Christians must show that misery fits the good for heaven, while happiness prepares the bad for hell; that the wicked get all their good things in this life, and the good all their evil; that in this world God punishes the people he loves, and in the next, the ones he hates; that happiness makes us bad here, but not in heaven; that pain makes us good here, but not in hell. No matter how absurd these things may appear to the carnal mind, they must be preached and they must be believed. If they were reasonable, there would be no virtue in believing. Even the publicans and sinners believe reasonable things. To believe without evidence, or in spite of it, is accounted as righteousness to the sincere and humble christian.In short, Christians are expected to denounce all pleasant paths and rustling trees, to curse the grass and flowers, and glorify the dust and weeds. They are expected to malign the wicked people in the green and happy fields, who sit and laugh beside the gurgling springs or climb the hills and wander as they will. They are expected to point out the dangers of freedom, the safety of implicit obedience, and to show the wickedness of philosophy, the goodness of faith, the immorality of science and the purity of ignorance.

~ Robert G. Ingersoll

The consequence model, the logical one, the amoral one, the one which refuses any divine intervention, is a problem really for just the (hypothetical) logician. You see, towards God I would rather be grateful for Heaven (which I do not deserve) than angry about Hell (which I do deserve). By this the logician within must choose either atheism or theism, but he cannot possibly through good reason choose anti-theism. For his friend in this case is not at all mathematical law: the law in that 'this equation, this path will consequently direct me to a specific point'; over the alternative and the one he denies, 'God will send me wherever and do it strictly for his own sovereign amusement.' The consequence model, the former, seeks the absence of God, which orders he cannot save one from one's inevitable consequences; hence the angry anti-theist within, 'the logical one', the one who wants to be master of his own fate, can only contradict himself - I do not think it wise to be angry at math.

~ Criss Jami

FV: Annandale defines 'definition' as an explanation of the signification of a term. Yet Oxford, on the other hand, defines it as a statement of the precise meaning of a word. A small, perhaps negligible difference you might think. And neither, would you say, is necessarily more correct than the other? But now look up each of the words comprising each definition, and then the definitions of those definitions, and so on. Some still may only differ slightly, while others may differ quite a lot. Yet any discrepancy, large or small, only compounds that initial difference further and further, pushing each 'definition' farther apart. How similar are they then at the end of this process...assuming it ever would end? Could we possibly even be referring to the same word by this point? And we still haven't considered what Collins here...or Gage, or Funk and Wagnalls might have to say about it. Off on enough tangents and you're eventually led completely off track.ML: Or around in circles.FV: Precisely!ML: Oxford, though, is generally considered the authority, isn't it?FV: Well, it's certainly the biggest...the most complete. But then, that truly is your vicious circle - every word defined...every word in every definition defined...around and around in an infinite loop. Truly a book that never ends. A concise or abridged dictionary may, at least, have an out...ML: I wonder, then, what the smallest possible complete dictionary would be? Completely self-contained, that is, with every word in every definition accounted for. How many would that be, do you suppose? Or, I guess more importantly, which ones?FV: Well, that brings to mind another problem. You know that Russell riddle about naming numbers?

~ Mort W. Lumsden