Christianity: Good or Bad for Mankind - Dinesh D'Souza Debates Andrew Bernstein (2/2013)

Neil Parille's picture
Submitted by Neil Parille on Mon, 2013-02-18 15:43


Doug

Rosie's picture

Now, now Rosie. This is not Germany. Age of consent is 18 in most states in America.

A law I am sure Airhead America obediently observes! Eye (But no matter, Sister Agnes can be substituted for Sister Mary, if her age doesn't suit you!)

BTW You did realise, didn't you, that my post was in response to your hilarious reply?! (I roared with laughter when I read it!) I.e., Since Operation Pavlov's Dog had clearly already taken effect I was pretending that the Christians had picked up on it and were now sending in the marines antidote - only this time you would be converted from Commie to Christian by the same methods!

I'm thinking of a nice Christian girl from Texas or Oklahoma...

Funny thing, my older brother married a very nice Christian girl from Texas (also very clever - an oncologist ). They met at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they were both studying and later moved to Birmingham, Alabama with their two young children. Very happy they are there too.

He had been quite wild until he met her!

Since living in the US he has become even more right wing, possibly, than you! He even believes in the death penalty for murder. I don't. Do you?! But he is an amazing musician so all is forgiven! In his house he has a room devoted to music - including a recording studio for his own compositions and songs (just for his own amusement though). In fact, he is pretty talented and successful in every thing he takes on. Do you live anywhere near Alabama?

I like Christian women

Doug Bandler's picture

Let me introduce you to Sister Mary aged 16 - our prettiest novice

Now, now Rosie. This is not Germany. Age of consent is 18 in most states in America.

As for devout Christians, don't laugh but if I do get married, I might target a good Christian girl, especially a native southerner. I find that the girls that morality matters to the most are usually Christian women. They often are looking for some type of male virtue whereas secular women are usually Leftists, feminists and sluts (but I repeat myself). Great to have fun with, not great to marry. I wouldn't have thought that five years ago, but then again five years ago I was retarded.

I'm going to check out a few Objectivist events in my area and see what I think of Objectivist women. But I have met a few over the years and basically they struck me as indistinguishable from the Leftist/feminist/slut type. I'm thinking of a nice Christian girl from Texas or Oklahoma...

:)

Jules Troy's picture

Bwaahaha! I imagine the phone was installed as a ruse to keep the leftists at bay!!

Btw..A miser does not donate a billion dollar museum to the public.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki...

Especially for you, Jules...

Rosie's picture

...there is Sister Agnes: Aged 64, thrice that in kilograms and a thirty-second in teeth. I am fully aware that you spend a great many hours down at the boats - on the rigs I believe - and Sister Agnes does also during her nights out.... helping the needy and the wanting - you may even recognise her or benefited from her services in the past. She tells us she has discovered many novel uses for oil too.

Do not be put off by her age or weight, she is a strong woman, dexterous with her hands, experienced with masculine machines and always ready and prepared should you be in need of a screw I am told. I am sure she is just the best sort of help we can offer you. Her teeth may be missing but I have been told by your fellow riggers that her tongue is not jeopardised by this fact. I presume by this that they mean she is a trifle talkative. Her presence will no doubt hasten your ability, if not your desire also, to reduce your long hours and return home to your wife and family.

Oh, and she worked for Telecom for a very short spell many years ago. She may recall how to insert a payphone in your hall or workplace if you wish to replicate the same sensible cost-cutting devises of the well-to-do. I understand your hero thought this a most helpful exercise.

(Oh and I am indeed a sinner. And may Heaven preserve SOLO from any more of my Original Sin.)

Lol Rosie

Jules Troy's picture

You are such a sinner!!

Carry on!!

Oh, Doug,

Rosie's picture

Let me introduce you to Sister Mary aged 16 - our prettiest novice, indeed she has been offered many a modelling job as well as the part of a snippet called "Lolita" whoever that is - and who is leaving the Order today.

She would love to offer her assistance to you about the house - she is an excellent cook and Father O'Donoghy has spent an excessive amount of time with her - taking care of her education no doubt as she is a most precocious girl.

She is a devoutly Christian girl - and doesn't care for your heroine, Ayn Rand, at all - but I am sure you can think of a suitable punishment if she makes any pro-Christian comments......

Oh, and by the way, Doug, thank you so much for that generous offer to help us at the Redscum Soup Kitchen next Sunday...... that girl you have been seeing is such a nice little thing and such a good influence on you.... I do hope she gets on well with Sister Mary and they both serve you just as you please....

Actually

Doug Bandler's picture

Oh! Phew! Now that I have thought of this "cunning plan", we will be alerted to any drastic change in your political views and will know that this Mata Hari of the Communist Party has added what is known as the Pavlovs Dog Rule and that now both she and the Commies have you salivating with Communist joy as you have fallen for the oldest trick in the book! Women!!!! Laughing out loud

Oh shit. I didn't think of that. You're right. I've been Allinski'd. And here I thought I was being smart. Well, you know, Obama does make some good points after all, and well, corporate profits are at an all time high...

Rosie

gregster's picture

I have made no leap. How have you made the leap to supposed community projects? They will be using Lent to pat each other on the back. It's a month for the troglodytes. And the greatest grotesquery among them - the one who best makes the case for every man as a sacrificial beast- will win their plaudits (and perhaps a place in heaven). It will end in a bizarre orgy of promise-making, after which the Bishop will get back to his boys books. Trotter's a social democrat, to put it nicely. That means he is evil incarnate. He'll be supping on the altar wine. The others too are lefties. Not sure of Stretton's problem - Catholic perhaps. I'm not a victim of these people directly, as you should know, but they are their brothers' thievers. They are sick.

Greg

Rosie's picture

"No man is an island" as John Donne once said.

Why, from the newsletter, (and how for that matter) do you make the leap from a bunch of people advertising a get together to talk about and inspire some community spirit into some community projects (based on the idea that we are a community of individuals) to being a victim of theft by these people, I don't know.

I am sure you are right that it is a Leftist group of do-gooders ( and that name - Chris Trotter - isn't he a Commie?! and including a Bishop is straight out of Monty Python! not to mention the cunning guise seen in the origins of Family Planning abortion activists) but why are you thinking it, the newsletter, means you can expect further theft over and above your initial allusion to income tax?!

And my next query is what is the causal connection between this panel discussion and your next points regarding "dimwitting" the population and the assumption that this event will necessarily destroy any possibility for "education improvement"?!

