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[P]
Turn The Other Cheek, George

By Persistence of Penguins in Op-Ed
Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:40:10 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Since the World Trade Centre was attacked in September 2001, a series of events has unfolded which have distorted the world's view of Christianity. President Bush's claim to be a born-again Christian is contentious in the worldwide community of believers, especially in the light of his actions as President since the attack. As a lifelong Christian and theologian-in-training, I present here my reflections on this course of action, led by a man who confidently claims to be a Christian.


In recent years I have watched world events with increasing interest and have noticed a change; not so much in the world as I have noticed it in me. From many pulpits I have heard again and again, "The world is a different place now." Few have said, "My soul is different now."

Previously, I may have included myself in the crowd of middle-Australian supporters who would have rallied behind the call to arms in order to destroy the evildoers who wrought such destruction against New York and related targets. I come from a long heritage of military service, stretching back beyond living memory, within several conflicts and across several continents. My ancestors fought for some noble causes, including the removal of Nazism from Europe and Japanese Imperialism from the Asia-Pacific region. I admire them immensely for taking up the challenge to liberate the oppressed by the only methods left open to them. I hope they would admire me in return for seeking justice before violence.

When I saw the footage of those two aircraft colliding with the World Trade Centre, I became dimly aware of a significant change in me. Clearly, such attacks on civilian targets had been the staple of warfare for millennia. Today, in the Republic of Congo, fighting takes place between groups of civilians, not between their standing armies. In Israel and the occupied territories, targets are not restricted to soldiers or criminals but both Jewish and Palestinians civilians are killed. This was not a new thing under the sun. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes, I knew that.

Deep within me, I began to feel the grief which must have also been felt by my God. Again, thousands of lives were lost through ignorance and fear. Again, violence was perpetrated by those claiming to be his followers. Again, human life was arbitrarily destroyed, not because of how they lived but where they happened to be at that moment. So it was that I felt the change. So it is that I understood the some of the most difficult teachings of Jesus.

"Turn the other cheek," he says in perhaps his most famous monologue. It is here that he challenges his listeners to pursue justice rather than take vengeance. To quote the larger passage (Matt 5:38-46)

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, Do not resist evil. But whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. And to him desiring to sue you, and to take away your tunic, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and you shall not turn away from him who would borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy." But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?"

Twice, Jesus implores his listeners to return to the original principles of God. "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" comes from the legal code of Israel, established in Deuteronomy. Perhaps the most distinguishing part of the original instruction was that it could only be executed as part of due legal process. Witnesses were required. A council of elders and magistrates were to hear the case in the full light of day. In the intervening years (about 1300) between the original law and Jesus' monologue, it had been perverted to justify personal retribution. It is here that Jesus tells us not to take vengeance. Instead he instructs us to first seek reconciliation and justice.

This is a scalable principle. Inasmuch as it applied to individuals, it also can be applied to larger groups such as families and churches. Surely it can be applied between nations. Surely a country with a self-confessed Christian as its leader can set an example to his nation and the world by demonstrating this principle in his governance.

Instead of hunting down the terrorists - who are undeniably criminals - the message should have been one of reconciliation between the U.S.A. and the communities which birthed such evil. After mourning the loss of life and the destruction of property, Bush should have taken the time to evaluate his and his country's actions in antagonising the terrorists and begun the work of reconciliation through international mediation. Greater efforts could have been made at that moment to reconcile differences.

Should that have failed, and my cynical mind tells me that it probably would, the only action which should have been taken was judicial. Is there not an International Criminal Court? Do we not have Interpol? Today, nine years after his most famous alleged crime, Eric Rudolph has been caught. There was no need to invade his home state or to bomb his families' houses. Instead, a methodical and diligent pursuit has brought a criminal to face justice. Had the resources used to invade Afghanistan been diverted to such a search for the terrorists, would so many bystanders have died? No. Neither would other Arab nations have begun to fear the impending drums of war.

Furthermore, if some of those resources had been used to build Afghanistan and bring food to hungry Afghans, would such hatred of America have continued? The better response to the WTC attacks should have included extending the hand of friendship to those nations who harboured the criminals. Not only would the terrorists begin to lose their havens but further generations of terrorists would have less reason to hate. The cycle of violence would begin to stop.

The same is true of the war against Iraq. Amassing a quarter of a million troops outside the border of Iraq does not suggest intentions of creating a world without WMD. Instead it provokes fear and violence. It is little wonder that the previous rulers of Iraq wanted such weapons. Consider French nuclear testing of several years ago. France has been invaded three times in the previous 150 years by the same country. Military analysts are not surprised that they would like the means to defend themselves. If such fears were removed, would they have still pursued such an arsenal?

"Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you," Jesus said. So it is that I say love, through economic partnership and political negotiations, would have achieved far more to create a peaceful Iraq than an invasion ever could. In the first few days of missile strikes against Iraq, approximately 500 missiles were launched. At up to one million dollars (US) each, this single half-billion dollar "shock and awe" tactic could have built hundreds of homes and employed thousands of people for decades. I think of the number of people my local church has sent around the world (including Afghanistan and neighbouring countries) as aid workers and missionaries. For only a few thousand dollars each year they bring education and hope to people who would otherwise have nothing. The thought of half a billion USD being wasted in less than a week brought me to tears.

I'm saddened to learn that President Bush claims to be a born-again Christian. Perhaps he honestly believes in Jesus and tries to follow him. If so, then it is my ardent hope that in his searching, his eyes will soon be opened to the message and life of compassion taught by Jesus. If Bush's faith is a fraud, a necessary claim to win public popularity, then he has succeeded only in making Jesus infamous. The path which was set for us by Jesus is not easy and calls for us to be free of pride. We all fall short of perfection somewhere so I don't demand perfection of him any more than I demand it of myself. Nonetheless, I cannot agree with him on his current course of action. It does not reflect the Christian ethic of loving one's enemies rather than pursuing vengeance. His rampant imperialism diverts attention and funds away from caring for the poor and oppressed amongst his own people who cry out for health, education and jobs.

It's true that the U.S.A. is in an unrivalled position of power and responsibility in the world. Bush, as leader of the country, controls the world's largest political superpower and has the opportunity to influence the world in so many ways. However, he has repeatedly abused that power. His actions show that he does not want to redeem fellow humans from poverty and oppression. It seems that he is only interested in the selfish goals of American imperialism.

In the light of such actions I can honestly say that the world has not changed. Expansionist and imperialist leaders have often held power since civilisation began and today seem only to be distinguished by the size of the weapons and budgets they have at their disposal. No, the world has not changed, but I have. I see more clearly now the need to work for peace by using peace. I see that the use of force must not be the first strategy in the creation of a peaceful world. I see that there are those who betray the very essence of the Christian faith through actions such as those taken by Bush and that this prevents people from seeing its true value. The destruction and violence perpetrated in the name of Jesus has strengthened my resolve to promote his cause, to promote his peace and to create here, in my world, a realisation of the ideal to which he calls every one of us.

Turn the other cheek, George.

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Turn The Other Cheek, George | 821 comments (665 topical, 156 editorial, 1 hidden)
For what it's worth, (4.28 / 25) (#2)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 11:08:32 PM EST

I agree with your sentiment and I believe that we should have done what you recommend - helping these wretched underdeveloped nations that birth terrorists, so as to prevent the generation now being born from becoming terrorists. We keep the rest of the world living on our dregs and then we act so shocked when they hate us for it. "It's a different world"? Of course it isn't. It's just that America woke up from a dream called "Everyone Loves Us" that day, and found the reality to not be so rosy.

I'm not a religious person, but I believe that seeking justice before vengeance is the proper and humane thing to do. Sadly, while Americans seem happy to wrap themselves in the flag and claim to be patriots, and scream the words "gawd" and "jeezis" and claim to be Christians, precious few of them actually behave like the founding fathers of our nation would have, or like Christ would have.

Thank you for your interesting, well-reasoned, and well-written article. +1FP from me.


-Kasreyn

P.S. AFAIK the "eye for an eye" originally derived from the Code of Hammurabi, and is often misunderstood to mean that Hammurabi was a vengeful sort. Not at all - previous to his code, most disputes and punishments led to the use of murder/execution. Hammurabi was saying, "let the punishment fit the crime - when a man puts out another man's eye, let him merely lose his own eye, not his life". Not that this excuses this kind of thinking *today*, but Hammurabi's code *was* a step in the direction of civilization IMO.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Founding Fathers over-rated (4.11 / 9) (#7)
by Urthpaw on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 11:38:20 PM EST

Those that wrote the United States Constitution weren't especially great people. Sure, they wrote a pretty decent document. This doesn't make them saints. Patriotic Heroism gets on my nerves.

[ Parent ]
One small step... (4.25 / 4) (#96)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:34:03 AM EST

Not that this excuses this kind of thinking *today*, but Hammurabi's code *was* a step in the direction of civilization IMO.

Agreed, but he certainly left quite a few death penalties in place.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Eye for an eye (4.00 / 4) (#106)
by Armaphine on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:04:51 AM EST

It also shows up in the Bible, but there it refers to the discrepancies between punishments for slaves and free men. What might warrant a fine for a free man or a noble would mean death for a slave. Hence the "eye for an eye" was a call to even out the punishments regardless of societal class.

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.
[ Parent ]

whoops... (4.33 / 3) (#148)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:24:23 PM EST

That argument has been tried before.

See here for details.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

One question (4.25 / 4) (#121)
by Grognard on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:48:00 PM EST

helping these wretched underdeveloped nations that birth terrorists

Since when did Saudi Arabia qualify as a "wretched underdeveloped" nation?


[ Parent ]

When one steps out of the palaces. [nt] (4.66 / 3) (#142)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:47:14 PM EST


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Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Like the hovel (4.00 / 2) (#194)
by Grognard on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:05:02 PM EST

that Osama was born in?

[ Parent ]
Sorry (5.00 / 3) (#221)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:05:36 PM EST

I was using palace in a more figurative sense than I should have. Rather than the dwelling of royalty, I was using it to mean the dwelling of the fabulously wealthy privileged class. Saudi Arabia has a pretty severe social stratification problem.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Maybe that's why George blocked an investigation (4.00 / 2) (#201)
by simul on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:23:25 PM EST

I mean... *rich people* aren't at foult here... it's the large masses of poor people that caue all the worlds problems.. Which is why cluster bombs and scare tactics are so effective.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Actually (3.66 / 3) (#205)
by Grognard on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:37:16 PM EST

it's a millionaire Saudi expatriate who is the root of the problem - but that merely amplifies my point that inequity and injustice are less the source of the problem than bin Laden's Saladin complex (something he shares/shared with Saddam).

[ Parent ]
Actually (5.00 / 2) (#335)
by Wah on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:59:36 PM EST

he is the bush that grows out of the root of the problem.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
well said! (5.00 / 1) (#819)
by simul on Thu Jun 19, 2003 at 12:21:35 PM EST



Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Interestingly... (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:47:26 PM EST

I believe that we should have done what you recommend - helping these wretched underdeveloped nations that birth terrorists, so as to prevent the generation now being born from becoming terrorists.

The infamous Neo-Cons agree with both of you. They differ only in regard to the means of achieving the goal.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
You have bought into the Left's rhetoric (2.96 / 32) (#4)
by jjayson on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 11:22:01 PM EST

Turn the other cheek to who? We are not targeting civilains with bombs. We don't aim to kill people. However, sometimes that is a necessary collateral problem. Take Iraq for example. Nobody wanted a war. Saddam was given multiple opportunities to leave Iraq, however the troops on their way to Baghdad ran into resistence intent on killing them. This may have been the first war in history where the opposing forces tried harder to prevent the loss of both military and civilian life than that of the supposed "friendly" side.

There should be a critical test looked at when viewing pacifistic concerns: "Can this argument be successfully applied to promote inaction or appeasement agaist Hitler?" We, and the Jews, could have kept turning the other cheek every time a new load of Jews was brought from the ovens. You fail to look at both sides of the issue. When you only paint the destruction of war it's a slam dunk argument, but it is also flawed. For every picture of somebody that had a limb amputated by the Iraq war, there is another 100 people that were tortured under the regime that you do not see. Do these people that we do not get a close up of worth any less? Out of sight out of mind rules the day with the far left.

Also, your argument only shifts the burder of the dirty work. How are interpol or other forces supposed to go after Al Queda? Surely, you don't expect them to go knocking on doors, "Excuse me, have you seen this terrorist?" At some level, Interpol or whoever would have had to attack at the supporters of these terroristic organizations (places that included Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and others).

It is one thing to say, "Turn the other cheek," but it is entirely different to have a real concept of what to do. This op-ed is nothing more than one-sided, overly optimistic rhetoric.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

Please consider running for politics... (2.77 / 9) (#6)
by Keeteel on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 11:31:49 PM EST

Jayson, every post I've seen from you astounds me, you are absolutely brilliant (especially considering you seem to have come from the bastion of liberalism at Berkley.) You are a proud supporter of this country with intelligence, and I wish there were more people with your analytical abilities on both Kuro5hin and in modern America. When I see someone like you who has been through the liberal world, and has come out on top with strong views, powerful notions of intelligence, and duty to one's country, I see someone I would proudly vote for and support in office. Please, do this country a favor and get involved in politics! You are probably one of the most intelligent and perceptive people on this site.

[ Parent ]
public office? You'll like hearing this, then. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by jjayson on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 11:38:29 PM EST

When I was a student in Berkeley, I was very involved in both school wide politics and city wide. While I was a student and after losing the Berkeley mayoral election, I was given an appointment to the Peace and Justice Commission. That was my introduction to non-UCB politics.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Wait (3.66 / 3) (#12)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:03:15 AM EST

You were allowed to have public office in Berkeley and you aren't rabidly anti-war? What is this world coming to?

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

My guess? (5.00 / 1) (#460)
by /dev/trash on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:09:49 PM EST

LSD.

---
Summer Tour!
[ Parent ]
Ever hear of gandhi? (4.60 / 10) (#14)
by desiderandus on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:17:51 AM EST

True pacifism can accomplish things. Like liberating countries for example, and ending of religious and communal violence. True, gandhi was murdered by a religious fanatic, but his actions during life did far more a divided country than protracted war against the British colonialists ever did, which would only continue the cycle of mistrust and violence. India still exists as a country primarily due to Gandhi's influence.

And to apply it to your argument is rather easy too. Do you honestly think stamping out these terrorist cells is going to do anything? There are more than a billion (at least) muslims. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have already convinced a lot of them that you're against all of them, and their religion, as you can see here. These terrorist attacks are going to continue until you can convince the muslim world that you don't hate them or discriminate against them. Trying to stamp them out is only going to give Al-Quaeda more recruits. Guerrilla movements die out when the people involved become enfranchised again. America hasn't done much beyond protecting its self-interests in a long time (in fact, since WWII).

And to preempt the flames, I'll point out that America has a miniscule foreign aid budget as a percentage of its GDP, it has sabotaged the U.N. financially (refusing to pay U.N. dues) and militarily (refusing to acknowledge rwandan genocides as legally acts of genocide, ignoring congo crisis), and so on. And even for those of you who think the examples in this last example are taken out of context, a large portion of the world still sees things this way. Convince me not to think this way - I'd honestly like to see America involved on the world stage on a level that involves more than bombs and veiled threats. There is a small, but uncertain sign that this may happen, in the current Israeli-Palestinian negotations being brokered by the U.S.
_________
Our sins catch up to us in the worst possible way; they become part of our essential identities.
[ Parent ]

yeah, well ghandi was wrong. [nt] (2.33 / 3) (#16)
by tang gnat on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:37:24 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Nope (3.40 / 5) (#20)
by ph317 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:22:44 AM EST

These terrorist attacks are going to continue until you can convince the muslim world that you don't hate them or discriminate against them

Nope, wrong.  They will continue regardless.  The militant sects of the muslim faith attack non-believers as part of a religious war against all infidels.  You could genuinely tell them you don't hate them and leave them the hell alone, and they'll still come after you for not believing, get it?  Their behavior is much like that of the Christians during the crusades.

[ Parent ]

Middle Class Militants (5.00 / 1) (#397)
by cam on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:14:59 PM EST

The militant sects of the muslim faith attack non-believers as part of a religious war against all infidels.

Until they become middle class, own a house and become more concerned about the mortgage, holding down their job and getting their kids through university.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

non-violence, etc (4.66 / 9) (#41)
by TearsInTheRain on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:17:28 AM EST

first, non-violence movements will work only when your "opressor" is a moralistic democracy - India vs. England, blacks vs. America in the US, etc.  However, when your opponent is not a cohesive group (terrorists) or not a democracy, it doesn't work very well - for example, Tibet has been mostly non-violent for 40 years, hasn't been working too well for them against China, eh?  There are many examples in Africa where one group was unarmed and basically was slaughtered by the other.

Secondly, it seems to be Bush is pursuing a dual strategy - wipe out any terrorist supporting states, and simultaneously advance poor, islamic countries to higher economic/democratic levels.  The second is much harder and slower than the first, but he is trying in Palestine, giving more aid in Africa, etc.

Lastly, there will ALWAYS be terrorists against the current power (maybe in 100 years China will be the worlds superpower and Americans will be terrorists).  The issue is marginalizing the terrorists so they are always on the run and do not have the infrastructure of a government to plan and deploy a large-scale attack.

[ Parent ]

Ghandiism (4.62 / 8) (#58)
by jjayson on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:58:29 AM EST

Nonviolence movements, such as Ghandi's, seem to require a few things that are not applicable to the Iraqi or Al Queda situation. I fully support nonviolence movements, when they are applicable, however not every problem has that as a potential solution.

First, Ghandi was fighting against an invading force that broke the nationalistic spirits of the people. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, there was a native ruler in place. In Iraq the ruler was at one time popular, but has since turned into a despot. Second, Ghandi was fighting against a large central agency, the British government. This certainly isn't true against terrorism. Third, Ghandi's nonviolence only works when the other side isn't prefectly willing to slaughter and imprison the entire movement. Ask Tibet how well nonviolence has worked, or ask the thousands that were sitting at their desk doing nothing in New York on the morning of September 11, 2001. Charles Krauthhammer wrote that inaction was a green light to these terrorist forces. They speak a language of violence and no matter how much we would like to ask them nicely, they just don't understand. The assistant to Iranian President Khatami tacitly admitted this after the Iraqi war. He said now that the use of force is credible, Iran needs to democratize to remove any reason for America to invade them. Certainly our hands off policy in Iran hasn't helped them at all. Forth, and most importantly, you need time. How long would a nonviolence campaign have taken to topple Saddam (ignoring th fact that I don't even see how this can happen)? How many lives would have been lost in that cold-warfare? How many would Saddam have killed, tortured, or imprisoned? How many terrorists operations would he have supported? There is always another side to weight decisions against and too often people don't want to do that critical step.

