Tag Archives: Christianity

Repost: Pleasures of the Flesh

Given the recent spat between NRx and the manosphere, I thought reposting this from 2013 may be of interest. (You can also check out this on reaction and PUAs).  Hopefully this is my last repost for a while and I can go back to posting regularly.

I’ve been noting in my Lightning Rounds that a few experienced players have been reaching the end of their run on the hedonic treadmill and are finding the whole experience unfulfilling. Last week, I wrote of how neither hedonism nor meaningless LTR’s will leave a man fulfilled. Now it seems Frost is suffering from player burn-out as well.

Except for a few men, playerdom will never be fulfilling in the end. Shallow pleasure does not bring contentment, only momentary happiness. Meaningless sex is simply the same effect as drugs, except one step removed (or more accurately, drugs are simply artificial inducements of effects similar to that which meaningless sex will bring). As with drugs, it will not satisfy, but it will become increasingly consuming as it becomes increasingly less pleasurable.

You will have sex, feel pleasure, then have but feel slightly less pleasure, and each time you will require more sex, more kinkiness, hotter women, and yet still feel slightly less pleasure each time. Meanwhile, you never feel the contentment you seek. The hedonic treadmill continues to roll until you either die or get off.

So, why not just ride for a while and get off at the right time?

The treadmill takes its toll even after you get off. Just as a carousel rider suffers as an alpha widow, so to does the ex-player suffer from the player’s curse.

A man who limits himself to one sexual partner has, by definition, the best sexual partner of his life with whom he is having the best sex of his life. The player, not so much. Any long-term relationship he may try will always be haunted by the ghosts of better sex and more beautiful partners of time past. The more partners he had prior, the more likely and stronger the hauntings.

There is no purpose to be found in hedonism, only emptiness.

I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:7-11, ESV)

Other men go make a different, but no less mistaken, extreme. Rather than pursuing meaningless sex from multiple women, they pursue meaning in a single woman. They find their identity and purpose in loving and serving another fallen person. This is as almost as empty as the meaningless sex, and will leave a man almost as hollow in the end. How is her value more than your own?

A man’s purpose of life can not be found in women or a singular woman.

If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place? (Ecclesiastes 6:3-6, ESV)

So, where can purpose be in life be found?

For this, we can turn to Genesis:

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

This is the first commandment; this is for what God made man.

Man’s purpose is to be found in filling and subduing the earth. Work was what man was created and/or evolved for. Man is meant to tame the land and to build from that which he needs and desires and to fill his tamed land with his own.

Man’s purpose is in building something greater than himself and then to create future generations to enjoy it.

Yet, there is a problem:

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19, ESV)

I have read this verse many times in my life, but only recently did I realize the full measure of agony contained within these words.

It is only in his work that man can find meaning, yet rather than something pleasurable, work is something difficult, bitter, and wearying.

How bitter this cup, that man’s purpose is to toil, yet his toil is naught but pain to him. To his even greater agony, when his toil is through and he surveys the work gained by through the sweat of his brow, he always knows that from dust it came and to dust it will return.

To find purpose, a man must always be working, always in bitter toil, yet know that all his work will eventually crumble in ruin.

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:18-23, ESV)

What is a man to do when all is vanity? How can man continue on, when all about his is rust and decay

Here is all for man to do:

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10, ESV)

A man accepts that life is vanity; he accepts that life is toil, but he continues. He finds what joy he can, knowing joy is illusionary, while working to build, knowing that his works will fade and decay.

A man’s purpose is to continue to build and enjoy the fruits of his labour even when he can not find meaning in the building or its fruits.

Creationism: The Modernist Frame

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while and have been observant, you may have noticed that I use created and evolved more-or-less interchangeably. At one time I was a strong creationist, but that was years ago. Now I tend use whichever one is more convenient. Evolution makes logical sense, the evidence I’ve reviewed seems to support it, and seems to be supported by those who know more than me about the science involved, so I accept it as fact. On the other hand, I would not be overly surprised if liberals and their pet scientists have constructed a false scientific narrative on this issue. Whatever the case, I accept evolution as fact but do not discount the possibility of creationism, and tend to use whichever happens to be most convenient at the time.

The veracity of evolution has no impact on my faith either way. Did God create man through natural evolutionary processes, did He create man through guided evolutionary processes, did He create man from ashes in a literal 168-hour period? It doesn’t matter. Maybe God was being literal when having man dictate His Word, maybe He was being figurative and poetic, maybe He wanted the focus to be on the more important underlying points, or maybe explaining 20th century biological science to iron age nomadic shepherds was not the point of the Biblical narrative.

