Tag Archives: Christianity

Thordaddy’s Claim that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” accords with Christian Doctrine

This post is part of a series of posts designed to address the common topics brought by a frequent commentator to my blog named Thordaddy. Please see this post for an introduction to this series.

Thordaddy claims that Christianity is a “(S)upremacist” religion, therefore any white Christian must be a “white (S)upremacist”. There are two problems with this claim. First, (as always) Thordaddy’s unique terminology is vaguely and confusingly defined. Second, there is no scriptural basis for this assertion.

(a) The reoccurring problem with definitions

Thordaddy uses two definitions for white supremacy: (1) the mundane definition, and (2) the absolute definition. The mundane definition of white supremacy is the common definition that most people share. That is, “the belief, theory or doctrine that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and therefore should dominate society.” By contrast, Thordaddy argues that he practices the “absolute” version of “white (S)upremacy” which he defines as a “white man who believes in and therefore strives towards perfection.” Thordaddy admits that these practices are not mutually exclusive. That is, a practitioner of absolute white (S)upremacy will often also be a practitioner of mundane white supremacy.

Now, Thordaddy often argues that the “dull masses” abhor the practice of absolute white (S)upremacy because they cannot see past the mundane version of white supremacy. This, I believe is incorrect. First, I do not think anyone would object to a white person striving for perfection unrelated to the mundane definition. I certainly cannot think of an example of this happening. Second, if the mundane and the absolute practices are often “intertwined” (as Thordaddy has said) then this is very likely the reason why the “dull masses” cannot see past the concept of mundane white supremacy. Moreover, Thordaddy is unwilling or unable to provide a clear definition regarding what he means by “striving towards perfection.” When asked for a definition or example the best he could offer was his “spreading his righteousness” to people he encounters. I assume this means him communicating his racist message in his unique communication style which again seems to only reflect the mundane definition.

In conclusion, if we are defining “supremacy” as trying to be the best you can be and a “white (S)upremacist” as someone trying to be the best they can be who also happens to be white, then I suppose Thordaddy could legitimately make the argument that Christianity is a “(S)upremacist religion”.  However, if the mundane definition is employed, then there can be no doubt that Christianity is not a supremacist religion because there is no scriptural support to support this contention. In fact, quite the opposite, as we will discuss in the next section.

(b) The lack of scriptural foundation

In the past, when confronted with the argument that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” accords with Christian doctrine has no scriptural basis, Thordaddy has never once countered with a scriptural passage supporting his position. This suggests to me that he is not at all familiar with scripture. Further, I suspect his lack of familiarity with scripture is on some level intentional, because if he was familiar with scripture, he would then have to explain the discrepancies between his arguments and the scripture. There are many obvious discrepancies. The following are a few of the most glaring examples.

(i) “Love thy Neighbor as Thyself”

In the past, Thordaddy has taken the novel position that the Second Greatest Commandment does not instruct a Christian to actually love his neighbor as a general proposition. Rather the commandment is to love his neighbor only to the extent that he loves himself. Accordingly, if a person does not love himself he is under no obligation to love his neighbor. He uses this as a license with the blessing of Christian dogma to hate his neighbor if he so chooses. I find this a novel interpretation of the commandment chiefly because, it has been my experience that (with the exception of Thordaddy alone) all Christians seem to agree that there is an underlying assumption embedded within the Second Greatest Commandment that a person would naturally love himself.

Moreover, Thordaddy’s interpretation of the Greatest Commandment is logically inconsistent with his unique interpretation of the second great commandment. His interpretation of the Greatest Commandment is to give all love to God such that there is no love remaining for the self and less still for the neighbor. In other words he sees love as a zero sum game in which there is a finite amount of love to go around and if all of a person’s love goes to God there is none left for anyone else. I would argue that the plain meaning of the Greatest Commandment speaks to the intensity of love and not to the percentage of love available. Furthermore, Thordaddy’s interpretation of the Greatest Commandment eliminates the need for the Second Greatest Commandment. That is, it would not make sense for Christ to specifically emphasize the Second Greatest Commandment in the gospels if the Greatest Commandment effectively rendered it moot.

His unique interpretation of the Second Greatest Commandment is made more peculiar still by the fact that he is obsessed with the concept of the (presumably sinful) act of self-annihilation which he seems to take delight in accusing other people of committing. I asked him point blank if he loved himself and he repeatedly dodged this question which surprised me. I would think a person who feels so strongly that the act of self annihilation is so morally wrong would naturally love himself. I assume, however, that he does not want to admit to loving himself because by his own logic he would then be compelled by the Second Greatest Commandment to also love his neighbor. In this light, his reluctance to admit to loving himself seems to prove that even he is dubious of his unique interpretation.

