Tag Archives: Christianity

The Fruit of the Spirit

I have been reading articles on the Orthosphere and Zippy Catholic‘s blog for a few months now. Both of these websites represent a brand of Christian conservatism (or perhaps more accurately Christian anti-liberalism) that would be considered a bit extreme by most people. Their contributors and commentators in large measure seem to think that freedom and equal rights are actually misguided pursuits for governments to concern themselves with and that these pursuits are in fact responsible for all the evil manifested in modernity from political correctness all the way to Nazi death camps.I must say that in certain small  instances they make compelling or at least logically consistent arguments to support their eccentric points of view. I cannot say that I am totally convinced by most of their arguments but they do make some points worth considering.

However, more than their position there is something about these blogs that disturbs me which for some time I have been having trouble putting my finger on. More and more, however, I can see that it is the underlying spirit of negativity, judgment and arrogance behind the content that is the cause of this feeling.

Recently, a contributor named JMSmith wrote a piece on the Orthosphere entitled “The Israel Fetish” which I think illustrates the point I am trying to make. Mr. Smith works in higher education and from what I have read is not all together satisfied with his professional experience. This seems to be a common thread among the contributors to these blogs by the way. Many work in academia and are unhappy with the present state of the world for which they blame liberalism. In his article JMSmith fixated upon a promotional message he recently received for a student trip to Israel. He quoted some of the language:

A trip to Israel is in essence a rite of passage for every Christian—a pilgrimage in the truest sense. The origins of both ancient Biblical faith and of a modern-day miracle intersect here. The land and the people of Israel have a story to tell. By coming to Israel this summer, you make Israel’s story part of your own story.”

Mr. Smith took issue with this advertisement on several levels. Primarily he rejected its incorrect use of the terms “pilgrimage” and “rite of passage.” He explains,

The traditional Christian understanding of pilgrimage is that it is (a) an act of penance, and (b) a symbolic expression of the belief that we are pilgrims (literally foreigners) on earth…

Certainly a strong argument can be made that the author of the advertisement did not use the term pilgrimage correctly. But one gets the sense that this improper use of the term is representative of some deeper and more general corruption of society as well as his fellow Christians. He continues:

I well understand that Christian “pilgrims” have often been very silly people, and that Christian “pilgrimages” have often been larks, junkets and sight-seeing excursions…  But this does not make a sight-seeing excursion into “a pilgrimage in the truest sense,” even when the destination is, indeed, holy.  Rather, I submit that such an excursion is a pilgrimage in the stupidest sense.

Mr. Smith then articulates his problem with the improper use of “rite of passage” in the article:

Nor, I think, should one call [the advertised trip to Israel] a “rite of passage.”  … A rite of passage is a scripted ceremony in which select members of a society pass from one social status to another… A rite of passage ceremony publicizes the change of status to the relevant community, and this change in status entails real changes in a person’s rights and responsibilities… When the phrase “rite of passage” is used to denote nothing more than a “life-altering experience” at the personal and psychological level, it is being used in the stupidest sense.

Clearly this advertisement touched a nerve with Mr. Smith. This advertisement which incorrectly employed the terms pilgrimage and rite of passage both “in the stupidest sense” touched upon his disappointment with Christians in general which he described in the following language:

My real complaint is that we Christians are such everlasting saps and suckers and simpletons.  My real complaint is that we are the Rubes of the Universe, the easiest marks ever to shamble down the street, ready to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

Okay. Clearly Mr. Smith has a problem with the present state of Christianity which I assume he believes to be corrupted by liberalism. This corruption has turned his fellow Christians into the “Rubes of the Universe” who are taken in by the incorrect usage of the terms “pilgrimage” and “rite of passage.”Now it must be said that I do not have a problem with the general premise of Mr. Smith’s argument. The spirit of pilgrimage and rite of passage have been largely lost in our modern culture and this loss hurts us all.However, I do have a problem with the snarky, arrogant, snobbish and judgmental attitude in which the argument is made. It seems to me that this is not in line with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Galations:

[T]he desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh…  Now the works of the flesh are evident: … enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, … and things like these. Gal 5:19-21

