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Why is the debate over design theory so often so poisonous and polarised, 2? (A: sadly, blood libel.)

Last time around, last May, the heart of the answer was:

. . . if clever but willfully deceptive rhetors — Ms Forrest, B, with all due respect; sadly,  this means you — can get away with strawmannising and dismissing design thinkers as “Creationists in cheap tuxedos,” where it has already been firmly fixed in the public mind by other clever rhetors — Mr Dawkins, CR, with all due respect; sadly, this means you — that Creationists are “ignorant, stupid, insane and/or wicked,” and that such are fighting “a war against science” and want to impose “a right-wing theocracy” (presumably  complete with Inquisitions and burnings at the stake) then we can be distracted from the issues on the merits and be lured into burning ad hominem- soaked de-humanised creationist strawmen.

That’s how we come to the way a priori evolutionary materialism is now often presented as if it were the defining essence of science, “science” in this sense being taken for granted as the defining essence of “rationality.”

That unfortunately still remains the case, cf. here the first several UD weak argument correctives.

But now, almost a full year has passed and this month we have a carded professor Dawkins New Atheism US tour, complete with a “Rally for Reason” in Washington DC, and  at Ft Bragg NC where that leading New Atheist figure is to appear at  the “Rock Beyond Belief” concert after the audience has been warmed up by the band Aiden, which is the source of the vampire clergy song that has been called the atheist anthem.

If we look at a June 2007 George Barna survey, we will learn that:

Most atheists and agnostics (56%) agree with the idea that radical Christianity is just as threatening in America as is radical Islam.

Given that radical Islam essentially denotes Islamist terrorists and their ideological supporters, and that there simply is no Bible-believing  Christianity-based movement responsible for thousands of instances of murderous terrorism across the world,  this patently unjustified hostility needs to be explained. This, in a context where we must always bear in mind that the favourite name-calling taunt of radical evolutionary materialist atheists is that design thinkers are simply “Creationists” hiding in cheap tuxedos.

Which, is what makes this directly relevant to the design theory debates.

Obviously, if design thinkers are being smeared as “creationists,” we had better understand why this is a smear.

A first step is an observation by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch in response to this survey:

I used to think that this [alleged] moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam was the province of just a few fanatics, a tiny minority of extremists (many of whom write to me regularly; hi guys), and was just a small and irrelevant distraction in the defense against the global jihad. However, a profusion of books published in 2006, some of which enjoyed great success, convinced me that it was more than that. These were not so much the atheist apologetics mentioned below, but books about the looming threat to the U.S. Constitution posed by “Christianism” — most notably, Chris Hedges’ American Fascists. It became increasingly clear to me that this moral equivalence was actually an immense obstacle to the anti-jihad resistance, as it focuses attention and energies on a fantasy instead of on a real threat, and often characterizes the genuine threat as a creation of the unscrupulous Christian theocrats as part of their nefarious plan to overturn the Constitution and launch a new Christian Crusade against Islam.

Tom Gilson’s comment is also apt, and revealing on the fundamentally irrational and ill-informed hostility involved in that mischaracterisation of Christians (where IslamIST radicals are not even representative of most Muslims!):

 The comparison to radical Islam is rather bewildering . . . Other than a very, very tiny fringe slice of “Christianity,” the only aggression from Christians on America has been expressing our opinions and voting. Fears of a Christian “theocracy” ignore the fact that Christians were the originators of religious freedom in the world, and that our methods have been thoroughly constitutional and democratic . . .  And we scary believers, according to the survey results, have some nasty habits, like volunteering, voting, giving money to charitable causes, helping the homeless . . . .

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias has said, “if you can ever make any major religion sound absolutely ludicrous, chances are you don’t understand it.” These systems don’t grow up and develop guided just by simpletons, and it’s wrong to make them seem idiotic–even if they contain major misunderstandings . . .

All of this came back to mind recently, when I had occasion to revisit the initial wave of smears made against me by the circle associated with one of the hate sites in the penumbra surrounding UD. Last June, I had commented on the rising tide of pornography, and its impact, featuring the following statistics from Pink Cross Foundation (of former porn so-called “stars”):

Pink Cross Foundation's Web porn statistics

I noted that these shocking statistics, the evidence that suggests that porn paid for a good slice of the roll-out of broadband Internet,  and further information that suggests that over half of all US Divorces are influenced by the impact of porn, were grave causes for concern.  On evidence that porn materials often promote the notion that what used to be called unnatural acts are the ultimate form of sexual pleasure, I pointed out that this suggests a radical homosexualist agenda (which, is a descriptive term for an ideology we should contrast to people who may have, or struggle with same sex attractions) that seeks to desensitise our civilisation to such acts and the morally questionable lifestyles dependent on them.

This is what I said:

I see where for instance in 2003, the divorce lawyers in the US said porn was a factor in 58% of divorces. 54% of American pastors had viewed Internet porn within the last year, similarly (One hopes much of that was by accident or to monitor and oppose, but even so, this is a terribly addicting thing, and quite dangerous.)

In addition, I believe porn is designed to benumb our consciences and to get us used to what used to be called unnatural acts and especially sodomy; behaviours that are often demonstrably unhealthy and in some cases warning-label deadly. (Cf. here and here, caution. Also cf here for FAQs, here on theological issues and for legal agendas and stratagems, here.) If more and more men and women are addicted to porn that glamourises such acts — even between men and women — it breaks down the moral, modesty and ick-factor sensibilities that prevent or reduce practice of such behaviours and the promotion of the “mainstreaming” of perversions (cf. Webster’s 1828 on def’n.) of sexual appetites that rely on such acts. In my opinion, as fair comment, such is probably INTENDED by the promoters of the porn industry, so-called.

In hot retort, one of the associates of one site (who seems to moderate another of the hate sites and who runs a site of his own with “NSFW,” highly questionable photos) stated, in relevant part:

If more people spent their Sundays at home watching porn, there’d be less money in the coffers of those houses of hate and ignorance called churches. That could only be good for the world . . . . You are the most sanctimonious, lying, misogynistic, homophobic, willfully ignorant, unintentionally hilarious scum of the earth windbag on the interwebs.

