I Believe (An essay on science and faith)

Author:  Skip Reith

Date:  9/26/2015

I Believe

I believe!  These two little words contain a lot of power.  These two little words are also misused, misunderstood, abused, and often ridiculed.  What do we mean when we say I believe?  That is what I will explore today.

Belief is that understanding a person has when they analyze and process all of the facts and information they have on a particular subject.  Belief can come from direct observation (I’ve been to New York so I believe it exists); or belief can come from indirect information – that is from an authority on the subject (I’ve never been to Tokyo, but I believe it exists because I have been told by maps and people who have been there that it exists).

One important note before I continue.  When I use the term authority here, I am not talking about some governmental organization.  I am talking about an expert on the subject whose knowledge, skill, and background gives them a special place in the hierarchy of understanding on the subject.  An authoritative source is one step up from an expert.  If the authoritative source is a person then that source not only is an expert, but that person also has a breadth and depth of knowledge around the main subject that allows them broad understanding on the subject.  If the source is not a person, then the source is complete and detailed.  For example, a professional astronomer with 30 years experience is an authority on astronomy.  The complete body of written papers and books on astronomy is an authoritative source on the subject.  In addition, an authority on the subject is one that other people agree and believe is an authority on the subject.  Is possible to think a person is an authority on a subject when they are actually not an expert and may have little knowledge in the subject.  (This technique is used all of the time by advertisers.  They get a famous person to promote their product.  Since people know the authority of the famous person’s specialty, they subconsciously assign authority to this other, advertised subject as well.)

Let’s look at belief in more detail.  Belief and knowledge are similar, but not identical.  Belief is your understanding of a situation, but you may not be able to prove that understanding to another.  Knowledge is a direct understanding of something that you can easily prove.  I know one plus one equals two and I can prove it in a number of ways, including demonstrating the summation with two pennies.  I know New York exists (or at least it did) because I was there.  I cannot prove its existence now because I am not there.  I can show evidence of my trip (pictures and souvenirs) but until I go back I can’t definitively prove its existence.  So, at the moment I believe that New York exists.  My belief in the existence of Tokyo is indirect.  My only proof is the maps and pictures I have seen of Tokyo.  If someone does not accept the authority of my proofs then they will not believe in Tokyo.

Science is the attempt to quantify beliefs and turn them into provable knowledge while authenticating the proofs.  The scientific method (described in my Observation – Applying the Scientific Method to Religion) is a disciplined approach to proving an understanding and turning belief into knowledge.  For example, I could apply the scientific method and fly to Tokyo and prove to myself that it exists, turning my belief into knowledge.

The problem with science is that it can only prove physical things.  It can prove the existence of matter and the existence of something called gravity, and so on.  It can dig out the understanding of how things function and explain the interactions of various objects.  Science also has beliefs, but to make it sound more important, scientists call those beliefs theories.  The scientific method attempts to prove that the theories are correct and to expand the understanding and details of those theories.

Science cannot prove strictly personal items.  It is not possible to weigh love, measure directly satisfaction, or count hate.  It is not even possible to directly analyze pain.  Scientists try to measure these strictly personal objects, but everything science does with these items is indirect.  For example, a doctor may ask you your pain level on a scale of 1 to 10, but that is a subjective measure and not an objective measure.  It is impossible for the doctor to measure directly your pain level.  The doctor cannot get a scale out and weigh your pain.  Even brain scans and EEG measurements do not measure pain they just measure physiological response to nerve stimulation.  Your awareness of pain is greater and more personal than the physiological response.

Consider, for example, love.  I know that I love my wife, son, step children, grandchild, dog, cats, and so on.  I cannot prove that love, except by my actions and that is just indirect.  No one could take out a ruler and measure my love.  Science cannot apply the scientific method to my love in such a way that others could know definitively my love.  Love is completely and utterly personal.

It is impossible for one person to know directly what another person feels.  Even if we could hook two people’s brains together, they still could not know each other’s feelings because our emotions, our response to external stimulations, our core being is determined by every experience we have had up to that point.  Since no two people follow the same path in life, no two people experience emotions the same way.  This puts love in the belief column.  Although I KNOW I love my family, I cannot prove it.  So ultimately, I can only say I believe in my love.

Others may believe that I do, in fact, love my family.  Others experience love themselves, and even though they do not have the same feelings towards my family as I do, they understand that those feelings exist.  Sometimes people may not understand why that particular feeling exists (“how is possible that people actually loved Hitler”), but they understand that there is such feelings.

