QED

Enough to Give Belief a Bad Name

I often hear conservatives distinguish themselves from leftists by saying that while they despise leftist policies, they don’t despise leftists personally, whereas leftists despise conservatives. They, leftists, accuse us of being bad people, conservatives whine. It is true that leftists have a nasty habit of trying to cancel people who disagree with them. It is also true that conservatives contain within their ranks many wishy-washy panty-waists who fall over themselves to be civil whatever the provocation.

I left a left-wing coffee coterie to which I belonged a few years back. I could not bring myself to be civil in their midst. I made and emailed brusque comments. Let’s face it they deserved every one such comment, and more, for they were leftists bent on the destruction of our Judeo-Christian civilisation.

My New Year’s resolution is to remain, if not uncivil, at least cutting with a soupçon of ridicule thrown in; except, that is, when enjoined with any members of my church congregation. Church is no place for ungentlemanly behaviour however much one is tried. And one is.

I have had to put up this year with a lady praying that God would intervene to change the minds of climate deniers; with regular prayers extolling us to take better care of the environment and in support of refugees and asylum seekers. Now, I believe in taking care of the environment and being compassionate towards those in trouble in the world, but I can’t help but feel that I am being preached at in an ABC kind of way. Incidentally, our rector stands above the fray and sermonises on scriptural matters. He is an anchor of belief, sanity and reason.

One parishioner of English origin that I spoke with the other evening does not sympathise with Folau, favoured Remain in the Brexit argument and dislikes Donald Trump. I thought it was wise to stop there. I have no doubt that except for me, and perhaps one to two others, everyone else is a convinced believer in man-made climate change. I doubt anyone but me harbours any doubts at all about the truth of the so-called “stolen generations.” Why would you if you get your information and news from the ABC and “mainstream” newspapers like the SMH and The Age.

We are caught in a pincer, I think. On the one hand we have militant atheists, the godless Left, who because they have no scriptural guidelines are free to make up stuff. And, as I will come to, we have Christian wets who are ready to compromise scripture to be nice or to serve their political beliefs.

For atheists, there are no externally-set standards. Standards can be adjusted at will to cater for every “woke” cause. From there, live and let live goes beyond a civilised tolerance of differences from norms to an aggressive insistence that there are no norms and, onwards from there, to “cancelling” those who say that there are.

You are now at risk if you say that men can’t have babies. And evidently, to boot, you would be wrong. It was widely reported, via Medicare, that twenty-two men gave birth in 2018/19; fewer miracles than in the previous two years. In a twist of history, such miracles are now clearly embraced by atheists.

It is true that there are many conservatives who are atheists. So, atheism itself does not necessarily lead to a reckless disregard for societal norms built over centuries. Nevertheless, those fighting the conservative cause are hamstrung if they have no religious faith – by which, to be clear, I mean Christian or Jewish faith. For example, same sex marriage should be opposed because it was brought in, in the blink of an eye, against the strictures of millenniums of tradition and convention. But it is also clearly against God’s law, as set out in the Bible. That is a powerful adjunct to the secular argument.

This brings me to Christians who identify themselves with leftist politics. The two simply don’t mix. They don’t mix because Christians should not be willingly complicit in producing misery. And there is ample evidence showing that leftist policy prescriptions do just that.

Take a recent piece (19 December) by editor-in-chief Mark Galli of Christianity Today; a prominent evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham. Billy will be turning in his grave. Or he would be if he were not Heaven bound at the end of days. Galli calls for Trump’s removal from office and is apparently unconcerned about the plight of the disadvantaged if the radical Democrats were to win power. His job is safe. Here he is:

[T]he facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral … That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments…To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency.

Leave aside the unctuous moral preening and the invocation of God. The facts are not unambiguous. I have followed the case closely and there is no evidence that Trump attempted to coerce a foreign leader in the cause of discrediting a political opponent. That same foreign leader has denied that there was ever coercion as has Trump. You can’t go around as a Christian leader making things up. It is immoral.

Mind you, Trump has a lot to answer for.

He has helped the unemployed find jobs and reduced poverty. Black and Hispanic unemployment is at the lowest level ever recorded. He is supporting school choice for black children living in inner cities. He is establishing “Opportunity Zones” to attract investments into low-income areas. He has appointed judges less likely to take a cavalier approach to killing the unborn.

He has moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognised Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He has rebuilt the US military to keep us all safer. He has defeated ISIS in Syria. He has persuaded NATO countries to spend more on their own defence. He has renegotiated trade deals to help American workers and farmers. He is trying manfully to better secure America’s borders. And there is so much more that he has done or is doing.

Christians better start getting on the right side of things before green new deals and anti-Christian socially dysfunctional movements – militant atheism, post-modernism, libertinism, socialism, transgenderism, radical feminism, Islamism, anti-Semitism, tendentious historical revisionism — tear the fabric of our society apart.

