Dr. Ben Carson 2016?

Posted by Wonky 7 years ago to Politics
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I happened to be re-reading “Philosophy: Who needs it” last Thursday, and had just finished “The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made”. Remember that essay on the serenity prayer?

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

While Rand makes it perfectly clear that she disagrees with Reinhold Heibuhr’s ideas in every fundamental way, she finds a certain value in the prayer and uses it to introduce the topic of her essay on distinguishing between the metaphysical and the man-made and how to treat each.

So, later in the day (or maybe it was Friday), I hear that this fellow Dr. Ben Carson (who, up until then, I’d never even heard of) is considering a presidential run. Well, that set off a fast and furious google/youtube catch up session, and I’m now in part 2 of Ben Carson’s “One Nation”, and I watched “A Breath of Fresh Air” Sunday.

I found myself (as usual), trying to overlook (and translate) the bits about “If it’s God’s plan for me to run, then I will”, and praying for wisdom (do I want a president who might pray for answers to real problems and use divine revelation to choose the way he leads?).

In keeping with my tradition of “thinking out loud” Gulch posts, I really like this guy. He seems to exude a serenity that is the antithesis of what Rand describes as the men who “spend their lives in futile rebellion against the things they cannot change, in passive resignation to the things they can, and - never attempting to learn the difference - in chronic guilt and self-doubt on both counts”.

So I whipped out my personal decoding toolbox, because this is too important to ignore... a distinguished, “non-politician” actually talking about “serving” in a public office... definitely too important to ignore.

Here is my cheat sheet for translating religious language to rational language:

1. Prayer = meditation = settling extraneous thoughts to allow one’s entire attention to be focused on the topic at hand without making the error of allowing extraneous thoughts interfere with the process of assessing the topic.

2. God = the “spirit” of man = the “essence” of man = the “nature” of man = that part of every man which is common with every other man (that he is a rational animal, if you will).

3. God’s will = (in accordance with the previous translation) that which truly rational men must conclude is in their best interest.

This is no science, to be sure, but it works for me when assessing earnest men on either side. If Mr. Carson says that he is praying for wisdom with respect to running, I’m willing to interpret that to mean that he is settling his mind in order to bring his full attention to bear on the situation he would be placing himself into. Every indication is that he is capable of objectively discerning between the metaphysical and the man-made... how can any good medical doctor not? If Mr. Carson says that he will run if it is God’s will that he run, I’m willing to interpret that to mean that he thinks it is in his best interest as well as the best interest of other rational men for him to run.

I’m wondering how other members of the Gulch feel about him as a presidential candidate.


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  • Posted by khalling 7 years ago
    He has some policy stands which are inconsistent. He tends to make those stands independent from a philosophical framework. Ultimately he is for greater govt involvement in areas that I would oppose. I do not see him as a big free market guy. One example : he is for stricter gun control laws
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    • Posted by $ blarman 7 years ago
      Agreed. I think the man is basically honest and he isn't going to be as tainted as the rest of the field (Jeb Bush) because he hasn't spent his life in politics, but like khalling, I share some policy differences with the man. That being said, I wouldn't have any problem voting for him over Hillary Clinton.
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    • Posted by $ allosaur 7 years ago
      Carson is my (as yet not fully decided) favorite. Your statement about his being for stricter gun control gave me a jolt and sent me searching.
      He is against me having a tank and a bazooka.
      Fine, I do not want any of those, but Carson thinks semiautomatic weapons should be banned in heavily populated area.
      He needs to define semiautomatic. I think he is thinking AR-15 when a pistol with a clip is also a semiautomatic. Then I surfed to another site that I really like. He's against gun registration!

      http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/...
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  • Posted by edweaver 7 years ago
    I would vote for him but he would not be my first choice. I believe we need someone that is farther to the right than what I see him as. I think he is a great person and would be a million percent better than what we have currently. From some interviews I have listened to and read, I think he may be too moderate socially especially in the medical field. We will never get back to truly limited government if we elect social moderates. My 2 cents.

    I did like your analogy of prayer, God & God' s will. Very interesting translation.
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    • Posted by 7 years ago
      I definitely want legislators farther on the right, but I'd really like to see the executive branch of our government cease its incursion into legislation. While I'd prefer to see someone like Rand Paul take the presidency, my fear is that the country will just swing back to the left if we start dismantling too many government agencies too quickly. Who was the last president that left office with his party in control of the legislative branch? I can't even remember... I think I'd rather have Rand Paul making laws, Ben Carson signing them, and a nation that is more satisfied with all 3 branches of government controlled by a rational right of center party for more than 4 years.
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      • Posted by edweaver 7 years ago
        At one time I took your position but upon further study & consideration I have changed my belief. For me I feel that unless we make an abrupt change back to the right we are destined to fail. It becomes a matter of how fast the failure comes. If we slide to the right failure will take longer but we will still fail. If we slide left failure will come faster. Present course is pretty fast failure. If we don't get back to limited government quickly we will never make it.

