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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13599/kingdom-come-the-politics-of-the-millenium/

Kingdom Come: The Politics of the Millenium

August 17, 2010 by

Premillennial Christians, who believe that they must establish the Kingdom of God on Earth before Christ will return, have increasingly come to believe that to build the Kingdom they must eliminate sin through violence and coercion. FULL ARTICLE by Murray N. Rothbard

{ 50 comments }

Ikkonoishi August 17, 2010 at 8:48 am

The link isn’t working. Should link to http://mises.org/daily/4574 I think.

guard August 17, 2010 at 9:04 am

These two positions, “the natural law/natural rights position” and “divine revelation as presented in the Bible” are actually the same. The Bible cannot be read without the knowledge of language and reading that is a wholly natural knowledge. This of course means the Bible is subject to exactly the same interpretation of reason that nature is. That is why Calvin’s government is every bit as brutal as any other.
Actually, the two positions are natural law as opposed to gospel. The appeal to government force has historically always been justified on the basis of natural law and it has always been acknowledged that coercion cannot be justified on the basis of the gospel message.
The difference between the two philosophical bases is really quite simple in practice. It is the difference between killing for religion and dying for it. All one has to do is identify who is doing the killing and who is doing the dying.
For a good history and discussion of this subject, see for example The Social Teachings of the Christian Church by Ernst Troelsch.

fundamentalist August 17, 2010 at 9:04 am

Rothbard should have spent more time on theology. Premillennial Christians do not believe “that they must establish the Kingdom of God on Earth before Christ will return.” That is the belief of the Postmillennial crowd. Premillenial Christians don’t believe that we can do anything to hasten Christ’s return. He will come when he is good and ready.

Norman August 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm

@fundamentalist and @Old Hop :: This error is on the part of the blog post composer, not of Rothbard. If you read the article, you will see that Rothbard correctly identifies premil/postmil.

Quote:

Among the numerous groups of millennialists, those who believe that the KGE will and must eventually arrive, there are two very different groups: those who believe that the Kingdom will be established by Jesus himself, who will therefore return to earth before the millennium (premillennialists, or “premils”); and those that believe that Jesus will return to earth after the millennium (the postmillennialists, or “postmils.”)

This seemingly abstruse theological difference carries enormously significant social and political implications. For as much as the premil yearns to attain the KGE and install it for a thousand years, he is constrained to wait; he must wait for Jesus’s return. The postmil, on the other hand, maintains that man must establish the KGE first, in order that Jesus may eventually return. In other words, the postmil is under theological obligation, as a fulfillment of the divine plan, to establish the KGE as quickly as possible. Hence the sense of hurry, the sense of rushing toward impending triumph, that generally suffuses the postmils. For the march of history, the plans of Providence itself, depend upon the postmil being triumphant as soon as he possibly can.

Norman August 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Whoops, sorry there, I see in a further comment you did find the distinction Rothbard made.

fundamentalist August 17, 2010 at 9:20 am

Ikkonoishi, the link you provided shows that Rothbard got the distinction between the premil and postmil ideas correct. I don’t know why he got it wrong in this article. Still, he gets some important details wrong:

“As premil thought developed, however, Armageddon — which is now considered to take seven years, and which is known as “the tribulation” — began to pose a big problem. It is true that the Bad Guys, the vast mass of sinners, will be satisfactorily disposed of by God’s wrath. ”

Armageddon is a single battle that takes place before the KGE. It is not the great tribulation and does not last seven years. The battle includes a large army that opposes Christ’s kingdom, but far from “the vast mass of sinners.” Except for the opposing armies, which are a tiny portion of the people on the planet, everyone will continue alive during the KGE.

“Premillennialism is basically a passive creed, and yet, since the early 1970s, fundamentalist Christians have engaged more and more fervently in political action.”

It is passive only in the political sense. It is very active in evangelism. The shift toward political action had nothing to do with theology whatsoever. It is nothing but a natural human desire to control others. Christians are as afflicted with it as non-Christians. And Christians are becoming afflicted with the lust for power.

fundamentalist August 17, 2010 at 9:25 am

Guard, my reading of natural law indicates no conflict between it and the gospel. Natural law theorists, especially those from the School of Salamanca to Adam Smith, spent a great deal of time and effort in restricting the power and role of the state. In fact, as the articles last year from the conference at Salamanca, Spain demonstrated, modern liberal thought began with natural law theorists. The whole point of natural law was that reason could arrive at many of the ethical points of the Gospel and should never conflict. And natural law could fill in some of the blanks in ethics that the Bible doesn’t discuss.