What about stuff that many people may not experience directly?  What about, for example, spiritual experiences that many people may never encounter.  If something like love cannot be quantized or measured and therefore are not subject to the scientific method, something like spiritual experiences are even further removed from science.  If we cannot prove our love to another, when that other person also experiences love, how can we prove spirituality and religious belief to someone who has never undergone that experience?  It is at this point that ridicule and disbelief occur.

If a person cannot understand directly a spiritual belief of another and has no indirect proof, then that person is faced with a problem.  If the unbeliever (atheist) accepts that the other has had a spiritual experience, then that means the atheist is deficient in some manner.  Unless the atheist wants to admit this deficiency (which is rare) they then have to take the second path – trying to prove the other person’s beliefs are false.  Yet, spiritual experiences are not something you can measure.  It is not possible for the atheist to get out a scale and say “see your belief does not measure up!”  The attack on spiritual and religious knowledge must take different approaches.

One approach is the strawman approach.  In this approach, the atheist constructs a strawman; that is, they liken the religious belief to some other, more tangible belief, and then attack the strawman.  For example, someone could say that the belief in God is like the belief in Santa Claus.  Since we all know Santa Claus does not exist, it is obvious that God does not exist.  This argument fails on many dimensions.

Santa Claus is a belief children develop because they accepted their parents and adults as an authority on the subject.  The adults lied to the children (we hide that fact by calling it a fantasy or a story, but it is still a lie).  The children have no other source, so they accept the adult’s authority.  They believe in the existence of Santa Claus on authority of the lying adults.  Once the children grow old enough to perform an independent validation, they uncover the lie.  Their belief changes because they have new facts and data.

An atheist saying that belief in God is like a belief in Santa Claus is actually saying that belief in God is like a belief in a lie that some authority told you.  This may hold for children and extremely gullible people, but it does not hold for discerning, open minded adults who have directly experienced God.  In addition, the believer has additional proof of God that the believer in Santa Claus does not have.  There are corroborating historical documents that validate some of the religious writings.  There is the fact that millions of people have died for their belief – something that has not happened over the belief in Santa Claus.  More importantly, the belief in God is open to everyone, and everyone can run the religious experiment.  That is, each person has the opportunity to follow the authoritative sources on God and see the results for themselves.

The other approach an atheist can try to discredit a religious belief is to claim that science has never proved God exists and they only believe in science.  Before I get into what science can and cannot prove I have to address this belief in science.  Science has brought a lot of knowledge and understanding to the world.  Science has enabled a lot of engineering and technology that brings enhanced medicines, labor saving devices, and so on.  (It also enhanced war, pollution, oppression, and other ills, but we don’t need to go there for our current discussion.)  So, saying you believe in science seems reasonable.  The problem is most people have no idea what they are talking about or what they believe in when they say they believe in science.

First off, almost everything we call science these days is actually engineering.  Computers, cell phones, air planes, medicines, surgical procedures, cars, TVs, and on and on are all engineering feats.  For the most part, the science on these things is done behind closed doors and people never see the actual science.  Most people wouldn’t even know the scientific method if it hit them in the face.  So, what people are really saying when they say they believe in science is that they believe in the technology they have and they believe the authoritative sources that they are exposed to who proclaim the greatness of science.

Let’s look at those authoritative sources.  In most countries a major part of scientific research is funded by the government.  Research gets published in journals, but most people have never even seen a scientific journal, let alone read one.  Even though scientists publish, the publication is controlled by a review from scientific peers.  The government controls what scientists investigate through funding, and therefore control what scientists understand and believe.  I will point out that the government is controlled by politicians and bureaucrats not scientists or even people with a scientific background.

People’s exposure to science first comes about in school.  The classes are taught by the teachers, who are managed by administrators, and the whole thing is controlled and regulated by the government.  A lot or research and enhanced scientific advances come from universities.  Universities get a major part of their funding either directly (through grants) or indirectly (through tuition) that is paid by the government.  Other sources of scientific information and “discovery” comes from governmental agencies like NASA, national science foundation, food and drug administration, US department of agriculture, the atomic energy commission and its various follow on agencies, the department of defense, environmental protection agency, national weather service, US geological survey, and on and on.

