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_B12ademvvek/THbbjHJ4FPI/AAAAAAAAARE/OnD_U2rAtyo/s1600/Turtle2BabiesReturning.jpgFor her 10th birthday, her father took her on a turtle-watching trip at a remote beach. As the female labored most of the night laying her eggs and covering them in the sandy nest, the volunteers quietly explained to Dolores the entire process including how the tiny hatchlings will have to race down the beach to the safety of the sea as predator birds and animals attack them.

It was a momentous night in her young life. Besides being inquisitive about the mother turtle, Dolores asked the volunteers many questions about their lives and their dedication to these animals. She learned that a person had to be at least 18 years old and very carefully trained before they could qualify to be turtle beach monitors. She also discovered that some of them were studying marine biology with a specialty in sea turtles. Dolores felt a bit like her beloved turtles that night. She sensed that she had stuck her head out of her own shell and glimpsed her future.

At school she found a helpful teacher who encouraged her and brought her books and magazine articles about the turtles of the sea. The more she learned, the more she wanted to know. Could it be that one day she could go to university and become a marine biologist and then travel the world studying and helping these gentle animals?

 

*******

 

And now at 13 years old, her family cayuco is passing beside AVENTURA. My sweet, little boat is the perfect symbol for all that she seeks in life. But it is not just a fairy tale illusion. It is a real thing – tangible evidence that people can voyage to strange new lands, see unusual creatures and savor exotic adventures. And it lives where the turtles live – in the sea.

As her cayuco heads across the bay to the chapel, the young girl pivots and looks back at the lovely AVENTURA once more. Even from 30 yards away I can sense her longing and her sad resignation. She is headed to church, which is supposed to be a joyous and liberating experience. But Dolores is wise beyond her years, and she understands that it does not emancipate her – it enslaves and crushes her.

Yet, even though she intuitively recognizes this, she cannot possibly imagine how masterfully the church orchestrates this. For over 20 centuries they have perfected their subtle incarceration methods so brilliantly that the prisoners barely realize that they are captives. Allow me to explain how profoundly and malevolently they dominate so many lives around the world.

Here in Latin America, when a baby is born, it is extremely likely that it will be designated as a Catholic child. A few weeks later a baptismal ceremony further reinforces this status. As the little one finds its way in the world it receives loving guidance from its parents. It learns that fire and snakes and lightning are dangerous. And it is also taught that mangoes ripe from the tree and fish fresh from the sea are delicious. A bond of sublime trust is formed between parent and child. So when these adults, who have provided so much helpful knowledge about how the world works, also teach it that religion is a good thing, why would the youngster not believe the parents?

And this is further reinforced by the pageantry of the religious services. Things are different inside the church. It is quieter and solemn and reverent. The kids aren’t running around wildly, and the person at the front wears very unusual clothes. He gives some sort of fancy speech that the adults all follow carefully. Afterwards the grown-ups behave as if something important has happened.

So if the child’s parents say that religion is a good thing and if the ceremony at the church is so extraordinary, then it is natural for the kids to accept their place in the flock. And the term “flock” is appropriate here – for the church controls them as thoroughly as a shepherd dominates his sheep.

http://what-buddha-said.net/Pics/hell.n4.jpgThe keystone of the church’s indoctrination is the concept of hell. The young people are relentlessly warned that if they do certain things they will suffer grotesque agony for all of eternity. Most of the “sins” that will condemn a person to this horrible fate are irrelevant to typical kids. After all, they are not going to murder someone or worship false idols or rob the local bank. But as soon as they reach puberty, they get hammered by a Catholic edict that they barely knew even existed. Thou shalt not use birth control.

After the epiphany that Dolores experienced on the beach with the mother turtle, she realized that her desired path in life was different from most of her peers. Although there was much charm in her Indio village life, her dreams swept towards the far horizon. She wanted to venture beyond the boundaries of her birthplace, and embrace the wider world. To achieve this she would need to succeed in both high school and university.

Just when Dolores was recognizing this, she noticed that many of the girls just a few years older than her were suddenly dropping out of high school and having babies. When she asked them why they didn’t wait a little longer until they finished school, they confessed that the pleasure of sex was so extraordinary that they couldn’t restrain themselves. And since the almighty church insisted that if they used birth control they would burn in hell for a million years, they had risked unwanted pregnancies because sexual passion can be so overpowering.

Because Dolores had not yet reached puberty, she convinced herself that she could forego sexual desire in order to fulfill her dreams. But when those potent universal yearnings started to pulse through her young body, she too felt herself being swept along. She went to her mother seeking guidance. Why can’t a person enjoy the wonders of sex without having to risk bringing an unwanted child into the world? Since her mom had never questioned such things herself, her only response was, “…because the church says so, and they know what’s best.”

But with the exquisite vision of her future blurring and darkening before her eyes, that answer was not good enough for Dolores. So she asked the teacher who had been so helpful to her, if there wasn’t some other way, some other option? As an instructor in a Catholic school, the sympathetic teacher hesitated, but then decided to answer truthfully. She told her bright young student – so overflowing with curiosity about life and the world – that there was another way. She explained that there are reliable and affordable methods of birth control as close as the nearest drug store. And she added that millions and millions of people around the world use them without fear or guilt, because they have not been told that by doing so they will burn forever in hell.

And then the confused young student said, “But if the church cares about us so much, why would it destroy my dreams for the future – my simple dreams that harm no one and can help the turtles?”

The good teacher paused and looked Dolores in the eyes, “Your question is a just and sensible one, but the answer is very complicated. Anything I say will probably confuse you even more. But in only a few more years you will discover the answer for yourself. And it will be much more powerful and valuable to you because you found it on your own!”

 

*******

 

It was only a few days after that conversation with her beloved teacher that Dolores passed by AVENTURA in the family cayuco headed for church. Had I known the source of the anguish that was so clearly visible in her eyes, I might have shouted out something like this:

The church does not care about you, Dolores. It seeks only to further its own power and interests. Witness how its birth control rules crush your dreams and force you down a life path that you do not desire. Ignore the church. It is a dictatorship that wants to dominate your heart and your mind and your body. Cast it off like a scorpion on a shoe, and race out into that wide world that beckons to you so powerfully. Listen to the murmurings within you. They are the voices of our race and the echoes of the centuries. They will serve you well.”

The Week In Doom October 13, 2013

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on October 13, 2013
Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 

e-pluribus-unum-1944

E Pluribus Unum

 

“Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”    ― Thomas Jefferson

 

 “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross.” ― attributed to Sinclair Lewis

The Latin phrase “e pluribus unum” is translated as “out of many, one.” This phrase, the first motto of the United States,  is featured on America’s Great Seal, representing the different cultures that make up the American people.  E pluribus unum represented the founders’ intention in forming a new nation. It was replaced by “In God We Trust” in 1956 during the height of the Red Scare by  paranoid nativists afraid of both “the red menace” and their own shadows. Then as now, the nativist right was eager to slurp up any expression that struck a blow against godless communism. But now the right has availed itself of a militant, apocalyptic millennialism, which inverts the nominal Christianity in which the nation takes overweening pride and restates it in terms of service to materialism, hierarchy and retrograde politics, otherwise expressed as “the American way of life.”
This attitude can be summed up by these bon mot:
“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell [the Bible] teaches us how to run all our public policy and everything in society.”
–Rep. Paul Broun (R)

 

 

“I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!”
— Jerry Falwell

 

 

We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country …  what really gets me as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs and then a senseless, crazy act of terror like this takes place.
You know, when people say, where was God in all of this? …We had a principal of a school, and a superintendent or a coach down in Florida that were threatened with jail because they said the blessing at a voluntary off-campus dinner. Where is God? Where, where? What have we done with God? We told him that we don’t want him around.

–Rep. Louis Gohmert

 

And then there are the coded Obama death threats embodied in posts to various message boards urging people to “Pray for Obama–Psalm 109:8,”  which reads,

Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

Our colleague Golden Oxen has recently observed within the Diner Forum that an evil presence seems to have settled on the land. That we are in the grips of some nameless, unspeakable evil  beyond control and recall.
What does that look like? Esquire’s Charlie Pierce had some observations about the latest exercise in Freeeeeeeeduuuuuum about the death about the death of a former Wheeling cop moved to shoot up the local courthouse:

 

There is a wildness abroad in the land. There is a wildness abroad in our politics. It is infectious, this wildness. It spreads quickly. It spreads through the air, through the unmoored political Id of a thousand talk shows. It spreads through indirect human contact, through the unmoored political Id of hundreds of chain e-mails and direct-mail fundraising pitches. It spreads through direct human contact, one conversation at a time drawn from the unmoored political Id that has been unleashed like an unknown virus into what used to laughingly be called The Body Politic. There is a wildness abroad in our politics. There is a wildness abroad in our very heavily armed land.

 

State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said officers arrived and shot the suspect, killing him. Witnesses reported hearing dozens of gunshots, he said. U.S. Marshal Patrick Sedoti said the man was armed with an AK-47 and also was carrying a Glock pistol. Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie said police who briefed him earlier Wednesday told him Piccard was a 20-year-plus veteran of the force who retired 13 years ago. . . 

 

The wildness has its basic etiology in the encouragement at all levels of our politics of the notion of government as the ultimate Other, which coddles and feeds and nurture all the other Others who live off the rest of us. It can be found in the idea that government is an alien entity, a Thing Outside, a rustling in the bushes, a strange shadow on the wall, something to be feared simply for its existence, and not for anything that it may or may not have done. The wildness has its fundamental source in the rejection of the idea of a political commonwealth, and of the idea that self-government is an ongoing creative project of that political commonwealth. Once you reject that idea, and once you accept as axiomatic that government is the ultimate Other, then no rules need really apply. Crash the government when you don’t get your way in the legislature, or the courts, or at the ballot box. Finance those who will do it for you. Cut up the rules regarding fair representation in the national legislature. Rig the national government the way you’ve rigged the national economy.  Cover yourself by ginning up the unmoored Id out in the country until, one day, somebody starts shooting. Starve the beast, Kill the beast. Drown the beast in the bathtub. See tyranny behind every rock and tree. Second Amendment remedies, sold over the counter.To fight the ultimate Other, there can be no rules. We were lucky this time that it was only a building that was shot. We were lucky this time that the gunman’s only victim was a symbol.

 

… We, as a nation, have allowed the wildness to spread unchecked through our politics until we have accepted debilitated self-government as a kind of permanent condition. We have weakened the national immune system. And all we ever do is drink down as much patent medicine as we can. Our politics are sick and we insist on poisoning them further. The contagion is raging. The entire country is a hot zone.

 

Could it possibly be that the perverse version of Christianity now proffered by the  Robertsons, Bachmanns, Gohmerts and Brouns of the United States is the distillation of that evil?   This nation asserts itself as proudly, resolutely, aggressively Christian. Yet, the true message of the Prince of Peace, handed down in the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes, has been perverted, co-opted, and swallowed whole by the great majority of self-professed nominal Christians as the excuse for irrational consumption, materialism, and devil-take-the-hindmost social policy. The message of Jesus is understood as one of acceptance, forgiveness, and grace. In the hands of bigots, demagogues, charlatans and paranoids, it becomes a sorting tool to separate the saved from the heathen, the “true Americans” from the “Kenyan socialists,”  the “us” from “the other.” Ah, the Other…

 

We’re really good at demonization of “the other.”  Americans have been doing this for several hundred years. We elevated “manifest destiny” over the Ten Commandments in our desire to extend the commercial Gospel and eradicate the troublesome red native peoples who failed to share our enthusiasms for grift and scam. In the 1850s, the first recognizably named group of American nativists managed to pull its drunken head out of the gutter long enough to make its feelings known about  Irish and German immigrants.

 

The Know Nothing movement was an American political movement that operated on a national basis during the mid 1850s. It promised to purify American politics by limiting or ending the influence of Irish Catholics and other immigrants, thus reflecting nativism andanti-Catholic sentiment. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, whom they saw as hostile to republican values and controlled by the pope in Rome. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, but met with little success. Membership was limited to Protestant males.
Before the Know Kothings, there were the Jacksonians. After the Civil War the Ku Klux Klan, the “Red Scare” of the post World War I era, the original Fascist Front operating prior to World War II,  and then the McCarthy era, today’s Christian identity movement, et al. Certainly the end times eschatology offered for public consumption by Michelle Bachmann and her fellow Christopath travelers takes a curious and perverse glee at the prospect of the end of the world. This apocalyptic millennialism drives the energy of what some call the Tea Party (but what we will here address by its proper name, the Fascist Front) in their haste to destroy the economy and discredit the government of the United States just to see it break.  These demonstrate the same lack of morality and empathy for others that one sees in disturbed children who pull the wings off of flies.

 

What troubles Golden Oxen, Agelbert, and me, as well as others of a certain age, is that we have lived long enough to have seen what appeared to be a different country at work.  I may be deluding myself; these musings may be just the wistful reverie of an old man. But I do recall a time when government was the guarantor of the rights of common people, where there appeared to be meaningful recourse for addressing grievances, and we collectively seemed to believe that a rising tide would lift all boats.
The extreme economic inequalities realized since St. Reagan’s administration, now escalated over the past decade, bring the difference  between then and now into sharp relief.  The prevailing attitudes now seem to run to, “I got mine; fuck you,”  which seems inverted to the sense of common purpose that informed our public institutions in the days of e pluribus unum.

