Category Archives: Atheist

An Informed Life

On a recent Michael Medved show, a caller identifying himself as a moderately liberal high school political science teacher stated that the conservative force he fears most in America is from the Christian conservatives who allow their theology to inform their politics.

To him, so long as your politics do not inform your theology and your theology is kept far away from your politics, you’re OK. They may agree, but only incidentally.

There’s a problem with that: humans cannot, by nature, exist in a dichotomous state.

In fact, to demand such a personal internal segregation of ones internal beliefs and external actions is to request something dangerous and displays a profound ignorance of human nature and need.

First, everyone has a theology. Commonly called our “beliefs”. It is our understanding, findings, or opinions regarding the nature (or lack thereof) of God. An atheist has a theology as surely as a Christian, they are just convinced there is no god.

One’s beliefs regarding God informs one’s ideas on life, purpose, meaning, history, and the future. This is indisputable and is not a value judgment, merely a statement of fact.

One’s understanding of life, it’s purposes and meanings, history and the future, definitely informs one’s political persuasions. I vote with a goal and purpose. I don’t roll dice (often) and I don’t sell my vote. Though both those actions would allow us to infer your understanding of life and likely, your theology.

I am a whole human, with will and purpose. I try not to say one thing and act another. Yet even should I engage in such hypocrisy, accidentally or purposefully, there is a consistency to the failure. My hypocritical life would have a goal and purpose: likely a hope for self-aggrandizement or gain for some deeply and closely held belief.

Watching Chariots of Fire last night with my wife, we came upon the scene where Eric Liddell has found out the heats for his race is on Sunday and is now meeting with the crown prince and the Olympic committee. Young Lord Lindsey has offered his own, longer, race to Eric as a solution and as the meeting is dispersing the Duke of Sutherland and Lord Birkenhead discuss what has just occurred:

Duke of Sutherland: A sticky moment, George.
Lord Birkenhead: Thank God for Lindsay. I thought the lad had us beaten.
Duke of Sutherland: He did have us beaten, and thank God he did.
Lord Birkenhead: I don’t quite follow you.
Duke of Sutherland: The “lad”, as you call him, is a true man of principles and a true athlete. His speed is a mere extension of his life, its force. We sought to sever his running from himself.
Lord Birkenhead: For his country’s sake, yes.
Duke of Sutherland: No sake is worth that, least of all a guilty national pride.

The Duke of Sutherland has the correct diagnosis of the issue: we can no more separate one part of a man’s soul from his other parts than we can parts of his body and expect them both to continue living.

I am a Christian. I am convinced of God’s existence and His divine will. I try to live my life in the salvation offered by the death of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son and according to His laws.

I hold these beliefs in faith, not a hope in wishful thinking. Faith is not a firmly held belief in unprovable or illogical ideas, it is the belief in things proven and yet unseen.

My faith informs my life. I try to live my life according to the law of God. And not just those parts lived in private. I fail miserably more often than I succeed, but what is life without a contest, without a goal?

If I were to deny the influence of my theology on any part of my life, I would be trying to live as though I were two separate people within the same physical body: It just doesn’t work.

And so, to you political science teacher, I hope that you will always live your entire life according to the dictates of your conscience and that your theology informs your choices. I pray that your theology will grow and you will find and find faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and countless millions since them. And yet, even if you do not, I still pray that you will be a complete person with one goal and purpose.

Inclusion Not Dillution Or Surrender

Michael Medved opened my eyes.

On his radio show he was trying to explain on “Disagreement Day” to disheartened conservatives that trying to “purify” the Republican is not the correct course of action. The root of his argument:

You win by making your group bigger, not smaller.

First: you should not win by selling out. A win bought at so dear a price may not be worthwhile.

Second: you should not compromise your deepest principles either.

But, in my stands and beliefs there is a hierarchy: Abortion is one of my strongest concerns, to not value life is to not value life, there is no grey area. The issue of homosexual privilege is strong, though not as strong as abortion. Abortion is more external and more obviously a violation of laws and human rights and can be dealt with more legislatively than homosexual privilege.

The economy is a matter of principle: free market economics benefit the most people in a way most conducive to supporting Free Will as divised by God. But we can witness to people regardless of thier economic station and a faulty economy is less of a harm to people’s souls than abortion or homosexuality.

