Do We Really Have the Freedom to Choose?

Jeremy, Jeremy. You mean that Clinton’s abuse was really the fault of the women he abuses (they threw themselves at him)? Are you ready to blame victims here?

And then if someone changes their mind (doesn’t Obama’s stand on gay marriage come to mind) that that means they are a con man?

I think you might be right here. For if the Dems turn the house, he will work with them. He is not an ideologue, like Obama was. Obama almost could not work with Republicans on general principles. You could say Trump has no such principles. I mean, he was ready to let 1.8 million DACA folk in, when the Republicans were only willing to go for 0.8 Million. So, he is a bit more pragmatic then Obama (or unprincipled as you would say.)

Amazing that you can see into his head. But you may be right. At the moment, he governs from the right, or at lest right of center. That may be good enough.

?? Obvious? What has he done that is criminal? No charges so far, and none on the horizon.

Are you kidding? Clinton destroyed evidence and FBI agents tried to influence the election and Comey was thinking as a partisan when he did what he did. McCabe, a Dem, is cited for lying by a nonpartisan investigation and you think the Dems are the only hope?

THERE WAS NO COLLUSION, accept on the Dem side. In fact, I rest easier with Trump in. He will not use the IRS to squash the left. so, I know the time is not yet.

I asked if a person voted on the basis of skin color whether it was racism you answered:

So, why are WHITE evangelicals accused of racism if they vote white, but blacks are not if they vote black? You say it was a once in a lifetime deal. I can see that, though it is still voting on skin color. Well, how about on the local level, do they vote either race, the best, or do they always vote black when given the opportunity? I asked George to prove me wrong. You need to do the same.

Otherwise, they are as racist as any WHITE evangelical, and you have no right to criticize.

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I feel sorry for anyone who believes that. She once wrote that children who died before they reached the age of accountability were the the lawful prey of Satan and would inevitably be lost. She had a lot of such thoughts she attributed to God…erroneously in my opinion.

To paraphrase an old war poem, those poor slaves have already served their time in hell.


Thanks, @vandieman.

I’ve never read this E.G. White statement, though I’ve oft heard of it, and it sounds like nonsense.

Also, you said to @ezbord:

…that being a faith statement which can’t be proved biblically, though the fact that she, unlike they, wrote extra-biblically, can.


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Thanks, @Sirje:

You said:

In response:

I agree with this conclusion. I suspect that the term “lake of fire” was given more to certify the totality with which God would obliterate sin and sinners, using ideas familiar to the ancients; i.e., fire consumes completely, and what would be more complete than putting something into a lake of it?

I believe that this obliteration is the central concept. I don’t think it’s to convey that God’s punishment of the Devil’s sin is little more that what you’d experience if you were trapped in a burning and collapsed office building.


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Thanks, @ajshep.

You said:

In response:

It wasn’t “racism” for Black voters because Black voters can’t be racist, by definition: In a racist system, someone has got to be “the mouse,” and someone has got to be “the cat.”

Put another way, if you’ve ever seen a cat chase, or play with, a mouse, it’s rarely confusing what is going on; i.e., who dominates. Even if you’ve only ever seen this watching Tom & Jerry, it’s clear the characters are acting within a never-reversed paradigm. Jerry, the mouse, may momentarily outsmart Tom, but Jerry is always running from Tom.

It’s odd the degree to which white people will pretend not to see a system with such simple parameters.

As for “Christian evangelicals and Trump,” it really depends on if there is one or more racists—white supremacists—in the above set. If so, then, we should expect racism, because racism is what racists do.

Also, you said to @GeorgeTichy:

How would you prove this?



Thanks for helping Allen by providing him some rational ideas to chew on. For some reason he had to defend racism, mis-define racism, and make a statement kind of defending himself.

He may not be a racist, I get that; but when preaching he knows very well what to say about those who he despises, dislikes, and does not tolerate (aka we, the Spectrumites!). Have you watched the video on YouTube that was posted here at Spectrum? If not, man… you should…

Because of the outrageous, irrational and sometimes un-Christian things he says, I am out of any conversation with him. He is NOT the person I thought he was for a long time. After I watched that video, everything became evident.

If one doesn’t want to reveal their real psychological identity…, don’t ever let a psychologist to see you talking live… you will be caught!

