When Faith Means Reciting a Social Script: What is a Christian?

Reciting A Social Script

We think we know what we believe. We think that we believe in life after death or the resurrection, or in the virginity of Mary. But mostly, belief is what we say we believe when we’re being grilled by a fundamentalist or reciting the Nicene Creed. Belief is social performance. We believe we believe something when we tell others we believe it.

I’ve always had a hard time believing in basic things. Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty” was an important book for me. He asks questions like this, “Does my telephone call to New York strengthen my conviction that the earth exists?” Eventually, all my existential doubt boiled down to what I did. Every day, I acted as though other people were real, gravity would continue, and my homework assignments were due. Our beliefs are reflected in what we do.

But I’m still left with a feeling of unease that the normal will not proceed. That, like Grigor Samsa, I will awaken from unsettling dreams to find myself transformed in my bed into a monstrous cockroach. And everything will unravel from there: gravity, the alphabet, gender roles, Plank’s Constant, the laws of arithmetic, you name it. I’m just a skeptic by nature.

So overconfident proclamations of belief awaken my inner cynic. If we truly believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the triumph of life over death, and Matthew 25′s promise of eternal life in heaven awaiting those who spend their lives caring for those in need… well. We’d see a world without hunger: the Kingdom of God on earth. But most of us believe at maybe 25%. The thing is, belief is something that matures as we grow spiritually: the fruit of a spiritual life, not the secret knock that opens the door. Right action and right belief develop gradually as we follow the way of Jesus.

Experience Before Social Scripts

I wish we talked about what we’ve experienced rather than social scripts of belief. But hey, maybe that’s because my faith is built around powerful experiences that marked me. I have felt the power of God transforming me, sometimes suddenly, and sometimes gradually, when I pray. I have felt the presence of God and I wept, and I’ve seen Jesus when I prayed in the darkness. He touched my shoulder and it changed me. But more importantly my faith has made me a better person when I’m damn sure I would have been worse.

Related: Western Christianity’s Biggest Problem…the Bible?

I’ve even seen crazy stuff. Once, while praying for belief, I saw the clouds open and I saw heavenly hosts. I’ve taken acid in my life, and there’s probably some trace LSD knocking around in my spine, so I can’t discount that as a cause. But nonetheless, I experienced something that felt real, which I remember as a marker of the real reality.

You really can’t fake what you’ve experienced. And you can’t fake how you live your life. But verbal statements of belief can be faked and usually are.

A Belief-Based Faith is Compatible With Slavery

According to Wendell Berry, a faith based on belief rather than a faith based on what we do was constructed to resolve the contradictions between a justice-rooted faith and the institution of slavery.

“How do you get to heaven? Well, I have quoted some passages, and there are many others, that say you get there by obeying the moral imperatives of the Scripture, by loving one another ‘in deed and in truth.’ But the churches, with their strong ties to the pocketbooks of racists, felt obliged to see it another way: the way to heaven was faith; one got there by believing. And to this day that continues to be the emphasis of such denominations as the Southern Baptist: to be saved, believe! The mystical aspects of Christianity completely overshadow the moral. But it is a bogus mysticism, mysticism as wishful magic, a recipe by which to secure the benefits of eternal bliss without having to give up the benefits of temporal vice: corrupt your soul and save it too!” – Wendell Berry, The Hidden Wound

When we claim to believe in love and justice yet leave our slaves in chains, well, that’s a sham. It’s the kind of fake confidence-man faith that you can read like a fleur-de-lis stamped on an adulterer’s shoulder. It’s the faith of a con-man, one who deludes himself so as to delude others. When our actions don’t measure up to our proclamations of belief, non-Christians smell it like rot.

Of course, most of us are in that position, buying products made by people enslaved to oppression, contributing to global warming, and sheltered by a military state that spreads war and confusion for the sake of business interests. We’re inconsistent, and our beliefs look like self-delusion as they precede our actions.

Until the first-world church gives up living in complicity and starts remembering and reminding the world that building community in love is resistance to the empire of death, we’ll still feel foul while speaking fair.

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Marooned, Overlooking Salvation at the Shore

But when we talk about our experience of the transformation of the everyday, that, at least, is meaningful. I love miracles and I believe they’re woven into our lives in ways we often overlook.

When we believe in distant miracles as ancient as the Septuagint but don’t experience God in the everyday, we can make belief without proof the central refrain of “faith.” We furrow our brows and squint toward the horizon, looking for some rupture in the natural order like marooned people scanning for a helicopter when a ship has already docked.

There are days when I believe at 65% that there is a heaven, and I’m usually at about 55% that I’ll be going there, by the grace of God, not through my own purity of heart and deed.

God reads the heart. How do I know? I have felt God read my heart. But we cannot read each others’ hearts, and when we ask another person what they believe in order to determine if they’re a “Christian,” we’re pretending like we can read their heart based on the motions of their mouths. Only God knows who believes and who is saved, and we can only proceed according to our best lights.

Also by Jeremy: Noah, Magic and Poetry

And lastly, we tend to shape our beliefs according to the foolishness of the world, which can limit the power of God to reveal miracles that reverse the world’s powers, and our expectations. For instance, in the occupied Palestine of Jesus’ day, Roman soldiers raped peasant women like Mary. And if children resulted, these “bastard” children were condemned to a life at the margins of their communities without support from any father. And so I have a question: was Mary a miraculously impregnated virgin or a miraculously virgin-ified woman who was raped by a Roman soldier? Wouldn’t it have been a miracle worthy of God to ask Joseph to accept such a child as the son of God? So was the miracle that God miraculously impregnated a virgin? Or, was the miracle that God gave Joseph the strength to risk being ostracized for raising a “bastard” child as his own?

I believe in miracles that suspend the natural order, like the resurrection. But sometimes, when we spend our time looking for miracles that suspend the normal, we miss the quotidian mysteries of faith that turn the world’s injustices upside down.

Amen.

Read part one here.




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  • Frank2918

    I love this:

    “Until the first-world church gives up living in complicity and starts remembering and reminding the world that building community in love is resistance to the empire of death, we’ll still feel foul while speaking fair.”

    Until every Christian stands up to the culture of death that allows over 27,000 innocent unborn children to be killed weekly mostly for reasons of convenience and comfort, we will be foul.

    • JT

      I thought the article came across as elitist, but that’s a good catch, Frank2918. Well said.

      • John

        It’s a terrible catch, JT. It’s even small-minded. Narrowing this article to one cause is just missing the point entirely, however worthy that cause might be.

        • JT

          You may be right, John. But tell me – what is the point? In your own words.

          • John

            I think, and I hope I’m not putting words into the author’s mouth, that if faith was an illustration of our genuine belief, if we actually lived entirely in our faith, our worlds, and probably the whole world, would be transformed. But too much of our faith is a social construct, something we wear, instead of something we are, something we live with every fibre of our being.

          • JT

            So if our belief was genuine and genuinely informed our life decisions, it would impact all life on earth, correct?

          • John

            Absolutely.

          • JT

            Is all life a blessing from God?

          • John

            JT, if you’re leading me down some road to say that I’m against abortion, I’m against abortion. I think how to deal with it is very complicated, and I think we need a massive shift in social programmes, in adoption, in stigmatisation of young mothers, in the education and training of young mothers, in the role of men in parenthood, but if all abortions were ended, I would consider that a wonderful thing.

          • JT

            I’m not suggesting you support abortion, John. I figured you didn’t (you’re one of the few commenters on here I find to be honest and willing to wrestle with difficult faith statements). But please answer the question. Yes or no, do we as believers receive life as a blessing from a Creator God?

          • John

            Of course.

          • JT

            Thank you. But beyond genuine faith, the world receives human life not as a blessing, but as a consequence to a pleasure-first activity. Beyond genuine faith, sex is a moral end and an act of identity. Beyond genuine faith, whole generations are not given due moral worth until their mothers permit. Beyond genuine faith, humans seek to control their own history and decide when life begins, which we as Christians will into the hands of God.

            In this regard, Frank’s comment has merit and is an appropriate extension of statements made in this piece. The church must inspire the world to see beyond the immediate and to speak meaning into every life, no matter the circumstances by which life appeared. This is how the church can begin to change the whole world: by attributing divine meaning and worth to every human life. Until then, there are children who enter as accidents and as burdens. Worse, children die, and their deaths are given moral justification.

            Thank you for answering honestly.

          • John

            Again, JT, I think the problem is that it needlessly narrows the focus of the article, and creates a hostile and litmus test/oppositional atmosphere lacking in grace, and I think, also hijacks the scope of the article, which lacks respect for the author, and perhaps goes so far as to presuppose a sort of pecking order in God’s intended pursuits of the Kingdom.

            I don’t think he’s extending. I think he’s limiting.

          • JT

            “…if faith was an illustration of our genuine belief, if we actually lived entirely in our faith, our worlds, and probably the whole world, would be transformed.”

            If you think the language of abortion doesn’t make a statement about the whole world (all life is a blessing, right?), I think the argument can be made you’re limiting.

          • John

            But it’s about so much more, JT. Frank’s comment looked like yet another opportunistic grab at making an article about abortion.

            This could be about poverty. I don’t see anyone coming on every other article making it about poverty. It could be about the premature and needless death of millions of children across the world because of preventable disease. I don’t see anyone making articles about child illness. It could be about the global industrial-military complex and the fact that it kills millions and spends enough money to feed the world in perpetuity. I don’t see anyone making everything about global militarisation.

            All of these things are massive problems. When articles are continually linked to a single issue, it starts to seem as though there is less interest in other issues. And actually, comments and internet shares back my thinking. At least on RLC. I’m honestly not familiar with other Christian comment forums. One keeps me busy enough…

          • JT

            Would they be wrong to make it about poverty, needless child deaths (which abortion is), war, disease, etc? Again, you said if we lived out our faith, it could change “our worlds”. In mine and Frank’s world, we see humans entering life not as the blessings they are, but as something much less. In fact, by secular definition, I entered the world an accident. So the subject whelms up from within my gut strong emotions.

            If we can’t allow the Scriptures and these commentaries to speak to social issues that affect us directly, then what you and I are saying here should never leave this forum until we can convince the magical unicorn to click its heels and turn the world into rock candy. This is why I think this article is elitist: let the Scriptures speak meaning (no matter how “basic”) into every life situation, even if every life situation is not all at once considered.

          • John

            One of the mission statements of RLC was that it was intended to get Christians involved in broader, more inclusive conversations about all sorts of issues. Tony Campolo was concerned that Christianity was getting bogged down in a few select, American issues. And the truth is, on RLC, if you talk about homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion or creationism, you get masses of attention.

            If you write about anything else, you get MUCH less attention. I’ve written about 15 articles in the past year. And hot topic articles get masses of attention where others, which I think are sometimes about much more significant issues in the world (both spiritual and material) are barely noticed. As a writer, it’s great. I could get big numbers all the time. As a Christian, it’s incredibly frustrating, because I write from the impetus of the Holy Spirit, not from a sense of wanting a big audience.

            So, when Frank constantly points a big neon sign at something which there is already a big neon sign pointing at, I’m not impressed. I’m not moved.

            I certainly don’t mean to take anything away from your life experience, JT, and it is wonderful that we have you here with us.

            But the fact of the matter is that there is great trouble in parts of the world without adequate means to solve them, especially as some of them are caused, or exacerbated, by the developed world. And those voices need to be heard, and those problems need to concern us, in our common humanity.

            We need to be pointing our big neon signs into the shadows.

          • JT

            I don’t think there is any issue more deserving of our condemnation than the termination of new life. According to the OT, the lowest point of Israel’s history came when Ahaz passed his son through the flame. Evangelism must begin with God’s creative order, which as you know, makes a statement on all life.

            If we can’t muster a united and univocally negative voice against the deliberate killing of life in the womb, then any attempt to make life better after birth incurs harsh judgment and screams hypocrisy.

            “And those voices need to be heard…”

            And in the case of abortion, the church must be the voice for the voiceless. When Jesus speaks of the “least of these”, I’m not sure how much lower one can get when one is denied humanity by their own mother.

            Thanks again, John.

          • John

            Until next time, JT. :)

          • Frank2918

            That say a lot of you not being impressed or moved at the slaughter taking place.

