Matthew Henry John Bartlett

+64 27 211 3455
email me

Thursday 18 August, 02005

by Matthew Bartlett @ 12:44 am

I’m voting Green.

123 responses to “”

  1. kathy says:

    Firstly, you miss the point of comment #100, we know who you are.
    Secondly, what’s the difference between having a gay friend or having one who blasphemes, or being aquainted with any other sinner type?(I am thinking of JC having dinner with some prostitutes.)
    Thirdly, I wonder how RDB is arrogant by saying he is not concerned with being wrong? Surely, it is more like arrogant to assume that you are always right (or even can be always right)… often the way with churchy types don’t you find?
    Fourthly, yes, Richard has a gay friend. More than likely you do too, they just haven’t told you, and is it any wonder?
    Finally, shouldn’t you be at church changing the world one sermon at a time?

  2. Aaron says:

    Richard, I don’t really know much about how things are meant to be either. The issues are complex and difficult. Much more complex and difficult than I used to think, by the way.

    I too am attracted to the liberal secular vision. Seriously – I really do sympathize with you on this. But in the end, I don’t think that politics without Jesus/God ends up in a very good place. I am committed to the view that God’s provision of fellowship with him is actually the best way to improve the world. I can’t imagine a world in which the gospel – Christ’s kingship – is true but in which politics can work well without God.

    I think Jesus did put a lot of effort into politics, but perhaps not in the way that we recognise. He did talk about what authority meant, what ‘kingship’ implied, and what sort of world he was interested in creating. These are things we can take cues from, I think.

    But it’s hard to translate that into the details of our very different time and place. I appreciate (again, I’m serious), your comments here – I see it as all part of the hard work we have to do.

    And I think that Anon’s #101 is entirely unhelpful, and Kathy’s response made me laugh out loud.

  3. Anon says:

    Re 102: I know you know. I have other reasons (pathetic perhaps, but then who are we to judge one another?) for posting comments like 101 anonomously. For the record, it has been pointed out to me that I misuderstood 97. So I apologise. Lucky comments are numbered or this could all be very confusing.

  4. Rudy says:

    Richard, I’m kinda disappointed in you. Your contributions so far include:

    – straw men and hyperbole
    – making up your own (strange) definitions
    – “I don’t want to think about it”
    – “I don’t care if I’m wrong” (read: “I probably am, but will never admit it”)

    Conclusion – there’s no point in discussing this any further because it’s absurd. No matter what anyone says,

    Richard will always be right.

    Sorry, I had expected a bit more.

    Re: “I now(sic) things can work without God being in politics, otherwise Jesus would have made

    more of an effort on that front.”

    What kind of response is that? It is an invalid conclusion, and totally illogical (although that depends on

    your definition of logic…

    You still don’t get it do you?

    You still think politics can be neutral…

    I give up. There’s simply no point.

    Kathrine – I’m a churchy type. And I’m humble enough to admit I have a tendency towards arrogancy,and am often wrong about things.

    I admire your humility in setting yourself up over us “churchy types”. If only we’d strive to be more like you.

  5. Aaron, you’ve been writing quality lately, and it is appreciated.

    Anon, no hard feelings. Generally speaking though, I think if you feel you have to post anonymously, you almost certainly shouldn’t be posting at all. Especially when you are talking to/about me, when you know that I can take whatever you have to throw at me.

    Rudy, the point of me saying, “I don’t care if I’m wrong” was not, “I probably am, but will never admit it”. Let me explain myself further:

    I am wrong all the time about everything. I don’t care about that though because, I don’t think anyone can be all right. My experience with the church leads me to believe that there are people who think they are all right, that the wisdom of many men over many years has generated a set of documents with all the answers. I don’t believe in something called ‘all the answers’, but I believe many people do. Good for them, I don’t mean to cause people to doubt their own truths. Furthermore, I don’t care much for logic or consistency or having a comprehensive ideology. People are not logical or consistent.

    So you see, the point of me saying, ‘I don’t care much if I’m wrong’, was to indicate in a subtle way that you and I don’t think along the same lines, not to say that I am right.

    Your expectations of me, and your judgments of my decisions and the process by which I make them, are not my concern. At which point in this 100+ comment thread did you conclude that I am not thinking? My comment no. 99 may have been unclear – I meant to indicate that for most of the time, politics is not on my mind, but every election year it comes to the forefront. The length of this thread should indicate that, “I don’t want to think about it” does not apply to me.

    Finally, I should probably be a nana and make it clear that I am not just on this thread for a laugh. I’m not going out of my way to make people think I am an arrogant prick. I am being as honest and clear as I know how to be. I am trying to assume the same of everyone else, but the use of anonymity, sarcasm, and name-calling doesn’t help me confirm that assumption.

