Tyranny - What Is It Good For?
2013-06-06 at 21:01:10

"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Rev. 13:16-17).

This requires a tyrannical government/power.

As an Adventist, these current events do not surprise me. Things have been headed this way for quite a while now, and not just because some naive (stupid, idiotic) human beings want more control over their subjects, or more power, or more wealth. There is a power behind it all who seeks the worship of or destruction of all humankind... Satan. His tactics are force and deception, and so you'll be seeing force applied and lots of deception.

The only surprising thing might be that it's been so quick, and seems to be getting quicker. But even that was foretold, "the final movements will be rapid ones."

Why Jesus

What's Coming Next

2013-06-08 12:44:18

Hold on. We're going to be seeing force AND deception? These truly must be the end times if there's a president you don't like...

On the other hand: Thanks, Satan, for bringing the unemployment rate down to 6%!

2013-06-11 18:27:34

First: You're right: it's the official measurement that has improved -- and improve it has.

And I'm not commenting on this post to bash your Obama-bashing -- that's fine. At least it's about the stuff I've always disliked about him and not so much the Kenyan Socialist BS anymore (real socialists don't promote Heritage Foundation healthcare plans, after all).

No, I'm mocking this post because of that part of you that realizes that you've joined a church going on about the *imminent* return of Jesus for


One hundred sixty if you count from the Great Disappointment instead of from the official Congregation of Adventists.

And that part of you that realizes that even the disgraced William Miller was part of a Christian tradition of doomsaying hucksters going back for thousands of years.

And that even before the Christians were doing it, Romans and Hindus and Celts and Chinese and paleo-Americans and every other culture under the sun has been trying to convince themselves the next world must be perfect because they can't believe a responsible god would let their daughter get cancer or let their wife run off with the town blacksmith or even let powerful men be jerks (!).

If you haven't really thought about it yet, ZERO percent of those people were right! Really, man. That's got to tell you something. Thousands, maybe millions of people over thousands, maybe millions of years and you've chosen to let one of them (or maybe a handful of them) talk you into obsessing about death instead of fully addressing those things that suck in life so you can get back to the other stuff.

It's a trap, see. It's self-defeating. It's a way to lull you into complacency so you allow yourself not to think so much about being a botched primate with gout and a mortgage and a jerk boss and Sheila's been talking behind your back and ...

So before you go buy yourself a pair of purple Nikes and a straight razor, here's what you do instead: relax. Think about the fact that you are a great dad and that people love you. And you're funny, man. No really: that's the highest praise I can give. You are hilarious. I honestly don't think people can really be funny and be dumb or evil. (Your brother disagrees, by the way -- not about you, but that evil people can sometimes be funny. I think you have to have a certain level of self-awareness and empathy to be funny, though, that precludes bing an asshat)

So while things aren't exactly what you think they ought to be, consider that they're better than they ever were: There are no congressmen arguing FOR slavery anymore. We've cured smallpox and polio (almost) and we're giving malaria a damn good run. It is illegal to keep schizophrenics in straight-jackets with cages over their heads anymore.

If you have the means, you can visit *any friggin' place on this planet* in just a couple of days tops, and if you don't have the means, you can probably talk to somebody who's already there *right now*. I mean, how amazing is THAT?

Just one hundred years ago, most people in the (relatively enlightened and wealthy) US only lived into their thirties; the GLOBAL average life expectancy in 2010 was 67. Astounding!

YouTube is filled with videos of people helping each other out of jams. You can watch a four-year-old violin virtuoso or your favorite comedian saying something awesome or singing dogs anytime you want. The amazing works of Dickens and Twain and William Shakespeare are in the public domain! You can read any of these classics anytime you want for free without even the bother of a trip to the library.

As for tyranny, you're just being whiny.

The subjects of Herod, Nero, Atilla, Canute, Vlad the Impaler, and Ivan the Terrible just called: they want their word back.

The Patriot Act is troubling, sure, but nothing compared to the invasion of privacy practiced in less-enlightened times. This invasion of the public's privacy doesn't require Jesus or the Holy Host or any of that Mumbo Jumbo -- we just have to hold our leaders accountable and vote for people who support overturning the Patriot Act.

So vote.

And quit worshipping death.

2013-06-21 22:45:15


==> "Improved" is being way too generous. Well, it's simply inaccurate. But, whatever. So they have a metric to measure unemployment. We know the government isn't being honest about it.

ME: But *do* we know that? Or is it that we just don't understand what we're talking about? The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses publicly available figures and shows their math. How is 'the government' being dishonest? You know all that talk about "real unemployment numbers" refers to potential workers who have given up looking for a job or otherwise no longer consider themselves potential workers, right? It's self-reported. That people *retire* in this way is a very real phenomenon linked to long-term unemployment, but it isn't a conscious misrepresentation of the figures. It's just impossible to factor in to the official count. Those people might have reasons for leaving the work-force beyond 'sick of interviews.'