          • John

            That’s not what I said, Frank. And I suspect you know that.

          • Frank2918

            I don’t know that. All I see is RLC ignoring the issue and you remaining silent and criticizing me for rightly pointing it all out.

          • John

            I’m not remaining silent. When it comes up I speak out. But I don’t seek it out in the way you do. Tell you what, Frank. I’ll write an article about it. No guarantees obviously that it will see the light of day, but I’ll do my best.

          • Frank2918

            Great! Why not post some of it in the comment section? I have very little faith that RLC will do the right thing.

          • John

            Because that would be inappropriate, Frank.

          • Frank2918

            Yes we wouldn’t want to be inappropriate while over 27,000 Innocent unborn children are killed each week in the US mostly for reasons of convenience and comfort. Yes appropriateness is much more important.

          • John

            Can you stop the copy and paste thing? Does my head in. Think up some new sentences!

            There is a way to do things. Even articles about abortion. Yes.

          • Frank2918

            The facts don’t change. Sorry they are inconvenient.

          • Frank2918

            John let me ask you two simple, questions:

            How many articles here are about the poor?
            How many articles here are about unborn human life?

            Apparently if I don’t say anything, no one will. No post about the sacredness of life is complete without mentioning the unborn. It’s truly tragic and pitiful that I have to do it and then get criticized for it.

          • Frank2918

            No response? No surprise.

          • John

            Frank, I have a life. I have a full-time job, a wife, and two small children. If I don’t reply to you, have a little perspective. My world does not revolve around you. God, my wife and kids, my family, my friends spread over two continents, my church, my workplace. I’m sorry, but Frank2918 comes pretty low on the pecking order.

            Strangely, I did actually respond. On my phone. Don’t know why it didn’t post. What I said in that reply is that I will write an article on abortion. I actually did that last night. I’ve been wanting to for a while. I submitted it. I have no idea if it will ever appear, as many of my articles are rejected. But I think you do have a point that there aren’t articles about abortion, and there really are articles about most other Christian current hot topics, and the subject of abortion is certainly important.

            So now that I’ve done my bit, can you drop the smug, arrogant, self-righteous, self-congratulatory attitude for a few days? Please?

          • John

            It did post. Down below.

          • Frank2918

            Sorry John that BS because you replied to other comments so save your excuses.

            Let’s see if RLC has the courage and the integrity to,post it and let’s see what you say before we all get congratulatory.

            Save your faux outrage too. I simply speak from what I see. If you don’t like it then some self examination is in order.

          • John

            Frank, you have this little jibe you do whenever someone doesn’t respond to your comments as if your argument has stumped them when very often that is obviously not the case. Speaking last, winning, and being right are three almost unrelated concepts.

            As for your congratulations, it’s nice when it happens but I’m certainly not going to set my clock by it.

          • Frank2918

            If someone doesn’t respond I can only assume based on evidence as to why. Most of the time I am right about it.

          • John

            Most of the time you THINK you’re right about it. That means absolutely nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch. It is just you congratulating yourself for having won another argument. Which is in itself a senseless exercise, because we should not be about winning. And given that you will write on any of your pet subjects ad nauseam, it is an inevitability that you will have the last word. Which as I’ve said, is not an indication of anything, save perhaps your stubbornness. Which of course, I recognise in myself.

          • Frank2918

            No most of the time I am right. I don’t need your approval or validation to make it so. The evidence rarely lies.

          • Joe

            John, I love you and you are a more patient man than I am. But I’m not sure you’ll ever convince Frank. He doesn’t want to see that sometimes people stop responding because they realize that banging your head against a brick wall is more likely to break your head than the wall.

            But because I also want to add something constructive, let me also say that if/when your abortion article gets published, I will read it eagerly. And also that I greatly appreciate how even when you are undoubtedly frustrated, you remain loving in your comments. That’s a great gift.

          • John

            Thanks, Joe. Sometimes I feel that you and I are a patience tagteam. Maybe I just had a bit more yesterday. There have been many days when you’ve been an inspiration in that department.

            Love

            John

          • jordan

            Totes agree.

          • jordan

            THANK YOU! Its not as simple as “outlaw abortion”. That crap pisses me off.

          • http://glassdimly.com Jeremy John

            That’s about what I intended to say. If we really believed as we say we believe we’d enter into the Kingdom of God on earth.

          • Frank2918

            We have entered into the Kingdom of God on earth if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. Just don’t confuse it with the Kingdom of God in heaven.

          • John

            Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

          • Frank2918

            Yes Gods will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

            Is it Gods will that we murder his precious children?
            Is it Gods will that we reject his order for sexuality, romance and marriage?

            This earth will never be Gods Kingdom. In. Gods Kingdom their is. I more suffering, death, pain or tears. We will always have those in this life.

          • Frank2918

            *there is no more

          • John

            You’re grammar suggests 2 kingdoms of God: 1 on earth, 1 in heaven.

          • Frank2918

            Just one but it won’t be fulfilled, complete and realized until after judgment day and the second coming of Jesus.

          • John

            I agree, but I think that kingdom can invade our reality, and we can be part of that process.

          • Frank2918

            And we are. I am not suggesting we are not but we are doing a terrible job as we continue to let the unborn be killed daily.

          • jordan

            Frank doesn’t want to make this “kingdom” better. He just wants to tell people why they are wrong to reinforce the notion that he is righteous enough for heaven. He completely misses the ideas of Jesus and focuses on the letter of the law and not the spirit. Jesus didn’t come to say don’t do this and don’t do that, he came to set an example. To become the archetype of good.

          • Frank2918

            Coming from someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus I expect a comment like this; attacking and incomplete.

          • jordan

            This comment incomplete.

      • http://glassdimly.com Jeremy John

        Hmm, elitist. I’m thinking about that. What made you feel that way? I certainly intended to include myself in the circle of those that don’t measure up.

        • JT

          Hi, Jeremy John. I explain why in my conversation with John below. Thanks.

          • http://glassdimly.com Jeremy John

            Hmm, I read that thread, and I mainly see a conversation about abortion. I still don’t see anything about elitism. Maybe I’m missing something.

          • JT

            That’s because the conversation is mainly about abortion. But I do say why I think your piece is elitist. Read again. Thanks.

    • jordan

      How about the thousands dying in agony from starvation and curable diseases in third world countries? Holy crap you people need to get your priorities straight. Good article and you missed the point. Stop trying to tell people how to live and start easing suffering.

      Solve world hunger and I will start caring about abortion. Damned old white men with no perspective.

      • JT

        Yeah, Frank2918. Procure global resources and provide the logistics for a worldwide food allocation service, and maybe then I’ll start caring about child deaths in my locale.

        Priorities.

        • jordan

          Fetus deaths actually… And how about you do it in just america first? How about just your city? No? Ok, keep driving your Cadillacs to abortion clinic protests. You people are twisted. No perspective and scewed priorities.

          Is this so you can feel holy? Bitch out the pro choice people so you don’t have to see the homeless guy behind them? You can’t do anything about abortion. Take away the clinics and women try to do it at home or go to some back alley place. Stop wasting time bitching and do something worth while. Go feed a homeless person. Go volunteer with autistic people. Go clean the litter from your local park. Anything, just stop bitching out people you don’t know when there is so much you could be doing that’s helpful.

          • Frank2918

            Helpful is something that you obliviously need to learn about. Look in the mirror first next time.

          • jordan

            Huh? Do you even make sense to yourself?

          • JT

            Child deaths, actually. By logical definition.

          • jordan

            Profound man

          • JT

            Yes, logic is quite profound. You should try it. Here, I’ll show you:

            child(X) :- mother(X, Y), father(X, Z).

            Using the Prolog programming language, the above rule says that X is a child if X has mother Y and father Z. If we bind the variables:

            mother(fetus, sally).
            father(fetus, jimmy).

            And I execute in my application the query:

            ?- child(fetus)

            I get the answer

            Yes.

            Again and again and again. So, by logical definition, the victim of abortion in ever instance is a child. Of course, there is a more formal language for what I’ve shown you, but I suck at finding the symbols on my machine and had the application running. It’s free to download. You should take some time from your busy schedule of feeding the poor (and volunteering and picking up litter and NOT bitching at old, white, Cadillac-driving conservatives like me) and try it out.

          • John

            I don’t think your exercise in logic here is either well placed or helpful, JT. A human dies. “Child” is a word with cultural connotations. I think it confuses things unnecessarily. A fetus is a human. Otherwise you get bogged down in: is a fetus a child? And I think that’s a distracting line of discussion.

          • JT

            Nope. When we speak logic into the abortion debate, we introduce ontological necessity. In any case one has a parent, one is a child. The abortion debate is a problem of ontology.

          • John

            Ha! I can just imagine some politician sidling up to a mic, leaning in and declaiming, “The abortion debate is a problem of ontology.” Followed by an ethereal, resounding “ahhh” from the audience.

            I understand what you’re saying. I just think once you get into intellectualising the debate, you lose the substance.

          • jordan

            I just don’t get what the point is. Banning abortion is obviously not the answer… I don’t really hear any suggestions, I just hear condemnation of the young women. Its not helping anything, just turning it into a dichotomy.

            Its just a way to feel holy without actually doing anything.

          • John

            Can’t help you much there, Jordan. I think the problem is that we need social change on many fronts. I think a ban in the current climate would simply criminalise fear and shows no forgiveness for what is a terrible and agonising decision for anyone.

          • jordan

            Guess I should have directed that to jt, not you. I suppose I was just looking for a little commiseration. We seem to agree on everything. Hilary Clinton is actually very eloquent on this touchy subject. She has some good ideas. Religious fundies gum up the works though.

          • Frank2918

            The life that is most agonized is the unborn child. They never have a chance. Pitiful that they take second place.

          • John

            Once again, Frank, you’re changing what I said. The word “agonising” was used in reference to a decision, not a life. It’s not about first and second place. That’s simpleminded. It’s about responsibility, forgiveness, compassion, self-control, patience and understanding. You can make it simple, but that doesn’t mean it is.

          • Frank2918

            Good point!

            Where is the responsibility in just killing your problem?
            Where is the compassion?
            Where is the self-control?
            Where is the understanding?

            Forgiveness is always possible but don’t try and tell me its ok to kill an unborn child. More and more people are just not buying it thank God!

          • John

            Frank, I’m going to stop this conversation. Changing my words is one thing. Changing my actual position on the issue is kind of offensive.

          • Frank2918

            You should have stopped earlier. There is no justification for supporting the killing of an unborn child

          • John

            This is about the fourth conversation you and I have had about abortion. It’s as if none of them happened and you’re attacking and being insulting out of habit.

            Why I have no idea.

            I do not support abortion. I do not support abortion. I do not support abortion.

            Get it? I have never been unclear on that point.

          • Frank2918

            Great! Say it more often and stop criticizing me for saying it. We both know RLC will never say it.

          • John

            I’ll say it when it’s appropriate. I will criticise you when I think you are misdirecting, obfuscating or attacking unnecessarily. I have no idea what RLC will or won’t ever say.

          • JT

            Honest question, jordan: Why do you want to hear an “answer” for abortion if you don’t think it is a moral wrong? I’m starting to think your language betrays the injustice of the act.

          • jordan

            I don’t think its ideal. I would rather the mother not get pregnant in the first place. Calling the mothers murderers and outlawing abortion will just make it worse, though. I’m sure you never have nor want to see a failed home abortion. I’m not sure how pro choice turns into “abortions for everyone!”. Halloween Simpsons aliens become president episode.

            Morality is a bit of a sticky wicket. It is largely subjective. The fetus isn’t aware of itself. I would like to minimize abortion, but I don’t think its necessarily immoral to abort a fetus. If your just a dumb whore having abortions every month then ya, but a kid that screwed up? I don’t think they need to ruin there lives because of a potential.

          • JT

            (1) So you agree abortion is not a moral ideal, correct? (2) How does accessibility affect frequency?

            I ask the second question because the phrase I hear from the left is “legal, safe, and rare”, meaning in order to make unwanted pregnancies less frequent, we must make abortion more accessible.