It is hard to blame the creation of terrorists on our lack of foreign aid. That's called extortion, and the numbers don't matter, yet. How much foreign aid actually makes it to the people that need it? Far less that what gets siphoned off corrupt leaders and power-hungry generals. Before aid makes a difference these forces needs to be removed from power, for the benefit of the people of the world. Ask those in famine ravaged countries in Africa if they ever see America aid. No. The CSM, the NYT, and almost every major news outle have run extensive articles on grain shipments being kept for the rulers and sold to their populace, AIDS vaccines being vilified and held up, and money being used for yet another Rolls Royce for these "leaders." Why should we even bother sending money? These ruling despots love nations that are too weak to stand up for the downtrodden citizenry; they despise nations that are willing to remove them from power for the good of all. Just look to see who Iran's favorite people are right now. The French. They like the French government because they went to Tehran to strengthen business ties with the ruling mullahs and didn't once mention human rights concerns. Foreign aid to these counties just prolongs the suffering of many by keeping hated governments in power.

However, I am all in favor of a greatly expanded foreign aid budget. It is false to try and claim that both cannot happen, for they both should. I would like to see an order of magnitude growth in aid, however, it must get to the people. There should be sronger ties to grassroots organizations and NGOs that will give aid directly to people that need it. For every ten dollars I ship overseas, I don't want to see nine of it land in the pockets of the another Saddam Hussein or Mugabe.

We will never stamp out terrorist in its current form. A few powerful have hijacked Islam and the Muslims need to take back their religion. The Iranian clerics have been using Friday prayers to encourage suicide bombings against US forces in Iraq. The Islamic media, such as Al Jazeera, fills the hearts and minds of Muslims with attrocious lies. These lies are so bad that there was a backlack against Al Jazeera after Baghdad fell. The Arab-speaking world couldn't understand how America could have rolled in only hours have being told that they were committing suicide at the edge of the city. This is all very weird, because out of the hundreds of Muslims I know, none of them have the strange ideas that America is attacking the religion. There was a poll on an Iranian site a few months ago asking if the US attack on Iraq was really an attack on Islam. The result was overwealmingly no. For those that have access to information, besides propaganda, the view isn't so rabid anti-American. However, there are not enough that have this more open access. And the ones that don't, there is no way to reach them anways without toppling the power structures. Everything they hear will be filtered and distorted by those rulers that have built their existence on anti-Israeli and anti-American policies.

If you read bin Laden's manifesto published after the 9/11 attacks he talks about support of Israel, and he really does not like our freedom. I know this isn't a popular opinion, but it is the truth. Bin Laden directly linked the violence to our ideals and that was why attacking the populace was legitimate. There is nothing we can do about this, except to protect outselves against Al Qaeda while they are pulling back their first to strike us again.

Now, what are we doing to help? Well, we are dropping tremendous amounts of money into Iraq. We are even doing this at our own expense when we have domestic problems to deal with. I hope Afghanistan funding is increased too, but the budget whiners will probably not allow that. Bush is expending much of the capital he gained in the Middle East right now with the Roadmap for Peace, and it will have a Palestinian state. Bills are being drafted to support "freedom loving forces" in Iran, such as media outlets.

Sometimes violence is necessary. If you were to spot a woman being raped in an alley, would you not resort to violence to stop it? How is dictator that rapes his own people any different?

_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

But dictators are so "democratic"(TM)! (3.80 / 5) (#71)
by Viliam Bur on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:47:40 AM EST

Sometimes violence is necessary. If you were to spot a woman being raped in an alley, would you not resort to violence to stop it? How is dictator that rapes his own people any different?

Sometimes you remove the dictator... only to install your own, which will rape his people for the benefit of USA. (Saddam, Pinochet, etc) This is somehow more "democratic"(TM).

It seems like saving a woman from being raped, and then saying:
"Lady, now that I have saved you, I sure deserve something more from you than just a kiss on the cheek, DON'T I?"

And then you still keep believing that it was very good for the woman. Because you are nicer, more civilised, etc than the original rapist. And if someone else objects... well, they only don't like your "freedom"(TM).

[ Parent ]

The US did not install Saddam (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by subversion on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:42:30 PM EST

He did that one just fine on his own.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
Actually, they did (sorta) (5.00 / 1) (#401)
by decaf_dude on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:31:30 PM EST

In the 1950's, CIA staged a coup, overthrowing a democratic gov't (Qasim) and installed Ba'ath party (the evildoers, as they're now called). Saddam came in power much later, but was a loyal ally (Rumsfeld was buddies with him until recently - historically speaking) who was given bio-chem WMDs during Iraq-Iran war; he, too, is now the evildoer. Didn't you get the memo?


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
No. (5.00 / 2) (#597)
by subversion on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 01:45:23 PM EST

First off, the CIA did not stage a coup.  The Ba'ath party did.  The CIA chose to assist them.  Why do I phrase it this way?  Because in 1959, Saddam tried to assassinate Qassim, well before the 1968 Ba'ath party coup, when Saddam's cousin Bakr took power.  Further, let's note one of the major reasons the CIA helped - not because they cared who ruled in Iraq at the time so much as because the Ba'athist plotters in the army could give them access to Soviet weaponry they had not yet seen.

Second, although the Qassim government called itself a republic, it was not a democratic government.  It was the product of a military coup as well, and equally despotic as the forthcoming Ba'ath regime.

Last - so Rumsfeld was a lying prick then, and he's a lying prick now.  That doesn't change the fact that a change in US views of Saddam from an ally to an enemy can only be viewed as a good thing.

You call it hypocritical.  I call it the only rational thing, and regret that it wasn't done sooner.  Would you prefer the US continue to be a friend to Saddam, to sell him weapons and buy his oil, let him abuse his people and his country?

Soemtimes people (countries) are wrong, or act wrongly, and when their error is corrected views change.  Or didn't you get that memo?

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

the difference (4.60 / 5) (#102)
by infinitera on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:55:47 AM EST

If you were to spot a woman being raped in an alley, would you not resort to violence to stop it? How is dictator that rapes his own people any different?
The difference is, the US is a wife-beater who will keep telling the woman how she deserves it after he 'rescues' her. Would, as a rape victim, want that to happen to me? I don't know, it's a difficult question. On one hand I'm being assaulted, on the other, abused. A wife-beater in uniform, and restricted by some legal code pertaining to that uniform, would be far more preferable. But we purposefully destroyed any UN role, precisely to continue the beatings. Until morale improves, of course.

[ Parent ]
Ideals? (5.00 / 1) (#643)
by mr100percent on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 02:37:56 AM EST

Yes, a few people have hijacked Islam. But I need to correct something.

You can't generalize. SOME Iranian clerics push for suicide bombing, while higher ones condemn it. Al Jazeera is NOT Islamic media, they are secular and hire christians to anchor.

So what Ideals or freedoms do we have that Bin Laden hates our guts for? I cant think of what they may be.
--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]

higher up condemn it? (5.00 / 1) (#647)
by jjayson on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 05:19:56 AM EST

The supporters of these "martyrdom operations" include Ahmad Janati, secretary general of the Guardian Council, and even  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei himself. It doesn't get much higher up than that.

--
"Fuck off, preferably with a bullet, if you can find one that's willing to defile itself by being in your head for a split second." - Parent ]
not supreme (5.00 / 1) (#744)
by mr100percent on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 12:39:24 PM EST

You're talking about the Shia leaders. The shiite sect of Islam is somewhere between 10-20% of all Muslims. Al-Azhar University, the highest scholar authority in Sunni Islam, condemns suicide bombing.
--Never trust a guy who tattoes his IP address to his arm, especially if it's DHCP.
[ Parent ]
Supreme Leader is a title. (5.00 / 1) (#792)
by jjayson on Sat Jun 14, 2003 at 02:58:42 AM EST

It is the title commonly used in English and Persian Irani press for Ayatollah Khamenei. The fully title is Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution. Vali-e Faqih is the Persian phrase that it is translated from.
--
"Fuck off, preferably with a bullet, if you can find one that's willing to defile itself by being in your head for a split second." - Parent ]
I always love when people bring up ghandi. (5.00 / 1) (#461)
by /dev/trash on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:09:53 PM EST

If the British TRULY wanted to stay in control, they would have.  They had no further intetest and left.  And Ghandi gets the credit.

---
Summer Tour!
[ Parent ]
It's the year 2003, already. (5.00 / 1) (#478)
by Apuleius on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 01:07:07 AM EST

Just how many more millions of people have to be murdered in the sub-continent before we admit that Ghandi was not the great guy he's been made out to be?


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
You have bought into the Right's rhetoric... :) (4.06 / 15) (#25)
by pb on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:17:20 AM EST

"Nobody wanted a war"? Well, you're right in that millions of people didn't want a war, and were quite vocal about it. Religious leaders from all faiths--including many Christian ones--stated that if there was a war, it wouldn't be a "just" war.

But I guess Bush missed that part; maybe he was busy manufacturing evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction with Tony Blair, or threatening other countries to support his War so he could claim that it was a 'multilateral' effort...

No, the Iraq war wasn't a case of turning the other cheek. It wasn't even "an eye for an eye". It was far more sinister, and the world recognizes that, and fears it.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

I think you miss the point (4.80 / 5) (#60)
by hex11a on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 06:05:24 AM EST

The way I read this article it said basically (paraphrase) "Bush claims to be a christian and follow this code. His code says do this and he doesn't. Ergo something's screwed up with his claim". It's not necessarily advocating doing such a thing that's important, it's the fact that Bush sold himself to the US on being a christian and now isn't acting like one... OK, acting like a christian is supposed to act.

Hex

[ Parent ]

look deeper (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by jjayson on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 06:42:09 AM EST

Persistence of Penguins's argument is that Bush doesn't act like a Christian because look at what he is has done. This assumes his actions are bad. I attack the core of the argument, namely that Bush did something positive and almost noble. If this is true, then he is acting like a Christian.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Exodus 20:13 (5.00 / 3) (#72)
by hex11a on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:12:01 AM EST

God gave us a subtle hint on huge tablets. W has broken this rule. "lo tirtzack" - The Complete Hebrew /English Dictionary states that "tirtzach" refers to "any kind of killing whatsoever." I think you can work out what "lo" means ;-)

Hex

PS: Yeah, That's what Jesus would do. Jesus would bomb Afghanistan. Yeah. - snowlion

[ Parent ]

So sacrifice is out, right? (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by farmgeek on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:32:57 AM EST

I mean...to sacrifice an animal, you have to kill it.

Also, please note, that the ten commandments applied to individuals, not to the government as a whole.  The government WAS given the power of the sword.

[ Parent ]

Well, I'll concede on the animals (5.00 / 2) (#97)
by hex11a on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:37:23 AM EST

I really don't know. But your point is that it's ok for the government to kill someone so long as no individual does it? How does that work? "I order the execution of xxx" "Er guv, no-one's going to actually execute him, it's against our rules" "Oh bugger, there goes my legal system".

Hex

[ Parent ]

No, but close. (5.00 / 3) (#114)
by farmgeek on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:59:37 AM EST

IF you read the entire OT law, you'll see that killing was not only permissible, but at times the law required it.

The difference is the level at which the decision is made, the reasoning behind the decision, and occasionally the circumstances (self defense).

Basically, the OT law said that you, acting as an individual, cannot decide to go out and kill someone, but that you, acting in your role as government or agent of the government, can kill someone when certain conditions are met, such as punishment for a heinous crime, or during times of war.

One thing I did like about the OT law was that when someone was sentenced to death, then the community had to carry out that death sentence, not one person, not some nameless faceless executor, but the convictee's neighbors, friends and family.  Makes you face up to what a horrible thing it is to take a life, and IMO probably makes you think twice before committing a similar crime.

[ Parent ]

Civilian solution rather than military (4.83 / 6) (#65)
by cam on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:06:03 AM EST

"Can this argument be successfully applied to promote inaction or appeasement agaist Hitler?"

Hitler was not an international problem until he started using his military to occupy territory that wasnt German. Until then he was Germanies problem, and a problem that the German people would have to solve. When he moved outside of his soverign nation and used force to achieve those ends he became an international problem.

I dont like the "Hitler Test", I think it is bogus and an excuse to ignore sovereign law issues. I also think it only works with the US worldview and not with international worldviews. The US came to power after WWII so sees its role in WWII as the guiding force to current primacy. The saving the Jews fits in well with American generosity and religious viewpoints which is why I think the "Hitler Test" is talke about on radio all the time to justofy international use of force.

However compare the Australian experience. Gallipolli is the defining experience for the Australian view of international sacrifice. Different war, different opponent and different lesson. The Hitler Test doesnt translate to the Australian worldview. While the "Hitler Test" might be ok for getting Americans onboard with the pre-emption program it doesnt work internationally.

Also, your argument only shifts the burder of the dirty work. How are interpol or other forces supposed to go after Al Queda?

Terrorism is civil disturbance. It should be a police issue. Government use the military as it is the strongest thing they control. It also enables them to increase the appearance of threats. ie "we have to invade a nation to keep you safe btw elect us again as the other person is weak on invading sovereign nations".

The police forces the Federal governments control are paramilitary anyway. So the Federal government when faced with any policing problem will go the absolute power route and use the military and para-military civilian forces to try and solve it.

I think the article is correct. The solution for terror is international policing cooperation not military cooperation.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Civil disturbance? (4.50 / 2) (#171)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:34:14 PM EST

The police can handle domestic terrorists like McVeigh. But how can the police handle terrorists based in a country that supports the terrorists and would likely shoot any Interpol officer who tried to arrest said terrorist?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Afghanistan and Indonesia (5.00 / 1) (#599)
by cam on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 01:53:41 PM EST

But how can the police handle terrorists based in a country that supports the terrorists and would likely shoot any Interpol officer who tried to arrest said terrorist?

Indonesia can be a fairly uncooperative nation and has caught the Bali bombers through police work. Afghanistan was totally uncooperative and unrepentant when asked to turn over Osama Bin Laden. I thought the action in Afghanistan was justified. Where nations have got into trouble, is when the military have been used to counter terrorism. Such as UK/Ireland and Israel/Palestine. Both those occupation forces increased tensions.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Question? (4.00 / 3) (#249)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:47:47 PM EST

I dont like the "Hitler Test", I think it is bogus and an excuse to ignore sovereign law issues.

On what basis do you defend sovereignty as the highest good?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Good/Evil as part of Political Dialogue (5.00 / 1) (#598)
by cam on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 01:53:01 PM EST

On what basis do you defend sovereignty as the highest good? Good and Evil shouldnt be part of the political lexicon. Government is not qualified to determine between good and evil or even to describe good or evil. Government in its goal for absolute power will always define good as themselves and evil as ones they dont like.

Government exists as a consensus between the people for laws pertaining to the protection of person and property from arbitary acts of outside (still domestic) aggression or theft. Internationally, the nation state has the added responsibility of protecting the nations sovereignty through having a force suitable for stopping invasions.

Civil laws place limits on individuals, institutions and government in their ability to harm an individual or arbitarily appropriate the individuals property. International laws place the same restrictions on nation states, protecting other nations from arbitary aggression or theft of sovereign land.

Good/Evil doesnt enter into it. Government language shouldnt extend past freedom, liberty and oppression. Ensuring the first two are at their maximum and the last one, oppression, doesnt exist under their jurisdiction. Government exists for the benefit of the individual's protection of freedom and liberty not the pervading moral standards of the population. Nor does it exist to crusade for a nations worldview through the sword.

Democracy has been achieved by domestic populations standing up to the dominant authority and demanding their rights and greater involvement. Chile is a recent example. There are numerous others. A despotic regime is high maintenance. Freedom will win as it is easier and lower maintenance to allow people to do what they want. The more restrictive a government is the more it has to centralize power and find a way to pay for that centralization through taxes and oppression.

Good/evil isnt a question the government can answer nor is it one that government should assume or pursue. Populations also shouldnt use or expect their government to pursue a domestic or international good/evil policy either using the government as their agents.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

I'm not talking of evil (5.00 / 2) (#608)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 05:24:36 PM EST

Good and Evil shouldnt be part of the political lexicon.

I'm inclined to agree. I intended "higher good" in the sense that Plato and Aristotle used it, not as Augustine and Aquinas did. My question was how do you support the elevation of sovereignty above all other values?

Government exists as a consensus between the people for laws pertaining to the protection of person and property from arbitary acts of outside (still domestic) aggression or theft. Internationally, the nation state has the added responsibility of protecting the nations sovereignty through having a force suitable for stopping invasions.

This sounds more like wishful thinking than an accurate description of states as they've actually existed over the course of human history.

Civil laws place limits on individuals, institutions and government in their ability to harm an individual or arbitarily appropriate the individuals property. International laws place the same restrictions on nation states, protecting other nations from arbitary aggression or theft of sovereign land.

Again this sounds more like an assertion of how states should function rather than an account of how they do in fact operate. And as for international law, I'd argue that as their is no global polity, the analogy which likens citizen to state and nation to globe is fundamentally flawed.

Government exists for the benefit of the individual's protection of freedom and liberty not the pervading moral standards of the population. Nor does it exist to crusade for a nations worldview through the sword.

Now that's definitely wishful thinking. Liberalism is a fine ideal, but it's a rotten tool for description of the world as it is.

Freedom will win as it is easier and lower maintenance to allow people to do what they want. The more restrictive a government is the more it has to centralize power and find a way to pay for that centralization through taxes and oppression.

Well, I'm guardedly optimistic about spread of liberal democracy, but, let's be honest here, liberal democracy has only existed anywhere at all for a tiny fraction of human existence. It's not a foregone conclusion that it is an inevitable outcome everywhere.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Pragmatic Government (5.00 / 1) (#622)
by cam on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 10:04:19 PM EST

I intended "higher good" in the sense that Plato and Aristotle used it, not as Augustine and Aquinas did. My question was how do you support the elevation of sovereignty above all other values?

Do you mean that the noblest goal of political science is to ensure and pursue the happiness of the citizens? I think that is derogatory to the citizens. It assumes that government has some control over the citizens and their feelings of happiness. Happiness is an individual feeling, a group consensus through government cannot affect that to the positive. Governments are capable of liberating as by definition even with consensus they oppress an individuals perfect freedom that they were born with.

The way a government can ensure an individuals happiness is to infringe on their rights and freedoms the absolute least. Basically ensure maximum freedom and liberty. Unfortunately governments pursue absolute power, and minorities and majorities try to force their opinions on how individuals should behave through legislation. If it doesnt involve ensuring freedom liberty or equity then it becomes government oppression.