 

Even what used to be called common decency is in decline.  An example. At least once a month, Contrary and I are privileged to attend a salon of sorts in the home of our esteemed collaborator Jaded Prole.  It is a gathering of activists, occupiers and other assorted interested souls who show up to discuss the issues of the day. A man and his wife who we had not previously met were present, offering their opinions. The fellow went on to say how he had in past years been the organizer for a highly regarded local arts festival. He made much of the fact that, having obtained a permit from the city, they were free to exclude anybody who wish to exercise free speech.  He made a point of saying they excluded pamphleteers and people wishing to distribute information. As you might imagine, this did not sit well with some of us, especially Contrary, who made several barbed comments.  Perhaps the most annoying thing was not so much what the man said, as the sense of perfect entitlement with which he said it.

 

But the end result was no surprise: in this country, property rights trump all other rights, including individual rights. At a time when the only rights that people seem to be exercised about are their Second Amendment rights, the point that having secured a permit from the local city gives the permittee unfettered ability to trump free-speech rights seems very small beer indeed, seeing as how it sprung from that most sacred of American rights, that of property.

 

How far we have fallen in 50 years.  Now we have free speech zones, the kettling and pepper spraying of protesters, gratuitous police violence and arrests, militarized law enforcement, and drones in the air. Is there any connection between the fact that Americans are less religious than ever and the fact the rise of the surveillance state? As the social safety net is continuously rent, and the prerogatives of middle-class life now devolved only to those in gate-kept professions or to military families, with the rest of us left to poke in anthills to make a living, is there any connection between the lack of of a commonly accepted sense of moral purpose and the common enterprise espoused in e pluribus unum?

 

And then there is torture, or, as the folks at National Pentagon Radio would have it, “enhanced interrogation,”  which used to be called waterboarding, but now is apparently a fit subject for levity in some circles. (We will leave for another time the entire subject of debasement of language that such euphemisms signal.)

 

Dick Cheney is ready to laugh about waterboarding.

Conservatives gathered at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan Monday night to roast the former vice president at an event where many of the biggest laugh lines touched on the most controversial policies of a key architect of his administration’s war on terror. At the gathering, hosted by Commentary, figures including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey drew a mix of chuckles and winces with jokes that left few lines uncrossed, according to three guests.

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman “said something to the effect that it’s nice that we’re all here at the Plaza instead of in cages after some war crimes trial,” recalled one person who was there. . . 

Scooter Libby, for his part, made light of his conviction — and lack of a presidential pardon. “Libby said George Bush sent a note: ‘Pardon me, I can’t make it,’” one guest recalled.

As you can see, these guys killed.

 More than any other story that I’ve seen in recent years, the story and others like it about this Cheney roast encapsulate the moral rot of American society.

 

 

When I was a boy, e pluribus unum meant that we were all in this together. It informed lessons about the “melting pot,” in which we learned about past waves of immigration, and how immigrants helped make this country strong through their unique qualities and added vigor. Now there is none of that. Among members of the Fascist Front,  Immigrants are virtual 5th column, ready to steal SNAP benefits and Obamacare, not to mention our precious bodily fluids. Public education is derided as “government schools,” where rabid Marxists indoctrinate your children with godless communist propaganda. Captive regulatory agencies fail to regulate, and pliant, paid-for legislators create permissive laws on behalf of their benefactors. The very notion of a common purpose is thus eroded, congressional session by congressional session, year by year, and each successive generation learns that government is more foe than friend, and remains ignorant to the fact that a common purpose ever existed.  Thus is even the very notion of a government held in common vitiated and eroded, and its legitimacy negated.

 

 

 E pluribus unum may always have represented an ideal. We certainly find it easier to be at one another’s throats than sharing a foxhole and a common objective.  But even that unitary ideal would be far preferable to the alienation and mutual loathing that now passes for our public life. I for one am nostalgic for E pluribus unum, and envision the time and place where Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Druid, tree hugger, nature worshiper and atheist can hold their relations to one another at greater value than the calculations at the bottom right-hand corner of the daily spreadsheet.  And recognize that we are all in this together.

 

Podcast: FTN

Article off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams
Podcast off the microphones of Lucid Dreams and Monsta666

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on August 24, 2013

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Note: Due to a labelling error, the wrong Podcast was on this page.  this has now been corrected.

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I remember how I felt on that god forsaken boat, in that sea where we stole Poseidon’s fury and hurled it at the nomadic desert people we didn’t know. Alexander the Great, the Russian’s, and now America go to that mountainous region to end their hegemony over the world. I was close to that physical location, but I remained at sea…the Arabian Sea. For 115 days I was at sea. I counted the days with each four hour rack visit, (sleep) the pinnacle of my day. If I didn’t have to go to sleep to the sound of some whimsical dumb ass USN sailor nuke whackin’ off, it was an even better end to a shittier day then the day before (every day at sea is shittier then the day before by default). I hated my life, and what I was being forced into, due to the nature of being at sea. There is no escape.

The days and nights melt, as do the months, when you are at sea, but they melt into a stinkin’ ooze that keeps coming from an abcess the size of a watermelon on your ass that you got because you worked, shit, bathed, and slept in boat funk. I went weeks without seeing the sunlight due to watch rotation. I went days without showering (I think I went 5 days once…my watch station ambient temp was 104 degrees…and my stink didn’t stick out beyond everybody else’s contribution to the boat funk…which is mostly recycled farts, engine room oil, and old moldy cum smell), not because I didn’t have the opportunity, but because it was time away from the rack…and I didn’t give a shit about my hygiene any longer. The only time I went outside was to smoke a cigarette. The five minute smoke break was considered sacrosanct in the navy and it always lasted about 15 minutes by the time you climbed all of the ladder wells out of the plant to arrive at the hanger bay smoke deck. There were two smoke decks the size of a standard bedroom on that ship to service all of the enlisted personnel (somewhere around 5000 people if I recall…6000 total on the boat) whom pretty much all smoked because, well, how else were you to get that five minute break. And the only other thing you had to look forward to was jacking yourself to sleep. We got our smokes from the vending machines in the galley. I remember for the Christmas of 2001 (I was at sea bombing Afghanistan…although I believe we may have stopped bombing on Christmas) I got a carton of Camel Special Lights, which were my favorite cigs. That’s what my mom bought me for Christmas that year (which sounds worse than it is…I was killing people for God’s sake…WTF I’m worried about cancer?…it’s what I asked her for…and they are the only smokes my mother ever bought me).

I seriously contemplated crawling into a bilge and refusing to come out until they swore they would fly me off the ship with the next cargo plan. When you stand five hour watches, where there are no bathrooms and you can’t leave the plant…well you piss into the bilge. You also spit your dip into the bilge (as well as make bilge wine…but that’s another story which I think I tell in this podcast). I’m pretty sure bored sailors probably whacked off into the bilge to (there was a lot of sea goin’ chicken chokin’ goin’ on on that boat, unless of course you paid for a boat ho, what the USN sailor prostitutes were called…yes there was a prostitution ring complete with pimps on the boat…which again…another story). So yeah…I was going to crawl into one of those disgusting ass bilges to stage my refusal to bomb brown people I didn’t know campaign.

Which, the Navy wasn’t one to not grant such disgusting realities. One day, we had a “steel beach picnic” which is where they fly beer and steaks onto the boat, stop launching jets for a day, and everybody on the boat has the day off and gets to wear civilian clothes and hang on the flight deck. This is a huge deal while at sea. Just to get to drink a beer was heaven enough…and I’m talking expired Budweiser here. We got two beer chits. A band that happened to be formed on the boat played an electric concert and we got to eat horse meat steaks.

Well…I didn’t. You see there are two nuclear power plants on a carrier. Because we were not launching jets our steam demand was way down so Reactor department decided they couldn’t waste the opportunity, and Reactor plant two got shut down. I worked in reactor plant two. I had only qualified one watch at that point, which placed me on the bottom of the totem pole. I wept as I had to give my beer tickets away and remain in my stickin’ ass coveralls. Because I was barely useful in the power plant I got to crawl my happy ass into that bilge to needle gun the spagma off the side and apply new paint (in case you weren’t paying attention the dip spit, piss, occasional turd, and probable sailor jizzum which is exceptionally nasty is mostly what bilge spagma is composed of). I got to crawl out of that nasty ass sailor excrement pit to hall ass up to the flight deck to woof down my horse steak sandwich. I got to fart it out back in that bull shit black hole of a bilge in the nuclear power plant, and it smelt better coming out my ass then it did going down my gullet. My skin was orange for two days after that. But that’s got nothing on the time I had to squeegy six inches of shit off of the head floor where some dumb ass hull tech turned the wrong valve in the shit tank flushing sequence causing hundreds of gallons of shit to explode out of the shitters. Good thing the head had water tight doors. That punishment was for being two minutes late for watch.

Then there was the restriction and the solitary confinement, bread and water, in the class charlie federal penitentiary in Bangor Washington that I got to stay at for being out of my rack past 2200 hrs while on restriction.

Fuck the Navy…I guess is my point.

Perspectives on Faith & Science

Off the keyboard of Ashvin Pandurangi

Published inside the Doomstead Diner on August 1, 2013

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Finding the Proper Perspective on Faith and Science:

A Rebuttal of John Michael Greer’s, The Quest for Common Language

*All quotations attributed to John Michael Greer in green are sourced from the following two articles, and all emphasis on such quotations are mine – 1) Held Hostage by Progress ; 2) The Quest for Common Language

In two back-to-back articles, John Michael Greer of The Archdruid Report has strayed away from his general rule to avoid making arguments about specific religions. Here is a clear case, in my opinion, in which rules are NOT meant to be broken…

In Greer’s view, conservative Christians who interpret the Bible “literally” are not accurately representing the Faith. Instead, they are inserting scientific assertions into the Bible where, in fact, there are none. I understand that this is a very common view among “liberal/progressive” Christians and religious non-Christians. BUT, I have yet to come across ANY Biblical evidence to support such an ahistorical and simplistic view of the rich Biblical traditions that have been preserved for posterity.

While denigrating the Christians who find scientific truths in THEIR religious traditions (i.e. the Bible), Greer seems to take great pride in alleging that HIS religious tradition promoted biological evolution before Darwin even came on the scene. Apparently, what’s good for the goose is not what’s good for the gander. As support, Greer quotes “part of a ritual dialogue” that features prominently in his religion:

“The traditions of modern Druidry, the faith I follow, actually embraced biological evolution even before Darwin provided a convincing explanation for it. Here’s part of a ritual dialogue from the writings of Edward Williams (1747-1826), one of the major figures of the early Druid Revival:

“Q. Where art thou now, and how camest thou to where thou art?”

“A. I am in the little world, whither I came, having traversed the circle of Abred, and now I am a man at its termination and extreme limits.”

“Q. What wert thou before thou didst become a man in the circle of Abred?”

“A. I was in Annwn the least possible that was capable of life, and the nearest possible to absolute death, and I came in every form, and through every form capable of a body and life, to the state of man along the circle of Abred.”

Greer then explains that this ritual continues on, but the above is enough to “give the flavor and some core ideas”. OK… now compare this ritual dialogue with the opening verses of Genesis Chapter 1 (NIV, 1-13):

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.”

(like Greer’s Druid ritual dialogue, this descriptive narrative continues on at some length…)

Can anyone look at these two sources of religious tradition and honestly claim that one contains scientific assertions while the other does not? It strains all reason and credulity to claim that the author of Genesis did not INTEND to make positive assertions about the origins of the Universe, the Earth and life on Earth; assertions that are clearly within the remit of scientific inquiry. Contrary to prevailing opinion, the principle of “Biblical literalism” has always been centered on the INTENDED meaning of Biblical texts rather than a wooden interpretation of specific words used. Greer attempts to sweep away this centuries long-tradition of interpretation with the following claim:

“Third, the value of the Bible—or of any other scripture—does not depend on whether it makes a good geology textbook, any more than the value of a geology textbook depends on whether it addresses the salvation of the soul. I don’t know of any religion in which faith and practice center on notions of how the Earth came into existence and got its current stock of living things. Certainly the historic creeds of Christianity don’t even consider the issue worth mentioning. The belief that God created the world does not require believing any particular claim about how that happened; nor does it say in the Bible that the Bible has to be taken literally, or that it deals with questions of geology or paleontology at all.”

The loosely constructed straw-man used above claims that the Bible is not a “geology textbook” – the implication being, anyone who finds scientific assertions in the Bible is treating it as such a textbook and failing to notice its primary theological purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any serious and considered reading of the Bible reveals that Biblical theology cannot be artificially separated out from culture, politics, history, science or anything else. While the theology may not “center” on how the Universe, Earth and life came into existence, those issues are certainly featured FRONT AND CENTER, and the Biblical authors make no qualms about doing so.

JMG wrote the following in his first foray into the hypocritical bashing of “conservative” Christians:

“Nonetheless “Thou shalt not evolve” got turned into an ersatz Eleventh Commandment, and devout Christians exercised their ingenuity to the utmost to find ways to ignore the immense and steadily expanding body of evidence from geology, molecular biology, paleontology, and genetics that backed Darwin’s great synthesis.”

Although Greer is specifically dealing with Darwinian evolution here, the implication is that Christians are going way beyond the scope of the Bible’s intended message when they make scientific debate a part of their evangelical ministry or mission. It makes you wonder, when is the last time JMG actually read the Ten Commandments??

