Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pushback (part 1)

I've gotten a lot of interesting pushback and challenge on who I am and things that I've asserted either on the blog or in the book. I appreciate the time people take to write me and give me their opinions. There are a couple questions and issues that I've noticed keep coming up. The following is sort of a typical exchange that happens to touch on a lot of these issues. Maybe it will help to clarify some common misconceptions.

A reader starts out writing:

Regardless of how much you seem to pride yourself on you unfortunate disorder of sociopathy, it is a sad sad thing to be void of conscience and the ability to associate with or care for other people's feelings. I feel bad for you for the fact that you don't feel for others. That's the best part of living and. And I feel bad for your  utter ignorance regarding your Mormon religion. Your motivation for being a member of a religion is...what? Ego? To reach the point of Godliness through manipulative actions that help you to succeed in life? Good luck on that. Your take on what Mormons believe has been twisted to serve yourself and little else. I'm surprised that you haven't grasped the basic tenets of such a religion even though you are an active member, but that seems to be fairly common in the Mormon community. Your spirit is stunted which is the precise reason you feel the need to follow a religion that you've malleabalized to your own liking in your head. Mormon's do believe that everyone has the ability to be as God is since God has been/is what we are now. But getting to that form takes a hell of a lot more than action and Mormons do not believe that actions are all that matters. Being aware of other's states of being in this existence and giving a shit about that matters as well. I was raised in the Mormon church and I was certainly never led to believe that your thoughts and motivations don't matter,rather the opposite.Your thoughts and motivations are at the basis of all of your actions and it's your intentions that matter most. Therefore actions are the lowest on the totem pole.That's what I was taught. Everyone messes up, everyone thinks horrible thoughts sometimes, but what you WANT to do with those actions actions, thoughts and feelings, what you strive for and intend in your heart is the only thing that ultimately really matters. All of the success in life doesn't matter even a little in God's eyes if you don't give a shit about anyone else to begin with. So sorry for your misunderstanding your whole life.  

My first response:

Yes, I know what you mean. As you say, it cannot just be actions that matter, because then my down syndrome relatives would be in trouble every time they did something wrong-ish (e.g., counterfactually, sexually abusing a young child). On the other hand it can't be that thoughts are the only things that matter, otherwise if you are gay you're pretty much toast because you can't really control being sexually attracted to members of the same sex, and actually aren't we all sort of toast because haven't we all looked at someone else to lust after them, or had any other sort of bad thoughts pop into our heads? The truth is that we can't control our thoughts, or at least can't prevent having certain thoughts. Yes, we can choose what to do with those thoughts, and that's why I think one's actions are particularly relevant when one is discussing dealing with a mental disorder that is characterized by having unsavory thoughts. I think we probably agree on this, that the whole point of life is to try to conform one's behavior to a particular standard and in so doing eventually/hopefully change one's brain wiring? But also I don't consider myself an expert on Mormon doctrine, particularly not this particular area which has always sort of been hard to reconcile for me (do sociopaths have a place in Mormonism or mainstream Christianity?, etc.).


  1. Oh, tryhards.

    The fellow writing in is one of that distinctive breed of stupid people that crave being recognized as clever and superior. To that end, he attempts to play the 'I'm right and you're wrong, see?' card, rather abrasively, over and over again. The cute little witticisms, like 'good luck on that' ("good luck with that", incidentally, is the proper usage if you're reading this, dear responder) aren't even original. Sigh.

    I appreciate the stated spirit of your attempt to create a cohesive response to common themes of dialogue, but this is like beating a handicapped child with a baseball bat. He's not even capable of writing in with clever or thought-provoking complaints, his entire letter is one long 'look how much better I am than you, since you're evil and stupid' tirade. He doesn't even have the decency to pretend that he's appealing to higher values here. Paraphrasing here for conciseness: "I feel bad for you that you're a damaged person who will never experience the joys of living like I have"... seriously?

    Come on. Don't give this dreck the time of day. At best you're indulging the ego of some fellow who doesn't deserve recognition, even anonymously. At worst, well.

    Like Mark Twain supposedly said, "Don't argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."

    You get into an argument with one person like this, and every last tryhard on the internet will smell it and want to get a cut of the action in the hopes that you'll repost something they said. Something I've discovered in my life is that there is no objective right or wrong in an argument, anything can be argued convincingly if the audience is primed correctly and the debater has appropriate experience. Death by a thousand cuts (or a thousand intentionally obtuse, narcissistic emails belaboring minor philosophical points, same difference) is not something you wanna walk into, in my opinion.

