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Mis-Defining the Threat

As longtime readers of this "weblog" well know, Wizbang attracts a number of left-leaning commenters. Though we, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," suspect that the large majority of Wizbang devotees are on the conservative side of the fence, nary a "post," it seems, is free from some liberal retort.

Though others may grumble about this state of affairs, we think it's just dandy. Frankly, it's nice to see that some folks enjoy taking in commentary from the proverbial other side of the aisle.

In fact, our lefty pals offer us an opportunity. For a good long time, dear reader, we have wondered about one particular article of left-leaning faith: How can Western liberals generally perceive that Christian fundamentalism is a dire threat to the United States, but fail to believe that extremist Islam is worthy of collective concern?

We don't, we must add, mean to be arch in offering this question. On the contrary: We find it extremely peculiar. And we'd love it if one of Wizbang's lefty readers would present a convincing--or even mildly reasonable--argument on the topic.

We mean, come on: "Weblogs" such as Little Green Footballs and JihadWatch incessantly chronicle the dubious and evil machinations of Islamist totalitarians. Granted, such "weblogs" have their axes to grind, and tend to spin things in certain useful ways. Still, the list of dubious Islamist actions in the West is long and frightening.

Still, lots of lefties, like ostriches, tend to argue that criticism of Islamism merely amounts to bigotry. What's more, many of our liberal friends are content to blame the West for this Islamofascist scariness. If only Israel didn't occupy the West Bank, they say, the Islamists wouldn't be so violent. If only America weren't so hands-on in Middle Eastern affairs, they submit, the Muslim fanatics would be tame.

Why don't our lefty pals view the Christian Right in the same manner? If only there were a Constitutional amendment striking down gay marriage, the Christian fundamentalists wouldn't be so overheated. If only abortion were illegal, the hard-core Christians would be appeased and all would be well.

Naturally, such concessions to the Christian Right would also suit the Muslim fundamentalists just fine. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, none of our liberal pals seriously considers these steps.

If you ask us, the answer is simple: A reasonable person can't possibly characterize the Christian Right as an evil collection of "American fascists" and gainsay the threat from radical Islam. To bray about the "700 Club" and ignore the dubiousness of CAIR, for example, is to misconstrue political reality. And the more our friends on the Left keep at it, the less political power they'll enjoy.

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently reminding themselves that Harold Pinter was part of the International Committee To Defend Slobodan Milosivec.)


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Comments (63)

Christian Right? IMHO they ... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Christian Right? IMHO they are just as bad as the Muslim fundamentalists. Do the Christian right think there religion is better than the Pope's? That is almost like asking who's shit stinks the most.

Gun control? Be damn glad the majority of Americans know what it is. That means hitting what you are shooting at. Recent news article about senior citizen killing a man with a gun, the old geezer used hand to hand combat and offed the punk; the two other punks ran away. That should explain that guns don't kill people, people kill people, unarmed, baseball bats, knives, etc.

When are the average American people going to wake up that we are in a war to preserve our way of living? Bring the troops home? Fuck no, get them out of Iraq and put them in the just war, Afghanistan.

We all know Bush lied to invade Iraq, however he had and still has support for Afghanistan. But as a social idiot, he cannot understand that, and neither can the rest of his crooks.

This so called war in Iraq is BULLSHIT. It is Bush's war, and no, the Demo's don't need a plan for it, the Repugs do. They started it, let them finish it. Simple.

All you right leaning Bush ass kissing people don't like this, too bad, but it's the truth. Yes, Saddam did deserve to be taken out. One bullet could have done that. Why now the surge, should have surge at the beginning, like the military leaders wanted to do. But hell no, a AWOL CIC, and a 5 deferment VP knows better than people who have been in the military, studied warfare, etc.

So please explain your dribble BS on this one.

I fear that "post" is going... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

I fear that "post" is going cause some burst blood vessels due to extreme cognitive dissonance among the leftist readers of this "weblog".

OK, case in point immediate... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

OK, case in point immediately above my first "post".

Allen,You COMPLETE... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Allen,

You COMPLETELY left out the H in your IMHO.

In other words, there was nothing H in your O.

But that's probably still over your head.

Oh well.

I don't see any great diffe... (Below threshold)
John:

I don't see any great difference between fundamentalist Christians, and fundamentalist Muslims. They both want the same thing... To enforce their morality in order to create and preserve power for them through whatever means are available.

For Christians right now, it's political power. Back in the good old days, it was the sword or the rack or the burning stake. Islam is perhaps 400 years younger. They're still at the sword, rack and burning stake stage, except the implements are much, much better today.

Both of them view controlling women as their perogative, whether via a burqua or controlling what she can and can't do with her body and sexuality. Both attempt to limit what you can read, both attempt to control thought through gaining control over the education system. Both consider it the most noble sacrifice to give one's life for their god. Both want to establish a legal system and a government guided by their religious texts.

Each consider the other "Evil".

Frankly, they are both evil.

The really sick part of all of this is the religious texts that they would like to base their legal and governmental framework on are nothing but fables, fairy tales, and campfire stories told by a frightned, simple, and superstitious people to explain the natural world.

As a Christian with a firm understanding of my religion, and a good understanding of other world religions, I can tell you there is very little truth in the bible, other than some good stories about morality.

Genesis? Didn't happen that way. Revelations? Not going to happen. Everything else in between? Noah? Cain and Abel? Moses? Solomon? Joshua? All good stories, to be sure. True? Feh...

Folks, I hate to be the person to break it to you that Santa is really dad, and the tooth fairy is really mom, but their is no heaven. When you die, you are dead. Period. No god, no white robes, no wings, no harp.

To INSIST that a religious text contains absolute truth and therefore MUST be used to control all law, governence and personal interaction is.... well... for lack of a better word "Evil".

Its not just the wa... (Below threshold)
epador:


Its not just the way people interpret their books that is the most evil. The various skullduggery's that shaped the modern Bible make the history of the few versions of the Koran pale in comparison. Amazingly all layered in the "search for truth." That is a sad evil.

I ain't no lefty. I'm not a church goer. But I share some of the moral principals that some on the left consider Fundamentalist, and others they consider fundamental: I do believe that abortion is murder, for example. I don't think homosexuality is a sin. I've felt a greater spiritual presence, but I doubt any human book appropriately describes it.

Current Republican strategy courted the Fundamentalists. While it allowed for some interesting Republican victories, it also gave more power to the Fundamentalists. But their power is in no way similar to the power wielded by Islamic leaders. That is what makes the Islamic movement so dangerous.

...so if Christian sacred t... (Below threshold)
Ghost Rider:

...so if Christian sacred texts are "false" because they promote a particular set of religious beliefs, why should anyone listen to a lefty's opinion about his or her own lefitist religious belief, that promotes said lefty's own religion above all other religions, especially Christianity?

me thinks said lefty thinks himself sacred...or God...??

oy vei...

"Both of them view controll... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"Both of them view controlling women as their perogative, whether via a burqua or controlling what she can and can't do with her body and sexuality."

Not so. I am not so pretentious to think I should tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body aor her sexuality.

Once she makes her "choice," however, then she must be responsible for the outcome of that choice. And I question the sanity of anyone who views the destruction of a human being because it would cramp their desired lifestyle to be responsible.

"I can tell you there is ve... (Below threshold)
d'Brit:

"I can tell you there is very little truth in the bible, ...their is no heaven. When you die, you are dead. Period. No god, no white robes, no wings, no harp."

"As a Christian with a firm understanding of my religion..."

Upon what do you base your claim that you are a Christian? You just stated there is no God nor life after death...