St Patrick's Cathedral

gregster's picture

I'm sick of being a victim of forced theft every working hour, being my "brother's" keeper, while the pollies at the trough continue to use my stolen property to further every cause other than what is beneficial (for all). The pollies get their license for their depravity thanks to religion, and its clear command to immoral pillage. Oh, and it helps both the religionists and the pollies to keep the population as dimwitted as possible. I see no evidence for any improvement in the chances for proper education.

"LENTEN STUDY SERIES 2013: Recovering the Common Good: Wednesdays 6, 13, 20 and 27 March, 7.30pm in St Mary’s-in-Holy Trinity. In partnership with Holy Trinity Cathedral and the University of Otago’s Centre for Theology and Public Issues. Each evening a different panel of New Zealanders, each committed in their own way to the well-being of others, will address topics related to the common good. The common good refers to a conviction central to many faiths, namely, that we do not live solely for ourselves and that – in response to Cain’s question at the beginning of the Bible story (Gen 4:9)– we are one another’s keepers. The discussions will be chaired by Professor Andrew Bradstock, Howard Paterson Chair in Theology and Public Issues (Otago). This is a series not to be missed - mark your diary now!

Panellists include: Jacinda Ardern MP, Bishop Ross Bay, Mayor Len Brown, Greg Fleming, Simon O’Connor MP, Garry Smith, Susan St John, Annah Stretton, Chris Trotter, Bishop Jim White, and The Rev’d Uesifili Unasa"

OMG Doug!!!!

Rosie's picture

Rosie: I hope she isn't Communist enough to add her own rule that any time you make an anti-socialist comment (or pro-right wing extremist one) she has to put an article of clothing back on again!

Doug: Thank goodness she is inconsistent. See, Rand was right. You can't practice collectivism consistently. You have to cheat.

Oh-oh. I have suddenly thought that in order to suppress your vociferous anti-Left voice, this 21 year old has been employed to silence you. In short, you may be the butt of a cunning plan!

Here it is:
You know how the Communist Manifesto has a ten point plan in it, one of which is a bit like Islam, never rest until the whole world is Communist, I just had a Red Under the Bed thought (in your case in, on as well as under!).

Maybe, just maybe, she is MUCH smarter than you think.... when she senses the time is right, you may find that a new rule (more-subtle-than-my-new-rule) will be introduced so that not only every time SHE says a pro-Commie/Leftist/Socialist comment, an article of clothing is removed from her but every time YOU say a pro-Commie/Leftist/Socialist comment she also removes an article of clothing from YOU (and in a very alluring, provocative way). Eye Based on Pavlov's Dogs, once you begin to associate every pro-socialist thought you voice with the most profound pleasure, you will find that their previous associations of rage and fury are replaced by a satiation of pleasure and their flow will never cease!!!

Oh! Phew! Now that I have thought of this "cunning plan", we will be alerted to any drastic change in your political views and will know that this Mata Hari of the Communist Party has added what is known as the Pavlovs Dog Rule and that now both she and the Commies have you salivating with Communist joy as you have fallen for the oldest trick in the book! Women!!!! Laughing out loud

Thank goodnes for inconsistent and sexy Commie 21 year olds

Doug Bandler's picture

I hope she isn't Communist enough to add her own rule that any time you make an anti-socialist comment (or pro-right wing extremist one) she has to put an article of clothing back on again!

Thank goodness she is inconsistent. See, Rand was right. You can't practice collectivism consistently. You have to cheat.

Good Questions Rosie

Doug Bandler's picture

Why do you think she is overlooked if to you she is really The One?

She's way too new. Its a legitimate question but it has to be understood that:

1) Philosophy operates on a very long time scale. (How long did it take for Christianity to dominate Rome? And you must know that the Pagans HATED the Christians. They thought they were a bunch of perverts! Hatred for Rand is nowhere near the level of hatred for Christianity for those first two centuries.) And the reason for this is that a culture will ultimately be the product of a dominant epistemology. That's really what's at the root of "memes". Which leads to...

2) Rand is challenging both Christianity (& its true spiritual father which is not Jesus or Paul but Plato, reading Auster's post really made that point for me. He is taking Plato's forms and placing them in the mind of the God of Abraham) and Kant. She is really swimming against the tide. Kant was able to capture Europe in relatively short order because he was riding the dominant cultural streams. Rand is not.

So you're right to put forth that she is still considered insignificant. Especially by the academy. You know who continually ranks as the MOST influential philosopher of the last 100+ years? Fucking Wittgenstein. The academy spits on Rand. But understand why. If Rand should ascend the entire professoriate would have to admit they were wrong. You would have a better chance getting the Muslim world to eat pork.

But my claim that she killed God is an epistemological one. Rand provides an answer for the proper way to view the subject/object distinction. Lindsay has said that was Rand's greatest accomplishment. I agree. And Rand NEVER ever wrote an anti-god polemic. She didn't care. Which is amazing. She was not a god/Christianity hater. She actually looked favorably on American Christians. I can see why, compared to the materialist Commies she grew up with.

Can't resist this joke, sorry, Doug!

Rosie's picture

I really do think that she [Ayn Rand] killed god.

Stand aside, Buffy! For 'tis Ayn who shall slay the vampire! Ayn, of whom it is said hath philosophy enough to slay God himself!!

Serious and earnest (not mocking) question:

If what you believe is true, Doug, that Rand's philosophy is God-shattering, then:_

(1) why hasn't anyone been converted from Christianity to Objectivism ?
(2) why haven't any renown (but religion-neutral) academic philosophers screamed her words, the philosophy that you think has slain God, to the world?
(3) why does philosophy place her main tenets rather low in the rankings? call them tautologies etc?

Why do you think she is overlooked if to you she is really The One?

Doug - Larry Auster and link

Rosie's picture

Incredibly sad link (I swear I could have almost heard the tears and sensed the bereft mood when I clicked on it) and a very sad story re Larry Auster, Doug: his looming death, his blog to try and say all he has and wants to say before he dies - and he hasn't understood Ayn Rand yet?!

So, you have two months to put him right!!!

Doug

Rosie's picture

Every time we are together and she makes a pro-socialist sentiment an article of clothing must be removed. Dems da rules (heh). In that way I make Gramsci and Alinski work for me.

I hope she isn't Communist enough to add her own rule that any time you make an anti-socialist comment (or pro-right wing extremist one) she has to put an article of clothing back on again!

The idea of the on-off game conjures up a very funny scene!!!

She offered her honour.
He honoured her offer.
So all night long it was honour, offer, honour, offer!

Rosie

Doug Bandler's picture

If you can do that, you will have captured the respect and attention of your audience at the very least. Did you think that Bernstein did this at all in the Debate? I don't.

