Thursday, August 28

Grrr...Who does this Christopher Hitchens think he is?

I guess he thinks he lives in the 21st century and doesn't have to respect 4000 years of history and faith. I guess he thinks he can stand in judgment over The Ten Commandments. I guess he thinks he can measure all things (which isn't what Erasmus meant). His little offscouring makes me furious.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that some people don't want the government posting the Ten Commandments. I disagree with their interpretation of Freedom of Religion (in short: it's supposed to keep the government out of religion, not religion out of government), but I understand it.

But to have the audacity to stand in judgment over the Ten Commandments is so ridiculously arrogant that it boggles my mind.

I hesitate to even dignify his pronouncements with an answer, but I feel compelled to address his arguments because it may not be self-evident to some people why they are idiotic.

First of all, the Ten Commandments build the proper foundation for morality by showing the necessity of humility relative to God (something Hitchens totally lacks). Since our society, collectively speaking, has no humility relative to God and sets itself up to judge God, it's no surprise that we have no morality.

Incidentally, plenty of people who claim Christ as Lord don't have this humility either. They buy into the system to use as a scoring method, like the Pharisees did. And that's not the right answer, either.

This humility is similar in kind to the humility a child should have relative to her parent. Is the parent insecure for insisting on respect and obedience? No. Why? Because it's best for the child. It's necessary. One of the worst things we can find in a chlid is being spoiled. On the other hand, proper, loving discipline with proper boundaries is almost universally recognized as necessary in child-rearing. Hitchens' lack of humility leads him into the execrable error of calling God insecure.

The sabbath is part of humility before God. Not that I practice it traditionally. But the point is: remember that God is your provider and God is in control. Don't get so caught up in your own work and your own production. To tie the sabbath, even in jest, to building the pyramids...reprehensible.

Child-like humility before God follows quite naturally into the literal humility of children before their parents. (I wonder how Hitchens scores hereon...) The Ten Commandments are the ultimate minimum code for civilization (some unrelated commentary by Adam Greenfield in his first section (0.0) unwittingly makes this point). You couldn't do better if you tried, and neither could Christopher Hitchens. You could make something closer to your criteria. The objective criteria would remain the same. Sure, you and Hitchens (and I) could come up with things we'd like to see included, like Hitchens does here with protection of children. But parents normally care for their children. Some sick parents don't, but we're working with a minimum of ordinances here.

Hitchens doesn't understand 'covetousness', which doesn't surprise me. It would require a somewhat open mind to approach the commandments on their own terms, like any good exegete. The sense here is not 'Never think about or desire other stuff.' The real psychological injunction is 'Don't dwell on it. Don't mull it over. Don't obsess about it. You might want it. OK. But you don't have it, so let the want go.

We all know the answer to Hitchens' patently stupid 'imago Dei' argument, right? (Answer: free will and the Fall.)

religion is not just incongruent with morality but in essential ways incompatible with it

Wrong. Religion is necessary for true morality. Hitchens' solipsism is the system that's incompatible with comprehensive morality.

And that's all the stomach I have for this digital piece of crap.
And this from the 'nobody cares but me' department, Drake Players Get Early Look at Davis' System.

Tuesday, August 26

And now, from the 'that totally stinks' department, beth got fired for reading MetaFilter at work. (via kottke)

Friday, August 15

Woo hoo! Jason finally has his own weblog: Finches' Wings. He's starting strong with a whole lot of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Godspeed, old friend.

Thursday, August 14

Matthew Baldwin is so funny!

And, curiously, the church he picted is a church from my denomination, and I know the pastor! Fun.
I know everyone except me had already seen the Google Calculator (via Kottke).

OK, except maybe you.

Sunday, August 10

Dorothea had this over at her site. My results are pitiful, but I coudln't resist taking it. I'm such a linguistics groupie.

version 0.9b1
LGA(-) F++ Pc- Pn- M Sx H- O
Lg < L(3)D(2)>
Data: Lg-ProtoIndoEuropean

C- Im I()U() S

Take it yourself.

Tuesday, August 5

You see so many nice rhododendron plants here in the mountains, and I always wonder about the etymology, since I've studied a little Greek. I knew the 'dendron' part was tree.

from Gk. rhododendron, from rhodon "rose" + dendron "tree."

- from the Online Etymolgy Dictionary
That defective yeti guy really is funny: Reo Speedwagon and the Police jailed for stalking and pick up lines on the bus .