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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Frank Meyer, Libertarianism, and the Family

Posted by Tony Listi on July 24, 2010

 

Frank S. Meyer

Frank S. Meyer’s book In Defense of Freedom and essay “Freedom, Tradition, Conservativism,” are must-reads IMO. His critique of Russell Kirk in his essay “Collectivism Rebaptized” is also insightful and persuasive. Kirk and Meyer have been the most influential thinkers on my own political views but Meyer most of all.

In his essay “Freedom, Tradition, Conservativism,” Meyer argues his belief that conservatism and libertarianism derive from the same Western political tradition and merely represent two different but complementary emphases that have always been in tension:

I am well aware that what I have been saying can be criticized as eclecticism and attacked as an effort to smother principle. But it is not the laying aside of clear belief, either by the libertarian conservative or the traditionalist conservative, in order to present a front against contemporary collectivist Liberalism, that is here conceived. Rather it is the deepening of the beliefs which each holds through the development of their implications in a dialectic free of distorting narrowness…a dialectic in which both sides recognize not only that they have a common enemy but also that, despite all differences, they hold a common heritage….

[E]ach side emphasizes so strongly the aspect of the great tradition of the West which it sees as decisive that distortion sets in…. [T]he complementary interdependence of freedom and virtue, of the individual person and political order, is forgetten.

Moral order, tradition, liberty, and individualism need not be in conflict in a free society though a healthy tension exists among them.

Notably for contemporary disputes among conservatives and libertarians, in his book In Defense of Freedom, Meyer affirms the exceptional and necessary character of the institution of the family (emphases mine):

To this completely voluntary character of associations proper to the free nature of men, there are only two exceptions–the state and the family. Neither can be voluntary because of the human condition itself…. The family is the institution into which children are born and under which they develop as human beings. As far as they are concerned, it is not voluntary…. As far as their parents are concerned, the family is, however, entered into voluntarily; marriage is, in a free society, originally a mutual voluntary act of two individuals–voluntary, even though any marriage worthy of that exalted name is an unbreakable compact and though the family, proceeding from marriage, creates morally indissoluble bonds of parental obligation.

The family is the most important form through which virtue is inculcated in children. But it is not the institution of the family as such that inculcates virtue; it is the persons who constitute the family–father and mother and other close relatives–who in actuality decide the issue of the moral and intellectual direction that children take…. The family as an institution cannot guarantee the raising of the young in the paths of virtue, although the family is a necessary form; only individual persons, acting through the form of the family, can do so.

Frank Meyer embodies my political philosophy: an Austrian libertarian who recognizes the necessary and exceptional nature of marriage and children. Libertarians would do well to temper their ideology of liberty with the same recognition of the unique nature of the family. One cannot expect limited government and liberty in a society where the institution of the family is weak, if not completely destroyed.

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C. S. Lewis on Diabolical Democracy, Socialism, and Public Education

Posted by Tony Listi on December 29, 2008

Is democracy a trap?

Is democracy a trap?

The following quotes below are taken from his satirical Screwtape Proposes a Toast (1959). Screwtape, a demon, speaks at the graduation of other younger demons from Tempters’ Training College.

Hidden in the heart of this striving for Liberty there was also a deep hatred of personal freedom. That invaluable man Rousseau first revealed it. In his perfect democracy, you remember, only the state religion is permitted, slavery is restored, and the individual is told that he has really willed (though he didn’t know it) whatever the Government tells him to do. From that starting point, via Hegel (another indispensable propagandist on our side) we easily contrived both the Nazi and the Communist state….

Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose…. [T]hey should never be allowed to give this word a clear and definable meaning. They won’t. It will never occur to them that democracy is properly the name of a political system, even a system of voting, and that this has only the most remote and tenuous connection with what you are trying to sell them. Nor of course must they ever be allowed to raise Aristotle’s question: whether “democratic behaviour” means the behaviour that democracies like or the behaviour that will preserve a democracy. For if they did, it could hardly fail to occur to them that these need not be the same.

You are to use the word purely as an incantation; if you like, purely for its selling power. It is a name they venerate. And of course it is connected with the political ideal that men should be equally treated. You then make a stealthy transition in their minds from this political ideal to a factual belief that all men are equal…. As a result you can use the word democracy to sanction in his thought the most degrading (and also the least enjoyable) of human feelings. You can get him to practise, not only without shame but with a positive glow of self-approval, conduct which, if undefended by the magic word, would be universally derided.

The feeling I mean is of course that which prompts a man to say I’m as good as you….

No man who says I’m as good as you believes it. He would not say it if he did. The St. Bernard never says it to the toy dog, nor the scholar to the dunce, nor the employable to the bum, nor the pretty woman to the plain. The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which the patient refuses to accept.

And therefore resents. Yes, and therefore resents every kind of superiority in others; denigrates it; wishes its annihilation. Presently he suspects every mere difference of being a claim to superiority…. “They’ve no business to be different. It’s undemocratic.”

Now, this useful phenomenon is in itself by no means new. Under the name of Envy it has been known to humans for thousands of years. But hitherto they always regarded it as the most odious, and also the most comical, of vices. Those who were aware of feeling it felt it with shame; those who were not gave it no quarter in others. The delightful novelty of the present situation is that you can sanction it — make it respectable and even laudable — by the incantatory use of the word democratic.