Government has pragmatic goals. Happiness is a by product of minimal government that doesnt infringe on an individuals freedom or liberty.

This sounds more like wishful thinking than an accurate description of states as they've actually existed over the course of human history.

Governments exist at the consensus and with the grace of the citizenry, if the citizens dont like the way nation states behave then they should reclaim their right to be represented as they see fit.

Again this sounds more like an assertion of how states should function rather than an account of how they do in fact operate.

The last attempt to make government follow this ideal was in 1776. The US Constitution is significant as it is far reaching in what it limits government being able to do. Future constitutions will be more and more restrictive. I hope the future Australian Republic goes further in its constitutional restrictions on federal government than the US constitution. I also hope that the future Australian political system includes greater public involvement in the process of government. if the US was the first post-enlightenment government, Australia should be the first post information era government.

And as for international law, I'd argue that as their is no global polity, the analogy which likens citizen to state and nation to globe is fundamentally flawed.

Middling nations generally are for international institutions as it is one of the few areas that they have a voice and influence. It is the powers that break these. It is also true that nations that grieviously break these rules get punished through international consensus. Husseins occupation of Kuwait was the most recent. More powerful nations are able to get away with it for longer until they threaten another power with invasion of nations.

Now that's definitely wishful thinking. Liberalism is a fine ideal, but it's a rotten tool for description of the world as it is.

Once again, governments exist with the consensus and grace of the citizens, if the citizens dont like it they should reclaim their government.

Well, I'm guardedly optimistic about spread of liberal democracy, but, let's be honest here, liberal democracy has only existed anywhere at all for a tiny fraction of human existence. It's not a foregone conclusion that it is an inevitable outcome everywhere.

I think it will spread with increasing wealth and education. Once somone has a vested interest in their property and their childrens education, what is called the middle classes demand more say in society and governance. Most people start becoming politically aware in their 30's, this is because it is the age most families buy a house and have a child/children/family.

I also believe that any despotism has a limited lifespan due to the high maintenance nature of despotism and overbearing centralised and political authority. Any despotic system or central authority system is inherently unstable. it might take a lifetime or several lifetimes but it will eventually fail IMO.

It doesnt take much to move towards liberal democracy either. In Australia it was a rebellion by a bunch of miners on the Ballarat minefields that led to universal manhopod suffrage (rather than landed suffrage) and no taxation without representation. The universal manhood suffrage was an important step to Australian women demanding suffrage as well. In 1902 Australian women through the Commonwealth Franchise Act attained suffrage.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Then I guess Jesus was a leftist dupe ... (5.00 / 3) (#73)
by pyramid termite on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:17:14 AM EST

... who, when the Romans came to crucify him should have zapped them all with lightning bolts instead of meekly submitting like a sacrificial lamb.

I'll let you work out the contradictions here, as I haven't quite got them worked out myself.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
but let's be honest (4.00 / 4) (#81)
by speek on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:21:08 AM EST

Jesus was a fool, no? He let them crucify him when he didn't have to. Doesn't that mean we all would rate him an idiot? Don't we (here at K5), repeatedly, tell people who let others walk all over them that they are fools and have only themselves to blame?

Let's just be honest with ourselves. Attach another name to Jesus and describe the actions and words of Jesus, and they instantly become the actions and words of a stupid idiot - a leftist dupe, if you will. To make the words of Jesus make sense and work in this world takes a stength of will, courage, and conviction, that virtually none of us on K5 have.

So let's just get back to our normal, cowardly dumping on "stupid" people. It's more honest.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

the all-devouring Self (5.00 / 2) (#109)
by killmepleez on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:32:39 AM EST

I agree with you wholeheartedly, and I don't think I ever could express how sad that is. Having been a charismatic fundamentalist earlier in my life, I will say that the only element of Christianity [or, should I say, the Gospel, because the word "christianity" has come to mean anything and everything since Christ's death] I still find compelling is the Doctrine of Sacrifice. The dominant paradigm of our time is "Continue, Compete, and Conquer"; that is to say, worship of the Self and the preservation and advancement thereof. That is why pacifism finds no traction on the modern mind -- the idea of sacrificing oneself, even if one has the option to assert power, is so completely alien that it cannot help seeming anything other than inherently absurd, and probably insane.

The only thing I desire more than an institutional revival of Christ-like compassion, generosity, and sacrifice on the part of mainstream Christianity, is that I were also strong enough to carry it out without the prop of mystical belief.

Unfortunately, I, too, am human.

__
We're all, not just those we kill, subordinated in the service of something larger. The difference between us and the corpses is that we are willing serv
[ Parent ]
rhetoric all over (4.83 / 6) (#84)
by speek on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:44:02 AM EST

Nobody wanted a war

Seems pretty clear, the Bush administration did want a war.

There should be a critical test looked at when viewing pacifistic concerns: "Can this argument be successfully applied to promote inaction or appeasement agaist Hitler?"

It's always nice to fantasize about simple, straightforward and clearcut heuristics guiding our decisions. They're everywhere - from how to make millions in the stock market, to how to get laid on a Friday night, and they're notoriously unreliable, and downright ambiguous when you try to implement them. Your Hitler rule could easily (maybe more easily) been applied to the US. It's an entirely useless rule for making real decisions in a real world.

Furthermore, you might think about if kindness might not be a better strategy in the long term than bombing. Might things have been different if the kind of money that went into cruise missiles had instead been spent on aid, education, and debt-relief? Maybe the next 10 years wouldn't have been better - but what about the next 50?

And just for the record, I don't think the ramblings of Jesus and "turn the other cheek" have anything to add to this discussion. Let's just talk good solid strategy and real-world results. I'm tired of moralizing, fear-mongering, and rhetorical arguments that win the debate but still lose in reality.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Rhetoric (5.00 / 1) (#752)
by yooden on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 03:00:43 PM EST

Take Iraq for example. Nobody wanted a war.

You should read some of the stuff written about Iraq in the early 80s by some of Bush's buddies. The Bush administration wanted this war and they even lied to the Congress to get it.

[T]he troops on their way to Baghdad ran into resistence intent on killing them.

Now that's a surprise! I bet that has happened before to foreign troops invading a sovereign country without just cause.

There should be a critical test looked at when viewing pacifistic concerns: "Can this argument be successfully applied to promote inaction or appeasement agaist Hitler?"

A peaceful opposition like in India's 40s or US' 50s would almost certainly have toppled Hitler in the 30s. Goebbels was expecting a popular backlash even after the progroms of 1938.

To say that any peaceful attempt at resolving a situation is appeasement or inaction is a false dichotomy. You can oppose something peacefully.

For every picture of somebody that had a limb amputated by the Iraq war, there is another 100 people that were tortured under the regime that you do not see.

This would be a valid argument if it would be the guiding principle of Bush's foreign policy. It does not seem to be, just look at Pakistan or at the people kidnapped and tortured in Cuba.

In conclusion, I think you should pay more attention to the root causes of the terrorist attacks. These causes can not be shot or invaded, they must be removed by acting very similar to what the article says.

I notice that you completely ignore what the text says about Bush's personal behaviour. Do you think he acted like a Christian?


[ Parent ]

Very well said (4.36 / 22) (#5)
by arthurpsmith on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 11:28:36 PM EST

and somebody needed to point this out.

Ironically, the philosophy that many of these wealthy right-wing conservative Christians seem to really hold is one of Social Darwinism - that is, their wealth is deserved, granted by God, and the poor and weak are that way because they are inherently less fit. Hence all the complaints about progressive taxation (we should have consumption taxes!) and all the "my money" attitudes.

And this attitude with personal wealth leads directly to the very similar "might makes right" approach to international affairs, in which we find ourselves now mired.

If only we had a real Christian to lead us...

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


countries can't be christians (4.16 / 6) (#11)
by tang gnat on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:01:57 AM EST

Do you really think it was Bush's idea to invade the other countries?

I don't think it was their idea... :) [nt] (4.71 / 7) (#26)
by pb on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:17:57 AM EST


---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
well is sure as shit wasn't my idea - nt (4.20 / 5) (#32)
by TRASG0 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:45:48 AM EST



read my diary or I shall turn you into a newt
[ Parent ]
I believe (4.50 / 4) (#93)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:21:13 AM EST

that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz all claim to be Christian as well.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
2 out of 3 (5.00 / 3) (#167)
by 3waygeek on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:26:57 PM EST

Wolfowitz is Jewish.

[ Parent ]
Doh! (5.00 / 3) (#168)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:31:05 PM EST


___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Turn the other cheek? Why? (1.83 / 18) (#18)
by Fredrick Doulton on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:10:56 AM EST

And just why should we turn the other cheek? We have the most powerful army on the face of the planet. Quite frankly, I'm shocked that Saddam would have the gall to defy our President. He had it coming.

Say what you will about the Iraq war, but know that it means absolutely nothing.

We've proven beyond all doubt that we can bomb any country we want and there is nothing anyone can do about it. With the most powerful army in the world, who would dare stand in our way? International Courts? Please, bribing Belgian officials was a snap. Don't think we won't own any other country that tries it.
We taught the Taliban not to defy us. And we taught Saddam as well. Who will be next to stand in our way? Iran? Syria? Saudi Arabia? please.

I'm glad our president had the courage of his convictions. There are hard times ahead, and it will take a real leader to bring America out on top. He stuck to his guns, and at the end of the day, good prevailed over evil. But the war on Terrorism is far from over. And someone has to fight the good fight. If French appeasers and German cowards will not stand at our side, then they will eat our dust. History will remember their actions, and they will be duly judged.

Saddam was given a choice. Either hand over the keys and leave, or stay and be killed. Our troops marched into Iraq as liberators and were met with Muslim hatred and bullets. So they paid for their treachery. Those who welcomed us and paid us hommage will be around to witness the dawn of a new American/Iraqi era.

If it weren't for Saddam, none of the bloodshed would have happened. Lives would have been spared, and everyone would be free and happy right now. But he chose to do things the hard way. I don't understand why self-righteous Saddam appeasers can't see what a selfish, murderous tyrant Saddam was. He was willing to force his people into an unnecessary war which he knew they could not win.

Let this be a lesson to the next terrorist nation who is given the chance to surrender peacefully. If you defy us, you will share Saddam's fate.

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"

Turn the other cheek? Why? (4.52 / 23) (#30)
by jdrake on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:43:02 AM EST

    And just why should we turn the other cheek? We have the most powerful army on the face of the planet. Quite frankly, I'm shocked that Cleopatra would have the gall to defy our Emperor. She had it coming.

  Say what you will about the Egypt war, but know that it means absolutely nothing.

  We've proven beyond all doubt that we can invade any country we want and there is nothing anyone can do about it. With the most powerful army in the world, who would dare stand in our way? Barbarians to the north? Please, bribing Barbarians officials was a snap. Don't think we won't own any other country that tries it.
 We taught the Carthagians not to defy us. And we taught Cleopatra as well. Who will be next to stand in our way? Celts? Corsica? Syracuse? please.

  I'm glad our Emperor had the courage of his convictions. There are hard times ahead, and it will take a real leader to bring Rome out on top. He stuck to his spears, and at the end of the day, good prevailed over evil. But the war on Terrorism is far from over. And someone has to fight the good fight. If Greek appeasers and Carthago Nova cowards will not stand at our side, then they will eat our dust. History will remember their actions, and they will be duly judged.

  Hannibal Barca was given a choice. Either hand over the keys and leave, or stay and be killed. Our troops marched into Carthage as liberators and were met with Punic hatred and spears. So they paid for their treachery. Those who welcomed us and paid us hommage will be around to witness the dawn of a new Roman/Carthage era.

  If it weren't for Hannibal Barca, none of the bloodshed would have happened. Lives would have been spared, and everyone would be free and happy right now. But he chose to do things the hard way. I don't understand why self-righteous Barca appeasers can't see what a selfish, murderous tyrant Barca was. He was willing to force his people into an unnecessary war which he knew they could not win.

  Let this be a lesson to the next terrorist nation who is given the chance to surrender peacefully. If you defy us, you will share Barca's fate.
-----------------------------------------
- If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around, is there any sound?
- If the universe is created, and nobody is around, is there any bang?

[ Parent ]

Ave Imperator Americanum! (5.00 / 1) (#368)
by the scooter king on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:51:06 PM EST


The secret is not to try and bend the .sig. The secret is that there is no .sig.
[ Parent ]
Mortality... (5.00 / 1) (#399)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:22:38 PM EST

...is no argument against a thing. Actually, I'm rather glad to live in a world that saw Roman conquest and decline.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
If God is with us (3.60 / 5) (#31)
by TRASG0 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:44:52 AM EST

who can stand against us?  And likewise, if God is not with us, how can we not fail?

So, the question is, is God with us, or is it only the almighty H bomb?

read my diary or I shall turn you into a newt
[ Parent ]

yay! (4.85 / 14) (#36)
by martingale on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:18:35 AM EST

Bush to God: You're either with us or against us!

[ Parent ]
What are you compensating for? (3.20 / 10) (#79)
by morkeleb on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:04:08 AM EST

We've proven beyond all doubt that we can bomb any country we want and there is nothing anyone can do about it. With the most powerful army in the world, who would dare stand in our way?

Okay - first off what is this 'we' shit? We as in my sister and my cousin who are both serving in the Armed Forces? I never hear anyone who is actually serving in the military (even the gung-ho Bush supporters), talk the way you are talking. "We have the most powerful military in the world, we can fuck with anyone and they can't fuck back...."

What I am really hearing is your own inadequate feelings as a MAN...so you feel the need to identify with some larger cause to empower yourself. Well fuck you....take up martial arts or something. They have plastic surgeons now that can give penis extensions if you really feel the need. There are too many armchair warriors around getting hard watching CNN and C-SPAN while other people are getting sent off to kill and die. And our lying chickenshit President is leading the pack.


"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
Why do you think? (4.25 / 4) (#92)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:20:04 AM EST

And just why should we turn the other cheek?

Well, Bush claims to be Christian. That was sort of the point of the article.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
I should be depressed by this remark (3.66 / 3) (#150)
by phred on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:33:03 PM EST

We've proven beyond all doubt that we can bomb any country we want and there is nothing anyone can do about it. With the most powerful army in the world, who would dare stand in our way? International Courts? Please, bribing Belgian officials was a snap. Don't think we won't own any other country that tries it. We taught the Taliban not to defy us. And we taught Saddam as well. Who will be next to stand in our way? Iran? Syria? Saudi Arabia? please.

But then again, this viewpoint is all too common nowadays, the ol "might makes right." Whadya gonna do, get rid of all the rednecks in the USA?

The one good political strategy is to acknowlege the presence of a large voting block of rednecks yet somehow still push for sanity in an all too dangerous world. There will always be folks like the above poster who feel no need to investigate history and the oft repeated folly of humanity cause their hero "Gawage Boosh" spent billions to dispose of a 2 bit dictator and killed some differently colored folks and they think "that r00lz!!!@@@"

If you use large letters and small words, you sometimes can influence the unthinking of the world, but often enough, the Fredrick Doultons will be numerous enough that their unthinking voices will drown out the folks actually interested in the lessons of history.

All of humanity is on a rocky start on what looks to be a real rollercoaster of a century, and as long as there are significant numbers of the above kind, it ain't gonna get much better.

[ Parent ]

guys like this... (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by kaatochacha on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:33:21 PM EST

Are always the first to bitch when some bigger dog comes down the street and slaps them down

[ Parent ]
Magic. (3.00 / 2) (#390)
by DeepOmega on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:38:03 PM EST

There are hard times ahead, and it will take a real leader to bring America out on top.

I misread this as "There are hard times ahead, and it will take a real leader to bring America out in a top hat." For some reason, this makes me giggle. Perhaps it's the image of Bush in a top hat. He looks like a magician. Only he's the bumbling-type magician, not the snazzy-type magician. He saws women in and half and pulls dead rabbits out of hats.

Peace and much love...
[ Parent ]

Oh really? (4.00 / 2) (#393)
by damiam on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:55:51 PM EST

We've proven beyond all doubt that we can bomb any country we want and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Really? Let's try nuking Russia and see what happens.

[ Parent ]

An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind... (3.66 / 15) (#19)
by dipierro on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:19:01 AM EST

And turning the other cheek leaves everyone with two sore jaws.

Turning the other cheek is a fine strategy if you want to die on a cross. But Bush wasn't elected President to kill us all in the name of Jesus.

I'm saddened to learn that President Bush claims to be a born-again Christian.

You're saddened that Bush isn't going to hell? Why?



"I'm saddened to learn..." (4.16 / 6) (#21)
by jjayson on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:46:29 AM EST

You're saddened that Bush isn't going to hell? Why?

That is really an excellent point. The author should be joyous to hear Bush's claim of salvation. First, it should mean to the author that another soul has been saved. Second, it should mean there is an entry way for peace. There is a chance of God touching Bush's heart and instructing him. If Bush prayers daily, as he claims, then surely God will hear those pleas for help.

Christians will not always do the right thing, but surely the author things that being a Christian will set somebody on the right path, the path of positive change.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]

but can he prove it? (3.75 / 4) (#38)
by martingale on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:29:08 AM EST

The author should be joyous to hear Bush's claim of salvation.
This kind of raises the more important question: Can George prove that he's been saved? It's all fine and all to claim he's been saved, but what if, at 45 minutes notice, God refuses to save him? Do we have to wait until Chicago goes to Hell for believing in the false Bush before waking up to this madman? I say he's been lying to his own people long enough. Let's send in the cardinals to see if he's *really* been saved.

[ Parent ]
Prove? No. (4.71 / 7) (#39)
by jjayson on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:49:22 AM EST

Bush cannot prove he has a relationship with the Christian God, just as all his detractors cannot prove he doesn't. People calling Bush out, saying he really isn't a Christian, are just moving their lips to hear themselves talk and feel some sort of moral superiority.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Two things (4.87 / 8) (#44)
by fraise on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:36:30 AM EST

First: Protestants - which I believe GW Bush is - did away with the whole having to 'prove' salvation thing. It's a private, personal matter, and for born-again Christians pretty simple. If you ask Jesus to save you, you're saved. You can sin and wander from the path all you want, even deny ever having been saved: it doesn't matter, because at one point you accepted Jesus, you were saved, Jesus died on the cross for all your sins, et cetera, you'll go to heaven (according to their beliefs).

Second: Protestantism != Catholicism. There are no cardinals (or popes).