Guard August 17, 2010 at 11:44 am

Ah, I see. I would agree that reason could arrive at many of the same conclusions as the gospel and should never conflict. I have been viewing natural law historically not as a system of thought for deducing ethics, but mainly as a system of thought for justifying violent control of other humans, the justification for which could not be found in the gospel message. The gospel was viewed as just too extreme to “work”, not unlike libertarian ideas are viewed today by the general populace.

Old Hop August 17, 2010 at 10:14 am

Ditto fundamentalist: there is a fantastic error in this piece which must be a typo:

Premillennial Christians, who believe that they must establish the Kingdom of God on Earth before Christ will return…

As fundamentalist has pointed out, this is exactly the opposite of the facts. I deeply admire Murray Rothbard as one of the giants of economics, and have used his Man, Economy & State for teaching my high school economics classes. While his general knowledge of Christian theology is impressive, his grasp of its details and nuances is (understandably) sometimes less than accurate.

Norman August 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm

@Old Hop, note my response to @fundamentalist above.

Noble Free August 17, 2010 at 11:28 am

Loved the article. There is a great doctrine that is taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe that before this life on Earth we lived together with our father in heaven and he created a plan for our progression which included coming to Earth to receive a body and be tested. Central to his plan was agency to choose good or evil. Because of that agency, we knew that some of our brothers and sisters would choose evil and be lost. But through the Savior’s Atonement we could repent and be saved.

Lucifer presented a different plan. He wanted to take away the agency of man and force them all to do good, and in that way no soul would be lost. 1/3 of our brothers and sisters chose to follow Satan’s plan and were cast out of heaven.

Everyone who is on the earth now choose God’s & Christ’s plan of Agency. It is quite ironic and perhaps human nature that many are now trying to force others to choose what they believe is right. Many Latter-day Saints forget that we once fought for agency and must fight for it again. We confuse the role of society and the role of government.

Ned Netterville August 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Only 4 comments posted as I begin to compose my own, but I’m guessing that there will be many more before the day is out.

Whatever controversy may be ignited by reprinting this article twenty years after Rothbard originally inserted a spoon into an already boiling cauldron with this 1990 article, it is only small potatoes compared to the endless controversies John of Patmos initiated with his Book of Revelation. John began his book with what may be the most pretentious claim in all of what is generally referred to as Christianity. He claimed that what he was writing was no less than:

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John…Chapter !, Verse 1

As if his claim that his revelation came to him from God through Jesus and then through an angel of Jesus wasn’t enough authority, John added this at the end of his revelation:

I warn everyone who hears of the prophecy in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life…Ch. 22, Vs. 18-19

I sure don’t want to call down upon me the terrible consequences prescribed by John, so I will stick to his text exactly, which is to say exactly as it appears in my Bible, an New Revised Standard Version, 3rd Edition, which, perhaps unfortunately for me, may not mimic too closely the text as John actually wrote it, since his words have been filtered through many scribes and many translators susceptible to human error before it got to me.

Anyway, here’s my point: Chapter 1, Verse 3 says that “the time [for the fulfillment of his prophecy] is near.” And Revelation concludes, Ch. 22, Vs. 20, with these words, purportedly from Jesus himself: “Surely I am coming soon.” Now, since John wrote his prophecy around the year 100 CE, two-thousand years ago, it seems to me that the events foretold in Revelation must certainly have already occurred, and long ago at that. And since nothing in history seems to match the events foretold by John, either John’s prophecy was wrong or it was allegorical. Furthermore, according to John, his prophecy was directed explicitly (Ch. 1, Vs. 4) “to the seven churches that are in Asia,” and can hardly be thought to have any application to any church or persons today. I also note that the Book of Revelation almost didn’t make it into the canonical New Testament, which means that there were some early church fathers who didn’t think it was sufficiently inspired by God to be included in the official version of the Bible. Had it been excluded, it is likely that all of the so-called Christian religion would have a very different look today.

Finally, it is my assessment that the Revelation of John contains very little of what I understand to be the teaching and way of life of Jesus of Nazareth, and in some aspects seems contrary thereto.

guard August 18, 2010 at 1:52 am

Not to delve too far into this, but a couple comments. The book of Revelation was in fact written before the destruction of Jerusalem and there is now very little doubt that much of the book describes events surrounding that destruction. You have correctly observed John’s clear and explicit statements (and he makes several) that the things he is writing about will quickly come to pass. These statements are even more forceful in the Greek language than in the English translation. Bottom line is that the politicized Christian must deny this in order to justify the killing in the name of Jesus. Political power is precisely the issue.