            But apply this logic to gun laws (i.e., to make gun violence less frequent, we must make guns more accessible), I’m sure the left would reject it immediately. In either case, there occurs the language of prevention. What are the logical assumptions of this language?

          • jordan

            Your gun law analogy is ridiculous. Making abortions accessible doesn’t reduce abortions. Sexual education and accessibility to prophylactics does. Making abortions accessible reduces home abortions, spousal abuse, failed abortions, orphans, child abuse, etc.

          • JT

            No, liberal logic is ridiculous. That’s the point. I lifted the phrase “legal, safe, and rare” from Hillary Clinton’s official statement on the issue. My recycling of the logic is a debate tactic formally called reductio ad absurdum. Take the statement, strip the logic to its bare bones, and reveal its untenability in a parallel application.

            So you admit (1) that abortion is not a moral ideal, and now (2) there are better alternatives. Please tell me again why I should not oppose something that is neither a moral ideal nor a preferred alternative?

          • John

            Taking an analogy isn’t reductio ad absurdum, and you haven’t reduced the abortion argument. Reductio ad absurdum in light of sex education and access to abortions would be something along the lines of:

            What if we taught every 10-year-old everything there was to know about sex, foetal development and abortion and gave them all unlimited access to contraception and totally safe home abortion kits? Then what would happen to the abortion rate?

            What you’re doing is called conflation. It’s ok in some situations. I’m not sure this is one of them.

            “Liberal logic” is a wonderful phrase. I have no idea what it means. Could you oppose it to “conservative logic” for me?

          • JT

            Nope. I stand by what I’ve written. The logic of more accessibility = less frequency only applies to abortion for liberals. Glad you see where I’m coming from.

          • John

            I actually didn’t address that point. I think isolating that idea, you are right. But Jordan is also talking about sex education and access to birth control. You could equate sex education to firearms training, I suppose. I don’t think birth control has a gun analogy.

            Blanks?

            I suppose if I knew that everyone who had a gun didn’t have bullets, that would be an analogous reductio.

            I suppose you could argue that conservative logic is just as ridiculous for having an attitude about abortion which it would never analogise to gun control, could you not?

          • JT

            Yes! I’m arguing that the logic of more accessibility = less frequency is ridiculous, no matter what political label you throw at it. Thus reductio ad absurdum. Thank you.

          • jordan

            Eloquently stated my friend.

          • jordan

            Please re read my previous message. I listed a number of reasons.
            Reductio ad absurdum is wonderful when used correctly. This is misapplication.

          • JT

            Your rhetoric is much too amateur to suggest you have any solid background in logic. So you can say it’s misapplication, but until you can provide something substantive to support such a counterclaim, I’ll just have to take your word for it. Of course, I don’t. But it looks like five people do. So there’s that.

          • jordan

            If you would re read the message I already told you to re read you would see why your argument is unviable. John provided you some more examples. Insulting my rhetoric just makes you seem peevish. You don’t have to take my word for it, you just have to actually read the already posted messages.

          • JT

            I did. And it’s a perfect example of another logical fallacy: false cause. Presuming a relationship between events does not mean that one event is the cause of the other. Yet another reason why I think you’re over your head when it comes to logic and formal debate.

            I also wouldn’t piggyback on John: his statements actually affirm my point.

          • jordan

            What is the false cause? That sexual education and access to birth control reduce abortions? I assure you that’s not a false cause. If your just going to reduce your arguments to childish insults then… No your over your head… See how stupid that is?

          • JT

            No. Your false cause is that abortion accessibility reduces episodes of domestic violence when you’ve provided nothing to substantiate the claim. To say you’re in over your head is not an insult – logic is just not in your knowledge base. Besides, I wouldn’t talk about childish insults if I were you (“hypocrite”, “self righteous Pharisee”, “angry old white men”, etc.).

          • jordan

            Well I could say that birth in general causes domestic abuse, because people need to be born in order to be abused. So it is absolutely a necessary outcome of abortions to lower domestic abuse. Beyond that abortions are given to women that don’t want their kid and husband’s that don’t want their wives to have kids (boyfriend whatever) and since domestic abuse is more rampant in unhappy homes, unwanted kids absolutely necessarily have to cause domestic abuse. There is no other option.

          • JT

            Birth in general causes domestic abuse? Yet another example of false cause. Again, until you can provide a formal counter that is true to form and to reality, your statement necessarily fails. Is there some sort of study to which you’re referring?

          • jordan

            You can’t have abuse without people and you can’t have people without birth. So yes birth is necessary to abuse. Not false cause. Not my fault you don’t understand logic.

          • JT

            Yes, it’s a false cause. I’ll show you why. Abuse is not a logical consequence of birth. When we make logical statements, we’re ultimately attempting to arrive at tautology – true by virtue of logical form and by necessity. First:

            Premise 1: All abuse victims are human.
            Premise 2: JT is an abuse victim.
            Inference: Therefore, JT is human.

            While one could make the argument that animals are also abuse victims (which would debunk your argument), for our purposes, we’ll say the above proof is true by necessity and by virtue of its form. However, your point of contention here is that abortion reduces episodes of abuse simply because there is no human to abuse. In other words, you’re saying we don’t want more humans because then more humans would be abused (which is disturbingly twisted and absurd). So, your logic is thus:

            Premise 1: Person X is abused if/when X is human.
            Premise 2: JT is human.
            Inference: Therefore, JT is abused.

            While this may be true to form, it is not true by necessity. We can easily find exceptions to value rules in real-time. So yes, not only is your reasoning circular, your claim is also a false cause.

            The whole conversation you’ve deflected, insulted, and assumed victory without providing anything factual or logically sound. In fact, given your dodge to my question (“Not my fault you don’t understand logic”), I’m certain you have no idea what you’re talking about when you claim logical clarity.

            If you cannot provide anything substantive to support your claim (or to counter mine), I think we can end the conversation here. I’ll give you the final word. If there is something that merits my attention, I will respond. If similar to your other posts, I’ll exit here, and I hope you enjoy your day.

          • jordan

            You obviously have no knowledge of logic yourself.

          • jordan

            Did you learn a little logic in some high school course or something and now you think you have an argument ender? That domestic abuse comment was a small part of a larger message that you ignored the bulk of. And domestic abuse necessarily follows from forcing unwilling parents to have their children that they don’t want.

          • JT

            To say something “necessarily follows” is a statement of logic. While you may perceive a relationship, you have not demonstrated causality. And most high school programs don’t provide courses in logic, but if they did, you probably would benefit sitting in on a few lectures. Again, without substantiating your claim, I have to take your word for it, which I don’t.

          • jordan

            If you can’t see that forcing women to have kids they don’t want and fathers to look after kids they don’t want has to result in increased domestic abuse, then ignore that part. I don’t think its very difficult to come up with that though… But even if it was completely ridiculous, you are just ignoring everything else and focusing on a small part that you don’t like.

          • JT

            Yes, it’s completely ridiculous. (1) You’ve admitted abortion is not a moral ideal. (2) The logic is circular and fails (see my other post). (3) You have no official source to support your claim. (4) You ignore all the documented contributors to domestic abuse (illegal substances, financial instability, childhood trauma, psychological disorders, etc.) and yet hang your hat on a perceived relationship with, again, no credible source, which makes me think it is you who are indeed focusing on “small parts” and are stretching to defend an indefensible moral wrong. Yes, it is completely ridiculous, and I do not take your word for it just because you said it.

          • jordan

            Lots of words and nothing said. I guess maybe you feel smart now? Was that the point? Guess what contributes to financial instability? Having a kid! Especially one you didn’t plan for! I don’t need a study to tell me common sense. You should exit the conversation. Its painfully clear you don’t know what your talking about. And yes your ignoring everything else and focusing on a small thing to pick on that isn’t even a big part of the issue. Wow. I guess that’s how “logical” people decide believing in Yahweh is indeed a logical decision.

          • JT

            (1) So you admit you have nothing to support your claim but you. Good. Glad we could get that out of the way. (2) Your comment about subjective morality is immediately contradictory to your premise that domestic abuse in every case is a moral wrong, for to assume domestic abuse is wrong in every case is a statement of objectivity. (3) While you feel that anti-abortion rhetoric exerts power over women, I believe pro-abortion rhetoric makes human life a means to an end (research “deontological ethics”). In fact, if you go through our conversation, you’ll see that in no case have I spoken of the parents (to say it is strictly a women’s issue absolves fathers of their responsibility), but you have in several instances you talk about children as “burdens” and “unwanted”. Such language assumes a dangerous philosophy that places future humans at the mercy of the present.

            You would think that the left, you know, the great champions of oppressive language victims, would speak out against the idea of children as “burdens” rather than blessings. You really think human life comes second to finances? You think abortion doesn’t give people control over human life? We’re are allowing parents to terminate their child’s life! Children are now at the mercy of their parents! Crazy thing is, you’ve admitted such an act is not a moral ideal, and yet you think I should climb on the pro-choice train simply because *you* say it has a positive effect. Your lazy assertions are unconvincing, unsubstantiated, and do not get a pass from me. Thank you.

            “Its painfully clear you don’t know what your talking about. And yes your…”

            (1) You mean “It’s”, not its. (2) “You’re”, not your. (3) You need a comma after “yes”. (4) And again, until you can provide a counter proof, I can only take your word for it. Painfully clear.

          • jordan

            Actually I posted a number of links to studies to support my claim and they seem to have all vanished… Hmmm… It’s a simple Google search anyway. Just because morality is largely subjective does not mean there are not objective truths der. There’s not “pro-abortion” rhetoric genius, its pro-choice, and its language is fine. In some cases children are unwanted and in every single case they are indeed a financial burden. Its crappy but it’s true.

            I type all of this on my phone. Sorry for a few grammatical errors. Actually I’m not sorry at all, but its nice to know your a child.

          • JT

            (1) More insults. (2) I did a simple Google search. Found no statistical proof that reduced domestic violence is a logical consequence of abortion frequency. (3) Again, you’re deeming young humans as “unwanted” and burdensome, but I thought pro-abortion (sorry, it’s not pro-choice – the child has no choice) was all about maximizing human liberty by first removing dehumanizing and oppressive language? Are you “fine” with dehumanizing language in the case of abortion? (4) And now morality is only *largely* subjective? By what measure? Is morality subjective in this case now that you’ve made a negative value judgment in response to one moral act you claim is of logical consequence to the another? Morality is sometimes subjective, but the financial burden the child poses is true in every case? The contradictions here are numerous.

          • jordan

            It costs money to raise a child no matter who you are or where you live so yes they are a financial burden 100% of the time. This conversation is stupid.

          • JT

            I have children. They have never been a burden. It costs money to keep myself healthy. Is my health a burden? You’re right – quite stupid.

          • jordan

            Yes keeping healthy is a burden. And yes your kids wereare a burden. Just because they are a worthwhile burden doesn’t make them not a burden. They are worthwhile because you want them. If you can’t find the studies via simple Google search then that just speaks to your computer incompetency. I found many easily on my phones browser.

            It’s funny that love thy neighbour is almost immediately followed by instructions on stoning homosexuals in Leviticus. Talk about contradictions.

          • JT

            Nope. My children and my health are blessings, not burdens. Therein lies a fundamental philosophical difference in our worldviews: you think responsibility is a burden (quite selfish if you ask me). I think responsibility is a privilege and divine appointment. And sorry, there is no study that proves reduced domestic violence is a direct result of increased abortion accessibility. The rest of your post is a red herring, though it presents a very nuanced discussion regarding the theological statements of Torah.

          • jordan

            I guess you just don’t know what the word burden means. I’m just going to stop beating my head against the wall. Bye.

          • JT

            Right. Because *I’m* obviously the unreasonable one. Later.

          • jordan

            Well you don’t know what burden means and you can’t do a simple Google search… So yeah… Bye.

          • JT

            Again, I guess I have to take your word for it. But, (1) in terms of value, the word burden is at the very least neutral. Burden is not a word that assumes a positive reader response. (2) To say a human is a “burden”, makes humanity an obstacle to an end that one must overcome – such a statement has a negative moral weight. (3) Your logic here is: if you spend money on X, X is a burden. If X is a burden, person Y may terminate X. You believe a mother can terminate her child in utero because he/she presents to her a financial burden. But if my wife presents to me a financial burden, could I terminate her? Again, a certain logic is assumed in everything you say. Here it fails. Again.