This has been my position for many years. It doesn’t matter, but recently, I’ve begun to think that it dose matter but in a completely different way.

The problem with the creation/evolution debate is not whether one or the other is fact, but the entire frame of the debate itself. The whole creation/evolution debate is an example of both creationists and atheists being pwned by modernity. Any Christian jumping into that debate has already lost himself to modernism and its secular worldview.

Creationists have lost completely their conception of primal/mythic truth. They can not conceive of Truth apart from fact, so their faith rests on a literal interpretation of what is fairly obviously poetical and has a high chance of not being meant to be understood literally. They believe that if creation as written isn’t fact then it can’t be true and therefore the Bible is false and the faith is false.

This is false. Whether the literal creation is fact or not does not impact whether it is true. It is the myth, the Truth, of man’s relationship to God, man’s relation to nature, man’s purpose, man’s blessing, man’s relation to woman, and man’s sins. This is all true, whether or not the literal creation is fact. To rest the basis of the mythic truth of these claims on the fact truth of a poetic narrative of creation is to allow their greater humanity to be pwned by the modern’s soulless materialism.

As I said recently, “Modernism, in its essence, is the destruction of myth in the human experience and its replacement by fact, often false. Modernism is the entirety of truth being conquered by fact. Buying into the naturalist, materialist world-view is to swallow modernity whole.” To debate creationism as a science is to accept the modern frame. If you do so, you are already a materialist. You have accepted Nietzsche cry of “God is dead” and have embraced the death of metaphysics. You have embraced positivism as the only way.

By accepting the modern frame, creationism has made positivism their god.

Positivism has it’s place, the realm of fact. Science discovers fact, mundane truth, but it doesn’t discover Truth and it cannot create Truth, it cannot even create truth. To elevate science above its place is to destroy reason and Truth.

The creation myth is not a mundane truth under the yoke of positivism; to treat it as such is to degrade it. To look for Truth in science is to degrade yourself, to kill your own soul.

We can see soul-killing of the positivist approach to creation through the vulgar atheists. We can see them degrade themselves. They accept positivism in theory, but it kills their soul. So, to save their soul, they deify science and create a nonsense modernist morality based on rehashed puritanism. Simply read this from the statement of Aims and Principles of the American Atheists:

Materialism restores dignity and intellectual integrity to humanity. It teaches that we must prize our life on earth and strive always to improve it. It holds that human beings are capable of creating a social system based on reason and justice. Materialism’s “faith” is in humankind and their ability to transform the world culture by their own efforts.

Their positivism has so mutilated their mind and soul that they look at nothing and create a religious faith of it while decrying religion and faith. They need myth, they need Truth, but have none, so they have to make up blatantly self-refuting falsehoods to succor themselves. How could any mind not raped by modernism possibly “think” ‘I am nothing but an accident of material laws, therefore my life is to be prized’?

They deify themselves, they deify science, they deify ‘reason’, they deify humanity, because they have are broken creatures needing Truth, searching for Truth, in a system that denies the existence of Truth. It’s inhuman.

Don’t let yourself be pwned by modernity and positivism. Reject creationism; reject vulgar atheism; reject positivism; reject modernism.

Myth, Truth, and Modernity

Nyan wrote on creating a religion. The basis of his post is this bit of materialist nonsense:

The immediate and obvious solution is that we must believe in a mythology that is not true. Not necessarily false, mind you; our spiritual myths may be nonsense from a truth perspective. For example, we might claim to believe that “It is the destiny of mankind to conquer the stars”. This can’t really be true or false in a positivist sense because constructions involving “destiny” and “mankind” are not really meaningful empirically. How does the statement constrain your expectations? It does not; it is purely mythological.

You may have noticed the relationship of this problem to Hume’s impenetrable Is-Ought barrier. I propose a similarly impenetrable but transparent Truth-Myth barrier to replace it. On one side we have the beliefs one adopts as part of an unsubordinated quest to understand the world, the beliefs that an idealized engineer might have, the Truth. On the other side we have those beliefs that provide meaning and spiritual context, and motivate us, the Myth. I call the barrier transparent because the Myth tends to be constructed in terms of the Truth. For example where on the truth side we notice fleshy ape-things that are related in a certain way to most of what we have to deal with, on the Myth side we call them “people”, give them individual names, and speculate about their destiny. On the Truth side of the barrier, I think Logical Positivism is the correct approach; we construct our beliefs about Truth to constrain our expectations and direct our purposeful actions, and we cut out the non-contributing parts. On the Myth side, I don’t really know how or even whether we ought to constrain our techniques of reasoning. I will be relatively permissive here and take the position that you adopt whatever mythology speaks to your soul, with the only restriction being that don’t let this pollute our understanding of Truth.