Bruce Koerber August 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Premillenialists and postmillenialists, technically should finally be on the same ‘page’ after the ‘Return.’

Bob Davis August 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Mr. Rothbard’s article was interesting but he clearly does not offer credentials in Biblical study. I would suggest he at least read Romans 12. Evil men have hidden behind every robe made. Political, spiritual, it makes no difference. This article does emphasize one significant political document. The U.S. Constitution when properly enforced (not now unfortunately) protects us against religious factions that would enforce the will of the few on the many. Of course those of weak intellect will inevitably line up under such dogma and willingly submit as freedom allows them to do. We need to elect Constitutionalists to office before it is too late. I am of the thinking that the U.S. Constitution is the most Libertarian of documents.

Respectfully submitted.
Bob Davis
Chairman
Indiana Constitutional Republic Caucus
http://www.incrc.com

RWW August 17, 2010 at 7:56 pm

That’s nice, but I never consented to your Constitution.

guard August 18, 2010 at 1:53 am

Consent or die.

mpolzkill August 18, 2010 at 7:45 am

Submission is peace.

Timothy August 18, 2010 at 7:38 am

There is a third possible ethical system for the Christian. Instead of ruling out all natural reasoning as the Calvinist does, or all biblical revelation as the Natural Law position does, one could take advantage of all sources of God’s revelation: both the world he has created and the Scripture he has given. As their Author is the same, they need not conflict. This ethical system would look at Scripture for morals and then check the natural world as outside verification that the truth works.

libertarian-raised-SDA August 18, 2010 at 10:20 am

Like everyone here, I’m sure, I love most of all of what Rothbard wrote on economics and of how human action relates to government. I was able to see what he was trying to do with this piece, and I think in a “bigger picture” kind of context he lives in a safe place with his concerns, which I think are even more important consideration in the times we live today. With that said, I think he could have done a little more research on many of these positions.

What I am interested in commenting on specifically is this statement: “In the case of the Millerites, a subgroup arose that claimed that Jesus really did arrive, thus vindicating the prediction, but that his Advent was invisible; the Advent would be made visible to all at some time in the future. This less than satisfying resolution was the path taken by the group that later became known as the Seventh-Day Adventists.”

I was raised SDA and am nominally one today, though I’m not much of a “church-goer”. While I’ve got my own issues with Seventh Day Adventism, I’m often shocked by exactly what get attributed to SDAs in the media. Rothbard’s statement about an “invisible advent” is not part of any SDA belief. I know the history of the Millerite movement did give rise to many interesting offshoots, but an official acceptance that Christ did return, just no one saw it, is simply false with regards to what SDAs believe.

This may have been a confusion on the part of Rothbard regarding the “Sanctary Doctrine” of the SDAs, or perhaps he mistakenly assigned one of the more wild positions of an offshoot group, not SDA, to the SDAs.

The Sanctuary Doctrine, which is complex, and as far as I know, unique to Protestant Christianity, in brief, asserts that the Millerites were incorrect in their Historcist view of what was going to occur in 1843/1844, but not wrong that something *did* occur. Much of this is based on the “type” of the old testament tabernacle and day of atonement symbology within the context of Christ as high preist, with Jesus moving from the holy to the most holy place within the symbology of the prophecies. There are some fairly significant implications for this, but I shall not bore anyone with any other details. Anyone who is really interested can do a google and find just as much against as for the Sanctuary Doctrine, including scholars from within the SDA church, most notably Desmond Ford (against).

Bruce Koerber August 18, 2010 at 10:35 am

“just no one saw it”

That is not universally true although most people think that it is.

libertarian-raised-SDA August 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Accuse of me being dense if you like, but I’m not sure I follow what you mean.

Sione August 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

All goes to demonstrate what a load of nonsense and superstitious mumbo jumbo religion really is. Amazing that adults take any of this bilge seriously. Tragic that they commit so many crimes, horrors and brutalities etc. upon others, all “justified” by an arbitrary blind belief in myths, lies and the deceptive self-rightousness of religious depravity.

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Is subjectivism mumbo jumbo, too, or do you have a double standard?

