5 Reasons for Thinking that Putin is No Constantine

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The reason for this small piece is that some Western Christians, who really ought to know better, have been taken in by Russian photo ops, propaganda, and posturing, and have begun to describe Vladimir Putin as a new Constantine. It just goes to show. What, I am not sure exactly, but it does go to show.

I want to outline five reasons why I believe this is not the case, but first I want to put an important disclaimer up front. Some of my reasons below are critical of Eastern Orthodoxy, and so I want to place some important context here as a preamble. We live in a generation when not a small number of eastern Christians have been beheaded rather than deny Christ, and nothing said here should be taken as disparaging the honor of those martyrdoms. They bowed to icons more than they should have, but they have also died for the sake of Jesus Christ more times than I have. So that should be kept in mind. And second, none of my arguments should be taken as justification for continued Western apathy about the plight of such Christians in the Middle East. What we should do about it is a subject for another time, but what we should not do is continue to not care.Work Here Is Done

That said, why is Putin not a new Constantine?

1. The fecklessness of President Obama in the Middle East has created an optical illusion. Alongside Obama, it is difficult for any world leader to avoid looking decisive, bold, and competent. And when Putin does it in the name of Christ, this is a snare to some Christians in the West because virtually all of our leaders, conservatives included, are cowed by our forms of secularism. Throw in Putin’s opposition to the homo-jihad, and the supine opposition of our leaders to that, and the optical illusion is complete. But we need to remember that Russian history is not American history, and that there is more than one kind of cul de sac. And Putin is farther down their cul de sac than we are down ours.

2. Constantine was an imperfect ruler, but he was a vast improvement over the centuries of pagan rulers before him. For just one example, the cessation of the pagan sacrifices was a glorious advance in human history. He was an imperfect ruler, but he was headed in a good and healthy direction. Thank God for Constantine. But Putin is not in this unique historical position at all. After the commie hiatus, Putin is simply in a position to continue the centuries-long and very tragic story of Russian church/state relations, one that specializes in kennel-fed ecclesiastical dignitaries.

3. This relates to the third reason. The branch of Christendom that Vladimir Putin has embraced is the branch that has not done well in resisting the the blandishments of caesaropapism. This creates a situation where the church simply becomes an echo chamber for a strong national leader, and then supplies a religiousy and colorful background scenery for that same leader to be photographed in front of. With cameras clicking, Putin kisses icons for the same reason he takes his shirt off while riding horses, which is that Russian chicks apparently dig it. So the church in Russia may be applauding Putin’s bombing of ISIS — and, just to clear, they deserve every bit of what they are getting — but the church is also on board with his shenanigans in Ukraine. Right? This means that what we are seeing is a resurgence of older forms of thuggish nationalism, and not a new anything.

4. Putin’s war on ISIS, a group of Muslim extremists, is being done in order to prop up the Assad regime, a Muslim culture with a secular veneer. He is not fighting back ISIS, and liberating Syria from their wretched civil war, in order to send in Christian missionaries. So holy Crusader language might be helpful in motivating the troops against ISIS, but somebody will eventually notice that this is a Christian crusade that will not result in any net loss of Muslim-held territory. In other words, this is all just talk. This is just Realpolitik with religious eye wash.

5. And last, Putin cannot really be a champion against Islam so long as he plays along with the grievous errors of iconolatry. Islam is a scourge against European Christianity, a barren scourge without images or representations, raised up by God to chastise those branches of Christendom that had lapsed into the veneration of images. God scourges every son He receives (Heb. 12:6), but we really ought to pay attention to the point of the scourging. Islam will be with us as long as Christians are praying to paintings.

None of this is to be taken as a simplistic anything. Putin is right in some areas where the West is dead wrong. But he is still a thug, still in it for the main chance. And we will not be able to do anything about him unless and until we repent of our follies. Chief among those follies is the notion that a civilization can be held together by the watery values of secularism. The only way someone like Putin could even start to look good is because we have turned our backs on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Putin is trying to return to a decrepit heritage, while we continue to ignore a robust one. No wonder we are muddled and confused.

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Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago

The disaster that is the Middle East is essentially a conflict between theists (or con artists using religion for cover), so whom does Doug blame for it? The secularists. None of the players in the Middle East are secularists; not the Muslims, not the Christians; not the Jews. So according to Doug, whose fault is that huge cluster? The secularists.
Doug, if you’re going to blame the secularists for something, try finding something that secularism actually contributed to. Don’t take what is on its face a religious war and blame the non-religious.

Kelly M. Haggar
Kelly M. Haggar
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

“. . . this is a snare to some Christians in the West because virtually all of our leaders, conservatives included, are cowed by our forms of secularism.”

I think you’re misread Doug. He’s blaming secularism itself plus those of faith who are cowed by it, for the weak and inept response of the West. I don’t take him to mean secularism motivates any Mid-East players.

BTW, on the larger ISIS/Islam (-ist?) question, I’m thinking it comes down to Bernard Lewis (Usama bin-Laden was a heretic) vs Andy McCarthy (ISIS is not even extremist; they’re mainstream).

