Archive for the ‘Image of God’ Category

Men of intemperate minds cannot be free

April 7, 2013

It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

The self-restraint of genuine Christianity provides the conditions of a truly free society. Conversely, as society degenerates into licence, restraint must be imposed by the state. Ultimately this leads to totalitarianism.

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Rights cannot be created, they must be discovered or they are of no value

December 16, 2009

If human rights are created by majorities, of what use are they? Their value lies in that they can be used to insist that majorities honor the dignity of minorities and individuals despite their conception of the ‘greater good.’ Rights cannot be created, they must be discovered or they are of no value… if we want to defend individuals rights, we must try to discover something beyond utility that argues for these rights.

Source: Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism (Hodder & Stoughton, 2008), p. 151.

We cannot decide, as a society, to grant human rights to anyone or to all. There must be something inherently worth protecting in the weak. If morality is a majority decision, then a regime change will make the vulnerable victims again. To protect the weak some higher law must be appealed to, an ‘ought’ that is not grounded in the fickle decisions of the populace.

If there is no God, then there is no way to say any one action is “moral” and another “immoral” but only “I like this.”  If that is the case, who gets the right to put their subjective, arbitrary moral feelings into law?  You may say “the majority has the right to make the law;” but do you mean that then the majority has the right to vote to exterminate a minority?  If you say “No, that is wrong,” then you are back to square one.  ”Who sez” that the majority has a moral obligation not to kill the minority?  Why should your moral convictions be obligatory for those in opposition?  Why should your view prevail over the will of the majority?  The fact is, says Leff, if there is no God, then all moral statements are arbitrary, all moral valuations are subjective and internal, and there can be no external moral standard by which a person’s feelings and values are judged.

ibid., p.153-154.

The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.

November 14, 2009

The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.

Che Guevara

Presumably he forgot this noble sentiment when he was putting counter-revolutuionaries against the wall…

A curiously inconsistent vegetarian

November 14, 2009

(In this interview transcript, John Pilger (JP) interviewed former Tory Defence Minister Alan Clark (AC) regarding UK arms sales to Indonesia used to kill East Timorese)

JP: Did it bother you personally when you were the minister
responsible [and] that British equipment was causing such
suffering, albeit to a set of foreigners?

AC: No, not in the slightest. It never entered my head.

JP: You don’t lose sleep over it?

AC: No.

JP: I ask the question because I read that you were a
vegetarian and you are seriously concerned about the way
animals are killed.

AC: Yeah.

JP: Doesn’t that concern extend to the way humans, albeit
foreigners, are killed?

AC: Curiously not.

Death of a Nation, a film by John Pilger and David Munro for
Central Television, IT, 1994

Thought constitutes man’s greatness…Man is a thinking reed

November 9, 2009

Thought constitutes man’s greatness…Man is a thinking reed. It is not from space that I seek my dignity, but from the government of my thought. I shall have no more if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world. So man’s greatness comes from knowing that he is wretched, for a tree does not know it is wretched.

Blaise Pascal

The Greeks have but one word, logos, for both speech and reason; not that they thought there was no speech without reason, but no reasoning without speech

October 29, 2009

The Greeks have but one word, logos, for both speech and reason; not that they thought there was no speech without reason, but no reasoning without speech.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Part 1, Chapter IV

 

I can’t justify it, but it was a deep and sincere prayer – a prayer for strength to subdue my instincts

October 13, 2009

Despite being a critic of religion,  Bertrand Russell’s biographer, Ray Monk, writes that he once prayed on his knees to God in the San Zeno Maggiore, Verona. He was struggling to control his sexual passions. Russell wrote:

I can’t justify it, but it was a deep and sincere prayer – a prayer for strength to subdue my instincts.

Clearly his rationalism wasn’t of much help at that time.

The centre of me is always and eternally a terrible pain – a curious wild pain – a searching for something beyond what the world contains

October 13, 2009

The centre of me is always and eternally a terrible pain – a curious wild pain – a searching for something beyond what the world contains, something transfigured and infinite – the beatific vision – God…I can’t explain it or make it seem anything but foolishness.

Bertrand Russell, in Bertrand Russell, Ray Monk, vol.1, p.317

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you

October 7, 2009

The human heart is never satisfied.

Chinese saying

There is a god-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man.

Pascal

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

St. Augustine, Confessions, Bk.1.1.1

The fallen duplicity of man is that he simultaneously seeks after God his Maker and flees from God his Judge

October 7, 2009

…religious activity…gives us the illusion of having met and satisfied (God). (Man’s) religiosity is a subtle escape from the God he is afraid and ashamed to meet. The fallen duplicity of man is that he simultaneously seeks after God his Maker and flees from God his Judge.

Christopher J. H. Wright, “The Christian and Other Religions: The Biblical Evidence,” Themelios 9:2 (1984): 5