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Discussion 2 to Meditation 109
I can only take your word for it

by: Will Petillo

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Dear Peace Lady,

I disagree with you on nearly everything, but at the same time I believe your incredible dedication merits a respectful audience that is willing to respond to your ideas. Before I branch off into discussions about your website, I will start by addressing the question of why God sends single messengers. You answer in a single word: “FREEWILL.” I interpret this extremely cryptic and brief response as meaning something along the lines of: “God wants us to believe in ideas for their own merits, not because of the authorities that have presented them.” If God were to enlighten me directly, along with everyone else, it would be very difficult for me not to believe in that message. If, on the other hand, I am shown the way to truth by someone like you, it would much more clearly be based on a choice I have made in an honest search for truth, uncoerced by the authority of the messenger. Of course, the truth has to be revealed to someone through more direct means, or no one will get it. Hence, a single messenger. Now, the obvious implication of this logic is that organized religions have no intrinsic authority that they can legitimately use to win our obedience, but as you claim to be against organized religion anyways, I imagine you don’t see this as a problem.

But remember that it applies to you as well. God has not told me that you are God’s messenger, so I can only take your word for it. Assessing the merits of your ideas, however, does not require blind faith, only reason and experience. Now, if you truly have been inspired by God and God is an infallible source of Truth, then all the ideas you present about politics and religion must be sound. And if your ideas are sound, then insofar as I am a rational human being, I will find them convincing. Thus, until myself and others are convinced on the truth of your message on the merits of the ideas themselves, we can ignore your claims to be inspired by God. The rest of this article will therefore be an assessment of the ideas presented on your website, with no reference to your claims to having received revelation. Again, if your ideas are unreasonable, then it is impossible that you really are inspired by God; if your ideas are reasonable, then it is possible (but still not necessarily the case) that God has revealed his intentions to you.

Looking over your website, I see a lot of platitudes. You repeatedly stress the importance of “peace” and “justice”…who are you arguing with? Very few people are “anti-peace” and there may well not be a single person in the world who is “anti-justice.” It is undeniable that some corruption and malice exists in government, but there is not nearly so much of it as people like to believe. In reality, the things you see as problems with the world are the result of the following things:

  1. People have differing views about how the world works and how we should deal with problems. As tempting as it is to claim that people in power who think differently from us act out of malice, it is far more likely that they simply disagree. And who knows, they could be right, because…
  2. Social issues are almost always more complicated then you think they are. We never have all the facts necessary to decide how to deal with political problems, and neither have the politicians…but we make have to decisions about them anyway.

For example, I noticed in one of your videos that you talk about Iraq as if it were nothing more than an act of aggression, an exercise of the principle that might makes right, that the U.S. government wanted something so they went out to get it with no thought of the moral or economic consequences. Surely, if the Bush administration believed in the virtues of peace, they would not have done such a thing. But there are other ways of looking at it. Before the war, the Bush administration argued Sadaam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and there was a chance these weapons could have been used to kill massive numbers of innocent people. Thus, by taking out his regime, we could prevent this destruction. Later, when we discovered that these weapons did not exist, the rationale changed to: Sadaam was a brutal dictator who killed his own people and in order to free his people from this tyranny—as well as to change the conditions of the Middle East such that the region no longer supported terrorist organizations—we needed to overthrow this regime and install a democratic government that supports the ideals of peace and justice by listening to the will of the people for, in the long run, this will lead to peace.

Now I am not trying to argue that the war was a good idea, I was against it from the beginning and am even more strongly against it now. My point here is to challenge the underlying assumption in nearly all of the arguments on your website that most conflicts are the result of the struggle of good vs. evil. This is simply not true. Some conflicts can be described that way, but most of the time conflicts are the result of differing opinions based on differing interpretations of ambiguous situations. If you saw the U.S. presidential debates last week, Sept. 26th, you would have seen this principle illustrated very nicely. Both candidates want peace and stability at home and abroad. Where they differ is in how those goals should be achieved. According to Obama, the U.S. presence in Iraq is causing strife and resistance and thus the best way to end it is to pull most of our forces out use those resources where they are more needed in the fight against terrorist organizations, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to McCain, if we follow Obama’s plan and pull out from Iraq now, the situation there will get worse, the terrorist organizations there will grow stronger, and the whole situation will be harder to deal with later. Which assessment is valid? I favor Obama’s vision, myself, but I cannot say definitively that I am right because I cannot predict the future.

Another running theme on your website is your belief that the separation of church and state was a mistake. As you write in your petition:

We the people of * Canada, petition our *Prime Minister to grant us a Royal Commission to establish a Justice Review Board with the authority to amend the Constitution as they deem just. This board to consist of an equal number of lawyers and clergy thereby insuring the rights of all * Canadians.

Representatives of the clergy agree to adhere to the authorized King James translation of the scriptures and to be known hereafter as the Holy Covenant. The lawyers are to be paid by the country, the clergy to be paid by their respective churches. Until legality and morality come together into reality there can be no such thing as justice.

The reason secularism happened in the first place is not because people decided they wanted to take morality out of politics and rely entirely on legalism and personal interests but because there are so many conflicting versions of religion and to allow any one of them to become intertwined with political authority would necessarily exclude others. How do you intend to escape this trap? For example, you state that all clergy should use the King James Version of the Bible. What about people who don’t consider that translation—or the Bible itself—to be God’s word? And if, for whatever reason, you choose to exclude such people, how can you claim to be “insuring the rights of all Canadians”?

The last sentence in this petition is particularly interesting, as it reveals the other underlying assumption you have that I wish to challenge: (true) religion is the source of morality. This is simply false. Indeed, I would contend not only that religion is unnecessary for the existence of morality, but that the two often come into conflict and so morality is better off without religion. I will not dwell on this point now, but I encourage you to read through some of the articles in the “Reflections on Ethics” section of this website for further information and arguments related to this point.

I also encourage you to have conversations with religious and political authorities. If you can’t talk to top leaders, there has got to be some people farther down the hierarchy that are willing to talk to you. You clearly have a good intentions and a sharp mind, so please, make the most of it. That means: stop making assertions in the hopes that sufficient volume will gain you a following and start engaging with other minds to better inform others and yourself and come to reasonable conclusions with them rather than against them. And always, always, seek first to understand and then to be understood. Writing to us was a good start.

Cheers, Will Petillo, Friar of UCTAA

P.S. is your statement about the four corners of the earth, by any chance, a reference to Dr. Gene Ray’s TimeCube? (www.timecube.com, see also interview with Dr. Ray and an analysis of his theory on SuperNova on YouTube.)