Nord357
Nord357
6 years ago

I believe you have the right of it Kelly.

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago

The response of the West has not been weak, it has been deliberate. The interests of the House of Saud, the Israelis, and State Department utopians have been deliberately elevated over the interests of Middle Eastern Christians and other victims of ISIS and the various and sundry rebel groups.

Kelly M. Haggar
Kelly M. Haggar
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

I’m tiptoeing here, because of the response I’m expecting, but since I also have a “thick skin” I’ll risk responding . . . I can see the SD utopians angle. Obama seems to actually believe Putin is in a quagmire and that the US is in the stronger position. But I’m having trouble picturing how the present mess is in either the House of Saud’s or Israel’s interests. What’s your theory on how either of them are ahead, much less how both could be better off?

Matt Massingill
Matt Massingill
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

The logic is not really that hard. Are you saying that appropriation of religious symbols, culture, and rhetoric for raw power play purpose is somehow a logical impossibility? For a while now the struggle in the Middle East has been largely over that – devout leaders vs. heads of state who would appropriate the language and culture of Islam for their own ends. Is there something about Putin that obligates us to take his charades at face value? In order to accept your argument, we have to be overly credulous. Doug made two points regarding secularism – one that secular… Read more »

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago

I have no doubt that a significant number of people who claim to be religious in public do so for non-religious reasons. Reminds me of a movie in which a Roman senator said, “Privately, I believe in none of the gods, and neither do you. Publicly, I believe in them all.” Hypocrisy makes the world go round. But the only reason that kind of hypocrisy works in the first place is because of a credulous population that accepts religious dogma in the first place. Imagine a secular middle east, in which Jewish, Muslim and Christian charlatans try to stir up… Read more »

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

I take atheists more seriously who acknowledge the great difficulty, even in themselves, of truly being free from religious thoughts and influences. A few people may be able to be truly atheist, particularly when quite deliberate in the attempt, but the population at large never will be. They will always be vulnerable to adopting or even inventing religious beliefs or embracing an ideology in a manner indistinguishable from religion.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

I freely concede that religion is far more warm, cuddly and comforting than atheism, which is why atheism has such a hard time competing in the free market of ideas. I myself would love to believe that there is a benevolent Heavenly Father who cares about me and my life; I just don’t see any evidence for it. I will further concede that religion builds social cohesion in a way that atheism cannot, but, again, that has nothing to do with whether it’s true. So you’re right, the idea of a truly secular state, in which neither religious nor quasi-religious… Read more »

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

I consider it my personal mission to make theism less warm and cuddly.

Nord357
Nord357
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

Now that is something I can get behind.

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

“I will further concede that religion builds social cohesion in a way that atheism cannot, but, again, that has nothing to do with whether it’s true.”

Well… what about *pragmatically* speaking….?

“If we had one, though, an awful lot of charlatans and demagogues would be out of work.”

Well, the ones who didn’t rebrand and put the “a” in front of their “theism” like the others (who already have) at least :)

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

It’s been a while since I’ve interacted here, but I just wanted to add that that was said not argumentatively but genuinely conversationally. I had taken a break after I recognized I cared more about controversy than people.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

As I pointed out to Katecho above, utilitarianism is concerned both with whether a goal is beneficial and the means used to obtain it. If I pretend to be religious because I find it’s useful in swindling elderly ladies out of their life savings, that strategy “works” because I did indeed accomplish my goal. But since utilitarianism has harsh criticism of those who swindle elderly ladies, the fact that that strategy “works” is beside the point. In fact, utilitarianism would criticize that strategy both because the goal is loathsome and also because a lie is being used to accomplish it.… Read more »

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

“utilitarianism is concerned both with whether a goal is beneficial and the means used to obtain it.” But you reveal that there is some underlying assumption or presupposition for which an account ought to be given. I’m mulling over whether or not your utilitarianism *can* have an ultimate teleos, an eschaton. You mention “goals,” but those “goals” only become *means* for other “goals” after they’ve been accomplished. Ford’s assembly line was a great goal, but it was only a means for car production, and production of cars is a great goal, but only a means for transportation, etc, etc, etc….… Read more »

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

Wesley, the goal of a person who wants nothing more than to make an honest living and enjoy life is considerably more modest than the goal of someone who wants to cure cancer or become President of the United States. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a legitimate goal, or that it’s not a sufficient goal, at least for him. You’re looking for something that’s not there. There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. (Can’t wait to read how Katecho twists that.) But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy what you do have, which… Read more »

Benjamin Polge
Benjamin Polge
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

yes, of course, I would choose that. And I would whole-heartedly encourage others to do so as well… But you’re making a category error here. Utilitarianism is an all-encompassing philosophy, not just an individualist paradigm. Utilitarianism applied to groups has an entirely different character. A good example of that is when it is applied to all life on planet earth. Without a belief in the Gospel, and its corresponding teaching on the ultimacy of human kind, then setting the goal of ‘human flourishing’ is an entirely arbitrary one. Take the famous thought experiment posed to Utilitarians. “If a young rabbit… Read more »

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Polge

That famous thought experiment presupposes that there isn’t an answer to why a human life is more valuable than a rabbit’s. And even if the two lives were equal, as a human I’m going to look after my own kind first. See my comments to Wesley immediately above.

