A Common Insanity

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There is a common insanity today. It is that we have separated all that we hold dear from reality: we have separated values from facts. As a result, morality has become a matter of personal preference, a sort of delusion that we indulge in. If separation has created the problem, a marriage of the two will fix it. So let’s do it. Let’s marry it. Here we go: All things are moral, from the rocks and the trees to the birds in the sky, even man himself. All things are for an end and all things are for a use. Water is good to drink, coal to burn, and wool to wear. A thing is good insofar as a working together of parts and efforts serves its proper end. This is essential to any being. A thwarting of that end or a misuse of it is wrong. Wool cannot be drunk, water cannot be spun, coal cannot be eaten. Each of these things in nature is an education to the mind, an education in proper use. Just like water has its proper use, so does a man and woman. A man cannot be a woman and a woman cannot be a man. Any argument that asserts otherwise requires the separation of nature from morality; a separation of facts from values. Marry them together and we have a foundation for right and wrong. Separate them and we merely have cultural preferences that aren’t founded in anything real; in short, a delusion.

Things have their proper use. Natural things are made to serve a certain end. We all look at something and ask “What it is for? What is its purpose?” Nature does have a purpose after all, doesn’t it? Things are made and formed in certain ways and not others. This is indeed evidence for God. If things produced an infinite variety of ends, i.e. if water was sometimes for making thread, if coal was sometimes for drinking, and never at any time could we figure out what was going to be produced next, there would be no such thing as purpose. There would only be chaos and we would not have evidence for God. But, things do happen quite regularly, don’t they. There is order. There is a God.

Nature is the ally of religion.

Congress confesses its sins before God

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March 20, 1781: The United States, in Congress assembled, agreed to the following–

At all times it is our duty to acknowledge the overruling providence of the Great Governor of the universe, and devoutly to implore his Divine favor and protection. But in the hour of calamity and impending danger, when, by fire and the sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and by our own domestics, a vindictive enemy pursues a war of rapine and devastation with unrelenting fury, we are peculiarly excited with true penitence of heart to prostrate ourselves before our great Creator, and fervently to supplicate his gracious interposition for our deliverance.

The United States in Congress assembled, therefore, do earnestly recommend that Thursday, the third day of May next, may be observed as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, that we may with united hearts confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by sincere repentance and amendment of life appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits of our blessed Savior  obtain pardon and forgiveness; that it may please him to inspire our leaders with incorruptible integrity, and to direct and prosper their councils; to inspire all our citizens with a fervent and disinterested love of their country, and to preserve and strengthen their union… and to render the connection formed between these United States and his kingdom a mutual and lasting benefit to both nations…; that it may please him to bless all schools and seminaries of learning, and to grant that truth, justice and benevolence and pure and undefiled religion may universally prevail.

The Incoherence of the Accusers

In the same breath, the modern man will condemn Christianity for being too morally restrictive because it prohibits sexual promiscuity, and denounce it for being too morally permissive because a serial killer can go to heaven if he comes to Christ. I do not see very many happy monogamists condemning Christianity’s sexual prohibitions, neither do I see the murderer repulsed by forgiveness. I think the incoherent accuser does not like to hear that he is wrong. No man does. But, can we trust the judgments of the man who breaks the law he condemns?

The god-man

An enthusiastic address given to the brightest minds of our age:

 

“My fellow atheists, If we are to dispense with the old understanding of the universe which is touted by the religious as a purposeful universe, proving that we can live a moral life without God is not a sufficient tactic, moreover it is delusional. We only need to destroy the idea of God in man. As soon as all men have denied God, a new era will emerge in which all things will be lawful. Morality will no longer be relevant; indeed, it will become incoherent. And, it will not help our cause.

