The Renaissance of My Life

sent in by Max Furr

In 1961, Bible class was an elective at my high school, and I, desirous to be counted among the faithful, faithfully elected to attend. In those early days, there was no doubt in my mind that God was in His heaven, that Adam and Eve begat human-kind, that a talking snake enticed Eve to disobey God, and that two representatives of every kind of animal on earth held first class tickets for a cruise aboard the Ark.

There were no alternatives to these beliefs because there were no other religions offered, and biological evolution was never mentioned in general science or biology.

It was poetic irony, then, that the first small crack in my theological armor came as a result of Bible study. Late one night as I was reading, somewhat randomly, through the Revised Standard Version, I came across Revelations 13:8 which stated:

"And all the inhabitants of the earth shall worship it (the beast with seven heads and ten horns upon which were ten crowns), every one whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the lamb that was slaughtered."

Now, I was a kid who had been taught all of his young life that we had a choice whether to follow the ways of righteousness and be rewarded in blissful paradise, or to wallow in worldly decadence and reap an eternity of torment and agony. Yet, try as I might to rationalize otherwise, the only interpretation of this verse I could think of was that of predestination. The only people, the verse seemed to say, who will be saved at the end of time were those whose names were written in the "Book of Life" before the beginning of time!

Why would God, I asked myself, condemn hundreds of millions (billions?) of souls before they were born?

The next day, I probed my Bible teacher for a different interpretation. After momentarily staring at me with a blank expression on her face, she replied, "We aren't supposed to know everything."

I accepted the dodge, wondering why God would have something written down for us to read, but not to understand. A subsequent check of the King James version found that, although the wording was different, predestination was still painfully clear. For some time thereafter, I pondered and prayed, reread the chapter, and pondered more. The problem refused to go away.

Not long after high school graduation, some friends asked me to enter a debate they were having with a professed atheist. To my knowledge, I had never before met a real atheist. So, never one to miss an opportunity to proselytize my beliefs, I donned my godly armor of faith and ventured into the fray. I met every salvo of his reasoned logic with my own volleys of pious faith and scripture. In the end, it was a total rout—mine.

Thoroughly shaken, I laid out a verbal smoke-screen of dark prophecy for the future of this unbeliever, and withdrew from the battle. The fissure in my godly armor had been battered into a network of pernicious cracks.

Hastily applying a sturdy brain-splint of seasoned prayer, I retreated for weeks into mental convalescence. It had been my first contact with the enemy, and he had come to the battle with an awesome weapon that was entirely new to me: well reasoned, evidence based arguments. His knowledge of the Bible was greater than mine, his knowledge of other religions was lightyears beyond mine, and his knowledge of biological evolution shot my ego so full of holes I could feel my ignorance oozing.

A prayer rug thick enough to endure my supplications had never been made. At the time, I was not aware that the damage to my holy armor had come not only from the blows of the enemy, but from the growth of my own mind. I didn’t have long to wait for the Coup de grace. It came swiftly, and from a wholly different quarter.

An acquaintance of mine, having noted my air of piety, invited me to dinner and conversation at his home. That night, seated in his living room, he and two others began a concerted effort to convert me to Mormonism.

Among other arguments, they contended that the Mormon church was the "true" church because it had a 12 member governing body (like the twelve apostles), and if I wanted a seat on that shuttle-bus to heaven, I would have to be baptized by a Morman preacher into the Mormon faith.

I marveled at their confidence, and argued from the viewpoint of my beliefs. Then, near the end of the night--and I remember it well--came this exchange:

"How can you be so sure you’re right?" I asked.

"We know in our hearts we are right," they replied virtually in unison.

"Yes," I said. "I’m sure you do. But, so do the Jews, the Hindu, the Buddhists, the Moslems, the Catholics, and people of all other faiths. They all know in their hearts they’re right."

As I returned home that night and went to bed, the last exchange kept moving about in the back of my mind. When I awoke the next morning, the insight came in a flash. The comment I made as a response to their heart-felt belief that they were right, applied to my beliefs as well.

The logic was all too clear: Evey person believes he has the theological truth, and he believes it just as fervently as the next person.

I had suddenly grasped the indisputable fact that one's religious beliefs have more to do with cultural proximity than with truth. A person is most likely to believe that which he is taught by his parents, which is usually the beliefs of the particular culture into which he is born.

Then came the inevitable questioning of my own faith: "Could there be a good and compassionate god who condemns billions of very devout people to eternal agony for having the misfortune to have been taught the ‘wrong' set of religious beliefs?"

That morning my theological shell shattered. I decided I would place myself outside all beliefs, and view them with an objective eye. I would return to school and emerice myself in religious studies, philosophy and paleoanthropological science. I would acquire the knowledge needed for sound reasoning, and I vowed to follow the arguments to their logical conclusion.

During the ensuing years, I applied a strong dose of reason to each attempt to fashion for myself a new theology. I studied the results of objective research in biological evolution and contemplated the arguments for and against evolution. I studied geology and delved lightly into astronomy. I found that scientific disciplines corroborated each other in a logical harmony wholly unknown to the purveyors of faith and myth.

As I questioned and studied, I discovered a universe far more mysterious, beautiful and fascinating than I could have ever dreamed—and there are more wonders to discover, and still more we will never know. Yet, in all of this, my greatest discovery was that we humans are a part of the universe, not a separate, special creation. The universe is our mother, and we belong here however brief the moment.

51 comments:

Timotheus said...

That was a fantastic testimony, Max. Very well thought out and expressed. I hope you stick around awhile and post often.

Piprus said...

Greetings, Max...welcome.

I had a similar epiphany to yours when I took an elective course in religion my freshman year in a liberal college. It was the first time the bible was treated as a work of literature...human literature...rather than the literal word of a great big god. (From childhood I was taught only the southern baptist version of xtianity) That was a real eye-opener that hastened my gravitation to atheism.

By the way...do you identify yourself with any particular credo now, i.e. atheist, agnostic, deist...or just an explorer?

Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences.

Piprus

south2003 said...

Now THIS is a perfect example of "an open mind"

Welcome Max!

Jim Arvo said...

Hi Max,

Congratulations on having the mental wherewithal to take a step back and to investigate various claims for yourself. Several things that you said really struck a cord with me. You said "I found that scientific disciplines corroborated each other in a logical harmony wholly unknown to the purveyors of faith and myth." That is absolutely true. When religionists meet an impasse, the religion typically splits into factions. Henceforth, the respective adherents barely acknowledge each other's existence; if they do, it's to admonish the others for having followed the "wrong path". In sharp contrast, disputes are commonly *settled* in science (although it can take many years). The difference is that the former (religion) depends on subjective interpretation, tradition, and dogma that is sheltered from critical examination. The latter (science) depends on objective testing, which usually produces an overwhelming consensus, resolving the issue (in effect) once and for all.

You also said "...I discovered a universe far more mysterious, beautiful and fascinating than I could have ever dreamed..." Yes, Carl Sagan often expressed this very sentiment, and I agree wholeheartedly. Religionists often point to the beauty of nature as "proof" of their chosen deity. The great irony is that they often have no clue as to how deep and multifaceted that beauty is; for that, you need to lens of science.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your story here. I look forward to hearing more from you. Best of luck on your adventure of discovery.

Mary said...

My daughter went off to a Christian college with the intent to become a Minister, she left that college as an agnostic. I had a hard time with it at the time, until a year ago, when I started my own research. I no longer consider myself a "christian". This site has helped me tremendously just to sort out my mind.

Anonymous said...

A GREAT Post and GREAT Comments.

So good, I have nothing to add.

Thanks to all.

Neil C. Reinhardt

Dano said...

Max Furr
Now that we have been given the gift of incredulity for mystical things, I wonder if we can find that full, satisfying blissful, sustaining condition that we first felt when we started seeing the universe as it really is?

I know that a lot of people see the credulity of the born agains as a desirable state of mind. Ignorance does seem to be a blissful condition, sometimes.

But then, when you to look at all of the shackles they have to wear in order to remain in that "happy" state of mind, you know you can never go back. To never to be able to see life as it really is, is a terrible price to pay for contentment.
Dan (Rationalist)

steve said...

Max, that was excellent. Hey, I was wondering if you were the subject of this rant http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/v5i9n.htm

Salvatore said...

Dearest Max,

I greatly enjoyed reading your post. Your deconversion converges with my own at the point where you decided to "step outside the circle" of your own beliefs, and focus the light of reason to scrutinize your own religious beliefs with the same rigor with which you effaced those of others. I rarely find a fundamentalist who is able, let alone willing, to analyze their own beliefs under the same level of scrutiny to which they subject the "false religions" of others.

For many years as a fundamentalist, I was a self-appointed "counter-cult expert." I had taken it upon myself to convert every "cultist" (a pejorative term to mean someone who called himself a Christian but believed differently that I, e.g., Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, et al.) to my flavor of "True Christianity." In short, I used logical arguments with surgical precision to dismember the "corpus of error" of the cultist. Many of my fundamentalist peers were quite entertained and approving of my interactions with such purveyors of "false gospels."

However, when I began to subject my own religious beliefs to the same examinations, not only could I not give justifiable answers, but also my aforementioned fundamentalist peers turned on me like snarling dogs. The same backpedaling and irrational maneuvering I saw among "cultists," I now observed in my own self and in my fundamentalist comrades.