That highly unusual word, “coffers,” points straight back to the lyrics of Hysteria,  AIDEN’s so-called “atheists anthem.”

Remember, in the video, the below — which I annotate — is being sung by a vampire clergyman, standing in a graveyard (I understand of US service-members):

Love how they burn your synagogues
Love how they torch your holy books
Filling coffers [--> offerings are blood-money] with your grief
Filling coffins with your misery [--> you are war mongers]
Faith holding outright criminals safe [--> your clerics promote and protect war criminals who on the excuse of the US etc being attacked have invaded countries in the ME, and by extension, generally corrupt right-wing theocratic fundy politicians and officials . . . a highly misleading and poisonously loaded stereotype]
This is just the world we live in [--> as in, this is subject to change by the new atheist revolution of the "brights" which "we" represent]

In short — and pardon my having to be direct, even at the risk of being distractively accused of argumenum ad hitleram, we need to stop, think and see what is going on –  in this song, we are here seeing big lie slander propaganda tactics of the worst (blood libel) sort; a technique which always works by playing on hysterical, ill-informed fears and bigotry, leading to stirring up of polarisation and hate by projecting dehumanising, demonising slanders unto the scapegoat group. (And remember, this key word, coffers, showed up nearly half a year before there was a debate here at UD that raised the issues.)

What is saddening, is that as long ago as five years past, it was documented that the majority of atheists believed this sort of hateful bunk.

But, there is a deeper root.

Perhaps the best (and, inadvertent) illustration of the root problem I know is from a modernist clergyman in my homeland, writing a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks:

The human tragedy in USA has also served to bring into sharp focus the use of terror by religious fanatics/fundamentalists. Fundamentalism or fundamentalists are terms that are applicable to every extreme conservative in every religious system . . . . During the twentieth century in particular we have seen the rise of militant expression of these faiths by extreme conservatives who have sought to respond to what they identify as ‘liberal’ revisions that have weakened the fundamentals of their faith . . . They opt for a belligerent, militant and separatist posture in their public discourse that can easily employ violence to achieve their goals.  [Gleaner, Sept. 26, 2001.]

What is happening here is that over the past 200 years or so, there has been a cultural conflict in our civilisation that reached a tipping point about 100 years past, when defenders of traditional orthodoxy in American churches took a stance on the fundamentals of the Christian faith as they saw them. They lost control of the key institutions of the mainline protestant churches and were driven out to the fringes.  This was then multiplied by the public relations fiasco that is commonly called the Scopes Monkey Trial [and no, Inherit the Wind is propaganda, not accurate history], leading to the fundamentalists being branded as anti-science. (BTW, most fundamentalists at that time were some form of old earth creationists or other.) Subsequently, it became all too easy to use what had by and large become a term of abuse, to tag IslamIST radicals and the like as also “Fundamentalists,” a practice that has now been given a veneer of scholarship.

In a toxic atmosphere like this, it is then all too easy to simply brand and stereotype any theistic thinker who takes a scriptural tradition seriously as an irrational anti-scientific,  dangerous terrorist or would be theocrat; never mind the truth that Islamist terrorists are not even truly representative of most Muslims.

When it comes to the anti-science smear, it is worth calling attention, again, to Nancey Pearcey’s classic article on how Christianity was actually a science starter, not a science stopper:

Most historians today agree that the main impact Christianity had on the origin and development of modern science was positive.  Far from being a science stopper, it is a science starter.

One reason this dramatic turn-around has not yet filtered down to the public is that the history of science is still quite a young field.  Only fifty years ago, it was not even an independent discipline.  Over the past few decades, however, it has blossomed dramatically, and in the process, many of the old myths and stereotypes that we grew up with have been toppled.  Today the majority view is that Christianity provided many of the crucial motivations and philosophical assumptions necessary for the rise of modern science.[6]

In one sense, this should come as no surprise.  After all, modern science arose in one place and one time only: It arose out of medieval Europe, during a period when its intellectual life was thoroughly permeated with a Christian worldview.  Other great cultures, such as the Chinese and the Indian, often developed a higher level of technology and engineering.  But their expertise tended to consist of practical know-how and rules of thumb.  They did not develop what we know as experimental science–testable theories organized into coherent systems.  Science in this sense has appeared only once in history.  As historian Edward Grant writes, “It is indisputable that modern science emerged in the seventeenth century in Western Europe and nowhere else.”[7]. . . .

The church fathers taught that the material world came from the hand of a good Creator, and was thus essentially good.  The result is described by a British philosopher of science, Mary Hesse: “There has never been room in the Hebrew or Christian tradition for the idea that the material world is something to be escaped from, and that work in it is degrading.”  Instead, “Material things are to be used to the glory of God and for the good of man.”[19] Kepler is, once again, a good example.  When he discovered the third law of planetary motion (the orbital period squared is proportional to semi-major axis cubed, or P2 = a 3), this was for him “an astounding confirmation of a geometer god worthy of worship.  He confessed to being ‘carried away by unutterable rapture at the divine spectacle of heavenly harmony’.”[20] In the biblical worldview, scientific investigation of nature became both a calling and an obligation.  As historian John Hedley Brooke explains, the early scientists “would often argue that God had revealed himself in two books—the book of His words (the Bible) and the book of His works (nature).  As one was under obligation to study the former, so too there was an obligation to study the latter.”[21] The rise of modern science cannot be explained apart from the Christian view of nature as good and worthy of study, which led the early scientists to regard their work as obedience to the cultural mandate to “till the garden”. . . .

Today the majority of historians of science agree with this positive assessment of the impact the Christian worldview had on the rise of science.  Yet even highly educated people remain ignorant of this fact.

That ever so many highly educated people are ignorant of what should be a commonplace and easily recognised fact, tells us that a powerful factor is at work that is suppressing recognition of the truth. We do not have to look too far for it, the myth of the anti-science, irrational religious establishment that hinders liberty, progress, and science is all around us.

That is bad enough. And, it cries out for correction in the name of basic respect for the truth and fairness.

