“Some of us just go one god further”

In a recent YouTube comment, I mentioned Bill Vallicella (the Maverick Philosopher)’s analysis of the silly atheist soundbite “some of us just go one god further.

And despite my best intentions, I got drawn into a discussion in YouTube comments, which is worse than Twitter.

Since I ended up writing a long thing, here it is:

First, here is the original piece by Bill Vallicella: https://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2010/07/some-of-us-just-go-one-god-further.html

The comment he is examining is “Some of us just go one god further.” This comment is not—in itself—an argument, but is typically presented as one of the premises of an enthymeme, which is an argument. The argument spelled out, would be something like:

1 P believes in a god, e.g. Thor.

2 P does not believe in any other gods.

3 But any reason P could adduce for belief in Thor could be adduced for belief in any or all other gods, and

4 Any reason P could adduce for not believing in any other gods could be adduced as reason for anyone, including P, not to believe in Thor.

5 So, P’s belief in the god Thor and only the god Thor, while rejecting all other gods, is not rationally justified. Note that it is logically possible that P is correct.

It could be the case that Ragnarok just occurred and literally all the gods died, except for Thor, who almost died from poison of the Midgard Serpent, but was saved by P with some modern anti-toxins. Thor reports directly to P that all the other gods died, and he is the sole survivor. That is logically possible, that all the gods died, save one, and P finds himself in a position to know this. But that’s not really the issue.

I doubt there is such a person as P, who believes in one god and no others. The fact that atheists think this is the case is due to a lack of education on their part. It depends specifically on two related errors: (1) That God is a god (2) That the difference between monotheism and polytheism lies in the number of gods worshiped. Neither of these is the case, and I have addressed both at length elsewhere:

On (1): https://lastedenblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/god-vs-the-gods/

On (2): https://lastedenblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/monotheism-vs-polytheism/ These can be summed up with the points

(1′) God is not a god and

(2′) monotheism is worship of God and zero gods (not one god) and polytheism is the worship of many gods.

So, with these in hand, we can reformulate the “one god further” claim and the argument it serves as a premise for. When an atheist says that “he just goes one god further” but actually rejects God on the same grounds that he rejects the various gods, he has not “just gone one god further” because God is not a god. He has committed an error which is analogous to “rejecting the truth of the earth is flat and “rejecting the truth of the moon is made of green cheese and then going on, like the postmodernists to reject TRUTH ITSELF. If a postmodernist defended his rejection of truth as such by saying that “just goes one truth further,” the error is (or should be) apparent: Truth itself, truth as such, is not A truth, although the word “truth” is applied both the particular truths, particular things asserted to be true, and also to truth itself.

The way it is disanalogous is that God is not the ground of gods in any special way more than God is the ground of all beings, unlike truth itself which, in a certain way, is the ground of all particular truths.

So the phrase reveals itself as an an untrue claim: “In rejecting God, Who is not a god, I just go one god further, because God, who is not a god, is a god.” The claim is untrue because it is literally nonsensical.  And so the reformulate argument also falls apart:

1 C believes in God.

2 C does not believe in any gods.

3 But any reason C could adduce for belief in God could be adduced for belief in gods, and [FALSE]

Any reason C could adduce for not believing in gods could be adduced as reason for anyone, including C, not to believe in God. [FALSE]

5 So, C’s belief in God, while rejecting gods, is not rationally justified. [FALSE]

So if the atheist who says “I just go one god further” has found a human being P who claims that a god, e.g. Thor, and only Thor, exists, whereas other gods do not (what happened to Odin and Loki?), then his description would make sense. But I am unaware of the existence of any such person P, and it would be entirely reasonable to ask P to justify his one-god-only belief, because it does seem prima facie bizarre, unless justified by a scenario like I laid out above.

But if the atheist who says “I just go one god further” is speaking to a human being C who believes not in any gods, but in God, then his “description” of the situation is in fact a misdescription, because he is confusing God with a god. When one rejects God, one is not rejecting a god, or “one more god.” Belief or rejection of God has nothing to do with belief or rejection of gods.

The gods are beings (if there are any, which I doubt). God is the transcendent ground and source of Being—the ἀρχὴ τῆς οὐσίας τε καὶ τοῦ εἶναι; God is “beyond Being, transcending it in dignity and power” “ἔτι ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας πρεσβείᾳ καὶ δυνάμει ὑπερέχοντος” [Socrates, Plato’s Republic ]. In brief, since God is not a god, one can never justify rejecting God on the grounds of “just going one god further.” That is neither an accurate description or observation or characterization of the situation, nor can it serve as premise in a cogent atheistical argument.

11 comments on ““Some of us just go one god further”

  1. JBJ says:

    Next up (many of the highlights are my own, some are original) some comments on Taoism as well as similarities between other religions and Greek philosophy:

    From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2010/08/cloudy-and-clear.html

    “The other kind of duality is the kind Taoism is based on, that of polarity. It includes the sexes and the directions, along with electric charges and a whole passle of other pairings. It’s not a privation; north is not the lack of southerliness and female is not the lack of masculinity (sex differentiation may involve a lack—the male lacks part of one chromosome, in mammals, while the female lacks part in birds—but the sexes themselves are complementary…which is essentially what Aquinas was saying in Summa Theologica, Part 1, Q. 92, Reply Objection 1, except going from Aristotle’s science which thought the female arose from a lack, not the male).

    Now, oddly enough, a lot of people—including the Taoists—identify “good and bad” as a yin-yang pair, which is where that whole “balance of good and evil” nonsense comes from, à la Dragonlance. Actually, though, if you really examine Taoism, you’ll notice that, to them, “good” means balance, and “evil” means imbalance—because evil is privation of a good. The “balance of good and evil” is the error the Manicheans made, and though the Chinese philosophers might’ve occasionally said the same thing (possibly in desperation for more yin-yang pairs), they never actually mistook the CONCEPT like that.

    That second duality is very important in many of the world’s philosophies; it’s a cornerstone of Egyptian, Aztec, and Navajo thought, along with Chinese. Yes, that’s right, Navajo thought—they’re basically Taoists (their traditional homeland is protected by a barrier anchored on the four directions by guardian gods, just like Kyoto is). Everything in Navajo thought, from weather to colors to people, is divided into yin and yang, simply called “male” and “female”. That’s what it means when, in reference to the Hero Twins, it’s said that Born for Water is the female twin and Monster Slayer is the male (they’re actually both boys)—as the younger brother, Born for Water is, of course, yin to his elder brother.

