Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More from the Jolly Nihilist

Hi JN,

I'll post this same comment here and on the relevant post at my place.
First of all, you're not on the Wall of Shame b/c you actually answer questions! You're not afraid of a good tussle, you don't run away, you respond to charges made against your position. You respond with stuff that's on-topic. You don't moderate dissenting comments into oblivion. You don't confuse attacks on your position with attacks on YOU. Those are what have earned the denizens of the WoS their hallowed place. I appreciate your modus operandi a great deal.

The point I've been trying to make about Irony #1 is, if you will, a meta-point. Let me try to explain better, since I doubt I'm doing an adequate job. In arguing against the possibility of making overarching moral claims (like my position does, you're 100% right), you yourself make the same kinds of claims.
However, I think your latest offering might have clarified what you mean and so my argument would need to be revamped. Now, I'd argue that I am 100% justified in taking what I took from your original post, given the way you worded it, but now everythg changes. The irony is more or less removed to a different spot, one that's slightly less obvious.

Moving on to irony #2 (which I found, unfortunately, to be the less interesting of the 2, haha):

Nobody reading my essay could possibly think I was directly comparing suicide bombing with Alabama’s infantile law.

You yourself said this, though: "Of course, Rhology, you must recognize that my comparison was not of methods but of mindset."
But I agree that religious freedom (which I believe the US should have) should exist and that your statements about it are correct.

I readily admit that, at this moment and for the last few centuries, Muslims behave far worse than Christians do.

Well, I'm looking for more than that! :-D Islam behaved VERY badly its first 2 centuries of existence, as an institution. The medieval RCC was bad; institutional Islam was pretty bad too, enslaved and killed far more people, and took far more territory with the sword. In the name of God and in line with their religion (see the link I posted), as opposed to the Inquisition and Crusades, neither of which are fully justifiable on biblical grounds (though the Crusades are justifiable to a decent extent).
Does that make sense?

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” [1 Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)].

But where do you get misogyny out of that? The New Testament also affirms the ontological equality of men and women in Galatians 3:28-29 and says this in Ephesians 5:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

It's a distinction of role, not of nature.
And you're right - it's SERVANT leadership, much like Christ, the Lord and Creator of the universe, space, time, matter, and energy, washing the disgusting, dirty, and manure-encrusted feet of His disciples and then dying for them, abandoned by them. That's my calling as a Christian husband.

702 were tried and executed in Protestant territories

OK, I didn't realise that about Prot territories. Of course, the Salem trials were Prot, (and executed a whopping <20 witches) but this still compares very favorably with Islam. It's not as simple as this, though. The state and church were not separated or barely separated at that time. Principles like American religious freedom were more or less unheard-of; it's anachronistic to judge them by our modern standards. Finally, I'll just remind everyone that you said above that you can't extend moral judgments beyond yourself anyway.

OK, two more: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”

It's not that I deemphasise certain psgs b/c I feel like it. The key is that this law and so many others in the OT Law were CIVIL laws given for the governance of OT Israel, which was a nation, a theocracy. OT Israel no longer exists. Those civil laws don't apply.
Tell you what, I'll post on that issue fairly soon and you can read and learn a bit.

1)“Neither [witchcraft nor sorcery] exists and neither ever has.” I also would like to grant you the opportunity to declare, for all to read, that 2) the pious people who tortured and murdered “witches” centuries ago, in your judgment, are presently in that place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

1) I disagree with this statement. They do exist. Why else would the OT Law prohibit them?
Shoot, they exist TODAY! Have you never heard of a séance, channeling, Ouija boards, mediums, Tarot card readers, thaumaturgists...?