[ Parent ]
Wow (3.57 / 7) (#91)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:16:08 AM EST

All of the benefits, none of the responsibilities, and a holier-than-thou attitude. No wonder it's so popular.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Not Quite (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by Merk00 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:53:13 AM EST

While there are some traditions that say once one is saved one cannot lose their salvation (namely, the reformed or presbyterian tradition), there are other protestant traditions that allow salvation to be lost (Lutherans for example). However, even in a case of someone claiming they are saved and then later claiming they are not, the reformed response is that they never were truly saved to begin with (as it's up to God, not man).

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Not quite. (4.00 / 2) (#246)
by MrLarch on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:32:34 PM EST

It's up to you to accept being saved, not God to push it on you. That takes into account vacillation from one point of view to another.

[ Parent ]
Predestination or Free Will (4.50 / 2) (#311)
by Merk00 on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:36:28 AM EST

If, as some protestants do (namely Lutherans and reformed), one believes in predestination, than it is God's choice as to who is saved and who isn't. According that belief, God chose before the beginning of time who was to be saved and who wasn't. There are many other protestants (such as Baptists and Mennonites) who do not believe in pre-destination and instead believe in free will. According to that belief, it is the individual who chooses whether or not to accept Jesus and be saved. So saying one way or the other is a bit confusing.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Not quite. (5.00 / 2) (#343)
by MrLarch on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:40:45 PM EST

At least officially, some Lutherans believe this:
But as earnestly as we maintain that there is an election of grace, or a predestination to salvation, so decidedly do we teach, on the other hand, that there is no election of wrath, or predestination to damnation... Eternal election is a cause why the elect are brought to faith in time, Acts 13:48; but election is not a cause why men remain unbelievers when they hear the Word of God. The reason assigned by Scripture for this sad fact is that these men judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, putting the Word of God from them and obstinately resisting the Holy Ghost, whose earnest will it is to bring also them to repentance and faith by means of the Word, Act 13:46; 7:51; Matt. 23:37.
Also, there seems to be some recent history involving schisms or something surrounding this very topic in American Lutheran synods, according to the first few pages of Google results.

But essentially, this synod's explanation isn't what people normally think of when they hear "predestination", or what you've described. Despite that, it seems that the predestination I've read about still relies on that faith bit, which means you still have to accept (your choice or not) to be saved. That makes the dispute of whether it requires active belief moot. All that's left to determine is where the faith is supposed to come from, if that indeed matters.

Acts 13:48 Interesting phrasing here; I'd like to look at the original some time: "When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed."

[ Parent ]

note the word 'claims' (4.75 / 4) (#27)
by pb on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:22:56 AM EST

There's a huge difference between claiming to be a Christian and acting Christian. Would that more did the latter instead of the former.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
holy poop (3.80 / 5) (#37)
by zephc on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:25:17 AM EST

a tripod page that actually returns something BESIDES a 404.

[ Parent ]
faith not deeds (4.66 / 3) (#86)
by dipierro on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:06:16 AM EST

There's a huge difference between claiming to be a Christian and acting Christian.

But you are saved by your faith, not by your actions.



[ Parent ]
maybe that attitude is the problem. (4.75 / 4) (#99)
by pb on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:42:39 AM EST

I'm not Christian, and I'd certainly rather have all the Christians out there walk the walk instead of talk the talk.  That way,

A. They actually will get useful shit done for the world.
B. I won't have to waste my time getting pissed off at them for being hypocritical elitist morons.
C. And therefore, my opinion of Christians in general would go up a lot.

However, the downside is I won't be able to smirk every time I think of this song and how it applies so well to Bush and other arrogant "Christians" out there. But I think the benefits would ultimately outweigh the downsides here.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Fair enough... (4.50 / 2) (#119)
by dipierro on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:31:54 PM EST

But what is hypocritical about Bush's actions? Any group of people (such as Christians) is bound to be hypocritical as a group, because individual members of that group possess different beliefs. Just because Bush claims to be saved, that doesn't mean he subscribes to the belief that all violence is bad. You're taking a single interpretation of a single teaching of the beliefs of Christianity and assuming that Bush agrees with it. But that's not fair, because different interpretations conflict with each other.



[ Parent ]
What it means to be Christian (5.00 / 3) (#134)
by pb on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:52:41 PM EST

Although different sects will bicker about what it takes to get into Heaven, almost all of them can agree on what it means to be Christian. If you look it up, you'll find that almost all of the definitions have something to do with Jesus Christ, believing in him, and following his teachings.

Therefore, if Bush seems to be portraying a sort of New Testament compassion in his dealings with the world, then I'd say he's being rather Christian about things. If, on the other hand, you take the position that Jesus wouldn't bomb Afghanistan (or Iraq, for that matter...) then you might have a problem.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

You're taking the New Testament out of context... (3.75 / 4) (#139)
by dipierro on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:30:12 PM EST

Read Revelations some time and then talk to me about compassion. You say you are not a Christian, so why is it that you are an expert on whether or not Jesus would bomb Afghanistan?

More to the point, this is not an example of hypocrisy. Making mistakes is not hypocrisy. If Bush claimed to be a pacifist, and then bombed Afghanistan, that would be hypocrisy. But claiming to be a follower of Jesus isn't the same as claiming to be a pacifist.

By your standards no politician can ever claim to be a Christian without being a hypocrite, because Jesus himself wouldn't become a politician.

Hypocrisy involves lying. Is Bush honestly praying when he bows his head? Did he honestly make an attempt to determine God's will with regard to Afghanistan? Does he honestly believe that Jesus Christ saved humanity when he died on the cross? Or is it all just a show? Frankly I could go either way.



[ Parent ]
and you aren't? (4.50 / 4) (#161)
by pb on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:07:09 PM EST

I've read Revelations, and if you're citing that as an example of the New Testament, then it is you who are taking the New Testament out of context. Revelations is one of the most hotly contested (and interpreted) portions of the New Testament, and it barely made the cut; in that respect, it isn't much better than some parts of The Apocrypha. However, if you think that Bush's goal is to bring about the end of the world, then Revelations might be quite appropriate.

I'm not a Christian, but I don't see what that has to do with my qualifications, or my ability to guess the motivations of a man who has been dead for the past two millennia or so--unless by not being a Christian I'm missing out on the Jesus Hotline or some other secret membership perk I wasn't previously aware of.

Also, I never claimed to be an expert on whether or not Jesus would bomb Afghanistan; I merely linked to what others have said. However, much is known about Jesus' life, teachings, and message, and I personally think that if Jesus found himself in such a bizarre situation, he would first try to find a more fair and peaceful solution, and would be more forgiving and less wrathful. That is, if he went by his teachings, which many don't.

Hypocrisy is claiming to be one thing and then showing by your actions that you aren't. It's quite simple, really--if Bush claims that his actions are motivated by Christianity, and yet his actions can't be explained away or justified by Christ's teachings, then he's being a hypocrite. For example, if he claims to offer compassion or salvation, but does nothing of the sort; if he claims to free people, or be against dictators, and yet kills them or restricts their freedoms. If he claims to fight terrorism, and yet performs acts that are considered terrorism by his own definitions. You get the idea.

How could Bush not be a hypocrite? Well, it's quite simple; he could be honest. He could level with the world, or with the American people. If he wants to attack Iraq to overthrow Hussein, or out of vengeance, or for oil, or for whatever reason, he should have stated that reason in the first place, instead of trumping up charges of "Weapons of Mass Destruction", and claiming that he had secret evidence that proved it. Tony Blair is currently under fire for going along with Bush in this matter. But apparently the majority of the American people don't care if Bush was less than honest in this regard. Maybe they think the ends justify the means, and they expect their politicians to lie and cheat "for the greater good", provided it builds a "stronger America". Who knows.

So maybe you're right; maybe no politician can claim to be a Christian without being a hypocrite. But I think this has more to do with what politicians feel they have to do to get elected, which appears to interfere with their ability to be honest to their constituents or keep their promises.

I think Bush is quite honest about his devotion to Christianity, whatever that means to him, but it doesn't seem to be helping him in being a good Christian, or acting very Christian. Maybe this is all entirely unintentional and one day he'll realize he made a grave mistake (or several) and apologize to us, as he has in the past, and expect forgiveness. Or maybe he'll never understand what he has wrought, and die thinking he did good in the world. But I'd rather he started acting like a good Christian now, followed the teachings of Christ, and stayed honest to his constituents and their needs.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

And if your actions don't reflect your faith... (5.00 / 2) (#361)
by jreilly on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:35:34 PM EST

...then how strong is that faith?

Oooh, shiny...
[ Parent ]
Unknown n/t (5.00 / 1) (#510)
by dipierro on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 11:11:00 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I am saddened also (4.57 / 7) (#29)
by TRASG0 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:42:52 AM EST

Like Judas who betrayed Christ with a kiss, people like Bush proclaim that they follow Christ, yet they do not obey him.  They say they have accepted Christ as their savior but they do not take up their cross as he commanded.  They claim to love Christ but they make no attempt to keep his commandments.  If you said you loved your wife, but continually disrespected her and did not keep the covenant of marriage, would anyone believe that you loved your wife in your heart?  Of course not.  Christ isn't stupid and he knows what lies in men's hearts even better than people like us who can only guess.  "Being saved" is not an intellectual conversion, it is a daily struggle that you can only even begin with Christ's grace.  If you refuse to even take the first step towards Christ by learning his statutes, then your conversion is lip service only.

read my diary or I shall turn you into a newt
[ Parent ]
more deeds (3.75 / 4) (#88)
by dipierro on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:09:58 AM EST

Like Judas who betrayed Christ with a kiss, people like Bush proclaim that they follow Christ, yet they do not obey him.

What gives you the right to judge Bush? Are you yourself without sin?

If you refuse to even take the first step towards Christ by learning his statutes, then your conversion is lip service only.

What makes you think Bush has not taken the first step towards Christ? Yes, he is flawed, but so is everyone else.



[ Parent ]
am I without sin? (3.00 / 2) (#215)
by TRASG0 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:35:06 PM EST

no.  But I am a Christian.  Bush is not, despite what he says.  What gives me the right to judge him is that I am a voter and a public servant, and I judge him by the same rubric by which I judge myself and by which I expect Christ to judge me.

read my diary or I shall turn you into a newt
[ Parent ]
Hell. (4.00 / 2) (#57)
by coillte on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:45:23 AM EST

I don't think Bush was elected to nail eveyone else to a cross. Even if it is in the name of national security.

___________
"XVI The Blasted Tower. Here is purification through fire,lightning, flames, war...the eye is the eye of Shiva... the serpent on the right is the symbol of the active will to live,the dove on the left is passive resignation to death"
[ Parent ]

No, (4.00 / 3) (#80)
by President Saddam on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:09:46 AM EST

an eye-for-an-eye leaves everyone one-eyed.  

But Bush wasn't elected President to kill us all in the name of Jesus.

So how do you know what was going through the minds of American voters?

---
Allah Akbar
[ Parent ]

polls (3.33 / 3) (#89)
by dipierro on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:10:45 AM EST

So how do you know what was going through the minds of American voters?

I read polls.



[ Parent ]
May be this book might interest you (3.90 / 10) (#22)
by mami on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:49:57 AM EST

"The Unconquerable World" - Power, Nonviolence and the Will of the People - by Jonathan Schell.

I just scanned the first chapter and Schell starts out describing the historical roots of two conflicting traditions - one worldly, sanctioning violence, the other spiritual, forbidding it - both coexisting side by side since the times of the Athenian statesman Pericles, who praised the fallen soldiers of Athens in Marathon in his eulogy.

He (Pericles) said: "As for success of failure, they left that in the doubtful hand of Hope, and when the reality of battle was before their faces, they their trust in their own selves .. and, in a small amount of time , the climax of their lives, a culmination of glory, not of frear, would be swept away from us.

Virgil wrote: "Of Arms, and the man I sing."

"The man": a patriot, bound to fight, and perhaps to die, for his country and that it possessed and stood for.

"Arms": the means whereby the man could vindicate his homor and defend his country or aggrandize its power and interests. The fighting man took life but also was ready to lay down his own, therby bowing, in the mayhem of war, to a kind of rudimentary justice.

On this foundation was built a system, Schell writes, a system, at its best, of standing up for principle with force, right with might; at its worst, a system of plunder, exploitation, and massacre. That was so from Pericles times down to ours.

But at the same time together with a martial tradition, another, contrary was born, Schell wirtes. At the same time Vergil wrote his verses, Jesus was speaking: "Put up thy sword. For they that live by th the sword shall die by the sword." He sang of the man without arms. Those words took roots in people's hearts for centuries til today as well.

Schell writes that both contradicting traditions inspired each other. Neither has been discarded in the name of the other. Intellectuals have always tried to reconcile them. St. Augustine declared that one principle applies to "the spiritual and personal realm, the City of God, in which Jesus' law of non-violence and love should be followed, the other applies to the fallen City of Man - the public, political realm, in which Caesar's law of force must hold sway.

This distinctions can also be seen later on in the Catholic "just-war" theory, in Machiavelli's distinctions between what is good for one's sould and what is good for the republic, in Montesquieu's distinctions between the virtue of the political man and the vitue of the Christin man, Schell continues. The modern day distinction between separation of state and church has its roots from the same dicotomy.

Through the times, Jesus councel was rejected for political affairs, exept for a few people, who were generally regarded either as dreamers, fools or blind to the laws that govern the world, Schell mentions.

He then goes on describing how the twentieth century totalitarian rule and total war carried violence to its limits into what he calls "total violence".

This change from restricted violence into total violence then ended the era of violence as a political tool to govern and rule and started the times where total violence became an instrument of destruction and annihilation (the nuclear war, for example, making Jesus words literally true that those who live by the sword will die by the sword). One couldn't rely anymore on politics by violent means, and the poltical laws changed for those, who want to live and act in this world.

Schell continues to describe how, complementary, non-violent actions can now serve effectively in the place of violence at every level of political affairs.

I am curious about what Schell goes on to talk about and am pretty sure it will give you a lot of insight into the questions you raise in this article.

Of course, President Bush is a genius. He can reconcile himself into being the Christian Man and the Patriot Soldier Man without blinking with an eye, but hey ... he also changed the definition from the "total violence of the nuclear war and nuclear winter" into the "restricted violence of small nuclear devices". That makes it more easy for him to believe and promote a good Christian "just war". There is no such thing as a nuclear winter in his book - it just doesn't fit into his accounting methods.

 at times were violence turned out to be "complete, total violence

scratch the last line -forgot to delete (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by mami on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:51:29 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Different, But Interesting (3.90 / 11) (#24)
by Kadin2048 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:51:52 AM EST

While I'm not sure that I agree with you, the article was definitely thought-provoking and well written. It is obvious that you have a level of moral conviction that is somewhat rare, and even though I disagree with your conclusions, that alone is enough for me to give it +1 if it goes to voting. Go for it.

The question I have is simply whether 'turning the other cheek' would work as a general principle at a international level. While there is a part of me that dearly wishes that to be so, I wonder if many people would mistake charity for weakness, and would overwhelm and destroy a nation which acted selflessly all the time. Or would it fall from within? Perhaps demogogues would rise up, and prey on the frustration of a people who, once attacked, want to exact bloody retribution, and overthrow a true Christian government.

Such a scenario seems farfetched. But the war in Afganistan was not unpopular in the United States, and that was months after the WTC attacks. Had the President stood up after 9-11 and preached nonviolence and love of our enemies -- both Christian virtues -- I believe he would have been sacked, if not immediately, then in the next election, by someone far more violent. It would be the opportunity a charismatic and popular person would need to step into the limelight, preaching hate and retribution, and take the helm of the most powerful nation on Earth. While I don't profess any great love for G.W. Bush, he certainly isn't a Hitler -- do we really want to find out who might appear from the depths of obscurity, riding on a wave of nationalistic, racist hatred; the almost certain backlash from such a passive stance in the face of 9-11? Surely there are worse people.

While I agree with you in principle, I do not think that such a plan would work in the United States. This is not, despite the claims of our current and past leaders, a Christian country, at least by any moral measure. It is a violent society, formed and tempered in war, where "an eye for an eye" has always been a more popular position than "turn the other cheek" in times of peril.

Perhaps the source of my hesitation comes from a question of the essential qualities of Man. Inherent in your position seems to be the assumption that, if a leader was to act justly under Christian values, that he would be applauded by the majority. I am not so sure. I think violence and worldly retribution will always be more popular among the 'silent majority' then turning the other cheek and loving one's enemy, and the politician who wants to keep his nation from falling into the hands of demogogues and madmen must run the razor's edge between moral rightness and keeping the approval of the people.

Interesting (4.88 / 26) (#43)
by Herring on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:30:01 AM EST

(I may be an atheist but that doesn't make me amoral.) Admittedly I'm a bit short of stuff to back this up, but those who say "being nice to them wont work" consider this: Countries such as Pakistan pay many, many more times their health/education budget on repaying debt. This left a gap where Bin Laden and his like were able to use oil money to set up schools where there were none. What do you think these schools taught?

If, instead of lending money to these nations so they could buy arms from the west (to defend themselves from neighbours who had done the same) the west had helped them out, a whole generation of fanatics would never have been raised.

Another example from history: in the 1950s, the IRA consisted of roughly 3 pensioners and a yorkshire terrier named Dave. Nobody took them seriously. When it became clear through the 60s that the Catholic minority were being discriminated against by the, largely protestant, majority (e.g. throwing a catholic family of 8 out of a council house to give it to a single protestant woman) trouble started. If the unionist community hadn't vilified and discriminated against the catholics, then the troubles would never have happened (I blame Paisley).

I think the point is that terrorist organisations need support from populations. If a population is pissed off then they are more likely to get support.

Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
It's a little more complicated than that ... (4.25 / 8) (#172)
by shaunak on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:46:31 PM EST

If, instead of lending money to these nations so they could buy arms from the west (to defend themselves from neighbours who had done the same) the west had helped them out, a whole generation of fanatics would never have been raised.

I wish it were that simple. It isn't. There was religious fanaticism in Pakistan in 1947 and the fundamentalism you see there today is the direct consequence of this fanaticism being nurtured by the ISI/Pak Army over the years. Debt has very little to do with it.

[ Parent ]
I understand now. (4.25 / 4) (#193)
by jmzero on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 06:59:58 PM EST

If, instead of lending money to these nations so they could buy arms from the west (to defend themselves from neighbours who had done the same) the west had helped them out, a whole generation of fanatics would never have been raised.

So instead of giving them money, we should have given them money.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Not quite (4.60 / 5) (#272)
by Herring on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:49:31 AM EST

Maybe instead of lending them money so they could give it straight back (to western defence companies) we should've given them money to spend on something useful.