And with that, my faith was destined to wane. And forasmuch as I continue to desire the accoutrements of supernaturalism, I can no longer sustain the faith required. I now look upon adherents of my former fundamentalism, and upon all theists as well, with the same sympathy that I had for "cultists" -- people who are under a strong delusion.

I've come to disdain the word "cult." The only difference between "cult," "sect," and "denomination" is that one is more socially acceptable than the other.

Some people prefer certainty to evidence.

I now prefer evidence to certainty.

With the warmest regards and respect,

Salvatore

Bill said...

Max,

Thanks for sharing you History of God !

"Could there be a good and compassionate god who condemns billions of very devout people to eternal agony for having the misfortune to have been taught the ‘wrong' set of religious beliefs?"))

The scariest part is, what if it's true? What if there is a God that is real mean and hateful. I guess that is one possible scenario..

My epiphany came when I (christian at the time) was explaining to a co-worker the non sensical logic of her adamant belief in Astrology and the Horoscopes. How ridiculous it is to believe that arrangements of space masses a kazillion miles from each other and a kazillion miles from her, could affect the day she was about to have....gheeeez. Everyone knows it is about a God/Man that was killed on a tree, then buried in a cave and then this dead man came back to life as a redemption sacrifice to a jealous invisible governor. Not only that but he himself is staying invisible and has for 2,000 years, but someday will become Visible for everyone to see him as the same time on our round Earth.

Shortly, after saying this to her...(or something like that). I said to myself..."what the fuck did I just say?" I'm suppose to be the "logical" common sense one, and none of anything I just said was logical or made any sense.

I never spoke like that again.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Max,

Thank you for that excellent anti-testimony! Your description of your voyage from belief to skepticism says alot for your intellect.

Isn't it interesting how many believers are prompted to question their faith by the very text which is supposed to support it?

Once again, great post! Hope to see you around here more in the future.

Cheers!

Jim Lee said...

Enjoyed the article. Many of us have been there, done that, and are now atheists. Welcome to the real world

Anonymous said...

that was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

While i respect your ideas and your thougth process let me just make a few comments. Firstly, why do you conlude that the passage in revelations is completley predestination? Yes, out names are written in the book of life, but isn't it possible that God, being all knowing, knew who would turn to him and who would not, and thus was able to write their names in the book of life before they were born? Is it possible that the "rapture" (some christians beleive that all christains will be taken to heaven before the beast or whatever comes) may have happened before everyone bows down to this beast? maybe everyone will bow down, but then some will turn away from it. I don't think that passage has anything to do with predestination, but possibly preknowledge. Secondly, I hope you did look at all the evidence in the universe for and agaist evolution. Have you ever heard of the cambrian explosion? There are many layers of strata in the earch that we find fossils in, and you would think that with evolution we would find transitional fossils, but we don't. Suddenly in the cambrian era we find all these species popping up fully formed and staying stagnant. No transition. Darwin himself said this was a problem with his theory, but hoped we would find the transitional fossils. I'm not trying to be like oh you're wrong, but to ask if you have thought og these things, and to say that there are many interpretations of things in the bible, and I have never heard or interpreted that part myself as having anything to do with predestination, nor do I beleive in it. You're right, God shouldn't condemn certain people to life or death before they are born, but I don't think he does. I think that is a gross misinterpretation of who God is. Sorry if I have bothered you. Have a nice day.

Salvatore said...

I must confess, I still get irritated by Christian who do not, have not, or will not come to terms with the very predestinarian doctrine of their own Bibles.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He CHOSE US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He PREDESTINED US to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, )to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (EPHESIANS 1:3-6, NASB, emphasis added).

"And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; FOR THOUGH THE TWINS WERE NOT YET BORN AND HAD NOT DONE ANYTHING GOOD OR BAD, SO THAT GOD'S PURPOSE ACCORDING TO HIS CHOICE WOULD STAND, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, 'THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.' Just as it is written, 'JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.' What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, 'I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.' So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.' So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires" (ROMANS 9:10-18, NASB, emphasis added).

I could go on and on and on. I spent two years on the topic of predestination alone during my Christian studies. The anonymous poster just before me knows nothing of the predestinating manner of his vicious deity.

And for kickers:

"When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; AND AS MANY AS HAD BEEN APPOINTED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED" (ACTS 13:48, NASB, emphasis added).

So, you see, those who have faith have it because they were "appointed to eternal life." That is, faith is the RESULT of having BEEN appointed (before the foundation of the earth) to eternal life.

Consider the explicit nature of the Romans 9 passage above: "FOR THOUGH THE TWINS WERE NOT YET BORN AND HAD NOT DONE ANYTHING GOOD OR BAD, SO THAT GOD'S PURPOSE ACCORDING TO HIS CHOICE WOULD STAND".

Christians: so sure of what they believe, yet they don't even bother to study their own holy texts.

The Bible plainly and explicity teaches that God has chosen who will burn in hell before they were ever born.

Sheesh, these people.

J. C. Samuelson said...

To the last Anonymous poster Christian person...

"Yes, out names are written in the book of life, but isn't it possible that God, being all knowing, knew who would turn to him and who would not, and thus was able to write their names in the book of life before they were born?"

You may not realize it, but you have just described predestination.

As to your references to evolution, it's clear that you are woefully ill-informed as to the present state of the science supporting evolution. It seems likely you have bought creationism hook, line, and sinker.

If you want to remain a Christian, fine. However, please do the world a favor and become better informed. Believe it or not, there are Christians who believe in evolution! Visit the following site: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Evolution/index.html. There are more topics available from the home page, as well as their mission statement (which is uniquely applicable to your faith).

I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that there are some reasonable, and Christian, scientists out there.

But, I've gone off topic, so I digress.

.:webmaster:. said...

Applause to Salvatore. I couldn't have said it better.

Perhaps the best way to maintain Christianity is to maintain the ignorance of its adherents. It was when I finally got serious about my studies into the history and development of Christian theology that the marble facade of modern Evangelical Christianity began to crack for me. Once the layers of unsupportable rhetoric I'd heard all my life started to crack and fall away, my mental eyes opened and I discovered there was actually nothing behind the Evangelical mask.

Dano said...

Posted by Anonymous to Testimonies of Ex-Christians at 3/22/2006 04:36:31 PM
"Secondly, I hope you did look at all the evidence in the universe for and against evolution. Have you ever heard of the Cambrian explosion? There are many layers of strata in the earth that we find fossils in, and you would think that with evolution we would find transitional fossils, but we don't. Suddenly in the Cambrian era we find all these species popping up fully formed and staying stagnant. No transition. Darwin himself said this was a problem with his theory, but hoped we would find the transitional........"

Anony,
Since your faith is based on faith, why are you so desperate to prove evolution wrong in the face of mountains of evidence that it is true, and the fact that our whole scientific community doesn't argue evolution anymore. It is accepted as fact and all of our science today uses it as a bedrock of how the human species came to be and is still becoming.

You would look more wise and mature, even with your belief in the bible, if you would give up a literal belief in some of the more asinine stories, such as "The creation", and "Noah and the arc"

You can say that you believe the Jesus story, and that you are "Born Again," but dogmatically professing to believe Genesis, and all of the other mythology that was born of bronze age ignorance, just makes you look simple minded.
Dan (Rationalist)

SpaceMonk said...

Great post, and a great heading too.

I was reminded of a quote by Albert Einstein which relates to your bible teacher saying "We weren't created to understand everything" (or something like that), anyway he said, "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible."

That's what I've been realising more and more since I dumped christianity too.

Hobbes2004 said...

Thanks Timotheus. I plan to stick around. Seems I have friends here.

I'm Max, blogger username, Hobbes2004

Hobbes2004 said...

Thank you, Piprus, I like to refer to myself as an agnostic with latent atheistic tendencies. ;=D.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Thanks South2003. I really appreciate your compliment.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Thanks for your comments Jim Arvo. Your point about the scientific method is right on!

Referring to the far-right trying to get “intelligent design” (creationism with lipstick and a thin, seductive mask) into science classrooms, I wonder if we shouldn’t allow it, at least for only the first day of class. It would only take one class to juxtapose on the blackboard the scientific method beside the creationist method.

It should be clear to the students once it is shown that creationism is the scientific method, backward. It needs to be shown that if you begin with a conclusion, then accept no evidence that might refute it, one can believe virtually anything.

Max

Dave8 said...

Greetings Max, great post. Hope you stick around and contribute to the message boards. Regarding, creationism, and religious alignment to political party. I have seen ultra-liberal to ultra-conservative hold the belief of creationism.

Like you stated, once a person can be swayed to accept the creationism method, they are whimsical enough to be moved and manipulated to align with any movement, to include political. Hopefully, creationism is left in mythology class, and modelling the universe is left up to the real sciences. Take care...

Hobbes2004 said...

Hi Mary,

In your research, I hope you studied a bit about Zoroastrianism. It’s a fascinating subject. I came away from it understanding that Christianity is a neo-Zoroastrianism. I recently discussed this point with a theology school graduate, and found that she was never taught anything about the faith. So, it’s no wonder that the general public doesn’t know, because the preachers apparently don’t know. Though, I really can’t judge from just one interview.