So it's true that unemployment numbers are always a little higher than the official stats, and that this effect is magnified more the worse unemployment has gotten and the longer unemployment has been high, but that's not just manipulation of the data. Say instead that the way we count unemployment is flawed or broken and I won't quibble.

...unless you're suggesting Barak Obama is holding a gun to the heads of random phone poll-takers every month.

And I wouldn't put it past you.

==> Well, that's a very short time, relatively speaking. :-)

Besides, it's all accurately prophesied, so I take great comfort.

ME: Sorry, but the generation Jesus was speaking to is all dead now. And John was wrong about Kaiser Neron.

==> That's what they said about the founding fathers.

ME: Is it? Who said that? I'd have to disagree with whoever that was. The founding fathers weren't conspiracy nuts praying and waiting for Jesus to murder all the toddlers -- they were fabulously rich slavers who were tired of paying taxes to an overseas parliament. And they were willing to kill their countrymen to prove it. I wouldn't call that whiny.


==> You look at [liberty] at a societal level.

ME: I think I look at it at both an individual and a societal level. I agree we have two viewpoints, but I don't fully agree with your characterization of mine.

==> I say the violence against one person's liberty is enough for action.

ME: Let me stop you right there. No you don't. I haven't seen you advocate any action. You're just waiting for Jesus to murder everyone who disagrees with you.

==> You ... rationalize no cause for an uproar.

-- and --

A is bad, but not as bad as B; therefore, A is acceptable.

ME: Is there a difference between labeling our government's behavior as troubling, suggesting we vote to make it illegal and calling it "acceptable?" 'Cause I don't think it's acceptable. But the Patriot Act is the law of the land. It was supported quite strongly by both our state's senators (neither of whom I voted for) and signed by President Bush (ditto). It was voted for by then-senator Obama (who I *couldn't* vote for), and clearly fully embraced by president Obama (who I did vote for once) -- who then repeated the previous administration's lies (lies almost seems like the wrong word -- they were blatantly false every time they were uttered from the start to anyone who was listening) that while data would be collected on everyone, 'we'll only listen to the terrorists.' That's not just a lie, it's impossible to do.

So to be clear: I don't think PRISM is acceptable. I think it should be illegal. I think we have an obligation to vote people into office who run on platforms which oppose government spying.

But that doesn't make a democratically elected president who is obeying the law while executing the duties of his office a tyrant.

Because words have meanings.

==> Hey now! I worship LIFE!

ME: But life only for people who who think like you. It's a pretty disgusting way to worship life.

2013-06-25 19:11:28

YOU: “I don't know it from doing the calculations myself, but I know it from the various reports from seemingly objective and trustworthy groups that tell us the BLS makes "adjustments" to make our government look good (so the current stock of government officials can retain their power). Seeking Alpha. CNBC. Forbes.”

ME: Nope. And none of those sites make that case.

YOU: “Well, I'm saying that it's "flawed" on purpose, whereas you think it's flawed by accident[?].”

ME: Here’s how it works: the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its data in sets titled U1 through U6 with the following breakdown,

U1: working-age citizens unemployed 15 weeks or longer and,

U2: working-age citizens (WACs) whose temporary jobs just ended along with those who were just fired and,

U3: WACs who are unemployed and are actively looking for jobs (within the last month) and,

U4: those counted in U3 AND the so-called “discouraged workers,” who report that they just can’t find jobs and,

U5: those counted in U4 AND people who say they would probably like to work but haven’t applied for jobs lately, and finally,

U6: those counted in U5 AND part-time employees who report they want to work full-time.

The media reports the U3 number as “official” because everyone covered by U4+ have conditions and narratives behind their unemployment (or underemployment) that make those numbers too complicated to be as fully reliable as the statistically more solid U3 (meaning the +/- is -- unavoidably by current methods -- pretty big).

There. You’re all up-to-date now and unless you have a specific accusation of fraud with at least a little evidence, you can breathe a sigh of relief that there is one less government conspiracy to give you wrinkles.

YOU: “The founding fathers saw the tyranny approaching and decided to act against it, and bravely they did, creating a country that, by following their initial founding principles, rose up to become the greatest, most prosperous, most wealthy nation ever built by man. The Tories said they were whining. Would you have called them whiners?”

ME: Already answered that.

YOU: “Tangentially: Do you know the definition of "murder?"”

ME: Yes.

YOU: “Would you call the death penalty murder?”

ME: Assuming there was a process to assure it’s justified which included a jury of the accused’s peers, no.

YOU: “If somebody were to murder your parents, would it then be murder to kill that person?”

ME: If I did it as an act of vengeance, then yes, that would make me the murderer of a murderer. If my parent’s killer was sentenced to death through a process which considered his rights as a human being and involved a jury of his peers, no.

YOU: “Is it murder to kill someone in self-defense?”