    In other words, I have a strong distaste for the type of person that you've showcased in your post, please stop immediately before my allergic reaction to stupid kicks in. Thank you.

    1. I agree with this commenter. The writer in the blog post is very self righteous and seems stuck in binary thinking. There does not seem to be any desire for understanding of a different point of view- only a militant and judgmental need to preach at others.

    2. Lol brilliant couldn't have said it better myself

  2. If someone can't control their thoughts, can they change the kind of thoughts they have?

    1. can you give an example, please ?

    2. i think there are a lot of people who are depressed, who have not been arranging their depressions so they can manipulate others, who cannot change their thoughts. I f they could, then why wouldn't they opt to do so instead of going for ect?

  3. "Religion" is nothing more then a suit of clothes can be put on and
    removed at will. It is no reflection of our true inner state-our actual
    behavior is: "By their fruits you will know them." Belonging to the
    "proper" church, like belonging to the "proper" country club reeks of
    exclusion, but does nothing to bring one closer to God. John Kerry,
    for example, is desended from eastern European Jews, who converted to Protesentism. He simply exchanged one accquired
    idenity for another one.
    Sometimes this DOES work for best. The Hindu religion has a caste
    system. If an untouchable is born into this religion, (Usually they are
    dark complected) he can look forward to a "bright future" as a
    "Midnight Soil" engineer. i.,e.: A lifetime of cleaning out latrines
    because that's all he's good for. Is it any wonder that many untouchables took the escape route into Islam and "christanity?"
    The only problem is that Hindus and Moslems never transcended
    their "family" issues. Hence, the sectarian slaughter.
    There is no need to struggle with your thoughts. You only need to be
    aware of them and let them drop like leaves falling off a tree in Authem. What you struggle with, dominates YOU. Like a person engaged with a boxing match with his own shadow. Once you
    realize that YOU are the source of your own distress, you won't
    knowingly engage in any negative emotional activity. You won't behave
    in a "phoney" empathic way just because everybody else who follows
    your "religion" says you MUST behave that way. Awareness and
    clarity of thought are what matters.
    This exchanging of one "religion" for another also has negative
    consequences as we saw last weekend with the Mall massaqure in
    Kenya. Some of the partisipents were Americans who donned the
    religious suit of Islam obligating them to partake of slaughter to win
    their 72 virgins in an imaginary "Heaven."

  4. To M.E that's the keyword there " mainstream Christianity" a question for you, why would you want to join a religion and be lost without God? Neither one of you touched on the Gospel, how are your motivations and actions going to matter if you have not obeyed John 3:5 and Acts 2:38? You are still lost without God.People may have Idols (Gods) such as Mother Teresa or a long line of popes and cry out "your holiness" but the truth is if they have been indoctrinated by "mainstream" Christianity or a religion that teaches trinitarian doctrine, Baptizes in the trinity, Not obeyed the Gospel they are lost without God.2 thessalonians 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

  5. I looked up about Joseph Smith, and about his "vision" about " God the father and the " Son" that is all that man would need to tell someone who knows the truth for them to know he was a false prophet.Jesus Christ is all there is, God created himself a body, any time Jesus referred to the Father that was the flesh referring to his spirit.See isaia 9:6, Isaiah 43:10-11, Colossians 2:9-10,1 Timothy 3:16.Isaiah 41:4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

    1. I wrote a long response to Anon @ 10:10 above, but then I realized he had already said all there is to say.

      But yes, from a traditional Christian perspective this sounds sightly heretical:

      Mormon's do believe that everyone has the ability to be as God is since God has been/is what we are now.

      Lorenzo Snow succinctly summarized another portion of the doctrine explained in the King Follett Discourse using a couplet:

      As man now is, God once was:
      As God now is, man may be.
      —Lorenzo Snow[9][10]

      Not much better, for the orthodox or literal Bible believers among us, but somehow more complicated. May be? The Catholics at least to not mention their spiritual forefathers had ample time to add layers and layers of transcendence and sublimity over the words. What about the result of the Catholic spiritual or spiritually inspired reality over the centuries from their rebellious sources?

      Maybe we should all join the LDS based on our communicator's statement. Imagine a world full of Gods, just like in Ancient Greece or elsewhere at the time. A heavenly animated world, with Gods suiting anyone's desires.