But when we begin to see blood libels building on it, it is high time for all decent people, on all sides to unite to stop the hysterical madness.

Because we know where such libels too often lead.

Enough is enough, Mr Dawkins and co.

Then, having laid such unworthy and dangerous smears aside, perhaps, we can begin to actually deal with the issues being raised by design theory on the merits. END

________

F/N & U/D: The theocracy fear is a bit off-topic for this blog, so let me just link on that subject, here. A balancing view on the fundamentalism issue (in a Caribbean context) is here. The first principles of right reason issue is addressed here.

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13 Responses to Why is the debate over design theory so often so poisonous and polarised, 2? (A: sadly, blood libel.)

  1. Well, kairosfocus, I think you are looking for figs on thornbushes, grapes on briers.

    Regrettably, the bind you are in, is a function of the scientist’s lot in this corporate-depraved, modern world, namely, to “throw pearls before swine;” and that, simply in furtherance of the protection and prospering of science. Bravo. But I don’t envy you. The fate of Sisyphus seemed kinder.

    The following is an excerpt from a post to a Guardian thread, written by a former scientist at NASA, who was part of the team which pioneered satellite communications:

    “Hear, Hear, paulbecke. I entirely agree. The old Newtonian-style “clockwork universe” was a convenient paradigm for its time but has long been consigned to the historical dustbin by the best and most astute scientists I have personally known. Among those who would agree with us are my late good friends Richard Feynman, Max Delbruck, Gene Shoemaker, and Roger Sperry, among many others who happen not to have won Nobel prizes during their careers as professional scientists. Others I’ve known, like Franz Zwicky, Fred Thompson, Gene Amdahl, Michael Turner, and Kip Thorne, all of whom I’ve known personally and talked with extensively about their own scientific specialties, agree that while science itself is not a religion (and as Stephen Hawking recently commented, inciting some public uproar among religious intolerants, that God was not necessary for our physical universe to have been created) consciousness itself cannot be totally divorced from the comprehensive consideration of physical processes nor any of the physical sciences.

    Some pure mathematicians I’ve known have been able to sustain for themselves the delusion that not only is a mathematically (logically) complete, self-consistent, and entirely valid structure of axioms, theorems, and their relationships to each other possible to construct and prove valid, but even that the application of such a mathematical structure to the mechanistic and comprehensive description of physical reality is valid, reliable, and unassailable in its potential ability to predict the outcome of any physical process with absolute certainty.

    Whether or not one believes Einstein’s famous statement that “God does not roll dice,” which I don’t think even Einstein himself believed at the time (having read his excellent book “The World As I See It” in which he clearly agrees with the scientists I mentioned above), the mechanistically absolutist paradigm of physical “law” is untenable and, as you mentioned, has been abused as a means of imposing overly authoritative and oppressive constraints by corporate, government, and ecclesiastic institutions upon the rest of the human race in a truly psychopathic effort on their part to be free of any restraint by other people or laws upon them accomplishing their own selfish will in this world and remaining free of any true accountability for having done such a rampantly abusive thing to others on such a vast scale and for so tragically long.

    The best physicists I’ve met (or been fortunate enough to have personally known) will, when the governmental and corporate “suits” are not around, readily admit that this is the case, and that freedom of expression is necessary but not by itself sufficient for true excellence in the scholarly pursuit of the sciences.

    Freedom of thought from these artificially narrow constraints and popular fashions of the time, promoted so effectively throughout our society by those who personally profit from discouraging or even prohibiting an individual’s free thought about science, law, ethics, or the role of consciousness (however one wishes to define it) in what we share as our common ground which we call “reality”. is also necessary for such scholarly pursuits to yield valid results which can successfully withstand arbitrarily rigourous testing and reliable reproduction of scientific validation (or humane ethics, or equity at law for that matter).
    (snip)
    For centuries, misconceptions like the sun revolving around the earth or the energy generated by the sun being derived by the identical chemical processes which caused fire to burn combustible materials in air (instead of the nuclear fusion which we now know powers the sun) were accepted and reasonable alternatives ridiculed as scientific “heresy” until the more valid and “real” explanations successfully replaced them. How are either maths or the physical sciences supposed to progress unless true freedom of thought is not only permitted but openly encouraged?”

  2. Whence cometh the unreasonableness from the self-styled champions of reason? It seems to me that ID’s unforgivable sin has been to scientifically delineate the limits of science along a shorter radius than that which Darwin’s theory hoped to permanently encompass. As David Berlinski has noted:

    Put yourself in the position of a Daniel Dennet or a Richard Dawkins, who are used to being the reignant priests of a powerful orthoxy. And for the first time in their lives someone says, “Hey you guys are simply not credible.” Of course they are going to react with outrage and indignation.

  3. Axel & JS:

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    I notice we are running at a better than 100:1 views to comments ratio, about ten times the usual ratio for UD, which strongly suggests that this thread is under hostile observation.

    Given its focus, that is no surprise.

    A, you are right, there is a serious Matt 7:1 – 6 (and yep, that is from the Sermon on the Mount) attitude problem about the way that too many objectors to design theory operate. Here, sadly, to the point of outright blood libel.