Most "aid" seems to work this way. If it's not arms, then it's stuff like big fuck-off hydro projects (built by western contractors, naturally) which screw up the environment and do sweet FA about the problem of providing clean drinking water to the people.

I realise that nothing is as simple as that, but when 87% of a government's revenue goes on paying interest the west, there's bound to be a certain amount of resentment.

Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
Sokrates (4.75 / 4) (#394)
by rafael on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:56:52 PM EST

I may be an atheist but that doesn't make me amoral. At some point this legend of linking morality to religion must be fought against, especially among atheists. Morality comes from philosophy : via reflexions on oneself, humanity, society, goals of life, freedom, pleasures and pain. Religious leaders usually don't think about what is morality, because they believe that they already know everything about it. As a consequence they are often the ones who know the least about it.

(Now, the contents of your post are indeed moral.)

[ Parent ]

Nope (4.25 / 4) (#413)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:11:45 PM EST

Morality is inherited from culture and is at best rationalized by philosophy.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#537)
by czolgosz on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 09:46:28 PM EST

(I may be an atheist but that doesn't make me amoral.)
I'm an apatheist myself: don't know and don't care. Because of this, whatever sense of basic human decency I have doesn't come from fear of being savaged by the big Alpha Male in the sky if I don't toe the line. I believe that people who are only virtuous through fear of eternal damnation are less moral than those who are virtuous without supernatural compulsion.
If, instead of lending money to these nations so they could buy arms from the west (to defend themselves from neighbours who had done the same) the west had helped them out, a whole generation of fanatics would never have been raised.

I think the point is that terrorist organisations need support from populations. If a population is pissed off then they are more likely to get support.
Precisely. Governments, and "liberation movements" originate as protection rackets and evolve into a form of macroparasitism. And the way to reduce the threat of terrorism is to reduce the sources of legitimate grievance that the terrorist organizations (and often governments) use as a rationale for their existence. This also lessens the excuses used by governments, terrorists and other "protectors" to repress their own people.

This simple and pragmatic advice is not followed for two reasons: (1) The craving for revenge is exploited to prevent constructive change, since that would "reward the bad guys." Well, it would also stop punishing a lot of innocent people who don't deserve the shitty deal they're getting right now. And taking no action also conveniently protects the beneficiaries of the present unjust arrangements. (2) There is no short-term payoff. Exercise disproportionate force, and if nothing goes too far awry, you get a nice victory parade before the next election. Social reforms can take years or decades to pay off. This exceeds the time horizon of politicians and the attention spans of electorates (which are not uncorrelated).

If you want to keep a pressure cooker from exploding, you don't screw the lid tighter. You turn off the fire under it.
Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
Fear of punishment (5.00 / 2) (#541)
by Pseudonym on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 10:32:34 PM EST

I'm an apatheist myself: don't know and don't care. Because of this, whatever sense of basic human decency I have doesn't come from fear of being savaged by the big Alpha Male in the sky if I don't toe the line.

I'm a Christian and I agree with you. Christians who live in fear of supernatural punishment or who try to instill said fear in others are a) wrong (even according to their own sacred texts), b) stupid and c) wasting their time when there's life to be lived.

I also don't get where some people get the "if you're not religious, you're amoral" thing from. As rafael noted, philosophy is the true basis for any moral code. To a first approximation, any reasonal philosophy will do, whether it's religious or not.

I should also note that as a non-Christian, this is not your fight to fight. We Christians have to clean up our own lunatic fringe.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Well DUH (4.38 / 13) (#47)
by StephenThompson on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:20:34 AM EST

What you say is completely obvious; I am embarrased you felt the need to spell it out-- and horrified that you might be right about the need.

well duh.. (5.00 / 1) (#427)
by johwsun on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:33:00 PM EST

..we are not all of us from the same race, here.

some people talking here, are from hell. They do not understand what we are talking to them. The time pass, and they still do not understand.
They are going to die, then they will understand what we were talking to them , but it will be too late for them to change their mind.

I know that this is a sin, but sometimes I am not feeling sorry about them...

[ Parent ]

It's your hell, *you* burn in it! (5.00 / 1) (#736)
by baron samedi on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 06:26:03 PM EST

I, on the other hand, look forward to my boat ride with Belenus...
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
Sort of a question. (4.18 / 11) (#70)
by melia on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:38:24 AM EST

It's written well but I don't see how you can argue with anybody about how "Christian" they are unless you argue that the Bible is the literal truth and any deviation at all from that is un-Christian.

At least one point in this article is based on putting the "eye for an eye" thing in historical context, which suggests (correct me if i'm wrong) that you are putting an interpretation on the Bible. If George Bush interprets it differently, who are you to say he's wrong?

Anyway I abstain because all the religious discussions i've ever had have ended with "Well, you just have to believe..." and I find that quite annoying.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong

well (4.60 / 5) (#78)
by speek on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:58:15 AM EST

Christianity is primarily about the teachings of Christ, and if you can interpret Christ's words (as reported in the Bible) to mean "bomb the fuck out of your enemies", then you are either insanely brilliant or just insane.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Well (3.50 / 4) (#100)
by Ken Arromdee on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:46:12 AM EST

He was pretty violent against those moneychangers in the temple.

[ Parent ]
Not that violent (5.00 / 4) (#107)
by cluke on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:06:52 AM EST

He never actually hurt anyone, just overturned their stalls.

See the text in Matthew 21:12

[ Parent ]

That's where it all starts (5.00 / 1) (#688)
by evbergen on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 07:54:41 PM EST

Anyway I abstain because all the religious discussions i've ever had have ended with "Well, you just have to believe..." and I find that quite annoying.

That's imaginable. On the other hand, in my experience faith can only begin once you see there's nothing that forces one view or another upon you.

I find it pleasantly comforting that even centuries of philosophy haven't been able to prove nor disprove God's existence without some form of circular reasoning.

To me this means that in the end you're completely free to choose whether or not to accept this as an extra axioma upon which to build your personal "model of all things". You don't need to put empirical data, logic or induction overboard if you assume a conscious, loving Cause of all things, and life as an indivisible quality that can only come from life.

Of course, because you're building from a different set of axiomas, it's meaningless to say that the world view with God or without God is more valid than the other, and granted, this can be frustrating if you are looking for the "right" answer.

I can only say that in my personal experience, the world view that I built after including Gods existence seems more human and comforting. It seems to "fit better". Not that it's able to explain more things or more elegantly, which would make it even scientifically preferable, but the model has a different esthetic quality in some way. It gives not just peace to the mind (any model that's elegant and consistent will do that) but also to the heart and soul.

Thus, I'm very happy that it all comes down to what you believe. In this matter, you're really, completely free to choose.


[ Parent ]

Now I REALLY hate Bush (2.16 / 12) (#74)
by Quila on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:35:20 AM EST

he destruction and violence perpetrated in the name of my God has strengthened my resolve to promote his cause

Thanks a lot Bush, now one more Christian is turning to active evangelism.

Turn whose cheek? (4.52 / 25) (#101)
by louferd on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:55:26 AM EST

Your view is naive and overly simplistic. Jesus told his followers to turn the other cheek when someone struck them. At no point did he instruct them to turn others' cheeks for them. I doubt he would have stood by while a woman was being raped and said "Hey, man, do the non-violent thing like me, don't fight back. Why are you asking me to help? You know I'm totally into the pacifism thing." Seeing as the bible describes him taking a whip to people who were exploiting religion for financial gain, I would think there's more to Jesus than a quote taken out of context.

If you look at the bible as a whole, you'll see other stuff painting authorities as having the right to wield force to maintain order, like a shepherd. Bush, right or wrong, may have felt that the best solution for his people in the long run would have been to bomb the places from which the perceived danger came from. I don't see that as being inconsistant with being a Christian.

You're right of course (2.68 / 16) (#120)
by michaelp on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:35:46 PM EST

the story author would do better to convert to humanism than try to take the world's greatest warrior religion to task for ignoring it's prophet's few calls for mercy to the defeated.

Christianity is a stone cold killer's religion, built by and for conquerors, the proof is clearly in the pudding & the whipping it has given to the world.

I think it's mainly due to the idea that no matter how bad your actions are, no matter how many you rape and kill, the doors to heaven will be open to you so long as you confess before you die.

Nearly every other religion has some sort of idea that bad things in this life will be punished in the next one, except for Christianity, and this IMO is what sets it apart, not the calls for mercy to the (by implication) deserving sick, weak, and injured.

Nah, Bush is the perfect, archtypical christian leader, and his viciousness is exactly what you would expect from a religion that releases it's followers from all responsibility and tells them that God will take care of any good people they accidently kill along the way.

Remember who said (in defense of the death penalty) "For the believing Christian, death is no big deal,"



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Wow (4.77 / 9) (#250)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:57:59 PM EST

That's a profoundly stupid comment. The truth is that Christianity has an awful lot of competition for title of "world's greatest warrior religion"; Islam, Hinduism, Nordic folk religion, Zoroastrianism, and even Buddhism -- the favored religion of secularist humanists everywhere -- had no appreciable pacifying effect on Chinese militarism after it became their dominant religion.

I also notice that you've conveniently left out Eastern Christianity as practiced in Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Armenia, Iraq, and Turkey. Could that be because it fails to conveniently square with your prejudices? Maybe taking into account the history of Christianity in those nations where it was a minority religion would lead you to the reasonable conclusion that it's not Christianity, but humanity that is the cause of violence and war.

Just so there's no confusion, I should let you know that I'm most certainly not defending my faith. I'm a true-blue atheist. What I am is offended by your careless disregard for the facts of history.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Facts of history (3.80 / 5) (#426)
by michaelp on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:24:58 PM EST

Of the religions you mention, only Christianity offers full absolution for the sins of murder & rape, regardless of the purpose or cause.

Fact 2, when Christianity is in a minority, not a state religion, it doesn't have the same effect & the eastern form is more influenced by pacifist eastern religions.

Fact 3, Buddhism was not a state religion of the Chinese empire, rather it was something Confucian administrators retreated to in their spare time. The fact that it didn't restrain the Chinese from defending their borders (Han China already being much the same size at the beginning of significant Buddhist penetration as a the end) hardly makes it competitive with Christianity as a warrior's creed.

In fact, only Islam is close to Christianity in practice as a sucessful creed of conquest, if you look at the historical facts. However, Islam has no idea comparable to being born again clean of sin, the closest thing it has is being saved by dying for the cause, however, unlike Christianity it requires that the cause be just.

As far as the 'cause of war', it's clear from the facts of history that some memes are more conducive to rapine, plunder, and conquest, than others & obvious that Christianity's combination of absolution for any crime mixed with a trust in God to sort out the good dead from the bad, is the most (de facto) vicious meme extant.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
The facts (4.66 / 3) (#446)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:23:30 PM EST

Of the religions you mention, only Christianity offers full absolution for the sins of murder & rape, regardless of the purpose or cause.

The dogmatic theology of salvation in the orthodox Christian churches is not nearly so simple as you present it. On the other hand, as with all theologies, the practice is another matter all together. In brief, orthodox Christianity maintains that grace, and therefore the possibilty of salvation, is always available to anyone who seeks it. It does not maintain that one can continue to sin with impugninity so long as their sins are confessed. The presence of grace is counterbalanced by the notion that "you will know them by their fruits." One who continually commits mortal sins, even if they confess them, would be understood to not have truely submitted to will of God.

Furthermore, do you really want to go down the road of arguing that it is only by virtue of a supposed punishment in the afterlife that men are made moral? Do you believe in eternal damnation?

Fact 2, when Christianity is in a minority, not a state religion, it doesn't have the same effect & the eastern form is more influenced by pacifist eastern religions

Uh, that was precisely my point. When looking for the roots of violence in European culture, Christianity is not salient feature. Violence is present to some degree--usually more than less--in every culture; like the incest taboo it is one of the few truely universal traits of all human cultures.

And what pacifistic eastern religions are you speaking of? Islam? All of the examples I listed were isolated Christian communities within Islamic societies except Armenia, which was a weak Christian nation surrounded by Islamic empires who viewed them primarily as a convenient source of slaves.

Fact 3, Buddhism was not a state religion of the Chinese empire, rather it was something Confucian administrators retreated to in their spare time.

Not true. Buddhism quickly became a core element of popular religion across most of the Chinese empire, but you are correct about the role of Confucian bureaucrats. Although that doesn't change the fact that the army was recruited in mind boggling numbers from the ostensibly Buddhist population. The militaristic and violent history of Buddhist Asia belies the popular conception of Buddhism as a force of peace and harmony. In a contemporary example, Buddhism has had little pacifying effect upon the Tamil Tigers, who are both explicity Buddhist and the most prolific suicide bombers in the world.

I'm not arguing that Buddhism is a violent religion, only that, as with all other religions, is susceptible to being utilized as an apparatus of provoking violence. The same as is true of Christianity.

The fact that it didn't restrain the Chinese from defending their borders (Han China already being much the same size at the beginning of significant Buddhist penetration as a the end) hardly makes it competitive with Christianity as a warrior's creed.

By the time of Buddhism's arrival China was already a very mature empire that had pretty much settled into stable borders, but there existed a near perpetual war with it's "barbarian" neighbors and frequent rebellions and factional wars within the empire.

In fact, only Islam is close to Christianity in practice as a sucessful creed of conquest, if you look at the historical facts. However, Islam has no idea comparable to being born again clean of sin, the closest thing it has is being saved by dying for the cause, however, unlike Christianity it requires that the cause be just.

Uh, the Koran condones and even compels wars of conquest; something history demonstrates that the Arabs of the 7th and 8th centuries were exceptionally skilled at--exceeded only by the Mongols. Actually, that reminds me, if any one religion deserves the title of the world's greatest warrior creed, it would probably belong to the folk religion of the Mongolian steppe.

And as for Islamic notion of dying for a just cause, their idea of justice explicity included the conquest of infidel nations. Or can you concieve another just cause for armies of bedouin mercenaries conquering Palestine, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Berber north Africa, and Spain within the course of a couple of generations? It took the European nations nearly a thousand years to match the martial successes of those bedouin mercenaries from Arabia.

As far as the 'cause of war', it's clear from the facts of history that some memes are more conducive to rapine, plunder, and conquest, than others & obvious that Christianity's combination of absolution for any crime mixed with a trust in God to sort out the good dead from the bad, is the most (de facto) vicious meme extant.

Well, I don't have a fully satisfactory explanation for the root causes of violence (and neither does eloquence), but the existence of relatively peaceful Christian communities in the East does decisively establish that Christianity ain't it. Niether is the history of European christendom notably more voilent than other comparable civilizations.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Practice & principle (5.00 / 1) (#687)
by michaelp on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 06:07:35 PM EST

are often different. However, this statement:

In brief, orthodox Christianity maintains that grace, and therefore the possibilty of salvation, is always available to anyone who seeks it.

is the principle difference between Christianity and most other religions, which simply repeats my point.

Furthermore, do you really want to go down the road of arguing that it is only by virtue of a supposed punishment in the afterlife that men are made moral?

No, and you are just making a strawman. In nearly all societies, acts such as rape and murder cause a person to feel revulsion. There are many accounts of soldiers feeling terribly guilty after killing other human beings. Christianity promises 'grace' and forgiveness to those who have performed such acts, without concern for their motives (in principle). That is what makes it different, and such an excellent religion for a conqueror.

It's a meme where one can feel all righteous and justified in ordering thousands to be slaughered to save them from a greater evil, whether it is ignorance of the possibility of grace or sad-dam, once you get the pattern of kill to save into the mind set, the details of what the killed are being saved from are much easier to skim over.

Islam? All of the examples I listed were isolated Christian communities within Islamic societies

Which predated the Islamic conquest. Which were allowed to continue to exist by the relatively (to Christian) tolerant Islamic meme. When the reverse happend, isolated Islamic communities were treated to the inquisition.

I'm not arguing that Buddhism is a violent religion,

Uhh, your subsequent statement would suggest that you don't know enough about Buddhism to make any argument at all:

In a contemporary example, Buddhism has had little pacifying effect upon the Tamil Tigers, who are both explicity Buddhist and the most prolific suicide bombers in the world.

Earth to Cradle, the Tamil Tigers are Hindu fundamentalists, their suicide attacks are directed against Buddhist'. Maybe when you learn a the difference between the Hindu religion and Buddhism, you will have enough facts to base a coherent discussion wrt the effects of different religious memes on world history.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
I never objected... (5.00 / 1) (#690)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 08:00:00 PM EST

...to your assertion that Christianity holds out the possibility of salvation to all despite any past transgressions. What I object to is the finer points of your characterization and the consequences you've argued are derivative. The possibility of salvation is not tantamount to the endorsement or encouragement of sin and, save for a few infrequent corrupt or aberant periods in Christian history, it has not been promoted in that fashion.

No, and you are just making a strawman. In nearly all societies, acts such as rape and murder cause a person to feel revulsion. There are many accounts of soldiers feeling terribly guilty after killing other human beings. Christianity promises 'grace' and forgiveness to those who have performed such acts, without concern for their motives (in principle). That is what makes it different, and such an excellent religion for a conqueror.

I absolutely am not making a strawman argument. Your facile criticism of Christianity rests upon the fact that it offers to the sinner the possibility of salvation. That criticism stands if punishment in the afterlife is necessary to compel ethical behavior. It's not.

You also seem to seriously misunderstand the concept of Christian salvation. There are no incantations or rites of practical magic recognized by mainstream Christianity which assure someone of salvation. To put it simply, there are no loopholes in God's law. It is not enough to simply confess your sins or to go through the motions of begging for forgiveness, you must authentically repent your sins; and it is only God who can determine this and grant salvation.

Do you think the penal system should be used exclusively to dole out punishment or do you think it should aim at reform?

It's a meme where one can feel all righteous and justified in ordering thousands to be slaughered to save them from a greater evil, whether it is ignorance of the possibility of grace or sad-dam, once you get the pattern of kill to save into the mind set, the details of what the killed are being saved from are much easier to skim over.

I've never argued that Christianity as practiced doesn't make allowances for violence, only that it is, in this respect, no different from most other religious practices. If you wish to advance your argument, you'd do well to first demonstrate that Christian cultures have a more violent history than do other comparable societies.

Which predated the Islamic conquest.

Indeed they did, but that doesn't address the question. You argued that Eastern Christianty was influenced by pacifist traditions in other Eastern religions. Which Eastern religions were you speaking of?

Which were allowed to continue to exist by the relatively (to Christian) tolerant Islamic meme. When the reverse happend, isolated Islamic communities were treated to the inquisition.

