Yes, my comments policy is inspired by MegaUpload

Given the influx of new readers and some questions , I’d like to add a Comments Policy tab to the top of the blog.  Here’s my first draft, so let me know if anything needs clarification, if you know how to make a warning sound less hectoring, or if you have other suggestions.

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

I only delete comments that are obviously spam.

(Fun fact: the easiest way real comments get mistaken for spam is when they pay me an unspecific compliment).

I may make an exception in the future if a commenter relentlessly harasses or threatens another reader (I’m fair game), but we’ve never had that problem.  There are a couple of reasons I let dumb, angry, or contentless comments through.

When you make an unproductive comment, the main person hurt is you.  When you insult other commenters instead of explaining clearly and patiently why you disagree, you’re giving people an excuse to write off your argument.  I’m not here to protect you from yourself.


And there’s another reason I make sure to let all that stuff through.  Before they got nabbed by the feds, MegaUploads and other filesharing sites were very clear that they didn’t filter content.  They’d respect takedown notices that were filed, but they wouldn’t do any preemptive screening.  If they had committed to helping check for copyright violations, every video that made it through their filter would be assumed to be approved by them and they’d be liable for clearing them.

So, in the same way, I let every non-spambot comment through because that way you know not to assume that I approve of the content and/or tone when a comment shows up (as you might if I moderated comments).  And my safe harbor policy goes one step further.  Sometimes commenters ask me why I haven’t rebutted them or someone else in the thread.  If the offending commenter is Catholic, someone might add that I have an obligation to respond, since otherwise people can’t tell if I agree with that person’s interpretation of doctrine.

I refuse to be held hostage by the most aggressive commenters.  I respond to the comments that interest me or anything where I think I can help with a quick question or clarification.  I read every comment, and, if someone brings up a weird claim about Catholicism, I tend to check it out offline with friends, or my RCIA class, or a priest.  I don’t thrash it out online til I have data.


So when you run across an unproductive seeming comment, the most important thing to remember is that not every comment needs a rejoinder.  It’s ok to walk away from a fight.  In fact, the more obviously wrong it is, the less necessary it is for you to waste your valuable time rebutting it.  Skip the troll and find the person who’s comment made you feel a little queasy about the strength of your philosophical system and ask them to expand, so you can start a productive fight.

If you think people are walking away from you, or you’re only getting quick, angry replies, try and figure out if you need to change your tone.  Other commenters have no obligation to debate you specifically, so you need to play nice to get them to play at all.

That doesn’t mean you need to pull your punches, but you should think of the comment section as a bazaar.  Everyone is pitching something, so if you want someone to stop at your booth, it doesn’t matter if you’re right, since everyone claims that.  You need a reason for a passerby to engage.  So make sure you understand your opponent’s arguments, and make it clear you’re not picking on a straw man.  Don’t try to pretend that all the arguments for your side are so obvious as to not permit honest confusion.  And try to assume neither malice nor stupidity on the part of your opposite number.  After all, if they’re too dumb or too nasty to be persuadable, what exactly is your goal in trying to persuade them?  Are you really trying to help, or are you just indulging your pride in baiting them?


I try (and sometimes fail) to stick to these guidelines in my own posts and comments, and every time I slip up, I give someone an excuse to stop listening to me or to disengage with the meat of my argument and lay into me about tone.  Good commenting means making it as easy as possible for someone to engage your argument.  Indulging spleen is disrespectful to my interlocutors and counterproductive to my goals.

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  • vandelay

    This is pretty similar to Vox Day’s (unofficial) policy, though he also stipulates that once a commenter has been asked a direct question after making a claim, and it has become clear that the question is being ducked, the commenter is not allowed to comment again until the question is answered or the claim is abandoned. That requires slightly more moderation than you’ve described here, but it is a kind of objective, transparent moderation that puts a check on troll activity.

    p.s. I’m not expecting anyone here to be pleased with the content of Vox’s blog, but he does have a sensible comment policy.

  • Ted Seeber

    Thank you greatly for this explanation! I especially needed the “It’s ok to walk away” because my biggest sin online (and when I get into the most trouble *OPPOSING* Catholic Doctrine) is when I get into a flame war with someone I disagree.

    Thank you very much for doublechecking anything I say with your priest or RCIA group as well. I’d hate to think you’d be relying on MY autistic interpretation for anything more than food for thought.

