Monday, July 21, 2014

I don't really have a title here, but I was on a roll somewhere.

I am somewhere on the net defending the notion that Nazi Christianity isn't really that strange in the grand scheme of things.

The Gnostics are a very early heretical branch (in this context meaning only that they didn't win) even pre-Trinitarian. They make up about 0% of Modern Christian thought. And while a lot of the early groups did actually vote as to whether to keep the OT or not (with some outright rejecting it), it was generally accepted by the winning branch which became the Catholic Church and then the Catholic and Orthodox church and later gave rise to the Protestant groups.

The better example would be the many groups of real Christians who argue that Jesus fulfilled the law and that with Jesus the law was super-seceded and no longer needed. Though these individuals cite Paul who apparently was, according to Nazi theology, a horrible snake who corrupted Jesus' true stance against the Jewery. And, as it turns out they simply didn't. They accepted the OT.

I have heard that they invented a pseudohistory by which modern Jews are not ancient Jews. Though, I don't have a reliable source for that. And they certainly did that for Jesus, by accepted the whole 'bin Panthera' story that was made up and written into the Talmud and repeated in some pagan sources (Jesus was the kid of a Roman Legionnaire, not born of a virgin!) The Nazis took that as true and said, see he was a member of the Master Race.

They didn't reject the OT.

Hitler for example in the Table Talks compared himself quite favorably with Moses.

(February 1942)

"I have never found pleasure in maltreating others, even if I know it isn't possible to maintain oneself in the world without force. Life is granted only to those who fight the hardest. It is the law of life: Defend yourself! "
    "The time in which we live has the appearance of the collapse of this idea. It can still take 100 or 200 years. I am sorry that, like Moses, I can only see the Promised Land from a distance."

A side note, of importance, for a variety of reasons (mostly due to a French conman) this is translated in the only full English version of the Table Talks(Roper) as:

 "Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity."

Which any check to the actual German would dispossess that notion.

But, they also used the OT as an example of good laws, namely laws based on race:

"I have written such articles again and again; and in my articles I have repeatedly emphasized the fact that the Jews should serve as an example to every race, for they created the racial law for themselves-- the law of Moses, which says, "If you come into a foreign land you shall not take unto yourself foreign women." And that, Gentlemen, is of tremendous importance in judging the Nuremberg Laws.. These laws of the Jews were taken as a model for these laws. When after centuries, the Jewish lawgiver Ezra demonstrated that notwithstanding many Jews had married non-Jewish women, these marriages were dissolved. That was the beginning of Jewry which, because it introduced these racial laws, has survived throughout the centuries, while all other races and civilizations have perished." --Julius Streicher (Trial of The Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1945, Vol. 12)

The point is, while it seems really odd, it's not actually outside the even pretty narrow band of Christian thought of straight forward Protestantism. Without needed to go back to Arianism or Marcion or any of the heretics, which I would actually have to agree deviate pretty markedly from the Christianity that survived the Dark Ages.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The theological baggage of Christianity.

The story is a near east creation story. It's intended to explain where we come from, why snakes don't have legs, why human childbirth is so painful, why we know right from wrong. God tells them they will die if they eat the fruit, the serpent says that they won't die, they eat the fruit, they don't die, God finds them and punishes Adam with working the land and eating bread, Woman with painful childbirth and being controlled by men, and the serpent with having no legs, eating dust, and not getting along with people. Then to protect the other magical tree and letting Adam and Eve become fully like the gods (apparently Godhood is simply knowing right from wrong and immortality) he kicks them out and makes a magical fire sword to protect the place.

There's no other theological significance or anything. All the extra eisegesis comes later. The original tale is a creation story in line with Native American stories, "How the Bear Lost its Tail". All cultures have these.

And while it does give rise to the whole fall of man thing, and later the whole Son of God/God sacrifices Himself to Himself to create a loophole in his own system. Because religions keep their baggage. In Genesis being a god is knowing right from wrong and living forever. For fear of them becoming gods they were kicked out etc. Then there's the weird immoral idea that the sins of the father are the sins of the children, hence why Adam and Eve's sin of doing something (which they by definition didn't know was wrong) is passed to all humanity. And because sacrificing animals to forgive sins, what better sacrifice could there be but the sacrifice of a Demigod? Hebrews 9 says almost exactly this. The religion ends up with God sacrificing Himself to Himself (as later Trinitarianism took over and Jesus was said to be one with the father). So each step tends to leave baggage and make it all weirder.

