Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gay Marriage and the Crypto-Christian

I'll have more to say a bit later, but for now...

Y'ever run into that particular sort of self-proclaimed Christian who is totally against gay marriage you guys, but they just happen to think it should nevertheless be legal?

In fact, they are ADAMANT it should be legal, willing to argue acrimoniously for days upon days about why it is of the utmost importance to legalize it and reject the legitimacy of any and all arguments against that?

Now and then they'll drop, as an aside, 'Well I'm against it for religious reasons, I am *totally* against it being in the church', but they seem suspiciously unwilling to talk about that in much detail. In fact, it almost seems as if their mention of their opposition to gay marriage in any way largely shows up purely so they can purchase a bit of credibility among their 'fellow Christians'.

Add in a history of out and out deceiving people about their opposition to even legal gay marriage - arguing that it should be dropped for now, and revisited in a hundred years because 'Souls are at stake! We're turning people off with this fight!', before it coming out that actually they support gay marriage being legal, full stop - and really, what you have is someone who you'd be delusional not to regard as a middle-of-the-road, all-too-common bullshitter.

I say this because I think some Christians don't know what to do when they encounter a dishonest person like this, save for try to catch them in a lie. See if they slip up. And you know what? You'll manage to catch them contradicting themselves, lying, or otherwise. But they'll always offer up an excuse, however poor of one it is. They'll oscillate between unbelievably hurt that you'd ever question their sincerity, and tremendously hostile - whatever seems like it may pick up sympathy at the time.

My advice? Don't be afraid to simply say 'Well, you're full of shit and don't deserve conversation', ignore them, and move on. Cite their lies or their inanity of their stance - which will be obvious to anyone who's actually interested in sincere discussion - and then move on to better conversations, of which there are an endless amount available online, since the internet is the place where nobody stops talking.

Just a bit of friendly advice from a person experienced with these kinds of people.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

The ID Approach to God vs the Thomistic Approach

ID approach:

1. Start with loose, mostly unexamined metaphysical principles.
2. Take note of what intelligent agents can do.
3. Examine the world for that which looks designed by an intelligent agent.
4. Assuming such a thing is found, identify communications that seem reasonably from the agent.
5. If the agent identifies as God/supernatural and seems trustworthy, trust them.

Thomist:

1. Start with tighter, more well-thought-out metaphysical principles.
2. Examine the world and how it operates.
3. Take note of what most be true about the world given how it operates + its principles.
4. Note that God/the supernatural must exist necessarily.
5. See if any communication from this God exists and seems trustworthy, and (if so) trust it/Him.

I'm not convinced that the ID proponent necessarily accepts naturalism and a personalistic God from the outset, as is often the claim. I do agree that the ID proponent's reasoning to God is sloppier and probablistic, but it's also easier for most people to grasp.

The Thomist approach requires a good share more discipline and reasoning, but is more powerful once you have a general grasp of what's going on.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Transubstantiation of Bruce Jenner

So we can all agree that what happened with Bruce Jenner is a secular version of Transubstantiation, right?

I mean, he was - is - clearly a guy. Genetically, physically - on pretty much any 'objective' measure we have, we were/are dealing with an entirely, thoroughly male specimen.

But then, something happened. He went from Bruce to Caitlyn, and now he's not just 'Caitlyn', but a woman. He is, literally, female. Or so the story goes.

So we can, I suppose, admit that this is a case of secular transubstantiation. Right?

See, I know that the bread and wine becomes body and blood. I've heard before, that's bullshit because... well, look at it. Run a DNA test on it. Still bread. Still wine. And that, skeptics told me, was proof positive that the entire thing was, in fact, bread and wine after the fact.

Now, of course, I believe it's no longer bread and wine. But I believe that because it's what God said, what the Church teaches, and - by the way - it's also a goddamn miracle. That last part is key. See, if there was no miracle involved, if it was all symbolic, then there'd be no change to speak of. No real one, anyway. 'Yep, that's still bread, still wine. Just, you know, we're going to pretend otherwise for now. Ceremonial reasons.'

And you need a miracle to make that change.

So, may I ask where the miracle took place with Bruce Jenner?

Was it when he said 'I am a woman now'? Did that do the trick, switching him on the spot from male to female? If tomorrow he says 'I'm male again', will he become male at that point?

Maybe it's a bit more quantum-physical than that. Like, when Bruce says 'I'm a female now', then boom - all of the sudden history itself is reordered in some kind of retrocausal way, making not just the current Bruce, but all of Bruce's history into a female one.

I've got so many more questions. If Bruce says that he's a duck tomorrow, is he a duck? Can he suddenly turn black? Hispanic? Can he become a unicorn?

Someone, please, inform me of just how this magic works - or, lacking that, the holy book where God Almighty (or some cheap practical equivalent) described the miracle of Bruce Jenner.

Because a miracle is what's needed.