Actually no I don't. I think I could have made the atheist arguments better than Andrew but at the same time explained what Christianity is trying to accomplish with its salvation story and given it credit where its due. But, that being said, Bernstein had some good material, but like Lindsay, I didn't like his presentation.

I have a post I'm working on about trying to get at what Christianity gives to Christians. Larry Auster is a Traditionalist, Christian Conservative blogger that I follow. Well, he is dying of a rampaging pancreatic cancer that has metastasized all over his body. Its now in his brain. His doctors tell him that he will be dead within two months. Its sad really, but he is blogging on Christianity and the afterlife and he is really getting at what Christianity means. I find it INCREDIBLY edifying on the essence of Christianity. It offers a perspective I have never seen before.

I'll give you the link Rosie:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/ar...

I think you will see great meaning in this.

As touching as that all is, I do see it from the Objectivist perspective and I do see it as representative of the BIGGEST debate in philosophy; i.e. "finding the one in the many" _or_ particularity vs universality _or_ the form of a thing vs the substance of a thing _or_ the object vs the subject _or_ the forest vs the trees. I see what Auster wants from Christianity, what it gives him and I must admit those things are important. But I also see Rand's genius in a way that I never fully appreciated. Especially for her thoughts on epistemology. I really do think that she killed god.

Did you know that he, like Ayn Rand, substituted a few commonplace understandings and meanings of words! Notably, "virtu" and "fortuna". I did laugh when I saw this and then read his altered meanings.

I'm willing to bet that brilliant intellectuals have always done this. They see things that others don't. As a result, they need to redefine language to make their points. Perhaps its easier that way than inventing whole new concepts using totally new language. Perhaps its also due to the limitations of language (any language).

BTW, it was just as well that you were not in the car during the Viking Hitchhiker Saga - the Left in him was not confined to the way he dressed!

Oh no, Lindsay fell for a leftist! That's ok. The girl I am fooling around with right now is a 21 year old Commie! But she's adorable (and what a body). She calls me a right wing extremist but a sexy one. Its hysterical. I don't ever lecture her on politics or philosophy. I just impose a few rules. Every time we are together and she makes a pro-socialist sentiment an article of clothing must be removed. Dems da rules (heh). In that way I make Gramsci and Alinski work for me.

God have mercy on my soul.

Doug

Rosie's picture

Thank you very much for your generous compliments, Doug. Smiling You too are well read and articulate.

I agree with you that the only way to successfully counter an argument is in understanding the other side's position and, from there, seek to address the most obvious flaws or faults in your own position from that perspective. If you can do that, you will have captured the respect and attention of your audience at the very least. Did you think that Bernstein did this at all in the Debate? I don't.

I am working on my Machiavellian response to you! Eye And now that you have attributed me with those compliments, it had better be a good one, I guess! Funny thing! Did you know that he, like Ayn Rand, substituted a few commonplace understandings and meanings of words! Notably, "virtu" and "fortuna". I did laugh when I saw this and then read his altered meanings.

BTW, it was just as well that you were not in the car during the Viking Hitchhiker Saga - the Left in him was not confined to the way he dressed! Evil And I am not sure that his modern Danish temperament or mind would, or could, have taken a beating from a modern Viking! Eye

Hahaha

Rosie's picture

With my bung eye, I misread that initially, as "Wow! We're bonking!"

You better be careful with that bung eye! You might get yourself into a whole heap of trouble!

Although Doug clearly loves and admires antiquity in his politics, I am not sure that he likes it in his women! Eye

(Anyway, no time for that sort of thing for me - there is too much typing and work to be done! Eye )

Thank you for your compliments! That was a very nice surprise to read, indeed. Smiling
Let me return the compliment and say that you, too, have an open and honest heart. And your face reflects this and so makes you very good looking also. (Not right that the last time you received that particular compliment from a woman should have been way back at the Mario Lanza Ball!)

BTW, I hope the Viking didn't express his happiness in the same "funny way of showing it", as you remarked of his fellow countrymen, before he reached his destination! Evil

Doug

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You said to Rosie:

Wow. We're bonding!

With my bung eye, I misread that initially, as "Wow! We're bonking!" I was so pleased! Damn my bung eye that I was mistaken! Evil

You also said:

I enjoy your posts Rosie even though we disagree. I see you as a well read, articulate Christian lady. I'd bet anything you are a quality human being in real life.

I can vouch for that. Rosie, of course, is entirely wrong about Goblianity, but her heart is as open as the gates of day, as my hero Robt Ingersoll said of someone, and she is a fan of my project to save civilised speech.

Recently, Rosie was driving me from Wellington to my abode up the coast. We came across a hitch-hiker who was very easy on my good eye, and decided to give him a ride and the benefit of our irresistible repartee. Turned out he was a Viking. Anyway, the ensuing conversation was as hilarious as it was illuminating. Details have been sealed by government decree for 75 years.

Rosie

Doug Bandler's picture

Yes, it was a good point, and you (and Old Nick!) made it well. I am still thinking about it.

Wow. We're bonding!

I enjoy your posts Rosie even though we disagree. I see you as a well read, articulate Christian lady. I'd bet anything you are a quality human being in real life. And you are a good source for the Christian argument on all subjects. I think ultimately those arguments must fail at the epistemological level, but over the last three years, thanks to the influence of Larry Auster, I have come to see that there is great wisdom to be learned in understanding the Christian arguments. I used to just dismiss them and snarkily too. Now I wrestle with them and try to understand them as Christians do. It helps me better know what the Randian counter should be, which isn't always easy. Incidentally, it is really bothering me how many O'ists don't even really fully understand the Christian / Conservative arguments that they dismiss. Rand is always misrepresented. We shouldn't do the same to our intellectual opponents.

And no, this doesn't imply intellectual compromise to goblianity. Its just that goblianity does have a very long and sophisticated philosophical/intellectual/artistic tradition. Given the depravity of the Left, I have come to have an appreciation for the better elements of Christianity, and it does have better elements. I think it is a mark of maturity to understand that, which is something most Objectivists do not have (just like Leftists).

Doug

Rosie's picture

But the cynic in him believed that in the end the great ambitions of men would fall and yield to power lust. So he focused on that.

He was right, I think. I remember watching a documentary about David Lange, a former Prime Minister of NZ, before he died who said something like this:

"When I walked in to parliament I was a virtuous man who had never committed adultery and the first thing I did was to go into the chapel and pray for God's guidance. [He was a Methodist.] When I was voted out of power and was leaving, I remembered this and scuttled past the chapel thinking I was not that same virtuous man and I had committed adultery."

I don't think his was an isolated case.

