This issue comes up a lot when you back a Christian into a corner (of course he’ll deny being backed into a corner). If shown the folly of the Bible, he will reply that you’re simply using human reasoning to rationalize away the message of the Almighty, and with this he simply appeals to authority, and his zealotry inflates in response to such… uninformed criticism.
This of course assumes (quite wrongly) that humans are actually capable of understanding God’s reasoning. A species that doesn’t even amount to a speck of dust in the universe is capable of understanding the mind of a being who’s presumably older than time itself and created all there is in the universe. Yeah… no, that isn’t happening any time soon. The reason is fairly simple; we weren’t meant to, at least for the time being. Any reasoning that God makes must, for humans to comprehend it in our current state of perception and consciousness, MUST be transmuted into human reasoning.
This, and for no other reason (assuming Christianity is completely true), is the reason that Christianity, contrary to the opinions of the Christians themselves, is the reason that Christianity, as well as the other religions of Judaism and Islam, is Human Reasoning. Humans, in their current state, are utterly incapable of understanding the nature of a being that is both omnipotent and omnipresent, is all wise and all knowing, etc., etc.. The reasoning of this Deity is thus utterly meaningless to us, all that matters is that a being far more powerful than us is telling us to do X, Y, and Z. This is of course assuming that the Bible, as the Christians would have us believe, is the pure, infallible word of God.
It can be assumed, safely, that a being such as this is not going to make mistakes, but unfortunately for God, if it is assumed that the Bible is the pure word of God, the Bible is loaded to the hilt with mistakes. Nevermind the purely scientific errors the Bible makes, of which others within the respective fields have pointed out, the errors I’m going to lay waste to are economic and philosophical.
The Bible tells us, in Romans 13 1-7:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
And just like that, the claim of infallibility goes up in smoke. An unbiased look at history shows us, undeniably, that government authority figures are anything but bastions of the public good. Barbaric tribes throughout history who rape, pillage, and murder the surrounding territories for their personal enjoyment and gain have not, and could not have caused 1/6th of the horror that government authorities have implemented on people, especially their own, and it is not this way without reason.
The taxes it collects, which is justified supposedly by the Social Contract, are a guaranteed source of revenue. The money that the government collects through taxation is used to hire soldiers, who are then used to extract more money. The Social Contract, which he will insist is the justification for taxation, is illegitimate by its very nature. No court of law would ever accept as evidence for a claim of suit a contract that has not been signed by anyone. On the contrary, the Social Contract is nothing more than a decree of superiority of one group over another:
“We WILL provide you with whatever service we so desire to provide, whether you want it or not, you WILL pay us taxes for these services, whether you want to you or not, or you WILL be arrested, your property forcibly seized, or if it has to be done, we WILL kill you and those who resist with you.”
This is the Social Contract, and if you’re sane enough to reject such an arrangement, then you’re told to move to an island and away from society. Society is nothing more than a code-word for that network of interrelations by which people exchange their services voluntarily with one another. Since no one has ever signed an open, formal contract saying that they will pay taxes for services X, Y, and Z, taxation is theft. To forcibly confiscate a person’s money and then to infer or assume his content because he then proceeds to use those goods and services is an insufficient proof of consent. On the contrary, it is no proof of consent at all.
Is God so evil as to impose a system like this upon us? I don’t think so. No, the above verses were written by some court historian who sought favor with the prevailing government of the time, or it was written by some poor fool who’s foundation in logic and reason has been all but washed away by systematic indoctrination.
My last post seems to have attracted the anger of several rabid “RationalWiki” drones on the internet. They didn’t take their grievances up directly with me, but instead chose to quote small bits of my material on a part of their site and pontificate on it like clowns (though to their credit, they did link the post in it’s entirety). I found this when I was browsing through the stats of my blog, and quite unsurprisingly, they proved my point for me. For those of you who haven’t read my article on “RationalWiki,” I’d suggest you read it so you can understand what’s going on here. If you’ve already read it, then I’ll simply state that my biggest critiques of “RationalWiki” (I put that in quotes for the simple reason that it is Rational only in name) were the following.
1: They didn’t actually read any of the material that they’re critiquing (which was very easy to prove), and what little that they quoted (they quoted about one sentence worth of Murray Rothbard, which was found on the first page of the work of his that they hyperlinked for example), they didn’t understand.
2: Their arrogant tone and ad hominem attacks prove that they weren’t trying to inform anyone or make a genuine rational inquiry, they were trying to do a hatchet job on positions that they didn’t agree with (and the “article” that “RationalWiki” did on the Austrian School isn’t an isolated incident).