  • Touchstone

    I approve of this policy. And of you.

    (Delete this comment. I dare you. ;-).)

    • leahlibresco

      You bought yourself a lot of good will with that CS/epidemiology link earlier this week, so I’ll let this stand

  • Thanks Leah. That was very educational. Many of these things you mention, I have been doing ‘instinctively’ but you helped clarify the internet culture a little more for me. I love your “I’m not here to protect you from yourself”, though very often,I don’t think the people who are hurting themselves, understand that they’re doing this.
    I must say that unlike youtube, I haven’t seen too many ‘dumb’ comments here. The level of ‘intolerance’ seems to be a bit lower on both sides, which makes it easier to dialogue. I by the way, still go after the slightly less tolerant ones on Youtube as well. Sometimes it’s worth it…I think it’s not a question of wanting to be right, but more a question of forcing a dialogue with people who are not used to being opposed so openly. They assume if they use big swear language and insult you that you’ll back down, and when I don’t, they kind of disappear, which is both satisfying and disappointing. (-; I genuinely do want the dialogue, and that dialogue is so much more interesting when it’s a radical feminist who can’t see any good in this patriarchal institution of ours, when it’s some kind of evangelical Christian who assumes that all Catholics are paedophile, or when it’s an Atheist who refuses to recognize the value of spirituality in our day and age. For me the goal is not to convince them of the validity of my point of view, but to invite them to contemplate the value of respecting each other’s points of views. Sometimes it works, often not…but I love it all. And I love how you do this as well! Thanks for giving us so much food for thought!!


    • Ted Seeber

      Always remember that online discussions are like icebergs- the people commenting are 1/10th the number that are reading.

  • Joe

    One of the ways I keep myself in check when it comes to commenting is to remember what my spiritual director used to say “You think that by much talking you are winning friends. But in reality you are just revealing the ugliness of your character.” Also I try to remember an old Buddhist proverb “The emptiest pots make the loudest noise.”

    • These are all good points. What I struggle with are the words of Christ, when he tells us that many will insult us for what we believe, and we must grin and bear it. As he did. The difficulty I have with that is that, when outsiders comment about the Church and say things that are short changing what She represents, I do feel the need to speak up (as I have on this site), at the very least, to help this person understand that nothing is as black and white as we make it.
      But maybe the invitation is to let those who hate the church, hate, and to continue to live in peace, in union with Christ and in the Church and ignore the hate. It’s an interesting balancing act that I’m still learning. So , I don’t want to be a noisy empty pot, but nor do I want to be silent in the face of ignorance and hatred. Quite the challenge!

  • Irish Jack

    I think that your policy is smart. In my graduate ministry seminars we were taught to listen or in this case read. So I think I will

  • Kewois

    Of course this is your blog and do what you want with it…..(including deleting this message)

    Take your time to answer (send me a email perhaps I will be not reading your blog anymore, I really don´t know) but please if you are going to appear as “THE ATHEIST WHO HAS GOT GOOD REASONS TO CHANGE HER VIEW” in the media at least have some fucking good reasons (at least to you) and no say “I HAVE NO IDEA LET ME TAKE SOME TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT”, ok?? Don´t lie it is a sin. Also pride it´s a sin.

    It would be fine if you have said… I change because I liked it, because I wanted it…. I don´t know why buy I have change my mind now I am A catholic. Ok It`s fine.

    Now some good music…


    • I came into the Catholic Church nine years ago. I am still trying to figure out how best to describe some of the why’s and wherefores. Give the lady a break.

    • leahlibresco

      The precis, Kewois, is that I was quite sure that morality was human-independent and good, but my naturalistic system didn’t have a good explanation for this fact. If I held onto a metaphysics that didn’t account for other people actually existing, I’d take that as a strike against the metaphysical system, even though I can’t get Popper-like proof of the existence of other people. I’m more sure that solecism is false than most other things. But I was worried that Christianity was just a kludge, not a good map. What helped convince me wasn’t any one fact, but a confluence of weak evidence. The fact that on some of the points where I really disagreed with Christianity (forgiving enemies) I ended up persuaded, the fact that some claims I thought were peripheral to their theory’s explanatory power turned out to be really essential (the Good as an agent, not just a Form).