Under the influence of this incantation those who are in any or every way inferior can labour more wholeheartedly and successfully than ever before to pull down everyone else to their own level. But that is not all. Under the same influence, those who come, or could come, nearer to a full humanity, actually draw back from fear of being undemocratic…. They might (horror of horrors!) become individuals….

Meanwhile, as a delightful by-product, the few (fewer every day) who will not be made Normal or Regular and Like Folks and Integrated increasingly become in reality the prigs and cranks which the rabble would in any case have believed them to be. For suspicion often creates what it expects…. As a result we now have an intelligentsia which, though very small, is very useful to the cause of Hell.

But that is a mere by-product. What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence – moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how “democracy” (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods?…

Once you have grasped the tendency, you can easily predict its future developments; especially as we ourselves will play our part in the developing. The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be “undemocratic.” These differences between pupils – for they are obviously and nakedly individual differences – must be disguised. This can be done at various levels. At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing things that children used to do in their spare time…. Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have – I believe the English already use the phrase – “parity of esteem”…. Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma…by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career….

In a word, we may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when I’m as good as you has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway the teachers – or should I say, nurses? – will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men. The little vermin themselves will do it for us.

Of course, this would not follow unless all education became state education. But it will. That is part of the same movement. Penal taxes, designed for that purpose, are liquidating the Middle Class, the class who were prepared to save and spend and make sacrifices in order to have their children privately educated. The removal of this class, besides linking up with the abolition of education, is, fortunately, an inevitable effect of the spirit that says I’m as good as you. This was, after all, the social group which gave to the humans the overwhelming majority of their scientists, physicians, philosophers, theologians, poets, artists, composers, architects, jurists, and administrators. If ever there were a bunch of stalks that needed their tops knocked off, it was surely they. As an English politician remarked not long ago, “A democracy does not want great men.”

We, in Hell, would welcome the disappearance of democracy in the strict sense of that word, the political arrangement so called. Like all forms of government, it often works to our advantage, but on the whole less often than other forms. And what we must realize is that “democracy” in the diabolical sense (I’m as good as you, Being Like Folks, Togetherness) is the fittest instrument we could possibly have for extirpating political democracies from the face of the earth.

For “democracy” or the “democratic spirit” (diabolical sense) leads to a nation without great men, a nation mainly of subliterates, full of the cocksureness which flattery breeds on ignorance, and quick to snarl or whimper at the first sign of criticism. And that is what Hell wishes every democratic people to be. For when such a nation meets in conflict a nation where children have been made to work at school, where talent is placed in high posts, and where the ignorant mass are allowed no say at all in public affairs, only one result is possible….

It is our function to encourage the behaviour, the manners, the whole attitude of mind, which democracies naturally like and enjoy, because these are the very things which, if unchecked, will destroy democracy. You would almost wonder that even humans don’t see it themselves. Even if they don’t read Aristotle (that would be undemocratic) you would have thought the French Revolution would have taught them that the behaviour aristocrats naturally like is not the behaviour that preserves aristocracy. They might then have applied the same principle to all forms of government….

The overthrow of free peoples and the multiplication of slave states are for us a means (besides, of course, being fun); but the real end is the destruction of individuals. For only individuals can be saved or damned, can become sons of the Enemy or food for us. The ultimate value, for us, of any revolution, war, or famine lies in the individual anguish, treachery, hatred, rage, and despair which it may produce. I’m as good as you is a useful means for the destruction of democratic societies. But it has a far deeper value as an end in itself, as a state of mind which, necessarily excluding humility, charity, contentment, and all the pleasures of gratitude or admiration, turns a human being away from almost every road which might finally lead him to Heaven.

Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Democracy, Education, Fascism, Government and Politics, Intellectual History, Liberalism, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Quotes, Socialism, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

C. S. Lewis on Barack Obama

Posted by Tony Listi on December 29, 2008

C. S. Lewis

Lewis died in 1963, so there is no knowing exactly what he would say. But I have come across some wonderful quotes from his satirical Screwtape Letters (uncle demon writing to a nephew demon on how to damn souls) that have obvious significance for what we should think of Barack Obama, the campaign he ran, and the state of American culture.

Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time—for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. Hence the encouragement we have given to all those schemes of thought such as Creative Evolution, Scientific Humanism, or Communism, which fix men’s affections on the Future, on the very core of temporality. Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead….

To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too—just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow’s work is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present. This is not straw splitting. He does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it. We do. His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him. But we want a man hag-ridden by the Future—haunted by visions of an imminent heaven or hell upon earth—ready to break the Enemy’s commands in the present if by so doing we make him think he can attain the one or avert the other—dependent for his faith on the success or failure of schemes whose end he will not live to see. We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.

It follows then, in general, and other things being equal, that it is better for your patient to be filled with anxiety or hope (it doesn’t much matter which) about this war than for him to be living in the present. But the phrase “living in the present” is ambiguous. It may describe a process which is really just as much concerned with the Future as anxiety itself. Your man may be untroubled about the Future, not because he is concerned with the Present, but because he has persuaded himself that the Future is, going to be agreeable. As long as that is the real course of his tranquillity, his tranquillity will do us good, because it is only piling up more disappointment, and therefore more impatience, for him when his false hopes are dashed. (Letter XV, underlined emphasis mine)

In American politics, the words “past” and “future” have, respectively, negative and positive connotations. Is this a good thing? Did not Barack Obama’s campaign exploit futuristic jargon most successfully? Shouldn’t we be skeptical of so-called “progressive” policy schemes that play on false hopes of heaven on earth?