"I don't see any great diff... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

"I don't see any great difference between fundamentalist Christians, and fundamentalist Muslims. They both want the same thing... To enforce their morality in order to create and preserve power for them through whatever means are available."

"Frankly, they are both evil."

lol........ I say Christians and Muslims should get together, *remove*/ wink* all the liberals, then divvy up the world and live in peace.

Sound like a plan? That's one way to get Christians and Muslims treated equal.

Ghost Rider writes;<b... (Below threshold)
John:

Ghost Rider writes;

...so if Christian sacred texts are "false" because they promote a particular set of religious beliefs,....

No. I never said that.

The sacred texts are parables and stories. Many are completly untrue based on historical evidence e.g. Noah's flood. Others are internaly inconsistant, e.g. the fact that the four gospels tell different stories about the resurection. More is externaly inconsistant, e.g. the gospels were not written by the stated authors - they were written much later, and by different people, not the eye witnesses.

Finaly, the stories of creation and heaven are not logical. If man is too complex to have evolved, thus requiring a creator, how did the even more complex creator come to be? This just wraps a puzzle in a larger enigma, and answers nothing. Secondly, if heaven is eternal, and hell too, you'll be punished, or rewarded for more than 100 trillion years for every second you spent on earth. What kind of justice is that?

Epador also makes an important point. If you understand how the collection of texts that are now The Bible came to be selected, and which sacred texts were deselected, and if once you understand the history of the early church, you'll have a better feel for the politics that went into this book. I have a copy of the Gnostic scriptures, and I've stood in the chambers of the Luna Pope's place of exile in Spain. Google both.

Lastly the christian bible is the latest in a series of fairy tales. God was once a rock. Or a tree, or a turtle. Today, christians are a religious minority. For the vast expanse of human history, for all but the last bit, christians didn't even exist. It may seem normal for you to be a christian, but most people in the world, and most of human history do not agree with you.

Knightbrigade chortles;... (Below threshold)
John:

Knightbrigade chortles;

lol........ I say Christians and Muslims should get together, *remove*/ wink* all the liberals, then divvy up the world and live in peace.

I think both parties would be in favor of your first idea. Liberals are not well tolerated by either ideology, which is one reason I find little difference.

Without a liberal moderating influence, good luck at your second idea - divy and live in peace. It's not really in eiether of your natures.

Good luck with that, once we're gone.

braney435,Are you ... (Below threshold)
John:

braney435,

Are you in favor of sexual education in school? Free access to birth control? Should a girl save herself until marrage? Is it ok for girls to have sex with other girls? Does it matter if a girl is a virgin? Or doesn't get pregnant, but has a lot of sex partners? Is it OK if a girl goes topless at the beach? Nude?

You do in fact think you have the right to tell a girl what to do with her body and sexuality... I just want to know where you draw the line.

Knightbrigade, that's just ... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Knightbrigade, that's just our resident moron John. He's an idiot. We laugh at him. Pay no attention to his rantings.

Hey Jo,Did you che... (Below threshold)
John:

Hey Jo,

Did you check out those links on the other thead? What did you think?

In my 66 years i've never s... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

In my 66 years i've never seen anything that required me to be a christian and don't know anyone that has lost their head (literally) because they chose to leave the christian faith.

Maybe the christians should fire up the lions pits and feed the lefties to the lions. Can't do that, PETA would be after us for feeding contaminated or poison meat to the lions.

The only worry I have about the lefties is their total desire to downgrade the United States and their lack of brain power to know that they can't turn off the hate like a light switch. The feeble minded have swallowed the hype hook, line and sinker and will carry the hate of something or everthing with them to the grave. When they figure out the right isn't listening to their rot they'll turn on their own. Hey, they're already doing that. LIke too many guppies in a tank they are eating their own and i'm loving it.
Who would have thought that losting an election would bring on such comedy from the winners.

I've always found it odd th... (Below threshold)
James:

I've always found it odd that liberals are prepared to go to such lengths to protect the muslim "right" to jihad when they (the libs) would be the first ones up against the wall if the muslims took control.

I think the dissonance in outrage between christians and muslims stems from all of our "rebel against the system" crap from the 1960 (just one more thing we can thank the baby boomers for). Christians, mostly westerners and white, are therefore evil by definition. Muslims, mosltly non-western and brown, are therefore morally superior, as we all know that white males are the root of all evil in the world throughout all time (at least that is how my Psych-101 professore explained it to me).

Speaking as a confirmed agn... (Below threshold)

Speaking as a confirmed agnostic, let me say that in the fight between the Islamists and the "Christofascists" (I think that's the hip new term all the cool kids are using), I'll take the Christofascists.

They're seeking political power, and I can vote against them.

The Islamists want to blow me up or cut off my head.

Maybe I'm just naive or gullible or innocent, but I think I see a slight difference between the two tactics -- and my best way of fighting both.

J.

So lets add this up:<... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

So lets add this up:

Muslims and their agenda easily kill 100,000's every year.

Libs, or Sec-Progs and their agenda easily kill over a million a year,

Christians kill how many?

The far left wants to try to paint every Christian as some far left right wackjob. Thats no more accurate than to think every lib is as kookie as Barney fudgepackin Frank.

Libs clearly didnt stand up as Klinton allowed over a million to be killed in Africa on his watch, and they clearly didnt stand up to protest the over 4000 military deaths that occured in 'peacetime' under Klinton.

Libs are all about the power, and, like the idiot gov from Mass, mayor of Philly, once they get it, they abuse it.

From John ...<blockqu... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

From John ...

As a Christian with a firm understanding of my religion, .....

....

but their is no heaven. When you die, you are dead. Period. No god, no white robes, no wings, no harp.

John, not only do you not have a "firm" understanding of the Christian faith, you don't have a basic understanding of it either.

Both of them view controlling women as their perogative, whether via a burqua or controlling what she can and can't do with her body and sexuality.

Why do you define women SOLELY by her sexuality?

I'm curious.

My Christian faith not only supports education for women, but actively promotes it. The best education in leading and organizing in my life came from my church activity. I first taught in Church - and now it is my career.

In my church, I am treated as a PERSON with concerns about family, career and community - not simply as a uterus with legs as John apparently sees all women.

Totally agree with Ohiovote... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

Totally agree with Ohiovoter - she sounds exactly like my wife.

I'd like to know what the Lefties think about the fact that it was Christian women that were working alone in Afganistan during the Clinton regime trying to save Muslim women from those barbarians. Where were the Libs (esp Hillary!) than?

gc (also an Ohioan)

Anyone concerned with the i... (Below threshold)

Anyone concerned with the intregrity of the Christian faith should be wary of too much political involvement, especially if it appears partisan in nature. This undermines the church as a meeting place of faith and the house of God, and turns it into just another mere institution of man, serving merely the interests of man, not God. In the Bible, the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man is promoted. Too much politics makes a church a false religion in conflict with the goals and teachings of God.

On the other hand, any on the left who ignore the threat to freedom presented by Muslim extremists are blind to an extremist view of faith that often uses violence to promote political or religious ends. This should be a grave concern to any who respect the freedoms in Western society.

Both the American Christian right and Muslim extremists should show a greater concern for their faith and better respect it for the interests of God, and better support the integrity of their faith.

I believe the Bush/Cheney p... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I believe the Bush/Cheney policy to take Muslim Fundamentalists at their word and bait, and confront them violently in Iraq and perhaps Iran is an incoherent policy..Why risk alienating the majority of Muslms who are peaceful god fearing people. Afterall they are the ones under threat of the veil, far more than Americans or in Europe is where the rise of Islam, mainly democraphically. far more acute than in the USA..The European policy of coexistence seems much more sensible than high tech, high casualty, military confrontration, in the Middle East..Christian fundamentalism? No one seriously is suggesting that is the same kettle of fish as miltant Islam.