        There are many factors that bring me to this belief. All I have time to share for consideration is this. If we only start moving slowly to the right, it does nothing to change the entitlement mentality. Too many people will see someone else still getting a handout which will cause them to want theirs too. It will make people angry. If everything is cut all at once we will all be treated equally and if all the money that has been consumed and wasted by t he government is put back into the economy life would improve so drastically for everyone there would be nothing to complain about.

        I like Rand Paul too but he is still moderate in too many ways, IMHO.
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        • Posted by 7 years ago
          I agree in principle. I think Peter Schiff presents a pretty accurate description of the impending economic crash in his book "The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy - How to Save Yourself and Your Country". If I recall, he predicts 2019 or sooner.

          A hard right "fiscal" turn is basically mandatory. I'm not sure how the executive branch fits in though. It proposes a budget, but congress ultimately controls the passage of that budget. More importantly, congress controls taxation. Reckless tax cuts coupled and reduced spending that net to 0 get us nowhere with respect to the national debt. If I were a foreign nation lending to the US, the only numbers of any significance would be current debt and current payments against that debt principle (surpluses applied to debt). Once the dollar is no longer the reserve currency, the implosion will come quickly.

          Am I wrong in believing that congress has more power to make a hard right fiscal turn than the president, and that a more moderate president, (or rather, a charismatic and honest president) will help the masses swallow the "bad medicine" without significant retaliation at the polls?
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          • Posted by edweaver 7 years ago
            You are not wrong, but we do need a leader with those values that will lead that direction and sign the bill if it arrived. Congress can send any bill it passes but if it does not get signed it fails.

            I would also argue that we need a hard right turn both fiscally and socially because they are connected. :)
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  • Posted by SkyJack 7 years ago
    Wonky, congratulations on your willingness to view Christian faith in a positive light even if you aren't a partaker. That is refreshing. I am really familiar with Dr. Carson and think some of you may have some incorrect impressions. He is for small government. He has said the first thing he would do would be to put a hiring freeze in place by the federal government and keep it in place (transferring people accepted) until the budget is balanced. With normal rate of retirement he says if you did nothing else the budget would be balanced in 5 years. He wants government out of healthcare, preferring instead to fund personal medical savings accounts with $2000 per year per citizen instead and let them use that to buy catastrophic insurance and take care of day to day stuff directly with the physician of their choice. His gun rights opinion has evolved a bit so there are some concerning quotes out there. His posture now is that he is absolutely for protecting the second amendment, against registration, etc. He has called for a dialogue on what can be done to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill.
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    • Posted by 7 years ago
      I think you have accurately represented his current views as expressed in what I've read thus far in his book "One Nation". I would quote from it, but I'm listening to the audiobook, and haven't been taking notes.
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  • Posted by NealS 7 years ago
    Wonky, wow, if you really just heard of Dr. Ben Carson, I'm really astounded how much you've discovered about this man and his true intentions in such a short amount of time. You have read into him what I've been seeing all along. I think he will actually respond to questions with answers, not rhetoric like so many others use to avoid telling us their view. Recently asked about National Defense and Foreign Policy, he answered that's what advisors and Generals are for. He's basically came out and said he doesn't have all the answers but has the resources to get them.

