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For heaven's sake

As a born-again agnostic, I tend to feel I have a nice, neutral, outsider's perspective on religions in general. And I find myself completely befuddled about the way certain faiths are covered in the media.

For example, currently in Iran those who do not abide by the strictest tenets of Islamist laws are being arrested, beaten, humiliated, and probably killed by agents of the government.

Last week, Muslims around the world held violent protests over the Queen of England's knighting of Salman Rushdie, threatening a wave of terrorism against the United Kingdom for daring to bestow a rather meaningless honor on this most dangerous of people, a writer. (Rushdie now stands among the ranks of the valiant alongside such fierce warriors as Bill Gates, Dame Edna, Elton John and Stephen Hawking.)

This was very reminiscent of the uproar the publication of cartoons of Mohammed in Danish newspapers and riots over Newsweek's utterly bogus report of a Koran being flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo -- except this time, it appears no one was killed.

Sir Salman's dubbing reminds us all that he has been living under a death sentence for almost twenty years for simply writing a book that a lot of people didn't like. (Most of whom didn't even read it -- lord knows I tried once -- and a good chunk of whom couldn't read it if it was put in front of them.) But that is sufficient to merit his killing, sanctioned by numerous Islamic scholars and at least one state.

On the other hand, just how are other religions treated in the news?

Well, hardly a day goes by that we are not reminded that former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon. I'm sorry, that's not correct -- he's a MORMON. And his great-grandfather was a polygamist. Somehow, discussing the actions of one candidate's great-grandfather, who died 43 years before the candidate was born is worth repeated accounts, but to discuss the actions of another candidate's husband (who just happens to be the most recent former president) is considered in bad taste.

Chastity among teens is considered by most people a good thing. (The dissenting opinion is most often held by those teens who feel constrained by the chastity.) A large number of movements have arisen to encourage this sort of thing, many of them faith-based. The effectiveness of these groups is open to debate, but few would quibble with their intent.

Some of those who would quibble, it seems, don't like the idea of faith being used to justify anything, even something as laudable as preventing teen pregnancies. And in that spirit, they're banning the emblems of one of those movements -- a silver ring.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas now reigns. Hamas, the group that won the last round of Palestinian elections. Hamas, the group that has enshrined in its charter its goal of exterminating the state of Israel and replacing it with an Islamist state. Hamas, which in its charter eschews any negotiations, compromise, or any other potential solution short of total military victory.

Well, after helping to make Gaza Judenrein, someone noted that there were some other non-Muslims in the area. A couple thousand Christians call that hellhole home, and they might have thought they would be allowed to live in peace.

Boy, were they wrong. Were they ever wrong.

Closer to home, in Oakland, California, the city has traditionally allowed employees to use their e-mail to organize groups around their interests -- even political ones. Then some foolish Christians (who forgot that in such places, they are third-class citizens at best) tried to get together over matters of their common faith. They got slapped down hard -- even threatened with summary firings -- for daring to state their faith alongside calls for gay rights rallies, pro-choice causes, and other, more acceptable actions.

It occurs to me that Christians are lucky that they constitute a majority in this country. Banning them from wearing religiously-associated jewelry and threatening their jobs for expressing their faith are bold enough attacks -- if they didn't have the numbers on their side, they could end up here much like their brethren in Gaza.

I think I'll stick to my agnosticism for now. My apologies to my dear friend Candy, one of the most devout Christians I've ever met, but I have enough people who don't like me already.

And it's also good for the media that the Christians are, generally, a peaceful sort nowadays. They media has already shown its willingness to be cowed by threats of violence by religious sorts (thank you, Islam); if Christians were still into that sort of thing, I bet we'd be seeing a whole lot of journalists being burned at the stake.


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Comments (108)

Now we just have to get Geo... (Below threshold)
kim:

Now we just have to get George to renounce atheism and accept agnosticism.
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Nice commentary, Jay.... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Nice commentary, Jay.

The way I see it, religion is like atomic power. It's the most powerful force in people's lives, and when it is not used rationally, it can be extremely destructive.

I agree with you that the rebirth of Islamic fundamentalism has become a major problem in the world, but so far at least, the main effect has been infighting between Sunnis and Shia in nations which are already Islamic. Of course that sort of instability can spread if one side or the other takes over a major nation state and then exports it's extremism. Iran would be the best example of that.

But as an agnostic, you should realize that fundamentalist Christianity can be a problem as well. Here in the United States, religious extremists have actively sought to suppress scientific education and knowledge. They use their faith as a bludgeon against the individual rights of others, such as by efforts to ban books and to reduce forms of entertainment to a point that being inoffensive is more important than being artistic or realistic.

The perfect example of that was the Janet Jackson Super Bowl fiasco. For the sake of a fraction of a second's esposure of a breast, the fundamentalist Christian branch of the professionally-offended went completely nuts. My first reaction to Jackson was that it was funny. I was totally amazed that the outrage -- much of which I believe was feigned for political purposes -- gained so much traction. The reaction was so out of proportion to the trigger that I believe it was nearly psychotic. And that's is what I believe is the best way to judge whether or not our beliefs are serving us well.

If our faith gently leads us to become more loving and kind and responsible, then it serves us well, both individually and as a society.

But if our faith leads to violence, as is the case in many Islamic societies and occasionally in the US as with Paul Hill or David Koresh and their ilk, then clearly it's doing us harm.

I'm a born-again Christian who has matured in his faith to become a Catholic. But before that, I was raised in a militantly atheist home, so I've seen all sides of this issue and I hope it lends me some perspective.

I think that everyone could benefit from faith in a higher power of good. Those who have no moral anchor tend to just grab all they can and trample anybody who gets in the way with no guilt at all. But it's equally wrong for people to become so self-assured of their righteousness that they lose all respect for the self-determination of others and seek to either kill them or to deny them the same rights they seek for themselves.

And certainly religion should never be the enemy of science. None of us were around for the creation of the universe and so to get into shouting matches about whether is started with God speaking or a singularity exploding is pointless. We just don't know. Better that we accept that as stewards of this earth, we need to learn all we can so that we can do our jobs as well as possible.

BTW, during yesterday's NAS... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

BTW, during yesterday's NASCAR race, they had a microphone in Kyle Petty's car and when they replayed the contact he had with Matt Kenseth, Ol' Kyle dropped the F-bomb.

If half-a-second of Janet Jackson's breast was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and with all the self-righteous blather about how we -- whoever "we" really is -- need to crack down on vulgar television, what should be the appropriate federal response to this horrible offense?

"None of us were around for... (Below threshold)
TH:

"None of us were around for the creation of the universe and so to get into shouting matches about whether is started with God speaking or a singularity exploding is pointless."

Except the Biblical account says God spoke creation into being so the "shouting match" is not pointless for those who believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God and a true account of the event.

Read Gilbert Keith's 'Everl... (Below threshold)
kim:

Read Gilbert Keith's 'Everlasting Man'.
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Based on historical records... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Based on historical records, I think atheism or secularism holds the worst record in mass murder and its tendency to impose its dictatorial nature when it gains power. Fascism and communism is the visible manifestation of fundamentalist atheism or secularism. These fundamentalist secularists believe that they can build heaven on earth (ie. their progressive or liberal utopia). And they think that they can use gov power to shut down and imprison people who holds different views or faiths. I thinks the SF decision is simply another expression of the dictatorial display of fundamentalist secularism under the name of progressive faith.

Don't you just love the wor... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Don't you just love the word "artistic"? It can be used as a big old umbrella to cover whatever you are trying to cover up for.

TH, the bible can be infall... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

TH, the bible can be infallible without every word being literal. I believe that God is eternal -- he exists outside of time -- and that he was the motive force in the creation of the universe. But I do NOT believe that he literally spoke and things just happened. I think that is a metaphor. For the bible to be both accurate and understandable to all people in all times, there needs to be the use of figurative language in places to explain things which were -- and in many cases still ARE -- beyond our ability to comprehend.