"braney435,Are you... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

"braney435,

Are you in favor of sexual education in school? Free access to birth control? Should a girl save herself until marrage? Is it ok for girls to have sex with other girls? Does it matter if a girl is a virgin? Or doesn't get pregnant, but has a lot of sex partners? Is it OK if a girl goes topless at the beach? Nude?

You do in fact think you have the right to tell a girl what to do with her body and sexuality... I just want to know where you draw the line."


I've had sex ed since I was in grade school, and my daughters will as well. Doesn't bother me, as long as I know exactly what they're being taught.

I don't believe in free access to birth control. Not that I'm against birth control, I see it as responsible if you don't want a kid, I'm just against using government money to subsidize peoples sex lives.

The only girls whose sex lives are of any interrest to me are my daughters and my wife....well, and maybe Jennifer Aniston, but I digress. As long as they take responsibility for the choices thay make, I don't care.

If women want to run around topless on a beach reserved for that kind of behavior, so people can decide if they want to expose their children to it or not, is fine with me too. Where, exactly is this beach, anyway? Wait, let me get a pen and paper...


I'm not interrested in telling people what they can or cannot do to THEMSELVES. I'm against slaughtering children because they would be bothersome, though.

I don't want to leave the i... (Below threshold)
epador:

I don't want to leave the impression that my statements are congruent with John's. The current popular versions of the Bible have a twisted origin. The New Testament, especially, had many books challenged and expunged in various power struggles. But the words of a core of the books are the ancient world's version of blogdom - folks on the fringes of popular society trying desperately to record and spread the truth as they saw it. Rather than electronic transmissions, the scrolls were hand copied (and presumably embellished and edited by the copiers to meed their own prejudices and political aims). The editing of the original works, submission hundreds of years later of "original" works, and the power struggle between sects are the evils I spoke of.

The crack young staff of "T... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

The crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," run an entry that discusses the Liberal Left's disconnect when comparing the Christian Right with Muslim Fundamentalists.

What follows is:
The first Liberal commentor gave an incoherent rant about the war in Iraq.
The next came from a so-called Christian that does not believe in God.
And the next tried to argue that Christianity is obsolete.

Seems like the liberal left commentors of this blog made good the point of crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly" very nicely.

I don't recall seeing any C... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

I don't recall seeing any Christians, fundamentalists or otherwise, terrorizing women and children, blowing themselves up in markets or in airplanes, believing that they should conquer the planet and impose holy law.

Not even the wackiest Christian I know believes that.

There is no equivalence, except in the delusional musings of the Left.

John, you have no understan... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

John, you have no understanding of the Gospels. Luke was a physician who testified to his research into the life and dealth of Jesus Christ. You don't need understand Christianity, you need to excercise your faith. Lean not on your own understanding. I have no problem with you saying the bible is just made up stories as in Santa Claus, but please, do not call yourself a Christian. ww

Is it my imagination or hav... (Below threshold)
Etain Peregrine:

Is it my imagination or have the liberals on this thread completely failed to answer the question?

"Lastly the christian bible... (Below threshold)
Duncan Avatar:

"Lastly the christian bible is the latest in a series of fairy tales. God was once a rock. Or a tree, or a turtle. Today, christians are a religious minority. For the vast expanse of human history, for all but the last bit, christians didn't even exist. It may seem normal for you to be a christian, but most people in the world, and most of human history do not agree with you."

Read the above statement from John.

Does that sounds like a Christian talking? I'd say no. Not many Christians would denounce their faith, and then place themselves on the other side of Christian faith. Call me crazy. But John earlier tries to wrap himself in the Christian faith like a wolf in sheep's clothing by saying:

"As a Christian with a firm understanding of my religion, and a good understanding of other world religions, I can tell you there is very little truth in the bible, other than some good stories about morality."

Yep. Sounds like a "Christian" to me, the kind who doesn't believe his own faith or that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and was resurrected, etc. etc.

John, you can have your opinion and beliefs, but in my opinion, I believe that you should look inside and see if you are indeed a Christian, or something else, based on what you have written here.

The left props itself up wi... (Below threshold)
Pyritedan:

The left props itself up with hysteria. It is totally about paranoia. They create a drumroll of villians that they fear and that we should all be saved from. McCarthy, Nixon, Walmart, DDT and Christians. To do this they must protect or create Communism, Clinton, malaria and Islamic Fascists. The result is irrational behavior and beliefs.
The left can't produce any Christianfacist acts, other than to worry about abortion or freedom of thought and action. They need strawmen to fear and create a great duststorm. Interestingly none of this is being accompanied by murder and torture, which does not seem to inconviences their argument at all.

John is a member of that "n... (Below threshold)
kempermanx:

John is a member of that "new" Christian church, the "Church of Oprah". They believe they can call themselves Christians and still get Christmas presents. What's the downside her, like "I" get to define what is the truth, Oprah told me so.

Unfortunately, this is what a lot of people who call themselves "Christians" think.

The Bible? Nice writing. That's even what the Episcopal church is starting to say. We need more "Christianity Lite". Please no Hell or Heaven, your not being multicultural!

Please don't post anything here that would lead them to believe a religion must have doctrine or it is not a religion, just a TV show. Goddess Oprah would be mad.

Kemp

you guys are so f'ing annoy... (Below threshold)
slingshot:

you guys are so f'ing annoying.

there is a basic difference: the holy rollers are in america, and thus have much more of an effect on what happens here, as they can influence policy, become politicians, etc. the islamic fundamentalists are almost wholly absent form the continental united states and wield a frightening, but not especially concrete threat ( i know you're all gonna start carping about 9/11 now, so please go ahead). their ability to shape policies, laws, etc. in america is quite small.

additional news flash, the chances of muslims invading the us and instituting sharia law is virtually zero. the chances of th christian right instituting laws and policies is already happening- see mr. bush, darling of the holy rollers.

the right wing needs its boogeymen, and now that you've lost the commies, you have a better boogeyman, the jihadis. i say better, because those guys are almost all brown, so it's a good outlet for all the latent racists among you.

frankly, i think you're "question" is complete bullshit, but here's an answer. so now enjoy the rest of your afternoon ridculing "the left" as embodied by one poster. i know you have the need to feel superior, so i am sure you will come up with all kinds of reasons and non-reasons of why i am a "moonbat" and we are facing an existential threat that i simply "don't get," but that dear leader bush will save us from, if the liberals don't screw it up.

get a new act. this one's boring.

p.s. i am not saying terrorism is not a threat, just that the lot of you are hysterics and, in addition, can only conceive of one way of dealing with the problem- with a losing military strategy that you justify using more of the worse it gets, because of the "existential threat to the nation that we are facing."

have at it. enjoy your taunting and resulting feelings of superiority. won't get you anywhere in the end.

I guess we are just going t... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

I guess we are just going to have to see how it all plays out.

Radical fundamentalist Islam using violence as a tool, fundamentalist Christians using politics and influence as tools, and Liberals using politics, whining, lecturing, and posturing as tools.

The old saying, "two's company, three's a crowd"

I don't see all three groups sitting around singing hippy songs and smoking bongs.

One of the three groups is going to have to be reduced to irrelevency. Take a wild guess on the odds of WHAT group will get TOOLED!

And...thanks Jo.........I know John is one of the inmates who walks to the west constantly, he's harmless it all cool.

Dearest Hatemonger folks,</... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Dearest Hatemonger folks,

While I am not sure which political stereotype I should be assigned, I'll do my best to answer your call as well as I can.