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You do realize that whites, holding power, wealth and privilege, who vote “white” (whatever that means), are often voting (intended or not) to extend their control over the system which favors racism and segregation in various forms. The systemic data is overwhelming, even if specific white persons or groups, do not participate directly in that system.

When blacks vote “black” (again, race is a social construct, not a scientific one) they are voting for those they are “more certain” will protect their admittedly overlooked (or deliberately sabotaged) interests and fight for justice. And, as history has shown, they will vote for white candidates who support their agenda as well. It is a truism in social theory and ethics that if you want to make strides toward justice, the voice of the oppressed is far more eloquent than the voice of the oppressor.


It would seem incredible to me that a discussion about free will and God’s Plan for Mankind could have devolved into an argument about politics and race, were it not for the fact that I know everything expressed on the internet—or anywhere else for that matter—is anything other than relatively true. That is, the assertion that certain individuals are incapable of racism, by definition, is no more honest than the claim that God is Love, or the assumption that humans are—or are not—free moral agents. In other words, I find it easy to dismiss any statement of the absolute given that these type of remarks are always expressed by finite minds using a form of expression which is admittedly less than perfect or honest, i.e., language.
By definition blacks can’t be racist? This is only true if one accepts a certain definition of the term. Conversely, if racism is defined as hatred of another simply because of the color of his skin, racism is possible—and perhaps predictable—in anyone, as even newborn children seem to express a tendency toward such biases. Maybe we must be taught to fill in the blanks by our environment but the precursors of this trait seem to be hereditary in all of nature.
Are men’s thoughts and actions free? Try to stop singing a song that’s stuck in your head, or resist the temptation to have your eyes follow a moving object in an otherwise motionless landscape. But then again it’s hard to argue with the claim that whether we have free will or not, we have to behave as if we’re responsible for our “decisions”.
But most importantly, does God have a plan? If so, and everything we observe is the result of that plan being put into action, then the god of the Bible, EGW and SDA’s is sadistic, blood-thirsty coward who dare not show his face, as he would be rightly derided by nonbelievers for being a monstrous villain. Personally, I’d prefer an eternity of fiery anguish to spending even one sabbath in the presence of such a “loving” maniac, or being forced to listen to even the first of his “well-intentioned” explanations for such feeble results.
There is another definition of God, though, which rejects the belief that he is “Omni-anything” and which understands, instead, that his “plan” is being formulated as creation moves along. Is this definition absolutely validated or can it be verified to a logical and emotional certainty? Of course not. It’s only words. And as such, the claim is similar to any other scripture in that it cannot rise above language. Hence, and like any other effort to express the ineffable, the notion that god and his intellect are evolving in tandem with the wisdom of his creatures can be described as infinitely useful or rejected out of hand as utter nonsense, depending on what one wants to believe.

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Firstly, you started by comparing Trump’s character flaws with Bill Clinton. I engaged with you on that. Then you managed to flip the script to Hillary. The bottom line is you refuse to engage about Trump, and make it solely about Trump. Not just why the religious right supported him as a candidate, but how they can continue to justify supporting him as president.

You trot out the tired Trump line that nothing has been proven by these investigations regarding collusion, as if that proves that there is no substance there. That’s exactly what investigations are for. … to find out if there is. Watergate took two years. This one is little more than halfway there. It needs to be allowed to run its full course, without Trump trying to publicly undermine it or its credibility.

And to claim that it’s a witch hunt? Trump’s former campaign head is facing up to 305 years in prison for inappropriate contact with a foreign, hostile power, amidst other charges. Another staffer has already been found guilty of such. Flynn faces similar charges. This is amidst multiple indictments, and the knowledge that his son, son in law, and Manafort participated in a meeting with Russian contacts whose sole purpose was to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton. Nothing there??

And that’s not to mention that every US intelligence agency has confirmed that Russia meddled in our electoral process… ostensibly an act of war. And Trump has yet to publicly agree with that assessment, or lay out any plan to defend our country against further attacks. Rather, he spends his time attacking the justice department, attacking the special counsel, and attacking our intelligence community and throwing them under the bus, all while deferring to Putin and his claims on this issue. He believes a murderous thug over US intelligence. This is the behavior of an innocent man?? I couldn’t say it with a straight face!