My favorite professor, now retired, said that all living religions today are like onions. As they grew from the ancient past, they took on layers of other religions with which they came in contact, mainly through conquest. Yet, few of the new beliefs were discarded. They were simply incorporated and a new layer was established. This is no less true of Christianity.

Joseph Campbell, the late, great mythologist, referred to the stories and myths of religion as “masks of god,” both manifest and transcendent—manifest in stories and myths, and transparent if the transcendent is understood as unknowable. In other words, the mask both reveals that there is a transcendent, yet conceals its true nature (what lies beyond). The fact that we can see that there is an unknowable, makes the mask transparent.

This, of course, is my own interpretation of Campbell. I invite arguments.

I think fundamentalists of all religions make the mistake of seeing the mask (myths and stories) as the true face of what lies behind it. For the fundamentalist, the mask loses its transparency, thus, the myths and stories become the transcendent, and the unknowable becomes the known. Although, faced with this supposition, I submit most, if not all fundamentalists would deny it, and wax eloquently of the “unknowable” nature of god.

Personally, I like to express the transcendent in a short poem:

I gazed beyond the mask to see,
And there was I, gazing back at me.
Then said I with apish grin,
The god without is the me within.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Hi Dano,

“. . . when you to look at all of the shackles they have to wear in order to remain in that "happy" state of mind, you know you can never go back. To never to be able to see life as it really is, is a terrible price to pay for contentment.”

You’re very correct. Your point reminds me of Plato’s allegory of the cave. If anyone doesn’t know it, Google it. What a beautiful metaphor it is.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Hello Steve,

“I was wondering if you were the subject of this rant”

It is a truism that even a particularly slow student of freshman informal logic understands the fallacy of ad hominem arguments. It is also typical of those with a poor education that they will use such arguments whenever they lack sufficient knowledge to address the issue at hand, or they wish to hide the truth. Your political leaders are a good example of the latter.

Max

Dano said...

Hobbes2004 wrote:
Hi Dano,
“. . . when you to look at all of the shackles they have to wear in order to remain in that happy state of mind, you know you can never go back. To never to be able to see life as it really is, is a terrible price to pay for contentment”

"You're very correct. Your point reminds me of Plato's allegory of the cave. If anyone doesn't know it, Google it. What a beautiful metaphor it is"
Max

To Hobbes2004 from Dan,
Yea, this Plato guy does seem to convey, in his allegory, that those in comfortable cults will not want to break free because it is too scary. I don't really mind that this "Plato" is using my stuff. He seems like a fairly intelligent guy!
Dan (Rationalist)

Hobbes2004 said...

dano said: ”Yea, this Plato guy does seem to convey, in his allegory, that those in comfortable cults will not want to break free because it is too scary. I don't really mind that this "Plato" is using my stuff. He seems like a fairly intelligent guy!”

LOL! Yeah, he had a thought or two :-D.

Max

Locke said...

Hobbes2004, just thought I'd spark up some conversation.

"Joseph Campbell, the late, great mythologist, referred to the stories and myths of religion as “masks of god,” both manifest and transcendent—manifest in stories and myths, and transparent if the transcendent is understood as unknowable. In other words, the mask both reveals that there is a transcendent, yet conceals its true nature (what lies beyond). The fact that we can see that there is an unknowable, makes the mask transparent."

Campbell was a universist, believing all of humanity developed from a centric geographical region, and over time, and with novelty developed the search for the great unknown which he termed spirituality.

He concluded, through research of Hindu philosophy as the sages, that "Truth is one, the sages speak of it by many names,". He made quote of the vedas often.

He like Einstein, in his later years, was in search for a unified theory, where truth was nicely tied together under a single philosohpy. Of course, a unified theory, has been addressed in a variety of ways, namely Stephen Hawking stating that a unified theory presents a modern paradox.

Campbell, in this referenced/summarized statement, shows that he has accepted a transcendent reality, beyond which humanity can grasp as an abstract object/idea. The manner in which humanity represents this object, is labelled the mask.

Less discrete words tend to allow wiggle room, and in a political or diplomatic environment, tend to be more comfortable to use. However, among friends here, let me say, that I find the word transcendent to be a general term, that seems to allow for entirely divergent philosophies to exist.

The transparency to me, is the acknowledgement of ones' own ignorance, with the hope that humanity will continue to evolve as we have over the millinia. To acknowledge ones' own ignorance, seems to be a fundamental shortcoming in the fundamentalist philosophy. There are some scientists, that allude that language in itself, is limited, and has only evolved enough to allow us to map out our current reality accordingly. The more precise the language, the greater the mapping of reality, and the closer one comes to a unified theory, well, in theory of course.

The term transcendent, can literally have different connotations, based on ones' slant. One could surmize that there is knowledge, just out of reach to our senses and observation, but decidedly withint this natural universe, still, the knowledge is attainable given enough time and persistence.

Yet, there is another form of transcendent, which connotes the more religious form of a transcendent reality, or as he termed it - the without, as opposed to the within. The transcendet reality, in the without, can never be known as people live in this natural environment.

In order for Campbell, to entertain the notion of a unified theory, he suggested the without and the imanent within are enmeshed and can be known to a varied degree, and the search is known as spirituality.

His enmeshing of two different concepts of transcendent, of course, pitted him as heretical to the more exclusivist religions, and fundamentalists. Hence, another shortcoming of the more fundamentalist persuasion, as they accept the without/unapproachable transcendent reality as the die-hard cornerstone of their belief system, and thus, refuse to evolve, or quite simply - grow up, just my opinion.

So, to add to the observation, that fundamentalists seem to focus on the mask, and disregard the transcendent, because of their will to have a known in their life, I would suggest that fundamentalists through willed ignorance and accepted despotism, remove, no, no, not only remove the possibility for short term, they "sever" any possibility for growth to mend Campbell's without with the within, to create a harmony, where people can live life, in peaceful accord. In Campbells' view, the exclusivists, according to my interpretation, are living a severed spirituality, by willful act, and what they have left, because of their belief in the shortcomings of humanity is, the mask - just, the mask.

Of course, religions have evolved as onion layers, and that is a wise statement. The advent of original sin, and damnation at birth, have been the cornerstone that has been used to create the aura of hopelessness, to find the "without", because the "within" is rotten to the core. Just an observation of the more fundamentalist belief systems.

Not all fundamentalists, however, accept a separate transcendent reality, so, as Campbell, I will qualify my colloquial fundamentalist statements, as referring to the more exclusivist religions, and more specifically to the doctrinally and traditionally accepting christian organizations, uh, to include those layers which formed afterwards off of the same onion, to include Islam, etc.

I admire the name Hobbes, with curiosity. Not sure if you are referring to the late great british political theorist or not, but, if so, would like to playfully state a few thoughts regarding Hobbesian views.

Hobbes's view, according to his Leviathon, shows us, by human nature, that human beings were/are incapable of living in anything resembling peace. Further, that humanity requires being kept in a state of terror with an overarching state. As he articulated in his philosophical treatise the Leviathan, human life outside of the state was a condition of permanent warfare.

Not making a total correlation between Hobbes and fundamentalist views, but, many seem to have a slightly negative view towards Campbell's "within" of humanity.

A more positive view, would be one in which humanity may one day be capable of living peacefully without the need, per Hobbes, of an imposed state of authority over humanity. That perhaps, mankind isn't necessarily born, as an avarice organism. I'd like to think, we perhaps, may be more tabula rosa - again, just my view, and not necessarily relevant or correlative to the name in which you have chosen to represent yourself online.

One final thought, since it has been propsed that some national leaders seem to be far off the mark of reaching some sense of reasonable state of domestic and international stability, what policies would you attempt to enact if you were given the U.S. presidency for a year? How would you attempt to accomplish this feat? As any freshman level philosophy student realizes, that there are balances, and when one side of an argument is made, there is an equally compelling argument that could be made to counter from the polar end of the spectrum.

I don't necessarily agree with the current policies of many national leaders, and thus, is why I am inquisitive of such observations from others. I find, that looking for what "should" be, helps determine how far off the mark, one "may" be. And, of course, a national leader in any country is a dismal reflection of the citizenry, as most people realize one person doesn't define the whole, that would be a logical fallacy.

I chose Locke, as a more empirical british philosopher, however, I truly believe we are a reflection of both sensory reception as Locke did, and that we are further molded by environment, a unified theory of nature with nurture, as opposed to the severing of the two factors, a most Campbell/Einstein approach.

Hobbes2004 said...

Locke wrote:

[Campbell] concluded, through research of Hindu philosophy as the sages, that "Truth is one, the sages speak of it by many names,". He made quote of the vedas often.

I would certainly agree with Campbell here. Unless, of course, we were to qualify “truth” into categories of subjective and objective. Certainly, to the drunk who sees snakes and the schizophrenic who hears voices in his head, what they perceive is true to them, thus subjective. Anyone can have their subjective truth, but there remains only one objective truth. Religion is defined in the subjective, and, as Campbell might say, the ultimate objective truth is unknowable. I submit that what is unknowable cannot be known even to be unknowable—ad infinitum.