Though others may grumble about this state of affairs, we think it's just dandy. Frankly, it's nice to see that some folks enjoy taking in commentary from the proverbial other side of the aisle.

I'm glad you are such open minded hatemongers, and I agree with you 100 percent about this. While some people complain about "the state of affairs" here at Wizbang, I think it's a good thing that various sides of the political spectrum comment here.

How can Western liberals generally perceive that Christian fundamentalism is a dire threat to the United States, but fail to believe that extremist Islam is worthy of collective concern?

In my opinion, they are one and the same, and in the hands of certain people, can be very dangerous. Someone who bombs an abortion clinic in the name of Christianity is certainly dangerous, just as a suicide bomber who kills 50 people in a market in the name of Islam is dangerous.

But I don't blame the religion per se, since that doesn't make any sense to me. The problem is what people do with it, how they interpret it, and how they seek to justify certain actions.

So yes, both extremist Islam and extremist Christianity can be dangerous. But then hammers and nailguns can be very dangerous in the hands of certain people. That doesn't mean that hammers and nailguns themselves are inherently evil by any means.

Still, lots of lefties, like ostriches, tend to argue that criticism of Islamism merely amounts to bigotry.

Criticism of Islam does not amount to bigotry by any means. A bigot, of course, is "a person who is intolerant of creeds, opinions, etc. other than his own" (Webster). So a bigoted person, in regards to Islam, would have make no attempt to understand or even consider the ideas of Islam.

But there is no problem with being critical of Islam, just like there isn't (or shouldn't be) a problem with criticizing Christianity, Hunduism, Buddhism, etc.

I know that many people might disagree with me, but I think that a certain amount of critical investigation is healthy and beneficial.

A reasonable person can't possibly characterize the Christian Right as an evil collection of "American fascists" and gainsay the threat from radical Islam.

In my opinion, a reasonable person would not make such a flagrant, generalized, and monolithic characterization of the "Christian Right," which is a vast and varied collection of actual people with multiple agendas.

Anyone who thinks in those terms is prone to drama and fantasy, if you ask me. The same goes for people who think of the Middle East as a barbaric collection of Islamofascists who want to destroy the west.

All Christians are not dangerous fundmentalists by any means. And obviously, all Muslims are not dangerous fundamenalists either.

As usual, people tend to over-generalize and over react on all sides of the political spectrum.

Regards and other salutations,

-R.A.


You people remind me of mus... (Below threshold)
John:

You people remind me of muslims enraged over cartoons.

Lots of sound and fury.

None of the replies thus far attempt to advance your argument that the bible is true. In fact you can't.

Because it isn't.

So, would one of you clever people like to defend your "truth"?

Let's start with the story of Noah... Built a large boat and put all the animals 2 by 2 inside and the entire world flooded.

Never happened.

Don't you think the Chineese for example who had written records at that time would have noticed that they just drowned? Don't you think that a ship the size of a small cruse liner would have been noticed, and talked about? No other mention of a flood, or a big ship anywhere... Anywhere.

2 by 2, and all the animals went into the ark, eh? Good story if you're a village sheep herder and you only know about a few types of sheep and goats, a dozen types of birds, couple of lizzards, etc. We know now that there are millions of types of living things, not just the hundreds that primitive people might have assumed that could fit on an ark. We know today where animals migrated from via DNA patterns. All animals today did not come from a single breeding pair.

No geological record of the great flood exists. Even a bathtub leaves a better record of it's occupant. No high water mark. No dead animal bones. No marks on forests or trees. Just didn't happen.

So, Wiztards... Anybody want to tell me why the story of Noah IS true?

Because the story of Noah is not true... Unless you have a good argument. I'm ready.

We can do Joshua next, or Moses

So this whole thing you believe in, really is just an easter bunny story, isn't it.

Prove me wrong.

Hey "johnie boy" prove it a... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Hey "johnie boy" prove it ain't.

Dear John,The r... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Dear John,

The really sick part of all of this is the religious texts that they would like to base their legal and governmental framework on are nothing but fables, fairy tales, and campfire stories told by a frightned, simple, and superstitious people to explain the natural world.

The texts of the Judeo-Christian Bible were indeed formed from oral histories that were passed down for generations before ever being transcribed into writing. Characterizing them as fables and fairy tales told around the campfire by scared and "simple" people is completely ridiculous, however.

Sitting from your 21st century vantage point it might be easy to think that people who lived thousands of years ago were stupid, simple, and somehow inferior to you, John, but that's not the case.

Especially since the particular people who you are characterizing as simpleton dolts contributed significantly to the core of what is now "western" thought, philosophy, and law.

Your views sound a little too similar to 19th century thinkers who believed in the idea of social evolution, basically that contemporary western people are more highly evolved than people from the past.

Wrong.

You might think that because you can walk into a room, flip on a light switch, and hop onto the internet that you are somehow "smarter" than some person who lived 10,000 years ago and survived as a pastoralist. But you're probably wrong, since intelligence is relative, and is not defined by technological nicknacks, as much as it is the ability to successfully deal with one's environment. Knowing how to navigate Microsoft Windows might be useful to us now, but it wouldn't have amounted to much a couple thousand years ago.

As intelligent as you might be, John, you might want to consider the possibility that people who navigated the deserts, politics, and environments of the Middle East 6,000 years ago weren't exactly stupid.

The present is a convenient perch from which to criticize, of course.

Note: I am not religous, by the way.

John, again:So,... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

John, again:

So, Wiztards... Anybody want to tell me why the story of Noah IS true?

Classy.

Anyone who sits around arguing about whether or not "the flood" was a real historical event is, in my opinion, missing the main point of what the Biblical writings are all about.

Just like anyone who sits around arguing about whether or not Lao-Tzu was actually conceived by a shooting star is missing the entire point of Taoism.

While my main occupation is studying anthropology, which includes evolutionary theory and the study of human evolution, among other things, I find it fairly crass and pompous of you to be on here going after people who subscribe to Christian beliefs. Especially in the way that you're doing it, which is only going to insult people.

But then, maybe that's all you're looking to do.

I got a project for ya J... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

I got a project for ya John. Maybe you can pick apart one of the most contemporary religions to be practiced and followed. The Religion of the Democrat Party , Liberalism. I'll keep it easy for ya , just focus on the fact that 85% of Felons vote for Democrats. Have at it , tear it up.

Hey Rob,How exactl... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Hey Rob,

How exactly do you define "liberalism"? Are you talking specifically about liberal ideology from the Enlightenment, or are you speaking in more contemporary terms?

People throw that word around a lot as well, and I am not always sure what they mean by it. It's a broad term, to say the least.

John, why don't I tackle yo... (Below threshold)

John, why don't I tackle your question about Noah?

First off, most all cultures have a flood story.

Secondly, the whole point of the Flood was that there weren't any survivors outside the Ark to write about it.

Thirdly, I'm an agnostic, so I have nothing invested in the story as true or not.

Fourthly, you're an asshole.

Fifthly, for impugning part of the Christian/Jewish faith, you'd be resented and, possibly, shunned.

Try that on some of the key elements of Islam, and in a huge chunk of the world you'd be looking at jail, execution, or lynching. Remember Theo Van Gogh? The Danish cartoon riots?

Gee, that was easy.

John, note that you've freely insulted two major religions here, and not one person has demanded you be censored, let alone beheaded. If you don't realize just how rare that is in this world, then you're an even bigger asshole than I think you are already.

J.

How can Western liberals... (Below threshold)
tas:

How can Western liberals generally perceive that Christian fundamentalism is a dire threat to the United States, but fail to believe that extremist Islam is worthy of collective concern?

