William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

On Remaining Quiet In Time Of War

Defend us in battle.

Defend us in battle.

Those who are unwilling to hold this is true will be subject to those who will. Those who cannot defend their beliefs must accept the rule of those who do. Those who remain quiet in the face of adversity must remain mute when their adversary triumphs.

A religion unwilling to say it is the only way to truth must wither. And anyone calling for dialogue wants you to change your belief.

Dogma has a bad reputation, but only the word itself, not the notion. We’re all after the truth.
Now some “feel” they have the truth, but others think it. And it’s those suffering from “feelings” who are most likely to have missed the mark. Feelings are too susceptible to whim and manipulation and to unregulated passions to be relied upon.

But what about two parties who each claim to think the truth? Both can’t be absolutely right, though both might be absolutely wrong, or both might grasp portions of the truth. Compromise in only the latter case is possible, and only in those areas which both parties acknowledge are uncertain. No agreement will be found in any matter which one party claims is dogma.

Truth exists and we can know it. One divided by one equals one no matter what. Yet I once knew a lady (regular readers will recall) who insisted one divided by one was zero “because when you divide one by itself, nothing is left.” Only one of us could be right. No compromise was possible. “Dialogue” would be absurd.

What to do about the lack of compromise in this or any argument is an entirely separate matter from what the truth is. The consequences of this lady’s mistake were trivial and there was no clear benefit for me (or for anybody) to marshal forces to defeat this incorrect belief. Her mistake was harmless and she was unlikely to gain supporters. And even if she was, it wouldn’t come to much. Math is of little consequence to most.

Yet some mistaken beliefs cause grief, both to their holders and to others. In those cases there is conflict, and in the keenest differences, there is war.

War does not have to be material; it can be, and most often is, spiritual. We have been, are, and will continue to be in a spiritual war. Such is the fate of mankind. If you disagree with this, you and I are in conflict, hence you confirm the claim. There is no escape. There are only sides and you must choose.

Our present war, currently spiritual but threatening to become material, is sex. Sin exists. Not crime: sin. Fornication is wrong, a sin. Some think it right; most others feel it is. I’d bet the word is now so foreign to most of you that it seems something dredged up from ancient history, a strange custom now happily abandoned, much like the wearing of corsets.

Divorce is wrong, a sin. One man, one woman make a marriage, and for life. A society which abandons that principle must eventually fail. How harsh that sounds! How cruel! How judgmental! But its harshness signals the truth that those who hold divorce is immoral are at war with those who think (and feel) it is not.

One man cannot marry another, nor can one woman wed a second. Nor can one man marry his dog, nor can a woman wed herself. Everybody forgets, despite constant and raucous reminders, that marriage is not only a spiritual union between a man and wife for life, but also between that couple and society. This is why the war has been so vehement.

If marriage were only an impermanent contract between any group of people (why insist on just two?), then few would care what anybody did. But because marriage is between a couple and society, those who claim to be married must insist that all others agree these unions are valid.

A man pretending to be a woman is not a woman, but is only a man pretending to be a woman. There is no such thing as a “sex change” operation, nor can anybody begin, let alone conclude, a “transition” to a different sex. Further, both of these circumlocutions are horrible abuses of the English language.

Our society is at war. One side, sensing victory, gleefully calls for the use of force against its enemy, while the leadership of the other is in full retreat, leaving the foot soldiers to fend for themselves. Despair would therefore be indicated, except that the foot soldiers have Truth on their side. And they won’t shut up.

Update

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

27 Comments

  1. “A religion unwilling to say it is the only way to truth must whither. ” You could put a question mark at the end. Or take an ‘H’ out. The enemies you do not destroy you only make stronger, it seems.

  2. Bullseye. If put to vote, you’d get the same result. If dissected scientifically, you’d get the same result. If you ask children, you get the same result. It hurts brains of every honest person that this is not so. Yet the sore minority says it is not so, and they are loud about it.
    Perhaps it is high time to start calling things their proper names. Why not calling pederasty, sodomy, hermaphroditism, pedophilia, fetishism, exhibitionism, sadism, masochism, coprophilia, necrophilia and whatever I missed what theses always were. Those perverts have no problems calling the rest of us breeders, so I see no problem there.

  3. Briggs

    April 13, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Rich,

    Arrrgh!

    But on the other hand, it is clear proof of my point. Truth exists.

  4. hey, you’re preaching to the choir, Briggs… let’s get it published in the NY Times or Nation and then see what the response might be.

  5. Briggs

    April 13, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Bob,

    Yeah. But don’t wait for it to appear there anytime soon.

  6. Are we in a time of war?

    Do we have to be?

    Should we call Gen. Ripper and ask? Or maybe Dick Cheney?

