Saturday, April 23, 2005

Quasi-Acerbic Oddities for the Day

Ann Coulter on the cover of Time Magazine? They must be desperate for news. Having her around is like visiting the zoo. Everybody likes to have some fun watching the monkeys now and then. But you wouldn't ask them for political advice or invite one home for dinner.

The answer to the moral relativism the new Pope deplores is not Roman Catholic absolutism; nor is it Protestant or Muslim fundamentalism. For absolutists, often relativism means you don't agree with me about issues of right and wrong, and I, of course, posses the truth. Relativism properly defined means that we (Popes pipefitters, Baptists, etc), can justify religious and moral claims only by making use of the approved and available resources (sources, norms, tests) in a particular time and place, i. e., from the vantage point of the claimants in history, culture, etc. With respect to God and morality there is no guranatee that such claims mirror, correspond with, reflect reality, i. e., give us truth that is universal and certain. Believing they are true even while stomping the foot does not make them true. Abolutely believing them and shouting that they are true, TRUE, TRUE does not make them so. Stomping the foot helps only a little. It only mean the claimant has absolute confidence in them invulnerable to doubt.

Pope Benedict XVI has said he is is open to dialogue with other religious groups. e. g., Protestant and other Christians, Jews, Muslims for the sake of improving the human condition on earth. This is highly commendable and welcomed. But on what basis will these discussions take place? Will it assume equality among all with no stated or assumed notion that exclusive or unique truth is held by one of the parties? Until the Pope takes back the notion that we separated folks, e. g., Baptists and other Protestants, have only some but not all marks of the whole, full, complete church and that they cannot have until they are in full communion with Rome, then I don't see how equality can prevail. Will each group secretly hold quietly in its owm bosom the notion that it has more truth than others while being nice, polite, tolerant, open to hear all points of view? What? On whatever basis they are conducted, I guess they can't hurt, but I doubt they will accomplish much either beyond a temporary boost to good feelings and an illusory sense of having done something worthwhile. If these dialogues are for a limited purpose like finding ways to cooperate to feed the hungry, fine. Maybe something worthwhile might happen. But pretty soon the ugly face of sex would emerge, and we will be fighting over birth control control populations growing beyond means to support them, condom to prevent AIDS, so people can live to farm and produce the necessities of life. Dear Pope Benedict XVI, prove me wrong, please. Show me that such diaogue can provide real help to real people suffering from hunger, war, and injustice, and not just make the participants to the conversations feel good for a day.

One solution to the shortage of troops provided by a voluntary army is to stay out of unnecessary wars based on lies, deception, and false premises. Having Sadam out of power is a gain, but the price in money and in American and Iraqi lives has been grossly excessive. A majority of Americans agree that the Iraq war was not worth it, but where was their moral outrage at the president who started it last November? President Bush worries about the innocent deaths caused by abortion, but does he worry about the loss of innocent babies, children, and adults in Iraq because of his immoral war?

Let's get this straight. The major drug problem is this country is not the illegal ones -- marijuana, cocaine, heroin -- but tobacco and alcohol, both perfectly legal.

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