BTW, forget to add the fund... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

BTW, forget to add the fundamentalist secularists/progessives also show that they are willing to impose their faith on other people by force.

jhow, what is the alternati... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

jhow, what is the alternative? Would you rather have some government committee deciding what is or is not appropriate for other people to imagine and bring to fruition on stage or screen?

If there is some entertainment out there which offends you, do not watch it. You can also explain to others why you are offended by it and encourage them to join you in staying away. But this idea that government has to "protect" us from being offended by culture is far more dangerous than any obscenity I can think of.

But if our faith leads to v... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

But if our faith leads to violence, as is the case in many Islamic societies and occasionally in the US as with Paul Hill or David Koresh and their ilk, then clearly it's doing us harm.
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I also to this list the violence of the anti-war fundamentalist progressives/secularists, which is more widespread.

But this idea that governme... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

But this idea that government has to "protect" us from being offended by culture is far more dangerous than any obscenity I can think of.
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Yet the fundamentalist progressives in SF can ban people displaying their opposing views while only allowing the views approved by them.

LAI, if secularists are try... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

LAI, if secularists are trying to ban entertainment based on content that offends them, they are just as wrong as people who use religion for the same reason.

Believe what you choose and live your life according to your beliefs, but don't use your beliefs to dictate to others who may believe differently.

Believe what you choose and... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Believe what you choose and live your life according to your beliefs, but don't use your beliefs to dictate to others who may believe differently.
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I agree with you and that 's why I think the fundamentalist progressives/secularists who want to impose their only approved views is wrong. And recent history shows that these fundamentalist secularists (eg. fascism/communism) have been willing to mass murder to impose their vision. I think the fundamentalist progressive impusle of the dems in Congress right is also a danger. These dems are trying to use the power of gov to shut down talk radio.

"If there is some entertain... (Below threshold)
engineer:

"If there is some entertainment out there which offends you, do not watch it. You can also explain to others why you are offended by it and encourage them to join you in staying away. But this idea that government has to "protect" us from being offended by culture is far more dangerous than any obscenity I can think of."

Along the same line, the government shouldn't sponser 'art' or 'entertainment' either. If it is art worthy of being produced, a private sponser should gladly pay for it.

It is unusual, culturally, ... (Below threshold)
kim:

It is unusual, culturally, for the civil organizing power to bifurcate as it has, recently; one wonders whether a progressive reunification could work sans old school religious principles. And then you note 'Inconvenient Truths'.

It's worrisome.
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LAI, I'm sure it confounds ... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

LAI, I'm sure it confounds you that we are in agreement on this. One group of people should not be able to censor the views of others or impose their own beliefs.

Engineer, I'm primarily in ... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Engineer, I'm primarily in agreement with you. Any publicly-financed art should become the property of the people. An example of that might be a building which would be used for public gatherings or a documentary or entertainment program on a public network which could be shared and used freely by all.

The government should not fund projects which result in individually-owned real or intellectual property.

Paul Hamilton:Wou... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Paul Hamilton:
Would you rather have some government committee deciding what is or is not appropriate for other people to imagine and bring to fruition on stage or screen?

I very much agree. Politicians (i.e. the government) should NOT attempt attempt to coerce (either directly or through innuendo) media in to airing only what they, the politicians deem to be appropriate.

democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=262624

Uh, speaking of Janet Jacks... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Uh, speaking of Janet Jackson's breast expose, if you think only fundamentalists were outraged about that, you are dead wrong. Quit blaming fundamentalists for everything that offends people. Some things are just offensive to many people, period. It's called standards.

Uh, speaking of Ja... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
Uh, speaking of Janet Jackson's breast expose, if you think only fundamentalists were outraged about that, you are dead wrong.

Damn right Jo. I was outraged because I was getting a beer when it happened.

It's a boob, people, not the end of the world. Was it particularly appropriate for the venue? No, but certainly not worthy of such shocked admonishment.

Fair enough Jo. But do you... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Fair enough Jo. But do you believe that the offense properly merited the response it got? As I said in my first note, this whole thing came across to me as religious and political opportunism by another group of the professionally-offended.

It was a stupid thing to do, I fully agree. But CBS was not responsible for it and for the government to fine a party which was really nothing but an OBSERVER of the events is ridiculous.

I'll tell you a show that truly offends me -- Criminal Minds. Their obsession with serial killers and the obscene details of their actions offends me a lot. As a result, I don't watch, and when it's appropriate, I share my thoughts about the show with others on forums such as this one. I do NOT think that what they're doing should be fined or censored by the government.

Jo, I agree with yo... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Jo,
I agree with you about standards. But while JJ's nipple was being flashed, how about the other ads being shown?
I can explain to my 6 year old granddaughter what a nipple is, but how would you explain the 4 hour erection medicine that is being shown also to a 6 year old?
My idea is to ban all ads, and all sex shots on the tv. I know, that would go over like flatulence in church.

LAI, I'm sure it confounds ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

LAI, I'm sure it confounds you that we are in agreement on this. One group of people should not be able to censor the views of others or impose their own beliefs.
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That 's what the fundamentalist progressives in SF are trying to do. They imposed their only approved views on the people who hold opposite view. They are trying to censor the view opposing to their progressive belief.

Paul, Thanks for th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Paul,
Thanks for the agreement. I am just trying to point out that the fundamentalist progressives are the problem in this case.

Maybe we can get God to abo... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Maybe we can get God to abolish religion?

Maybe we can get God to abo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Maybe we can get God to abolish religion?
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The fundamentalist securalists are trying to play God by abolishing all regilions except their religon of atheism.


You should know you're not ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

You should know you're not getting the whole story, or even an accurate half-story, from WND.

Much more about the Oakland case here and here.

But all of this is nonsense. The case had nothing to do with outlawing particular phrases, nor did it have anything to do with "hate speech." In fact, that phrase appears nowhere in the ruling, and for a very good reason: California does not have a law criminalizing hate speech, nor does any other state. The issue in the case was the application of Pickering, which requires judges to apply a balancing test between free speech rights and the administrative needs of the employer. And bear in mind that district and appellate judges are bound to follow precedent, so they had no choice but to apply that test as best they could.

Not that this doesn't mean the 9th's decision was necessarily the correct one, but WND completely distorts the case. You repeat their assertion that they were "threatened with summary firings -- for daring to state their faith", but lets look at the ruling:

In late February 2003, Hicks transmitted a copy of AI 71 to all CEDA employees accompanied by a memorandum that described "recent[] * * * incidents" where "flyers were placed in public view which contained statements of a homophobic nature and were determined to promote sexual orientation based harassment," and noted that violation of AI 71 could result in "discipline up to and including termination." Compl (Doc #1) Ex 1; Melaugh Decl (Doc #43) Ex F (Hicks Depo) at 59-63 (discussing memo).

To the extent that plaintiffs seek to put other scenarios before the court, their challenge is unripe: Plaintiffs offer no details of the flyers they wish to post or other workplace speech they wish to make, and they offer no evidence regarding
the workplace disruption that might (or might not) ensue. At most, plaintiffs point to Hicks' memo of February 20, 2003, as a threat of termination, but a reminder in a widely circulated memo that compliance with policy is a condition of employment can hardly be taken as a concrete and imminent chill on protected expression or an individually directed threat of adverse employment action.

Apparently being reminded of workplace policies = being threatened with summary firings.

Oh, and for Rushdie, try Midnight's Children. It's excellent.

Barney, that sounds like so... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Barney, that sounds like something my wife would say. She's been a Christian her whole life and still has a strong faith in God, but she's been offended so often by religious institutions that she's just down on ALL of them.