This thought should not be a bother. We must face it with courage and unflinching steadfastness. Let not your heart be troubled, as has once been said. A new beginning will arise, and men will band together to consume from life all it has to give. Consideration for the past and the future will be discarded for the joy and happiness of the present. The universe will glorify the image of man and the man-god will at last appear. Moment by moment he will be driven with a sense of nobility and gratefulness being cognizant of the improbability of his existence and his privileged position. Conscious of the fleeting momentariness of life, he will not despair of his end, but will live life all the more, loving his brother without desire for accolade; a love which has heretofore been dissipated by thoughts of life beyond the grave. He will extend his conquest of nature through the sheer power of his own will utilizing the methods of science until all things are put under his feet.

But, let us not delude ourselves with the old and fallacious notions of morality. The god-man need not justify anything; indeed, who would he justify it to? There is no law for gods. Where gods stand, the place is holy. All things are lawful for the man whose very essence is the source from which the law emanates. We did not understand this before when we accused God of immorality. Can swine say unto the farmer, “what doest thou?” when the farmer does not eat the same slop in the trough nor reside in the same cage as they? Is the farmer immoral because he does not live by the rules of the swine?

Even so, men, not being used to forming laws, but only recognizing them where they find them already formed, ignorantly judge God by those laws. I repeat, there is no law for God or there would exist a being greater than He. So it is, that there is no law for the god-man, or there would be one greater than he. As it was for God, so it will be for the god-man. It is essential also to note, that neither is there any law to which the god-man can appeal that mediates between the contentions of men. If there were, clearly, there would be a God; and we would cease to be the god-man and become a slave. The very idea of God was tyrannical in nature. While we held it, we were never free. We must break free of these shackles.

Let us not think, however, that there is a new morality operating by the axiom “all things are lawful.” There is no morality. Consider, if you will, that in the absence of God, men who have realized their divinity can divinely approve their own actions. And, since no two men have ever agreed on every single issue, nor indeed has any man always agreed with himself, all actions of men are both divinely approved and disapproved. The same things, then, are holy and unholy at the same time. Do you not see, now, how the very concept of morality is incoherent? Therefore, let us leave it aside and quit trying to be “good without God”, for there can be no such thing. That thought is a product of our imagination and a delusion that indicates we are still holding on to some infinitesimal notion of God.

Brethren, may we move on into the next stage of evolution where everything is determined, and mankind can no longer be moved; an era without morality, an era without God, an era where there cannot possibly be any change, and thus no possibility of redemption. Let us accept things as they are and live in the bare nakedness of that honesty. Then, indeed, will the old conceptions of the universe fall away. And, let us accept neither delusion nor imagination to comfort us and quell our anxieties. For there is, now we know, nothing but us, and we must go on with courage.

Thank you and goodnight.”

Atheism and the Bonds of Society

“An atheist is a person who questions every kind of authority, and this is the thing that is important. Because, if we can, without blinking an eye, question the ultimate authority, God, who must be obeyed; then we can question the authority of the state, we can question the authority of a university structure, we can question the authority of our employer, we can question anything.”

–Madalyn Murray O’Hair (quote from here)

“A being, independent of any other, has no rule to pursue, but such as he prescribes to himself…”

— Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England

“Those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all.”

“For in all states of created beings capable of laws, where there is no law, there is no freedom; for liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be where there is no law: but freedom is not, as we are told, a liberty for every man to do what he lists: (for who could be free, when every other man’s humor might domineer over him?)”

–1. John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration,  2. John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

“For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.”

–Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England

The law of human nature is not, in all points, a limitation of human freedom but a direction of a freewill agent toward his proper interest. That law does not deserve the description of confinement which prevents us from falling off of cliffs and getting stuck in ditches. It’s aim is to preserve and broaden our freedom, not only to restrain.

If no God exists, then no law of human nature exists. If no law of human nature exists, then all government of human society is arbitrary and has no objective foundation or obligation upon men.

Moreover, there is no foundation for the establishment of government by free discourse in light of atheism because there is no objective and equal value of human persons to respect concerning each other’s jurisdiction or dominion over one another. Others need not respect the property (life, liberty, and estate) of their neighbors because no one has laid equality upon them or an obligation to respect.