    At this point I disagree that he's for big government, and I think perhaps his stance on arms might have been misconstrued. Now that he's announced lets see where it takes him. In any case just remember that Hillary would be a really bad choice for this country of ours.
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    • Posted by 7 years ago
      My wife and extended family actually helped fill me in on some basics. My wife worked in electrophysiology research at Johns Hopkins while he was there. Turns out it's a small world. The deep dive is my own initiative... I'm intrigued and (dare I say) "hopeful" - as much as about what he will bring to the debate as whether or not he wins or loses.
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      • Posted by NealS 7 years ago
        Wouldn't it be great to at least once have a non-politician in the White House? Someone that truly knows what it's like to come up from the bottom and become the American dream. Not like Obama who apparently got everything he's got from the efforts of others, and still not be pleased with his country. I also liked Ben Carson's story of how he tried to stab some other kid when he was young and stupid. I like you're (dare I say) "hopeful" intrigue, I am too, hopefully intrigued. And hopefully the media won't put this guy out of contention because of his lack of politics. I'm sure even John Hopkins had it's share of politics that he had to contend with. I'm not very much in agreement with some of the people here that think he's to far left or center, but I'm now sure I'm going to be watching out for it.
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        • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 7 years ago
          Hello NealS,
          "Wouldn't it be great to at least once have a non-politician in the White House?" I like the idea... How could it be worse? Considering what the professional politicians have brought us... Given a choice between Mr. Carson and Hillary there really is no choice. He would not be my first choice, but I have never really had that option...
          Respectfully,
          O.A.
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  • Posted by khalling 7 years ago
    I guess my question is, how did he go from 0 to 80 in such a short time. How is he more imminently qualified than Condi Rice, for example? or Ted Cruz? Is it that he's never been a political figure? What does he know about foreign policy, dealing with the legislature? Running a business? He is part of a private practice, but in my experience, most doctors are woefully ignorant of the business side of things. Is it just that he rose up from poverty and put himself through medical school? I mean, the man gives a speech at a prayer breakfast and we're all about WWBCD.
    I would like to see a strong candidate with a business background-an entrepreneur who understands economics-I am partial to governors because you can look at their record-a mini-nation and see their accomplishments under pressure. They don' have to have a tremendous understanding of foreign policy, but they have to be able to pull together a team of people who do have that knowledge. Carson is a brain surgeon. He is an expert at that.
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  • Posted by jimslag 7 years ago
    I like him but I don't think he could win. I believe he would be a great Surgeon General under a Republican President but I would not have him making political decisions. Personally, I know we will never get a person like this, but I want a small government type who will reduce the size and scope of government. We all know that all politicians are in the Big Government Party. All they want is more and more government with more and more power over individual liberties. I resent the people we send to Washington because no matter their positions when elected, they get corrupted by lobbyists and other politicians inside the Beltway of Mordor. Sometimes I feel the best way is to neutron bomb K Street or DC in general and start over with new rules for lobbying and a new crop of citizen politicians, one term and done.
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    • Posted by RevJay4 7 years ago
      I agree with you. The best course of action may be to turn DC into a national park completely with no politicians allowed and all agency buildings destroyed and turned into green space or something. Along with that outlaw lobbyists, move the nation's capitol to the center of the country, and return to citizen politicians with only one term allowed. Ah, sweet fantasy of a return to simpler times. If ever there was any.
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  • Posted by teri-amborn 7 years ago
    Wonky,

    I am SO proud of you! You translated perfectly.
    I am sure that you have heard the phrase "The Kingdom of God is within you.". You are certainly showing proof of that.
    God expects reasoning from us but sometimes reasoning becomes far too often rationalization in Washington.
    I am certain also that you have experienced times when thoughts occur to you that seem to come out-of-the-blue that help you to solve a perplexing problem. That is because you have "built the kingdom within you" or as we would say in modern language: You have programmed your inner computer very well.
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    • Posted by 7 years ago
      I call them insights, but yes, I'll accept the word revelations as a valid translation ;)

      And yes, they do occur most often when my mind is free of superfluous thoughts (meditation/prayer state).
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  • Posted by bsmith51 7 years ago
    What Carson offers is leadership by example. As vice-president he would have a national stage on which to offer teaching and encouragement to those, especially blacks, whose concept of family has been destroyed by the welfare state, and yet see no alternative course to finding "family" in antisocial ways.
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  • Posted by tkstone 7 years ago
    His story is inspiring and one would tend to think it would make him lean individualist, but his "heart" may lead him astray. I know nothing of his views on fiscal policy, foreign policy or any policy for that matter. I am hopeful, but I will have to reserve judgment.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 7 years ago
    I have been using a translator like yours for about
    30 years -- well derived;;; it's a good way to take
    people whose rationality is largely sound "at face value," I think. -- j

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  • Posted by airfredd22 7 years ago
    Re: Wonky,

    You state an interesting premise, however it calls for a response form someone that does believe in God. While I appreciate your interpretations of Dr. Carson's comments regarding God's will in determining his own decisions, I would ask that people refrain from re-phrasing his comments and putting other words in his mouth.

    Dr. Carson, I'm sure truly believes in God and his statements need no interpretation.

    I certainly appreciate that you didn't attempt to belittle his statements regarding God.

    Frankly I would much rather have a president who truly believes in God and looks to him for guidance.

