The Jesus Hoover…

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Are people who are fervently religious – cocksure that their religion is the right and only true religion – mentally ill, sloppy thinkers, or just a bit on the dumb side?

I’m not being mean (not on purpose, anyhow) or deliberately sarcastic, either. It’s a serious question and deserves a serious answer.

The tendency to be religious that most people seem to have is not the result of mental illness – as we usually define that, anyhow. They don’t, for instance, believe that they’re Napoleon. In ordinary day-to-day life, they’re usually, mostly, rational.

So why do so many people so easily accept the obvious contradictions; the childish anthropomorphism of religious belief?  The claims to universality preached by all religions – despite the obvious fact that each of them is/was the product of a regional culture confined to a certain portion of the earth (and its people) as well as a particular moment in time? How come they don’t notice that religions come – and go? That the Romans of 2,000 years ago believed as fervently in their pantheon of Gods (and a thousand years before them, the Egyptians in theirs) as current-era Christians believe in their God?

Here are a few possible explanations:

* Wishful thinking –

Many people can’t deal with the thought of death and that death might be the end of everything (for them). Or, they can’t accept the notion that our existence is probably a random happenstance, the result of natural (not supernatural) processes. They can’t bear the idea that there isn’t some kind of “guiding hand” behind it all. A kind of numinous paterfamilias who will make it all “all right.” Who will make sense of the random cruelty and unfairness of existence. Etc.

Most people want to believe that right and justice will win in the end; that it ‘s not just right to be good – it pays to be good. The idea that bad people may never be held to account for their misdeeds – and that kids born with spina bifida will suffer just because, well, that’s the way it is … is simply to awful to consider.

* Sloppy thinking –

Some people just aren’t very smart, or they’ve never learned to reason. The first can’t be helped; the second is hard to help.

The really hardcore religious, whether because they’re dumb or can’t think straight, seem perfectly able to hold onto contradictory , even silly, ideas such as a monotheistic and immortal God who fathers a son, who becomes a kind of co-regent God, who is also immortal yet suffers (and dies) on our behalf… . A god who is omniscient, yet has trouble figuring out where Adam and Eve have hidden themselves in the garden… who likes the aroma of burning animal flesh. Who covets and gets vengeful like an angry ex-girlfriend or boyfriend.

* Ignorance –

This is a biggie. People who have no idea that the Earth is billions of years old (and the universe many times older than that) … that countess billions of creatures have lived and died over immense spans of time, long before Man even existed – are easy meat for simple-minded religions that count history in thousands of years. I find that religious people tend to have very poor time-sense. The scale of geologic time is something they’ve never really thought about, or in some cases even are aware of.

Then there’s basic biology, physics – all the rest of it. It is no accident that the more education one has, the less likely one is to be fervently, specifically religious – to state categorically that one “knows” Jesus; that “the word” means exactly this and not that.

People who hold advanced degrees (in the hard sciences particularly) are the least likely of all to be fervently, specifically religious; to hew to religious certainty and exclusivity – while the reverse is true of people with high school or less education.

* Social pressure –

I have some religious friends. It would be extremely awkward for them to deny their faith, or even to be less than obviously religious. Their parents and other relatives all go to church on Sunday and do church-related activities. They salt their conversations with religious-talk and references. Etc.

The plain fact is it’s easier to be a convicted criminal than an open non-believer in America, at least, outside of places like NYC and SF. Especially if you are a criminal who has been “born again.”

It is, for example, almost a prerequisite to at least pretend to believe if you want to run for any public office. An open non-believer is as unelectable as a pederast – even if by every objective criteria that person is a fine person and fully qualified to hold that office. For some voters – a majority – that’s not enough. The candidate must profess to believe, too – even if he really doesn’t.

* Early conditioning –

People who grow up in religious families tend to be religious themselves. Children are (obviously) very suggestible and “think magically” by nature. They also see their parents as omnipotent and omniscient. So if Mom and Dad feed junior Bible-talk from infancy on, without nuance, it is going to be harder for the kid to shed that stuff as he or she grows up.

Related: Less religious people tend to have fewer (or no) kids while religious people tend to have several kids – which naturally increases the ranks of the religious while thinning out the number of non-believers.

In closing, here’s little bit of dialog from Watchmen that I think sums the human predicament – and reality – very accurately, if not very nicely:

“Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us.”

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60 COMMENTS

  1. Eric,
    This was a good post.
    The best evidence — can’t prove it — that I can come up with for the existence of the Christian God is you. You’re writing is not just “Oh, these imbecile laws and taxes hurt people — too bad for them, glad I’m me.” No, you passionately care about right and wrong. Your gripe with Christianity isn’t only that you see it getting the facts wrong; you are convinced that what Christians do with falsehoods is morally wrong because it harms real people.
    (As you’ve no doubt heard before, the Bible tells us believers, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless.” That is, if the history is wrong, it’s all wrong. Period.)
    According to your worldview, the universe went along quite well without life at all for 8 (or so) billion years. Once life came about, it has gone along for the last 5 (or so) billion years without anyone asking the question, “Is this morally right?” Quite literally the only moral system in the universe was “might makes right” until some human(oid) at least thought something like, “I have the power to do this, and I would be better off in some way if I did, but I’m not going to.” I have no idea how the thought process would go from there. If matter cannot give what it does not have, I don’t see how a moral system can give what it does not have, and if every aspect of the moral system that ruled the universe for 13 billion years is a survival strategy, then what you call morality is nothing more than a survival strategy. I don’t see how someone who truly believes that could write what you write so well.
    So why do we have faith in a God whose existence we can’t prove, especially since some who say they believe in him also do some pretty horrendous things? You’re right: It’s because we can’t abide the idea that “death might be the end of everything [and] that our existence is probably a random happenstance, the result of natural (not supernatural) processes.” If you being convicted of a felony for doing 83 in a 60 zone (or 63 in a 40 zone) is no more morally significant than me destroying a termite mound, … I don’t know … do we go back to “might makes right”? That’s pretty much where we are, isn’t it?
    So no, I can’t refute the old universe model. If it’s right, I will never know. But I won’t know that I don’t know, so I’ll be no worse off.
    Meantime, Eric Peters engages my passions and convinces me that the things he writes about are important and in some sense will be forever. I pray that you’re there to enjoy a world whose monarch (true anarchy is the best this world has to offer, but only because there is a truly good monarch in eternity) is as against many of the evils you rail against as you are.

    • Hi Henry,

      Thank you for this thoughtful reply – and the kind words. I will reply at greater length, after I clear the decks a little – but wanted to let you know I had read what you’ve written and appreciate it.

  2. …Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world.

    Was Rorschach.

    Does that answer your Questions, Doctor?
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Rorschach’s Journal – 10/12/85

    Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it’s true face…

    They had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my Father, or President Truman. Decent men who believed in a day’s work for a day’s pay…
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    What?!!

    Jumpin President Jesus, Holy Hoover our Lord, is that Harry Ass Truman from Hell raining down brimstone and the Marx inspired theory of A Day’s Work for a Day’s Pay?

    That’s the Labor Theory of Value! Alan Moore, author of the Watchmen. Why poison a great character like Rorschach with the Murderous Lie that a man’s work has a certain value, regardless of what someone else is willing to pay for it?