It seems to me that this sort of judgmental commentary is conveyed in a way that is contrary to the Holy Spirit. In other words the energy behind this commentary is working according to the desires of the flesh.By contrast Saint Paul describes the fruit of the spirit:

[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Gal 5:22-23

I must say that I do not see these qualities in any of the posts or comments on the Orthosphere or Zippy Catholic. And that really is my problem with the Orthosphere and its daughter blog sites. Although they may raise legitimate points about how the current state of modern society is contrary to Christian principles they do so in a manner that is contrary to the Holy Spirit. For this reason I hold their contempt and judgment of their fellow Christians suspect. Accordingly, if they intend to hold themselves out to be the last bastions of true Christianity perhaps they should reconsider the spirit behind their message. And if the spirit behind their message cannot be reconciled with their message perhaps they should reconsider their message.

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The Requirement of Beliefs Part II

pxA few posts ago I explored the topic that some religions require belief in order to receive or achieve salvation. The word “salvation” can take on different forms depending on the religion. For this reason, I am using the term loosely in the present context. Having personally been brought up in the Roman Catholic form of Christianity I approach this topic from that perspective but really my question as to why this belief is required is not strictly limited to Christian dogma. In the blog post I specifically referenced chapter 3 verse 26 in The Book of John which reads, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” To properly explore this topic it is first necessary to examine what a belief is.
Beliefs are essentially ideas or thoughts in the mind. Accordingly, the question behind the exploration has to do with why would the gatekeeper of salvation care whether its adherents experienced these thoughts called beliefs? If the gatekeeper of salvation is divine and not dependent upon any external factors for its existence why would it be so interested in this one particular external factor? I suppose one answer to the question is that the belief is for the benefit of the person trying to achieve salvation and not for the benefit of the divine dispenser of salvation. But John 3:36 expressly states that not believing brings about the “wrath of God” which implies that God has some stake in this thought called a belief existing in the mind of that person seeking salvation. This could be metaphorical language but that is not at all certain. As such the question remains unanswered.
It must be understood that I am not questioning whether these beliefs are valid. I am simply questioning why these beliefs are required. If the comment section of Part I is any indication, this distinction seems to be difficult to understand for some people. Interestingly, the personality type represented in the comment section seems to be very threatened by any exploration of this topic. A perusal of the comment section of Part I of this blog will provide examples of this. For questioning this requirement of belief I was accused of hating God. My question was rephrased as an argument on my part that hating God should carry no consequences and that the actual consequence for making this argument (that I did not make) was my own annihilation. These counterarguments (made against an argument I never made) were written in sporadic ALL CAPS which gave the impression that this commenter’s emotions were raised and that his emotion guided his rhetoric. Also notice that the emphasis on the counterargument was not the merits of the requirement of belief itself but rather on how I was wrong as a person for even asking the question. Another interesting point is that this accuser denied John 3:36 even expresses a requirement for belief in the first place. I think any reasonable person would read this passage to require belief in the Son in order to have eternal life. Moreover, the passage also clearly expresses that if this requirement is not met then a punishment will be meted out. But the commenter seemed to argue that interpreting this passage as expressing a requirement was somehow in error although he did not clearly articulate a logical foundation for this point.
Mind you, I do not want to engage in another pointless debate with this person because I have been down this road so many times on this blog and it is indeed pointless. Accordingly any comment he posts will be deleted. The only reason I brought him up was to provide an example of the egoic push back this question receives. This quality of being threatened when beliefs are questioned seems to be emblematic of the ego. The fact that the ego seems so invested in belief makes the requirement of belief for salvation questionable in my mind. Let me be clear. I am NOT questioning the validity of beliefs or really whether the reason for the requirement is sound. I simply do not understand the reason why this requirement exists and am exploring this lack of understanding by articulating the thoughts that come to mind as I explore it. (I have no illusion this distinction will be meaningful to everyone who reads it).
I think it can be argued that questioning beliefs or faith can lead to a deepening of beliefs. An unquestioned belief has a shaky foundation because it has not tested itself against the facts that may disprove it. As such, the unquestioned belief has no defenses to these facts. However, a belief that has been tested against facts that might disprove it has been inoculated against those facts. But really, this argument is just intellectual play. It is the reinforcing of beliefs (which are thoughts) with other beliefs and thoughts. It becomes circular after a while and brings a person who engages in this sort of thing only so close  to the truth. So again I arrive at the question, why is there the requirement of belief and why are there those who are so egoically invested in keeping this requirement unquestioned?
There are examples of Saints who have questioned their beliefs. Saint Mother Teresa wrote on numerous occasions about how she questioned her beliefs. Saint Thomas the apostle of Jesus also questioned belief without direct proof. Jesus castigated him for this when he said “…Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29). Again we see this emphasis on belief and from the same gospel to boot. Interestingly, in the Gnostic tradition, Thomas is revered for his questioning attitude. Equally interesting is the fact that Gnosticism was declared a heresy by orthodox Christianity.
So the question exists. Why is there a requirement of belief for salvation? Moreover, there also exists a force which is interested in blocking this question. Why this dynamic exists I do not know. But I think there can be no sin in asking a question. I think this is true because logically, no amount of questioning can undermine the truth for the reason that the answers to these questions (if truthful) should only serve to reinforce the truth. I suppose one could counter argue that by asking questions and receiving false answers one could be misled to a dangerous place. But if that is the case, then these unquestioned beliefs are robotic and lack authentism. If God requires belief then I have to think that He would want a whole hearted belief that has been tested and found to be true as opposed to a belief that was adopted for no reason or because the believer was socially pressured into believing.