And I agree that if we could get back to the ideal described in the book of Acts where believers met in their homes and groups ever got bigger than 12 or so without dividing, and when those groups were led by the holy spirit instead of some charismatic human being, Christianity and the world as a whole would be MUCH better off.

"And it's also good for the... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

"And it's also good for the media that the Christians are, generally, a peaceful sort nowadays. They media has already shown its willingness to be cowed by threats of violence by religious sorts (thank you, Islam); if Christians were still into that sort of thing, I bet we'd be seeing a whole lot of journalists being burned at the stake. "

In fact, Christians are persecuted in many countries, especially where Islam is prevalent or communism rules. More Christians were martyred in the 20th century than all the others before it combined, but where would you hear about that in the MSM. There is much that needs work in those who call themselves Christians (especially me), but remember, verbally opposing that which offends you doesn't equal persecution.

Barney, that sounds like so... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Barney, that sounds like something my wife would say. She's been a Christian her whole life and still has a strong faith in God, but she's been offended so often by religious institutions that she's just down on ALL of them.
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From my personal experience, I am very scared of the fundamentalist securalists imposing their vision on us. That 's why the fundamentalist progressives also scare with the same fundamentalist impulse to impose their view on people holding opposing view (as done in fascist/communist countries in contemporary history). I am also down on the fundamentalist progressive impulse of the dem congress.

"Maybe we can get God to ab... (Below threshold)
Ran:

"Maybe we can get God to abolish religion?"

You believe in God Googie?...LOL

LAI,You are spot o... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

LAI,

You are spot on when it comes to the left. Their religion is government, the environment, or anything else they can use to have power over others. I sent my son to a private school so he wouldn't have to be indoctrinated into that religion.

And that Janet Jackson episode was offensive precisely because it was unexpected by the viewers. If I tune in to a program that is known for its sexual overtones and images, then I have nothing to complain about when I see them. However, nobody was notified of the impending "wardrobe malfunction", nor of the fact that it was even possible. I didn't even find out about it until later that night on the news, because we turned off the TV at halftime due to the performers who were supposed to be doing the entertaining.

Did I think the FCC went a little to far after the fact? Yes, I do. But do I think the outrage itelf was justifiable? Absolutely.

I think there is a big prob... (Below threshold)

I think there is a big problem with saying "religion causes more deaths than Communism" or "Communism causes more deaths than religion". By doing so, one blames an institution or structure rather than a fundamental truth about humanity - left to his own devices, mankind tends to murder, rob, rape, and destroy. You can try to cover that fact up with religion or level the playing field to eliminate the need with Communism, but the fact remains that people are generally evil and desire power over others.

I know that's not a popular belief in today's world, but it would explain a lot of things. Hate is hate, and every human is capable of it. Some use religion, others use politicdal/social/economic movements, but in the end humans are amazingly apt at devouring each other.

Had Rosie O'Donnell had a w... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Had Rosie O'Donnell had a wardrobe malfunction resulting in the possible injury or death of several stage performers and onlookers, I'd be a bit more offended.

Primetime was certainly not the place for this display, but I do believe both the level of outrage and the FCC aftermath was a little much. But then, I'm a little less conservative than many here, so my view is somewhat predictable.

Predictable like a fox<a hr... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Predictable like a fox!

Paul, I agree with you on t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Paul, I agree with you on the Book of Acts. Church buildings are the drain on faith. Because of those buildings, the church leadership has to budget. When you budget, you don't want to offend your congregation so the sermons become bland.

As far as Janet Jackson, CBS could have stopped the feed since there is a 7 second delay. Also, I was at a superbowl party. There were some mothers with their kids. They were offended and I can assure you they are not fundamentalists. Wrong is wrong.

Also, every person has a set of beliefs and they act on them. To say that only Christians cannot act on their beliefs is disingenous. We as Christians have just as much rights as everyone else. Even to protest, make laws, review books, serve on school boards, etc. I do not agree with some Christian leaders, but I certainly recognize their right to follow their belief. We cannot just have the Church of Paul Hamilton.

Please, do not compare fundementalist Christianity with Radical Islamists. It makes you look ignorant. ww

This weekend Obama (perhaps... (Below threshold)
Don Doré:

This weekend Obama (perhaps intentionally) linked Evangelical Christianity with that of Islamic Fundamentalist Radicals by saying that they've "hijacked" their religion.

In the not distant enough past, Rosie stated that Fundamentalist Christians are just as dangerous as Fundamentalist Muslims.

Jay in his post has done a great job showing that the media along with liberals and progressives in our country goes bonkers everytime a Christian speaks up about any issue. So much so that anyone who is going to claim their Evangelical beliefs has to consider the cost they'll pay by identifying themselves as such.

If a Christian says "as a tax payer, I don't want my tax dollars being used to fund embryonic stem cell research" immediately they are labeled "enemies of science", and accused of using "their faith as a bludgeon against the individual rights of others".They aren't saying there must be a ban on such research, just that their hands should be clean from such practices.

If a Christian says "Seeing as how evolution is still only a theory, it should be taught as such (with all of it's facts as well as all of it's shortcomings), and that Intelligent Design should also be presented as a theory." they are labeled "enemies of science" and "book burners" or "banners of scientific knowledge". They aren't seeking evolution to be removed from the curricullum or taken off of the table for discussion, only that the truth be told about it, and that fair coverage of other theories of Earth's development is given.

If a Christian says anything at all about entertainment, whether compairing Ms Jackson's behavior with her "wardrobe malfunction" to a common flasher on a much grander scale, or saying that "perhaps their tax dollars shouldn't be spent friviously on artists who sculpt with excrement", they are quickly labeled "enemies of artistic freedom" or desiring to "reduce forms of entertainment to a point that being inoffensive is more important than being artistic or realistic". They aren't saying "No one can see Janet Jackson's naked breast". They aren't saying "you can't sculpt with excrement". Simply that they shouldn't have to be subjected to it, or have to pay for it so that you can enjoy it. (Heralder - with all of the free publicity that Ms Jackson received, I'm sure you caught her adorned breast in slow motion, so your outrage surely was short-lived)

In short order Evangelical Christianity in America is being mislabeled as a form of Nazism. It is a caricature that is being used frequently to "bludgeon...the individual rights" of Christians who simply want their voice to be heard and considered equally in their government and society.

Abigail, Al Gore as... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Abigail,
Al Gore as a scary example of a fundamentalist progressive who wants to impose his vision on the rest of us. The problem with fundamentalist secularism (or progressivism) is its belief in its ability to build "heaven on earth" (eg. liberal or progressive utopia). So when they have power they used to build their utopia even by mass murder. That 's the rationale for Hitler, Stalin, Mao, PolPot ... in their quest to build a super race/society or utopia. In this regard, fundamentalist secularism is scaringly similar to radical Islamism in the sense both believing in using the power of gov to build their versions of utopia. An honest liberal writer acknowledge this fact in pointing out that the christians believe that heaven is possible only in the next life. Fundamentalist secularits and jihadists believe that utopia is possible in this world. That 's what really scares me about the fundamentalist progressives.

From a personal experience, I haven't been persecuted by buddists, protestants, or Catholics. But I have been persecuted by fundamentalist secularists. Even though I am not a Catholic, I have always admired their work among the poor, the lepers, etc... That 's why I am surprised that Paul was really down on his church.

Oh, and btw, the FCC is <a ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Oh, and btw, the FCC is being forced to look at their haphazard indecency policy implementation. Good thing, considering such guidelines as:

The FCC said the "F-word" in any context "inherently has a sexual connotation" and can trigger enforcement.

Remember, if you smash your thumb in the door and drop an f-bomb, you're really talkin' about a bit of the old in & out.

And I agree that if we c... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

And I agree that if we could get back to the ideal described in the book of Acts where believers met in their homes and groups ever got bigger than 12 or so without dividing....