What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call “Christianity And”. You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing. (Letter XXV)

From the above passage, I think it is quite clear what Lewis would think of Black Liberation Theology and the Trinity United Church of Christ. He would disapprove.

The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship. The humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating Pleasurable. But since He does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together on the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme. He gives them in His Church a spiritual ear; they change from a fast to a feast, but it is the same feast as before.

Now just as we pick out and exaggerate the pleasure of eating to produce gluttony, so we pick out this natural pleasantness of change and twist it into a demand for absolute novelty. This demand is entirely our workmanship. If we neglect our duty, men will be not only contented but transported by the mixed novelty and familiarity of snowdrops this January, sunrise this morning, plum pudding this Christmas. Children, until we have taught them better, will be perfectly happy with a seasonal round of games in which conkers succeed hopscotch as regularly as autumn follows summer. Only by our incessant efforts is the demand for infinite, or unrhythmical, change kept up.

This demand is valuable in various ways. In the first place it diminishes pleasure while increasing desire. The pleasure of novelty is by its very nature more subject than any other to the law of diminishing returns. And continued novelty costs money, so that the desire for it spells avarice or unhappiness or both. And again, the more rapacious this desire, the sooner it must eat up all the innocent sources of pleasure and pass on to those the Enemy forbids. Thus by inflaming the horror of the Same Old Thing we have recently made the Arts, for example, less dangerous to us than perhaps, they have ever been, “low-brow” and “high-brow” artists alike being now daily drawn into fresh, and still fresh, excesses of lasciviousness, unreason, cruelty, and pride. Finally, the desire for novelty is indispensable if we are to produce Fashions or Vogues.

The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under. Thus we make it fashionable to expose the dangers of enthusiasm at the very moment when they are all really becoming worldly and lukewarm; a century later, when we are really making them all Byronic and drunk with emotion, the fashionable outcry is directed against the dangers of the mere “understanding”. Cruel ages are put on their guard against Sentimentality, feckless and idle ones against Respectability, lecherous ones against Puritanism; and whenever all men are really hastening to be slaves or tyrants we make Liberalism the prime bogey.

But the greatest triumph of all is to elevate his horror of the Same Old Thing into a philosophy so that nonsense in the intellect may reinforce corruption in the will. It is here that the general Evolutionary or Historical character of modern European thought (partly our work) comes in so useful. The Enemy loves platitudes. Of a proposed course of action He wants men, so far as I can see, to ask very simple questions; is it righteous? is it prudent? is it possible? Now if we can keep men asking “Is it in accordance with the general movement of our time? Is it progressive or reactionary? Is this the way that History is going?” they will neglect the relevant questions. And the questions they do ask are, of course, unanswerable; for they do not know the future, and what the future will be depends very largely on just those choices which they now invoke the future to help them to make. As a result, while their minds are buzzing in this vacuum, we have the better chance to slip in and bend them to the action we have decided on. And great work has already been done. Once they knew that some changes were for the better, and others for the worse, and others again indifferent. We have largely removed this knowledge. For the descriptive adjective “unchanged” we have substituted the emotional adjective “stagnant”. We have trained them to think of the Future as a promised land which favoured heroes attain—not as something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is…. (Letter XXV)

Is American culture obsessed with change for its own sake? Is it irrationally afraid of “the Same Old Thing”?

The truth is that the Enemy, having oddly destined these mere animals to life in His own eternal world, has guarded them pretty effectively from the danger of feeling at home anywhere else. That is why we must often wish long life to our patients; seventy years is not a day too much for the difficult task of unraveling their souls from Heaven and building up a firm attachment to the earth…. So inveterate is their appetite for Heaven that our best method, at this stage, of attaching them to earth is to make them believe that earth can be turned into Heaven at some future date by politics or eugenics or “science” or psychology, or what not. (Letter XXVIII, emphasis mine)

Do Obama and liberals believe that they can create heaven on earth?

Posted in American Culture, Art and Creativity, Christianity and Politics, Government and Politics, Liberalism, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Political Psychoanalysis, Politicians, Politics and Religion, Quotes, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Hitler’s War on Christianity (Quotes)

Posted by Tony Listi on December 14, 2008

Hitler was NOT a Christian. He hated Christianity. If he made any public remarks in support of Christianity, that was because he was in public and would lie or obfuscate to appease a crowd at times. Hitler was opposed to atheism because  he was a spiritual man: “atheism… is a return to the  state of the animal…” (Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59). But opposition to atheism doesn’t make anyone a Christian. Nazism was his religion, an authentic religion of his own creation (yes, life is SO much better when people create their own personal religions in a search for “authenticity,” ha).

Hitler’s Table Talk is a compilation of sayings by Hitler in private conversations that were recorded by other Nazis. It is a good source for what Hitler really thought.