    WatchmenFull 1to12

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/19690289/Watchmen-Full-1-to-12-PDF-Version

    • I’m a big fan of Carlin’s. Very smart – very funny – also very cynical (and for good reason, admittedly). He was unfortunately a leftie – a contradiction (to his own professed ideals) he never quite realized.

      On religion: It seems to me the most any of us can honestly say is, I don’t know. Is it possible there’s something outside of nature as we comprehend it (i.e., the supernatural)? Maybe, maybe not. We can”t really know. Because our senses are limited, our perception imperfect, our intellect far from omniscient.

      So, I’m open to possibilities – to evidence and new facts. Conjecture, even. The only thing I can’t abide – because it seems deranged to me – is anyone asserting certainty and knowledge when it comes to these things. That they “know” Jesus, for instance. That the Bible is “the word of god” – not the work of men. (Same as regards the other religions – it’s not my intention to single out Christianity.)

  3. Hello, Eric.

    “This is fun!”

    Yes, and no. It is a serious subject though. Remember – death, judgement, heaven or hell.

    “…Holy Trinity by reason…”

    Because it does not contradict reason, because it is consistent in and with the body of the faith, because without it Chritianity would fall. I don’t expect you to understand this since you don’t understand Christianity.

    “The reference to theoretical physics is interesting but note that (at best) multi-dimensional reality is a scientific theory (not proved by any means but at least subject to the rules of evidence testing and repeatability). Religious assertions are not verifiable or even really testable by any objective criteria, so it’s disingenuous to try to equate a religious assertion with a scientific theory.”

    No analogy is perfect. However, my point is valid insofar as the postulated dimensions are not capable of being grasped by our finite minds. After we die we live on in eternity. Our minds can not grasp the existence of a place where there is no time, only an eternal now. We will find out, that’s for sure.

    “Yes, but the difference is I am – demonstrably, without question – a real person. I exist.”

    My point is that the Bible exists and the Church wrote it. The Bible and the Church definitely exist just as much as you do. Like I said, the writer of the book is the one to interpret its true meaning. The fact that there are at least 35 to 40 thousand different protestant churches just means they lack an infallible interpreter.

    “Yes, but – and I’m guessing you know this because you’re clearly well-read and intelligent – the Christian testaments (New and Old) also borrowed heavily from even earlier “pagan” traditions and texts, for example the Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Sumeria, Osiris from Egypt, Mithra, Sol Invictus… etc. The notion of a god who dies and rises is a very ancient one indeed that far predates both Christianity and its Judaic forbear.”

    There are similarities in stories but those stories taken as a whole are quite different. Note, I did not say that glimpses of the truth were not given to the pagans. It was certainly given to the pagan Greeks.

    “Do you or do you not believe in “God”? If not, did you examine the proofs of his existence and rejected them? Why? What was lacking? If you do, do you seek to learn more of what He is in all His magnificence? If not, why not?”

    “My answer is: I do not know – and more, that no one knows…”

    And here is the crux of the matter. You don’t know. Again, referencing my original post, you wrote an article about something you don’t know about. You wrote like you did, but you don’t. Because Eric doesn’t know Eric said no one knows. Because Eric does not have certainty, no one has certainty. It bothers you. Why? I can’t even begin to guess.

    You also did not answer my questions on the proofs of God’s existence though natural reason. It’s okay, I don’t need to know your answers. What is important is you answering them for yourself. You have to do your own homework. You appear to rail against what you think can never be known with any certainty yet you won’t read or meditate on the works of those who have already done the heavy lifting for you.

    I think it was the philosopher/mathematician Lessing who said: “If God exists and we live as if He did, and then we die and He doesn’t exist, we have lost nothing. If God exists and we ignore Him in this life, and then we die, we have lost everything.” This strikes me as an appeal to one’s self-interest if anything. Worth pondering, anyway.

    With this post I am leaving this thread. You can PM me if you want to continue but I want to go back to reading about cars.

    StanTheMan

    • Dear Stan,

      Actually it was Blaise Pascal, and his idea was called “Pascal’s Wager.”

      Pascal’s Wager (also known as Pascal’s Gambit) is an argument in apologetic philosophy which was devised by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist, Blaise Pascal. It posits that there’s more to be gained from wagering on the existence of God than from atheism, and that a rational person should live as though God exists, even though the truth of the matter cannot actually be known.

      Sad to say, the reasoning is flawed, for several reasons.

      For one, the issue isn’t yes/no. It’s multiple choice. Adherents to the major world religions all make the same claim. Pick us and you will be saved. Pick one of those others and you will be damned.

      For another, adherents to Christianity say that Christianity tests its adherents. Job was deliberately put through the wringer to test his faith. Who really knows what those tests are? Maybe the “one true god” is testing adherents for self-reliance. Only those who refuse to blindly believe in “Him” pass the test. Maybe Pascal lost his wager.

      Bear in mind, I don’t buy any theistic premises to begin with. I’m merely applying the theists’ own “logic” and turning it against them.

  4. Eric, I would think an effective anti-communist writer like you would be concerned about an atheistic post-Christian state. Ayn Rand likes to separate natural law from Christianity – take just the rights and values without the Faith. If you haven’t read them before, you might like Buckley on Rand and Tocqueville on America.

    “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church. ….As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.” -Archbishop Fulton Sheen

    • Hey Frank,

      I understand where you’re coming from but don’t agree that natural law = Christianity is true/correct (insofar as the theological doctrines). Don’t steal; don’t covet; don’t lie; don’t kill. Treat others decently and fairly – just as you’d like to be treated by them. Etc. These are excellent rules – essential rules – for a civilized society. But can they exist independently of belief/faith in the doctrines of the Christian religion? I think they can. Heck, I know they can – at least in one case (my own). I don’t steal, covet, murder, etc. – and I’m not a Christian. I don’t do those things because I’m not a sociopath. If I don’t want those things done to me, I should not do them to others. And as a human being, with empathy for others, I would not want to do those things to others because I can imagine how I’d feel if those things were done to me.

      I’m certain there are others out there who know “the rules” without needing to have faith/belief in one specific (man-created) assertion about the existence of a supernatural being/lawgiver.

      PS Buckley was an intellectual thug and a sell-out; a tool of the warfare-corporatist state. Brilliant? Certainly. But a true friend of individual liberty and small government? Heck no. Among other things he did that are unforgivable (to me): He cynically destroyed the careers (and tried to destroy the lives) of great men – far better men than he – such as Joe Sobran.

      PS PS: Joe was a dedicated Catholic but abjured force and respected free thought – two things Buckley and his fellow Court Conservatives could never abide.

      • One thing seems true. You don’t just write about the rights and freedoms of the regular guy. You also make time for your readers. No hypocrisy in that.

        • I enjoy the back and forth! (Provided it’s intelligent back and forth… which excludes Clover..)

          PS: I’m not an atheist. I just don’t know – and don’t believe that it’s possible for any of us to know We can conjecture; we can have opinions. But ultimately, we are in the dark. The thing I don’t like is certainty when it comes to religious discussion.

  5. I can never understand libertarian criticism of Christianity. If it wasn’t for Christianity there would be no libertarianism. The ideas of personal freedom sprung from enlightment era religious folks such as John Locke. Furthermore the only society that ever existed that was remotely libertarian was the highly Christian colonial era US. It is highly likely that without Christ there would be no modern concept of freedom. Did the muslims come up with one? The hindus? the Confuscians?