Paul, with all respect, it was not an "ideal" for the Apostles to meet in such a small group; it's that they had no choice other than to do so as they were being hunted down for their new found belief. It was a matter of life and death. (Think: In a crowd, Peter denies he knows Jesus 3x. Why? If not, he's deader than a doornail. And it only got worse after Jesus' death.) This isn't really a nit because it's paramount in understanding the depth of faith the Apostles had to have once Christ was killed, and to carry out His message.

So, I think your post is saying something I don't think you want it to say.

But I agree that Christianity is MUCH better off ALWAYS when people are moved by the Holy Spirit. I'll go one step further and say that the world is a LOT better place because of Christianity. Countries founded on Christian principles and beliefs are far superior in terms of technology, economic wealth, peace, opportunity, acceptance, tolerance and so on than non-Christan countries--and, yes, that means Muslim countries.

Countries founded on Christ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Countries founded on Christian principles and beliefs are far superior in terms of technology, economic wealth, peace, opportunity, acceptance, tolerance and so on than non-Christan countries--and, yes, that means Muslim countries.
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I agree with this. Given that human beings are imperfect, we can only make relative comparison. Countries that are built on fundamentalist secularist principles (like fascism and communism) have been proven a horror on a huge scale. The state of the Islamic countries speak for itself.

From a personal ex... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
From a personal experience, I haven't been persecuted by buddists,..

DUDE! WHAT?! Those hard-core Buddhist-ists and their dreaded Eightfold Fist of Noon are an extreme threat.

Always making their forboding remarks and holding signs that read "Reincarnate all those who Insult Buddha".

Remember what they did to the Taliban after they blew up all those Buddhas in Afghanistan?

Karmic vengeance will be thiers in at least three or for generations.

Good God, Trigger enforc... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Good God, Trigger enforcement? Did the FCC get outfitted with the U.S. Army's new Landwarrior gear or something?

Better to just leave anything on public access to Disney and put everything else on special packages.

Countries founded on Chr... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Countries founded on Christian principles and beliefs are far superior in terms of technology, economic wealth, peace, opportunity, acceptance, tolerance and so on than non-Christan countries--and, yes, that means Muslim countries.

This was not true until after the Enlightenment & Scientific Revolution. Funny, that. Of course, it's much more complicated than that. Read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel for a very interesting theory of what is behind Eurasian dominance in the modern world. For the sake of expediency I'll steal from the Wikipedia entry (don't have my copy on hand):

* Other advanced cultures developed in areas whose geography was conducive to large, monolithic, isolated empires. In these conditions mistaken policies were not corrected and led to stagnation - until Europeans arrived.
* Europe's geography favoured nation-states which competed with each other and also traded and communicated with each other. As a result, seriously mistaken policies were usually corrected relatively quickly.

In any case the argument that science, reason, and geography are responsible for the success of western civilization is much more convincing than "Christian principles." Especially considering those principles were largely responsible for the preceding centuries, including, you know, the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, anti-semitism, and various other bass-ackward facets of our history.

Not that I really think anything will convince you otherwise, though. Onward, Christian soldier.

In any case the argument th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

In any case the argument that science, reason, and geography are responsible for the success of western civilization is much more convincing than "Christian principles." Especially considering those principles were largely responsible for the preceding centuries, including, you know, the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, anti-semitism, and various other bass-ackward facets of our history.
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I wonder how the Vikings were changed from savages into civilized countries? I thought all early scientists are christians (like Newton, Kepler etc....). Given all these lessons of the past, we have to say that we all should be really scared of atheism or fundamentalist secularism. Their horror is beyond description. The fundamentalist progressives in this country still believe in the power of gov to build their utopia on earth.

Also the left now is the home of modern anti-semitism. That 's another scary aspect of the fundamentalist progressives.


Re: Janet Jackson. It wasn... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Re: Janet Jackson. It wasn't just a boob. It was a rather "violent" act where Justin ripped her top off. Do we really need that at a Superbowl game? What will be next? Simulating sex acts during half time? Where does it stop?

And it's not the same thing as a commercial. Young kids don't know what erectile dysfunction is, but they certainly know what they are seeing when they see a guy rip a girls shirt off and expose herself.

C'mon people. Get some perspective.

Whoever said "fundamentalis... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Whoever said "fundamentalist secularists" is right on. Never thought of it that way, but it's so accurate.

And they're much worse because they are very very politically active and rather violent when they don't get their way.

Again, great description.

he's a MORMON. And... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
he's a MORMON. And his great-grandfather was a polygamist.

Once you accept gay marriage what objection survives against polygamy? Romney's candidacy provides an opportunity to identify those with poligaphobic attitudes and push American culture further down the slippery slope toward the moral gutter. The hope is that once people see the danger in abandoning the traditional marriage they will return to the solid foundation of the family.

...including, you know, ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

...including, you know, the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, anti-semitism, and various other bass-ackward facets of our history.

One of which 1000-1500 years ago; the other 400-500 years ago. Anti-semitism? On going, and mostly by nut jobs like Hitler, Mahmoud Imawhackjob and pretty much every ME despot and zealot you can swing a stick at these days. Moreover, those anti-Semites, particularly in the last 100 years, are combated by--guesses anyone?--that's right, Christians. (Ya know, Christians vs. Hitler, Christians vs. Islamofacists, Christians defending Israel's right to exist, etc, terribly anti-semitic stuff.) Go figure.

Not that I really think anything will convince you otherwise, though. Onward, Christian soldier.

Not that you'd ever give any credit to a right-wing, God-loving nutjob like myself for possibly having an open and inquisitive mind to read a recommended book on history. But that's OK. Onward, Atheist/God-less, Presumptuous and Always Cryptic Soldier.

Off to do something called "work" now. Blah...

I wonder how the Vikings... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I wonder how the Vikings were changed from savages into civilized countries?

The Vikings were changed into countries? Interesting. But seriously, the Viking raids declined due to the development of superior defenses by their targets, which then led to the so-called Baltic or Northern Crusades, in which those dirty pagan lands were invaded and their people subjugated by the Christians (payback!). In any case, what does this have to do with the success of western civilization?

I thought all early scientists are christians (like Newton, Kepler etc....).

To be sure, but then all Europeans were back then, and even those scientists were often persecuted for challenging the orthodoxy (Galileo, anyone?). In any case, it was science and reason that helped those men arrive at their conclusions, not faith (though they often tried to reconcile the two, however unsuccessfully).

I'm assuming you mean European scientists, as many developments in astronomy, mathematics, cartography, and other disciplines that would later fall under the name "science" were made by non-christians (like the number zero, the parachute, gunpowder, the astrolabe, & mechanical clocks, to name but a few). But the formal scientific method as we know it was developed by Europeans (thanks Copernicus!).

Given all these lessons of the past, we have to say that we all should be really scared of atheism or fundamentalist secularism.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Their horror is beyond description.

Oh, absolutely. I'm actually breathing fire and devouring a small child at the moment. Or rather, I'm doing something even more awful that I simply cannot describe.

The fundamentalist progressives in this country still believe in the power of gov to build their utopia on earth.

Yes, I can imagine its disturbing to you that people actually try to improve the world we live in, rather than pining for the magic of the next world.

Also the left now is the home of modern anti-semitism. That 's another scary aspect of the fundamentalist progressives.

It's a wonder why the anti-semitic left doesn't purge all the American Jews from its ranks, considering the majority of them are liberal. There must be some explanation...

As I've seen here, some hav... (Below threshold)

As I've seen here, some have been reasonable in their worries about fundamentalist Christians. Some indeed are whackjobs in my opinion and go too far. However, the more extreme desires, such as outright censorship in word and art, are consistently shot down. They have been unsuccessful in outlawing "Piss Christ", outlawing embryonic stem-cell research, and the like. Yes, some merely don't want their tax dollars to pay for what they find immoral or offensive, but others go too far in their demands. Once again though, they are consistently shot down for their more extreme demands and even some of their most innocuous ones with a simple piece of paper called the Constitution.

