Friday, November 2, 2012

A Reason-based Appeal to Sincere Catholic Voters

With the presidential election just next week, it has become readily apparent to me that many good and faithful Catholics these days can feel torn between adhering to their faith and a sense of loyalty to the Democratic Party.  Indeed Catholicism and the Democrat Party have had very strong ties that have gone back for many generations in this nation.  That said, today’s Democratic Party has shifted its platform to the point where, in my humble opinion, a faithful Catholic would be hard pressed to vote for most Democratic candidates today.  With that assertion, let’s take an honest look and assess where the Democrat Party stands now in relation to Christ’s Church. 

First, our last two popes and the bishops have taught that there are certain non-negotiable issues for faithful Catholics which trump and over-ride any and all other considerations when voting.  Those non-negotiable issues as stated by the Church are:

Abortion:  It is intrinsically evil and must never be promoted or condoned.
Embryonic stem cell research:  It is intrinsically evil and must never be promoted or condoned.
Euthanasia:  It is intrinsically evil and must never be promoted or condoned.
The traditional understanding of marriage:  It is the union of one man and one woman and must always be upheld.
Education: The right of parents to educate their children must always be upheld.

Any and all other issues, even of a social justice nature are trumped by the preceding five non-negotiable measures.  That includes issues such as immigration, environmental issues, affordable housing, and health care.  Those are considered as policy issues and as such are considered matters of prudential judgment in which faithful Catholics are free to disagree.  However, faithful Catholics are not able to disagree on the five non-negotiable issues.

Phoenix’s Bishop, Thomas Olmstead, clarified this dictate in a guide for Catholic voters called “Catholics in the Public Square”.  The good Bishop stated,

“On each of these [policy] issues, we should do our best to be informed and to support those proposed solutions that seem most likely to be effective. However, when it comes to direct attacks on innocent human life, being right on all the other issues can never justify a wrong choice on this most serious matter.”

Indeed, the right to life is the sine qua non of all other rights.  That is, without that right, there can be no others.

Pope John Paul II wrote:

 “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination.”  (Christifideles Laici, 38)

In his letter, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) wrote:

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

In a 2006 speech to European politicians, Pope Benedict XVI said the following:

“As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:  Protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;  Recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;
The protection of the rights of parents to educate their children.”

So it seems that the Catholic Church is pretty clear on what issues, and candidates that support those issues, for which faithful Catholics absolutely cannot cast their vote. 

So now let’s look at how those teachings coincide with the Democratic Party today.

The 2012 Democratic Platform as it pertains to abortion states the following:  (my words in white) 

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion [the word "rare" was removed by the Democrats in 2008], regardless of ability to pay [this means taxpayer-funded abortions]. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.


When it comes to embryonic stem cell research the Democratic Party Platform of 2012 states:

[T]he President issued an executive order repealing the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research….

Where does the Democrat Party stand on euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide?  Well, the Democrats in the States of Washington and Oregon (which are both blue states) were the first to legalize physician-assisted suicide for their citizens. The drive for legalization in other states is also led by Democrats, including the current ballot initiative in Massachusetts (another deep blue state). A growing number of state Democratic platforms explicitly call for the legalization of physician assisted suicide.

Next, let’s look at the Democrat Party's take on marriage.  Again, the Democratic Party Platform of 2012 regarding marriage states the following (my words in white):

We support marriage equality [this is the euphemism for gay "marriage"] and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples….  We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act [the federal law that defines marriage as one man, one woman which President Obama, in violation of his oath of office, has dictated to his Justice Department to not enforce this duly passed law ] and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act [which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and give "federal benefits and protections" to same-sex "married" couples].

The support for gay "marriage" was added into the 2012 platform and was reportedly a "non-controversial" addition.  Already great harm has been done by Democrats in states where gay “marriage” laws have been passed.  Because of these laws, adoption and foster care programs that have placed thousands of children into homes for 100 years, in one case, were shut down.  No longer can Catholic adoption and foster care programs operate in Rockford, Illinois or Boston, Massachusetts or in Washington D.C. because of these laws.  Unfortunately myriads of children are the ones that are harmed by these laws accordingly.

Finally, let’s look at a parents right to educate their children as they deem best.  Democrats and the liberal teachers’ unions to which they are beholden go to great lengths to deny parents a real choice in their children’s education, not only opposing school vouchers for private schools, but also discouraging the growth of public charter schools, which often deviate from the leftist model. Laws that seek to limit or end the legal rights of homeschooling parents also come overwhelmingly from Democrats.

So after evaluating each issue, it seems pretty clear that on every non-negotiable point for Catholics, the Democrats take the wrong side.  When Obama first took office I never fathomed the threats to our religious freedoms that his often times unconstitutional governance would entail, particularly in the guise of his deplorable HHS mandate. I knew that in certain states, Democrat policies had tragically forced the closing of Catholic foster care and adoption agencies that had stood for generations, but I never expected a stroke of the pen to threaten the very existence of all Catholic charities, schools, hospitals, and businesses in the nation.  And that will indeed become a reality if Obama is re-elected and his Obamacare Act is fully implemented.

The normally milquetoast US bishops were so alarmed that every single one of them voiced a protest and later organized a nationwide Fortnight for Freedom, encouraging organized prayer, adoration, and fasting. Anti-HHS religious liberty rallies have been held in hundreds of cities across the land, attended by tens of thousands of concerned Catholics and other Christians. Even Pope Benedict himself publicly warned of the "grave threat" to religious freedom in America -- a threat which was not even on the radar screen until Obama, the head of the Democrats, came to power.

The trend in the Democratic Party holds not a shred of hope for its future, as it's trending all one way: Toward radical secularization, with a marginalization of and hostility toward Catholicism that is snowballing to the point where this election cycle showcased multiple Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate reassuring their Democratic base that if elected, they would force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions! And at the Democratic National Convention this year, Democrats removed the last remaining reference to God from their Platform. Only after the public got wind of the removal did they famously stage a bogus voice vote to reinstate it. For now.

Catholics, as unpleasant as it may be, it's time to wake up to the reality of what has happened. A once-proud party in which faithful Catholics could feel comfortable is now positioning itself as an enemy of the Church. The Democratic Party of 2012 is nothing like the Democratic Party of our grandparents, which still had a solid moral grounding. Catholic Democrats today are being used for votes, and they are either unaware or unwilling to admit that the party they love no longer exists -- and is not coming back.

To all sincere and faithful Catholics who have not yet left the Democratic Party: Please consider that the Democratic Party has long ago left you.

66 comments:

Dave Dubya said...

Remember when the Pope condemned Bush's invasion of Iraq?

How about overwhemling Republican support for the death penalty and Mammonite Wall Street banksters?

The picture is not that black and white, is it?.

If you seek moral grounding, don't look to Republicans or Democrats.

T. Paine said...

Dave, you are correct regarding the Pope and the invasion of Iraq. Also true regarding the death penalty. That said, did you read my argument and the quotations from Popes John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI? They said that abortion and the other four non-negotiables trump the issues on war and the death penalty. One could inform one’s conscience and be in disagreement with the Holy See on those issues you mentioned and still present one’s self for Holy Communion in good faith. Not so if one supports abortion or candidates that do so. So while the Republicans are hardly saints and examples of moral virtue, the issue really is black and white when it comes to voting for many Democrats, and particularly when voting for Obama.

Just the Facts! said...

Abortion: It is intrinsically evil and must never be promoted or condoned.

Embryonic stem cell research: It is intrinsically evil and must never be promoted or condoned.

Euthanasia: It is intrinsically evil and must never be promoted or condoned.

The traditional understanding of marriage: It is the union of one man and one woman and must always be upheld.

Education: The right of parents to educate their children must always be upheld.

As a Christian Protestant, I hold these 5 statements as non-negotiable. I would gladly agree to end all capital punishment in exchange for the end of all legalized abortion.

Dave said in his post, the world is not all black and white. I refuse to accept that understanding of this world on the five positions you have listed. As soon as you add the words "except in the case of", all abortions will be viewed as "being in the case of".

To compromise on moral principals is the start of moral relativism. There is an universal morality. There is a right and wrong. There are issues that are black and white. The problem is man is not, at his center, a moral creature. Therefore, it benefits the inherent immorality of mankind to argue for compromise on moral issues, for his own immoral reasons, to be able to continue to do immoral things.

To bring up the actions that you believe are immoral like Wall Street, or the Iraq War, is an attempt to deflect from the greater issues that, Mr. Paine, your post addressed. Is Dave saying that it is ok to abort humans, because the Pope did not say Wall Street was bad? That's what his post implies. Does this mean that other things that are immoral in the eyes of Christians are not valid because Christians have not condemned Wall Street? That is an awful low standard you are setting for mankind, one that allows just about any thing to acceptable, when you draw comparisons between abortion and the actions of people who work on Wall Street. A standard I am quite sure, that if left to our own means, we will descend to quickly.
If in fact, you really hold to the position that this world is not black and white, then I would ask you to explain what is always right and what is always wrong under any circumstances?

To paraphrase Judges 17:6 "In those days everyone did what was right in own eyes". With no absolute morality, that is what we will have. While the GOP is not blessed by the hand of God to be the salvation of the USA, they do not include in their platforms the continued support of the five issues listed. The democrats do. I can not and I will not compromise my position by voting for a member of the Democratic Party.

John Myste said...

Firstly, I assume Catholics are honor bound to follow God and not the Pope, per se. You should be quoting God, and not the Pope, if you want to persuade a good Catholic like me to abandon my party.

Secondly, just an observation: your argument would be far more powerful if you left Education out of it. The other issues are clearly conservative ones, but not education. I like Obama’s education intentions far better than anything Romney has proposed. You don’t have to agree, but just from a critical thinking perspective, you weakened the argument by including putting fish in your barnyard.

Secondly, both republicans and democrats have to decide what to do when their faith is at odds with their politics. If the Catholic Church is dictating how you must live, then they must not force this choice on people. There are entitlement and economic concerns also. Some may consider abandoning America’s poor to be just as big of an offense to God. If the Catholic Church cannot bend, like all things, eventually it will break (and should).

Dave Dubya said...

TP,
We know you cannot disagree with the Church leaders. While you have no choice, America does have the choice, and it must have the choice if we are to be a free nation and not an inquisitional theocracy.

The act of voting itself is often a compromise. We still hold our morals as persons. Most of us regard imposing ones religious beliefs on others as immoral. The Constitution even addresses this.

Nobody is asking Catholics, or anyone else, to “promote or condone” anything. Anyone is free to oppose abortion, euthanasia, equality of marriage rights, and stem-cell research. That’s what you are free to believe and follow.

Personally, I would oppose abortion as birth control in my family, yet I cannot, and will not, dictate for others.

Dictating laws, and punishment, for those who disagree with your religious leaders, is the un-American part.

We only ask for freedom of choices that apply to our lives and circumstances, not those of others.

No matter which party one votes for, that party will do something that conflicts with one's personal values.

