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Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Time Event
Only posting a link! Here is an article from Belmont Club:


A snippet:
What the Left and Fascism share is a belief in the transformative power of the state. Both regard government as the “high ground” of society and not, as some Americans still believe, simply a necessary evil. It is a prize to be seized by main force; the castle to be stormed. In the long run there is little reason to think that Nick Griffin will allow any more freedom than Gordon Brown. What is likely to happen is the substitution of one set of sacred cows for another. When the Left and fascists contend for power, the surveillance cameras are in every case fully employed.

One of the commenters at Chicago Boyz writes, “A friend of mine is a professor of Surgery and Anatomy in London. He has told me he is very concerned about the number of young women converts to Islam who are medical students. These women, like the louts in the Dalrymple books, are not from immigrant families. Why an educated young woman would convert to Islam is a real puzzle. Maybe they are seeking structure but I expect it will come at a high price. The other side of that coin may be the BNP voters.” Maybe this infatuation with Islam should not be surprising: if the central role of the state is accepted, then the only question is what the character of that authority will be: Islamic, Communist or Fascist. When you come to it, who cares? It is the same dog with a different collar. And perhaps the young ladies are simply choosing Islam on the basis of fashion. It’s as good a reason as any.

How does one get away from the dog?
Perhaps the greatest service that religion once rendered to Western civilization was providing the individual with a real or imagined hotline to God. Whether this was simply a conceit or not let us set aside for the moment. For as long as man imagined himself to be sacred and accountable to the Creator he stood at the center of polity. The state was there to serve him and not the reverse. Today he has lost that central place and is no more or less than a collection of curiously animated chemical substances with a market value of less then fifty dollars which the state has deigned to keep alive until some bureaucratic panel decides it is too expensive to do so. Just as Global Warming can be understood at one level as an attempt to bring nature into the purview of politics, it is impossible to understand the Left’s fixation with abortion except as a sacramental affirmation of the state’s power over man. The strident insistence on abortion on demand goes way beyond any conceivable need to prevent backroom abortions, or even an affirmation of a woman’s right to choose. It is really an absolute display of the power of politics over life. Abortion’s principal utility is as a stake driven through the heart of the notion of human sacredness, which once performed, ought to prevent its revival entirely.

My comment: the choice in the modern world grows ever narrower and ever more stark. Perhaps in the past one could maintain a position that affirmed human reason and human dignity without any pledge of allegiance Christendom from which those notions uniquely spring. These intermediate positions seem to grow ever more precarious, as they occupy a no man's land between contending armies of darkness and light, whose ranks are being ordered for final battle. One side upholds the labarum which blazes like a comet's tail, foretelling the doom of worldly kings; the other side, the black and anarchic banner which bares no charge, no sign, no symbol, for nihilism despises all names. The stark choice, to borrow a phrase from David B. Hart, is between Christ and Nothing.

The faculty of belief
This is something I wanted to answer, which is too long for a comment box, and significant enough to allow a violation of my rule against weekday postings.

Someone who rejoices in the moniker Surly One comments: "If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God exists, and wants me to believe in him, it should be easy for him to make this happen."

Oddly enough, back when I was an atheist, this was my exact conclusion as well. My reasoning forced me to the next logical step, which I hope you can deduce.

Before we answer the question, let me point out that God (if he is as described) does not want your mere belief. The fallen angels (if they are as described) obviously "believe" that God Almighty exists, but they rebel against his authority and do not love him. So something more than mere belief seems to be indicated here. What it is?

Another question would be--what is the nature of the belief God (if He has the sense God gave a duck) is said to want?

I suppose the maker of a robot could program the robot with an Asimovian Three Laws of Theology or somesuch rot, but in that case the robot's "belief" would then of course be nothing of the kind. It would be a mechanical repetition, like listening to your own voice on a phonograph, not the belief of another moral agent. Nothing in our experience suggest that human can be "programmed" like machines into believing anything, not even by God Almighty. As an author I can assure you that even fictional characters I invent in my own head cannot be made to believe what I want them to believe, or do what I want them to do, if their nature goes against it (and here we are only talking about a fictional and make-believe nature, not a real nature). So, when we speak of 'making' us believe in him, God (if he is as described) would not have recourse to mind-control. He wants belief freely given, because otherwise it is not really 'belief' at all, but parrot-noises.

Next question: what would be necessary for making this easy in just the way you (and I) deduced it must be?

In other words, if logic suggests that an omniscient and benevolent God who wants us to believe in him would arrange provisions as necessary to make us believe in him, what would those provisions be? If we can deduce what they would be, and if we then see such provision in evidence around us, while this does not prove God exists necessarily, it would defeat the argument that the lack of such provision indicates no such God exists.

What is the provision of making us believe?

If the act of making one believe were dependent, let us say, on empirical evidence, sense-impression evidence, then those people not in a position to see Christ with their eyeballs, and those people not in a position to assess the credibility of surviving documents could not be made to believe. Paradoxically, this means that if Omnipotence wants you to believe in him, He would have to use a means more obvious than empirical sense impressions, not less.

If the act of making one believe were dependent, let us say, on a philosophical argument, on logic and reason, then those people not inclined by nature nor trained by education in logical reasoning would be in a position to be made to believe. Paradoxically, this means that if Omnipotence wants you to believe in him, he would have to use a means more obvious than philosophical argument (which is the type of argument you are asking me to produce), not less.

This would seem to imply, if the Omnipotent God is a logical and elegant creator of Man, that there must be something in man, some provision, or faculty or innate knowledge or readily-available means, a means available even to the blind and to the unlettered, to come to know God.Collapse )</div>

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