This is what makes them a "problem" as Paul Hamiton noted in his first post. Not a "threat" to the degree another religion, most noted in the news for the last six years, has been.

The real issue is that there is a significant number of people who indeed equate these Christians to that far more extreme religious group on a regular basis. That is what I find so absurd. We hear that they're "dangerous". They're a "threat". Their "Nazi-like".

There is a far cry and a couple hollers between the "problem" of one and the "threat" of the other.

The only time that some "Christians" have posed a real "threat" to the health and well being of individuals are those that in the past have bombed abortion clinics. Even then it was never sanctioned or excused by the church or considered a "norm". And when was the last abortion clinic bombing you heard of?

The whole Janet Jackson thing was blown out of proportion. The fines excessive and the rhetoric harsh. I mean afterall, it's just a breast, right? A perfectly natural thing. But so is a penis. Had whatshisface unzipped his pants instead, why THAT would have been different, wouldn't it?

We as a society have to draw lines. The line was drawn a long time ago that body parts generally considered private would not be exposed willy-nilly (like my choice of words?), especially on national TV. Whether the fine was $5 or $5,000,000 the fact still remains that those who found it to be wrong were not prudes or dangerous fundamentalist Christians. They were just people who recognize where the lines are drawn.

One of which 1000-1500 y... (Below threshold)
mantis:

One of which 1000-1500 years ago; the other 400-500 years ago.

Cute, considering you specifically omitted the first part of my sentence, which read, "Especially considering those principles were largely responsible for the preceding centuries." Interesting that you consider "Christian principles" responsible for the success of western civilization after the enlightenment and scientific revolution (dismissing these influences by omission), but you don't consider them responsible for all that happened before that in what were strictly Christian lands (meaning they killed or expelled everyone else, for the most part).

Anti-semitism?

Yes, anti-semitism was invented, and perfected, by Christians. Any attempt to deny this is a blatant whitewashing of history. But once again you deflect, erecting the strawman of 20th century anti-semitism, which I did not mention (you would have been more accurate to say the last 50 years, as anti-semitism was rampant among Christians here and in Europe prior to WWII).

Ya know, Christians vs. Hitler, Christians vs. Islamofacists, Christians defending Israel's right to exist, etc, terribly anti-semitic stuff.

And once again, I was referring to the time before the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, not the latter half of the 20th century. Happily, Christians have (gasp!) evolved quite nicely into a largely peaceful lot. Btw, do you really believe that "Christians" fought the Nazis (who were what, Zoroastrians?) in defense of the Jews?

Not that you'd ever give any credit to a right-wing, God-loving nutjob like myself for possibly having an open and inquisitive mind to read a recommended book on history.

The belief that Christianity is responsible for the "technology, economic wealth, peace, opportunity, acceptance, tolerance," of western civilization does not suggest an open mind. It is possible I've arrived at this assumption incorrectly.

Onward, Atheist/God-less, Presumptuous and Always Cryptic Soldier.

God bless you.

"This was not true until af... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"This was not true until after the Enlightenment & Scientific Revolution. Funny, that_mantis"

The protestant reformation was the father of the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. Lay availability to scripture reading put the lie to papal dogmas such as the earth is flat (Isaiah pronounces it round) or that the earth is the center of the universe (Job describes the earth's course...with bonus dinosaur eyewitness account! see "Behemoth". The Bible's ahead of approved science at that latest, but search out the video on the forbidden parts of Lescaux; cave drawing of mammoth and brontosaurus butting heads. Cool!)

Note also the creatures within creatures (amoebi) which acknowledge the Messiah at his return in Revelation.

And when was the last ab... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And when was the last abortion clinic bombing you heard of?

In April (do attempted bombings count?).

To be sure, but then all Eu... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

To be sure, but then all Europeans were back then, and even those scientists were often persecuted for challenging the orthodoxy (Galileo, anyone?). In any case, it was science and reason that helped those men arrive at their conclusions, not faith (though they often tried to reconcile the two, however unsuccessfully).
-------------------------------------------------
This doesn't change the fact that science fully developed by christian scientists who believed that the world is created by an orderly God that can be studied and reason is the faculty given to them by the creator. For the secularists, what is reason? It is a product of random chemical reactions in your brain. How reliable is that?

Using your same standard, atheism is really immune to reason now. The fact shows that countries with the official religion of atheism as communist countries are hells on earth. This is way after the enlightment. Should be scared of fundamentalist secularists when they get the power

The fundamentalist progressives in this country still believe in the power of gov to build their utopia on earth.

Yes, I can imagine its disturbing to you that people actually try to improve the world we live in, rather than pining for the magic of the next world.
-------------------------------------------------
Just like the communists trying to build their atheistic utopia for the working men. Thanks for that effort. I would rather have people like Mother Teresa to improve our world than the fundamentalist secularists. I see people like her toiling among the poor/rejected to make life better for them on earth.


Also the left now is the home of modern anti-semitism. That 's another scary aspect of the fundamentalist progressives.
It's a wonder why the anti-semitic left doesn't purge all the American Jews from its ranks, considering the majority of them are liberal. There must be some explanation...
-------------------------------------------------
Jews were fleeing from fundamentalist atheiticc countries like Russia and have been prosperous in America which was built on the "christian" principles.

The left is strangely silent when the Jews are persecuted throughout the Arab lands. Adm was here and we didn't see many protests given his call for open destruction of Israel (ie. the 2nd holocaust).

Just for your reading here
http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/printable.asp?id=10529

Wild Willie: That's why I ... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Wild Willie: That's why I said "belief in a higher power of good," rather than any particular religion. Yes, everybody believes in something, but there are problems when all a person really believes in is himself.

And I'll add that if any so-called religion claims that there is an article of faith to go out and harm others who don't believe like them, that is a FALSE religion and certainly not a "higher power of good."

This is the common view amo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

This is the common view among the leftist secularists now, esp on university campuses. Yup the left is now the modern home of anti-semitism. Can the Jews be safe anywhere the the fundamentalist secularist policies dominate (including Western Europe)? Should we look anti-semitic attacks against the Jews in Europe? How about America?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/11/04/wmid04.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/11/04/ixportal.html

Israel is No 1 threat to peace, says EU poll

Peter F: I think there was... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Peter F: I think there was more to it than just a fear of persecution. Jesus always used the example of a family when talking about believers and when you get into megachurches, or any church which is so large that you don't know everyone there, it's almost impossible to form the sort of bond that is the Christian ideal.

And Peter the apostle wasn't the only weak one. Other than John, Mary Magdalene and Mary, his mother, EVERYBODY ran off. Before Christ appeared to them and the holy spirit gave them courage, they were all **hiding** in the upper room, and that had nothing to do with a crowd, but everything to do with the fact they had not internalized the message that their faith transcended death, and that was what gave them the courage to speak their message boldly.

So I still think it would make for stronger faith if people treated services more like a family gathering than a pep rally.

A long time ago...my son..t... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

A long time ago...my son..then ten, came home from school in one of his serious moods. It seems his closest friend told him he was going to hell if he wasn't "saved"...
In one of those real cool kid moments...parents are exposed to...he explained his view on religion..
It was so clear I wrote it down..still have it.

"Dad..it seems like we are all on the same school bus...we just kinda disagree on who is driving"

Nogo, Now you can t... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Nogo,
Now you can tell your son that many kids in fundamentalist secularist countries like NOrth Korea, China, VN couldn't go to school or hold jobs because their parents didn't swear to the official state religion of atheism. Some of them witnessed their parents being persecuted, imprisoned or even killed. This may help him to understand a little more about the terror of fundamentalist atheism.