      But then, maybe the Greek Gods all had to be passionately emphatic humans first and only once they turned Gods were allowed to play tricks on both humans and their co-Gods and Semi-Gods.

      What about the Titans before them? Yes, what about them? I seem to vaguely remember that early Christian church fathers were deeply influenced by Greek philosophy. Now if you build a human from earth, then why shouldn't their soul be somehow connected to the particles of dead and destroyed Titans, the earlier Gods, mixed into the earth. No harm meant to Nygren, I liked his work.Obviously the bible was initially written in Koine Greek first. Before it developped into a purely American or new Koine English with new books for a city on the hill.

    2. Isaiah 43:10-11 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me, I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior. Does this idea that you are going to be Gods sound familiar?Isaiah 14:12-15 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lu'-ci-fer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

    3. You still did not tell me how God communicated with you, making you wish ardently to turn into a member of the spirtually born again? Or isn't it just spiritually?

      Isaiah is of course interesting, no doubt. What about Daniel and Ezekiel? What do you think about the "Son of man" means? Any favorite quote and/or passage containing it?

    4. Changed, this is superfluous: about

    5. Truly before you write it off as unnecessary, consider that your surrender and submission to the Gospel may be your first steps to wisdom.1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: avoid understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever.So before any of you try and rationalize your ways out of obeying the gospel or look for alternatives consider Eternal life/ Condemnation. Do not be hindrances to yourselves.While you may all try and boost your intellects or self images consider Mark 8:36-37For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away.Whether you " intellectuals" believe or not Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

    6. Anom @9:14 Or consider before any of you dismiss the gospel Matthew 10:14-15 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Go-mor'-rha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

  6. @ME Do not be deceived by false prophets and religion.If you have not been born again, you must or nothing else in this life is going to help you with God.People may be able to open their bibles and use John 3:16 for every situation but what about this?James 2:19-20 Thou believes that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?John 7:38-39 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.(But this spake he of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) The baptism of the Holy Ghost is birth of the spirit, not just believing. Faith with works? If you believe, you will believe him in John 3:1-8 and obey and be born again.Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Does this sound like a name or titles? Matthew 28:19, Luke 1:35, John 5:43, John 14:26, Luke 24:45-47 (Acts 2:38) @ME maybe you should read ACTS OF THE APOSTLES and leave religion alone and be born again so you can truly be a child of God and not lost without God? Maybe you have a lost since of identity, but I can tell you who you and others are if they have not obeyed the Gospel, Lost children who have a long punishment awaiting until they do.And then it is still Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

  7. @ME Maybe your flesh does not like be told what is right for it or being wrong, but haven't we all be vain and lost at some point? Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the the wind, have taken us away.Maybe while you feel the way you do, your soul is crying out for redemption, but your flesh is hindering you from getting what you need.Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.May you bee called by the spirit so you can come to him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ

  8. Surely it should be considered more virtuous to be in a position where you choose to struggle against your natural inclinations to try and be more 'moral' than in a position when being 'morally good' just comes to you as naturally as breathing.

    For example, who would you consider more morally praiseworthy? Both Janet and John (couldn't resist using those names, lol) find a wallet with £50 in banknotes (which Google informs me is roughly $80 USD) but no credit cards or ID. There is no-one around. What to do with the money?

    For Janet, the answer is obvious; the money doesn't belong to her so she should hand it in at the nearest police station. The thought that she could just pocket the money with no repercussions at all doesn't even occur to her. This is just the latest of a long line of situations where doing the right thing (such as this is commonly understood) was an effortless action. On the other hand, John is very tempted just to take the money for himself and abandon the wallet on the roadside. After all, he could do with some extra cash and nothing bad will happen to him as a result. But, after an internal moral struggle, he decides to do what Janet did all along and hand the wallet in to the police.

    I would contest that it is John rather than Janet who is more morally praiseworthy because he actively chose to act morally rather than indulge his temptation whereas Janet never really had a choice because she was always going to hand the money in.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that any pro-social sociopath who resists their natural inclination to commit anti-social acts is perhaps more morally-praiseworthy than some Janet-like empath for whom acting pro-socially is an ingrained habit that doesn't require a second thought.