The only reason, outside of the law of human nature, that can be maintained concerning respect of property, is only in the pursuit of certain social ends: i.e. If it is the case that men are pleased to preserve their property, then they need only confine their actions in such a manner as to meet those ends. But, let it be clear, if there is no superior being to lay an obligation upon them, then the choice to confine one’s action toward the preservation of property is arbitrary, and only holds so much as men are pleased to do so.

Also on atheism, outside of society, freedom is to do what one lists. There is no security within which one may conduct one’s affairs without constant threat of harm, and that harm cannot be considered illegitimate. There is no law the victim may appeal to, neither has he right to punish the offender, although, he may punish the offender if it so pleases him.

Furthermore, since rules of society are arbitrary, in a democratic society where the social end is peace with one another, those who think themselves outside this arbitrary law can rightly consider it tyranny. Tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, and right cannot be defined by arbitrary decision if a person is not pleased to accept that arbitrary decision.

This is why John Locke states that promises and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, cannot hold for an atheist. He has no law but such as he prescribes to himself and it holds as long as it pleases him to hold it.

The objection may arise, “But there are, indeed moral atheists. Are you saying that atheist are inherently immoral?” No. Because there is a law of human nature and they can apprehend it as much as the religious man can. They can be just as moral or even more so than the Christian because the same law holds for both and both understand it. Not only does the law of nature govern them, but the laws of the society they are in confine their actions as well. However, since the atheist has rejected God, the only foundation for moral obligation; the option is left open to him to reject the law of society and the bonds of nature’s law, even in the smallest of measures, because his true foundation is whatever pleases him.

The Christian Bible

Truth is exclusive, therefore, not all religious texts can be true if they disagree with one another. However, that is not a reason to discount all texts. Search for the text that is true. It is possible that all texts can be false. But, it is equally possible that at least one could be true. You should engage in this process of weeding out the lies to find the truth, and not falsely and lazily declare the whole process pointless.

People stick to the Christian Bible because they believe they have found truth for their lives that gives meaning, purpose, and a clear grounding for morality. But moreover, they believe they have found the fulfillment of human existence in the union of God and man. And, in my opinion, the Christian Bible provides the only way for that union to exist without requiring you to attain an unreachable goal of perfection; which also simultaneously nullifies any self-pride that might have emerged because of the work that you might have done to achieve salvation. The Christian Bible declares salvation by the hands of God only. It is God seeking man, and not man seeking God. I believe that is one of the main differences between Christianity and all other religions.

And to me, this truth is obvious because through experience in this world, we see that man is not just the questioner, he is the question. When he asks a question, he looks for answers because the answer is not in him. He must find it. Every question that God asks points back to himself for he doesn’t just give answers, he is the answer. Truth is wholly apart from us. It exists out of the necessity of its own nature. And the Christian Bible, to me, provides the clearest view of truth. If you treat it the same as every other text, you will never see truth in it.

Evolutionary Contradiction

Can anyone find the contradiction in this picture?

Humans being a product of natural processes are being held responsible for their natural actions which pollute the world. Humans which were created by cause and effect brought about through natural mechanisms, cannot be held responsible for actions they have no control over. On the atheistic view, this is a natural product of the universe which seems to want to destroy itself through the actions of humans. There is no morality here, no obligation, just an observation of the natural outcome of the natural processes.

Choose Your Own Adventure

When we are young we have faith in our parents. We obey them (hopefully) because they love us and they show us how life is, and what it should be. As we get older we put faith in our teachers trusting that they are authorities on Mathematics, Science, English, and so on. Each time we learn, we receive by faith the things they teach us since we have no first-hand knowledge of the things they relate to us. It’s better than making each generation rediscover everything over again. However, there is a time to learn what others teach and a time to gather knowledge ourselves. We begin to have faith in ourselves that we have the capabilities to understand the right ways of life. In the process of attaining knowledge we endeavor to reject faulty knowledge. But, we cannot be 100% certain that the knowledge we acquire is free of corruption since it cannot be independently verified by an outside source. Although some people see evidence of a Creator,  no 3rd party materializes in front of us to provide confirmation or denial of our findings, and these findings are subject to further criticism from every other person looking for answers or just looking to poke holes in other people’s findings. At this point, two types of people can emerge. The first is a person who begins to find the answers of life within himself, picking himself up by his bootstraps, so to speak, creating his own meaning and purpose, reality and truth. He has faith in himself. The other man perceives that his own reason has limitations and is therefore inadequate to get the answers needed. Since he perceives that the human experience is common to all, he looks for answers outside of himself and humanity. He puts faith in a 3rd party in order to confirm or deny his findings.