Sione August 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Dear Bruce

Sometimes subjectivism may be expressed in silly decisions based on mumbo-jumbo. Sometimes not. Depends on the context of the particular situation.

Religion on the other hand is fundamentally & consistently based on nonsense, superstition and mumbo-jumbo. It is unfit for Man.

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm

So there is a double standard being used. An empiricist could easy take the stance that subjectivism is always, always, always based on mumbo jumbo. And so too an atheist or an agnostic or a hater of religion could easily take the stance that religion is mumbo jumbo.

Sione August 22, 2010 at 1:07 am

Dear Bruce

It is irrelevant what position some notional “ist” may take. It’s a matter of dealing with fact of reality. The fundamental trouble with religion is that it proceeds from arbitrary belief in spite of reality. Worse is that such beliefs often directly oppose fact of reality.

I suspect that what you are attempting to imply is that there is no fundamental difference between theism and atheism since both would be based on arbitraily selected belief. That view is false. Nevertheless if you would like me to clear up your issues, please go ahead and elaborate your position.

Sione

BioTube August 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Sione, damn near anything can be used to as a justification to ” commit so many crimes, horrors and brutalities etc. upon others”; the text isn’t baleful for being used as a pretext for evil, merely an innocent victim like those raped, maimed and murdered under the banner of God.

Sione August 22, 2010 at 1:16 am

BioTube

I understand your point. The trouble with religion is that it departs from reality as fundamental. Accordingly it is inevitable that it can be, and will be, employed to justify the worst actions that human beings may undertake. Once you depart reality, anything goes.

Reading the Rothbard piece, it is a shocking indictment that a modern society actually contains numerous adults who seriously believe in the various strains of silliness he carefully describes. Breathtaking and most unfortunate, uncivilised and backward.

SIone

Post Mill August 20, 2010 at 12:53 am

As a real live postmil I feel qualified to make a correction (more of a clarification). Postmils believe that we are living right now in and after the millennium. When Christ rose from the dead He said that all power and authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him by the Father. We are living in Christ’s kingdom. It is ever growing and spreading throughout the world, as yeast works its way through dough. We do not work so that Christ’s kingdom will come, we work to spread the kingdom. A millennium is a thousand years which in the Bible is a complete number, like the phrase God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. It doesn’t limit Him to a literal thousand and no more. It means all of the hills. So Christ’s millennial kingdom is a complete kingdom.
The distinction that I am making is that we don’t try to force you to be sinless so that the kingdom can or will come. Rather we seek to show you that this world already belongs to Christ and you should respect His private property and ownership of it and live according to His laws.
That is why many prominent Postmills (the article mentions J. Gressam Machen) have been big proponents of capitalism. Because the basis of a Christian law code is private property, but in the grand reality all property (including us) belongs to Christ. (That by the way is why Calvin’s Biblical law side of the coin is correct. Because it is how Christ has said that He wants His property administered.)

Ned Netterville August 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Sione, not to dispute the fact that religious fanatic “commit so many crimes, horrors and brutalities etc. upon others, all ‘justified’ by an arbitrary blind belief in myths, lies and the deceptive self-rightousness of religious depravity,” but certainly the same can be said about atheists and secular humanists, like Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, etc., to name but a few, often operating under the banner of atheist Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, who seem to have committed even more atrocities against other humans than their religious brethren during the last 100 years. Of course many of these self-proclaimed atheists really belong to congregations of the religion Mises referred to as Statolatry, and their god is the almighty State. They worship it with all the fervor of fundamentalists.

Sione August 22, 2010 at 1:20 am

Ned

I don’t disagree with your points.

I’d add this. It is not possible to justify the criminal behaviours of one religion by citing those of another.

Sione

Ned Netterville August 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Sione, not justifying, no reason to do so, merely pointing out that atheists are not immune to the same or similar irrationality–meaning detachment or departure from reality–that inflicts many who think of themselves as members of one or another religion. It seems to me that the irrationality that is so dangerous both to oneself and others is the notion that one–whether directly or through one’s agents–can cheat on the iron law of non-aggression with impunity.

Sione August 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Ned

I didn’t mean to imply or suggest that you were attempting a justification. Sorry if my comment came across as that. It was meant as an additional point for consideration only.

By the way, I concur with your comment above.

Regards

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

“The fundamental trouble with religion is that it proceeds from arbitrary belief in spite of reality. Worse is that such beliefs often directly oppose fact of reality.”