          • jordan

            X costs money therefore x is a burden.
            Y is a child. Children cost money. Y is a burden. Just because its a burden you WANT doesn’t make it not a burden! How many times do I have to say it?! Just because you don’t like the word I guess? And yes divorce would be termination since she can look after herself.

          • JT

            Entertainment costs money. Is entertainment a burden? Cost is not an essential attribute of “burden”. You refer to definitions, but in no definition of the word is cost required. Again:

            “How many times do I have to say it?”

            I’ve several times: something is not the case just because you say it. No, contract separation is not life termination, as in the case of abortion. Nice try. Keep reaching.

          • jordan

            Responsibility is a burden that I am happy to bear. But it’s still a burden! Also the study I read was about how making abortions less accessible raises cases of domestic violence. Maybe you searched backwards? Try typing in “is pro-life also pro domestic abuse?” There is a small 25 page PDF you can DL by that name.

          • JT

            I read your “study”. (1) You gave me a student submission for a writing competition – not credible (2) Yet another false cause – You do understand a perceived relationship does not substantiate logical necessity, right? In other words, correlation is not causation. (3) Despite my poor Google skills, I found a source from pro-abortion columnist Sally Kohn who says this:

            “Now, as women’s reproductive freedom faces an unprecedented onslaught of political and legislative threats, domestic violence is suddenly on the rise. Is there a causal link? Probably not.”

            And also:

            “Scholars and police attribute the increase in intimate partner violence to the overall downturn in the economy.”

            See, even your own admits the facts are not on your side! This only affirms my belief that the pro-abortion position is untenable, and the fact you’ll hang your hat on a competition submission rather than logic and normative ethics makes me think you’re desperately reaching to hang on to the garbage the media has sold you. You can toe the party line at the cost of your intellectual integrity, or you can think for yourself. Your choice.

          • jordan

            The study you “read” was fully sourced and written by an university student. You read the first line and ignored the rest of it. Good job. But again, whatever, even if it doesn’t lower domestic violence (which of still must to some degree) there are other benefits you are ignoring so you can pick on one little thing I said. Stop playing logic word games that make no sense.

          • JT

            “The study you “read” was fully sourced and written by an university student.”

            Ah, yes. Because a university student says it in a “fully sourced” submission for a writing contest means it must be credible, huh?

            “…even if it doesn’t lower domestic violence (which [it] still must to some degree)…”

            So even if act X doesn’t result in effect Y, then act X *must* result in effect Y? Doesn’t make sense. You’ve just affirmed my point that you have nothing to support your claim but you. Thanks for that.

            “…there are other benefits you are ignoring so you can pick one little thing I said.”

            Defending your position with even one demonstrably false claim is no “little thing”. You were wrong. That’s it. Just admit it and move on. Salvage your intellectual integrity.

            “Stop playing logic word games that make no sense.”

            You’re trying to smudge the semantics of pro-abortion language to defend a morally untenable act. Logic is a reduction of functions and values. It’s language math. Just because that doesn’t make sense to you does not make the concept nonsensical. In fact, you’ve here affirmed my point from earlier that you have no idea what you’re talking about while assuming general knowledge. So thanks for that. Again.

          • jordan

            Check the sources if you’re not sure… Your second part just makes no sense. All I said was that even if abortion and domestic abuse are not connected you are still ignoring the bulk of the message to pick on two words you didn’t like. Having said that I still think there is a link. And your logic equations are so flawed it’s not even funny. Which is why I want you to stop using them. It has nothing to do with my understanding and everything to do with your inability to use it properly.

          • JT

            “And your logic equations are so flawed it’s not even funny.”

            Where in the world did I write out equations? I gave you logic *proofs*, not equations. Equations are algebraic expressions. What I gave you are rules of inference. So again, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Case in point.

          • jordan

            Equation – the process of equating one thing with another

            Your proofs ARE equations. This is retarded.

          • JT

            You just pasted a general, field-neutral definition from Google. There is a brief introduction to logic pdf from WLU. Start there. In logic and mathematics, equation is a statement of value between variables or functions. What I gave you is a rule of inference from clausal constructs. Seriously, if the concepts are foreign to you, that’s fine. I’d respect you more if you just admit it and move on. You’re digging yourself in a hole here. Deflecting and insulting won’t work.

          • jordan

            We are having a conversation. My use of the word equation to describe your proofs is valid as proofs are types of equations. We are talking about abortion. You are the one trying to turn it into a simple equation. It is complicated. 1 in 5 women seeking abortions are victims of domestic abuse. There is definitely a link there. Ignore it if you want.

          • JT

            Proofs are not equation types! Equations are solved using proof types! You’re pulling stuff right out of your behind to mask the fact you have no background in logic. You’re being intellectually dishonest, and I’m convinced you’re not the critical thinker you claim to be. I don’t know how one can ignore a causal link your side of the aisle admits doesn’t exist. I’ve shown you where your logic demonstrably fails, and yet you’ll make things up in order to remain in your skewed reality despite the facts.

            “Definitely a link”. Your own admits there is no link. There is only your suspicion. Defend the killing of children all you want, but don’t march in here thinking logic and reason are on your side, and especially don’t try to say your position is the more enlightened or more moral when you’ve admitted yourself the practice is not the ideal. Just take your marching orders and toe the party line. Because that’s all you got.

          • jordan

            Semantics. It all boils down to you think the fetus has a soul and I think the fetus has no soul. There are a number of benefits to abortions and pro life causes a number of problems. You’ve demonstrated that one single link is tenuous. Congratulations. But its not like I am pro choice only because I think it lowers domestic violence. Which I have said at least 4 times already. So I guess I am insane for repeating myself again.

          • JT

            Where in the world did I say anything about a soul? Stop putting words in my mouth. It’s a pathetic attempt to keep your feeble argument alive. Besides, to speculate about soul possession has no basis in logic or fact – it’s purely speculation. So if you’re content to justify child deaths by philosophical speculation, go ahead. Just don’t parade around like facts and logic are on your side – they’re not. We’re done here.

          • jordan

            If it has no soul than it is a clump of cells and no different than getting a mole removed. Or no different than the day after pill. The abortion debate is complicated and both sides pose excellent points. I just sway to the pro choice side, but I still think there are other things we can do to help women besides abortion clinics. And there are lots of facts and logic to support my position, you focused on one little thing I said and ignored everything else. There’s 5 times I think… Insanity.

          • JT

            (1) What is the measure of soul possession? (2) So a skin blemish is deserving of the same legal and moral weight of a human in his/her earliest stage of development? (3) Yes, there are other things we can do to help women *and* their children. Killing the child should never be morally permissible.

            Your side does not post “excellent points”. Sorry. I’ve yet to see anything substantive from you. Nothing factual. Nothing logical. Just you. Insanity.

          • jordan

            Before we talk about morals and ethics too much, how do you feel about homosexuals? The same bible you use to defend fetuses (which are never mentioned anywhere in the whole bloody book) can be used to destroy homosexuals. I’m defending a women’s right to own her body. Not defending abortion as a form of birth control.

          • jordan

            Just wanted to add, do you assume the Torah was written by Moses? Or do you adhere to the 4 author notion that most biblical historians , liberal or conservative, adhere to? Nuanced Torah discussion is fun as long as the person discussing it is a critical thinker.

          • JT

            It is not a question of liberal or conservative. But, I believe the OT historical books were the result of a Deuteronomist author(s).

          • jordan

            I don’t mean political adherence when I say historians are liberal or conservative…hahaha but yeah its clearly multiple authors and later authors had to add stuff so the other writings made sense. So much polytheism in genesis.

          • JT

            You mean so much henotheism. Polytheism is the worship of multiple gods. Henotheism is the recognition of the existence of multiple gods but the worship of one. The book of Genesis in some cases hints at the existence of many gods, but chronicles the world’s history as part of the story of one God. Clearly.

          • jordan

            There’s birth poly and heno. You can tell what the redactors were trying to do by reading it. One sentence says something polytheistic and then the next sentence tries to clear it up. It’s not even that complicated.

          • JT

            Again, shall I just take your word for it (and won’t)? Or are you going to provide an example? You should redeem yourself with something of academic substance, since defining author intent from anonymous ancient sources is so simple it can done simply “by reading it”.

            ————————————
            Edit. In fact, let’s start with authorship. To begin to define author’s intent, we must first identity the source originator and reason for composition. So please, begin.

          • jordan

            God tells man to sacrifice all that are first to break the womb, including children. Next line a redactor says you can sacrifice an animal in place of your first born child. You can buy a bible that splits up the deuteronomic author from the priestly writers from the redactors. Buy it. Read it. Learn something for yourself.

          • JT

            You mean you can buy a Bible that footnotes manuscript instantiations and omissions. I own a few. You’re referring to Exodus 13, in which God asks that the firstborn are “consecrated” (Hebrew qaddesh), which is used elsewhere to denote the sanctification and consecration of Temple items by the priests. If to burn, their would be some derivation of the Hebrew sarap. In any case, what you’ve provided does not support your claim about a polytheistic author – the act has in mind a single deity.

          • jordan

            You can buy a bible with the text in 4 different colours. One for each authorauthor type. The verse I am referring to lists cattle and livestock firstborn as well as firstborn children be sacrificed. Not consecrated. The next verse says you can redeem your son with an animal sacrifice. The latter verse is a redaction.

          • JT

            I don’t disagree with the redaction. But the verse to which you’re referring in Exodus 13 does indeed use the Hebrew qaddesh (“consecrate”, “sanctify”, “purify”). The word for a sacrificial offering is typically the Hebrew korban and its variations zevah (animal sacrifice) and olah (burnt offering), which do not appear in the verse you mentioned. There are online Bible and other language software tools you can use to investigate these items (start with Bible Hub online and trace other term instantiations). Besides, in the Hebrew tradition, the lowest low reached by Israel’s kings occurred when Ahaz betrayed YHWH to sacrifice his son to Molech (2 Kings 16). The author(s) records the event assuming readers share his/their negative judgment (“,,,he even passed his son through the flame…”).

            But, that is not to say the redactions don’t present a certain tension in which those who profess canon authority must live. I’m willing to investigate this tension with you as long as you’re open to receiving difficult answers to difficult questions. If you’re just here to insult and play pigeon chess to affirm your own (non-)belief system, I’d rather not waste my time. To be honest, our abortion debate has made me skeptical that you’re at all earnest about participating in open, honest discourse. Hope you can prove me wrong.

          • jordan

            The verse talks about giving the first that breaks the womb, man or beast, to god. The word they used is contextually taken to mean burnt sacrifice. You don’t just bless a sheep. You “purify” it with fire so Yahweh can smell it and be pleased.
            Yup its a hypothesis. But the best one they have. Historians basically are stuck in hypothesis land anyway.

          • JT

            No. Fire is not in every instance the medium of purification (or in this case consecration). The same word is used in Exodus 29:44 when God asks that Aaron and his sons be consecrated. There is no fire. Again, you’re looking for the words for offering I’ve posted above. Go to Bible Hub, find the verse, investigate for yourself.

            Also, (1) supporting an argument with false data is no small thing – it’s dishonest. (2) It’s not a matter of winning or losing – it’s a matter of testing the logic to see where it fails. (3) If you feel that holding you accountable to what you say is finding little things to “pick on”, you need to challenge your claims before making them public.

          • jordan

            Show me a case where they consecrate an animal and it doesn’t mean sacrifice.

          • JT

            I’ve showed you a place where they consecrate people and it doesn’t mean sacrifice. Exodus 29:44. And in the same book!

          • jordan

            I said animals, not people…

          • JT

            Show me a place where God commands consecration via human sacrifice. That, after all, is your point of contention. You do understand consecration and offering are not the same thing, right?

          • jordan

            Deflection. Animals are consecrated via sacrifice and burnt offering all the time. The word use here seems to say the same thing and the redaction strengthens the theory even more.