    John Adams wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Truer words were never spoken. As amerika becomes less Christian it becomes less free and has been pointed out many times on this site the Constitution is nearly a dead issue in this country.

    Furthermore any arguement that Christianity is in some was responsible for violence or wars has not been true for centuries. And as far as any argument that the “religious right” is working agaisnt personal freedom and/or influencing the govt in some direction of anti-freedom one only need look at the main issues of the Christian right-gay marriage/rights, and abortion. In which direction is this country headed on those issues?

    Libertarians should be diehard supporters of Christians. There is virtually no connection between state and church in this country, (unless you count judaism), and churchs are privately run and completely financed by their members.

    In the end who is it better living next to and sharing a government with? A devoutly religious person who obeys God’s laws in the hope of realizing some sort of heaven or paradise through good works and prayer— or a secular humanist who believes that the govt exists to create that paradise here on earth, using your money and expropriating your freedom in the attempt?

    • My question isn’t with some of the moral tenets of Christianity; it’s whether Christianity is anything more thn another human construct. The idea of “live and let live” or “do unto others” is great but doesn’t require belief in the Christian God(s)… does it?

      On a personal note, I’m (obviously) not the least bit religious, however, morally, I think you’d be ok living next to me since I don’t believe in taking your property or forcing you to do anything against your will.

  6. “I have heard recondite elaborations about “forms” of the same God, or “aspects” and what have you – but that (to me) is an evasion and besides, in the Bible, there is clearly a conversation going on between two distinct beings; either that or this God is talking to himself.”

    I don’t know exactly what you mean here. I can say that you can not understand fully what the Bible says by only reading the Bible. In order to understand it you need to ask the writer. The Catholic Church wrote it and interprets it. I suggest you start referencing Churh writings on the subject.

    An immortal, supernatural being can die and suffer by taking on physical form. The suffering and death is of the physical form, not the spiritual form which can not die. Just like our own souls.

    “And how is it a moral ideal to subject an innocent to a horrible death in lieu of the actually guilty?”

    In this life we don’t know. But not all suffering is a bad thing. Remember, God is not the author of evil, he only permits it.

    “If say Christianity is the right/true religion why does most of the world – or a very large part of it – believe otherwise? Why are their religions less right/true than Christianity? What objective facts can you point to that demonstrate one religion is right/true and the others false?”

    This question is too big to be answered in a blog. But it is true that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church and the Truth is found within it. That is a big statement to make but it must be said regardless. In another way I don’t understand what you are saying because I don’t know what you mean by “objective facts”.

    • Hey Stan,

      Ok, let me get at this a little, if I may:

      Words are essentially shorthand for concepts; they have to have specific, agreed-upon meanings – or else they are meaningless. A “duck” is a specific type of waterfowl. It cannot also be a snake. Or a dog. Or a duck and snake and a dog all at once. When a person says, “I see a duck” he is describing a particular thing that cannot also be another thing, at least not without making coherent communication impossible.

      As I understand the term, “monotheism” means one god. If a given religion claims to be monotheistic but in fact worships more than one god then by definition it is not monotheistic.

      That’s my premise.

      Christianity claims to be monotheistic, yet (as I read the Bible and understand the doctrines) God has a son, Jesus, who is a distinct/separate entity. Now, I understand the Christian position that really Jesus is just an aspect of God, a manifestation of God in human form, etc. But – and I mean no offense here – this strikes me as incoherent, given that the Christian Jesus clearly (to me, as I read the Bible) has conversations with another entity – his “father,” God. “If it be thy will”…. “father, why hast thou forsaken me”…. etc. It is hard to reconcile such passages with the concept of a single God. Is Jesus/God just talking to himself, or play-acting for the sake of the people?

      Maybe you have an explanation that addresses this dilemma…

      “I can say that you can not understand fully what the Bible says by only reading the Bible. In order to understand it you need to ask the writer.”

      This (seems) to be another way of expressing the argument, “You can’t really know the truth of the Bible unless you have faith in the Bible.” In other words, that only believers can truly understand.

      To me, this is circular reasoning that evades the demand of the questioner for some actual proof that the claims/assertions made are factual rather than gratuitous assertions. It amounts to, “just trust me” – or “just because.” The sort of vague, non-answer, in other words, that parents often use to silence children with an appeal to authority (vs. reason).

      All the evidence suggests that the Bible was written by men. Parsed and translated and edited by men. Men who selectively picked (and excluded) this vs. that. The assertion that God “inspired” it is fine, but has no more support (that I can see) than similar and equal claims made by, among others, Muslims about the Koran.

      “In this life we don’t know. But not all suffering is a bad thing. Remember, God is not the author of evil, he only permits it.”

      Then how can you accept it? I know… on faith. But that doesn’t work for me. For me, something that makes no sense is something I question – and reject – if it doesn’t stand up to reason and morality.

      “This question is too big to be answered in a blog. But it is true that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church and the Truth is found within it.”

      I agree the Catholic Church is the original Christian Church, but when you say “true” Church do you mean “correct” or “right” church? If you do, are all the other branches of Christianity wrong? All the other religions of the world?

      Why?

      “I believe” or “it is written” or “you must have faith,” etc. isn’t sufficient… not for me, at least.

      • Hello, Eric.

        Ok, let me get at this a little, if I may:

        Words are essentially shorthand for concepts; they have to have specific, agreed-upon meanings – or else they are meaningless. A “duck” is a specific type of waterfowl. It cannot also be a snake. Or a dog. Or a duck and snake and a dog all at once. When a person says, “I see a duck” he is describing a particular thing that cannot also be another thing, at least not without making coherent communication impossible.

        –Excellent! You have accurately described the principal of non-contradiction as defined by the ancient Greeks. “A” can not be “non-A” in the same way at the same time. It is the beginning of logic and metaphysics.

        As I understand the term, “monotheism” means one god. If a given religion claims to be monotheistic but in fact worships more than one god then by definition it is not monotheistic.

        That’s my premise.

        –Okay, I accept that definition.

        Christianity claims to be monotheistic, yet (as I read the Bible and understand the doctrines) God has a son, Jesus, who is a distinct/separate entity. Now, I understand the Christian position that really Jesus is just an aspect of God, a manifestation of God in human form, etc. But – and I mean no offense here – this strikes me as incoherent, given that the Christian Jesus clearly (to me, as I read the Bible) has conversations with another entity – his “father,” God. “If it be thy will”…. “father, why hast thou forsaken me”…. etc. It is hard to reconcile such passages with the concept of a single God. Is Jesus/God just talking to himself, or play-acting for the sake of the people?

        Maybe you have an explanation that addresses this dilemma…

        –Yes, I do. Although we can arrive at the existence of “God” by the light of natural reason we can not (as the Church teaches) arrive at the Holy Trinity by reason. Why? Because it is beyond reason and only known through the light of revelation. This is a difficult concept, even the Greeks understood that they could not complete their system “unless perhaps some god came down to teach us”. God did just that hundreds of years later. God is one, however he consists of three separate beings; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our mortal minds can not conceive of this, that there can be one and yet three. One way to explain it is by referencing Albert Einstein who said that there are more than 4 dimensions that can be proved in physics. However, he said our mind can not conceive of these dimensions because we do not exist in them, do not experience them, yet they can be proved mathematically to exist. This is the divine revelation of one God yet consisting of three persons. Try to think of a triangle consisting of three equal sides. It is one triangle yet it has three sides that make it up.