“…the only way of getting rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

“It’s Christianity that’s the liar. It’s in perpetual conflict with itself.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

“In the long run, National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 6

“Kerrl, with the noblest of intentions, wanted to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don’t believe the thing’s possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

“As far as we are concerned, we’ve succeeded in chasing the Jews from our midst and excluding Christianity from our political life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 394

“There is something very unhealthy about Christianity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 418

“The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity. Christianity is a prototype of Bolshevism: the mobilisation by the Jew of the masses of slaves with the object of undermining society. Thus one understands that the healthy elements of the Roman world were proof against this doctrine.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 75-76

“When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let’s be the only people who are immunised against the disease.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

“Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity. It will last another hundred years, two hundred years perhaps. My regret will have been that I couldn’t, like whoever the prophet was, behold the promised land from afar. We are entering into a conception of the world that will be a sunny era, an era of tolerance.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 343-344

“Pure Christianity—the Christianity of the catacombs—is concerned with translating the Christian doctrine into facts. It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 146

“Christianity is the worst of the regressions that mankind can ever have undergone, and it’s the Jew who, thanks to this diabolic invention, has thrown him back fifteen centuries.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 322

“The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Bolshevism practises a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, whereas in reality it seeks only to enslave them. In the ancient world, the relations between men and gods were founded on an instinctive respect. It was a world enlightened by the idea of tolerance. Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 7

“But Christianity is an invention of sick brains : one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery. A negro with his tabus is crushingly superior to the human being who seriously believes in Transubstantiation.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 144

“It took fourteen centuries for Christianity to reach the peak of savagery and stupidity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 314

“Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 7

“We must recognise, of course, that, amongst us, Christianity is coloured by Germanism.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 46

“We’ll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State. We shall continue to preach the doctrine of National Socialism, and the young will no longer be taught anything but the truth.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 62

“Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 51

“By nature the Duce is a freethinker, but he decided to choose the path of concessions. For my part, in his place I’d have taken the path of revolution. I’d have entered the Vatican and thrown everybody out—reserving the right to apologise later: “Excuse me, it was a mistake.” But the result would have been, they’d have been outside!” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 145

“So it’s not opportune to hurl ourselves now into a struggle with the Churches. The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death. A slow death has something comforting about it. The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advances of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59

“But, even so, it’s impossible eternally to hold humanity in bondage with lies. After all, it was only between the sixth and eighth centuries that Christianity was imposed on our peoples by princes who had an alliance of interests with the shavelings. Our peoples had previously succeeded in living all right without this religion. I have six divisions of SS composed of men absolutely indifferent in matters of religion. It doesn’t prevent them from going to their deaths with serenity in their souls.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 143

“Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers—already, you see, the world had fallen into the hands of the Jews, so gutless a thing was Christianity!—then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies heroism and which opens the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 667 (Talk about Islamo-fascism!)

“The priests of antiquity were closer to nature, and they sought modestly for the meaning of things. Instead of that, Christianity promulgates its inconsistent dogmas and imposes them by force. Such a religion carries within it intolerance and persecution. It’s the bloodiest conceivable.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 322-323

“One cannot succeed in conceiving how much cruelty, ignominy and falsehood the intrusion of Christianity has spelt for this world of ours. If the misdeeds of Christianity were less serious in Italy, that’s because the people of Rome, having seen them at work, always knew exactly the worth of the Popes before whom Christendom prostrated itself.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 288

“With what clairvoyance the authors of the eighteenth, and especially those of the past, century criticised Christianity and passed judgment on the evolution of the Churches!” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 88

“When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59

“The fact that the Japanese have retained their political philosophy, which is one of the essential reasons for their successes, is due to their having been saved in time from the views of Christianity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 393

“This terrorism in religion is the product, to put it briefly, of a Jewish dogma, which Christianity has universalised and whose effect is to sow trouble and confusion in men’s minds.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 393

“It may be asked whether concluding a concordat with the churches wouldn’t facilitate our exercise of power…. I’m convinced that any pact with the Church can offer only a provisional benefit, for sooner or later the scientific spirit will disclose the harmful character of such a compromise. Thus the State will have based its existence on a foundation that one day will collapse.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pp. 58-59

“It is to these private customs that peoples owe their present characters. Christianity, of course, has reached the peak of absurdity in this respect. And that’s why one day its structure will collapse. Science has already impregnated humanity. Consequently, the more Christianity clings to its dogmas, the quicker it will decline.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 60

More links:

http://www.geocities.com/mikem2u/hitler.html

http://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Table-Talk-Adolf-Hitler/dp/1929631057

http://davnet.org/kevin/articles/table.html

Posted in Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Fascism, Government and Politics, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Quotes, Written by Me | 25 Comments »

Hitler Recognized and Praised Islamo-Fascism

Posted by Tony Listi on December 14, 2008

“Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers—already, you see, the world had fallen into the hands of the Jews, so gutless a thing was Christianity!—then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies heroism and which opens the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so.”

Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 667

Posted in Fascism, Intellectual History, Islam, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Quotes, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

The Emersonian Adolf Hitler (Quotes)

Posted by Tony Listi on December 14, 2008

Hitler was more of an intellectual, however perverse, than most people give him credit for. He spoke often about certain laws of nature, in Darwinian and Romantic terms. He reminds me of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which should make us pause and question the value of Emerson’s thought and its affinity with Nazism. It is no wonder that Emerson was heavily influenced by German Romanticism.