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The Requirement of Beliefs

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:36

IMG_0523I always thought the Christian requirement of belief in Jesus in order to achieve eternal life is a bit strange. There is something about it that just does not seem right. People hold beliefs because they have direct experience that forms or affirms a belief or because that belief was culturally taught or imprinted upon them. A belief is simply something that someone holds to be true or false. A belief is not the same as the thing that is believed in. As such why would God or Jesus require a belief in them in order to satisfy them? It seems suspicious to me.

Put another way, truth is truth regardless of what I or anyone else believes. If God exists why would He demand my belief in Him? It is not as if He would cease to exist if everyone stopped believing in Him.

Moreover, requiring belief without providing evidence is unfair and suspect. Why should anyone be held in contempt because they chose not to believe in something for which they felt they had no evidence to support? To do so seems awfully unfair, arbitrary and spiteful. This seems to be the standard that an alcoholic parent might hold their children to. “Believe that I am an honorable person even though my example shows you otherwise and if you do not believe me to be honorable you deserve to be punished,” sayeth the alcoholic parent. I find it hard to believe that a true and loving God could endorse such an interpretation of John 3:36.

If we are to examine the quotation from John 3:36 with specificity, he tells us that “[w]hoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” He then says, “…whoever rejects the Son will not see life…” The word reject seems strong here. A rejection sounds to be more than a question (although some might interpret it that way). So in this sense there may be room for a person who questions their belief to also have eternal life.

This one passage has been interpreted differently by different Bible versions. Almost all versions speak of a person “believing” in the Son of God. One version substitutes “trusting” which essentially means the same thing. The versions differ, however, in their interpretation of “reject.” The terms vary between reject, doesn’t obey, believeth not, refuses to believe, disobeys, and is not subject to. There is a difference in meaning between the words believe and obey. The former is a mental activity. The latter means to act in accordance with or follow the commands. I suppose one could argue that to obey the Son of God requires a belief in Him but again there seems to be room for interpretation.

But we cannot fully escape the problem that the statement seems to require belief (or obedience) without evidence. These acts could be said to describe faith. But it is a faith under the threat of punishment. The way I normally think about faith is that it is a voluntary activity. It is a gesture of trust and not something that can be threatened out of someone. That would be more like an ego act of self-preservation which I suppose is more in line with the “obedience” interpretation.