        Jesus Christ was both God and man. The Church uses a special word for this – the hypostatic union.

        “I can say that you can not understand fully what the Bible says by only reading the Bible. In order to understand it you need to ask the writer.”

        This (seems) to be another way of expressing the argument, “You can’t really know the truth of the Bible unless you have faith in the Bible.” In other words, that only believers can truly understand.

        To me, this is circular reasoning that evades the demand of the questioner for some actual proof that the claims/assertions made are factual rather than gratuitous assertions. It amounts to, “just trust me” – or “just because.” The sort of vague, non-answer, in other words, that parents often use to silence children with an appeal to authority (vs. reason).

        — No, not like that at all. Look, if I am talking about automobiles, their history and current incarnations, and there is some dispute between myself and someone else I would turn to you and say “Eric (Mr. Expert), what do you say about the relative merits of carburetion vs. fuel injection? I guess you could settle the matter. Or maybe a dispute about what the author really meant in the book “Automotive Atrocities: The Cars We Love to Hate” in a certain paragraph? Who is the final authority on meaning in that book? Considering that anyone with a less than 8th grade education is running around now-a-days pontificating about what the “Bible really means” this is a really important question that needs to be addressed.

        All the evidence suggests that the Bible was written by men. Parsed and translated and edited by men. Men who selectively picked (and excluded) this vs. that. The assertion that God “inspired” it is fine, but has no more support (that I can see) than similar and equal claims made by, among others, Muslims about the Koran.

        — The Bible was “written” 300 years after Christ’s birth. There were a lot of so called ‘books’ that weren’t really part of the deposit of faith that were floating around causing no end of scandal. In fact, when the Church read them all it selected the current New Testament out of over 900 books that were in existence. Most all of them were Gnostic and rejected for that reason. It is true that the Church was correct because those books chosen do not contradict the deposit of faith. Also, just because some pagan heretic wrote the Koran doesn’t make it a holy book. In fact, he ripped off stuff from the Old and New Testaments. I know this personally because I attended a service in a mosque a couple of weeks ago where they quoted the New Testament!

        “In this life we don’t know. But not all suffering is a bad thing. Remember, God is not the author of evil, he only permits it.”

        Then how can you accept it? I know… on faith. But that doesn’t work for me. For me, something that makes no sense is something I question – and reject – if it doesn’t stand up to reason and morality.

        — Supernatural faith. Given to me by grace. But leave that aside for now. Do you or do you not believe in “God”? If not, did you examine the proofs of his existence and rejected them? Why? What was lacking? If you do, do you seek to learn more of what He is in all His magnificence? If not, why not?

        “This question is too big to be answered in a blog. But it is true that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church and the Truth is found within it.”

        I agree the Catholic Church is the original Christian Church, but when you say “true” Church do you mean “correct” or “right” church? If you do, are all the other branches of Christianity wrong? All the other religions of the world?

        Why?

        — I mean “right” and “true” and the “only Church founded by God Himself with a personal representative in Rome”. All other faiths are false. Period. All other religions are wrong. Period. I mean the principal of identity, truth is truth. Truth can not be non-truth. Period.

        “I believe” or “it is written” or “you must have faith,” etc. isn’t sufficient… not for me, at least.

        — Fair enough. That is where you are right now. Me? I went through atheism, agnosticism, eastern religions, Protestantism and then finally found the Truth. A long journey but worth it.

        Eric, meditate on the four last things: Death, judgement,
        heaven, hell. You ARE going to die and something is going to happen to you.

        Look, I can’t convince or convert anyone. God does that. All I’m saying is that if you are going to write about religion then know something about it. What you wrote in your article is something that could be answered in a Theology 101 class. That said, I repeat that I admire and respect your work in the automotive field.

        Just for fun, and you being a Libertarian and all, check out Thomas Wood’s “The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy” at Amazon.com and then read Christopher A. Ferrara’s response in “The Church and the Libertarian A Defense of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on Man, Economy, and State”. You can find it at http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2010-ferrara-church-libertarian.htm. I’m in my 2nd reading of that book. Yes, at one time I was a Libertarian! 🙂

        All the Best,
        StanTheMan

        • Hi Stan,

          This is fun!

          All right. Let me respond to some of the points you’ve raised.

          You wrote:

          “…we can not (as the Church teaches) arrive at the Holy Trinity by reason. Why? Because it is beyond reason and only known through the light of revelation.”

          Well, ok – but how is this different than someone stating that “x” is really (or also) “y” but it’s beyond human reason and can only be comprehended (but not explained to others) by an appeal to “revelation” – which amounts to, “I just believe this but I can’t prove it or even explain it – that is, define it, demonstrate it – except by saying, “I just believe it to be true”?

          The reference to theoretical physics is interesting but note that (at best) multi-dimensional reality is a scientific theory (not proved by any means but at least subject to the rules of evidence testing and repeatability). Religious assertions are not verifiable or even really testable by any objective criteria, so it’s disingenuous to try to equate a religious assertion with a scientific theory.

          You wrote:

          “Look, if I am talking about automobiles, their history and current incarnations, and there is some dispute between myself and someone else I would turn to you and say “Eric (Mr. Expert), what do you say about the relative merits of carburetion vs. fuel injection? I guess you could settle the matter. Or maybe a dispute about what the author really meant in the book “Automotive Atrocities: The Cars We Love to Hate” in a certain paragraph? Who is the final authority on meaning in that book? Considering that anyone with a less than 8th grade education is running around now-a-days pontificating about what the “Bible really means” this is a really important question that needs to be addressed.”

          Yes, but the difference is I am – demonstrably, without question – a real person. I exist. God is asserted to exist. You take it as a given that not only does God exist, but that it’s the Christian God who exists. But all we know – that is, all that can be shown with evidence and proof – is that a book called the Bible exists and that it was written and edited and parsed by men over a period of many years. Anything more than this is conjecture – faith/belief. How is such conjecture based on faith/belief any more objectively correct than the faith/belief-based conjecture of others (including the endless interpretations of what Christianity is among Christians themselves)?

          You write:

          “Also, just because some pagan heretic wrote the Koran doesn’t make it a holy book. In fact, he ripped off stuff from the Old and New Testaments. I know this personally because I attended a service in a mosque a couple of weeks ago where they quoted the New Testament!”

          Yes, but – and I’m guessing you know this because you’re clearly well-read and intelligent – the Christian testaments (New and Old) also borrowed heavily from even earlier “pagan” traditions and texts, for example the Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Sumeria, Osiris from Egypt, Mithra, Sol Invictus… etc. The notion of a god who dies and rises is a very ancient one indeed that far predates both Christianity and its Judaic forbear.

          You write:

          “Do you or do you not believe in “God”? If not, did you examine the proofs of his existence and rejected them? Why? What was lacking? If you do, do you seek to learn more of what He is in all His magnificence? If not, why not?”

          My answer is: I do not know – and more, that no one knows. We all have opinions; some have belief (faith). But no one can say they know – in the sense of certainty, in the way that 2 plus 2 equals four – that they know anything about the existence of God, let alone what this God’s nature and wishes may be. My mind is open to reason – to evidence and proof. I discount nothing (unless it’s been shown to be false) and am more than willing to entertain any claim or assertion made about anything… provided it’s more than just an assertion.