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20: 8-11)

Who can read the above and yet still claim there is no connection between the origin narratives of Genesis 1 and the theological discourse of Exodus, specifically Moses’ interaction with God on Mount Sinai. Regardless of whether you believe any of what is described in the Bible actually happened, it’s nearly impossible to deny that the author(s) of Genesis and Exodus intended to communicate a great intersection between God’s creation of the Universe and God’s personal relationship with humanity. We find this intersection between God’s creation of the Universe and DELIVERANCE of humanity repeatedly reinforced throughout the traditions of the Biblical prophets:

It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness. I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward” (Isaiah 45:12-13)

On top of ignoring such clear assertions in the Bible, Greer, in what can only be best characterized as a gross neglect of Christian history, cites the “historic creeds of the Christian churches” as evidence that the Bible was not intended to contain scientific truths which reflect on core theology. He claims that conservative Christians should get back to the primary message of these creeds, but fails to mention the wealth of historic Christian theologians and scientists (usually both) who read their Bibles and concluded the exact opposite of what Greer professes. After all, the rallying cry of the Christian Reformation movement was sola scriptura – that core Christian theology is not based on the Creeds of any church, but rather on scripture itself.

Leading “natural philosophers” of the Reformation era, with increased access to scripture and confidence in God’s word, confirmed that the study of the natural world is not distinct from the study of God’s glory and love revealed in scripture, but instead that the pursuit of both studies are INEXTRICABLY linked together as we ask the basic metaphysical questions about human existence, nature and purpose. The following are quotes by some of those courageous Christians who were at the forefront of the Scientific Revolution.

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)
“To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful workings of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more grateful than knowledge.”

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627)
“It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it needs fly to Providence and Deity.”

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
“Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God. That share in it accorded to humans is one of the reasons that humanity is the image of God.”

Gelileo Galilei (1564-1642)
“It seems to me that it was well said by Madama Serenissima, and insisted on by your reverence, that the Holy Scripture cannot err, and that the decrees therein contained are absolutely true and inviolable. But I should have in your place added that, though Scripture cannot err, its expounders and interpreters are liable to err in many ways”

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
“Therefore, those to whom God has imparted religion by intuition are very fortunate, and justly convinced. But to those who do not have it, we can give it only by reasoning, waiting for God to give them spiritual insight, without which faith is only human, and useless for salvation.”

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
“The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
“The human mind is placed above, and not beneath it, and it is in such a point of view that the mental education afforded by science is rendered super-eminent in dignity, in practical application and utility; for by enabling the mind to apply the natural power through law, it conveys the gifts of God to man.”

Robert Boyle (1791-1867)
“shewing that, being addicted to experimental philosophy a man is rather assisted than indisposed to be a good Christian.”

The quotes above only scratch the surface of what these men believed about the role of God’s word in science and vice versa, and obviously the list of people and number of quotes could continue. The point here is not that the Bible is inerrant when it deals with scientific matters, but that, contrary to Greer’s assertions, it DOES deal with scientific matters. As proof of fact, we see that all of the scientists above relied heavily on Biblical assertions when conducting scientific investigation – i.e. that the material Universe had a distinct beginning, was created by an Intelligent Mind and therefore it was governed by fixed, uniform and intelligible laws that humans could use to understand its workings and, more importantly, personally relate to its Creator.

It was only the Modernist era which gave rise to the widespread (and dangerous) belief that science and religion must be kept in separate “containers” of consideration and discussion, where never the twain shall meet. Greer, perhaps without knowing it, is simply reinforcing this artificial dualistic or “binary” mode of thinking that he often laments when discussing other topics. The question is not whether conservative Christians are right or wrong about Darwinian evolution based on modern scientific evidence, but whether there is any Biblical basis for them to argue that certain scientific theories are in tension with Biblical theology, and therefore make such arguments a part of their Christian ministry or mission in life.

The answer to this question from Greer’s perspective is a resounding NO. His only support for this answer, however, is the artificial duality that he imposes on the Bible and those of faith. It is true that many Western conservative Christians ignore proper scientific inquiry and simply attack theories on the basis of what they have been taught to believe. That fact is clear enough from the widespread conservative Christian critique of Big Bang cosmology. This critique is just as harsh if not more harsh than attacks on evolutionary theory, despite the fact that Big Bang cosmology supports the Bible’s claim of a beginning to all space, time, energy and matter!

Many of them have simply been taught to equate the Big Bang with “evolution”, thoroughly mixing up the sciences of cosmology and biology in the process. So it’s true that such ignorance and blind passion is prevalent, but Greer’s assertion here is also trite and irrelevant. He is trying to base an entire argument about historic Christianity, Biblical interpretation, science and theology on this one trite observation. Therein lies the binary mentality he fails to recognize in his own thinking (the following is MY take on his thinking):

“Either you are ignorant and blindly impassioned like THOSE Christians, or you are ‘progressive’ and well-versed in modern science like US”…

“Either you read the Bible ‘literally’ like THOSE Christians, or you read it metaphorically and allegorically like US”…

“Either the Bible is a scientific TEXTBOOK or it has ABSOLUTELY NO relation to science at all”…

The truth about the Bible is not so dualistic and simple. Like most good literature, it contains many different genres and literary devices – historical narratives, biographies, apocalyptic writing, military accounts, love stories, poetry, parables, metaphors, allegory, etc. The intention is not to create fiction or obscure reality but to convey truths about reality in brilliantly impactful ways. There is no reason to say that these truths are limited to “theological” truths rather than historical or scientific ones, or that those fields do not overlap and complement one another in the Bible. Such an argument presents an artificial and unnecessary duality, one that was NEVER incorporated into the historic Christian faith.

On the contrary, and as the evidence above makes clear, the historic Christian faith held to by many “conservative” members of the Church today has made no qualms that its theological messages are deeply intertwined with its historical and scientific assertions (or data points, if you will). Nowhere is this Biblical truth made more evident than in the very heart of Christian doctrine – the incarnation, ministry, death and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth in the region of Palestine during the first century AD.  Christians assert that the entire Bible from front to back revolves around and points to this one God-man – the divine Logos, the Word made flesh (John 1:14), through whom “all things were made” (1:3).

Greer asserts that the core of Christianity is faith and grace, which is TRUE, but then requires Bible-believing Christians to greatly suspend their disbelief when asserting that the Christian faith is not compatible with, or cannot be based on, intellectual and rational inquiry into other fields of knowledge.

“This, of course, is what a great many religions have been saying all along. In most of the religions of the west, and many of those from other parts of the world, faith is a central theme, and faith is not a matter of passing some kind of multiple choice test; it’s not a matter of the intellect at all; rather, it’s the commitment of the whole self to a way of seeing the cosmos that can be neither proved nor disproved rationally, but has to be accepted or rejected on its own terms”

The above is an exceptional encapsulation of Modernist dogma regarding religion. Greer has now thoroughly associated himself with the thinkers and pundits of the last few centuries who have attempted to quarantine spirituality from logic, reason and empirical evidence. It should be readily apparent how absurd this dogma really is when stripped down to its bare essentials. But, seeing as how I stand on the shoulder of pre-modernist giants, I will conclude this rebuttal by quoting Paul’s famous argument in 1 Corinthians 15, which flatly contradicts much of what Greer has asserted in his recent articles. Paul takes Greer’s grossly misleading, ahistorical caricature of Christianity and puts the Faith back into its proper historical perspective.

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (12-19)

The Thin Line Between Global Collapse and Faith

Off the keyboards of Ashvin Pandurangi & JT

Published on Picturing Christ on October 3, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasboard inside the Diner

I am pleased to present my first guest post here on Picturing Christ – an article by reader “JT”. His article focuses on one of the most basic questions that inspired me to start this blog in the first place – how do we truly respond to the systemic trials and tribulations that humanity faces in the upcoming decades? There are many blogs and websites dedicated to documenting these predicaments and offering advice on how to prepare for them.

Some of them even venture into questions of spirituality and faith from time to time. My own writings at The Automatic Earth over the last few months regularly touched on these issues. However, I recently started to feel like the constant divide between our Earthly predicaments and my spirituality was much too forced and arbitrary. I had the sense that there was a fundamental flaw in the process of offering insights and advice when they were artificially divorced from spiritual truths.

So, with that in mind, I was very glad to hear that fellow Christian and reader of PC also felt the same way, and decided to put those concerns into writing. As Christians, we cannot hesitate to rely on the word of God when it comes to all spheres of our lives. The fact that we may be talking about economics, finance, geopolitics, energy and environmental issues, psychology, etc. shouldn’t make a bit of difference. All of these issues are inextricably woven into the underlying philosophies of spirituality and faith, and, specifically, the God of the Bible and His word.

We are now living in a world where the structures that have come to dominate human civilization are crumbling. Financial contagion from the global banking crisis has spread to all regions of the world and is destroying economic growth. Tensions between Western nations and those in both the Near and Far East are growing, with several theaters of war already firmly established. Our total reliance on fossil fuels and industrial processes for global economic activity has destroyed our natural ecosystems and warmed our atmosphere to extremely dangerous levels, while also depleting those resources and creating the potential for systemic environmental, economic, political and social collapse.

So, before getting to JT’s excellent article, I would like to offer my own personal (yet brief) opinion on these grave matters of collapse and faith. The trying circumstances and events that confront all of us in the years ahead are exactly those which require us to remain resolute in the unconditional truth and morality of our faith. Jesus tells us that there will come a time in which “many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another… and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold“. (Matthew 24:10, 12).

I believe that whether we are actually living in that specific time or not is irrelevant, because the underlying lesson applies to all times of tribulation before the second return of Christ. And there is no doubt in my mind that severe tribulations have already started to descend upon us, and that they will only grow more imminent and threatening to humanity over time. Therefore, we must always remember to be on guard and ensure that we are NOT the ones who are falling away from God’s truth, the ones hating each other or the ones watching our love for our fellow humans grow cold.

If our understanding and fear of systemic collapse ever begins to lead us towards such a mindset, then, regardless of whether we are physically prepared for Earthly concerns or not, we must immediately re-orient ourselves back towards our faith in Christ.

That being said, here is JT:

THE THIN LINE BETWEEN GLOBAL COLLAPSE AND FAITH

Having first read Ashvin’s writings on The Automatic Earth, I believe that many who are reading this article may be walking a path similar to mine and dealing with the same issues related to systemic collapse. I would like to pose a question to you all that has occupied my thoughts for some time – can Christians also be “preppers”? Can we honestly say that we are following Christ while we are also preparing for the collapse of the world systems around us?

There is one particular evening that I will never forget. My wife, I and another couple were having dinner, and we all considered ourselves to be committed, born again Christians. The topic of preparedness eventually came up in conversation. This was many years ago, before the financial disasters entered mainstream awareness and before peak oil was a serious concern. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters were already storing food, learning how to garden and how to recreate some of the lost arts and crafts, such as grinding grains, canning, shoe-making and tailoring.

At this time my wife and I still had young children, and we lived in a relatively wealthy suburb outside of Boston. While I was raised in a comfortable middle class home, my wife grew up in a world where a bowl of oatmeal or tomato soup was often your main meal of the day. She understood deprivation and what happens when things stop functioning well in society. Even so, her parents had taught her to always rely on God to get her through any situation. The discussion of preparing for disaster or social upheaval always made her uncomfortable.

At some time during the dinner, my friend announced that, in addition to food storage and other steps of preparation, he had purchased a gun to defend himself and his family in the event that the economic and sociopolitical situation became chaotic and violent. After hearing this revelation, my wife became incredibly agitated. She spit out her words with a force that surprised me:

“So does that mean you will shoot me and my children when we come to you begging for food? Where in the Gospels do you find that??”

My friend quickly tried to regroup, “Of course I wouldn’t shoot you or the kids. You are part of our extended family. We would share and make do.”

My wife was not to be consoled. “So we get to stand behind the barricade and watch you shoot down other starving women and children?”

Needless to say, dinner was over for that night. We have still remained friends, but the topic of preparedness is resolutely avoided when all of us are together. As I have become more aware of the issues of peak oil, as well as the immense fragility of our economic systems, the question has once again returned. As a devout Christian, should I focus on preparing for potential disaster or should I just rely on God?

Scripture does not seem to directly answer the question. The clear meaning of Matthew 6:34 is that we should not worry about tomorrow at the expense of today. So is preparing for a radically different future the same thing as “worrying”? More importantly, is prepping an attempt to rely upon our own devices rather than God? Does Matthew 6:34 prohibit us from acting on the knowledge that things are changing, and not for the better?

It becomes an even more puzzling issue when you consider the parable of the foolish bridesmaids described in Matthew. Jesus was clearly chiding them for their lack of preparation when he described the wise bridesmaids responding to the foolish who asked for their lamp oil – “since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves” (Matthew 25:9).

Yet, this parable was referring to the fact that we must have a certain level of awareness and preparation if we are going to enter the Kingdom of God when Christ returns. Jesus was mainly referring to a need for spiritual preparation, rather than a strictly physical process of preparation. There is no doubt that the last days will be characterized by much physical hardship, but it is critical to remember that we must always choose spiritual salvation and integrity over physical survival, if we are ever put in a position where such a choice between the two must be made.

