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Oct 19 2013

Amusing Fundraising Letter from Illinois Wingnuts

“I hate Illinois wingnuts.” — Jake Blues

David Smith, head of the Illinois Family Institute, sent out a fundraising appeal that I find alternately amusing and idiotic. Especially the first two sentences:

As a father of six children, I often wonder what Illinois will be like in twenty years. What will it be like for your children and grandchildren?

Well, if any of them are gay, and there’s a good chance at least one of them will be, the world will likely be a considerably better place despite your efforts to deny them equal rights.

We cannot know for sure. We can’t predict the future. Only God knows for certain.

God knows for certain? Then why do you bother praying? If the future is already set in stone and God knows for certain what is going to happen, there’s no point in asking him to do something. He was either already going to do it or he wasn’t and your prayer is thus irrelevant.

I do know, however, that things are sure to be worse, much worse for our children, if we don’t do something now to stop the moral collapse, which will be hastened if our lawmakers undermine marriage by legalizing same-sex “marriage.”

I am doing everything in my power to prevent that from happening. I’ve put tens of thousands of miles on my car and logged weeks away from my family to fight this evil agenda in 2013, and I need your help today.

I’m not alone in making sacrifices. Many courageous people are stepping up and doing their part, including the staff and a dozen or so dedicated volunteers at IFI. I need you to do your part today…

And the truth is, the bills are mounting, and they must be paid.

We don’t get any money from the government or from the mega-rich like our adversaries do. We rely on the Holy Spirit moving in the hearts of his people: moms and dads, grandmothers, and grandfathers from all across the state.

Translation: Send me money so I can stop this horrible thing in our collective imagination from happening. But wait…God already knows for certain what is going to happen. Which means whether the person reading that email is going to send money or not has already been determined and there’s no point in asking them for the money. Either the Holy Spirit is going to “move in the hearts of his people” and tell them to send money or not and there’s nothing this fundraising letter can do to change that.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    had3

    In my best Russian accent: “illogic, he haz et.”

  2. 2
    matty1

    Not bad but it needs more overblown description and inadvertent homoeroticism to challenge the true master of the genre, Eugene Delgaudio.

  3. 3
    caseloweraz

    Sorry; I can’t reply to this nonsense (“BS from DS”) just now. My money from the mega-rich didn’t arrive on time, due to the government shutdown, and I’m trying to figure out how to make do.

    ;-)

  4. 4
    frankb

    But God already knew that David Smith was going to send that fundraising letter. So there, I run rings around you logically.

  5. 5
    sigurd jorsalfar

    I’m beginning to think it’s time to eliminate the power of clergymen to perform legal marriages and to require all marriages to be performed by a judicial officer in order for them to be legal. We need to make it crystal clear that legal marriage is an entirely secular institution that has nothing to do with god. Many countries already do it this way. This only seems fitting for any country that claims to believe in a separation of church and state.

    Religious organizations can of course continue to perform their own marriage ceremonies according to their traditional beliefs and pretend that their imaginary god has something to do with it.

  6. 6
    jnorris

    … if we don’t do something now to stop the moral collapse …

    How does that song go, libertine women and ragtime music. Collapse starts with C that rhymes with G and that stands for Gayz!. Or something like that.

    sigurd jorsalfar @ #5, religions can have matrimony and government cn have marriage. The government will only recognize a marriage for all legal purposes. The couple is free to have matrimony but better get married too.

  7. 7
    laurie

    Isn’t the anti gay message something about having two parents there for the children? And he’s spending weeks away from his?

    It seemed like the smallest of the problems with the letter.

  8. 8
    Mr Ed

    God knows for certain? Then why do you bother praying? If the future is already set in stone and God knows for certain what is going to happen, there’s no point in asking him to do something.

    Seems god is like the observers from the last season of Fringe. The can move through time and perceive possibilities and probabilities but individual actions can still influence the outcome. I think we should make a deal with the wingnuts, keep out of politics or we will send Walter into the future. [apologies to those not up on Fringe mythology]

  9. 9
    Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    God knows for certain? Then why do you bother praying? If the future is already set in stone and God knows for certain what is going to happen, there’s no point in asking him to do something. He was either already going to do it or he wasn’t and your prayer is thus irrelevant.

    Ed, I think what I bold is a non sequitur, which appears due to another logical fallacy. Namely your implying a false restriction of alternatives.