ME: No. So I hope you’ll join me on Jesus’ return when I do kill Him in self-defense. (just kidding: I’m no more scared of him than you are of Shiva)

YOU: “Nice in theory, but you're not stupid. You see the idiocracy growing. You see the hand-outs that pay for the votes. You see the hands of the corporations who direct those in government. Or is this all just conspiracy nuttiness?”

ME: Sure, but that’s always been there. And the nuttiness is that you have no sense of perspective or proportion. You disagree with many of Barak Obama’s positions and heard that he was super-liberal and suddenly anything is possible. You go on to demonstrate what I mean:


2013-06-25 19:12:20


YOU: “I don't think you thought this one through. It's a very naive statement. Hitler was well within the law.

“Acting like a tyrant, for whatever reason- whether it's lawful or not- makes one a tyrant.”

ME: Untrue and stated with no sense of proportion. With all due respect to Mike Godwin, let’s view the tape:

a.) Hitler LOST his election for the presidency (and I don’t even understand how he could run legally -- he was a convicted felon -- convicted of treason, no less!), and only convinced his opponent to appoint him Chancellor through street-violence and intimidation. I’m not kidding here: the Nazi’s SA -- who would later be the SS -- were marching through the streets murdering communists, Jews, and even political moderates. They were outlawed until Chancellor von Papen (Nazi sympathizer) overturned the decree. Von Papen was later rewarded by being appointed Vice-chancellor under Hitler. (BTW: if you ever get a time machine and can’t manage to kill Hitler, killing von Papen would do almost as much to prevent the horrors of that era...) None of this was legal.

b.) Meanwhile, the Nazis had nabbed (through, you guessed it: intimidation and murder) a majority in the Reichstag, persuaded von Papen to outlaw those who fought back, and in this way, had jailed or murdered their political opponents and once Hitler became chancellor, he disbanded the Reichstag then BURNED IT DOWN before new elections could be held. It was a crazy time in Germany, but I assure you that murder and arson were not legal.

c.) As soon as Hitler had turned Germany into a one-party state, he had secured an absolute dictatorship. The constitution of Weimar Germany declared the state a democratic parliamentary republic, so...

None of this was legal, and by comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, you establish that you are incapable of forming any kind of cogent train of thought. THAT’s the nuttiness part.

YOU: “How is that in any way true?”

ME: Only in the most literal sense of the word.

YOU: “The only qualification I have [...] I pray you enjoy the peace and joy you were created to have. But if you violate the rights of another, there are (and should be) consequences. Don't you think? [...] There have to be laws. And with laws comes the consequences of breaking those laws. Any rational government has punishments for law-breaking.

“The consequence for breaking God's law is death. Why so harsh? Because breaking God's law (called sin) leads to the suffering and death of innocent people. For proof, see planet Earth. God is vehemently against fear and pain (since He created you to experience peace and joy), so He will deal with sin once and for all by annihilation in hellfire. That's a just consequence for sin, IMHO.”

ME: And we’re back to the part where you think murdering everyone is beautiful again.

~But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved...

A scene of horror and your wet dream. This is advice to the good guys, mind you. Jesus is flat-out stating that this will be a time of unimaginable sorrow. Well: imaginable sorrow.

If you believe that a magic fruit can condemn mankind to death, then I don’t suppose reason alone could change your mind. But fine: we all owe a death. That happens to all of us. But what we’re talking about is God choosing a generation to cut short in horror and pain.

Thinking it will happen makes you silly -- looking forward to it is what makes you a sicko.

2013-06-25 21:48:28


It does seem to me that things are outrageously crazy these days—especially the obvious and radical polarization that even I get wrapped up in but don't want to drown in. I consider myself a moderate, but the irrational leftists (ah, but I do repeat myself) and their idol worship seem to be pushing me to the right more every day. But Satan also sits on that throne—so it's a struggle to maintain balance.

I read something from Ivor Myers that openly suggests that's the direction from where Satan will emerge, but I'm not so sure about that. I was surprised at the confidence with which he says the final movement will come, since he knows the track record of how accurate other seers have been on the issue. Eschatology is a fickle lover. :-) Will it come from the right or left?

But one of the things I keep going back to in considering the seriousness of our times is prior to the tower of Babel and God saying that nothing would be impossible for the human race—no evil purpose would be restrained—unless He interceded. It seems to me we have really kind of arrived there again, such as medical breakthroughs that will radically extend life and all kinds of technology that radically transform the world——if not for them perpetually being used in bad ways. And before the days of Noah, when violence filled the land and God interceded?—well, when the lamblike nation 1984s the word peace, you know these days are full of violence and it's likely going to get worse. I mean, a noble peace prize winner advocating war and assassinations? The world is officially off its rocker way up on cloud 9, probably already falling at terminal velocity. Speaking of Matthew 24, it seems fairly obvious God is going to need to intercede in the not too distant future.

