Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lies and bullshit

A new Christian commenter, Rhology*, has recently given us a perfect example of theistic shuck and jive, lies and bullshit, tales told by idiots, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."**

*It's all good publicity if they get your name right, eh?
**The quotation is, of course, out of context.


In a discussion on my ethics, Rhology hinges his counterargument on the proof that the Bible is the word of God. (I've condensed the discussion; you can read the entire text in the linked comments.)

I asked, "Why should I assume there's any correlation whatsoever between what you say and what God wants?"

His whole argument hinges on this point; he mentions earlier, "But if God has self-revealed in the Bible, then it's not arrogant at all [to believe there's a correlation].

"Not asking you to assume it," Rhology responded, "I'll be happy to provide biblical documentation at any time, just ask."

I'm not about to pass up so generous an offer! I ask, "Submit an essay in your own words... proving the divine provenance of the Bible and... I'll publish it on the front page of the blog."

And here comes the inevitable shuck and jive.

Suddenly he's not quite so happy. Asked if he can scientifically prove a divine provenance for The Bible, he answers unequivocally, "On historical terms, yes." But will he supply the proof? Apparently not: "Hmm, I guess I could. Or better yet I could just link to 10 of them. But it wouldn't do any good. Why? B/c you presuppose its untruth and so would refuse any evidence I gave you." Apparently, I "would use reason and logical arguments to try to prove its untruth." How mean of me!

So he can provide the proof! (Or, so much better, links to proofs, because we all know that if ten sites on the Internet say it, it must be true.) But I would ignore it because I both presuppose its falsity and I'll prove its falsity with reason and logic.

But of course, when pressed for the actual proof, it's not a matter of proof, it's really a matter of metaphysics: "How could one "scientifically" test metaphysical claims? It's a clumsy question." Well, yes, it's a clumsy question, but it's one that he was supposedly happy to answer, one that he practically begged me to ask.

He descends into that murky quagmire of philosophical bullshit quaintly known as Presuppositional Metaphysics: "In [using reason and logical arguments], you'd be assuming that reason and logic are workable, are objective. Yet as an atheist, you'd have no basis to think that, so you're borrowing from the Christian worldview to poke holes in the Christian worldview. This is the sad predicament of the atheist."

Of course, Rhology is stating a canard and a blatant falsehood when he says that I "presuppose its untruth and so would refuse any evidence." My metaphysical position is a matter of record, albeit cleverly hidden under the metaphysics label on the sidebar. I presuppose nothing, true or false, about God or the Bible, and I explicitly state the absolute metaphysical primacy of evidence.

I accused Rhology of being a liar for the above statement, but I feel I must, in all honesty, retract the charge. To lie, one must know the truth; even to bullshit, one must have disdain for the truth, but the more charitable interpretation would be to conclude that Rhology is so deeply deluded, so utterly brainwashed, that he's simply unable to comprehend even the notion of truth.

And that's the fundamental evil of religion. This happens every time: Not just Rhology but even the most liberal, ordinarily sensible religious people will sooner or later come up against some truth incompatible with their fantasy world, and it's like their brains just seize up. It's not that they're actually lying or even bullshitting, it's just that the whole part of the brain concerned with ordinary notions of truth shuts down and the most amazing blather comes out of their mouths.

I don't think there's anything we can do about people such as Rhology. The best we can hope for is to simply expose their insanity as often and as directly as possible, so that ordinary, sensible people, puzzled by this weirdness, will not simply accept it as normal and think they are the ones insane.

26 comments:

  1. Rhology responded, "I'll be happy to provide biblical documentation at any time, just ask."

    I never figured that statement was an offer to "prove" the Bible is the Word of God. So, I think we're suffering some miscommunication here.

    Here's how it all went down:

    The BB: Even leaving aside the question of God's existence, why should I assume there's any correlation whatsoever between what you say and what God wants?