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Now, I can dig the Solomonic wisdom and tone reflected in that reply absolutely and I raise a beer (at least, I will when I’ve got one and it’s not noon on a Wednesday) to it! However, contrary to the silliness you get if you distill libertarianism to its base assumptions, we are not purely self-sufficient, autonomous, mini-“I Am”s, but we are social, relational, and contingent. We all live in a context. You didn’t name, nurse, or raise yourself. The man who wants nothing more than to make an honest living and enjoy life is connected to the man who… Read more »

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

I have not advocated libertarianism and I’m not a libertarian. And I’m going to be tied up for the rest of the day so I’ll have to be brief: Most of the time, my happiness rises or falls with the happiness of those around me, so it’s in my interest that my family, friends and community do well too. Also, happiness is not the five year old who just ate a pound of candy and is about to be sick; happiness is the satisfaction that comes from hard work, achieved goals, and honorable living. In other words, the happiness that… Read more »

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

I didn’t mean to imply that you were libertarian but was rather speaking generally though I acknowledge that I wasn’t clear in that!

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

The need to constantly ratchet up the presupposition argument is tiring. The need to constantly ratchet up the presupposition argument is tiring.

“Hmm, your presuppositions of course require much explanation… Now if only you’d presuppose that my god exists, you’d see it’s obvious that he does”

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

No it isn’t.

David Parker
David Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

And how does an atheist define beneficial?
Why do you find swindling old ladies out of their life savings to be bad?
How can anything be bad to you?

That is a fundamental weakness of atheism. Good and bad are determined by God alone and for an atheist to make any appeal to good or evil is absurd.

Sincerely,
David Parker

Waykent
Waykent
6 years ago
Reply to  David Parker

You made the following statement: “That is a fundamental weakness of atheism. Good and bad are determined
by God alone and for an atheist to make any appeal to good or evil is
absurd.”

It is absurd for an atheist to ask his friends to work at a soup kitchen with him or her?

katecho
katecho
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Krychek_2 wrote: I will further concede that religion builds social cohesion in a way that atheism cannot, but, again, that has nothing to do with whether it’s true. As a utilitarian, Krychek_2 needs to be careful here. His moral foundation is not based on truth, so he cannot appeal to truth here. By conceding that religion is better at social cohesion than atheism, he is conceding a superior utilitarian and social/survival advantage to theism. This is equivalent to saying that theism is morally superior to atheism, since Krychek_2’s moral foundation rests solely on utility, and not on whether something is… Read more »

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

OK, so we’ve now established that you understand neither utilitarianism nor my own application of it. But don’t let that stop you.

Benjamin Polge
Benjamin Polge
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Where in Utilitarianism (as in, what documents would it be best to read) is made between individual human flourishing (ie. the old lady not getting swindled) and net human flourishing? Couldn’t it be argued that since the old lady only has a limited amount of time left to enjoy her savings, on the whole, swindling her out of it in order to give 4 20yr olds the chance to go to college would result in greater human flourishing?

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Polge

Because it’s not going to end with old ladies. Once the precedent has been set that it’s ok to swindle people, every thief on the planet will come up with a rationalization for why his theft is socially beneficial. Some things just have to be nipped in the bud.

katecho
katecho
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Krychek_2 wrote: Because it’s not going to end with old ladies. Not so hasty. Why couldn’t a government, for the sake of the greater utilitarian happiness of the youthful majority, legalize the swindling of a narrow band of elderly citizens, who are just an idle minority? You know, like the way the government legalizes the cutting up of unborn at the other end of the age spectrum, for the greater utilitarian happiness and convenience of society? Why does Krychek_2 assume a slippery slope of abuse? The holocaust against the unborn is neatly managed and legally restricted to a particular age… Read more »

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

You mean an idle minority who spent their lives working hard so that they would have a comfortable old age? That minority? And you think sending a message to the young that there’s no reason for them to save for retirement since it will just be swindled wouldn’t have long term negative consequences? Or that the government isn’t then going to pick up the tab for these elderly people who now have no resources of their own but who still need food, clothing and shelter? Unless you would go a step further and say let them starve to death on… Read more »

Bonhoeffer1945
Bonhoeffer1945
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

And a bunch of monomaniacal dictators would be livin’ large.

Benjamin Polge
Benjamin Polge
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Like Richard Dawkins?

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Polge

Yes, exactly like brilliant evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, (edit) and University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science.

That ole’ charlatan and demagogue. Point taken.

Benjamin Polge
Benjamin Polge
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

oh, I love sarcasm… breaks up an otherwise overly serious debate… although, unfortunately I don’t have any to offer as a reply. :( demagogue noun dem·a·gogue ˈde-mə-ˌgäg 1: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power 2: a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times I cannot speak for Dawkin’s expertise in the area of Evolutionary Biology, as I haven’t read much of his works on that subject. I have only read his articles and listened to his talks on the subject of Christianity and Creationism.… Read more »

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Polge

Sorry one sarcasm deserves another.