Something can be True without being Fact, and you will never have a human system until you come to terms with this. I’ve written on the three types of truth before.

Fact truth – Fact truth is mundane reality. A fact truth is empirical, it explains or describes a natural phenomenon but goes no deeper than that. “The sky is blue” would be a fact truth. Science is the best developed way of establishing this type of truth.

Social truth – A social truth is something socially accepted as being true. A social truth is something true in relating to and within a society. Social truths can be both mundane and transcendental. “It is rude to spit on the sidewalk” would be a mundane social truth; “the American Dream” would be a transcendental social truth.

Primal truth – Primal truth is transcendental truth. It is Truth. Truth speaks to the core of our human essence; to who and what we are. It is never mundane.

Another name for the third is mythic truth. Myths are True, in fact they are often more True than fact.

If you don’t understand, think of Plato’s forms as an analog. The forms don’t technically exist, they are not fact, but the form is more True than any particular factual instantiation of the form. The non-factual concept of tree is more true of trees as a whole than that particular existent oak at the neighbourhood park.

In the same way, the primal truths are more true of humanity than any particular existing human, any organization, or any of the facts of humanity. Myth is the distilled Truth of humanity.

Nyan is trying to replace Truth with fact and wondering how to create a human religion out of this. It’s impossible, you can not even make human out of fact alone. If you try you will only have a broken, soulless wretch animated only until the empty sleeve of flesh can destroy itself. Man does not live on fact alone. Man needs myth; man is myth; myth is truth.

Modernism, in its essence, is the destruction of myth in the human experience and its replacement by fact, often false. Modernism is the entirety of truth being conquered by fact. Buying into the naturalist, materialist world-view is to swallow modernity whole. By holding to his Truth-Myth framework Nyan is only showing that he is still pwned by modernity.

None of this is to say that fact is wrong, untrue, or unimportant. Fact is an essential part of truth, but it is not the entirely truth. Fact has its place, but that place is not myth’s place.

Nyan needs to abandon his false materialism. He sees ‘internal contradictions’ and replaces God with Darwin. Darwin may be fact, he may be true, but he can never be Truth. The internal contradictions he sees which he thinks deny God are Truth. The glory of fox’s hunt and the desperation of the rabbit’s run are not internal contradictions, but are instead mutually necessary; without the glory there is no desperation, without the desperation there is no glory. It is both the glory and the desperation that make the race real, that make the hunt matter, that create Truth. The glory and the desperation are Truth whatever Darwinian facts may be used to explain them. Nyan’s materialism would destroy both leaving only biology and game theory in its place.

Nyan knows, even if he does not actively realize it, that his materialism is false for he can’t even hold to his materialism for the single post in which he purports to do just that. He reifies a non-material, atheist natural law, then anthropomorphizes this immaterial form as Gnon and erects himself a new god. He states he remains agnostic to Gnon’s metaphysical nature while at the same time he posits Gnon as metaphysical Truth itself. He set out to make a materialistic, positivist religion and creates himself a immaterial, metaphysical god. As with all materialists, he denies God only to create his own god.

This is because materialism and positivism are useful for finding fact, but near useless for finding Truth, but Nyan can’t see this because he makes a modern false distinction between Truth and Myth. He needs to reconcile himself to Truth and deny this inhuman materialism.

Nyan, spurn this modernism and embrace the truth of myth.


From here, I’ll let Chesterton take over (read the entire chapter to see modernity eviscerated):

Well, I left the fairy tales lying on the floor of the nursery, and I have not found any books so sensible since. I left the nurse guardian of tradition and democracy, and I have not found any modern type so sanely radical or so sanely conservative. But the matter for important comment was here: that when I first went out into the mental atmosphere of the modern world, I found that the modern world was positively opposed on two points to my nurse and to the nursery tales. It has taken me a long time to find out that the modern world is wrong and my nurse was right. The really curious thing was this: that modern thought contradicted this basic creed of my boyhood on its two most essential doctrines. I have explained that the fairy tales rounded in me two convictions; first, that this world is a wild and startling place, which might have been quite different, but which is quite delightful; second, that before this wildness and delight one may well be modest and submit to the queerest limitations of so queer a kindness. But I found the whole modern world running like a high tide against both my tendernesses; and the shock of that collision created two sudden and spontaneous sentiments, which I have had ever since and which, crude as they were, have since hardened into convictions.