Additionally, he has made a career of attacking the free press, not only with the constant cry of fake news over any story that he doesn’t like, but intimating that he would like to jail journalists over what he deems such. He’s also blurred the lines between government and the independent press, by ostensibly including Hannity as a policy advisor. This is absolutely outrageous behavior, more befitting a banana republic dictator than the president of the U.S. And Hannity and Fox have only been too willing to oblige and basically become his personal propaganda machine, while the Republican led Congress does nothing!

Alan, these are threats to our democracy and country that we have never seen under any president. And I’m not even delving into the cluster of white supremacists that are or have been on his staff, and the white supremacist groups that support him and that he has never unequivocally disavowed. Trump is a racist…a term you seem to not fully understand, and that others have already explained here. He always has been, and he now legitimizes this ugliness among threatened whites in America. His Charlottesville remarks are symptomatic of this.

This all goes well beyond his abuse of power and position to sexually assault beauty pageant contestants, against their will, which is on audio record, his dalliances with playmates and porn stars, to whom his lawyer paid hush money during the campaign, and now faces probable indictment for misappropriation of campaign funds, obstructing justice and who knows what else, and the general chaos of his revolving door White House.

My question isn’t how could the religious right vote for him over Hillary. It’s how can they keep supporting him in light of all of the above? How can you, Alan? How does supporting this mess, and an immoral and narcissistic monster, square not only with what is good for this nation, but how ones idea of faith informs our political views and choices.


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i certainly agree that god is not willing that any should perish, 2 Pet 3:9, but i also note that there are times when mercy doesn’t seem to be operating in god’s actions, Rev 14:10…i think we have to view this in terms of a probation, in which mercy operates before it expires, but doesn’t after it expires…this would explain why the mercy of god didn’t intervene during the flood, or sodom and gomorrah, and why it won’t intervene at the lake of fire…

there are a fair number of NT texts that paint a picture of a god of vengeance…off the top of my head, these would include:

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Heb 10:26-27.

i don’t think this is talking about the punishment of “principalities and powers”…

“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1Thes 1:10.

“Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” 1Thes 2:16.

i think this pair of texts points to a future day of wrath, from which some people will be saved, while others won’t be…

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Thes 5:9.

this text suggests that some people are being appointed to divine wrath…

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Eph 5:6.

this texts links disobedience with the reception of divine wrath…this is describing something more than the forfeiture of heaven because of a decision that it wouldn’t be enjoyed…

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Eph 2:3.

this remarkable text suggests that everyone is subject to the wrath of god by virtue of the way they are born…

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” Col 3:5-6.

this is more evidence that disobedience is linked to divine wrath which is a physical reality…we are definitely talking about something more than the loss of heaven here…

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matt 3:7.

this is clearly talking about a day of divine wrath that is in the future…

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Jn 3:36.

i think this text links the loss of eternal life with the additional horror of the wrath of god…it suggests that everyone is earmarked for that horror outside of faith in christ…

Well, there you have it. No matter what blacks do, they can’t be racist, and the only racists are white people, and since they are ALWAYS going after blacks, like cats do mice, they are the bad oppressors etc.

There is really nothing I could say to that. So I won’t. It is clear you have figured it out. Thx.

I get from this that “the system” favors only whites at the expense of blacks. You have bought into Harry’s view, Whites are racists whatever they do, and they support “the system” that suppresses blacks.

How in the world did Barak do it when only 20% of the electorate is black?? Did they vote 3 or 4 times each? How did America not keep that black man down???

And here I thought segregation was outlawed, when 1956??

Look, all of you. I know there is racism, but it is not so prevalent as you aver. When the blacks were arrested at the Starbucks, several white patrons objected. Etc.

I am proud of my white heritage. The constitution is a wonderful document, written and adopted by whites, to the benefit of blacks, whites, hispanics, even illegal aliens. Wow, and it was a white devised document. I am proud that whites died in the civil war to free slaves. And that Eisenhower (a Repubican) put into effect the 1954 school ruling, passing it through a congress where the ones who were against were Democrats. I am proud that capitalism has succeeded in freeing millions, even billions from their poverty in China and India. It has done more to destroy poverty than any ideology that has existed so far. And this came about from the efforts of white nations.

You of course can bring up slavery and Jim Crow. But that was not done by all whites in contrast to Londis’s claim, and to blame some who had no interest in such things as if they did is to be unjust as well.

I told you: He has said he will institute polices they favor. It is that simple. Blacks support blacks or whites that promise to do things they favor, as Londis says. I think he is right. So evangelicals favor some of the things he says he will do.