Yup. You nailed it Jay.... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Yup. You nailed it Jay.

"You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved."

Anti-semitism dates back to... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Anti-semitism dates back to the time when the nation of Israel first came into being back around 1400 BC. They were surrounded by hostile peoples from then on, until 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed the Temple and they were scattered worldwide.

bD, that bronto was Big Bir... (Below threshold)
kim:

bD, that bronto was Big Bird. mantis, how simply you reject any hint that Christianity might have anything to do with the enlightenment.
===========================

LoveAmerica Immigrant,... (Below threshold)

LoveAmerica Immigrant,

I do realize that any sort of super-secular (or, as you put it, fundamentally secularist government) is inherently as or more dangerous than radical religiosity (i.e. fundamental Islam).

Really, the point is that apart from Christ, we are all crazy and evil. That's really all there is to it - so whether you're a total atheist or a "kaboomist Islamist", the results tend to be the same. Probably the only difference is that, for the most part, the atheists have more appeal through redistribution of wealth whereas the Muslims stole some principles from Judaism and Christianity to give them at least some basis (though twisted, to be sure) in morality.

I am in no way, shape, or form a Communist or a Socialist (I find it to be one of the greatest evils this world has ever seen), but I do understand how those movements became so popular. In a way, we (by we I mean Christianity, or what was called Christianity) created it through our own mismanagement. Instead of "love your neighbor as yourself" we turned to "exploit your neighbor for all (s)he has" and "forgiveness for me but not for thee".

That was the problem with "Christianity" during the Middle Ages, too. Christ became this sort of mystical figurehead that had to be interpreted through an elite class (the clergy), with access to the Word of God carefully regulated. What was supposed to be the Light of the World suddenly became a form of control over millions of a starving lower class. Power and greed replaced "Christ crucified", as Paul put it. The very things the church was warned about became their dogma. Funny, huh?

"The protestant reformation... (Below threshold)

"The protestant reformation was the father of the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution [...] Note also the creatures within creatures (amoebi) which acknowledge the Messiah at his return in Revelation.
Posted by: bryanD at June 25, 2007 05:46 PM

bryanD, if you're the same person I'm thinking of from before and you're being sincere, then know that I am surprised to see how much we agree, which is really cool.

I do realize that any sort ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I do realize that any sort of super-secular (or, as you put it, fundamentally secularist government) is inherently as or more dangerous than radical religiosity (i.e. fundamental Islam).
-------------------------------------------------
Abigail,
This is not the point. The point is that fundamentalist secularism is similar to fundamentalist Islam in the sense that both believe that they can build heaven on earth. And both believe that the gov is their means to build their versions of utopia. In christianity, from what I understand, at least there is an inherent doctrine of the fallibility of men and the impossibility of perfection (or utopia) on this earth. That 's why our American constitutional democracy was built on that understanding to limit the evil man can do when they have power. Secularism on the other hand believes that they can perfect mankind to build their utopia on earth. That 's why Hitler worked on his super race. Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot worked on eradicating the old society to build a new communist man for their communist utopia. So in practice, we can see the results for ourselves. The fundamentalist secularism have resulted in unspeakable horror. Fundamentalist Jihadism may surpass that record if they have access to nuclear weapons.


Abigail, Also for a... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Abigail,
Also for all the bashing of the Catholic church, I have seen Catholics running schools, leprosy camps, shelters for the elderly/the poor, orphanages all around the world. I haven't seen the secularists doing similar kind of work on such a scale themselves. That 's the big difference for all of us to see.

Assuming fundamentalist sec... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Assuming fundamentalist secularist is your silly euphemism for athiest...

The point is that fundamentalist secularism is similar to fundamentalist Islam in the sense that both believe that they can build heaven on earth.

Nope, don't believe in heaven anywhere, on Earth or elsewhere. No paradise, doesn't exist.

And both believe that the gov is their means to build their versions of utopia.

Nope, see above.

In christianity, from what I understand, at least there is an inherent doctrine of the fallibility of men and the impossibility of perfection (or utopia) on this earth.

You think atheists don't recognize the fallibility of man? Ok...

That 's why our American constitutional democracy was built on that understanding to limit the evil man can do when they have power.

There were very likely a number of atheists involved in founding this country. We are very aware of the evil power can foment.

Secularism on the other hand believes that they can perfect mankind to build their utopia on earth.

No they don't.

That 's why Hitler worked on his super race.

Hitler wasn't a secularist, or an atheist. Hell, he formed the Protestant Reich Church (it didn't quite catch on).

Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot worked on eradicating the old society to build a new communist man for their communist utopia.

The common worker was sufficient; no new man needed to be built.

So in practice, we can see the results for ourselves.

Well, we can see the results of communism. Conflating that with all atheists or secularists is a desperately illogical assertion.

The fundamentalist secularism have resulted in unspeakable horror.

Communists, yes.

Fundamentalist Jihadism may surpass that record if they have access to nuclear weapons.

Hope not. In any case jihadis are very certainly not secularists.

mantis, how simply you r... (Below threshold)
mantis:

mantis, how simply you reject any hint that Christianity might have anything to do with the enlightenment.

I didn't reject that. It certainly set the stage, with the reformation shaking things up in Europe. But it was not "Christian principles" that guided the technological, economic, and democratic developments of the next few hundred years, it was science and reason. Faith took second fiddle, when it played at all.

Anti-semitism dates back... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Anti-semitism dates back to the time when the nation of Israel first came into being back around 1400 BC. They were surrounded by hostile peoples from then on, until 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed the Temple and they were scattered worldwide.

You're right, excuse me. I'd say that Christians perfected it (Deicide!), but the Muslims are aiming for the top spot.

Should have given them Alaska.

The common worker was insuf... (Below threshold)
kim:

The common worker was insufficient. Had he been sufficient, why all the dead ones?
========================

You know Lord Balfour first... (Below threshold)
kim:

You know Lord Balfour first suggested Kenya?
========================

Harkening back to a passing... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Harkening back to a passing reference to the Vikings, Christianity wasn't responsible to the end of their raiding. They began to settle in England and Ireland permanently. (The Irish red hair doesn't come from Ireland, it comes from Scandanavia)

It was then that they began to "self-convert" to Christianity, something that took hundreds of years.

I recall a particular Scandanavian stone carving that I saw in an art history book, it was a depiction of Jesus Christ eating Thor. A rather narrative version of what was happening, but rather interesting.

Anyway.

Oyster:

We as a society have to draw lines. The line was drawn a long time ago that body parts generally considered private would not be exposed willy-nilly..

I agree with that, and some of my comments concerning this were rather facetious. Essentially I feel the backlash was too much, but still it was a problem that it happened at all.

Mantis: Last bombing in Apr... (Below threshold)

Mantis: Last bombing in April. Thank you. Wasn't aware of it. However, my point still stands, that it's not a norm and is not sanctioned by the church, the government or the people of this country. Such things are overlooked or are met with ridiculously light punishment elsewhere, which denotes a certain level of aproval.

Heralder: Understood. I totally got your facetious-ness there. I wasn't trying to pick on you. I wasn't "offended" at JJ's boob myself. But I agree it was over the line. My point was that the "it was only a breast" argument by those who were dead serious about it don't consider that other body parts would be taboo to them when, essentially, there's no difference. The funny thing is, had it been a boob like some we see in nude protests they wouldn't have been so charitable. :)

The funny thing is... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
The funny thing is, had it been a boob like some we see in nude protests they wouldn't have been so charitable.

Hence my comment about Rosie, I would have been gravely, gravely offended over that. It borders on a human rights abuse. :P

Assuming fundamentalist ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Assuming fundamentalist secularist is your silly euphemism for athiest...
-------------------------------------------------
Just like your silly phrase "fundamentalist christians".