At least he was privately honest with himself and, also, publicly to others. This, to me, was greatly to his credit and as Myriel from Les Mis said, the angels in heaven celebrate a thousandfold to the sound of one repentant sinner than the sound of self-righteous silken tongues from five hundred men in silk robes (lying and deceiving themselves and others of their wrongful acts and without repentance).

Even before I became a Christian, I can remember how these words from Les Mis rang so true and right. Give me the company of an honest rag and bone man over a lying prince any day!

But, my point in posting that passage was that Machiavelli was critical of Christianity, even though he himself was a Christian.

Yes, it was a good point, and you (and Old Nick!) made it well. I am still thinking about it.

Doug

Lindsay Perigo's picture

My Nietzsche essay, "Flirting with Friedrich," is here:

http://solohq.solopassion.com/...

It's also in my book! Eye

Linz

Doug Bandler's picture

I was shocked too when I first read that passage. I said to myself "woooah, Machiavelli is channeling Nietzsche here 350 years in the future." But then one wonders what influence Machiavelli had on Nietzsche if any.

Was that quote of yours from your Nietzsche essay? Counterfeit Individualism was the title I think? I read it once but I think I will read it again. BTW, you've got all the villains there that's for sure including Kant and Rousseau.

Rosie

Doug Bandler's picture

Oh yes, I know that Machiavelli was quite the cynic. In his own way he was a nihilist too. But one who knew better I think. He did love the Roman Republic and thought it the greatest political accomplishment of mankind. Machiavelli did want a free Republic that allowed for peace and prosperity. And he did acknowledge that rulers should have virtue. But the cynic in him believed that in the end the great ambitions of men would fall and yield to power lust. So he focused on that.

But, my point in posting that passage was that Machiavelli was critical of Christianity, even though he himself was a Christian. I also think the Church banned his work for several centuries. I can see why.

Armarium Magnum

Doug Bandler's picture

Armarium Magnum is an interesting blogger. He is an atheist that often defends Christianity. He even occasionally defends Islam. He is knowledgeable about history, I'll give him that. He made a very good case that Hypatia was not killed because of science but because of politics and he supported it with references. I wasn't thrilled about his denial of the argument that the Crusades was a counter attack against Islamic aggression. I once asked him on his blog what Muslims were doing in Europe and the Levantine Coast anyway. He gave no satisfactory answer. But he does have a very interesting blog if you are interested in Pagan and Christian history.

Another Bernstein Source

Neil Parille's picture

In the debate he mentions Charles Freeman's The Closing of the Western Mind.

I haven't read the book. It does come in for some sustained criticism in Galileo Goes to Jail and Hart's Atheist Delusions.

Here are some other critiques -

http://bede.org.uk/closing.htm

http://armariummagnus.blogspot...

The second is by an atheist.

Linz

Rosie's picture

Rosie -- the essence of worship for Objectivists is man-worship. Not man as he is, necessarily, but man as he might be, ought to be ... and often is. The essence of Goblianity is man-denigration (miserable sinners, most of them condemned by their creator, in advance, to eternal torture)

Oh, Linz.

How wrong you are. Sad

On Valentines Day I was reading a passage from Word For Today that had the VD (whoops!!) message about love being not only for man as he is but what he can be (and often is). The same thing.

Do you think I would worship anything involving humanity diminishing?!

Really and truly.

Hahaha, Doug!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

How preminiscent was Machiavelli of Nietzsche in those observations! If I may be so unhumble as to quote from my own essay on the latter:

Conventional morality, says Nietzsche, is for slaves and shopkeepers, an idiosyncrasy of degenerates. Altruism is its name — sex, lust to rule, and selfishness shall be its antidotes. Christianity is the greatest misfortune of history, a hybrid product of decay and contradiction in which "all the instincts of decadence, all cowardices and wearinesses of the soul find their sanction"; it is a brain affliction of sick web-spinners and cross-marked spiders. One is not converted to Christianity, one has to be sick enough for it. Immanuel Kant, the saviour of altruism and religion, the "underhand Christian," is a "catastrophic spider," the "most deformed concept-cripple of all time." The state is the coldest of all cold monsters; everything it says is a lie, whatever it has is stolen, even its entrails are false. Democracy is degeneracy. Rousseau, democracy's prophet, is a "miscarriage." Socialists are the voice of the rabble: the all-too-many, the botched and bungled, the superfluous, the dappled and motley, maggots in the bread of life, a bungled, gloomy brood who are always sick; they vomit their gall and call it a newspaper.

Rosie -- the essence of worship for Objectivists is man-worship. Not man as he is, necessarily, but man as he might be, ought to be ... and often is. The essence of Goblianity is man-denigration (miserable sinners, most of them condemned by their creator, in advance, to eternal torture) ... or, as your fellow-Goblian Neil puts it proudly, humanity-diminution.

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. [Rand]

Ahhh! So you like Old Nick, eh?!

Rosie's picture

Writer of The Prince which I have read and given copies to aspiring power seekers!

Do you know the history behind those Discourses, Doug?!

Machiavelli was a breakaway from the current idea at the time of the Renaissance that Good Moral Leaders were the Right People to Have as Leaders and To Be in Power. Machiavelli wrote to destroy this notion.
Of course he didn't like Christian LEADERS. But he certainly supported Christianity for the subjects!!! He insisted that any leader pretend to be Christian too, to get the support of the masses.

(He had more cunning plans than Lord Blackadder!)

Read this:

Since the 16th century, generations of politicians remain attracted and repelled by its apparently neutral acceptance, or even positive encouragement, of the immorality of powerful men, described especially in The Prince but also in his other works.

His works are sometimes even said to have contributed to the modern negative connotations of the words politics and politician, and it is sometimes thought that it is because of him that Old Nick became an English term for the Devil and the adjective Machiavellian became a pejorative term describing someone who aims to deceive and manipulate others for personal advantage. Machiavellianism also remains a popular term used in speeches and journalism; while in psychology, it denotes a personality type.

While Machiavellianism is notable in the works of Machiavelli, Machiavelli's works are complex and he is generally agreed to have been more than just "Machiavellian" himself. For example, J.G.A. Pocock (1975) saw him as a major source of the republicanism that spread throughout England and North America in the 17th and 18th centuries and Leo Strauss (1958), whose view of Machiavelli is quite different in many ways, agreed about Machiavelli's influence on republicanism and argued that even though Machiavelli was a teacher of evil he had a nobility of spirit that led him to advocate ignoble actions. Whatever his intentions, which are still debated today, he has become associated with any proposal where "the end justifies the means". For example Leo Strauss (1958, p. 297) wrote:

Machiavelli is the only political thinker whose name has come into common use for designating a kind of politics, which exists and will continue to exist independently of his influence, a politics guided exclusively by considerations of expediency, which uses all means, fair or foul, iron or poison, for achieving its ends - its end being the aggrandizement of one's country or fatherland - but also using the fatherland in the service of the self-aggrandizement of the politician or statesman or one's party.