    I don’t know about where you are, but here in sunny Florida, the dumbest place on the planet, I don’t see any war going on. A lot of silliness? Yes. Alligators? yes? But no cannons firing, no silly alligators firing cannons, or for that matter, alligators firing silly cannons. I’m pretty certain we are not in a time of war.

    There are people, in a far off place, who are at war because this one big stupid power came in, toppled the government and disenfranchised it’s workers, and left a failed state in it’s place. That’s that war. What did you want to do about that again? Something big and stupid by any chance?

    JMJ

  7. One thing i’ve learnt: religious extremists are always at war.

  8. Briggs

    April 13, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    ad, JMJ

    To make these claims proves you are in the war, too. There is no escaping that most human conflicts are about ideas, and ideas are not material, i.e. they are spiritual.

  9. Religion is either a protected class in the US or not. Does a particular religious/moral code trump sexual identity? Apparently not. The current question is whether sexual identity trumps religious identity.

    As an agnostic I have no particular emotive investment in the outcome of such a battle. I will observe, though, that I have great respect and appreciation for the Christian religions. People will always need beliefs. As many now reject Christian belief they turn to different flavours of scientism, nature worship, and many other things of unimaginable silliness. Because so many people desire “spirituality” and many other secularists are really the worst kind of closet puritans, I would rather see Christianity remain healthy than have to contend with all this other nonsense, but then I don’t get to choose.

    My suggestion would be that the Christians do need to go to war on this issue, otherwise it’s death by a thousand cuts. Cite the Bible about homosexuality being an abomination, using the most scholarly translations of Biblical texts available, and challenge the ACLU and other groups to sue. If the intent of these groups is to brand the Bible as unlawful because it is discriminatory, at least force them to put their cards on the table.

  10. Darkened days, yet darker night
    stumbling around deep’ning fright
    I see nought, where’s the light?

    Appears the King, great in height
    Shining glory, burning bright
    To my face, can’t bear the sight!

    Arise! Arise! you my knight
    Stand tall and fight the fight!
    For the battle’s won, in My Might!

  11. You shouldn’t dismiss so quickly the woman who says 1/1 = 0. It’s not the amount of evidence that matters but the seriousness of the charge, and saying that every calculator in the world is wrong is indeed a serious charge.

  12. I am gobsmacked. JMJ is making slightly more sense than the rest of you.

    We commonly use the word marriage to describe two things: whatever your religion says about marriage, and whatever your government says about the legal rights and responsibilities of married people.

    These two things are not the same. Most of the time, when people are talking about marriage, they are talking about one or the other. Not both.

    Would you oppose the government granting to any two (or more) people who sign an a contract the legal rights to:
    * own property jointly
    * have the right to make medical decisions for each other
    * have joint custody of any children, natural or adopted
    * be responsible for each others debts
    * carry one another as dependents on insurance
    * name one another as beneficiaries
    if it wasn’t called marriage?

    I didn’t think so.

    This is pretty much all one of the ‘warring’ factions want. They have no interest in changing what the Catholic church says about marriage. They aren’t interested in participating in what the Catholic church describes as marriage. What they want are the legal rights listed above.

    Surely you aren’t saying those civil rights are only available to Catholics? After all, this is America.

    Incidentally, allowing civil unions would reduce the ranks of the uninsured far more than the Affordable Care Act – and at much less cost to the taxpayer.

  13. davebowne, I think you’re being naive for one reason or another–purposefully or not. Many of us would be will to grant homosexuals the rights to civil unions that you propose in your commen. However I don’t think the rainbow coalition would be satisfied with that–if they were, why would they sue bakers and florist who refuse to recognize the validity of a religious ceremony celebrating marriage between two people of the same sex? In fact, they do demonstrate against the Catholic Church, and will continue to do so as long as the Church regards homosexual acts as a sin. And please note, the Church does not regard same-sex attraction as a sin. Please note the distinction.

  14. A huge misunderstanding about discrimination is that certain group are protected or have rights than others don’t.

    There are several grounds or ways that an individual, not a group or a class, can be discriminated. In Canada there are eleven, but the basic include age, sex, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation,, marital status, disability and conviction pardon, family status,What is protected is the individual, and this include all the individuals of a country.

    When a conflicts erupt between two individuals it is the court that is petition to determine which person action affect the most the other person.

    When there is denial of service the person who is denied the service for one of the mentioned above reason, and even for some other reason like political affiliation, is usually the one that suffers the most. Hence the ruling against the bakeries that refused to provide service.

    When there is no denial of service but denial of special request, like writing, or printing a message that goes against ones beliefs. The court will side with the that would be forced to right a message he disagree with. The customer can always write the message himself.

    The same way, if one religion says that you can’t divorce. A man would not be able prevent his wife from divorcing him. The wife’s does not have any obligation to share her husband beliefs.

  15. “This is pretty much all one of the ‘warring’ factions want.”