Better question: Are you able to prove that the vast majority of the left believes that "extremist Islam [isn't] worthy of collective concern?" The crux of the matter is whether or not your question is valid. If it is then you may ask it, but your question applies such a large blanket statement to the left in general that you better be able to back up your assertion that the vast majority of us don't care about radical Islam.

This may look like the typical troll response (splitting hairs, etc.), so shorter ma: I don't think your question is proper, therefore my answer is 42.

Looks like I distanced myse... (Below threshold)
epador:

Looks like I distanced myself from John's rants just in time.

PU.

Which of these are Fairy Tales:

George Washington chopped down a cherry tree.

JFK was killed by a lone gunman.

General Anthony McAuliffe sent back the now immortal reply "Nuts!" to the Germans at Bastogne.

The Wright Brothers flew the first powered aircraft.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

Patrick Henry wrote "GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH."

John is a sage or a curmudgeon.

Jay Tea tells us (among oth... (Below threshold)
John:

Jay Tea tells us (among other things) that all cultures have flood stories.

That's a good point. In fact that's why the biblical flood is just a fable. It's because it's the type of story that resonates with humans. The story of Noah just got great embeleshment.

All cultures have creation tales as well. Judeo/Christian creationism is just one of many. Funny how we dismiss all the others as "fables", but OURS is true. Well, the earth isn't carried on the back of a turtle, and gods don't spring out of the cleaved heads of other gods, and nobody said "let their be light".... It's all just an attempt by primitive people to explain nature.

Now most christians think the story of Noah is more than just a parable. Most assume it's true. Some insist that it is literaly true word for word.

But today we can be certain it didn't happen. Ryan a, incorrectly assumes that I consider early people to be "stupid". I do not. The correct word is "ignorant", and I mean that not as an insult, but merley a lack of scientific knowledge.

Here's another brain twister folks...

You'll go eiether to heaven or to hell for all eternity. Matthew 25:31-40 describes the sorting process. Sheep to the right, goats to the left. Heaven and Hell are the destinations, respectivly.

OK, that fine...

So like up the 6 billion people on earth in rank order of "goodness". Whatever your criteria is. Works. Words. Faith. Whatever you assume is important to god.

So Saddam, and Hitler are towards one end of the line. Mother Theresa and Ghandi, perhaps are toward the other end of the line. Jay Tea and I are maybe closer to the middle...

Now Matthew says this line will be divided like "sheep and goats". Binary. There will be an absolute demarcation line dividing two people standing otherwise shoulder to shoulder. The difference in "goodness" between these two people will be one part in 6 billion, the most subtle difference imaginable. Perhaps, the only difference is one gave their little brother a wedge at age 10 and the other didn't. It's 6 billion people, and there is hardly any difference between the two....

So, on this boundry, one goes left and one goes right. One is a sheep. The other a goat. One goes to heaven for all of eternity, and one goes to hell to be tormented for all of eternity. One billion years and more for every second they were alive on earth.

Now, does that make sense? Ask yourself, would God work that way? Is that "fair"? "Just"?

The point is, it doesn't. The universe could not work that way. Your foundation for your religion is not true, therefore the entire construct built on that foundation is suspect.

Now, does anybody have a well reasoned response?

From John earlier in the th... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

From John earlier in the thread ....

As a Christian with a firm understanding of my religion, .....

From John now ...

Your foundation for your religion is not true, therefore the entire construct built on that foundation is suspect.

bold mine

Finally, John speaks the truth about his own beliefs.

John, you have a right to whatever belief you choose - just as I do. You were called out on your hypocrisy in claiming to be part of a group whose beliefs you clearly utterly rejected - not on the fact that you rejected those beliefs.

Now - finally - you are being honest.

Now, does that make sense? Ask yourself, would God work that way? Is that "fair"? "Just"?

The point is, it doesn't. The universe could not work that way.

And, ironically, neither does my Christian faith.

Why? Because it is neither fair or just.

John, you have made a typical mistake of people who are anti-Christian. You took a belief that you may have heard from one person who calls himself a Christian, put your own twist on it, claimed that "all" Christians believe it, and then demand all Christians defend a theory that largely only exists in your own mind.

When you make a well-reasoned argument - based on fact, not "what you heard" - I will be glad to respond.

OhioVoter,Catholic... (Below threshold)
John:

OhioVoter,

Catholic, actualy. Once a Catholic, allways a Catholic. And I'm also an athiest. Life is funny that way. Today I consider myself a Buddhist, which is to say a secular humanist. I'm also an ordained clergy person as a spiritual humanist. I can have pretty livley arguments with myself.

OK, so lets see if you'll be glad to respond....

Tell me what Matthew 25:31-40 means. Simple question. What does it mean?

Now tell me what Matthew 25:46 says. Another simple question. What does it mean?

Do you belong to some feels-good church, or do you actualy read the stuff you believe in?

John,The point ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

John,

The point is, it doesn't. The universe could not work that way. Your foundation for your religion is not true, therefore the entire construct built on that foundation is suspect.

This is your interpretation, which might differ from the person standing next to you. It doesn't work for you, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work or make sense for someone else. Also, it's possible that not everyone is trying to analyze some of these points as literally as you are.

You aren't proving anything; you're just stating your opinions.

Now, does anybody have a well reasoned response?

You are arguing about philosophy, and about interpretations of subjective texts and ideas John. The point is that these things cannot be proven; they are a matter of individual belief, interpretatation, and choice. That's what subjectivity is all about.

Science cannot be used to disprove religion per se, because science can only test things that are observable. Religion, by its very definition, deals with the supernatural, which is COMPLETELY outside of the bounds of science. Apples and oranges.

Ever read any Stephen Jay Gould? I suggest you pick up his book "The Rock of Ages." Also, look up the word "humility" in the dictionary.

That's a good point. In fact that's why the biblical flood is just a fable. It's because it's the type of story that resonates with humans. The story of Noah just got great embeleshment.

The fact that many cultures have flood stories/myths might be due to the fact that many cultures have experienced floods.

So it doesn't mean that they are "just myths." They may or may not have an actual historical connection. You'd have to discuss each one on a case by case basis, and then look into as much of the historical (both written and oral), ethnological, and archaeological records as possible. Sometimes, of course, the information just isn't there...so the real answer is that we actually probably don't know, in many cases, what the impulse for the creation of a particular myth was.

All cultures have creation tales as well. Judeo/Christian creationism is just one of many. Funny how we dismiss all the others as "fables", but OURS is true.

But you're speaking from a certain perspective, pal. Most culture groups tend to be somewhat biased toward "their" particular founding myths and stories, etc. It's not rocket science to go around saying that people tend to favor their own worldviews.

The Judeo-Christian worldview is predominant here in the US for a number of historical and political reasons. But that doesn't mean that everyone here follows that stereotypical worldview; they don't. Some do, some do not.

Well, the earth isn't carried on the back of a turtle, and gods don't spring out of the cleaved heads of other gods, and nobody said "let their be light".... It's all just an attempt by primitive people to explain nature.

That's your perspective; many people might disagree with you. Many might agree. Again, you're just stating your opinion. You really can't prove very much in this department.

Now most christians think the story of Noah is more than just a parable. Most assume it's true. Some insist that it is literaly true word for word.

Please supply the scientic poll that you undertook in order to obtain this data. Or is this just conjecture? How many people did you sample? Since you're such a proponent of science, I'm sure that you wouldn't just make this stuff up.

Ryan a, incorrectly assumes that I consider early people to be "stupid". I do not. The correct word is "ignorant", and I mean that not as an insult, but merley a lack of scientific knowledge.

