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Thursday, October 20, 2005

I submit myself, for your judgment

A small battle has been raging in the comments section of some of my posts, between myself and a reader who has taken passionate exception, to my atheism.  I am ashamed to admit that I have allowed myself to get sucked into this pointless argument, in an effort to defend myself against his unjustified accusations.  I will not, any longer.

Instead, I would like to challenge all of my readers to examine my words and my acitons, and judge me for yourselves.  If any of you who are faithful, can point out any instance when my words or actions have not strictly adhered to the tenets of right and wrong, or any examples where my sense of morality can be called into question, I urge you to do so.  For I am not afraid to have my words judged by those who disagree with my godlessness.  But I will not respond to personal attacks against my morality and character, without examples of proof to back them up.  I am confident that I have never given any.

I have staunch respect for the Church, and for any who choose an adhereance to God.  I expect that same respect, in turn.  If anyone has an argument against my points of reasoning for my choice, or if you spot a flaw in my logic - I encourage such feedback, because though I feel certain about my choice, I am aware that I am capable of errors in judgment, and am open to the possibility that I have missed something.  However religious bigotry, that labels me as amoral or immoral as an automatic consequence of my atheism, in spite of my words and actions, is an intolerance that is unustified under any circumstances.

This is a forum where I write.  I expect to be judged by my words.

For anyone who would like a more detailed explanation of the reasoning for my atheism, it can be found here...

The Godless Conservative

Posted by Wonder Woman on October 20, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

Yes, Charlotte, it is time we drag this out on the kitchen floor and let the cat sniff it. High time to stop shying away from the issue, let's hit it square-on!

Altogether too many people who actually are conservative thinkers have been frightened by the "fundamentalist" label. This content of this forum gives the lie to that label. The MSM will not be objective, as they seem to fear liberty more than anything else.
So, any fresh ideas on how to involve the rest of the country in this debate? Outside the blogosphere?

Seems to me that there is more than enough talent here to come up with a heck of a T.V. commercial...Lets see...this entire debate, and all the philosophical foundations it is built on, in a 15 second short. No problem, lets do it. Really, I'm not being sarcastic, lets do it!

Mad Mike

Posted by: Mad Mike | 2005-10-20 3:00:34 PM


Yes, Charlotte, it is time we drag this out on the kitchen floor and let the cat sniff it. High time to stop shying away from the issue, let's hit it square-on!

Altogether too many people who actually are conservative thinkers have been frightened by the "fundamentalist" label. This content of this forum gives the lie to that label. The MSM will not be objective, as they seem to fear liberty more than anything else.
So, any fresh ideas on how to involve the rest of the country in this debate? Outside the blogosphere?

Seems to me that there is more than enough talent here to come up with a heck of a T.V. commercial...Lets see...this entire debate, and all the philosophical foundations it is built on, in a 15 second short. No problem, lets do it. Really, I'm not being sarcastic, lets do it!

Mad Mike

Posted by: Mad Mike | 2005-10-20 3:02:23 PM


Charlotte: isn’t the Bible the word of God?
Yes, but as WW noted re killing versus murder, it evolves with better translation. God also gave us a brain to reason and to use common sense. I find G K Chesterton helpful, it’s not the Bible but his works are humorous and he’s probably responsible for C S Lewis, an atheist, being converted to a Catholic. Lewis’ works are in production by Disney and while not the Bible; these productions offer hope that the next generation will have something to cling to image-wise for values. In my mind, these works demonstrate that healthy faith and religion evolve with everything else in this world; it’s a matter of common sense.

Warwick - as already mentioned my faith allows me to defend my family against the intolerant and I will do that without taking time to checkout the passage in the Bible that permits it. In other words, people of faith also use reason and common sense. That’s also what gave us capitalism, which in turn gives us the individualism you so eloquently described.

So, folks please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water because I think capitalism is counter-intuitive for a lot of our population. Particularly, because of the powerful union movements in BC and Quebec. Plus this year a serious 43,000 manufacturing jobs lost in Ontario. The unemployment rate here is running higher then the national average for the first time since WWII.