    Rhology: Not asking you to assume it. I'll be happy to provide biblical documentation at any time, just ask. TGOTB has self-revealed in the Bible, so I'm just reporting it. Don't shoot the messenger.


    The reader not tainted by recent temper tantrums will note that I was referring to biblical documentation on the lines of how I can be sure I know that the Bible teaches what I'm saying it teaches.
    Your request to write an essay proving the Bible's divine origin is quite a different question. I could provide plenty of evidence for it, but the question is: would you accept it? Take my position on for just a sec - IF the Bible is indeed the Word of God, and you don't believe in it, that makes you a truth-suppressing wicked man who hates God and loves darkness. Why would anyone listen to someone who never takes off his blindfold and refuses directions from those who can see?

    So, if my presuppositions are correct, then you're saying exactly what one should expect you to say.

    Finally, given your penchant for emoting, I shouldn't be surprised at this post, but I had hoped for more. But caught up in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to think straight.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  2. I never figured that statement was an offer to "prove" the Bible is the Word of God.

    Really? I was unsure, so I asked for clarification.

    I was referring to biblical documentation on the lines of how I can be sure I know that the Bible teaches what I'm saying it teaches.

    More shuck and jive, shifting the goalposts.

    That's not the question I asked you. I asked you how I could be sure that what you said correlated to what God wants, not how it correlated to the mythology and arbitrary cultural prejudices of the pre-technological genocidal rapist misogynists you so admire.

    I could provide plenty of evidence for it, but the question is: would you accept it?

    Of course I would; I've said so many times. But you have to provide evidence, not just bullshit.

    IF the Bible is indeed the Word of God, and you don't believe in it, that makes you a truth-suppressing wicked man who hates God and loves darkness.

    Do you understand the meaning of the word suppress in the English language? Even granting the antecedent arguendo, I would be guilty only of being mistaken, not truth-suppressing.

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  3. Also, if a god were to exist, I might rebel, but I would not be so retarded as to try to pretend it didn't exist.

    I mean, I'm not all that thrilled with smallpox, Ebola, bubonic plague, pedophiles, torture, George W. Bush or Dick Cheney, but I do admit they actually exist.

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  4. hi BB,

    More shuck and jive, shifting the goalposts.

    Anyone can look and see that I provided the context of my quote. You did not.

    I asked you how I could be sure that what you said correlated to what God wants

    Yes, and what God wants is what is taught in the Bible. So I offered to back up w/ Bible what I was saying. I'm sorry you misunderstood me, but it's not my fault that you blew up and went off on an unjustified rant.

    Of course I would; I've said so many times.

    Yes, I know you've said that many times. But I don't believe you - you suppress the truth and hate God and light.
    I'm not singling you out, however; this is the case for everyone who does not believe in Jesus. I myself was once where you are.

    Do you understand the meaning of the word suppress in the English language?

    Yes. And in NT Greek.

    I might rebel, but I would not be so retarded as to try to pretend it didn't exist.

    Well, you're doing both.
    And it's not an issue of being retarded. It's an issue of being depraved. Irrational hatred causes people to do irrational things that one might indeed label "retarded".
    To resolve the problem, a simple, honest prayer of repentance and faith to Jesus is required.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  5. Yes, and what God wants is what is taught in the Bible.

    That's the precisely the assertion which is controversial. How hard is that for you to understand?

    That your ethics are biblical is entirely uncontroversial.

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  6. BTW: You say you understand the meaning of "suppress" in the English language. (And I wasn't aware that "suppress" was actually a word in any version of Greek, ancient or modern; learn something new every day, I guess.)

    Find any dictionary, find any variant of the meaning of the word, and show evidence that I am actually suppressing the truth in any sense.

    A charitable interpretation of your usage might reference the sense "To deliberately exclude (unacceptable desires or thoughts) from the mind." However, this is a statement of fact, directly implies that I am lying, and thus a canard. If that's the sense you mean, can you prove it, or is it just slander?