Some people are exposed to science through things like public television.  Public TV gets a majority of their funding from the government.  If you perform a review of a lot of “scientific” articles on public media you will find that a lot comes from some governmental source (like NASA). Non-governmental entities, like the Discovery Channel may present “scientific documentaries” but these are often sensationalized stories.  Interestingly enough, many of the critics of these documentaries are government funded agencies and government supported public media.

So, when a person says they believe in science, they are really saying that they believe in the government.  The government is controlled and run by politicians, and we all know that politicians lie, cheat, twist the truth, hide information, and do whatever they can to remain in power.  Since most people have no direct experience with science, then when an atheist says they believe in science what they are saying is that their belief is just like the belief in Santa Claus – it’s based on a lie.

As I have shown, science cannot prove or disprove love.  Science cannot measure anything that is personal.  Scientists cannot measure thoughts, feelings, ideas, responses, or any of thousands of deeply personal experiences.  Yet, we all know these are real.  Science cannot answer basic questions like why does the universe exist or what is the meaning of life?  While modern science has discovered a huge amount about the physical reality, there is way more to our existence than just the physical.

Science (as people define science, which are the physical and social sciences) cannot, and never will, be able to scientifically prove personal, internal experiences of people.  Science is limited.  So, when an atheist says they only believe in science, they are also saying that they do not believe in emotions, thoughts, ideals, creativity, art, spirituality, honor, or God.  That’s kind of a limited point of view.

When I say I believe in God, I am not saying that I believe that someone once told me God exists and I accept their authority on the subject.  I say I believe because I have personal knowledge that I have tested using the scientific method.  I have investigated life with and without God.  I have researched God, the authoritative writings, and talked with people who I feel are experts on the subject (both for and against).  I have weighed all of the evidence and data and I have found that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of believing that God exists.

I cannot prove God’s existence.  I cannot pull out a photograph of God or take out my telescope and show you God.  However, I have looked deep inside myself and have found God there, waiting for me.  I cannot force you to believe.  I can only say that if you run the experiment – that is, if you follow the teachings of an authoritative source on religion and God, then you too may experience God in a way similar to (but not exactly the same as) my experience.

I hope you do.  I hope that you run the experiment and prove to yourself the existence of God.  However, if you instead try to hide behind science and use science as a shield, you will find that the shield is very small indeed and not much protection against larger truths.

Understanding the New atheists and The Totally Other

Understanding the New atheists and The Totally Other

For the last few years I have been trying my best to understand the new atheist movement and all of its ranting and raving against God and religion. Then it dawned on me,  that I could not understand them because we were not talking about the same things. The god and religion that they are ranting against is not the God I believe in or the religion I practice.

The majority of them talk about a god that I believed in at one time and a religion I was a part of when I was a young man. However, I no longer believe in that god nor do I practice  that religion. It took a number of years on my journey to find The Wholly Other; or should I say for him to find me and to lead me out of the forest of religious idols I was lost and hiding in.

Looking back on my journey it is hard to understand why it took so long to be found by the Lord seeing that  “We live and move and have are being in him”[1], though he, himself has no being, for He is being[2], i.e. He does not have existence rather he is existence[3]. Therefore, there really is no way to argue for his existence for he does not exist in the way we think of existence. So, what are we arguing for, or against?[4] I will get back to this later.

I found that not only do the new atheists have a different vision of The Totally Other, they (at least the majority) had a different vision of religion, which is as narrow as their vision of the God symbol. They seem to believe that all religion is the same, which in their minds means that all religion is bad. Of course, it does not take much thought to realize that the word religion is a word that points to a concept which is as deep and broad as the ocean. Therefore, when the new atheists start bashing all religion and lumping it all together it makes me wonder how much real thought they have put into their subject. I have found some so allergic to the word religion that they cannot even admit that religion can be good or bad. This strongly points to the level of maturity of so many in that movement. They take a thumb full of the ocean and believe that they have captured the ocean. I am not saying this in malice but I believe that many these people have some deep problems.

You may have noticed that  I have tried to avoid using the word God, the reason being that the word has been so vulgarized and distorted that it has lost any value in helping us to understand the mystery that I refer to as The Wholly Other. The distortion of the God symbol is one of the real problems with religion and atheism.