    Fred Speckmann
    commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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    • Posted by 7 years ago
      My wife is religious and I am not. We use these translations quite well. I'm a great admirer of Jesus, as well, so that helps quite a bit.

      The question that any rational and/or religious person has to ask is "which God"? Do any two people believe in exactly the same definition of prayer? Do any two people believe in exactly the same God? Do any two people agree on God’s will?

      The bible is a great source of wisdom, but it is non-integrated, and each person may choose to use it to the best of their ability in their personal pursuit of wisdom. Objectivism is an integrated philosophy, but it does not teach Objectivists how to get along with non-Objectivists.

      Everyone must take responsibility for interpreting words/concepts they do not understand if they have any desire to get along with people who are not like them.

      If you read what you wrote and substitute “the God of the Jihadist Muslims” for “God”, you will see that it does, in fact, require interpretation.

      (Admittedly, by default, I assume that you mean the Christian God who is also Jesus, as described by one of the many Protestant religions, and that this is roughly the same thing that Dr. Carson means.)

      Respectfully,
      -Michael
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      • Posted by airfredd22 7 years ago
        Re: Wonky,

        While you a good argument for your positions and interpretations, I still believe that there is at least a small lack of understanding of what Christians believe.

        While it is often misunderstood that god and Jesus a two different personages, God is the Father and Jesus is his son, non believers often get confused.

        The “God” of the Muslims may or may not be the same as the Christian God, but it seems very clear that the present understanding of that God is not the same as what Christians understand their God to represent

        Furthermore, in my view that there is also a great misunderstanding about Objectivism and Christianity by many Ayn Rand followers. Objectivism calls for man to be free to live his life for his own benefit and that he owes other no part of his life in any fashion. Does that mean a man wouldn't risk his life for his children's safety?
        Does it mean he is not allowed to help a stranger as long as he does so of his own free will? I believe that is where Ayn Rand might have been misunderstood and her own rejection of religion was not necessary a rejection of the principles of Christianity.

        Of course my bottom line is that I would rather have a president who in moments of doubt get's down on his knees and asks for God's guidance.

        You of course are entitled to not believe in anything at all, but please remember that it's not Christians that want laws passed that prohibits expressions of faith, it is the atheist that most often want government to enforce such prohibitions. It is to Ayn Rand's credit that she never expressed a desire to prohibit religion.

        Respectfully yours,

        Fred Speckmann
        commonsenseforamericans@yahoo.com
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        • Posted by Maritimus 7 years ago
          Dear Fred,
          You seem to imply that free will decisions to risk ones life for the safety of ones children or to help a stranger in distress are principles of Christianity. I think that these principles existed well before Christianity. Christianity just adopted them, appropriately, I should say.
          It seems for certain that Ayn Rand wanted Christians to be free as much as everybody else. Would you agree?
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  • Posted by $ jlc 7 years ago
    While intrigued by your translate table, I have a different reaction: When a vet pointedly told me that the health of my dog was 'God's Will'...I never went back to that vet.

    I want someone who believes that the entire matter of [my health, my dogs health, my car repair] is in their hands, not waiting for cosmic intervention. (If it turns out that there IS a God/gods and they choose to cosmically intervene to the positive, that is well and good, but it is a bonus to the human 'doing his best'.)

    Jan

    Jan
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  • Posted by bobbyboynyc 7 years ago
    He is a goodly man, and God knows the Republicans have enough RINOs and Neocons. If we do not clean house, but slide like when our "Contract with America" fell apart, we miss our only chance to save the nation. The leftists are literally driving hordes of aliens across our borders, by giving arms and protection to the drug cartels that murdered thousands and corrupted the police in Mexico. Just last week I read the US shipped grenades to the gangs down there. Obama is a Marxist through and through, and will stop at nothing to destroy America. Some people allege he was groomed for president by powerful people behind the scenes, at the level controlling both capitalism and (secretly) communism, those who use politics to create a dialectic so they can get their way by defining the middle. They put in an extreme, Bill Ayers-type radical, so the moderate leftist agenda they desire will not seem unacceptable after Obama. Obama is a straw man, his policies were meant to fail, so less radical leftist programs would not be opposed after the trouble Obama has made. This is called "pushing the Overton Window" to the left. Please read (watch, listen to) Glenn Beck.
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  • Posted by Animal 7 years ago
    He wouldn't be my first, second or third choice. Probably not fourth or fifth, either.
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    • Posted by mikelange 7 years ago
      Can you give me an idea of who you would like to see 1,2,3, and 4?
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      • Posted by Animal 7 years ago
        It's a bit early to give you rankings, but Id' rather see a former Governor. My early picks would include Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and (although he's most emphatically not running) former Colorado Governor Bill Owens. That second choice, I admit, is driven by the fact that Bill was once our State Representative, his kids went to school with ours and I've known him for years on a very casual talking-to level.