Ok, so they didn't subscribe to western science as many people do today. And they created explanations which you do not buy into. So what? What are you trying to prove? Should we call Thomas Jefferson ignorant because of his lack of knowledge of the internet? Is Einstein ignorant because he never mapped the human genome? Should we really think of people who lived 10,000 years ago as ignorant because they didn't know what a Ford was? Are WE ignorant if we don't know how to create an obsidian blade and haft it onto an atlatl???

What IS your point?

John said <blockquote... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

John said

OK, so lets see if you'll be glad to respond....

The problem is that you only responded to part of the sentence that I wrote. What I actually said was:

When you make a well-reasoned argument - based on fact, not "what you heard" - I will be glad to respond.

Demanding ...

Tell me what Matthew 25:31-40 means. Simple question. What does it mean?

Now tell me what Matthew 25:46 says. Another simple question. What does it mean?

... doesn't qualify as "an" argument - let alone a "well reasoned one". Read Ryan's post to get a sense of what a "well reasoned" argument actually looks like.

Nor do I plan to respond to your demand.

Yes, I have read Matthew 25:31-46.

Having read it, I know that the criteria is clearly stated - both in the affirmative and in the negative for entrance into heaven and hell.

Nowwhere, as you imply in your previous post, does it say what you claim - that exactly one half of all people will arbitrarily be sent to heaven and half arbitrarily sent to hell.

Ryan A,My point is... (Below threshold)
John:

Ryan A,

My point is that I don't see any great difference between fundamentalist Christians, and fundamentalist Muslims. They both want the same thing... To enforce their morality in order to create and preserve power for them through whatever means are available.

Both want to establish a legal system and a government guided by their religious texts.

The religious texts that they would like to base their legal and governmental framework on are clearly not literaly true.

To INSIST that a religious text contains absolute truth and therefore MUST be used to control all law, governence and personal interaction is inappropriate for a secular society such as ours.

I think we both agree that some of this is subjective, but that's not what the majority of Americans believe. You asked if I had any data on this... Sure.

Newsweek - Seventy-nine percent of Americans believe that, as the Bible says, Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, without a human father, according to a new NEWSWEEK poll on beliefs about Jesus. In general, say 55 percent of those polled, every word of the Bible is literally accurate. (my emphasis)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6650997/site/newsweek/

Rasmussen - April 23, 2005--Sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans believe the Bible is literally true and the Word of God.
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2005/Bible.htm

Washington Times - An ABC News poll released Sunday found that 61 percent of Americans believe the account of creation in the Bible's book of Genesis is "literally true" rather than a story meant as a "lesson." Sixty percent believe in the story of Noah's ark and a global flood, while 64 percent agree that Moses parted the Red Sea to save fleeing Jews from their Egyptian captors.
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040216-113955-2061r.htm

Seriously, I don't delight in making up fake facts, and I have nothing to gain by coming on here and lying. I AM a scientist, and frankly it's better to be correct than victorious in an argument.

Religion and science do have seperate domains, and we don't expect science to be able to prove the existance of god, let alone disprove the existance of god.

There is one thing that science can tell us however. It helps us establish biblical history.

The "Begats" at the beginning of the bible tracking the ancestory from Adam and Eve to Jesus is not supported by the fossel record, mitochondrial DNA, or language migration. In fact, no scientific evidence supports the "young earth" or biblical history.

The world wide flood of Noah is not supported by geological records. The biblical account of all animals alive today coming from the Ark pair is not supported by chromosome patterns. The only mammal that has that interesting of a pattern is the cheetah. They are all nearly geneticaly identical showing that at one point the species must have died out back to just a few breeding pairs. We would expect this same pattern in all mammals. Housecats for example, are geneticaly different as fingerprints.

During Joshua's great battle, god made the "sun stand still in the sky" until the battle was won. The chineese, arabs and south americans were all keen astronomers at this time. Comets, eclipses, all kinds of other events are recorded in detail, but no record of this event. It's only recorded in the bible, but nowhere else.

On a similar note, why did no other cultures record the parting of the red sea and the escape of the Isralites? It's a key biblical story, but it's not found anywhere else, is it?

So does science speak to religion? Well... yes, but specificialy to the history and events claimed by that religion. We can then make some assumptions on the accuracy of the story.

There are no artifacts. The Shroud of Turin for example was determined to be a fake. No evidence at all for biblical history exists. On the otherhand, a huge amount of evidence exists that does not support biblical historical events.

Perhaps there is a more convoluted explanation that no one has presented yet that may seem reasonable. Perhaps god is just testing us by putting dinosaur bones in the ground to test our faith. I don't think God would have given us good minds, then layered on multiple deceptions.

I must conclude therefore that the simpler explanation is true.

Ryan A,My point is... (Below threshold)
John:

Ryan A,

My point is that I don't see any great difference between fundamentalist Christians, and fundamentalist Muslims. They both want the same thing... To enforce their morality in order to create and preserve power for them through whatever means are available.

Both want to establish a legal system and a government guided by their religious texts.

The religious texts that they would like to base their legal and governmental framework on are clearly not literaly true.

To INSIST that a religious text contains absolute truth and therefore MUST be used to control all law, governence and personal interaction is inappropriate for a secular society such as ours.

I think we both agree that some of this is subjective, but that's not what the majority of Americans believe. You asked if I had any data on this... Sure.

Newsweek - Seventy-nine percent of Americans believe that, as the Bible says, Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, without a human father, according to a new NEWSWEEK poll on beliefs about Jesus. In general, say 55 percent of those polled, every word of the Bible is literally accurate. (my emphasis)

Rasmussen - April 23, 2005--Sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans believe the Bible is literally true and the Word of God.

Washington Times - An ABC News poll released Sunday found that 61 percent of Americans believe the account of creation in the Bible's book of Genesis is "literally true" rather than a story meant as a "lesson." Sixty percent believe in the story of Noah's ark and a global flood, while 64 percent agree that Moses parted the Red Sea to save fleeing Jews from their Egyptian captors.

Wizbang does not like my links, but go to ask.com and search on the string "survey is the bible literally true?" You'll get pages of hits, and you'll see these articles and more.

Seriously, I don't delight in making up fake facts, and I have nothing to gain by coming on here and lying. I AM a scientist, and frankly it's better to be correct than victorious in an argument.

Religion and science do have seperate domains, and we don't expect science to be able to prove the existance of god, let alone disprove the existance of god.

There is one thing that science can tell us however. It helps us establish biblical history.

The "Begats" at the beginning of the bible tracking the ancestory from Adam and Eve to Jesus is not supported by the fossel record, mitochondrial DNA, or language migration. In fact, no scientific evidence supports the "young earth" or biblical history.

The world wide flood of Noah is not supported by geological records. The biblical account of all animals alive today coming from the Ark pair is not supported by chromosome patterns. The only mammal that has that interesting of a pattern is the cheetah. They are all nearly geneticaly identical showing that at one point the species must have died out back to just a few breeding pairs. We would expect this same pattern in all mammals. Housecats for example, are geneticaly different as fingerprints.

During Joshua's great battle, god made the "sun stand still in the sky" until the battle was won. The chineese, arabs and south americans were all keen astronomers at this time. Comets, eclipses, all kinds of other events are recorded in detail, but no record of this event. It's only recorded in the bible, but nowhere else.

On a similar note, why did no other cultures record the parting of the red sea and the escape of the Isralites? It's a key biblical story, but it's not found anywhere else, is it?

So does science speak to religion? Well... yes, but specificialy to the history and events claimed by that religion. We can then make some assumptions on the accuracy of the story.

There are no artifacts. The Shroud of Turin for example was determined to be a fake. No evidence at all for biblical history exists. On the otherhand, a huge amount of evidence exists that does not support biblical historical events.