The position that government should have the power to dictate a woman's reproductive rights after rape, and force her to undergo medical procedures, is glaringly counter to the "small government" mantra from the Right. Their passion for Mammon to have power over our government is counter to every principle of a democratic republic, and their faith as well.

Catholic dogma is for Catholics, not the nation. The same is true for Evangelicals, Muslims and Jews.

If one thinks the Party of war and Mammon is also the Party of Jesus, let him. But his morals will be "compromised", if that's how it’s viewed, by the GOP. And as we learned from the last president, war and death can be expected from another Neocon-infected White House. The rich will become richer, and more Americans will fall into poverty. We still haven’t recovered from the last Republican-led catastrophe.

I would ask you to explain what is always right and what is always wrong under any circumstances?

How about torture? Imprisonment without charges or counsel? Wars of aggression based on falsehoods? Taking from the poor and giving to the rich? We've seen lots of moral relativism and falsehoods from Republicans, leading to death, theft, destruction and the breaking of several of the Ten Commandments.

I remember when eating meat on Friday was "immoral". How relative is that?

John,

You note correctly that this about Church dogma and leaders’ opinions taking priority over the teachings of Christ.

Jesus said nothing about gays, stem-cells, abortion or education. He did warn about serving mammon and expressed his anger at the money changers and fundamentalists of the time.

The Republicans' service to mammon and the money changers is curiously absent from the Church’s exalted judgment. And their pandering to the most hateful and intolerant of fundamentalists is quite clear.

Yet it is ok for Catholics to urge “kill, kill, kill the foreign brown people” and still be accepted. Hmm. WWJD?

If churches are dictating how their members should vote, I'm inclined to say it's time to tax the churches. If they want to choose who is to be Caesar, then they should also "render unto Caesar".

John Myste said...

Dave,

Obviously, Jesus had never heard of stem cells, did now know they existed, and so could not have commented on them.

Abortions, as we perform them today, was not something Jesus would have known about.

Jesus may have been gay, for all you know. Either way, that was not a primary concern of His.

The Church should not get to decide what Jesus believed. Additionally, individuals should not be bound by words stuffed into God's mouth by the Church.

FandB said...

John, this argument is beneath you. You want to pretend that you know what Jesus did or didn’t know, while arguing that after thousands of years of study by thousands of Catholic scholars the Catholic Church cannot possibly know what Jesus knew. If you are a Christian, then it should be obvious to you that Jesus, as God, knew everything. The people of the time did not know about stem cells or modern abortions, per se, but Jesus did. Whether he commented on them directly or not is irrelevant to that fact.

Dubya, your argument is typical for you. It is clear that you missed Mr. Paine’s argument entirely, which forces (or allows) you to argue against straw men.

Dubya: “The rich will become richer, and more Americans will fall into poverty.” --- More Americans have fallen into poverty under Obama than under Bush. The rich have become richer under Obama, as you have said many times yourself. So it is illogical to believe that a continuation of Obama’s failed policies will have a different result over the next four years. Romney, however, has never been President. Attempting to predict the result of a Romney administration is pure conjecture.

Dubya: “We still haven’t recovered from the last Republican-led catastrophe” --- Whether the economic crisis of 2008-2009 was due to republicans, democrats, or both is a matter of debate. Neither side is without blame. The fact that we still haven’t recovered after four years, however, is due to Obama’s Failure as President – failure to enact appropriate policies, failure to reach across the aisle and work with republicans, failure to do what is necessary to put Americans back to work.

FandB said...

Dubya, Where in the Constitution does it say that “imposing one’s religious beliefs on others is immoral" ???

Dubya, you seem to be incapable of understanding that Catholics’ objection to abortion is one of their most deeply held religious convictions. You claim that you would not dictate to others regarding abortion, yet forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions would be just that.

The Catholic Church will not fund abortions through insurance premiums, nor will it allow abortions to be performed by its hospitals. The Obama regime is trying to force or test the issue that religious organizations cannot be taxed. The reason for the tax exempt status of religious organizations is that if the government could tax the church, then that would indicate that the church is subject to government control, that government trumps the church when there is conflict between the two. Of course, this is exactly what the Obama regime wants – they want to be able to tax the church. Obamacare has the potential to bring this to a head. The Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare is only Constitutional if the fine imposed on organizations that fail to meet the insurance requirements is considered to be a tax. If the Catholic church refuses to pay for abortifacient drugs, then it will violate the provisions of Obamacare. If (when) that happens, the IRS (who has been tasked with enforcing this so-called fine) will have to try to collect this fine which SCOTUS has already ruled is actually a tax. At that point, the government is taxing the church.

When this issue goes to the SCOTUS, as it inevitably will, the court will have three choices: (1) Reverse their ruling that the fine is actually a tax, at which point Obamacare would become Unconstitutional, (2) Rule that the church does not have to pay the fine, at which point Obamacare becomes Unenforceable, or (3) Rule that the church has to pay the fine, i.e. tax, reversing over 200 years of tradition and over 60 years of officially tax-exempt status. Choice (3) will result in another challenge based on the separation of church and state and whether the church is subservient to the government in the matter of taxation. A battle the church will eventually win, which will throw the first case back to choice (1) or (2). Either way, Obamacare falls. The only other alternative is for the SCOTUS to rule that the church is subservient to government and that the government can tax the church. I do not believe either party will allow this to happen.

As we say here in democrat-controlled Chicagoland, adopted home of Obama . . . Vote early, Vote often! I plan on voting a few hundred times myself, just to offset some of the democrat machine voter fraud in Chicago. Last election, they counted over 600,000 votes in a suburban town with a population of about 25,000. Ya gotta love Chicago/Obama politics. He who can falsify the most votes wins.

T. Paine said...


JTF: “As a Christian Protestant, I hold these 5 statements as non-negotiable. I would gladly agree to end all capital punishment in exchange for the end of all legalized abortion.”

Paine: Well said! I could not agree more. Indeed I find many of our leftist friends to be terribly inconsistent with this one issue in particular. Many of them want to protect evil men from capital punishment but think nothing of a “woman’s right to choose” to kill her unborn child.

JTF: To paraphrase Judges 17:6 "In those days everyone did what was right in own eyes". With no absolute morality, that is what we will have. While the GOP is not blessed by the hand of God to be the salvation of the USA, they do not include in their platforms the continued support of the five issues listed. The democrats do. I can not and I will not compromise my position by voting for a member of the Democratic Party.

Paine: Here, here! I am proud to stand by your side on this, Just the Facts!

John Myste said...

F & B,

John, this argument is beneath you. You want to pretend that you know what Jesus did or didn’t know, while arguing that after thousands of years of study by thousands of Catholic scholars the Catholic Church cannot possibly know what Jesus knew.

LOL! Jesus did not know anything humanity had not discovered. Using common sense is not beneath me. What possible method could Jesus have used to know these things? Jesus!

If you are a Christian, then it should be obvious to you that Jesus, as God, knew everything.

I do agree that Jesus knew MORE than the being we reference as God, if that makes you feel better.

The people of the time did not know about stem cells or modern abortions, per se, but Jesus did.

This argument is beneath you. You want to pretend you know what the people of the time did or didn’t know, while arguing that after thousands of years of creativity, Catholic Scholars correctly chose what those people knew or did not know.

By the way, can you point me to any evidence whatsoever that Jesus indicated he knew about stem cells? It is illogical to assume, so the burden of proof is on you.


T. Paine said...

Myste: Firstly, I assume Catholics are honor bound to follow God and not the Pope, per se. You should be quoting God, and not the Pope, if you want to persuade a good Catholic like me to abandon my party.

Paine: You are correct that faithful Catholics are supposed to follow God. No offense meant, but it is “Catholics like you” for which I wrote this post. I have many good friends and acquaintances that are indeed professed Catholics but seem to be able, either through ignorance or deception towards themselves, to vote for Obama and like-minded Democrats despite what GOD has revealed through scripture to an unbroken succession of popes and the magisterium of the Catholic Church that teaches us that all human life is created by God and therefore must be protected as sacred, especially the most vulnerable and innocent amongst us. Unfortunately, hence the reason for my post, too many people put their political party above that of what God and the Church that Christ founded teaches. The pope is Christ’s vicar on earth. When speaking on such matters, he is professing what God wants us to do, or so faithful Catholics believe.


Myste: Secondly, just an observation: your argument would be far more powerful if you left Education out of it.

Paine: Perhaps, but this was not some arbitrary list of issues which was I put together on my own authority. These are non-negotiables as stated and reaffirmed by Pope Benedict himself.



Myste: Secondly, both republicans and democrats have to decide what to do when their faith is at odds with their politics. If the Catholic Church is dictating how you must live, then they must not force this choice on people. There are entitlement and economic concerns also. Some may consider abandoning America’s poor to be just as big of an offense to God. If the Catholic Church cannot bend, like all things, eventually it will break (and should).

Paine: First, did you notice that you had two “secondly’s” in your rebuttal, sir? Anyway, I absolutely disagree John. If people claim Catholicism as their faith they have an obligation to try and be as faithful as possible to it, especially in its most basic tenets of faith and morality. Faith is not something ones is supposed to do just on Sunday. It is supposed to be one lives his life. It was clearly stated in my post that economic concerns and other social justice measures are indeed important issues and must also be addressed, but they are all trumped by these five greatest issues. Again, without regard to the sanctity of life from the beginning, no other right or issue is even relevant should one’s existence not even come into being.

John Myste said...

The second secondly was in fact the second secondly, so I thought it was appropriate to call it secondly also.

Rebuttal complete.

T. Paine said...

Dubya: TP, We know you cannot disagree with the Church leaders. While you have no choice, America does have the choice, and it must have the choice if we are to be a free nation and not an inquisitional theocracy. The act of voting itself is often a compromise. We still hold our morals as persons. Most of us regard imposing ones religious beliefs on others as immoral. The Constitution even addresses this.

Paine: Dave, this post was written and addressed by title to my fellow Catholics, sir. I was not attempting to impose my religious beliefs on anybody else in this case. That said, I will do my utmost to fight through petition and support of legislation to eradicate such evils, sir. And I will stand shoulder to shoulder with other non-Catholics of like mind in doing so, such as Just the Facts and FandB.


Dubya: Dictating laws, and punishment, for those who disagree with your religious leaders, is the un-American part.

Paine: Dave, you misunderstand me. I have no desire to dictate laws like our current president has done through executive fiat and unconstitutional HHS mandates. I wish to use logic to appeal to my fellow Americans to explain the necessity of protecting such rights and beliefs and hopefully sway a majority of Americans to vote accordingly.


Dubya: No matter which party one votes for, that party will do something that conflicts with one's personal values.

Paine: I absolutely agree. I am hardly endorsing the Republicans as the defenders of all that is right and just. They do, however, support more of the very basics of human rights though.


Dubya: The position that government should have the power to dictate a woman's reproductive rights after rape, and force her to undergo medical procedures, is glaringly counter to the "small government" mantra from the Right. Their passion for Mammon to have power over our government is counter to every principle of a democratic republic, and their faith as well.