If that is your definition of demagogue, then what power is Dawkin’s grabbing at exactly? What cause of the common people is he championing? What errors does he make re christianity? What are his straw man arguments?

Benjamin Polge
Benjamin Polge
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

no apologies necessary. Seriously, keep it coming

1) Fame and Notoriety. Control of the debate by silencing reasoned opposition to it.
2) obviously definition two does not apply in this case… included it for completeness, but should have sited Miriam-Webster online.
3) That God is nothing more than a megalomaniacal tyrant doling out eternal torment for no better reason than refusing to believe.
4) Creationist are not scientists, nor can they be because they are religious. Or, and this is my favorite, Creationists cannot be taken seriously because none of their findings appear in peer-reviewed journals.

hope that helps.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Polge

Not that I am particularly a Dawkins booster, but when has Dawkins ‘silenced’ anyone? That is rather silly. How would he even do that?Definition one is still wide open. Number 3 is incomplete of course, but supportable in certain cases. God certainly comes off like a big toddler who slaughters humans out of whim and petulance in the old testament. In the new he just seems content to outsource his punishment. Creationists can certainly be credible scientists. Kenneth Miller? Francis Collins? Come on man! Of course deism would helps you here. I personally would not take any scientist or doctor… Read more »

David Parker
David Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Read Gary DeMar’s example of the two atheists I posted above and then try to pretend you are being logical. God created the universe and has presented enough evidence of his existence that you know it. You simply choose to stick your head in the sand and pretend to atheism.

The fact is that even your father the devil is not an atheist.

Sincerely,
David Parker

Matt Massingill
Matt Massingill
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

Amen. Atheists have an impossible task in trying to explain why philosophies that relate to the supernatural carry presuppositions, while the atheist’s supposedly do not. They presuppose, they worship, they prioritize, they moralize, the distinguish and discriminate, regulate, legislate, and on and on and on, and yet we are told they do it in an objective vacuum of sorts.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago

That is not the task of the atheist. The burden of proof is on those making the claim. Christians here have not been properly schooled on the unstable logic of the transcendental argument for god… or maybe they do know that it is logically bankrupt and think they can just keep hammering away with it and no one will notice. This argument assumes the basic existence of that which its own claims are based on, but which can’t be demonstrated objectively. It is the monkey wrench I get hit with here every day everyone has there own version of it… Read more »

CB22
CB22
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

You’re the one making a claim contra to what has been believed by most people throughout most of history. It is a clever rhetorical device to try to move the burden of proof, but in reality it is on the atheist as the one making the counter-claim. In other words, I had my God first. If you’re complaining, it is on you to prove otherwise.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  CB22

That doesn’t make any sense. If I claim that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow just because everyone in my community has believed it for the past 2000 years does that make it true? And what if I told you the burden of proof was on you to prove me wrong?

You accept your god as every other human has accepted their god throughout human history: on faith, without objective evidence. Own it.

CB22
CB22
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

I’m going to assume you’ve never taken part in a formal debate and will bear some explanation for your sake. It is just like in Cross Examination (Policy) Debate. By claiming there is a problem with the status quo, you take on the burden of proof. I own it happily that I believe by faith. Ultimately faith is the only way by which we can access knowledge. We end up having to believe in a static universe that provides observable, repeatable evidence. (A Christian concept no less) We cannot, by the evidence that we can observe, justify that belief except… Read more »

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  CB22

Nope. The onus probandi is on you for making the claim. Assuming something to be true because it has not yet been proved false is an argument from ignorance. You can try to shift the burden of proof to the person criticizing the proposition, but that would not be valid reasoning. As an atheist leaning agnostic I of course cannot prove that there isn’t a god. But I can point to the absence of evidence. ‘faith!’ gives you nothing. It is only a way of knowing only to a religious person. It is neither a virtue nor objective evidence to… Read more »

CB22
CB22
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

I’m done wasting my time. You’re the one trying to overturn the status quo therefore you have the burden of proof. You obviously don’t understand how debate works, how proofs work, or how to construct a basic argument. Don’t pretend you’re rational. Just because you reject something doesn’t make you right. There is plenty of evidence supporting the veracity of the Bible and thus the Christian position. (and precious little supporting your atheism/agnosticism, which, as a negative ethic/philosophical position, is pathetically trite) Your denial doesn’t make that evidence go away. You’re just a joke of a thinker who gets on… Read more »

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  CB22

Not sure what you are talking about re how debates work. I am merely resting on the most basic definition of proof.

You are an atheist w regard to hundreds of other gods before yours. What is the difference?

I do like talking to christians. I feel like it is better to have discussions about these things with people who care about them over those who don’t. Sorry you got mad at me personally.

It is really just ideas we are talking about in this particular thread at least, unlike the Wilson abuse issues threads.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  CB22

You’re just a joke of a thinker who gets on Christian message boards to
try to make yourself feel better about your small, sad existence.