Perhaps there is a more convoluted explanation that no one has presented yet that may seem reasonable. Perhaps god is just testing us by putting dinosaur bones in the ground to test our faith. I don't think God would have given us good minds, then layered on multiple deceptions.

I must conclude therefore that the simpler explanation is true.

OhioVoter,You said... (Below threshold)
John:

OhioVoter,

You said; "When you make a well-reasoned argument - based on fact, not "what you heard" - I will be glad to respond."

I asked you to comment on Matthew 25. This is not just something I "heard", this is as they say "gospel". It's part of the most essential foundation of Christianity.

My argument above explains why Matthew 25 could not be true. If you re-read my message, you'll notice that I never said half the people go to heaven and half go to hell. This is not supported by the bible, and I'm not arguing for it.

What I'm saying is that Matthew provides for two things...

1) There is an absolute demarkation or dividing line that divides a population into two groups.

2) These two groups will be rewarded for Eternity or punished for Eternity.

My logical extension of this is that out of 6 billion people, two people, nearly identical to parts per billion will fall on opposing sides of the line, one punished for eternity, one rewarded for eternity.

How do you read Matthew? What does it mean to you?

Your coy refusal to discuss this until I ask a question you like is not convincing me that I'm not asking a valid question. It is making me think that you don't have an answer to this, however.

That's kind of what I would expect. It's a difficult question to answer honestly. It's one that reveals a gaping hole in religious dogma that most religious people are unwillign to acknowledge.

Seriously, I don't... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
Seriously, I don't delight in making up fake facts, and I have nothing to gain by coming on here and lying. I AM a scientist, and frankly it's better to be correct than victorious in an argument.

Given the number of different things that you have claimed to be in this thread, I seriously doubt that you are a scientist either. In fact, you have a serious credibility problem as a result of you various "claims" about yourself.

Case in point ...

You said:

I asked you to comment on Matthew 25. This is not just something I "heard", this is as they say "gospel". It's part of the most essential foundation of Christianity.

Even the most casual reviewer of my previous comment would see that I was not referring to your question about Matthew as you imply here. In fact, the comment was this one ...

John, you have made a typical mistake of people who are anti-Christian. You took a belief that you may have heard from one person who calls himself a Christian, put your own twist on it, claimed that "all" Christians believe it, and then demand all Christians defend a theory that largely only exists in your own mind.

... and was made well BEFORE you ever made your demand of me concerning Matthew.

Your choice to combine two unrelated issues gives me the impression that your bigotry toward Christians is not based on ignorance of what Christians actually believe - as I assumed earlier - but is deliberate.

My logical extension of this is that out of 6 billion people, two people, nearly identical to parts per billion will fall on opposing sides of the line, one punished for eternity, one rewarded for eternity.

Had YOU read Matthew, you would recognize that this comment contains no discernible logic at all. It clearly states the criteria in Matthew that determines the question. You are simply rewriting it to fit your preconceived notions and passing it off as Christian "doctrine".

Your coy refusal to discuss this until I ask a question you like is not convincing me that I'm not asking a valid question. It is making me think that you don't have an answer to this, however.

You have completely misunderstood my previous statement apparently. I simply refused to accept your attempts to define what and how the discussion would take place.

Yes, I did make an offer to discuss the issue. However, when you failed to accept the offer and made a counteroffer, it cancelled my offer. I then refused your counteroffer.

You should be able to understand that - I'm sure that you will probably claim to be a lawyer as well. :-D

That's kind of what I would expect. It's a difficult question to answer honestly. It's one that reveals a gaping hole in religious dogma that most religious people are unwillign to acknowledge.

I expected your response as well.

You seem to be rather obsessive about controlling how issues are discussed. Hardly a sign of someone who honestly is interested in the "truth".

However, it is something I often encounter among people who claim to support the rights of women - and who then throw a hissy fit when she dares not to share the opinion that they have told her to have.


OK fine. So what's your op... (Below threshold)
John:

OK fine. So what's your opinion then?

Yo John,What I am ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Yo John,

What I am trying to do is figure out what your intentions are in coming onto Wizbang and lambasting people about their religious beliefs. I am not quite sure if that's the most effective way of presenting your arguments.

Note: I am not religious, but I can see why people would be upset with the way that you talk about their religion, worldviews, and beliefs. Your tone is incredibly condescending, and you're wondering why people are reacting as they do?

My point is that I don't see any great difference between fundamentalist Christians, and fundamentalist Muslims. They both want the same thing... To enforce their morality in order to create and preserve power for them through whatever means are available.

Ok...yes, I agree with you that Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims sometimes seem pretty similar.

The religious texts that they would like to base their legal and governmental framework on are clearly not literaly true.

Well, yes and no. Many aspects of those texts are clearly more allegorical and literary, and were probably never meant to be taken as literally as they are in some cases. But even then, that does not necessarily negate the "truths" or ideas that they are talking about.

"The Grapes of Wrath" by Steinbeck is not "true" per se, but I would argue that it still carries very strong truths in it none-the-less.

Additionally, there are certain aspects of those texts that have a certain amount of historical truth, or might have some kind of historical basis. The information is limited, and hard to prove one way or another in many cases. But that doesn't mean that the Bible and the Koran are completely devoid of any historical truths.

So, overall, I would say that those texts are mixed with certain amounts of literal truths and figurative truths. There are also inaccuracies, just like everything else that humans have produced (opinion).

To INSIST that a religious text contains absolute truth and therefore MUST be used to control all law, governence and personal interaction is inappropriate for a secular society such as ours.

Again, that's your opinion. In our society, which is technically a democratic republic, issues like this are subject to negotiation. You think it's inappropriate, and your neighbor doesn't. The only way to establish how things are going to be is through the political process, as fun as that is.

I think we both agree that some of this is subjective, but that's not what the majority of Americans believe. You asked if I had any data on this... Sure.

Ok. Ok. Thanks for the links, but I already know the gist of what they are saying. So if the majority of Americans believe this, and they vote, then why does it surprise you that it influences our politics and policies???

Religion and science do have seperate domains, and we don't expect science to be able to prove the existance of god, let alone disprove the existance of god.

There are plenty of question for which my answer is "How could I know that?" The whole existence of God thing is one of them. I'm ok with leaving certain things unanswered, especially when the subject of God, and what that means to everyone, comes up.

It seems to me that there are thousands of answers to the same question. What then, is the point of trying to find the "right" answer?

The "Begats" at the beginning of the bible tracking the ancestory from Adam and Eve to Jesus is not supported by the fossel record, mitochondrial DNA, or language migration. In fact, no scientific evidence supports the "young earth" or biblical history.

You're preaching to the choir man; all I do is study anthropology. I know plenty about what the fossil record says, what mitochondrial DNA suggests about the earliest human populations and where they originated, and how linguistic studies have been used to interpret human migrations.

And yes, I understand what science has shown about the age of the earth.

Do you really think it's useful or productive to hammer people with this scientific information? What do you think that accomplishes? That's my question to you. I don't think you're going to win any favors by interacting with people the ways that you do.

The world wide flood of Noah is not supported by geological records.

You see, this is where context is key. Here you are being very literal. Define "world" in terms of people who lived in the Middle East 3000 years ago...what do you think that entailed? It more than likely entailed the known world of the people who the creation stories belonged to.

Also, there are millions and millions of creation stories, and seeking to find physical evidence of their occurence, like looking for the shooting star that supposedly created Lao Tsu, is missing the entire point.

Did a flood occur? Maybe. Did it severely affect the known world of these people? Possibly. Does that mean that it correlates to the known world as we understand it today? Not necessarily. Again, apples and oranges.

You're not going to get anywhere with people by trying to disprove creation stories, that's what I'm trying to tell you.