Campbell, in this referenced/summarized statement, shows that he has accepted a transcendent reality, beyond which humanity can grasp as an abstract object/idea. The manner in which humanity represents this object, is labelled the mask.

I agree. And, I think that’s what I said. At least, that is what I was trying to say. The myths and stories are the masks. The mask is the thing which humans place against the unknowable such that they might have something of substance on which to focus.

I find the word transcendent to be a general term, that seems to allow for entirely divergent philosophies to exist.

Of course you are correct. That is precisely why I believe we have so many different religions and so many different sects of each religion, with each one, as Bertrand Russell would say, believing theirs to be the Truth, and all others damnable heresy.

As to Campbell’s definition of “transcendent,” he defines it himself in The Power of Myth:

"'Transcendent' is a technical, philosophical term, translated in two different ways. In Christian theology, it refers to God as being beyond or outside the field of nature. That is a materialistic way of talking about the transcendent, because God is thought of as a kind of spiritual fact existing somewhere out there. It was Hegel who spoke of our anthropomorphic god as the gaseous vertebrate... Or [God] is thought of as a bearded old man with a not very pleasant temperament. But 'transcendent' properly means that which is beyond all concepts. Kant tells us that all of our experiences are bounded by time and space. They take place within space, and they take place in the course of time.

"Time and space form the sensibilities that bound our experiences. Our senses are enclosed in the field of time and space, and our minds are enclosed in a frame of the categories of thought. But the ultimate thing (which is no thing) that we are trying to get in touch with is not so enclosed. We enclose it as we try to think of it.

"The transcendent transcends all of these categories of thinking. Being and nonbeing--these are categories. The word 'God' properly refers to what transcends all thinking, but the word 'God' itself is something thought about.

"Now you can personify God in many, many ways. Is there one God? Are there many gods? Those are merely categories of thought. What you are talking and trying to think about transcends all that.”

As for my chosen name “Hobbes,” yes, it was after Thomas. When I first studied the man, I was quite impressed with his passion relevant to the desire to find a philosophy to which all men would agree and thus cease their wars. He felt that because all men agreed in matters of mathematics, perhaps there could be developed a philosophy to which all would agree and live in peace.

This, of course, was a categorical error, as I see it. However, I agree to a larger point that most humans, without external control (the conventions of society), would take advantage of each other, and life would be a living hell for the weak and the benevolent. The shear weight of law and punishment in our own society and the continuing high crime rate in spite of it, is proof enough for me.

“. . . most people realize one person doesn't define the whole, that would be a logical fallacy.”

I wish our “leaders” understood that.

As for the unification of nature and nurture, I agree. That argument was raging between the anthropology and the biology departments when I was in college. My biology professor tended to believe that all human actions were genetically motivated, and my anthropology professor believed we are born tabula rosa.

What an enlightening time that was for me. I adopted a melding of the two. We are born, I believe, with particular genetic proclivities, and it is our environmental influence that determines which, and to what degree, those proclivities actuate.

Peace,
Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Salvatore wrote:

I've come to disdain the word "cult." The only difference between "cult," "sect," and "denomination" is that one is more socially acceptable than the other.

Very good post, Savatore. I know what you went through. Personally, I the difference to me between a cult and a religion is that a religion has more money. Few Christians understand that at one time, their own "religion" was a cult.

Best regards,
Max

Dano said...

Max, you wrote:
"We are born, I believe, with particular genetic proclivities, and it is our environmental influence that determines which, and to what degree, those proclivities actuate"
Peace,
Max Posted by Hobbes2004 to at 3/27/2006 03:00:06 PM

To Max from Dan:
I also, have always believed that every creature is only playing out the hand that was dealt them. "Life is just one big stage and we are the players"

I see life as one giant poker game, where your bet is determined by the sum total of all the interaction you have experienced, upon what you have become up to the moment you place your bet on any given outcome.

It sounds like pre destination, and I guess it is, but at the same time it is incomprehensible, so life is still a mystery, and we don't know what will happen till we play out our hand, and that outcome will influence the outcome of every hand that follows.

If you say "It is good to be alive," then you must admit that no matter how the cards are stacked, you have to play your hand as well as you know how. You have to trust that the cards are stacked in favor of a good outcome for LIFE.

Even though we know that we got to the top of the food chain by out killing, out procreating, and out thinking, all other living creatures on earth, we have to believe it was for the best.

IF we have come to the conclusion that the Bible is just a collection stories that have been canonized, to try to influence the masses, and arguably one of most influential, we have come to that conclusion, because of who we are.
Dan (Rationalist)

Hobbes2004 said...

Hi Bill,

The scariest part is, what if it's true? What if there is a God that is real mean and hateful. I guess that is one possible scenario..

Yup. Could be. I like to think (and it's true if you really think about many things in the Bible), that Yahweh is really an evil god. Suppose he were to be as mean as he is depicted in the Old Testament, and when folks die, as the ultimate joke, he sends the "god fearing" fundamentalists to hell and the evil atheists/agnostics to heaven. What a hoot that would be.

But, really, unlike our fine ultra fundamentalists, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

If you haven't checked out Zoroastrianism, Google it and read. I firmly believe that the melding of Zoroastrianism and Judaism was the birth of Christianity.

Peace,
Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Thanks Ubergeek,

Your point is well made. I'm forever fascinated by theologians and seemingly educated preachers who, surely, have studied the Bible closely. I further suppose many of these folks understand the true origins of Christianity.

So, either such theists hide the true facts by never mentioning them, or they live a life of severe self-delusion.

Peace,
Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Anonymous said:

"but isn't it possible that God, being all knowing, knew who would turn to him and who would not, and thus was able to write their names in the book of life before they were born?"

This statement is truly indicative of a very cruel god. Again, what god would create people, knowing he would send most of them to eternal torture. That's love? Remember, in the Old Testament, Yahweh himself said he created evil.

One last point: At one point in the Old Testament, Yahweh changed his mind (repented of himself), that he had created man. So, as the story goes (and the Noah story was plagiarized from the Sumerian Utnapishtim story), Yahweh sent a flood to kill all men, women, and children except the 8 folks on the ark.

My question is: How can an omniscient being change his mind? Before you try to answer this question, think seriously about it.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Ubergeek said:

If you want to remain a Christian, fine. However, please do the world a favor and become better informed. Believe it or not, there are Christians who believe in evolution! Visit the following site: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Evolution/index.html.

One also might check out http://www.talkorigins.org/

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Anonymous posted:

""Secondly, I hope you did look at all the evidence in the universe for and against evolution. Have you ever heard of the Cambrian explosion? There are many layers of strata in the earth that we find fossils in, and you would think that with evolution we would find transitional fossils, but we don't. Suddenly in the Cambrian era we find all these species popping up fully formed and staying stagnant. No transition. Darwin himself said this was a problem with his theory, but hoped we would find the transitional........"

Alas, little or no objective study of evolution. It is a pity that most, if not all, fundamentalists get their "knowledge of science" from their fundamentalist teachers. It's no wonder they are so ignorant.

The "Cambrian Explosion" came about because of the evolution of the exoskeleton. Once a species evolved that was almost impossible to eat, because of the skeletal structure, it became the greatest survival strategy ever. Thus, the Cambrian explosion.

Advice: Try OBJECTIVE study in evolution.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

I am trying to get to all of you who posted. Difficult because of the limited time.

Thanks to you all. I'll answer every one of you as appropriate.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Thanks for your comments, Spacemonk.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Dave8 said:

Regarding, creationism, and religious alignment to political party. I have seen ultra-liberal to ultra-conservative hold the belief of creationism.

You are correct. One cannot put all fundamentalists in the far right. A few realize that if one were to follow most of what was allegedly done and said by the alleged person, Jesus in whom they profess to believe, they have to be liberal (feed and clothe the poor, help others unselfishly, turn the other cheek, sell all you have and give it to the poor, etc.). However, strangely enough, far-right evangelical Republicans don’t follow such foolish talk.

Peace,
Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Dan wrote:

It sounds like pre destination, and I guess it is, but at the same time it is incomprehensible, so life is still a mystery, and we don't know what will happen till we play out our hand, and that outcome will influence the outcome of every hand that follows.

In philosophy, that would be called determinism. I tend somewhat to that way of thinking. Every action we take has a cause (even if it’s involuntary). And the actions of others bring them eventually to brush with your life and cause other actions on your part.

Every action is selected from what appears to be a choice among other actions. Yet the “choice” made (the action taken) cannot be said with certainty to be a choice, since every “choice” you make is from a finite set derived from your genetic proclivities and environmental influences. Such influences, then, may very well be the determining factors for the action you take.

But, then, if all our actions are determined, then the whole argument is moot, isn’t it. Still, I was determined to write this.

Also Dan wrote:

Even though we know that we got to the top of the food chain by out killing, out procreating, and out thinking, all other living creatures on earth, we have to believe it was for the best.

If we are satisfied that we exist, of course killing and eating other animals was for the best (our best, of course). Were we not omnivorous australopithecines, it is unlikely we would have survived. Australopithecus boisei is a prime example of dietary specialization leading to extinction.

Max

Dave8 said...

