And so, with the inevitability of life ending in death, of beautiful weather in Cornwall producing tail-backs of badly-maintained caravans on the A303, and of a bale of hay and a horse combining to produce a huge pile of shit, Hutton's chosen again to grace the internet with his wisdom.
Before I get into that, though, I'd like to address a couple of points regarding the comments under my previous post.
Part of the reason I decided to begin responding to each and every post Bob makes, you may remember, was that he has a habit of simply not allowing any comment through "moderation" which he doesn't feel like responding to. Oddly enough though, here in the Land Of Free Speech—where he doesn't control what gets said, and can't just pretend to the world that these comments haven't been made—he's responded quite freely. (Not that his responses are any better, mind. We shouldn't expect miracles!)
Why couldn't you do that on your own blog, Bob? What the hell is it with you, that you moderate out of existence comments which quite plainly don't contain the swearing and obscenity which you claim is your only criterion for moderation? And why are you suddenly so willing to respond to criticism here, yet so unwilling to do so on your own blog? If you can do it here, why can't you do it there, where it really belongs?
The other point is that Bob seems to think that having his words and ideas examined and criticised constitutes abuse and, by implication, is persecution, which will lead to him having greater reward in Heaven. An opinion which, I have to tell you, brings up all sorts of questions and observations.
Firstly, the easy one. Bob, if you truly believe that a few people saying "I don't believe you," and "Please back up your assertions with evidence," constitutes persecution, then you truly are thin-skinned and petty. Please read this and this.
You directed me to look at Matthew 5. Let me point out verse ten to you:
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Bob, if the word "righteousness" is to have any utility, then it most surely doesn't apply to the behaviour of someone who would drive people to starvation merely to create an opportunity to preach at them. Or someone who can produce a whole blog post about how a child-abuser needs redemption and how horrible their conviction must be for their family, without once considering or even mentioning their victims. Nor one who would block the passing of anti-child-abuse laws merely because of the extremely slight chance that they might be erroneously applied to Christian evangelists. You're not being criticised for righteousness, Bob. You're being criticised for being a heartless patch of pious puke on the pavement of life. You are not righteous. You are self-righteous.
And then there's that "greater reward in Heaven" bit. I have to wonder, if Heaven is the place of eternal bliss that it's portrayed as, how there can be greater or lesser rewards. Are you telling me that Heaven is a class-ridden society? I don't get it. If everyone there is completely happy with their lot in (after-)life, then there can be no greater or lesser reward for any of them.
But anyway, let's get on with addressing Bob's latest pavement-pizza, in which he uses the recent incident in Ukraine as his springboard, so to speak..
And which, oddly enough (and so much for Bob's wish to be scourged on my Rack Of Persecution™), I actually agree with some of.
While it might be somewhat unkind to hold Obama in any way responsible for the 1998 Iran Air Flight 655 incident which Bob mentions (and which, I have to admit, if it weren't old news, I could manage an entire blog-post on), I completely agree that Britain and the U.S., and our political leaders in particular, are hardly in a position to cast stones in the glass house of unconscionable international violence. Bob refers us to Mathew 7, "Judge not, that ye be not judged," motes in eyes, and all that. I prefer simple pots and kettles, but the point is the same. So yeah, the indignation and horror expressed by many, though undoubtedly genuine, should, perhaps, be turned inwards a bit more often, if those on the world's political stage wish to avoid charges of hypocrisy.
Bob also avoids talking about the particulars of the recent incident in Ukraine. That's fair enough; it's outside the remit of his blog, which exists so that spiritual matters may be
discussed pontificated upon. It's properly outside the remit of this blog, too, but I do want to add one opinion of my own. I am sick of the media making this whole thing into a sort of prize-fight between Putin and Obama. I'm not six years old, and I do not need to be fed an easy-to-swallow story which has been simplified down to the level of a bad Hollywood thriller, wherein complex situations are reduced to two viewpoints, each represented by a single hero or villain.
But I digress.
I also reach the point in Bob's article where I cease agreeing with him.
Bob thinks that the most important, and the saddest part of all this is that some of the people on Flight MH17 might have "passed into eternity" without having been saved; that they're therefore destined for eternal punishment.
I think the saddest part is that they are dead. Gone. They had a chance at but a few score years of existence, and the years which they might have had but have been robbed of, are more precious than if Earthly life were a mere eye-blink precursor to an eternal afterlife. Like diamonds, like gold, like principled politicians and non-libertarian hard SF, life is precious because it is an irreplaceable and finite commodity. Those who assert an eternal afterlife do not, as they claim, give our lives more worth and more meaning. They turn them into meaningless, relatively short precursors to the main event. And those who assert an eternal punishment meted out for the picayune, harmless "offence" of lacking belief; they serve us far worse. They turn our lives into nothing but a grubby, demeaning, self-serving scrabble for a place at the eternal high table.
Here's Harry Harrison, from The Stainless Steel Rat For President.
Stated very simply, I face reality and admit that not only isn't there anyone at home upstairs, there isn't even any upstairs. I have one life and I intend to make the most of it. Therefore it follows naturally that if I firmly believe this, why then I cannot deprive another person of their turn at existence. Only the very self-assured political and religious zealots kill people in order to save them.
Where do I get my morals from, in the absence of gods and afterlives? From the absence of gods and afterlives!
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