Atheism and Religion: not that different

▾ The basic question for atheists: What does it mean to live without a religious framework?

    - The one who thinks he can live without or outside a religious framework is the exception to the rule.

    - He is typically uprooted, without a link to the past, ancestral life, or contemporary human society.

    - He doesn't live, dwell, eat or drink like other men but lives in a subjective mania of his own devising, which he believes to be the newly discovered truth.

▾ The real questions he needs to hear are:

    - What is the myth you are living?

    - What task of common life are you avoiding?

- Religion as such is a set of moral standards adopted by any group of unsaved men seeking to justify themselves by self-righteous works. (Isaiah 64:6)

- Other than science or philosophy (1 Timothy 6:20, Colossians 2:8), religions have done more to damn people.

▾ The first thing you have to save someone from is his religion (Philippians 3:4-8)

    - In other words, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Taoism, Mohammedanism, Confucianism, Rosicrucianism, communism, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, Socialism, Spiritualism, Shintoism, Progressivism, Animism, Shamanism, and Judaism are just quick ways to hell. Liquor, murder, and immorality are more convenient but not as effective.


Pascal Vindicated Against Silly Arguments

Pascal Vindicated

Pascal proposed that you would get better outcomes from believing than not. God rewards believers with eternal happiness (Psalms 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”), while those who choose otherwise are destined for Hell, for which the end is a lake of fire (Revelations 20:14) and eternal suffering. The contrast is between infinitely good and terribly bad without end. To which people have answered:

  1. It is psychologically impossible to force oneself to believe. Andrew Klavan disproved this years ago with his 60-day experiment: “Every day for sixty days, take an hour to talk to God, out loud, by yourself. By the end, you will know that God is real, or your money back.” No takers on the money-back part.
  2. Then some say that God’s standards aren’t high enough for them. They want to believe for reasons that would make them look good, not because they would be better off, which strikes them as a lower-class reason, and they don’t want to be thought of as lower class. They are, in other words, fooling themselves about how rational and good they are.
  3. Some say, “God’s side of this shows an infinite gain. What does that even mean? I can’t understand it.” This is called misstating the argument. They would all choose and do choose daily to the extent they can, happiness, joy, and pleasure over pain. Saying that it is essential for understanding the argument that it be infinite is merely lying about what the choice is and what they understand.
  4. Then there is the hypothetical rejection: the people who say that there might be other Gods who would be equally offended at not being believed in. But, once again, this is an argument from ignorance, and typically one made by people who can neither argue the specifics of an existing religion that they prefer nor, in any other circumstances, do they give evidence that they are considering the problem, despite the heavy penalty and amazing reward.
  5. Finally, we have those who say Christianity itself is too difficult to understand. So this is the group to hand a Jack Chick pamphlet like “This Was Your Life.” A few pages of cartoons and all the specific instructions you need to become a Christian.

Calendar Notes:

How to orient yourself around the year.

▾  I. Quarter Days
   -  A. Lady Day March 25 (Old Style new year)
   -  B. Midsummer June 24 (St. John the Baptist)
   - C. Michaelmas September 29 (St. Michael Archangel)
   - □ D. Christmas December 25
▾  II. Cross-Quarter Days
   -  A. Candlemas February 1
   -  B. May Day May 1
   -  C. Lammas August 1
   -  D. All Hallows November 1
▾  III. Ember Days
   ▾  A. Winter Ember Days
       -  1. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday after December 13th (St. Lucia)
   ▾  B. Spring Ember Days
       -  1. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday after Ash Wednesday (following week)
   ▾  C. Summer Ember Days
       -  1. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday after Pentecost
   ▾  D. Autumn Ember Days
       -  1. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday after Holy Cross (September 14th)


In ...

 In wine, there is wisdom. 

In beer, there is strength. 

In brandy, there is healing balm. 

In spring water, there are lots of little things moving around. 

I'm not sure whether to be encouraged by this (if they can stand it, I can!), 

Or worried (has anyone swallowed that clear cricket-looking one?).

Microscopes are the enemy of thirsty people. 

Apparently, so is spring water.


The Promise and The Failure

Reading this lovely article by Edward Feser on his blog, I am reminded of the many self-help books I read at one point in my life. They all had wonderful advice in the form of "Be perfect, and your life will be perfect." But, sadly, the writers apparently had nothing to say to those of us whose lives were in chaos for many other reasons and who had very little time to "cultivate the person," as Confucius, and Feser, suggest.

I grew up in San Diego, California, the one-time dwelling place of Kathryn Tingley and the Point Loma Theosophists. They were great at dispensing advice in the form of "If you would give up your attachment to this goal of yours, you could become happy instead." However correct that may have been, sometimes goals are a good thing, and sometimes the situation is far past being rectified by anything. One of my father's friends once told me that a characteristic of men, as opposed to women, is that men are called on to fight hopeless battles, knowing that they will be killed or captured and need to fight hard anyway. 

