What is disgusting about this is that those of you who are upset about my participation in this forum are bothered by one thing and one thing alone:The FACT that I am a Roman Catholic.
It is certainly not any argument I have put forward, because not once have I supported a position by appealing to religious principles, let alone Catholicism.The fact of my religion has come up, of course, in response to statements or questions some of you have put to me, which I have answered.Thus, the ONLY discussion of Catholicism has been instigated by the Objectivists here, not me.
I have otherwise withheld comment on my faith, not because I don’t care to talk about it, but rather this is not (purportedly) a forum on religion. (I don't care to waste my time jamming square pegs into round holes.)What I did do is pose a grave philosophical issue I have with Objectivism:I think by metaphysically denying the existence of God, atheism became the tail wagging the dog in Objectivism to the extent of reducing its metaphysics to materialism and its morality to mere prudence.This is the path to nihilism, which Objectivists explicitly reject.To square this problem, I put forth this question about Objectivism, to which I received two types of answers.
The first was from the more sophisticated among you, who provoked a number of lively and interesting discussions about consciousness, volition, and life itself.From it, I came to understand how some of you who subscribe to Objectivist principles avoid the nihilistic abyss of materialism (although, I note that such avoidance appeared to be the result of philosophical sojourns beyond the confines of Objectivism, especially in the case of Regi Firehammer).I found that to be fruitful. Thanks.
The second was also fruitful in the sense that it educated me in the sociology of Objectivism.Some of you were nothing short of hysterical, hostile, and hateful in your reaction to my challenge of Objectivist metaphysics.You irrationally leapt to conclusions that let you set up mitred straw men to knock down with a vehemence that was as shameless as it was shameful.I founded my complaint with Objectivism on the sole basis of my experience of consciousness as self-awareness and volition as free will, and somehow the bigoted hysterics among you could not see past the fact of my Catholicism to comprehend that not a whit of my argument rested upon religious principles.
Little wonder I readily trumped your rants until that became tiresome, and so I resorted to sarcasm to amuse myself.No doubt the obvious impotence of your wrath was galling, and so some of you resorted to whining about the presence of – horrors – Christians in this forum.The irony of such behavior towards me and my Catholicism is that it is so much like the most loathsome of your enemies, those self-righteous Bible-thumping fundamentalist robots of the Jack Chick variety.
Well, there are always bound to be fools in every group.However, upon reflection, I do need to take account of the unself-conscious hatred of religion that fills this forum beyond the bigots' nonsense.Indeed, part of the boilerplate of SOLO is that the belief in God is evil.At least the bigots I encountered here are honest in following through on their Objectivist principles by transferring their hatred of my faith to me personally in the same way I wouldn’t give a Communist the time of day.I confess that I find it a little dishonest of those Objectivists who speak filthily of religion but refrain from imparting the same to a religious person, such as myself.
If such an Objectivist has truly come to the conclusion that religion is irrational and evil, then he lacks the courage of his convictions if he will not confront the religious as irrational and evil in their beliefs, and perhaps their person.Isn’t it a little cowardly to avoid the consequences of your convictions?If religion is the mind-destroying evil that many of you here believe that it is, then the bigots’ cloddish behavior towards me is the only conduct that is true to that belief.So I’ll give the fellas like Orion Reasoner their due, what little it merits.However, to those of you believe religion is evil but refuse to act upon it are not courteous:You are cowards.
As for those of you who are neither bigots nor cowards, who recognize that rational people do exist outside the precincts of Objectivism and enjoy the fullness of the world that differences make possible, I wish you well.I respect your resolution to live an Objectivist life in the world as it is, and perhaps show by example that there is a secular redoubt against the nihilism of our age.It is always refreshing to encounter people who have a true confidence of their beliefs.You are tough, not brittle, so that you do not worry about breaking when you make a mistake or must admit to not knowing.You can laugh at yourself, yet still take seriously what you believe about this world of ours.I always thought this tolerant independence of mind was the admirably ideal character of the Objectivist.