2013-06-26 18:36:00

YOU: “Actually, He'll be killing you in defense of the universe. Since you don't have a problem hurting others, He's going to have to put you in the most ultimate time-out ever. From which there is no coming back.

“You see, God's hellfire is the death penalty for sin. So, I don't know why you have such a problem with it.

“God's universe, God's laws (which are just, and, basically, "Don't cause any fear or pain, because that leads to the death of innocent people." Where's the problem with that?”

ME: There must have been a time in your life *before* you had gained a perfect understanding of God’s mind and were happy to look into the souls of people you kind-of know and judge their ultimate fate -- you know, like humble Christians do -- and you’re saying that because you weren’t yet perfectly innocent and generally better than the rest of the unwashed, no amount of torture, grief, or personal loss you suffered is worth compassion by me, Jesus, God, or the modern you. And this is because you read it in a book?

...but you hate tyranny.

The picture you paint grows more disturbing with every interaction we have.

YOU: “It's getting worse. That's what you don't want to accept, I guess.”

ME: Only because that’s demonstrably untrue. But I’m not surprised you feel the same way about history books as you do science books, I suppose.

YOU: “Here's some tyrannical behavior from our current government. That's all I'm saying.”

ME: And as far as you looked, I bet. It’s nice to see you’re feeling better about Bill Clinton nowadays, though.

And I hate the drone program as much as anyone, but I’d call it hypocrisy to want Jesus to kill Americans and just assume that Obama’s not doing it by His will -- or I would if I thought there was ever two consecutive seconds you allowed yourself to doubt your perfect understanding of God’s mind. Your church handler must be proud to be working with the next great prophet!

Say, did you know that the US government used to intentionally give rural black men syphilis under the guise of free clinic checkups? This was an experiment our government conducted from the thirties to the seventies. Penicillin was denied to the test subjects even though it was well known to be an effective treatment for syphilis since 1947.

Did you know that the founding fathers never intended for women or non-whites of any gender to have any voice in their own government?

I could go on with this tremendous list, but it doesn’t matter, does it? You’ve created a narrative in your head and will never let any amount of self-awareness seep in. Am I right? You’ll never admit that you are lucky enough to be living in a land where just being middle class places us in the top 10% of the wealthiest people to have ever lived. That sanitation and healthcare has never EVER been better. That you live in an age with the greatest communication and transparency of any government in any age.

Oppression! Tyranny!

Foolishness. I wish I knew how to help you. I really do. Reality is amazing, should you ever change your mind.

YOU: “We've already established that it's not murder, so for you to keep saying this means you've reached the end of your irrational rope and are struggling to hold on.”

ME: We’ve established no such thing. We established that a powerful autocrat who executes his (or her) subjects with no trial is a tyrant … if that helps catch you up to where we are. But just because a powerful magic entity *says* he is entitled to absolute power doesn’t mean it’s true.

God could fool you if he wanted to, right? He has that power, doesn’t he? I’m sure there were plenty of otherwise nice Roman soldiers who made the mistake of trusting Augustus’ line that he was descended from Venus. There were, no doubt, true believers among the Kamikaze who were more than happy to give their lives for the divine Hirohito. I imagine the fathers who gave their teenage daughters over to be exploited and abused by David Koresh *really* believed he was a prophet.

But we can both agree that those people were mistaken. And they were fooled by mere mortals. Imagine how much damage a deceitful deity could do to your soul if he were to lie to you.

So how do you know He’s not lying? Because of His death and resurrection? Osiris was resurrected, but I think you’re on-board when I say that that story does not give Osiris any moral authority. Miraculous birth? When Siddhartha was born, his mother felt no pain, he was immediately able to walk and talk, and flowers sprang from the ground wherever he stepped. But we don’t think that means that Buddha’s ‘middle way’ is less flawed than the thousands of other belief systems in the world, right?

Shoot, I’ve seen a man get completely dismembered and reassembled before my very eyes, but that doesn’t make Penn Jillette any kind of moral authority for skeptics like you and me, huh?

YOU: “But the affliction is coming from their fellow man. God is telling them, you are going to be persecuted for your beliefs. So, to avoid the pain and suffering, get outta there.”

ME: And that’s beautiful to you? We seem to have different ideas about what woe means.

YOU: “You're simply being unreasonable, which is not shocking, given your world view.”

ME: …


So you’re saying that by not believing four magic entities will literally slaughter nearly every human in the world alongside a global earthquake and blood oceans in the way some scribe in first century Patmos thought it might because he HAD A DREAM and the iron age Hebrews inherited most of their mythology from the Babylonians during their exile and that we should expect the second coming of The Anointed One because he said he’d be back ‘soon’ two thousand years ago makes me --

-- unreasonable?

If you say so.

YOU: “A horror and pain that is temporary to secure peace and joy forever. Good trade…”

ME: So why is it tragic when Adam Lanza does that favor for the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School? Or wait, a moral monster like you doesn’t think it’s tragic: it’s beautiful.