      But honestly, if you didn’t find any reasons in the conversion post, I really doubt I’m going to be able to satisfy you in a comment or in another post of that kind. I know blog entries are a poor substitute for meaty apologetics, and I’m trying to work up a longer piece than the initial conversion essay to try to fill in some of the gaps. If you don’t want to read posts on the justice of drone wars and other weird stuff in the interim, you may want to check back in September.

      • (I’m pretty sure your first paragraph was a chapter in Chesterton’s Orthodoxy…)

      • Hibernia86

        The Catholic Church (or at least Christianity) has been around for 20 centuries. It makes sense that they would develop a lot of deep thinking on morality. It does not follow, however, that just because they’ve done that that therefore their teachings on Christ, the Bible, God ect must be true. It seems much more likely that their thinking is based on generations of human thought rather than some divine intervention. If objective morality exists, I don’t think it needs a being to tell it to us. We would perhaps experience it like we do the laws of physics. Saying that someone needed to design objective morality is like saying that humans must have designed the river system since it works so well. But we all know that the laws of physics brought about the river system and natural processes could have brought about objective morality as well. Saying that a God created us does not make that God necessarily moral. Our parents created us but they can sometimes be abusive. So the existance of God and the existance of objective morality are two separate questions which shouldn’t be grouped together.

        (by the way, Leah, is there a way that this comment section could be set up so that I get e-mailed when someone replies to my comment? That is the advantage of disqus in that I always know when someone has replied and I don’t need to keep checking back again and again until someone does. )

        • leahlibresco

          I’ll try and check, I don’t know of one.

        • Ted Seeber

          ” It does not follow, however, that just because they’ve done that that therefore their teachings on Christ, the Bible, God ect must be true.”

          But it does follow that if they were false, the Catholic Church would not have lasted 20 minutes, let alone 20 centuries.

          • Hibernia86

            Ted, do you believe the same thing about Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Mormonism, ect? Because they seem to have lasted longer than 20 minutes.

          • Ron K

            If anything, the history of the Catholic church is completely consistent with a fully human, falliable, political and sometimes violent institution. The fact is, that fights and differing opinions about the Church’s teachings were prevalent from its early years, and that the consolidation of church dortrine was not accomplished by any sort of divine intervention, but by politics, coucils and persecution of ‘heretics’ (i.e. people that didn’t agree with the opinions of people in power at the time).

            The current Catholic dogma is a reslt of a human historical process. Given a different set of circumstances, there is all the chance in the world you would right now be staunchly defending Arianism.

          • Ted Seeber

            Yes, I do. It is also the reason why I reject some of the younger ones (such as Islam and Protestantism and modernist new-age philosophies drawn from works of fiction).

            Buddhism was such a draw to me that for a while, after being known as the Marxist Hacker online, I was known as the Zen Catholic. The Sixth Patriarch’s Platform Sutra still holds some insights into Catholicism that my autistic brain finds more accessible than say, Aquinas.

          • Ted Seeber

            Yes, Given a different set of circumstances (for instance, being convinced utterly of the evil of the material world, instead of seeing only the excess of the abuse of the material world being a problem of materialism) I would be arguing for Arianism- as have several fundamentalist American Christians. What’s the point again?

          • ron K

            Oh come on, Ted. I obviously didn’t mean you personally. I meant that given a different set of historical circumstances the Catholic Church as a whole, and therefore you as a Catholic would hold completely different beliefs, because of the same logical fallacies — appeal to antiquity and appeal to tradition.

          • Ron: That begs the question, you know.

    • deiseach

      Kewois, what would be the atheist/agnostic view or definition of “sin”? Would such a concept have any meaning? If we take a purely materialistic paradigm (a la Jerry Coyne) that free will does not exist, and that we are all merely running the encoded programs our brain is wired with, and for some of us those programs are glitched or have bugs, then is the concept of responsibility meaningless?

      Maybe Leah can’t give you a good reason because under that proposal, nothing would constitute a good reason. Even if she imagines that she has rational reasons for coming to a decision, this is just delusion. Neither she, you nor I can even decide for ourselves what we’re going to have for breakfast, whether or not we will be murderers, or do we or don’t we believe in God/god/gods.

      • Ron K

        If sin is defined as doing something against God’s laws, then of course it’s silly for an atheist to talk about it. This has nothing to do with the existance of good and evil. Even some theists don’t automatically equate good and virtue or sin and evil.