While fear of God can be replaced by fear of the prince, if there is a strong enough prince, Machiavelli felt that having a religion is in any case especially essential to keeping a republic in order. For Machiavelli, a truly great prince can never be conventionally religious himself, but he should make his people religious if he can. According to Strauss (1958, pp. 226–227) he was not the first person to ever explain religion in this way, but his description of religion was novel because of the way he integrated this into his general account of princes.

Machiavelli's judgment that democracies need religion for practical political reasons was widespread among modern proponents of republics until approximately the time of the French revolution. This therefore represents a point of disagreement between himself and late modernity.

I think Machiavelli would thoroughly approve of the machinations and manipulations of the Left and positively MARVEL at its POWER! He was not regarded as the nicest man in Europe! Google Machiavelli and Stalin, Hitler etc. He was their hero!!!

Who knows? Maybe Major-General Chief-Superintendant King Left read The Prince before he even began his cunning plans? I wouldn't doubt it, Doug.

Rosie, I introduce you to Nick

Doug Bandler's picture

Good counter points. I disagree with them and think that the evidence of history is on the side of Christianity being a weakening of European culture not strengthening of it. You are right in your criticisms of the ancient world. That being said, Christianity did nothing to improve those weaknesses. All it did was add a set of new weaknesses to the mix.

But forget me. I'll let Machiavelli answer you. From the Discourses on Livy Book 2:

In thinking, therefore, of whence it should happen that in those ancient times the people were greater lovers of Liberty than in these times, I believe it results from the same reason which makes men presently less strong, which I believe is the difference between our education and that of the ancients, founded on the difference between our Religion and the ancients. For, as our Religion shows the truth and the true way (of life), it causes us to esteem less the honors of the world: while the Gentiles (Pagans) esteeming them greatly, and having placed the highest good in them, were more ferocious in their actions. Which can be observed from many of their institutions, beginning with the magnificence of their sacrifices (as compared) to the humility of ours, in which there is some pomp more delicate than magnificent, but no ferocious or energetic actions. Theirs did not lack pomp and magnificence of ceremony, but there was added the action of sacrifice full of blood and ferocity, the killing of many animals, which sight being terrible it rendered the men like unto it. In addition to this, the ancient Religion did not beatify men except those full of worldly glory, such as were the Captains of armies and Princes of Republics. Our Religion has glorified more humble and contemplative men rather than men of action. It also places the highest good in humility, lowliness, and contempt of human things: the other places it in the greatness of soul, the strength of body, and all the other things which make men very brave. And, if our Religion requires that there be strength (of soul) in you, it desires that you be more adept at suffering than in achieving great deeds.

This mode of living appears to me, therefore, to have rendered the world weak and a prey to wicked men, who can manage it securely, seeing that the great body of men, in order to go to Paradise, think more of enduring their beatings than in avenging them. And although it appears that the World has become effeminate and Heaven disarmed, yet this arises without doubt more from the baseness of men who have interpreted our Religion in accordance with Indolence and not in accordance with Virtu. For if they were to consider that it (our Religion) permits the exaltation and defense of the country, they would see that it desires that we love and honor her (our country), and that we prepare ourselves so that we can be able to defend her. This education and false interpretations, therefore, are the cause that in the world as many Republics are not seen in them that the people have as much love for liberty now as at that time. I believe, however, the reason for this rather to be, that the Roman Empire with its arms and greatness destroyed all the Republics and all civil institutions. And although that Empire was later dissolved, yet these Cities could not reunite themselves, nor reorganize their civil institutions, except in a very few places in that Empire.

He attacks Christianity pretty hard in that first paragraph but pulls back somewhat in the second. Machiavelli wrote circa 1500, a full 350 years before Nietzsche, when Christianity was strong and look at what he had to say about it. One can only imagine what he would have said of modern liberalism. It would probably make what I say look tame.

Spirituality

Rosie's picture

Linz
Remember the point where D'Souza said that Goblianity tapped into his need for a sense of the sublime? He specifically mentioned Goblian art, and music in particular, if I recall correctly. That was a perfect opportunity to acknowledge the reality of that need and the legitimacy, nay glory, of tapping into it; to affirm that spirituality is the purview of the mind

When I read this, it jogged a memory of something I read about human nature and man's desire to worship. I have been trying to recall where I read it.

In the meantime though, I found this question on the Internets (!):

Subject: Why do humans Worship?

I'm curious. I'm sure this topic has been handled in magazines and
books and very smart people have dedicated their careers to this
topic. But I'm lazy, impatient and very very curious (this combination
has been very frustrating to live with until Google Answers entered my
life!)

You see, this afternoon I had a few minutes to kill, so I wondered
into an old church in the middle of downtown Toronto. And as I investigated the incredible art & architecture
that was inspired by the worship of God, I began to ask myself: "Why
do humans (out of all intelligent life on earth) have an innate desire
to worship God/s. Why don't you find dolphins, elephants, whales, or
more to the point, why don't our close relatives, the various apes,
worship? Yet, has the worship of God/s been a catalyst for the
evolution of humans? Or just a mere way of organizing and structuring
an infant civilization?"

Your opinion and insight are just as much appreciated as your
research! Thanks!

For $5 Googleanswers has provided some good research positing a number of alternative theories and related links for more detail. (The comments are quite good too.)

As I read through them all, the answer given at no. 3. (just before the Conclusion) struck me. It reminded me of Bertrand Russell's Essay on Man's Need To Worship (bit stiff at first but worth persevering - it is right up the Objectivist alley, I'd say!) and so I have added that here.

And this one too was good, I thought, even if ye-old-worlde-type writing.

IDEAS (or... what do they call it?...um.. Brain-Storming Session! That's it!)

I don't think that Objectivists could worship anything other than "The Good" in order to inspire art and music etc. which would require stating what The Good is - I am not sure "anything that enhances survival" is very inspirational because it conjures only basic animaly things - even though this may not be the case. It (the notion of survival) isn't very soulful, poetic, intellectually appealing or emotionally uplifting, or something one feels drawn to worship, really, is it?! Eye

Nature perhaps? Or is that a bit primitive?! For "the savage"! Eye

Money/Materialistic things?! Eye (Already taken but I'm sure it could be shared!)