True, but that's neither here nor there in the context of this discussion.

Earth to Cradle, the Tamil Tigers are Hindu fundamentalists, their suicide attacks are directed against Buddhist'.

Indeed. I stand corrected, but my larger point about the violence in Asian Buddhist cultures still stands.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
No (5.00 / 1) (#694)
by michaelp on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 09:08:39 PM EST

Your facile criticism of Christianity rests upon the fact that it offers to the sinner the possibility of salvation. That criticism stands if punishment in the afterlife is necessary to compel ethical behavior. It's not.

No, that criticism stands if soldiers believe that murder and rape will be forgiven in the afterlife, despite their feelings that it is unforgivable. The actual fact of whether it is forgiven or not doesn't matter, it is the belief regarding the act of murder in the soldier's mind that determines whether the soldier will follow an order to murder.

The criticism also stands if the soldiers believe that the good ones they murder will go to heaven (or a better place), and the bad ones will deservedly be sent to hell, and that belief allows them to kill without carefully checking the morality of the people they are killing.

It is not enough to simply confess your sins or to go through the motions of begging for forgiveness, you must authentically repent your sins; and it is only God who can determine this and grant salvation.

Which repeats my point above: if the soldier believes he/she has repented, she/he will believe she/he will go to heaven despite his/her murderous past. There is no way to prove whether God really has forgiven George Jr. for his drunkeness and drug use, but if George believes he has been forgiven, then he will act as if he has, and he will believe that if the thousands he had killed will be judged by the same god that judges him and that he will be forgiven for any sins he commits in ordering those deaths just as he believes he was forgiven for his other sins.

you'd do well to first demonstrate that Christian cultures have a more violent history than do other comparable societies.

Which is demonstrated by the comparison of Islamic tolerance of Christian communities vs. the inquisition. Islam is a very violent religion. Christianity is much more violent. Buddhism is one of the least violent. They all exist on a scale. My point all along is the Christianity is hands down the most violent, not that it is violent while others are peaceful.

Which Eastern religions were you speaking of?

Look it up, I can't do all your homework for you.

Indeed. I stand corrected, but my larger point about the violence in Asian Buddhist cultures still stands.

Uhh, no, because points stand on examples that demonstrate them. You've simple demonstrated again that Buddhism is less violent than Hinduism. There aren't many violent Buddhist fundamentalists because Buddha was quite careful to point out that murder can never be justified. Ever.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

Re: No (5.00 / 1) (#696)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 10:10:39 PM EST

No, that criticism stands if soldiers believe that murder and rape will be forgiven in the afterlife, despite their feelings that it is unforgivable.

You'd have a point were Christian belief as simple minded as you present it, but it's not. That has been my point all along. Importantly, I'm not arguing that such a simple minded variant of Christianity has never been utilized to justify violence, but that Christian belief in general is significantly more complex than that.

As a point of comparison, Napoleon justified his wars of conquest by means of the Republican rhetoric of Liberty, but that does not justify forever saddling Rationalist Liberalism with his excesses.

Which repeats my point above: if the soldier believes he/she has repented, she/he will believe she/he will go to heaven despite his/her murderous past.

Which repeats your fundamental misunderstanding: the absolution of sin is not believed to be some kind of metaphysical get out of jail free card.

Which is demonstrated by the comparison of Islamic tolerance of Christian communities vs. the inquisition.

No it isn't. That in no way demonstrates the history of Christian cultures to be more violent than any other culture.

My point all along is the Christianity is hands down the most violent, not that it is violent while others are peaceful.

And your point is as stupid and unsubstantiated now as it was when you first made it. You can continue to loudly assert it til the end of time, but that would in no way make it true.

Look it up, I can't do all your homework for you.

Don't attempt to make your failure to substantiate your claim a consequence of my ignorance. For the record, I can assure you that I am very familiar with the broader Hellenistic world, which was the cultural and social context in which Christianity first spread and developed. So I ask again, what religions did you have in mind?

Uhh, no, because points stand on examples that demonstrate them. You've simple demonstrated again that Buddhism is less violent than Hinduism.

You've got a real problem with the concept of proof. I did absolutely nothing of the sort. My confusing the religious affiliations of the two sides in a conflict I know next to nothing about is hardly demonstrative of anything, except that I speaking out of school when I brought up that example. Switch the attributions and the Sri Lankan Buddhists are then guilty of their violent oppression of the Tamil minority.

There aren't many violent Buddhist fundamentalists because Buddha was quite careful to point out that murder can never be justified. Ever.

Yeah, just like the the numerous Biblical exhortations to peace and the pacifist teachings of many Christian theologians has curbed the existence of violence in Christian cultures. Institutionalized violence is highly prevalent in almost all cultures, including Buddhist ones.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Obfuscation (5.00 / 1) (#735)
by michaelp on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 06:05:21 PM EST

of your error is all you seem to be doing here, Cradle.

You've consistently presented few facts to back up your claims, and those were in error.

You'd have a point were Christian belief as simple minded as you present it, but it's not.

The statement's of Jesus, that priests may forgive any and all sins, is quite simple. The very simple root difference of Christianity from other religions is that Jesus provided a way for sinners to repent and be saved. The worst sinners, to repent and be as saved as those who are without sin.

Now you can go into various complex obsfucations of this simple truth to make Christianity appear the same as other religions all you like, but the words of Jesus wrt to salvation are quite simple and clear: all are forgiven equally for any sin if they repent.

This difference in fact is what made Chritianity so popular among soldiers, murderers, thieves, etc. during it's infancy. This difference is in fact a principle difference between Christianity and Judaism, both believe in the same God, one believes in relatively easy forgiveness and the other does not.

That in no way demonstrates the history of Christian cultures to be more violent than any other culture.

Examples where Christians were more violent than another religion in a similar situation don't demonstrate that Christians were more violent than another culture in a similar situation? Lame attempt at obsfucation, just admit it, Cradle, if any point can be demonstrated by the historical record (written by christians no less), that Islam was generally more tolerant of other religions than Christianity certainly has been, repeatedly.

Switch the attributions and the Sri Lankan Buddhists are then guilty of their violent oppression of the Tamil minority.

You seem to have a real problem with the concept of degree. The Sri Lankan's weren't very violent until attacked, and they certainly never approached the degree of violence of the Tamils (a point you in fact were arguing, that the Tamils were the most violent, when you thought the Tamils were Buddhist!).

Again, my point all along has been that there is a difference of degrees, despite your increasingly desperate attempts to build a strawman argument claiming that I have been arguing a difference in kind.

Again, the point was Christianity=most violent meme, Islam = violent but not as violent as Christianty, Buddhism, least violent of the three, and that this difference is related to the different ideas about among the three of when killing is forgivable.

Again, I'm not making an argument that other religions don't ever condone killing or that adherants of other religions don't kill, so why do you keep trying to argue that point rather than the one I have been making?

I think it is because you know I'm right, and hope to hide that fact by trying to start a silly argument that you can 'win' by tautological statements rather than the debate the points I'm actually making.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
One last try at rational argument.... (5.00 / 1) (#737)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 08:53:04 PM EST

You've consistently presented few facts to back up your claims, and those were in error.

I have not placed myself in the postion of making any significant assertions and therefore I've none to substantiate. You, on the other hand, have made a series of assertions which demand some substantiation:

  1. Christian cultures are more violent than any other cultures.
  2. This marked predilection to violence can be attributed primarily to Christianity.
    1. The Christian doctrine of salvation is specifically to blame for the violent nature of Christian cultures.

You've entirely failed to make the case for any of your assertions. You've hardly even tried. Let's take them one by one:

You must be able to satisfactorily demonstrate point one in order for your argument to stand; thus far you haven't even come close. You've attempted to argue that the treatment of Jews and Muslims during the Inquisition is somehow conclusive evidence that Christianity is most violent religion of all. That argument fails for many reasons, most obviously because, even if I grant you your claim that Christianity is more violent than Islam, you've only demonstrated that Christianity is more violent than Islam and not that it more violent than all other religions. And just for the record, I'll not be granting you that Christianity is more violent than Islam. The Inquisition was a geographically and temporally limited event and was exceptional even in the admittedly violent and intolerant history of Christianity.

But the most serious issue you face in establishing this first point is a problem of quantification--a problem I believe to be impossible to overcome. How do we reasonably measure the degree of violence present in a culture? You've not forwarded a single criteria to this end.

You've done no better making the case for your second point. To begin with, you would have to establish that there is a higher correlation between Christianity and violence--somthing we've still no measure for--than for any other factor. Thus far you haven't even begun to eliminate other such basic and general factors as geography, technology, political structure, and aspects of non-religious culture as being less predictive of violence when taken singly or in various combinations with other factors.

Additionally, the existence of Christian communities with relatively peaceful histories represents a serious problem for your argument as it demonstrates that the presence of Christianity is not a sufficient cause of pronounced violence, but you simply brushed it off as irrelevant. The model of social causation that you seem to be working from is far too simple. Establishing such a model isn't a trivial problem and it remains a deeply divisive issue in the social sciences. Is your model of social causation along the lines of an economic materialism similar to orthodox Marxism? Or do you go in for the the broader social materialist approach of Annales School and Weber? Perhaps you're a functionalist after the model of Malinowski? Or maybe you've been strongly influenced the semiotic/interpretive approach of Geertz?

And as for 2a, you're just flat out wrong. You can call it obfuscation if you want, but very few practicing Christians would recognize their beliefs in your simplistic account of salvation. What you think is plainly evident from reading the Gospels is irrelevant. The truth is practicing Cristians, both contemporary and historical, have held to a very different understanding. I'd recommend that you read Agustine's Confessions and City of God to get a handle of some of the fundamentals of the Christian belief in salvation.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
More strawmen (5.00 / 1) (#751)
by michaelp on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 02:40:29 PM EST

You are claiming that because it would be hard for you to do a quantitative evaluation of the facts, that invalidates my qualitative evaluation. Which is simply another strawman: a quantitative evaluation can only invalidate a qualitative evaluation by being performed, and showing that the qualitative evaluation is based on non-typical examples.

All you've done is claim that because no comprehensive quantitative study that you know of has been done, the various facts of Christian viciousness I've listed must be non-typical, though you've presented no actual evidence of this claim.

You also had a chance to show that another religion routinely condoned and forgave acts as vicious as those performed by the Officials of the Inquisition, but have failed to present any of the "facts" you spoke of supporting your initial claim that I was "disregarding the facts of history."

So in all these words you have typed on this thread, you have failed to show that my argument was not based on the "facts", rather all you have done is say that a quantitative comparison of the major world religions has not been done, you can't figure out an easy way to do it. This tautology in no way invalidates the qualitative analysis of the facts I have presented.

Nor does the Eastern Orthodox experience: that the jaguar hides when the lion is in the hunting grounds doesn't mean that the jaguar is a less effective predator than the lion (in fact the population and range of the jaguar indicates it is more effective on many criteria).

Similarly the fact that Christianity can adjust is violent tendancies to cope with situations when it is not the dominant meme doesn't invalidate the thesis that it is the most violent meme when dominant.

And the fact that Christianity has been permitted to exist as a minority religion by another dominant meme while not itself permitting other religions to exist when Christianity is dominant is a solid piece of qualitative evidence supporting my thesis.

Thanks for sharing it!



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Your ongoing failure... (5.00 / 1) (#753)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 04:45:48 PM EST

...to recognize and employ even the most rudimentary mechanics of proper argumentation is truly frustrating.

All you've done is claim that because no comprehensive quantitative study that you know of has been done, the various facts of Christian viciousness I've listed must be non-typical, though you've presented no actual evidence of this claim.

You're incorrect. You are, as they say, putting cart before the horse. Your qualitative analysis of Christianity--predicated as it is on a misunderstanding--is simply not dispositive. Were you able to first make a case for your claim that Christianity is the most violent religion, then you'd at least have an opening to offer up your putative explanation, but at this point that door remains tightly shut.

Your argument is analogous to claiming that, based solely upon an analysis of its aesthetic qualities, you find mundane quartz crystal to be the most valuable material of all. Never mind the fact that you've made no attempt to discern the relative values which gold, diamonds, and rubies fetch in the actual marketplace.

You also had a chance to show that another religion routinely condoned and forgave acts as vicious as those performed by the Officials of the Inquisition, but have failed to present any of the "facts" you spoke of supporting your initial claim that I was "disregarding the facts of history."

Look carefully over what I've written and you'll find that never once did I deny the Christian doctrine of salvation is unique in some respects. I challenged your assertion that this unique aspect of Christianity has as a consequence a increased level of violence in practicing communities. You've still presented nothing resembling evidence to this effect.

And no, the mere existence of the Inquisition is not satisfactory evidence that Christianity is fundamentally violent in nature for the very same reason that mere existence of St. Francis does not prove that it to be a fundamentally pacifistic faith.

And as for my "facts," you should know that the onus is squarely on your shoulders. You made the claims; now it is incumbent upon you to support them. All such technicalities aside, when compared to the savagery of Gaius Julius Caesar's near genocidal campaign in Gaul, the truly astonishing swath of destruction and human misery left in the wake of Ghengis Khan's conquests, and the routine rituals of mass human sacrifice practiced by the Aztecs, the barbarity of the Inquisition positively pales in comparison. Importantly, in the case of the Caesar, the Khan, and the Aztec emperor's, the prevailing religions in their respective cultures did not even provide grounds to condemn their actions; rather they were glorified.

So in all these words you have typed on this thread, you have failed to show that my argument was not based on the "facts"

Dear boy, claiming that, based solely upon the existence of the Inquisition, Christian cultures are the most violent of all, and that this is a somehow a consequence of of the Christian doctrine of salvation, does not a factual argument make. You'd have me make fantastic inferential leaps simply because you say so. Sorry, I'm just not going along for the ride, and I suspect that your argument would seem remotely plausible only to those who've already decided that Christianity and European history are terrible beyond compare.

Similarly the fact that Christianity can adjust is violent tendancies to cope with situations when it is not the dominant meme doesn't invalidate the thesis that it is the most violent meme when dominant.

And here, in a nutshell, is an example of your fundamental error: Christianity has no tendencies, nor can it cope, those are attributes which belong exclusively to people.

<aside class="snide">When ever will I learn not to engage simpletons carelessly wielding meme-speak in arguments over anything cultural?</snide>

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Notice that (5.00 / 1) (#756)
by michaelp on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 08:31:37 PM EST

All such technicalities aside, when compared to the savagery of Gaius Julius Caesar's near genocidal campaign in Gaul, the truly astonishing swath of destruction and human misery left in the wake of Ghengis Khan's conquests, and the routine rituals of mass human sacrifice practiced by the Aztecs,

The memes that explained and glorified these campaigns and actions have deservably been cast on the dustbin of history. They were sucessful memes of conquest & murder once, they are no longer.

Christianity is the meme invoked by Bush in his present *don't call it a* crusade, it's still around, though it deserves to be cast to the same place as the creed's followed by Khan, Caesar, & Montezuma.

And here, in a nutshell, is an example of your fundamental error: Christianity has no tendencies, nor can it cope, those are attributes which belong exclusively to people.

Uhh, you may want to check a dictionary there Cradle, Christianity is a noun, and least in the English language. I see why you don't like to make factual statements, you get so many of them wrong.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]

Ahh... I see (5.00 / 1) (#757)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 09:54:12 PM EST

The memes that explained and glorified these campaigns and actions have deservably been cast on the dustbin of history. They were sucessful memes of conquest & murder once, they are no longer.

So Christianity is the most violent religion except for those cases where it's not and, well, they don't matter anyway. How convenient.

Uhh, you may want to check a dictionary there Cradle, Christianity is a noun, and least in the English language. I see why you don't like to make factual statements, you get so many of them wrong.

Uhh darlin', it is a consequence of our language that concepts and things are, syntactically speaking, treated in the same way; pointing this out is not an especially compelling argument for the specific ontology of "Christianity".

And as for my errors, I made exactly one: my misattribution of the religious affiliations in the Sri Lankan conflict. You, on the other hand, have dodged and ignored every single critique of your position and relied solely upon assertion to make your case.

In any case, I'm content to let you continue wallow in your own ignorance. The last word is your's if you want it.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Extinct memes (5.00 / 1) (#769)
by michaelp on Thu Jun 12, 2003 at 12:45:45 PM EST

were not covered by my original statement, of course. I suppose if I said that the Polar Bear is the largest land predator in N. America, you would be excitedly claiming that I was clearly ignorant of Allosaurus & T. Rex.

Why would you think they were covered, when I specifically was talking in the present tense. Christianity is is the best meme of conquest, Ursus maritimus is the largest N. American land predator, do you start to understand to concept of tense now?

Obviously, memes that have become extinct are not now the best creeds for a conqueror to invoke. Bush might have said we are going to conquer Iraq for the glory of Mithras, but that wouldn't have been very inspiring for the soldiers and taxpayers of today.

I made exactly one: my misattribution of the religious affiliations in the Sri Lankan conflict.

And your second error was in claiming that an religion cannot cope nor have tendancies. Those are the only two specific facts you raised in opposition to my points, though you did dig up several facts supporting my points, both the one's you raised against my points turned out to be wrong.

Likely if you have other 'facts' that you are basing your argument on, they are also being misunderstood or misremembered.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Addendum: Confession and Salvation (5.00 / 1) (#740)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 11:37:32 PM EST

Now that I have access the bookmarks on my home computer, I can direct you to the Catechism of Catholic Church and what is has to say above the sacrament of confession. Especially relevant to this discussion are 1451 - 1453:
  1. Among the penitent's acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."
  2. When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.
  3. The contrition called "imperfect" (or "attrition") is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin's ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Which makes my point nicely, thanks (5.00 / 1) (#745)
by michaelp on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 12:52:42 PM EST

it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

There being no objective way to determine if the penitent honestly loves God above all else & if his resolution is really firm, it all comes down to: if the penitent believes he is forgiven, he is.

Other mainstream religions don't provide such an easy 'ticket to heaven' for a murderer or a leader who orders mass murder to be commited.

Of course, there is no objective way to tell if a Buddhist has obtained enlightentment either, but nor is there any forgiveness for murder: the best a Buddhist murderer can hope for acceptance of his punishment in this life & that his soul will not make it's karma worse by struggling against it's dharma in the next life.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
No it doesn't (5.00 / 1) (#755)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 05:10:15 PM EST

it all comes down to: if the penitent believes he is forgiven, he is.