Paine: On this you are quite wrong sir. If ones believes that life begins at conception, then the fact that the life is brought into existence even through such an evil act as rape, does not negate the good of that nascent life. If one were to abort that child simply because it is a product of rape would be to add another evil on top of that first. Further, for the record, I absolutely don’t support those people that would mandate the trans-vaginal ultrasounds on pregnant women either.


Dubya: If one thinks the Party of war and Mammon is also the Party of Jesus, let him. But his morals will be "compromised", if that's how it’s viewed, by the GOP. And as we learned from the last president, war and death can be expected from another Neocon-infected White House. The rich will become richer, and more Americans will fall into poverty. We still haven’t recovered from the last Republican-led catastrophe.

Paine: Perhaps you may be correct Dave, but I sincerely doubt it. I certainly don’t see how Romney could create more poor than the 47 million people Obama has put on food stamps and the 23 million still looking for work, all the while reigning over huge price increases in energy and health care due directly to his own policies.

T. Paine said...

Dubya: John, You note correctly that this about Church dogma and leaders’ opinions taking priority over the teachings of Christ. Jesus said nothing about gays, stem-cells, abortion or education. He did warn about serving mammon and expressed his anger at the money changers and fundamentalists of the time.

Paine: No, Dave, you and John are both quite wrong on this yet again. From where do you think dogma was formed, sir? It is from what Christ and his apostles taught in His name. Jesus said nothing about stem-cells and abortion because they were not relevant or even known to mankind in Christ’s time on earth. Your argument is preposterous. That said, Christ never said anything about pedophilia or suicide either, but I think it is fair to assume He doesn’t endorse those practices either.


Dubya: Yet it is ok for Catholics to urge “kill, kill, kill the foreign brown people” and still be accepted. Hmm. WWJD?

Paine: That is disgusting, Dave. Please do provide a credible source for such a hateful and erroneous statement. It is the Catholic Church that goes out of its way to help the poor and minister to the “foreign brown people” throughout the world. And most of those people it helps aren’t even Catholic. Shame on you Dave!


Dubya, If churches are dictating how their members should vote, I'm inclined to say it's time to tax the churches. If they want to choose who is to be Caesar, then they should also "render unto Caesar".

Paine: The Catholic Church does not specifically endorse or denounce any candidates. That said, a church that doesn’t tell its parishioners how they should vote on moral issues is not doing its job from a Christian perspective. If a parishioner cannot determine who is for or against those moral issues of which the Church teaches, then it becomes incumbent upon that voter to learn what their candidates do support and thus vote accordingly. How is that bad, sir?

T. Paine said...

Myste: Obviously, Jesus had never heard of stem cells, did now know they existed, and so could not have commented on them. Abortions, as we perform them today, was not something Jesus would have known about. Jesus may have been gay, for all you know. Either way, that was not a primary concern of His. The Church should not get to decide what Jesus believed. Additionally, individuals should not be bound by words stuffed into God's mouth by the Church.


Paine: John, you are being intentionally inflammatory, my friend. The fact that you are an atheist does not exempt you, as you well know scripture quite well, sir. That fact alone tells you that Christians believe that Christ is God and therefore is omnipotent. While mankind back then might not have knowledge of abortions and stem cells, the divine part of Christ would know all such things. As for your speculation on Christ’s sexual orientation, I find that to be unfounded and irrelevant.

Also, I agree that the Church doesn’t get to decide what Jesus believed. And it doesn’t. It states what Christ taught in his short ministry on earth as passed down from him and his apostles through sacred tradition and Holy Scripture. If you think otherwise, please refer me to something the Catholic Church teaches as dogma or doctrine that is contrary to either scripture or sacred tradition.

T. Paine said...

FandB: John, this argument is beneath you. You want to pretend that you know what Jesus did or didn’t know, while arguing that after thousands of years of study by thousands of Catholic scholars the Catholic Church cannot possibly know what Jesus knew. If you are a Christian, then it should be obvious to you that Jesus, as God, knew everything. The people of the time did not know about stem cells or modern abortions, per se, but Jesus did. Whether he commented on them directly or not is irrelevant to that fact.

Paine: Dang, if I would have read your excellent rebuttal to Mr. Myste, I could have skipped my last comment to him and just referred him to yours. :) As for your rebuttal to our friend Dubya’s comments, I will simply add “ditto for me!”

T. Paine said...

FandB: Dubya, you seem to be incapable of understanding that Catholics’ objection to abortion is one of their most deeply held religious convictions. You claim that you would not dictate to others regarding abortion, yet forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions would be just that.

Paine: That is an excellent point, FandB! Further, the Catholic Church said it will not comply with that mandate. The alternative is that like the adoption agencies the church was forced to close because they wouldn’t place kids with gay families, so too will they shut down their hospitals rather than violate God’s law. Dubya, do you know how many millions and millions of people are served by Catholic hospitals in the United States daily? Don’t you think that the lack of those hospitals will only cause less accessibility, particularly for the poor, to healthcare? Why would Obama do this then, if not for purely crass political reasons as FandB so brilliantly expanded upon in the rest of his statement? My dear mother-in-law may be right: Obama just might be the anti-Christ.

FandB, I had not considered the additional ramifications of the taxation issue as you laid it out. This is indeed scary and likely very in sync with Obama's plan.

T. Paine said...

Myste: The second secondly was in fact the second secondly, so I thought it was appropriate to call it secondly also. Rebuttal complete.

Paine: John, thanks for the greatly needed laugh, my friend. That said, your last statement made more sense than anything else you have written on this post, sir!

John Myste said...

That said, Christ never said anything about pedophilia or suicide either, but I think it is fair to assume He doesn’t endorse those practices either.

Sorry for the confusion, T. Paine. Suicide is not s sin so far as we know. At least Christ seems to have been OK with it, so far as we know. Pedophilia harms children, which I think Christ was probably against. The fact that Christ was probably against pedophilia, a point on which we agree, does nothing to indicate that He was also against stem cell research, something He would never have heard of and something that is a good thing, so far as we know.

That fact alone tells you that Christians believe that Christ is God and therefore is omnipotent.

That illusion does nothing to teach Christ about stem cells.

While mankind back then might not have knowledge of abortions and stem cells, the divine part of Christ would know all such things.

How would He have known? What is the logical method?

It states what Christ taught in his short ministry on earth as passed down from him and his apostles through sacred tradition and Holy Scripture.

You mean the selected scripture the Church decided to embrace, and only its convenient interpretation of that cherry picked scripture.

If you think otherwise, please refer me to something the Catholic Church teaches as dogma or doctrine that is contrary to either scripture or sacred tradition.

Stem Cell research is wrong.

Paine: Dang, if I would have read your excellent rebuttal to Mr. Myste, I could have skipped my last comment to him and just referred him to yours. :) As for your rebuttal to our friend Dubya’s comments, I will simply add “ditto for me!”

Sorry, Mr. Paine. That rebutted was successfully struck down.

Oh, and I am not an atheist. I simply don’t believe in any of the anthropomorphic Gods we created. I don’t pretend to have the answers for which I don’t have the data needed to rationally support them. That does not make me an atheist (by some definitions, anyway).




T. Paine said...

Myste: Suicide is not s sin so far as we know. At least Christ seems to have been OK with it, so far as we know. Pedophilia harms children, which I think Christ was probably against. The fact that Christ was probably against pedophilia, a point on which we agree, does nothing to indicate that He was also against stem cell research, something He would never have heard of and something that is a good thing, so far as we know.

Paine: Suicide is indeed a sin according to the Catholic Church. It is the wilfull destruction of one’s own God-given life. I think you can see the difference between suicide and Christ’s perfect sacrifice for humanity, so I won’t even bother delving into in-depth theological refutation of something for which you are already knowledgeable. Next, God and his Church are not against stem cell research. They are very much in favor of the great good that science has produced from stem cell research. What they are against is EMBRYONIC stem cell research which thus far has produced nothing of value and destroys nascent human life in the process. That is the church’s objection is the destruction of life. I see a common theme here, don’t you?



Paine: While mankind back then might not have knowledge of abortions and stem cells, the divine part of Christ would know all such things.

Myste: How would He have known? What is the logical method?

Paine: Really? Christ is God; therefore, He is all-knowing since he is consubstantial with the Father.




Myste: You mean the selected scripture the Church decided to embrace, and only its convenient interpretation of that cherry picked scripture.

Paine: It was up to the descendants of the apostolic church to decide what was the inspired word of God and what was not thus forming the canon of the Bible. This does come down to a matter of faith.



Paine: If you think otherwise, please refer me to something the Catholic Church teaches as dogma or doctrine that is contrary to either scripture or sacred tradition.

Myste: Stem Cell research is wrong.

Paine: I already covered this. Stem cell research is good and supported. Embryonic stem cell research is intrinsically wrong and has produced nothing of therapeutic value to date.




Myste: Oh, and I am not an atheist. I simply don’t believe in any of the anthropomorphic Gods we created. I don’t pretend to have the answers for which I don’t have the data needed to rationally support them. That does not make me an atheist (by some definitions, anyway).

Paine: Indeed. I stand corrected, my agnostic friend.

John Myste said...

Suicide is indeed a sin according to the Catholic Church.

Again, the Catholic Church does not get to decide.

I believe the challenge was: If you think otherwise, please refer me to something the Catholic Church teaches as dogma or doctrine that is contrary to either scripture or sacred tradition.

I think you can see the difference between suicide and Christ’s perfect sacrifice for humanity, so I won’t even bother delving into in-depth theological refutation

As well you should not. The Crucifixion was more attuned to God’s long standing Doctrine of Guilt by Association and certainly was not suicide for two reasons: 1. Christ was indirectly ordered to do it. 2. He did not die (was not terminated). The nap He took, knowing He would awaken in three days, was not comparable to someone terminating their lives. So, it not suicide because no live was given up and also because it was not purely voluntary. If it had been suicide, I would not think that meant God condones suicide, though, for no one is perfect.

Next, God and his Church are not against stem cell research. They are very much in favor of the great good that science has produced from stem cell research.

The Church made that up. God never said that, nor is there reason to believe He is against it.

That is the church’s objection is the destruction of life.

The Church has a long history of destroying life. C’mon, now.

I see a common theme here, don’t you?

I don’t consider this dance a theme.

Paine: Really? Christ is God; therefore, He is all-knowing since he is consubstantial with the Father.

I consider it completely irrational to believe that A. Christ is God. B. That God, if He exists, is all-knowing. Other than that, you made a really good point, though.

It was up to the descendants of the apostolic church to decide what was the inspired word of God and what was not thus forming the canon of the Bible.

It was not “up to them.” If God exists, no one gets to decide what His word is. How preposterous. In a nutshell you just confessed that Embryonic Stem Cell research is wrong be the Catholic Church fathers have faith that it is. Their faith does not define logical reality.