          • JT

            It’s not a deflection. You’re asking the wrong question. You’re saying consecration is sacrifice and it’s not. Consecration proceeds sacrifice and offering. Consecration is a dedication to the priest and the Temple. The word used here is the same as it is used elsewhere and never requires immediate sacrifice – sacrifice is a separate event. You can find the other instantiations in the lexicon, where tents, priests, and other Tabernacle and Temple items are all consecrated without fire and sacrifice and burning and whatever you want it so desperately to say. Look it up. Don’t make stuff up.

          • jordan

            You’re ignoring the animals and the redaction. It is a deflection. You can’t even see what the bible really says with your blinders on.

            How about “we will make man in our image”? Sounds pretty polytheistic to me.

          • JT

            Nope. Because the Jewish tradition recognizes other heavenly beings that are subordinate to YHWH. Besides, if later redactors were trying to remove polytheistic language as you claim, don’t you think they would have omitted “our image” (or made a qualifying insertion) if they felt the phrase was problematic to their faith system? Again, your putting words in the author’s mouth. You have only you to support your speculation (“Sounds pretty polytheistic to me”) – the facts are not on your side. If it’s “douchey” to point to the facts, then take it for what its worth.

          • jordan

            Deleting scripture was a nono. do the other heavenly beings have creation powers? WE will CREATE man in OUR image. You have few facts and douchey rhetoric. Why am I replying?

          • JT

            Deleting Scripture was a “nono”? You just made that up. And where does it say heavenly being *can’t* have creation powers? After all, you and I have creation powers. There are several theories surrounding the use of the plural here (councils, “royal we”, self-deliberation, etc.) – you’ve provided one as if it’s the end-all explanation. I have facts and you have speculation. Insult me all you want – I’ll stick to the evidence while you cling to your podcasts.

          • jordan

            Did not make that up. Its knownknown

            . If a group of deities created the human species that would be polytheism. Henotheism is a specific type of polytheism. I’m not sure how you agree and disagree simultaneously. The royal we doesn’t fit the story and language and self deliberation less so… In a silly way. You have just speculation as well… No facts.

            More douchiness.

          • JT

            Yes, you made it up (unless you can provide a credible source). It doesn’t say a group of deities created the humans species. One deity speaks (uses the plural) and is the only one to whom creation is attributed. Polytheism is the recognition *and* worship of many gods. Henotheism is the recognition of many gods but the worship of one. Definitions matter.

            The royal “we” and deliberation doesn’t fit the story because you say it doesn’t? Again…

            Something. Is. Not. The. Case. Just. Because. You. Say. It.

            You keep making stuff up just to affirm an interpretation you heard on a podcast! The level of intellectual dishonesty I’m seeing in your posts is unreal. I knew you would post again, and I knew you would insult. In fact, I bet you post again. What little intellectual depth you provide probably comes entirely from media sources rather than peer-reviewed scholarship and you surround yourself with voices that reaffirm your pop non-belief. You come to this site to troll, not to engage in honest discourse as you claim, but to test the waters a bit before firing off a barrage of insults to keep up your guard. Now you’ve jumped into a debate that’s over your head, and instead of admitting your limited knowledge base, you dismiss foreign concepts as “douchiness”. You’re probably young. Probably haven’t made it to the university yet. Probably had–or claim to have had–a negative experience with Christians. And you’ve aligned yourself with the internet couch professors to bolster your philosophical insecurities. You regurgitate false data and conjure up false claims to pass off as “research”, though you’re too lazy to check your claims. For you, Google searches due just fine. And anything more requires too much energy and may lead you to uncomfortable conclusions that go against what you’ve accepted to be true, though what is true is not yours alone to decide.

            Go ahead. Insult me. I’ve come to expect it from you.

          • jordan

            Just a big douche spray.

          • jordan

            The royal we device wasn’t known to the people that wrote genesis. It wasn’t used until 100′s of years later. Its not used in that way anywhere else in the Hebrew texts.

          • jordan

            Douchey comments. I’m gonna just stop this convo too.

          • jordan

            Not in every instance I agree. But we are talking about a verse that mentions first born animals as well. Context is key.

          • JT

            Right. And the context is indicative of the consecration as commemoration of an event (it is a remembrancer for the children of the exodus out of Egypt), not an offering for divine appeasement. Read it for yourself.

          • jordan

            OK…. Still sacrifice.

          • JT

            Again, there is a different Hebrew word for sacrifice that’s absent from this passage. Something is not so just because you say it. How many times have I said that?

            Do a language study. Read it for yourself.

          • jordan

            Context = sacrifice

            Just a special type of consecratory sacrifice. You’re ignoring the animal bit.

          • JT

            That I couldn’t say. It would depend on time of composition and redaction. If redacted during exile, it could be just a layering of several sources. There is nothing definitive. And even then, the word for sacrifice is absent from the source you contend is earlier.

          • JT

            We can only take the evidence into account. Anything more is speculation.

          • jordan

            Anything anyone says about anything written in any book of the bible is speculation. I’m looking at what is written and see fairly obvious evidence of child sacrifice. We know it went on back then. Some guy sacrifices his daughter in judges. Abraham doesn’t flinch when god asks him for Isaac. The bible is a collage. Its not unreasonable to say that bit was an old writing possibly even about Baal or another God and just absorbed into scripture and had to be redacted since you can’t delete scripture. Yes speculation, but its a better explanation than “they blessed the animals and children as… A what? Exactly? Thanks for getting us out of Egypt now bless our animals? Makes no sense to me man.

          • JT

            Obvious? Five reasons why the evidence, for your reading, is not “obvious”: (1) The Jewish words for offering and sacrifice are missing from the source. (2) As you’ve already conceded, there are other mediums of consecration. (3) There are other OT instances in which humans are consecrated without fire and sacrifice. (4) The story of Abraham speaks against your reading. The significance of the event is that God makes a request that’s outside the norm and yet Abraham displays radical faithfulness despite the harsh and strange demand. (5) As for your comment about Baal, OT syncretism is again an example of henotheism, not polytheism. The writers appear to have taken descriptors of Baal and attributed them to YHWH – there was a competition between the lone Hebrew God and all the heathen gods that surrounded their land.

            And it doesn’t matter if it makes sense to you. What doesn’t make sense to me is that you’re basing your interpretation on speculation and lost intent, and again you think I should believe you just because you say it. Are you really so arrogant to say the author means what the author didn’t say? The “obvious” speaks against you, so don’t blather on about context unless you’re willing to consolidate the whole. The Bible is not a collage, the Bible is canon. J source is not read apart from E source or from P source or from D source. We are a people of “a book” and of a language. The Bible is taken as a canonical whole.

            Again, do a language study. Read it for yourself. Don’t just regurgitate what you read on the Evil Bible site and try to pass it off as your own research.

          • jordan

            1 the passage mentions animals! 2 animals are consecrated only by sacrifice! 3 animals, not people 4 still, it was something that went on in the ancient world 5 concede writings of Baal and then say the bible isn’t a collage? OK. 6 evil bible website? I heard about this on a pod cast called the human bible if you must know. No, I am not a biblical scholar.

          • JT

            “…animals are consecrated only be sacrifice…”

            Consecration is not sacrifice. Again, they are separate events. Animals are never consecrated by sacrifice. Animals are consecrated (dedicated, made holy) *and then* sacrificed. An animal has to be made holy before it’s sacrificed on behalf of the people. Stop making stuff up.

            “…animals, not people”…

            We have other instances in which people are consecrated without sacrifice. If you can’t accept the evidence, I don’t know what else to tell you.

            “…then say the Bible isn’t a collage?”

            No. The Bible is canon. It is a sacred book composed of various sources or writing deemed authoritative for its readers and adherents. They are Baal descriptors, not tangible sources or manuscripts incorporated into the end product.

            “…I head about this on a pod cast called the human bible…”

            Okay. Don’t just repeat everything you hear. Think for yourself.

            “No, I am not a biblical scholar.”

            Believe me – you’ve made that perfectly clear.

          • jordan

            Animals not people- “we have other instances in which people….” Animals, not people! That’s like 5 times now! Baal writings in a book about Yahweh. Canon… Collage… Use whatever word you want then…. And the rest is just super-douche to exasperate the overall douchey feel of the post.

          • JT

            Yes, there are animals. I see that. But your point of contention is human sacrifice, which is not substantiated in the passage you selected or anywhere else. Insults. Insults. Insults. Can’t form a cogent argument so you insult. Got it. Remember the comment about enjoying conversations with critical thinkers? Do you really think “super-douche” and “douchey” give that impression? Critical thinking means analyzing the evidence. You’re repeating what you heard on a podcast. I have language and text analysis (you know, the rhetoric you label as “douchey”) based on evidence and text instantiations. Don’t just take my word for it (or a podcast, for that matter) – dive into the lexicon and read for yourself.

          • jordan

            You have a pompous annoying rhetoric that isn’t backed up by any facts. Douchey douche baggery. Done.

          • JT

            Right. The lexicon and parallel term instantiations are just fictional mumbo jumbo. Gotta stick to those podcasts, huh? Everyone knows podcasts would never put out false or inaccurate information! You were done a long time ago. Read a book. Check for university publications or other peer-reviewed source materials.

          • jordan

            Podcast by Dr. Robert m price. Very professional. Read up on this as and after he mentioned it on his podcast. More douche baggery.

          • JT

            I doubt you’ve read anything from Price. If so, you’d be able to step beyond the verse into the surrounding language and provide other attestations (Ehrman actually says something similar to Price and both have their opponents). Truth is, you found a podcast and that’s good enough for you. But hey, reading is for douches.

          • jordan

            I read all the time and listen to podcasts while I’m working. Yet another douchey comment. Not surprising.

          • jordan

            Truth is, you want to be logical but your religion is creating cognitive dissonance in your head. It makes you uncomfortable so you take it out on your computer screen so you can ignore the discomfort. Just don’t take it out on your children and I’m fine with it.

          • JT

            Dismissing your backhanded comment about my “being logical” (my exercise in logic extends from a more technical, more formal application than your usage assumes), this is actually the most sensible comment you’ve made. See, I believe faith is *supposed* to create a place of tension in which believers must live (that’s the direction I was hoping you were headed when you dipped your toe in the great ocean of redaction criticism – but you got hung up on secondhand information and fringe speculation). I like to challenge my fellow Christians to recognize this tension, but once in a while–as in your case–I stumble across a soft target I can’t pass up. We can discuss this tension more if you want. If not, we’ll end here.

          • jordan

            Look up cognitive dissonance. If that is what you think Christianity is *supposed* to do to you, then that’s just funny. Im not sure in what way you’d want to keep talking about that. Oh and cognitive dissonance is contrary to logic by definition.

          • JT

            I’m familiar with the concept of cognitive dissonance, thank you. And yes, in a very dark way, the God of the Bible forces believers to live in a state of dissonance. This is why we have psalms of lament, if not the entire canon. Look up the etymology of “Israel”, and you’ll see that a key tenet of the Judeo-Christian faith is, to confess the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob is to enter into conflict with him.

            And no, cognitive dissonance is not “contrary to logic”. A “contradiction” in logic describes a relationship between two or more values or properties that cannot be true at the same time. In other words, if state X exists if all elephants are skinny and state Y exists if all elephants are fat, then state X and state Y exist cannot be true at the same time, by definition, but they can both be false.

            So, something can be contradictory and yet also logical. Your last sentence is inaccurate.

          • jordan

            If they are both false then they are false… This explanation made no sense.

          • JT

            Google “logical contradiction and consistency”, and you should find similar (if not better) examples. Did you look up the etymology of the name Israel?

          • jordan

            The Jacob name change thing you mean? Because he wrestled an angel or something right? What contradiction did Jacob have to simultaneously believe? I don’t really get the connection other than the wrestling with God or the Angel or whatever it was. But that’s not cognitive dissonance.

          • JT

            Cognitive dissonance is a state of mind. As the OT narrative progresses, YHWH reveals himself in new ways that are at times contradictory. After wrestling with God, Jacob says, “I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is spared” (Genesis 32:30). The implication is that God shows up to break convention. Jacob had an expectation that those who behold the divine face did not survive the encounter. New mediums of self-disclosure challenge tradition and long-held beliefs.

            So yes, the episode provides just one of several examples of character (and by extension reader) cognitive dissonance.