Religion should help us in our journey to The Totally Other. However, instead of helping it often hinders by giving us false ideas of God, these false images in ancient times were called idols. The problem with idols is that there is no image or thing in reality or in the mind of humanity that can picture The Totally Other. All images of God created by humanity whether in mind or in stone, are idols because they are too small and distort the symbol we use for The Totally Other, i.e. God. The false ideas of God in turn him and him I solicit a false responds e.g. the new atheists.

This means that the atheist that has a pure heart may be closer to having a correct view of God than many believers. That is, if he has no image of God in his mind[5]. You see nothing is better than the something if the something is wrong. This is why I call the something that you cannot image or speak about, The Wholly Other, the uncreated one, I Am or maybe nothingness? I do it to keep people from creating a false image of God that is too small.

Of course, the problem is that for both believer and atheist, religion stands as a mediator between them and The Wholly Other. You see, for the atheist to argue against God he must have an image of that God in his mind. Whatever image he has in his mind is simply an idol. This is the only reason why they can form an argument against it, for no argument can be formed against the Wholly Other for he lies beyond all argument. The majority of men will never get beyond the idols of this world whether they claim to be atheist or theist, i.e. their God is too small. I often wonder how humans could become so corrupt that the scripture would tell us that every imagination of their heart was corrupt, I now know; their God was too small, they were idolaters.

The theist often creates a God in their own image and then projects that image into heaven. The atheist then comes along and says that is not God and they are right. It is an idol that can be manipulated and controlled by man. It is the god of the religious man and the atheist. A god that  is created for the opium of the people; or as a tool to control the herd. On the other hand, the deist created an aloof impersonal God that is somewhere out there beyond everything, located in some distant heaven, too aloof to be involved with his creation. Of course, any god that can be herded into some small corner of space and time is just too small to be The Totally Other. It also is an idol.

The high theists of the world know The Wholly Other, since they know, that they know little or nothing of being. They confess that they are quite ignorant of The Total Other. They understand, as Isaiah the prophet also understood; “His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.” To them the word God is a symbol which stands for the limits of their knowledge. This knowledge calls for humility and they are careful not to over speak on the subject of the deity.

You may ask, “Are you saying we can know nothing of being?”  No, I am saying that you can only know what He has revealed to you. How does He reveal Himself? One way is through nature and the study of it, that is science. The study of nature has reviewed how great and powerful the Wholly Other is and how different he is from humanity. This knowledge should create awe and wonder in ones spirit, which is true spiritual worship. Unfortunately, many that study nature end up worshipping nature, failing to see that she is an arrow pointing to that which is beyond her. As the seer says when the prophet points at the moon the majority look at his thumb. For many science and religion has become the study of the thumb.

Some may say that this Wholly Other dwells in a cloud of darkness and mystery. Why does he hide Himself? Why does He not reveal Himself? Well, I do not think He is the problem, I think the trouble lays elsewhere. Could it be that He is so awesome and so glorious that in our present form we cannot approach Him without melting into nothingness. This unapproachableness is pointed out in the bible when God tells Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20).

There is the real possibility that the darkness that hides the Wholly Other is the darkness that is in the human heart. Jesus said, blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”. Now by pure in heart I do not think Jesus is talking about not having impure thoughts e.g. lust, greed, etc. but rather having the right focus of one’s own being. He refers to this as the single eye. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matt 6:22-23).This may be why children find it easy to see God until their parents or their culture (which includes religion) fill their eyes with darkness and forces them to see the world through dark-colored glasses. It is no wonder Jesus said “unless you convert and become like little children you will in no way, enter the kingdom of God.” So, let’s stop blaming God and the devil for our bad eyes and poor sight.  For that matter let’s stop blaming our parents and culture and accept responsibility for the condition of our own heart. Our hearts are filled with darkness because we have made God too small and are about the business of building idols.

Then, there is the Bible. What is the Bible? The Bible is a collection of writings from men who were searching for The Totally Other. It is the history of their journey and their interaction with the Uncreated One. It records their successes and their failures. It shows them as groping, sometimes searching as a lost children would search for their parent and slowly, in due course growing into adolescence. The Bible also reminds us that the story is not over and that adulthood is still away off.

What about the contradictions and mistakes in it? Would you not expect to find a few anomalies and problems in any writings trying to explain The Total Other? It is a book of symbols that point to something that is on the border of human knowledge, known yet unknown. The Bible itself is a symbol which claimed to be both human and divine. The divine part is perfect in doing what it was created for, which is the building of souls as they journeyed towards the Totally Other.

