Saturday, July 18, 2009

Plutocracy, ObamaCo-style

"""""Goldman Sachs exemplifies the domination of the banks over government policy and both political parties. It has supplied the top personnel for government economic policy-making in the Democratic Clinton, Republican Bush and Democratic Obama administrations. Bush’s treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, formerly the CEO of Goldman, saw to it that the government bank bailout paid especially rich dividends to his former company. This included a bailout of AIG that allowed the company to pay off billions of dollars in derivatives debts to Goldman at 100 percent.

The list of former Goldman Sachs employees holding top positions in the Obama administration includes:

• Mark Patterson, a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist, who is the chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (himself the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York).

• Reuben Jeffery III, former managing partner at Goldman Sachs, who holds the post of undersecretary of state for economic, business, and agricultural affairs.

• Neel Kashkari, former Goldman Sachs vice president, who is the assistant secretary of the treasury for financial stability, responsible for administering the TARP funds.

• Dianna Farrell, former financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, who serves as deputy director of the National Economic Council.

There is a word to describe this type of socio-economic order: Plutocracy, i.e., rule by the rich. This is the reality behind the increasingly thin veneer of democracy in America.

The Obama administration in an instrument of the plutocrats, and the American people are the victims.

There is no way this can be reversed within the framework of capitalism. The only social force that can end the dictatorship of the banks is the working class. It must be mobilized as an independent and revolutionary political force in opposition to Obama and both parties of big business.

The fortunes obtained through fraud and socially destructive means must be expropriated and directed toward providing social relief, rebuilding industry and the country’s infrastructure, and guaranteeing jobs, education, housing and decent living standards for all. The practices of the banks, hedge funds, CEOs, big investors and speculators must be investigated and exposed to public view, and those responsible for the economic disaster held accountable.

Socialist policies are needed to break the stranglehold of the financial aristocracy. The banks must be nationalized and turned into public institutions, under the democratic control of the working population. Only on this basis can economic life be organized according to social need, rather than private profit and the accumulation of personal wealth by a small minority.""""""

Contingencies usually agrees with the marxist diagnosis of the disease of finance capitalism but not always with the proposed marxist treatment (there are to be sure groups more radical than WSWS). The financial aristocracy needs to be dismantled though that doesn't mean Labor and a few marxist academics are the only ones who can stop it. Marx hisself was no syndicalist or worshipper of the trade unions. The bolsheviks arguably came into power precisely because they refused to kowtow to the union bosses of the time (though they were stronger in Europe than the czar's Russia). VI Lenin may have communicated with the De Leonist sorts, but the bolsheviks were quite aware of the drawbacks of De Leonism, and other types of syndicalism (including the anarchist sort). One drawback may be called "Norma Raeism," for lack of a better word.

The WSWS itself seems prone to Norma Raeism. WSWS has been fairly active in so-cal politics--though you wouldn't know that reading the HuffPo or daily celebrity snatch news. They were involved in the grocery worker strike of 2003-2004, and other labor issues. Unfortunately, the WSWS type of labor-leftists tend to be controlled by Norma Raes dedicated to union style politics and the holy concept of Seniority. The long-time unionist does not really approve of progressive leftists--even radical, bolshevik sorts. Her leftism is not that of the University, of the scientist or philosopher, but of truck drivers, meat workers, fruit and vegetable packers, agriculture workers, los Migros. For Norma Raes (or Normitas) La Huelga does not depend on what a Zizek or Chomsky has to say--she probably has never read a word of a german philosopher--, but on the union jefes, who are--I contend--more like De Leonists than bolsheviks or trotskyites (to toss around a bit of jargon)--though even in CA there are somewhat maoist unionists as well.


Our Founding Truth said...

Socialist policies are needed to break the stranglehold of the financial aristocracy.

Really? I wouldn't go that far, either would the framers. Our Govt. oversite is pathetic! Get that in order first. Anymore meddling with free enterprise will have drastic effects. Such is the result of sin in man.

J said...

Free enterprise, aka laissez-faire results in Goldman sachs, AIG, JP Morgan does it not? The 90s GOP, with help from Clinton, overturned New Deal policies which allowed lenders/financiers the freedom to tap into mortgage funds and other securities. While I don't exactly agree with WSWS in all the details, laissez-faire produces G-sachs and bull markets in crude oil etc.

I don't think all the Framers were Gramms or Gingriches--Mad. and Jeff. were not. Estate taxes were in place early on, and were driven by political as well as economic considerations--to prevent ancien regime dynasties, aristocratic families. In regards to small business, and individuals, I agree with you, but the early agrarian-small town business models of America were archaic a century ago anyway. Mass production, corporations, international finance are a bit beyond Jefferson's dreams (o pesadillas).