Ya.

Pointing out the smallness and stupidity of it is the Lord’s work and a necessary first step in leading RandMan to repentance unto salvation.

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

Randy, have you read the Bible? If you take it on its own premises, then the Israelite who saw the pillar of fire by night and of cloud by day and ate food that fell from the sky had PLENTY of objective evidence.

“Hmm, your presuppositions of course require much explanation… Now if only you’d presuppose that your god doesn’t exist, you’d see it’s obvious that he doesn’t.”

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

Yes, I have read the bible. I was brought up in the church, baptized and took communion until I was in my late teens. I am an apostate.

In your re-quote your circular logic is showing. I am not making the claim, no matter how good it feels to assert that.

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

Rand, To quote you, you stated, “You accept your god as every other human has accepted their god throughout human history: on faith, without objective evidence. Own it.” To say “on faith, without objective evidence,” means that you’re presupposing that Scripture is not true and that the events recorded therein *did not happen*. If you WERE NOT doing that, you’d accept that your statement is incorrect, since, in at least the one example of the Exodus, objective evidence HAS been provided as a matter of history. Now, there could have (and functionally speaking, there absolutely were) been Israelites who witnessed… Read more »

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

No, your pre-suppositionalist argument is empty.

The Bible is contingent on divine revelation, which itself is contingent on there being a God, not any specific one. Your argument fatally lacks specificity; stick in allah and the quo-ran for the bible as a counter-argument, or Ra or Jupiter and you’re done.

I might presuppose that consciousness, logic, etc., are simple facts, and claim a similar advantage.

(btw, fun-fact: there is no evidence for the isrealites wandering around the desert either!)

Still on you.

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

Rand,

You and I are at an impasse.

Nothing fruitful shall bud from this conversation.

May God bless you with the Spirit leading you to the obedience of faith and repentance.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

And you Wesley.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

C.S. Lewis used to object along similar lines. He took the time to examine the differences between Christianity and all other religions. He found that it is not apostate turtles all the way down and that Christianity is unique.

IIRC the exposition is in the opening chapters of Mere Christianity.

Have you read the book?

Since credentials are your standard of proof, you should consider Lewis’s impeccable credentials as proof of Lewis’ correctness.

Will you be consistent on your “credentialism”? Or will you attempt to rebut Lewis?

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  CB22

No. If everyone has believed for thousands of years that the earth is flat, the burden of proof is still on the people claiming the earth is flat. The person who claims “X is true” is always the one with the burden of proof.

CB22
CB22
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Nay, the person who challenges the status quo and is introducing a new idea has the burden.

If everyone believed the world is flat, an individual claiming it not to be would have to provide evidence… Which is exactly what happened…

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  CB22

No, philosophically the status quo is always that nothing is presumed true without evidence. Even on something as basic as simple arithmetic, a teacher will demonstrate why it’s true rather than call on skeptics to disprove it.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

No, philosophically the status quo is always that nothing is presumed true without evidence

Except for the Hard Problem or Consciousness or the ethical ramifications of hard materialism–those things are true!

ya.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

There is evidence for both of those.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Good!

Now be “a teacher (and) demonstrate why it’s true rather than call on skeptics to disprove it.”

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

Rather than hijack this thread, why not ask Doug to start a thread on that subject, and I’ll gladly join in.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

I would also love that thread.

David Parker
David Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

God does not believe in atheists. Romans 1 leaves no doubt but that such are in denial and they know they are in denial.

Sincerely,
David Parker

Matt Massingill
Matt Massingill
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

So, your argument moved from blaming Doug for supposedly arguing that “even when it’s the theists fault it’s really the secularists’ fault,” to now, yourself, arguing that even when it IS the secularists, it’s only possible b/c of the stupid theists. Pretzel, anyone?

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago

I don’t see much twisting necessary to discuss Doug’s position in one breath and my own in another. Yes, Doug’s view seems to be it’s the secularists’ fault. My own position is that it’s the guillability of the theists. What’s the problem?

katecho
katecho
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Krychek_2 wrote:

But the only reason that kind of hypocrisy works

In Krychek_2’s utilitarian materialism, hypocrisy works. It’s a practical and useful survival trait. It turns out that moral goodness has nothing to do with whether something has a survival advantage. Unless you are a utilitarian. In that case, you must conclude with Krychek_2 that, “Hypocrisy makes the world go round”, which is the same as saying it is moral.