However, there is a consistent theme and a trend that run though the whole of Scriptures, which connects all of its parts, though sometimes overshadowed, it is always there. It is the central symbol of Scriptures and God’s people throughout the ages. We could summarize that one central symbol with the word ‘someone’. Someone is coming, someone is here and someone is coming again.

The someone of Scripture is the Promised One, the Anointed one, the Messiah or Christ. The one who would save the people from their enemies. Their greatest enemies being sin and death. The Scriptures gave clues to help people recognize this someone. It said that he would be extraordinary and different from other men. His words would be different and his life would be different, he would be Other like the One who sent him.

One man has said that it takes extraordinary evidence to prove an extraordinary claim.[6] the scriptures say that the someone in himself is the extraordinary evidence that the Total Other has given to man. This someone is the final and perfect symbol that points to The Total Other. He spoke like no other man and lived like no other man. When he spoke things happened, people were healed, water was changed into wine, storms were stilled and the dead were raised. No man has ever had so many people believe in him and at the same time has had so many hate him and despise his teachings. He truly is the extraordinary man, the someone sent from The Totally Other. This totally other man is still calling people “To come follow me”.

[1] Acts 17:28

[2] When I say He has no being it might be better to say he is super being. We live and move and have our being in Him, but we are not Him.

[3] Existence is beyond our comprehension though we apprehended it through our own existence and the existence of things around us.

[4] When humans argue for or against the idea of God they are arguing for or against a human construct that at best can only point to the One that stands behind it. Therefore we spend a great deal of time arguing about the idea of God. Now it is true that some ideas of God surely are better pointers than others but all fall short of the reality. This is true in science as well, for there is no theory of reality that is reality. The map is not the territory.

[5] It is unlikely that most atheists have no image of God in their minds, because if so, they would have nothing to argue against.

[6] Unfortunately, Carl Sagan did not define what extraordinary evidence would look like. For some skeptics, there would never be any evidence of any kind or  enough to prove the existence of God.

 

Religious Phobia and Liberalism

Religious Phobia and Liberalism

Many of my atheistic and progressive friends are constantly accusing religious people of being homophobic and of having some other biases.  That may be true of some religious folks.  However, I have found that many progressives and many who fancy themselves as liberals have their own phobia, i.e., a religious phobia.  In other words, they fear religion.  Of course, one tends to hate the things that one fears.  So I have found that many of my liberal and atheist friends have a dislike that approaches a loathing for religion.  This has caused me to do a considerable amount of thinking about where these fears came from and whether they are real or imagined. Of course, a fear is real to the one who has it, but this raises the question of whether or not there is really something in reality on which to base their fear.

I began my research by asking my liberal friends if religion or religious people had done any personal harm to them that would cause them to hate religion.  The majority of them said they had received no such hurt.  I did find some who said that their parents had made them go to church when they were little. However, this to me seemed to be the normal thing for good parents who believed in their religion to do.  Yet, many of my friends felt that this was reason enough for them to reject religion.

I did find some people who told me that they hated religion because religious people are hypocrites.  I’ll admit this might be a good reason if we were not all hypocrites.  Most human beings are guilty of saying one thing and doing something else.  If we all stopped doing everything that hypocrites do, we wouldn’t do much.

My research did lead me to a few books whose authors seem to hate religion.  I gathered from these books that the authors hated religion for all of the terrible things that it had done in the past, such as the witch hunts and the Inquisition.  Of course, if you were to count noses, you could say that religion has killed its tens of thousands, but atheism and liberalism has killed its millions.  It was atheistic communism that killed twenty million of its own people in Russia and even more in China, and it was Western liberalism that spread its philosophy with the sword. It looks to me like it’s not religion that kills people, but it’s people who kill people.  If truly analyzed, it is usually people who have a will to power who do the killing, whether religious or not. You will find these people in religion, business, and government and for that matter, virtually in every walk of life.

However, all of the above does not explain the irrational fear and hatred of some people toward religion.  I believe the truth is that liberalism as a world view and philosophy itself has a propensity to dislike religion.  Liberalism belief in the autonomy of the individual tends to color its views of all authority but especially religious authority.  This bias was embodied in the French Revolution, whose motto was “no master, no God.”  A quick review of history reveals that at the time of their revolution, the French had reason to fear and hate religion.  During that period in their history the church had been captured by the governing class and was being used to oppress the people.  However, the hatred and bias of the liberals and progressives of the French Revolution are still with us today.  Like all bias and prejudice, these are passed on blindly from generation to generation.