Embryonic stem cell research is intrinsically wrong and has produced nothing of therapeutic value to date.

Embryonic stem cell research has been curtailed and will likely produce something of therapeutic value. At one time in history the study of viruses, genes and cells had produced nothing of therapeutic value. Back when Galileo was all wrong (since his Church, not to be confused with yours, got to decide whether or not he was right), his knowledge was worthless. Eventually, though, it came in handy, even though the Church had a whole lot of opposing faith.

T. Paine said...

Paine: Suicide is indeed a sin according to the Catholic Church.

Myste: Again, the Catholic Church does not get to decide.

Paine: GOD teaches that human life is sacred. The Catholic Church simply reaffirms what God has taught us. The church is not deciding. It is teaching what God has revealed.


Paine: Next, God and his Church are not against stem cell research. They are very much in favor of the great good that science has produced from stem cell research.

Myste: The Church made that up. God never said that, nor is there reason to believe He is against it.

Paine: John, if God teaches us that human life is sacred, and life begins at conception, then it is consistent to believe that the destruction of human zygotes for their stem cells is not something He would condone. This is very much along the same line of logic as God’s disdane for the evil of abortion, which you choose not accept. That is fine and your right, but those of us that accept the scientific fact that human life begins at conception cannot then deny that life via abortion or medical research is allowed, sir.


Myste: The Church has a long history of destroying life. C’mon, now.

Paine: Indeed, because it is made up of sinners. That doesn’t mean that we should not strive for such a goal as protecting life, like God would have us do. The church is a hospital for sinners; not a museum for saints.



Myste: I consider it completely irrational to believe that A. Christ is God. B. That God, if He exists, is all-knowing. Other than that, you made a really good point, though.

Paine: I don’t know if I should go to confession for laughing so hard at your irreverence or not, my friend.



Myste: Embryonic stem cell research has been curtailed and will likely produce something of therapeutic value. At one time in history the study of viruses, genes and cells had produced nothing of therapeutic value. Back when Galileo was all wrong (since his Church, not to be confused with yours, got to decide whether or not he was right), his knowledge was worthless. Eventually, though, it came in handy, even though the Church had a whole lot of opposing faith.

Paine: I do not understand the illogic of proceeding with the destruction of life via embryonic stem cell research which has produced nothing, when adult stem cells have already given us great advances in science and medicine. As for Galileo, despite the fear of the Catholic church that his findings would harm faith, Galileo himself died as a practicing Catholic in full communion with the Church. Evidently it did not sway his faith.

John Myste said...

Paine: GOD teaches that human life is sacred. The Catholic Church simply reaffirms what God has taught us. The church is not deciding. It is teaching what God has revealed.

Nowhere does God indicate that He thinks of stem cells in the way he thinks of sentient people.

John, if God teaches us that human life is sacred, and life begins at conception …

God does not teach that.

Myste: I consider it completely irrational to believe that A. Christ is God. B. That God, if He exists, is all-knowing. Other than that, you made a really good point, though.

Paine: I don’t know if I should go to confession for laughing so hard at your irreverence or not, my friend.


You used the assumption that God is all-knowing to make your argument. That assumption is not rational. Pointing that fact out is very relevant.

I do not understand the illogic of proceeding with the destruction of life via embryonic stem cell research which has produced nothing, when adult stem cells have already given us great advances in science and medicine.

You can cool a house with enough fans also, but the does not invalidate the superiority of AC units for that purpose. I think you know the scientific advantage of embryonic stem cells, so I will not go find a link.

As for Galileo, despite the fear of the Catholic church that his findings would harm faith, Galileo himself died as a practicing Catholic in full communion with the Church. Evidently it did not sway his faith.

Subject change: He already denied what the Catholic Church believed and only under compulsion indicated otherwise. He died laughing at the Catholic Church.

Back to the topic: my point is that the when the Church fights science claiming that it gets to decide what God thinks about things (and what texts telling it what God thinks will be considered God’s words), it is sometimes proven wrong (and so far, never right, so far as I know). I was giving you an example of the dangers of making up God’s thoughts for him, my friend.

Just the Facts! said...

"God teaches us that human life is sacred, and life begins at conception.
God does not teach that." Mr.Myste

Really John, you believe that God does not consider life as sacred and that it does not begin at conception? Then explain why God provide in the Law He gave to Israel a specific punishment for the murder of a woman and the child she was carrying? If life doesn't begin at conception why would His law read this way?

Do some research John and look up the what God instructed the Jews to do with the people in the Canaan that worshiped Molich and Baal. (Ex. 23:23-33) Next look up the residents of Canna did as a part of their worship of Molich and Baal. (Lev. 18:24-30 and Google)

Then read Jer.1:5, Is.44:2, Is.49:1,
Jer.7:31, Jer.19:5, Ps.8:3&4,
2 Chronicles 28:3 and 33:6, and Ps.139:13-15.

I understand that your position John, is one of faith. You chose to believe that God is not opposed to abortion, or the murder of a child while still in their mothers womb. You may believe that God does exist. That certainly frees you up to be accountable to one but your self. Maybe that is the freedom you do not want to lose, that you see Christians having foolishly given up that freedom.
I beleive abortion is nothing more than murder of an unborn child, with no trial, no judge, no jury. The only crime the child has committed is being alive, abortion is the child's punishment. It is the capricious murder in the 1st degree, it is not self defense, 2nd degree murder. It is the taking of life, knowing full well, that is what is being done.
Then to use the stem cells of the aborted child, is no less that human harvesting. Shame on you John, I know you are smart enough to know that.

John Myste said...

Just,

Really John, you believe that God does not consider life as sacred and that it does not begin at conception? Then explain why God provide in the Law He gave to Israel a specific punishment for the murder of a woman and the child she was carrying? If life doesn't begin at conception why would His law read this way?

One answer among perhaps many would be that God thinks exactly like me. I do not believe “sacred” life begins at birth either. I believe human life begins prior to conception, but that is a discussion for another day. I do not believe the fact that sperm and eggs are human has anything to do with the rights of the sperm or the egg.

It is not logical to assume that if God thought a baby in a womb was a human and should be considered as such, then God believes human life begins at conception. You are making a big leap of faith, and not faith in God, but faith in your assumption. Just like the Catholic Church does not get to decide what God believes, neither do you, sir.

Do some research John and look up the what God instructed the Jews to do with the people in the Canaan that worshiped Molich and Baal. (Ex. 23:23-33) Next look up the residents of Canna did as a part of their worship of Molich and Baal. (Lev. 18:24-30 and Google)

Firstly, the do some research was intended to persuade through aggression. It is beneath you, so I request that you refrain from such a tone and stick with points to be made.

Secondly, I am quite certain I am at least as familiar with the Christian Bible as you are, including the common spellings of Moloch. T. Paine can attest first-hand to this, as we have had discussions before where I almost convinced him that Jesus was not the Messiah, though he can never admit that.

Thirdly (see that, T. Paine, thirdly)…. I am very familiar with God’s respect for innocent little lives. Here are some of the examples:

In Hosea 13:16 we here that Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

In Exodus 20:5 part of God’s law threatens innocent children: “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”

And in Isaiah 14:21, God commands: “Prepare a place to slaughter his children for the sins of their ancestors; they are not to rise to inherit the land and cover the earth with their cities.”

There are plenty of others, hundreds if I cared to go fetch them. You cannot try to prove Gods universal attitude about something by scrounging up a single example where God said not to kill a specific kind of pregnant women. I did not look all your references; I assume the accuracy of your claims about them purely on faith, since it does nothing to improve your argument they are accurate. To be clear, my intended claim is that we have no knowledge of Jesus considering human life to become relevant at the moment a sperm fertilizes and egg.

Since I did not look up all your references, if any of them are intended to prove anything other than that God knew human babies were carried in women’s bellies, let me know and I will revisit those specific references, as they may be relevant. I just did not want to waste both our time with you trying to prove something I know to be true: Jesus and His crew knew about wombs, a fact that has nothing to do with whether or not human life begins at conception and whether or not that idea would be relevant to Jesus if the hypothesis were shown to be true.

[Continued ...]

John Myste said...

Just [Conclusion...]

I understand that your position John, is one of faith.

No offense, but, my position is that we have no reason to believe that Jesus knew about embryonic stem cells or that He considered a human life relevant at the moment a sperm fertilizes and egg. How is this position based on faith? I made no assertion other than that we cannot form a conclusion in the absence of data (which you call faith, I suppose). Such reasoning, however, is in strict accordance with the soft science of critical thinking. No faith comes into play, so far as I know, but quite the opposite; other than your faith, that is, which presumes to know exactly what Jesus understood and thought and felt, absent any data that would support your presumption.

You chose to believe that God is not opposed to abortion, or the murder of a child while still in their mothers womb.

You made that up. I do not choose to believe it. Additionally, I don’t believe it. I believe that Jesus took no position on these things as He would most likely have lacked the relevant data to take such a stand. Additionally, I strongly suspect that He would have been very much against later term abortions, aborting of a growing fetus. He probably would have based this mostly on what He could see and how much like a baby it looked, but I have no way of knowing that. And I strongly suspect that He would have considered a 3 month old fetus a human, potentially with the rights of a human, just as I do.

You are making the false assumption that I support most pro-choice arguments, so Jesus would have. You are wrong on many levels. Though I support pro-choice, I do it out of what I see is a necessary evil. Roe V. Wade allows for the taking of human life, no question. I do not wish to make this thread about abortion, but I just want to say that I mostly argue with the conservatives on this, not the liberals, so your assumption that I think Jesus would take the liberal position (because you think I do) is ridiculous. I don’t take the liberal position and I suspect Jesus may have been more conservative than I am on the issue. You are arguing against your idea of what a liberal believes, which means against no one, since no one currently posting on this thread thinks what you are trying to rebut.

that you see Christians having foolishly given up that freedom.

I am not sure who you are debating now, but it is not me. You are making arguments I have never made in my life at any point in my philosophical development.

I beleive abortion is nothing more than murder of an unborn child, with no trial, no judge, no jury.

I know you do. This has nothing to do with embryonic stem cell research, but I know you believe this. There is no reason to think Jesus agrees with you on it. As the position is wrong, if I think there is a good chance Jesus would have disagreed with you.

The only crime the child has committed is being alive, abortion is the child's punishment.

Abortion is not a form of punishment. Punishment is done either for retribution or behavior modification. Neither apply here. Misusing the term does not add power to your argument. It only adds emotion.

It is the capricious murder in the 1st degree, it is not self defense, 2nd degree murder.

It is self-defense, and there are rational arguments that also consider it murder. If the two ideas are mutually exclusive, then it is not murder. However, it seems to me like the two ideas may not be mutually exclusive, but I don’t want to make this thread about abortion.

John Myste said...

Just: re: Human Harvesting:

Then to use the stem cells of the aborted child, is no less that human harvesting. Shame on you John, I know you are smart enough to know that.

