This is a response to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G82eM_o_u_U
Have you ever had someone try to respond to you, and wondered if they did any research or even tried? Well EssenceofThought (EoT) did just that in a attempting to respond to my video, “Is Christianity Slavery?” Not only did he do poor research, but also he directly took my words out of context to further his propaganda. This will be easy to point out. But even worse he goes on a hateful rant about how terrible God is while actual being very hypocritical. I’ll point this out below.
Several of his comments are more like quick little attacks on Christianity – claims that it is not factually correct. These will be ignored, since I am only interested in defending the thesis, and not getting sidetracked, like he sure does. These among other objections will be saved for later videos.
Ending at 0:56 – Wow! Apparently, semantics is a crime now… EoT is getting upset because I said, “Why would anyone want to be a Christian? Don’t you lose all freedom?” He goes on a rant about how no one has ever accused Christians of losing all freedom. Well, we have our first example of EoT taking me out of context. The very next line, I explain what I mean by that when I say, “Instead of doing what you want, you have to conform to the strict rules God lays out. How can anyone enjoy that?” Obviously when I say we are accused of losing all freedom, I am speaking in this context, and not saying we philosophically lose even the freedom to think.
For example, when physicists argue the universe could of come from nothing, they don’t mean an actual philosophical nothing, yet people accuse them of this. Instead when we listen to the “context” we see what they are talking about. I expected common sense to prevail here, but EoT has proven me wrong. But I guess it is easier for EoT to take things out of context. How else could he spread his propaganda?
Ending at 3:09 – He first claims that he can have positive freedom without Christianity, to which I reply, fair enough. I never claimed that no one will ever think they can find positive freedom for themselves outside of Christ. Many people feel they do, and as a Christian it is not my job to force the idea down their throats that they are wrong. All I can do is present the Gospel. My entire video is written from perspective of a Christian, and where we use our positive freedom. It is answering a charge against Christianity – not attacking secularism.
Second, he says, “Positive Liberty only works where the answer or meaning is not set by another or intrinsically existent.” Well I am not sure if he read Berlin, but that is not what Berlin defines it as. It is fine if he wants to redefine terms for himself, but that just shows you he is no longer addressing my video, as that is not how the terms were defined. Just claiming my definition is wrong and redefining terms based on how he think they should be is not a rebuttal, it is a sad attempt to make things up on a whim, which is laughable. I went of what Berlin defines positive freedom as. He writes about positive and negative freedom as:
The consequences of distinguishing between two selves will become even clearer if one considers the two major forms which the desire to be self-directed – directed by one’s ‘true’ self – has historically taken: the first, that of self-abnegation in order to attain independence; the second, that of self-realisation, or total self-identification with a specific principle or ideal in order to attain the selfsame end.1
The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says:
Positive liberty is the possibility of acting — or the fact of acting — in such a way as to take control of one’s life and realize one’s fundamental purposes… One might say that while on the first view liberty is simply about how many doors are open to the agent, on the second view it is more about going through the right doors for the right reasons.2
So I wonder if he actually researched this or just made up his own definition on the whim to fit what he thought it should be, instead of how it is actually understood.
On a side note, I agree with Berlin that a political tyrant should not be setting positive freedom for their people. In fact, Berlin was mainly writing about freedom in regards to political philosophy, which is why I put this disclaimer in the description, “*Disclaimer – Berlin was mainly writing about political philosophy and positive and negative freedom in political thought. However, from reading his work we can easily see how his definitions of different types of freedom can transcend political philosophy and explain other areas of life and thought.”
Ending at 4:28 – He really shows he has not read Berlin and has done poor research. He claims that I have taxed on my own “bull crap” in explaining what positive freedom does for us in liberating us from less rational desires. In actuality, this is what Berlin says about negative freedom. I merely took it from him, “… the pursuit of immediate pleasures, my ’empirical’ or ‘heteronomous’ self, swept by every gust of desire and passion, needing to be rigidly disciplined if it is ever to rise to the full height of its ‘real’ nature.3“ This should be a lesson for all. Do not rush into things without research. It will only hinder your argument. EoT has claimed that I’ve tacked it on, but if he read Berlin’s paper, he would see that that is not the case. This should be embarrassing for him and evidence he doesn’t research well.
Ending at 5:20 – Now he is getting nit-picky. He attacks an example I gave of someone trying to find positive freedom in being a businessman, and argues it will lead to insufficient meaning in life. Now why on earth would I disagree with that? The example was meant to show a contrast of how different people try to seek a purpose. Of course, as a Christian I am going to agree with EoT that being a businessman is not going to give someone true fulfillment. Why even bother bringing this up? Did he listen to what I said? The now suggest he barely paid attention.