First, I found the whole modern world talking scientific fatalism; saying that everything is as it must always have been, being unfolded without fault from the beginning. The leaf on the tree is green because it could never have been anything else. Now, the fairy-tale philosopher is glad that the leaf is green precisely because it might have been scarlet. He feels as if it had turned green an instant before he looked at it. He is pleased that snow is white on the strictly reasonable ground that it might have been black. Every colour has in it a bold quality as of choice; the red of garden roses is not only decisive but dramatic, like suddenly spilt blood. He feels that something has been DONE. But the great determinists of the nineteenth century were strongly against this native feeling that something had happened an instant before. In fact, according to them, nothing ever really had happened since the beginning of the world. Nothing ever had happened since existence had happened; and even about the date of that they were not very sure.

The modern world as I found it was solid for modern Calvinism, for the necessity of things being as they are. But when I came to ask them I found they had really no proof of this unavoidable repetition in things except the fact that the things were repeated. Now, the mere repetition made the things to me rather more weird than more rational. It was as if, having seen a curiously shaped nose in the street and dismissed it as an accident, I had then seen six other noses of the same astonishing shape. I should have fancied for a moment that it must be some local secret society. So one elephant having a trunk was odd; but all elephants having trunks looked like a plot. I speak here only of an emotion, and of an emotion at once stubborn and subtle. But the repetition in Nature seemed sometimes to be an excited repetition, like that of an angry schoolmaster saying the same thing over and over again. The grass seemed signalling to me with all its fingers at once; the crowded stars seemed bent upon being understood. The sun would make me see him if he rose a thousand times. The recurrences of the universe rose to the maddening rhythm of an incantation, and I began to see an idea.

All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact. For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. The very speed and ecstacy of his life would have the stillness of death. The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE. Heaven may ENCORE the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, by mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.

This was my first conviction; made by the shock of my childish emotions meeting the modern creed in mid-career. I had always vaguely felt facts to be miracles in the sense that they are wonderful: now I began to think them miracles in the stricter sense that they were WILFUL. I mean that they were, or might be, repeated exercises of some will. In short, I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician. And this pointed a profound emotion always present and sub-conscious; that this world of ours has some purpose; and if there is a purpose, there is a person. I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a story-teller.

But modern thought also hit my second human tradition. It went against the fairy feeling about strict limits and conditions. The one thing it loved to talk about was expansion and largeness. Herbert Spencer would have been greatly annoyed if any one had called him an imperialist, and therefore it is highly regrettable that nobody did. But he was an imperialist of the lowest type. He popularized this contemptible notion that the size of the solar system ought to over-awe the spiritual dogma of man. Why should a man surrender his dignity to the solar system any more than to a whale? If mere size proves that man is not the image of God, then a whale may be the image of God; a somewhat formless image; what one might call an impressionist portrait. It is quite futile to argue that man is small compared to the cosmos; for man was always small compared to the nearest tree. But Herbert Spencer, in his headlong imperialism, would insist that we had in some way been conquered and annexed by the astronomical universe. He spoke about men and their ideals exactly as the most insolent Unionist talks about the Irish and their ideals. He turned mankind into a small nationality. And his evil influence can be seen even in the most spirited and honourable of later scientific authors; notably in the early romances of Mr. H. G. Wells. Many moralists have in an exaggerated way represented the earth as wicked. But Mr. Wells and his school made the heavens wicked. We should lift up our eyes to the stars from whence would come our ruin.

But the expansion of which I speak was much more evil than all this. I have remarked that the materialist, like the madman, is in prison; in the prison of one thought. These people seemed to think it singularly inspiring to keep on saying that the prison was very large. The size of this scientific universe gave one no novelty, no relief. The cosmos went on for ever, but not in its wildest constellation could there be anything really interesting; anything, for instance, such as forgiveness or free will. The grandeur or infinity of the secret of its cosmos added nothing to it. It was like telling a prisoner in Reading gaol that he would be glad to hear that the gaol now covered half the county. The warder would have nothing to show the man except more and more long corridors of stone lit by ghastly lights and empty of all that is human. So these expanders of the universe had nothing to show us except more and more infinite corridors of space lit by ghastly suns and empty of all that is divine.