One could use that label “human harvesting”, perhaps aptly, not sure. However, I never make moral decisions based on a label. It is easy to talk oneself into and out of the most logical answer once we start categorizing things and then declaring that things in category X are always wrong or that they are always right. We make up categories. We, not reality, decides what we put into them.


There are real-world things behind our terms. They are not the terms. They are something more real. They are not logically defined by the category in which we place them. We place them in categories to help us understand them. We should not mistake the categorization of a thing, for the thing itself. See Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. It explains this phenomenon very well. Something is not wrong because we declare it to be “human harvesting.” Additionally, the Categorical Imperative that says human harvesting is wrong, may not stand up under scrutiny if we find an example where it was justified. Therefore, we must either change made up category or change our imperative if we are to use these blanket assumptions. I do use or believe in imperatives. They take us from reason, not toward it, and this is a perfect example, in my opinion. The use of embryonic stem cells stands or falls on its own merits and does not rest on the merits of other things, including the way we arbitrarily categorize them or the personal categorical imperatives to which our emotions subscribe. It is its own question that should be considered as such, and not in the context of all this noise we make up to obfuscate the question.

T. Paine said...

Myste: Nowhere does God indicate that He thinks of stem cells in the way he thinks of sentient people.

Paine: John, you are missing the forest for all of those pretty trees. Stem cells are not the same as sentient people, even when taken from embryos. That said, taking those stem cells from an embryo effectively kills that developing life. That is what God abhors; the killing of nascent human life, even when that evil is being perpetrated for hypothetically good intentions.


Paine: John, if God teaches us that human life is sacred, and life begins at conception …

Myste: God does not teach that.

Paine: Okay, let’s put this another way. From the ten commandments, God commands us that we shall not commit murder. Since human life scientifically begins at conception, to destroy that life is to commit murder.



Myste: You used the assumption that God is all-knowing to make your argument. That assumption is not rational. Pointing that fact out is very relevant.

Paine: This is a matter of faith for me, and I dare say for all Christians and Jews, that the divine author of the universe is complete and perfect outside of time. He is omnipotent and knows all. I don’t expect you to believe it, but it is a very logical assumption for me in the context of my knowledge and belief in the Christian faith, sir.


Myste: You can cool a house with enough fans also, but the does not invalidate the superiority of AC units for that purpose. I think you know the scientific advantage of embryonic stem cells, so I will not go find a link.

Paine: Ironically you are making my very point John. Embryonic stem cell research has rendered us nothing of use. Using adult stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells etc. have given us wonderful advance in therapeutic medicines and science. So why are you arguing to cool your house with a myriad (more than three) fans, when adult stem cells will cool your home like an air conditioner? I know of no scientific advantage of embryonic stem cells.


Myste: Subject change: He already denied what the Catholic Church believed and only under compulsion indicated otherwise. He died laughing at the Catholic Church.

Paine: Earth as the center of the universe was not Catholic dogma. It was prevailing Christian and human belief then due to a literalist understanding of Holy Scripture. Galileo took St. Augustine’s view that scripture was not necessarily to be interpreted literally, and thus his heliocentric findings were not in conflict with scripture accordingly. (St. Augustine, by the way, is a doctor of the Catholic Church.)


Myste: Back to the topic: my point is that the when the Church fights science claiming that it gets to decide what God thinks about things (and what texts telling it what God thinks will be considered God’s words), it is sometimes proven wrong (and so far, never right, so far as I know). I was giving you an example of the dangers of making up God’s thoughts for him, my friend.

Paine: Again, the Church is rarely “against “science”, Galileo being one of the few very rare exceptions. Indeed the Catholic Church is often the champion of it. Indeed the Catholic Church was the founder of the university system and the scientific method. Further as to the rest of your argument, Christ himself gave His vicar on earth the right to speak for Him. He told Peter in scripture, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mathew 18:18. In other words, he gave the power to Peter, the first pope, the right to determine in good and Holy faith what Christ’s church would allow or disallow in accordance with His name. That authority has been passed down with a two thousand year succession of popes sitting as the earthly representative of Christ’s own Church. Again, I don’t expect you to believe this, but it is what I and one billion Catholics throughout the world believe.

T. Paine said...

JTF, I find myself in complete and faithful agreement with your well stated rebuttal. Also I think you are absolutely correct when you stated that taking embryonic stem cells is nothing more than human harvesting. It is gruesome, no matter its intentions. The Nazi’s did horrible medical research on the Jews too. The fact that some medical discoveries came of that does not mitigate and certainly does not excuse their evil and inhumane experimentation on other humans, any more than those “well-intentioned” researchers of embryonic stem cells today.

T. Paine said...

Myste: One answer among perhaps many would be that God thinks exactly like me.

Paine: That is the egocentric atheism of this new age. There is a god and he thinks just like me.


Myste: It is not logical to assume that if God thought a baby in a womb was a human and should be considered as such, then God believes human life begins at conception. You are making a big leap of faith, and not faith in God, but faith in your assumption. Just like the Catholic Church does not get to decide what God believes, neither do you, sir.

Paine: That leap of faith for JTF and myself is well-founded in our faiths. Just as God told his prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you” Jeremiah 1:5, so I believe he knows our souls before they are imbued into our physical beings at our conceptions. This is axiomatic for me and contrary to what your logic tells you, I suspect.


Myste: Secondly, I am quite certain I am at least as familiar with the Christian Bible as you are, including the common spellings of Moloch. T. Paine can attest first-hand to this, as we have had discussions before where I almost convinced him that Jesus was not the Messiah, though he can never admit that.

Paine: I will have to go back and look through our old discussions John, because I don’t ever recall even having a hint of doubt about Christ as my Messiah, sir.

John Myste said...

Stem cells are not the same as sentient people, even when taken from embryos.

Phew! I thought I was going to have to prove this.

That said, taking those stem cells from an embryo effectively kills that developing life.

Nope! We never kill a fetus to get its stem cells. Thank God we are finally in agreement.

From the ten commandments, God commands us that we shall not commit murder. Since human life scientifically begins at conception, to destroy that life is to commit murder.

There is no evidence that God thought human life begins at conception. I suspect He would have thought it begins before that. God did not know about science and science does not consider a fertilized embryo the same thing as a sentient human. Except for those minor discrepancies, good point, though.

Paine: This is a matter of faith for me, and I dare say for all Christians and Jews, that the divine author of the universe is complete and perfect outside of time. He is omnipotent and knows all. I don’t expect you to believe it, but it is a very logical assumption for me in the context of my knowledge and belief in the Christian faith, sir.

Very well said. Therefore, this is really the point of our disagreement and the rest of the conversation is moot.

Embryonic stem cell research has rendered us nothing of use. Using adult stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells etc. have given us wonderful advance in therapeutic medicines and science. So why are you arguing to cool your house with a myriad (more than three) fans, when adult stem cells will cool your home like an air conditioner? I know of no scientific advantage of embryonic stem cells.

I thought you understood the stem cell debate, so I did not give you the details. I will now. Stem cells can form unlimited quantities of any cell type in the body. Other cells can be used, just not as fast. To say that the embattled stem cell research has not given us anything you consider useful yet, is fallacious. Either they have this advantage or they don’t. Do you dispute this scientific fact? If you don’t, then the rest of your historical case is moot. You are arguing that because Shakespeare produced masterpieces, modern writers would do better righting with feathers. It is a losing proposition.

As for your discussion of Catholic Dogma, it bypasses the point. The point is, the Catholic Church does not get to choose reality and they don’t get to put words in God’s mouth. They declared they have the authority in some sort of Divine Judicial Review. However, in the case of the divine, it didn’t work. If there is a God Entity, His essence is not decided by any group or body, including councils who gather around stones and decide what His word is or is not. The notion is beyond absurd.

Paine: Again, the Church is rarely “against “science”

Ironically, I agree with that. The church is “ascientific.” They mostly disregard science and make up the tale themselves. I will say this, though, the Catholic Church has more genuine scholars in its history than pretty much the rest of Christianity. I am not condemning the intelligence of the Church. I only challenge its right to make things up and decide what the truth is. That is not scientific.

Again, I don’t expect you to believe this, but it is what I and one billion Catholics throughout the world believe.

Power in numbers don’t work. The majority of the world: Muslims, Buddhists, etc., reject the authority of the Catholic Church. If we are going with numbers, the Church loses.

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine,


The Nazi’s did horrible medical research on the Jews too. The fact that some medical discoveries came of that does not mitigate and certainly does not excuse their evil and inhumane experimentation on other humans, any more than those “well-intentioned” researchers of embryonic stem cells today.

The Nazis were killing Jews and torturing them in their research. The stem cells collected from embryos would otherwise be wasted. It is not the same thing. Adult human tissue is used now, including human organs (harvesting!). If you have a categorical imperative that says this is wrong, you must be completely against all harvesting. If not, then whether or not something is harvesting is irrelevant, so stop trying to prove something by appending the label onto it. Instead argue what you think without regard to that label that you sometimes endorse.

T. Paine said...

Myste: No offense, but, my position is that we have no reason to believe that Jesus knew about embryonic stem cells or that He considered a human life relevant at the moment a sperm fertilizes and egg.

Paine: John, it is more logical and certainly more consistent for a Christian to believe that Christ their God is all knowing and therefore, by definition, would know about embryonic stem cells, especially considering the fact that He is the creator and would thus have to have created those stem cells as a part of us in his grand design of humanity. It would be illogical to assume that a life created at the moment of conception was irrelevant to God. That is the method that He willed life to come into being. Why would He chose to consider any of these innocent nascent lives to be irrelevant. I am unable to follow your logic, sir. Further, upon what data do you come to the conclusion that Christ does not know about stem cells or finds human life in the womb at the point of conception to be irrelevant? I would say the burden of proof is on you, my friend. Indeed, as the Holy Spirit came over Mary and thus Christ was conceived in her womb, I think he would find solidarity in wanting all such nascent human life to be protected. After all, He gave up his life so that all of us might have eternal life. I think it is safe to say that sanctity of even a temporal life is something with which Christ would steadfastly support accordingly.

Myste: …I believe that Jesus took no position on these things as He would most likely have lacked the relevant data to take such a stand. Additionally, I strongly suspect that He would have been very much against later term abortions, aborting of a growing fetus. He probably would have based this mostly on what He could see and how much like a baby it looked, but I have no way of knowing that. And I strongly suspect that He would have considered a 3 month old fetus a human, potentially with the rights of a human, just as I do.

Paine: I refer you back to my previous comment.

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine,

And finally, your obsequious sounding comment:

JTF, I find myself in complete and faithful agreement with your well stated rebuttal.

With all due respect, I find this a tad hypocritical. Just does not know me as well you do. You know that he misrepresented my position in much of his rebuttal, which means that it was not based on any arguments I made, but on a the straw man he presumed I was. Therefore, it could not have been well-stated from your view; nor could you be in complete agreement with it.