Ending at 7:36 – EoT points out several people like JK Rowling, didn’t need to use positive freedom in a career… And so what? Where did I say that all people try to find positive freedom through a career? He clearly didn’t pay attention, and only heard what he wanted to hear. I said, “If you build your life on a career…” Obviously, I never said that all people will. I was merely pointing out, what he already agreed with, that building your life on a career is not a smart decision. However, he implied that I did, which shows a lack of intellectual honesty or an inability to pay attention.
Ending at 8:30 – Here we go with the lies… EoT says, “Who are you to tell people what they can and cannot feel fulfillment on?” But if he clearly listened I said, “But what Christians come to find is trying to earn this purpose….” I never said that other people cannot try other means. I said that this is how Christians look at it. Instead of taking me at my word, EoT has lied and said that I’ve claimed something that I’ve never actually claimed. I am merely arguing from what the Christian feels – not how others feel. EoT clearly didn’t paying attention, and just heard what he wants to hear. By the way, he should never of said this line and I’ll explain why further down.
Ending at 10:30 – Same misconception as before. I never said that other people do not feel that they cannot find positive freedom in another person, I said, “what Christians come to find is that trying to earn this purpose will never work.” He also accuses me of thinking that differences in people are errors, which I never said. I argued that people are imperfect – which he agreed with. No where did I say that this is terrible, or that differences in appearance (as he implied) is horrid. He continues his rampage of attacks on arguments I never made. What a nice work of propaganda. The dishonesty is unbelievable.
Ending at 10:45 – He says, “Millions of non-believers fully disagree.” Well obviously… That is why they are non-believers. Again, I am speaking of what Christians feel. EoT, question for you, did you actually listen to the video?
Ending at 11:56 – EoT claims that to be a Christian means that there are strings attached, and claims that the video clips I used of Christians worshipping God shows this. And this only demonstrates a lack of understanding Christian theology. Paul clearly says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace and not works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” When we Christians worship Jesus, we do it out of love, not obligation. A husband doesn’t do things for his wife out of obligation, but out of love. Just showing pictures of Christians worshipping doesn’t mean that we are obligated to do so, we want to. I love worshipping my savior.
Ending at 12:28 – Atheists always tell me how much they hate it when Christians argue from personal testimony, because it is not convincing. Well the same goes for an atheist’s personal testimony. EoT claiming that ‘he is a living witness to being fulfilled without Christ’ is about as convincing as a Muslim’s personal testimony would be for him. If he assures himself he doesn’t need Christ, then I am not going to force it down his throat, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with him. I believe he thinks he is satisfied – just like he believes the same of me. Why would he try to argue from his personal testimony? Does he think it will work? Apparently arguing from your personal experiences is okay if you are an atheist.
Ending at 13:25 – EoT continues his straw man definition that positive freedom must be a self-mastered or ascribed one. Now I’ve already quoted the experts above to show that this is not how it was defined, so this continues to be a straw man, or redefining terms to fit his needs, instead of how my video defined them. Just redefining positive freedom from what it is in my video is not a rebuttal. Perhaps I should just redefine atheism as believing the earth is a goddess, and then attack that. I wonder if EoT would like that?
Ending at 14:02 – His lies continue. Now he claims that I said that God seeks positive freedom in us. This is laughable and I would like to ask him where I claimed this. No where did I say this, so he is directly lying and should be ashamed. The Bible most definitely doesn’t say God needs us. This is one of the big reasons I call his video a piece of propaganda. All he is doing is making things up that I never said or that Christians have never claimed.
Ending at 16:21 – A lot of problems in this section. He claims I have entered deep water, so I’ll show him how well I can swim and fight off monsters. He is arguing that Christians really aren’t free and happy from his personal testimony. Once again, this is not convincing. He should know better than to tell me what I am supposed to think. Remember earlier when he said, “Who are you to tell people what they can and cannot feel fulfillment on?” Well then… Let me say back to EoT, “Who are you to tell Christians what they can and cannot feel fulfillment in?” The mentality of EoT is quite simple: Christians cannot tell others how to find fulfillment but he sure as hell can. It is apparent his mentality is ‘do as I say not as I do,’ which is hypocrisy at it’s finest. He doesn’t want us to say we can find fulfillment in Christ, but he sure as hell will turn around and tell us where we can and cannot find fulfillment, and that is hypocrisy. But it gets much worse.