It takes a lot of faith to stick to conservative, capitalist, economic values. Without conservatism taking hold in this country we’re gonzo economically and without a strong economy we’ll end up being as hollow and faithless as France and Germany, the countries the Librano$$ emulate. Librano$$ do this because our PMs have come from Quebec and they are more European/socialist in their views now that they’ve dumped the Catholic Church. Again, it’s all a matter of common sense.

But as my atheist Aunt says, “nomdenet, the problem is that common sense is not common” Then I say, “I guess not or my parents would not have called me nomdenet.”

Posted by: nomdenet | 2005-10-20 3:20:33 PM


Sorry about the duplicate posts. I was getting an error message that indicated they were not going through.

Posted by: Greg outside Dallas | 2005-10-20 3:41:34 PM


I see y'all got hit by the TypePad glitch this afternoon. Here's a tip: if a comment post doesn't succeed, copy it to a Notepad window or something like that, then go back to the blog's main page, and wait ten or fifteen minutes to see if it goes through.

On the matter of Greg's comment to the effect that "Here you have atheist libertarians and Catholic theologians all drawing from the same source. There's probably a message in there somewhere.", note that Pope John Paul II said in Centesimus Annus:

"The fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism."

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-20 3:45:55 PM


It would be a terrible thing to have a population comprised of Club Med type hedonists, who see no higher cause than serving their own pleasure. Equally disturbing is the thought of being ruled by people who believe that their moral authority to govern is derived from god. Under the rule of such people, now and in the past, the brightest minds -- philosophers, scientists, poets, theologians -- have been persecuted, and Libraries destroyed, while innocent people have been flensed, burned, drowned, tortured, nailed to crossbeams, beaten with rods, and threatened with eternal agony in an endless lake of fire.

Most people are neither hedonists nor demagogues, but are somewhere in the middle. Even those who define themselves as atheists are, if they are of European descent, the products of a Christian civilization, while those Christians who proclaim that theirs is the only true path are actually just serving themselves, but in a way so officially sanctioned that they are left unable to examine their own motives.

Take Andrew, for example. In confusing hedonism with atheism, he makes groundless assumptions about others whom he has never met, including Wonder Woman, and in doing so elevates himself, by his own descriptions. But atheism is not, as Andrew said, "a system whereby one worships one's self", any more than Christianity is a system whereby one flenses non-believers and throws their twitching limbs onto a fire.

I for one find laughable those who act for all the world like they have a personal one-on-one acquaintance with the creator of all things. I consider that particular form of self-congratulatory self-pleasuring to just be a badly convoluted, and highly non self-aware form of hedonism.

Posted by: EBD | 2005-10-20 4:20:24 PM


Five seconds after you are dead you will believe. In the mean time keep fooling yourself with the God doesn't exist crap.

Posted by: bullwinkle | 2005-10-20 4:32:55 PM


ET, I am in fact a science student at the University of Victoria. Biochemistry major to be exact. I refuse to answer any questions on here because they are all rhetorical. I am simply defending my character because you felt you needed to attack me. This blog is going down the drain. I know why Brian left a long time ago and I am seeing it now. People on here act like children. They hide behind their computer screens and write nasty stuff to each other because they don't have to face the person in real life. What would a undecided voter think if he or she came in here and saw that this is how conservative people act. They wouldn't want to vote conservative. They say "what a bunch of immature children". This is part of the reason I plan to jet from Canada when I finish medical school. The conservatives here don't have their act together. They constantly tear each other down over small issues nor does the government respect the religious right. I'm finished with the comments section of this blog. I'll read the articles but the stuff that goes on in the comments is just too much. I have better things to do than to listen to adults tongue lash me in the middle of the day when they should be working or something. That's not making a difference. Go out and promote your cause. Don't just sit there and beat each other up. Come on people. We didn't unite the right so we could destroy it from within.

Posted by: Andrew | 2005-10-20 5:00:27 PM


If god does not exist it doesn't matter. If god does exist, and god is benevolent, then god should have no problems upon principle with a classically moral person. If god exists, and god is malevolent, then all bets are off anyway.