Sorry. Forgot.

2013-06-27 06:47:18

Moral monster was too harsh. I didn't really mean it and I know you're not one -- I apologize.

I was so busy rolling my eyes at your preposterous accusation that I 'don't have a problem hurting others' I juvenilely responded in kind.

Again: sorry. I can do better.

2013-06-27 18:06:53

YOU: “I don't have a perfect understanding of God, nor do I express any such belief. I do have an accurate view of the events outlined in the Bible, which, over the course of time, have come to accept as based in and describing reality.

“In that reality, God has a universal kingdom. In it is peace and joy for all! With a caveat: follow the rules.

“Now, these rules are good. There is nothing about them that limits peace and joy, except that you can't take the peace and joy of another. That's a good system, don't you think?!

“Then somebody came along and exercised their free will to go against God's law, and this whole thing went downhill.

ME: But the mythology you are referring to is interesting in that the point of the story is that *none* of God’s creations are capable of obeying. It’s the idea, repeated in the Bible’s various books several times, of original sin. All are sinners, we are told. Adam sins, Eve sins, the serpent sins. Everything with its own will disobeys God’s will. Moses is a murderer, Noah a drunk (a lewd drunk apparently), Jacob a con-man, David an adulterer, etc.

This is exactly the same as saying that God’s laws *cannot* be followed.

YOU: “The problem is, in order to stamp out sin in the universe, you literally have to stamp it out. What we're seeing played out on earth is the great controversy of all time: What's better for the universe? To follow God's way, or to follow our own way?

“We are experiencing, here, on planet earth, the results of following our own way (or selfishness). And what is that? War. Strife. Theft. Murder. Torture. Anger. Child abuse. Tyranny. Enslavement.

"These are the results of sin (selfishness/doing things our way/not following God's laws). GOD NEVER WANTED IT THIS WAY, but there are consequences to behavior. And in order for us to realize, to understand, that what God says and rules is in our best interest, things are going to play out.”

ME: God HAD to have wanted it this way. Are you saying that God killed everyone in the world with a flood (toddlers, old women, innocent cats and dogs) without knowing the world (once completely repopulated in a hundred years or so) would go right back to the way it was? All that death for no purpose and your going on about how great he is? This is the very definition of tyranny.

YOU: “That's why, at the very end, ‘every knee will bend, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.’

“Even you will be bowing down and admitting, ‘Your way is the best way, Yahweh, but I have rejected your way. I deserve to die. So be it.’”

ME: Well no. ‘Cause obviously none of this end of the world stuff as presented in the Bible is going to happen.

YOU: “And I don't judge anybody. I can't! I don't know, except by the expression from his lips, what a man's relationship with God is. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt that they at least seek not to harm others. But no matter where somebody is in that walk, I still consider every human being 1) a child of God, and 2) my brother/sister. Now, if you're blatantly evil, I'm probably not going to have much to do with you. I don't want to be hurt (mugger), and I don't want to have to kill you (pedophile). So I would just avoid being around and or relating to certain people.”

ME: You choose pedophile as a particularly repugnant type of person to threaten, but you are also called upon to kill (stone to death, to be specific) homosexuals, adulterers, disobedient children, anyone who dares touch mount Sinai, and witches as bid by the God you say hates pain, aren’t you?

YOU: “But I'm not going to shy away from atheists, muslims, etc., just because we believe different. (Behaving different, like I said, could keep me away from some.) If you are kind, considerate, and have a good sense of humor or a skeptical, thinking mind, we'll get along just fine! But if you look down on others because they don't believe like you, then we might have some conflict. Such is the human condition, I suppose...

“Regardless, I'm not the judge. I'm more of an advocate, pleading with the Father to be merciful to us all, and thanking Him for His amazing love.”

ME: Amazing love, to you, being utter destruction. Still death cult stuff.

YOU: “If I'm not who I was, it's because He is changing me. If I am, it's because I'm fighting the change, in the midst of asking for it. He ain't through with me, yet.”

ME: But at least you got the opportunity to begin that journey. My point is that you didn’t, at some point, see the value of the kind of life you now value. Was it God’s mercy alone that allowed you the time it took to bring you closer to Him?

YOU: “Since the founding of this nation, you're saying things haven't gotten worse? We are approaching true tyranny here in these United States, and you're saying things are not getting worse?”

ME: Yes! Finally it seems to be sinking in! I am saying that denying the right to participate in the democratic process to two-thirds of the population of the nation was MORE tyrannical than our modern suffrage for non-whites, women, and non-landowners. I am saying that the disappearance of state-sponsored out-right ownership of one portion of the population by another portion of the population is LESS tyrannical than our nation’s past policies. I am saying that less poverty, less disease, less warfare, and less injustice is GOOD for man’s overall condition and that’s where we find ourselves.