However, much of the dislike of religion comes from the fact that religion tends to cramp the lifestyle of some people.  Some people just don’t like the idea of being told that they are going to stand in judgment for their behavior.  Jesus hinted at this when He said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” John 3:19-21.

It is obvious from the above words of Jesus that a strong anti-religious bias can come from a godless amoral lifestyle.  This bias goes much deeper than many liberals would like to admit.  This bias comes from a deep-seated prideful rebellion that exists in the human heart, and like all bias it is hard to detect by those possessing it, and like all biases it can be passed on for generations.

My conclusion is that my far left liberal friends have been biased toward religion by the traditions and the propaganda of their own philosophy more than by reason or clear thinking.  This is not to say that religion should not be watched.  Religion is a power that can be abused, but it is also a power that can be a blessing to people.  However, it is irrational to hate all religion because some men have abused it and used it as a means to gain power over others.

 

Two Kinds of Liberals

Two Kinds of Liberals

Today we hear a lot about liberals and conservatives, but much of this talk is misleading.  All Americans are liberal to some degree.  The liberal philosophy is so broad that it would take in the majority of Americans.  There simply is no fixed definition of liberalism.  Liberalism only has some vague principles, which most Americans would endorse to some degree.  They would be things like democracy, equality, individualism, the rule of law, and the free market.  How these things are defined and to what degree a person takes them is where the great divide in liberalism takes place.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that in America we have two kinds of liberals–not liberals and conservatives–but two kinds of liberals, and for our discussion one can call these two groups French liberals and English liberals.  Note that one can only take this allegory so far for it will break down because of the diversity of the liberal view.

Let’s look at these two kinds of liberals.  First are the French liberals.  These are the children of Voltaire and the French Revolution.  They are characterized by a dislike of authority, a dislike of religion, and distain for the upper class.  They tend to be populists and feel comfortable with socialism.  They tend to put more emphasis on collectivism than on individualism.  They believe that mankind can trust in reason alone, apart from a faith that informs reason.  They also seem to put more stress on the concept of equality and define it differently than their English counterpart.  Because of their negative view of faith and religion they seem to be informed more by their vices than their virtues.  For this reason, I sometime refer to this group as profane liberals.

The extreme French liberals come closer to being classified as revolutionaries rather than liberals.  They see man’s greatest need to be liberated from tradition, morality, and superstition (religion).  Many of them would preferred to be call progressives rather than liberals. I often call these folks advanced liberals.  Of course, many scholars today would call their form of liberalism something other than liberal.  The champion of French liberalism is in fact not French but English.  His name is John Stuart Mill, and he is most famous for his small book entitled On Liberty. However, to be fair to Mills’ he probably would be shocked by much of the thinking of modern advanced liberals. Mill himself did not believe in socialism.

On the other side we have the English liberals who in some degree reflect many of the French liberal characteristics, but to a lesser degree.  However, there are some marked differences.  One is that English liberals see religion as a positive force in culture and at worst a necessary evil.  Their view of religion varies from true faith to seeing it from a pragmatic point of view.  A great example of this is the American philosopher William James who was the father of the philosophy of pragmatism.  English liberals also believe more strongly in the free market and the concept of limited government.  They seem to have a respect for government, but at the same time a healthy distrust.  Many of our founding fathers embraced this form of liberalism to some degree.  It is this group of liberals who today are called conservatives by many people.  Their champion in the time of Mill was James Fitzjames Stephen.  He is famous for his rebuttal of Mill in his classic book Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.  In his book he completely dismantles Mill’s form of liberalism. (Note: John Gray, Liberalism)

What causes people to be in either camp?  Well, that is difficult to say, but I think we can say that no form of liberalism is based on reason alone.  If it were, there would not be such diversity in liberalism.  Liberalism, like all systems of thought, is diversified because people come to it with diverse presumptions.  What are some these presumptions?

One of the obvious is a belief or lack of belief in a deity.  Belief or lack of it tends to shape one’s attitudes on a host of subjects, but especially on the concept of authority.  Authority seems to be a thing that all liberals struggle with, especially the French liberals.  Religion tends to temper this rebellious spirit, so large numbers of religious people seem to lean toward the English side.  However, by religious I do not necessarily mean Christian.  Most knowledgeable Christians would have some problems with any form of liberalism.  However, you will find vulgar Christians in both camps.