    The Sioux, incidentally, are Platonic hyper-realists; weird, huh?”

    Another post says something similar: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2015/09/all-is-grist-2.html

    “And the second point is, who told Campbell there was more than one way to think? I am at least passingly familiar with four Native American/American Indian philosophies and five Old World ones, they are not actually any different from each other—nothing in Navajo thought is not found in China or the pre-Socratics, the Sioux are Platonic hyperrealists, the Nahuatls and Hopi are almost down-the-line Chinese philosophers. Existentialism, Buddhism, Chinese thought, Aristotle, and Plato are all recognizably talking about the same things, albeit coming to different conclusions on some of the questions. Why it’s almost like philosophy deals with an external reality and therefore only certain interpretations of it are actually tenable! Besides, remember, Campbell was one of the rubes who fell for Sapir-Whorf. The fact is that nobody that humans can talk with at all is going to think that differently from a human; and the only people humans can’t talk with at all, are probably not remotely the same kind of thing humans are.”

    Some comments on the French revolution not being as bad as English liberalism, how Stoicism is a shorthand for Robespierre but Marcus Aurelius killed more people, and how Marxism is more Whiggish than French revolution:

    https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2010/11/pinch-yourself.html

    “So I’m still flabbergasted by this myth of the “terrible” French Revolution, that mars such otherwise intelligent thinkers as John C. Wright. The fact is that the French Revolution killed a lot fewer people—possibly 50% fewer—than contemporary English liberalism, which, again, also instituted the first systematic terror-rape in Western history, a mere 5 years after Robespierre’s Terror. And unlike Revolutionary France, England wasn’t in imminent danger of being invaded by every other power on the continent, and so had much less excuse.

    I think a part of it is, Continental Romanticism was a conscious reaction against the (excessive) rationalism of the Revolution; there was no such literary reaction against English Liberalism, except in Ireland, and those writers were themselves Liberals, and so restricted their criticism to nationalist rather than ideological grounds.

    It’s especially egregious in Wright’s case, though, since he likes the Stoics; “Stoicism” is an excellent shorthand for the entire Revolution, especially Robespierre. Oh, except Robespierre murdered a lot fewer people than Stoics like Marcus Aurelius.

    What’s really fascinating is when right-wingers sloppily identify Marxism with the French Revolution, when it was a product of the First Republic’s mortal enemy, Prussia.

    Actually, the only commonality Marx has with the Revolution is that he, like Rousseau, studied England and believed the lies the English Liberals told about their state. It was just that there had begun to be a (simplistic, wrongheaded) backlash against capitalism by Marx’s time, while in Rousseau’s time they were still telling their lies about popular sovereignty and elections (while the wholesale theft of the English people’s land continued unabated).

    It would not be wrongheaded to say that all the evil ideologies of the modern era are basically Whiggism, conducted by people a lot more intellectually consistent than the English. The other name, after all, for Marxism’s Hegelian triumphalism is Whig History.”

    Some comments on Rousseau not being a redistributionist which is what many seem to think. What do you think?: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2011/02/on-passing-scene-iv.html

    “Speaking of crap you don’t know about French Liberalism, Rousseau, in Contrat Social, says, “The society can only function where all possess, and none possess too much.” What’s funny to me is, both left- and right-wing people, being apparently TOTALLY ILLITERATE, interpret that as meaning he was advocating redistributionist policies. Never mind that it’s blatantly obvious, at least if you can spell Rousseau on your first try, that he’d consider the state presuming the right to distribute private citizens’ wealth to other citizens as rendering the contract void—”the state screws you to benefit others” is pretty much his DEFINITION of “breech of social contract”.

    What Rousseau was saying was, both the destitute and the super-rich have no stake in society—the destitute because they have nothing to lose, and the super-rich because they can buy everything they’d want, even in the state of nature, without the contract’s protections. Is anyone really concerned to deny this?”

    From the same post he also mentions how Marxism is better defined as naturalist Platonism. What do you think?:

    “So Ayn Rand is an “Aristotelian”—you always have to use the quotes, though, because she had about as much regard for real Aristotelianism as Cromwell had for the English monarchy. But you know something? Marx is a Platonist. A much better Platonist than Rand is an Aristotelian, not that that’s much of a challenge.

    Marxist philosophy is “dialectical materialism”, but that’s a misnomer; it’s not materialist as we usually mean the word (just as Dvaita Hinduism is not dualism as we usually mean the word). It’s “materialist” only to the extent it restricts itself to material explanations, just like Objectivists, Stoics, Neo-Confucians, and most Existentialists do. A more accurate name for Marxist philosophy would be “naturalist Platonism”, forgetting for the moment that restricting “natural” to mean “physical” means you’re an idiot.

    Marxism is fundamentally Platonist in being hyperrealism: hence, class. The individual, in Marxist thought, is merely an imperfect reflection of his class-traits. Know what you get when you combine hyperrealism with an esoteric liberation narrative, which Marxism emphatically is? Neo-Platonism. Or Marxism.

    Marxism, being hyperrealist, is much better Platonism than Objectivism is Aristotle, because Rand seems to think you can avoid making a form-matter distinction. If a philosopher is not a mitigated realist, though, what right do they have to claim to be a follower of Aristotle? None whatsoever, that’s what.

    Also, anyone who’s ever talked to or read Objectivists in any quantity (my sympathies) can tell you, they’re far more Gnostic—preening that they’re in an inner circle, morally and intellectually superior to the uninitiated, to whom they owe no duty of compassion or aid—than any Marxist, even a Stalinist. Hence Rand’s appeal to high school kids, shared with every other kind of Gnostic.”

    Next, some comments on individualism in relation to Nash equillibrium, and again how Buddhism and Christianity seem to share an idea which sets them apart from others, and how charity allows more self-interest: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2011/03/sur-la-politique.html

    “The simplest form of individualism is that of someone like Ayn Rand (or any other sociopath ignoramus, really): pure self-interest. You can find her puzzlewit personality cult saying, for instance, that an industrialist has the right to clear-cut a forest, regardless of any negative effects this will have.