So because of this story with magical trees and talking snakes, mankind is doomed, so to solve this God gives himself a body and kills it. Because only God's own blood had enough magic to allow all-powerful God to create a loophole in his own system. So now, if you accept the story, preferably without questioning it, you can avoid God's first horrible everybody falls short system, and just through God's sacrifice of His blood to Himself, skip that system. So Mahatma Gandhi is burning in hell, because he was Hindu, but Jeffery Dahmer should like his odds because he accepted Jesus and was baptized shortly before his cellmate beat him to death. -- This system is pockmarked with bizarre theological history and crafted towards propagation rather than anything approaching a coherent way of running the universe.

Friday, July 4, 2014

What is the relationship between people believing a claim and its veracity?

When asked to properly evaluate the likelihood of the Loch Ness monster one really can agree that it doesn't exist, but if you put the likelihood at actual zero rather than a number infinitesimally close thereto, you are being a bad skeptic.

If people state things as true and they are true 60% of the time, then we are correct to say there's a positive correlation there. Even according them a very wide wrong margin of 40% (especially considering things they assert are stuff like their names, whether they have pets, how they are doing, where such and such a person is). I am giving a very very wide margin of error, and even given a true/false set of facts guessing could only ever be 50%.

It holds accurate that people tend to be right more often than you would be right, if you were pulling answers at random. Especially in science where refinement and self-checking really gets the answers well into at least the 90%s of being correct.

I'm not looking at the world in rose colored glasses. I'm a skeptic, I do my best to see the world as it actually is. I think that "trust but verify" is a fantastic methodology for having the most true beliefs and the fewest false beliefs. That one can create a robust and functional epistemology. I am not saying, everything people say is true. I'm saying since things people say are more likely to be true than false, it holds that there is a positive correlation between what people believe and what are true facts about the world.

"How does the number of believers have any bearing on the veracity of the claim?"

And the answer is by being positively correlated. There's a number of good and proper responses to the supposing God exists because theists exists. Most people tend to believe in mutually exclusive gods. If everybody believed in unicorns but everybody disagreed as to what color all of them were, it would not what we'd expect of a true belief. Generally people believe in the sun exists, but there's very little disagreement as to what color it appears to be. Equally there are not demonstrated gods. Most people seem to believe chairs exists, and claim that chairs exists. When asked how they know, they will quite often point to a chair. With regard to gods they seem to insist it's impossible to demonstrate, which is an unusually characteristic for things that actually exist.

When I say I have a pet gecko, you would be correct to accept my claim tentatively. When I say I have a pet dragon, you would error to accept my claim, even tentatively. If I said that by "dragon" I mean komodo dragon, my claim becomes astronomically more reasonable, but you would still error to tentatively accept my claim as they are rare, endangered, illegal to own, and highly dangerous.

When you say you have a friend named Bob, and he's a dietitian, that would be a perfectly reasonable claim. When you say you have a friend named Bob, and he's a deity whose created the universe and is magically undetectable, everybody's bullshit detector should go off. The fact that the majority of people think this is true, does very little to dilute the absurdity of notion.

While it the better than average chance that what people say is true suffices to establish that what people tend to think tends (better than random) to be true, that meager amount of evidence is resoundingly rendered moot when you say things as absurd as religion.

If somebody tells you they are a Christian, they are generally going to be telling the truth, and you would do well to believe them. If somebody tells you that Christianity is true, you would do well to not.

Because the saying of things is good enough for trivial claims, but if you want to convince somebody that the creator of the entire universe donned a baby suit so that he could sacrifice Himself to Himself to give Himself permission to forgive His creation for their ancestors sins of eating magical fruit on the advice of a talking reptile, by utilizing His blood in some fashion to create a loophole in His own system, and through His perfect justice damn Mahatma Gandhi to eternal hell-fire for the evil of not believing this claptrap. You need more than words.

Saying something is true is evidence. And for minor claims it's often sufficient evidence for a claim. The problem here is that a billion people believing a lie cannot render it true. There are vastly more cases of a billion people being wrong about something than there are of some religion's creation myth being true, and their deities being real, or for magic.

What is the relationship between a great many people believing a claim and the veracity of that claim. The answer is they share a positive correlation (which means it's evidence). If asked whether that suffices to justify even one miracle, the answer is definitively no.