Still, another factor could be the geographies of where a person was brought up or lives.  Rural people seem to lean more toward the English side than city dwellers.  This can be contributed to by many factors like the fact that rural people tend to be self-sufficient and independent from the system and have less trust in any form of government, even a liberal form.  Also rural people are closer to nature and often have more of a God consciousness which the city dweller may not have.  An example of this is a study I saw on how the people in California voted in a recent election.  All the counties that had large cities in them were blue and the rest of the counties were red.

Other factors that may contribute to the tribe of liberals you belong to could be: family ideology which greatly affect the values and beliefs of an individual, the educational institution attended, one’s chosen profession and one’s social economic level.  All this is to say that the source of one’s liberalism has very little to do, for most people’s, with intellectual choice.  In fact, for the most part, liberalism of all kinds has many intellectual inconsistencies.  Therefore if you fancy yourself as a liberal intellectual, think again.

For those that would like to know more about Liberalism the following are interesting books on the subject, Liberalism and Its Discontents by Patrick Neal, The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb, Two faces of Liberalism by John Gray and The Betrayal of Liberalism by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball.

 

 

 

 

 

Liberal and Progressive Bias

Liberal and Progressive Bias

I am continually surprised at the lack of awareness some of my progressive[1] friends have as to their own ideology biases.  They actually believe that they are free from all ideology[2] and the biases that come with them, which to some degree makes them very scary people.  It also makes them some of the most judgmental people I know.  They seem to question anyone’s intelligence who does not share their so-called progressive thinking.

They seem to believe that doubting and questioning all authority is the way forward unless it happens to be their authority that is being questioned. Most of them have been indoctrinated by liberal universities into a secular humanism that borders on atheism.  Of course, they are very critical of other groups that do the same, i. e., religious groups. When others do it, they call it brain-washing or indoctrination; when they do it, they call it education.  This behavior establishes the fact that their beliefs are laden with ideological bias.

When criticizing other world views, they typically draw their data from the most vulgar of their opponent’s belief and behavior, which demonstrates their awareness of the weakness of their own arguments.  This is especially true of their attacks on Christianity.  I seldom hear them attack believers like Mother Theresa, Kierkegaard, or Jesus Himself.  They seem to believe that if you can find a counterfeit of something, the discovery itself proves there is no authentic thing.  Finding or building straw men does not mean there are no real men.

I have also noticed an anti-religious bias among progressives and liberals that I am sure they feel justified in having.  This bias seems to be especially strong toward the Christian religion.  They seem to have a hard time tolerating anyone who believes themselves to be correct.  People who believe they are right are biased, and progressives are biased toward those who are biased.  Of course, the only difference between them and Christians is that Christians know they are biased for Christ, and progressives do not know that they are biased for their ideology.[3]  Their contempt for Christianity seemed to be unreasonable to me until I realized that you hate what you fear and you fear what you do not know or understand.  Most liberals and progressives have a very shallow understanding of religion.

[1] I use the term progressive to denote all leftist groups.  This includes atheists, liberals, and to a lesser degree, libertarians.

[2] Ignorance of one’s ignorance is the sin of all ideologues.

[3] The original word bias did not carry a negative connotation.  It simply meant that one leaned in the direction of something, for example, “The man was biased toward virtue.”

Progressing to Serf Hood?

Progressing to Serf Hood?

When authority presents itself in the guise of organization, it develops charms fascinating enough to convert communities of free people into totalitarian States. Hayek

Today we hear a lot about progress. In the political arena we even have those, who refer to themselves as progressives. Of course, in calling themselves progressives they infer that everyone else is rather backward or slow, and then they wonder why some dislike them.  The truth is that progressives do believe that they are out in front of the herd and that they see something, which the rest us backward folks do not. They believe that they see the ultimate good for humanity and they feel their ideas will get us there. Therefore, if you do not agree with them you must be backward and you are definitely not moving forward. To progressives moving forward is thinking and doing things their way.

Now, to be a real progressive, you must have a goal to be progressing towards, if not you would have no bench mark to judge your progress. So, what is the progressives’ goal? Is it justice, fairness, equality or to make heaven on earth? All of these things seem like worthy goals. The question is how do we progress toward them? In the past we have used political ideology coupled with the power of the state.  The political ideology has taken the forms of liberalism, communism and socialism. The results have been a century of fighting and bloodshed among these ideological cousins; fighting over the methods and the extent of control[1].  Basically, the warring has been over who will do the planning, for in the end there can be only one central planner.