“What we need are men gifted with a sixth sense, who live in nature and with nature—whether or not they know anything about isotherms and isobars.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 62

“It’s possible to satisfy the needs of the inner life by an intimate communion with nature, or by knowledge of the past.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 60

“Everything in nature happens in conformity with what ought to happen.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 153

“Nature spontaneously eliminates all that has no gift for life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 152

“Man has discovered in nature the wonderful notion of that all-mighty being whose law he worships.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 6

“Whoever sees God only in an oak or in a tabernacle, instead of seeing Him everywhere, is not truly pious.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 84

“From that point of view, one can envy the Japanese. They have a religion which is very simple and brings them into contact with nature.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 144

“All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds, perhaps inhabited worlds like ours, then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59-60

“The man who lives in communion with nature necessarily puts himself in opposition to the Churches.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 61

“An educated man retains the sense of the mysteries of nature and bows before the unknowable.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 59

“Man has a gift for seizing hold of what is beautiful. And what inexhaustible riches the world contains for the man who knows how to enjoy his senses ! Moreover, nature has given man the desire to make others share in the joys he feels. The beautiful always claims its right to primacy.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 142

“The beauties of the woods were discovered, not by the peasant, but by the professor.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 619

“There are other parts of Germany, apart from the Rhineland, which give me intense pleasure to visit—the Kyffhaeuser, the forests of Thuringia, the Harz and the Black Forest. It is most exhilarating to drive for miles through the woods and forests, far away from the throng. One of my greatest delights has always been to picnic quietly somewhere on the roadside….” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 717

“It is a great pity that Germans know so little of their own country. Since 1938 the number of beauty spots within the boundaries of the Reich has increased considerably. In addition to Austria, we have the wonderful countryside of Bohemia and Moravia, which is a closed book to all but a few Germans. Some of them may have heard of the virgin forests of Bohemia, but how many have ever seen them? I have a collection of photographs taken in Bohemia, and they remind one of the vast forests of the tropics. To visit all the beauties of his country, a German to-day would require to take a holiday in a different district each year for the rest of his life.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 717

“One must start by accepting the principle that nature herself gives all the necessary indications, and that therefore one must follow the rules that she has laid down.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 508

“Where do we acquire the right to believe that man has not always been what he is now? The study of nature teaches us that, in the animal kingdom just as much as in the vegetable kingdom, variations have occurred.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 248

“The fly feeds on fresh leaves, the frog swallows the fly as it is, and the stork eats the living frog. Nature thus teaches us that a rational diet should be based on eating things in their raw state.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 443

“In the long run nature eliminates the noxious elements. One may be repelled by this law of nature which demands that all living things should mutually devour one another.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 141

“Nature, in creating a being, gives it all it needs to live. If it cannot live, that’s either because it’s attacked from without or because its inner resistance has weakened.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 115

“By the law of nature, the most important person of a nation should be the best man.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 121

“Nature doesn’t care the least bit whether, as a preliminary, the people concerned have paid a visit to the registrar. Nature wants a woman to be fertile.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 92

“He might be a man who has never set foot outside his own village, but who understands the flight of midges and swallows, who can read the signs who feels the wind, to whom the movements of the sky are familiar. Elements are involved in that kind of thing that are imponderable and beyond mathematics.There are bits of knowledge that are developed in the course of an existence intimately associated with the life of nature, which are often passed on from father to son.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 63

“As in everything, nature is the best instructor, even as regards selection. One couldn’t imagine a better activity on nature’s part than that which consists in deciding the supremacy of one creature over another by means of a constant struggle.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 396 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“If the individual were important in the eyes of nature, nature would take care to preserve him. Amongst the millions of eggs a fly lays, very few are hatched out—and yet the race of flies thrives.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 142 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“The man who wishes to bring up his child rightly must not lose sight of the example of nature, which shows no peculiar tenderness.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 395 (with a touch of Darwinism here)

“Social prejudices are in the process of disappearing. More and more, nature is reclaiming her rights. We’re moving in the proper direction.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 353

“The wisdom of nations sometimes expresses truths as old as the world, that perfectly reproduce nature’s intentions.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 341

“It is perfectly true that we are a people of romantics, quite different from the Americans, for example, who see nothing beyond their sky-scrapers. Our romanticism has its origins in the intense appreciation of nature that is inherent in us Germans.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, pg 707

H. R. Trevor-Roper on  Hitler’s conception of nature:

“He had views indeed on Nature and often spoke of his ‘communion’ with it, but it was a hideous Nature, the devouring Nature whose cruelty justified his own : not a sociable pagan Nature of nymphhaunted woods and populated streams, but a romantic Wagnerian Nature of horrid Alps in whose intoxicating solitude he could best hatch his own equally violent and implacable interventions.” –Hitler’s Table Talk, Introduction: The Mind of Adolf Hitler, pg XXXV11

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Democracy as a Form of Capitalism (and vice versa)

Posted by Tony Listi on March 5, 2008

It is no coincidence that democracy (or democratic republicanism to be precise) and capitalism have been joined at the hip throughout history, especially in the West. Democracy is the political formulation of capitalism; capitalism is the economic formulation of democracy. They arose together and they will fall together.

Whether one is talking about politics or economics, the key fundamental question will always be: who is in control? Who has the power? And there will always be only two possible answers to this question: either many people have power or very few have power.