Those were my biggest critiques, which was a little too much to grasp apparently for some of the people over at “RationalWiki.” Now, there is one serious critique they have (the only one they have, in fact) that I will deal with. They’re claiming that I misquoted the paragraph that I quoted from the pseudoscience page; that I intentionally altered the paragraph. This isn’t the case. I copied/pasted the entire paragraph as it was on the site. The bit that is quoted is what was on the page at the time. Now, maybe it was edited by the original poster to clarify, which is possible, or maybe someone else spotted the mistake and corrected it, but I didn’t alter the paragraph myself.
Now, with that said, I have to deal with their lesser critiques.
Quote from the site: “Skepticism is arrogance. Scholars should be objective. Statistics cannot indicate a null hypothesis. Demanding proof before conclusions indicates left-wing progressivism. Left-wing progressivism is a kind of socialism. Yep. This person does not actually understand things.”
There is nothing wrong with being skeptic, and scholars are supposed to be objective, but the entire point of the critique was that the writers of “RationalWiki” are being neither of those things (which was, again, easy to prove). I don’t put faith in statistics for the sole reason that you can “prove” just about anything with statistics. Demanding proof before conclusions doesn’t indicate Left-Wing Progressivism, your arrogant “matter-of-fact” tone and your shallow treatment of the issues that you’re writing on (and your general cow-towing to the idea that government programs and agencies outside of law enforcement and military are needed) indicates Left-Wing Progressivism. Left-Wing Progressivism is, in fact, a form of Socialism. If you don’t believe me, look at the things that Left-Wingers typically advocate. They want Social Security to be expanded even more than it already is, they want healthcare to be run entirely by the government and to be free upon demand (paid for in taxes, but free upon demand none the less), they want the financial sector to be so regulated that the government practically runs the financial sector, they want the richest to be taxed at ridiculous rates (often called the FAIR SHARE) in order to pay for various social programs for lower income brackets, etc. This is their (the Left-Wing Progressive’s) rhetoric, not mine.
I’m not going to get into the merits of these programs that Left-Wing Progressives advocate and whether they can or can’t work, I’m simply going to say that it isn’t enough to laugh at the idea of Left-Wing Progressivism being Socialism and just white-washing the accusation. You have to prove that Left-Wing Progressivism isn’t Socialism, and you simply can’t do it. So I find it very interesting that this person wants proof, he’s/she’s a skeptic and an objective scholar, but not only doesn’t present proof, but utterly ignores the proof that was given to him/her. That’s not objective or skepticism, that’s simple ideological agenda.
They interestingly enough chose, instead of the mountain of other things that I slammed them for, to complain about one particular quote that I made, which was this; “that this material is on the internet and no one has challenged it tells me a lot about the intellectual bankruptcy of the Western World.” Here’s what they said about it.
Quotes from the site: “In other words, “How incredible – the internet includes things I disagree with!” “And apparently his only recourse is to bitch about it…fallaciously…on a blog that no one else will read. Can we add him to our Pissed At Us article?”
Now, there are two different quotes because they were made by two different people. The first quote conveniently ignores the fact that I was irritated because the material hadn’t been challenged, not simply because it was on the internet. The second quote claims that my reasoning was fallacious, but doesn’t offer any sort of proof to the claim (again, that objective skeptic/scholar title just doesn’t seem to fit here). Instead, the person just complains that I’m being fallacious and then proceeds to demonize my blog as, quote, “a blog that no one else will read.” Again, no substance, just personal attacks.
Now, for the last critique. Apparently, one of the regulars at “RationalWiki” read some of my other works, or more specifically, my article on Morality. I made the case against murder. “First and foremost, it is completely illogical to murder someone (unless in self-defense or in the defense of someone else, which needs no explanation) because for every act of murder you commit, you physically destroy business opportunities. You are killing a man you could’ve traded with, or co-operated with at a later date. You must also account for the resources you would use in committing this completely silly act (which vary from person to person). The resources you’d waste in killing the person and disposing of the body could’ve been used in the market, or it could’ve been kept as savings for future consumption/investment.”
Those were my words exactly. Now, whether you agree or disagree, it’s not enough to do what the regular on “RationalWiki” did. He/she responded in a fashion of shallow satire (which is auto-fail in my book).
Quote from the site: “Yep, the logical reason for not committing murder is that you might be able to make a profit out of him. My sort of guy!”
The MY SORT OF GUY bit at the end was really his tongue-in-cheek way of saying that I’m a piece of shit for saying something like this. I am, first and foremost, a realist. I recognize more than most that reality is a bitch. Your choices are; do you want people profiting off of each other, or do you want people killing each other? It is that simple, and there is no in-between. If you eliminate one of those options, the other option is inevitably taken. I would prefer people profit off of each other as opposed to killing each other, but hey, that’s just my opinion.
Once again, nothing of substance comes from “RationalWiki” but ad hominem attacks and shallow analysis. I keep, in the back of my mind, trying to give these people the benefit of the doubt; that they’re going to come back and prove me wrong. So far, however, I’m deeply disappointed.