The truth is that all the political systems including the progressive one all have the same goal and they all have the same method of accomplishing it.  That method is enforced centralized planning by the federal government. Of course, as planning increases the individual continues to lose more and more control to the centralized government. As this all enfolds the original goal of the progressives is lost and the new one of total control takes its place. This goal seems to be the goal of many of our leaders in both of our political parties in America and those who support them, the ones Lenin called useful idiots.

We are at the point of decision, we can decide to have more central planning which will mean the loss of freedom or we can decide to take responsibility for ourselves and organize and plan our own communities. If we choose the latter we may have to work harder but we will be free men and women. If we choose the former we choose to be serfs under a totalitarian federal government. Only time will tell if we make the right decision.

[1] The cold war has been between American liberalism, European socialism and Russian communism.  All of these isms are grounded in European liberalism. All end up  as a form of totalitarianism with the state becoming the master.

Why America is Changing

Why America is Changing

A few months ago I began to seriously ponder all the different changes that I observe going on in our great country. All our values are changing, our educational system is failing, our government is nosing into every corner of our lives, churches are losing members, and corruption is rampant. I needed to know why such things are happening. In light of all of this, I started on a search to find an answer.  After months of searching and reading everything I could that might shed some light on the subject, I came up with an answer – Advanced Liberalism or Progressivism. Advanced Liberals are radical or extremes Liberals. It is important to note that all Americans are liberals to some degree but all liberals are not Americans for they do not share traditional American values. The group I call Advance Liberals do share traditional American values. In fact, they hold them in contempt.

These advanced Liberals are working hard to change and sterilize every nook and cranny of our culture.  We are being told that we can no longer publically display our morals, traditions, and religion.  If we do, we must keep them to ourselves and out of the public square.  All we are allowed to have openly is advanced Liberalism with its sterile environment of secularism.  If we speak of anything it must be “politically correct” which simply means it must square with secular Liberalism.  This sterilization is proclaimed and justified in the name of pluralism or multiculturalism, which is one of the many illusions and utopian goals of Liberalism. In the end all that will remain is Liberalism and its values-free culture– if you can call what’s left a culture.

All I can do is smile when advanced Liberals tell me that they love diversity. The only diversity that these Liberals love is the diversity that will fit into the square hole of their advanced Liberalism.  Don’t let Liberals or progressives kid you; they do not like traditional morals, values nor do they like religion. They don’t even like freedom for those that disagree with them.  In fact, many of them have a bad case of moral and religious phobia.  It seems that the only religion or morality they can tolerate is a one that reflects the dogma of their advanced Liberalism, which is a morality or religion that accepts and allows everything and believes nothing.  If your morality or religion doesn’t measure up to their standard of “everything goes,” they start their name-calling: fundamentalist, bigot, homophobic, and other misleading, emotion-packed labels.

I often have asked advanced liberal people what they mean by fundamentalist.  I have yet to get an intelligent answer from them, and yet they seem to be using it as a curse word.  Seeing that they don’t know the meaning of the word, I must assume that to them, it must mean “people who don’t think as they do,  people with conviction, people who still believe in the truth of their traditional beliefs.”  Actually when people start calling others fundamentalists, they are often fundamentalists themselves – just a different kind.

What can we do to stop this wholesale destruction of our religions, traditions, morality and culture?   First of all, we need to wake up to what has been going on in this country for years, that is to say, the manipulation of our culture by “humanistic Liberals” through government central planning and the school system. Next, we need to know the enemy and the methods being used to undermine our Constitution, our cultural heritage and our fundamental liberties.

If we do nothing, our country will soon look more and more like Europe – socialistic and atheistic. By the way, advanced Liberalism is the foundational philosophy for both socialism and communism. It is also the avant-garde of atheism.  Advanced liberals know that for their brand of Liberalism to take over, it must destroy or marginalize our families, religious faith and moral traditions.  Don’t let this happen!

Let me recommend a couple of books that will help you understand and counter the anti-religious and anti-faith philosophy of Liberalism.  The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb and Against Liberalism by John Kekes, both are very enlightening. LD

 

 

 

 

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