The miracle of Jesus multiplying the five barley loaves and the two fish also tells us that Jesus has things under control and He will provide the necessary resources for us when we lack them. However, even He used the fish and loaves of a boy who had prepared for the day’s journey (John 6:9-11). And, once again, these miracles primarily point to the spiritual provisions of God in times of need, rather than physical ones (even though He may often provide us with both). So, after wrestling with this subject for several years, I have come to a formulation in my mind as to what I need to do and how I need to handle the issue of preparedness.

I have no issue with acquiring knowledge about the predicaments we face and what potential outcomes are likely to come. Knowledge is an invaluable tool, just like a hammer or a rope. It can be used for both good and evil. I believe that Christ wants us to be knowledgeable – to capture all knowledge that we can and to put it to use for God, His people and His Kingdom. Therefore, I have no problem with learning all that I can about these issues or trying to educate others about them as well. As we learn in the Bible, “an intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15).

It is not wrong to be prepared, either. Hurricane Katrina, for example, showed me how our government cannot handle a single hurricane that was predicted to arrive many days before and impacted only one major metropolitan area. Therefore, it is clear that we will be on our own with all sorts of calamities, especially those which happen simultaneously and feed off of each other, and especially when our governments are even more strained financially. To have food, water, medicine set aside is to be prudent, as is to have a plan of action to secure our safety and the safety of others.

God told Joseph to store up the grain in the seven years of plenty so that the people of Egypt would have enough in the years of famine (Genesis 41:47-49), and Joseph was blessed for heeding God’s wisdom. We have a responsibility to be able to care of ourselves, our children, our parents, our communities and perhaps even strangers. This responsibility lasts every day of our lives – not just when disaster strikes. Saving and storing some of the surplus God has given us is actually a part of this daily duty. We are to be good stewards of the abundance that He has blessed us with, and we can pray that our blessings continue as they did with Joseph.

In stark contrast to that charitable nature, God has called very few (if any) of us to emulate Rambo or the Terminator, even in the face of extreme threats or adversity. Our Christian life, being only one part of the whole body of Christ, is necessarily a community life. Wherever we find ourselves, it is our duty to look at the needs of those around us and to work together to fill those needs. Part of our preparation needs to be the strengthening of bonds with our Christian brothers and sisters so we can carry each other through difficult times, rather than alienating them or treating them as hostile competitors.

Our own individual or family preparations should not overcome the rest of our lives. We should take prudent steps to care for ourselves, family and neighbors, but we cannot allow ourselves to become obsessed with those preparations. The acts of worship, work, education, community development, charitable works, etc., are all important and cannot be set aside to collect more stuff or to spend all of our time “getting ready” for collapse. As Jesus makes clear, we cannot ignore the present in the hope of having secured the future.

Jesus commands us to share our abundance and our skills with the less fortunate among us (Matthew 25:44-45). This command applies regardless of whether we are living in a pre-collapse or post-collapse environment. Does this mean we have to open our pantry to the desperate masses, so that we are completely wiped out and our families are left to die? I don’t think so. Does it mean we have to be alert and open to the needs of others around us and attempt to ease their suffering whenever we have reasonable opportunities to do so? Yes.

What is the limit of our charity? How far do we have to go? I don’t know, and I doubt there are any absolute answers. Each situation will present itself differently and, ultimately, we must above all seek to do God’s will (not our own) in each individual case. We need to be open to the idea that God may want us to share even when we are unsure if there is enough for ourselves and our family. There is no doubt that serving God will sometimes call for radical departures from our “normal” sense of what’s appropriate.

Another important question is whether Christians should use force to protect themselves, their families and their property? This is a very difficult issue for me. I do not own a gun. Several years ago, I would have unequivocally and judgmentally stated that Christians should not own guns; that Christians should never resort to violence. I would have said to rely on God, and He will save you. Recently, I have moved away from that absolute position.

There are instances in the Bible when God calls upon the strong to protect the weak, and we can all imagine circumstances when only physical force will stop the perpetration of hideous evil against us or those close to us. The Bible clearly states that “whoever shed’s man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Genesis 9:6), which implies that those people whose actions threaten or lead to imminent death of others have removed themselves from God’s protection and have subjected themselves to the proportional justice of man.

I have come to see that Christians, just like anyone else, may be required to defend themselves and those who God has placed under their protection. At the same time, though, I believe that the use of force on another human being should be avoided if there is any possibility of doing so. Such force should only be used after very careful and prayerful  consideration of the alternatives. The Bible repeatedly tells us that we should never be quick to “repay evil with evil” (1 Peter 3:9, Romans 12:17), and that we should always rely on our prayers to seek out God’s guidance and His will.

Therefore, physical force should be used in the smallest amount required in any given situation. Overcoming our enemies by wounding or killing them is never something about which we should be proud or about which we should gloat, but rather a course of action that we should mourn and regret with every bone in our body and all of our hearts. God is truly in control of everything, and once we have taken prudent steps to secure the basic well-being of ourselves, our families and our neighbors, we must rely on God to take care of the rest.

We have to remember the loaves of bread and the fish that Jesus provided to the masses. We have to be like the widow confronted by a creditor who wished to take her two sons away for the debts owed by her husband. All she possessed was a small jar of oil, but she trusted in God’s prophet, Elisha, and her oil was multiplied greatly by God so that she could pay off the debts and live off of the surplus (2 Kings 4:1-7). Many Christians may look on these events as irrelevant ancient history, but God is still very active in the world today. Many people find themselves buried in debt today, just as the widow was then, and God’s grace towards His children remains the same.

Therefore, be not afraid. The most important part of Christian prepping is to realize that God has not abandoned us. To paraphrase Saint Paul – governments will fail, pensions and 401K’s will fail, banks and commerce will fail, electricity and running water will fail, our political and social institutions will fail, but God’s love will never fail us (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). We must carry the joy of knowing Christ into the future. No matter what the future brings, He will be there with us. We need to find peace and we need to quiet our anxieties with this knowledge. We need to let this knowledge make us joyful and loving in the face of trials and tribulations.

The thoughts contained in this article are my own. They are a reflection of my own struggles to follow Jesus in a world gone mad. I claim no special knowledge or understanding of scripture or God’s will. No one should feel that I am telling them that they have to do things exactly the way I do, or believe exactly as I believe. Please do not feel judged by any of these words. God has given each of us a conscience and, if it be His will, He will put the Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds to show us what he wants for and from each of us as individuals. We each have our own walk of faith to follow.

God may be telling some of you to build a fortress and stock it with weapons and supplies to last a lifetime. To others, He may be telling them to renounce all of their worldly possessions and, like Saint Francis of Assisi, approach the world as naked as the moment they were born. He may be telling them to rely solely on God to clothe them, just as He did with Adam and Eve after the Fall (Genesis 3:21), and to fulfill their needs. Either way, I pray that my thoughts can be of some assistance to those who have the same burning questions.

And I recommend that everyone solemnly pray to Jesus and listen very carefully for His answers. Since we were all created as unique beings, those answers will no doubt be unique for each of us. I hope that I will receive comments and feedback from those who are reading this. God knows that I have much more to learn and that your comments will perhaps open my eyes to perspectives that I have not yet considered, and will help me ask even more questions that I have yet to formulate.

We are brothers and sisters in this journey. Please be gentle with me and with each other in your comments and replies. It saddens me to see the vitriol and petty remarks that many commentators dump on each other in some of the blogs that I follow. There are many people who are mean and judgmental just for the sake of building up their prideful images of themselves and stroking their egos. However, as followers of Christ, our goal should be to abandon our egos and our pride, and to do everything we can to support each other and build each other up.

Peace and Hope,

JT

Spiritual Musings on Collapse

Off the keyboard of Ashvin Pandurangi

 

Introduction from RE: In keeping with the Diner policy of providing a wide spectrum of ideas, perspectives and philosphies on these pages, I welcome long time debate adversary Ashvin Pandurangi as a Cross Posting author on the Diner Blog.  Ashvin is an active Diner inside the Forum, and recently began his own Blog, Picturing Christ Many people also know Ashvin from his work on The Automatic Earth, where he has been Blogging the Collapse with Stoneleigh and Ilargi for a couple of years now.Ashvin’s focus has changed over the last year as he has become immersed in the Spiritual aspects of the collapse from the POV of an Evangelical Christian.  His current focus does not fit well on the pages of The Automatic Earth, so to express himself fully on these questions he began his own Blog.  It will be no surprise to Diners, but unless you followed the many debates Ashvin and I have engaged in over the last 6 months, you are likely not aware that Ashvin and I do not agree on numerous Philosophical and Spiritual concepts.  We DO agree on many of the Economic and Geopolitical problems which face us all, though even there we generally find some way to disagree with each other. LOL.  For those interested in searching these arguments down, you can find them distributed through the pages of the Doomstead Diner and The Automatic Earth.I myself am not an Evangelical Christian, I am not even a Christian of any flavor.  The best general rubric for my Spiritual and Religious philosophy is referred to as Panentheism.  Here on the Diner, there are some others with similar ideas (notably Diner Author William Hunter Duncan), and there are as well other Christians besides Ashvin (notably Diner Author Surly), and likely quite a few other Religious philosophies as well.  Diner Tao Jonesing often weighs in with his Taoist viewpoint on the Diner pages.  There are numerous Atheist Diners as well.I have not written too many Blog Articles specifically addressing the Spiritual aspect of Collapse, the main ones are On the Existence of God, Infinite Regression Analysis of God, and Christian Apologetics.  I do however periodically drop in on debates inside the Diner which have Spiritual and Religious underpinnings, where Ashvin is often a prolific contributor.

I look forward to reading more from Ashvin, and challenging him where I find inconsistencies in his analysis.  It’s always entertaining to engage Ashvin, he’s a very bright fellow and good writer, and our Holmes-Watson Debates can be very entertaining reading.  We may end up having a few more of them now across the pages of the Doomstead Diner and Picturing Christ.  Time will tell on that one.

 Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

As many of you Diners already know, I traditionally wrote about economic, financial and industrial/environmental collapse for The Automatic Earth. For all human beings who are still fortunate or unfortunate enough to exist on this Earth, these are issues of prime and imminent importance. We are now at least four years running into the start of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, which then morphed into generalized private and public debt crises around the world. Many have predicted that either this year or the next carries the most probability for the next BIG leg down the ladder of financial collapse, including me.

Yet, I was also moved this year to start reflecting on what most people consider to be the more “personal” questions of life, and how the answers to those questions are relevant to the dynamics of collapse. Perhaps it is partly because I started to feel the “collapse blues” that I’m sure most of the people here have experienced at some time or another – a period of time when you feel like everyone and everything is Doomed, and there’s really nothing you can do about it. We can write and talk and discuss until the cows come home, but only a few people will end up protecting themselves from the inevitable downfall at the end of the day.

So that was a part of the reason for my shift in focus, but by no means the whole thing. The more important part was that I felt there was a big piece of the collapse puzzle that was missing for me, and it had to do with the question of WHY – why were the sociopathic bankers so reckless and greedy? why were the shiesty politicians so corrupt? why where the neo-con war hawks so thirsty for blood and oil? Most importantly, though, why could I see hints of all of that sociopathic behavior, all of that corruption, all of that blood-lust and all of that never-ending materialism in everyone around me? My family and my friends were really no different at the end of the day.

Obviously, they weren’t perpetrating evil at Hitler-like scales, but they had generally accepted and supported a paradigm in which Hitler-like people are much more likely to exist than not. That’s what got me thinking that all of these systemic crises we face now ultimately boil down to existential questions – who are we, where do we come from and why do we think and act in the ways that we do? And such questions obviously lead you to the realms of history, philosophy and spirituality. To make a somewhat short story even shorter, I took a leap of faith into those realms of knowledge and I came out with what I believe to be very good answers.

Those answers came in the form of Judeo-Christian theology for me. It wasn’t enough to just have the answers, though… I needed to share them with others – and that is how I came to classify myself as an evangelical Christian. And while I managed to inject some Christian themes into my articles on TAE, and I also managed to get into some fiery debates/discussions here on the DD forum, it simply wasn’t enough. What I needed online was a space of my own to devote entirely to my Christian perspective on all manner of modern day concerns. That is why I created my new blog, PICTURING CHRIST.

Head Chef here at the Diner, RE, has been gracious enough to post this promo piece on DD for me, and I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read and consider it. PC will be all about the interplay between metaphysical philosophy, Christian theology, religious history and the systemic crises of materialism that we face today. It will be about exposing naturalism and materialism for the destructive ideologies that they really are, and giving people an arena to consider and discuss spiritual alternatives. Yes, I am an evangelical Christian, and my posts will be centered around the truth I find in the holy scriptures, but I also welcome challenges and alternatives to my views. Faith is nothing if it isn’t tested…

I have only been a Christian for about a year now, so I hope to learn a lot about my own faith from this experience, while hopefully motivating others to learn more about theirs as well. I truly believe that we are living in perhaps the most unique time in all of history, and that the storms looming overhead will leave behind an epic amount of wreckage in their wakes. However, I also believe that it is ultimately our souls which need to be saved on this Earth, not our physical bodies. So if anyone here feels similarly or is simply interested in being convinced (or trying their best to convince me why I’m wrong), I encourage you to visit PC and check out the content.