Indeed, it does all come down to belief and your account hardly resembles the prevalent strains of belief in Christianity. Sure, in hands of sociopath, the promise of salvation and forgiveness could be easily fashioned into catch-all justification for anything at all, but in the hands of men such as Augustine and Francis of Assisi it had rather the opposite effect. More importantly, it had a considerably milder effect on most believers.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Oh, puhleeze (4.50 / 6) (#252)
by Pseudonym on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:03:04 AM EST

Christianity is a stone cold killer's religion, built by and for conquerors, the proof is clearly in the pudding & the whipping it has given to the world.

Religion doesn't hurt people. People hurt people.

The issues that you note are not caused by christianity, but by inadequate separation of church and state. Christianity started off as a fringe offshoot of Judaism. Its sacred texts (or at least the ones that don't come from Judaism) were written by people under persecution from state and society. Christianity is still the most persecuted religion on the planet. (Note: The reason for this is not that lots of people hate christians, but rather that there are a lot of christians around, including in countries where there is a lot of general persecution, plus the fact that christianity is seen as a Western religion in countries with a lot of justifiable distrust of the West.)

That it has been used by people in power to justify all sorts of evil should be no surprise to you. This has happened to every religion which has ended up as a state-established religion, just like every philosophy, economic model and cultural norm which has been unfortunate enough to end up on the wrong side of a politician. It's just unfortunate for christanity's image that it was the religion of choice for empire-era Europe. If it had been something else, you'd be blaming that religion when it's in fact the leaders that were to blame, not the particular excuse that they used to get the masses onside.

What sets christianity apart is not the idea of punishment/reward after death. If you look in the relevant sacred texts you won't even find the concept of punishment after death mentioned there[1]. What sets christianity apart is that it was from its earliest days a multi-national religion, not tied to a state or ethnic group. Unfortunately for christianity, christians in the West have forgotten this.

[1] A slight lie. There is much allusion to the concept of the evil spritual forces, aka demons, being punished for eternity. However, there's no evidence, for example, that the Hebrew religion even believed in life after death.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Punishment after death (5.00 / 4) (#396)
by The Writer on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:06:05 PM EST

OK, I usually don't respond to religion threads 'cos I don't think they are very productive, but I felt that I need to set this matter straight: whoever claims that there is no punishment after death in the Bible (for believers, not just unbelievers), is dead wrong. Somebody said that Christian teaching is unacceptable because you can make a mess of your entire life and you will be spared if you repent at the last moment. This is a misrepresentation of the message of the Bible.

While it is true the Bible teaches that even the worst sinner who repents will be saved (i.e. forgiven and spared from eternal perdition), this does not mean that one can live a sinful life and be spared of any consequences. I quote here from the 3rd chapter of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians:

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (KJV)

It is important to understand that Paul here is addressing the believers, not the unbelievers. He emphasizes that a Christian shall be judged by God in "the day" (referring to the judgment at the end of the age---but that's not relevant to our discussion here). Specifically, the Christian's work shall be judged. If it is not approved, then he shall suffer loss. This means that even a Christian, after believing, will still need to live a life that will be approved by God. Christ's salvation is not a "ticket to heaven"; one cannot just believe ("buy the ticket") and then do whatever one likes --- go around murdering people and doing things incompatible with the Christian faith --- and repent at the last minute and be spared of any consequences. Willful sin of this sort will not go without consequence.

The person will be definitely be forgiven, as Paul says "he himself will be saved". But "... yet so as through fire." I.e., there will be a consequence. There is a difference between forgiveness and bearing the consequences of one's deeds. As Paul says in the epistles to the Galatians,

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

A simple illustration may be in order here: if a child disobeys his parents' prohibition against drinking rat poison, the parents may forgive him, but that does not spare him from the consequence of the poison. Sure, they will, out of love, take him to a physician so that he will be restored; but that process of restoration may not be pleasant, and that also doesn't mean that in the interim, he will not suffer from the effects of the poison. Similarly, the forgiveness preached in the Bible is not a free ticket to live however one likes and repent at the last minute to be spared of any consequence.

Death is not a release from this principle either (although I won't go into the details at this time). Paul certainly teaches that there is life after death (read 1 Corinthians 15). It is incorrect to say that the Bible has no concept of punishment after death.

[ Parent ]

Forgiven, but paying the consequences (5.00 / 1) (#403)
by rafael on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:49:41 PM EST

If I understand correctly you're just demonstrating that the Bible states the existence of the Purgatory. (And that's in fact one of the classic proofs of the existence of the purgatory.)

[ Parent ]
No (5.00 / 2) (#410)
by The Writer on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 06:32:55 PM EST

Not purgatory. At least, not the purgatory as explained by Catholic theology. The passage I quoted, as well as other passages in the New Testament that talk about reward/punishment, refer to a time when all the believers will together appear before Christ and either be approved (referred to variously as "enter into the joy of your master", "crown of righteousness", etc.), or disapproved ("cast him into the outer darkness", "saved but so as through fire", etc.). This means that the judgment is not immediately after death, but at a fixed time, which is likely at Christ' 2nd coming according to the Apocalypse.

[ Parent ]

Heretic! (5.00 / 1) (#428)
by michaelp on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:35:22 PM EST

You're not qualified to interpret the scripture!

Seriously, the words of Paul do not take precedence over the words of Christ, do they?

"Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:21-23).

IANAP, but isn't the usual interpretation of this that Christ gave the power to priests to forgive any sin, and thus save any sinner from the fire?



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
No (5.00 / 2) (#450)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:41:22 PM EST

IANAP, but isn't the usual interpretation of this that Christ gave the power to priests to forgive any sin, and thus save any sinner from the fire?

Man, including priests, cannot forgive sins, that power is reserved exclusively by the trinitarian God. Whatever else he may have been incorrect about, Martin Luther was dead on when he argued that the selling of indulgences claimed for the Church powers that belonged exclusively to God.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
There have been wars fought (5.00 / 1) (#679)
by michaelp on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 04:00:57 PM EST

over that issue.

(Man, including priests, cannot forgive sins,)

Which I think makes my point quite well.

While some of the followers of Luther may well have actually believed the point worth dying for, most of the armies were raised by leaders using the issue to free themselves from the tyranny of the Holy Romans.

After which, the difference between protestant & catholic teachings on the matter of selling salvation became much less distint.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Symetry (4.50 / 6) (#374)
by wiesmann on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:04:07 PM EST

I'm not christian, so I cannot really discuss if the actions of Bush are consistent with his claims of being a christian. I can only try to see if his actions will improve the world. What I can say is that if stupidely bombing out places is consistent with being a good christian, then chrisitans are as much a problem in this mess than muslims - something I started fearing since Bush started with his "crusade" rhetoric. There is probably somewhere somebody saying something like this:
If you look at the Coran as a whole, you'll see other stuff painting authorities as having the right to wield force to maintain order, like a shepherd. Ben-Laden, right or wrong, may have felt that the best solution for his people in the long run would have been to bomb the places from which the perceived danger came from. I don't see that as being inconsistant with being a Muslim.


[ Parent ]
It is tottaly inconsistent! (5.00 / 1) (#423)
by johwsun on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:11:43 PM EST

Bush has not the right to "felt" about susch important matters.
He ought to ASK for his people to VOTE about it.
Otherwise, the crime is his crime, and the people are innoscent for the crime he did.

About the whip, Jesus did not hit any people. He just throw away the tables of the merchants..

[ Parent ]

It's not inconsistent, Iasson. (5.00 / 1) (#629)
by BurntHombre on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 12:12:20 AM EST

Iasson, I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) that you are not a U.S. citizen. The U.S. is not a direct democracy; rather, it is a democratic republic. That means that the people elect representatives who, in turn, vote on national issues. There is no historical precedent for the U.S. President asking the people to directly vote on whether or not to go to war. I'm not passing judgement on your desire for direct democracy. I'm just saying that's not how the U.S. works.

And, by the way, would you explain why you rated this comment of mine with a 1? I'm just curious.

[ Parent ]

1 rated because... (5.00 / 1) (#665)
by johwsun on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 11:23:05 AM EST

And, by the way, would you explain why you rated this comment of mine with a 1? I'm just curious. because it seems to me that you are using Bible's "Romans 13" to justify the unjustifiable crimes of George Bush. At least you should quote the whole 13 passage, with its 14 verses...and of course you should try to do a good translation too...

[ Parent ]
Fair enough (5.00 / 1) (#680)
by BurntHombre on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 04:01:59 PM EST

I think I'm beginning to gain insight into your worldview. We have very different ideas on how the moderation system is supposed to be used.

I take it you think I took the verses from Romans 13 out of their contextual place in that chapter. In fact, I quoted far more of the chapter than was necessary precisely so that the reader would see it in it's proper context. Do you think the remaining verses in chapter 13 change the meaning of the verses I quoted?

I'm dismissing your remarks that I used a "bad" translation, unless you can come up with a "good" translation that gives significantly more insight into the meaning of those verses.

[ Parent ]

I dont know my friend... (5.00 / 1) (#683)
by johwsun on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 05:06:37 PM EST

the "Romans 13" passage is a very difficult one...
I still cannot understand the spirit of that passage, even if it is written in my native language. It seems complicated to me.

But for God's sake, I dont think Paul said to us that any human authority is blessed by God to kill...Or that God gave to any human authority the permission to kill other humans.

I think that humans created that "license to kill" permission by voting stupidely in the knowledge tree with the help of Satan...
God did not gave to any authority the permission to kill.
He just gave us the permission to vote, and we used our vote with a stupid manner, thats why we destoyed the perfect word, and the remaining is the word we are living now.

what do you think about it?

[ Parent ]

..and dont moderate Bible again... (5.00 / 1) (#686)
by johwsun on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 05:32:42 PM EST

..you have to quote the whole passage, not just a verse. Otherwise you are a liar. Heresy is the child of moderation and bad translation.

[ Parent ]
Even as a non-believer (3.50 / 8) (#111)
by davidmb on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:37:01 AM EST

This strikes a chord with me. I grew up being taught about the compassionate charitable side of Christianity and that has always appealed. The idea of pro-war Christians would have seemed odd to me back then. But then I really believed that wars were only legitimately fought by decent people if they were matters of self-defence, such as WWII.

The world is of course quite different to that. There are large numbers of people, especially in the US, who confuse being good Christians with being in favour of dubious wars. The one hopeful sign is that there are a significant number of Christians who object to their religion being co-opted for political and military goals.
־‮־

The world is of course quite different to that. (4.33 / 3) (#124)
by dipierro on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:50:55 PM EST

But then I really believed that wars were only legitimately fought by decent people if they were matters of self-defence, such as WWII.

But self-defense on what scale? Should those in the United States who had blonde hair and blue eyes have refused to support the war against Hitler, because Hitler wasn't a personal threat to them? Or is it OK to extend it to defense of others? How big of a class can we extend it to? Races? Countries? Continents? The class of all people?

And what counts as a legitimate threat? Only killing? Or does taking away basic freedoms count as well?

The war in Iraq certainly was self-defense, if you extend the class far enough. Saddam Hussein was a threat to people's lives, and people's freedoms. Of course, so was Bush.

When war is justified is not as cut and dry as you make it out to be. You can say it's never justified, and at least be consistent, but once you start qualifying that with ifs and buts you'll find yourself on the slippery slope towards believing that war is always justified.

Fortunately humans are not purely logical, so we can pick an arbitrary point on that slope to rest.



[ Parent ]
History lesson (5.00 / 1) (#334)
by nictamer on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:57:35 PM EST

The US didn't declare war on Hitler until he himself did it. Make fun of the "surrendering" French, but we tried stopping him a few years before you were forced to.
--
Religion is for sheep.
[ Parent ]
Yeah, so? (5.00 / 1) (#352)
by dipierro on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:11:55 PM EST

We never declared war on Saddam Hussein.

[ Parent ]
religion is for morons (2.80 / 25) (#118)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:18:01 PM EST

christianity, islam, judaism, etc. do NOT have a monopoly on morality.

goodness and common sense right and wrong exist without the sanction of the almighty church/ temple/ mosque/ etc.

much evil is done in the name of religion, and christians, moslems, jews, etc. amaze me at the speed at which they run away from that which is done in their name.

fuck religion, it is for little sheep.

i am a good person and do moral things and i need no goddamn musty old book tot tell me that is so.

grow an independent thinking mind and dump the ancient bullshit.

we need more independence and individuality in this world, and less sheep with malleable minds ready to do the bidding of any charismatic dumb fuck who appears and calls upon some ancient holy clap trap to move the sheep to his will.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

please explain (3.66 / 3) (#125)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:51:46 PM EST

what a "Good" thing is.
what "right" and "wrong" are.

Your definitions come from somewhere... if not a book, then from somewhere else. Either your head (in which case, they'll likely be different then mine) or "God", in which case belief, if not religion does indeed become important.

There is no right and wrong without a god. (of some sort)

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

unBELIEVEABLE (4.00 / 3) (#127)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:09:13 PM EST

there is no right and wrong without a god??!!

are you FOR REAL???

human beings are endowed, from birth, with the ability to empathize and sympathize with others

it is from this INNATE NATURAL PROCLIVITY and simple kindergarten lessons of putting yourself in someone else's shoes (not taking a toy from someone because you wouldn't want someone to take a toy from you) that leads to ALL OF HUMAN MORALITY

ALL OF IT

your fucking "god" is simply an idealized human being, a symbol in your mind fo a human being who never does wrong, and always does right

it is a good guide to live by, but it does not rise to a level of power above that of a SIMPLE AESOP'S FABLE

it is AMAZING INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY for you to try to defend the good that is done in the name of organized religion without OWNING UP to the vast evil that is done in the name of organized religion as well

don't get me wrong, organized religion has done much good in this world, but the time will come, and the time is nigh, when the good that is done by organized religion will be outbalanced by the evil that is done in it's name... that has ALWAYS been done in it's name

when that time is come, religion's best lessons will stand as they are: common sense right and wrong morality that does not come from religion, nor owe a debt to organized religion, the only thing that we owe ANYTHING to for our morality is OUR BASIC INSTINCTS FOR GOOD AND MORALITY AS HUMAN BEINGS: OUR ABILITY TO SYMPATHIZE AND EMPATHIZE.

organized religion MAGNIFIES those good instincts but organized religion ALSO MAGNIFIES HUMAN EVIL AS WELL

do you deny this? how many millions examples from history and today do you want me to show you?

religion must be subjugated beneath the foot of common sense if civilzation is to survive. it is wonderful that some people want to devote themselves to the sanctification of human good and the idealized form of it, some made up "god". but that these people deny the evil that comes from the organizations they have created is simple blindness, simple intellectual dishonesty.

organizations get ossified, they decay, they don't change with the times, and they wind up defending ancient positions of morality that do not resemble modern forms of common sense. morality CHANGES OVER TIME. it changes with technology. do you deny this? do you deny that religion resists natural change for GOOD?

grow up.

religion must be subjugated underneath simple common sense if civilization is to survive.

morality owes NOTHING to religion. religion owes EVERYTHING to common sense human empathy and sympathy... that is the real source of morality in this world.

your ARROGANCE will cause suffering in this world. because you are arrogant if you think your ossified, ancient form of morality is superior to SIMPLE FUCKING COMMON SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

thanks... (3.00 / 3) (#131)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:27:34 PM EST


for the completely off-topic "I'll react with an anti-religious, based on my own personal experience" rant.

there is no right and wrong without a god??!!

That's right.

Why? Because without a "god", right and wrong cannot be defined.

Your definition won't necessarily match mine. That doesn't mean that we won't ever agree, but we won't use the same definition unless we concede that definition to something else.

 

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

you are completely unapologetic for your position (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:48:19 PM EST

you resist any wiggle room or change in your position

that is absolutist of you

so watch as time and history pass you by

if you marry yourself to a historical pov and completely resist any change, don't be surprised if your pov winds up in the historical dustbin

watch as time passes you by

that is your fate for the rest of your life

that is the price you pay for your absolutist, unbending allegiance to a historical way of thinking

goodbye and good riddance, mr. dead ideology


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

huh? (5.00 / 1) (#179)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:10:01 PM EST

Wiggle room what what position?

I haven't stated my beliefs here in any way.

Oh wait! You're ASSUMING that I'm religious, when all I really did was point out a glaring inaccuracy in your original post.

That's ok, though. I'll just stop having the conversation.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

lol (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:25:29 PM EST

did you not write

Why? Because without a "god", right and wrong cannot be defined.

and now you write

I haven't stated my beliefs here in any way.

Oh wait! You're ASSUMING that I'm religious

so are you, like, off your rocker?

That's ok, though. I'll just stop having the conversation.

um... good, because all you've seemed to bring to the "conversation" is alzheimer's disease, lol

anyone else reading the thread can appreicate my position irregardless of your dementia, so it's all good ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

heheh (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 06:39:18 PM EST


"irregardless" is not a word, dude.

However it sums up your problems with my comments nicely.

Go back and read what I said. Just because the words are close together doesn't mean that they are used in the way you want to interpret them.

My point, for the last time, is that without a "god" that we agree exists, what is "right" and what is "wrong" cannot be defined.

Ok now read that once again. Slowly.

Does an atheist need "god" to do something "right"? Of course not. But what is "right", if not something from a "god"? Well, it's nothing more than whatever the atheist feels it is - and it can change depending on you the person is.

So, I ask you, How can you do something "right" when whether or not that something is "right" is open to interpretation? You can't.