The point is that fundamentalist secularism is similar to fundamentalist Islam in the sense that both believe that they can build heaven on earth.
Nope, don't believe in heaven anywhere, on Earth or elsewhere. No paradise, doesn't exist.

-------------------------------------------------
The facts on the ground shows that fundamentalist securalists want to build utopia on earth even by mass-murder.

And both believe that the gov is their means to build their versions of utopia.
Nope, see above

That 's why our American constitutional democracy was built on that understanding to limit the evil man can do when they have power.
We are very aware of the evil power can foment.

-------------------------------------------------
Fascism and communism still happening in front of your eyes. Fundamentalist progressives in this country (as in SF in this thread) want to shut down people of opposing view. Even Paul want the gov to impose their vision of "clean" election on the country. Thank you so much.


In christianity, from what I understand, at least there is an inherent doctrine of the fallibility of men and the impossibility of perfection (or utopia) on this earth.
You think atheists don't recognize the fallibility of man? Ok...
-------------------------------------------------
You are a product of mindless evolution: survival of the fittest. What is evil about survival of the fittest? Evil is simply a product of random chemical reactions in your mind. Hitler, Pol-Pot, Stalin, Mao all tried social evolution to build their new society. What is evil about it? Man evolves, society evolves, right?

So in practice, we can see the results for ourselves.
Well, we can see the results of communism. Conflating that with all atheists or secularists is a desperately illogical assertion.

-------------------------------------------------
Just like your conflation of religion with church abuses. Unfortunately for you, wheneve atheism rules, misery follows. Communism is just the logical conclusion of atheism, which is the state religion of every communist country.

There were very likely a number of atheists involved in founding this country.
-----------------------------------------------
Like who? may be


In the end,
Blaming the Catholic church for middle ages today is at best a distraction and at worst a spin. The problems today are the fundamentalist secularism and fundamentalist Islam. Just look at the facts on the ground: fund. secularism and fund. Islam are the sources of human misery and most of the problems around the world today. Even in the US and the west, the fundamentalist progressives are the source of intolerance and anti-semitism today. These fund. progessives want to use the power of the gov to shut down opposing view and slander the church, which is not the problem today. If you want to deal with the prob today, you should reform your progressive movement (just as the Muslims should reform their religion). I just look at the facts.

There were very likely a nu... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

There were very likely a number of atheists involved in founding this country.
-----------------------------------------------
Like who? may be


The common worker was in... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The common worker was insufficient. Had he been sufficient, why all the dead ones?

I only meant that Communism was not meant to create some sort of mythical superworker. You see, demagogues like LAI think that Communism, Nazism, Fascism, Secularism, and Atheism are all the same thing. He can't be bothered to understand history, only to lump everything into one category and file it under evil. That's why he tries to fit the square peg of Hitler's "Aryan" distortion of Nietzsche's Übermensch into the round hole of Communist thought. It doesn't work at all, but that doesn't bother him (making him more foolish than demagogic, but I digress).

In any case, to answer your question, because they "resisted" the "revolution." The "intellectuals" never even had a chance (except for the ones presiding over the destruction, of course).

You know Lord Balfour first suggested Kenya?

Yeah, and part of Argentina was also proffered in those early days of modern Zionism. But Alaska was ours, and the idea behind the King-Havenner bill was to get some of them the hell out of Europe once the Kristallnacht showed anti-semitic violence in Europe was exploding. Shame the nativist Alaskans eager for statehood wouldn't have it.

Speaking of which, a turnaround's afoot on our policy concerning a new group of refugees, Iraqis.

There were very likely a nu... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

There were very likely a number of atheists involved in founding this country.
-----------------------------------------------
Like who? May be less than 1%? Do atheists believe in rights endowed by the creator which gov cannot take away?

Mantis: Last bombing in ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mantis: Last bombing in April. Thank you. Wasn't aware of it. However, my point still stands, that it's not a norm and is not sanctioned by the church, the government or the people of this country. Such things are overlooked or are met with ridiculously light punishment elsewhere, which denotes a certain level of aproval.

Agreed. And luckily for us, this brand of domestic terrorist tends to be extremely inept. Still happens though, and it is terrorizing for those who work in clinics (even ones that don't perform abortions).

I only meant that Communism... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I only meant that Communism was not meant to create some sort of mythical superworker. You see, demagogues like LAI think that Communism, Nazism, Fascism, Secularism, and Atheism are all the same thing. He can't be bothered to understand history, only to lump everything into one category and file it under evil. That's why he tries to fit the square peg of Hitler's "Aryan" distortion of Nietzsche's Übermensch into the round hole of Communist thought. It doesn't work at all, but that doesn't bother him (making him more foolish than demagogic, but I digress).
------------------------------------------------
Speak for you own ignorance, Mantis. Fascism and communism are the two sides of the same coin. How about anti-christian progessive bigots? Why don't you deal with the bigotry and intolerance of the fundamentalist progressive instead of bashing the church for probs 500 years ago?

Agreed. And luckily for us,... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Agreed. And luckily for us, this brand of domestic terrorist tends to be extremely inept. Still happens though, and it is terrorizing for those who work in clinics (even ones that don't perform abortions).
---------------------------------------------------
Looks like you don't seem to worry about the bombing by the eco-terrorists on the left.

Just like your silly phr... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Just like your silly phrase "fundamentalist christians".

I never used that phrase, chuckles. Got any other strawmen to pull out when you're on the ropes? Besides, are you saying that "fundamentalist christian" is a euphemism for atheist? Do try to make some sense.

Anyway, the rest is just repetition, as is always the case with your posts. Like playing tennis with a wall; it's got no moves.

Looks like you don... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
Looks like you don't seem to worry about the bombing by the eco-terrorists on the left.

Did I miss something?

never used that phrase, ch... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

never used that phrase, chuckles. Got any other strawmen to pull out when you're on the ropes? Besides, are you saying that "fundamentalist christian" is a euphemism for atheist? Do try to make some sense.

Anyway, the rest is just repetition, as is always the case with your posts. Like playing tennis with a wall; it's got no moves.
------------------------------------------------
Fundamentalist secularism is to describe those who want to impose secularism on other people. If you want I can make is secularism for short.

You don't seem to have the answers to all my questions above? Trying to spin or distract now.

Did I miss something?... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Did I miss something?
---------------------------------------
I just try to point out that Mantis doesn't seem to care about the more widespread bombing by the eco-terrorists on the left. The pro-life people publicly and widely condemn the bombing of the abortion clinics. We don't see that on the left. These progressives always like to bring these up to make the moral equivalency arg. That 's the typical tactic of the anti-christian bigot like Mantis.

The only thing I've seen wi... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

The only thing I've seen with eco-terrorism has not been bombings, but sabotage of property and gear. Unaware of any lives lost as a result, though it's been costly in dollars.

I don't think it's a valid comparison, especially the "wide-spread bombing" part.

Heralder, Even from... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Heralder,
Even from CNN, eco-terrorism is the number 1 on the FBI list. There must be a reason for it.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/08/24/schuster.column/

Domestic terror: Who's most dangerous?
Eco-terrorists are now above ultra-right extremists on the FBI charts

Just one example for you. <... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Just one example for you.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/09/26/bomb26.DTL
Bomb goes off at Shaklee offices in Pleasanton; none hurt

I just try to point out ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I just try to point out that Mantis doesn't seem to care about the more widespread bombing by the eco-terrorists on the left.

More strawmen. When the hell were we talking about eco-terrorism? I condemn all terrorism, whether people use their religion, political disposition, environmentalism, or anything else to justify it. ALF and ELF are despicable.

Running out of straw yet?