YOU: “Again, you claim I want "people" killed. This is only partially true. ;-)

“I want suffering, pain, and fear, to be gone from this planet; to be gone from the human experience. The only way to do that is to get rid of evil people- that is, those people who cause pain and fear in other people.

“It's what we do to convicted criminals. We shutter them away from innocent, law-abiding citizens.”

ME: I think the main problem I’m having is that you keep comparing ‘God’s law’ to our earthly political justice systems and then balking when I point out that God is the equivalent of an earthly tyrant. Want it both ways, much? Modern justice is much more sophisticated than the justice systems which existed when God was thought up.

In this statement you talk about “innocent, law-abiding citizens,” but by God’s standards, none are innocent. The plan you find so beautiful has those convicts getting destroyed along with all but 144,000 of those innocent citizens. Iron-age barbarism is all that is.

YOU: “There's no way you would reject the possibility of living in a world where nobody is selfish. Nobody seeks to harm others. Nobody harms others. To reject that is irrational! But we, as Christians, believe this is where things are going.

“It's a great thing, this Utopia, this New Earth. No more suffering. No more pain or fear. What's not to like?”

ME: A couple of things. First, that like all Utopias…

Hey, did you know that Utopia gets its name from a book by Sir Thomas Moore? A man who burned at least six people at the stake (and probably tortured more than that -- but he denied that part) for daring to own copies of the Bible in English? I’d say the fact that that doesn’t happen anymore is an upside of modern times, wouldn’t you? You know, LESS tyranny and all?

...that like all Utopias, it isn’t real. Ideal things might be hoped for, or we might even strive to get closer to them, but in the real world we have to compromise.

Second, it’s the pain and fear that keep us going. It’s the holodeck problem from Star Trek: TNG. Why strive for anything or even bother going outside when there’s nothing to strive for? Who wouldn’t rather spend all day making love to the most beautiful women, riding the most exciting roller-coasters, or otherwise living out any fantasy rather than facing down hostile aliens over lame border disputes. “We’ve got the holodeck, Captain, let the Borg have all the planets they want!”

So any vision of Utopia falls apart just as fast. Once ‘the elect’ are all basking for eternity in God’s presence -- then what? If we imagine God as perfectly magnificent and just being in his presence as the ultimate glorious experience, what do we (well, you) become? Some creation who sits around for all eternity with that look on your face. Humans are now just cosmic layabouts. We got what we wanted, there’s nothing left. No more poetry, architecture, scientific discoveries, doctors, firemen, or any other great thing that makes us proud to be human. You poor ‘saved’ bastards may as well be destroyed with all the rest of us if you ask me…

*OR* human values would now have to change. If there’s nothing left to fear or desire or anything else that defines who we really are, then when we get to Heaven we aren’t really us anymore.

If you appreciate that there is a Bible at all, think about it this way: in the Genesis story, the first seven days are laid out, and then -- cut to Adam and Eve disobeying God. What happened up till then? Nothing. Nothing interesting at least. Had Adam and Eve not gained the knowledge of good and evil and given up ‘blissful’ paradise, there’d be no story to tell. Who would care?

The myth is not about how humans betrayed God; it’s about how humans became fully human.

The Gnostics thought that God (actually an evil demiurge) is the bad guy in that story, planning a life of ignorant enslavement for people that are really no better than the other animals and that the serpent (actually Jesus, son of the true -- and good -- God) saved Adam and Eve from that fate. It’s an interesting take on the story, and while you might not find it convincing, it is symbolically and thematically different only in minor details, really, from the version held true by Biblical literalists.

YOU: “I think these [slavery, oppression] were fixed later. Nobody's perfect... ;-)

ME: Exactly! Thank you. See? Things ARE much better today. Progress!

YOU: “Not true. I've often been exasperated at my luck. I've often expressed this to my daughter, that she wasn't born in some third-world, Islam-dominated society where women and children are mere property. We get it, trust me, we do!”

ME: But you keep saying you look forward to the time it all gets knocked over. That’s what we call hypocrisy.

YOU: “Agreed. Fortunately, Yahweh doesn't operate this way. Read the Bible and you'll discover this.”

ME: I read it. I’ve read it enough times to see through your lies about it. Authoritarian dictator is *precisely* the way Yahweh operates. Because that’s the form of governance the authors of the Bible were familiar with.

YOU: “I have absolute power in my domain (my home). You break my rules, you suffer the consequences.

“God has absolute power in His (the universe). You break His rules, you suffer the consequences.”

ME: You don’t have absolute power in your domain. Is this yet another delusion of yours or are you just being hyperbolic? I wouldn’t lose my rights as a person or as an American just because I entered your home. That’s feudalism and not the way things are done anymore. Progress, you tyrant!

Anyway, as a real being and one capable of fairness and compassion you distinguish yourself from the big I AM by NOT slaying your kids for disobedience. By NOT killing somebody like Anais just because he didn’t want to join the Apostles’ commune. By NOT allowing Jephthah to monstrously burn his daughter to death to you just because of a hastily made vow.