I imagine this exploration will be uncomfortable for some Christians. John 3:36 clearly requires a person to hold a specific belief in order to obtain eternal life. It is unclear whether the questioning of the belief is grounds for damnation but that does seem to be a very viable interpretation. It would be difficult to force a person who does not hold a belief to simply change their belief. The mechanics of belief do not seem to work this way in real life. I do not think John would make an exception for someone who simply professes to believe something without actually believing it. Although he might make an exception for someone who convinces himself through psychological repression that he believes something he does not.

Finally, I would not be honest if I did not express a certain distrust in the plain meaning of the passage. I question the motive behind it. Why is John so interested that I believe something that he must threaten me with punishment in order to get me to believe? Why does he want me to hold this belief in my mind (the most personal of spaces). Could there be some ulterior motive? I can think of several historical instances where governments have punished belief in order to keep its citizens in line.

I fear I will not come to any satisfying conclusion on the subject. Obviously the plain meaning of John 3:26 seems at odds with what I actually believe. I am not saying that I do not believe in the Son of God. But I am saying that I question the requirement of believing him for the reasons I mentioned earlier. I am no religious or biblical scholar so of course take what I say for what it is worth. I am simply trying to articulate a question that has stuck in my mind for some time.

 

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Comment Section Dialog

One of the things I find challenging about exchanges between debating parties on the internet whether it be on message boards or in the comment sections of blogs is that the parties tend to make too many points in one post. When this happens it becomes impossible for an opposing side to argue every point effectively because the chain of ideas becomes too fractured. That is why I tend to respond to only one point in any comment I make. That way the conversation stays clear and coherent (or at least that is the intent).

Over the past year a very judgmental and obsessive person has been commenting in bulk on my blog. This individual named Thordaddy identifies as a white supremacist who is not a Christian but worships Christ as a perfect man nonetheless. There is something about my writing that apparently gets his goat which makes our exchanges entertaining for me. (I am not proud of the fact that I do enjoy getting a rise out of him by the way). The comment section of my last blog post is no exception to this dynamic. In that comment section it would have been too cumbersome and ineffective to respond to every point he attempted to make. As such, I thought it would be interesting to break apart the first section of his comments by individual point and address them individually in this blog post in the form of a dialog.

The passages marked TD are his own words taken directly from the comment section of the previous post. The passages marked WS are my responses that I did not make in that comment section but attempt to address them now. Feel free to refer to that comment section for the original text of the exchange.

DIALOG

TD : Even in your NOW genuine quest for a more perfected self made aware by a desire to resolve all mental conflicts, YOU DELUDE YOURSELF as to the true nature of “thordaddy” FOR THE PURPOSE of a self-sabotaging. There is simply not existing within ANY OF YOUR RETORTS actual evidence of a true belief in the idea that you are “f$&king” with some “poor guy.”

WS : Don’t you think the fact that I need only mention “some poor guy” without referencing “Thordaddy” to get a huge response out of you is evidence of my ability to bait you?

TD : Stripped down to its bare naked letters, your rhetoric is, in reality, incredibly pathetic now GIVEN the size and scope of the dialogue and the informative analytics which measure the impact of my work HERE.

WS : I don’t really understand what you are talking about. However, you do sound kind of angry and full of yourself.

TD : If your take were more in line with reality then “we” would have witnessed some sort of piling-on effect by equal-minded winston Scrooges. “We” have “seen” NOTHING of the sort. And of course, AS YOU HAVE REITERATED time and again, I have no actual side ready to pounce upon you. So what is closer to reality is that your fans are mere spectators in no way prepared to engage in the dialogue as they leave you all alone to do the best you can.

WS : I don’t have an extensive readership or following. You by far constitute the bulk of the comments on my blog over the past year or so. It’s not like I have created a community of my blog readers. As such, I don’t find your argument here particularly persuasive.

TD : Then again, YOUR SIDE does not really BELIEVE in doing the best one can. Your side DOES NOT BELIEVE in the perfecting of the self. Your side only believes in the annihilation of the self AS absolute liberation.

WS : When you say “your side” do you mean the non radical, right-wing, nut job side? Also, I don’t know where you get the idea that I don’t believe in perfecting the self. I strive to improve myself every day in various areas. This blog is an effort to improve my writing skills for example.