More strawmen. When the hel... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

More strawmen. When the hell were we talking about eco-terrorism? I condemn all terrorism, whether people use their religion, political disposition, environmentalism, or anything else to justify it. ALF and ELF are despicable.
-------------------------------------------------
good, then we are in agreement. What else?

Eco-terrorism tops the FBI'... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Eco-terrorism tops the FBI's list because it costs businesses alot of money.

Any check into death tolls will reveal the differences in what you're arguing. However, this isn't an argument about which brand of extremism is more palpable, I just prefer to have comparisons be somewhat valid and for the right reasons. I think we all agree no terrorism is good.

Carry on.

Heralder, Your poin... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Heralder,
Your point is well taken. However, note that FBI is worried about their increasing usage of explosives. Anyway, always enjoy your posts. Definitely, you can write much better than I can.

Just for reference. I would... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Just for reference. I would say the violence committed by the anti-abortion extremist constitutes a very small percentage of it.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/19/domestic.terrorism/index.html

John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, said animal and environmental rights extremists have claimed credit for more than 1,200 criminal incidents since 1990. The FBI has 150 pending investigations associated with animal rights or eco-terrorist activities, and ATF officials say they have opened 58 investigations in the past six years related to violence attributed to the ELF and ALF.

In the same period violence from groups like the Ku Klux Klan and anti-abortion extremists have declined, Lewis said.

The ELF has been linked to fires set at sport utility vehicle dealerships and construction sites in various states, while the ALF has been blamed for arson and bombings against animal research labs and the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry.

No deaths have been blamed on attacks by those groups so far, but the attacks have increased in frequency and size, said Lewis.

"Plainly, I think we're lucky. Once you set one of these fires they can go way out of control," Lewis said.

ATF Deputy Assistant Director Carson Carroll agreed with Lewis' assessment.

"The most worrisome trend to law enforcement and private industry alike has been the increase in willingness by these movements to resort to the use of incendiary and explosive devices," he said.

Thanks LAI. ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Thanks LAI.

LoveAmerica Immigrant,... (Below threshold)

LoveAmerica Immigrant,

That was, in a roundabout way, part of my original point. Secularists at least don't acknowledge the inherent evil of man; therefore, they think that man can create a utopia now. Utter crock, as has been shown time and time again, but they never give up.

If you think that man is basically good, you'll also believe that he can, through hard work, build a perfect world. That explains Communism, really. You start out from the wrong vantage point and get crazier as you go.

I don't know how Muslims view the state of man (inherently good or evil?), but there does seem to be the sense that they can, through their own hard work and Allah's blessing, build a sort of super-Islamic paradise on earth instead of waiting for heaven or the return of whoever is supposed to be coming in Islamic eschatology (the 12th Imam or whatever, I can't remember).

At least (some) Christians are honest enough to recognize that we'll never get it right and our only hope is the love, grace, and mercy of God Almighty. It's the reason I now oppose the idea of a Christian theocracy - we'd only mess it up and dishonor God's name in the process. Only Christ could pull that off, being perfect and all - which He will do in the end.

Abigail, It is a gr... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Abigail,
It is a great post. Thanks. I may not be the best person for a theological discussion, but I think you nailed it. I have simply looked at the social and philosophical aspect of the issue. The American constitutional system recognized the fallibility of man. That 's why the founders try to limit the power of the gov for that very reason. The principle is that when you increase the power of the gov, you increase the chance for evil when man gets that power.


Abigail:I... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Abigail:

I don't know how Muslims view the state of man (inherently good or evil?)

I don't know for sure, but the limitations they impose upon themselves seem to suggest the latter.

Secularists at least don... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Secularists at least don't acknowledge the inherent evil of man;

A fallacy repeated yet again. Have you heard of humanists? Do you think they have a rosy-eyed view of human nature? I will defer here, as I don't have time to get deeply into it at the moment, to a favorite humanist of mine, the late (so it goes) Kurt Vonnegut, from his speech Why My Dog Is Not a Humanist:

My only surviving sibling, Dr. Bernard Vonnegut, eight years my senior, is a physical chemist who thinks and thinks about the distribution of electrical charges in thunderstorms.

But now my big brother, like Isaac Asimov near the end of his life, surely, and like most of us here, has to admit that the fruits of science so far, put into the hands of governments, have turned out to be cruelties and stupidities exceeding by far those of the Spanish Inquisition and Genghis Khan and Ivan the Terrible and most of the demented Roman emperors, not excepting Heliogabalus.

Heliogabalus had a hollow iron bull in his banquet hall that had a door in its side. Its mouth was a hole, so sound could get out. He would have a human being put inside the bull and then a fire built on a hearth under its belly, so that the guests at his banquets would be entertained by the noises the bull made.

We modern humans roast people alive, tear their arms and legs off, or whatever, using airplanes or missile launchers or ships or artillery batteries--and do not hear their screams.

When I was a little boy in Indianapolis, I used to be thankful that there were no longer torture chambers with iron maidens and racks and thumbscrews and Spanish boots and so on. But there may be more of them now than ever--not in this country but elsewhere, often in countries we call our friends. Ask the Human Rights Watch. Ask Amnesty International if this isn't so. Don't ask the U.S. State Department.

And the horrors of those torture chambers--their powers of persuasion--have been upgraded, like those of warfare, by applied science, by the domestication of electricity and the de tailed understanding of the human nervous system, and so on.

Napalm, incidentally, is a gift to civilization from the chemistry department of Harvard University.

So science is yet another human made God to which I, unless in a satirical mood, an ironical mood, a lampooning mood, need not genuflect.

We acknowledge the inherent evil of man. In fact, for many atheists, humanists, and/or secularists, it is evidence for a lack of existence of a God, not the opposite. We don't believe in utopia either, we just believe things can be improved, not because of the promise of reward or threat of punishment in the afterlife, but just for the sake of each other.

I like that; they're dead b... (Below threshold)
kim:

I like that; they're dead because they resisted. What an uncommon reaction.
================

I like that; they're dea... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I like that; they're dead because they resisted. What an uncommon reaction.

It's more complicated than that, for sure, but I was just distinguishing from the absurdity introduced by LAI that communists killed people "to build a new communist man" the same way Hitler tried to create a master race. Communists, in theory, value the common worker. In practice, not so much, but a master race was not the goal.

Communism: Good theory, poo... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Communism: Good theory, poor execution.


Uh, pun not intended.... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Uh, pun not intended.

In either case, mantis, a d... (Below threshold)
kim:

In either case, mantis, a different race was the goal. A procrustean one.
=========================

We acknowledge the inherent... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

We acknowledge the inherent evil of man.
------------------------------------------
Why do you believe in such a non-sense if you are a product of mindless evolution. What is evil about survival of the fittest? Evil is simply a product of random chemical reactions in your mind. Hitler, Pol-Pot, Stalin, Mao all tried social evolution to build their new society. What is evil about it? Man evolves, society evolves, right?

Heralders said:>>Com... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

Heralders said:
>>Communism: Good theory, poor execution.

The only way communism works is on a small scale and with people who are completely dedicated to the idea.

Any time you add people who don't carry their weight, they drag the whole collective down and that's why communism on a large scale is doomed to failure. It also discounts ordinary human nature that people expect to be rewarded for their efforts.

I spent a few weeks at a commune in southern Indiana when I was in my early 20s. It was probably the hippie utopia, but I don't have the mindset to spend all day farming by hand and then all evening singing folk songs. I went into it with the highest ideals but got smacked upside the head by reality real quick.

Obviously, you're a little ... (Below threshold)
Gator:

Obviously, you're a little younger then I. I was born in 1955 and have watched the Lord do is work marvelously, at first I didn't think the Lord could change anything, but now, I see him doing it everyday. Don't worry, the revelations will not stop, you'll see. What's covered becomes uncovered and surely you'll see how it gets swept under a carpet, only to be exposed again at a later date. I promise.




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