    Of course, try this, and you’ll quickly realize the flaw. Namely, if you pursue your own good completely without reference to the goods of others, as for instance gathering natural resources without reference to whether others also have need of them, NOBODY CAN BUY FROM YOU. It’s the same reason as why there’s no predator so efficient as to wipe out all its prey populations: such a species would go extinct. After a while you replace Rand’s simpleminded individualism with the intelligent kind, the “enlightened self-interest” of Adam Smith.

    Even that, however, isn’t much of an improvement. Rational analysis of one’s own self-interest, since one is a part of an intricate web of relationships, will quickly lead to selecting, as the only safe method, each individual coordinating his needs with those of his neighbors. This will allow each one to maximize his own gains while minimizing the losses to his fellows, and therefore maximizing his gains FROM THEM. It will probably be through custom rather than positive law, but it will have the effect of erecting a shame/honor society, in which all relations may be thought of as a Nash equilibrium.

    If you disagree, kindly offer an alternate explanation for this facet of Navajo, Hopi, Chinese, Korean, Sub-Saharan African, and Hindu life. Those first four EXPLICITLY SAY this is how their customs developed as they have.

    Of course, it is possible to have “enlightened self-interest” without turning into a shame/honor society. Unfortunately, you need what Rand would call a “mystical” theory to do it with. The only societies, after all, which managed to AVOID basing all of law on shame and honor, and all human relations on Nash equilibria, are those which base a large portion of their customs and laws on Christianity or Buddhism.

    Basically, having a principle of TRANSCENDENTAL benevolence—that one must do good for others even if it does not advance one’s own interests—frees each individual to pursue his own interests. Essentially, both those systems, having the mystical doctrines of caritas or karuna, free their adherents from guarding against others’ incursions on their interests—and yet allow them far more leeway to pursue their interests.

    Or in other words, seek ye first the kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you; neither held by anything, nor bound, all there is is the living of your own life.”

    Next some comments on Ayn Rand and empiricism: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2011/03/desolation-of-philosophy.html

    “So this one blog called “Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature” is pretty good at pointing out flaws in her writing, but unfortunately, it usually does it from a Hume/Popper empiricist standpoint—which is sorta like refuting Louis Farrakhan by citing Mein Kampf.

    See, empiricism is actually WORSE than Objectivism. Objectivism, at least, is not self-refuting; Rand just makes the same error as Maimonides, and identifies Being with Formal Part (“Existence is Identity”, in her formulation).”

    The same post also mentions ancient Greeks in comparison to modern politics and collectivism. What do you think of the accuracy?:

    “The real story is, of course, that, except for Christendom, the more complex a society is, the closer it is to pure collectivism—the reason being that Nash Equilibrium thing I mentioned. Greeks and Romans were probably fairly hard socialist/light communist, except the Spartans, who made Stalin look like Barry Goldwater. The Chinese and Indians, on average throughout their histories, are about as collectivist as Mussolini or European socialism—less collectivist than the Greco-Romans, but that’s because of the ameliorating influence of Buddhism. It gets fun in the Americas, since you can compare peoples in one region, like the Navajo to the Hopi (the former are far more individualistic than the latter…and had a much lower level of organization and technology at contact), and also within one language group (Comanche, Hopi, Aztec, in ascending order both of cultural development and collectivism).”

    Next post touches on astrology and scientific determinism, as well as differences between Rome and Greece with regards to it:
    https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2012/07/ab-spuriis-non-frendaris.html

    “Speaking of arguing against a misconception when making a criticism—an unwitting strawman fallacy—the stars being distant has nothing whatsoever to do with the (in)validity of astrology. Remember, ancient Greco-Roman astronomy believed the stars were INFINITELY distant; read Ptolemy’s Almagest. We think the stars are closer than they did.

    Actually, if one is a “scientific” determinist, like many so-called thinkers still are, one is actually forbidden from disbelieving in astrology, at least in principle. After all, the same immutable physical laws that (in their risibly bad worldview) predetermine all human acts, also predetermine the stars, and IN PRINCIPLE one might divine the future motions of the former from those of the latter.

    Fundamentally no materialist-determinist has a right to criticize astrology; the only difference between astrology and many of its critics is that astrology is an unusually poetic method of denying free will and human moral agency.

    On the other hand, and despite what people often think, belief in divination is NOT directly correlated with a belief in fatalism. If you were to ask what premodern cultures came closest to Christianity in their respect for free will, your list would be topped by ancient Rome and pre-Meiji Japan. And both of those cultures had massive, state-funded divination bureaucracies.

    Even more interestingly, it’s actually because of those state diviners that Rome and Japan believed in free will. See, while a perpetual theme with the Greeks, e.g. in Oedypus, is “the oracle has spoken, attempting to avoid the prophecy will only fulfill it”, “here is how you can avoid the dark fate forecasted for you” is one in Rome and Japan. Why?

    Because the onmyôji and the augurs’ mamas didn’t raise no fools. Why would people bother consulting diviners if they can’t avoid their fate? But if they can escape—by following advice from that self-same diviner (which is of course another paid service they provide)—then the diviner gets a lot more business.”

    Next post has comments about Hinduism in comparison to Greeks: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-earth-is-blue.html

    “And seriously, no pagan gods are omnibenevolent; the Hindu gods (some of whom are described that way) are not purely pagan gods. Hinduism is not paganism, it is a pagan pantheon (the one described in the Rg Veda) being identified with the Supreme Being, usually either pantheistically or monistically.

    Say what you will about India, but they got a better answer than the Greeks or Romans did, to the cosmological yearnings paganism, by necessity, leaves unaddressed. The Greeks and Romans generally tended to the Stoic or Epicurean answers, neither of which is really an answer—both are really methods for dodging the question, just like Neo-Confucianism and the various “Enlightenment” attempts to discuss theological questions without reference to Christianity.”

    Next up are some comments on capitalism and Marxism and how Marx was partially correct about capitalism, but also what false assumptions he needs to make:

    https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/03/does-this-have-pattern.html

    “The fatal flaw, I think, of Marxist analysis, is an oversimplified assumption. Namely, that all exploitation is zero-sum. See, Marxism’s analysis of capitalism is otherwise far more correct than the analysis capitalism’s defenders usually use. Capitalism REALLY is the system where you, not having the means to produce salable goods, have to seek employment from those who own those means. So far, Marx is right, and his critics—who usually, rather than actually analyzing the system of labor in question, wax lyrical about creative entrepreneurial genius—are wrong. (Or they conflate capitalism with Free Trade, which it predates by about 150 years—mercantilism is still capitalist, thank you very much.)