  6. Rudy says:

    Oh – right – so you weren’t trying to be logical or consistent…sorry, my mistake – must have wandered into the wrong discussion.

  7. Aaron says:

    O dear, Rudy.

    I’m not going out of my way to make people think I am an arrogant prick. I am being as honest and clear as I know how to be.

    This deserves better than your response.

  8. Rudy says:

    Dear Aaron,

    Why bother? If I’m trying to be logical, consistent, coherent and reasonable in my case, and Chud is playing by his own rules, we’re not getting anywhere.

    Unless we both play by the same rules, I can’t see the point.

  9. Sambo says:

    Rudy, obviously you dont know Richard very well at all.

    And if we were to all play by the same rules all the time I imagine we wouldn’t really have much of a need for politics and government and all that and this discussion wouldn’t now be 110 comments long. Infact instead of Matthew starting off by saying he’s voting green like I am he would probably of said something delightful about the weather we’re having, regardless of its form.

  10. 1) I am on a journey. Each comment on this thread is a step on the journey. I don’t know what the destination of this journey is, and I am in no rush to get there. No, I don’t believe there is one single thing you say that will bring me to that destination in one step. That doesn’t mean the intermediate steps are worthless.

    That is the point.

    2) We are playing by the same rules. Your rules appear to be a subset of mine, though. Let me demonstrate to you that you are not logical, consistent, coherent, and reasonable at your very essential core:

    Imagine I could construct a paragraph of utmost logical integrity, that effectively denied all your beliefs from Creation to Crucifixion. This paragraph is brilliant; imagine with me now that no matter how hard you think about it, you can’t see the logical inconsistency in it. What would your response be to this paragraph?

    I would suggest that your response would not be, “Oh, I was wrong for 25 years. Oh well, I’ll do something different now.” Surely, it would be more along the lines of, “I don’t know why, but I know that is wrong.” Logic and consistency is absolutely not the final test of your beliefs. (Rather, I would suggest that faith is the final test, and faith is anything but logical.)

    My upbringing in the church, which has many similarities with yours, Rudy, led me to believe that is not the case. No doubt I got the wrong end of the stick, but I thought that the great thing about the Reformed Church was that we have an answer for everything, we have the Confessions and the Catechism, and if there were any questions not answered by these forms, we could always say, ‘God works in mysterious ways.’ I was also taught to believe in absolute truth.

    Well let me tell you something. If you have all the answers (or a large proportion of them), and you have absolute truth, then your answers should be universally applicable and universally communicable. The fact that I have to write this comment demonstrates to me that this is not so; you are giving up on communicating your truth to me. So let me send that question back to you:

    What is the point? What is the point of having logical coherency, what is the point of having a comprehensive theology, what is the point of having the answers if you can’t share them?

  11. Rudy says:

    Richard re:106

    “Furthermore, I don’t care much for logic or consistency or having a comprehensive ideology. People are not logical or consistent.”

    And again

    “I don’t believe in something called ‘all the answers’”

    From his own blog,

    “Consistency of ideology, and logic for that matter, are inventions of limited worth.”

    “My truth is not your truth.”

    Right, here we go.

    A) We might as well find out what Richard’s definition of “logic” is.

    Mine (and the dictionary’s) is : valid (correct) reasoning. The following points are based on this definition. If Richard will accept this definition, I’m a happy bunny. If he won’t, will he please state why not?

    B) Why don’t you value logic? Why would you not want to use correct reasoning when you think through an argument?

    C) Do you think God is logical? Consistent? I do. In fact, I believe logic is true because it is a reflection of God’s character (= truth, consistency and order).

    Logic is not an “invention, Richard. It was conceived by an Absolute God. Furthermore, I believe that God created us with logical minds. We simply screw them up to suit our own purposes. We become lazy and let others do our thinking for us, or prefer some kind of “ignorance is bliss” attitude.

    D) Do you believe logical absolutes exist (ie truth)?

    Your statement “My truth is not your truth” suggests not. Correct me if I’m wrong (I dearly hope so).

    If you don’t believe in logical absolutes, you are proposing relativism (= all truth is subjective).

    With a relativistic system, there can be no real truths.

    (If all things were subjective, then nothing is true….except the notion that all things are subjective… which means the statement itself is subjective and not absolute…it is self defeating.)

    In other words, if there are no logical absolutes, then you have no logical basis for your statements.

    Everything you say would then be purely subjective and completely meaningless.

    If you change your mind, and accept that logical absolutes do exist, and there is some value in correct reasoning, we’ll continue to discuss the question of Christianity’s role in politics. If not, I’ll leave you to your silly notions.

    Richard, before you reply in a vengeance, reread the above case for valuing logic. Please, prove me wrong.

    Play the ball, not the player. Please, don’t try to put me into a box with whatever people in whatever church you’ve got a problem with (I suspect the Reformed Church, but that’s neither here nor there), because you don’t know me.