          • jordan

            So this purposefully obvious contradiction is a way for the bible to say it’s OK for the bible to have contradictions? Weird.
            But anyone who sees Gods face dies, but Jacob doesn’t die, is a contradiction and the only way out of it is to say god can do anything he wants. And in that case any conversation becomes pointless.

          • JT

            Well, God *can* do anything he wants, yes (but does he?). And no, new modes of self-disclosure all have a point: God has entered the story, that is, world history, and into conflict with his creation. Thus the name Israel.

            Also, please keep your comments to a single post. It makes the conversation flow more smoothly.

          • jordan

            By excusing gods contradiction you are attempting to nullify the cognitive dissonance. This is not faith as conflict. This is hoop jumping.

            BTW, cognitive dissonance is believing in two things that contradict each other at the same time. Therefore it cannot be logical. As soon as Israel decided seeing gods face was a “new form of self disclosure” he stopped experiencing cognitive dissonance. So if you think faith is making excuses to reform biblical contradiction then yes I agree.

            This is from an old post but…. Polytheism is the belief in multiple gods but is not contingent on the worship of multiple gods.

          • JT

            “By excusing gods contradiction you are attempting to nullify the cognitive dissonance. This is not faith as conflict. This is hoop jumping.”

            No. By *accepting* the contradiction, we participate in God’s redemptive struggle. Hoop jumping would be to try to explain away the contradiction, which I’m not, nor do I think we should. I believe the tension must stand, and we are called to either chase the mystery or to run from it.

            “BTW, cognitive dissonance is believing in two things that contradict each other at the same time. Therefore it cannot be logical.”

            (1) Things can be contradictory and yet logical. (2) It is also not illogical *to believe* in contradictory ideas. For example, God requires mercy and justice (Micah 6:8). The two things are contradictory. To show mercy is not an act of justice. To enact justice is not an act of mercy. But, I *believe* God requires both. This yet another example of reader cognitive dissonance faith in God creates.

            “As soon as Israel decided seeing gods face was a “new form of self disclosure” he stopped experiencing cognitive dissonance.”

            (1) You cannot make that judgment on behalf of the actor based on the textual evidence – to do so is to speculate. (2) In a Near East culture where deities were believed to fight on your behalf, would you not feel a little anxiety knowing little ol’ you just pinned your god in a wrestling match? The question I would ask myself is, what do I do now (and interestingly, the episode occurs on a journey towards an uncertain end)?

            And I don’t disagree with your definition. I want to ask you a question: Are you serious about arriving at a place of truth? I feel like, despite receiving new information (your comments suggest a limited understanding of the broader theological themes), your initial reaction is to reject rather than to investigate. I also want to ask (and it’s a serious question), are you threatened by faith? Your tone suggests hostility, though earlier in the conversion you spoke negatively of “angry” and “hateful” opponents to abortion. To be honest (and I’m not trying to insult), I sense anger and insecurity in your comments.

            Also, before you can say something is illogical, it is important you construct a proof. Something is not logical or illogical just because you or I say it – infer truth conclusions from truth premises.

          • jordan

            Jacob never pins God either BTW. God dislocates his hip to show he was just playing with him all night. I wish I knew the Hebrew because there is supposed to be a good mushroom cult explanation to this one. Esau is red and bumpy like the cap of the mushroom. Jacob is smooth like the stem. Dislocating a hip was like saying separating the cap from the stem.
            Jacob gets high on “god” (shrooms) all night.

          • JT

            “Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking’” (Gen 32:26).

            Suggests maybe Jacob had the upper hand, but touché – I’ll concede that point since we’re wanting to take into account only the evidence. And there is no comparison to mushrooms in the story. There are several fringe expressions out there – doesn’t mean they are Scripturally consistent.

          • jordan

            Only suggests that Jacob would not give up. But OK.

            And yes mushroom myth is probably not in the old testament, but even if its not true, the new testament could be interpreted very easily as Jesus being a mushroom. I doubt it is true, but it really does fit the gospels well. Wait though, maybe Cain and Abel is a mushroom story. Abel being the “womb” (that’s what his name means) and Cain is the hammer (penis) that enters the womb. The mushroom canopy thought of as the womb and the stem as the phallus. The canopy houses more of the anointing (juice that was pressed from the mushroom) than the stem, so the stem pierces the canopy in jealousy. Cain kills Abel.

            Yahweh was a storm God. Mushrooms grow after storms. They have no seed (father). God the father speaks thunder and spits rain (the holy spirit) and the virgin mother earth brings forth a son fully soaked in the anointing of the father.
            Again, most likely contrived, but you can’t deny the elegance.

          • JT

            Trust me, I can deny the “elegance”. I fear this conversation is going nowhere. If you’re only going to be facetious and dodge the issues, I’ll bow out here.

          • jordan

            I’m not being facetious. I really find the theory interesting. There was nothing else to respond to anyway so I thought I’d divulge a little aside.

          • JT

            Ah. Very cool then. I’ll bow out anyway. Turned out to be a solid conversation, and I enjoyed it. Thanks for your time, Jordan.

          • jordan

            Ya no problem. It wasn’t bad. The Hindu religion is full of mushroom influence. I wouldn’t toss out the theory completely. Have a good one.

          • jordan

            Hey did you figure out why contradictions are adverse to logic?

          • jordan

            There are three logic “laws of thought”. Could you name me the second one?

          • JT

            Yes, the Law of Non-Contradiction. A rule of discourse.

          • jordan

            Thank you!

          • JT

            Your statement was something like, “contradictions are contrary to logic.” (1) The statement is poorly constructed, clumsy, and warrants clarification – the term logic is a broad term that assumes a number of set theories. (2) Again, in formal logic, a clause or statement can be contradictory and still, by definition, remain logical (see my example from earlier in our discussion – there are similar online examples). It becomes “illogical” when two mutually exclusive propositions are supported as mutually occurring or recurring. So again, I still don’t think you understand formal logic or its role in philosophical discourse. If you would like some resources (there are several – but I can give you the titles of those to which I often refer), let me know.

            So, if it makes you feel better at this point, you’re welcome.

          • jordan

            2 is just wrong, your earlier examples were flawed. A contradiction is when two mutually exclusive propositions are trying to occur. Why would I take resource advice from someone that can’t grasp the simplest concept of logic? You remind me of deepak chopra. He throws around quantum theory jargon that makes him sound intelligent, but he really has no idea what he’s talking about.

          • JT

            “A contradiction is when two mutually exclusive propositions are trying to occur.”

            It’s not a question of “try”. Two mutually exclusive propositions *cannot* occur. Again, your language is clumsy and betrays little understanding of the concepts. If you don’t want my resources, that’s fine. Besides, you’ve conceded my proof regarding the child definition and have yet to construct a counter. Until then, I don’t believe you’re as familiar as you claim. Googling mere titles won’t change that for you. Sorry.

            Insult if it makes you feel better. Do not expect a reply from me on this thread.

          • jordan

            Language is fun and “try” works in my sentence if you don’t approach it with an asperger like rigidness. If you are experiencing cognitive dissonance you are trying to believe mutually exclusive propositions.

            I’ve conceded what on the child definition?

            Don’t really care if you reply, you’ve already shown your error.

          • JT

            I know I said to not expect a response, but your claim to victory was ridiculous, delusional, and above all dishonest. (1) You conceded at the first of the debate that abortion was not a moral ideal. (2) You also conceded the validity of the child definition for the fetus. From your earlier post: “The only argument I can see here is equating fetus with child.”

            Why? Because I constructed a proof true to form and to necessity. You’re right to concede the point. In this entire discussion, you’ve never constructed a counter proof, and yet you still expect me to take your word for it, that you’re more informed. I don’t.

            “…and “try” works in my sentence…”

            No, it does not work. The is a rule of discourse. Propositions don’t “try” – interlocutors “try” to prove naturally occurring propositions. Your language is clumsy, inaccurate, and betrays your ignorance of the concepts.

            “if you don’t approach it with an asperger like rigidness.”

            Because logic is a formal theory! And *is* therefore rigid and *requires* technical definitions! Yet again, you have *no* idea what you’re talking about! Seriously, audit a logic course at a university and spout this nonsense in the class – see the reaction you get.

            “If you are experiencing cognitive dissonance you are trying to believe mutually exclusive propositions.”

            Yes. I know this. Your point of contention was that contradictions are “contrary to logic”, when a ‘contradiction’ is itself a logical statement and is actually its own proof type. For example, let’s say P is a value of less than 5 and K is a value of 5 or more. We could then construct the proof:

            P :- -K

            So P must be true if and when P is not K. In other words, a value ‘is less than 5′ if and when a value is not ’5 or more’. The two cannot occur at the same time and are therefore contradictory, so we can actually prove P as long we disprove K. This is proof by contradiction and another example of tautology.

            Still yet, however, to experience cognitive dissonance is not in and of itself an”illogical” occurrence – it is a response to stimuli. If you think it is, construct a proof. Let’s see those far superior critical thinking skills.

            “Language is fun…”

            Language has boundaries. Logic requires you respect those boundaries. See, this is the problem I have with your philosophy and your ilk: you smudge the boundaries of language where and when it is convenient for you, and when you do, you hold reality hostage to your skewed worldview. You proved this at the start of the debate when you first disputed my use of the logical definition for the real (“child”) and not the medical definition for the clinical (“fetus”). You’ve now conceded the logical definition, and, if you still support abortion as a viable option (and yet, not the ideal), in every case you support child death. Period. Children die because of semantics. Period!

            So, you have not only showed your error but conceded it, and I’m glad you did so on a public thread. Go ahead – insult me and claim victory. The evidence is here for all to see and is certainly not on your side. If you provide something substantive, I will respond. But that’s a big “if” at this point.

          • jordan

            That’s a long butt hurt response trying to say you weren’t wrong while conceding that you were indeed wrong. That’s funny. I can have a logical discussion without rigidly following definitions for arbitrary words such as giving propositions sentient qualities with the use of the word try.

            I can see the fetus=child argument. It makes some sense. I disagree though, a child in my opinion must have been born.

            Just like I can see the deist argument. It makes some sense. Yet I disagree. I just am not convinced that a fertilised egg is a child. And then you have the “how many grains of sand make a heap” problem.

            If you are believing mutually exclusive things than you are being illogical! Because they are mutually exclusive! The proof is in the question itself. Jeepers.

            You love your semantics. I am sure you will find some arbitrary thing to say to feel superior. I should have added some more “try” bombs. All well.

          • JT

            More insults and pigeon chess. Construct a proof, or your opinion means nothing.

            Jeepers.

          • jordan

            How is this pigeon chess? And provide a proof for what? That children are born? Concession of defeat. Thanks. Peace.

          • JT

            No evidence. No reason. No logic. Just lazy assertions and self-declared victory. That’s pigeon chess. Glad this conversation is public and over. Have a nice day.

          • jordan

            Reason and evidence for what? You provided a definition for contradiction that contradicted your previous statement. Not pigeon chess. You just don’t understand how to use the logic you are trying to espouse.

          • JT

            lol! I knew it. If you’ve so soundly “defeated” me, why are you responding? Evidence, please.

          • jordan

            You defeated yourself. I don’t need to. Your demonstration of how little you understand is proof enough of my superior logic skills even though I never used that term. Keep replying with dumb comments and I will keep replying comedically. You. Already. Conceded. A. Definition. Of. Contradiction. Contrary. To. Your. Use. Of. The. Term. Defeated. And. With. Your. Own. Words.

          • JT

            Show me where I’m wrong. Evidence, please.

            Something. Is. Not. So. Just. Because. You. Say. It. “Comedically”.

            And still you refuse to construct a proof. You make this too easy.

          • jordan

            You think cognitive dissonance is a logical position to hold. Cognitive dissonance is believing mutually exclusive propositions at the same time. According to the second law of thought this is not logical. So easy I didn’t want to bother but there you go.

          • jordan

            Have another. You stated that your kids were not burdens to you and yet admitted that it costs money to raise them. That makes you wrong again.

          • JT

            Yeah, I do. Cognitive dissonance is a stress response. You’re saying it’s illogical to experience a stress response? I still don’t think you understand logic concepts.