Adam Smith supported govt. intervention--and something like economic justice--when markets became completely out of whack, or resulted in monopolies.

J said...

I also find it amusing that so many conservative christians (especially WASPs) simply accept massive financial giants like JPMorgan, or corporate excess and greed. Certainly that's not a view supported by New Testament. Christ opposes Caesar, mostly, and opposes the wealthy and powerful (that's not to say all wealthy and powerful are republicans: I believe the principles of the New Testament are in opposition to DiDi Feinsteins, AND Cheneys)

Our Founding Truth said...

Adam Smith supported govt. intervention--and something like economic justice--when markets became completely out of whack, or resulted in monopolies.

I think the setup was good, but liberalism allows lack of oversite, which gets us where we are.

Bush, Cheney, and the Neocons aren't Christians anyway. The Church is deceived.

By the way, I don't see any other basis upon which our Republic is based; not on heterodox principles, but Orthodox Christian principles. Madison and Jefferson said the most important were the ratifiers of instruments, not drafters. And the vast majority were Orthodox.

So why the focus on infidels, like Jefferson? He had nothing to do with ratifying the Constitution.

As to Jefferson's sincerity to Locke, the latter may not be so heterodox after all. I think Locke wasn't orthodox, but that is up for debate. I note Locke, because Richard Henry Lee, who was more important than Jefferson, said the DOI, was based on Locke's principles.

My reading of Hobbes from Leviathan, is that he believed in God's Law, rather man, but still gave creedence to the sovereign. This also, appears consistent with our Republican Govt. Is not Ex. 18, a form of Republican Govt? Paine said it was, and no govt. is alike.

If you see my blog, I am with Obama on the Christian Nation deal.

J said...

I assume you equate orthodoxy with calvinism. In that case, I disagree. The early Americans --certainly in New England--may have been primarily calvinist, but there were still many episcopalian/anglican, and other sects (including quaker sorts). The framers were mostly episcopalian, nominally at least. Jefferson was hardly alone in his impiety. The aged Madison may have waxed pious on occasion; the Madison of the Federalist papers and Constitution did not (or see the Remonstrance).


Hobbes may have argued for allowing the church of England in a few later obscure passages of Leviathan, but it was purely on pragmatic grounds (not to say prudential--he had already been charged with heresy, and risked losing his head). He quite clearly states there are no arguments which would establish God's existence, and he also denies the existence of a soul. His religion, if there is any, seems more Deistic--nature is God, though I don't think it's a Spinoza like thing, but sort of ad hoc, probably meant to appease the theocrats of the time.

Locke may have still affirmed religious doctrine, but as with Hobbes, his own epistemology pretty much makes orthodoxy inconceivable. Locke the man seems to have believed, but he was also involved in whig business, and not entirely free of scandal, including his arguments for Shaftesbury's carolina business, justifying the seizure of native lands, slavery, etc. Some question whether it was Locke himsef--Locke did condemn slavery at times. But it does appears Locke was involved somehow with drafting the carolina charter.

My own sense is that Hobbes was intellectually and morally rather superior to Mr Locke, and while allied with the royalists at times, he also attempted to create a sort of universal rights document with Leviathan--he thinks the sovereign will best advance peoples' interests, and seek the peace. There are elements of absolutism but it's naive to read Leviathan as some precursor to statist tyranny.

Our Founding Truth said...

I actually don't mean Calvinism or Arminianism. I'm talking about Orthodoxy; the Blood Atonement for Redemption, Deity of Christ, etc.

The Virginian majority was Orthodox; Marshall, Pendleton, Lee, Gage, St. Tucker, Mason, Henry, et al., believed inerrancy of the Scriptures. I think it's safe to put Marshall in their box because he eventually did believe in Grace through Atonement, seeing the error of his Unitarianism. Even Edmund Randolph may have become Orthodox at the end.

Madison is tricky, but historians are hard-pressed to claim departure of his heavy Calvinist upringing while he formed the Nation. His Memorial is Grace all the way. The psuedo-arminians(Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams), along with the "Old Light" preachers preached virtue, over Grace.

My claim is that the States were Orthodox, and our Organic Laws(DOI, Constitution, AOC, State Constutitions) were Orthodox documents.

It sounds like Hobbes assumed God's existence. Whether he could support it by Nature, I don't know:

"These dictates of reason men used to call by the name of laws, but improperly: for they are but conclusions or theorems concerning what conduceth to the conservation and defence of themselves; whereas law, properly, is the word of him that by right hath command over others. But yet if we consider the same theorems as delivered in the word of God that by right commandeth all things, then are they properly called laws."
-Chapter XV: Of Other Laws of Nature

He also appears to have believed in our Spirit, or Soul?