(ii)  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”

From its inception, Christianity has been a racially ecumenical religion. This is expressly stated in the Gospel of Mark:

Afterward [Jesus] appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:14-15)

Here we see Jesus himself commanding his disciples to preach the good news of his resurrection to “every creature” in “all the world.” He, by no means instructed them to limit their teachings to their own kind, let alone exclusively white people,

(iii) “The fruit of the spirit”

Racism is also at odds with St. Paul’s conception of the “Fruit of the Spirit” he writes about 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)

Racism, seems very much in accord with what St. Paul describes as the “desires of the flesh” particularly including “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy”. 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 Thordaddy’s comments. This is one of many reasons (beyond his incoherence and his illogical arguments) I hold his contempt and judgment of his fellow Christians suspect. Accordingly, if he intends to hold himself out as a righteous Christian, perhaps he should reconsider the spirit behind his message. And if the spirit behind his message cannot be reconciled with his message perhaps he should reconsider his message.

 

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Thordaddy’s Concept of White Supremacy

This post is part of a series of posts designed to address the common topics brought by a frequent commentator to my blog named Thordaddy. Please see this post for an introduction to this series.

(1) The Ambiguous Definition

Thordaddy has defined what he refers to as “white (S)upremacy” in the following manner:

White men who believe in and therefore strive towards objective (S)upremacy are white (S)upremacists. … [T]he definition of objective (S)upremacy is (P)erfection. What is (P)erfection? HE WHO WILLS ALL (R)IGHT.

This definition, however, does little to clarify what Thordaddy has in mind when using these terms. Declaring “objective (S)upremacy” means “(P)erfection” means “HE WHO WILLS ALL RIGHT” does not give me an understanding of what these terms mean or what a person would do to strive towards “objective (P)erfection”. I assume the “HE” Thordaddy refers to is Jesus or perhaps God the father. But if one were to imitate Jesus, it seems very unlikely that they would act as Thordaddy does particularly his hostility towards other races. Ultimately, a person trying to understand what he is attempting to articulate is left confused which he then claims is evidence of “radical autonomy” and “self-annihilation”.

(2) Thordaddy’s claim “white (S)upremacy” is distinct from “white supremacy”

On a general level, it seems to me that the “definition” above is an attempt by Thordaddy to distance his concept of “white (S)upremacy” from the commonly understood concept of white supremacy, which by its plain meaning promotes the idea that white people should be supreme over (and thus hostile to) other “nonwhite” races. Thordaddy, however, denies this by saying:

This is exactly what I AM NOT TRYING TO DO. The “commonly understood concept” of “white (s)upremacy” is the liberated concept whereas my articulation represents the absolute concept. … [T]he liberated concept has perversely illegitimated the absolute concept in the minds of the degenerately dull mass. And those who participate in this deception are almost certainly hell bound without repentance.

As we have established supra, the “absolute concept” of “white (S)upremacy” is white men who strive towards perfection. Although Thordaddy has consistently resisted defining what he means by perfection, or what one would do to achieve perfection, we can assume that he means something along the lines of “white men trying to be the best they can be morally and in other dimensions.”

This begs the question as to how “absolute white (S)upremacy” has been “perversely illegitimated” by the commonly understood form of white supremacy? For example, I don’t think anyone equates the 2019 white supremacist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand with other white men trying to act morally in other contexts. The two have nothing to do with each other as far as I can tell. But Thordaddy seems to believe the two are connected and that liberals have somehow conspired to make them connected.

(3) Thordaddy’s claim “white (S)upremacy” has nothing to do with other races.

Thordaddy has at times argued that “white (S)upremacy” has nothing to do with other races and that “striving towards objective (P)erfection” is something akin to white people trying to be the best they can be on their own, and not related or in comparison to other races. He becomes very dodgy when asked what “perfection” means in this context nor does he seem to be able to provide concrete examples of what a white man would do whilst in the act of striving towards perfection. For example, he stated the following in the comment section to this blog post:

If I offer every individual who crosses my path my righteousness then I have expressed a desire for (P)erfection. It need not be anymore complicated than this.

If a group of white men share this desire, the horde of orcs call it “white (s)upremacy” (or racist a [sic] Christianity).

In the quoted passage above we see Thordaddy give an example of his “striving towards perfection” as him “offer[ing his] righteousness”. I assume the literally hundreds of comments he has posted on my blog is an example of him “offering” me “his righteousness”. If that is the case, then I am unclear as to what is “perfect” about this. On the contrary, it seems obsessive and maladapted. Moreover, if he really wanted to offer his “righteousness” perfectly, I would think he would be able to communicate it in a manner that could be understood.