2) I can make no statement of certainty on the state of most anyone's soul. What I can say is that those who participated in these persecutions were not wholly justified in doing so. It's not as clear-cut as I think we like to make it in modern times, but I think you wouldn't want to be judged by the standards of 24th-century people when they dig up a hard disc drive with your blog contents saved on it, someday. You'd want to be judged in the context of your thoughts, your environment.
Witchcraft was illegal in those areas at that time and was (I'd argue more or less rightly) considered a threat to civil security, so it was treated as a crime. It's not how I'd do it, but it has a fair amount to commend it - the nation would be freer of the evil influence of the occult, the people would be holier in conduct, the gross immorality that usually accompanies witchcraft would be less present, etc.
"Murder" is never justified, so I grant that. Executions after trial are quite another matter.
I don't see why torture would be justified, so I grant that.
On a related note, I believe it is documented on better-than-urban-legend grounds that Jeffrey Dahmer converted to Christianity shortly before his death. If that is true, if he placed his faith and reliance on Jesus Christ to forgive him of his sin and give him eternal life, he is my brother in Christ and will spend eternity in heaven in the presence of Jesus. I am a great sinner, Jesus Christ is a greater Savior. These Inquisitors, if they had saving faith in Christ, will be saved. If they didn't, they are condemned and stand in the exact same place as you do - hellbound. I urge you to turn away from your sin and repent, believe in the Savior. You won't regret it; I can promise you that much.



Chris said...

Shoot, they exist TODAY! Have you never heard of a séance, channeling, Ouija boards, mediums, Tarot card readers, thaumaturgists...?

Rhology, really ?
I'm honestly surprised you believe in that stuff. Where does the power to do it come from ? Lemme guess - Satan ?

Those things are some of the most mundane, boring parlour tricks. Go see a Vegas magic show if you want something really interesting.

Stick to believing in your untestable, unreproducable god, but please do some research on that other stuff, which is reproduced by magicians all the time.

You don't believe Uri Gellar or Silvia Brown really have "powers" do you ?

Kyle said...

As a like minded believer with Rhology, I have to agree that 'witchcraft' exists today. I doubt Rhology thinks that most witchcraft is real 'magic' (read demonic activity) but rather parlor tricks as you have suggested. In most instances, witches are misguided individuals searching for spiritual truth through trying to contact the dead, magic spells, tarot cards, etc. These activities do not carry any magical properties in my understanding, but they open the individual up to self deception that these things actually work and they may believe religious truths associated with these bogus practices.

Although, I will admit that it is possible in certain situations for the devil or demons to directly deceive, trick, persuade, or otherwise influence those doing witchcraft. I don't think the devil has power over the physical environment in general (without permission from God such as in Job where he caused boils) but he can influence the minds. Witchcraft does not lead people to Jesus but away from Him and therefore should be rejected.

John Morales said...

... I believe it is documented on better-than-urban-legend grounds that Jeffrey Dahmer converted to Christianity shortly before his death. If that is true, if he placed his faith and reliance on Jesus Christ to forgive him of his sin and give him eternal life, he is my brother in Christ and will spend eternity in heaven in the presence of Jesus.

Even when I was a child being indoctrinated in the Catholic faith, I had a real problem with this concept. Someone can be evil and depraved for decades, but if that person ultimately believes in Jesus and truly repents, they go to Heaven. Conversely, someone can be pious and altruistic for most of their life, but if they lose their faith at the end of their life they are to go to Hell.

Even as a child, I found that profoundly unfair - my naive intuition was that it should be the sum of good/evil one did that was judged (cf Egyptian mythos).

This was your brother in Christ:
Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer. Dahmer murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. His murders were particularly gruesome, involving rape, necrophilia and cannibalism. Dahmer served his time at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, where he ultimately declared himself a born-again Christian. A local preacher, Roy Ratcliff, met with Dahmer and agreed to baptize him.
Even in his homosexual relationships, he did not want to please his sexual partner; he just wanted to have his own pleasures. Pleasure to Dahmer meant performing oral or anal sex on his partner, whether alive or dead.

This absolute need for control led him down some pretty weird roads. One of them was a kind of lobotomy that he performed on several of his victims. Once they were drugged, he drilled holes in their skulls and injected some muriatic acid into their brains. Needless to say, it caused death right away in a few victims, but one supposedly functioned minimally for a few days before dying.

Not surprisingly, his need for control led him to dabble with Satanism. In fact, just having the bodies of his victims around him made him feel "thoroughly evil." "I have to question whether or not there is an evil force in the world and whether or not I have been influenced by it. Although I am not sure if there is a God," Dahmer said," or if there is a devil, I know that as of lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about both." He had plans to create a shrine in his apartment, featuring all of his trophies, his statue of a griffin, and incense burned in the skulls of his victims, so that he could receive "special powers and energies to help him socially and financially."

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Thanks for the quick response. I also appreciate the clarification regarding my exclusion from the Wall of Shame.

I have a few things I would add, but, in fact, not very much.