"In sum, in what matter soever there is place for addition and subtraction, there also is place for reason; and where these have no place, there reason has nothing at all to do. And hence it came to pass, when our Saviour was compassed about with the multitude, those of the house doubted he was mad, and went out to hold him: but the Scribes said he had Beelzebub, and that was it, by which he cast out devils; as if the greater madman had awed the lesser. And that some said, "He hath a devil, and is mad"; whereas others, holding him for a prophet, said, "These are not the words of one that hath a devil."...So that, in sum, it is manifest that whosoever behaved himself in extraordinary manner was thought by the Jews to be possessed either with a good or evil spirit; except by the Sadducees, who erred so far on the other hand as not to believe there were at all any spirits, which is very near to direct atheism; and thereby perhaps the more provoked others to term such men demoniacs rather than madmen."
-Part I, Chapter VIII

"The true God may be personated. As He was: first, Moses, who governed the Israelites, that were that were not his, but God's people; not in his own name, with hoc dicit Moses, but in God's name, with hoc dicit Dominus. Secondly, by the Son of Man, His own Son, our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, that came to reduce the Jews and induce all nations into the kingdom of his Father; not as of himself, but as sent from his Father. And thirdly, by the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, speaking and working in the Apostles; which Holy Ghost was a Comforter that came not of himself, but was sent and proceeded from them both."
-Chapter XVI: Of Persons, Authors, and Things Personated.

I doubt Hobbes was a rationalist either:

In most respects Hobbes is similiar to Rutherford:

"that a Commonwealth without sovereign power is but a word without substance and cannot stand: that subjects owe to sovereigns simple obedience in all things wherein their obedience is not repugnant to the laws of God, I have sufficiently proved in that which I have already written."
-Chapter XXXI: Of the Kingdom of God By Nature

In my opinion, the modern view of Hobbes has been completely distorted! I don't know about his beliefs of Christian fundamentals, but he believed inerrancy.

J said...

Hobbes did deny he was an atheist, I believe, but his materialist philosophy would seem to lend itself to atheist intepretations, or at least heretical, non-traditional interpretations. He criticized Descartes' Res Cogitans, and insists that all substances are extended, ie corporeal--physical (that follows from the rise of experimental science in Britain, I believe, as much as from metaphysics).

""""Another, when men make a name of two names, whose significations are contradictory and inconsistent; as this name, an incorporeal body, or (which is all one) an incorporeal substance, and a great number more. For whensoever any affirmation is false, the two names of which it is composed, put together and made one, signify nothing at all (Leviathan, 4.20–1)."""

I agree that Hobbesian arguments are not exactly knock-down arguments for materialism/physicalism, but more like based on plausibility. Hobbes wanted to suggest that existence implies corporeality, I believe: when you say someone thinks, you mean a person who exists with a brain thinks, etc. That might not do for Notre Dame theologians, but does seem rather sound.

Now, that might not preclude theology of some sort (immanence, perhaps) but hardly traditional sort. And I think at some point when put on the spot Hobbes did say God was a material being--ie nature taken as a whole, though not with the spinozaistic subtleties (then I don't understand how Spinoza retains the metaphysical "substance" given his own materialism and determinism).

Our Founding Truth said...


Whatever your bent, you'll find AM is not too friendly to the truth, evidenced by their rejection of the historical truth about mormonism. TVD is totally incorrect about his religious bigotry line; mormonism has been proven to be a fraud, not only by his mother and father's testimony, but by science refuting their claim the Indians are descendents of the hebrews.

Joseph Smith knew nothing about science, but a lot about crystal gazing for buried treasure(the occult).

J said...

Thank you.

TvD's overreaction to my fairly tame points on mormonism seem to indicate that they are sympathetic to the LDS, if not supported/funded by them.

Again, I don't detest individual mormons---I think a few of them stand up to the good ol' boy baptists and so forth--but we certainly have grounds to criticize if not condemn the history of the COLDS, not to say Joseph Smith's documented frauds.

And I wager the framers would agree with that--even the more conservative calvinist sorts. (See my post on Enthusiasm on AC--assuming TvD hasn't deleted it).

Our Founding Truth said...

One can only imagine what: Witherspoon, King, Boudinot, Sherman, Samuel Adams, Ellsworth, King, et al., would have said about crystal gazing.

That is the occult, period, end of story!

I have no problem with anyone, atheists included, however, defending mormonism is a disgrace.