TD : And now your continued obliviousness to the above is the very empirical evidence one would look for so as to declare this dialogue to be amongst a radical autonomist and a white Supremacist.

WS : That is a circular argument which relies upon undefined terms. All your rhetoric seems to follow this pattern which I find very interesting. You say you have defined the terms you use but your definitions are usually in the form of other undefined terms that in turn define themselves based on the first undefined terms . I have to wonder why you shun using the ordinary definitions and word usage that everyone else uses. I suspect it has to do with you wanting to “separate” from reality and live in a world of your own construction rather than in the real world that actually exists.

TD : What is clear is that when a radical liberationist meets true belief, he is at a loss, SELF-EVIDENTLY. And when that “true belief” is “Perfection as operating paradigm” then said liberationist INEVITABLY morphs radical AS HIS ONLY MANDATED REACTION. So if YOU REJECT “Perfection as your operating paradigm” THEN you will just self-annihilate. In other words, if your spirit is not put to the idea of Perfection THEN your Ego will be busy devising many ways to annihilate your Self so that its “perfection” IS SIMPLY OUT OF THE QUESTION.

WS : But I don’t reject perfection. I know that does not fit in your circular, “logical” scheme which is probably why you continue to write as if I do reject it.

TD : And this is exactly where the masses “stand.” Perfecting their selves is out of the question… Out of their minds… A real absurdity… And you stir this pot THROUGH your anti-white Supremacy.

WS : I admit that I do not self identify as a white supremacist but that is a good thing. A great deal of evil has been wrought throughout human history under the banner of racial supremacy.

 

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Exploring the Motivation Behind the Accusation of “Self Annihilation”

pic stackIn this post I would like to discuss Thordaddy’s oft repeated sentiment that I am a “self annihilator.” I believe he accuses me of being a self annihilator because I have admitted that my wife and I use contraception. To clarify, we are both in our forties, have been married for 15 years and have had two children. I suppose this accusation annoys me a little because there is an intense energy of judgment attached to it. He is a self-identified white supremacist. As such I understand that to him, it is no insignificant act when a fellow member of the white race commits an act of self annihilation (such as the use of contraception) because such an act impacts the white race at large. In other words, the use of contraception by any member of the white race works to prevent other potential members of the white race from coming into being and accordingly makes the white race weaker relative to other races with higher birth rates.

The first problem with his “logic” is that in order to have an emotional investment (i.e. to feel) that the concept of racial preservation is important one must accept the proposition that a race is a real thing. This may sound like splitting hairs but I wonder where the white race begins and ends in his mind. Is it confined to Germany, Scandinavia, France and the British Islands? Does it include Eastern Europe or Spain? How far east does it go? How far south does it go? The point is that the divisions between the races (if they are even real distinctions) are not clear cut. Accordingly, if they are not clear cut perhaps the distinctions are merely gradations of the same thing and not distinctions at all.

The second problem I have with his “logic” is that people can use contraception and procreate. Accordingly the use of contraception is not necessarily self-annihilating in outcome. As I have stated, my wife and I use contraception and have procreated. To my knowledge we have not annihilated ourselves to the extent that we can do anything to keep ourselves alive through the process of passing on our genes to the next generation. Moreover, even if one of my acts (i.e., the use of contraception) is self-annihilating in nature according to his definition I also commit many other acts that are not self-annihilating in nature. I eat well, I exercise, I take care of my aged father, I provide for my family, I work, I write and create, I worship etc. Does he honestly think my use of contraception erases all of these other non self-annihilating acts such that in my entirety I should be labeled a “self-annihilator”?

The main problem with his accusation of “self-annihilation” is that it is both counterintuitive and lacks logical consistency. Apparently “self-annihilation” does not mean the actual annihilation of the self. This is evident by the fact that I have committed self annihilating acts and yet I still exist and I have procreated twice to boot. Nor does self annihilation mean “racial annihilation” as the following interchange indicates.

WS : When you say self annihilation you mean racial annihilation correct?