You could not have agreed with these statements:

Do some research John and look up the what God instructed the Jews to do with the people in the Canaan that worshiped Molich and Baal. (Ex. 23:23-33) Next look up the residents of Canna did as a part of their worship of Molich and Baal. (Lev. 18:24-30 and Google)

The implication being that I don’t realize that God knew about wombs.

You chose to believe that God is not opposed to abortion, or the murder of a child while still in their mothers womb.

This is in complete contradiction to the post I made a few days ago at Major Conflict, one in which you responded to my comment, here:

http://majorconflict.blogspot.com/2012/10/zealots.html

that you see Christians having foolishly given up that freedom.

I have never indicated anything like this. I actually have an appreciation of religion and I currently attend church on Sunday.

It is OK to agree with someone when you agree with them, I suppose, if you are out of steam. However, you should not agree with them solely because they share your philosophical conclusion. I consider that insincere. You should only agree with points where you think the points are valid. Since you know me and have discussed all of this before, I know you recognized the presumptive mis-characterizations.

Oddly enough, I don't hold the mis-representation against Just. Just does not know me that well. However, I do hold you in contempt of Myste Court for joining in on his opinion instead of perhaps composing a concurring opinion of your own.

Though you are hereby held in contempt, you are still my favorite conservative and held in overall high esteem (but I would fine you if I could).


T. Paine said...

Myste: Something is not wrong because we declare it to be “human harvesting.”

Paine: John, while I understand and even can appreciate Plato’s allegory, it is my contention that there are certain things that are indeed moral imperatives. Human harvesting, even of nascent human life, is intrinsically wrong, even if the intentions for it are for the greater good. This is particularly so because of the futility of embryonic stem cell research thus far and its inability to produce useful results. Even if it did produce useful therapies etc., it would not justify the killing of one life in order to serve the common good of others. This sense of moral relativity only serves to further indoctrinate this current culture of death that our society is increasingly embracing. We become more complacent in the killing of the unborn, then the elderly or those in a vegetative state because their quality of life is poor by our arbitrary societal standards. Their organs or stem cells etc. can be used by others that have the opportunity for a more socially-defined good quality of life. We are justifying evil for a supposed greater good. That is wrong in all its aspects, sir.

Yes, we categorize things in order to better understand them, but by removing all labels in order to justify what we would rather do is hardly the seeking of truth, my friend.

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine,

Myste: One answer among perhaps many would be that God thinks exactly like me.


Paine: That is the egocentric atheism of this new age. There is a god and he thinks just like me.


You spun in a bad direction and now your web looks like it was damaged by a hurricane. I do not claim “there is a God.” I claim there it is irrational to believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, or all-loving God. There maybe something(s) far more powerful and far more capable of reason than humankind, and if it/they exist, it/they are far very logical. Thus, such an entity would likely come to the same logical conclusion I did.

Paine: That leap of faith for JTF and myself is well-founded in our faiths.

LOL. I will not rebut that statement because any rebuttal would weaken the self-rebutting aspect inherent in the statement.

Paine: That leap of faith for JTF and myself is well-founded in our faiths. Just as God told his prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you”

If you believe this statement, your quote disproves Just’s assertion that human life begins at conception. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” This in no way suggests that conception was the point where he existed. It implies that this point was earlier. While I agree that this is a far more logical idea, that what makes a human a human begins prior to conception (one of the suggestions I made earlier), I don’t need your help rebutting Just. I am doing fine. Thanks for the effort, but please stay on the conservative side. If I get into trouble in this contest, I will let you know.

so I believe he knows our souls before they are imbued into our physical beings at our conceptions. This is axiomatic for me and contrary to what your logic tells you, I suspect.

Axioms don’t work if they are not self-evident. You have an axiom based on what the Church told you to believe. However, whether the Church gets to define reality is one of the contested ideas, so you cannot use your faith in said idea to support it.

Paine: I will have to go back and look through our old discussions John, because I don’t ever recall even having a hint of doubt about Christ as my Messiah, sir.

We did not debate it on your site. It was the first debate you ever lost to me. We were actually debating the New Covenant, not the messianic aspect of Christ, per se, but without the new covenant, Jesus loses credibility has the messiah. My arguments were so tongue in cheek that you may not have realized that your house of cards had collapsed. I wish I could remember the site, but I don’t.

T. Paine said...

Myste: There is no evidence that God thought human life begins at conception. I suspect He would have thought it begins before that. God did not know about science and science does not consider a fertilized embryo the same thing as a sentient human. Except for those minor discrepancies, good point, though.

Paine: Science is something that humans created in order to observe and understand their world; a world that I believe was ultimately created by God (who preposterously did not know about human science). By the way, is it the point of “sentience” to you that makes a human being worthy of protection, because that is sort of the implication of your statements?


Paine: This is a matter of faith for me, and I dare say for all Christians and Jews, that the divine author of the universe is complete and perfect outside of time. He is omnipotent and knows all. I don’t expect you to believe it, but it is a very logical assumption for me in the context of my knowledge and belief in the Christian faith, sir.

Myste: Very well said. Therefore, this is really the point of our disagreement and the rest of the conversation is moot.

Paine: Indeed. As is often the case, our debates really come about because of our beliefs in different core axioms. The fact that mine are correct and grounded in truth should not deter you from proceeding forth in a futile endeavor to one day prevail over me, though.  I do admire your na├»ve perseverance, my friend!


Myste: I thought you understood the stem cell debate, so I did not give you the details.

Paine: I have actually been inspired by you to write a post regarding embryonic stem cells. I will save our future debate on the topic for that forthcoming posting, sir.


Myste: As for your discussion of Catholic Dogma, it bypasses the point. The point is, the Catholic Church does not get to choose reality and they don’t get to put words in God’s mouth.

Paine: You have missed my point, sir. I agree completely that the Catholic Church does not get to choose reality or put words in God’s mouth. The Church DOES have the authority from Christ himself though to infallibly teach what He has revealed to them. The Church cannot make stuff up willy nilly as it goes. They must form policy, doctrine, and dogma in compliance with Holy Scripture and sacred tradition as passed down and revealed by God. They certainly are not able to proscribe anything that is contrary to God and what he has revealed as His Word and Will. That would be heresy to say the least.

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine,

Paine: John, it is more logical and certainly more consistent for a Christian to believe that Christ their God is all knowing and therefore, by definition, would know about embryonic stem cells, especially considering the fact that He is the creator and would thus have to have created those stem cells as a part of us in his grand design of humanity.

I agree that it is more consistent with the rest of your faith.

It would be illogical to assume that a life created at the moment of conception was irrelevant to God.

Nonsense. I am not sure why you think the moment of fertilization is so important to God. You still have offered no explanation of that, so I will continue to wait.

Why would He chose to consider any of these innocent nascent lives to be irrelevant.

Did He not also will flies, ants, etc. into being. Do you think He considers it murder to “harm” spider eggs, since God willed that we have spiders?

I am unable to follow your logic, sir.

Then how can you comment on it? You must follow an argument before you can rebut it. Perhaps if you reread it very carefully?

Further, upon what data do you come to the conclusion that Christ does not know about stem cells

I say it is illogical to assume He did know about them because they were unknown at that time. I said this several times. Put down the drink and stay focused.

finds human life in the womb at the point of conception to be irrelevant?

I said it was illogical to assume that the point of conception, meaning fertilization in this context, was an important point to God. You have yet to adequately explain why this assumption is rational.

I would say the burden of proof is on you, my friend.

You may, but the soft science of critical thinking disagrees. The burden of proof is on the one claiming to know something, otherwise known as the one making the assertion. That is you. I am saying that your presumption is not logical. Your presumption is the assertion. You have the burden of proof, by definition.

Indeed, as the Holy Spirit came over Mary and thus Christ was conceived in her womb, I think he would find solidarity in wanting all such nascent human life to be protected.

Does this include children he orders to be cut to pieces to punish their fathers or are they exempt from the notion? I only ask because you are again resorting to absolutes and categorical imperatives and then applying those absolutes to non-sentient stem cells, which is a remarkable stretch. If you are going to use absolutes and categorical imperatives and labels as your axioms, then a single violation of your reasoning invalidates the entire axiom. I will wait for you to wipe the sweat from your forehead and try to cook up an answer.

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine,

After all, He gave up his life so that all of us might have eternal life.

He did not. If I throw myself on a grenade to save you, I gave up my life. If I throw myself on a pill that puts me to sleep for three days, knowing I am going to get back up in three days, and then I claim to have given my life for you, that makes me a hypocrite. To the degree that Jesus claimed to be giving up His life for us, He is a hypocrite. Not to mention that fact that most of His history was spent in blissful heaven. He would have had no desire to remain on earth for very long, as proven by the fact that He did not. When His chores were done, he left PDQ. He knew something better. The whole story is preposterous and any virtue tied to it is absurd:


God telling His Son that He must pay for my sins, something he did not do, and that will “sum the count,” is silly. Guilt by association is a practical impossibility. You can punish someone for the acts of someone else, but you cannot make them deserve the punishment; nor can you make them guilty. His Son then making a false promise to terminate Himself as a sacrifice to appease the blood-thirsty father, but then getting back up and going on with His life is silly. If I approached you and explained that I gave up my life to save yours by throwing myself on a grenade for you, and then I went home and watched TV, what you think of my integrity? I don’t think using the crucifixion as an example to prove your case works at all.

I think it is safe to say that sanctity of even a temporal life is something with which Christ would steadfastly support accordingly.

If you believe that Christ is the Father, it is hard to abide such things. I can send you pages of Bible passages where God shows no regard whatsoever for innocent individual human lives. I know you know I can do this, so it seems pointless, but so therefore does your conclusion about this matter.

T. Paine said...

Myste: The Nazis were killing Jews and torturing them in their research. The stem cells collected from embryos would otherwise be wasted. It is not the same thing. Adult human tissue is used now, including human organs (harvesting!). If you have a categorical imperative that says this is wrong, you must be completely against all harvesting. If not, then whether or not something is harvesting is irrelevant, so stop trying to prove something by appending the label onto it. Instead argue what you think without regard to that label that you sometimes endorse.

Paine: Harvesting of organs, i.e. organ donation after one dies is acceptable and a wonderful thing. That is hardly the same thing as harvesting organs or stem cells from a live human if the result will be the death of that person. I find it telling that you characterize embryos as “wasted” if not allowed to have stem cells harvested from them. Surely you get the distinction between harvesting from a live person and one that has just died.

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine,

Human harvesting, even of nascent human life, is intrinsically wrong, even if the intentions for it are for the greater good.

I could get onboard with this if we restrict our rules to forced abduction of tissue from sentient beings. Otherwise, I may be a hard sell. Such is the danger of having imperatives. You cannot use reason to make the determination because your imperative is dictating reality for you.

This is particularly so because of the futility of embryonic stem cell research thus far and its inability to produce useful results.

Because they were not readily available. The progress we have had with adult stem cells could have also been made with these, and perhaps faster. You are making the argument that having more versatile and better resources available does not speed up the science. You have no reason to think this, so I must consider it an emotional idea.