    1. I agree completely.
      Morality that is a reflexive act means far less than the free choice of knowing the personal upside to ignoring the moral expectation and choosing to act in a sacrificial manner.
      I realize it's comparing apples and oranges but I liken it to a person in a relationship who is faithful because it never occurs to them to cheat offering less "love in action" than the partner who is presented with daily temptation to cheat with a desirable target who internally recommits each day to chosen fidelity to a promise made to a partner. I will take bachelor #2 every time, thank you very much.

    2. I will take either, personally. Someone who instinctively knows it is wrong and someone who ignores temptation. Both give you the same outcome.

    3. Instinct can be short circuited by a skillful seducer. Naivete' may look like virtue, but it can simply indicate a lack of responsiveness to stimuli or a lack of stimuli rather than chosen action that validates a promise made under different circumstances. Naive people can have the potential for truly moral action, but their lack of transgression indicates their circumstances as much as their character. I'm not anti bachelor # 1- I just find an individual who chooses virtue particularly appealing.

    4. "he thought that she could just pocket the money with no repercussions at all doesn't even occur to her."

      Or maybe the thought does occur for a split of a second but the strong social contracts and morals will shadow that thought and substitute it for a thought which is acceptable according to his/her morals.

      I believe everyone wants to keep the money but most people are taught that this is "wrong" so they just don't do it.

    5. Well Philip as this was a bit of a thought experiment, it doesn't have to be exactly how it would be in real life and we can have holier than thou individuals who are really like that (in the thought experiment).

      But as for your example, which I agree is much more likely in a real life situation, this person has in a sense been brainwashed into following a particular moral code so they don't really have a choice. But a pro-social sociopath (for example) will not have the same social pressure being exerted over their every action so they really do have a choice over whether to act 'morally' or not.

  9. Think about that pearl of great price, the true Gospel, the one way road to salvation, would you be willing to sell man's vain religions and teachings for it? For a new heart?Ezekial 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.To have your body be the true Church of Christ?Acts 7:47-50 But Solomon built him an house.Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lird: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. √Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue with he speak to this people.To be a Child of the Most High?John 1:12-13But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.Obey ACTS 2:38, how great is that pearl to you M.E? More than man's vain religions devoid of God's will and truth?More than your relationships?Your soul depends on obedience to the Gospel

  10. Many repeat beliefs that hollow folks don´t like anything/anyone. That surely must be the biggest misunderstanding of all. They may not love anything. They may hate many things.

  11. if I read "God", "Jesus", names of bible parts and other crap like that, I'll just skip to the next comment. Really, if you believe in a book which has been translated and manipulated by the corrupt catholic church, you're AT LEAST stupid and quite naive.

    I love it when christians try to make me "accept Jesus". I pretend I do for a while and then start asking questions. Really rational question.

    They all give up, of course.

    1. How vain of man to believe it's about them accepting him, he will fill you with his spirit after you have repented and submitted to him.Your unbelief do not change him but will hinder you.Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.Consider it a matter of being accepted rather than" accepting him"But them your not the only one who has been blinded by the enemy.But how can any of you believe unless you have experiences with him in his presence? You are not the only one who has been manipulated and in spiritual bondage.But how may you understand spiritual things unless you have been born of the spirit?

    2. it's possible, Phillip, that your staggering intellect is not the only reason people you get into spiritual discussions with "give up".

    3. for Anon: blah-blah-blah... something written in the bible... more blah-blah-blah...

      for Machavellianempath: what could the other reasons be? Great input, thanks! lol for "staggering intellect" :P

    4. The first mistake is is underestimate your opponent.
      coming from the background I did I share your irritation with proselytizers.

      But just because someone thinks differently than you do is not an indication that they are idiots. You come off as kind of arrogant. They may simply give up because nobody likes to be condescended to. You do seem quite intelligent- that is not the problem- but it's the disrespect thing that is probably burning more bridges than you realize.

  12. Plus if you look into the word it tells you that if any man go teaching another gospel let him be accursed, do the baptists, catholics, Mormons, ect. Teach Acts 2:38, or oneness? If not they are false.Perhaps many of you would be believers or born again believers had you obeyed it, or been in the company of the born again children of God and had genuine experiences

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  16. Lucas is a treasure he was always kind,and caring,he was always good to me despite thin disease and all it tried to take from him…He made friends and many liked him ,teachers parents kids animals ,he was a special gift and left be hide a lifetime of smiles he will always be missed until we are together forever He touched many he’d never met aw so Blessed xos.

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