In addition to the regular posts that will go up, I have added sections for videos and audio files that will deal with all manner of spiritual subjects – such as the NT, the OT, difficult Christian doctrines, numerous fields of apologetics, the New Age, Eastern religions, and much more. I will continue adding pages and content to the site as time progresses, and I am welcome to any suggestions or input from readers as to what they would like to see or hear. There are already three posts up on the site so far, and I obviously recommend you start with the Intro – An Introduction to Picturing Christ

However, if you want to know a little more about why I think Christianity provides the ultimate answer to our current problems of Doom and Gloom, you can give this one a read –  How Doom & Gloom Disappeared with the Protoevangelium

And finally, if you’d like to know what I truly mean by “Picturing Christ”, and how that process of picturing can help us navigate the treacherous waters we find ourselves in today, you can check out this latest post –  The True Power of Pictures

PS – I am also continuing to work on improving the functionality of the site, including ease of navigation and the posting of customized comments (fonts, colors, embeds, etc.). There are a lot of plugins available on the hosted WordPress platform I am running, so none of that should be a problem.

Thank you all very much for your time and consideration, and I hope to continue interacting with everyone here at the Diner, at TAE and hopefully at PC as well!

-Ashvin

Infinite Regression Analysis of God

Despite the fact I have been attempting today to get back to questions of Economics and put the Existential Questions of life on the Back Burner, my fellow Diners have NOT been cooperating with me here.  LOL.  Further debate in the Out of this World thread led me to leave my work on my Manufacturing Money article and address once again my Belief Structure as pertains to God.  My initial stuff on this topic can be found in the On the Existence of God  article I wrote some time ago, originally on The Burning Platform. My initial response in this portion of the debate was to Diner EndIsNigh, and I am including a few further exchanges.  For a complete reading, follow the link to the OOTW thread inside the Diner.

RE

From RE

What is an uncreated intelligence, if not something from nothing?  Perhaps the concept of nothing is itself false.  Physics supports the concept that even where there appears to be nothing, there is indeed something.  Can there even be an “outside” of the universe?  Interesting to ponder.  The problem is, we don’t seem capable of separating the observer from the observed.

You work your way into an Infinite Regression problem once you discuss the Big Bang, where the Universe we can perceive sorta Popped into Exitence from Nothing, beginning as it were as a Point and expanding from there.  Expanding into WHAT though?

So you then postulate there is another Bigger Multiverse of which this one is just a part, but of course then you could have a whole other tier after that, ad infinitum as it were.  Where you wish to stop this Navel Contemplation is up to you, but in the end you have Non-Existence vs Existence, and the Existence is GOD.  God just represents the Existence of all things, all universes, everything outside of Nothingness.

Next step is to look at Existence itself.  Is Existence Random?  Is the Universe Random in organization?  Is Matter Random?  Is Life random?  None of these things are Random by any definition of the word, we can perceive even just on our own plane of existence all sorts of Laws which govern interactions, they are not random at all.  In fact most things are highly predictable because of a lack of randomness.  The sun rising and falling in the sky as the perceived from the Earth as it spins is pretty predictable stuff of course.

So, we have Existence, and Existence is not Random.  It has Organizing Principles, a “Thought” process behind it if you will, and that OP is God.  If you want to Anthropomorphize God you jump out on a much more fragile limb of course, then you make the case that God will sorta consolidate Himself into a Package and appear on Earth in a variety of forms He chooses to take at any given time.  In general I do not think that is highly likely, but not impossible.

I do think though that it is possible to forge a closer connection to God by grasping hold of more of the OPs the Universe we can observe obeys. Less possible but still not impossible would be accessing the Power of God to perform what might be called Miracles.  Miracles would be localized suspension of the typical Laws we observe around us in operation.  Parting the Red Sea, Walking on Water, that sorta stuff.  I don’t consider either of those as highly likely to have really occurred, but I don’t discount the possibility either.  However, to BELIEVE in a Miracle, I would definitely have to see it with my own eyes.  I could not believe such a thing merely from Stroies in a Book, anymore than I believe the Starship Enterprise could travel Faster then Light. None of these thing obey laws I am familiar with in my observation of the Universe.

Far as Jesus Christ is concerned, He seems like a Good Guy who was quite in touch with many of the OPs of the Universe, but not all of them of course, limited as He was by the overall Knowledge base of the time.  IMHO, He misperceived many things about the nature of biological organisms, dominance issues, population dynamics and overshoot, etc.  This stuff just wasn’t inside His sphere of knowledge.  As to whether He was able to perform Miracles, its POSSIBLE, but not PROBABLE.  Far as being the personification of God on Earth is concerned, EXTREMELY unlikely.  By no means though does that mean God does not Exist, He certainly does, because God is all around us.  God is EXISTENCE.  God is the ONE AND ONLY SOMETHING THAT CAME FROM NOTHING.

The End of the Infinite Regression analysis, as it were.

RE

From Tao Jonesing

So, we have Existence, and Existence is not Random.  It has Organizing Principles, a “Thought” process behind it if you will, and that OP is God.  If you want to Anthropomorphize God you jump out on a much more fragile limb of course, then you make the case that God will sorta consolidate Himself into a Package and appear on Earth in a variety of forms He chooses to take at any given time.  In general I do not think that is highly likely, but not impossible.

So you’re basically a modern day Deist.

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Far as Jesus Christ is concerned, He seems like a Good Guy who was quite in touch with many of the OPs of the Universe, but not all of them of course, limited as He was by the overall Knowledge base of the time.  IMHO, He misperceived many things about the nature of biological organisms, dominance issues, population dynamics and overshoot, etc.  This stuff just wasn’t inside His sphere of knowledge.  As to whether He was able to perform Miracles, its POSSIBLE, but not PROBABLE.

You assume (1) that there was an historical Jesus Christ, (2) that JC taught what he was alleged to have taught, and (3) that those who conveyed what JC taught had no ulterior motive in conveying what they conveyed.

I will spot you (1), even though I don’t believe it myself.

I can’t spot you (2) because (a) none of the texts were written while JC allegedly lived (i.e., they were all pseudo-epigraphical, a polite word for forged),  (b) the Roman Catholic Church decided which texts were canonical four centuries after JC allegedly lived, and (c) the New Testament was subject to numerous interpolations (another polite word for forgery) after the canon was formed.

I won’t spot you (3) because what was conveyed formed the foundation of a super state, the original “New World Order,” which nowadays is known as the Roman Catholic Church.  The RCC conveyed JC’s alleged teachings in a manner designed to assume control over the masses, and they managed to do so for over a thousand years.  NWO v2.0, aka Classical Liberalism, didn’t manage half that span, and NWO v3.0, aka Neoliberalism, has run out of gas (literally?) in less than fifty years.

From Roamer

Re: Out of this World

RE, So in your view is God still evolving??  In mine I tend to think that God is an ever evolving organizational principle that arose from a sea of nothingness and that is refined over the creation and destruction of countless multiverses.  I also do not think that the sea of nothingness that God arose from is nothingness per say, its just the most subtle fabric of all of existence and it happens to be continually ordered through the OPs God has discovered in countless multiverse experiences. So there never was nothing and never will be, there just is this basic fabric or stuff of existence which through ever evolving organizational principles undergoes successive arrangements as universes and multiverses.  More less a never ending kaleidoscope of ever changing existences…no begining no end.  The whole beginning and end thing seems to be unique to western religions and IMO was a really key notion on getting people to jump aboard key principles of extractive economics (easier to get people to rape planet when they believe an end rapture is going to save them when TSHTF).
From RE

So you’re basically a modern day Deist.

I think the precise term is Pantheist.

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You assume (1) that there was an historical Jesus Christ, (2) that JC taught what he was alleged to have taught, and (3) that those who conveyed what JC taught had no ulterior motive in conveying what they conveyed.

I think there is sufficient evidence that there was a Charismatic Preacher walking around the Roman Empire of the Era to accept the historical existence of Jesus.  Anyhow, you spotted this one.

Far as #2 goes, these may or may not have been all His teachings, but they do have a pretty coherent theme runing through them, so I would not be surprised if they all came from one guy.  Whether the Words you find even in the oldest Latin or Hebrew texts were precisely as they came out of the mouth of Jesus, that I doubt.  They didn’t have Tape Recorders back in those days, and I don’t think there was a Stenographer out there when JC gave his Sermon on the Mount.

For #3, there is no doubt that all of this stuff was taken and manipulated for Control by the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and still further forms of control by later denominations, like our Mormon friends of course. (Did you read about the Mass Resignation of 150 Mormons in Utah a few days ago?)

However, taking somebody’s ideas and then developing a control structure around them in and of itself doesn’t show the ideas were not his to begin with.  You could take Karl Marx as a good example of that, or the Founding Fathers and their “Constitution”.

The main issue with Christianity is the same one that Islam and Judaism have, which is that so MANY people believe them blindly.  Religions become a tool of Mass Control in this way, and it really doesn’t matter what the underlying principles are at all really.  They can always be manipulated to the ends of whoever is running the show.  The vast majority of the population does not think in detail about any existential questions at all, they depend on their Pastor or on Biblical Scholars to tell them what the “truth” is.  I’m not like that of all at course, I only came to understand God in the way I do by observing the Universe around me and how Nature and People operate inside this corporeal world we inhabit for a while.  Christ or Reptilian Aliens don’t appeal to me as good Expalantions for what I observe, so I reject both ideas on First Principles.  Doesn’t make sense to me.  Josey Wales makes sense.
RE

From RE

RE, So in your view is God still evolving??  In mine I tend to think that God is an ever evolving organizational principle that arose from a sea of nothingness and that is refined over the creation and destruction of countless multiverses.  I also do not think that the sea of nothingness that God arose from is nothingness per say, its just the most subtle fabric of all of existence and it happens to be continually ordered through the OPs God has discovered in countless multiverse experiences. So there never was nothing and never will be, there just is this basic fabric or stuff of existence which through ever evolving organizational principles undergoes successive arrangements as universes and multiverses.  More less a never ending kaleidoscope of ever changing existences…no begining no end.  The whole beginning and end thing seems to be unique to western religions and IMO was a really key notion on getting people to jump aboard key principles of extractive economics (easier to get people to rape planet when they believe an end rapture is going to save them when TSHTF).

Evolving?  Not really.  Evolving would have the sense of Time in it as linear.  As you say in your response, “no beginning and no end”, it all Exists, all times all places.  God is sort of a Guardian of Forever idea from Star Trek there.

Anyhow, the set of Laws we observe as True in this Universe may or may not hold true in others.  Inside this Universe, while you are trapped inside your corporeal being there is not really “Free Will”, you are constricted by the Laws and have only limited room for maneuvering about them.  Depending on circumstances some folks are more constricted than others of course.  For instance, a poor child born in Libya in the midst of a Civil War is far more constricted than a child of the Rockefellers born with a Silver Spoon stuck up his ass.

So, while your soul is in its corporeal host, you pretty much have to operate according to the Laws of the Universe, which include the way social animals behave, and Homo Sapiens is of course a Social Animal.  You can’t artificially make Laws that don’t conform to the way Social Animals truly behave, and Christianity tries to do that in numerous ways. This to me is what makes it highly unlikely that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.  A REAL Son of God would have come to Earth preaching principles that actually conform to what God created here.
RE

Son of God: Jesus Christ or the Outlaw Josey Wales?

Religion and Censorship remain the Hot Topics inside the Diner in the Guerrilla Free Speech thread, the Fun with Fundies thread and the Christians Debate Christianity thread, amongst others.  Below are a  couple of my comments on both topics to follow up on the progress in the Guerrilla Free Speech Project.

Anyhow below you will find further thoughts on the Censorship issue in the Blogosphere, followed by a comparison of the relative merits of Jesus Christ and the Outlaw Josey Wales as Saviors for Mankind.

               OR      

 

I think it’s funny anyone is shocked at ilargi’s claim to authority at TAE. I also think it’s funny that ilargi had to assert his authority ’cause no one was sure who was in charge. But someone has to draw the line. Even though it was badly handled IMHO. As WHD says: Let the cannibalism begin!

RE you have chosen to accept all the contrarians (cannibals) on your side of the line. Kudos to you for having the genitalia to invite them all in. I salute you. Warning: It’s really a lot like forming a club out of people who wouldn’t join a club that would have them as a member. Personally I think this is great and admirable. But how are you ever going to reach consensus? Is it going to be the opposite of the scene from Monty Pythons The Holy Grail where everyone screams “We’re all (not) individuals!!”

I doubt we will ever find solutions to all problems. However, by bringing many people together with many different POVs, you see more sides of the same Elephant.  You get a better concept of the whole Elephant rather than just its Trunk or its Asshole.

You also do occassionally come up with stuff most people do agree on, like for instance it’s a wise idea to be as self sufficient as possible and not dependent on the Matrix.

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I respect Surly and you attacking Group Think 100%.  But calling for a higher standard of thinking while still allowing hits below the belt, is that really a higher standard? I agree that professional bloggers like yourself are far and few. Who can maintain a blog these days? To all my twitter twits: ‘Just farted. part of my self immersion in the #NewMethaneAtmosphere. Stinky, but adapt or die!’

You have to be a very dedicated writer to maintain a Blog.  I’ve been at it a long time, since before Blogs were even Invented, on the Message Boards that go back to AOL days.  Not always on Collapse of course, prior to 2007 and the Failure of Bear Stearns my interests were in other areas.  The Collapse wiped out all other interests for me.  It makes just about everything else besides your family unimportant, and of course I don’t have a family.  Divorced, no kids, live alone.  So I am free to spend all my free time writing about the Collapse, and if I’m not out practicing with the Guns or Fishing, that is what I do.