    But then Marxism goes on to assume that you, though ultimately a dependent for your economic survival on someone with whom you have no true relationship, are simply exploited by your employer, deriving no benefit for yourself. Which is simply false. People who begin as employees ending up in the investor-class themselves is barely remarkable; for them to at least end in management is the NORM. That’s all any system can ask; a system where the farm-boy Kikuchiyo can be expected to become a samurai, and not unlikely a daimyô in his own right, is not exploitative in the true Marxist sense of the term.

    Admittedly the Marxist “zero-sum” analysis was far truer in the 19th century (another undisputable fact many of capitalism’s defenders do dispute, which is pretty much a “Castro led a popular revolt”-level LIE), but Ireland and India were also parts of the UK at the time, and Prussia was a state, not just an ethno-region like Moravia.

    When Marxism is expanded beyond economics to race and sex, it has to introduce two other assumptions, due to the exploitation narrative generally not being as purely self-evident. Namely, first, that all differences are inequalities, and second, that all inequalities are exploitative. Thus, if more of an ethnicity go into skilled labor than the professions, there must be discrimination in the professions—it can’t at all be because, say, one culture values mechanics and plumbers while another values lawyers and doctors.

    This is especially goofball in the relations of the sexes, because while there are egalitarian societies without classes, and not all societies will have all, or even more than one, ethnic group present, ALL HUMAN SOCIETIES HAVE BOTH SEXES PRESENT (except for things like monks, nuns, or most ship crews until very recently). Is that a Chesterton quote you see on the horizon? You bet your bippy it is, cupcake.

    “You could compare it with the emancipation of negroes from planters—if it were true that a white man in early youth always dreamed of the abstract beauty of a black man. You could compare it with the revolt of tenants against a landlord—if it were true that young landlords wrote sonnets to invisible tenants. You could compare it to the fighting policy of the Fenians—if it were true that every normal Irishman wanted an Englishman to come and live with him.”

    —”The Suffragist”, A Miscellany of Men

    If it is a thing that existed before 1936, I can find you a GKC quote for it.”

    Next up, some comments on how Tolkien’s Long Defeat is actually derived from pagan romanticism, and not an essentially Christian idea, and how the Christian view is different from the Stoic and Buddhist viewpoints on this (implying a similarity shared by Stoicism and Buddhism as well). What do you think?:

    https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/06/well-obtain-it.html

    “It is often said, because it is often said and with no better basis, like every other halfwit urban legend, that the melancholy and pessimism and “Long Defeat” attitude found in Tolkien, is Christian. But…no it’s not. It’s pagan. It is found in Tolkien’s models, but they were mostly Anglo-Saxon bards who’d learned a bunch of pagan poetry and noticed that Wotan’s doomed struggles are an awesome literary theme. In the most Christian of European romances you DO NOT find that element, you only find it when they’re consciously aping a pagan model. Hence it’s found in the Romantics, who lamented the “Enlightenment” ENTIRELY in favor of the Renaissance (e.g. their theory of monarchy, which is purely that of the Dominate era of Rome—if you suggested “divine right of kings” to the medievals they’d probably kill you for blasphemy).

    The attitude is pagan, Stoic and Norse and oh by the way BUDDHIST, that dissatisfaction about the impermanence of things is kinda two of the three marks of existence that are only the, y’ know, ESSENCE of Buddhism. The Christian attitude is different. Before Christendom lost its nerve in stupid nostalgia for the Roman Empire, the attitude in its literature was entirely the opposite of that fatalistic, all-enduring resignation; it was a solid tissue of defiance of “fate” from one end to the other. E.g., De Troyes’s “Érec et Énide” is generally considered to derive from Aeneas and Dido. Only instead of getting abandoned and killing herself while swearing an enmity that causes one of their civilizations to be destroyed, Enid frees captives, saves her husband’s life several times, and becomes a queen. And every time she saves her husband’s life? She does it by disobeying his orders. Just a bit different.

    That quitter Romanticism crap is far more the quasi-paganism of the Sandalpunk Era (“classicism” has good connotations which are undeserved by “let’s turn off our brains for 200 years, and just do Greco-Roman cosplay instead”) than the Christianity of the Middle Ages.

    Seriously, 12th-century Europeans were not yet brokenhearted from their failure to defend the East, and had not yet lived through the plague or destroyed themselves with the Reformation Wars; they just had the fairest social system, the best hygiene, the greatest architecture, the most productive agriculture, and the most advanced manufacturing in the history of the world. They were the first to abolish slavery, recognize the legal adulthood of women, or attempt to curtail war atrocities. Hence why their literature lacked any melancholy deriving from their own failures: they were still succeeding.

    You might say that their later heartbreak showed they were naïve. But their whole breakdown was caused by losing their nerve, and deliberately reverting to their previous way of doing things. The melancholy in Tolkien is Romanticist, that is, born of a movement jaded from the Renaissance, Reformation, and Revolutions. None of those things would ever have happened if not for the resurrection of Roman Law; even the Plague could’ve been withstood, if Philip the Fair hadn’t seen an advantage, during a succession dispute, to resurrecting Iron Age patriarchy and the Dominate-era theory of the executive.

    Some of the modern West has a similar optimism, to which Tolkien’s Norse Stoicism is contrasted, despite the fact his is the less authentically Christian attitude—though the moderns mostly come by it through being a sham Gospel (not to say what Buddhists would call a false refuge). We abolished slavery very late in our own territories, and abet it to this day elsewhere; women were essentially minors in our laws well into the 20th century (till the late 1980s in Switzerland); while the medievals failed to protect the East, we failed to protect it a thousand times more (the Soviets did far worse to Eastern Europe and Central Asia in four generations than the Ottoman Turks did in twenty-four). Again, the Crusades, which are supposed to show the brutality of the medievals, killed 1.5 million people, over 300 years; the quintessential war of our era killed 70 million people over 6. The medievals may have been naïve to think their culture was a basis for optimism; but if they were, we are much more naïve (specifically, 275 timesnote).

    I close as I opened, with a quote from What’s Wrong with the World, quite possibly the most famous quote from it and one of Chesterton’s most famous quotes period.

    “Mankind has not passed through the Middle Ages. Rather mankind has retreated from the Middle Ages in reaction and rout. The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” “

    So what do you think of all of these quotes?

    Like

  2. Eve Keneinan says:

    Without a deep dive, which I may do later, it seems to have a True:False ratio of about 25%:75%.