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  7. (Any canonical dictionary, that is)

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  8. Also, (since I suspect you're humor-impaired) the whole Greek thing was a cheap shot; I like taking cheap shots. I'm fully aware the word "καταστέλλω" (in modern Greek) can be translated as "suppress", but they are, of course, different words.

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  9. That your ethics are biblical is entirely uncontroversial.

    OK, then the question is settled.

    A charitable interpretation of your usage might reference the sense "To deliberately exclude (unacceptable desires or thoughts) from the mind."

    According to the Jesus, you ARE deliberately excluding it.
    John 3:19-20:

    19"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
    20"For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed."

    As I've said, my presupp is that Jesus speaks the truth.
    And *IF* Jesus does indeed tell the truth, then you are doing what He said (obviously).
    And *IF* you are suppressing the truth, I would fully expect you to deny it.

    If that's the sense you mean, can you prove it, or is it just slander?

    To clarify for you and all, I understand that you have asked for me to explain why I define "suppress" that way. If I have mistaken your meaning, please forgive me.

    This is standard Calvinistic theology. Not expecting you to accept it; I just wanted to explain.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  10. The logical connection between the verses you cited and your conclusion is thin to the point of non sequitur.

    More importantly, the presumption is that you're speaking modern English, not some weird Bible-speak. When you speak a canard, it is mealy-mouthed to simply say you presuppose its truth or mean it in a Biblical sense.

    It is still slander according to the actual English language, and your only viable defense is that the slander causes me no actual harm.

    I'm not a mealy-mouthed weasel: When I call someone a liar, I use the word "liar" and I mean the term according to ordinary standards of English. I withdrew the term in the post only because—as you're proving—you're too delusional to be capable of falsity.

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  11. Is your purpose here merely to prove that I'm not a Christian at all, much less a Rhology-version Christian?

    I know it's subtle, and my readers might not quickly pick up on it, but don't you think you've made that point adequately already?

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  12. Hi BB,

    The logical connection between the verses you cited and your conclusion is thin to the point of non sequitur.

    Care to explain how?

    When you speak a canard, it is mealy-mouthed to simply say you presuppose its truth or mean it in a Biblical sense.

    I stand by the modern notion of "suppress". That's why I cited the verses from John.

    It is still slander according to the actual English language

    To say that Jesus said you don't seek after God?

    don't you think you've made that point adequately already?

    Indubitably. I was just trying to explain a bit more. Maybe I should call it good on this one.
    Tell you what - you explain the 1st statement cited in this comment and I'll leave it uncommented-on.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  13. Care to explain how?

    Not worth my time. You think it's logical, I think it's not, that's fine. The fine details of your fantasy world are of little interest to me.

    It is still slander according to the actual English language.

    To say that Jesus said you don't seek after God?


    That's not what you said. You said, "You suppress the truth about TGOTB's existence already."

    The clear presumption is that you mean the word "suppress" in the ordinary English sense, and the truth or falsity of the statement—according to the definitions of canonical English—is both pejorative and empirically provable.

    Hence my comment about weird Bible-speak that masquerades as English.

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  14. Sorry, "suppress" is from Romans 1. I hope that helps clear it up.

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  15. Romans 1:18-21

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

    19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

    21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.


    That's a little more direct. However, you're still using the Bible-speak definition of the word, not the ordinary English definition.

    It would be helpful if you wrote your comments here in standard English; few of my readers are telepathic and thus privy to the fine details of your fantasies.

    And (rhetorical question) how does one clearly see invisible attributes?

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  16. Sorry about that.
    As I said, however, I stand by my use of the modern definition of suppress. See #s 2, 3, and 4...

    One sees invisible attributes b/c God has made them plain, v. 19.
    "Seeing" here, thus, would be sthg in addition to the physical eyes (ie, His eternal power and divine nature); it would be spiritual.
    But "seeing" is also physical, since it is God's creation (ie, the universe) that makes His existence clear.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  17. More Bible-speak.

    If were I say to a banker, "I have a million dollars," to secure a loan, but I mean "million dollars" in the spiritual sense, would I be guilty of fraud?