In a democracy, many people have power. They vote in elections and choose their leaders or approve legislation be referendum. Power is diffuse and divided among all the people. There is accountability: government officials who do not serve well are replaced by someone else at the next election. In all other forms of government, power is more concentrated because it is in fewer hands, and they are the hands of government officials or those who can control government officials.

Under free market capitalism too, many people have power rather than a few. Consumers (which is all of us) have the freedom of choice to buy something or not. Similar to political power in a democracy, economic power under capitalism is diffuse and divided among all consumers. Like democratically elected officials who must satisfy their constituents, producers (from small businesses to corporations) who want to prosper must meet the needs and desires of consumers. In all other economic systems (e.g. socialism), those with political power (or just the power of the sword in general) seize the economic power and freedom of the people and dictate production (i.e. quotas) and consumption (i.e. rationing) to the rest of society, just as a tyrant would dictate laws to his subjects.

The common denominator between democracy and capitalism is freedom, freedom from centralized power and control. What many Americans don’t seem to realize is that political freedom and economic freedom cannot be separated. In order to take away your economic freedom to give you a false sense of economic security, the government necessarily usurps more political power to itself as well so that it can actually be able to enforce its economic dictates. The equalizers are never equal in political power to those they equalize. This means less political power for you. Power is a zero sum game; there is only so much political power to go around, so that one person’s gain is another’s loss. But wealth is not a zero sum game; the pie can grow under a system of freedom, so that one person’s slice is not at another’s expense because value is always being voluntarily exchanged.

Thus political and economic freedom are intimately intertwined and thus inseparable. So don’t believe liberal Democrats when they tell you that you will have more freedom or security with more government intervention and mangement of the economy. You will have neither freedom nor security: freedom is our security because freedom allows for accountability through checks and balances.

I would like to end with the wisdom of Milton Friedman:

“Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction, it reduces the area over which political power is exercised. In addition, by dispersing power, the free market provides an offset to whatever concentration of power may arise. The combination of economic and political power in the same hands is a sure recipe for tyranny. The combination of economic and political freedom produced a golden age in both Great Britain and the United States in the nineteeth century.”

“Majority rule is a necessary and desirable expedient. It is, however, very different from the kind of freedom you have when you shop at a supermarket. When you enter the voting booth once a year, you almost always vote for a package rather than for specific items. If you are in the majority, you will at best get both the items you favored and the ones you opposed but regarded as on balance less important. Generally, you end up with something different from what you thought you voted for. If you are in the minority, you must conform to the majority vote and wait for your turn to come. When you vote daily in the supermarket, you get precisely what you voted for, and so does everyone else. The ballot box produces conformity without unanimity; the marketplace, unanimity without conformity. That is why it is desirable to use the ballot box, so far as possible, only for those decisions where conformity is essential.”

“The economic controls that have proliferated in the United States in recent decades have not only restricted our freedom to use our economic resources, they have also affected our freedom of speech, of press, and of religion…. [F]reedom is one whole, that anything that reduces freedom in one part of our lives is likely to affect freedom in the other parts.”

“Ironically, the very success of economic and political freedom reduced its appeal to later thinkers. The narrowly limited government of the late nineteenth century possessed little conentrated power that endangered the ordinary man. The other side of that coin was that it possessed little power that would enable good people to do good. And in an imperfect world there were still many evils. Indeed, the very progress of society made the residual evils seem all the more objectionable. As always, people took the favorable developments for granted. They forgot the danger to freedom from a strong government. Instead, they were attracted by the good that a stronger government could achieve –if only government power were in the ‘right’ hands.”

“[N]o society that has ever achieved prosperity and freedom unless voluntary exchange has been its dominant principle of organization…. Wherever we find any large element of individual freedom, some measure of progress in the material comforts at the disposal of ordinary citizens, and the widespread hope of further progress in the future, there we also find that economic activity is organized mainly through the free market. Wherever the state undertakes to control in detail the economic activities of its citizens, whevever, that is, detailed central economic planning reigns, there ordinary citizens are in political fetters, have a low standard of living, and have little power to control their own destiny.”

“A society that puts equality–in the sense of equality of outcome–ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to acheive equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests. On the other hand, a society that puts freedom first will, as a happy by-product, end up with both greater freedom and greater equality. Though a by-product of freedom, greater quality is not an accident. A free society releases the energies and abilities of people to pursue their own objectives. It prevents some people from arbitrarily suppressing others. It does not prevent some people from achieving positions of privilege, but so long as freedom is maintained, it prevents those positions of privilege from becoming institutionalized; they are subject to continued attack by other able, ambitious people. Freedom means diversity but also mobility. It preserves the opportunity for today’s disadvantaged to become tomorrow’s privileged and, in the process, enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a fuller and richer life.”

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Founding Fathers on Charity, Wealth Redistribution, and Federal Govt.

Posted by Tony Listi on November 24, 2007

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

“A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
-Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
-Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors, ME 15:332

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to E. Carrington, May 27, 1788

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
-John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, elaborated upon this limitation in a letter to James Robertson:
“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
-James Madison, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)

“…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
-James Madison

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison, “Letter to Edmund Pendleton,”
-James Madison, January 21, 1792, in The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, Robert A Rutland et. al., ed (Charlottesvile: University Press of Virginia,1984).