Arbitrary? Humans act. Humans act purposefully. Humans are capable of understanding that which is abstract.

God is abstract. The laws and guidance of God delivered to humanity through His Manifestations are abstract. Understanding that the human reality is a reflection of the names and attributes of God is an abstraction.

Reality is not arbitrary (unless you are the one who makes it so) but it is unquestionably abstract.

Sione August 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Bruce

Arbitrary and abstract are quite different notions. Do not be confusing one for the other.

While humans are capable of generating and employing abstracts to assist with their understanding of reality, they are also capable of generating ideas which do not correspond with reality or conflict directly with it. Such ideas are false. They may be arbitrary (religious belief for instance) or they may be as the result of error (whether by observation, while undertaking concept formation during a process of abstraction etc.) or they may be deliberate fantasy (for the entertainment of children perhaps) or they may be for the deliberate purpose of committing fraud. In any case, they do not correspond with reality. In the case of religion they deny it.

The idea of God is arbitrary. It is an idea generated and promoted in the absence of any evidence of reality. God is not real. He is a figment of the imagination, promoted as though real, as though an existent entity.

Reality is not abstract. It is concrete. It is real. It exists. Humans may generate abstractions about reality, during their process of concept formation, but that does not alter in any way the nature of reality. Reality is concrete.

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Dear Sione,

You fool yourself if you think that you know reality. Your finite mind cannot know it. It is exactly that kind of delusion that causes the ego-driven interventionists to interfere with the market economy, because they think they understand it and they think they can control it.

You say reality is concrete. How can someone with finite knowledge understand something infinitely greater and how can that same person then put boundaries on something beyond their comprehension? Only by mimimalizing reality (calling it concrete) can you take it out of the realm of abstraction. It is abstract because it is beyond our comprehension.

And along the exact same line of erroneous thinking, your pronouncement of arbitrary is made about God. Yet you say: “Arbitrary and abstract are quite different notions. Do not be confusing one for the other.” Your statement (“God is not real.”) is arbitrary and it must be because that which is abstract and beyond your comprehension and therefore you cannot put it in a box to make it ‘concrete’ (which is simply a vain imagining – for example, your claim that reality is concrete) you react to by calling it arbitrary.

Sione August 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Dear Bruce

Reality is concrete. It exists regardless of what an individual thinks of it.

It is possible to obtain knowledge of reality. That does not mean that one knows everything about all of reality. It does not mean that in order to possess knowledge one must be omniscient. It is possible to know about specific portions of reality. For example, you already do (else you could not survive for very long).

What you have been attempting, on this occasion, is to posit that knowledge of reality is impossible on the basis that you are not omniscient. Since you are not omniscient, then the pretense is that reality must be incomprehensible! Somehow that illogic is supposed to justify the conjuring up of a fictious supernatural entity- one which is supposedly omniscient, omnipotent and all good. Silliness.

Generating an abstraction is part of a human’s intellectual process of concept formation. What is done is to selectively focus on certain specific attributes of entities, or aspects of reality, exclusively of others. Abstractions are an intellectual tool used by humans in order to strive to understand reality or, more precisely, aspects of it. That humans employ such an intellectual process does not mean reality is abstract. Reality remains what it is- real, existent and concrete. It exists regardless of what an individual thinks of it.

Regarding the statement that God is not real. The statement corresponds with reality and therefore is not arbitrary.

Bruce, it is impossible to rationalise your way out of reality and into an imaginary non-existant supernatural realm. Start from reality (which is all there is) and learn about it. Otherwise what you are engaged in is an attempt to reject reality and to deny knowledge- an immoral course of action.

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Sione,

I never denied reality. I only denied that you have any authority (other than to convince your own self) to make statements about something that you know only a small part about (reality) and yet declare it while at the same time you make statements about something that you know nothing about and again make a bold declaration.

Declaring things must make you feel like an authority. Good for you. Your version of reality is one of several billion but, of course, yours is the right one!!! How perceptive you must be; but wait a minute, doesn’t perception require the ability to see beyond the smallness of concreteness.

Sione August 24, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Dear Bruce

You’ve conceded the point- knowledge of reality is possible. Well done. That’s good. Next you should consider the corollary and obey it. It is, in order to win knowledge from reality one must proceed from reality in the first instance. No matter how large the gaps in your knowledge, never substitute imagination, fantasy or self-deception for evidence of reality. Never substitute imagination, fantasy, fiction or self-deception for fact either. If it is truth you seek, then it is directly from reality you must proceed, always testing your abstractions, hypotheses and conclusion against reality during each step of the reasoning process.