        Second, how does the existance or non-existance of free will have any effect on the legal concept of responsibility? From a strictly materialist point of view, it is just another social costruct.

        From my perspective, Leah (and many more people) did convert through a rational thought process. That still doesn’t mean that she had good reasons to convert. Logic and rationality are merely tools. Apply them to good data, and you have something that has a good chance of being true. Apply them to literature, art, intuition, gut feeling, wishful thinking etc., and you’ve got rubbish.

        Surely you agree that from a materialist perspective, good data would be evidential, repeatable data. Leah’s premise, her conviction that morality was independant and good, is hardly such, and it’s therefore no surprise that from that perspective her reasoning rings hollow.

        • leahlibresco

          Though you won’t ever get “evidential, repeatable data” for the existence of the other minds vs Boltzmann brain.

          • Ron K

            I think you do get that sort of data all the time. The fact that we disagree, the fact that there are other people who surprise me, say things that are more intelligent than I could think up myself, teach me new things, or prove me wrong all are datapoints that suggest that not all these thoughts are in my head, and therefore at least one other mind exists.

            Besides, the fact that one theory requires me to assume that I’m a special occurance, while the other makes no such assumption automatically grants more plausability to the second.

            I agree that we do have to assume some things. The rules of logic, for example. I’m just claiming, like Occham, that we should accept as few of those axioms as possible. Just accepting the existance of other minds as an axiom isn’t as well founded as actually showing it from fewer axioms. Similarly, accepting a metaphysical morality as an axiom isn’t as well founded as deriving it from fewer axioms. In my perspective, assuming something so complex as morality into existance is equivalent to simply assuming God.

          • Ted Seeber

            Appeal to Authority as much as any other believer, I see. Ockham’s Razor is an appeal to the truthfulness of Ockham.

            Maybe in another thousand years or so you can prove to me that it works, but right now, for me the jury is still out.

          • Ron K

            Yes, of course, I believe this because I believe in the authority of William of Ockham, a Franciscan friar. Just wait until I join a monestary due to his immense authority he has on me. [/sarcasm]

            In order for this to be a fallacy I have to say that it is true *because* someone of authority said it. Just mentioning a name in an argument (as a shortcut for a well known argument laid out by him, for example) doesn’t constitute an appeal to authority. Ockham’s razor is a heuristic that is useful, regardless of the man who it is named after. Without it, one has no way to judge between different belief systems, and would have no reason to reject the claims of UFO abductees, the Loch Ness monster, or any claim that is constistent with the evidence.

        • Ted Seeber

          If 20 centuries worth of repeatable data isn’t enough for you, I doubt anything will be.

        • deiseach

          Well, the legal concept of responsibility involves that the person was in their right mind and there were no extenuating circumstances (for instance, mental disease or impairment). Mens rea is one of the necessary elements for criminal law.

          If our snazzy neuroscience ‘proves’ that people do not have the power or capacity to make decisions, then how can they be held responsible? We will either be locking people up for purely retributive purposes (because I fail to see quite how observing punishment or reward can alter the brains of others, acting as a deterrent or stimulus) and what is even worse, possibly locking people up because a brain scan says they are predisposed to be criminals even before they’ve committed an actual crime, or we will have to scrap our basis of law and try to fudge some new grounds together – which we may well be able to do, but it’ll be messy in the interim.

          If Kewois is not using “sin” in an ironical manner, but appealing to Leah not to act against her new principles of behaviour, then Kewois must acknowledge this much, that the belief is effective in forming actions.

          I asked for the atheist definition of “sin” because I don’t see why Kewois can’t make an appeal based on the grounds you mentioned; right and wrong manners of behaving, or harmful versus beneficial actions, or acting in a way contrary to social harmony and the good (read: benefit) of the community.

          • Ron K

            Clearly, Kewois was trying to convince Leah using a misguided attempt to phrase his objections in religious language. Usually when you try to convince someone you try to do it by using their perspective (although reading a couple of posts would make him see that this sort of language is not the right route to take).

            Kewois need not assume that beliefs forms actions. Rather, he must merely assume that presenting new data and providing new experience will change the way one will think and act.