Further, I am unsure why he believes his acts of “offering his righteousness” to be unrelated to other races when his “righteousness” is replete with racial epitaphs. His own logic seems to betray him on this point as well as is evidenced in the following quote:

So when I say that my offering of righteousness to whomever crosses my path has nothing to do with other races, this is no different than saying that my offering of righteousness is not contingent upon the existence of other races.

I think what he is saying here is that when he offers his righteousness (i.e., insults other races, or labels those who question this behavior “radically autonomous” or a “self-annihilator”) it has nothing to do with other races because he, himself is white. He seems to believe his “white (S)upremacy” and his hostility to other races are unrelated and coincidental. But I think any reasonable person would find this argument dubious at best. The dubiousness of this argument is further reinforced by the following comment he posted:

I need only point to the single instance of the entire socio-political “spectrum” being against [a] white man desiring “supremacy.” IOW, the dulled, mass desire for “equality” JUST IS animus for white men desiring (P)erfection. [The] “Equality” dogma JUST IS the reaction to white man’s desire for objective (S)upremacy.

Why is desire for (P)erfection racial?

Because desire for “equality” is anti-racial.

Here we see Thordaddy explicitly contradict his own claim that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” is unrelated to other races. He says quite clearly that the “desire for (P)erfection” (i.e., his concept of “white (S)upremacy”) is racial. And that “equality” (i.e., the opposite of a “desire for (P)erfection”) is “anti-racial”. One marvels at the mental gymnastics he must put himself through to make sense of all this.

Ultimately, it is obvious that Thordaddy is racist according to the common understanding of this term but is unwilling to fully own his racism as is evidenced by his attempts to philosophically or “intellectually” justify it. Moreover, the fact that he is incapable of clearly defining what he means by “striving towards (P)erfection” or what one can do to accomplish this state (besides trolling my blog with hundreds of comments) is also telling.

(4) Thordaddy’s Queer Assertion – “Your Race is Your Father”

Thordaddy often makes the claim that a person’s race is his father and that a line of fathers extends back to God the Father. The implication to this assertion is that a white person’s line of fathers is different from a non-white person’s line of fathers. Therefore, because the lines of fathers are different between races, there is no requirement to love a person of a different race. In fact, to love a person of another race is an act of self-annihilation according to Thordaddy. Of course one glaring problem with this theory is that “race” is not so easily defined and certainly blurs around the edges when examined closely. Moreover, a recent study has shown that every living person on Earth today shares a common male ancestor. Accordingly, every living person shares the same, ultimate line of fathers.

What also makes this claim strange is that Thordaddy apparently does not believe women to be a part of a person’s race. He asserts this even though women are required to procreate just as much as men are. This is yet another example of Thordaddy taking an obvious concept, claiming the opposite is true and then justifying it with a line of complicated mumbo jumbo.

 

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Thordaddian Stock Response Repository

This series of post can probably be ignored by most of my readers unless they are Thordaddy or have been following his voluminous comments and my responses thereto in the comment sections to other blog posts. For just one example of his obsessive comments, please see the comment section of my previous post. You can also review the comments to this blog post as well. You will notice that all his comments revolve around his personal philosophy of white supremacy. In fact, he has a history of transforming the comment section for any blog post I make into a conversation on white supremacy regardless of the original topic.

For a long time, I indulged him primarily because his voluminous comments tended to increase the overall traffic to my blog. I indulged him secondarily because trying to understand and then countering his theories and arguments presented an intellectual challenge. However, this interaction has gone on too long and has become tiresome. The same subjects, arguments and counter arguments have been made ad nauseam (to the fullest extent of that term).

Therefore, I have created this series of posts for two main reasons. First, I want to save some time and effort by putting all of my stock answers to his arguments and accusations in one area which can then be referred to when the subject arises again without having to redundantly re-argue the same topic over and over. Second, because his obsessive commenting tends to turn every comment section of every post on my blog into a “debate” on the subject of white supremacy, I want to confine this business to one area of my blog. This will allow future posts unrelated to white supremacy to remain unpolluted by this dialog. I suspect some training will be required in that I will have to delete his comments to future posts and direct him back to this series. So be it.

Here are the subjects addressed thus far:

Thordaddy’s Use of Private Jargon / Secret Language

Thordaddy’s Twin Concepts of “Radical Autonomy” and “Self-Annihilation”

Thordaddy’s Concept of White Supremacy

Thordaddy’s Claim that White Supremacy Accords With Christian Doctrine

Note: I reserve the right to edit any post in this series to address any new arguments that happen to arise.

 

 

 

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Is it Freedom or Ego that is the Problem?