Fantasy may never be substituted for fact. It is not valid to take the position that since there are portions of reality which are unknown, therefore a super-natural entity must exist there. Assuming you do indeed now realise that knowledge of reality is possible, that appears to leave you retreating into what is known as “Appeal to the God of the Gaps.” It is self-contradictory in that its adherants deliberately claim specialist knowledge of areas of reality which they consider unknown. Gods, Sons of Gods, spirits, monsters, angels, hobgoblins, pixies, gnomes, trolls, devils, imps, ghosts, Lucifer, heaven, hell, limbo, purgatory, the gup and all manner of supernatural sillies are claimed to exist “within the unknown” simply because it is unknown.

“Thar be dragons!”

Illogical and arbitrary.

This rather reminds me of a school friend of one of the lads. This child came to the house and boasted that he lived in a medieval castle. He had servants, he reckoned. His father was a great chieftan of the clans. When one of his mates challenged the story, he was told that since he didn’t know where the boy lived and hadn’t been there, therefore the story was all true. Quite illogical. As it happens, there are no castles in the district. That fact of reality the lads did know. The boy’s stories were soon dismissed as untrue, not corresponding to reality, even though none of his play mates had actually visited his home.

Although there were gaps in the knowledge of the group, that did not mean that the arbitrary claims of the boy should be accepted on the basis of those knowledge gaps. Sure enough, over time, as members of the group visited the boy’s home, his domestic situation became known and it was indeed the case that he did not reside in a castle with servants. His original claims were not supported by any evidence of reality. His appeal to the gap failed. For similar reasons, your appeals to the gap fail.

Quoting, ” Your version of reality is one of several billion but, of course, yours is the right one!!!”

A clumsy effort to smear! Had you considered your own hypocracy in making such a statement? It completely undermines your position. YOU are actively implying YOUR “version of reality” is “the right one!!!” You are behaving as an authority. You must apply your accustaion against yourself.

Here is the problem for you. In order to defend your fantasy, you are being a hypocrit and behaving exactly as you would accuse others of doing. What you are engaging in is to conjure up a “knowledge” and an authority restricted to yourself (or, perhaps, to the like-minded), simultaneously denying the possibility of knowledge of reality to others (especially when it contradicts your ideology). Daft.

There is only ONE reality. What anyone thinks of reality makes no difference to it.

Bruce, it remains impossible for you to rationalise, wriggle or slime your way out of reality and into some imaginary non-existant supernatural realm. Doing so is a rejection of reality and a denial of knowledge- an immoral course of action. You have been engaged in this activity. It is time to cease and desist.

Turning now to perception.
Perception is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a person. It generates the ability to be aware of entities, of things. Those things or entities are concretes. They exist in reality- a concrete. Perception does not deal with other than concretes.

You need to do some serious study in the subject of epistemlogy to clear up your misconceptions regarding perception, concretes, abstraction, concept formation, knowledge, sensation and principle.

Again, Bruce, it remains impossible for you to rationalise, wriggle or slime your way out of reality and into some imaginary non-existant supernatural realm. You are trying to deceive yourself. Give it up!

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Dear Sione,

Apparently you misunderstand my view of reality. No harm done.

Here is a test for you. Use your understanding of reality to be concrete to explain and describe love. Is it the shallow view of a materialist?

Sione August 25, 2010 at 2:15 am

Hi Bruce

Love is the emotional response of one person to specific valued qualities, the virtues, of another. It is the response experienced when one’s most important values are discovered to be embodied in the person of another.

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Dear Sione,

Your answer is very good but what about the power of attraction that binds together the universe, from the smallest particles known to the fathomless cosmic systems? How concrete is love since all that can be mentioned are merely the evidences that it exists. Concrete – show it to me, not just its by products? I assert that love also has a very real abstract nature to it. Is that so difficult to see?

Sione August 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Bruce

Regarding a “power of attraction” that binds the universe.
The universe is not “bound” together by “power”. Power is work done per unit time. In other words it is energy produced (or expended) over a fixed period of time (conventionally, on a per second basis). That is something that may be experienced and measured within the known universe, but it is not an agent binding the universe.