            You seem to assume that creatures with no free will will behave the same regardless of inputs. That is absurd. People have experiences. These experiences shape their views and patterns of behaviour. Those usually and unsurprisingly correlate. When new information arrives, people either reject it or change their views and behaviour, according to their previous experiences, previous conclusions, genetic makeup etc. Nothing here is basically incompatible with determinism.

            There is a reason gaol is called a ‘correctional facility’. I suspect the situation is very different in the US, but here it is not used for punishment, but for rehabilitation — people with dangerous or antisocial behaviours are sent there to be reformed, in an expectation that new life experiences and new skills would change that unwanted behaviour.

      • Well, the Atheist view of sin is that the concept of being law abiding is just as good if not better. And if you’re worried that’s not enough to keep people in line, maybe you should be worried that invoking “sin” is not enough to keep people in line on your side either. You can appeal to reason (and why shouldn’t you, being methodical and empirical has done so much in technology) to get people to respect each other ; and the great thing about it is that reason is impersonal. To say God lords over our behaviour requires mental gymnastics to conquer the absurdity, both of the Bible and the idea of his omnipresence, a shakier foundation for morals. God implies relation, implies someone to bargain with. Reason is just a technique. So if God lets you down on answering your prayers, some people will snap and say “Enough!”and throw in their hand. Some may even “sin” to see if God cares about them enough to stop them(He won’t). But if you’re living your moral code by reason, then if your chips are down you don’t blame God, you don’t beg from God, you don’t start to hate God you just try and think your way out of it, or get the help you need from the better informed.

        • Plus, it’s rather exhausting to keep up with all the “shunning of the heathen” stuff in one’s daily routine. Without one particular Faith to always be flying the flag for, there’s a wider field for making friends. The default position becomes positive, as opposed to the negative “I’m not talking to you until I know which denomination you’re in, if you’re in one at all” stance.

      • Kewois

        >[sin] Would such a concept have any meaning?
        No. It has no meaning.
        Of course I know what it means for believers.
        >Maybe Leah can’t give you a good reason because under that proposal, nothing would >constitute a good reason.
        She claimed to have good reasons.
        >Even if she imagines that she has rational reasons for coming to a decision, this is just >delusion.
        If somebody claims something I ask.
        I can agree or not with that answer. May or may not be a delusion.
        Ron K

        >something against God’s laws, then of course it’s silly for an atheist to talk about it.

        That’s right. Sin is something that had no meaning for Leah before and now it is has a deep meaning. I ask HOW?

        >From my perspective, Leah (and many more people) did convert through a rational >thought process
        If you have gone through “a rational thought process” you have to have reasons.
        >That still doesn’t mean that she had good reasons to convert…. Apply them to >literature, art, intuition, gut feeling, wishful thinking etc., and you’ve got rubbish.
        Of course, but you don’t claim to have a good reason to like Harry Potter or Games of Thrones, you say I like them.
        You don’t have good reasons for a gut feeling. Not even talk to magic thinking… which even denial of reasoning is.
        >[Reason] Apply them to good data, and you have something that has a good chance of >being true
        Don´t waste time applying to concepts like God, uh?
        >assuming something so complex as morality into existance is equivalent to simply >assuming God
        So you worship Morality, morality created the universe, morality has talked to Moses, Morality was angry and killed almost everybody because men were not moral, Morality created us and then was incarnated and was put to death to resurrect because morality was angry……And you can ask morality to heal somebody. Weird concept.
        For me morality is just a byproduct of brain function derived from evolution so it is somewhat wired in our brains and it is also a social construct that allows us to live as a society. There are some moral principles that appear in most cultures but as a whole morality is relative to the society it belongs to.
        >I asked for the atheist definition of “sin” because I don’t see why Kewois can’t make >an appeal based on the grounds you mentioned;
        Also that concept does not work for me but has to work to a believer like Leah.

    • As a Catholic, any time someone gives me reasons why they became an atheist they always seem pretty lame. But religion is complex and personal. I assume there is a ton they are not telling me. Same goes with conversions the other way. Some people say they just went to mass once and they just knew. I love that they converted but I don’t get it. Who are we judge what should or should not move somebody’s spirit. Just interact with the reasons she give and don’t declare them inadequate. More may come in time.

  • Pretty long for “the rules of the blog.” Cut out about three-fourths of it and you’ll have a sensibly-sized comment policy.