    (F/N: It will help to understand the reference, to know that Jesus was a carpenter. The sawdust vs planks parable pivots on the old fashioned way to make planks by sawing logs using a saw pit, instead of the more modern way of using a large circular saw. The top sawyer on a two-man saw was above the log outside the pit, and the junior was down in the pit under the log being cut. The top sawyer needed to be strong, and controlled the process. The junior down in the pit would forever be getting sawdust in the face and eyes in an age before sealed goggles and respirators. The challenge about needing to understand what it is like to have sawdust in your eyes by raising the challenge you have a PLANK in yours, is dead on target; especially if we see that a big part of the point was, the faster you cut planks the more money you made from the process. Jesus’ counsel to first get your priorities right and take the plank out of your eye then you can see clearly to help your junior with sawdust, is an excellent caution on the need for balance and empathy in trying to make changes: start with yourself and proceed to understand the other person’s problem, seeking to help not to jump on. And, he then immediately proceeded to the problem of those who have no respect for holy things, or appreciation for that which is valuable in ways they do not understand or accept, and who are predisposed to act with uncivil abuse to those who put pearls before them. BTW, isn’t it obvious, that 500 years ago, we had a problem of corrupt elites in church and community, whose behaviour in the teeth of remonstrance and pleas to do better showed their spirit? And, in more recent times, haven’t we seen much the same spirit in our current secular elites, save, that they have not been able to resort so openly to naked force and brutality? [Precisely because of the courage of those who stood up to the corrupt and abusive elites of 500 years ago, open Bibles in hand, and in the process laid the foundations of modern liberty, democracy and reform movements?] Should we not then ponder on the moral hazard of being human: finite, fallible, morally fallen/struggling and too often ill-willed? Should we not therefore be all aware that we need to listen to reformers and whistle-blowers, rather than retaliating against them? Of course, in our day, so soon as a warning like this is given, the dismissive talking point will be to twist it about to duck the challenge to the top sawyer through the turnabout accusation rhetorical and propaganda stratagem. However, given that we are here dealing with a patent blood libel, those in the penumbra of hostile sites who would try that particular favourite trick of Herr Goebels, would be well advised to look in the mirror to see if they have a bit of plank sticking out. This issue is far too serious for such silly turnabout games.)

    Now, I had long thought that the Creationism in a cheap tuxedo sneer was a toxic smear, but it was only when I made the connexions through the Barna survey and the Aiden vampire clergy video, in light of the cyber harassing comment by subject Y of the initial circle of attackers since June/July last year, that I saw that we are actually dealing with blood libel.

    Yes, the “ID is Creationism” and the “Creationists are ignorant, stupid, insane or WICKED” sneers are now indelibly linked to outright blood libel, given Mr Dawkins’ evident willingness to stand on a stage warmed up by the band that has composed and promoted that horrible song as the atheists’ anthem. Especially, also, when we see it in the light of the Barna survey result that as at five years past a MAJORITY of Atheists and Agnostics had swallowed the lie that Bible-believing Christians — the ones they would call “fundamentalists” — are a theocratic threat to liberty and society comparable to the Islamist terrorists and their fellow travellers.

    From this point on, let it be clear that if you choose to associate yourself with such blatant blood libel, you have declared of what spirit you are.

    And it is not the Holy Spirit.

    JS, your point that ID is challenging the high priesthood of the materialist reigning orthodoxy is obviously valid. And, it is all too human to be offended by a serious challenge that questions the credibility of a reigning orthodoxy.

    But, in science there is a duty of care to objectivity and truth. So, if there is a serious question as to what is the best explanation for functionally specific complex organisation and information in its various relevant manifestations, playing gerrrymandering games with the definition of science and resorting to sneers and smears — or in too many cases the sort of vicious slander this thread has exposed — are not the way to go.

    If you can credibly, on empirical observations, show that such FSCO/I can be created through blind chance and mechanical necessity, do so. But if you cannot, do not then pretend that science can be imposed on with a priori materialism and do not pretend that you can then rewrite the history of science to suggest that applied materialism has been its fundamental definition. Nosiree, science has been about an objective, progressive pursuit of the truth about the way our world is and works, based on empirical evidence, and reasonable explanation and analysis.

    Enough is enough, Mr Dawkins and ilk.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: I am updating the title.

  4. If they make accusations they are selling one can make accusations.
    If they accuse groups then one can accuse groups.
    ONe can accuse groups or group think and there is must cease to be anyone off the radar.
    Accusations simply must pass investigation and trial before they are to be seriously agreed with.
    thats all one needs to do in society.
    it would allow the bad guys to be accused and allow the accused good guys defence before the unattentive public draws conclusions.

    Today accusation about secret motivation ios very important and in fact affirmitive action cases demonstrate the courts allow and decide without trial what are the secret motivations.

    All there is in human relationships is accurate accusation and false accusation.
    the origin of the accusation is another point.

    It is a fair suspicion that those who accuse the most and the most severely are themselves involved in what they accuse.

    Modern life surely has ended the old prohibition against conspiracy theories.
    They can be true and many have simply different lists.

  5. kairosfocus:

    …in science there is a duty of care to objectivity and truth.

    No doubt. But at same time the paid stewards of an already-built edifice, designed to withstand the ages, have the luxury of forgetting the trade of stone masonry — in favor of, say, throwing rocks and suborning their weak-minded underlings and sycophants to do the same. Notwithstanding that stone masonry was one trade, among others, which made the building of the edifice possible in the first place.

    It luxury that those who — whilst dodging flying rocks — would build a rival edifice or improve the existing, do not enjoy.

    I would argue — until the cows come home — that one unmistakable lesson of history is that human nature at large, unhinged from morality imposed by some higher authority, will descend to whatever level is in its interests to descend to. So if blood libel is what it takes to “rally the troops,” then blood libel it will be.

    Literature, owing to unchanging human nature, enjoys a reputation for prescience for good reason. Read figuratively, the following description of a 19th century marketplace is nothing if not apt to the marketplace of ideas that is the Internet:

    Countrymen, butchers, drovers, hawkers, boys, thieves, idlers, and vagabonds of every low grade, were mingled together in a dense mass; the whistling of drovers, the barking of dogs, the bellowing and plunging of oxen, the bleating of sheep, the grunting and squeaking of pigs; the cries of hawkers, the shouts, oaths, and quarreling on all sides; the ringing of bells and roar of voices, that issued from every public-house; the crowding, pushing, driving, beating, whooping, and yelling; the hideous and discordant din that resounded from every corner of the market; and the unwashed, unshaven, squalid, and dirty figures constantly running to and fro, and bursting in and out of the throng; rendered it a stunning and bewildering scene, which quite confounded the senses. -Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

    Gladly, the revenge issuing from blood libels in cyberspace are less likely to be expressed in-person than blood libels in a social setting like the above described. Because unlike Dickens’ marketplace, or, say, the social setting of the French Revolution, it is not a face-to-face medium.

    Therefore actions that result from the slanders are more likely to be expressed through indirect assaults via politics, public and private, and the law. The likes of which those seriously engaged in ID have already suffered a’ plenty in their careers and at the nation’s bars of justice.