So does science speak to religion? Well... yes, but specificialy to the history and events claimed by that religion. We can then make some assumptions on the accuracy of the story.

Look man, what does it do for you when you go around attempting to discredit the beliefs of others? You're being ultra literal, and you're trying to argue about the historical particularities of religious stories and events. But you're not paying any attention to the importance that these stories, beliefs, and understandings play in the lives of real people. You're not paying attention to WHY they have them, and why they believe them. You're not taking the time to even think about that, consider that, or understand where they are coming from.

And that's why you're pissing people off, offending them, and creating tension.

I'm not a Christian, but that doesn't mean that I feel a need to go around disproving their entire belief system. Who am I to say what is and what is not the ultimate truth??? I have my understandings, but that's all they are. I'm okay with other people having their understandings, even if they contradict my own. Contradictions are everywhere, and I personally think that we have to learn to live with them.

If you're trying to get people to listen to your point of view, I'm suggesting that you change your tactics and think about including a little more respect into your discourse. If you just come on here telling people that their views are horseshit, you're just going to create enemies.

OK fine. So what's... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
OK fine. So what's your opinion then?

John, I realize that your career as power forward for the Boston Celtics doesn't allow you much time, but, if you are going to make claims about what people say, you should at least read what they said have already said first.

You look even more foolish than usual when you ask for information that has already been posted TWICE before in this thread.

By repeating that question, it gives me the impression that your claims that you recieved the Nobel prize in literature - while on President Clinton's personal Secret Service detail - may be not be true. After all, Secret Service men/women are extremely well-educated people.

It does, however, explain why you could make up such a silly explanation for Matthew as the one that you printed earlier. If you can't read/understand what's been printed, then you would have to make up something else or pretend that it was never posted in the first place - as you have done here.


Ryan, Thank you fo... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

Ryan,

Thank you for your comments.

As a Christian, I have seen a number of people like John who believe that - as a Christian - I should be stripped of all political rights because he doesn't like my beliefs.

It's nice to know that when they come for the Christians, there will be people like you to speak up.

No, we don't have to agree. That's how rational people respond to differences in opinion.

OhioVoter,Actualy,... (Below threshold)
John:

OhioVoter,

Actualy, I've asked you for your opinion three times now.

You've done quite a bit of whining, dodging, made sarcastic remarks, false claims, misrepresented my position, etc.

The one thing that you haven't done is advance your own point of view. You tell me my understanding of Matthew is silly, and you tell me all sorts of irrelevant things, except for why my understanding of Matthew is silly. You claim to understand what Matthew 25 means, but you refuse to discuss it. You want to have people respect your opinion, but you don't care to say what it is.

What I get out of this is you don't have much conviction in the strength of your position.

Thanks Ryan A,I th... (Below threshold)
John:

Thanks Ryan A,

I think that's good advice.

I'm not really here to try and convert people to my opinion though. I'm interested in how other people think and defend their belief structure. I've thinking about this for about a year, and have noticed that people's responses fall into a couple different categories. Absolute dogma, e.g. - The bible tells me everything I need to know, nothing else is relevant. Faith over Knowledge, e.g. - If you stop thinking about it, and just feel with your heart you will know truth. Disengagement, Evasion, etc... Ohio falls into the latter category.

I do believe in objective truth however, so as you can imagine when people wave the bible around claiming it's the "Truth", I'd like to know their argument on behalf of their position. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof as they say, and one should not be embarassed to ask for this. People sometimes treat the bible as sacred and unquestionable, and all questions should be off the table, to which I do not agree.

Best regards.

Ohiovoter:Hey, any... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Ohiovoter:

Hey, anytime. One of my best friends of all time is a very devout Christian, and he and I have pretty cool conversations. I tend to find the ideas and stories and philosophies of Christianity pretty fascinating. One of my favorite undergrad classes of all time was World Religions. It was great.

I have witnessed this clash between science and religion first hand, and I think it's going too far. That's why I appreciate moderating opinions of people like Stephen Jay Gould (who passed away a couple years ago), who kept arguing that this whole conflict can be avoided.

In the end, it boils down to respect for the views of others. It's amazing what happens when people just listen to one another.

John;I'm glad you ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

John;

I'm glad you think it's good advice.

I'm interested in how other people think and defend their belief structure.

Well, these are two different questions, if you ask me. And you're certainly not going to getting anywhere near finding out what people really think when you put them on the defensive right off the bat.

A better way to actually find out where they are coming from is to ask, in a respectful way, what they think.

And the question of how people "defend" their belief structure, as you put it, is going to differ depending on the context/situation. Personally, I'm more interested in what they believe, and why, and how those beliefs are important in their lives.

It might take a longer time, but I think you will get more interesting results, and a better understanding of Christian beliefs, if you take the time to find out more about the people who believe them (opinion).

Like with your conversation with Ohiovoter...I think that if you had approached the whole thing differently, you might have been more successful in actually gaining an understanding of where he/she is coming from.

Trust me, I completely understand the questions that you're asking. This is one of my favorite topics, to be honest. And I can tell that you're interested in this subject, and in gaining a better understanding, which is cool. If you can, look for that Gould book. It's ALL ABOUT this very subject.

See you around these digital parts.

Ryan A,I wouldn't ... (Below threshold)
John:

Ryan A,

I wouldn't worry about Ohio much. You'll see her in action when you hang out here long enough. She's not quite all that sweet and innocient. You'll notice who often fires the first salvo of personal snarky comments.

My last Stephen Jay Gould book was Questioning the Millenium. Good book, particulary as someone who was involved in the Y2K compliance effort back then. Sorry to hear he passed away.

I'll look for the book. I'm in between reads right now having finished Jeffersonian scholar Thom Hartmann's latest book "Screwed" and just filling the gap with mindless reading (SciAm - March)

If you haven't guessed already, I'd recommend "The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark" by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan.

I seem to also collect a bit of Timmothy Ferris and James Burke. Had the pleasure of seeing Burke about 10 years ago when he did a "Connections" like speech for our company. I like the way he can spin a long story arc and tie back to the origional, starting concept. It gives me that pleasant, tingly "ah-ha" lightbulb going off feeling...

Nice chatting with you. I'd like to hear more about your work sometime.

See you out there on the net.

RyanWell,... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

Ryan

Well, these are two different questions, if you ask me. And you're certainly not going to getting anywhere near finding out what people really think when you put them on the defensive right off the bat.

A better way to actually find out where they are coming from is to ask, in a respectful way, what they think.

Thank you for your comments.

Of course, someone who honestly is interested in learning more about someone's beliefs would naturally start by asking the second person what their beliefs were.

What was John's first comment?

OK, so lets see if you'll be glad to respond....

Nothing gets a person to open up like veiled threats.

His follow-up demand - for my interpretation of Matthew - made as much sense as my asking you to explain anthropology by demanding you tell me your opinion of the a specific study of snow leopards in Nepal.

While I admit I have had some fun with his over-the-top sense of self-importance, what I found most amusing was his attempts to first, control what scriptures were used in the discussion and, second, to control what responses of mine he deemed "worth" of being considered a "response".

For example, I have twice responded to his question about Matthew - including why his interpretation is "silly", but he arbitrarily declared my comments to be "irrelevant" and "non-responsive".

Why is that so amusing to me? Earlier in this thread, John said:

Both of them view controlling women as their perogative, whether via a burqua or controlling what she can and can't do with her body and sexuality. Both attempt to limit what you can read, both attempt to control thought through gaining control over the education system.

Apparently he was actually speaking about himself in that passage.

On some future date, I would be happy to discuss any number of issues with you. It would be a pleasure to have a rational discussion.




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