Expect a new post over the weekend.

John Morales said...

Re: reliance on Jesus Christ to forgive him of his sin and give him eternal life

I note that, in the Christian mythos, everyone gets eternal life (whether it be in Heaven or in Hell (or in Limbo [for Catholics]).

Rhology said...


It's always a pleasure to meet another Nipponophile! And you're marrying a young Japanese lady, so probably you've got me beat in that department! Wish I could come to your wedding, actually. :-D Any excuse to go to Japan.

I would say that most of today's occult and witchcraft practices are parlor tricks and deception of the gullible, yes. But the Bible informs us that Satan has power to produce false signs and miracles in order to draw worship away from God, so I doubt there's not ANY "dark" supernatural force at work in the world.
No, I don't think the popular people have special powers besides talent and lots of practice. I don't expect people who have really close relationships with Satan to advertise it, for one thing. But the Bible's description of these false miracles and such occur within a certain eschatological and deceptive context, usually, and I don't necessarily think our modern times fits the bill for that.
Finally, although I can see why it might have led you to think so, I did not intend my comment to convey that special powers exist or are widespread. I was referring simply to practices of witchcraft. Sorry for the confusion.


I hope you will take this in the serious and sober spirit with which I am writing it. Dahmer was a terrible sinner. You and I are also terrible sinners. Who was worse is irrelevant b/c we are all doomed to bear the responsibility for our own sins before God when He judges. Our escape is Jesus, who offers to take our judgment on Himself. Even someone as terrible and hideous as Dahmer or Hitler or Stalin will be saved from their terrible sin. I have been saved from my own terrible sin. You need to be saved from yours as well.
And the description of Dahmer's activities was more disgusting than I knew. Yet those were not the actions of a brother in Christ. Please understand this - when we repent and put our trust in the Savior, our sin is no longer on us, it's on Him, but that's far from the extent of it. He transforms our spirits and hearts. It is said that we become a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come. He removes our hearts of stone and gives us a heart of flesh. We are freed from slavery to sin and become slaves to righteousness. The Spirit of God comes to live in our hearts. I am not the same person I was 15 yrs ago, and if Dahmer was saved, he wasn't the same person who committed those atrocious acts.
Who knows? Perhaps God picks one notorious sinner who repented from each generation and holds him up and says, "If I can forgive Jeffrey Dahmer, I can forgive anyone of any sin."

I'd also add this (I think) well-attested quote from Dahmer:

If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then…what is the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought…I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. - Dahmer in an interview with Stone Phillips, Dateline NBC, 11/29/1994

I've made that point several times, but of course it didn't originate with me.

Finally, biblically, "eternal life" means heaven and "destruction" or "death" means hell. So it just depends on the context. But I'd agree that everyone will have eternal existence.


Chris said...


That's good, while I like talking about religion and entering into debate, one of the things that really annoys the hell out of me are people who take advantage of other people like Sylvai Browne and others like Gellar who just deliberately lie to people about their "powers" to make a buck. So I reacted to those comments pretty hard. I'm happy to hear we mostly agree on that.

Yeah, Japan's great, obviously my fiance is the highlight, but the food is a close second :) , and about 100 things tied for third place..


Rhology said...

Yeah, I'm with you there, on both counts! Hmm, 3rd place...great transportation, the language is pretty cool though difficult, the Engrish is worth an almost daily chuckle, and the awesome drink machines that line the streets. That's a good start I should think.

Say, I don't know if you know this, but I lived in the Ryukyu Islands for 11 months Aug 05 - Jul 06. You should check my blog archives for posts from then, if you care to see a different side of Japan.
Catch you later!

Chris said...

I'm still working on the language, it's pretty hard, but yeah, the Engrish is great.

I hadn't heard of the Ryukyu islands. Just Okinawa. Must have been nice, I'll check it out. Maybe go there for our honeymoon.

Don't forget to wish your wife a Happy White Day today...

John Morales said...

Quoth Jeffrey: If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then…what is the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?
Rhoblogy: I've made that point several times

Conversely, thinking any amount of unacceptable behaviour will be forgiven once they they repent is not much of a disincentive.

Happily, the secular justice system does not work that way. Jeffrey was held accountable by society, and died in jail.

The Jolly Nihilist said...


You will find a fresh response on my website.

Nice weekend!