TD : No… When I write of self-annihilation, I am referencing the totality of annihilating all aspects of the self including the spiritual, intellectual and physical self. When I speak of racial self-annihilation, I am speaking of the annihilation of one’s racial self WHICH may or may not have spiritual, intellectual and physical relevance to he who annihilates his racial being?[sic]

It would make sense if he meant “racial annihilation” by the term “self annihilation” because the argument could certainly be made that my wife’s and my use of contraception is in fact preventing more white people from coming into being. In this manner In that I can see the logic behind saying that the use of contraception equates to an act of racial annihilation. However, he clearly denied that this was what he meant which leaves me scratching my head.

Nor does “self annihilation” mean the annihilation of the soul as the interchange below indicates.

WS : According to your belief system do these acts equate to the death of the soul?

TD : No… But they could render the soul interned in a state of genuine radical autonomy, ie., Hell DUE a real desire to annihilate one’s own being…

So then what are we left with? Perhaps the interchange below can shed light on Thordaddy’s obscure thought process.

WS : [H]ow [then] can a person annihilate themselves? …

TD : A person can annihilate his Self with acts of self-annihilations. The most obvious acts of self-annihilation being suicide and abortion, but more subtle acts being homosexuality, miscegenation and contraception…

In other words, if I read him correctly (and that is never a sure bet with Thordaddy) to be labeled a “self annihilator” one must only commit the acts that Thordaddy has predetermined to be self annihilating. It is the acts themselves that affix the offender with the label regardless of whether these acts are counterbalanced by non self-annihilating acts and regardless of whether the commission of these acts result in an actual annihilation of the self.

As with all things Thordaddy it necessarily involves a circuitous journey from point A to point B through an ocean of pseudo-intellectual mumbo jumbo and ill defined terminology. His concept of “self annihilation” is no different in this regard. That said I do believe a couple of points can be distilled from the chaos.

The first point is that Thordaddy sees “self-annihilation” (whatever it truly is) as a morally negative or sinful act. This has no basis in Christianity as far as I can tell even though he often cloaks his use of “self annihilation” in Christian terms. He employs the accusation of “self annihilation” in an aggressive way that immediately puts the accused on the defensive. Because of this the question as to whether “self annihilation” as he defines it is in fact a morally negative or sinful act gets lost in the shuffle. In other words, it is not a given that “self annihilation” as he sees it is actually bad or wrong even though he discusses it as if that question has already been decided.

Second, Thordaddy connects “self annihilation” with his belief in white supremacy. As such, he connects this term to his racial identity. He therefore sees himself justified to judge the members of his race who are not acting or thinking as he acts or thinks. In other words, he sees these “self annihilators” as betraying the white race team which then gives him the moral justification to judge them. This is the “intellectual” veneer with which he covers his judgment. However, I suspect it is merely the excuse he is looking for to pry into and gossip about other people’s private affairs which I would not be surprised to learn is his true underlying motivation.

 

 

 

 

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Deconstructing a Radically Autonomous Box of Subjectivity Part II

treeThordaddy gave me a lot of material to work with in the comment section of my last blog post “Deconstructing a Radically Autonomous Box of Subjectivity.” A great deal of what he pontificates about there has to do with abortion and contraception and the impact he believes they are having on his “race.” The perpetuation of his race seems to be equated with Christianity in his mind even though there is no scriptural or any other basis to support this. Quite simply, no where in the New Testament does Christ, St. Paul or any other writer talk about the preservation of one’s race as a priority spiritual or otherwise. If fact, the great commandment to love one’s neighbor directly transcends the very idea of racial priorities.

One claim he has been harping on lately is his feeling that liberals claim or believe “abortion [to be] a reproductive right” and by making this claim they equate abortion with reproduction. I have tried to explain to him that if some liberals do say “abortion is a reproductive right” what they probably mean is that the legal right to have an abortion is related to the right to reproduce and not that they are equal. He, however, proceeds with his rants as if this most obvious point was never made. This ability of his to wear intellectual horse blinders is exactly what I am talking about when I say that he exists in his own box of subjectivity. Within this box he his free to believe what he wants and to ignore the most obvious facts or logic if they conflict with his subjective viewpoint.