Even if it did produce useful therapies etc., it would not justify the killing of one life in order to serve the common good of others.

No one advocates that, so your objection is moot. No one is saying we should kill babies to get their stem cells. Objection overruled.

This sense of moral relativity only serves to further indoctrinate this current culture of death that our society is increasingly embracing. We become more complacent in the killing of the unborn, then the elderly or those in a vegetative state because their quality of life is poor by our arbitrary societal standards. Their organs or stem cells etc. can be used by others that have the opportunity for a more socially-defined good quality of life. We are justifying evil for a supposed greater good. That is wrong in all its aspects, sir.

To summarize, you should now be against organ donation, as it desensitizes us. You are against embryonic stem cell use now because it desensitizes us. You should be against television and movies because they desensitize us far more. You should be against sexual intercourse because it makes us less modest, otherwise known as desensitizing us. You should be against eating of flesh of any kind of animal, because preparing bloody meat desensitizes us. Where will your crusade against desensitizing stop? I respectfully ask that you restrict your arguments to the topic at hand. You are not against embryonic stem cell research because it desensitizes us. You developed that argument long after your mind was made up and your philosophy written in stone.

Yes, we categorize things in order to better understand them, but by removing all labels in order to justify what we would rather do is hardly the seeking of truth, my friend.

Thank God none advocates that. I advocate re-examining our labels and considering them as a tool, not an imperatives, when come into conflict with reason.

Paine: Harvesting of organs, i.e. organ donation after one dies is acceptable and a wonderful thing. That is hardly the same thing as harvesting organs or stem cells from a live human if the result will be the death of that person.

Blood donation is harvesting from a live human being. Dead tissues and organs or of no use. I am simply saying that using tissue from a non-sentient being is not tantamount to killing grandma for her liver.

T. Paine said...

Myste: With all due respect, I find this a tad hypocritical. Just does not know me as well you do. You know that he misrepresented my position in much of his rebuttal, which means that it was not based on any arguments I made, but on a the straw man he presumed I was. Therefore, it could not have been well-stated from your view; nor could you be in complete agreement with it.

Paine: Mr. Myste, you are indeed correct, sir. I did agree with all of Just’s philosophical points and not of his unintentional mischaracterizations of you. I should indeed have been more precise and come to your defense in those erroneously characterized assumptions accordingly. (Just as you have sometimes come to my defense or painfully defended a particular conservative philosophy with which I agree against the other more vicious members of your progressive kin.) That said, I humbly apologize to you, John. Sincerely, I do.

To JTF, John Myste is a complicated progressive gentleman and when one is presuming he stands on emotional appeals for liberal dogma is to do him an injustice. While John is typically wrong in his politics and on Christianity, he is also able to defend and articulate his thoughts in a far more logical manner than the typical bed-wetting, fire-breathing, knee-jerk emotional liberal does. Indeed, John is one of the good guys and will make a powerful ally one day when we are finally able to lure him back from the dark side of the force.

John Myste said...

While John is typically wrong in his politics and on Christianity, he is also able to defend and articulate his thoughts in a far more logical manner than the typical bed-wetting, fire-breathing, knee-jerk emotional liberal does. Indeed, John is one of the good guys and will make a powerful ally one day when we are finally able to lure him back from the dark side of the force.

Thanks, I guess. I think I take exception to the characterization of a liberal. I must stop now for awhile. I have to go vote for Obama and other liberals.

T. Paine said...


Myste: Thanks, I guess. I think I take exception to the characterization of a liberal. I must stop now for awhile. I have to go vote for Obama and other liberals.

Paine: I cannot believe that I am actually thankful that someone is leaving a debate to go vote for Obama. The fact that I know you live in Texas, and therefore your vote for president is largely irrelevant for Obama’s sake, and the fact that you have tempted me for far too long this morning into avoiding necessary work makes this brief respite you have provided a welcome one. Take care my friend, for now.

John Myste said...

Certain positions had no democrat running. At one point I had to choose for Green, Libertarian or Republican, which caused me to lose my lunch.

I hate voting for Greens and Libertarians, but alas, I had to do it.

Don't worry, though. In areas where I think the candidate might become mayoral, gubernatorial, or legislative, I choose republican over libertarian.

Anyway, I am happy to announce that Texas will probably go for Obama now.

You are all very welcome.

John Myste said...

Oh, and you are welcome T. Paine. I am sorry to have taken up so much of your time. Perhaps you will remember this the next time you start spouting off republican philosophy! Join me, my friend. You would be a fantastic representative of our cause.

T. Paine said...

Myste: Certain positions had no democrat running. At one point I had to choose for Green, Libertarian or Republican, which caused me to lose my lunch. I hate voting for Greens and Libertarians, but alas, I had to do it. Don't worry, though. In areas where I think the candidate might become mayoral, gubernatorial, or legislative, I choose republican over libertarian. Anyway, I am happy to announce that Texas will probably go for Obama now. You are all very welcome.

Paine: That was actually very quick. Was there not that many people at the polling station? I am also surprised that you would choose a Republican over a libertarian, all other things being equal. Lastly, if Texas goes for Obama this country is certainly damned. I am holding out the hope that if Obama somehow does manage through fraud to win re-election that I can move to Texas in order to hold on to my freedoms as they secede from the union once again. :)

T. Paine said...

Myste: Oh, and you are welcome T. Paine. I am sorry to have taken up so much of your time. Perhaps you will remember this the next time you start spouting off republican philosophy! Join me, my friend. You would be a fantastic representative of our cause.

Paine: I guess it is still exceptionally difficult for me to let the erroneous propaganda from the left to go unchallenged, particularly on my own blog. Now, if only Republican elected officials would start spouting and LIVING up to Republican philosophy!
And while I respect and admire you John, I could never join such a losing cause, my friend! :) But I will happily accept your admission of defeat in the manner in which it was presented, dear sir!

Just the Facts! said...

"God thinks exactly like me"

God said he created man in his image.

"The implication being that I don’t realize that God knew about wombs."

If you had read the passages offered you would know the womb as not mentioned.

John, here is something I believe in, that might help you fully understand my position.

God is holy, He can not tolerate sin, He can not sin. Mankind is the result of His spoken word. He sets the boundaries, the goals, the rules, not his creation. He does what he wants for His own glory, not ours. He does not have to answerer to us. He commands his creation to not break his rules, and promises there will be consequences if we do so. Mankind is incapable of living a sin less life. Therefore men must pay the consequences of our actions. To not require this of man would make God out to be a liar. God is not a liar, as I said before, He is holy, He only expects us to be holy as well.
So here is the problem, all humans die, it's how God has deemed things to be for us His creation. Do you think a Holy God, could allow there to be no punishment for breaking of His commands?

So the question is, as I see it is, since I am not Holy, how can I escape God's punishment? Much of what I have written in this post is the reason why I am against liberalism. It removes the relationship between God as the creator and Man as his creation. My understanding of liberalism is liberals recognize the world is not fair, they attempt to correct by taking from one and giving it to another, with the belief that the world will be fair, once government controls everyone. By doing so they are trying to replace what God has commanded what man must do, IE work by the sweat of his brow, with something else. Then liberals try to assume the position of God, by working under the premiss, that Mans rules are more fair than God's rules. And finally because there is a conflict between the rules of Man and God's rules, liberals deny His rules.

Which brings me to my final point. Christ in MATT 10:14 instructs His disciples that when a house or city will not listen to them, to leave and shake off the dust from their feet. Pretty clear to me that God is telling His disciples through Christ to not waste their time with those who will not listen.


Mr.Myste, I wish you happy times in the voting booth. I also wish you a large disappointment with the final returns of this Presidential election.

John Myste said...

More later, but ...

I am also surprised that you would choose a Republican over a libertarian, all other things being equal.

I think the issue that tops my list of concerns is the welfare of the poor and in many cases the GOP candidate is far more rational in this area than their libertarian equivalent.

I do choose libertarian over most social issues, though, such as gay rights, treatment of drug users, etc. However, those concerns are very secondary to the one mentioned above. And there you have it.

T. Paine said...


JTF: Mr.Myste, I wish you happy times in the voting booth. I also wish you a large disappointment with the final returns of this Presidential election.

Paine: Amen I say to you JTF!

T. Paine said...

That makes sense, Mr. Myste. I thought first of the social issues as being the compelling factor for you to favor Libertarianism. I should have known that your good intentions, albeit misplaced in government, to help the poor would align you more with the GOP in that sense and thus trump Libertarianism.

John Myste said...

Just,

"God thinks exactly like me"

God said he created man in his image.


Those words were never uttered. The text says: “The Gods created man in Their image.” I don’t think you want to invoke the creation story in your argument as those who composed it were polytheistic.

Elohim (the Gods under a single name) created man in Their image. What Their image means I would think is that They created them as emotional sentient beings, unless you think the Sun God and lesser Gods referenced in Genesis were talking about Their physical appearance, which I accept could have been the case.

God is holy, He can not tolerate sin, He can not sin.

Looks like He is not all-powerful as we have found something He cannot do. I think it was Pascal who said something like “God is not omnipotent as He cannot build a wall He cannot jump,” nothing the absurdity in the concept of an all-powerful entity.

Mankind is the result of His spoken word.

No noise twitching or wand waving? If you say so.

He sets the boundaries, the goals, the rules, not his creation.

This is patently false. All the boundaries and rules were established by the Church, and not by God. They arbitrarily decided what words to call God’s and how they would be interpreted and they insist we all agree, relinquishing all reason to their decisions.

He does what he wants for His own glory, not ours.

He admitted such. He is jealous and arrogant per His own admission.

He does not have to answerer to us. He commands his creation to not break his rules, and promises there will be consequences if we do so. Mankind is incapable of living a sin less life.

You just said God punishes people for things beyond their control and I agree.

Do you think a Holy God, could allow there to be no punishment for breaking of His commands?

This is a change of subject, but I would think a holy God would not allow suffering of any kind, punishment included, but you digress. I wrote an article “proving” this on my own website, so I must believe it. Surely I don’t disagree with me?

Much of what I have written in this post is the reason why I am against liberalism. It removes the relationship between God as the creator and Man as his creation.

Don’t tell Burr Deming.

My understanding of liberalism is liberals recognize the world is not fair, they attempt to correct by taking from one and giving it to another, with the belief that the world will be fair, once government controls everyone.


You don’t understand liberalism, per your confession.

By doing so they are trying to replace what God has commanded what man must do, IE work by the sweat of his brow, with something else.

Nonsense. As you confessed, you don’t understand liberal philosophy.

Then liberals try to assume the position of God, by working under the premiss, that Mans rules are more fair than God's rules.

I am unaware of this behavior in my liberal brothers.

Pretty clear to me that God is telling His disciples through Christ to not waste their time with those who will not listen.

You do know Christ was not a Christian and as a Jew would have renounced much of the pagan practices of Christianity, do you not? Paul and other church fathers invented the man you worship as a God, but I digress.