J said...

Joseph Smith more or less plagiarized the Old Testament, and added some odd masonic elements--occult if you like, but mostly based in free-masonry. Smith and his cronies were ex-masons (and I think ex-methodists or something as well). There is also the pseudo-anthropology you referred to ("he walked the Americas" BS), and the view of the natives as "Lamanites", along with other races. The mormon rapture is really quite racist: unless the Lamanites agree to the Nephi terms, the mormon zion, so forth, they are to be annihilated.

They are very much like the hysterical Rapture-oriented fundamentalists, and stockpile food, supplies--probably firearms and so forth in Utah outback. Their churches look more like forts than chapels or cathedrals.

I think we could see some Utah secession movement, or strange religious wars in the next few years.

Our Founding Truth said...

The mormon rapture is really quite racist:>

Remember, later authors tried to fix the racist tone of Smith and Young. But, those manuscripts are still around.

I bet their church holdings are in the high billions; from energy, minerals, securities, etc. They could seceed if they wanted to.

The rapture is in the Scriptures. Jerome translated rapture, "raptus" for "caught up" in his Latin Vulgate.

J said...

The Book of Revelation intrigues me slightly, but I don't read it literally--and as with Paul's writings, the BoR are not the words of Christ.

Paraphrasing Ezra Pound, I am no great shakes as a latinist, but it's "Apocalypse Johannes" or something in Vulgate--not merely "Revelation." Wasn't John of Patmos from Cyprus or something? I think it's plague-time writing--some have suggested John's an escaped slave or gladiator--or written during a nasty period of one of the corrupt roman emperors.

Jefferson called it the "ravings of a maniac" or something. Even the reformation gents--Luther I believe--questioned its authenticity.

Our Founding Truth said...

The Book of Revelation intrigues me slightly, but I don't read it literally--and as with Paul's writings, the BoR are not the words of Christ.>

Where it speaks allegorically(I am the door), I concede, but I don't discount it being literal without context.

Wasn't John of Patmos from Cyprus or something?>

The Apostle John? He was exiled at Patmos.

The great whore has been identified as Zenobia,>

What organization is surrounded by seven hills, drunken with the blood of the saints, and has controlled the affairs of nations for nearly two-thousand years? That is literal.

Jefferson was unreasonble himself, not giving a valid reason, other than from his finite mind, for his assumptions. He never gave any explanation on how the text was corrupted, and could never debunk the transmitters.

Luther didn't deny BoR, he was confused about it so much he threw into the Elbe River. I'm fairly certain he adhered to inerrancy.

J said...

Well, Jefferson was a son of the Enlightenment, and according to the Lockean rationalism--i.e. "Revelation must be judged at the Court of Reason"" (I tend to repeat that, but it's a rather key point)--a text like the BoR seems rather strange, mystical, and irrational itself.

The more positivistic Hume dismissed all claims of scriptural inerrancy--including BoR-- as against the uniformity of experience, and so forth. However cold and reductionist Hume may seem, he arguments are quite weighty. I suspect the Framers--certainly the more secular ala Madison, Jeff, Franklin-- were aware of Hume's points contra-miracles, but sort of kept their Humean aspects out of the public's eyes.

It wasn't just anglo empiricist who thought along those lines---Diderot, Voltaire, etc. certainly had no love for the church or dogma. TJ kept a bust of Voltaire in his study his entire life.

Again, I interpret the BoR as strange allegory, but do not consider it some authentic prophetic vision. It's dangerous in the wrong hands.

Our Founding Truth said...

according to the Lockean rationalism--i.e. "Revelation must be judged at the Court of Reason"" >

However, Locke believed in miracles, especially Biblical Revelation. Locke has to be taken in context.

Locke affirmed inerrancy in The Reasonableness. Any proclaimed Revelation about the future will seem mysterious. Furthermore, its prophetic aspect cannot be discarded.

I discount TJ's importance, for the ratifiers.

There's a long list of framers who rejected reason supreme. Dickinson attacked reason at the Const. Convention, and prior to the Revolution, he was the most famous and respected Patriot in the land. He wouldn't have just signed the DOI, he would have written it.

J said...

In his opus ECHU, Locke does, however, insist that all claims of religious revelation (including scripture itself) be subject to the court of Reason. So I take that as governing. He also says more or less the same in the Toleration essay.

Let's not forget Locke's denial of innateness itself, and his insistence on induction (and really, a type of evidentialism). For Locke all knowledge is "a posteriori": that's why I claim Locke's own attempts to salvage theology more or less deconstruct themselves. His own epistemology leads to something like Hume's points on evidence, the uniformity of nature, probability, etc. I don't see how he can still hold that miracles happened except by denying his own inductive assumptions (and even Newtonian assumptions).