    I don’t know enough about American Indian belief systems to confirm their alleged affinities with Chinese or Greek thought. It would not surprise me if they shared some affinities in a less developed but recognizable form. Sapir-Whorf was indeed one of the great intellectual hoaxes of the 20th century. (They essentially argued that expressing concepts and propositions in different grammatical structures meant that the concepts and propositions express were not the same concepts and propositions, so they concluded e.g. that the Hopi “had no concept of TIME” because they didn’t tense their verbs (which was false; they do) such that a Hopi could simply not understand the difference between e.g. the past and the future (which is false).).

    No evidence is provided in the apologetics for the Terror, just assertion. No evidence is provided that Robbespierre is in any way a Stoic. This is implausible on the FACE. Stoics do not set out to REMAKE HUMANITY. They are not utopians nor do they think human beings are “infinitely plastic” (Rousseau’s belief, which Marx also makes essential). You simply cannot GET a gigantic project to remake humanity unless you believe that humanity is the sort of thing that can be reshaped however you please—a belief the Stoics DO NOT HOLD, and that Rousseauians, e.g. the French Revolutionaries, and that Marxists, e.g. the Communists of the USSR or Mao’s China, DO HOLD.

    “And seriously, no pagan gods are omnibenevolent; the Hindu gods (some of whom are described that way) are not purely pagan gods. Hinduism is not paganism, it is a pagan pantheon (the one described in the Rg Veda) being identified with the Supreme Being, usually either pantheistically or monistically.”

    True.

    Aaaaand here it goes off the rails:

    “Say what you will about India, but they got a better answer than the Greeks or Romans did, to the cosmological yearnings paganism, by necessity, leaves unaddressed. The Greeks and Romans generally tended to the Stoic or Epicurean answers, neither of which is really an answer—both are really methods for dodging the question, just like Neo-Confucianism”

    How so? How did India get “a better answer” than Stoicism? They are “methods of dodging the question” — but we aren’t told what “the question” even is. This was present as an answer to “the cosmological yearnings of paganism”. But “yearnings” are not a question. This just seems like equivocation of the concept of “an answer.”

    “Marx is a Platonist” is a level of absurd almost too high to contemplate. Marx is at least consistent enough to constantly warn about the ERROR of reifying social classes into Platonic-like abstract entities. Marx was a radical Hegelian and Hegel was for more Aristotelian that Platonic (hence his nickname “The German Aristotle”.

    That’s what I have for now.

    My main reaction was purely bewilderment to most of these claims. I do note that they have an “almost all educated people are totally wrong about this, but I am right!” That’s always a bad sign. My views are certainly out of step with those of modernity, but my views are also ones that for the most part have been quite ordinary or common throughout Western history. In general, it is much less a problem to set yourself against THE AGE than it is to set yourself against ALL THE WISE. We know that all ages are fundamentally wrong about some things, but the proposition “I am wiser than all the wise” is a priori dubious on the face.

    Like

    • JBJ says:

      1) About the French revolution claims, I think he’s referring to an event that happened 5 years after Robespierre’s terror that killed even more people. But after searching quickly I haven’t been able to find what he’s talking about. He talks about English Liberalism as a bad ideology, and how Irish writers seem to have railed against it but only on a nationalistic level – but I don’t know what exactly he’s talking about there.

      I tracked down another post from several years ago about Stoicism and the French revolution, where he says several things of interest: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2012/06/am-politik-ii.html

      “a) Periodically I will get caught up in debates on conservative websites with their resident leftist trolls. It’s always funny to me, because the little creatures come in with the assumption I’m one of the well-meaning ignorant folks who make up the bulk of the conservative movement—to its credit, generally, but not in arguments on technical points of economics.

      Let’s just say it’s ill-advised to debate what is or is not socialism with someone who comes from three generations of European leftist intellectuals. Incidentally, it’s not whether or not a program is governmental, nor what sort of a tax-rate it’s funded by. The determining factor in socialism is putting the means of production in state hands.

      b) …Wright, specifically, however, suffers from two problems. First is that he refuses seriously to acknowledge the intellectual vacuity of atheism; he will not admit that he was stupid when he was an atheist (hey, if it takes a miraculous vision before you know something me and Mortimer Adler reasoned our way to, you’re probably not at the top of your game). He also won’t admit that nihilism is the only logical position in atheist ethics; Stoicism is pure sentimentality. Then again he also lied about Nietzsche, claiming Nietzsche said Christians were cowards. This is Wright admitting he never read the man—Nietzsche doesn’t say Christians are cowards, only dupes. It’s non-nihilist atheists Nietzsche says are cowards, mostly because they quite obviously are, unwilling to face the ethical implications of a materialist (or otherwise “naturalist”) worldview.

      Wright’s second problem is that he is far too likely to evaluate an idea based on whether or no it pleases him, or his ego. Thus he pretends Ayn Rand was a coherent philosopher, and Nietzsche wasn’t, purely because Rand is right-wing and he thinks (I use the term loosely) that Nietzsche was left-wing (he wasn’t, nihilism knows no party). He also frequently talks as if classical liberalism were not the original leftism, especially the English variety (both Marx and Rousseau erred in large part because they went to England and believed the Stalinist lies of the Whigs), and as if there actually were an “English tradition of fair play”—which is a phrase that, fascinatingly, becomes a contradiction in terms simply by being translated into Irish, French, or Hindi…

      c) And seriously, classical liberalism is the original leftism. Not just French, either—the Scottish “Enlightenment” and the English Whigs had more purges and ideological persecutions than the French Revolution at its worst. There is a logical progression from either British or Continental liberalism straight to Marx, and both the French Revolution and the various Marxist Revolutions are really just demonstrations of the question, “What happens when the ideas of English Whigs are adopted by people who are capable of intellectual consistency?”

      The American Founders were not, by the bye, classical liberals; they only dabbled in liberalism, and were fundamentally non-ideological. It’s a little confusing because they used Enlightenment terminology to talk about their ideas, but they were, in actual fact, mainly concerned to re-assert the principles of medieval common law. Which principles, incidentally, were mostly shredded by the Reformation or the Hanoverian Succession. You know, the Whigs.

      All the worst things in this country’s history, other than slavery (which was just a Renaissance thing) are firmly in the Classical Liberal tradition. E.g., brainwashing Indians in boarding schools—how’s that any different from the English policies on the Irish language, or the French banning Basque?”