I don't need to know whether or not god exists. As a human being, the highest logical standard god can hold me to is classic moralism and ethicism. I think that's a good humanist approach too. So it's a no-brainer for me, that's what I try to do.

I'm not perfect, so those of you who believe in purgatory will probably find me there. I'll be easy to spot, I'll be the DJ.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-20 5:06:14 PM


nomdenet, I always enjoy your posts.

I think you may be getting C.S. Lewis confused with Malcom Muggeridge.

In "Mere Christianity," C. S. Lewis says, "I am a very ordinary layman of the Church of England, not especially 'high,' nor expecially 'low.' nor especially anything else."

On the other hand, Muggeridge did convert to Catholicism.

EBD, I agree with you that atheists can be far from hedonists. Frankly, if one were fully trying to live out the tenets of existentialism explained by Sartre, it would make following the Ten Commandments a pretty easy ride. Necessity would be God. If you ever walked away with a hotel towel, you are a thief because you are whatever you do. On the level of ethics, possibility is necessity. Tough.

Tony, good quote.

One of the things that has been enormously helpful to the conservative movement in the US is the fact that religious and non-religious people are not particularly antagonistic to one another. Someone up the page mentioned that Ayn Rand and William F. Buckley, Jr., both had some philosophical common denominators. They both liked Goldwater, for example.

Down here, outside of the public glare of high-profile media-enriched events, we are all able to easily come together in the voting booth. Libertarian conservatives who primarily are concerned with taxes do not generally think that abortion on demand is a very good idea, even though it may not be their primary issue.

Social conservatives may have abortion and gay marriage at the top of their agenda, but they still are in agreement that we should be taxed less and that government is too large.

Most of the time the only noticable difference between a professing Jew or Christian and one who does not so profess is that the practicing Jew or Christian heads off to temple or church, and the other guy rolls over and goes back to sleep. If conservatives here were as divided as Canadians are on some of these issues, we wouldn't be able to win elections.

Posted by: Greg outside Dallas | 2005-10-20 5:07:50 PM


I, for one, find the idea that morals can be derived from material inducements, or subject to an individuals whims laughable.

That is all Wonder Woman, ET, or indeed, Ayn Rand really claims. That by adjudging it to be materially beneficial, or simply because it FEELS good to them, various aspects of morality can issue forth.

Morality is spiritual, not material. Atheists are materialists.

At any given juncture, being their own self adjudicators, atheists will decide an issue to their own material advantage, either at cost of property or their very lives, and choose that which is most beneficial to themselves, materially.

Such a mercenary self-centered notion of morality is no morality at all.

From W Woman's site:
To give examples: "The taking of a life, for the purpose of taking life, is wrong....(because).... all life is valuable, as it ENRICHES my own life."
edited for clarity

"Reason is an end in itself.
IN ALL INSTANCES, I NEED ONLY HEED MY OWN REASON, to understand the difference between right and wrong. I ask myself if my actions will ENRICH MY life, or diminish MY own sense of self. This rule has not failed ME, yet." WW

Failed you, Wonder Woman? Maybe your subjective morality has failed others. After all, morality is for their protection from you.

Very subjective. This is existentialism with a pretense to reason.

True morality transcends materialism and exists apart from any one indiviuals limited needs or transitory reasons.

Real morality comes from an objective source, which the ethical individual subjects themselves to, whether it is to their personal advantage or not.

Genuine principals are ones that are upheld even when there is a COST, even if it FEELS bad, and an individual doesn't want to pay that cost because they will be personally POORER for having paid it.


Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-20 5:26:26 PM


It is not necessarily the case that atheists are materialists, Speller, some are, for example, simply mechanists. And "feeling good" is not an a priori immoral behaviour, it's actually a neuro-pyschological phenomenon with serious support from endrocrine physiology.

I suspect that real morality does come from an objective source, but that source is not god (who is theological, not objective), that source can only be humans, because only humans have the capacity to be objective (that we know of).