The question is whether to vote character or issues. In Obama, you had an apparent home run if you were a liberal (though I think there may have been some shady dealings). Obama seemed to have a sterling character. But for conservatives, his policies were anathema. So they voted policies.

For Turmp, you had a man who said he would institute certain policies that conservatives favored. His character was a mess. And though he is big mouthed talker, i have not seen anything criminal as yet. So you held your nose and voted policy.

You have to realize, that Hillary had her faults as well, and this was a choice between the two, and you cannot separate that. You guys had to hold your noses and vote for her.

I have already said Trump is immoral. Apparently that is not enough. He is, a sinner for sure. But he has shown himself willing to institute policies that conservatives favor, and does it in a way that no one else could do, or would dare to do. I like that.

Wait a minute. Are you speaking of Manafort? The accusations have nothing to do with Trump at all and occurred years before Trump started to run. So what is the issue here?

Are any journalists in jail? Has he done what Obama did by putting some under surveillance?
And if the press is so stomped down, how is it that 90% of the reporting at the NYT, WaPo, adn other outlets is negative and hostile? If Trump were so effective a manipulator, I would expect a bit more reporting in his favor. Maybe he is just bad at manipulation.

I am awaiting an inditement. You can start crowing when you have more than speculation

I will tell you.

  1. He has stopped the government support of political correctness. I think this is the main one.
  2. The economy is humming. Black unemployment is as low as it has been in 40 years, and Hispanic unemployment is way down as well.
  3. He is showing American strength on the world stage rather than the weakness of Obama policies (Red Line anyone?). Even liberals have noted this.
  4. Taxes have been reduced.
  5. Government intrusion is being reduced. (Not so with Hillary)

And as far as faith informing political views, the homosexual issue is the issue that will cause our institutions real problems It was about to be made such an issue that our teachings on it were going to be challenged in court, and it looked like we as a church supporting the traditional view of scripture would suffer.

That is not going to happen with Trump in the WH. And it would have with Hillary there.

Now you may disagree on the issue, or even the prediction, but it was clear that that is the way things were heading.

Read Habakkuk. God used a wicked people, the Babylonians to punish Israel. It may be that a wicked man,Trump, will give the church a bit more time before it has to face that crisis.

“If you eat from the wrong tree, I’ll kill you.”

I’ve never been able to see why we insist on calling that freedom of choice.


You misquote. He did not say that. He said, “If you eat, you will surely die.” He did not say he would kill them. Dying was a natural consequence of eating, it was not God killing.

My mom said, “Don’t touch the stove, it will burn you.” i touched it and got burned. She did not burn me.

By misquoting, you take the position of the serpent, who did the same. Watch out.

So, yes, they did have freedom of choice. And they took advantage of it, and ate, and as a result, died. Certainly it was not God handing them the fruit. So their death was the result of their own choice, even after they were warned. Certainly an act of will, even stubborn will. They were indeed free.

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well, i think monica lewinsky definitely threw herself at bill…she may have done it to advance her career, in addition to having a crush on him, but in any case, i think she was a bit naive…i remember seeing an interview where she says it was all consensual, and that she didn’t mean to hurt hillary…and keep in mind that nothing would have come of it without linda tripp’s involvement…and linda was an obviously desperate republican…furthermore, kenn star, another desperate republican, was out of control…nothing had come of whitewater, and he was just looking to justify his appointment…he ended up agreeing to let the independent counsel law expire, which tells you something…

i think gennifer flowers was also consensual…she couldn’t have been abused for 12 yrs…

paula jones may have been harassed…but her initial lawsuit was thrown out of court, so maybe not…it was only after bill was forced to lie under oath about monica that paula’s appeal got anywhere…but her $850,000.00 out of court settlement doesn’t necessarily imply anything…

if they “change their mind” specifically to win an election, like trump obviously did, i think there is the possibility that they’re just saying what they think they need to in order to win (especially when there’s so little evidence that they really believe in their new position)…with obama, he was already in office when he “changed his mind” about gay marriage…in reality, according to david axelrod, he’d already changed his mind, but didn’t think he could concede this point to his black constituents quite yet, although he was searching for ways to do so…this may have been a case of being prudent, until his constituents had had time to catch up to him…the point is, he wasn’t a sudden convert in order to bag votes…

i think i’m definitely right…saying trump is not an ideologue is euphemistic…it’s more accurate to say that he has no principles or morals…

allen, MANY people have noted that trump has been acting like a guilty man…if he truly has nothing to hide, he wouldn’t be trashing mueller and the justice department at every opportunity…but i think even you’ll see this soon with the stormy civil and cohen criminal cases…something going to erupt…

i think there was definitely collusion of some kind…why else have there been such massive denials about involvements with russians from everyone from trump jr to jeff sessions…there’s almost no-one in trump’s campaign who wasn’t seeing a russian…was this all just coincidence…i don’t think so…i think it’s good that the dems have sued…hopefully they’ll get the green light to go ahead with litigation…