Trump is an all-American heroic president. He was absolutely necessary to hold back the destructive leftist tide which could yet still drown us all. Did God have a hand in his elevation? I reckon He might. God doesn’t necessarily pick the most righteous. Trumps transgressions, such as they are, are not nearly in the same ballpark as were King David’s. But apparently Trump must go. Why? Galli thinks he is immoral.

We are all immoral. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye.” In this case, no matter how moral or immoral Trump happens to be in the various facets of his life, he is doing great good for a great many. That is a morality to which Christians and conservatives should subscribe.

17 comments
  • Ian MacDougall

    “I have had to put up this year with a lady praying that God would intervene to change the minds of climate deniers; with regular prayers extolling us to take better care of the environment and in support of refugees and asylum seekers. Now, I believe in taking care of the environment and being compassionate towards those in trouble in the world, but I can’t help but feel that I am being preached at in an ABC kind of way. Incidentally, our rector stands above the fray and sermonises on scriptural matters. He is an anchor of belief, sanity and reason.”
    *******************
    I have visited a number of countries in my time; enough, I believe to form a base for a few conclusions. They have been as diverse as China (including the then colonies of Hong Kong and Macau), Malaya, the Philippines, Iran, the US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. I have also travelled pretty extensively in Australia.
    I have never been to Africa, nor to South America, and probably never will.
    On the ideological front, I have been a Christian, I believe mainly because I was born into a society in which (Protestant) Christianity was the dominant creed. For a while I became a Christian-Marxist, then dropped the Christian part and became an adherent of one of the brands of modern Marxism. Then I made my way out of that, too. I now describe myself as a freethinker. That is, I go where Reason takes me.
    As apparently also does Peter Smith, the author of this piece. Because although he is a Christian believer (and I do not disparage that) he clearly uses Reason to steer a path for himself through all the Proponents of Error, of False Beliefs, Militant Atheists, Godless Leftists, Leftist Despisers, Moral Preeners, Wishy-Washy Pantywaists, Civilisation-wreckers, anti-Trumpians, Postmodernists, Libertines, Socialists, Transgenderists, Radical Feminists, Islamists, anti-Semites, and Tendentious Historical Revisionists.
    But Smith also illustrates here how Christian doctrine can be put to a political use and to underwrite a political stance. Ian Plimer, the author of the AGW-denialist rant (some would call it a bible) ‘heaven+earth’ [sic] gave the best sum-up of this position I have yet encountered. Under the sub-heading ‘What if I’m Wrong?’ he wrote: “Human stupidity is only exceeded by God’s mercy, which is infinite.”
    In other words, what are we waiting for? Dig up all that coal and convert it to $$$$ (in a strictly limited number of bank accounts) as quickly as humanly possible. God will probably cheer it all on, or if not, forgive us.
    What have we got to lose?

  • Pittacus66

    It seems that Christianity Today’s Mark Galli was having a parting shot at Donald Trump, because Galli is due to retire on January 3, 2020. Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham condemned Galli’s statement and said, “My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”

  • Ian MacDougall

    “My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”
    As Mandy Rice-Davies famously said: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”
    Or to put it another way:
    “My father knew President Pussygrabber, he believed in President Pussygrabber, and he voted for President Pussygrabber. He believed that President Pussygrabber was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”

  • if that’s my real name

    It seems, Mr MacDougall, that you major in attributing the worst possible motives to others while reserving the best possible for yourself. Your two posts on this page have no substance, present no argument and are nothing but ad hominems.

  • Ian MacDougall

    if that’s my real name (or whatever your real name is).
    “It seems…..”
    “It seems…..”
    Can’t you do any better than that..?
    I put it to you that:
    1. I have committed no ad hominems, and challenge you to give me a specific example where I have, and
    2. You would not know an ad. hom. anyway.
    3. As far as I am aware, Donald Trump is not a party to this discussion, and thus abuse of him does not count. (Trump himself dishes it out all the time to anyone who crosses him, or stands in the way of his boundless ambition.)
    If he was such a party, that might be true. But as far as I am concerned. he is a cad, and a bounder.

  • en passant

    Is there no limit to the Macdougall Troll wisdom he showers on us all?
    Surely, one day soon, maybe, perhaps he will commit to setting out the Mac Commandments for us all?
    He will tell us the ideal average world temperature. (no he won’t and he never will, because then that figure could be analysed and debated).
    He will tell us the ideal average world concentration of CO2 when the climate will be perfect (no he won’t and he never will, because then that figure could be analysed and debated}.
    He will tell us the day when the climate caused sea level rises will finally drown us all (my block of land at Ho Tram remains where it was when I first photographed it 50 years ago (no he won’t and never will discuss the falling sea levels in Sydney Harbour at Denison Island, because then that explanation could be analysed and debated}.
    Ad homs from the MacBot? Calling me a racist when I am celebrating 44 years of happy marriage to a Vietnamese lady – and then doubling down on his disgusting insult when called out as a troll. No, no ad hom in any unsubstantiated insult, after all he is the omnipotent Ian Mac.