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-20 5:39:47 PM


A quote which well describes my view:

"Anscombe maintains that the class of actions which are illicit (ie, contrary to divine law) is the same class as the class of actions which are contrary to the virtues which one has to have in order to be a good human being. She did not think one needed a divine law conception of ethics in order to know what a good human being was, or what virtues he had."

A cheer to anyone who can, in these times, find the literary source of this supplement to my view.

Mark
Ottawa

Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-20 5:46:07 PM


Mark C,
Did she critique C S Lewis?

Greg,
Thanks, likewise. And you may be right about MM , but I do feel that learning values through these new Lewis Disney movies is important up here in Canada where the secular extremists look stunned if I say “God Bless Canada”. People think I’m trying to turn us into a Bush theocracy.

But, reading this thread, maybe I should stop feeling sorry for myself as a Canadian Christian. Because being an atheist up here is obviously no picnic either.

Maybe I should write a book “Atheist like Me” a parody on “Black like Me” from the 60’s where a white reporter colored his skin to get a taste of racism from the inside so to speak. I’m thinking of getting one of our “free Health Care” sex changes and going undercover (as it were) as Wonder Woman the atheist. Waddaya think?

Like you Greg I tried existentialism and you’re right it’s tough because I could never remember if essence preceded existence or was it the other way around. It’s easier with Christianity – it’s in the Book.

More seriously, Ayn Rand told Buckley, relating to his Catholicism and his pulpit in the National Review, something like “ you’re the most dangerous man in America”. Fast-forward to your comments and it would seem the gap has closed in the US. But that means Canada is decades behind dealing with these emotions within the libertarian/ religious right/ conservative movement. Today’s thread is hopefully and means we’re beginning to think about how to close the gap here too.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2005-10-20 6:23:53 PM


Yes, well, Rand was principally a novelist, so you can't expect too much, clever little thinker though she was. I've always been more of the Branden school myself.

Seriously, though, Greg and Nomdenet both raise an important point. There is no good reason for people who believe in freedom of belief, be it in god, or science, or humanism, to not unite against the Liberals and the NDP, who only believe that you should be free to believe that they are god, and to believe that we should pay them on the side in brown envelopes for condescending to be so considerate of us mere mortals.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-20 6:52:31 PM


Morals....Schmorals You've all missed the point. Your morality means dick. When you stand before God and he asks you what have you done with my son. What will your answer be?

Posted by: bullwinkle | 2005-10-20 8:03:55 PM


Mark, I found a reference to this quote here...
http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2005/10/anscombes_virtu.html
with the help of Google, of course.
Good article.

Posted by: Wonder Woman | 2005-10-20 8:10:18 PM


My answer will be that I have followed my understanding of the classic theological concepts of good behaviour, as discussed by his son, in my context, given the strengths and weaknesses of my gift of life as a human, for better or worse, and on that I will stand for judgement. By god though, not by bullwinkle.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-20 8:23:57 PM


WW: Gosh darn it. Now can the clues be solved by mere human agency as opposed to the great God Google?

No-one else is allowed, facing my wrath, to use WW's link.

Mark
Ottawaw

Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-20 8:30:40 PM


"There is no good reason for people who believe in freedom of belief, be it in god, or science, or humanism, to not unite against the Liberals and the NDP, who only believe that you should be free to believe that they are god, and to believe that we should pay them on the side in brown envelopes for condescending to be so considerate of us mere mortals."

Well, said Tony.

Posted by: Charlotte | 2005-10-20 8:33:41 PM


Hi guys, here is an all-inclusive ground of conservative conservation!

DISCERNING the COMPLETION from belief TO FAITH

Belief is from the nervous energy by which we can conclude, make up our mind and have an opinion of our own, with or without the truth. Beleif brings us to sound conclusions of our own. Then comes the need to know that I am known in such a way as I may also know that I know. This is when Faith draws beleif into revelation. This distinction leads to observe two opposing accesses at the basic fundamental levels of sourcing the human thought generating and processing, and consequently, at the source of the very health of personal identity development and interactive qualities. The spirit-driven mind is the experience of organic-spiritual unity where all quality of living are. The soul-driven mind is where beleif refuses the revelation of Faith and turn societies into herds of peer pressured humans, spending our existence under the "peacefully oppressed order" of military intelligence, to maintain the animal soul driven nature of humanity under check. Psychiatry is only just coming to terms with the conclusive observations in the curative powers of Faith for a variety of conditions where the patient is relieved from past beliefs that find themselves at the root of the condition that needs treated. From Faith, the mind is at peace with an imaginative screen that feeds from the balanced creative participation of both, the subjective and the objective state of being fully developing together, into the revelation of being relevant at the source of being one with all in all.