He is an admitted sexual predator.

Others who have apparently done less have lost prestigious positions. He should be prosecuted. You’d want your daughter to work for this guy, @ajshep?

He should be incarcerated. Instead he pays off people to keep silent. He stifles their voices. Very Christlike.


Thanks, @GeorgeTichy.

You said:

In response:

I don’t think I’ve seen @ajshep’s video. What’s its URL?


He calls us “fools,” “troublemakers,” and himself a “peaceful man.”

He does chastise himself for not having “the Spirit of Christ” towards us.

He says it’s amazing how differently we treat him when he is “softer” with us.

He says he wonders if he will see any of us in heaven, then laughs.

“If I show the folk on the Internet…they might say ‘I’m converted now.’”

Good point: “Let’s look to Jesus.”

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Maybe being a sexual predator is not a condition @ajshep considers being criminal. If it’s a Republican doing it, especially the POTUS, maybe it’s OK, even if he is a “frequent grabber”…

Thanks for posting the link in response to @Harry_Allen’s request.

Every time @ajshep starts boasting about his high moral principles and talking to us from the podium, we just need to remind ourselves what his consideration for us it. Is he here just playing a dirty game with us???


Can you imagine @ajshep’s outcry if Barack Obama had made the statement about “grabbing…” “forcing them,” “if you’re a star you can do anything you want”?

Can you imagine the “Family Values” Republican Party of the 1980’s political ads slamming Obama? What hypocrisy!

Trump’s supporters have denounced the “family values” of their party and are now “unequally yoked” to a politician who admits he has never had to ask for forgiveness.

Jerry Falwell would be fainting from shock–even though his own son has embraced Trump.


Thanks, @ajshep.

You said:

In response:

Black people can’t be racist as long as racism’s sole functional form is white supremacy, since the first requirement for the practice of white supremacy is that one be white.

You said:

In response:

Again, is this startling new data to you? Or do you just not like hearing it said from the pulpit?

Isn’t it obvious that there is a race system?

If so, isn’t it clear that this other one you seem to imagine—in which Black people and white people can both practice racism—would quickly become racially incoherent?

If there wasn’t racism, like the kind I describe, sometimes white people would raise racism, as a subject, at inconvenient times, and Black people would go mute. That is, this would happen as often as the reverse does. Talking about racism at church potlucks would be as uncontroversial as talking about taxes.

If it’s not obvious that there is a race system, is it obvious that there ever was one?

If so, when was it?

How do we know it existed?

When did it cease?

Why did it cease?

Who made it cease?

With what was it replaced?

How do we know it was replaced and not just, say, “cloaked”? That is, a “cloaked” race system would still be a race system.

You said:

In response:

I suspect that you are misquoting me in order to make fun of what I’m saying. I do not mean to say that you’re a white supremacist. However, this is a very common racist (white supremacist) tactic; i.e., making fun of non-white people’s words, actions, appearances, neighborhoods, plans, etc.

What I said was this: If you’ve ever seen a cat chase, or play with, a mouse, it’s rarely confusing what is going on; i.e., who dominates.

In other words, much as in an instance of “cat & mouse play,” it’s clear who dominates, in an instance of racism, its clear who dominates.

You said:

In response:

I strongly wish that this were the case.

You said, to @JXLB:

In response:

I don’t have the time, or the interest, to unpack drivel like this.

The worst part is that these miseducated ideas are widely embraced by, perhaps, the majority of white people, here. They affirm false notions like these with a version of what I think they consider “pride,” but what is really, I suspect, a form of defensiveness; a gut-level understanding that it’s not even half-true.

Nothing comes to mind more, when I hear such blather, than the words of Frederick Douglass, speaking in Rochester NY, on July 5, 1852:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy – a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.


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