Debunking the Liar, Lunatic, or Lord argument

One of the favorite arguments put forth by Christian apologists is that of “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord” in reference to Jesus. It was published by C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity, and later repeated by Josh McDowell in his works. Basically, it goes like this:

“Jesus claimed to be God. If so, he must have been God incarnate in order to be accepted as a great moral teacher. If he was NOT God incarnate, then he must have been either a liar (evil) or a lunatic (diseased in the mind) and by definition someone who is evil or diseased in the mind cannot be a good moral teacher, so the only logical conclusion is that Jesus must have indeed been God incarnate, and therefore his teachings were infallible and he was by nature superior to any other moral teacher that ever lived.”

This argument is completely bogus! And here’s why:

First, we know NOTHING about Jesus that came directly from him. Everything written about him, including all quotations of his words, are second-hand or third-hand sources. See my earlier blog entry for more details:

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/the-chain-of-abrahamic-religions-is-too-rusty-and-weak/

Second, it is perfectly possible for someone to teach good morals and yet be a con artist. Indeed, you wouldn’t expect someone to openly proclaim “I am a liar and am immoral, corrupt, and serve evil causes!” You would expect someone to USE issues of morality to attract the well-meaning but gullible followers that the con artist could exploit for his personal gain later.

Third, even most insane people have some elements of lucidity in their characters. There is not an absolute distinction between the insane and those of normal mentality. Mental illness has many different manifestations and degrees of severity.

Fourth, there is an incident recorded in the Gospels of Jesus cursing a fig tree just because it had no figs to give him at the time (and it wasn’t even the season for them) and the tree soon dies: Mark 11:14, 20-23, Matthew 21:19-21. He uses this irrational action as an example of the power of faith. Sounds like insanity to me!

Fifth, the same liar, lunatic, or lord argument could be just as well applied to the founders of every other religion, including those with teachings very different from Christianity. Yet to be a Christian, you must assume that all those other religions are false!

Quite simply, this argument is an appeal to religious and cultural prejudice. It is no more valid than arguments to support astrology, palm-reading, or belief in a flat Earth.

The rich vs poor fallacy

Conservatives give us the impression that attempts to tax the wealthy at higher rates than the poor are somehow discriminatory, that those who work harder for their wealth should, as a matter of justice, be allowed to keep most of the money they earn, while those who are impoverished are that way because of laziness or ineptitude. No doubt, that is true of some members of both social classes, but hardly all, and that is where the problem lies, the issue of false stereotyping. 

Suppose you have a society in which everyone starts out at the exact same level of living standard. Over time, some will naturally do better financially than others because they are able to get a better education and manage their money better than others. So in a society like that, all members should indeed be taxed the same rate. 

REAL societies, however, are NEVER like this. Most wealthy people grew up in wealthy families and recieved their money from their parents or other older relatives and thus had access to more opportunities from the very beginning, not because of their abilities but because they were lucky enough to be born in the right families. (Paris Hilton is perhaps the most notorious example.) Meanwhile, those who grew up in poverty, even if they are just as smart, beautiful, and hardworking as the average rich person, tend to remain in poverty because they have less access to the money they would need to invest, to educate themselves, and to afford the latest technologies. 

The reason we hear so much about poor people making themselves rich by their own hard work is because such things are extremely unusual and rare and the corporate dominated media tends to focus on the unusual. Why? Because it provides great entertainment value AND it serves the best interests of the upper classes by convincing the members of the lower classes that they too can be rich and powerful, if only they will work harder at it. Meanwhile, those who are rich, and already run the giant corporations that dominate America’s economy, make sure they those who are poor and work for them never get enough money to challenge them later. That’s why we have such low wages for workers, and they would be even lower if not for minimum wage laws. 

It’s time to put an end to that centuries old scam and just tax the hell of most rich people and be done with it. NO ONE deserves to be billionaires, period! It is the height of perversity for someone who has millions of dollars, including a mansion, to insist on a “right” to acquire MORE wealth and to not contribute to the upkeep of their governments and to society in general! Even most religions condemn that attitude, so there!

Rep. Michele Bachmann is a liar and an extremist

See for yourself here:

Since when it is anti-American to have political, social, religious, and cultural diversity in your friendships or associations? How is associating with people who are not actually criminals, even if they have done or said questionable things in the past, anti-American? We have had Liberal Presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter and no one questioned their love for America!

This is the sort of innuendo and slander that supporters of Sen. John McCain have resorted to. Let’s send them a message: YOU DO NOT BELONG IN OUR GOVERNMENT ANY MORE!

http://www.censurebachmann.com/

It’s time to tell the truth about Liberals and about their Conservative opponents. Conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and now Rep. Michele Bachmann have been allowed to get away with slander, libel and hyperaggressive tactics for too long. Enough already! Liberals made America a free and independent nation, not Conservatives. Liberals fought to end slavery, not Conservatives! Liberals fought for women’s right to vote,, not Conservatives! Liberals, not Conservatives, led us Americans through two World Wars and even through much of the Cold War, before Conservatives Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. came along and just happened to reap the political benefits of presiding over the downfall of the Soviet Union. What have Conservatives done to make America great? Nothing, instead they only hold us back from being a more enlightened society, preferring one run largely by religious loons who happen to call themselves Christian!