      He just claims that the British enlightenment and Whigs killed and persecuted more people than the French, and that there’s a progression from either British or Continental liberalism to Marx, as well as other things. He’s clearly a convinced Thomist, he’s correct about atheism and nihilism, maybe also about what Nietzsche actually said (though that’s your specialty), but he just doesn’t cite sources for some of those claims. A comment on that post by someone says:

      “That bit about the Founder’s desire to restore medieval common law is an important distinction that is commonly overlooked.

      Their specific goal was a restoration of the rights of Englishmen (understood to mean specificially freeholders) versus those of an ursurping parliament which claimed not only to represent the Empire before the crown without actually have representatives from the colonies (or Ireland IIRC) seated, but the authority to contravene that common law and traditional right.

      So… apparently he’s correct to hold the Founders just wanted to revive medieval law?

      Like

    • JBJ says:

      2) As for the point about Stoics, I think he may not be saying that Robespierre was an actual Stoic in his beliefs since he puts quotation marks on it, but using “Stoic” in a different, jargonistic sense of the word to describe Robespierre. He refers to stoic Marcus Aurelius killing more people than Robespierre, which could be just a shot against Wright not against Stoicism, but dunno…

      3) As for Marxism being naturalist Platonism, or even Neoplatonic combined with a liberation narrative, that could easily be a creative comparison that points out an ironic trait of Marxism that’s vaguely similar to Platonism. To be more specific, he doesn’t say that the class is an abstract object, just that the individual reflects his class-traits in an imperfect manner – which is akin to particulars reflecting Platonic forms.

      So he might well be making parallels to platonism on the basis of small details just for fun (and to be sarcastic to Ayn Rand) without actually claiming Marxism is Platonist. He did claim to be good at making connections in another post which is why he often posts random stuff, so he just might be making non-serious comparisons there.

      Like

  3. Eve Keneinan says:

    “b) …Wright, specifically, however, suffers from two problems. First is that he refuses seriously to acknowledge the intellectual vacuity of atheism; he will not admit that he was stupid when he was an atheist (hey, if it takes a miraculous vision before you know something me and Mortimer Adler reasoned our way to, you’re probably not at the top of your game). He also won’t admit that nihilism is the only logical position in atheist ethics; Stoicism is pure sentimentality. Then again he also lied about Nietzsche, claiming Nietzsche said Christians were cowards. This is Wright admitting he never read the man—Nietzsche doesn’t say Christians are cowards, only dupes. It’s non-nihilist atheists Nietzsche says are cowards, mostly because they quite obviously are, unwilling to face the ethical implications of a materialist (or otherwise “naturalist”) worldview.”

    I agree that nihilism is the only logical position in atheist ethics, but I am mystified why the line “Stoicism is pure sentimentality” follows it. Stoicism is indeed not a logical position for an atheist, since Stoicism is a THEISTIC doctrine. Indeed, the Stoics had one of in not the most correct doctrine of God that natural theology in the absence of special revelation, could produce.

    Nietzsche does hold non-nihilistic atheists to be cowards, but much could be adduced to say that he holds Christians to be cowardly, e.g. “What is more important is that Zarathustra is more truthful than any other thinker. His doctrine, and his alone, posits truthfulness as the highest virtue; this means the opposite of the COWARDICE of the ‘idealist’ who flees from reality.” Such idealism is precisely what Nietzsche charges Christianity with. So it must be a kind of cowardice. So Christians must be cowards.

    “he pretends Ayn Rand was a coherent philosopher, and Nietzsche wasn’t, purely because Rand is right-wing and he thinks (I use the term loosely) that Nietzsche was left-wing.”

    I don’t know what Wright thinks, but Ayn Rand was neither coherent nor a philosopher. A Nietzsche was certainly in no meaningful sense a leftist. Depending in how “left” and “right” are understood, Nietzsche would in almost all categorizations be place on the “right.”

    “as if there actually were an “English tradition of fair play”—which is a phrase that, fascinatingly, becomes a contradiction in terms simply by being translated into Irish, French, or Hindi…”

    He (and I don’t know who “he” is) is embrace the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis he castigated Campbell for accepting. As if the French or Indians have no CONCEPT of cheating in a game with rules … “Franc Jeu” is the French, by the way. I admit to not knowing the Hindi, but if the claim is that the Hindi language has no way of expressing the concept of “fair play”, I do not believe it. The refutation would be as easy as asking a speaker of Hindi. Instead of being utterly bewildered at the idea of playing a game according to its rules and not cheating, he’ll say “Oh, the way that is said in Hindi is ________.”

    He seems to have a real mad on for Whiggism. I’m not sure what to make of the claim that the American Founders were interested in restoring “medieval natural law.” Again, that just seems like bizarre thing to say. The American founders very much wanted to safeguard the rights of citizens over against either the Crown OR the Parliament (Congress). Beyond that it is unclear what he means. The point that the American founders weren’t REALLY Enlightenment thinkers is “hard to see” because the nonexistent does tend to be invisible and thus hard to see.

    Like

    • John says:

      It’s not medieval natural law, but medieval common law – unless this is a typo.

      Like

    • JBJ says:

      Another thing that occurred to me is that by Stocisim is sentimentalism he might have meant ATHEIST Stoicism or stoic-like approaches to atheism, and how this is basically just sentimentality.

      Like

      • Eve Keneinan says:

        If he means the modern thing that is calling itself “Stoicism,” then that is probably correct.

        It would not occur to me to regard these people as “Stoics” since they aren’t actually followers of the Ancient Stoics, who I regard as being the ONLY Stoics who may be legitimately so-called.

        Like

  4. JBJ says:

    Reposting my first comment again…

    First up is his comments about Buddhism:

    From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2010/08/cloudy-and-clear.html

    “Anyway, I read Dr. Thursday’s thing about right and left, over on the Chesterton Society blog(g), and there’s a quote from The Man Who Was Thursday, where the anarchist guy says they’ve abolished right and wrong, and Syme says he wishes they’d abolish left and right, since he has a lot more trouble with that. But it got me thinking about the two kinds of duality. Strap in, kids, I’m gonna be playing around with Buddhism and Taoism in Thomistic terms.