    Awaiting your reply…

  12. Rudy says:

    I really need to get to bed.

    But one more time.

    A) Richard, the Reformed Church doesn’t have all the answers. No one does. They never claimed they had.

    In theory they do not claim the Confessions have all the answers either. They are merely useful tools for putting your beliefs on paper in an ordered way.

    I am not a member of the Reformed Church, and I’m not here to defend it. Do not try and put me into that box.

    As Christians, we do however have all the answers God has decided we will need. He revealed it to us in this book called the Bible.

    Now will we understand it all? I don’t think so. We’re imperfect and that affects our understanding.

    Does that mean we can’t believe the Bible is true?

    Again, I don’t think so. We know it is God’s Word, and He is Truth. Therefore the Bible is true.

    Try to disprove that logically.

    B) Richard, first of all, you make a logical fallacy. It is called “per impossible”. If you could logically prove the Bible is false (which is impossible), you would be correct, and I would believe your claim. But it is impossible.

    Richard – you ask me why I believe the Bible.

    The Bible is quite reliable historically, archaeologically, prophetically, etc. It has Jesus’ words and deeds in it, which are, to say the least, miraculous. In short, I believe the eyewitness accounts of His miracles….of the fulfilled prophecies…of the accurate accounts, historically, of the Bible, etc.

    It is logically valid to conclude it is truthful.

    I would ask you to logically prove to me why I shouldn’t believe the Bible’s claims.

    Since you couldn’t, I wouldn’t have to believe your claim that it was false.

    Sorry, you’ll have to do better than that.

    Please disprove my statement that logical abolutes (or absolute truth) exist. Without it you cannot continue to reason, since you’re talking subjective gibberish. For my case, see #112.

    But you’re correct in suggesting that logic isn’t the be all and end all. It is merely a useful tool.

    Logic has two major flaws:

    First, it is only as good as the one who is using it (though that really isn’t a flaw in logic itself – merely its aplication).

    Second, logic doesn’t save. Only Jesus does.

    It is a tool that can be used to remove intellectual barriers to belief in Jesus. As Christians, we need to use our all of our minds, as well as our deeds, prayers, God’s word, love, kindness, etc. in our efforts to win people to Jesus.


  13. Sambo says:

    Richard, despite being full of crap, knows when to be mature (suprisingly) and I doubt he will reply in vengeance. I, however will. Why? Because im a pirate.

    Rudy, for one, you need to read your own words, you dont want to be put in a box, but look what you’re doing to Richard. He doesn’t know you any more than you know him.

    Have you ever admitted to being wrong? Do you feel like you are the smartest guy in the universe, mr? Heard of short man syndrome?

    I think you need to calm down, you seem to be getting fired up about a discussion on the internet like someone is hitting your mother. I usually dont condone these things, but got have a beer, a cigarette or a wank (which you seem to be doing in text format anyway) or something. Your gripe with Richards ways is just stupid, you’re flaming him isin’t going to turn his life around and change him. If you wanna change people lives to be just like you, have some children or go prech or something. This little orb of ‘truth’ which you hold in your sweaty hands isin’t the be all and end all of the universe.

    Please note that I’m not doing this in Richards defense, some days I want to crack him in the jaw, but today, I am calling it as I see it.

  14. Aaron says:

    Let’s get back to the question of voting. (Maybe you two can sort out your differences elsewhere.)

    Can anyone tell me why United Future would be a bad vote? That’s where I’m inclined to go now…

  15. Aaron says:

    Ha. Who would you recommend?

  16. kathy says:

    sorry didn’t mean to be an arse. united is a perfectly reasonable vote and no doubt mr dunne is more fascinating than he first appears. just not very charismatic is all. happy voting!

  17. My momentary silence was not surrender! It’s just that Real Life needed attending to for a few (terrifying) hours.

    Rudy. You are asking me to logically prove my distaste for logic? Do you see the problem here? For all your pages of writing, all I am hearing is, ‘Logic is perfect’, ‘God is logic’, ‘Logic is virtuous’. But first, to address your enumerated points of comment number 112:

    A) Don’t be confused, you and I share the same definition of logic. Logic is ‘if x and y, then z’. You can indeed remain a happy bunny.

    B) I don’t value logic as highly as you because I have noticed that people are not logical. The primary gripe men have with women is that they are forever being ‘unreasonable’, or ‘illogical’. Is that because women are weak and haven’t quite mastered the fine art of logical reasoning? Or could it be that practically speaking, logic is of more limited value than many men would like to think? This interaction between you and I is the perfect example that water-tight logical consistency has little effect when it comes to actually convincing someone of something. Rather, it is effective for convincing yourself of a point that you already believe. The act of believing, however, came from something completely other, a feeling, a gift of faith, whatever.

