Thursday, April 09, 2009

Please Don't Ask Questions Which Could Invalidate Me

More from Andrew:

One of Andrew's readers asks:

when you talk about "social incentives for stable relationships" and ask questions like, "Do you think that straight men would be more or less socially responsible without the institution of civil marriage?" it sounds like an affront to the way of life I have freely chosen.

Too bad. These are legitimate questions and should be asked by sociologists, whether or not you don't like them being asked.

That is all.

Blair Should Leave the Catholic Church, or Should Shut the Hell Up

Via Andrew Sullivan, I find this little gem about Tony Blair:

Tony Blair has challenged the “entrenched” attitudes of the Pope on homosexuality, and argued that it is time for him to “rethink” his views.

Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, the former Prime Minister, himself now a Roman Catholic, said that he wanted to urge religious figures everywhere to reinterpret their religious texts to see them as metaphorical, not literal, and suggested that in time this would make all religious groups accept gay people as equals.

I am not exactly certain how statements that homosexual behavior is wrong can be taken "metaphorically." It is not that there are no parts of the Bible that are metaphorical (Daniel and Revelation obviously have a great deal of metaphor in them). It's not that there are not parts that some people take literally and others metaphorically (the Creation story). It's that there is no reasonable way to take the parts of the Bible that speak against homosexual behavior and interpret them as a metaphor for something else.

What Blair means, of course, is that he wants religious figures to ignore those parts of the Bible as not relevant because they are not convenient to our modern society.

Asked about the Pope’s stance, Mr Blair blamed generational differences and said: “We need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith.”

Translation: actually believing what your religion says is something that only old fuddy-duddies do.

In the interview Mr Blair... implied that he believed the Pope to be out of step with the public.

So what? The Pope is a Catholic, not a Humanist. It's not his job to be "in stpe with the public."

[Blair said]: "I think what is interesting is that if you went into any Catholic Church, particularly a well-attended one, on any Sunday here and did a poll of the congregation, you’d be surprised at how liberal-minded people were."

How many religions actually teach that the public gets to vote on God's rules? What difference does it make what Catholics want to be true?

[Blair] said: “When people quote the passages in Leviticus condemning homosexuality, I say to them — if you read the whole of the Old Testament and took everything that was there in a literal way, as being what God and religion is about, you’d have some pretty tough policies across the whole of the piece.”

This is the only thing he said that is actually halfway decent, as it actually brings up the question of whether or not the Bible should be the authority, as opposed to sidestep the question of the Bible as much as possible and exploring the two sides of the issue in entirely humanistic terms.

The problem is that there are passages in the New Testament disapproving of homosexuality as well. The idea that no such passages exist generally come from people who assume that the four gospels are the entirety of the New Testament.

He continued: “What people often forget about, for example, Jesus or, indeed, the Prophet Muhammad, is that their whole raison d’ĂȘtre was to change the way that people thought traditionally.”

No, not exactly. At least not in Jesus' case, whose whole raison d’ĂȘtre (in terms of his reason for being on Earth as a human) was to die for our sins. I suppose you could argue this in Muhammad's case, as his mission was explicitly to convert people to a particular religion (i.e. change the way they think). (Put another way, Jesus' mission centered around Himself as the way to salvation whereas Muhammad's person was less essentially to Islamic theology).

In any case, though, their missions involved changing the way people thought in order to conform their thoughts to God's. Blair wants people to change the way they think so as to make their thoughts more pleasing to other men. The fact that you want to change the way people think does not make you correct.

Conventional wisdom was not necessarily wise, [Blair] said. “It can be wrong and it can be just a form of conservatism that hides behind a consensus. If you look back in time, through the suffragette movement, the fight against slavery, it’s amazing how the same arguments in favour of prejudice crop up again and again and again.”

Translation: Blair's real religion is liberalism, i.e. non-discrimination uber alles, as Lawrence Auster would put it.

Two things come out of this for me:

(1) Blair joined the Catholic Church two years ago and now thinks that he can lecture the Pope on what Catholicism should be, as a Catholic. This, for some reason, seems to be a very Blair-y thing to do. It seems to me that if he didn't like the Church's teachings, he should not have joined. At the very least, to join such an institution and then only two years later try to change it because it doesn't fit your trendy beliefs is rather arrogant.

(2) Blair a while back supported antidiscrimination legislation that forced the Church to close the doors of its adoption agencies in the UK in order to perform adoptions within its moral teachings. Often the liberal line on homosexual issues is that "you can believe what you want, but your beliefs should not be the basis of law." It is becoming increasingly clear that this is not the real agenda, however. The real agenda is to use every tool at their disposal to steamroll over anyone who does not affirm heartily the moral equaliy of homosexuality and heterosexuality. They will attempt to use societal disapproval to try to silence the holdout churches, and eventually to silence them through law. I think that the real humanist agenda of the left is on display here, and should serve as a warning for everyone who thinks that the left will ever be tolerant of disagreement with its fundamental non-discriminatory dogmas.

That is all.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Gadsby: Champion of Youth

Start at this link to find a most intriguing work.

Why is Gadsby so intriguing? It is told if you click and look fastidiously. I will not say, but try to look at the book and find by your own work what is so intriguing first, only upon doing this should you look out for the solution from a body that is not you.

That is all.