    That said, exposés of the true nature of the libels, along with exhortations to “the better angels of our nature,” are most-vital in this particular Information Age free-for-all, along with all the rest. They will be heard, above the din, by whatever stone masons, with a desire to actually build something, may be lurking.

  6. RB & JS:

    Thanks for your thoughts. The continued high looks to comments ratio (currently about 70:1) tells me we are looking at a lot of hostile scrutiny, and that many who would comment are probably deterred by what has been going on in the Internet’s fever swamps.

    But, it is vital that someone blows the whistle and calls for stopping the madness and stirring of hate.

    There just is no honest, fair-minded and informed basis for equating Bible believing Christians and Bible-based creationists with IslamIST terrorists and their ideological supporters. (And recall, in their eagerness to tar design thinkers with the same brush, the slander by loaded terminology “Intelligent Design Creationists” has been invented and Barbara Forrest of the NCSE and the Louisiana Humanists [i.e. atheists] et al sneer out that design thinkers are “creationists in cheap tuxedos.” NOT!)

    The lurking term used to make the blood libel link, “fundamentalists,” has been emptied of real meaning and is now little more than a sneer of hostile or hateful dismissive contempt and demonisation towards scapegoating; including in cases where it has been given an academic veneer — so corrupt has the world of scholarship become in our day.

    No wonder AP has warned that it is to be cordoned off, in its manual of journalistic style.

    As for the notion promoted by Mr Dawkins et al that those who reject the evolutionary materialist view of the world and its pretensions to be “science” — have they not read Plato or even Lucretius to see that this is a longstanding philosophy, one with serious unmet challenges? — are ignorant, stupid, insane and/or wicked; to even say this is to expose oneself as utterly rudely disrespectful, egotistically supercilious, driven by willfully ignorant contempt and arrogant pride, and worse.

    Then, to see that — Come March 31, 2012 — the leading new atheist spokesman just named is carded to stand on a stage warmed up by a band responsible for the sort of filth and slander that are in that vampire clergy music video, is a case of showing one’s true colours.

    Now, I agree that at first level, we are not likely to immediately –perhaps, hopefully not ever — see mobs rampaging and burning churches or lynching design theory spokesmen. No, the poisoned atmosphere and slanders are far more likely to at first issue in workplace and academic discrimination, as is coming out on several recent cases and as seems to be coming out with Coppedge. But, something is being missed: enabling the lunatic fringe, who find in the toxic atmosphere a “permission” to indulge in abuse or worse online and offline.

    And, if stereotyping, demonising slanders stick in minds, the culture begins to shift, which in this case will undermine support for basic logic and morality. We must never forget that we here are dealing with people who do not understand or accept the binding force of such principles, and have a worldview with no foundational IS that objectively grounds OUGHT. That — hot denials notwithstanding (and we can name cases in point, such as in the UK where by court order Bible believing Christians are being struck off the list of people qualified to be foster parents) — leads to undermining morality, rule of law, and leads on to blindness to the sort of community and institutional disintegration that Kant highlighted in the forms of the Categorical Imperative.

    Worse, outright nihilism will be let loose if enough highly Machiavellian, manipulative people seize institutional power.

    That happened repeatedly over the past 100 years, as the radical atheists are so often so desperate for us to forget. (How they rage, howl and spit cobra-venom when one traces the well-documented idea roots, and name the seminal thinkers and historical connexions of eugenics and social darwinism as well as dialectical materialism, etc. 100+ million ghosts warn us that the movements that triggered the horrors of the century past, did not come out of nowhere, and nothing. Nor were they rooted in the foundations of a worldview that has as core moral principle, that we should love God — the God who is Reason Himself — and love our fellow man, made in God’s image.)

    So, we must realise just how fragile the foundations of liberty and democracy are, and just how potentially destructive evolutionary materialist atheism and its kissing cousins are, once it becomes an enabler of nihilism. Never mind how they love to dress up in the holy lab coat and speak in the name of science.

    That is why I draw the line now, and point out the blood libel.

    And, I assure you — having spent a year fruitlessly going through the appeals process at BBC on a very similar case of “fundy theocrat and would-be crusaders” blood libel in a miniseries, Bonekickers; all the way up to the BBC Trust — once these ideologues and their fellow travellers seize control of an institution, you can kiss goodbye to the idea that a patently true case will get a fair hearing, much less, justice. Right now, that is mostly in organisations and institutions, but there are already troubling signs that it is in the courts and legislatures.

    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute (unaccountable) power corrupts absolutely. Lord Acton was right, and the problem is by no means restricted to renaissance era popes.

    So, before it is too late, I am blowing the whistle and crying: Blood Libel!

    I hope there are enough decent people on the other side who will pause, look, and see that we are sliding towards the edge of the abyss.

    Then, we can stop the madness and set about reforming science, liberating it from a priori evolutionary materialist ideological captivity. (Which, despite clear documentation — and the linked includes institutions such as the US NAS and NSTA, ever so many refuse to acknowledge. As in, don’t believe yer lyin’ eyez.)

    I think a reasonable test and challenge for the other side, is whether they can find it in themselves to say, Stop, Mr Dawkins, what are you doing on the same stage as Aiden?

    If they cannot even do that, we have our work cut out for us.

    GEM of TKI

  7. F/N: Advert at Dawkins dot net for the March 31 “Rock Beyond Belief” concert at Ft Bragg:

    Rock Beyond Belief – Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, NC
    March 31, 2012
    It’s free!

    Richard Dawkins, Aiden and many more will be speaking and performing. Show up and show your support to our non-Christian troops who fight for your freedom of religion! . . . .

    Music with the permission of
    Samuel Taylor
    Aiden – “Hysteria” . . .

    Notice what is being highlighted?

    Somebody has some serious explaining to do.

    KF

  8. kairofocus:

    …if stereotyping, demonising slanders stick in minds, the culture begins to shift, which in this case will undermine support for basic logic and morality. We must never forget that we here are dealing with people who do not understand or accept the binding force of such principles, and have a worldview with no foundational IS that objectively grounds OUGHT…

    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute (unaccountable) power corrupts absolutely. Lord Acton was right, and the problem is by no means restricted to renaissance era popes.