I know! The Self. That would fit Objectivism, wouldn't it? But Doug will know that the Left will certainly never let that one slip by! Eye

How about Existence?! That would work - it's grand and incomprehensible and has that sense of mystery? AND you already have the prayer:
"Existence exists! and A is A!" (great for kindergarten chants too - to catch 'em when they're tots is always good!)
It could be set to music! The golden Ms could be replaced by A's - A frame architecture EVERYWHERE!!!
A is A and Ayn is Ayn!
Great possibilities here.... Eye

More ideas?! This is fun!

Bernstein's Source on Hypatia

Neil Parille's picture

He mentions "the historian of mathematics Morris Kline."

I assume he is referring to Kline's Mathematics in Western Culture where he says that Hypatia was killed by a Christian mob because she "refused to abandon her Greek religion." (p. 87 - available on Amazon.)

There is no source given for this. Since she wasn't killed because of her religion (much less for not abandoning it) it's likely he didn't have any and was just repeating what he heard.

-NP

Doug

Rosie's picture

I am actually fascinated by the way you see Christianity.

What I do, when you make your claims, is to step outside my mindset and pretend I feel nothing about God and try to see it all as an atheist does - just a load of fancy and make believe and myth.
And then I put little pieces of fact that I know back in to your claim, one by one, to see how it fits in (and whether it can).
It is a really good way to test hypotheses.

I will very happily read the links in that post.

Doug

Rosie's picture

Jesus and St. Paul injected into European culture a degree of self-immolation, self-resignation, pity, weakness worshiping and subservience that did not previously exist.

Hey, Doug? You know when the Barbarians successfully invaded Rome, do you agree that this was only possible because Rome was weakened because the Empire by that stage had grown so vast that it been divided in to two, not to mention all the different capitals so that Rome stopped being the Big Cheese and the previous tight control had been lost (along with the citizens' respect for the increasingly decadent Roman emperors)?

Do you agree that pre-Christian Rome had plenty of subservience in the form of slavery, limited education, exclusive voting rights only for certain of its citizens, sexual subservience, female subservience, a fairly rigid hierarchy - socially and militarily and politically?
And I believe what you call "self-immolation" was, in fact, the Roman Emperors setting alight its Christian population as a form of extremely decadent persecution - lighting the gardens at parties with burning Christians for example. Why do you think Jesus and St Paul began this "party trick"?!
As for self-resignation, how many uprisings were there in pre-Christian Rome? None? How many people's social/political/military positions altered from that in which they had been born? There were some, I know, but it wasn't common. I am not sure Christianity is responsible for this "self-resignation". It is human laziness and lack of motivation to change/confidence/education etc. Much the same as today!

Would you prefer a world where brute force and persecution continues as in pre-Christian Rome?

Rosie

Doug Bandler's picture

If you ever have time, read the essays at the links in this blog post of mine:

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

She has a take on St. Paul that I am sure you will love. Yeah, that's sarcasm. But I think her analysis of early Christianity is a good one.

Both

Doug Bandler's picture

So Jesus and his disciples are actually to blame for ObaMarx and Airhead America/Western World and not Victor Hugo, after all?!

Both are. Christianity is in large part responsible for the ethics of altruism which Hugo, following Kant, was transforming into a new form - the modern left-liberal form. This is what I refer to as the secularization of Christianity. Many Conservative scholars have made this point before me. Check out Eric Vogelin for an example. He was responsible for the expression "immanentizing the eschaton"; i.e. bringing heaven down to earth which is what modern liberalism is attempting to do.

I know this is impossible for you to accept but both Jesus and St. Paul injected into European culture a degree of self-immolation, self-resignation, pity, weakness worshiping and subservience that did not previously exist. Modern liberalism is a weakness worshiping pity cult. But it gets that from New Testament Christianity.

I know I know. According to you I just don't get it. Christianity is all things beautiful and I'm a mean spirited dolt. And I'm a misogynist too! Heavens to Betsy.

Doug

Rosie's picture

But my point is that Christianity was an attempt to alleviate suffering just like modern liberalism.

So Jesus and his disciples are actually to blame for ObaMarx and Airhead America/Western World and not Victor Hugo, after all?! Eye

Hmmmmm....

Pity Bernstein hadn't asked for your counsel prior to composing his address in the Debate to explain why Christianity is bad for mankind! It would have been one point on the subject he might have made that was worthy of some consideration, at least! Smiling

Linz

Doug Bandler's picture

I was greatly impressed, btw, to hear Bernstein say at the end that he agreed with Dinesh the need to get the Dem-scum out of Washington. None of that Hsiekovian nonsense.

Bernstein has been very good with that. He has called Leftism a psychosis. That is actually where I got that expression from. He is the only big name O'ist I have encountered to say that of the Left. In a recent podcast Yaron Brook argues that Objectivism should try to reach "prominent liberals" who could be open to reason. Give-me-a-fucking-break. Oh and I-could-spit.

I agree with all your other points. I too would have liked to see him give Christianity credit for offering a vision of the sublime even though it can't ultimately deliver and then go on to say that Rand did that but that more needs to be done in that regard. Hell, in fact the battle will only be won if Objectivism can do that. As it is art and beauty which moves men's souls.

Christianity and the Romans

Doug Bandler's picture

Christianity addressed issues of poverty and suffering. IMO, Christianity started as a splinter faith movement among Jews that were suffering terrible demoralization as a result of the Roman occupation of the Levantine Coast. It has been said that Christianity is the Jews psychological revenge on the Roman Empire and I think there is alot of truth to that. Mosaic Judaism was a religion of warrior prophets who believed they had a covenant with a strong and protective god. But the Jews were constantly getting conquered. When it happened yet again with the Romans you see a branch of Jews creating a new approach to god and theology; i.e. Christianity. Christianity is very inward centered - it focuses on the salvation of the soul. Mosaic Judaism is outward centered - it focuses on the law.

That's what I mean by Christianity arose because of injustices of the Pagan world. Christianity started as a decentralized faith movement that was attempting to fill the needs of its communities. Given the time, this is nothing remarkable and even somewhat noble. People were suffering and they needed something to believe in. Christianity gave them that and I am sure you know that Christianity rose to prominence because it appealed to 1) slaves 2) the poor and 3) WOMEN (women are always the problem Evil ).

But my point is that Christianity was an attempt to alleviate suffering just like modern liberalism.