I don't know what the "official" line of the ratifiers was on inerrancy, but I suspect there were more freethinkers than biblethumpers. Even Hamilton, Adams, Marshall--sort of the hardliner federalist-conservatives-- were at best nominal episcopal types. Obviously Madison had no problem with the First Amendment, and there is little or no explicit religious language in the Con.

Our Founding Truth said...

Let's not forget Locke's denial of innateness itself, and his insistence on induction (and really, a type of evidentialism). For Locke all knowledge is "a posteriori": that's why I claim Locke's own attempts to salvage theology more or less deconstruct themselves. His own epistemology leads to something like Hume's points on evidence, the uniformity of nature, probability, etc. I don't see how he can still hold that miracles happened except by denying his own inductive assumptions (and even Newtonian assumptions).>

That's right, even though his "a posteriori" for knowledge is a-biblical, however, I'm concerned with his more fundamental beliefs of Revelation.

"Though it be easy for omnipotent power to do all things by an immediate overruling will, and to make any instruments work, even contrary to their nature, in subserviency to his ends, yet his wisdom is not usually at the expense of miracles . . . but only in cases that require them for the evidencing of some revelation or mission to be from him. He does constantly (unless where the confirmation of some truth requires it otherwise) bring about his purposes by means operating according to their natures. If it were not so, the course and evidence of things would be confounded; miracles would lose their force and name; and there could be no distinction between natural and supernatural." [bold face mine]

The use of reason has to be in context; apart from Scripture, or he contradicted himself.

The liberal preachers believed inerrancy as well, having affirmed unitarianism, misinterpreting John 17 & 18.

This is true as Marshall hammered reason his entire life, along with other Federalists Story, and Kent.

How can Jefferson be more "key" than Marshall; head of the Judicial Branch for 34 years?

If Marshall turned Orthodox at the end of his life, what's wrong with labeling him Orthodox? He may have been unitarian while forming the nation, but he always believed inerrancy; I can make the same case with Hamilton, whose close friends were very Orthodox; Boudinot, Livingston, and Troup.

In Marshall's mind, he corrected his error.

J said...

Locke's contrasting views on knowledge via experience (evidentialism if you will, like all empiricism), and upholding revelation may not be a quantitative contradiction, but great inconsistency at least. His epistemology doesn't square with his theology (we could go into detail, but well, it's fairly obvious).

However, I think like many protestants, Locke may have wanted to suggest there were separate realms of knowledge or something--ala SJ Gould's NOMA. Yet he does insist on Reason as the arbitrator of religious faith routinely: as with the sections on Enthusiasm. Or maybe he was just Janus-faced--sort of a liberal philosopher at times, even skeptical to a degree (as ECHU makes clear), yet he put on a pious act when he's asked to by clergy. That's not unknown in academia or theology.

The historical question interests me slightly, but I think it's fairly obvious that the secularists were mostly in control--and Jefferson and Madison were fairly close friends, even early on when Mad. was perhaps a bit more conservative. My reading of US History tells me that neither of them cared for Marshall , nor I suspect for his religious orthodoxy (actually I have read JM was a presbyterian, not episco.). The Adams boys themselves were not exactly orthodox--I suspect JQ Adams actually realized the growing power of the fundamentalists (ie Jacksonians). He refused to take his oath on a Bible, but instead on Constitution.

Our Founding Truth said...

It appears to me, if Locke contradicted himself as he did with reason v revelation, he would have been discarded as an amateur, and silenced forever. If experience, he means reality, natural or supernatural, in space time history; it's a contradiction. If I witness a blatant violation of the laws of nature at work, say my co-worker levitates out of his chair right next to me, reason is thrown to the curb.

I have quotes of him affirming miracles in every work he did, sometimes exalting both in the same paragraph, at least twenty to fifty times.

What kind of imbecile would contradict like that? Therefore, until more evidence is presented, I don't, and can't buy it. Locke was a smart cat; reason having some type of context to restrict obsurd notions of a-biblical supernaturalism.

Since religion, and aspects of personal liberty were left to the States, I say the Orthodox were in control, with most of the Governors, and legislators of that bent.

I've read Madison's respect for TJ was the ultimate, obviously, starting after TJ came back from Europe in the 1790's.