Regarding forces operating within the universe.
It has been establised that there are forces operating throughout the known universe. Four are known. They are gravity, electromagnetic, weak nuclear and strong nuclear. The first two may be detected acting on the sub-atomic scale and on up to the cosmic scale. The weak and strong nuclear forces are encountered at sub-atomic (sub-nuclear in fact) scales. If you want to discuss the fundamental forces in detail you’d be best corresponding with a professional physicist, as I am not a specialist in the field. It is a large (and fascinating) subject, extending to the fronteirs of present knowledge.

Regarding the emotion of love
What has love to do with particle physics or cosmology? Nothing, unless one experiences a love of physics or cosmology. Love is an emotional response- which is a concrete. It is something individuals experience. It is experienced in similar fashion to how other emotions are experienced- a personal response to aspects of reality which a particular individual encounters and focuses upon. In other words, love is a product of a human mind.

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 25, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Dear Sione,

Your definition of power is empirical which is fine for some applications. What about the power of thought or the power of unity or the power of justice?

“Regarding forces operating within the universe. . . Four are known.” How many are unknown? Surely you do not think that we have all the knowledge that exists!

“What has love to do with particle physics or cosmology? Nothing” that Sione knows about or that many empirical scientists know about. To those locked into a paradigm ‘nothing’ else is possible.

Sione August 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Hi Bruce

Terms such as “power of thought”, “power of justice” are examples of figurative language. They are not literal.

Regarding the four fundamental forces, you asked how many were unknown. There is direct evidence of reality for the four. If other fundamental forces were to exist, then evidence of reality for their existence would exist. Such evidence would need to be produced. If you intend to posit some extra fundamental forces that you have discovered, then you must produce the evidence of reality to prove their existence. Have fun searching!

You write, “Surely you do not think that we have all the knowledge that exists!”
Seriously, try reading what I’ve already written.

Bruce, it apears you are still attempting an appeal to the god of the gaps. It’s an irrational and invalid approach for many reasons. Let’s take a closer look at the method and why it fails. Essentially the argument consists of three stages.

1/. Man is not omniscient. Man does not know about everything. There are unknowns- things that are unknown. Man does not know about them.

2/. It is posited that entities such as God, spirits, various super-natural agents, angels, mosters, ghosts and so on inhabit the realm of that which is unknown. The argument goes that since they are “unknown” so they can’t be denied. “You can’t show a God does not exist” is a common refrain. “You do not know.” Since the inhabitants of the unknown realm can’t be denied (goes the claim), then they are real. Notice that at this stage the propositioner has claimed for himself a special knowledge- knowledge of the unknown!

3/. Now the coast is clear to make-up whatever arbitrary, random fantasy the propositioner feels inclined to believe in. Things like a Thousand Year Reich of the Son of God or the Coming of the Christian Rapture or the Tyranny of the Beast or the Holocaust of the Unbelievers etc. etc. etc. Again, this special “knowledge” is restricted to the propositioner and like-minded believers (all nodding in mindless agreement) while denied to non-believers, apostates and competing fantasists. Ah, the irony of inconsistancy!

Stage two does not logically follow from stage one. Stage three does not logically follow from stage two, let alone stage one. It can’t be pretended that the unknown allows one to conjure up fantasy and claim it as reality. It is completely inconsistent, not to mention irrational, to claim knowledge of the unknown

Apart from the inconsistency involved in claiming knowledge of the unknown, there is the issue of satisfying the burden of proof for all claims to the positive anyway (for the claim of special knowledge upon which you must rely and also any claims made at stages two and three).

The burden of proof always falls upon he who asserts the positive. As an example, were I to say that there are fairies at the bottom of my garden the burden to prove their existence would fall upon me. Were my neighbour, Ratu, to say that he did not accept the claim it would not be sufficient for me to rely on appeals to a realm of the “unknown”. I could not demand Ratu accept my claim solely on the basis that I said the fairies were there. Nor can I rely on a demand that he prove they do not exist (a proof of the negative) in order to get me off the hook. The burden remains upon me as claimant of the positive. All Ratu need do is demand proof, direct non-contradictory evidence of reality. When I fail to provide it, he justifably should reject my claim without any further consideration whatsoever. This challenge (the burden of proof) provides an insurmountable problem for the Appeal to the God of the Gaps. Despite Man’s lack of omniscience, stages two and three do not stand. They are merely arbitrary fantasy.

There are several other major and minor problems with your approach, but these two will suffice to demonstrate its invalidity.