Theism makes the world go round too though. So no one is accusing Krychek_2 of consistency in his utilitarianism.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Hypocrisy works in the sense that it helps the people doing it to achieve their goals, but whether those goals are laudable or beneficial is a different question. And utilitarianism looks at both the beneficial-ness of the goals themselves, and the means used to achieve them.
Katecho is the embodiment of the old saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. He has a teensy-weensy grasp of some of aspects of utilitarianism; not enough that he actually understands utilitarianism, but just enough to sound superficially plausible to other people who also don’t understand utilitarianism.

katecho
katecho
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Unfortunately, Krychek_2’s ad hominem insult to my intelligence doesn’t change the meaning of utilitarianism. Krychek_2 doesn’t get to invert the meaning of philosophical terms simply because they have become a liability to him. Krychek_2 wrote: Hypocrisy works in the sense that it helps the people doing it to achieve their goals, but whether those goals are laudable or beneficial is a different question. And utilitarianism looks at both the beneficial-ness of the goals themselves, and the means used to achieve them. This is precisely backwards. Utilitarianism is called such because it is not concerned with principles of virtue or laudability… Read more »

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Like I said, you obviously don’t understand utilitarianism. And I’m not sure it’s possible to insult your intelligence.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Your dismissal is pathetic. You look the fool. Keep posing, you beclown yourself and your atheism.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

On those rare occasions when Katecho says something that deserves more than a dismissal, I engage it. This is not one of those occcasions.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

hah! Nose up, pinky extended…pose. Typical of your species.

Kelly M. Haggar
Kelly M. Haggar
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Reminds me of Gibbon; “To the people, all religions were equally valid. To the philosophers, all religions were equally false. To the Romans, all religions were equally useful.”

On the thread further below with katecho about whether or not it is possible for an atheist to have an ethical system, since neither one of you accepted my advice last time, I won’t repeat it. But if you find wearing a deeper rut in that same lane of the track to be either useful or entertaining, “knock yourself out.”

timothy
timothy
6 years ago

Your avoidance of first things to settle on second things is why we disagree. There is nothing wrong with second things, but to elevate them over first things is sad. I understand that many men do not want to deal with it, finding it exasperating, yet these first things under-gird your second things. You would not have the law you love without the work of men like katecho. There is a reason why EtR get’s bogged down in that same debate–it is because his ‘second things’ are built on a foundation of sand. Since that foundation of sand is the… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Kelly M. Haggar
6 years ago
Reply to  timothy

Once you make the fundamental [no pun intended] error of thinking that it is impossible to have any system of ethics unless you are first a theist, all sorts of other errors seem reasonable. Moreover, theists come in many flavors, even among Christians. Just the Wesley tradition alone has 174 branches. (But I’m supposed to avoid theology until Jan 1st.) Similarly, what is a first vs a second thing, well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree agreeably. As the Baptists say, “It’s not worth breaking fellowship over.” K2/EtR has been a seminary student. That tells me neither preaching nor… Read more »

timothy
timothy
6 years ago

Once you make the fundamental [no pun intended] error of thinking that it is impossible to have any system of ethics unless you are first a theist, all sorts of other errors seem reasonable. I do not claim that. I agree with the claims of John C. Wright that on purely philosophical grounds Christianity makes more sense than atheism. Furthermore, the Christian Virtues are a superset of the Pagan virtues, the Pagans have no means of deriving them. By examining these things, we (hope) to show the paucity of the ideas that these men claim as truth and to dissuade… Read more »

Webster
Webster
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

The movie would be “Spartacus”, the speaker is a fictional Gracchus, and his audience is Julius Caesar.

David Parker
David Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Krychek_2, You babble and know nothing. Christians aren’t charlatans. However, not everyone who claims to be a Christian even knows what the word means and those who claim to be atheists don’t have a clue either, so I see how you can think you are being profound. The fact of the matter is that God created the universe and everything in it and that is the starting point of all actual logic. That there are barbaric cults such as Islam and superseded traditions such as Judiasm is a result of the fall. But you are simply a fraud and a… Read more »

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

referring to Christians and Muslims as “theists” is about as useful as referring to elephants and coffee tables as “four legged animals”

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Coffee tables aren’t animals so your analogy fails, but even apart from that, the specific issue being fought over in the Middle East is whose version of theism will prevail. Radical Muslims want a Muslim theocracy, Jews think God gave them Israel, and pre-mil Christians want to hasten the second coming. So yes, theism is the common thread here. I don’t see many atheists in that mix.

holmegm
holmegm
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Muslims are against their neighbors pretty much everywhere, not just the Middle East.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  holmegm

And mostly on theistic grounds.

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago

Putin is not Constantine. Would that be a case of praising with faint damn?

Bro. Steve
Bro. Steve
6 years ago

Mr. Putin has an advantage over our “leaders” in that he is actually in favor of his own country. It’s hard for people not to find that attractive in a leader.

Nord357
Nord357
6 years ago
Reply to  Bro. Steve

Which is the most notable reason for his domestic success.
So what will happen when a couple million re-energized proud sons of Russia get motivated for glory?
We wonder

Malachi
Malachi
6 years ago
Reply to  Nord357

Similarly, what might happen when a couple million gun-totin’ sons of America have a motivating reason to wear the Stars-n-Bars…er, I mean -Stripes.

Nord357
Nord357
6 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

I see you get my point.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
6 years ago

“Supine”? Kneeling, surely.