Another claim of his is, “THE ISSUE at hand is the white race’s existential crisis (and with him a dying Christianity) and the SELF-ANNIHILATING ETHOS of the liberals AND mainstream liberal ‘Christians.’” What I find interesting here is that he equates the ultimate survival of one’s “race” with one’s self. Moreover he sees the survival of the “white race” as the primary goal of Christianity. He often accuses “liberals” of believing in “self-annihilation for salvation” to which I think he is saying that liberals believe they achieve spiritual salvation through the annihilation of their race. Given that he is so obsessed will race, I suppose it makes some sense that he would feel this way. However, I am pretty sure no one he labels as a liberal Christian thinks race and spiritual salvation have any real connection at all. They are apples and oranges. As such, his accusation although it probably makes sense inside his box of subjectivity makes no sense outside of it in objective reality.

When asked what his basis within Christian dogma is for his beliefs his response is that Christ was a perfect man. Based on this premise he feels that man can strive to imitate this perfection which he also refers to as supremacy. This seems to be his rational for his doctrine of racist white supremacy although the logical connection between Christ’s perfection and the white race he feels to exist is unclear to me. This is especially true when considering the fact that Jesus himself was not a white man. Either Jesus was perfect in all things but race (which would make him imperfect) or his Semitic race is the perfect race (which would make the white race incapable of becoming perfect). Obviously, his logic seems to break down when subjected to scrutiny but I suppose inside his box of subjectivity (where rational scrutiny does not exist) it makes perfect sense.

He does make a point that the use of contraception demonstrates a desire not to reproduce specifically as to the sex act during which the contraception is used. However, he mistakenly expands this concept universally, claiming that the use of contraception demonstrates a desire never to reproduce at all (and by extension to annihilate one’s race). Obviously his expansion ignores the fact that a couple who uses contraception in one instance can and do choose not to use it in order to procreate in another. (Again, his box of subjectivity allows for this). He then argues that this desire not to procreate is an act of “self-annihilation.” Now obviously I still exist after I have had sex using contraception. So I must assume he equates the passing of my genetic material on to the next generation keeps me existing in some way. The fact that he places such importance upon the perpetuation of a blood line is interesting in and of itself. However, the fact that he wants to attribute this perpetuation of a blood line as a Christian spiritual priority is a bit bizarre. It is more than obvious to probably every other self-identified Christian that the physical blood line and race are of zero importance to spiritual salvation. There is no scriptural basis to his argument. Nor does his strange argument carry water that Christ’s spiritual perfection advocates for a doctrine of white racism.

I did bring up the example of a celibate religious and asked if this was not an example of self-annihilation according to his unique viewpoint. He responded, “No… Because the truly celibate stands as empirical exemplar of immaculate spiritual, intellectual and physical discipline. His incredible discipline is neither the thought of nor an act of self-annihilation.” This seems to be a weakness in his argument that the primary goal of Christianity is the perpetuation of the “white” race. By leaving room for spiritual (i.e., non physical or racial) salvation and ignoring the fact that the consequences of a lifetime of celibacy are far more devastating than the occasional use of contraception in terms of perpetuating the white race seems inconsistent at best.

He goes on to say, “The intent of the truly celibate IS NOT TO self-annihilate or refuse to bring more of one’s Self into this world, but rather, a calling to bring the most spiritually, intellectually and physically disciplined SELF that one can muster into REALITY.” By this he seems to argue that intent is the metric by which one can be labeled a “self-annihilator”. In other words, in order for one to be a self-annihilator he must intend to be one. I am pretty sure, however, that if I suggested it is not my intent to self-annihilate when I use contraception that he would not concede the point.

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Deconstructing a Radically Autonomous Box of Subjectivity

SkylineOver the course of my last two blog posts, How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog and The Mentality Behind Baiting and Trolling, as well as their respective comment sections I have been having a dialog with an individual named Thordaddy. I assume from his perspective our discussion has been a debate about what he thinks “Liberals” believe about abortion and contraception. From my perspective the dialog has been more of an exploration of his belief structure. In particular I have observed that he maintains this belief structure through the use of a box of subjectivity. Within this box he is free to make up his own definitions and rules of logic. In a sense he is free to believe anything he wants because inside the box his subjective mindset becomes objectively true.