YOU: “There are three things that convince me of this: 1) science (biogenesis). 2) prophecy. 3) anecdotal events in my own life.

“God: ‘I've created this wonderful paradise for you to enjoy. I want you to live here forever! In order for this to remain a paradise, you silly free-willed creatures, I want you to refrain from hurting others.’”

ME: Well, he wasn’t keen on not hurting the Amalekites. He advised enslavement for any ethnicity other than Israelite, actually -- I would argue that level of oppression is hurtful.

YOU: “You subscribe to this very template in being a citizen of Texas and the USA. Now just expand it a little to encompass the entire universe. Easy!”

ME: But that's not true. You are describing autocracy and the tyranny you say you hate. There is no position in the US that should be beyond the law. There is no one person who gets to make the rules. I subscribe to no such thing as you describe and I'm becoming convinced you really don't have any understanding of the things you post. Not just that, but that you really aren't too keen to find out how stuff actually works.

[OLD] YOU: “But the affliction is coming from their fellow man. God is telling them, you are going to be persecuted for your beliefs. So, to avoid the pain and suffering, get outta there.”

[OLD] ME: And that’s beautiful to you? We seem to have different ideas about what woe means.

YOU: “?! You aren't making sense. I think you're confusing several events…”

ME: Either humans, flawed as they are, deserve compassion from you and me as they’re destroyed, or the destruction of human lives is beautiful. Empathy isn’t as hard as you’re trying to convince yourself it is.

YOU: “You're not keeping up with the conversation very well, whether because you're just trolling or because you simply don't have the capacity to keep up. Or maybe you're just being mean. I don't know. I won't ascribe intent yet. What I can see is that you don't seem to take me at my word. You continue to think I want people killed because you think I think I'm better than everybody. You seem to think I will take delight in seeing people suffer and/or die. The only way you could come to these conclusions is if you purposefully twist my words, or you misunderstand my simple statements.

“Which shall it be?”

ME: Demonstrate some consistency -- simplicity isn't sufficient.

YOU: “Adam Lanza was a sick human being who had no respect for the life of others (apparently). He inflicted pain and fear on an innocent group of children and adults. It's tragic because those children should have lived to enjoy peaceful and joyful lives. It's tragic because loved ones left behind experienced and willl always feel fear and pain.”

ME: Okay: we might be getting somewhere here. Adam Lanza merely acted on the impulse you keep glorifying in these posts. The only difference between what Lanza did and the end times you keep acting like you desire, is that Adam Lanza didn’t finish off the whole world. I see what you did: your wording suggests that if Lanza had not left any loved ones behind it would have been less tragic. Ugh!

YOU: “Adam Lanza is an example of the end result of your worldview, not mine.”

ME: How so?

YOU: “It's interesting that you speak like this to others that believe differently than you. I have absolutely no malicious thoughts towards you, but this is how you relate to me."

ME: To be fair, I speak like this to everyone. "Amen, brother! Kill those sinners, God!" would be defined as false witness coming from me.

YOU: "You call me a 'moral monster.' LOL! What does that even mean?!”

ME: It means you have no moral sense or concern for others. As I said, I regret saying it and know it’s not true. It’s just the way you feel you have to talk to maintain some of your beliefs. I know that you pick and choose which Biblical passages to take seriously -- just like the rest of us.

YOU: “You don't have a problem hurting others, because you throw verbal daggers every opportunity you get. Your vile and violent vitriol stands as Exhibit A in this charge. The evidence convicts you, not I.”

ME: Vile, as a matter of your opinion, I accept. I long ago abandoned mincing words in the face of lies and absurdities and that can be threatening to those invested in the lies and absurdities. But violent? I’m not advocating any violence. It’s not like I’m thanking a higher power for your utter destruction or bloody death or anything. As a matter of fact, I hope the worst thing that happens to you for the rest of your long life is that you find somebody’s attitude kind of rude on the Internet. Again: a sense of proportion, please.

As for vitriol -- vitriol is just severe criticism. Thank you for the compliment.

2013-06-29 17:26:55

YOU: "Again, you mischaracterize, and not because you're stupid. So why?"

ME: Because I once read, 'Then I saw that the seven last plagues were soon to be poured out upon those who have no shelter; yet the world regarded them no more than they would so many drops of water that were about to fall. I was then made capable of ENDURING the AWFUL sight of the seven last plagues, the WRATH of God. I saw that His anger was DREADFUL and TERRIBLE, and if He should stretch forth His hand, or lift it in anger, the inhabitants of the world would be as though they had never been, or would SUFFER from INCURABLE SORES and WITHERING PLAGUES that would come upon them, and they would find NO DELIVERANCE, but be destroyed by them. TERROR SEIZED ME, and I FELL UPON MY FACE before the angel and BEGGED of him to cause the sight to be removed, to hide it from me, for it was TOO DREADFUL.'