The ongoing lesson about fighting hopeless battles never stopped in grammar school and junior high (now called middle school). Sure, the bully was going to beat you up. And it was going to hurt, your shirt and sometimes pants would be torn, you were going to cry and need bandages, you were going to be ridiculed by some of the bystanders, and the school wasn't going to care very much. But you had to fight back, however ineffectively, or risk feeling worse (failing to fight back as hard as you can is the source of many later PTSD diagnoses). So my father bought an inexpensive pair of boy's gloves and a punching bag. But, unfortunately, I still tended not to win the fights. Not fair, but real.

The article is nice, but the real part is missing.



I would be better at trusting government expertise if they showed that they had any common sense. As it turns out, though, no such luck.

See this.

"U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport, a choice that's prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials."

Giving the Taliban a list of collaborators after a history of torturing and killing those they suspect has no excuse. It is yet another indicator of the level of "expertise" that comes with getting Washington DC involved in things.


California as National Leader

Reading the news, you may pick up the fact that the state of California is so poorly governed that it is losing its Congressional seats to other states and so desperate for tax revenue that they make up rules allowing them to tax out-of-state businesses at a whim.

But for the *Biden administration, they are a national leader. Why? Because their laws are more extreme. An easy example: check out the executive order on emissions standards for cars and trucks. Note that it may be advisable to purchase a car before the new standards kick in. Second, note that the standards may apply even to heavy-duty trucks. Then comes this paragraph 6(c):

Given the significant expertise and historical leadership demonstrated by the State of California with respect to establishing emissions standards for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles, the Administrator of the EPA shall coordinate the agency’s activities pursuant to sections 2 through 4 of this order, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, with the State of California as well as other states that are leading the way in reducing vehicle emissions, including by adopting California’s standards.  

Notice that California has standards for gasoline mixtures, too.  Take a moment to compare *Biden's executive order cited above with the one issued by Trump in 2017. Notice that Trump was worried about other countries dictating to the United States its policy and determined that the US become energy independent. *Biden wishes to preserve the excuse that he is constrained to act in accord with other national governments not under the control of US voters.


Jurisdiction Creep

What is it? It involves finding ways to expand the theoretical mandate your agency is tasked with so that you can justify increased funding in the next fiscal year budget. The only downside? You have to find a way to only report arrests without noting that you don't have any convictions to back them up. 

Latest solution: hold the people you have arrested, deny them bail because they are dangerous, and make sure no trials occur until well inside the next fiscal year. 

Traditional solution: insist that you're in the middle of responding to a serious threat, exaggerate the numbers and bad intent of a lot of people, and throw up your hands, saying, "If only we had the budget to do what the law requires us to do!"


Surprise! (Only If You're Not Paying Attention)

Biden has continued to press for people to get checks for more than they get from their jobs, sidelining them from more productive work, and people are apparently surprised when this has easily predictable consequences? Really?


Quote from this article:

Owners say that some would-be workers are worried about catching COVID-19 or prefer to live off unemployment benefits that are significantly higher amid the pandemic. Child care is another issue — parents aren’t able to work when they need to tend to or home-school their children. For some people, a combination of factors go into their decision not to seek work.

When Steve Klatt and Brandon Lapp set up interviews for their restaurant and food truck business, they’re lucky if one out of 10 or 15 applicants comes in.


Quote from the second article:

In Nevada, state and federal lawmakers said they are investigating a possible shortage of jet fuel that could delay cargo delivery and passenger travel at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in the coming days.

A spike in demand for jet fuel both by commercial airlines and from firefighting aircraft in Montana and the Pacific Northwest led to departure problems and daylong flight delays recently at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

In California, recent flights in and out of Fresno Yosemite International Airport were disrupted by jet fuel shortages blamed on the lack of tanker truck driver deliveries.

Take away employees, and businesses have problems. Who'd have thought?


Only 79%? What's wrong with 21% of the population?

The article with relevant statistic.

The truth, always and everywhere: the government creates inflation. Not private businesses, not opposing parties, not "the rich", not the poor. The media can lie about this, but just a little analysis and experience shows that it is the government, each and every time inflation happens.

Here's the primer version. 


How does the government “cause”, or create, inflation?

The term government includes central banks. The U.S. Treasury, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve, continually expands the supply of money and credit by issuing Treasury Bonds, Notes, and Bills.

The money received from the sale of the Treasury securities is credited to the U.S. Treasury and subsequently spent to pay the government’s expenses. This puts the money back into circulation.

But the newly issued Treasury securities are also in circulation now, too and are an increase in the supply of money and credit. This is called monetization of the debt, and it is an act of inflation.

Let’s suppose that you go to your bank. You tell them that you want to borrow one million dollars. Your bank graciously agrees, even though they do not have the money to lend you. You take the money and run…and spend it…all of it…and more.

Your bank did not have the money to loan you. But they gave it to you anyway. How? They manufactured it; created it just for you. The offsetting balance for the newly created money is the loan agreement that you signed.

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