He then claims that Christianity takes all the value out humanity (which humanism restores), because of original sin. This is clearly wrong, as the Bible teaches we are highly valued by God, as we were created in His image (Genesis 1:26), that we are his friends (John 15:15), and that He loves us so much that He came into this world to die for us (Romans 5:8). Having sin doesn’t mean that God does not value us – especially if God willingly came to freely give salvation through His sacrifice.
Let’s compare this to humanism. Lets say we are witnessing to an impoverished third-world child. Tell him the Christian message: that he was created in the image of the living God of the entire universe, and God came to earth to sacrifice Himself to freely offer him eternal life out of His love. Then tell him the humanist message: that we humans came about by accident, and at best they will live about 70 years and die. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything gone. Everything is meaningless and value is purely subjective. CS Lewis says:
…a Christian and a non-Christian may both wish to do good to their fellow men. The one believes that men are going to live for ever, that they were created by God and so built that they can find their true and lasting happiness only by being united to God, that they have gone badly off the rails, and that obedient faith in Christ is the only way back. The other believes that men are an accidental result of the blind workings of matter, that they started as mere animals and have more or less steadily improved, that they are going to live for about seventy years, that their happiness is fully attainable by good social services and political organizations, and that everything else (e.g., vivisection, birth-control, the judicial system, education) is to be judged to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ simply in so far as it helps or hinders that kind of ‘happiness’.4
Please answer me: which gives humans more value? This is why atheist Matthew Paris wrote an article titled, “As an atheist I truly believe Africa needs God.” He writes:, “In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good… Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.5″ He closes the article by saying:
Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted. And I’m afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.5
EoT then goes on to saying Christianity is akin to being abused, and this is just plain wrong. Abusers tend to not sacrifice themselves for their victims, and neither do they usually give us the option to follow them or go our own way. Christianity couldn’t be further from abuse. Even the atheist philosopher Albert Camus recognizes this:
[Christ] the god-man suffers too, with patience. Evil and death can no longer be entirely imputed to him since he suffers and dies. The night on Golgotha is so important in the history of man only because, in its shadows, the divinity ostensibly abandoned its traditional privilege, lived through to the end, despair included, the agony of death. Thus is explained the ‘Lama sabachthani’ and the frightful doubt of Christ in agony.6
People who abuse do not make sacrifices for their victim, and Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice. How can I not see unconditional love in that?
But here is the worse part. He claims God is akin to a domestic abuser because He devalues us and offers Himself as the only salvation. Now I just argued that is not the case, but look at how EoT handles his response. He spends an entire video dishonestly ridiculing my intelligence and calls me a moron in my comments section:
He says I am a victim and he offers his ways and his humanistic believes as the salvation. So he tries to devalue me by being verbally abusive and then says he is only trying to help and save me, which is exactly what he says abusive people do to their victims. The hypocrisy is astounding. Perhaps EoT’s view of God is just a psychological projection? It is clearly false and he does exactly what he claims God does to us.
I do fell sorry for the guy in that he was abused. I, myself, had a childhood of being ridiculed and bullied by those who claimed to be Christians, so I can understand what it is like to be a victim, but Christ is nothing like that. He only has given us value and love. But if EoT seriously wants to help people, then trying to verbally abuse theists with insults and ridicule, while offering his own ideas as salvation is doing exactly what he claims is wrong. It is hypocrisy at its finest and it does nothing to liberate us. It only does as the French theologian Henri de Lubac said it would: in its attempts to liberate man by abolishing God, atheistic humanism results solely in chaining man to the whims of the powerful.
So there you have it. EoT just redefines positive freedom, claims that I don’t know what it is, misconstrues Christianity, and directly lies about things I’ve said. If he wants to attempt to respond to someone, he should respond to what they said – not a warped view. His response is filled with lies, hypocrisy, emotion filled attacks, and is hardly a worthy response. If he continues (like he claimed he would) and responds to this, then I plan on just ignoring it. He clearly is not interested in having a conversation, but doing whatever it takes to be right, even the truth won’t get in his way. That is not intellectually honest, that is propaganda.
1. Isaiah Berlin (1958) Two Concepts of Liberty, Page 10
2. Ian Carter (2012) Postive and Negative Liberty, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/#TwoConLib
3. Isaiah Berlin (1958) Two Concepts of Liberty, Page 9
4. CS Lewis Man or Rabbit?, Page 25
5. Matthew Parris (2009) As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God: http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/3502-matthew-parris-as-an-atheist-i-truly-believe-africa-needs-god
6. Gillimard (1965) Essais, Page 444. Translated and quoted by Bruce Ward in “Prometheus of Cain? Alvert Camus’s Account of the Western Quest for Justice,” Faith and Philosophy (April 1991): 213