By balancing the hierarchy of beliefs and convictions and principles I can find ways to include people who I may have less in common with in reaching my goals.

I have no qualms working with members of the Mormon church to work for significant reinforcement of traditional marriage and the preventing of special privilege for homosexuals beyond the privilege accorded to heterosexuals, despite my serious disagreements with their beliefs.

I have no qualms working with Catholics to further the protection of the innocent unborn despite my belief that most Catholics are decieved and not Christians.

I have no problem working with athiests in pursuit of a libertarian economic policy despite serious disagreements on probably every other issue due to our differences in root beliefs.

The point is: Being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove, I will work with any I can to achieve the ends which follow my convictions. I will be accepting and friendly to all as people so that none will have reason to say that I’m not for them as they could be for me.

With the devious I will be devious, with the narrow I will be narrow. The goal being that by any and all means, except those which violate my conscience and God’s law, we can advance the cause of physical and economic freedom here on earth for as many as possible, and hope and eternal freedom in the life hereafter for as many as will believe.

Refining this ideal is the fact that people follow a leader with a vision. It does not have to be a clearly defined vision so much as a stirring vision (or at least one spoken of stirringly, see Barack Obama). Reagan was the “Great Communicator” and people followed his visions. Barack Obama has a way with words, a visible empathy that stirs people to want to believe what he says.

Individually, we need to be ready and willing and able to act in concert with all kinds of people, making the “big tent” an actual Big Tent. Seek common ground more than ideological purity within the bounds of our own individual abilities to accept differences. Instead of finding people most like us, find people most able to bring most of us along with them in a path headed towards truth.

As a group we need to find those people who have strong and principled stands we can agree with mostly who are also strong communicators and vibrant individuals. Vision and passion have few foes who can stand against them working together.

That is my plan for real change.

Small Gods

The Greek gods were capricious and entirely human in their emotional and mental contruction, with superhuman strength and ability.

The Romans gods were the Greek’s gods renamed.

The Muslim god is angry and your past, present and future are subject to his will. Die on his bad hair day and you’re screwed.

The atheists god is nothing, himself.

The agnostics god is confused, incredulous.

How have we made our god small? Or human? And thereby limited our own ability through our god’s contained strength?

I pray that I will not be guilty of making my God small. I can do all things through God who strengthens me.

If my god is weak, I am weak.

I hope I allow God who I serve to be as strong as He truly is.

Goodies

Some goodies that I’ve found interesting, enlightening, and maybe a bit scary in the last few days worth of news.

First up, Jesse Helms.

He died recently, and our condolences and sympathy go out to his family and friends, of which he apparently had many. People who met him invariably found him courtly and affable, the quintessential gentleman, regardless of whether they agreed with him or not.

“If you took a poll of the pages and the people who work in the Capitol about who was the most popular member, I expect Jesse Helms would have won, which would surprise an awful lot of people in the press and people out in America who thought of Jesse Helms as a fierce individual,” (Senate Minority Leader Mitch) McConnell (R-Ky.) told the Senate Monday.

In the Wall Street Journal, John Fund said of Helms:

If Ronald Reagan was the sunny and optimistic face of modern conservatism, the uncompromisingly defiant exemplar of it was Jesse Helms.

Senator Helms was a man of character and consistancy, with few equals alive in our time. Mr. Fund ends with this:

Jesse Helms was a major influence on American conservatism, but his career provides a blueprint for anyone who represents an embattled minority viewpoint. You can, with persistence and unflinching determination, change the political odds in your favor.

We see liberal and socialist causes operating today based on the methods Senator Helms pioneered and championed for many years.

But the socialists who disagreed with him in nearly every way except method have besmirched his record by use of a myopic focus on several incorrect and inexcusable stands and a refusal to see Senator Helms’ rationale and larger worldview and philosophy.

The Day of Connecticut claims he was against civil rights progress. I, too, would be against much of what they consider to be progress.