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago

This should have been at least the second post on Syria with the first being a public prayer of thanksgiving for the intervention of Vlad Putin. Through this whole post there is the influence of an end-of-history standard of ideological litmus tests and the role of violence in gaining and holding political power. If God intervenes then he will blink ISIS away with a Bewitched style wiggle of his nose, certainly not through the intervention of a thug. It smacks of hashtag activism. What does this thug term even mean? If it refers to a bloody foreign policy then look… Read more »

Tyrone Taylor
Tyrone Taylor
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

Wait, you think that God’s intervention in Syria would be a “Bewitched style wiggle of his nose”? When has that ever happened? Name one time? If we are going to accept that God judges and harms sets of people, which I am willing to agree with, then the historical pattern is that God uses one wicked set of people to destroy another wicked set of people. E.g., the Romans destroyed the Carthaginians who were destroyed by the barbarians (Gauls, Germans, Huns) and so on, none of those people were following the golden rule. Historically, very rarely does God use righteous… Read more »

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago
Reply to  Tyrone Taylor

That sentence was sarcasm. According to modern thinking, righteous people cannot be used as a scourge because to scourge is unrighteous. A civilization according to that mode of thinking can never be righteous. Only uncivilized people can claim the righteous mantle of historical victim. A civilization is unrighteous by virtue of its very civilization and pursues righteousness by doing penance though civilizational suicide.
By the way, the Bewitched nose wiggle is also the only proper understanding of God’s creation of species.

Tyrone Taylor
Tyrone Taylor
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

I didn’t realize it was sarcasm. Criticism withdrawn. I think more straightforward is better in the comments sections because I have trouble differentiating between funny and crazy. I agree in regard to creation.

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

“By the way, the Bewitched nose wiggle is also the only proper understanding of God’s creation of species.”

I’m interested in knowing your angle with that, just for my own edification and not a challenging of the statement.

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

What I think of when people argue that concepts such as the big bang or theistic evolution are contrary to Biblical Christianity leaving, in my mind, the winking into existence as the only sufficiently supernatural process of creation. I don’t deny that a blinking into existence may be possible but that the absence of information in the Bible does not preclude a process of creation and in fact the creation of Eve from a rib implies that there was a material process of creation.

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago
Reply to  Tyrone Taylor

The nose wiggle is the simplistic, moralistic and sentimental understanding of providence as opposed to seeing the outworking of providence in actual history.

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago

Off topic for this post, the route to normalization of pedophilia will not come through excusing adult male offenders but through tolerance and acceptance of “child sexuality”. https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/i-have-no-problem-with-1276818474164278.html

Malachi
Malachi
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

SO far off, in fact, that one wonders why you put it here…

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

Because it is THE recurring topic of the last two months or so.

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

Hopefully an interesting aside and not a derail.

Malachi
Malachi
6 years ago

Another view of the Middle East tensions that is not trying to be overly simplistic is this: 1. The Middle East was doing just fine until Western Christians got some hair-brained notion that Israel needed to be a re-constituted nation in order to fulfill some non-existent prophecy in the Bible. 2. Carving out the nation of Israel really tee’d off everyone else. And the resulting carving out of all the other nations created a perfect hatred storm against meddling Westerners in general, and Christians in particular. 3. Rebel alliances sprouted everywhere, intent on destabilizing and undermining all that hard, meddling… Read more »

David R
David R
6 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

Point 2 is incorrect. There was no carving out of other nations. The territory was controlled by the British and no nation existed there.

Malachi
Malachi
6 years ago
Reply to  David R

Not sure how you can say “there was no carving out of other nations.” Britain, France, our lovely Woodrow Wilson, and the League of Nations absolutely did carve out the nations of the Middle East.

Here’s an easy-to-read synopsis of that historical fact.
http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/upfront/features/index.asp?article=f011507_TP_mideast

David R
David R
6 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

I took your point 2 to mean that Israel was carved out of other existing nations. If your point was that the region was carved up to make these nations, then I agree.

Stone Kirk
Stone Kirk
6 years ago

Just like his attacks on Trump, this post is just Wilson letting TPTB know that for all his brave talk about fags and trannies he’s no real threat to the system. “You can trust me, Mr. Goldberg! I’m a good boy!”

AMA
AMA
6 years ago
Reply to  Stone Kirk

Look who showed up from the trumpkin patch…

ashv
ashv
6 years ago

Unless you have information I don’t, Assad seems to be the best protector that Syrian Christians can hope for this year. God bless Mr Putin for coming in on their side, at least, regardless of his faults or motivations.

Luke
Luke
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

I have personally met with Syrian Christians who described their harsh persecutions and imprisonments under Assad. They have no warm feelings toward him or his regime. However they also explained that under Assad it was a familiar and predictable persecution. You knew what you would be persecuted for, you knew who would persecute you, and you knew how far they would go with it. After Assad’s control was toppled, persecution not only become harsher, but it became chaotic and unpredictable, which makes it seem far more unlivable. One does not know what behavior may or may not be the cause… Read more »

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  Luke

Thanks, that helps to know. As Western Christians I think we have a poor understanding of how bad political/governmental chaos really is, even compared to harsh persecution.