Linz

Rosie's picture

To be fair, I should read Atlas Shrugged again. I didn't mean that it was a write-off and didn't have any great passages in it. It did. I read the book in about three or four sittings - it was certainly captivating - but to me its captivation was only in terms of the business side, strangely enough. I found the romance side of the book disappointing and empty. It left me dead. I remember thinking the characters cold and loveless - selfish too - nothing even close to the joy and intensity of the love I was experiencing at that time. I don't recall too much about integrity - I probably took integrity for granted. (I don't any more, of course.) I think I can recall a speech or two which I thought was really good - in a court, maybe? - and which I copied in to the journal I kept in those days of "great excerpts" from books I had read. (Still got it somewhere!) But I would like to read it again now that I am older. Smiling

I think either you (or Doug) would probably have been better than Bernstein. The post you have just made sounds more sincere, thoughtful and convincing than anything Bernstein said. His facts were often wrong; his argument in actually addressing the topic and his presentation, I thought, were both poor. There seemed no depth to his thinking. He didn't ask all the right questions or provide adequate rebuttal or answers in reply to D'Souza's excellent points (for example, the history of Western Civilisation is the history of Christianity - science, reason etc) or even provide the possibility of answers. And although I know it sounds absurd to think that I can have something to say that would have turned the Objectivist (and Mr D'Souza's) position on consciousness and existence upside down but the fact is that I have been given a book that holds a theory of consciousness that would have knocked them dead.

It nearly knocked me dead when I read it. Smiling

Doug

Rosie's picture

And to be fair, Christianity arose as a response to many of the injustices of the Pagan world.

Christianity arose as a response to injustices of the Pagan world?!
To be fair?

How about to be honest?!

How about this instead? ( aka the truth!)

Christianity was founded in the 1st century in the Levant region of the Middle East by Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 16:18), who is prophesied in the Old Testament (Micah 5:2-5) to be the Christ or chosen one of God. It began as a Jewish sect in the Levant in the mid-1st century and its earliest development took place under the leadership of the Twelve Apostles, particularly Saint Peter and Paul the Apostle, followed by the early bishops, whom Christians consider the successors of the Apostles. (The fathers of Christianity included those who had been disciples of Jesus such as Peter, Matthew, James and John Shannon, as well as others who may never have met him but were either influenced by accounts of his teachings such as the Gospel writers Mark and Luke, or described having spiritual revelations of his divine nature, such as Matthew Paul of Tarsus who actively encouraged the founding of Christian communities or "churches" after his conversion.)

What set Christians apart from Jews was their faith in Christ as the resurrected messiah. Belief in a resurrected messiah is unacceptable to Rabbinic Judaism, and Jewish authorities have long used this to explain the break between Judaism and Christianity. Jesus' failure to establish the Kingdom of God and his death at the hands of the Romans invalidated his messianic claims for Hellenistic Jews.

Christianity arose as a response to injustices of the Pagan World?

Er.. Christianity arose as a response to injustices of the Pagan World to Christians, do you mean?! Isn't that a circular argument, Doug?!

"According to the scriptures, Christians were from the beginning subject to persecution by some Jewish religious authorities, who disagreed with the apostles' teachings. This involved punishments, including death, for Christians such as Stephen [Acts 7:59] and James, son of Zebedee.[Acts 12:2] Larger-scale persecutions followed at the hands of the authorities of the Roman Empire, first in the year 64, when Emperor Nero blamed them for the Great Fire of Rome.and the early Church leaders Peter and Paul of Tarsus were each martyred in Rome. Further widespread persecutions of the Church occurred under nine subsequent Roman emperors, most intensely under Decius and Diocletian. The Roman persecution of Christians ended in AD 313 under the reign of Constantine the Great."

(from Wikipedia)

Doug?!

Doug

Lindsay Perigo's picture

First, I don't, of course, agree with Rosie about Atlas. Empty, thin, materialistic only? The novel that consecrates productiveness, romantic love, integrity ... and gave us the music of Richard Halley? Intellectually thin? Galt's speech?!

Nor do I think those specific criticisms apply to Bernstein. He had the better case to make, and he made it to the point where D'Souza was constantly on the ropes. But yes, in the dank and dour and jumbled way in which he made it, Bernstein let himself down, and affords us a snapshot of a problem within organised Objectivism. Remember the point where D'Souza said that Goblianity tapped into his need for a sense of the sublime? He specifically mentioned Goblian art, and music in particular, if I recall correctly. That was a perfect opportunity to acknowledge the reality of that need and the legitimacy, nay glory, of tapping into it; to affirm that spirituality is the purview of the mind, and anti-mind philosophies are improper repositories for it. He came close with his insistence that values are the meaning of life, and since each of us has only one life (contrary to Goblianity) it behoves us to select values wisely and pursue them greedily. But somehow he didn't seem like someone who did that or believed it! (I'm sure he does both; it's a curious anomaly that you'd never guess it.)

We should treat D'Souza as a project. I think he'd be honest enough to allow that he was on the back foot through the discussion of the axioms, the primacy of existence, the absurdity of consciousness without bodies, etc., and he was clearly foundering through the segment on miracles; yet as long as Goblianity satisfied his sense of the sublime, he said, he'd stick with it. The challenge is to show him that a nonsense-free, rational philosophy can do that -- indeed, is the only kind of philosophy that authentically can do that. If we can enlighten him, the battle is won. First, however, we must enlighten Objectivists! Eye "Existence exists" and arguments for the free market aren't, on their own at least, going to cut it.

http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

I was greatly impressed, btw, to hear Bernstein say at the end that he agreed with Dinesh the need to get the Dem-scum out of Washington. None of that Hsiekovian nonsense.

Indeed

Jules Troy's picture

The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

You have a point

Doug Bandler's picture

But some people devote themselves to taking care of the sick, other to curing sickness, others to taking care of their families. At its best, the Catholic Church never taught that being a priest or nun is morally superior to the lay life.

You're probably right. And to be fair, Christianity arose as a response to many of the injustices of the Pagan world. There was great poverty and misery during those times. Its funny, Leftism arose to address the poverty and misery caused by the European class system. Good intentions all the way round. God save us from good intentioned altruists.

Mother T

Neil Parille's picture

Doug,

I always found her something of a self promoter. (Some catholics have said the same.) The only really negative thing I heard about her is that she didn't believe that pain medication should be used. I have no idea if this is true.

But some people devote themselves to taking care of the sick, other to curing sickness, others to taking care of their families. At its best, the Catholic Church never taught that being a priest or nun is morally superior to the lay life.

Question for Lindsay

Doug Bandler's picture

Here is Rosie's comment:

I got exactly the same feeling from Bernstein as I did when I read Atlas Shrugged all those years ago. A sense of emptiness and thinness and materialistic only. Intellectually thin - a sort of poor man's philosophy.

