Dramatis Personae

In order to help the various new readers who are likely to stumble upon this place once the book comes out, I thought it might be helpful to provide a basic cast of characters to serve as a reference work. If there’s someone you think should definitely be on it, please nominate them in the comments here along with a short description, two sentences max. They can be past or present regulars, who knows, perhaps some old friends will come back to visit.

For example, one might consider Nate aka Der Hausfrauhrer. Cowboy, motorcycle aficionado and Keeper of the Harem. Likes: motorcycles, women, the Tennessee Titans. Dislikes: Yankees, damn Yankees and bringing up the rear in the VPFL. Red Flags: The War of Northern Aggression. Or Bane, aka The Reaper’s Hairball. Ex-soldier, full-time sociopath and dedicated admirer of peasant women. Likes: guns, women, Red Alert. Dislikes: people. Red Flags: Yes.

Only Voxologisti require AKA, as this will be a link to their blog. Nominate away and don’t nominate yourself.

Shooter odds

Another week, another public shooting. One can only conclude that either there is a new federal gun control law in the works or the Supreme Court has already decided to announce that there is no individual right to bear arms, all emanations, penumbras and Constitutional text notwithstanding:

A man opened fire with a rifle at a busy department store Wednesday, killing eight people in an attack that made holiday shoppers run screaming through a mall and barricade themselves in dressing rooms. The young shooter, who left a note predicting, “Now I’ll be famous,” wounded five others, two critically, then took his own life…. The shooter, identified by police as 20-year-old Robert A. Hawkins, was found dead on the third floor with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

So, what are the odds that the late and unlamented Mr. Hawkins was:

a) an evangelical Christian
b) a practicing Jew
c) a Muslim
d) an agnostic or non-practicing individual raised religious
e) a militant atheist

All of these options are of course possible, but they are not equally likely. We shall wait and see….

Chuck the Huckster III

The only serious question about Mike Huckabee is whether he’s Clinton redux or Bush II redux. Either way, his habitual dishonesty is not open for debate:

Jennifer, you make a good point in that Huckabee is very convincing at expressing regret. That’s why he is doing so well in the polls: Because he is so good at sounding good, no matter whether what he says holds water or not. You miss the most relevant point, though, Jennifer: What he says is an outright lie. Here is the big whopper in what you quote from him: “Nobody, not me, not Jim Guy Tucker, not Bill Clinton, not that parole board, could ever imagine what might have transpired.. ” This is, to put it kindly, a crock of manure. The whole point of the Murray Waas story out today is that Huckabee was warned repeatedly and convincingly EXACTLY what was likely to transpire if DuMond were to be released, and he ignored all those warnings. Meanwhile, the evidence presented is absolutely overwhelming that he strongly intervened with the parole board to secure DuMond’s release — and he seems to have lied about that too. Just like he lied about whether or not he was “ordered” by his state’s courts to impose a particular tax hike, and just like several other now-documented misrepresentations he has made about the circumstances of his tax hikes.

The ready willingness of American evangelicals to fall for demonstrably dishonest politicians is one of the very few areas in which I feel some measure of agreement with atheist critics of American evangelical Christianity. But a blithe statement of “he touched my heart” is no more inherently truthful than “it’s for the children”.

The childlike faith

Of an atheist in his own childish intellect. Kwazy Atheist writes:

Where did you get the idea anyone needs an objective (you mean universal?) standard with which to criticize another person.

Because you do if that criticism is to be any more meaningful to the other person than simply stating “me no likee”. This isn’t a Christian issue, every serious atheist intellectual from the philosopher Daniel C. Dennett on down recognizes this. That is why they are constantly attempting to invent an objective, universal moral standard out of thin air – usually some variant on humanism or utilitarianism – to serve as a substitute. Unlike you, they not only admit the existence and relevance of the objective, universal Christian standard, they recognize its necessity. As I told you previously, your thinking on this issue is literally two or three orders of magnitude below the level of that which is being discussed here; the amusing thing is that you still haven’t realized that you’re in over your head.

You certainly don’t have one that you can verify as the true objective standard.

The key word there is “verify”. The objective Christian standard cannot be verified to be true, certainly not by the method of objective data combined with subjective interpretation known as “science”, but it unquestionably exists. You, on the other hand, cannot even attempt to hold another individual to an alternative moral standard because it does not exist. This is the “warrant” issue upon which Doug Wilson hung, drew and quartered Christopher Hitchens in their debate. In Hitchens’s defense, he did know enough to attempt to evade the issue until he was cornered, you, on the other hand, have blithely stepped onto the gallows, wrapped the rope around your neck and hung yourself, all the while proclaiming the nonexistence of the rope. That is why everyone is so amused by you.

If I want to be just like the Kwazy Kwistians all I have to do is say, “And behold, here then is thy objective standard!!” And why you say, “where did that come from?” I’ll tell my it came from the same place yours came from.

There is an element of truth in that statement. Being an atheist and therefore lacking any claim to an objective and universal moral standard, you have irrationally latched onto the Christian standard still dominant in your culture as a moral parasite, sans only those aspects of it that most directly conflict with your momentary desires. None of this changes the fact that without that parasitism, you possess no basis to criticize the morality or immorality of another individual regardless of their faith or lack of faith.

The rational atheist never uses the words “evil” or “should”. They do not exist for him, all that exists for him is “do what thou wilt”. The irrational atheist like Richard Dawkins or little Kwazy here is are much less dangerous creatures, for as Michel Onfray rightly describes them, they are simply crippled Christians who have rejected their God while clinging to most of His values.