          You write:

          “All other faiths are false. Period. All other religions are wrong. Period. I mean the principal of identity, truth is truth. Truth can not be non-truth. Period.”

          That’s a mighty strong universal/absolute statement that can’t be backed up by anything other than “it’s my opinion/belief” (based on faith). Right? You can assert it to be the case, and I understand that you believe it to be the case – but unless you can demonstrate it to be the case, then your assertion’s no stronger, no more factual, than a similar statement made by a Muslim or any other believer.

          This is a thing that troubles me greatly. I mean the militant certainty – and the often blithe dismissiveness toward other beliefs that’s expressed along with it. How can you (or anyone) be so certain when others are equally certain who hold opposite beliefs and neither can point to facts or evidence (other than “I believe,” it is written,” “faith shows me,” etc.)?

          I mean no offense; that stuff just creeps me out a little bit. No, a lot!

  7. Fair enough.

    “So why do so many people so easily accept the obvious contradictions; the childish anthropomorphism of religious belief?”

    Insult and belittle your opponent right off the bat? Not exactly fair, is it? Isn’t that what they do to Libertarians?

    What contradictions are you speaking about here? How is religious belief a “childish anthropomorphism”? Christianity says we reflect our creator but not in all ways. God is not man.

    “The claims to universality preached by all religions – despite the obvious fact that each of them is/was the product of a regional culture confined to a certain portion of the earth (and its people) as well as a particular moment in time?”

    Not all religions teach universality of their belief, take the Romans for instance. If you deny the existence of God than I guess you can say that religions are the product of a certain culture/time, but it does not follow that because a society or culture defined a religious belief that it is limited to that culture if God exists and they speak a truth about Him. It may use its own words and experiences to describe something but it does not mean that what it is explaining is not true. If it is true it is universal by definition. Finding the truth is not easy, thats for sure.

    “How come they don’t notice that religions come – and go? That the Romans of 2,000 years ago believed as fervently in their pantheon of Gods (and a thousand years before them, the Egyptians in theirs) as current-era Christians believe in their God?”

    Odd that you mention the Romans who didn’t believe in the universality of their gods. They were quite accepting of all religions that crossed their path as long as they paid their taxes. But I think you are confusing “religions” per se in what we would generally call Paganism. Now, Paganism is a very popular religion, in fact it is the dominant religion today here in America and the Western world. It just has a different name now, that’s all. But the Christian religion that appeared on the scene was not pagan, in fact it was its antithesis. To say it was just another religion and lump it in with all the pagan cults and then say “see, they are all the same” is not quite right, I think.

    I have quoted your premises. Logically what you say follows in the rest of your article, but if the premises are false than the likelihood of your conclusions being true is very slim.I don’t accept them as true. God does exist and can be known to exist by the light of human reason. The Greeks understood this quite well, from Socrates through Plato to Aristotle. This early Greek thought was later reconciled with the Church by Thomas Aquinas.

    There are extremely well thought out and argued reasons for the existence of God and his Church. These men and many others were towering intellects who in no way could be accused of “wishful thinking”, “sloppy thinking”, “ignorance”, having “succumbed to social pressure” (to what pressure? To die in the colosseum?), or “early pressure”.

    You are, of course, free to reject what these men (as just a small sample) say but please don’t reject what they have to say until you have correctly understood what it is they’re actually saying. Don’t set up a straw man or a caricature of religious thought to knock down.

    I stand on my original post. I think you are an excellent automotive journalist, but I don’t think you are a very good theologian.

    StanTheMan

    • Damn Stan, I have not heard dialogue on this level since my university days. The guys making it then had PhD’s. Are you a professor? I’m not being sarcastic.

    • You sound well spoken. I wish I could remember all of the details about Christianity. I would need to read more on the writings of the church fathers and other church documents, including the Bible.

  8. I think you’re out of your league with this one, Eric. I mean, I come to your site for your quite apparent extensive knowledge of the motoring world. Likewise some of your political work. Maybe it’s not as up to speed like a Justin Raimondo or Lew Rockwell but I can tell you done some serious homework.

    I can’t say you’ve done much of that in the religious sphere. If you did, you wouldn’t have written what you did. I think you’re just speculating at what you see without investigating further. It strikes me like someone writing “Yeah, my ‘ol man bought one them foreign jobbers and it was a real piece of junk. Ya’ gotta stay away from ’em and git yurself a Ford!” On this site that statement would be deservedly laughed at. It would probably fly on a religious site though. After all, you wouldn’t expect the Pope to be a master mechanic.

    StanTheMan

    • Hey Stan,

      Well, ok – but can you tell me specifically what you take issue with? I’ve never once heard a sensible, coherent explanation for such (to me) apparent contradictions as this odd (and very anthropomorphic) business about a monotheistic god who has a son – just for openers.

      I have heard recondite elaborations about “forms” of the same God, or “aspects” and what have you – but that (to me) is an evasion and besides, in the Bible, there is clearly a conversation going on between two distinct beings; either that or this God is talking to himself.

      Also, how does an immortal, supernatural being die or even suffer (physically)?

      And how is it a moral ideal to subject an innocent to a horrible death in lieu of the actually guilty?

      If say Christianity is the right/true religion why does most of the world – or a very large part of it – believe otherwise? Why are their religions less right/true than Christianity? What objective facts can you point to that demonstrate one religion is right/true and the others false?

      I’m not trying to be sarcastic. I’d like serious answers, straight answers…

  9. Now how’s that for a deliberate misapplication of a post. I was analyzing religion not driving, Clover. Read my post again. If I had been dicussing cyclists and cycling I would have made that quite clear and the post would probably have been a lot longer and more explicit.

    Ken.

    • Ken… danger! Danger Will Robinson! You are about to enter the Clover Zone… where logic and reason are suspended. Where flying non sequiturs and oleaginous emoting can strike at any time!

      • Luckily I have my trusty full face helmet to protect me from the low flying non sequiturs, the oleaginous bit is more worrying though as it can make the roads very slippery. However, confident in my belief that I, and I alone am the master of my destiny, I drive with 61 years of driving experience burnt into my brain, with my eyes wide open, scanning as far ahead as I can see, with my brain totally engaged with the task of driving or riding. No passengers talking, no radio, no CB,no cigarettes, coffee or sandwiches, nothing to distract me from the task in hand. Maybe that is why I have seen so many potential accidents, before they have happened, and have manouvered my car and its passengers out of danger. I am pleased that my local police force now agree with me that there is probably no such thing as an ‘accident’, and have changed their RTA report wording and vehicle signwriting. No longer do they refer to ‘accidents’ and ‘accident investigation’, now they refer to ‘collisions’ and their vehicles are identifies as ‘Collision Investigation Team’ vehicles. In the majority of cases it is not just one person who causes what is euphemistically referred to as an ‘accident’. Usually it is one person who either does something stupid, dangerous, or makes a mistake and one or more other people who do not react to the error or are so far divorced from the task in hand that they are not even aware of it until it is too late to take avoiding or corrective action. With around two million miles under my belt, on ‘bikes and in cars, I have two collisions which were my fault on my record. One, in my twenties, was due to my failure to correctly assess the amount of grip on a downhill section of wet road overhung by lime trees whose sap had made the road very slippery. I slid into the back of the vehicle in front when it stopped suddenly. The other, last year, was a car-park nudge where, in a tight space, I underestimated the width of my front bumper by about half an inch and creased the rear side panel of another car.

