Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Friday, July 29, 2005

Jesus says "NO" to life

Jesus says to his disciples in Luke 14:26
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”

What are we to make of Jesus’ call to discipleship when he says “hate your own life?” Such a statement seems contrary to common sense for one must love one’s life in some capacity otherwise reality will take its course through death. Perhaps he is allegorizing a bit? Or is he?

The word “hate” in Greek is “misew" pronounced “mis-eh'-o.” According to Strong’s this word means to hate or pursue with hatred, detest. This does not help much so turning to Webster’s a clearer picture can be gained. One who hates has a deep seated hostility or animosity toward someone or something. Particularly interesting are the actions associated with the emotion. It is almost as if the intense emotional feeling begs and/or compels the beholder to take some course of action.

Before going on I think it behooves one to ask what emotions are. Are emotions something that arises from nowhere? Do emotions have a source? If so where do they come from?

Emotions are the result of value judgments and/or knowledge about a particular thing being observed. [I distinguish this from “emotional state” which has its basis in the biological construction of the mind. Some states favor depression while others optimism. One should not confuse the two. The definition provided by Webster is referring to emotions and not an emotional state.] For instance, different people may have different emotional reactions to a piece of candy. To one the candy bar meets a need – hunger – and the result is happiness. Another, who is on a diet, sees a piece of fat laying there and is disgusted. For another – perhaps someone from the jungle – has never seen candy before and is curious. Depending on values held each will respond with a different emotion because of a value judgment. [Values being those things that we seek to gain or keep.] Our values influence our emotions and how we view a particular thing will cause certain emotions to surface.

Jesus gives a few examples of things to hate – father, mother, brother and sister. [I will get to self later.] We could look at this in a number of ways but I think I will cut to the quick and say that Jesus wants his follower to be one who does not allow relationships to have any meaning apart from him. By understanding the word “hate” it becomes clear that one is to be moved in such a way that action is required. In other words, values – things we aim to gain or keep – such as relationships are things to be hated if they come between the follower and the leader. One should see them with disgust and react with such repugnant emotion that the follower will throw away the value “relationship” if it might cause one to slide from discipleship. Truly Jesus is making a very bold statement indeed.

But this is not the whole story. For relationships are only values to be gained in the sense that one knows the values one seeks to gain in the first place. Let’s say that someone seeks to gain from fishing. One person could fish for himself but perhaps a family could catch more. By catching more perhaps the surplus could be sold for profit. A relationship, then, is not some thing one seeks to gain apart from the “things” one seeks to gain for himself. A relationship is therefore the result of similar values sought between two or more people. When Jesus says that one should seek him above relationships Jesus is also saying that any values one hoped to have gained via those relationships are also considered vanity. Jesus’ words are not just the dropping of relationships but a whole slew of value seeking.

Before addressing self I think it also good to examine the word “life” in this statement. There are many different Greek words used for life such as “zwh” and “Bios” pronounced dzo-ay and bee'-os respectively. The first is usually associated with eternal things. The second with more earthly matters and is generally an all inclusive view of life i.e. plant life included.

The Greek used is “yuch" pronounced psoo-khay and is the “vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing.” [1] It is the living soul, the “seat of the feelings, desires, affections and aversions.” It is the “essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death.” [1]

When Jesus is speaking of one’s life he is not only speaking of one’s existence physically – Bios – but of one’s very soul. One could be tempted to insert the idea original sin but I do not think that given the definition “yuch" one can draw that conclusion. Jesus is literally saying one should hate his very being – soul and all.

By hating ourselves to the core hating others can only be a logical extension of an inner conviction. So Jesus is quite right about his statement – if one hates himself he can only, by virtue of that hate, hate the relationships that might have otherwise been pursued.

When I was younger there was a picture that used to hang in our church of an angry man with the phrase “To hate life is to take it.” While I understand the message that the Christian authors were trying to convey the above puts that in a new light. It is only through hating one’s life that one can truly become a disciple of Jesus - the only result gained can be death.

[1] Definitions from the Greek Bible online

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

First Live Show !

The Hellbound Alleee Show is having its first live show on Sunday noon EST. For more details, see

Friday, July 22, 2005

Why the Problem of Evil is really very simple

Technical discussions of the Problem of Evil usually get into issues such as first-order goods and evils, second-order goods and evil, and so on. To the simple formulation that an omnibenevolent being would not allow evil to exist, it is widely acknowledged that the following is a valid response :

(1) There is a morally justifying reason for God to permit evil it could prevent, insofar as that evil is necessary for some higher good.
(all non-ontological theodicies take this form)

More succinctly :

(2) There is no gratuitous evil.