Finally, if you intend to claim that love has some fundamental unifying effect upon the structure of the universe or some similar silliness, then you must supply evidence of reality and make the proof. As you are unable to do this (remember you’d be requiring knowledge of the unknown- a non-existent), your claims and your approach are readily discarded as false.

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 26, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Dear Sione,

“Terms such as “power of thought”, “power of justice” are examples of figurative language. ” Language is how humans communicate. You like to communicate as an empiricist and so you use such words: “Power is work done per unit time. In other words it is energy produced (or expended) over a fixed period of time (conventionally, on a per second basis).” What deficiency causes you to be unable to understand language in whatever form it takes?

“There are unknowns- things that are unknown. Man does not know about them.” Yet I see no evidence that those things that are unknown to you interest you. What if your assessment criteria are deficient? That which is unknown may be unknown because of faulty methods.

Maybe it is a false assumption that you are interested in Austrian economics or subjectivism. Maybe you just come to the Mises site to argue, not to learn. Assuming that you recognize the genius of Ludwig von Mises I suggest that you read his “Theory and History.” I think you would find it very satisfying to read since it is 379 pages about these very subjects and issues.

After reading “Theory and History” I doubt that you will still be able to hold onto your very specific and rigid version of determinism.

Sione August 27, 2010 at 1:49 am

Hello Bruce,

There is no deficiency on my part in refusing to allocate to you carte blanche to employ empty language for deceptive and dishonest purpose, committing atrocity upon logic, reason and sanity. If you so disagreed with the definition of power, then you should have disclosed your own definition and attempted a refutation of the one I presented. Of course, should you have done so you’d have needed to be able to explain yourself in detail, provide validation and proof.

Your second paragraph is yet another effort to launch an appeal to the gaps. Bruce, it won’t work. See previous discussion about the method and its shortcomings.

You write, “Maybe it is a false assumption that you are interested in Austrian economics or subjectivism.”

Always remember, you can’t pretend to knowledge you don’t have, no matter how carefully you try to dress up what you are doing. You do not know me and it is impossible for you to read the mind of another person, half a world away. Best to avoid clumsy attempts at smearing. Smearing fails to advance your cause or support your argument (as does spraying around terminology which you demonstrate you do not properly understand).

You write, “Maybe you just come to the Mises site to argue, not to learn.”

More empty smearing. See above.

What’s wrong with argument anyway? It can be an excellent means of learning.

“Theory and History” does not validate appeal to the gaps, nor does your appeal to authority.

My position is not determinism. I’ve not provided statements that support such a claim. Do you understand what determinism actually is?

Seems you are more than a little desperate to continue to hold to blind faith in fantasy. Take a look at what you’ve contributed. There is nothing of substance whatsoever- just empty assertion, baseless claims and cheap trick rhetorical devices.

It is recommended you spend study epistemology. Now is a good time to start.

Sione

Bruce Koerber August 27, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Dear Sione,

I did not disagree with your empirical definitions, I just do not accept them as the limit of our understanding.

I did not offer another definition of power because you would not understand. Do not forget that I accept your empirical definitions. I am not the one who is constructing a boundary around ‘reality.’

There are no gaps for me since I find harmony between the empirical definitions of reality and those of a different nature. It is you that has gaps which are you unable to bridge. You can call them gaps but that only applies to your knowledge, not mine, since I have not put ‘reality’ in a box that cannot make any sense outside of that box.

It was certainly not my intention to smear you. I have no qualms about the value of argument to the learning process. I do not know you nor do I claim to know you but I did pose a question to you to see if you are sincerely interested in Austrian economics or subjectivism.

If you have the opportunity to read Chapter Five in “Theory and History” I would be very surprised if your view of ‘reality’ stays as rigidly narrow.

Sam January 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Errors in the writing. Has a Catholic slant and has facts posted from a personal opinion affected by Catholism. It is the Catholics that have killed ~100-150,000,000 Christians. [Trail of Blood by JM Carroll; Foxes Book of Martyrs and Martyr's Mirror].

The KGE is on earth in the believer – it is within as scripture clearly states. The beleiver is waiting on Christ Jesus return. I Cor 15:52 it will be at the last trump REV 11:15 and the Church will be taken out meet Christ in the air ever to be with Jesus and then God pours out His wrath on the remanent and final destruction comes.

This is an extremely clear teaching and is not hinged on pre-mil or post-mil or of the protestant teachings. The Catholic Church is a man-made religion having its inception in ~321 AD. The dispensational concept was invented by them through the Jesuits. The article is more smoke and mirrors.

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