“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.”
-James Madison, Federalist No. 58, February 20, 1788

“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
-James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 16, 1788

See more at http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/quotes.html

Posted in American History, Budget, Spending, and Taxes, Government and Politics, Quotes, The Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 62 Comments »

Quotes: Faith–Reliability and Credibility of the Bible

Posted by Tony Listi on November 19, 2007

“There’s more evidence that the Bible is a reliable source than there is for any other book from the ancient world…. I could talk about the Bible’s unity-sixty-six books written in different literary styles by perhaps forty different authors with diverse backgrounds over fifteen hundred years, and yet the Bible amazingly unfolds one continuous drama with one central message. That points to the existence of the divine Mind that the writers claimed inspired them. And there’s the Bible’s transforming-from the beginning, it has renewed people; given them hope, courage, purpose, wisdom, guidance, and power; and formed an anchor for their lives. While early Islam was spread by the sword, early Christianity spread by the Spirit, even while Christians were being killed by Roman swords.”
-Dr. Norman L. Geisler
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“There have been thousands-not hundreds-of archeological finds in the Middle East that support the picture presented in the biblical record. There was a discovery not long ago confirming King David. The patriarchs-the narratives about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-were once considered legendary, but as more has become known these stories are increasingly corroborated. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was thought to be mythological until evidence was uncovered that all five of the cities mentioned in Genesis were, in fact, situated just as the Old Testament said. As far as their destruction goes, archaeologist Clifford Wilson said there is ‘permanent evidence of the great conflagration that took place in the long distant past.’ Furthermore, various aspects of the Jewish captivity have been confirmed. Also, every reference in the Old Testament to an Assyrian king has been proven correct; an excavation during the 1960s confirmed that the Israelites could, indeed, have entered Jerusalem by way of a tunnel during David’s reign; there is evidence the world did have a single language at one time, as the Bible says; the site of Solomon’s temple is now being excavated…. Samuel says that after Saul’s death his armor was put in the temple of Ashtoroth…while Chronicles reports that his head was put in the temple of a Philistine corn god named Dagon. Now, archaeologists thought that must have been an error and therefore the Bible was unreliable. They didn’t think enemies would have had temples in the same place at the same time…. [Archaeologists] confirmed through excavations that there two temples at that, one each for Dagon and Ashtoroth…. As it turned out, the Philistines had apparently adopted Ashtoroth as one of their own goddesses. The Bible was right after all…. The Bible makes about three dozen references to the Hittites, but critics used to charge that there was no evidence that such people ever existed. Now archaeologists digging in modern Turkey have discovered the records of the Hittites. As the great archaeologist William F. Albright declared, ‘There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition. The noted Roman historian Colin J. Hemer, in The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, shows how archaeology has confirmed not dozens, but hundreds and hundreds of details from the biblical account of the early church. Even small details have been corroborated, like which way the wind blows, how deep the water is a certain distance from shore, what kind of disease a particular island had, the names of local officials, and so forth. Now, Acts was authored by the historian Luke. Hemer gives more than a dozen reasons for why Acts had to have been written before A.D. 62, or about thirty years after Jesus’ crucifixion…. So here you have an impeccable historian, who has been proven right in hundreds of details and never proven wrong, writing the whole history of Jesus and the early church. And it’s written within one generation while eyewitnesses were still alive and could have disputed it if it were exaggerated or false. You don’t have anything like that from any other religious book from the ancient world…. Prominent historian Sir William Ramsay started out as a skeptic, but after studying Acts he concluded that ‘in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.’ The great Oxford University classical historian A.N. Sherwin-White said, ‘For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming,’ and that ‘any attempt to reject its basic historicity must now appear absurd.”
-Dr. Norman L. Geisler
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“The only reason why anyone should accept the Bible as divinely authoritative is because it has miraculous confirmation…. First, the Bible is miraculously confirmed by the fulfillment of predictive prophecies, and second, it’s confirmed by the miracles performed by those who purported to be speaking for God. The Bible is the only book in the world that has precise, specific predictions that were made hundreds of years in advance and that were literally fulfilled. According to Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, there are 191 predictions in the Old Testament about the coming of Christ, including his ancestry, the city in which he would be born, that he would be born of a virgin, precisely the time in history when he would die, and so on. In fact, Psalm 22:16 says his hands and feet would be pierced; verse 14 says his bones would be out of joint; verse 18 talks about the casting of lots for his garments; and Zechariah 12:10 says he would be pierced, as Jesus was with a lance. That’s obviously a picture of his crucifixion-however, it was written before crucifixion was even implemented as a method of execution by the Romans. The Jews stoned people to death back then. And, of course, Isaiah 53:2-12 has perhaps the most amazing predictions about Christ in the entire Old Testament. It foretells twelve aspects of his passion that were all fulfilled-he would be rejected, be a man of sorrow, live a life of suffering, be despised by others, carry our sorrow, be smitten and afflicted by God, be pierced for our transgressions, be wounded for our sins, would suffer like a lamb, would die with the wicked, would be sinless, and would pray for others. In Old Testament times, the Jewish rabbis did consider this to be a prophecy concerning the Messiah. That’s the opinion that’s really relevant. Only later, after Christians pointed out this was obviously referring to Jesus, did they begin saying it was really about the suffering Jewish nation. But clearly that’s wrong. Isaiah customarily refers to the Jewish people in the first-person plural, like ‘our’ or ‘we,’ but he always refers to the Messiah in the third-person singular, like ‘he’ and ‘him’-and that’s what he did in Isaiah 53. Plus, anyone who reads it for themselves will readily see it’s referring to Jesus. Maybe that’s why it’s usually skipped over in synagogues these days. So here you have incredible predictions that were literally fulfilled in the life of one man, even though he had no control over most of them. For instance, he couldn’t have arranged his ancestry, the timing of his birth, and so on. These prophecies were written two hundred to four hundred years in advance. No other book in the world has this. The Bible is only book that’s supernaturally confirmed this way.
In the Bible-which, remember, we’ve seen is historically reliable-we have prophets who were challenged but who then performed miracles to establish their credentials…. [Examples] Unlike Jesus, miracles were not a sign of Muhammad’s ministry. It wasn’t until a hundred and fifty or two hundred years after his life that his followers invented miracles and ascribed them to him….
When you add this up-the historical reliability of the Bible as authenticated by archaeology, the miraculous fulfillment of clear predictive prophecies, and the performance of documented miracles-you get a supernaturally confirmed book unlike any other in history.”
-Dr. Norman L. Geisler
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