Hobbes2004, yep, well, since we have fundies of every political persuasion, we can always expect political candidates of every group, to seek out the fundie vote, using political bait like social benefits/work opportunities, abortion/pro-life legislation, gov't subsidized medical programs/privatized HMOs, etc. :-)

So many fundies using the same bible, yet, so many varied and vigorous interpretations, leading to diverse value systems. Obviously, evidence that many fundies, use eisegesis first and foremost, followed with a god to justify the interpretation. Peace

Hobbes2004 said...

Dave8, you're correct, of course. And, it would probably be impossible for a non-Christian to achieve the presidency these days. Even a Thomas Jefferson couldn't get elected. Of course, It isn't likely a Thomas Jefferson would want to be elected, seeing the total crap and lies thrown about in campaigns.

Max

Dave8 said...

Hey Hobbes20004, just thought I'd do some free-thought/write, as it appears I am getting dizzy watching fundies chase their tails :-)

Regarding your previous posts, great observations:

"Were we not omnivorous australopithecines, it is unlikely we would have survived. Australopithecus boisei is a prime example of dietary specialization leading to extinction."

It appears, that the more flexibilty we have as a species, the better equipped we are to survive, environmental conditions, from diet, to idiots in high places, here, here.

I believe it was the general observation, of the Thomas Jefferson type, that a political framework, constructed with rigidity, would have created an inflexible gov't, incapable of feeding the needs of the citizenship, as the citizenry change on a daily basis, based on new knowledge they become aware of, and the environments' influence.

Even values, change with knowledge. Cognitively, we have the capability to over-ride deeply rooted values, learned at birth, if we are given enough time, and we rewrite our programming, albeit, it takes rewritting over software many times, before the latent code becomes benign.

None of us, start the same, but we could surely through knowledge, come closer together in agreeing on a pattern to use, to overlay on our natural environment, creating a common window that we can view the universe from. At least, that brings about a common basis for communication, the closer the perspective through the window, the more clearly we communicate, which of course in-turn leads to a greater influence and effort towards finding deeper truth.

Unfortunately, we have some groups of people looking through stained glass windows, how philosophically ironic, and profound I find that, when I have sat in church thinking at times.

The politics of a nation, and its leaders, don't typically reflect a nations' citizenry, just one or two values that happen to be predominant at any given time. I would surmize, that there isn't a common window yet created, that a nation, let alone humanity, has access to, and this is what creates stress in society, and the many diverse views by which political candidates are chosen.

Many see reality, from an entirely different platform, as a humanitarian, I perceive diversity as the power that has allowed the species to survive and a testament to the evolution that entire cultures have undergone, and survived. However, cultures are continually drawn to survive based on influence, and it appears the strongest social groups, will soak up the least powerful/influential over time.

The only framework that appears to allow this transition to occur in a less abrupt manner, is a democracy, where there continues to be shifting over time, and swinging/cyclic changing of values. Democracy, as it were, allows for a gradual change over time, to come to a common platform in understanding, but it requires greater and more efficient communication across the masses first, hopefully mechanisms such as the Internet will have the necessary impact for a far greater expansion of knowledge.

What appears to save a democracy, is the same that appears will cause humanity to evolve together to form a common perspective by which to understand reality. There just happens to be much opposition along the way.

Aristotle: "If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost."

It appears that Aristotles' reservations on the attainment of equality and liberty, rested on a gov't by the people and for the people. However, it would appear that the only way for a citizenry to share in a gov't to the utmost, is to expand gov't to the people, via jobs, etc,. to the utmost, and endow citizens with the ability to be directly involved in the political, economic, and legislative process.

I suppose there are some political parties, that would in fact, attempt to reduce gov't and expand business as the means to beget equality and liberty. Unfortunately, the controls are then in the hands of business leaders to define equality and liberty, as they control the economic structure and ultimately the quality of life many citizens receive.

I won't delve into oil, as being a big business opportunity for some, by which the many are controlled. However, I wouldn't contend that this isn't true, just that some haven't really formulated a cogent argument to make such observations.

Perhaps, humanity will begin to work together once they feel represented and part of the governing body. I must admit, I have been part of that governing body my entire life, always in some capacity, more involved at varying times.

However, I have seen and lived in society, working for bosses that were inept, but had the power to fire employees without cause, especially if the employee were a job threat to the boss.

Can't have intelligent people outdoing the boss, its not accepted, and thus, businesses with inept leaders end up with employees that just do what they are told, and add little innovative value to the industry, such seems to be why I have always kept some contact as part of the governing body, I don't really trust business, business is about the bottom line - money, and I am more about the bottom line - people first. Meaning in my life, extends beyond what someone tells me I need to be. Hence, why religion isn't really appealing either.

The perspectives of some political figures, seem to portray different ideaologies. Perhaps, the people of a nation would be more solvent if they trusted eachother more, however, trust is hard to come by when the intent of an entire political party seems to be focused on business. I'd like to think the American Dream was about the people becoming all they can be - in a Maslonian perspective, and without the need for an upward spiraling materialistic goal/wealth requirement.

It appears over time, the original dream of the Jefferson types, to allow people the ability to find themselves, to carpe diem, has become blurred and nothing short of a rat race for many, to amass wealth.

The flexibility that has been provided by the American Constitution, to allow people freedoms, to find themselves, has also created a manner by which, a person can lose themselves. It really comes down to controlling ones' life, as much as they can, and that requires knowledgeable interaction with the environment, to include societal interaction, the further away a person is from being able to control their life, the less stable a gov't becomes, its a simple formula.

The instability realized by gov'ts, have been seen throughout religions, that create an environment that strips control away from its members, over time, people either conform, rebel, or play the game for their own ends. Just as materialism is a false sense of self-control, so is attempting to leverage religious belief as some form of self-control. One can not control, what they don't take possession of, and unfortunately, many lose possession of their self, both as citizens in a society with unbridled freedoms, and in absolutist/exclusive religions.

I do feel, though, there are people who may in fact, have the vision required to bring unity to a nation, and even a global environment, but a national leader not supported by the majority of their parliament/congress isn't going to receive the support they need to make a difference. As much credit we give national leaders, they are limited in many capacities by legislative oversight.

In my humble opinion, there doesn't appear to be enough firepower vectored towards those who can influence legislative decisions, to include; increasing gov't size and national prosperity. However, its been noted over history that the figurehead becomes the target, while the governing body seems to be hardly mentioned. The governing body, has much greater continuity over the years, than any one person, it would seem prudent to keep that body as stable as possible.

Anyway, just thought I'd stir up some thoughts. Peace...

MarkInDallas said...

I wanted to reply to the anonymous Christian who invoked the "deus ex machina" of the "Cambrian explosion" to argue that evolution is bunk. Here are those words:

"Have you ever heard of the cambrian explosion? There are many layers of strata in the earch that we find fossils in, and you would think that with evolution we would find transitional fossils, but we don't. Suddenly in the cambrian era we find all these species popping up fully formed and staying stagnant. No transition. Darwin himself said this was a problem with his theory, but hoped we would find the transitional fossils."

It's obvious that this person did a cursory reading of some of the creationists who voice this nonsense, and that he (or she) himself (or herself) is not intimately familiar with either the facts or the implications of the "Cambrian explosion."

First of all, according to paleontologist Alan Gishlick, the Cambrian Explosion is "the preservation of a series of fauna that occurs over a 15-20 million year period starting around 535 million years ago." Hardly the "suddenly" of which "anonymous" speaks.

Furthermore, as Gishlick also notes, to suggest that "there are no fossils in the Precambrian record that suggest the coming diversity or provide evidence of more primitive multicellular animals than those seen in the Cambrian Explosion" is just incorrect. There is plenty of evidence in the fossil record, even in light of the admittedly surprising Cambrian explosion, to account for transition.

For a fuller airing of this matter, read the excerpt from Alan Gishlick in Eugenie C. Scott's excellent "Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction" (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004), pp. 172-174.

Hobbes2004 said...

Hi Dave8.

A lot to chew on here, and referencing politics and corporations really gets me started.

“I won't delve into oil, as being a big business opportunity for some, by which the many are controlled. However, I wouldn't contend that this isn't true, just that some haven't really formulated a cogent argument to make such observations.

Concerning Big Oil as an example of corporate control of political policy, I am convinced this was exactly why the U.S. didn’t secure Afghanistan and destroy the network that attacked us on 9/11.

As I see it, the withdrawing of assets from Afghanistan, the building of permanent military bases and the construction of a $600 million dollar “embassy” in Iraq (the Cheney/Rumsfeld/Bush regime wanted congress to appropriate over one Billion for the “embassy) attests to the view that our regime never had any intention of pulling out of Iraq. They wanted permanent bases from which they could observe and control oil flow in the region. After all, we are being “led” by “leaders” deep in oil. Add to that mounting evidence (new Downing Street Memo) that Bush and Blare were determined to attack Iraq and fixed the intelligence to the policy.

Did you notice that although Bush spoke out (after public, then congressional pressure), against Big Oil making obscene profits while the U.S. consumer was paying record prices at the pump, Bush and the Republican Congress gave them over $12 Billion of our tax dollars in tax incentives for “oil exploration.” Does this not sound like a corporatocracy (corporate state)? I think it is. Add to that the obscene profits of the pharmaceutical industry and their influence in government policy blocking cheaper drugs from being imported.