Anyhow, my writing has almost always been done in Dialogue with others, on Message Boards where there was ALWAYS conflict.  Give people the anonymity the net offers (at least to each other if not TPTB), they’ll drop the nicities of Polite behavior faster than you can say “Religion” or “Politics” or “Sex”.  So if you can’t handle the Low Blows, you just can’t have an Open Debate on the Internet.  It’s NOT Robert’s Rules here.

Because I learned this fact of life over about 15 years of Internet writing, I am more comfortable than most people with the Napalm that gets pitched out all the time.  You also CANhave good intelligent conversation going on while at the same time over in another Room there is a a Barfight in progress, the Diner is irrefutable evidence of that.  So to me, there is no excuse whatsoever for Censoring your Board.

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And yet again, as you have mentioned, it comes down to STYLE. On some level people who may have very similar outlooks end up getting into a battle over style.

Case in point, myself and Watson, Gonzo vs Academic.  With the exception of the Religious stuff and the Inquisition, Watson and I agree on just about everything else economically speaking.  So we occassionally got into arguments just on the basis of our disparate styles here and on TAE.  They reach different audiences though, and that is all to the good.  Long as the information gets disseminated out to more people this way, it is beneficial.

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Apparently Karpatok is upset over grammatical errors in ilargi’s posts. Huh?! Oh yeah, and the Patriarchal Christian tendencies of TAE. Double Huh?! Judeao-Muslo-Christian tendencies is what the modern world is all about. It all goes back to that set of crazy contradictory stories collected from 2000 or so years ago. The same stories you get to pick and chose are true. Is it the part that says ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ or this one: (Moses) stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come over here and join me.” And all the Levites came.  He told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Strap on your swords! Go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other, killing even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.”  (Exodus 32:26-29 NLT)

Always good to have somebody well versed in Biblical contradictions Lurking on the Board. ;)

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Karpatok why so serious? Who are you smoking out? I respect your feminist anarchic tendencies but really, is smoking ash and ilargi and stoneliegh out the best you can do? Get a real target. Do you figure that taking pot shots at people on this side of the fence is the best way to show your independent thinking? Reminder to self: Can’t trust those closest to you. I understand you have rage. So does everyone else. Watch UFC. Two guys pounding the shit out of one another should assuage your rage. The patriarchy punching itself. Sounds like a win win. And as a woman aren’t you at least a bit concerned that you’re attacking a site with one of the clearest FEMALE economic voices out there: Stoneleigh? Ah, but you can’t turn it off. Attacking TAE is really just clucking for a fix.

My perception is that Xena has her own Windmills to Slay and her own Axe to Grind, which is fine.  I have though recommended to her on at least one occassion so far to Put a Lid on it!  This is part of my Job as Chief Mod of the Mod Squad here.  Because I do command a bit of respect from Xena, she did in fact calm down her rhetoric some.  Her recent stuff I haven’t found objectionable really, it’s mostly been provoked anyhow.

Far as Stoneleigh as a Female Voice haunting the halls of Testosterone here on the Internet is concerned, her presence has been EXTREMELY thin for quite some time here, predating even the Jet Setting Globe Trotting adventure she and Ilargi went on to Oz.

Stoneleigh had some very perceptive insights to offer, most notably her Tag Line of “Multiple claims to underlying Wealth” idea which pops up regularly in her stuff.  She’s also quite knowledgeable in the Energy department.  However, she no longer writes regularly enough to be called a “Blogger” anymore.  You gotta drop on at least one decent article a week to be a real Blogger.  She is more like Blogger Emeritus now, occassionally dropping back onto TAE to drop down a new Pearl of Wisdom, but it is quite rare.

Even Ilargi can’t be called a Blogger anymore.  How many articles has he authored since they got back?  I think I could count them on the fingers of one hand.  The only True Blogger on that site now is Watson.  Many people in the Commentariat of TAE noted that the Flavor changed some with the passing of the Blog Torch to Watson.

Far as Ilargi is concerned, rather than turning into Blogger Emeritus like Stoneleigh, he’s become Dean Wormer, a Blowhard who pops into the Commentary to Swing around his Tube Steak as the Big Cheese on TAE.  He’s made it impossible for me to continue in the Commentariat over there, because I know he will Delete any commentary I make which criticizes him, which of course would be about all of it. LOL.

Anyhow, this is why the Diner exists at all.  If it was not for the fact that I have been Banned from so many OPBs, I’d still be out in the Commentariat where I am most comfortable, writing in dialogue with others.  In fact here in the Diner, I put up way more stuff every day in the Forum then I do on the Blog itself.  I cannot possibly accept the idea of Censorship here, the whole reason for the Diner’s existence was because *I* have been Censored so many times before.

So instead of Censorship, I am a Manager of Napalm.  I know every kind, and I am a first class Napalm Artist myself.  When the Barfight breaks out here, I shuffle all the folks throwing punches into the Back Room and shut the door while they break the chairs over each other’s heads.  It always calms down eventually, though you do sometimes lose some patrons because of it.  Can’t help that if you want Free Speech.

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But RE some of your best writing yet:
‘My goal is to get all these folks into one Bar and Duke it Out, Mano-a-Mano on the Keyboard so maybe won’t have to resort to using quite so many rounds of Live Ammo, which is going to be in exceedingly short supply down the line here.  You can’t do that if you Exterminate anyone who shows up in the Bar with an opposing POV, even if that person has really bad Halitosis and has been off his Meds for  few weeks and is ranting on incessantly about the dangers of 2 ply Charmin Toilet Paper.’

Yea, I thought that one was pretty good too.  El Gallinazo brings out the best in me.

Speak Free on the Doomstead Diner!

RE

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God’s solution was to have his own Son, in human form, be killed on the cross for the collective sins of mankind (past, present and future), and have His righteousness transferred to every human being (past, present and future).

HTF does sending your own Son to Earth to be Crucified fix any Sinfulness?  Back in those days, people got Crucified as often as J6P gets Foreclosed on today.  If Jesus got Foreclosed on today, would this stop any Banksters from further Foreclosures on the rest of Humanity?  I hardly think so.

Again, like delivering a set of Principles you can PREDICT people won’t follow and will just end up with a Final Battle for All the Marbles between Good & Evil, this is just a really BAD Plan and not worthy of God.  A REAL God would come up with a Better Plan than having His Only Son Nailed to Cross.

A REAL GOD who wanted to solve these problems would have Armed Good People to the TEETH and told them “Go Forth ye Good J6P and SMITE the Evil Pigmen amongst you with your Glocks and AR-15s and Barrett .50 Cals!”  In fact that line was in the original Dead Sea Scrolls but was excised when it was translated into Latin.

But Noooooo, instead God sends down a really skinny undernourished Namby Pamby who tells everybody to Turn the Other Cheek to Evil!  WTF do you think happens then?  Evil People start slapping Cheeks EVERYWHERE!  Really Good Plan you got there General God!

I don’t think so.  Jesus was a really Good Guy who was preaching a Message of Hope to people experiencing a first class Civilization Collapse of that Era.  Sadly, this message doesn’t WORK in the real world and He PREDICTED it wouldn’t work and would just end up with a lot of suffering and a Final Battle for All the Marbles!  Son of God though?  Poppycock.  No Son of God would be such a WIMP and come up with such a Plan DESTINED for Failure.  A REAL Son of God would have arrived on Earth Packing some SERIOUS HEAT and armed J6P with enough Firepower to actually DEFEAT Satan and His Minions.

A REAL GOD would have sent the Outlaw Josey Wales to Earth, not Jesus Christ.

RE

Christian Apologetics

Religion, Ethics and Morality have become the subject of Great Debate inside the Diner lately.  This generally is the result of a long running series of debates between Ashvin Pandurangi  and myself on both of our Forums for Discussion, respectively The Automatic Earth and the Doomstead Diner.  Part of a bigger series of debates between Ashvin and myself I discussed in the Holmes and Watson article.

Why on two Blog/Forums which both are mainly concerned with the Economic aspect of the Collapse of Industrial Civilization has Religion become such a Hot Topic of Debate?  The reason is of course that Fundamental Ethics infuse all the Economic Decisions ever made anywhere at any time.  Religions all concern themselves with Ethics and Morality, and if those in charge of the Economic System and those participating in it are not living up to those Ethics, fundamental questions and answers of a Religious nature are often used to both explain what is going on as well as attempt to offer solutions to it.

This is an EXTREMELY complicated issue on many levels, which also brings to the surface powerful Emotional Reactions in all who participate in such discussions, whether as reader, writer or both.  In fact the discussions in this case became so intense that it resulted in the BANNING of one member of both forums from the TAE forum, a Commenter who goes by the nom-de-plume of Karpatok.  As of this writing, Karpatok remains BANNED from TAE.

I am a long time contrarian writer on the Internet who has had the experience on MANY occassions of being BANNED for what I wrote on what I refer to as “OPBs”, aka Other People’s Blogs/Boards.  It is extraordinarily frustrating for a Writer to be Muzzled in this way, and with very few exceptions such a response from BoardModerators and Admins is UNACCEPTABLE.  The main reason the Doomstead Diner exists at all is because without such a platform where *I* am the Admin, I simply cannot consistently get out the message I am trying to deliver.

Not everyone however either has the time, inclination, writing skills,  knowledge, money or expertiese to set up a Blog/Forum like DD.  In fact without my partner Peter who is the designer of this Platform, I never could have done it myself.  I still identify with the plight of the Commenter who gets BANNED from a Blog or Message Board, and when I witness such an event it makes my blood boil.  Really, to Ban someone has to take an extraordinary disruption of a Message Board, and should only be undertaken after ALL other means of resolving the issue have failed.  This was not the case with the Banning of Karpatok, who although she clearly has her own agenda wasn’t really making all that big a splash on TAE.  She certainly isn’t SWAMPING commentary there like I do anyhow.  Her posting could have been moved, she could have been marginalized in many other ways besides a Ban.

Free Speech issues aside here, the Debates on Religion, Ethics and Morality continue on here on the Doomstead Diner, to a much greater depth of detail than they are occurring on The Automatic Earth right now.  These debates have spawned two extremely detailed threads, Fun with Fundies where the Religion of Christianity is questioned on its fundamental tenets, and Christians Debate Christianity, where Christians question each other on their interpretation of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Both of these threads provide far more reading and detail then I can possibly drop in one article here on the Diner Blog.  I encourage all who are interested in such topics to explore both of these threads.  Below here in this article, I am including one post I made in Fun with Fundies on the topic of Christian Apologetics, which attempts to rationalize the Religion of Christianity.  I will in the future also post an article from one of the Christians on the board outlining some Christian perspective as well.

The Doomstead Diner is a place where we discuss the most important issues of our time, and most certainly Morality, Ethics and Religion sit right at the TOP of such discussion.  In the end, just about all discussions run back around to these ideas, even if they just begin with Natural Gas Fracking or a PIIGS default on debt.  I believe it is important for anyone who Blogs on these issues to be Up Front and Honest about their Belief Structure, because without that the reader really has no context from where the Blogger is writing.  My viewpoint is clear, as you will see I think when you read “Christian Apologetics”.  For the rest, join us inside the Doomstead Diner.

RE

Christian Apologetics 

As should be obvious already to any readers of this thread so far, I am no big fan of Christian Fundamentalism or “Fundies” as I label the practitioners of this Black Art.

Indicated as well in the thread above is that Watson is BY NO MEANS the first Fundy I have ever gone Mano-a-Mano with, though he is among the best of them. One fellow I ran into who changed his whole life around age 50 to go back to Fundy Preacher Seminary for some fragment of the Baptist Denomination was also Fabulously Well Read in the Bible and Christian Apologetics.

For those of you who do not know what Christian Apologetics are, this represents a very LONG history of trying to present a rational explanation for the tenets of Christianity.

Christian apologetics (Greek: ἀπολογία, “verbal defence, speech in defence”)[1] is a field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and attempt to expose the flaws of other world views.

I’ve always found the label for this field of study to be rather ironic, since it carries with it the notion that Christians need to APOLOGIZE for being Christian. Of course, that isn’t the sense the word is being used in here, but you can’t help but make that association.

So anyhow, Watson is a Christian Apologist of the first order, he has clearly been studying this field for quite some time, though I can’t say exactly how long. What first led me to grasp he was a practitioner of this Black Art was all the references he made to Biblical Scholars through history. Nobody is familiar with this stuff unless they have studied Apologetics, and nobody spends a great deal of time studying that stuff unless they are either Fundy or else possibly an Academic who studies Comparative Religions. So Watson had to be one or the other, and for a while I figured it was coming from the Academic side, since he writes in such an Academic fashion and clearly has that kind of background. However, when he went ballistic on me for taking Biblical quotes out of context and mounting his own “In Context” arguments, I realized he was in fact a Fundy, not just an Academic researcher.

Now, why do I refer to Apologetics as a “Black Art”. The reason for that is that you can’t ever argue with a Christian Apologist without them telling you that you haven’t studied the Bible well enough and all the REAMS of stuff other Apologists have written over CENTURIES about every freaking last Chapter and Verse in the Bible.