There has been much discussion on various anti-liberal blogs that freedom (i.e., the idea behind liberalism) is the cause of all society’s ills. There is the notion that if only liberalism could be abolished then something better would take its place and all the social problems of modernity would be solved. I suppose the thinking is that anything is better than liberalism therefore there is no need to come up with a replacement for it. Or perhaps the reluctance to come up with a replacement reflects the subconscious knowledge that liberalism really is not the problem and that the same issues will come to exist under any type of regime.

One theory I see over and over again is that liberalism leads to evil and specifically mass murder because it is “incoherent.” The theory that liberalism is “incoherent” is based upon the premise that a government action is by its nature restrictive. Even if a government acts to promote the rights of one person or group of people it will necessarily restrict the rights of another person or group of people. Therefore, it is “incoherent” to say that a priority of government should be to protect the freedom of its citizens (as Western governments typically do) because in actuality a government cannot protect the freedom of one group of people without assaulting the freedom of another group of people. For example (the argument goes) if the government protects the right of one group to speak freely it will necessarily assault the right of another group to not have to listen to what the first group has to say.

Let us assume this analysis actually proves the incoherence of liberalism (and not the balancing of competing priorities). Does this incoherence really lead to mass murder as is claimed by the anti-liberals? The anti-liberal’s “go to” example of modern day mass murder is abortion. They argue that because liberalism is incoherent it can be used to justify abortion just as it was used (they argue) to justify the killing of Jews by the Nazis in World War II, the nuking of Hiroshima and the execution of opponents to Communist reform in the Soviet Union under Stalin. This justification arises under the “principle of explosion” apparently because under a contradictory logical construct such as is (supposedly) liberalism anything can be logically inferred to be true.

There are a few problems with this line of thinking. First of all, understanding the “principle of explosion” requires more than a bit of formal logic theory under one’s belt. It is not a theory that is readily grasped by the general public without this education. Therefore, to say that this principle is somehow used by liberals to justify their actions seems to be a bit of a stretch on its face. However, the argument might be that although expressing the principle of explosion in formal logic requires an education in logic that most people do not have, the principle itself is sound because most people on some intuitive level appreciate it to be true and use it to justify their beliefs psychologically. This too I think is a stretch because the intuitive level is governed more by emotion and ego than obscure rules of formal logic. But let us also assume this to be correct.

So then, we are now assuming it is correct that the belief in incoherent doctrines can lead to mass murder. It seems to me that from the perspective of the orthodox Christians who believe this this theory there is an obvious flaw they are ignoring. That is, the belief that incoherent doctrines lead to mass murder not only condemns liberalism (assuming liberalism is actually incoherent) but it would also condemn Christianity itself. There are many tenets in Christianity that are incoherent on their face (arguably). For example, the doctrine of the Trinity is logically incoherent. The belief that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man is logically incoherent. The belief that the Eucharist is actually transformed into the body and blood of Christ during the Roman Catholic mass is logically incoherent. The theodicy question suggests an incoherence to Christianity as well. These are but a few examples of arguments that could be made to demonstrate the incoherence of Christianity that are far more convincing (in my mind) than the argument that supposedly demonstrates the incoherence of liberalism.

All that being said, I do not consider either liberalism or Christianity to be incoherent. Nor do I believe that an incoherence of a doctrine logically leads to mass murder. So then the question arises what does give rise to these incidences of mass murder than take place in modern times? I think a far more logical explanation for the existence of mass murder in modern times is the modern technology that makes it possible.

The anti-liberals will argue that these acts of mass murder have only occurred under liberal regimes. But the fact that these events have (arguably) occurred only under liberal regimes does not prove that only liberal regimes are capable of committing acts of mass murder. Indeed the same people who argue only liberal regimes can commit mass murder are the same people who argue there are only liberal regimes in modern times. I think it is clear that this line of thinking easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy because if there are only liberal regimes in the world then any crime committed in the world can be blamed on liberalism. Moreover, examples of illiberal regimes committing acts of mass murder (albeit on a smaller scale) can be pointed to in the Inquisition and the Crusades. It is easy to conceive that these acts of cruelty could have been much more extensive had the perpetrators had access to modern technology.

I use these examples not to attack Christianity. I am a Christian. I use them to demonstrate that any political philosophy or belief system is capable of mass murder given the right circumstances and therefore to believe that the supposed incoherence of liberalism is responsible for these acts is a fallacy.

But modern technology is not the whole explanation. So what then is the discriminating authority that causes one person or group of people to commit an act of violence on another person or group of people? Might I suggest that it is ego. It is the voice within the self that says I am right and he is wrong. It is the voice within the self that says I am different than him (or her). It is the voice in the self that says I am better than him or her. It is the voice within the self that says if you disagree with me you must lack the capacity to understand me. It is the voice in the self that says you are my enemy. In my mind (and I would think most reasonable people would agree) this is the real problem.

 

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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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