Dick Cheney and corporate leaders wrote our energy policy in private. The Supreme Court sided with Cheney and corporate-America in blocking release of documents on that meeting. Corporate America essentially wrote the nation’s Health legislation.

Even the vote has been privatized in many states, and the machines have proprietary software generated by the machine/software company that is run by right-wing conservatives. (see: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/ . I don’t think the leaders of the Republican party expected to ever lose another presidential/congressional election, and they may not if enough states don’t reject the Republican voting machines and the Democrats continue to “not get it.”

Actually, the Dems aren’t squeaky clean in voting fraud, but one party controlling the voting machines would mark the end of democracy in America. Only the party would have a voice, and you know what that is when coupled with corporatocracy, preemptive war, and secret, unchecked domestic spying?

”Can't have intelligent people outdoing the boss, its not accepted, and thus, businesses with inept leaders end up with employees that just do what they are told, and add little innovative value to the industry. . . “

Actually, I believe this is exactly what we have in our government. Recall that Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was forced to resign after voicing doubt about the tax cuts and warned of the coming high deficits. Bush’s economic adviser, Larry Lindsey, was fired after he told a newspaper that an Iraq war could cost $200 billion. Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki went into early retirement shortly after he advised (backed by a study by the Army War College), that the U.S. would need at least 200,000 troops to secure Iraq after the initial invasion. Obviously, these were not the reasons given for the Administration getting rid of these folks, but the circumstances were all too obvious (In my view, Cheney wanted war-on-the-cheap, and the announcement, a year earlier, of General Keane to succeed him, showed that Shinseki wasn’t a team player). Those who tow the Cheney/Bush line, even if they screw up, get rewarded.

I do feel, though, there are people who may in fact, have the vision required to bring unity to a nation, and even a global environment, but a national leader not supported by the majority of their parliament/congress isn't going to receive the support they need to make a difference.

I hope you aren’t referring to the Cheney/Bush administration here. Preemptive war, domestic spying without oversight, deep tax cuts in time of war, out of control deficits, and a rampant government/corporate profit feeding frenzy is not a real good vision for the nation. It is a real good vision for corporations and their friends in high places.

Thanks for your input. You may have noticed, I don’t trust our government at all.

Max

Hobbes2004 said...

Thanks for your input MarkInDallas, however, I suspect these anonymous religious posters are hit-and-run folks. As I'm sure you know, they just make a post, thinking they have dropped a "smart bomb," and retreat so as not to have to deal with the fact-flack.

But, perhaps some lurkers will read and become educated.

Max

Dave8 said...

Dave8: "I do feel, though, there are people who may in fact, have the vision required to bring unity to a nation, and even a global environment, but a national leader not supported by the majority of their parliament/congress isn't going to receive the support they need to make a difference."

Hobbes2004: "I hope you aren’t referring to the Cheney/Bush administration here. Preemptive war, domestic spying without oversight, deep tax cuts in time of war, out of control deficits, and a rampant government/corporate profit feeding frenzy is not a real good vision for the nation. It is a real good vision for corporations and their friends in high places."

Actually, I don't believe "any" political party, or individual, who isn't supported in their leadership roll, will succeed, no matter what their goals are - whether their goals are noble or not. Conversely, I think, its just as problematic that a majority of support, doesn't make it necessarily noble either. Again, the only way to ensure there is equality of voice, and liberty is to involve U.S. citizens to the utmost as Aristotle alluded. The common term for the insight, is political transparency.

U.S. citizens have got to get much more involved in the political process, and ensure bills that are being pushed, are being vetted by as many citizens as possible. Even though, there are fundies running rampant in many states, that doesn't necessarily mean, they don't align on a specific political issue. The reasons, may be entirely different, but the support is there all the same.

http://www.transparency.org/policy_and_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2005

The U.S. ranks 17, among surveyed nations as being "transparent" to the citizenry. Obviously, the less transparent, the more potential/outright corruption for the governing body. Again, U.S. citizens need to be tied into the political process, and be part of the gov't at its utmost, in order to truly find equality and liberty. Its interesting that there are many people that don't trust the gov't but are unwilling to get involved in the gov'tal process, as they see gov't, as corrupt by its very nature.

I by personality type, am not a very trusting person myself, hence, why I tend to stay involved in matters that concern me. I will say though, that no matter what the face of the U.S. nation presents to the international community, there will always be those who don't like U.S. citizens or the country, period, for one reason or another. You can't make everyone happy, is the bottom line. Those that want to wage war, and take over entire countries because of their religious ideology are not going to be happy if a nation resists their attempts. Some nations, blame the U.S. for not giving enough foreign aid to N. Korea, because their citizens will starve, however, once the U.S. gives foreign aid, they spend the majority of the money on their military defense, and nuclear projects. Either way, the U.S. will be seen by one group or another as either aiding in international instability through nuclear support, or heartless killers of starving babies.

In the end, the world has finite resources and the manner in which they are distributed is what causes, contention. Global scurity, and international incidents are nothing but the fall-out from each nations' plan to attain and sustain resource wealth. Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations, is a pretty good book, on the subject.

Regarding preemptive war (resource stabilization & democratization vs. regional resource instability & dictatorship), domestic spying without oversight (protection from internal/external terorist threats vs. civil liberties), deep tax cuts in time of war (socializing economy through tax law vs. nailing citizens today to pay down the defecit), out of control defecits (stealing from peter to pay paul vs. pushing the war debt onto citizens today through taxes, etc.) and the rampant government/corporate profit feeding frenzy (protecting american lives vs. cashing in on business prospects)... I would have to agree, that there are many challenges at this time, and the U.S. is in a situation where it has over-extended itself, there will be a bill to pay in the end, and at this moment, it is attempting to cut costs in areas that would obviously reduce stress in a few areas in the short term, while over time, will create great stress, sort of like the defecit.

The U.S. is attempting to right size and bring its assets, foreign policy, and domestic policy into alignment with where the nation needs to be, unfortunately, the road map is obviously not complete, but, it never really has been complete in my opinion. The U.S. constitution is a living document, that continues to undergo revision through amendment.

I can understand the skepticism of gov't. I perceive the gov't in a concentric ring model. I perceive, the rings as representative of influence capability. The outer rings represent gov't employees, who don't have a direct influence on policy/law-makers, and the center is where there is a cell of employees/cabinet members who pull information from the outer rings, and create public law, etc., which effects the entire globe. The rings between the outer most and inner most ring, gradually show the increase in a gov't employees ability to create federal policy and the number of people that can be effected.

It would appear that the ring that receives the most attention, is the center, as this cell can create policy and does influence the entire nation's citizens. Unfortunately, that cell appears to be insular, with walls built up around itself for self-preservation.

There are some people that seem to suggest that gov't is gov't, and everyone who works for the gov't must in fact, be part of the problem as one big circle. I would suggest that there are good people working in positions that hold the citizens' best interests in mind, but are accountable to the inner rings above them, just like every other citizen is to some degree.

I think a healthy level of skepticism is necessary to ensure that the inner circles of gov't are continuously observed as they have the greatest potential to influence domestic/foreign policy and every citizens' way of life, however, that is typically where the transparency gets darker, one may conjur up the word insular at times, to describe the inner rings - in a manner of speaking.

However, I would also suggest, that if there weren't some people in the inner rings advocate for the american citizen and bring to light, unseen "conflicts" on the horizon. Without those citizens working in the gov't, and other agencies pulling information from the gov't, the basic citizen would likely have little insight into the machine that controls much of their life - whether they realize it, or not.

Politicians, in general, believe they know what's best for the whole, and make policy accordingly, so, I agree that it really doesn't matter which party is in office. An introduction of an online voting machine would definitely have its cons, but also would have benefits. I am not sure the benefits at this time, outweigh the cons, as, again, there is little transparency built into such a system.

The only true validation would be the counting and validating of each vote, to a known person, unfortunately, that amount of transparency, seems to rub some people wrong, as they don't want their friends and neighbors to know how they voted. Personally, I don't care who sees my vote, but, then again, I really don't care who listens in on my telephone calls, but, we both know, there are many that do care. Again, it appears we each determine the cost/risk vs. benefit in many areas of our lives.

And of course, the risk/cost many times is mitigated by politicians, by ensuring they mention terrorist threat, etc., etc., in order to show protection benefits. I'm not up for the scare tactics, but, I must admit, there are many factions who do hate americans (because we are free), and even countries that appear to be friends, have many citizens who despise the U.S., c'est la vie, but we still move forward. Take care...

Hobbes2004 said...

Hey dave8, ya got me a little worked up this time.

Again, the only way to ensure there is equality of voice, and liberty is to involve U.S. citizens to the utmost as Aristotle alluded. The common term for the insight, is political transparency.

Which is exactly what we don’t have today in our government.

U.S. citizens have got to get much more involved in the political process, and ensure bills that are being pushed, are being vetted by as many citizens as possible.

I couldn’t agree more.

Those that want to wage war, and take over entire countries because of their religious ideology are not going to be happy if a nation resists their attempts.

I thought for a moment you were describing the Bush Adm., which is a close analogy, but a bit more complicated. I’m sure Bush wants to convert Iraq to Christianity (which many of the Iraqis believe as well), but Cheney wants to control the oil. A civil war would serve them well, as then they would move to take full control of the oil (to “protect it,” of course).