(I added the emphasis, of course, but can you guess the pansy liberal who would express ¡gasp! compassion for sinners?)

So, yes: I am surprised you have "no qualms." Because 'qualms' would be at least a signal that you were a member of the human race and capable of the slightest empathy.

And you go on. And on. And it's exhausting. Not just exhausting -- I died a little reading this latest post. I kept me up a bit last night. I had to seriously reassess my suppositions and attitudes.

As excited as you may be at reading that, you aren't going to like my conclusions.

See, all this time I would come here and point out what I felt were obvious falsehoods in your blog because, well, I find your blog fascinating. I don't come here to troll -- I would never mock posts about your family or favorite pop culture interests, for example, because that stuff's great: sounds like you have great kids and I liked the Dark Knight as much as the next nerd. More power to you.

But I would look for insight into how two guys who grew up with the several similarities in circumstance as we did -- same age, same school, many of the same friends -- could come to such different conclusions about how the world works.

And I thought, though it would get heated, that we were two -- I dunno -- equals, I guess, hashing things out. That maybe, by engaging you on creationism I would be challenged enough that I'd either learn a great deal more about science or maybe even change my mind. Maybe you could show me enough to challenge my supposition that creationists were merely responding in fear of our greater modern understanding of life sciences and the challenge it provided to their primitive approach to religion.

Sometimes you would post things I found perplexing. Out-of-touch kind of statements, and I mostly considered them of a few types: first, like the unemployment figures earlier in this exchange, were a simple case of incuriousness. No big deal. Anyone could be misinformed about things. So I pointed out that those 'official' unemployment numbers and the 'real' unemployment numbers couldn't be part of some cover-up since they were both figures generated by the same agency. Then that topic fell out of the conversation. Fair enough.

Another type of statement is more tricky. Your insistence, for example, that things (life, the world, etc.) keep getting worse. When I point out that things like slavery, burning at the stake, or roadside impalement are far less common these days (making things *better*) you don't even mount an argument. You kind of agree that it's good those things are gone, but maintain that things are still getting worse. Fine. I don't understand how you can stand by that claim, but I am unable to persuade you. Frustrating maybe, but hey: you're entitled to your opinion. Obviously there's a part of the equation I'm missing. Apparently neither of us is able, in these cases, to persuade the other of our respective points. That's to be expected between two people with such differences as ours, I figure, and I may mount another attempt to 'bring you 'round' so to speak, but variety (they say) is the spice of life.

But in this last post -- you level a couple of doozies at me. Stuff I can't get my head around. "2/3 of the angels?" Did you take that poll yourself? Can you name them? Aren't you in fact referring to chapter twelve of the Book of Revelation? That clearly says stars. Stars are balls of gas, heated to the point of nuclear fusion by their own gravity, and they don't have free will.

No, no: that's fine. Some things in the Bible are meant literally and some figuratively and you and I have different standards for which things those are. Okay. I don't need to understand or agree, you can just have that one and I don't need to wrap my head around it -- I should just move on.

On to this:

YOU: "Again, that slavery has expanded from a race to an entire population. You are, literally, a slave. You work to pay your taxes. The Federal Reserve deflates the value of your money over time, such that what you have in your pocket is worth less and less as time goes on. While you are going broke, your masters are getting richer and more powerful."


Are you just messing with me?

Do you really see no difference between fearing daily the lash, the manacle, or the noose; worrying your entire life that any member of your family could be sold from under you on your master's whim; that you could only eat what was given you whenever your master felt like giving it to you; that you are to be denied education or ANY right to self defense -- that's right: forget conceal-carry, if you so much as give a defiant look to the man who beats you, you will be killed. Maybe worse…


…needing to pay for necessary civil services?

No difference?

Please tell me that this was a simple mistake. Please reassure me that you simply overstated your case to hyperbolically drive your point home.

Please ease my mind that you are not insane.

'Cause I'm worried.

I worry that maybe earlier when you said, "Hitler was well within the law," you weren't just mistaken about recent world history, but that you merely agree with Hitler's side of things. I worry that when you said, "I have absolute power in my domain," you really don't understand that you are still a citizen of this nation and may not rape, kill, steal from, or otherwise menace people even when they are in your domain as 'absolute power' would imply.

So thank you, if you've read this far, for letting me try to explain where I'm coming from -- I appreciate your patience. I feel I owe many apologies for teasing, arguing, and even just challenging you on your blog, because if you're THAT out of touch with reality, forcing real-world facts at you is just bullying behavior and you need help, not torment.

2013-07-17 20:38:29

There are people that some find it useful to talk to when they're feeling overwhelmed or in any way unsafe. They're nonjudgemental and completely professional. I'd be happy to help you get in touch with somebody myself or through a third party if that would make you more comfortable.


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