    The first, the kind that Buddhism denies, is duality of negation—A and not-A. Now, they’re not really opposite, inasmuch as not-A is the same thing as “all the rest of the universe, except A”, whereas A is A (even Ayn Rand knows that, that’s how basic it is). Buddhism denies it because, of course, “not-A” as such has no existence, it’s just a privation; we merely hypostasize it for the sake of thought. And, of course, to a Buddhist, thought is just a delusion, since there’s no “you” to do the thinking. Non-duality follows from the teaching of the non-soul. Which is why it’s always funny to me when people say Buddhism’s spiritual (it denies spirits), or that they worship themselves (they don’t believe they’ve got selves)……..”

    “Being and non-being—A and not-A—are more important to Western and Indian thought (though then again Indian thought’s a lot more like Greco-Roman thought than most people realize—the fact Indian men’s traditional garment is a toga should’ve been a clue there, really). Aristotle, of course, but also Plato and the Hindus, and of course the Buddhists, who, however, deduce odd things from their denial of formal parts (that’s what the non-soul really means). Specifically, see, Buddhists believe that, since not-A, non-being, is just something like a convention, necessary for the mind of an illusory observer, the only reality is “A”, the Dharmakaya—identical to Plato’s Monad and, to Thomists, ha-Shem, ha-Kadosh Yisrael. You know how people say Buddhism’s atheist? Yeah, not in Western terms; they’re actually a-everything-other-than-God (as Western religion means the term)-ists. What, you didn’t think ha-Shem was a deva, did you?”

    From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2010/11/pinch-yourself.html Here he describes how Buddhism parallels Christian views of human value.

    “It is incidentally not true that Christendom is the only state that has ever enacted laws reflecting a belief in human equality. It’s NEARLY true, but there’s one exception: the Goryeo Kingdom (Korea between 918 and 1392) made some moves in that direction, recognizing the rights of women and abolishing slavery, due to the state being serious about its establishment of Buddhism. It didn’t go anywhere near as far as Christendom did, but it deserves credit.

    Of course,just like the strengthening of Roman law (as against Common Law) in the late Middle Ages, followed by the pagan darkness of the Renaissance, the Joseon Kingdom imposed Neo-Confucianism, brought back slavery, and relegated women to nonentity status. Also, like the Reformation, it persecuted Buddhism and shamanism…mostly so the kingdom (and its ruling class of scholars and landowners) would have access to monastery/shrine coffers.

    Things are rough all over, huh?”

    Like

    • John says:

      Third part of my first comment.

      From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/03/does-this-have-pattern.html

      “I think a factor in John C. Wright’s misinterpretation of Buddhism as nihilism, one that I didn’t mention, is that for some bizarre reason “sunyata”, which means “emptiness” (also “contingency” in the ontological sense), is often translated as “non-being”. It makes no sense, since Buddhism is actually a monism so extreme it denies logical negation (basically, “not-A” is unreal because it only has meaning relative to “A”).

      It was particularly bad of me not to have mentioned that issue, though, because I myself have been guilty of the “non-being” usage. My sole defense is I was referencing the version of Journey to the West that I had read, which uses it that way in translating Guan Yin’s speech to the Monkey King, I believe vis-à-vis the Bear Demon. Not much of a defense, is it? I’m sorry.”

      From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/10/footwear-navigation-packaging.html Here he makes another comparison with Neoplatonism, pointing out that Buddhism has a lot of background in common with Greek philosophy.

      “Apparently some Buddhists, or Westerners who self-identify as Buddhists, object to characterizing Buddhist non-duality as a form of Monism. But…nothing Buddhists say about non-duality is notably different from what Neoplatonists say about the Source (which is, of course, the One, Τὸ Ἕν, the Monad). Indeed, the same things are pretty much said about God by some CHRISTIANS. Essentially, those Buddhists’ objection is like those very simple, sheltered Christians one sometimes gets, who absolutely LOSE IT when they discover parallels between Christianity and pagan thought (Christianity is a heathen religion, from the Buddhist point of view).

      The fact of the matter is that everybody inhabits the same cosmos, and there are only a limited number of ways to think about it. Especially when your ideas share a pedigree with the other ideas in question. Buddhism, an Indian school of thought, has a hell of a lot of background in common with Greek thought even if we assume Alexander the Great and Hellenism had no influence on it, and they did. Buddhism is the idea that the Problem of Universals is resolved by positing that the Universals are an illusion born of transitory epiphenomena—some of which are “awareness” of various kinds—attempting to impose order on the the underlying formlessness of πάντα ῥεῖ (“everything flows”).

      It’s different from Neoplatonism in its Heraclitean nominalist-atomism, and in that atomism being closely bound up with metempsychosis (which Indian philosophy tends to assume as a given)…and in pretty much NOTHING ELSE.”

      From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/11/more-of-same.html

      “In my previous post I described Buddhism as having its “πάντα ῥεῖ” atomism/nominalism “closely bound up” with metempsychosis. But I understated the case. India does not have atomism “closely bound up” with metempsychosis; its atomism-nominalism is FUNCTIONALLY IDENTICAL with metempsychosis.

      This is another thing I realized in that fateful debate with a Hare Krishna that made a Thomist of me. See, he argued that one cannot disbelieve in reincarnation, because AT EVERY MOMENT the mind inhabits new bodies. Much like the question “Do you ever step in the same river twice?”, in his view—which is the version of atomism found throughout Indian thought—the changing TRAITS of the body, as it is subjected to decay and regeneration, utterly annihilated the very concept of “the same body”.

      This troubled me greatly; I found myself falling back on dimly-remembered, half-understood Thomistic formulations about essence and accidents, simply to assert that things are themselves moment by moment, no matter what their parts do. This is, by the bye, the essence of Aristotelianism, its shahada; if you’re not a mitigated realist you do not follow the Philosopher.”

      From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2015/10/rannm-thawts-six.html

      “Had an interesting discussion a while back about how, so far from being an “atheistic religion”, Buddhism is more aptly described as “a-everything-but-God-ist”. I specifically mentioned that Buddhism adopts the apophatic monism of advaita in order to escape from the infinite regress which anatman—a type of atomist nominalism—naturally leads. Someone characterized this as “turtles all the way down”. But no, it occurred to me, actually it’d be truer to say that Buddhism says “Ultimately the turtles all rest on the Ground of Being, so only worry about that.”

      As a bonus, the explanation is a pun.”