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Quotes: Faith, Scientific Evidence, and Atheism

Posted by Tony Listi on November 19, 2007

“If there is no Creator and therefore no moment of creation, then everything is the result of evolution. If there was no beginning or first cause, then the universe must have always existed. That means the universe has been evolving for an infinite period of time-and, by now, everything should already be perfect. There would have been plenty of time for evolution to have finished and evil to have been vanquished. But there is still evil and suffering and imperfection-and that proves the atheist wrong about the universe.”
-Dr. Peter John Kreeft
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“Only in a world where faith is difficult can faith exist…. Scripture describes God as a hidden God. You have to make an effort of faith to find him. There are clues you can follow. And if that weren’t so, if there were something more or less than clues, it’s difficult for me to understand how we could really be free to make a choice about him. If we had absolute proof instead of clues, then you could no more deny God than you could deny the sun. If we had no evidence at all, you could never get there. God gives us just enough evidence so that those who want him can have him.”
-Dr. Peter John Kreeft
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“[M]y prejudice is a reasonable prejudice because it’s based on the evidence I’ve gathered in my very real experience. So someone who knows God has evidence-and therefore prejudices based on that evidence-which someone who does not know God does not have.”
-Dr. Peter John Kreeft
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“[Atheism] is an easy answer-maybe, if I may use the word, a cheap answer. Atheism is cheap on people, because it snobbishly says nine out of ten people through history have been wrong about God and have had a lie at the core of their hearts. Think about that. How is it possible that over ninety percent of all the human beings who have ever lived-usually in far more painful circumstances than we-could believe in God? The objective evidence, just looking at the balance of pleasure and suffering in the world, would seem not to justify believing in an absolutely good God. Yet this has been almost universally believed. Are they all crazy? Well, I suppose you can believe that if you’re a bit of an elitist. But maybe, like Leo Tolstoy, we have to learn from the peasants…. ‘Most people have a life that’s harder than mine and yet they find it wonderful. How can they do that? Not with explanations, but with faith.’ He learned from the peasants and found faith and hope. So atheism treats people cheaply. Also it robs death of meaning, and if death has no meaning, how can life ultimately have meaning? Atheism cheapens everything it touches-look at the results of communism, the most powerful form of atheism on earth.”
-Dr. Peter John Kreeft
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“A proponent of the Big Bang theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the…universe came from nothing and by nothing.”
-Anthony Kenny of Oxford University
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“Atheists themselves used to be very comfortable in maintaining that the universe is eternal and uncaused. The problem is that they can no longer hold that position because modern evidence that the universe started with the Big Bang. So they can’t legitimately object when I make the same claim about God-he is eternal and he is uncaused.”
-Dr. William Lane Craig
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.”
-Sir Arthur Eddington, eminent scientist
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“In the last thirty-five years, scientists have been stunned to discover that the Big Bang was not some chaotic, primordial event, but rather a highly ordered event that required an enormous amount of information. In fact, from the very moment of its inception, the universe had to be fine-tuned to an incomprehensible precision for the existence of life like ourselves. And that points in a very compelling way toward the existence of an Intelligent Designer…. Scientifically speaking, it’s far more probable for a life-prohibiting universe to exist than a life-sustaining one. Life is balanced on a razor’s edge.”
-Dr. William Lane Craig
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

“[Stephen Hawking] has calculated that if the rate of the universe’s expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed into a fire ball.
British physicist P.C.W. Davies has concluded the odds against the initial conditions being suitable for the formation of stars-a necessity for planets and thus life-is a one followed by at least a thousand billion zeroes.
Davies also estimated that if the strength of gravity or of the weak force were changed by only one part in a ten followed by a hundred zeroes, life could never have developed.
There are about fifty constants and quantities-for example, the amount of usable energy in the universe, the difference in mass between protons and neutrons, the ratios of the fundamental forces of nature, and the proportion of matter to antimatter-that must be balanced to a mathematically infinitesimal degree for any life to be possible.”
-Dr. William Lane Craig
qtd. in The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

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