Most notably, Thordaddy argues that Liberals believe abortion is reproductive right. He also argues that Liberals believe contraception is reproductive right. He defines reproductive right as the right to reproduce. Abortion / Contraception and reproduction are antithetical. Therefore Thodaddy concludes that the Liberals’ belief structure is illogical and wrong.

There are many problems with Thordaddy’s argument however.

First of all not all Liberals are in favor of abortion. In fact, it has been my experience that most people are liberal on some issues and conservative on others. A good example of this are Libertarians who tend to be conservative on issues of economics, public policy and foreign policy but liberal on social issues. So the label of Liberal as a monolithic category in which to place people is highly suspect. I suspect people who are monolithic in their thought structure (like Thordaddy) will always see the world and other people in this way. This tendency to categorize and label (in effect to place people in boxes) is analogous to the box of subjectivity in which he has placed himself.

Second, Thordaddy argues that because Liberals believe abortion “is reproductive right” and Liberals also believe contraception “is reproductive right” then abortion and contraception are per se the same thing. This is the transitive property which holds that if A = B and B = C then A = C. The problem with this argument is, however, that no one but Thordaddy use either phrase “abortion is reproductive right” or “contraception is reproductive right.” It would be more accurate to say that the right to abortion and the right to contraception are legal rights related to a person’s reproductive right. As such you might be able to say that C = A + B + Other rights not discussed in this blog post. But, this in no way makes A and B equal. A reading of the comment section in the previous posts will show that I pointed this out to Thordaddy but he did not acknowledge it. This is a great illustration of how he is free to believe what he wants within his box of subjectivity.

Third, Thordaddy switches back and forth between saying Liberals believe Abortion IS REPRODUCTIVE RIGHT (which no one does) and saying Liberals believe ABORTION IS A REPRODUCTIVE RIGHT whenever it suits his purposes to do so. These two phrases do not mean the same thing. The first phrase if true and if it is also true that Liberals believe “contraception is reproductive right” would support his transitive property argument. However, none of that is true. Thordaddy also says Liberals believe ABORTION IS A REPRODUCTIVE RIGHT (which is true to the extent that abortion is a legal right which is related to the reproductive process). However, the fact that he has argued using both phrases further diminishes the potency of his transitive property argument. Unfortunately, explaining these nuances is complicated. Accordingly, it is a simple task for him to persist in his illogical argument as if its logical flaws have not been demonstrated. This is a key strategy that allows him to remain inside his self constructed ideological box.

Fourth, Thordaddy self identifies as a Christian but does not seem to follow any of the tenants of Christianity. I do not say this to judge his religious beliefs, mind you. I am pointing it out because he has judged other people’s religious beliefs rather harshly. He seems to argue that because he self identifies as a Christian and he self identifies as a white supremacist that therefore Christianity is white supremacy. This is another obvious misuse of the transitive property objectively speaking. But it serves his subjective purposes well in that it provides moral cover for his racist beliefs even though there is no logic or reason supporting it. But logic and reason exist in the realm of the objective which he is not ultimately interested in. His ultimate interest is to remain encapsulated within his subjective box thinking that it is objective.

Fifth, Thordaddy argues that I am not Christian because I use contraception in the context of marriage after having had two children. Because he equates contraception and abortion he sees this (I presume) as a violation of the Sixth Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Kill.” (Ex 20:13). Let us put aside the argument that contraception is not killing a life but rather preventing a life from coming into existence in the first place. Let us also put aside the argument that abstinence and contraception produce the same result. Now, Jesus Christ (from whom Christianity gets its name and belief structure) stated that the “Great Commandment” is to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself. (Matt 22:36-40). This in effect, elevates Love Thy Neighbor above Thou Shall Not Kill in importance. Why then would he believe that the use of contraception bars a person from being a Christian whereas hating one’s neighbor does not?

Clearly, both logic and Christian doctrine are not his strong suite. But none of this matters to him while he is encapsulated inside his radically autonomous box of subjectivity.

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