    C) Logic IS an invention. It is a way of explaining our experiences that didn’t exist at one point, and then the Greeks came along and suddenly it did exist. They believed, I assume, as do you, that it is self-evident and hence it was merely discovered as opposed to invented. I partly agree: part of our experience leads logic to be self-evident. But it does not accurately codify the entirety of our experience by any means. An experience you will have almost certainly have had, that logic does not account for:

    Someone says something. You get righteously indignant, because what they said was wrong and hurtful. You are logically in the right, and you have an associated emotional reaction to the wrongdoing. Some time later, you realise you actually misunderstood whatever was said. The misunderstanding is cleared up, and the matter ends there. Although the situation has been logically cleared up and all the two plus twos are back to equalling four, you will still have some residual negative emotional feeling for the person.

    This is an experience of mine, and I it is not far-fetched of me to assume that other people experience this too. Your final reaction is not logically explicable, but it is still very real.

    I do not think God is logical. To suggest such is the pinnacle of arrogance for several reasons, not least of which because to say that God is logical is to deny him the right to be illogical. You have taken what is a Greek invention, broadened its application to all mankind (by assuming it is self-evident, indisputable and universally applicable), and then you want to expand it even further to codify God!? Do you think that this fits within Micah’s idea of ‘walking humbly with your God’? You and I are cockroaches looking up at God’s little toe! (I could go on to mention my Hindu brethren looking at another toe of the same God, but that is an entirely separate conversation.)

    D) Yes I believe in absolute truth. How could I deny absolute truth when you believe in it so strongly? By any definition I know of, it must be real. I have no right to deny something that you believe with all your heart and soul. However, for you to say that, ‘with a relativistic system, there can be no real truths’ is, as you might say, setting up a straw man. My relativistic system leaves room for your absolute system within it. By not making logic my final test of worth, absolutism can fit within relativism. That is, your truth is correct and so is mine, though they are different. I know this will upset you, but I do not know why that is, or what you would like me to do about that.

    You are yet to answer my question: what is the point of being right if you can’t communicate it to someone who is wrong? You evidently think you are right, and that I am wrong, and you seem to be trying – but you are yet to communicate your truth to me.

    I do not believe the thought-experiment of using my hypothetical brilliant paragraph to disprove the Bible is a worthless one. Einstein used the exact same method for proving the general and special theories of relativity, with his impossible elevators. From my point of view, the conclusion of my experiment is still valid, that is, if there some logically consistent way to disprove the Bible, I think you would still believe it.

    Where do you think I asked you to explain why you believe the Bible? As I said, we had a similar upbringing, I can imagine why you believe the Bible and I have no intention of challenging that. If I have suggested otherwise, I withdraw and apologise.

    Your last paragraph, I agree with.

    I hope this response adequately addresses your concerns of both comments 112 & 113. I want to limit myself to half an hour per comment when writing on blogs that aren’t my own. Finally, I have not called your ideas silly, and I’ll thank you to return the courtesy. I mean, do you seriously think I am just stupid?

  18. Jonathan Marinus says:

    I can’t say I like Richard D. and I can’t say I like Rudy. I don’t know them well enough. I can say, though, that I’ve whispered sweet nothings to them both here and there. I’ve exchanged niceties with them both such as one acquaintance might do with another. I trust that warms their hearts and establishes my credibility as an objective observer. So there.

    The debate raging here is an intriguing one. Not a new one, yet an intriguing one. However, there is one thing conspicuously absent from almost all the posts in this thread – the use of God’s Word. This worries me. Too often in our debates, the wisdom of one young man is pitted against the wisdom of another. Why? Why do we so rarely demonstrate familiarity with our God, love for Him and a courageous willingness to deploy His Scripture to help us come to agreement? Why are our debates about God so often God-less?

    The grand, and potentially tragic, irony of it all is that the dry intellectualism we often so readily lampoon in our Reformed tradition is the very thing we ourselves are most guilty of indulging.

    Explore the nature and role of logic by all means, but spare a thought for the many who have thought this through before yourselves – guys like Moses, David, Paul et al. And, of course, Christ Himself. As the shepherd-boy wrote all those years ago, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105).

    Sally forth, chums.

  19. Allan says:

    savage age wielder! east man-crayfish. pie. spaghetti sandra.

  20. Allan says:

    o.k, i just posted comment number 121!
    I wasn’t going to do it for a minute there.
    I thought to myself “could this be in bad taste?” but then I went for it, I just went for it, and oh i am SO glad I did it. so glad. shit yea.

  21. peter caddy says:

    well you logic is all about seeing thing s as they should be, you have to get past all the stuff in the way to get to real stuff. logic comes naturally if you are that way inclined and i think that you all have to think more to the point that when you get logic it all goes that way. logic. if logic was it that ten apple. historic logic topic shick? when did blogging get so fucking lame?

Leave a Reply