    So, before it is too late, I am blowing the whistle and crying: Blood Libel!

    I hope there are enough decent people on the other side who will pause, look, and see that we are sliding towards the edge of the abyss…

    I hear you, brother. I am 57 years old and have been a committed Christian since I was 20. During which time — basically my entire adult life — I have been an interested spectator of the creeping rot affecting the whole range of culture and public life in the West, which began long before I was born. What you who pursue ID are facing — such as the blood libels you are blowing the whistle on here — to me represent a (very important and telling) case in point.

    From what people like you and I smell, from wherever it is that we sit individually, the state of this country’s morals and manners, its ethics and adherence to the rule of law, and the level of personal integrity and honor found among its citizens positively REEKS. With the stench becoming more nauseating by the day.

    Of course, it could be that we are overly concerned with “oughts” that have no basis in “is,” making us and others like us easily-dismissed curmudgeons, but I doubt it.

    The question on the table, as I see it, is whether there are enough decent people left — of any and all stripes — to turn the tide against the “natural” outcome of the unavoidable and ever-worsening crises that current state of affairs are producing and will continue to produce. Namely, the establishment of an authoritarian state.

    Personally, I doubt it. But it doesn’t hurt to be clear-eyed about what is at stake.

    Mankind’s history is one of systematic, arbitrary abuse and control by the elite acting privately, through the church, but mostly through government. It is a tragic history where hundreds of millions of unfortunate souls have been slaughtered, mostly by their own government. A historian writing 200 or 300 years from now might view the liberties that existed for a tiny portion of mankind’s population, mostly in the western world, for only a tiny portion of its history, the last century or two, as a historical curiosity that defies explanation. That historian might also observe that the curiosity was only a temporary phenomenon and mankind reverted back to the traditional state of affairs—arbitrary control and abuse.

    Hopefully, history will prove that pessimistic assessment false. The worldwide collapse of the respectability of the ideas of socialism and communism suggests that there is a glimmer of hope. Another hopeful sign is the technological innovations that make it more difficult for government to gain information on and control its citizens. Innovations such as information access, communication and electronic monetary transactions will make government attempts at control more costly and less probable. These technological innovations will increasingly make it possible for world citizens to communicate and exchange with one another without government knowledge, sanction or permission.

    Collapse of communism, technological innovations, accompanied by robust free-market organizations … are the most optimistic things I can say about the future of liberty in the United States. Americans share an awesome burden and moral responsibility. If liberty dies in the United States, it is destined to die everywhere.
    -Walter E. Williams

  9. JS:

    It is not just the US, it is our civilisation; a civilisation once known as Christendom.

    It is easily demonstrable that it is no accident that it is Christendom — driven by biblical principles and the softening effects of the gospel, especially after printing was invented and the text was put in the vernacular and accessible to the ordinary man (who not least was motivated to learn to read by that access) — that gave birth to the scientific and representational, constitutional democratic revolutions, but; oh how that is resented and repressed by those who now dominate an apostate, dying civilisation.

    We live in a world where those who SHOULD or DO know better are suppressing a sober and balanced discussion of the worldview options in front of us, and their predictable consequences. In that regard, all the dirty tricks of rhetoric, debate, propaganda, agitation, polarisation, astroturfing and distraction have been brought to bear. Including the blood libel on the table in front of us.

    Just tell me one thing: how on God’s earth could a majority of atheists and agnostics — who per their boasts are typically fairly well informed and educated — have been led to the sort of immoral equivalency equation of Bible-believing Christians and IslamIST terrorists that Barna documented? Why was that not seen as an outrage of bigotry to be headlined and discussed until it was shamed and purged from the public? Why is it instead that we have seen attack after attack targetting Christians for denigration, demonisation, scapegoating and expulsion from the public square?

    Why is it that evidently the leading spokesman for the new atheist movement apparently has no hesitation in standing on the same stage with a band like Aiden, with that appalling vampire clergy video being actually part of the promo for the event carded for March 31 at Ft Bragg?

    Do we not see the all too predictable consequences of the nihilism of might and manipulation making ‘right’ playing out on the ground?

    Will we not even learn from Plato?

    Let us hear The Laws, Bk X again, 2350 years ago speaking in all too relevant warning:

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

    Much less Paul:

    Rom 1:18For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.

    19For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

    20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],

    21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [c]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

    22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

    23And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles.

    24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin],

    25Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! . . . .

    28And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome,

    29Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers,

    30Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents.

    31[They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless.

    32Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them. [AMP]

    John Locke, in sect 5 of his introduction to his essay on human understanding, is all too apt:

    Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 - 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 - 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 - 2 & 13, Ac 17, Jn 3:19 - 21, Eph 4:17 - 24, Isaiah 5:18 & 20 - 21, Jer. 2:13, Titus 2:11 - 14 etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 - 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly. [Text references added to document the sources of Locke's allusions and citations. Cf here on for an exploration of Locke's main theme, at 101 level. This follow-up discussion takes up the torch passed on by Schaeffer.]

    All of this is on longstanding (though too often ignored, overlooked or even suppressed) record; so, we have no excuse for our willful, self-destructively suicidal folly.

    GEM of TKI

    F/N: If you doubt me on suppression of unwelcome truth or implications, cf here on the UD news clip from Tipler. Think about what it means that people believing and acting like this are the principal gatekeepers on what we accept as knowledge in the name of science.

  10. kairofocus:

    It is not just the US, it is our civilisation; a civilisation once known as Christendom.

    It is easily demonstrable that it is no accident that it is Christendom — driven by biblical principles and the softening effects of the gospel, especially after printing was invented and the text was put in the vernacular and accessible to the ordinary man (who not least was motivated to learn to read by that access) — that gave birth to the scientific and representational, constitutional democratic revolutions, but; oh how that is resented and repressed by those who now dominate an apostate, dying civilisation.