The U.S. is attempting to right size and bring its assets, foreign policy, and domestic policy into alignment with where the nation needs to be,

Pardon me, but this sounds like you haven’t been paying attention. The U.S. isn’t trying doing anything of the sort. Unless, of course, you are wealthy, a corporation, a right-wing politician, or a person who likes where this administration is taking us.

Do you think they are failing in almost every thing they attempt because the citizens aren’t behind them??? They don’t have popular support because of a lot of people who did support them are starting to find out the truth, which has never been what the Neo-cons have been telling them. They’re loosing support because of their obvious incompetence. They are not being supported because of the total ineptness they display when appointing ideologues to high posts (like running wars and disaster relief) who have no experience in their jobs. They are loosing support because it is becoming apparent that they demand, not loyalty to the Constitution, but loyalty to the party (just like any totalitarian government would demand). They are loosing support because a lot of people don’t like the idea of wondering if their government is monitoring their phone calls to family members overseas. They’re loosing support because there just seems to be something wrong with a government that sanctions torture and can cause American citizens to simply disappear. They’re loosing support because the working stiff is snubbed in favor of accommodating corporations. People don’t like the fact that oil companies can make obscene profits and this government turns around and gives them $12 billion more in our tax dollars. This government is rotten to the core. They don’t deserve the trust of any thinking person. They deserve to be kicked out on their corporate asses.

Yes, the dems have their problems as well, but no government in our history has been this bad.

Oh, how I do go on.

I would suggest that there are good people working in positions that hold the citizens' best interests in mind, but are accountable to the inner rings above them, just like every other citizen is to some degree.

I agree there are some folks like that, but damn few in power now. I believe that Bush, himself, believes that what he Is doing is for the good of the country (the “haves and the have mores,” as he called them). But, Bush has got to be the most unintelligent, uncurious, and inept President this nation has ever had. Obviously, it attests to the genius of Carl Rove. He knows that most people will fall for ad hominem arguments, and he uses them almost exclusively. He knows that most of the nation can’t tell the difference between a valid and a fallacious argument, and that goes for many college grads as well. He knows, as well, that fear is a good vote getter. Where did the color coded threat warnings go after the election??? They were of no more political use. “Vote Democrat, and we get hit again.” Remember that? Our White House “leaders” are vicious, deceitful, and self serving people.

I believe Cheney believes what he does is for himself, and he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the working poor of this nation, nor the future of this nation. And, I think he is really the one in charge in Washington.

I don't care who sees my vote, but, then again, I really don't care who listens in on my telephone calls . . .

Now, that’s scary! Not the vote, but being okay with government/corporate spying. That’s one of the ways totalitarian governments, and those who aspire to do so, ascend to power. I couldn’t disagree with you more. Do you think the current level of descent in this country is wrong? Do you believe we shouldn’t have the right to speak up loudly against what we believe to be a war of opportunity? Should we be arrested for voicing our opposition to our government?

In case you haven’t noticed, I am passionately opposed to what the Administration is doing (or isn’t doing). I firmly believe they have trashed the Constitution in favor of the corporation and, in Bush’s case, Christianity. I have nothing against any religion, but to use my tax dollars, contrary to the First Amendment, for the promotion of sectarian religion is an obscenity. And, to use known false intelligence to take us into a preemptive war against a country that was no threat to us, is a high crime, and an obscenity.

there are many factions who do hate americans (because we are free),

Groan! That is a patently right-wing, Bush-supporting-at-all-cost, statement. Aren’t you paying attention at all? They don’t hate us because of our “freedoms.” They hate us because of our policies! OUR POLICIES! I truly can’t understand anyone who knows anything about Middle East history making such an ignorant statement. But, again, that’s the genius of Carl Rove: he fully understands the value of Joseph Goebbels’ style of propaganda. Tell a lie often enough, and people will believe it.

Cheers
Max

Dave8 said...

Hobbes2004: "I’m sure Bush wants to convert Iraq to Christianity (which many of the Iraqis believe as well), but Cheney wants to control the oil. A civil war would serve them well, as then they would move to take full control of the oil (to “protect it,” of course)."

I can't speculate on what Bush's agenda is or isn't, regarding the spread of christianity. However, it does appear that democratization is part of the national security strategy, and as Churchill said, democracy isn't perfect, but its the best we got to choose from, loosely speaking.

Christianity thrives in a democracy, as in a democracy, everyone has the ability to influence "others" to their view. Establishing more democracies, opens the doors for the few christian fundies, who want to spread christianity accross the globe. China, hasn't become a full democracy for that very reason, they refuse to allow a democracy in without enough controls to prevent a theocracy.

Regarding the oil issue, its in the best interest of all nations, to place controls on the resources/wealth of nations, else, a few nations can rise to power and control the world's economic base, thereby effectively controlling other nations and their sovereignty. How, a nation attempts to engage in resource control, is a matter of global interest, and is typically why the U.N. is brought into the picture.

Dave8: "The U.S. is attempting to right size and bring its assets, foreign policy, and domestic policy into alignment with where the nation needs to be,"

Hobbes2004: "Pardon me, but this sounds like you haven’t been paying attention. The U.S. isn’t trying doing anything of the sort. Unless, of course, you are wealthy, a corporation, a right-wing politician, or a person who likes where this administration is taking us."

When right sizing, the gov't is attempting to move military personnel, etc., to work under/as general schedule federal employees, etc. Right sizing, saves long-term retirement pay-outs, and allows the gov't to expand jobs to citizens, thus, in time, the tax-payer doesn't have to pay a military retiree benefits after 20 years, more like, after 40 years, if the current proposals are accepted through OMB. Plus, the gov't employee base expands, without putting a total burdon on the taxpayer.

Suggesting, that attempting to resize, gov't employee sectors, and implementing some domestic control mechanisms, doesn't necessarily mean, a person can agree where the administration as a whole is attempting to take us. As a matter of fact, there have been some decent proposals, in the past eight years, albeit, there have been a number of, "in my opinion", poor proposals brought forward. Stating, that the gov't is attempting to shift gears, doesn't make one an advocate, just an observer.

Hobbes2004: "Do you think they are failing in almost every thing they attempt because the citizens aren’t behind them???"

Well, no. Perhaps, they're falling behind, because they should never have been this far ahead, as stated before, it seems that the citizens need to be able to view policies being generated at all levels, and part of the gov't process as much as possible. I am not so sure, we would be in the situation, we find ourselves, if that would have taken place.

Each person/citizen in a democracy, uses, the gov't to establish as much as possible, laws or policies that reflect their own personal ideologue. Its quite apparent, that once the citizens started getting involved in policy watch, the more scrutiny was established. The administration seems to have leaned on the fundies accross the political spectrum, to pull them out, as the fundy agenda, is to establish religion no matter the political fall-out.

This tactic, hasn't worked well, as in the past year, religion, christmas, and everything else that can be brought up, have been challenged, because the fundies believe they have found a friend who needs their support, and thus, they want their back scratched.

Hobbes2004: "They don’t have popular support because of a lot of people who did support them are starting to find out the truth, which has never been what the Neo-cons have been telling them."

Regarding Iraq, the initial issue was with Sadaam and his refusal to allow U.N. inspectors to roam free in his nation. Sadaam refused to cooperate, and thus, played into the hands of the U.S. Now, the war was sold over WMD, and that "was" the initial case brought to the U.N. The U.S. entered the war, and the oil trees were blown, requiring contractor support, hence, some politicians seemed to have made out on the contracts that were let for that country.

Now, is that much different than a local city council member, bringing in local business to the a town, and selling property to the business, "they" just seem to have the deed for? No, happens all the time, and yes, I also, believe there is much room for corruption in this area, especially if there is pre-planning to create the cash cow.

Once, the battle rhythm engaged in Iraq, the humanitarian element was brought into the scene. The reasons "why" we went in, I still agree with, e.g., humanitarian, as without engaging Sadaam directly, he would have continued to murder his citizens relentlessly and kept instability in the region of the world that harbors terrorists.

The administration, brought multiple elements into view, to garner support for the war. Iraq as a terroristic support, the humanitatian atrocities, regional instability as Sadaam "did" have WMD at one point, and refused to allow inspectors to search and verify all WMD's were disposed, refusal to abide by U.N. sanctions by selling oil on the global black market with France and Russia.

All of these elements were known, and each citizen weighed the options, based on the information available, and many chose at least one of the reasons to support the move to engage Iraq. The reasons, are still the same reasons we have today. It appears, now, however, that many are trying to gauge the conflict of interest against the merit of the campaign to enter Iraq. I still, believe personally, we had a need to enter that country.

Again, I do understand and agree that a party who pushes big business, while holding large shares in said "big business", will always be seen as "self-serving", whether they are or are not, it just doesn't look good when someone is holding stock in a company that has just received a large contract with the influence of federal support.

I will say, I would have been more disgruntled if France or Russia would have cashed in, after single handedly made the U.N. sanctions impotent, removing a political instrument to bring Sadaam to the bargaining table, and thus, forcing the U.N. into the measures taken.

