Archive for June, 2012

50 Shades of Grace

Posted in Humour etc. on June 28, 2012 by RWZero

I Googled this just to check if the Christians thought of this one. They did.

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Telling Things as they Are

Posted in The Facts and Ideas, The Narrow Path on June 28, 2012 by RWZero

I have a profile on an online dating site (hint: it’s a free one). I was contacted by a hot girl of Indian descent, who expressed some interest. After a little bit of banter, and noticing that she was a PhD student who I hoped would be somewhat rational, I confessed something I don’t often admit to people. I confessed that I am mostly just (physically) attracted to people who are the same ethnicity as I am. I wanted to see what she would say–it has not been easy for me, living in Toronto, and mostly being attracted to white people. We are practically a minority here.

The response? Not only did she call me closed-minded and “racist,” but she noticed that my profile name was a nonsense German compound word, and she said that this didn’t help my case for not being a white supremacist. In response, I told her that she was the one who was prejudiced, and if she would like to teach me how to change my physical desires, I’d gladly volunteer–hopefully she could also teach my gay friend to be attracted to women. I also called her an idiot and told her that her PhD obviously wasn’t doing her any good.

You see, this is something I always liked about Christians. They weren’t afraid of that shit. They tell it like it is: no political correctness, no tolerance, no irrational compromise between their premises and their conclusions. For instance, God said homosexuality was wrong, so when liberal societal authorities demand that you not only tolerate gay people but approve of gay sexual behaviour, Christians said “no; we won’t approve because we believe God’s law says it’s wrong, and you clearly don’t understand the concept of tolerance.” I think Christians are mistaken about this, but it is only their fundamental premises that I find faulty–when it comes to seeing the obvious and standing up for the logical conclusions of their existing beliefs, I am forced to give evangelical Christians top marks. It is one reason I found it so hard to let go of them.

Unless liberal, secular society learns to debug its absurdities, it will have image problems with people who can see the plain and obvious. You do not call a man “racist” because his penis tends to automatically respond primarily to women who are the same colour as him. You do not call people white supremacists because they are half German and enjoy the German language. You do not call people homophobic or bigoted simply because they believe God created man and woman with the moral expectation that they exclusively mate with the opposite gender (even if they are incorrect about this belief). Racism is consciously choosing to devalue people based on race. Homophobia and bigotry is consciously treating homosexual people badly–not having a theological opinion about the act of gay sex.

Convicting people of thought crime for not liking the same things as you–this is a borderline totalitarian sentiment. The secular values that are permeating society, today, demand on pain of moral censure that you feel the same way they do about everything. It is not enough just to tolerate it. Oddly enough, this is an almost religious sentiment. The “racism” example I wrote about here has nothing to do with religion, but it is an extreme extension of the attitudes towards religion that are also displayed by this liberal secularism, and I think it will be a crippling barrier to the advance of secular thought (or rational thought, rather; I am not necessarily in favour of “secularization”) so long as people fail to realize how absurd it has become, and how repulsive the attitude is to religious people. And you see, it is all related: considering that a lot of the Christians holding up the boat are feisty white conservatives, these (flawed) white-hating attitudes will do nothing to win them over.

Anonymous Evangelism

Posted in The Narrow Path on June 26, 2012 by RWZero

I am back. I hugged the Kierkegaard statue in Copenhagen while I was there.

Someone anonymously left a Christian book in my mail slot while I was gone. I’m quite proud of this; it makes me feel like my career in the marketplace of ideas is valued…

Scandinavia

Posted in The Narrow Path on June 5, 2012 by RWZero

I am off to the land of long daylight hours and distressed philosophers. I’ll be back on June 25. I don’t intend to post anything until then.

The Real Hitch-22

Posted in The Facts and Ideas, The Narrow Path on June 2, 2012 by RWZero

Atheists, like Christians, are not all the same. Atheists who dislike religion do not even dislike it for all the same reasons. Some hate the doctrines of eternal punishment, some hate the illogical arguments, some hate the stunting of free inquiry. Christopher Hitchens was an atheist who had, I thought, a somewhat novel reason for hating religion. Amidst a throng of scientifically-motivated hatred for supernatural explanations and superstition, Hitchens gave remarkably human reasons for his loathing of Christianity: he found it a totalitarian notion.

For Hitchens, the thought of an all-knowing, all-judging God was the thought of  “living in a divine North Korea.” Our individual freedom squelched under a cosmic, rubber-glove-clad thumb. Our thoughts convicting us and sentencing us to death at the moment they stray from Big Brother’s demands. Our souls made sick by the one who commands us to be well, on pain of eternal torment.

Hitchens had a good point, and he did a good job of identifying a problem. But there is also a good counterpoint, and he didn’t do a good job of handling that. Herein lies the Hitch’s real Catch-22–he can either live in a divine North Korea, where an almighty God dictates every aspect of our lives, or he can live in a universe where the laws of nature dictate every aspect of our lives. There is no freedom to choose where one is born, to choose what one believes (apart from what one’s brains spits out upon being fed the input), to escape the arrangement of pleasures and pains that have been laid out for us. Is it a consolation to live in a divine North Korea where the throne is empty, but the soldiers nonetheless enforce the law, for nobody’s sake?

The problem here seems to be determinism. It is not immediately obvious which flavour is more difficult to swallow. I find it terrible to think that there is nobody to help us, to put a cushion at the bottom of (some of) our deterministic paths. Hitchens finds it terrible to think that someone might have done this to us, on purpose, in the first place. Perhaps, as the philosophers say, there is no space between the horns.