    I agree in broad terms with what you’re saying. But I remain of the same mind as Williams in the above quote, on the pivotal role the U.S. plays in the preservation of liberty.

    I would argue specifically, and have rationalized biblically, that the disestablishmentarianism as enshrined by the First Amendment, protects the Christian religion in the only valid way that is possible for a worldly government to protect it.

    Whatever the truth of its historic contributions to the commonweal of the West, it is also an historic fact that, after the establishment of its ecclesiastical apparatus by Imperial Rome, it was in America first that Christianity once again had to for fend for itself in the marketplace of ideas.

    Which is only right, as Butler has pointed out, “as if truth could be held in any other tenure than the knight’s fee of holding its own against all comers.”

    Based on my biblical work, I have asserted that:

    …”America is Christian nation? Really? Impossible! Biblically, it is no more possible for a nation to be Christian than it for a dog to be Christian. Neither nations nor dogs can be born again of God’s spirit. That privilege belongs to individual human beings alone. Period. Amen. Close the hymnbook. Go home and watch basketball…

    …[And] I would add that most of the original colonists who migrated to North America, such as the Pilgrims, did so because they were FLEEING religious persecution at the hands of the so-called “Christian nations” of Europe. The same kind of archaic religious persecution that the clueless political activists who follow Kingdom Theology are doing their level best to open the door back up to. The same kind of archaic religious persecution, as a matter of fact, that the Founders of the Republic of Texas aimed to prevent when in 1836 they made it Constitutionally illegal for clergy to serve in state office…

    In case there is interest on my biblical reasoning against the entire concept of a political “Christendom” is based on — not to mention the Achilles Heel of today’s so-called Christian Right doctrinally — rather than attempting a synopsis in this venue, I’ll just link here, here, and here.

    Do we not see the all too predictable consequences of the nihilism of might and manipulation making ‘right’ playing out on the ground?

    Will we not even learn from Plato?

    Much less Paul:

    John Locke, in sect 5 of his introduction to his essay on human understanding, is all too apt:

    All of this is on longstanding (though too often ignored, overlooked or even suppressed) record; so, we have no excuse for our willful, self-destructively suicidal folly.

    GEM of TKI

    F/N: If you doubt me on suppression of unwelcome truth or implications, cf here on the UD news clip from Tipler. Think about what it means that people believing and acting like this are the principal gatekeepers on what we accept as knowledge in the name of science.

    Sin is gawd-awful, no doubt about it. And the way I see it, if it is allowed free reign among a plurality of any population, any facsimile of the liberty that America still enjoys will sooner or later become utterly unworkable.

    But what is to be done about it? If appeals to scripture, good consciences, and simple reason fall on deaf ears here in the Land of the Freebie and Home of the Deranged, then what?

    According to my species of biblical eschatology (pdf) from scriptures such as II Thessalonians 2, history is doomed to end badly anyway. And if the particular slice that I’m living through happens to fit the bigger pattern, well, “Welcome to the world, jstanley01.”

    Personally, no matter how glum the wider world may seem, every day that I’m not living through something akin to the siege of Lennigrad, I can always find something to remain thankful for.

    Why is it that evidently the leading spokesman for the new atheist movement apparently has no hesitation in standing on the same stage with a band like Aiden, with that appalling vampire clergy video being actually part of the promo for the event carded for March 31 at Ft Bragg?

    Do we not see the all too predictable consequences of the nihilism of might and manipulation making ‘right’ playing out on the ground?

    History rarely repeats, but it almost always rhymes. The elites who backed the French Revolution made a practice of leveraging the streets of Paris in their cause too.

    Which in light of what happened to many of them, the events after the guillotines were broken out ought to constitute a cautionary tale to those who would attempt the same today. But it won’t.

    They can’t imagine events, that they have set in motion by their ethical and philosophical stupidities, spiraling out of control. Yeah, good luck with that one, chumps.

  11. JS:

    I think we are talking at cross-purposes.

    when I said Christendom, I by no means spoke beyond a name attached to a culture influenced by the Christian worldview; I certainly did not endorse landeskirke, though in recent times that has not been a universally oppressive situation. If you read the discussion in the OP you would see the links at the end. I think you will find a useful discussion on roots of modern liberty.

    KF

  12. JS:

    Further thoughts overnight.

    One of my concerns is that we tend to project unto the church and Christianity- influenced culture, challenges that are universal, and indeed crop up in a different guise today. I especially speak of the moral hazards of being human and of holding the stewardship of power and property.

    As humans, we are finite, fallible, morally fallen/struggling, too often deceived [including self-deceived] and ill-willed. When we hold power, we too often fail to understand that we are stewards and servants of God responsible for the civil peace of justice, and are prone to abuse it, especially where there is a lack of effective accountability. When it comes to money and property, we too often miss the stewardship and concern for the less fortunate that should mark us. (I often here think in terms of the principles that one should not muzzle the ox that treads the grain, and that one should leave the corners of one’s field for the poor.)

    I sometimes think that if we had a more balanced, broader, more comparative study of history (and BTW, the Bible is a good balance for that, if we study it right: Egypt, Babylon and Assyria, Persia [the nasty power games played out to exploit those laws made by royal decree that could not be changed are a study in themselves!], Israel, Syria, Greece and Rome [render to Caesar, render to God, Caesar -- specifically Nero, though in the days when he was under the tutelage of Burrus and Seneca the bro of Gallio, before he went demonically mad -- is God's servant to do good and so accountable to God and the spokesman of God down to the 4 year old child, for justice] all come in), it would help a lot. We would see how ancient pagan kingdoms, the classical cultures — and we should bring to bear those of India, China and the Americas too, the ancient Israelite commonwealths, Christianised Rome [including Byzantium], the rising Islamic states, the Europe of the post Roman era, the rising Middle ages, the era of Renaissance and Reformation, the enlightenment, the modern era, the Fascist and Marxist blocs, and the rising wave of nations across the South have had to confront the same hazards, and in every case, with some pretty spectacular failures. Most notably in recent times, over 100 million ghosts from the century just past warn us about states built on radical atheistical, evolutionary materialist secularism and its fellow travellers. And, of course the story of how and why the French revolution failed in a reign of terror by contrast with not only the American but the earlier Glorious Revolution that shaped Locke’s writings, is highly relevant but largely forgotten. And, do I dare point out Heine’s warning to France and Germany on the forces being let loose by apostasy in the academy by the 1830′s? Or, have we never learned the chilling force of his prophecy against the apostate philosophers — ironically, by a Jewish German man who had been baptised a Christian in adulthood?