    Homosexuals are now attacking those individual of religious persuasion who did not wish to participate in their marriage ceremonies. Which strikes me as a misuse of state power. Christians also view marriage as a religious ritual that they essentially ‘own’ – not a legal construct granted by the state for financial convenience.

  16. Yet the religious have not been able to show how baking a cake could be construed has participating in a gay wedding.

    The use of a right, I.e. the right to petition the court to determine the legality of complaint has nothing to do with any attack.

  17. On the difference in morality of the participation of selling to someone while knowing that he would use it to murder someone and to sell a cake for a gay wedding.

    The difference:

    1) The murder

    The sin is the act of murder, which is the 6th commandment. So selling a gun to a buyer that informs of is intent to use the gun to kill someone makes the seller an accomplices of the murder.

    2) The wedding

    Homosexuality is not even part of the ten commandments while adultery is. Yet adultery which is very common is never mentioned by the religious crowd as a reason for denial of service. Yet, in Leviticus they are both reserved the same treatment:

    “Leviticus 20:13
    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

    “Leviticus 20:10
    “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.””

    Putting the hypocrisy of the religious crowd aside. The sin is the sexual act not the wedding. One cannot claim that he participate in a sinful act by baking a cake because the wedding is not a sinful act.

    Unlike the gun which is the reason of the death, the cake, flowers, or even the wedding do not cause or facilitate the sexual act.

    In the end the person who deny the service is the one committing the worst sin in judging its neighbor.

    “Leviticus 19:15
    “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”

  18. Bob – I wouldn’t say naive. I’m aware that some people are intolerant of others religion. That’s certainly not polite when they aren’t asking you to observe it. But I’ll stand by the statement that most people aren’t interested in changing your religion when you aren’t insisting that they observe it’s restrictions.

    I agree that it’s ridiculous for the government to insist that you participate in a commercial exchange against your will.

  19. Will,

    Christians who view marriage as a religious ritual that they essentially ‘own’ – are wrong. Marriage is older than Jesus. Marriage is older than Saul.

    Equally wrong are non-Christians who insist that they have the right to correct the “thought crimes” of Christians.

    We all need practice minding our own business instead of being outraged, outraged, I say, to find that our values aren’t universally….valued.

  20. davebowne,

    I’m not telling you they are right or wrong, just what they believe. But they do have some justification in this. Marriage rituals pre-date the Christian era, but on the other hand, if 100% of marriages were ministered by Christian priests for nearly two millennium in Christian societies, I don’t view their position as necessarily unreasonable.

  21. I’m confident you’ll find some concept of marriage between man and woman, in every culture on the planet, including the native ones who would have never heard of Christianity until recently.

    I’m pretty sure a shop owner is permitted to refuse to sell to a customer, whether there are grounds or not. The reasons for refusal should be minor compared to the right to refuse custom to a customer.

    Perhaps the question of whether the refusal was because he had minority status, or because he was a jerk. Being a jerk is not against the law, and I’ll bet you could chase a jerk out of the shop without selling them anything.

    The problem therefor is that him holding minority status, gives him rights over others who do not. Rights that he would otherwise not be entitled to.

  22. I am opposed gay marriage for a very simple reason, and that reason is why marriage evolved in human society. Marriage is principally to assure that a man knows whom the children he raise at considerable person capital expended in past time were his own, the women married with the contract said children and her would be provided for. A gay union cannot produce children at this point and time, when it can I will not oppose gay marriage. I also do not blame “Gay Marriage” for weakening marriage, after all us heterosexuals have done that job on our own. As to the wreckage we now brought on childhood, God help us. It tough enough enough to be a child in a home with two heterosexual parent who stay together, it no surprise that children raised today are so confused as to what role they should play, boys are not taught that someday they will be the providers, girls are not taught they have the greatest and most difficult job on earth simply having and raising children, that been devalued in western society and since that is true we can now expect western society to go extinct, deservedly so! God help my grand children.

  23. Briggs, I’m pretty sure I mentioned I resided in Florida, not Anbar. It is not my prerogative to determine the spirituality of people who reside in Anbar. Neither is it yours.

    JMJ

  24. Mark,

    Your position makes no sense at all, since a gay couple may adopt children.

  25. There is no escaping that most human conflicts are about ideas…

    Probably not true. Historically, most wars have been about power or calories (i.e., wealth producing territory) with ideas as the justification. Maybe you consider power to be an idea, although it’s manifestation is an extremely physical one if it is. If you mean the ideological wars are about ideas, well, the tautology burns…

  26. Robert Bumbalough

    April 14, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    “Sin exists. Not crime: sin. ”

    No. This is false. “Sin” by definition is a violation of the will of some god or other. As gods are alleged to be pure consciousness and there cannot exist beings of pure consciousness then there are no gods and hence no will of god to violate.

  27. Suffering exists.

    Ohmm

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