    Imagine a theistic all-knowing god where humans also have free will, but act in a random manner when acting out their free will. Such a reality would allow for a finite though enormous set of possible outcomes based on how humans acted. As long as this god wasn’t the sole actor that caused an outcome and such a god responded to prayers, then there are multiple outcomes that could occur based on how people behaved, including prayer. So not just one outcome as you assert. At the same time such a god could arguably also know what outcome will actually occur.

    Of course if this god was all-knowing but didn’t intervene with reality, then even that entity couldn’t predict the future with certainty given there’s a range of possible outcomes. A god acting is what provides such a god certainty on the outcome.

    So I do think the Christian belief that God answers prayers while still knowing the future is rational with one exception. The problem here isn’t that it’s logically incoherent but instead that we know that belief/faith is a fatally defective method to make conclusions. Especially now that we’re capable of relying on the reason of credible experts coupled to a systemic collection of evidence by credible experts to make conclusions. That’s the problem here, believing in a god and believing one knows the nature of this god where zero evidence for either exists.

  10. 10
    Michael Johnson

    “If the future is already set in stone and God knows for certain what is going to happen, there’s no point in asking him to do something. He was either already going to do it or he wasn’t and your prayer is thus irrelevant.” –Ed.

    This is a bad argument.

    Last week, my friend watered my plants when I was out of town. This is because a week before that I asked him to do so. Presently I know that last week, my friend watered my plants. It’s “set in stone,” as it in fact happened. But this does not mean that my action, asking him to do the watering, was irrelevant to his doing it. Knowing that X happened doesn’t mean that X floats free from the causal order and could not have been otherwise, no matter what came before it.

    The future is no different. Next week, my friend will water my plants again. This is because tomorrow I will ask him to do so. Presently I know that he will water the plants. It’s “set in stone,” as it in fact will happen. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ask him or that asking him won’t affect matters one way or another. In fact, the way that I know he will do so is that I know that I’ll ask him.

  11. 11
    Michael Johnson

    Michael Heath beat me to the point!

  12. 12
    dingojack

    So god isn’t omnipotent ((s)he/it can’t predict what’ll happen next week) and not omniscient (can’t know what’ll happen next week either).
    Is there any reason to believe (s)he/it’s anything but a little guy behind a green curtain with a microphone?
    Dingo

  13. 13
    Bronze Dog

    *Applauds for sigurd @5 and jnorris @6*

  14. 14
    Robert Serrano

    At what point did desperately clinging to and trying to enforce the status quo become courageous? These people are basically running around that we must keep things the way they are because change is scary, which seems to be to be the very opposite of a courageous stance, and yet they constantly go on about how courageous they are.

  15. 15
    RickR

    This guy is an amateur. If you REALLY want to defeat homosexuality, file a class action lawsuit against it-

    http://gawker.com/tea-party-leader-wants-to-file-class-action-suit-agains-1447931487

  16. 16
    Chaos Engineer

    This is really a quite interesting theological question. There are two major camps.

    Calvinists hold that God predestined everything: So God created Smith with the intent of him writing that letter, so that God could provide an illustration of the virtue of asking for God’s Will to be done (or the folly of asking for things that aren’t God’s Will…we won’t know which one until later.)

    Arminians hold that God has voluntarily relinquished control in order to allow free will. So Smith controls whether he sends the letter or not, but God has foreknowledge of what he’ll choose. It might be that God decided (from outside of time) to take action if and only if Smith chose to send the letter, so Smith’s choice might influence the future course of events.

    For a good layman’s explanation of the debate, you can’t do much better than, Help, Mom! There are Arminians under my bed!

  17. 17
    whheydt

    He has 6 kids? He probably expects his kids to do the same…so 36 grandchildren.

    I can predict the future of Illinois…crowded.

  18. 18
    dingojack

    Chaos Engineer – If God can do anything and knows all then he can predict that Mr Smith will (or won’t) post that letter, so no free will*; if Mr Smith has fee-will to post that letter (or not) god can’t know the future**.

    Dingo
    ——-
    * of course god could change Mr Smith’s mind to get the future he predicted. So only limited free-will. The problem with that idea is ‘last Thursday’ -ism.
    ** Perhaps god can know the future, probabilistically. The ‘futures’ diverge rather quickly though, to a broad smear.of possibilities.

    PS: Just to throw the cat amongst the pigeons, in an Einstienian universe there really isn’t any ‘now’. ‘Past’ and ‘future’ events can happen at the same perceived ‘time’.

  19. 19
    Ichthyic

    I’ve put tens of thousands of miles on my car and logged weeks away from my family to fight this evil agenda

    Them’s REAL family values, folks!

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