      IOW, Buddhism is essentially a combination of Heracliteanism, atomism and nominalism with metempsychosis, that rejects formal parts and ends up with God being the formality of everything, and due to putting the nature of God in everything mirrors the Christian idea of being the image of God and charity. What do you think? Is this accurate?

      Like

  5. JBJ says:

    From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/02/i-was-reading-blogs-on-writing.html

    “At some point on John C. Wright’s blog, he said that in Buddhism, “everything is nothing”. Now, representing Buddhism—which is based on the most extreme form of monism—as nihilism, is, quite simply and literally, to mistake “on” for “off” and “one” for “zero”, but I think I know how he came by the error. Or two reasons.

    First is, Theravada’s a lot less explicit about the fact non-duality means “nothing exists but God” than Mahayana is—it’s the main focus of the Lotus Sutra and to a lesser extent Heart Sutra, but those are Mahayana. And Wright, like every other half-bright Anglo-Jingo of Christian background (that he actually is a Christian and knows it does not excuse him from the opprobrium his provinciality warrants), thinks (given other things he’s said) that Theravada is the most authentic Buddhism. Never mind that Mahayana is not only bigger (62% of all Buddhists, or 217 million people, are in traditions that accept the Mahayana scriptures), they’re more intellectually respectable. Basically, Anglos assume that accepting an artificially reduced number of scriptures—also believing in limited atonement—makes something the most authentic expression of its faith (yes I know Wright’s not a Calvinist, but he certainly appears to be duped by Protestant scholarship).

    Second is that Wright may have been misled by thesauruses—Devil’s catechisms!—into thinking that “emptiness”, in the famous line from the Lotus Sutra, means “nothing”. When, actually, “form is emptiness, emptiness is form” means, quite simply, that all formal parts (remember that Hindu and Greek thought share an origin) are contingent and therefore lack ultimate reality. Which, by the way, is something you’ll find in Thomas Aquinas, minus the monism. Even the Wikipedia article on the Lotus Sutra gets that part right (lacking ultimate reality, I mean, not Aquinas), so there’s really no excuse for making that mistake. (What the Wikipedia article doesn’t get, aside from the similarity of Mahayana thought to Christianity, is that Mahayana’s major achievement is more clearly deriving non-duality from non-soul, advaita from anatman, than Theravada does.)”

    From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/03/does-this-have-pattern.html

    “I think a factor in John C. Wright’s misinterpretation of Buddhism as nihilism, one that I didn’t mention, is that for some bizarre reason “sunyata”, which means “emptiness” (also “contingency” in the ontological sense), is often translated as “non-being”. It makes no sense, since Buddhism is actually a monism so extreme it denies logical negation (basically, “not-A” is unreal because it only has meaning relative to “A”).

    It was particularly bad of me not to have mentioned that issue, though, because I myself have been guilty of the “non-being” usage. My sole defense is I was referencing the version of Journey to the West that I had read, which uses it that way in translating Guan Yin’s speech to the Monkey King, I believe vis-à-vis the Bear Demon. Not much of a defense, is it? I’m sorry.”

    From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/10/footwear-navigation-packaging.html Here he makes another comparison with Neoplatonism, pointing out that Buddhism has a lot of background in common with Greek philosophy.

    “Apparently some Buddhists, or Westerners who self-identify as Buddhists, object to characterizing Buddhist non-duality as a form of Monism. But…nothing Buddhists say about non-duality is notably different from what Neoplatonists say about the Source (which is, of course, the One, Τὸ Ἕν, the Monad). Indeed, the same things are pretty much said about God by some CHRISTIANS. Essentially, those Buddhists’ objection is like those very simple, sheltered Christians one sometimes gets, who absolutely LOSE IT when they discover parallels between Christianity and pagan thought (Christianity is a heathen religion, from the Buddhist point of view).

    The fact of the matter is that everybody inhabits the same cosmos, and there are only a limited number of ways to think about it. Especially when your ideas share a pedigree with the other ideas in question. Buddhism, an Indian school of thought, has a hell of a lot of background in common with Greek thought even if we assume Alexander the Great and Hellenism had no influence on it, and they did. Buddhism is the idea that the Problem of Universals is resolved by positing that the Universals are an illusion born of transitory epiphenomena—some of which are “awareness” of various kinds—attempting to impose order on the the underlying formlessness of πάντα ῥεῖ (“everything flows”).

    It’s different from Neoplatonism in its Heraclitean nominalist-atomism, and in that atomism being closely bound up with metempsychosis (which Indian philosophy tends to assume as a given)…and in pretty much NOTHING ELSE.”

    From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2013/11/more-of-same.html

    “In my previous post I described Buddhism as having its “πάντα ῥεῖ” atomism/nominalism “closely bound up” with metempsychosis. But I understated the case. India does not have atomism “closely bound up” with metempsychosis; its atomism-nominalism is FUNCTIONALLY IDENTICAL with metempsychosis.

    This is another thing I realized in that fateful debate with a Hare Krishna that made a Thomist of me. See, he argued that one cannot disbelieve in reincarnation, because AT EVERY MOMENT the mind inhabits new bodies. Much like the question “Do you ever step in the same river twice?”, in his view—which is the version of atomism found throughout Indian thought—the changing TRAITS of the body, as it is subjected to decay and regeneration, utterly annihilated the very concept of “the same body”.

    This troubled me greatly; I found myself falling back on dimly-remembered, half-understood Thomistic formulations about essence and accidents, simply to assert that things are themselves moment by moment, no matter what their parts do. This is, by the bye, the essence of Aristotelianism, its shahada; if you’re not a mitigated realist you do not follow the Philosopher.”

    From: https://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2015/10/rannm-thawts-six.html

    “Had an interesting discussion a while back about how, so far from being an “atheistic religion”, Buddhism is more aptly described as “a-everything-but-God-ist”. I specifically mentioned that Buddhism adopts the apophatic monism of advaita in order to escape from the infinite regress which anatman—a type of atomist nominalism—naturally leads. Someone characterized this as “turtles all the way down”. But no, it occurred to me, actually it’d be truer to say that Buddhism says “Ultimately the turtles all rest on the Ground of Being, so only worry about that.”

    As a bonus, the explanation is a pun.”

    IOW, Buddhism is essentially a combination of Heracliteanism, atomism and nominalism with metempsychosis, that rejects formal parts and ends up with God being the formality of everything, and due to putting the nature of God in everything mirrors the Christian idea of being the image of God and charity. What do you think? Is this accurate?

    Like

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