GOD's Voice and human's initial nature

At the bottom of a mountain, God provided Moses and the people of Israel with an anecdote of what is the reality of hearing God's voice with our physical hearing. Very little did He speak, but the people begged Moses to ask God to never speak to them directly again for fear that they would surely die. In several different explanations, anecdotes and analogies, Jesus and the apostles are all very clear on the fact that no one gets close enough to God to hear His voice, without being guided there by God Himself. Yet, Jesus is also clear that those who are His, know His voice. Humanity's attempts to mediate the divine and the human natures are and will always be left to re-invent God after our own limits. Through the history of early Christianity, the existantial nessecity to keep distant from God's voice, combined to the sharpest animal instincts of survival brought on the alliance of Mammon with Roman Empire who became a tradition imitating the High Priesthood of Aarron, in the name of Christ teachings. Tradition took over the simplicity of the communion guided in God's Presence by God's voice.

Posted by: Benoit Couture | 2005-10-21 6:53:50 AM


http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0105/opinion/dolan.html

I encourage you to read this first.

And, if you are interested, this audio file
of John Haldane:

http://www.stpt.usf.edu/hhl/radio/whyiamatheist.htm

I'm not listing these to win theists, merely
that those who are interested should have the
privilege of hearing them explicate their own
views.

Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2005-10-21 6:58:47 AM


Ayn Rand's tautologies are just as 'religious' as the scriptures and bibles of conventional worship.

Morality is a function of group humanity.

To elevate atheism to some plateau above conventional religion is no more than preferring your own advice to that of other worshippers.

Posted by: Barry Stagg | 2005-10-21 11:34:38 AM


I find all of the above very interesting and stimulating and, ah and ah pass the beer nuts. The one thing I really want to know is can atheists buy life insurance for acts of god?

Posted by: AsISeeIt | 2005-10-21 3:30:24 PM


I found this a few years ago, but a personal note, never argue religion, why bother you know what is in your heart, and that is all that is required, and then there is this " There is no explanation for those that believe in God. For those that DON'T believe in God, there is no explanaton necessary"!

God bless the troop: I think you would agree to that? LOL LOL

Stephen Parksville BC ww 2 vet.

Posted by: stephenmichaud | 2005-10-22 4:01:32 AM


I refuse to answer any questions on here because they are all rhetorical.

No, you refuse to answer these questions because you can't answer them. Blind faith and critical thinking cannot exist in the same place.

Posted by: Darrell | 2005-10-22 4:08:28 AM


Darrell: "Blind faith and critical thinking cannot exist in the same place"
Exactly.

ebt: You should really try to calm down a bit. You started the "go to hell" stuff, so don't be too hurt when it comes back at you.

And, ebt, atheism is not a religion, it is the opposite... you know, the open mind concept and all that.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2005-10-22 3:13:01 PM


But should the white smoke curl skywards, I would be happy to accept the papal crown of atheism. Got to work on my name now.

Mark
Ottawa

Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-22 5:08:44 PM


Morality is just a set of codes and laws made by man. From what I believe in, God doesn't care about what you hold in your head, but what you hold in your heart. Any normal person can hold a name in their head, and then under special circumstances they can't (the retarded, the distant one who never heard the name), but no matter the people, race, language, laws, philosophy, mental limit, etc. all people of the world know love. That is what counts. All actions and thoughts born out of love without any thought of the self is what good is, and any action or thought that concerns the self is what evil is. Good is not a set of moral codes, or ancient laws set years ago, good is love. What do you hold in your heart?

Posted by: E | 2007-11-12 12:59:56 AM



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