  • if that’s my real name

    Why on earth would you give us an account of your continuing rudderless meandering through every fad that crossed your path? You have done it before and nobody showed any interest then, neither does anybody show too much interest now.
    The writer of the article has given a number of extremely positive achievements of president Trump but you think you can dismiss all that with a crude slur on him and his supporters. He might be “a cad and a bounder” but if he is doing a good job as a president, I will be content with that.
    Since you like to put things to people, “I put it to you” that abusing, in the way in which you have, someone who is not present and does not have the opportunity to respond is nothing but cowardice. Your responses above are devoid of meaningful content and singularly lacking in reason. Maybe that is what a “freethinker” does.

  • Ian MacDougall

    So, if that’s my real name (or whatever your real name is), you apparently concede that:
    1. I have committed no ad hominems, and you cannot give me a specific example where I have, and
    2. You apparently would not know an ad. hom. anyway.
    The rest of your diatribe is just waffly generalisation.
    The same dynamics appear to operate here at QO as operate in any fundamentalist church. It is all about group cohesion via agreement on an ‘apostle’s creed’ of some form. It does not matter what the congregation members believe, so much as the fact that they all believe it together. The message in such churches always has been “if you can’t agree with it, please leave.’
    But that actually contradicts the stated purpose of QO, which is defence of the great Western intellectual and liberal tradition as it is found in Australia. If you go to ‘Donations’ on the opening page of QO you will read there:
    “…. No matter which political party might be in power, politics is driven by ideas. And it is clear to anyone with eyes to see that the conservative side is today engaged in the fight of its life. The ideas and values of both Western civilisation and Australian traditions are today faced with disturbing challenges to their survival from hordes of intellectuals, commentators and bureaucrats who would like to snuff them out.
    “Quadrant is at the core of the intellectual debate in defence of Australian liberalism and conservatism. We do this every month in Quadrant magazine and every day in Quadrant Online. We support the liberal democratic Anglosphere, our Judeo-Christian religious inheritance, the intellectual and artistic high culture of Western civilisation, traditional family life, and the great Australian values of patriotism, straight talk and a fair go.
    “All these traditions are today threatened by the disquieting rise of identity politics. Public debate is suppressed by political correctness and any dissenters in our educational institutions face dismissal. Character assassination of eminent public figures is rife. We are witnessing both a revival of Marxist theory and the emergence of a new militant generation within the Australian trade union movement. Around the world, many youth now see diehard socialists like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders as gurus….”
    .
    Liberalism is fundamental to democracy. It makes it possible for a whole bunch of fundamentalist churches to coexist together, (even if internally they are each into groupthink.) Once liberalism is established, it has to be constantly defended. So if I think Donald Trump is a political charlatan and con-man, I have to be free to say so. Otherwise proclaimed liberalism is just a smokescreen for some new orthodoxy. And while QO claims that it is not some fundamentalist echo-chamber, it has a whole bunch of preachers and bible-thumpers within who are trying to turn it into one. (True Christians excepted of course.)
    .
    https://quadrant.org.au/donations/

  • if that’s my real name

    Nothing that you have said here is related to what I said. However, I will do you a favour.
    Ad Hominem No.1: “As Mandy Rice-Davies famously said: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”” You are implying that his reason for saying that was that he personally benefited in some way from it or that it was due to some laziness of mind but you do not demonstrate that this is the case.
    Ad Hominem No.2: “President Pussygrabber”. You have dismissed the achievements of the president with a vile insult without showing that your abuse has any relevance to the merits of his presidency. That’s because it hasn’t.
    Ad Hominem 3: “I have to be free to say so.” You are claiming that I and Quadrant want to circumscribe your freedom. That’s a bit rich from the person who responds most frequently, repetitively, tiresomely and lengthily.
    Ad Hominem 4: “… it has a whole bunch of preachers and bible-thumpers within”. You provide no evidence of this, while it is impossible, or should I say, “it seems impossible” to read what you write as a non-ending thumping on the bible of catastrophism in the belief that endlessly repeating the same verbiage a little louder each time is bound to convert people to your religion.
    Finally, you seem to have a problem with people using pseudonyms. I have no other reason to keep using mine.
    At this point, I will respond to you no further, as you continue on your weathercock of an existence.