            But in any case, let’s take a look back at your posts. Looking back, your entire abortion argument proceeds from a logical contradiction:

            (1) It is morally impermissible to kill children
            (2) But, it is morally permissible to kill children (in utero).

            Or, if you maintain your bogus opinion:

            (1) It is morally impermissible to kill innocent humans,
            (2) But, it is morally permissible to kill innocent humans (in their initial stage of development).

            By your own words, this actually puts *you* in a place of cognitive dissonance, for you have to provide support for an act that not only terminates innocent life, but also an act you’ve admitted is not the moral ideal, even if it means to trade logical definitions for personal opinion.

            So go ahead. Keep saying cognitive dissonance is a mental state “contrary to logic”, and I’ll watch you try and dig yourself out of the little hole you’ve created for yourself. Tell me again the fine logic behind your pro-abortion argument? Please. Insult me, funny guy. Tell me how awesome you are to disguise how wrong you are.

            Oh. And go ahead and refuse again to construct a proof for your claim that the burden definition requires monetary cost. You’ve dodged it a few times now.

            Ah, irony.

          • jordan

            The stress response is brought on by an illogical state of mind. This is just semantic stupidity to hide your error. Burdens require some cost, monetary or otherwise. But the argument was that since your kids cost money they are a form of burden. A financial burden. They also take time to raise and are therefore burdens on time. Again, burdens are just things that cost something. Money, time, work, whatever. Your health has a cost to maintain. It is a burden. It is necessary. But still a burden. Just because you want to be healthy and have kids and keep your car on the road doesn’t stop them from being burdens!

            Let’s look at mys posts.

            Abortion sucks but restricting women’s rights over their bodies suck more. The abortion issue is not a black and white “ban all abortions” soluble problem.
            You want to turn it into the dichotomy, not me.

            Let’s review your posts.

            You think believing 2 mutually exclusive propositions is a logical position to hold. You think things that have costs don’t cost anything… Which in light of the first sentence there, actually should make sense to you. Haha.

            Keep em coming. This is funny.

          • JT

            Yes, quite funny. If you’re not digging yourself out of your hole, you’re dodging. Construct a proof, or your opinion means nothing. I’ve been looking through several definitions of “burden” – nothing about monetary cost. Looks like you’re pulling stuff out of your behind again.

            Speaking of, I did some research into Leon Festinger’s book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, which is–from what I can tell–the pioneering and still authoritative work regarding the governing social theory. In his book, Festinger says the precision of logic when navigating dissonance is relative to the individual, and also says, “even logically, the probability of the conclusion could be higher than the product of the probabilities of the two premises may also imply the same conclusion” (214).

            Further, “one element [of dissonance] may follow another because of logic, because of cultural mores, because of things one has experienced and learned, and perhaps in other senses too (278).

            Yep. Pulling stuff right out of your behind, huh? Start digging, boy.

            Quite funny.

          • jordan

            I didn’t say burdens necessitate a monetary cost. Read my post again. Carefully.

            You need to provide the quotes with the reasons in them, not just his conclusion. Those could and probably are wrought with caveats and you quote mined a couple sentences that sound supportive. Very deepak of you. Maybe festinger thinks this and has good reasons for thinking it. But I need to see the reason instead of “this guy said Its logical so it must be logical”… Pretty lame.

            You’re yelling ” keep digging your hole” from the bottom of a chasm you don’t even know you fell in. Keep em coming. This is still funny.

          • JT

            So I should listen to you instead of the leading voice of the modern theory about which you’ve been assuming clarity? And when I expose you for the fraud you are, you still insist to make stuff up? I filtered all the sections on “logic” and “illogical”. Nothing about an “illogical state of mind”. You’ll quote from a podcast, but you’ll ignore university publications? Pathetic.

            “Burdens require some cost, monetary or otherwise. But the argument was that since your kids cost money they are a form of burden. A financial burden. They also take time to raise and are therefore burdens on time.”

            Sorry. No definition for burden assumes cost. A burden is something to overcome to achieve an end, but as we’ve already established, human life is always an end. Your opinion means nothing. Again,

            Something. Is. Not. So. Just. Because. You. Say. It.

            “Maybe festinger thinks this and has good reasons for thinking it [But I'm always right! No matter what the evidence says]!”

            Dig, boy.

          • jordan

            Good job. Now look up what a cost is!

          • jordan

            Good job. Now look up what a cost is!

          • jordan

            Why would I dig to find a quote from some guy trying to explain how believing mutually exclusive propositions is logical. You think it is so prove it. You didn’t provide evidence pigeon.

          • JT

            Theory originator quotations aren’t evidence anymore, huh? Wow. You’ll make things up to mask the things you make up, won’t you? This is how these discussions work, Jordan – *you* made the claim. Therefore, *you* provide the evidence. Besides, I’ve provided proofs, sources, and quotations – and yet you reject all of it for your bogus opinion. The burden of proof is on you, and you have only your behind from which you’ve conjured up your skewed reality.

            I’ll keep my head in the books. You keep yours in your behind. Have a nice day, Jordan. This is my last post. For real this time. You may have the final word – you need it at this point.

            Pigeon.

          • jordan

            The quote provided was a conclusion, not evidence. Who said it doesn’t change that.

            If a “burden” did not have any cost associated with it it wouldn’t be a burden. Cost is necessary to a burden. I really don’t know how you don’t see that. Just stubbornness so you don’t have to admit you were wrong I guess?

            The posts show this easily and if you don’t want to reply that’s fine. We can pretend mutually exclusive propositions are logical and burdens don’t cost anything. Screw reality anyway right? This world’s just a waiting room anyway.

            Have fun in your coop.

            PS *you* made the claim that believing mutually exclusive propositions is a logical position to hold so *you* provide the evidence. It’s like me claiming pigs can fly and saying that you have to prove they can’t.

          • jordan

            So I guess your answer to “can god microwavemicrowave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?” Would be a simple “yes!”

          • jordan

            The intent is not fully lost also. Redactions are done for a purpose. What the redaction says speaks to that purpose. In this case the redaction is about redeeming your child with an animal. There’s no other way to take that redaction other than to say it was meant to fix the first born sacrifice problem. The redaction just serves no other purpose.

          • jordan

            The two words you “picked on” were part of a list and bracketed. You ignored the entire message to pick out 2 words. 1 in 5 women seeking an abortion are victims of domestic violence. Whether its correlation or causation there is a link. You beat up those 2 words for soooo long so you could ignore everything else. That’s what I mean when I say pick on. Assinine.

          • JT

            If it’s so little, why do you keep coming back to it, hm? Again (and again and again), I don’t believe you just because you say it. Move along if you think it’s so trivial. And seriously, why do you finish your posts with an insult?

            This was your original post:

            “Making abortions accessible reduces home abortions, spousal abuse, failed abortions, orphans, child abuse, etc.”

            The fact that we’ve replaced one abortion method with another does not justify the act. If you kill me in a sanitized environment as opposed to a public restroom, it’s still a moral wrong. Also, orphan rates have climbed through the roof despite more lax abortion regulation. Another false cause. And we’ve concluded there is no causal link between abortion and domestic abuse. False cause. False cause. False cause. I can “pick on” anything you’ve said, and you can’t legitimately defend any of it. Asinine indeed.

          • jordan

            Yes this is copied and pasted. I use my phone. I’m lazy.

            Besides the tremendous benefit to society of ensuring that every child is a wanted child, legal abortion has clearly been a significant factor in saving women’s lives and health:

            A large majority of legal abortions replace abortions that had been performed illegally, and often unsafely, before the change in laws.
            Deaths from abortion have declined dramatically in all countries where abortion has been legalized. The risk of death from abortion has fallen steadily, and is now miniscule. The chances of dying in childbirth are now about 10 times greater.
            The chances of complications caused by childbirth are close to 30 times greater than complications caused by abortion. Abortion is nearly twice as safe as a penicillin injection.
            Where abortion is legal and readily available, women obtain abortions earlier in pregnancy when health risks to them are lowest.
            One-third of all legal abortions are on women for whom the health and social consequences of unplanned childbearing are the greatest — teenagers and women over 35.
            Legal abortion protects women suffering from serious or life-threatening illnesses and genetic disease that could be passed onto their children with devastating consequences.
            When women can control their reproduction, it leaves them free to pursue higher education and careers, and to plan their lives and families. Women should not be expected to sacrifice their personal and economic freedom to have babies they don’t want.

            THE ANTI-CHOICE CAMPAIGN AGAINST ABORTION

            Despite the obvious health and social benefits, legal abortion continues to be the victim of profound, sometimes violent, controversy. The controversy is fueled by religious dogma, particularly that of the Catholic Church and fundamentalist religions, which claim that all life is sacred, and human life starts at conception. Even beyond religious doctrine, the social message is that choosing to continue a pregnancy is good; terminating it is bad, regardless of the circumstances. This attitude has a deep effect on women having abortions. Some women feel embarrassed, guilty, and ashamed for deciding to have an abortion. In fact, women who come to abortion clinics are often surprised when they receive professional, compassionate medical care. Abortion is probably the only medical service where the patient expects shabby treatment and an atmosphere of disapproval. That’s because the well has been poisoned by years of anti-choice propaganda, much of it inflammatory and grossly inaccurate.

          • JT

            You post propaganda from a pro-abortion website that ends with this line:

            “That’s because the well has been poisoned by years of anti-choice propaganda, much of it inflammatory and grossly inaccurate.”

            Oh, the irony.

            Here’s an interesting statistic: 100% of successful abortions result in child death. But hey, screw the facts, right? As long as you have people who agree with you, huh?

          • jordan

            The only argument I can see here is equating fetus with child. But even if I allow that, that is the point of the abortion, to terminate the fetus. Did you read any of it? Or just the last line? This isn’t a rebuttal.

          • JT

            The fetus is a child. So in every instance you kill the fetus, you kill a child. This is true in every case. Agree with this statement, and any moral argument you make to justify abortion falls apart. If you agree, and yet you still maintain your position, the burden of proof is on you, and I contend the innate evil of the pro-abortion argument.

          • jordan

            Are you suggesting that people will feel obligated to have abortions if abortions are available with your “deontologocal ethics” thing? That is retardation gone to seed.

          • JT

            Read my post again. Thanks. And do research my “deontological ethics thing” before you dismiss it. The language of “means” and “end” are key.

          • jordan

            Deontology has a few “schools” so be specific. Unless your just saying that making abortions available will make people feel obligated to have abortions? I don’t really know what you’re getting at. Why did my previous message not post?

          • JT

            The site moderator has to approve the use of outside URLs. You can get around this by just posting the site name, or just cut out the http prefix.

            Deontological Ethics, in a nutshell, says that the moral value of an act or event is determined by its adherence to or deviation from an established moral order. Immanuel Kant is the originator, and for Kant, in any event that human life becomes a means to an end, the morality of said event is in question. I agree. In the case of abortion, the child’s life is at the mercy of his/her parents and may be terminated as a means to self benefit.

          • jordan

            Also why am I ignoring all the other causes of domestic abuse? We are talking about abortion specifically… But you left out religious fervour. Don’t deny your child the rod.

          • jordan

            Abortion regulations not only pose a problem for Domestic violence victims on an individual level, They also have a more global impact Because they send a message to society That it is ok to have power and control over women. numerous studies have shown That a defining characteristic of men who batter their spouse Is that they feel entitled to Exert power and control over their partner. Therefore Abortion regulation and anti abortion rhetoric Lead to increased rates of domestic abuse Because they reinforce the view that it is ok to exert power and control over women.

          • jordan

            What I can’t even reply?

          • jordan

            Didn’t like my other reply eh?

          • jordan

            Hypocrisy goes along with self righteous Pharisees and angry old white men is just a description. Claiming to be Christian while attacking homosexuals = hypocrisy
            Attacking young women getting abortions = self righteous and the people perpetuating this abuse are angry old white men and rich pastors(Pharisees).
            I stand by my “childish insults”.

          • JT

            Good. So piggybacking on the comments of others and demonstrating poor awareness of logic concepts while assuming general knowledge = amateur debate tactics. I stand by mine also.

          • jordan

            Are we having a formal debat? Wow that was a dumb comment. You haven’t shown that I have a low understanding of logic. But you’ve proven that you do… Wow again.