I have the goods JQA; he was not Orthodox as some say, and his Dad was never Orthodox, but after he, or anyone else for that matter, retired; which doesn't interest me, may have been a full-on rationalist. The chameleon at work:

"The great and almighty Author of nature, who at first established those rules which regulate the World, can as easily Suspend those Laws whenever his providence sees sufficient reason for such suspension. This can be no objection, then, to the miracles of J [Jesus] C [Christ]. Altho' some very thoughtfull, and contemplative men among the heathen, attained a strong persuasion of the great Principles of Religion, yet the far greater number having little time for speculation, gradually sunk in to the grossest Opinions and the grossest Practices. These therefore could not be made to embrace the true religion, till their attention was roused by some astonishing and miraculous appearances. The reasonings of Phylosophers having nothing surprizing in them, could not overcome the force of Prejudice, Custom, Passion, and Bigotry. But when wise and virtuous men, commisioned from heaven, by miracles awakened mens attention to their Reasonings the force of Truth made its way, with ease to their minds."
-Adams, March 2, 1756

J said...

OK, I don't doubt that Locke generally affirmed scriptural inerrancy, including miracles, supernatural, afterlife, so forth. So his faith does not jibe with his own empirical methods.

Most framers probably affirmed christianity as well, at least in public, speeches, etc., JQ Adams himself waffled--though again, I don't doubt that he biblethumped along with the rest when necessary.

My readings suggest that Jefferson and Madison rarely did so, however. And the elder Adams was quite a free thinker as well. Many framers/ratifiers/founders were traditional christians (believing in trinity, etc) but most of the leading lights were not, but Deists, even skeptics, or sort of nominally christian.

Anyway, if one assumes that the Bible is accurate, AND assumes that an omnipotent God exists, one would also mostly likely grant that He performs miracles, when necessary. That doesn't mean He does (or that He even exists) but that miracles are implied by the very definition of God.

However, I don't think there are any arguments--whether deductive or evidentiary/inductive-- which can prove the existence of God. I'm sure you have gone through most of those, pro and con. The problem of evil remains problematic. Furthermore, I don't think biblical infallibility can be defended. Hume has compelling reasons against infallibility. Darwin and Lyell do as well. Popper's points on the difference between dogma and scientific knowledge and logic also do not assist the believer.

Furthermore--as even some leading theologians have granted--any God who can perform miracles but chooses not to when countless innocents are being killed and maimed during warfare or natural disasters does not seem too related to the supposed loving Lamb of the New Testament. There is no Mary of Dachau, or the gulag; no angels descended to help the armenians and greeks when the turks butchered them in early 1900s. (Add Mao, pol pot, the paki genocide, et al)

Im not saying all those points prove atheism, but do suggest compelling reasons for doubting monotheism.

Our Founding Truth said...

So his faith does not jibe with his own empirical methods.>

We have to differentiate fundamentals with non-essentials. Non-essentials are irrelevant to Christianity in general; salvation is not based on non-essentials. Some of Locke's ideas don't detract his ID of Christian.

We all know about TJ, Adams, and Franklin; they weren't Christians, although they considered themselves ones.

I've done some posts on my blog about these "Old Lights"; they were the small minority. Madison appeared orthodox, while forming the nation. Like the majority, their writings don't appear nominal. Even Hamilton spoke of the Millennium.

Of course the Bible cannot be proven; that is reserved for apodictic logic, and mathematics; everything else is probablility. Besides, God loves when a person has faith.

I don't want proof, I want where the majority of the evidence is. The prophecies are the main internal proofs of the Scriptures, eyewitness testimony by the Apostles who died for their faith, along with, design requires a designer(cosmological argument), etc.

Have you seen the probability of one man fulfilling all 300 messianic prophecies?

That number doesn't exist, however, fulfilling just 8, is 1 x 10 to the 16th power. That's enough for me. C.S. Lewis, was convinced as well.

The atrocities man has committed in his name, or in the name of Christ, is due to sin. I believe in the fall of man.

Did you know Pol Pot was educated in England? A smart guy who killed a mil of his own people. All in the name of liberalism; not to mention Stalin, who killed 50-60 million, including 10 mil Ukranians by starvation.

Our Founding Truth said...

Locke's reason has to be in the context of the Scriptures, or he contradicted himself. Things above reason:

"Only I think it may not be amiss to take notice that, however faith be opposed to reason, faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind: which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason; and so cannot be opposite to it."

Here is the kicker:

"Only I think it may not be amiss to take notice that, however faith be opposed to reason, faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind: which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason; and so cannot be opposite to it."
-24. Reason and faith not opposite, for faith must be regulated by reason.

What I get from this guy is, there must be other proofs or actions to prove something above reason.

Our Founding Truth said...

