Criticizing the Bible is all to easy.
It might be a good motivation to write for some, but I don’t find it interesting by itself. Therefore I am rewriting a post that I had in the make about the bible, as I want to focus on storytelling and narrative instead of what a colleague of mine called bible thumping. My aim is to try and learn about storytelling and narratives and the bible, being a source and inspiration for many (tall) tales, would be a great book to use as an angle. Perhaps too great.
A few weeks ago I started to do the rework and I decided to start You Tube because I usually have some music or documentary in the background when working on something. When it started, You Tube offers suggestions and one of these was a movie called: the end of the world.I looked at the link.
It was a podcast by Stefan Molyneux.
I did not want to watch because he upsets me, but I also wanted to give the man a fair chance. I thought: perhaps I am biased, so let’s hear what he has to say.
He managed to annoy from the get go.
The next line is not exactly the first sentence of the podcast, but it is close and it is the sentence that sets the tone for the rest of his forty minutes podcast:
“It is hard for meto think of a group or a culture or a country with really divergent cultures that gets along hunky dory and integrates.. You got Ireland, you got Kosovo and you got various places in Africa with tribal warfare. You have racial gangs in prison.”
(Stefan Molyneux, The end of the World. 12 seconds into the podcast)
And Molyneux is pretty honest about himself: he has a hard time to think. So let’s help him think:
1 Wine and water mix!
Imagine Stefan walking on a sandy beach on a balmy summer morning. The weather is pleasant so he walks barefooted into the surf. Then his big toe bumps into something. It is a flask filled with a red fluid and he picks it up. From the shape of the flask and the cork he figures that is must be wine.. He tries to pull out the cork, and with a hard twist he succeeds, but then the flask escapes his grasp and falls into the sea. He quickly grabs for it, but the waves toss the flask around and he pushes it under the water several times before he can retrieve it from the sea. Once he has the flask he tries to drink from it. But he spits out the fluid, for all he tastes is the sea water. And Stefan wonders: where is the wine?
Stefan, cultures tend to mix. If you are trying to find really divergent cultures that work together you will have hard time to find them because cultures tend to influence each other and mix and eventually flow together. It is like stating that you can not find a bottle containing a separate part of wine and a separate part of water. You can’t Stefan, because they mix. And the sea contains a lot of salt water.. and the wine in the flask is just a tiny drop in the ocean. That is why you no longer taste it. Just so you know the next time you have a hard time thinking.
2 Sea Water is not wine!
Stefan takes his wine flask containing the seawater to a barman down the beach. He shows the flask to the barman and asks: “Is this a wine flask?”
The barman – an expert in his business – takes a close look and then nods; “That it is indeed a wine-flask. I would say – reading from the label – that it is a Pinot Noir.” (He is that good).
“Then,” Stefan concludes, “it is wine!” And Stefan takes a big swig from the flask and then spits it out again for the fluid inside still tastes like salt water.
“Sir…seawater is seawater regardless of the container that holds it,” The barman says with a suppressed smile, “seawater won’t become wine simply because a wine flask holds it!”
See Stefan, If a really divergent culture is defined as a culture that cannot abide another culture then you just made a watertight but pointless premise. For if it does tolerate another culture.. it isn’t really divergent. And voila.. the logic is inescapable. Seawater is seawater not matter what and if it is not seawater.. it’s not seawater. Brilliant! And pointless.
3 Removing sea water from a wine flask does not make the wine appear.
“Then, ” Stefan says, “I get rid of the salt water!” And Stefan turns the wine flask upside down and lets the water run away.
He then takes another drink, but after a moment he puts down the bottle and says, “Where is the wine?”
And the barman says, “But Stefan, removing the seawater does not make the wine appear. It just makes for an empty flask.”
“I see, ” Stefan says, “I guess I wasn’t thinking.”
Stefan, what examples do you come up with? Ireland, Kosovo and some African countries.
Let’s pick Ireland. You mean Northern Ireland. Are we talking about really divergent cultures here? Really Stefan? Are the parties involved so really divergent culturally that it explains the conflict? Then allow me to give an example of some ‘really divergent’ cultures that do work together as you have a hard time of thinking of them.
One is called the European Union. You remember those world wars that started in Europe? The Union exists also to avoid a war between such ‘really divergent’ cultures as say: France(mostly catholic) and Germany(mostly protestant).
You think the European Union is not a good example(and I bet you do)? Then let’s have a look at my country, the Netherlands: partly protestant, partly catholic and even partly non christian. I can not recall the last time Dutch protestants were blowing up Dutch Catholics here.. perhaps you should remind me? But if you are about to make your case anyway.. perhaps you could explain how it can be that the Frisians aren’t killing the rest of us, because they are defined as having their own culture and if they aren’t ‘really divergent’ culturally from the rest of the country, then I wouldn’t know who would be ‘really divergent’ culturally.
Oh wait.. not a good example either? Then your Ireland example isn’t one either. Or would you claim that the parties that oppose each-other in Northern Ireland are more divergent culturally than the Catholics and the protestants are in the Netherlands? Or the Frisians from the rest of the country? Or France from Germany, countries that speak different languages and have their own centuries old literature?
Of course you would. The latter are not really divergent culturally because they don’t kill each other, but those in Northern Ireland are because they did once kill one another. Hence your premise remains true no matter what. If they kill people it is because they are really divergent, if they don’t, the culture isn’t really divergent.
Perhaps you might not be aware of the fact that a fragile peace exists in Northern Ireland since 2001. Maybe you forgot? You should look it up: the troubles.
But even if they start killing each other in abundance, you should be aware that the majority of all these people live together without killing each other. Yes Stefan.. people are not so hell bend on violence as you deem them to be.
4 Are there traces of divergent cultures living together?
Well, point 1 and 2 makes it hard to find them, but let’s have a look at the biggest melting pot in the history of the world: the US of A. You know that country next to yours? If you take a look at the history of the United States you will find people and groups from diverse cultures and backgrounds work and live together without trying to blow each-other up. But then these are not really divergent cultures because they are not killing each other. Except for the gangs in prison of course, those are really divergent cultures because they kill people(mostly among their own kind of people(gangs).. so how would that fit in your picture?), while those not in prison and not killing each other are not really divergent. A water tight case: if they kill people they are really divergent, if they do not kill others, they are not.
Stefan, we are all living in various social constructions were various cultures live together. And perhaps you might have forgotten that we all live on a one planet with seven billion people of which most are not blowing up other people. Perhaps you should not only focus on the items that are in the head lines or on the front pages. These are by nature sensational and usually limited in background information. Just repeating them without thinking makes you look shallow.
But it doesn’t really matter does it?
It doesn’t, because the statement is just an angle to argue your case against state(and family and women). It is a rhetorical device. Like Cato used. You know Cato? I bet you do. And if not: you should look him up. He used the tactic you use: repeating the same thing over and over regardless of whether it was appropriate to what was talked about:
Carthago must be destroyed.
Carthago must be destroyed!
CARTHAGO MUST BE DESTROYED!
And that is what you do: repeat the same thing over and over regardless of context or logic: the state must be destroyed!
For the state sucks! And it sucks because you claim that taxes are blackmail and gets used to line the pockets of the parasites that use the state to enrich themselves and who mismanage everything and hinder progress. And that is why the state should go: so you don’t need to pay them taxes. For you hate taxes. Yeah, for paying taxes sucks! Get over it.