    That out of the way, I’d say you’re only giving us a target. First to get their comment deleted wins!

    • Which is obviously supposed to say “his” comment deleted, darnit. Stupid public schools and the gender-neutral language abuse immersion. Time to find some Edwardian literature and detox.

      • Skittle

        First to get her comment deleted wins. You should know that obviously when I say “she” I also include men, except when I don’t.

        *Long repetitive discussion of singular they, in which various good writers including Shakespeare are quoted as using it, and in which claims of “political correctness gone mad” and “patriarchy” and “feminazis” fly. Everyone gets a bit annoyed that the ‘other side’ doesn’t surrender and agree that their opponent is obviously right. Nesting breaks. Replying breaks. Comments are closed.*

        That should save some time.

        • Hibernia86

          I’m a big supporter of the use of the singular they, but I don’t care if people use the word “he” or “she” to describe humans as a whole. They just are using a specific image of a person as a stand in for everyone. That image has gender so we shouldn’t mind if people make that image male or female depending on preference. What I really DON’T want to see is people being forced to say “he or she” every time they refer to people in the population. That is just annoying to have to type every time. Hopefully people won’t get so angry about this topic that they start yelling insults at each other. I dont’ care THAT much.

          • Being a DMV employee, I interpret it in the light of the California Vehicle Code.

            CVC § 13. The masculine gender includes the feminine and neuter.

            Accusations that this is ideological expedience will be firmly ignored because they are absolutely true.

    • deiseach

      How o geet a comment deleted on here? Easy!
      *clears throat*
      Statistics are booooring and not fun at all!


      • deiseach

        Me can spell proper, honest!

        “How o geet” should be “How to get”, unless I’ve suddenly starting typing in mangled Dutch.

  • deiseach

    I think this might work as a short-hand policy?

    On this blog, Libresco is God.

    (I tremble and obey!)


    • Ted Seeber

      One of my favorite science fiction stories included the concept of a small isolated government dealing with a crisis by electing one of it’s members as “God” for a specified amount of time. The governmental powers thus given were without limit during the period the person was God- but such a person had to be careful of what would happen to their reputation afterwards.

  • Alex Godofsky

    nice blog! I really like it.

  • This blog is really good in an unspecified way. You have lots of interesting thoughts here. I am looking forward to keeping reading your blogging.

    Now please for to clicky on my website and give my your SSN, credit card numbers, bank accounts… I’m trustworthy don’tcha know.

  • Oregon Catholic

    I think posts containing obscenities or that call people disrespectful names that are simply gratuitous should also be deleted. They add nothing to the discussions and, like gang graffiti, just prompt more of the same until property values are diminished.

    • Ted Seeber

      It is *VERY HARD* to moderate based on disrespect. Respect and disrespect are incredibly subjective concepts.

      • Oregon Catholic

        If I call you an a**hole or tell you to f- off am I being respectful or disrespectful? I cannot see any reason to ever let those kinds of comments stand. The blogs that do tend to attract a following that turns me off. Discussions degenerate into name calling when people are pushed to defend their positions and they can’t.

        • leahlibresco

          Some people come in with a crude way of talking that may not feel as aggressive to them. If I delete their comments, they don’t have the opportunity to be engaged or learn. If you really hate the attitude, don’t talk to them; you’re under no obligation. But sometimes I’ve found it productive to respond only to the content of the post and just ignore the obscenity and give them a chance to go deeper into the subject. When I act as though the crudity isn’t there, I deprive them of the dumber riposte they might have been looking for.

        • Ted Seeber

          I can’t tell. For all I know, you’re a logger in Vernonia and such language is a normal part of your vocabulary.

  • jenesaispas

    “Ted, do you believe the same thing about Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Mormonism, ect? Because they seem to have lasted longer than 20 minutes.”

    Maybe it’s just the truth they do have that keeps them going.

    PS: I’m not sure when i last went to bed this early.:)

    • Sure, they’re all true and they’re all different. And in celebration of their common truths they’re forever getting up each other’s noses. Except for the religions that disappeared…
      When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus “And what is Truth?”, Jesus was stumped.

      • … or Pilate wouldn’t listen and they both knew it.

        • Equally valid interpretation. And it’s the slew of equally valid interpretations that makes a mess of people using the Bible.

