Archive for the ‘Vote’ Category

Strange Times in America

September 9, 2008

If you’ve noticed the news, you may be aware that American voters will be faced this election season with the following unpleasant choices:

1) Vote for a Republican man who is noted for compromise, who seems soft on moral issues, and who has selected a female running mate. The moderate-feminist ticket.

2) Vote for a Democrat man who is inexperienced, is tolerant and supportive of both pre-and-postpartum infanticide, and who has selected a liberal “Catholic” man as his running mate. The inexperience-infanticide ticket.

3) Vote for a protest candidate for president. (N.B. by “protest” I’m grouping any and all motives for voting for a candidate that realistically has no chance of winning. Obviously, the intention of such voters may not be to protest. For example, a vote for the Constitution party candidate for president could be motivated by a principle of always voting for the best possible candidate on the ballot, by a delusion that he has some chance of winning, or because one promised him one would vote for him. I’m grouping all these motives into the “protest” camp.) The loud vote disposal ticket.

4) Abstain from voting from any presidential candidate. The quiet vote disposal ticket.

Realistically, the only tickets that can succeed in this election season are the moderate-feminist and the infanticide-liberal tickets. Thus, with respect to the determination of their country’s future, American voters essentially have their choices:

A) Choose the less abhorrent of the two realistic tickets.
B) Choose the more abhorrent of the two realistic tickets.
C) Choose to let other voters decide.

Given that (B) is a senseless option, really the only two options are:

I. Choose the less abhorrent of the two realistic tickets; or
II. Choose to let other voters decide.

It would seem to me that the American voter’s decision between I and II would depend on whether:

a) one believes one knows what the other voters will tend to decide, if left to themselves;
b) whether one considers the matter not as an individual voter but as the sum of all like-minded Christian voters; and
c) whether one believes that letting other voters decide now will have benefits in itself that offset any bad decisions the other voters make.

That is to say, with respect to (a), if one believes that the other voters will anyhow choose the less abhorrent of the two realistic tickets, then one has less incentive to assist them and more incentive to consider the value of option II.

With respect (b), if one considers oneself individually, it is irrational to suppose one’s vote matters. If one considers oneself as part of a group of likeminded people, however, one can consider how the group ought to behave. For example, one can consider what the effect on the election would be if all likeminded Christian men selected option II.

With respect to (c), if one believes that option II will result in an even less abhorrent option being available in some future election, that might make one inclined to view the matter as being a more abhorrent candidate now, versus a less abhorrent candidate in the future.

Note Well: this is not a political blog. I am interested in the moral issues posed to voters, not debating the candidates. I am not trying to tell anyone how to vote, I’m simply trying to help Christians provide a framework in which to consider the election, because too often I hear the flawed mantra: “Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.” Even an abstention (or a protest vote) is effectively a vote of some kind, and Christians need to consider their duty in their role in America as the civil magistrate.


Metzger vs. Michuta

January 20, 2008

UPDATE: I’m not totally satisfied with this post, and I’m thinking of deleting it. Part of the problem is that the link I have provided is to the main page of Michuta’s web site, and not to a particular page on which the article could be found on any permanent basis. I’m thinking about deleting this one.

Metzger writes: “Finally on 8 April 1546, by a vote of 24 to 15, with 16 abstensions, [sic] the Council issued a decree (De Canonicis Scriptures) in which, for the first time in the history of the Church of the Church, the question of the contents of the Bible was made an absolute article of faith and confirmed by an anathema.” (source) (p. 246)

Michuta responds: “Metzger was really saying was that the Decree on the Canon promulgated on April 8, 1546 [sic] was the first decree on the Canon to include an anathema, which was adopted by a 24 to 15 vote with 16 abstaining.” (source)

Michuta also claims: “Metzger didn’t really read Trent very carefully because the vote he recorded likely wasn’t even on the anathema and even if it was “nothing was decided” by it.” (Id.)

We’ll be digging into this in more detail a bit later. It will be interesting to see if Metzger got a fairly simple historical fact wrong, or whether Michuta did. Considering that Metzger is a renowned scholar, and Michuta isn’t, it would seem to be a safe bet to go with Metzger.

Nevertheless, even experts make mistakes (in fact, the present author is hoping to present some Metzger mistakes on slightly more complex issues soon).

So far:

1) The date given by Metzger is the date on which the decree was adopted.
2) Metzger is claiming that the decree was adopted by the 44% plurality vote (thus, Michuta is wrong about at least that detail).
3) Therefore, by virtue of (2), Michuta’s other claims that his Protestant opponents cannot read Metzger are mistaken. It is apparently Michuta who cannot read Metzger.
4) It is odd that Michuta, who seems to have access to some materials on the council, would not simply say, “No: the decree was issued on April 8, 1546, by a vote of: _______,” and then cite his source.

To be updated as the occasion demands.

To decide the matter, we would need to identify what Metzger’s basis for the claim is. Where did Metzger get the 44% number? Michuta has speculatively reconstructed a vote that he thinks matches the 44% number. Michuta calls it a “straw vote” and says it wasn’t even on the anathema. This suggests Michuta may have found the wrong vote.

Sadly, Prof. Metzger died recently (less than a year ago), so unfortunately he is not around to defend his name against Michuta’s charges.


UPDATE: In an act of hypocrisy, Dave Armstrong has taken the opportunity to accuse James White of deficient research for relying on secondary sources (“deficient research” and “miscalculated a bit concerning his description of a vote at the Council of Trent”) after recently defending Steve Ray’s reliance on secondary sources (link). Of course, that issue is simply among the weeds. So far, Michuta’s claim that the decree was not adopted by the vote identified by Metzger is unsubstantiated. Let’s see if Metzger was right or wrong. (UPDATE to the UPDATE: DA has now claimed in his own combox that he was not criticizing James White for using secondary sources, and clearly his post doesn’t use the words “secondary sources.” Since Metzger (the secondary source) clearly gives the same information White does, and since the page DA links to mentions that fact … readers may draw their own conclusions about DA.)

FURTHER UPDATE: Carrie has given some details of this in a recent post at Beggars All Reformation. Teste Carrie, Metzger cited Jedin (second link) (older vol. 1, vol. 2) (new German version) (older German version) (several of Jedin’s works may be getting conflatted in this rushed update), who gives the details of the vote. He also cited a German author, (Maichle, Albert) Der Kanon der biblischen Bücher und das Konzil von Trient (second link) (1929). (Carrie also corrected a typo found in this post.)

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: Carrie has given some more details (here). I’d summarize her points, but then you’d miss the fun way in which she presents them. As I note in the comment section there: What I find interesting is Michuta’s reliance on “Concilium Tridentinum.” It’s not as though the Council of Trent itself published a journal of its proceedings. Or perhaps I’m wrong. And, if so, I wonder if Michuta could direct us to that work. Based on the typography in the Michuta’s cut-n-paste jobs, I imagine he’s referring to the immediately succeeding volume (i.e volume 5) of this work (link to volume 4).

One wonders whether we can expect out-of-date photos of Metzger, Jedin, etc. along with more claims of “deficient research” and “miscalculat[ion]” to pop up on DA’s site any time soon. After all, “Michuta locuta est, causa finita est.”

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