My bad. Here is the other quote I meant:

"15. Belief no proof of revelation. If this internal light, or any proposition which under that title we take for inspired, be conformable to the principles of reason, or to the word of God, which is attested revelation, reason warrants it, and we may safely receive it for true, and be guided by it in our belief and actions: if it receive no testimony nor evidence from either of these rules, we cannot take it for a revelation, or so much as for true, till we have some other mark that it is a revelation, besides our believing that it is so. Thus we see the holy men of old, who had revelations from God, had something else besides that internal light of assurance in their own minds, to testify to them that it was from God. They were not left to their own persuasions alone, that those persuasions were from God, but had outward signs to convince them of the Author of those revelations."

Locke has several different understandings of reason, but the modern understanding is denying the supernatural.

J said...

So Locke insists that a genuine revelation contains something other than mere firm belief or mystic vision as confirmation of that revelation. Sounds fairly skeptical, as in produce a real miracle, or at least a genuine tape of one--say Maria floating over the tides--or the report doesn't count. A bit obvious, but reduce all the Lockean rhetoric to its essentials and he sounds nearly positivistic. However, I think he was reluctant to subject the ancient texts to the same type of scrutiny.

Locke:"""Thus we see the holy men of old, who had revelations from God, had something else besides that internal light of assurance in their own minds, to testify to them that it was from God. They were not left to their own persuasions alone, that those persuasions were from God, but had outward signs to convince them of the Author of those revelations."""

Hume would merely say (and he does) what grounds do we have to believe those reports of "outward signs"??? When someone says the dead came back to life, most reasonable people would doubt it. When the zombie appears in your front yard, you might change your POV, or think of some other explanation.

Our Founding Truth said...

Hume was ignorant of the best eyewitness testimony there is; dying for what you see and heard, prophecy, Israel's fulfillment, etc.

J said...

He's not ignorant of it. Hume just doesn't consider the testimony reliable, and asks reasonable people to consider alternative explanations to miracles and supposed supernatural events (including the Resurrection)----instead of accepting a great disruption in natural laws and the uniformity of experience, Hume asserts it's far more probable there were mistaken reports, exaggerations, even hoaxes. Jefferson, Madison, Paine probably agreed with that, even if they considered Hume a scoundrel.

Im not saying "Hume is correct" in regards to the unreliable testimony of the Bible, either. He does however offer some rather compelling arguments, even if he's a scoundrel, libertine, blackguard, etc. Nietzsche had read Hume, mostly agreeing.

Personally, I read the New Testament as more allegorical, symbolic, and in some places utterly mystical (the gospel of John, and Book of Rev.). It's seems more akin to neo-platonism--let's not forget most of the NT was written in greek, not hebrew or aramaic-- than another jewish sect.

In a sense Hume does seem rather literal and coldly rational, but it should be remembered that he was fighting the puritans and priests, who demanded complete obedience to the Church. He does dissect the text rather effectively, but one might argue that Hume, however great a philosopher, does not really understand the real meaning of the New Testament.

Christ is not a philosopher really, but a sage, a counselor, even rebel to a degree. I read recently that Pope Benedict insisted that Christ was not a Spartacus. OK, not exactly, Papa, but at times JC has a Spartacus-like message; and He was--assuming he existed-- strung up ala Spartacus as well.

Our Founding Truth said...

Hume was ignorant as all-hell. The Masoretic text by the Jewish, not Christian, scribes in the 9th and 10th centuries AD is practically word for word perfect with the Dead Sea Scrolls, dated 150 BC.

He had access, by his position, with all 25,000 biblical texts, to compare with the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Septuagint.

The scroll of Isaiah, is exact with the Masoretic Text, besides 5 to 7 slips of the pen, mostly hooks, end of paragraph breaks, pronunciation, etc., by the translators. I know because I've seen the Dead Sea Scrolls six inches from my eyes.

Hume never bothered to check the text one bit, or look at various prophecies concerning Alexander, Tyre, the Roman Empire, the Medes and Persians, etc. He used his finite mind to examine infinite writing, not that his reason would not understand, but CANNOT understand. TJ, Adams, and Franklin made the same mistake. Revelation from God is beyond man's reason, but they tried to use their reason to figure it out. No way.

The Gospel is beyond space, time history. Hume, Rousseau, Voltaire, et al., could not rationalize Original sin, and there they went off track.

My mind cannot comprehend the trinity, so why even try?

You can count on it, Witherspoon taught Madison, and the framers at Princeton, by checking the text to verify what he believed. Of my information, Madison's Memorial is all Grace, Calvinist to the core. He even mentions Grace, free gift, etc., in the text.