          • Ted Seeber

            Which is why Catholicism admits to a political method by which there is a central authority all interpretation needs to be vetted through. This is one of the reasons I am not an atheist today.

          • But we’re all starting to wonder about that central authority.

          • Are we? I don’t think you do the oddity of the Church enough credit.

            Catholic doctrine through the centuries, in the lens of Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, is a lot more stable than human authority is able to make even when compared to very ancient cultures’ religions. When you tie in that it’s a cross-cultural institution with a missionary bent there is an unparalleled combination.

            There is ossified tradition frozen in ancient Arabic, and there are messes of gurus or rabbis, but only Catholicism manages both. And it manages it with coherence, and correspondence to reality, and for a wide number of people of infinitely different backgrounds and cultural tastes. If Catholicism is false, it is oddly false.

          • Except everything was weird back then

    • Ted Seeber

      Exactly. Or from Nostra Aetate:
      2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense.

      Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing “ways,” comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)

      The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.

  • I like the comments/bazaar analogy. Chasing someone away from your booth isn’t productive for either party, nor is simply using your visitors as mechanisms for scoring points 🙂

  • Kewois

    >I was quite sure that morality was human-independent and good, but my naturalistic >system didn’t have a good explanation for this fact.
    Ok. That is fine.
    But you have to admit that it was a personal decision of yours that apply to you and not something that could apply to others like a “well-developed scientific or philosophical approach to the world”.
    Also there are now, lots of scientific studies about morality in neuroscience.
    >If I held onto a metaphysics that didn’t account for other people actually existing, I’d >take that as a strike against the metaphysical system, even though I can’t get Popper->like proof of the existence of other people.
    And does your metaphysical system supports now all the claims Catholicism does?
    My question is: when you were an atheist you surely argue with believers saying: I do not think that, as an example, transubstantiation is real because of “this” and “this” and “that”. And you set your arguments and opinions.
    How did you overcome those arguments?
    I mean metaphysically you have to assume a lot more things than just not knowing were morality comes from.
    Perhaps you could say that Christianism or Catholicism has some insight in what morality is or comes from, but converting yourself you have to admit not only that Morality is God and God is morality but: Incarnation, Salvation, Resurrection, Miracles, Transubstantiation, Infallibility, perpetual virginity, Ascension, etc, etc, etc.
    Isn’t that too much?? It is not just covering one metaphysical hole and opening hundreds of them?
    But your answer seems to be: Wait! I am still considering all this, I’ll ask at the RCIA classes!!!
    Wow! So why do you claimed you were an atheist if you didn’t even know how to deal with those questions??
    I mean, I have reasons not to believe in Christian dogmas. We can discuss them anytime. I can be wrong or can be right.
    But if I convert myself to Catholicism I need to have stronger arguments to overcome my previous atheism.
    If I don’t know how to prove myself the dogmas I claim to believe, at least I should say: Ok I am now catholic but it is just a matter of faith, or personal choice, no sound reason, no well-developed scientific or philosophical approach to the world.
    Just because I like.
    >I really doubt I’m going to be able to satisfy you in a comment or in another post of >that kind.
    I made many questions. You can try to answer al least some of them.
    For example:
    You say that God is Morality. Morality is what we perceived as right and wrong.
    Also as a Catholic you believe that God is immutable.
    Morality therefore is immutable.
    So, why are there so many atrocities done by God in the Old Testament.
    >her weird stuff in the interim, you may want to check back in September.



  • Oregon Catholic

    “So, why are there so many atrocities done by God in the Old Testament.”
    Why are there so many atheists who ask this question but never actually attempt to learn the answer? Why don’t you try taking a Bible study course. In it’s simplest terms it is the story of redemption and salvation and like all stories it has a beginning, a middle, and an end plus character and plot development.

  • jenesaispas

    “Except everything was weird back then”
    I don’t really know what that means but things were ‘weird’ in the beginning, they’re ‘weird’ now and they probably always will be ‘weird’

    • I meant that it’s rubbish to say the Catholic Church has a correspondance to reality over the span of its tradition. It strongarmed its own interpretation on everything. So when I say “everything was weird back then”, I mean that an evidential approach to life was disregarded and sometimes burned out of you. Putting Galileo under house arrest and refusing to look through his telescope showed no correspondance to reality. There’s been progress, in spite of religion.