Really good Fundies who have studied this stuff for a few years can quote Chapter and Verse out of the Bible on almost any topic you can imagine. They don’t even need to Google it, they have it committed to memory. If you have ever had a Verbal argument with a Fundy of this type, you will know that in the course of a debate they will Recite a Verse or Two at incredibly high speed in talking. In the mind of the Fundy, BAM they GOTCHYA! They pulled out of their head the EXACT passage in the Bible that PROVES you don’t know WTF you are talking about and they do.

Ultimate Fundies are people like David Koresh, who did not just have a few hundred verses memorized to demonstrate his points, he memorized the entire freaking Bible, lock stock and barrel. Stories I read from some of his disenchanted followers said they were amazed early on by his ability to recite entire Books of the Bible in Sermons that went on for HOURS, without so much as glancing at the Bible.

So anyhow, in an argument with a Fundie Apologist, unless you have spent at least as much time as they have reading and researching all that was ever written on Biblical Philosophy, they let you know you cannot possibly know WTF you are talking about since you haven’t researched it well enough. Argument over.

So what has occurred here over the Centuries is many Apologists all debating with other Apologists over the Meaning of the Bible, and as a result over the centuries they have come up with marvelously internally consistent explanations for every last thing written in there. If anybody comes up with an alternative explanation, they get jumped on by 50 other Apologists all seeking to show why he is wrong, and somebody eventually does of course.

Now, I clearly have not spent years studying the Bible or Apologetics. I just have a few years of Sunday School to work with and occassionally sitting down to read some Chapters over the years. Not very comprehensive study by any stretch of the imagination. What I am pretty familiar with though is the history of Christianity and the behavior of all the folks I ever met who purport to be Christians. To synopsize that, its a big freaking MESS all the way round. They don’t follow the teachings of Jesus most of the time, and on a historical level the Religion has caused at least as much Grief as it did Helping anybody. All sorts of folks used it for their own ends always.

In our own time here now, the Christian Fundy movement has had all sorts of negative consequences, aka BLOWBACK. The Anti-Abortion aspect probably is the best example there. In response to “Baby Killers”, some Fundies will go ahead and Bomb Abortion Clinics. This is of course a response to the WWJD question that is completely incorrect, but nevertheless it IS the response that comes back here.

Fundies go on and on about the Sanctity of Life, but once born for all practical purposes the vast number of infants born to the poor are left hung out to dry. Then the Fundies feel Guilty about this so they start shovelling out the Food Aid to “help” all these starving kids and the Christian Children’s Fund comes on TV with some big Doe Eyed kid from Nicaraqua who you can “Save” for just $1/day!

None of this bizness of Charity has ever worked very well in anything but the smallest of Communities, and I am not even sure how well it works there either. Well off Haves in the society will occassionally feel Guilty enough to throw some Charity at the Poor, but if it is a persistent problem they become hardenned to it. Certainly once even just 50% or so of the society has fallen into desperate poverty, the Haves just give up on Charity. There are TOO MANY poor people! You can’t feed all of them without bankrupting yourself! this of course represents the negative reaction to the Welfare State and the Taxation that results from that as more and more people become dependent on the Charity of the State.

So, the fact is that all these Christian principles regarding the Sanctity of Life and the value of Charity don’t really WORK in the Ag society that developed before Christianity ever came on the scene at all. You can argue to death that the Principles are Sound and Internally consistent, but they don’t WORK, and they never have, not for 2000 years here. It doesn’t match up with REALITY which includes both Human Behavior and Resource Constraints. Don’t argue that with a Fundy though, they will tell you if you just Love Thy Neighbor and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, all will be well. If not in This Life, then in the Afterlife. If you don’t BELIEVE that, go read the Words of Jesus and 1000 Apologists for Jesus that will demonstrate to you the TRUTH of these arguments.

It is in a word, Horseshit. It doesn’t WORK, it never worked, and Jesus himself makes the disclaimer it won’t work, but only because not enough people will stick to his Principles. How come Jesus, Son of God and the Pure Virgin Mary could not come up with a set of Principles people actually WOULD stick to? I mean really, with that lineage he should have been able to come up with a Plan that WORKS, rather than one destined for FAILURE with an end result of a Final Battle of Good vs Evil for All the Marbles, right?

I have been grappling with all these questions for pretty much my entire life and taking on Fundies of various kinds through the whole time. I haven’t studied Christian Apologetics, and I never will. Why? Because on First Priciples alone, the whole thing just does not WORK. To spend years reading stuff people have written to APOLOGIZE for the fact it does not work is a waste of time.

RE

Unforgiven

Discuss this article inside the Diner

 

Surly recently wrote a post inside the Diner in the Usury thread begun by El Gallinazo  reviewing the exploits of Pol Pot, Cambodian Cleaner extraordinaire, as a Counterpoint to the Orkin Man meme I use to drive home the nature of beast we have here before us.  I suggested he turn the post into a Feature Article for the Blog, which he did.  I am compelled however to rexamine the questions Surly does in his analysis, because he does not paint a complete picture here.

Humanity is an Unforgiven bunch overall.  We all know where this is leading…no has already led to.  War.  Actually, Wars since there will be many of them.  Precisely how many will end up dead as a result of these Wars I have no idea, other than it will be a big number with lots of Zeros after it.  Beyond that, it is not a huge leap to make that our JIT food production and transportation will be compromised by increasing disorder in the society, leading to famine of unprecedented proportions.

Confronted with all of this, I look back at the history of Homo Sapiens and how societies react in these type of situations.  This is not the first time this has occurred, though it may be the biggest and the last time.  Is there a Way Out of the mess?  Yes there is, but it is full of unpleasantness no matter how you cut it.  The best you can do is try to find a path that Saves as Many as You Can.

Below follows some of my thoughts on how you go about this, and what the Morality and Ethics are when societies are confronted by trials like this.

RE

I go through this bizness of the Nasty Dictators all the time with Ashvin over on TAE, and certainly it is not an easy position to take on the Orkin Man Idea when you have such nefarious types as Pol Pot in the Terminix bizness.

I am NOT defending Pol Pot here, because he took on this massively counterproductive attempt at social cleansing with tons of wrong ideas and with tons of corruption involved as well.  it also was bound for failure because it was undertaken while the Conduits were still functional.

Taking out the Crystal Ball here and looking into the FUTURE though, let’s consider some of the ideas involved in this mess.

Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”  included forced evacuations of Chinese cities and the purging of “class enemies, ” a move that would apparently gain favor among participants in this thread. Pol Pot now stood up his own “Super Duper New and Improved Great Leap Forward” in Cambodia, which in itself was new and improved, hence renamed the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea.

On the “Forced Evacuation of Big Shities” question.  It wasn’t true for sure in Cambodia, but look at the Mass Death that may occur in the Big Shities if they are NOT evacuated before JIT delivery fails.  You could have a 99% Death Rate in those places.  If Pol Pot II was running the show and forcibly evacuating people NOW, maybe you only get a 50% Death rate.  So here PPII goes down in History as the Mass Murderer of say 3B People.  Except if PPII had NOT done this, 6B would have gone to the Great Beyond instead.

It’s obviously a tough call to make for a Political Leader when to pull the plug on the Big Shities and tell everyone they have to EVACUATE NOW.  It will inevitably result in a Massive Death Toll.  But if you think it will be WORSE if you don’t do it, if you are willing to take the heat as the worst Mass Murderer in all of Recorded History, maybe you do it.

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Millions of Cambodians accustomed to city life were now forced into slave labor in Pol Pot’s “killing fields” where they soon began dying from overwork, malnutrition and disease, on a diet of one tin of rice (180 grams) per person every two days, the better to become compost and improve the yields.

OK, here we  have mostly agreed that Industrial life is going the way of the Dinosaur and people HAVE to go back to the Land as Farmers at least, if not H-Gs.  What is going to happen to Obese J6P when you put him out on the land pushing a plow?  Instant Heart Attack!  Most people currently used to EZ Living courtesy of the thermodynamic energy of Oil simply are not IN SHAPE to work out in the Fields.  Is it PPII’s FAULT these folks are too fat and weak to pull their own weight out there?

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And you can’t have a party without the purges… a veritable binge of purges. Up against the wall went the remnants of the “old society” – the educated, the wealthy, Buddhist monks, police, doctors, lawyers, teachers, glasses-wearers all, no doubt. Ex-soldiers were killed along with their wives and children. Eventually the taste for human blood leads to a paranoia of sorts, and why not?  Anyone suspected of disloyalty to Pol Pot, including eventually many Khmer Rouge leaders, was shot or bludgeoned with an ax. “What is rotten must be removed,” a Khmer Rouge slogan proclaimed.

Here of course is the EXCESS which occurs in many an Inqusition/Reign of Terror type scenario.  There is going to be a lot of BLOWBACK resultant from many people who have lost their comfortable life and who want to see PPII DEAD because of that.  He gets blamed for the problems they have; he gets blamed for their loss of economic status in the society.  So PPII gets PARANOID, for good reason.  People really ARE out to get him.  So he starts Killing Them before they Kill Him.

This of course is the Omellette issue Uncle Joe talked about.  Its just about impossible to be a manager of massive Die Off without yourself becoming a Target.  Yet if SOMEBODY doesn’t get int here and try to manage it, the Die Off is WORSE.  Morton’s Fork situation of course.

Now, back in Uncle Joe, Mao and Pol Pot’s era, if they played along with the Iluminati they likely could have avoided all that dieing.  Except these guys wanted to Exit the Game early, and to exit it they essentially were cutting off their Noses to spite their Faces.  They lost the ability to Trade with the outside world and were attempting to Go It Alone, and this messed up all their in place systems which sorta worked as long as you paid your Vigorish to the Illuminati.

So all of them go down in History as the most vicious and Genocidal Dictators in all of Recorded History, at least in gross numbers if not in Percentages.  I still maintain that the Romanoffs were WORSE than Stalin, but that is not really that important here at the moment.

Moving into the FUTURE here, the issue is you cannot even Save As Many as you Can by PLAYING BALL with the Illuminati.  Why?  Because said Illuminati are Fresh OUT of Cheap Oil to sell you with Loans they hand out to you.  So unfortunately here in this Morton’s Fork situation, the social dynamic is likely to produce numerous PPIIs and Great Uncle Joes.  Because unless somebody does SOMETHING to try to keep the society organized up, the Dieing will be WORSE than it would be if you have some Dictator FORCING people to evacuate the Big Shities.  They aren’t going to do that on their own until it is too late and they all are starving and Cannibalizing each other.

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Although the image of banksters and stockbrokers mucking out pigpens and pushing wheelbarrows through knee-deep mud remains a compelling one for me.

You know, I paint all sorts of pictures based on the Spanish Inquisition and the Reign of Terror, but the fact of the matter here is that if you simply took away all their wealth and power and dropped these folks into a Housing Project in Chicago and left them their Shoelaces, Silk Neckties and Gucci Belts, they would all Hang THEMSELVES in short order.  So if you want to go about it this way to absolve yourself of a sense of Guilt for lopping off their Heads, I am fine with that one also.

Regardless of the means here, whether it is Sepuku or Capital Punishment, the situation is going to create the BLOWBACK from people who once had power, now removed.  They will attempt Counter Revolutions and so forth.  So you get forced into a battle here no matter what, and people DIE no matter what.

Practical sort of fellow that I am, I work my way through this dynamic to try to find the pathway with the least pain and the greatest survivability for the typical Slave in our society.  The means I see working best is to take the battle to the Illuminati before they get the Death Camps rolling in earnest here.  You do have to wait for the Failure of the Conduits though, because as long as the Iluminati have the Big Ass Military and Gestapo organized up and functioning, you stand no chance here.  Once those Conduits fracture though, the playing field is LEVELLED.

Then you don’t just get MAD, you get EVEN.

The issues most folks have when confronted with these problems are of Morality and Ethics and how you interpret God in the whole schema.  If there is a God, what is he really after here with Homo Sapiens?  What does He expect us to do confronted by Mass Death no matter which way we turn here?

For people brought up under Judeo-Christian morality, all the solutions which historically ARE taken are all unnacceptable.  War is unacceptable, Fighting Back is unacceptable (Turn the Other Cheek), even passing Judgement on the Guilty is unacceptable (Judge not lest ye yourself be Judged).

In fact few Christians besides Saints follow all the advice of Jesus even in good times.

40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

WTF does this?  Up here in Alaska if you did this in the winter you would freeze to death in minutes.  Maybe that worked in the Middle East where its warm all the time but not here.  Christians also regularly go to War, regularly charge Usurious Interest and regularly commit Adultery also.  So it seems the vast majrity of Christians kind of pick and choose which of Jesus’ Words of Wisdom to follow on any given day.

For most of human history though, this set of principles was never followed by anybody.  Certainly not by tribes of Inuit who would practice Infanticide and Abondonment of the Elderly as tribal survival strategies.  You can also make a very good case that people who lived with this moral structure lived a lot more in balance with the world surrounding them than Christians or Muslims have ever managed to do.

The real questions of human survival come down to the needs of the many weighed against the needs of the few, or the one.

I personally believe in the existence of an Eternal Soul, and I also believe in Reincarnation, although in my own peculiar sort of way.  I’ll explain it in detail at some point, though you might try reading my On the Existence of God article.  Actually, that one might be worth a Cross Post on TAE, it certainly got a lot of conversation going on TAE when I originally posted it there.