Why should Madison's faith matter after he formed the nation? I don't consider myself hypocritical with Madison and Marshall; Marshall corrected his perceived error, Madison went the other way.

Jesus spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, but it was written down in Greek. There is one portion of Mark, I believe, written in Aramaic. The point is, the translation is clean. I'm not saying the translations are inspired, I'm saying they are good translations.

There's a saying by Moses in Exodus, where he mentions a city only the Pharaoh's court knew of. It was their vacation city. There's no way Moses could have known the name of the city, without actually being in Pharoah's court. The city was just recently discovered.

J said...

Hume was not a theologian, or theological historian. He's coldly rational, a bit of a philistine perhaps, but no more ignorant than say Tacitus. The roman historians barely acknowledge Christianity until what about the time of Constantine--like after 300 AD. I think the events of the New Testament happened more or less, but we have no way of confirming the accuracy of the reports, much less supernatural aspects: it's not objective history anyway.

Hume says something like no amount of evidence will suffice for establishing a supernatural event. I don't think that "refutes" all religious claims, but a consideration. You hear or read someone discussing ghosts, or bigfoot, chupacabras, etc you probably do not really take them seriously, even if it's a room full of locals, etc. Even if you do believe for a few seconds, you want proof, or really, want to see the creature/apparition itself. Until that time, you most likely doubt the reports.

While perhaps not a great like Newton, Hume often sounds like a detective to me, and he doesn't think the biblical story adds up. Other researchers have pointed out possible errors in transmission as well. Paul does not offer the same story as the gospel writers, and so forth. And I don't think the prophecies are so accurate.

Some biblical literalists claim Psalms anticipates Christ, or Isaiah, etc. I don't see that. The time is not exact, nor are specific people identified (like Joe and Mary). There's something like a "messiah may be coming." A hope, or prayer, but hardly Nostradamus (and Hume does not affirm the old testament either--in ways the OT miracles even more preposterous. Spinoza also had doubts of biblical miracles).

Our Founding Truth said...

Tacitus was the greatest Roman historian, known for his integrity, served for over 6 Emperors. Tacitus even names Jesus, "Christus" (from the Latin) testifies of his death, says the "superstition" died then revived, obviously indicating the resurrection.

F.F. Bruce, reports Tacitus had to receive his info from an official record, most likely one of Pilate's reports to Tiberius.

Suetonius also refers to Jesus, being the chief secretary to Hadrian (117-138) written the same time as Tacitus.

Josephus also writes of Jesus, and the claim of interpolation is refuted by the Arabic text, for the Catholics couldn't have hi-jacked it. Josephus wrote at 90AD.

Thallus also writes of Jesus in 52AD, testified by Africanus in 221AD.

Pliny the Younger (112) Emperor Trajan (112) Emperor Hadrian (117-138) all write about Jesus.

Jesus is in the Talmud (135) also by Lucian, the 2nd cen. Greek, not to mention all the Gnostics of the 2nd century.

The reason all the psychiatrists of the 40's and 50's became Christians, was because they understood normal people won't die for something they made up. These people were eaten by Lions, because they saw with their own eyes.

If Paul copied the Gospel stories, everyone would accuse him of collusion; that was not his calling.

I haven't seen one prophecy or scripture that could be refuted.

It's impossible for the Apostles to make up the whole story, because the Jews reported the story, as well as the Romans.

Isaiah mentions the messiah will be crucified 500 years before it was invented. Jeremiah says Tyre will be a nothing city, go there now; you may be able to count a few fishing nets, that's about it.

J said...

Tacitus mentions christians, and Christus, in like one or two sentences, and offers no detail about ANY gospel narratives. It's rather clear T. does not approve of them, but regards them as a rebel group (or jewish): he sounds about like Marcus Aurelius does when Aurelius calls the christians weak, otherworldly, non-patriotic, etc. There is no real historical record to support the Gospels (though Pilate, and other figures like Herod appear. Why no JC, since it seems like a rather important event, and romans were fairly careful with dates, records, legal issues etc.?? Who knows)

Now, I am sure there were horrible martyrdoms and so forth, and the bad roman emperors were definitely monsters, but the roman scribes of the time do NOT assist the historical minded theologian whatsoever, I am sorry to say. Suetonius also spends about a sentence of two;and of course Josephus was not too impressed (and Josephus seems like quite a rat, but you get a sense of the rich jewish-roman of the time from his writing).

I have not read of the emperors discussing christianity. Not until Constantine was it even really a force--and still not accepted across the Empire (the last pagan, Dionysus I I believe, thought--as did Gibbons and his pal HUme--that the new creed of Jesus was actually bringing the empire to ruin).

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