I have referenced Booker T. Washington previously. The gist of his philosophy was that rather than trying to erase the effects of slavery by raising the black American above his comparable white American we ought to focus on erasing every wall or seperation or limiter between any race, allowing all to equally participate so much as they desire in the American Dream. Currently, American policy is racist, purportedly in favor of the black American, but by attempting to ease the way of the black American, they are damning the average black American to a life of desperation as by policy they are not allowed to compete in the marketplace of merit, only the bazaar of skin color.

I do not know enough of Senator Helms’ view on integration, and from reading the current crop of articles framing his life, I do not think I would agree with much of what he believed on the issue. At the same time, it is conceivable that the ideas of Booker T. Washington would be vilified with much the same hatred as has been directed to Senator Helms.

San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily, BeyondChron.com, “The Voice of the Rest”, makes their view very, very clear: “Jesse Helms: Just A Dead Southen Bigot” (written by “a radical southern Italian atheist queer with a website”, Tommi Avicolli Mecca).

The Washington Post rises no higher than the “radical southern Italian atheist queer with a website”, and, in face, cannot even come with anything original. The Post re-posts an article they wrote 7 years ago: “Jesse Helms: White Racist“.

The National Review calls him a Patriot. One wonders if this were a according to a definition Obama would posit.

Speaking of Obama (that was a segue worth of Michael Medved), even the pro-socialist media are starting see that he cannot possibly support the massive amount of money and government largesse he has promised to each and every Harry Hardluck and Sally Sobstory and Liberal Petproject to be found.

The LA Times adds up the cost of Obama’s agenda:

“I don’t think it all adds up,” Isabel Sawhill, an official in President Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget, said of Obama’s spending plans.

The Houston Chronicle points out that laundry-lists are often tossed once the person is elected:

In more than a year of campaigning, Democratic Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has made a long list of promises for new federal programs costing tens of billions of dollars, many of them aimed at protecting people from the pain of a souring economy.

But if he wins the presidency, Obama will be hard-pressed to keep his blueprint intact.

The Houston Chronicle goes on to point out a distinct and significant difference between John McCain and Barak Hussein Obama:

Obama has said he would:

  • strengthen the nation’s bridges and dams ($6 billion a year)
  • help make men better fathers ($50 million a year)
  • aid Iraqis displaced by the war ($2 billion in one-time spending)
  • extend health insurance to more people (part of a $65-billion-a-year health plan)
  • develop cleaner energy sources ($15 billion a year)
  • curb home foreclosures ($10 billion in one-time spending)
  • and add $18 billion a year to education spending.

It is a far different blueprint than McCain is offering. He has proposed relatively little new spending, arguing that tax cuts and private business are more effective means of solving problems.

It is socialism that Obama proposes. He is a socialist of the common order. Perhaps it is inexperience, perhaps it is that he honestly thinks this is the correct way, perhaps he hungers for the reality of the power that many ascribe to him in him nearly messianic coming.

And finally, some local goodness. My governor, Rod Blagojevich hears it from the media. The allegations against him are more serious than those for which former governor George Ryan was just sent to prison. And Obama is mentioned:

From the BloggingBlagoBlog.

Great Lines: April 18 2008

Neil gets around. A lot.

There have been at least two cases this week where I’ve found some new blog or something outside my regular reading and there in the comments was Neil, arguing with lucidity and alacrity for truth in whichever topic was being discussed.

Truly an amazing man… being from the greatest state in America has it’s benefits.

But one comment in particular stood out to me this week, or today.

On the Forbes.com blog Digital Rules, Rich Karlgaard wrote regarding freedom of thought in academia and science, specifically in context of the issue of Evolution and alternative theories and the newly released documentary/movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

To be a skeptic of Darwinism today is indeed costly. You will be publicly ridiculed. You will be called stupid, ignorant, bigoted, irrational and unenlightened. You will be compared with Neanderthals and flat-earthers. You could easily limit your career if you work in academia or science.

He ended his post with a query:

What do you think? Do advocates of intelligent design have a case? Is Darwinism flawed and are its proponents trying to silence the debate?

Neil concluded his reasoned response:

We have lots of evidence for the existence of God – cosmological (“first cause”), teleological (design), morality, logic, the physical resurrection of Jesus, etc. If atheists don’t find that compelling, then so be it. I’m on the Great Commission, not the paid commission. But to insist that we have no evidence is uncharitable in the extreme and makes reasoned dialogue impossible.