Anyhow, while encased in your corporeal existence, you are subject to Natural Laws.  You personally have survival imperatives, and so does the community you are a part of.  The choices you make when confronted with these imperatives can impact your Eternal Soul, but it comes down to Motivations rather than Acts in the end.  I discussed this with you already in my example of the Liquor Store robbery Killing versus the Rapist Killing.  In one case the Motivation for the Killing is Selfish and Evil, in the other case it Helpful and Good.

On the agregate level of society similar questions arise, Infanticide is one of them.  If the purpose of the Infanticide is to provide for the Needs of the Many at the expense of the Needs of the One, the motivation involved is a Good one.  I don’t think this impacts negatively on your Immortal Soul, because you are trapped by the imperatives involved while you are a corporeal being.

Quote from Ashvin

On a more practical level – what if the baby would have turned out to be an Einstein when it comes to H-G or leading the Tribe? It is possible that the decision to murder the baby in order to spare the more productive member is a grave mistake. Perhaps the short-term risk of Tribal extinction is even worth it. The Tribe will never have enough information at the time of the Act to know that, though. BUT if there’s a possibility they will all suffer in the afterlife or in subsequent lifetimes, then it may be a lot better to err on the side of moral caution.

Well, the absolute value of Einstein, Newton, Leibniz, Edison or even Mother Theresa can be questioned to begin with.  After all, Einstein’s Special Relativity Theory led to the Atom Bomb and Fuk-U-Shima, now didn’t it? The Calculus of Newton & Leibniz led to Financial Derivatives, now didn’t it?  Edison’s Light Bulb led to the mass burning of Coal and huge inputs of CO2 into the Atmosphere, now didn’t it?  And finally, the Selflessness of Mother Theresa giving to the Poor contributed to Overshoot, now didn’t it?  So you see here, whther they be Great Theoreticians, Great Inventors or even SAINTS,their existence on Earth had major Blowback involved.  So perhaps we need fewer of these folks, not more of them.

RE
Derrick Jensen makes a case for resistance using similar logic, that weve tried being nice and it hasnt worked, but with different timing.  He advocates more immediate action to avoid the system grinding on another 300 years, or the elite realizing its over and rather than let go of their rule, nuke it all while they hide in bunkers.  The effort of such pre-emptive strikes would be justifiable.  In your scenario collapse is guaranteed with a short event horizon.  I have doubts an OMMP is a “matter of utility,” as El G puts it.  Energy of all kinds (psychologic, physical, social, material) will be at a premium in a fast collapse scenario.  Efforts may be better directed elsewhere.

I’m not entirely sure of the “Event Horizon” on this.  In terms of passing the point where collapse is inevitable, I am sure we have pased that EH.  However, I am not sure that at least in some Ringfenced countries BAU might not be possible for another 50 years.  So calling in the Orkin Man NOW when we might muddle through a while longer at least here has questionable value, at least for US.  For the 3rd world countries who are bearing the most pain right now though, an Orkin Man arrival in the FSofA might take some of the burden off of them.  It would of course send the FSofA into a Tizzy of Civil War requiring all the troops currently dispatched over the globe to return home to quell the violence.

In reality here, we have not one but TWO Orkin Men running for POTUS, Obama-sama and Catcher’s Mitt.  They are both committed to Exteminating folks outside these borders who are inconveniently sitting on top of OUR OIL!  It’s all about who the Orkin Man sets about exterminating.

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I know you will claim that’s exactly why we need the OMMP, so we don’t repeat the cycle, but maybe the OMMP perpetuates the type of thinking that sets it up.  The likely outcome is there will always be another pigman unless the very nature of dominator culture changes.  A global collapse has good odds of achieving that without the need or utility of an OMMP.


I can’t promise an Orkin Man solution to the Illuminati problem will prevent the cycle from repeating itself.  The main thing the Orkin Man has to do is prevent an ELE now.  So someone who will decommission ALL the Nuke Plants in the country/wold DESPITE the fact that a shortage of Electricity will end up in millions dieing by itself is necessary.  An Orkin who MANDATES that the Big Shities are evacuated BEFORE JIT fails is necessary, despite the fact millions more will die in the relocation effort.  An Orkin Man who pledges to get rid of all Greedy Parasitical Scumbag Pigmen currently walking the Earth is necessary, despite the fact we may eventually breed up NEW GPSBs.

 40 Years ago when 4 were Shot Dead in Ohio by the National Guard on the Campus of Kent State University, we might have still had a CHANCE to correct our behaviors without an Orkin Man Solution.  Now it is TOO LATE.  We missed the Bus.  Now its a dichotomy between MASS DEATH or EXTINCTION.  Which one do you choose?  Only an Orkin Man can make that kind of choice.  The key is to find the RIGHT kind of Orkin Man who Exterminates the RIGHT Vermin.  The Orkin Men we have to choose from right NOW are 180 degrees opposite from that.

So now, we are presented with a Morton’s Fork of unprecedented scope in all of recorded history.  We have on the one hand the very REAL possibility of an Extinction Level Event, not just for Homo Sapiens but for about every other living creature on the face of the earth with the possible exception of the Tardigrades, who can withstand close to Absolute Zero temperatures and bombardment by Gamma Rays and STILL pop back to life in the right conditions.  Sadly for Homo Sapiens, we are not as resilient as the Tardigrades.

On the other hand, the choice is MASS DEATH coming by one means or another here.  War, Pesitlence, Famine and Death, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are ready to Ride Herd on Humanity once again now.  Which is the BETTER alternative here, Extinction or Mass Death?  To some folks, Extinction is a preferable alternative to compromising Judeo-Christian ethics they think are more important than life itself.

If systematic genocide is the last best idea we can come up with, then maybe it would be better to let ourselves go extinct.

First off, it depends how you define Genocide.  In the case of the PPII evacuating the Big Shities and in the process killing 3B People, is this genocide if he had not done that and 6B would have died instead?  Looked at the other way, PPII SAVED 3B lives!
Far as being better to self-extinguish, I can’t ever buy that one.  Always a chance to improve if you are still walking the earth.

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All of this just convinces me that it will always come down to a question of moral values in the end. Your cut-throat, last Hoorah Utilitarian morality just doesn’t do it for me…

And your moralism to the point of self-extinction doesn’t do it for me either.  We’re even there.

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If you believe in an immortal soul, universal reincarnation, multiple universes, or anything of that sort, I think this assertion of yours is plain stupid. Who cares about saving your physical body on Planet Earth if you are risking eternal damnation in a fiery abyss?

Ashvin, YOU are the one who thinks you risk Eternal Damnation for this, not me.  If that were true, then generations of Inuit have all gone to Hell for Infanticide and abandoning the elderly to die.  Beyond that, every Soldier who ever went to war and killed people ALSO got sent to Hell.  I don’t BELIEVE that Ashvin.  I believe people like Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon go to Hell, not people who make practical choices for their own survival and that of their tribe.

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Not smart, just good – however you want to define that. How can the information that the Infant will be, let’s say, another Christ-like figure not be relevant in your extermination decision?? It MUST be relevant, or else your Utilitarian morality falls to pieces and you have no justifiable leg to stand on.

 Look, if Christ can be born twice, he can be born 3 times.  Hopefully next time He chooses to born, the Hunting will be better.
Starting out there fresh out of the oven, kids have different physical attributes and mental ones also based on how good the wiring is inside their brains.  How “good” anyone will become at anything is based on much more than just what they were born with in terms of physical gifting.  From my observation with kids, they seem to be “infected” with a soul around the age of 2 or 3, not at birth.  Then there are all the circumstances that come after that, nutrition over the years, education etc.  So you can’t really say anything for sure about a newborn, and its random whether anyone lives or dies also.  You can’t be sure if one of the kids who die in a Bus Crash might have been the Second Coming of Christ either.
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Yes, and this has been the conundrum of the human condition over the ages, but especially in recent years – we try to make calculated, optimal decisions in the short-term temporal sphere based on extremely imperfect information and then justify them after the fact as being in the best interests of humanity, as if we could have possibly known that. After all, the survival of that Tribe has gotten us where exactly?

The point I try to make Ashvin is that the Tribe I am after did NOT survive.  Agriculture and Industrialization rendered this Tribe EXTINCT, or nearly so.  We have to REVERSE ENGINEER this tribe back into existence.  It’s not going to be easy, and no road for the Squeamish either.  You start by getting rid of the most egregious offenders and then attempt to re-educate all the rest.  Those who cannot or will not Repent and change their ways will go to the Great Beyond, one way or the other.

I do not see Mass Death as avoidable at this point, and I cannot accept the alternative of allowing what is going on now to end in an Extinction Level Event either.  So the only real question for me here is who lives, who dies and how you cut the losses as best you can.  The only people who can do that are Orkin Men.  I don’t believe there will be ONE Orkin Man of vast power and control like a Mao or Uncle Joe here, I think the society is fracturing too fast for that too organize up now.  Rather I think the fractured society will breed up various Orkin Men, all with varying styles and methodology, but in the end all will be responsible for the very same thing, which is MANAGING DEATH.

If  YOU were charged with this unbearable responsibility, how would YOU react, what would YOU choose to do?  For me, the right meme does not come off the pages of The Bible, it comes from the Pop Culture  paradigm of the Old West, personified best by Clint Eastwood in so many films, fromthe Spaghetti Westerns to the Unforgiven.  We ARE an Unforgiven bunch as Homo Sapiens, and there really are times when a Stranger needs to Ride into Town and take out the Bad Guys.

This is one of those times, for sure.

RE

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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Inside the Diner

Quote from: Surly1 on November 21, 2019, 03:58:40 PMQuote from: azozeo on November 21, 2019, 02:55:27 PMQuote from: Surly1 on November 21, 2019, 01:40:43 PM[quote author=azozeo link=t...

EVERYBODY KNOWS who the "Whistleblower" is/was!  He's been Outted by a variety of Right-Wing websites and radio shows.Trumpovetsky is a Pathological Liar. If he opens his mouth or hits his keyboard,you can be sure he is lying.  Ar...

Is there anywhere in SA that is NOT rioting?     RE[embed=960,540]

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/11/democratic-candidates-supreme-court-trump-judiciary.htmlDemocratic Candidates Are Utterly Delusional About the Looming Judicial CrisisEven their more moderate policy proposals will ...

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/21/yellen-good-reason-to-worry-about-us-economy-sliding-into-recession.htmlJanet Yellen says...

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Knarf’s Knewz

Defying growing perceptions in Western countries o [...]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Navy warships twice sa [...]

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Doomstead Diner Daily November 22The Diner Daily i [...]

Quote from: azozeo on November 21, 2019, 03:24:12 [...]

I have a question about your post regarding the fa [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily November 21The Diner Daily i [...]

Perhaps your story with Contrary is why my son got [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

Defying growing perceptions in Western countries o [...]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Navy warships twice sa [...]

Scientists have unlocked the power of gold atoms b [...]

Quote from: azozeo on August 14, 2019, 10:41:33 AM [...]

Wisconsin Bill Would Remove Barrier to Using Gold, [...]

Under extreme conditions, gold rearranges its atom [...]

The cost of gold futures on the Comex exchange inc [...]

Time for another Bloody Mary!   RE [...]

Kicking off with the death of the Marlboro Man.RE[ [...]

Alternate Perspectives

  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Politicians’ Privilege By Cognitive Dissonance     Imagine for a moment you work for a small or medi [...]

Shaking the August Stick By Cognitive Dissonance     Sometime towards the end of the third or fourth [...]

Empire in Decline - Propaganda and the American Myth By Cognitive Dissonance     “Oh, what a tangled [...]

Meanderings By Cognitive Dissonance     Tis the Season Silly season is upon us. And I, for one, welc [...]

The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-20http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-19http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

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Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
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Waterboarding Flounder"Serious oxygen loss between 100 and 600-meter depths is expected to cover 59–80% of the ocean [...]

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects"We need wooden ships, char-crete buildings, bamboo bicycles, moringa furniture, and hemp cloth [...]

"Restoring normal whale activity to the oceans would capture the CO2 equivalent of 2 billion tr [...]

Ukrainian Rhapsody"Our future will be more about artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and non-state actors tha [...]

LeBron’s Chinese Troll Mobs"In the 36 hours after James’ delete, a troll mob with bot support sent a flame tsunami at the [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

a ''burden on the state'' means all your bodily functions becoming the responsib [...]

Or maybe we do live in fire prone forests, but we live as hunter-gatherers. We pick up and move to a [...]

The "state" in the UK has found a solution to this problem. It is called the "Liverpo [...]

FWIW, the overarching narrative in the mainstream news this week is that the global economy may have [...]

I think of 1999 as the year that inflation-adjusted oil prices hit a bottom. It is also the year tha [...]

Living around 5300' elevation, the only flood we'll likely see is refugees. Although, that [...]

For those safe from the rising seas, the ocean acidification will fcuk you up instead [...]

Here's an article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-imo-shipping-factbox/factbox-imo-2020-a-m [...]

What is the shift away from bunker fuels? [...]

Yeah, when the water heater goes out the day after you just put new tires on one of the cars, etc... [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

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Technical Journals

The effect of urbanization on microclimatic conditions is known as “urban heat islands”. [...]

Forecasting extreme precipitations is one of the main priorities of hydrology in Latin America and t [...]

The objective of this work is the development of an automated and objective identification scheme of [...]