Let George W. Bush be the last “Conservative” Republican President America ever has! I’be absolutely had enough of the hypocrisy of Conservatives and their outdated and increasingly useless dogmas. End their reign of terror, NOW!

Science needs a new superhero

Carl Sagan died in 1996, yet he still lives in the hearts of those who knew him, whether personally or as the public celebrity he became.

Now the time has come for science to move on and find a new superhero, someone who can command both the public respect that Sagan did and challenge society for the better. Although Sagan was an agnostic who championed skepticism, he did not come across as openly hostile towards all religion, as Richard Dawkins does. Such hostility, even if justified, can turn gentle souls away from science. So who can possibly succeed Carl Sagan? Who can be the champion of reason, rationality, and tolerance for all?

I will. And so can you. And you, you, you, you and you, if only you just care to be as dedicated to science and to the welfare to humanity as Sagan was. I have championed the philosophy of Honorable Skepticism as my tribute to Sagan. But the best way to honor him is not merely to keep playing his COSMOS series and talking about what he did, but to make our own contributions to science, to EXCEED Sagan’s work, to become superheros of science ourselves. We are not expected merely to blindly follow what Sagan taught, for he was by no means infallible. Because he was human as we, we can carry his vision forward, and we will do it by eliminating the concept of “sacred cows” and seeking change to improve our societies, regardless of what short-term and localized interests get stepped on. They deserve it! And we cannot afford to appease those interests anymore. Having a global and long-term perspective is what will save us, not any religion or political ideology.

The chain of Abrahamic religions is too rusty and weak

There are four religions in the world that are classed as “Abrahamic”, being descended from the original work of Abraham. Abraham himself left no writings of his own and he may have been only legendary, as much as Greek myths are thought to be. He founded no religion that survives today.

Judaism: Considered to have been founded by Moses. He was credited with writing the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), but this is incorrect; He may have written the laws detailed in the Torah, but not the Torah itself, since his death is recorded at the end of it and it is implied that it was made several centuries after Moses’ time. So the foundation of this religion is uncertain.

Christianity: Considered to have been founded by Jesus, but he himself wrote nothing that we have and the stories and quotations of him are entirely second-hand. In addition, most Christian doctrine was formulated by Paul, who was not even an original desciple of Jesus, but joined the Christians later after being their enemy. Thus the foundation of this religion is highly uncertain.

Islam: Founded by the Prophet Muhammad. He was said to be illiterate, and dictated most of the Quran to various scribes rather than write it directly. It wasn’t until after his death that the Quran was assembled in its final form, and it was not assembled in chronological order.

The Baha’i Faith: Baha’u’llah, the founder of this religion, is said to have written his own books. But he too relied on personal secretaries to do most of this, including Mirza Aqa Jan, who later would be condemned as a “Covenant-breaker” for opposing Abdu’l-Baha, the son and immediate successor of Baha’u’llah.

The credibilility of the Baha’i Faith is dependent on Islam, the credibility of Islam is dependent on Christianity, and the credibility of Christianity is dependent on Judaism. Yet all these religions also claim that the earlier ones were corrupted over time, making the new ones necessary. Does this make sense? What if all four religions were flawed from the beginning, because their means of recording their teachings were flawed? Their founders could have written and edited their writings all by themselves and not allowed others to make unauthorized editions after their time. Thus any possible errors or contradictions in those teachings would have been prevented. Outsiders could have been prevented from polluting the original faith with foreign concepts. Disputes between followers could have been settled without assuming blindly that the leadership was never to be questioned and that others could “agree to disagree” without being treated as traitors.

None of these were done, except by the most liberal branches of these faiths, and thus they have been sources of tyranny and ignorance rather than liberty and enlightenment. And as this essay shows, there is really no reason for ANYONE to be certain that any of them are absolutely true, especially since modern science has completely debunked the creation myth that was said to be the very root of all of them.

Seeking balance in politics and activism

For starters, I wish to state that in an issue like politics, extremism among some individuals is inevitable. There are two reasons for this. First, many people mistakenly apply religious impulses to politics and thus attempt to be consistent with a certain political viewpoint, even at the expense of ignoring or denying clear empirical evidence that is against it. Quite simply, it is easier (if you are intellectually lazy) to just blindly follow a dogma of some kind that happens to appeal to your ego than to dig for the truth, apply consistent logic to all issues, and thus have a perspective that is subject to change and moderation over time. Second, extremists on any issue tend to work the hardest for their chosen causes and thus tend to rise to leadership positions within political organizations as well as single-issue pressure groups, by virtue of their extensive track record of having done so much for their causes as well as appearing to be experts on the issues they represent. This explains why so many otherwise worthy causes, such as animal rights, get so absurdly corrupted by groups that claim to represent them, such as PETA or ALF, and people who might be motivated by natural compassion to support animal rights are repelled by seeing extremist groups like the aforementioned ones claiming to be the best examples of those causes’ representatives. Let me assure you, they are not and I would be quite happy to see them destroyed without thinking for one second that this would be damaging at all to the cause of animal rights. If you, by your words or actions, make a cause look loony, that’s the best way to ruin it, and you might as well just oppose the cause altogether.

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