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  18. Yes, but this situation is hardly analogous.
    The Bible, just like any book, reserves the right to define its own terms. Just like you did in your million dollars example. At this point you're just nitpicking.

    If you have a substantive objection, I'll be happy to answer, but if not, I'll give you the last word.

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  19. I just want you to use ordinary English. If you want to say the Bible says something, say, "The Bible says..." Without that explicit proviso, I assume you're using the ordinary English sense of the word, not the Bible-speak sense of the word.

    And no one here really cares what the Bible says. Anyone who's following our comments has, as I have, read the Bible (and the Koran) and we already know what it says, and we know it's a work of literature, and mostly bad literature at that, despite a couple of high points. Even the sex and violence is kind of dry.

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  20. IF the Bible is indeed the Word of God, and you don't believe in it, that makes you a truth-suppressing wicked man who hates God and loves darkness.

    Just on a point of logic, I don't see how that's a valid construction: Why does the wickedness follow the not believing? Time for some further discussion of The Pathology Problem...

    I asked you how I could be sure that what you said correlated to what God wants, not how it correlated to the mythology and arbitrary cultural prejudices of the pre-technological genocidal rapist misogynists you so admire.

    To be fair, Larry, I think you're making a distinction without a difference from Rho's frame of reference.

    Yes, I know you've said that many times. But I don't believe you - you suppress the truth and hate God and light.

    Larry hates light? Egads! Was it hard to learn Braille?

    It's an issue of being depraved. Irrational hatred causes people to do irrational things that one might indeed label "retarded".

    Yup, there's The Pathology Problem.

    And (rhetorical question) how does one clearly see invisible attributes?

    I think the intimation Rho is going for is that any denial of the religion or its believers is, according to said religion and its believers, tantamount to denial of God. It's a way of blurring any distinction between God, His followers, and their ethic.

    The Bible, just like any book, reserves the right to define its own terms.

    ::furiously tabs through looking for the appendix and glossary::

    Shit, those guys forgot to include one!

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  21. To be fair, Larry, I think you're making a distinction without a difference from Rho's frame of reference.

    Of course it's God == Bible in Rho's frame of reference. I'm simply trying to relate Rho's frame of reference to the frame we ordinarily call... I don't know... reality.

    Larry hates light? Egads! Was it hard to learn Braille?

    It's weirder than that: God magics the images into my mind and I delude myself into thinking I'm seeing them.

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  22. I am one of those following this thread who, like BB suggested, has read the whole Bible, every stinkin' bit of it. I have even read most of the non-canonical works. I have studied it enough to make it apparent that only a deluded idiot could see the Bible as anything more than some silly ancient myths. That so many take it seriously is what disturbs me.

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  23. The careful reader will note the following:

    I think the intimation Rho is going for is that any denial of the religion or its believers is, according to said religion and its believers, tantamount to denial of God.

    1) "denial of its believers" is a meaningless phrase.

    ::furiously tabs through looking for the appendix and glossary::
    Shit, those guys forgot to include one!


    2) I said "just like any book", supplying an obvious clue to the meaning, which Larry obviously neglected.

    Of course it's God == Bible in Rho's frame of reference.

    3) The BB just made this up. I never said anythg that would lead a careful reader to believe I believe this.

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  24. Rho: Of course it's God == Bible in Rho's frame of reference.

    The BB just made this up. I never said anythg that would lead a careful reader to believe I believe this.


    Excuse me? I was speaking offhand, but you don't believe that the Bible is the authoritative word of God?

    Charitability, my good man, is the word of the day. I was not accusing you of literal bibliolatry.

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  25. Again, your focus on trivial details and objections to uncharitable interpretations are another example of theistic shuck and jive.

    The fundamental question is this: Why should any reasonable, intelligent, sensible and caring person believe for one second that even one word of the Christian Bible has anything whatsoever to do with any sort of God, hypothetical or real.

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