Mr.Myste, I wish you happy times in the voting booth. I also wish you a large disappointment with the final returns of this Presidential election.

I am in Texas, which is populated largely by backward thinking hicks. I assure you I will be disappointed with the results of the Texas portion of the election. I did, however, enjoy voting. It was fun. I pretended it mattered.




T. Paine said...

John, I think you enjoy poking the badger with your stick far too much. I long ago realized this when you were first trying mightily to vex me. It becomes obnoxiously apparent when I see you do it to Just. At times it was wildly entertaining when you did so to Free. It’s too bad because Free debates splendidly when he doesn’t let his passions over-ride his logic. The fact that you often believe the silliness you preach makes it paradoxically amusing and quite annoying. Despite your proclivities to willfully torment us poor unenlightened Christian conservatives, you are still my favorite progressive though, sir!

John Myste said...

Mr. Paine and Just,

You have my almost sincere apology if any of my facts have proved vexing. I assure you that vexation is not my primary goal.

I don't always speak from the heart, but I do speak from the voice that inspires me. I do not seek it out - it comes to me and I share.

Dave Dubya said...

This "debate" between faith and reason is quite entertaining.

Humanity will always feel the forces of the Dark Ages tugging it backwards.

The Biblical evidence offered suggests God is ok with destroying innocent life. For that I blame the messengers more than God.

I still prefer democracy over theocracy any day.

T. Paine said...

Dubya, that is an interesting comment. Particularly in light of the fact that we seemingly now have a theocracy in America. Oh, I’ll grant you that the new progressive God is not the one of the Judeo-Christian traditions. Rather it is one that is found in the supremacy of the state, and Obama is it’s messiah. It is absolutely faith based without any corroborating evidence in support of that faith. How, otherwise, does a messiah get re-elected despite further ruining our economy, looking out for cronies and special interests only, while usurping constitutional rights from Americans? That is a faith and theocracy as great as my own faith. Even greater, I would dare say, since I have evidence and history in support of my mine, whilst this new progressive statist theocracy exists in spite of those things.

Dave Dubya said...

TP,
I can follow you about this far: Dubya, that is an interesting comment. Particularly in light of the fact...

At that point facts are not presented. "Seemingly" takes over as the foundation of your argument. You jabber on about a "Messiah" bestowing gifts upon his believers. If that's your gripe, you'd have to include Bush's genrosity to the economic elites as well. But you have zero criticism of trickle up policies.

Notice none of us ever called Bush your messiah. That tactic of wild mischaracterization shows gross misunderstanding of liberal thought.

Your opinions and interpretation of liberal thought are as erroneous as JTF's, as pointed out by Mr. Myste.

Tell us, who in the US should have more power than the Federal government? Wall Street? You got it. Corporate wealth? Your getting it.

Do you want organized crime to have more power than government?

Keep shrinking and defunding it.

The rule of law is weakened, and government is falling under control of wealth. Ever hear the phrase, "The best justice money can buy" or "the best government money can buy"?

We have ample history that teaches us the failings of a system where wealth dominates the public interests.

This is not faith based. Again, if you were correct, I'd agree with you. But you "seemingly" cannot define liberalism or understand what liberals say. The dogma of the radical Right must rely on it's power to define others, lest we define ourselves and shed light on fabrications of the Right.

Religion aside, for the GOP are not saints, consider again, you support the party of Big Money and every policy that further enriches the elites, to the detriment of the public interest.

Your belief that the poor have too much and the rich have too little is quite clear.

WWJD?

Tim Trueblood said...

"Notice none of us ever called Bush your messiah. That tactic of wild mischaracterization shows gross misunderstanding of liberal thought."

Then explain liberal thought.

John Myste said...

I have found that most people who are not liberals cannot intelligently articulate liberal philosophy. Additionally, when a liberal explains his philosophy, most conservatives will continue to debate a philosophy the liberal does not have. The conservative definition of liberal philosophy is formed by the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, and O'Reilly, none of which can articulate it. The modern liberal does not get to believe what he believes. Instead he must believe the insane philosophy created by the far right (often something a liberal could not have whipped up in his wildest fantasies) and assigned to liberals.

T. Paine said...

Dubya: You jabber on about a "Messiah" bestowing gifts upon his believers. If that's your gripe, you'd have to include Bush's genrosity to the economic elites as well. But you have zero criticism of trickle up policies.

Paine: No I really don’t have to include Bush. While Bush did some stupid things, like the prescription drug benefit, he didn’t give away the damned treasury like Obama has done to his cronies with “renewable energy companies”. Talk about trickle-up policies to help the elites! Further, Bush didn’t pay people money to get rid of their old “clunkers” and buy new cars. He didn’t let people re-finance houses that they should not have bought in the first place through government loans. He didn’t provide every “poor” person with an Obama-phone. Further, which “elites” did Bush help? I seem to recall that he allowed everyone to keep more of their own hard earned money through tax cuts, especially us middle class folks. I wonder if that will indeed sunset at the end of this year thanks to the God-damned progressives in congress. I mean after all, we don’t want those evil and greedy people that actually earned their salaries to keep more of it.


Dubya: Tell us, who in the US should have more power than the Federal government? Wall Street? You got it. Corporate wealth? Your getting it.

Paine: Do you know who should have more power than the federal government? We THE PEOPLE should. We don’t though anymore, and that is because of this virus of progressivism that has become so pervasive in this country today. Now people live irresponsibly or get in trouble and immediately look to the government to fix their problems. They have ceded power to the government so that they can get entitlements and not have to work for two year periods, not that there are many jobs available with that same government squashing capitalism and job growth accordingly. There is a reason why the stock market (thus corporations that provide JOBS) is down again by large margins today. It isn’t because they have faith in Obama restoring the country.


Dubya: Do you want organized crime to have more power than government?

Paine: Under this government and particularly under Eric Holder’s “Justice Department” those two are one and the same. Holder, although already found in contempt, should be thrown in jail for perjury. Oh, wait, that only happens to Republicans… I forgot.



Dubya: The rule of law is weakened, and government is falling under control of wealth. Ever hear the phrase, "The best justice money can buy" or "the best government money can buy"?

Paine: How can you even type that with a straight face? The rule of law has been circumvented or flat out ignored continuously by this administration. And as far as getting the best government that money can buy, well I would have to say that George Soros has gotten a pretty damned good return on his investment. So has Solyndra and Fiskars and any other Obama-approved crony or supporter.


Dubya: We have ample history that teaches us the failings of a system where wealth dominates the public interests.

Paine: Indeed this is true. We have even greater amounts of history, even recent history that proves that supporting a progressive statist government only weakens the economy and curtails freedoms.

T. Paine said...

Dubya: Your belief that the poor have too much and the rich have too little is quite clear.

Paine: That is an interesting statement considering it is absolutely false for me and most conservatives. You accuse me of mis-defining liberal philosophy and then spew that nonsense in return. I don’t know your history Dave, but I dare say that I have invested far more of my time, money, and heart into helping the poor, needy, and those caught up in tragedy than you have in my lifetime. I sure as hell have done more than the typical “caring” liberal has done. That said, it isn’t a contest, but I try to make a positive difference in the world. Simply having government take money from those playing by the rules and giving it to those that would rather not work when they are perfectly capable of doing so only encourages more of the same abhorrent behavior. You subsidize laziness when doing so. Clinton was smart to sign the welfare reform bill (albeit only on the third attempt.) The liberals screamed how it would hurt the poor. Instead millions of people got off welfare and actually found some personal dignity that comes with providing for one’s self. I have no problem helping those that cannot help themselves. I refuse to help those that won’t but could help themselves though. Those are the entitlement culture of “Americans” that just reelected the anti-Christ as president.

T. Paine said...


Tim: Then explain liberal thought.

Paine: Tim, the term “liberal thought” is an oxymoron. Liberalism is an emotional and intentions-based philosophy. One doesn’t really have to make things better in the world so long as one’s intentions are good and you really meant to do so. Never mind the fact that it is liberal policies that keep people poor and dependent. How many people became wealthy, self-sufficient, or successful in the world while living in slavery on the plantation of statist entitlements?

T. Paine said...

Myste: I have found that most people who are not liberals cannot intelligently articulate liberal philosophy. Additionally, when a liberal explains his philosophy, most conservatives will continue to debate a philosophy the liberal does not have. The conservative definition of liberal philosophy is formed by the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, and O'Reilly, none of which can articulate it. The modern liberal does not get to believe what he believes. Instead he must believe the insane philosophy created by the far right (often something a liberal could not have whipped up in his wildest fantasies) and assigned to liberals.

Paine: Okay, fair enough John. I will put aside my snarky comments for a moment and try to be open-minded on this question. Like Tim asked, I too sincerely want to know; what constitutes typical liberal philosophy today?

Dave Dubya said...

Tim,
First of all, don’t accept the definition of liberalism from a person who thinks Obama could be the anti-Christ. ;-)

Liberal thought cannot be explained in a comment thread. One must read what various liberals have written.

If you want a bumper sticker size simplification, start here:

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

Then read some definitions:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/liberalism


Liberalism: a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberalism


a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically : such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class)


For all its flaws, democracy is still the best path for a government of, by, and for the people. We speak of democracy as majority rule with minority rights. Not mob rule or tyranny of the majority, as some conservatives claim.

Liberals believe in our history of expanding voting rights, erring on the side of democracy. By contrast, Republicans actively work to suppress voter numbers to undermine democracy.

Liberals advocate for the public interests, as opposed to the GOP primarily representing interests the economic elites.

Finally I suggest reading a liberal Christian’s thoughts here:

http://billmoyers.com/spotlight/commentary/
--
TP,
You act like liberals don't want the able bodied to work. Nonsense. We want them to have jobs. The "job creators" have either failed to creat them, or sent jobs to asia.

And spare me the dogma about taxes forcing the jobs off shore. You know damn well it is due to cheap labor.

Your ideological cherry picking of welfare abusers, and misrepresentation of liberalism aside, you seem to represent my statement. You support the party that redistributes to the rich and undercuts poverty programs under the blanket accusation that the poor are lazy.

If the government is to have a role in serving the underpaid and under-privileged, abuses will occur. Do you use that to justify gutting all public assistance?

You may love your charity cases, but why demonize others on public assistance, sir?

When you and the private sector fall short, that leaves only government to help.

John Myste said...

Paine: Tim, the term “liberal thought” is an oxymoron. Liberalism is an emotional and intentions-based philosophy. One doesn’t really have to make things better in the world so long as one’s intentions are good and you really meant to do so

Mr. Paine, I did not ask for your help, but I appreciate your attempt to assist. Yes, this is a perfect example of how conservatives don’t understand liberalism.

Paine: Okay, fair enough John. I will put aside my snarky comments for a moment and try to be open-minded on this question. Like Tim asked, I too sincerely want to know; what constitutes typical liberal philosophy today?

In what respect, Mr. Paine? Unlike much conservative thought, reason rules, not traditional mandate. Do you have a specific question?