        Ken.

  10. I do think that religion for Eric would be a good thing. Most religions are about getting along with others. Far cry from an anyting goes attitude around here.

    • Yep, I sooo agree. I just love the way Protestants get on with Catholics, Muslims get on the Christians, Jews get on with nobody – wake up Clover, religion is for the weak willed masses who need to believe that ‘something’ out there is ‘looking after them’ because they have neither the will nor the courage to understand that one’s life is totally in one’s own hands. The main thrust of religion is for its leaders to make rich pickings from the gullible and have a nice easy life. If the various churches were really practising what they preach they would not have billions ($/£, etc)stashed away in their coffers, hoards of gold and silver, or cellars full of fine wines (read Vatican), they would have already have distributed it to those who really need help and support. The wish to help others is not aided by magnificent architecture, fancy robes and rich panoply of office – that is just to impress the weak willed masses who, incredibly, give up their hard earned wealth to those who have done nothing to deserve or earn it.

      Ken.

      • No Ken, my life is not in my own hands. It is in the hands of the guys on the highway that think they are such good drivers that they can tailgate or drive 30 mph faster than others or weave through traffic like race car drivers or a trucker that thinks they can driver 75 mph safely on most roads. Maybe the driver that thinks he can drive 70 mph on snow packed roads. Every one of these cases I have seen to cause major accidents.

  11. Essentially religion as an institution (notice that the most peaceful religions have poor or nonexistent institutional systems) is a political power structure much like the state. Both are set up and designed to manipulate people. To use their social tendencies against them to control them. As fewer people believe in religious tales new secular ones are being substituted. People are just as easily convinced of secular religious beliefs such as “climate change”. But the reoccurring theme from the oldest religions to today’s environmentalism is that we all need to obey the ruling class or something horrible will happen to us.

    It’s a system by sociopaths for sociopaths.

    For people to be immune to this, they have to be better developed or perhaps broken in some way that the social tricks don’t work on them, but not evil enough to be a sociopath and use that immunity for his own advantage at the expense of others.

    Perhaps the cruelest thing of all is how people turn on those who see the scam and try to save others from it. The situation so warped that a major religion developed from the life of a man who opposed the state, military, and banking interests of his day, a religion that is now used to support the state, the military, and through that the banking interests.

    • Brent, that was top drawer! I especially liked: “For people to be immune to this, they have to be better developed or perhaps broken in some way that the social tricks don’t work on them, but not evil enough to be a sociopath and use that immunity for his own advantage at the expense of others.” I think you’re on to something important there…

        • Much of it (organized religion) is so – to us – obviously fraudulent or at least suspicious, that you’d think most people would at least question it. But they don’t. Ken’s observations about the bejeweled (and Prada-wearing) opulence of the Catholic Church (and also many evangelical mega-churches) for example. The startling thing is that the millions who revere the Pope (or send checks to the evangelical cretins) are not – strictly speaking – stupid in the sense of having borderline low or out-and-out retard-level IQs. Many are employed in various skilled labor and white collar professions. They seem rational in other aspects of everyday life. But glaring (again, to us) contradictions such as a representative of a religion whose core doctrines explicitly eschew and even renounce material wealth living like a Medieval prince, surrounded by million-dollar artwork in a baroque castle that makes Donald Trump’s home look like an Arkansas double-wide doesn’t faze them at all.

          The constant money-grubbing. The hypocrisy… If a (self-proclaimed) “man of God” does it…. blank out.

          Ditto the gruesome history of repression and violence. All in a good cause. Or “errors” to be dismissed by pointing to the (cough) “good works” that religions do.

    • Dudes, there was a state trooper hiding in the center highway bushes this morning on the way to work. I was not speeding and the V1 sniffed his ass out way ahead of time, but still. Shit is just ridiculous that they are hiding in the bushes like a fucking deer hunter. I mean WTF!

      • I would not worry until you start seeing their victims draped on the hood of the car. 😉

        Of course you know that he is hiding there for safety. It would not be as safe if he was clearly visible on the side of the road.

        Sad thing is that even if he was clearly visible on the side of the road, there still would be some idiots that would not notice him and speed on by him.

      • Yes some people do not have a clue. Since cops can not be everywhere the only way they can get people to drive like they are supposed to and not 128 mph on the highway in traffic is to not allow the people advance warning where they are. If they move around and are hidden until you get up to them, they can do their job 1000 times better. If they are in site miles before they can catch you speeding you will slow down for the minute or two it takes to get by them. If you do not know where they are you will follow the laws closer all the time. No rocket science there. It is kind of like making the police put there hands up and are not able to protect themselves until they have already taken a bullet.clover's picture

        • Clover, what IS their job exactly?? Is it to hide, ambush productive citizens, and exact a tribute payment or tax for the “state”? Or is it to make driving safer? Or god forbid, could it be to do some , oh I dunno, POLICE WORK and find an actual REAL CRIMINAL and arrest them?? See Clover, a crime involves some hurt or trespass to another entity. Speeding is not a “crime”. If it were, who exactly is the victim? Speeding is an administrative offense. You have violated some arbitrary speed set by some office worker. Exceeding that does no harm to another, therefor it is not a crime. The government however has decided that a more “profitable” use of a highly trained police officer is to produce revenue for the state, instead of protecting and serving the taxpayers that are robbed at gunpoint to pay their salaries in the first place.

          • Dom, I’ve already been pulled over twice because two different cops didn’t like how I looked at them… in other words for what he thought I was thinking. We are almost there.

          • Very simple jesse. Speeding does kill or at the very least causes more accidents. There are thousands of stats that say so. People with speeding tickets have been proven to cause insurance companies more money in payouts. That is a fact. People that get speeding tickets cause more accidents. If speeding does not make a difference then there would be no difference in the accident rates but there most certainly is a difference. If you could prove differently then all you would have to do is go to the state insurance regulators but the fact is the stats are against you. If speeding makes no difference then if your rate would go up by your company, you would be able to easily go to another company that advertises low rates for speeders and if there was no difference in expenses they would make a huge profit. The fact is that all companies know better and know the facts.

            I challenge you to come up with facts that are different than what 90% of people already know.

            • Sorry Clover, that’s simply not true (no matter how many times you repeat it, like some kind of demented half-wit parrot). Just one example will suffice to make the point: The accident/fatality rate on highways is at an all-time low even though speed limits (and average traveling speeds) are higher now than they’ve been in years.

              If you had the education/smarts to process this info you’d understand that by definition this nugget o’ fact reveals the fallacy of your belief that “speed kills.”

              What’s dangerous is not speed per se. It is inappropriate speed – which can be too fast or too slow.

              But I know you don’t – can’t – understand the distinction. Which is why you’re a Clover.

          • I think stupid people are more responsible for deaths than speeding people. The serious problem is when the stupid people start speeding.

            • Exactly so. Clover and his ilk are like a broken clock that always says it’s 1 o’ clock. To them, it’s only fast driving that’s “unsafe” – even though slow driving can be and often is much more objectively dangerous. For instance, a good driver in a late-model sport sedan with excellent tires and brakes running 80 MPH on the highway is less a danger to himself and others than the Clover who slows down (or stops) on a merge ramp, then creeps in front of cars traveling 20-30 MPH faster.