  • Ian MacDougall

    “Grab ’em by the pussy” was and is Trump’s own summation of his approach to women. It earned him the title of ‘President Pussygrabber’ on internet sites all over the world: some of them possibly even pro-Trump ones, and it appears not to have lost him any of his usual supporters.. If you find it to be a ‘vile insult’ to Trump, I suggest you have a comprehension problem. I suggest also that you write Trump a letter taking up the above issues. (TIP: Praising him to the skies and without the slightest criticism of him may earn you a form-letter reply from a staffer.)
    “Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham condemned Galli’s statement and said, ‘My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump. He believed that Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.’
    And so it came to pass that the great evangelist gave praise and prayers for the self-proclaimed pussygrabber. Interesting times indeed.
    The rest of your rant is just an exposition of your ignorance as to what ‘ad hominem’ actually means.
    Goodbye and good luck.

  • Pittacus66

    One measure of Trump’s success is US unemployment which is the lowest in 50 years, with Black unemployment the lowest ever. This has seen Trump’s approval rating with Blacks go from 8% in 2016 to 34% according to recent Emerson and Rasmussen polls. But it is almost impossible to disrupt the established patterns of thinking of most people—well-documented confirmation bias affirms this. And no evidence will change the minds of ideologues. As Lewis S. Feuer noted in his “Ideology and the Ideologists”: “Under no conditions whatever will the ideologue renounce his ideology. Thus the master of European Marxism, Georg Lukacs, declared in 1967 that even if every empirical prediction of Marxism were invalidated, he would still hold Marxism to be true.” Indeed, those who regard themselves as intellectuals, are the most stubborn. In his book “Intellectuals”, the historian Paul Johnson wrote: “Beware intellectuals…For intellectuals, far from being highly individualistic and non-conformist people, follow certain regular patterns of behaviour. Taken as a group, they are often ultra-conformist within the circles formed by those whose approval they seek and value. That is what makes them, en masse, so dangerous, for it enables them to create climates of opinion and prevailing orthodoxies, which themselves often generate irrational and destructive courses of action.”

  • Ian MacDougall

    pitticus:
    “In his book “Intellectuals”, the historian Paul Johnson wrote: “Beware intellectuals…etc…”
    I would say that “the historian Paul Johnson” was himself writing as an intellectual there. Painted himself into a corner pretty convincingly. (Unless you can come up with a definition of “intellectuals” that includes only those of whose thoughts and works you approve, which will ever be a work in progress.)

  • Ted

    “On the one hand we have militant atheists, the godless Left, who because they have no scriptural guidelines are free to make up stuff. And, as I will come to, we have Christian wets who are ready to compromise scripture to be nice or to serve their political beliefs.”

    ‘Christian wets’ sounds like a good descriptor for the now-pitiful Anglican church. The rapid decline of Anglicanism not only here in Australia but also in England itself has been remarkable. Caving into the ‘progressive’ zeitgeist has clearly done nothing to arrest its death spiral.

  • John Reid

    Like the author, I too was once of the Green-Left. I found the mental contortions I underwent in order to reconcile my politics with my education increasingly tiresome. Then I awoke one morning thinking “Why is the truth always Right Wing?”. I have lost a few friends but it’s been worth it.

  • talldad

    Under the sub-heading ‘What if I’m Wrong?’ he wrote: “Human stupidity is only exceeded by God’s mercy, which is infinite.”

    Mr Plimer is incorrect. God is infinite, true. But His mercy is limited, as any reading of the Apocalyse will demonstrate. For those who choose incorrigibly to refuse His grace, there remain perfectly just consequences for their choices.

  • Bwana Neusi

    Sadly the Doogle treats QO as his own personal platform to denigrate or ridicule anyone who seeks to make comments relative to the article in question. His spurious argument leave me a little irritated, but then that is probably why he makes them. In a nutshell he is seriously suffering from anosognosia syndrome.
    It gets in the way of any real discussion which is why the rest of us read, enjoy and sometimes comment on QO articles.
    What is an even bigger disaster, cataclysmic even is that my bloodline includes the MacDougals.

  • DG

    I’m always interested in why people want to protect the environment. Claims of interest in the protection of the environment typically seem to hang in the air, attached only in the imagination to a pastoral nature fantasy of the benign sweet wilds of fairy tales, or Bloomsbury fantasy. The only point that could exist for protecting the environment is to protect it for human habitation. To manage the environment for the beneift of people. This implies values in the environment (of which humans are a part, if not a component) which benefit us. For example, the ecological network of plants and animals is part of making this place habitable for us. But manage does not mean ‘succumb to’ or ‘worship’, it means ‘manage’, ‘make it habitable’. Seeing we are on a Christian bent, it gives some practical force to the genesian injunction to ‘subdue’ the environment…here in the context of a genial creator, so ‘subdue’ is a good thing, not a rapacious imposition. And we see of late how the bush truly needs subduing lest it burn us to perdition.

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