Do you think this is another form of your fundamental criticism of the Objectivist movement - i.e. that it lacks passion? Given that it is near impossible to talk a true believing Goblinian out of Goblianism but Bernstein did not convey gravitas or a true intellectuality. His talk was largely cookie cutter boiler plate. If you are attacking god I think you really need to get replace it with something; something sublime. Rand did that in her novels. But Objectivists tend to come across as wise ass children with smirks on their faces. I know. I was one of those too.

But on the other hand, when it comes to that great non-existent goblian in the heavens, perhaps it is better to be dry and just carve the god concept up with laser like precision. The thing is, I don't think Bernstein did that either.

Greg

Rosie's picture

To be perfectly honest, when I wrote all of creation I had in mind the beautiful day, the view of nature from my window and the animals! Nature. I did not include people in that moment of rapture regarding all of creation. To be frank, I am actually feeling very disappointed in the behaviour of some people at the moment.

Wanton*

gregster's picture

"A state of gratitude to God when things are good is just as important as a cry for help when they are not to a Christian who loves her life, her creator and all of creation." In the sense of definitions 3 and 4.

The Debate

Rosie's picture

I really enjoyed this debate. Neil, thank you so much for posting it. Smiling

I got exactly the same feeling from Bernstein as I did when I read Atlas Shrugged all those years ago. A sense of emptiness and thinness and materialistic only. Intellectually thin - a sort of poor man's philosophy. You won't understand what I mean by this. It sounds insulting but I don't mean it that way.

I am going to try and scan a chapter of a book that has the "brilliant theory" of consciousness that might answer some of the mockery of Bernstein and then try to post it on this thread.

I thought Bernstein spoke rather like a gruff pig actually. No finesse, no respect. Awful. But I was still very interested to hear what he had to say. I understand it all much, much more now. Smiling

Doug

Rosie's picture

Now Rosie can tell me about my one track mind.

Doug, you have a one track mind. Eye
(I can't, logically, say the track is on the left though - if there is only one!)

Re Mother Teresa:
But don't hold it [a person that wanted to spend their life working with the poor] up as morally superior and worship poverty, suffering and sickness to boot.

Interesting comment, Doug. I certainly don't agree that poverty, suffering and sickness is "worshiped" but I do agree that people would consider Mother Teresa morally superior. So why is this? Firstly, most people couldn't stand to be around people in poverty, sickness and suffering. It appeals to only those human faculties that arise from pity and kindness and a wish to heal and alleviate their suffering and to substitute joy; so it arises from love and, in this case converted to the practice of that love, through nurturing.

Since almost all people have this need and want of these qualities at some point in their non-impoverished, healthy and mostly joyous lives, and rely on their friends/family/or a stranger sometimes to provide it, and they provide it in reverse too no doubt, people appreciate that compassion requires energy from the person providing it and also sacrifice of their time from pursuing other things. For most people, when their energy and time is prioritised, and given, to the person in need, it is usually because they love that person in need. So, therefore, people respect and must be in awe of the enormity and greatness of the love of a woman like Mother Teresa who gave ALL her time, energy, compassion and practical help to millions of people - strangers too, all of them - in need ALL THE TIME OF EVERY DAY OF HER ADULT LIFE?! (And without reward.)

If you can't take your hat off to that degree of compassion and love, for strangers no less, and attempt to pervert love and call it "evil", "worshiping suffering" or "glorifying pain" then I weep for you, truly. Because to me, THAT is something I can not literally even bring my heart and mind to empathise with (which is what I do to try and understand another person's position). The minute I try to empathise with that thinking a darkness begins to form around my heart and my thoughts just immediately run way from even TRYING to empathise with that view. It is TOO DARK and TOO HORRIBLE to countenance.

Christianity worshiped the poor but never wanted to find a worldly solution for poverty. That's because it needs martyrs and suffering. What need would you have for Christianity without suffering?

Bullshit.

This is so commonly said.

It is true that many people will forget all about remembering God while their lives are propsperous and all is well. But when they suffer and there is NONE there to help them, who do they cry out to? God. This is no more than a sad indictment on people. Don't mistake people's foibles for what God or Christianity requires and offers, Doug. A state of gratitude to God when things are good is just as important as a cry for help when they are not to a Christian who loves her life, her creator and all of creation.

Agree about Hypatia

Doug Bandler's picture

He also repeats the crap about Hypatia, although not in its worst form.

This is true. Objectivists need to be historically accurate. Hypatia was killed for political reasons not religious. The movie 'Agora' got this very wrong. Yes, Christianity is nonsense. Still, you can't play fast and loose with historical accuracy if you are a professional intellectual organization. Bernstein should have done more thorough research on this.

I think his point that the primacy of existence precludes the existence of God is quite illogical.

It depends on how god is defined. If he is defined as non-material and "conscious", then yes I would say god is precluded. The very concept becomes incoherent. But if you define god some other way that is not non-material then he is part of the natural world. That presents a host of problems also. But D'Souza is a Christian arguing for the Christian conception of god so Bernstein's point was valid.

And what's so bad about Mother Theresa?

I would have no problem with a person that wanted to spend their life working with the poor. But don't hold it up as morally superior and worship poverty, suffering and sickness to boot. The Left has basically taken Mother Theresa and secularized her. But if Mother Theresa was not held up as a moral exemplar we would not be living in the type of society where Leftism could rise.

Christianity worshiped the poor but never wanted to find a worldly solution for poverty. That's because it needs martyrs and suffering. What need would you have for Christianity without suffering? Does this sound similar? Oh yeah. The Left represents the same damn thing. The left needs poor non-whites the way Christianity needs sinners. Leftism really is a Christian heresy. And sadly both Mother Theresa and Victor Hugo (channeling another thread) contributed to its rise. Now Rosie can tell me about my one track mind.

Bernstein

Neil Parille's picture

I listened to a little bit of him. He's not as bad as Linz said, just a lot of boilerplate (of course you'd expect that in a debate about such a wide topic).

I think his point that the primacy of existence precludes the existence of God is quite illogical.

He also repeats the crap about Hypatia, although not in its worst form.

I wouldn't quote Will Durant either.

And what's so bad about Mother Theresa?

Excellent!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

A great coup to bring these two together. Bernstein wiped the floor with Dinesh substantively, but D'Souza was the superior speaker -- clear and linear, as opposed to garbled and splayed like hyperactive Andy, who often didn't even finish his sentences, but gabbled unintelligibly into some new thought. Most of his thoughts, once they came into focus, were unimpeachable, but he strung them together amateurishy.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.