Luke
Luke
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

I agree. Even listening to the details of their stories, I cannot really get in my head what it would be to experience it.

Seraphim Hamilton
Seraphim Hamilton
6 years ago

As an Eastern Orthodox, no point in responding to point five. 3. The tragedy occurred principally in the reign of Peter the Great, who converted the patriarchate of Moscow into a department of state of which he was the head. St. Philip of Moscow, who was martyred by the Tsar, might disagree with you about Church and State. In modern Russia, the Patriarchate of Moscow has been restored, and this is real progress. The difficulties are not on the state-side, but on the Church-side, since many of these bishops were appointed as Communist operatives. Our hope is Metropolitan Hilarion Alfayev,… Read more »

Bikentios
Bikentios
6 years ago

“Why don’t you ask the Syrian Christians what they think of Putin’s actions?”

Because he thinks they’re being punished by God’s design (by ISIS/AQ/ANF/FSA).

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

It was the West that orchestrated the “coup” in Ukraine that caused the Crimeans to run back to Russia, their cultural and ethnic homeland. Putin’s a thug, but so are the American neocons. Don’t help either by propagating error.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  Ben

And let us not forget that there were a lot more Christians and Jews living in peace and safety in Iraq and Syria before the neocons came along and started a war there. Bush’s lasting contribution to the Middle East may turn out to be large areas that used to have thriving Christian populations that no longer do.

Michael Keith Blankenship
Michael Keith Blankenship
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

And Obama’s contribution as well. Dems and Pubs, with few exceptions don’t give a cod’s droppings about Christians, Yezidis or other minorities. I also have not seen any atheist or Rainbow-types advocating for their protection, but I may have missed it.

JohnM
JohnM
6 years ago

What are the reasons FOR supposing Putin is a Constantine? I’ve never heard anybody propose any. Why would he need to be that to be in the right anyway? Not that he necessarily is, but he does seem to be a little more focused in Syria than western leaders are. Russia wants Assad to stay in power. Why is that worse than an alternative the nature of which we cannot predict, but which recent history gives us every reason to believe will be bad?

herewegokids
herewegokids
6 years ago

oh good lord wilson.

Joshua Gibbs
Joshua Gibbs
6 years ago

Putin envy. It’s all in Girard, man.

John Carter
John Carter
6 years ago

Unnecessarily antagonistic. And what does “Putin’s opposition to the homo-jihad” mean? Putin has backed anti-homosexual laws in Russia, if that is the sense of the comment.

Clayvessel
Clayvessel
6 years ago

“Caesaropapism”?
As my husband says, “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with bullsh**”
The U.S., with the ignorant support of American Christians, has been facilitating the destruction of Christianity in the Middle East for four decades. While Putin may not be a real Constantine, he is getting the job done, and completely mucking up the plans of the New World Order.

Rob Slane
Rob Slane
6 years ago

Doug, Just want to pick up on a few points you make. 1. The issue of whether Putin is a new Constantine or whether some people think he is a new Constantine is largely an irrelevance. The only questions are whether he is doing the right thing on certain points (which you acknowledge in your last paragraph), and also whether we should praise God that he is doing it. 2. You mention the fecklessness of President Obama in the Middle East and that he is the opposite of decisive, bold, and competent. However, it is important to understand why. The… Read more »

Michael Keith Blankenship
Michael Keith Blankenship
6 years ago
Reply to  Rob Slane

Extremely well-stated. Mr. Wilson appears to suffer from knee-jerk russophobia, and cannot conceive of the possibility that Putin may actually be doing what USA does not, i.e. protecting our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

Michael Keith Blankenship
Michael Keith Blankenship
6 years ago

If he defeats ISIS and Al-Nusra, at least some of the Christians and other minorities will have a measure of physical safety. What have the Calvinists done to help the Christians there?

Dan
Dan
6 years ago

“What have the Calvinists done to help the Christians there?”

Told them to repent of their “idolatry” because that is clearly why they are being punished. Oh and praise God for the iconaclasm that ISIS is committing.

*Qualifer – No, not all Calvinist have done this, and most confessional Presbies I know have not. But some like Doug imply it, namely the iconaclasm committed by ISIS is at least per principle, a righteous judgement against the “idolatry” of Eastern Christians in the area

Sean Carlson
Sean Carlson
6 years ago

Point 5 is a new one to me. The Almighty is scourging Europe via Islam because of icons? More likely because of their Churches apostasy, their candle is being snuffed out (our’s will be in time).

UnreconstructedRebel
UnreconstructedRebel
6 years ago

Indeed, being susceptible to the blandishments of ‘caesaropapism”, an “echo chamber” for a strong national leader, and praying in front of icons are alarming trends.

Good thing we live in America where the evangelical church would never compromise it’s integrity by consorting with popular leaders like say, Reagan or Bush, or become an echo chamber for neo-con, “Israel First” foreign policy talking points or allow icons like the US flag to intrude into the House of the Lord.

Was this article supposed to be some kind of subtle parody on the contemporary American evangelical church?