              But who is more likely to be ticketed?

              Another case in point is the Clover obstructing traffic by driving slower than the normal flow of traffic. Despite the objectively dangerous conditions the Clover creates by his actions, he is largely immune from being ticketed. Meanwhile, if one of the cars stuck behind the Clover exceeds the speed limit as he makes a move to pass the Clover – even if it’s just for a moment and the opposite lane is completely clear – he’s in danger of being ticketed if a cop witnesses it.

              Keep in mind that Clover has no mind. He’s an automaton; a closed-loop system that regurgitates what he’s been fed by the “authority” he worships with almost religious fervor.

          • No matter what the speed there is always space for some stupid driver who doesn’t pay attention to move in front of you. If you’re driving 18mph, they move out three feet in front of you. It’s a question of timing, not speed.

            I’ve seen speed kills advocates for everything from slow enough not to kill a pedestrian (~25mph and slower) to 45mph to 55mph and even 70mph. All these speed kills types thought their speed was best. The “logic” is always the same, to compensate for someone who might make a mistake or do something stupid. In other words everyone else had to compensate for them. They don’t want to be bothered with putting effort towards driving, they want to shove it on to everyone else.

            • Clover’s logic is reductio ad absurdum: The faster you go the more dangerous, by definition. Speed (that is, exceeding whatever the speed limit is) is necessarily dangerous. Ipso facto. That is his view. No nuance. No allowance for other factors.

              He equates arbitrary legalisms with objective criteria; thus, when the speed limit on highways was 55 MPH, it was “unsafe speeding” to exceed that arbitrarily set number. People deserved to be ticketed and to pay higher insurance as a result of those tickets. The fact that it is now arbitrarily legal to drive at a different arbitrarily selected speed (65, 70 or 75 MPH) on those exact same highways doesn’t prompt the Clover mind to even twitch a little bit – and question whether maybe speed limits are just numbers that may – or may not – correlate to an objectively reasonable rate of travel.

              You’re dealing with someone, in other words, with not much horsepower under the hood.

          • Brent it is either reduce speeds to what the majority drive correctly with or have an extra few thousand killed in accidents. You I am sure are voting for more deaths but the people say that they do not want thousands more to die. I do not want to have someone that says they can drive at 90 mph without problem crash into my family members.

            • But Clover – oh-so-chewy Clover! – “the majority” is already speeding (traveling faster than the number on the sign) on virtually every road in the country! And “thousands” are not being killed in accidents as a result, either (see my earlier post in re the uncomfortable – for Clovers – fact that highway accident/fatality rates are lower now than they were in the past, even though travel speeds – and speed limits – are higher). Clover also whinnied like an old mule with its balls in a vise that if Congress repealed the 55 MPH limit, accident/fatality rates would skyrocket – blood in the streets! – which of course they didn’t. But Clover did not reassess his views.

              Poor ol’ Clover. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to go through life with a subnormal CPU.

          • Yes Eric the majority on the highway probably do speed if you are calling 5 or 6 mph over the the limit speeding which it is. People like your friends would be 2 feet off their bumper if they did not. So if the majority are driving a few mph over the limit do you say it is ok to drive 10 mph over the limit or 20 mph over the limit? I already know your answer. Do you also say it is ok to drive 40 mph in a 30 mph zone in a town through a neighborhood? I also know your answer to that one.

            Can you stop as fast at 40 mph as you can at 30? I know. You do not need to stop. SAFETY YOU SAY. THE CHILDREN YOU SAY. I know that since you do not have any then the killing of others makes no difference.

            • Alright, Cloveroni – let’s try to walk through this mess:

              “Yes Eric the majority on the highway probably do speed if you are calling 5 or 6 mph over the the limit speeding which it is.”

              Will you – at last – concede that if almost all the cars out there are going faster than the limit as a matter of routine that the speed limits are (generally) under-posted to begin with? That if most of the cars are already doing 5-6 over, then doing an additional 5-6 over that is hardly “unsafe”? (If you disagree, you have to take the ludicrous position that most of the cars out there just trundling along are already operating on the precarious knife edge of safe; that to go even a few MPH faster is essentially reckless – and if you take that position, well, you’re beyond help.

              “People like your friends would be 2 feet off their bumper if they did not.”

              That’s your (totally unfounded) assertion. In fact I have criticized tailgating as much as I have left-lane hogging. I never tailgate because it’s both rude and dangerous. I do pass slow-moving Clovers (double yellow or not) when I know I have sufficient time to do so.

              “So if the majority are driving a few mph over the limit do you say it is ok to drive 10 mph over the limit or 20 mph over the limit?”

              Answer: It depends. On the road and what the speed limit is on that road. On some roads (and given some speed limits) yes, 20 over the posted limit is perfectly reasonable. For example, in my area there is a spur off the major Interstate highway (I-81) called I-581. It is exactly the same as the I-81 Interstate (posted 70 at present) but I-581 is still posted 55, a relic of the old 55 MPH highway maximum, because the local asshole politicians use it as a money machine for the city. There is no objective reason to slow to 55 from 70 on this road and running 75 is no more “dangerous” than doing 75 is on I-81 or any other similar Interstate. There are examples similar to this all over the country.

              “Can you stop as fast at 40 mph as you can at 30?”

              Hugely variable, depending on the vehicle. For example, a current year sport sedan will stop in less distance from a set speed of 40 MPH than an old truck can that’s doing 30. Why should the modern sport sedan be dumbed-down to the level of the truck in terms of allowable speed? Your problem is you are by nature averse to a system that lets people use their judgment – and be held accountable as individuals when their judgment is in error – vs. writing endless ukase that binds everyone because someone might – might! – do something they probably should not do.

              “SAFETY YOU SAY. THE CHILDREN YOU SAY. I know that since you do not have any then the killing of others makes no difference.”

              Deranged. You’re the fan of cops pointing guns at people and threatening violence for absolutely no reason other than their desire to be left in peace. For instance, turning around and trying to head the other way when one sees a “safety checkpoint” up ahead. That person hasn’t done a god-damned thing and simply turning around is not “probable cause” to suspect they may have done something. But that person can expect to be hounded down by cops, who will at minimum give him a thorough once-over (and maybe much worse) for trying to skip their god-damned checkpoint, and thereby challenging their fragile sense of being Large and in Charge. You Clovers clap your hands at this – because to you, the possibility that a generic someone might be drunk or whatever is sufficient threaten anyone and everyone – for absolutely no specific reason.

          • Eric I will concede that if the limit was raised 5 or 6 mph to come up to the majority of the drivers then the average speed would increase that 5 or 6 mph witin a year. I have seen it. I know and have seen what people do. Don’t come back with the immediate testing of roads where there are cops are enforcing the new limit either.

            Yes I did not say that you tailgate but the majority of the so called above average speeders do. Increasing speeds makes that even more dangerous. Just because you are against something does not change the fact that it does happen.

            Stopping distance. I guess you are saying that we will test the poorest stopping vehicle and find the stopping distance. You then take the best car and calculate the speed off of that car. It does not matter how good of brakes you have, increased speed in any car or truck increases stopping distance a lot. Test it for yourself.