Hobbes2004: "They’re loosing support because of their obvious incompetence."

Actually, I think people are trying to weigh the cost vs. benefit of entering Iraq, and the cost being aired on daily broadcast, and online, without showing visible positive gain, is causing many to question the validity of the move into Iraq, not because of the "need", but because of the "ability" of a foreign nation to cause or influence positive changes within an acceptable number of years.

Hobbes2004: "They are not being supported because of the total ineptness they display when appointing ideologues to high posts (like running wars and disaster relief) who have no experience in their jobs."

I have personally worked for some pretty profoundly inept managers, who made many times, what I made as a competent business professional. The good ol' boy network, is alive and well, accross the U.S., and I'd go as far as saying, that universities and their business programs teach this as part of the education curriculum. And, I agree, a good ol' boy network has its cons, as seen with inept people all over the country.

Hobbes2004: "They are loosing support because it is becoming apparent that they demand, not loyalty to the Constitution, but loyalty to the party (just like any totalitarian government would demand)."

Uh, um, well, there is to support and defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, I wonder what a person would have to do to establish themselves as a threat to the constitution...

Hobbes2004: "They are loosing support because a lot of people don’t like the idea of wondering if their government is monitoring their phone calls to family members overseas."

But, these same people, may have the same beef, if their family member has their head chopped off because some "other" international agency listened in on the phone conversation, derived names and locations of family members living abroad, and used that information to further their agenda. I suppose, again, it comes down to security vs. privacy.

Hobbes2004: "They’re loosing support because there just seems to be something wrong with a government that sanctions torture and can cause American citizens to simply disappear."

We used a few atomic bombs, to kill hundreds of thousands of people, some slowly over time, that could be considered torture. Is the sacrificing of the few, justified by the saving of the many...

Regarding, american citizens disappearing, I am not supportive of that legislation, as citizens we are all due legal process... However, an illegal alien or non-citizen... well, they are taking their chances living in a country without a gov'ts sanction... I suppose, that is another debate for another time.

Hobbes2004: "They’re loosing support because the working stiff is snubbed in favor of accommodating corporations."

Its a party thing, nothing new.

Hobbes2004: "People don’t like the fact that oil companies can make obscene profits and this government turns around and gives them $12 billion more in our tax dollars."

Big business, does seem to be part of the party line.

Hobbes2004: "This government is rotten to the core."

Well, which part of the gov't... all.. of the people who work in the gov't, or a select number of people working within the gov't...

Hobbes2004: "They don’t deserve the trust of any thinking person. They deserve to be kicked out on their corporate asses."

Again, the more citizens are engaged in the voting process and keeping up with current affairs, the bettter off everyone will be. I heard the same comment made of the Clinton administration, from the reps, after the sex scandal - kick em' out on their liberal asses. It appears, many administrations have had their share of challenges...

Hobbes2004: "Yes, the dems have their problems as well, but no government in our history has been this bad."

Well, there was the vietnam era... and the presidency then, how many soldiers did we lose in vietnam due to poor foreign policy...

Hobbes2004: "I believe that Bush, himself, believes that what he Is doing is for the good of the country (the “haves and the have mores,” as he called them). But, Bush has got to be the most unintelligent, uncurious, and inept President this nation has ever had."

Or, just carrying the party line as many seem to be puppets once they enter office.

Hobbes2004: "Obviously, it attests to the genius of Carl Rove. He knows that most people will fall for ad hominem arguments, and he uses them almost exclusively. He knows that most of the nation can’t tell the difference between a valid and a fallacious argument, and that goes for many college grads as well."

Admittedly, politicians do exploit ignorance, its common... I've heard it said, if people are too ignorant to make good decisions, they they don't deserve the right to make choices in life... Reminds me of religion...

Hobbes2004: "He knows, as well, that fear is a good vote getter. Where did the color coded threat warnings go after the election??? They were of no more political use. “Vote Democrat, and we get hit again.” Remember that? Our White House “leaders” are vicious, deceitful, and self serving people."

They are professional politicians, towing the party line, just as the next administration will attempt to do, again, why there is the need to keep watch on those who have the power to make sweeping legislation with the stroke of a pen...

Hobbes2004: "I believe Cheney believes what he does is for himself, and he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the working poor of this nation, nor the future of this nation. And, I think he is really the one in charge in Washington."

I can't speculate on what Cheney thinks, however, someone who is all about big business, and in a public office with influence, do have a considerable advantage over others in making big profit... albeit, many times, as part of a negotiation, that can be seen as a conflict of interest... I don't agree that politicians should have the right to maintain business relations once in office, and if they do, then they give up the right to retirement benefits, all of them...

Hobbes2004: "Now, that’s scary! Not the vote, but being okay with government/corporate spying. That’s one of the ways totalitarian governments, and those who aspire to do so, ascend to power. I couldn’t disagree with you more."

If in theory, one person, could inspect "every" electron (tron) going through the global information grid (GIG), to determine garbage from valuable information, I suppose I would be somewhat suspicious of how the "information" was to be used. However, our gov't is made up of millions of citizens, who may have a job that requires them to do such work, does that mean, they call up bubba, when they get a golden nugget... no... There isn't one person looking at all the good dirt on citizens, and keeping a log file... I would assume, one would retrieve archived information from phone calls, as they do today, once an accusation has been levied from a law enforcement agency... Is there the opportunity for "some" people within the gov't to abuse their privilages in order to get ahead, another conflict of interest... yes, but these would be the same people who are going to listen in anyway, regardless of what a policy or law states... there will always be that 10% in society, who really don't care about anyone else...

Hobbes2004: "Do you think the current level of descent in this country is wrong?"

I think, that every citizen has the right to a dissenting view.

Hobbes2004: "Do you believe we shouldn’t have the right to speak up loudly against what we believe to be a war of opportunity?"

Not at all, go for it, perhaps there should be legislation prohibiting politicians from engaging in business affairs while elected to a political office, I'd support that in a skinny minute. Is that taking the rights away from the politician? No more, that a military leader having their civil rights stripped away, to some degree for serving in the military. It appears, there is a double standard within some realms of the gov't, I'd like to see a level playing field.

Hobbes2004: "Should we be arrested for voicing our opposition to our government?"

Not, if the constitutional authority isn't being attacked. A citizen has a right to free speech.

Hobbes2004: "In case you haven’t noticed, I am passionately opposed to what the Administration is doing (or isn’t doing). I firmly believe they have trashed the Constitution in favor of the corporation and, in Bush’s case, Christianity."

I'm not aware of any constitutional amendments made during this political term or the last. So, tis' true, there could be some loose interpretation of law to benefit a politician, but, the constitution itself hasn't been trashed, perhaps, misused...

Hobbes2004: "I have nothing against any religion, but to use my tax dollars, contrary to the First Amendment, for the promotion of sectarian religion is an obscenity."

Agreed, however, anyone can start a "faith" based organization and soak up the tax breaks, and federal benefits... not that its something I want to engage in..., I'm not much into the extreme faith business, and as such, I see much of religion as obscene in its own corner of the universe...

Hobbes2004: "And, to use known false intelligence to take us into a preemptive war against a country that was no threat to us, is a high crime, and an obscenity."

Not aware of false intelligence, perhaps, intelligence that was just "left out". Again, every politician thinks they are doing what they feel is in the best interest of the country to some degree. There were many legitimate reasons for entering Iraq, the question to this day, is how long is the U.S., and its allies willing to go, in order to establish and obtain its objectives... The most obscene part of the planning, was no solid exit strategy, or demarcation point once a milestone becomes unreachable, due to elements in the environments beyond ally influence...

Dave8: "there are many factions who do hate americans (because we are free),

Hobbes2004: "Groan! That is a patently right-wing, Bush-supporting-at-all-cost, statement. Aren’t you paying attention at all? They don’t hate us because of our “freedoms.” They hate us because of our policies! OUR POLICIES!"

Policies are executive instruments to garner freedoms, one may observe the U.S. Constitution as a formal policy, and anyone denying that policies authority or attacking the legitimacy of that policy, is in fact attacking the very freedoms that houses U.S. citizens... Many nations over the years, have sought to negatively influence the U.S.'s ability to establish free trade zones, because of their desire to maintain control of a global region they are hosted in.

We all know, that the country who ends up with the resource wealth, will in fact be the dominant power in the world, and will have the ability to forge another nations' GDP and ultimately their citizens' standard of living.

Hobbes2004: "I truly can’t understand anyone who knows anything about Middle East history making such an ignorant statement."

Don't hate the people, hate the policy? Isn't the policy, what dictates how the people will live, to include their freedoms... Its not that I read this in a book somewhere, I have lived and breathed in the culture that you suggest doesn't hate americans... and how its the U.S. policy that incites people, however, many of these "people", view policy symbolically in the form of american citizens...

A citizen represents its policies, good or bad, in many cases, as it vetted throughout history.

Hobbes2004: "But, again, that’s the genius of Carl Rove: he fully understands the value of Joseph Goebbels’ style of propaganda. Tell a lie often enough, and people will believe it."

Karl Rove... may well be a learned scholar of Sun Tzu or as you suggest, possibly Joseph Goebbel, but isn't all politics propaganda, when the constituency doesn't have the same level of knowledge... Cheers

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