        Moving on from there, I do like Rand Paul, but haven't decided if he's executive material yet. Ditto for Paul Ryan.

        As for Dr. Carson, I'm sure he's a fine man in many respects, but I have two primary concerns with him as a Presidential candidate:

        1) He is no more qualified for the Presidency than Barack Obama was in 2008.
        2) I am suspicious of anyone who can not comment on any issue without bringing religion into it. I am not religious in any sense, and I think that religion (or lack thereof) should be a personal matter, not something to repeatedly pronounce in public.

        Admittedly, the country will not elect an atheist President in the foreseeable future - but they will also probably not elect a man who has regular two-way conversations with God and talks about it in public.

        I would certainly not be averse to placing Dr. Carson in one role where I do think he would be very well placed - Surgeon General.
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        • Posted by mikelange 7 years ago
          Thanks, I like Walker too. I guess the religion doesn't bother me too much, unless you are a Muslim extremist. I think his qualifications are that he is a problem solver and understands basic economics and appears to put the good of the country ahead of polictics, none of which OB has or cares to do.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 7 years ago
    Has there ever been a avowed godless president? Even the Muslim in the presidency has pretended to be a Christian. Carson has the courage to tell the truth even when it's to his apparent detriment. He's smart, talented, well-spoken and is aware of the issues and for the most part, has the right solutions. And, as head of a surgery department he has executive experience where his decisions could mean life or death. Best of all, he's not a politician. Doesn't hurt that he's black which makes the only racism claims for the Lib side to overcome for a change.
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  • Posted by Flootus5 7 years ago
    I range from being ever hopeful that good candidates could actually make it to running, to the completely depressing prospect that in 2016 it will be Bush vs Clinton. Please no!
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  • Posted by $ Susanne 7 years ago
    The question to ask - OK, 2 questions - are...

    Is Dr. Carson enough of a change - and does he truly have the strength, integrity, and courage - to break us away from the two-name one-party system we have now? Or is he just another party platform performer to get votes and power? We've been playing the mono-party dynasty game way too long. How long before the cycle is broken? Is he the one to do it?

    Two - and be warned ahead of time, some will find offense I dared to ask this - Is Dr. Carson the most qualified candidate for the job, or is he the most qualified candidate of color? Before you start the "You racist" flame war... I know a lot of libs (from when I was on that side of the fence) who voted for him because he was not the best candidate (with his inexperience, I would fathom one of the worst) but because he was a young, handsome, black man. Every time someone had a genuine issue with his beliefs, policies, history, and most importantly, lack of qualifications, people would support him by saying these issues were "racist".

    I'll finish this off by saying this. I like the man, and while he is *far* better than what we have now, I think we could do better. He didn't impress me that much when he ran last time, and nothing about him has fundamentally changed.

    And for God's sake... what we need is someone who can bring back our country... A return to being America, not a continuation of the monoparty power structure. Who has the guts, integrity, stamina, and courage to turn what we have on its ear, and return us to greatness?

    THAT is who should be running.
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  • Posted by RonC 7 years ago
    He will be very unpopular with the low information voter. The message, even if it's tacit, of read a book, use your imagination, work hard, set goals will not be popular among mooches.
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  • Posted by barwick11 7 years ago
    Do what you gotta do man, but really... I kinda laugh at how atheists assume Christians are illogical and don't base their beliefs on sound objective and philosophical reasoning.

    Now, that reasoning isn't why we're Christians, but regardless, it exists to support our brains' willingness to accept our faith. God didn't design us to blindly accept words without any reason to accept them. There's evidence to back it up. Christ didn't plop down on Earth and say "here I am, I'm God, worship me" without showing evidence to back up his claim of divinity. Same thing with the authenticity of the Bible itself.
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    • Posted by 7 years ago
      I apologize if I offended you. My wife prays, I meditate, and we get along just fine.

      I designed the translations to help myself resist the temptation to make assumptions about many religions and traditions - not just Christianity. I think Ben Carson might actually suggest that you took offense prematurely. I never even said I was atheist.
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      • Posted by barwick11 7 years ago
        I'm just speaking of the overall sense that atheists in general have towards Christianity. Especially on here, I've heard it multiple times how "that's not objective". On the contrary, it is not objective to wholly reject the Bible and its truth claims, given the evidence in favor of it.
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