          • jordan

            I think you failed your logic course.

          • JT

            Oh, yeah. Because your comments display such a keen logical awareness that you can make that judgment, eh?

          • jordan

            Yup. I may not be Spock but compared to your feeble attempts to dodge arguments I am a genius.

          • Frank2918

            Abortions are declining because of the legal efforts of those trying to protect the innocent and vulnerable unborn. The work will continues.

          • John

            This is a quote from the leading national study of declining abortion rates. Most of the new legal impediments came into effect in 2011. The study period ends in 2010, though their results were only published early this year.

            “With abortion rates falling in almost all states, our study did not find evidence that the national decline in abortions during this period was the result of new state abortion restrictions. We also found no evidence that the decline was linked to a drop in the number of abortion providers during this period,” says Rachel Jones, lead author of the study. “Rather, the decline in abortions coincided with a steep national drop in overall pregnancy and birth rates. Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, such as the IUD. Moreover, the recent recession led many women and couples to want to avoid or delay pregnancy and childbearing.”

            So, abortion rates hit record lows BEFORE any legislative impetus.

          • Frank2918

            That’s one opinion here is another below. Either way the legislative tactic is working and will and should continue.

            “The much-reported increase in state pro-life laws did not start with the election of a majority of state governors who were pro-life, beginning in 2010.

            When Guttmacher (and Slate’s William Saletan) downplay the role of pro-life initiatives in reducing the number of abortions they conveniently ignore a whole bevy of initiatives which have had the effect of helping women choose life. They include parental involvement laws, limits to tax-funded abortion, support for pregnancy assistance, and requirements for ultrasound viewing and women’s right to know information, to name just five. (There is a passing reference to a 24-hour waiting period.)

            Electing a pro-life governor in 2010 was very helpful because so often pro-abortion governors would scuttle pro-life legislation with a stroke of their veto pens.

            From Kansas’ perspective, despite the efforts of Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor, the number of pregnancy assistance centers rose exponentially and we elected greater numbers of ‘proudly’ pro-life legislators. More protective laws could not be enacted –or older ones properly enforced– until we elected Gov. Sam Brownback in 2010.

            Second, our opponents attribute fewer abortions to fewer numbers of women getting pregnant in the first place. They tout this as obviously a victory for contraception, either because women “were making conscious decisions to avoid pregnancy” (in the words of the authors, Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman) or because of the use of ”long-acting” contraceptives.

            But even if this were true, this still doesn’t answer the fundamental question raised by the abortion ratio for 2011.

            The abortion ratio essentially compares the number of abortions to the number of births. According to Guttmacher, there were 21.2 abortions for every 100 pregnancies ending in abortion or live birth in 2011. This is also the lowest ratio since 1973, the first year Roe was in effect. The ratio was 30.4 in 1983 and was as high as 25.1 as recently as 1998.

            So even if fewer women get pregnant, that doesn’t answer the question why more of them are choosing life.

            A pro-life mindset is at work nationwide–as witnessed by polling showing pro-life self-identification at 48%. This is the result of a strong national pro-life movement that educates at so many levels and continues to challenge the “normalization” of abortion. The natural by-product is more pro-life laws.

            However, Saletan claims pro-life laws are “a waste of time” that “can’t possibly affect women in states without such laws.” To agree with that would be to assert that women in abortion-friendly states don’t have an awareness of what’s happening elsewhere, don’t use the internet, and do wholly adopt the mentality of their state legislature to their personal lives. Not likely.

            Saletan discounts not only the success, but the relevance of the pro-life movement for changing the culture, because “legal moralism is losing its grip on this country.” It just isn’t the case, he says, that “by enacting legal restrictions in one state, you’re affecting the moral convictions of women in other states.”

            Really? If pro-life laws are a waste of time, why are they so desperately fought by abortion supporters–and to a nationwide audience? Why did national pro-abortion media sources work so hard (to name just a few examples) to

            portray Kansas and other states adopting Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection acts as legislating against medical science;

            deny the confirmed biological connection between induced abortion and breast cancer; and

            mischaracterize a Kansas law disallowing wrongful birth lawsuits as ‘support for doctors to lie to pregnant women’?

            Obviously, these media attacks are meant to dissuade individual women from learning the truth and to scare other states from adopting pro-life laws.

            The Kansas “Women’s Right to Know and See” law–passed in 2009!—gave women not only the option to see their child’s ultrasound taken inside the abortion clinic, but also created a state health department-run website.

            But only under a pro-life governor in 2011 was the law properly implemented so that the website included real-time sonography of the developing unborn child.”

          • JT

            So when you deviate from the political talking points and introduce formal logic, you lose the substance. That’s what the debate has become, huh? I mean, I feared it was getting to that point, but to now actually hear it? Wow. Just wow.

          • John

            I don’t know if you have kids, JT. I have 2 and most of my friends have kids. “Child” is an evocative and emotional term. It is an idea which for some is deeply wed to the life growing inside them. For others it is much more of an abstraction. I think trying to force the term into the situation is a distraction.

          • JT

            See, this is exactly why it’s a problem of ontology. Sure, “fetus” is a stage of human development, but it’s only one layer of being. The label “child” is not a cultural statement, ontologically speaking, it is a relation. In every instance one has a parent, one is a child. In every instance one is a parent, one has a child. Smudging the semantics does not replace the essentiality of the relationship.

          • John

            Of course it’s a cultural statement! With different connotations in different cultures. With connotations which do not match the relationship some people have with an unborn foetus, including people who want to be pregnant, who want to have a child.

            You’ve intellectualised this to the point that you’re actively ignoring some of the key aspects of language. And repeatedly pointing at your little formula which you might see as a useful ontological illustration, but which I am encouraging you to see, alienates the argument from some of the people most affected.

            Please try to listen to what I’m saying. I have tried very hard to listen to what you are saying. I think the picture is bigger. And infinitely more human.

          • jordan

            I think it really boils down to a soul. Pro lifers think the fetus has a soul and is therefore sacred and untouchable. I think fetuses are clumps of cells that aren’t really inherently sacred until the mother(or father) decides that they are sacred.
            Even if there was even better reasons to keep abortions safe and legal, (say, giving birth crippled the mother 50% of the time or some other hypothetical) it wouldn’t matter because the fetus has a sacred soul. Screw the mother, that’s just gods plan.
            There won’t be any reconciliation here.

          • John

            I think you’re making it a bit more black and white in the other direction, Jordan. I don’t think abortion is right, but I certainly care profoundly for the health and well-being of the mother.

            Funnily, the soul of the foetus was never part of the equation in my head. Not overtly anyway. I’ll have to ponder that one.

            Again, from a having kids perspective, if you see an ultrasound from an early-ish stage, it’s no clump of cells. It has a brain, and a spine and elbows and stuff. If you don’t have kids, I’m not suggesting you rush out for the ultrasound experience, but if it hasn’t happened, you might find your opinion changes when it does. That’s what happened with my sister-in-law. Her opinion changed right then and there, on the spot. Totally. I think it’s not uncommon.

          • jordan

            I agree its more than just a clump of cells… But the main point is the soul becomes untouchable. Life is awesome, but I would like to maximize well being by having parenthood as planned as possible. Less social drain and a higher education rate. Lots of benefits… But nothing as valuable as a soul right?

          • JT

            I think it is you who is ignoring key aspects of language, John. If I’m building an ontology whatever purpose, I’d begin with human and then drill down to human social roles. “Parent” and “child” are labels for such roles. Such language distinctions are key and should be key for the left side of the aisle, who so often seeks to arbitrate matters of “language oppression”.

          • JT

            Because obviously jordan’s blathering on about angry white men and Cadillacs brings to the table so much substance, hm? Thank God we have our financial elites seeking office, so that they can define the argument and not that pesky Aristotle.

          • John

            I think logic has its place, JT. But logic is a tool, and as such can be used to all kinds of ends. I’ve long loved Manley’s Maxim:

            Logic is a systematic means of reaching the wrong conclusion with confidence.

            I’m not saying that your overall conclusion is wrong in this case. I’m just warning against the practice of saying that because something is logical it is therefore morally true. Or correct.

            I’m also wary of putting God into a box invented by humans. His ways are not our ways and we shouldn’t always lean on our own understanding.

          • JT

            My logical conclusion was that in every case one has a father and a mother, one is a child. That was not a moral statement. The question of morality comes in the event of deliberately killing a child. I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’ve said, but the great thing about logic is, everybody things they’re “doing it”, when talking about these things. But that’s until logic shows up and catches the ignorant with their pants down.

            Logic was already in the discussion before I introduced my proof, John. It was just really bad. But hey, that’s okay as long as we have politics defining the arguments, right?

          • John

            JT, beware being too self-congratulatory.

          • JT

            Beware what you post. After all, you do have RLC groupies up-voting everything you post. You wouldn’t want to indict them in association with such untenable statements.

      • Frank2918

        Yes priories are important. Let’s start with the most vulnerable, the unborn.

        • jordan

          How about starting with living humans that are suffering.

          • Frank2918

            Yes the unborn. Glad we agree! The alive and most vulnerable. Oh but wait you want to be able to choose to kill your own child that you create. I forgot.

          • jordan

            They are unborn… Therefore not living.
            Way to ignore all the substance of anything I said and just keep spewing your garbage. Do you have a vagina? Then shut up and do something helpful.

          • Frank2918

            I love it when people expose themselves for who they really are. Well done Jordan. Keep justifying murder.

          • jordan

            I love it when Christians prove to be the ignorant trash I see protesting gay marriages on TV, or abortion clinics. Oh wait no I don’t I hate ignorance… That’s why I hate religion. Go read the bible hypocrite. Self righteous Pharisee.

          • Frank2918

            Yup very telling indeed.

          • jordan

            Keep ignoring the poor and suffering and keep making yourself feel righteous by writing anti abortion bull on Christian forums. I don’t believe in Jesus, but I am confident that if only one of us is going to get into heaven it would be me. You are sickeningly ignorant and self righteous. I am selfish mostly; I don’t need the tasty food I buy or my modest but new kia. I could use some of that money to help people, but I want to enjoy myself. So I probably am not good enough for heaven. You judge people to make yourself feel righteous, and are confident in your salvation for the soul reason that you believe Jesus was god and saved you. You help your pastor get rich and ignore the needy. You condemn emotionally distressed women as murderers and high five your old white buddies for doing “gods work”. This can’t be what Christianity was meant to be. Its just the weird mockery it has become.

            Am I the only one that sees the problem there?

          • Frank2918

            Too bad you miss your own glaring problem. Sad, so very sad.

          • jordan

            If that problem is not believing in the divinity of Christ then…. OK… Good argument…. I guess….
            Now define hypocrite and ignorant for me so I can have a chuckle.
            At least I believe the things I say I do. I don’t believe you’ve been genuine in your posts. No one can be that dim. I think I will just ignore the troll instead of feeding it;)

          • Frank2918

            I understand. You really have no counter. No surprise.

          • jordan

            Counter to what? Or was this a subtle nod to my wink?

          • jordan

            You ignored me so I must be right.

          • JT

            I have two comments below awaiting your response. Thanks.

  • Abide

    This is a really good article; the content is meaty enough that it warrants diving deeper and requires a book. We must re-think what it means to have faith. We have been taught an approach to faith that is consistent with confusing theology and philosophy, for example. Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy go hand-in-hand. Theology is not seated in the mind, where philosophy is thought – it is seated in the soul, is believed with the whole person, and is lived. Theology is more like something to experience than it is something to think.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    I think you have failed to actually experience the social script you recite.

    • JT

      Solid point, Theodore. Apparently the author has never read the Old Testament. Recitation and repetition were essential for preserving the Hebraic faith. I’m wondering if he would look cynically on the young Jesus when he recited the Shema.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        It took until I was 35 to actually pray the Our Father and the Nicene Creed and *experience* the rite correctly. Today, I pray the rosary with understanding and contemplation, and I allow the prayer to change me, whether alone or in a group.

        The author is not alone in this. I think it is just standard human brain development.

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Finding Truth Behind the Headlines

MAY 24, 2014 | BY: MICAH BALES -- "We must hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in...

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