In fairyland there had been a real law; a law that could be broken, for the definition of a law is something that can be broken. But the machinery of this cosmic prison was something that could not be broken; for we ourselves were only a part of its machinery. We were either unable to do things or we were destined to do them. The idea of the mystical condition quite disappeared; one can neither have the firmness of keeping laws nor the fun of breaking them. The largeness of this universe had nothing of that freshness and airy outbreak which we have praised in the universe of the poet. This modern universe is literally an empire; that is, it was vast, but it is not free. One went into larger and larger windowless rooms, rooms big with Babylonian perspective; but one never found the smallest window or a whisper of outer air.

Their infernal parallels seemed to expand with distance; but for me all good things come to a point, swords for instance. So finding the boast of the big cosmos so unsatisfactory to my emotions I began to argue about it a little; and I soon found that the whole attitude was even shallower than could have been expected. According to these people the cosmos was one thing since it had one unbroken rule. Only (they would say) while it is one thing it is also the only thing there is. Why, then, should one worry particularly to call it large? There is nothing to compare it with. It would be just as sensible to call it small. A man may say, “I like this vast cosmos, with its throng of stars and its crowd of varied creatures.” But if it comes to that why should not a man say, “I like this cosy little cosmos, with its decent number of stars and as neat a provision of live stock as I wish to see”? One is as good as the other; they are both mere sentiments. It is mere sentiment to rejoice that the sun is larger than the earth; it is quite as sane a sentiment to rejoice that the sun is no larger than it is. A man chooses to have an emotion about the largeness of the world; why should he not choose to have an emotion about its smallness?

It happened that I had that emotion. When one is fond of anything one addresses it by diminutives, even if it is an elephant or a life-guardsman. The reason is, that anything, however huge, that can be conceived of as complete, can be conceived of as small. If military moustaches did not suggest a sword or tusks a tail, then the object would be vast because it would be immeasurable. But the moment you can imagine a guardsman you can imagine a small guardsman. The moment you really see an elephant you can call it “Tiny.” If you can make a statue of a thing you can make a statuette of it. These people professed that the universe was one coherent thing; but they were not fond of the universe. But I was frightfully fond of the universe and wanted to address it by a diminutive. I often did so; and it never seemed to mind. Actually and in truth I did feel that these dim dogmas of vitality were better expressed by calling the world small than by calling it large. For about infinity there was a sort of carelessness which was the reverse of the fierce and pious care which I felt touching the pricelessness and the peril of life. They showed only a dreary waste; but I felt a sort of sacred thrift. For economy is far more romantic than extravagance. To them stars were an unending income of halfpence; but I felt about the golden sun and the silver moon as a schoolboy feels if he has one sovereign and one shilling.

Where Were You?

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
It is changed like clay under the seal,
and its features stand out like a garment.
From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.

“Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.

“Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

“Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no man is,
on the desert in which there is no man,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground sprout with grass?

“Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen.

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
that a flood of waters may cover you?
Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts
or given understanding to the mind?
Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods stick fast together?

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in their thicket?
Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God for help,
and wander about for lack of food?

(Job 38 ESV)

My Rock and My Fortress

Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.

O LORD, what is man that you regard him,
or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow.

Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down!
Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
send out your arrows and rout them!
Stretch out your hand from on high;
rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
who gives victory to kings,
who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
Rescue me and deliver me
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace;
may our granaries be full,
providing all kinds of produce;
may our sheep bring forth thousands
and ten thousands in our fields;
may our cattle be heavy with young,
suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;
may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

(Psalm 144 ESV)

A Time

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)

To Be A Christian: Conclusion

***This is the conclusion of my To Be a Christian debate with Trevor Blake.The terms can be found here, Blake’s opening here, my opening here, Blake’s response here, my response here, and finally Blake’s conclusion here. If you enjoyed the debate, please consider donating to Samaritan Purse.***


Final Arguments

To be a Christian is to love Christ, to repent your sins, and to obey him by loving others. That is all that is needed to be Christian.

Throughout the debate Trevor has argued that Christians must understand and explain every detail of theology or the entirety of Christianity can be ignored. Christianity does not work like that.

Christianity is Christ, everything else is details. It is true faith in Christ that saves, nothing else.

Belief is necessary, understanding is not. The only theology one has to accept to be a Christian is the Nicene Creed, a rather simple document containing rather simple statements. Other more complex theology may be helpful (or it may be hindering), but it is not necessary for a Christian to know or to understand. Christianity is neither a complex nor elite religion, it is the good news of salvation for the masses.