What is the difference between a man who has faith in himself and his human teachers, and the man who puts his faith in God? Both of them have faith, but the object of their faith is different. What are the outcomes?

The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish. This does not mean he only thinks of himself, but rather that all of his charitable and self-serving acts come from values formed from his own authority. His self and others like him are the highest forms of life he can find. He creates his own meaning, his own reality, his own purpose, and his own morality. Essentially he is his own property. He can do with himself what he wants. The obstacles to this, however, are others and laws of society. He respects others because it is reasonable, but he may decide that it is not reasonable if he so wishes. As his self grows in value, he can reason anything he wants. He eventually does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone it was for a good reason even if society does not agree. If he commits suicide he is only hurting himself and it is just fine because he is his own property. If he hurts others it can be justified. Reasons exist to respect other’s “property”, but reasons also exist that justify the disrespect of other’s “property”. The choice is his. He is the judge and jury. He could be the most moral person or the least moral person. Most everyone will not take it this far. They adopt this philosophy in moderation. Herein lies temporary harmony with the rest of men. However, this philosophy taken to the end of itself can lead to the destruction of self and others and it’s perfectly reasonable.

The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless. This does not mean he never thinks of himself, but rather that all of this charitable and self-serving acts are derived from values given by his Maker. God is the highest form of life he can find. In understanding God’s identity, he realizes his own identity, and derives from God his meaning, reality, purpose, and morality. Essentially, he is God’s property. He can do with himself what he wants, but he gives his self away to the Self of God. In this act, a new identity emerges that naturally follows the character of God. He respects others because they are God’s property, and we are all tenants, so to speak. He does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone he goes against God’s character. If he commits suicide he is destroying God’s property. If he justifies hurting others, he must ignore God’s laws. Reasons exist to respect God’s property. Reasons not to respect God’s property are products of a corrupt mind. The choice is still the man’s choice, but God is the judge and jury. The man’s degree of morality is dependent upon his conformity to the character of God. Most everyone will not take this as far as it will go. We don’t like to give up our selves completely. We adopt this philosophy in moderation. However, herein lies contention with men, God, and self. This philosophy taken to its end can diminish the self and the lead to a new identity created by God.

Now the paths are laid out before you. Which path will you choose?

 

(Picture created by Luke.)

What is the legitimate basis for governmental law? The will of God or the will of man?

Men who value liberty but believe themselves to be self-sufficient in matters of truth and existence and who have no need for authority apart from themselves, also have no compulsion to follow laws, except laws conforming to their own reasoning or inclination. Contrariwise, men who value liberty but believe themselves to be in a state of dependence on a Superior Being for matters of truth and existence, eventually accept the will of this Being on whom they depend to be the foundation for self-restraint and morality. The extent to which man believes himself to be dependent affects the degree of his adherence to the will of his Maker.

This superior Being; having brought matter into existence and provided it with rules for motion, has also, in bestowing upon man a freewill, given a law of nature whereby man’s actions may be conducted in accordance with his greatest happiness. Man’s reason, although corrupt, has the ability to discover this law of nature manifested by the moral standards men have held each other accountable to from the beginning of time until now. Because of man’s corrupted reasoning, moral standards look different throughout history, but never amount to a total difference. A greater understanding of the natural law provides better individual self-regulation, which in turn, keeps liberty free from corruption.

This doctrine applies to all men at all times and in all places, regardless of belief, religion, or disposition. No legitimate rule in existence can oppose this law of nature without corrupting man’s happiness, or providing a false happiness. Therefore, pure liberty cannot exist without the self-governance of man founded upon the will of his maker.

George Washington said in his farewell address in 1796, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”

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