Which is to say :

(3) There is no first-order evil that does not cause a second-order good.

And then the atheologian and the theologian argue on whether (3) is actually true or not, and whatever reason there might be for this or that evil to exist.

Well, there is plenty of reason to think that (3) is false. And the evidential argument from evil, based on gratuitous evils, is a powerful one. We see easily and intuitively that a human being who commits gratuitous evil is immoral.

But the fact is, "God" is not a human being. So there is an inherent problem with posing the PoE as revolving around (3). The relation between first-order evils (say, the suffering caused by a visit to the dentist) and second-order goods (say, better teeth) is a relation of CAUSALITY. The first caused the second, according to natural law.

But if we assume that God exists, then there is no natural law, only divine fiat. Therefore (3) automatically fails in the case of theism. The whole notion of what a gratuitous evil is, is based on the assumption of naturalism. But that obviously cannot obtain if we assume that God exists ! Therefore we cannot portray the PoE as revolving around (3), since God is morally responsible for causality just as much as it is for evil events.

All non-ontological theodicies also fall to the same problem, in that they assume naturalism and its causes hold. The free will theodicy assumes that the nature of the human will is a given. But to God it cannot be a given ! That's ridiculous !

The Problem of Evil is not a Problem of Unjustifiable Evils. It doesn't matter if we can justify the evils or not. We are not the moral agent under question here : we are not God. Our naturalism-based evaluation of the evils has no bearing on the PoE.

The existence of evil alone is sufficient for PoE. The fact that the Christian can evaluate something as evil alone is sufficient to destroy theism. This is in fact similar to the Moral Argument from Evil, which argues from the Christian recognition of evil and desire to change events that Christians do not really believe in God. But the PoE is a statement of fact, and does not proceed from people's beliefs or lack thereof.

My own variant of the PoE, which I describe on this page, puts the focus back on the act of Creation instead of the evil event in a naturalistic perspective. The moral responsibility of God is firmly located at that act. And by pulling back the perspective, we see easily that everything in the universe, not just specific events, are available to God, and that attempts to analyze events from a naturalistic, human perspective is fallacious.

Another error that even prominent theologians fall into, is to characterize the PoE as a Problem of Not Enough Good. They think that we're whining because we don't get the ice cream we want. No, a frustrated desire is not "evil". Only actions are good or evil. It is not "evil" for people to have unfulfilled desires. To try to compare the PoE, which is supported by universally reviled events such as earthquakes and tsunamis, the Holocaust, deadly viruses, or the suffering of a child, to not getting ice cream or not being President, is disingenuous and downright slanderous.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Lucky Day

Today is a good day. I found an excellent blog straight from America's heartland, called Bobo's World. I encourage you all to take a look and leave some comments over there. I know I'm going to be visiting that site often!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Audio User Comments

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

When will Jesus die ?

No one seems to be posting here any more, so I'll just throw another of my rants out there.

One common criticism of atheism is that it provides us no hope after death. Well, I don't believe in death, at least not the way the word is commonly used, so it doesn't really concern me. But most importantly, Christianity does not tell us of our life after death, but of our soul's persistence after death. I'm not a soul, I'm a material, human being, acting in a material world : so this doesn't concern me either. And it shouldn't concern anyone, since no one is a soul.

No, everything has a beginning and an end, even the life of the gods. See the "List of Thousands of Dead Gods", on my ministry, for a sample. All these gods are utterly and completely dead.

What about Jesus ? From what we know about Q Document, he was probably born between 40 and 80 CE. He came into existence through the writings of insane, dirty Jews who thought the end of th world was coming in their generation, and preached the abandon of material goods. Poor as they were, I'm guessing they didn't have much to lose.

Now, the rise of science, literacy and globalization have taken Jesus ill. He is still the most popular deity in the world, but his grip on the Western world is fading into secularism, pop psychology and the ego-based beliefs of the New Age. He still grips the third world in his cruel hand, blocking the adoption of birth control and imposing Western self-righteousness against their attempts at improving their lot.

This former insane fanatic failed cult leader, Jesus, and his amoral, immoral, cruel, exploitative thugs and cronies still roam the Earth... but for how long ? May Providence let our future generations bury this maniac.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Did I kill this blog ?

Oh dear. Hello ? One two and a three ?

*skree skreeeee*

Ouch ! Hello ?


Did I kill this blog with my rantings and ravings against the evil Christian bastards ? Come back, people ! I promise I'll be nice ! I'll sing about how everyone's good and fun and rainbows're nice and God is smiling on us and the little teddy bears all dance in a row.