As for the No True Scotsman in the Sky, God defines good. God is good. To talk about good apart from God is non-nonsensical babbling.

Trevor brags how his knowledge of the scriptures is greater than mine, and it might be so, but it is irrelevant. What use is knowledge without understanding?

This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Matthew 13:13-15 ESV)

What use is understanding without wisdom?

Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” (Proverbs 1:20-33 ESV)

What use is wisdom without practice? He that hears the Word but does not put it into practice is no better off than he who does not hear the Word.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25 ESV)

Trevor struggles with finding the median point between specificity and generality, thinking this is a fault of mine or of Christians in general. Instead, he must realize there he is looking for a median that doesn’t exist. One must see both the forest and the trees at once to build a house: seeing only the former one knows only a green sea of leaves from which no house can be built and seeing only the latter one wonders how it can possibly be enough wood to build a house.

He claims I contradict myself “from one sentence to the next“, showing only that he sees not the forest. One cannot declare a house impossible after viewing only two trees, while blinding oneself to the trees behind them.

But Trevor is correct in that if he understood the scriptures he would believe. Trevor believes “men do what they do, then use rationality to rationalize what they did,” yet he does not apply that to himself here. In pride he thinks himself wiser than men and so blinds himself.

Wisdom cries out, but he refuses to hear; he closes his eyes and in the darkness sees only foolishness. To become wise, he must first become a fool. He boasts of winning, yet the only prize worth having he does not humble himself to pursue.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31 ESV)

As for natural rights, they do not exist; there is only justice and mercy. Man is a sinner deserving naught the just damnation he so desperately pursues, his only hope is the mercy of Christ.

So, humble yourself, open your eyes and see, repent your sins, and beg Christ for His mercy for the Kingdom of Heaven draws near.



I think I held up well in the debate. I can not think of any arguments that I would have liked to have made differently. Whether I won or not is up to the audience, but I have a feeling it will probably line up along religious lines, as ‘who won?’ questions in debates usually do. Personally, I will have considered it a win if even one person is drawn closer to Christ.

I did try to work on my rhetoric, while trying to avoid personal attacks or insults, I think I succeeded. There were some writing errors and dropped sentences that usually plague my work, but there were less than usual as I did because I did do more self-editing than usual.


Thoughts on the Debate Format

I think a bit more time between each response would have been helpful, especially given that I stick to a posting schedule. I found myself barely squeaking by within the 5 days; a full week would have been better.

One more opportunity for response (so: Opening, Response, Response, Conclusion) might have allowed for a more thorough flushing out of ideas.

I think simultaneous posting would have been better, so we were each responding to one post. For my opening I was unsure if I should respond to Trevor’s opening or not and for my response I was unsure if I should just respond to his opening, or to both his opening and response. So either simultaneous posting, or defininf exactly what to respond to before hand. Another problem, was that by going second I got a significant advantage, especially in such a short debate, in by being able to reply to more of Trevor’s side, while Trevor is not even going to be able to respond to my conclusion within the confines of the debate.

‘To Be a Christian’ was a rather broad topic; a more focused topic may have allowed for a more focused debate.


On the Comments

I thought there would be more comments on the debate then there actually were. I guess I overestimated the . One thing I did note for future debates is that the comments can potentially impact the debates, especially if the debate goes longer than ours did. I think in future debates, the debaters should discuss whether comments should be opened or closed.

Here’s a few responses to the comments:

I am not a Catholic. Even if I was, I was specifically trying to avoid a sectarian view of Christianity, and I was avoiding taking a stance on controversial theological topics. I was trying to display what Lewis referred to as Mere Christianity.

I forgot to tell Blake to to edit his misspelling as Exfernal asked.

In response to Exfernal’s question I did not address the issue of the paternal grandfather of Jesus. I will briefly do so now.

The most common belief is that the two different genealogies are due to one being Joesph’s and the other Mary’s (even though it is claimed as Joseph’s due to cultural factors) . Another belief is that one was Joseph’s direct line, while the other was the royal line. Another thing to consider is that Jewish genealogy is not always direct, generations are sometimes skipped depending on the purpose of the genealogy.

Whatever the exact reason for the discrepancy, the more important thing to note is that many early Christians were Jews and would have been knowledgeable of Jewish genealogical traditions, yet they did not reject the Gospels due to the discrepancies between the two genealogies, so the differences were something that would have made sense to and been accepted by Jews of that time.