    We would learn how righteousness exalts and how sin degrades and destroys. We would see exposed the arrogance and blindness and folly of power — and BTW Solomon’s son Rehoboam is a classic on that — and we would learn the reason why democratic solutions balanced by elements of other ways to organise the state have turned out to be the best balance, or at least the least of evils, on average. Indeed, we would learn that he USA is where the solutions were first worked out in the main, though we would learn too of the significance of especially Australia for some very surprising points, even the secret ballot. But also, we would learn from the roots of the American experiment, and from the reformation that — for all its own sins — gave rise to so many of those roots. We would also learn just how fragile that balance is, and how easily a people cut off from the lessons of the past and across the world, can be deluded by would be political messiahs.

    As looks to be happening in our time, again.

    (In my native land, we went through just such a political messiah, so pardon my intensity on that subject: the burned hand teaches rather firmly and permanently. I have a positive allergy to would be political messiahs, I want wounded, decent leaders who have struggled in life and have been marked by humility, empathy and wisdom that pain and overcoming failure create. In short, I want men who have had to deal with planks in their own eyes, who can see clearly to help us with sawdust in ours. And, if I catch the faintest whiff of glibness, spoiled brattiness ["no broughtupcy" is the so apt Caribbean term], arrogant disrespect and denigration, cleverly deceitful rhetorical manipulation, or scapegoating, or tickling itching ears with what they want to hear, I am running up a red warning flag and blowing the biggest police whistle I can find. Alcibiades needs not apply!)

    I am a firm believer in the principles I first learned at my dad’s knee (he favoured Santayana’s summary), that history teaches us that those who refuse to learn from it are doomed to repeat its worst chapters and that by and large we refuse to learn form it. Ironically, it is Marx who noted that history repeats twice over, first as tragedy, then as farce.

    When it comes to the issue of establishment of churches, I find that many Americans miss a historical nuance: the first Amendment was NOT about disestablishment of the churches, but against establishment of one church over the whole US. When it was set up IIRC, there were nine of 13 states with established landeskircke [which seems to have then had majority support in the relevant states], but it was expressing two balancing principles in light of Augsburg and Westphalia: (i) the majority of the state would determine its religious climate, but preserving freedom of conscience, dissent and religious expression reinforced by the classic freedoms of press, assembly, association etc, (ii) there would be no church of the whole USA. Of course, subsequently [especially post 14th Amdt], the states have come to disestablish churches. The key clause in effect told the federal Congress to butt out of the subject.

    Notice, in this context, how it is worded:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion [--> i.e. landeskirke], or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Of course, over time your nation felt in its wisdom that there should be no established churches in the individual states. Fine by me.

    What is not so fine by me is the way that he sins of Christendom — real and imagined — have been twisted into an excuse to drive godliness and the fear of God out of the public square. The scapegoating and targetting of decent Christian people is appalling.

    Beyond that, the refusal to recognise that we are under moral government, the binding force of OUGHT, and that this has implications for what is to be accepted as a credible worldview (including value system) that is welcome to shape the general life and culture of society is troubling. I find that we are inescapably under the binding force of OUGHT, so only those worldviews that have an IS that can objectively ground OUGHT are reasonable. I stress, reasonable.

    A good summary of where this points is in the clip from “the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard] Hooker” — taken from that worthy’s Ecclesiastical Polity 1594+ — that Locke used to inform his grounds for liberty and justice in the state and community:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, "ch." 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    Sometimes, the classic quotes we do not know about are even more telling than the ones we do know about.

    For, if we forget the lessons of history . . .

    GEM of TKI

    PS: I think a pause to read Ac 17:16 ff will help us understand that peoplehood/nationhood and the places and times we live in are under God’s oversight. He creates diverse nations as a fraternity of families of one blood [no room for race prejudice and oppression], and this — biblically — was to in large part to check Nimrod’s kind of unity in defiance of heaven. He so governs history that out of times of kairos (and yep this is the root of my handle) we are forced to grope for Him, however blindly. He is not far from us, and we are jointly his offspring, so we have no excuse for willful ignorance in the teeth of the sign of the Man he has ordained, the resurrection attested by 500 witnesses and the poured out Spirit. In that context, it is entirely in order for a people to freely acknowledge that they hold nationhood under God, and to recognise the one revealed by that sign as risen Lord, which BTW is written into your DOI, your articles of confederation AND your Constitution. In case this is doubted, I ask you to read the following in light of a community raised on the theology of nationhood and government under God:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I - VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven [--> Cf Rom 1:1 - 5] and of the Independence of the United States of America [--> note the reference to the 1776 DOI, this is delivering on the promise of building new government therein] the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS]. [Cf the force of that reference to blessings in light of congressional calls to days of prayer, penitence and thanksgiving across the course of the revolution, especially those of May 1776, 1777 and 1779]

    . . . In that context, to establish a framework for just and limited government, with leaders down to the teacher in the classroom and the policeman on the corner seen as God’s servants to do us good is quite in order. So, to see the USA as a land shaped by the Christian faith and its positive civil heritage and enjoying the BLESSINGS of liberty bought at heavy price is entirely in order. This in no wise justifies tyrannical oppression in the false name — thus, misused and taken in vain — of God. But equally, to smear any and all appeals to the theology just outlined as lurking tyrannical theocracy is wrong, indeed given the context, it is blood libel. I think it is high time that we saw that extremes provoke swings to opposite extremes, but the point of balance is the true opposite to all extremes, as a swinging then settling pendulum can ever so easily teach us.

  13. F/N: I think, again, that a glance at the notes on some of the roots of modern liberty and representational, constitutional democracy, here [they are the first linked in the F/N to the OP too], will be helpful. KF

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