Odd how few Objectivists actually master either tolerance or independence, while so many “irrationally evil” people of faith accomplish it with ease.
in all fairness, I do not think this semi private conversation was about you. as you may have noticed, there has been a recent influx of theists much less tolerant and much less civil than you. in my "modest proposal" thread, I even specifically cited you as not being of the type of person I am trying to get rid of. problem is, a certain other theist on here believes that epistemology is just finding justifications for believing what you want to believe, and proceeds to laugh at those who claim objectivity. you are a civil and cogent dissenter. the person to which I refer has no business being considered a human being
Excuse my ignorance but what does "Do svidaniya" mean? What language is it?
May I also ask what you hoped to gain from participating in this site? I used to follow some of the discussion threads you were involved in until I began to see the difference in your premises from the ones many "Objectivists" embrace. After that point, I did not see much use to following it anymore, much less participating in it, because I know it is difficult for one to abandon a fundamental premise. It can be done, obviously, but to me it is too little gain for too much effort. The time I spend "converting" another person to Objectivism can better be spent, say, improving myself in my career or personal life.
I used to be Catholic and, in spite of how you say you do not take your arguments from religion, I can see where you are coming from. I believed then that reason and faith were not mutually exclusive and that faith need not be blind. Some otherwise rational and intelligent people like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison, and Albert Einstein were Deists, for example, a group of theists I can respect. I can see even up to now how religion can appear to empower people, and how it can influences them to ask themselves "what is true?" and "what is good?". I do not find as many "good" Christians, as you claim to, for most of them are hypocrites, but some of my good friends are Christian because, in spite of our explicit differences in belief, I find them to be otherwise good people.
Do not get me wrong. I do find religion and the belief in God to be very wrong and harmful, but (if I may borrow Ayn Rand's words) I am not so much anti-religion but pro-reason. Where I disagree with Rand is that I think there are degrees of evil, and that you would be hard-pressed to find someone as all-good or all-evil (I can even put out examples from characters in her novels, which are supposed to be black-and-white contrasts). I do not think belief in a religion by itself is enough to judge someone as evil. A judgement of the morality of an individual based on their thoughts and explicit beliefs alone requires acquiring knowledge that, frankly, requires more time and effort of me than I am willing to put in, and I have better uses of my time. That is why I am right now ambivalent to your morality as a person. It is far easier to judge a person by their actions, and the sense of life I see they hold. That is why I have many friends and heroes who are not Objectivists. I see these people as living productive, independent, life-affirming lives and that is something I can admire as an Objectivist. That is why Rand, though one of my heroes, is nowhere near being on the top of my list of heroes. Though her achievements are great, I do not count them as being in the same caliber as, say, Aristotle, Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Walton, or Bill Gates.
I do not think taking into account the full context makes me a moral agnostic, however. But my response to a given good or a given evil also depends on context. My response to Hitler and Mao would differ from my response to the Pope or Karl Marx. My response to you, up to this point, was to refuse to pretend an argument was anything but futile.
By the way, did you get that "Happy Few" part from the Henry V speech? That's my favorite speech. It was read to the Marines before the invasion of Iraq.
... and the horse you rode in on. You left once before; I hope you mean it this time. I stopped reading you quite a while ago, so I don't know if your posts improved; but I doubt it. Your arguments were specious and repetitive; empty boxes nicely gift-wrapped.You use words as if they are algebraic variables, able to take on any meaning.
Here’s some free advice (worth the cost): don’t quit your day job.You have no aptitude for philosophy.
I, like Glenn, stopped reading Rat's threads once they got up to about 10 posts, and I haven't looked back. But Rat, I see only two mentions of religion in the out of context snippets of private conversation you have posted, one referring to "bible," and another to christians (alongside socialists and presumably other foolishly wrongheaded philosophies). None of them mention you or Roman Catholicism. Am I supposed to just take it "on faith" that they were talking about you?
"I confess that I find it a little dishonest of those Objectivists who speak filthily of religion but refrain from imparting the same to a religious person, such as myself."
Religion and the religious aren't the same thing. We may consider people who have ideas which are malevolent to be simply mistaken, not malevolent in themselves. Leonard Peikoff himself had - I believe this is in Fact and Value, I haven't checked - ideas which were quite contradictory to Objectivism in his youth. This doesn't mean he was evil, it simply means he had incorrect ideas. As David Kelley stated, Soviet dictators were not evil because they were communists, but because they were murderers and thieves. Thus Objectivists can dislike religion, but not to the same extent dislike believers in religion. Or to use a religious phrase, hate the sin but love the sinner.