            I have seen it said on here and many places by peoople with views like yours. They say that they drive 15 mph over the limit no matter what limit is on the road. Even if it is increased by 10 mph. That is facts that have been stated by people not made up by me. I bet a million bucks that even if they increase the speed limit in Texas on a certian stretch of road to 85, there will be drivers traveling 95 or 100.

            Yes police should give you the once over for evading a road block. Such people are hundreds or thousands of times more likely to be criminals. The cops would be stupid idiots if they did otherwise.

            I have not said it is ok for police to be pointing guns at people unless they have just cause. I do agree with the police that they have the right to be able and ready to defend themselves.

            • I really shouldn’t spend any more time trying to reason with the impaired, but I can’t resist you, Cloveroni:

              “Eric I will concede that if the limit was raised 5 or 6 mph to come up to the majority of the drivers then the average speed would increase that 5 or 6 mph witin a year.”

              Ok. So what? It just indicates the speed limit is still too low. Most people will drive at what they judge to be reasonable speed for the road/conditions, etc. Your problem is you think – being a Clover – that people (other people but never you) are too dim-witted, too naturally reckless, to drive at a reasonable speed on their own, without the helpful hand of guuuuvernment to tell them what speed they should be driving. Ask yourself this: Why is it that most people can handle chainsaw or power tools safely and responsibly without a government goon telling them when/how and how much they can use them? Why is it that in other aspects of their lives, most people behave prudently and reasonably, but when they drive, you believe they have a death wise – or wish to mete death out to others? Is that really how you view the world? (Never mind, I know the answer…)

              “Yes I did not say that you tailgate but the majority of the so called above average speeders do.”

              What evidence do you have to back this up? This is just your Cloverite assertion. Good drivers don’t tailgate. And driving faster than arbitrary speed limits does not correlate with tailgating – except in your Clover mind.

              “Stopping distance. I guess you are saying that we will test the poorest stopping vehicle and find the stopping distance. You then take the best car and calculate the speed off of that car. It does not matter how good of brakes you have, increased speed in any car or truck increases stopping distance a lot.”

              No, Clover. That’s not what I wrote. I wrote that stopping distances vary from vehicle to vehicle; that car “a” (a performance car, let’s say) can come to a stop faster from 40 mph than car “b” (an old truck, let’s say) can from 30 MPH. Therefore, car “a” can by definition operate at 40 MPH as safely as car “b” can at 30 – and the driver of car “a” should not be forced by a Cloverite law to drive at 30 because other cars can’t stop as efficiently as he can. Once again, you favor a once-size-fits all system – with the “size” being determined by the least common denominator, the least capable/competent drivers on the road.

              “Yes police should give you the once over for evading a road block. “

              More proof you’re a thug – by proxy at least. And that you have no understanding of basic elements of a free society such as due process and the right to be left alone by the law until you – you as a specific individual – have either done something illegal or there is probable cause to suspect you have. That you equate not wanting to be stopped and interrogated and treated like a Soviet prole with probable cause reveals the fundamentally totalitarian – thug – mindset that defines a Clover.

          • The “Speed kills!” mantra is the automotive realm counterpart to “Readily available guns kill!”

            But both propositions are exactly wrong.

            The fatality rate on the United States interstate system is higher than that on the German Autobahn.

            The annual fatality rate (2.7 per billion km in 2009) is consistently lower than that of most other superhighway systems, including the US Interstates (4.5 in 2009).

            Furthermore, a 2005 study by the German government found that Autobahn sections without speed limits had the same accident rate as those with speed limits.

            Similarly, firearms researcher John Lott proved conclusively that “more guns equals less crime.”

            The reasons are not that mysterious. More guns overall means more guns in the hands of decent people as opposed to career criminals.

            Therefore the increased numbers of guns in the hands of the good guys has a potent deterrent effect on the bad guys.

            It’s the reason there has not, to my knowledge, ever been a Sandy Hook style massacre at an NRA or Gun Owners of America gathering.

            An interview with John R. Lott, Jr.
            author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws
            http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html

    • What I see as the problem is institutional religion. Christ certainly opposed the state, military and moneychangers and encouraged his followers to oppose the same in that they are generally against peace. Christ taught love and peace. Period. Surely those who are unloving snd unpeaceful (institutional) will not inherit the kingdom no matter what they claim they are. I consider myself a Bible believer and if you ask me I will gladly explain why. Otherwise I let the light of Christ shine through me, treating others as I want them to treat me. If someone doesn’t hold the same beliefs as I do, I don’t get bent out of shape. I just live and let live. Would I be happy if everyone believed as I do? Of course! Reality is they don’t so I live and let live. I’m a libertarian and believe in peace and love, exactly what Christ preached. You don’t have to be a Chistian to be a libertarian, but you can’t honestly call yourself a true Christian without being a true libertarian. By the way, I read epautos.com daily as well as LRC and mises.org and I enjoy just about everything you all write. Atheist, agnostic, Christian or what have you; so long as you respect my God given rights I have no problem with you. Side note: I once read what was titled a missionary rejection letter addressed to Jesus from a contemporary church committee. It perfectly described how Jesus would be treated by churches supposedly established according to His teachings. I truly think if Christ came today as his first coming, he would be mocked and murdered by his own people like what happened 2000 years ago. Religion, I’ll agree is repugnant to logic, but a relationship with Christ is neither irrational nor insanity. I’ll tell you this: the more my relationship with Christ grew the more disgusted I became with organized religion, government etc. Show me a statist Christian and I’ll show you a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      • Good stuff, MP.

        I hold no particular belief – but have no problem with the beliefs held by others. So long as those others extend the same courtesy to me (and others) in return. Live – and let live. The NAP expressed another way.

      • Only response I can come up with is amen.

        The real message of Jesus is live and let live, peace, not violence. Something the state (not to mention organized religion) can never permit.

        100% agreement on how Jesus would be treated today.

      • Great post MP. You are quite right. The organized church of today would undoubtedly do the same thing to the Carpenter from Nazareth that they did to Him back then. He would be turned over to the state to be silenced. Even the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilatus, knew that the Carpenter was innocent of any wrongdoing and washed his hands of the real crime the churchians of the day were perpetrating. You can’t have a guy going around convincing the masses that their lives are in their own hands and the true Kingdom, true power, which is spiritual, is not of this world.

        The only thing we really have control over are our own thoughts (and by extension the actions we take based on those thoughts). If we needed control over anything else our Creator would have given it to us. The Carpenter told us that he didn’t come to bring peace though, he came to create a division (Luke 12:53). Hence those of us that venerate the individual and liberty versus the collectivists who lust to control and kill the individual. He also wisely warned us to avoid the cops and the courts (Luke 12:58) and settle civil matters between ourselves. He really didn’t care much for scribes and Pharisees (Luke 11:39). He also didn’t think too highly of lawyers either (Luke 11:46). And we are advised that even though we are given liberty, not to abuse it, but to use our liberty to serve others (Gal. 5:13) which is the essence of the free market. Give and take, quid pro quo, serve others and you will be served.

        The problem has never been with the Carpenter or His message, the problem is invariably with organized religion and their misuse of his words. Let us never forget that it was the organized church of the day, working hand in glove with an imperial government that they’d cut a deal with that killed this innocent man.

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