Introduce a "god" into the equation. And you get the opposite effect.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

you're insane (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:09:23 PM EST

first, i thought you were ending the conversation? are you trying to completely shred all of your integrity? please, go away, because your positions are not only nonsensical, they are actually contradictory and change by the post!

about irregardless, from merriamwebster.com:

One entry found for irregardless.
Main Entry: ir·re·gard·less
Pronunciation: "ir-i-'gärd-l&s
Function: adverb
Etymology: probably blend of irrespective and regardless
Date: circa 1912
nonstandard : REGARDLESS
usage Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that "there is no such word." There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

amusing, thanks for the nod. ;-)

so irregardless (snicker), i repeat: your position is truly insane.

why is it not right to murder someone for no reason? because you said so? because i said so? because it is written in some old musty book?

no, it is wrong to murder someone for no reason because it does not make common sense. whose common sense? any person over the age of 9 from all cultures of the world's common sense. simple human empathy and sympathy can arrive at this conclusion from simple lessons first learned in kindergarten about putting yourself in someone else's shoes.

we don't murder each other randomly because of the grand judeochirstian tradition... we don't murder each other randomly BECAUSE IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

read my first post about this.

since you are being nonsensical, loopy, and contradictory across your own comments, then i'll just give you a comment loop to follow and you can tease out your own contradictions. ;-)

god is a cool little invention of mankind's. but the little invention of mankind called god has to be subverted and subsumed to the needs of civilization. if the sheep want to follow a god, let them. but their little made up god must be under the boot of the needs of democracy and civilization- that comes first.

to hand the keys to the car called the world to a crazy cult who likes to kneel five times a day or eat little paper wafers and drink red wine is not the way you properly ensure the safety and stability of the world. religion owes it's existence to common sense. common sense morality DOES NOT owe it's existence to religion.

god is an idealized human being who never does wrong. he is a useful guide for morality and right and wrong. but his value does not rise about that a simple aesop's fable.

i mean really, whose god are you talking about? you say if you revert to my definition of right and wrong, then we are losing something. i agree with you! we should all make up our own minds. i have faith in human beings to arrive at obvious truths about obvious things, like murdering someone for no reason. a 9 year old can you tell you that, before he ever read the quran, or the bible, or the torah.

besides, i can frame your concern: me defining right and wrong, as really my concern: why should i trust YOUR god to define right and wrong? is not what we call "god" different in all relgions? in all sects? in all individuals? what you call god is different from what someone else calls god.

therefore, your concern about me defining right and wrong is already a problem you have with everybody else walking around on the street: someone else calling something right and wrong based on what they think "god" in their head is saying... it's the same thing as me saying what is right and wrong based on what i think! lol ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Jargon (5.00 / 1) (#480)
by banffbug on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 02:02:34 AM EST

God is nothing more than an idea, just like right and wrong, left and right, day and night. So you either have a god in your thoughts about life, or you don't. It's up to you. Some would say it's a crutch, but it's a start towards leading a life you can be happy with.

Isn't that what religion is about? Behind all these god memes (also consider most religions don't focus on one 'god'), is a drive to dignify your life and soul. Clinging to a sense of rightgeousness by claiming salvation for pronouncing God's name, without true intent, is true blasphemy. This quick fix of ignoring the possibility of hell ... god bless.



[ Parent ]

What is Right (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by WetherMan on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:12:14 PM EST

I'm sorry, but why are you instantly discounting the idea that RIGHT has an objective meaning, "in which case, they'll likely be different then mine"? Isn't this what we see every day in debate, public discourse, competing sects of worship?  Why instantly discount this idea of subjective morality when it exists all around us.

Just because it exists on highly distributed pieces of paper doesn't make it any less subjective than my own ideas of morality.

Of course as soon as you accept the notion that text handed down over the years trumps individual thought, then the argument for subjective morality flies right out the window

[ Parent ]

chill out... (5.00 / 2) (#129)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:19:42 PM EST

I'm not discounting the idea of subjective morality at all.

I'm saying that if there is no "god" in the equation, it (morality) is automatically subjective.

Following from that, you can't say you did the "right" thing if the definition of "right" is subjective. You can say that you did what you thought was "right" or what most others thought was "right".

 You can't have a set standard for what is "right" without a "god", something that, judging by the rant CTS wrote below, he doesn't seem to understand.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Oh... I see now.... (5.00 / 1) (#336)
by adiffer on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:02:44 PM EST

The kind of right and wrong you are referring to with God in the definition are what I've heard mentioned as Right and Wrong.  The capitalization is meant to infer some kind of absolutism in the sense that there is one correct frame of reference to understand it all.

I'm inclined to think you are right about this.  That kind of absolutism does require a rather large assumption up front to anchor it.  Where others are getting confused, I believe, is when they think you mean right and wrong instead of Right and Wrong.  Our lower case versions are subjective BECAUSE they don't have an absolutist anchor to hold them fixed in memespace.

As a physicist, I had to learn to give up absolutism in our theories because none of those theories could accurately model the Reality around us.  I'm loathe to go back to any form of absolutism now that I've made the mental shift because it looks to me like the refuge of a child.  Children who don't have a grasp of concepts sophisticated enough to model the relativism of our world and socities have a very difficult time coping with all the complexities.  Absolutism helps protect their sanity long enough to learn just how many variables there really are in their lives AND that they can manage to juggle a very large number of them if they work at learning how to do it.  I'm not a child anymore, so I'm reluctant to use that refuge.

(Note that when I use the term 'child' I do not mean to imply some of the other things kids do.  I do see absolutists as children in the meme sense, but not as children in the whiny brat sense.)
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]

I suggest a book... (4.00 / 2) (#369)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:52:09 PM EST

<u>Ethics without God</u> by Kai Nielsen.



[ Parent ]

And? (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by misfit13b on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:05:18 PM EST

I think you're veering a bit off topic this time. Sure, circletimessquare says "fuck religion" - but what about the rest of the world beyond yourself? Religion isn't going anywhere, whether you (or I) think it should or not.

The topic at hand is that it is the view of a world leader that he is a born-again Christian. Do his actions reflect that with his handling of the Iraq war?

[ Parent ]
gw bush is a moron (2.66 / 3) (#130)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:21:33 PM EST

he is a simple little man with a giant faith in christianity

i voted for gore, i cried when bush stole the election

and i stand behind the actions of the US GOVERNMENT on iraq.

because people here condemn gw bush, as if he symbolizes us power.

when 2004 comes, or 2008 comes, and gw bush is gone, what red herring will these people have to condemn when us policy doesn't change?

gw bush is but a cog in the machine. he is not a dictator. the us is a stable democracy that represents a SPECTRUM of religious beliefs. and to fall for propaganda that equates the us with the fundamentalists and tyrants it stands against is simply blindness.

democracy is the real champion of civilization in the world, not religion.

gw bush's beliefs in christianity do NOT represent the us govt. they do not represent the american people. people forget that us democracy is ALIVE and WELL thank you very much.

democracy shoulld be championed and ALL RELIGIONS: judaism, christianity,  islam, hinduism, sikhism, etc. must fall beneath the foot of democracy if civilization is to survive.

NO RELIGION LIES ABOVE DEMOCRACY AND COMMON SENSE.

I REPEAT: NO RELIGION RISES ABOVE SIMPLE COMMON SENSE ON GOOD AND MORALITY AND THE VOTING WILL OF THE PEOPLE OF ANY COUNTRY.

these sentiments are ALIVE AND WELL in the us, and very much DEAD in other places.

so which do you support? democracy? common sense?

or do believe in the fall of civilization in the form of christian versus jew versus moslem versus hindu versus sikh?

religious symbolism is to be SMASHED and SUBJUGATED if civilization is to survive. to champion religion: ANY RELIGION is to stand AGAINST democratic principles annd common sense good and morality.

to take the christian beliefs of one TEMPORARY idiot at the helm of a government that stands for the rights of a SPECTRUM of beliefs, and then to EQUATE said country/ government with the CLEARLY nondemocratic entitites it stands against is PROPAGANDA and INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Again, we're talking scope. (5.00 / 1) (#223)
by misfit13b on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:16:06 PM EST

I am not a religious person, and religion does not factor in to my daily decisions. That being said, so what?

We had a war where none of the representatives that we voted for by democratic process denied Bush the power to do so. I personally do not believe that the will of the US people was served by these actions a few months ago, nor do I think was it done honestly. Again, so what?

The article is about G.W. Bush, religion, and where they differ. It is about the view of one man, albeit a highly publicised one, and how he reflected the actions of one who claims to be a "born-again Christian". Not how he reflects on the country, but on his own supposed belief system and the history and teachings thereof.

Thanks for replying tho, I often enjoy reading your posts.

[ Parent ]
guilty as charged (5.00 / 1) (#244)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:23:20 PM EST

of completely veering off topic

but if you really enjoy reading my posts, then it was worth it... thanks for the compliment ;-)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

you don't really help with this (5.00 / 2) (#155)
by carlossch on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:45:04 PM EST

You see, I agree with your points, and I am an atheist myself. But until you learn that in this manner you are shoving  your own vision of the world down other people's throats, you are doing as much harm as they are.

Atheism, agnosticism and other non-theisms are positions that in theistic minds go against everything that is perceived as right since they were little children, which makes it very difficult to put in the context of a rational and civilized discussion, but your remarks and angry handwaving do not help muchm either. You should absolutely point out that morals are independent of religious faith, but you also should know that intelligence is also independent of it.

Carlos
He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.
[ Parent ]

you are right (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:19:28 PM EST

but i am angry at the injustices that are done in the world in the name of religion, and i think many share that anger with me.

what remains to be seen is if i am wrong for showing my anger, or you are wrong for NOT showing your anger.

all that is required for evil to triumph in this world is for good people to do nothing.

what is my anger versus your complacency?

in anger, much evil can be done, but so can much evil be done with a few winks and a nod and promises to do nothing from the overly-complacent good people in the world.

do you care about people who live in the world right now under the yoke of religious fundamentalism? do they not deserve the same rights and freedoms you and i enjoy? or does the notion of basic human equality and rights to freedoms end at the borders of our respective stupid little nations?

you might label me as culturally imperialistic for saying this. indeed, globalization is known as americanization in some circles.

but however my message is twisted by ethnocentric provincial types, i really think the most important lesson for us all is this: whenever you let rights erode in any place in the world, that erosion of rights spreads like a cancer, and so you must confront it sooner or later, and sooner is always better.

do i purport to impose my western democratic ways on others? if by that you mean driving an suv around and going to starbucks, no i do not. but if by that you mean equality of men and women and the right of everyone to vote for their government, then yes i do.

and if you confuse those two meanings in your mind, then that is your propaganda, and not mine, period. i am very clear on that, why aren't you?

(not you specifically, i am talking to anyone reading my post right now... i don't think the person i am replying to believes this, i am just on a roll with my convictions right now ;-P)

i stand for fundamental human rights the world over. native cultures be damned, american and european included. if a native culture does not respect the rights of women, or it believes in classism or racism, it really must be changed. and change it will. because all cultures change over time, no culture is static. and western democracies have a LOT to learn from other cultures in the world in terms of basic human rights as well. i am talking about a universal baseline of human rights and freedoms beholden to NO CULTURE AT ALL. a master understanding of very BASIC rights that ALL cultures must follow and be beholden to IRREGARDLESS of geographical location and COMPLETELY divorced in meaning or understanding as derived from particular region of the world. not the imposition of western democracy on other parts of the world, imposition of DEMOCRACY period. no provincialism about it.

universal human rights is really that: universal. NO culture has a monopoly on it or can claim some sort of ethnocentric fathership or mothership of it. because then that defeats the meaning of the universaality of it in the first place.

and if you oppose these simple meanings in the name of neocolonialism or americanization, or whateve rbuzzword you bandy about, then you simply are an obstructionist against the spread of universal human rights in the name of politics and propaganda. of course neocolonial thinking exists. of course americans can be arrogant assholes. but do NOT forget the most important overarching lesson: the spread of universal human rights. if oyu focus too much on america in particular, you lose the larger lesson. think of america as simply an imperfect tool in the spread of these ideals much more important than this one pathetic nation called the usa. i mean gw bush is certainly a tool, lol.

i can honestly tell you i do not know if there are more pitfalls inherent in my anger, or inherent in your complacency, because i believe that you must actively oppose evil, or it spreads and does more mischief.

fundamentalists of all ilk: christians, moslems, jews, hindus, sikhs, etc. must be ACTIVELY fought or they will erode all of our freedoms.

and i think that perhaps that lesson might be lost on you.

believe me, your lesson of me becoming no better than what i purport to oppose is not lost on me.

but please make sure my lesson for you is not lost either.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

You're assuming lots of things (5.00 / 1) (#234)
by carlossch on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:15:48 PM EST

I've only said that anger and name-calling does nothing but hurt the discussion. (which is, I agree with most of your thoughts, but putting them
out there is worthless)

And concerning the biggest part of your reply: I find your twist from religion to politics interesting, but I was mostly discussing the issue of the relationship between non-theists and theists, and that your reaction makes people get less tolerant, and not more.

what is my anger versus your complacency?

And the fact that I'm not twisting my panties in a tight knot does not mean I am complacent. As a matter of fact, I have done my share of evangelism against extreme religious views in the past, and am not proud of it. I find that most people cease to think rationally when confronted with issues like this. The main way to make people notice that some (and in someplaces, most) of the religious thinking and teaching is unnecessary or downright malicious is to let them have their second thoughts first, and only discuss their faith when they take the initiative. Highly frustrating, but the other way is worse.

fundamentalists of all ilk: christians, moslems, jews, hindus, sikhs, etc. must be ACTIVELY fought or they will erode all of our freedoms.

That's a bit fundamentalist by itself. And this is really not a zen pun or anything. Fighthing actively, as you say, only makes them think they're right. Such huge memeplexes obviously would have evolved means of protection against blunt and direct attacks..

Carlos
He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.
[ Parent ]

memeplex! lol (5.00 / 2) (#240)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:59:15 PM EST

i like that word, thanks ;-P

i am very, very angry at the evils i see come from religion.

and you know what? you are completely right really. to rail against your words would be pure foolishness. you speak wisely. no reason to to say anything else except thank you for your moderate words of wisdom. ;-)

but i am still VERY angry at the foolishness and evil that is done in the world in the name of religion. religion is just so evil sometimes, pure arrogance and self-centeredness and ethnocentrism.

i feel like founding my own antireligion or something.

i mean, taoism is called a religion, and it has no god, same with confucianism i believe. i think buddhism is agnostic on the subject. i think baha'i is more of confluence of the world relgions... nice idea, but not far enough for me.

why can't a religion be based on establishing universal principles of basic human rights that has nothing to with a cult of personality? why can't democratic principles be elevate to and ABOVE the idea of a religion?

you may say that's what the UN does... but i say no... as a governmental entity, the un talks about being underneath and respecting of the world's religions. i have no such respect for that claptrap. the only way to fight fire is with fire, so i think some democratic principles need to be elevated to and ABOVE what someone else would call a religion before some people will take it seriously. because basic human rights and freedoms and pandemocracy really does need to be taken more seriously than religions! seriously!

to do the reverse immediately opens the door to human suffering in the world. religions need to know their place. they need to heel. they need to be subjugated and subsumed to democratic principles. anywhere this is not true, boom!: human suffering.

i mean religion is an opiate for the masses.

the communists were wrong to try to outlaw it. it's useful, really. no reason to get rid of it.

i don't think it should be removed, just subjugated and subsumed beneath the foot of... what am i suggesting? the religion of democracy? separation of church and state and all that?

whenever religion rises above the government, as it did recently in northern pakistan when they assumed sharia law, or northern nigeria awhile ago, where you can stone to death a woman now if she has a baby out of wedlock, then you have immediately upped the human suffering.

religion is an opiate, plain and simple. but it must be made to heel. it must know it's place. it is for the simpleminded sheep of the world, and does a lot for their peace of mind. it is very useful in that respect. but when it rises above that place, the suffering begins.

quote:

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca

that just about says it all.

of course, any organized religion is open to abuse, as would this "master" religion that lies above the other religions like what i am proposing, which defeats the idea of what i am proposing!

so maybe such a religion could believe in not having any organization, that the idea of organization itself goes against the principles of the religion? that such a hypothetitical religion could only be understood and digested on an individual basis? and to organize or follow some charmismatic individual immediately means you have committed the greatest "sin" in such a metareligion? lol

at least that principle removes me from the usual collection of megalomaniacs who try to found cults and sects: i am saying the most fundamental tenet of my hypothetical religion is pure individuality and adherence to democratic principles... that to follow me or anyone else means you're not in the religion! ;-P

this "religion" doesn't even need to get rid of the idea of a god or gods. they are useful constructs of ideal and heroic humanity. but their place needs to be subjugated beneath basic principles of human respect and basic freedoms. because the idea of a "god" is nothing more than a good psychological construct to guide your behavior. no need to do away with that, but there is everything wrong with elevating that construct into the realm of power and unnquestionability. because no one can "translate" what that ideal fictional entity purports to say.

i'm no theologian and i'm not a TOTAL egomaniac but i know there is nothing new under the sun... so someone, somewhere HAS to have tried this before, and i wonder to what success/ failure. it would be interesting to attempt to say the least.

maybe you will say "everything you propose already exists"... but that's my point really... it is forgotten SO MUCH ALL OF THE TIME AND IT IS SO DAMNED IMPORTANT. basic human rights. basic freedoms. democratic principles. so much more important than any stupid religion that doesn't respect these things! so these things MUST be elevated and held above the imperfect human religions to ensure that everyone knows that this handful of simple basic things: equality of the sexes, equality of the races, classism... CAN NOT BE CROSSED. PERIOD. AND NO RELIGION EMPOWERS YOU TO CROSS THEM.

sounds arrogant and extreme, but you know what? that's what religions are: arrogant and extreme. fight fire with fire. ;-)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Have you examined Unitarian Universalism? (5.00 / 3) (#291)
by fn0rd on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:32:03 AM EST

It's pretty nice, like religion lite. You get the community spirit and reinforcement of moral tenets of other churches, but with none of the dogma. As a confirmed agnostic, I find it quite a tolerant and supportive environment. Of course, this requires a fair amount of tolerance on one's own part (so don't take my sig too seriously, as I don't ;)).

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
memeplex is from Susan Blackmore's book (5.00 / 2) (#300)
by carlossch on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:05:51 AM EST

The Meme Machine

They're just a group of memes that have maximum survival characteristics together. In our example, it means that religion would not survive so well if it had not already a way to defeat common attacks. Evolution being the bitch it is, you can pretty much count on the religions having acquired the means of fighting infidels back during the course of its existence. Buddhism is different, though (and, IIRC, Buddhism has something like the features you say - follow the right thing to do, not me, or you, or anyone. I may be wrong)

Concerning your reply: Have you read Utopia? The communism described in that book is pretty much centered around religion.

Oh, and I pretty much agree with every single point of yours (in this subject, at least :)

Carlos

He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.
[ Parent ]

Democracy and religion and the Baha'i Faith... (5.00 / 1) (#824)
by israfil on Fri Jul 18, 2003 at 10:05:16 PM EST

In a previous post I describe the Baha'i system a bit, and it's much more than a confluence of other religious systems.

You mention: why can't a religion be based on establishing universal principles of basic human rights that has nothing to with a cult of personality? why can't democratic principles be elevate to and ABOVE the idea of a religion?

The Baha'i faith has at its basis the principle of Unity of Humanity and a society based on Justice and Equity. There is no clergy, but the Faith is self-governing. Check out the link above for a more detailed explanation, which also contains links to further information. It's much more robust than you perhaps have had the chance to observe.

i.
i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
[ Parent ]
Jesus was a socialist. (4.11 / 27) (#122)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:48:10 PM EST

Ooh, I can feel the anger in you "Christians" through the internet now - not very Jesus-like either, you know.

Seriously though, if you doubt me, take off your little "WWJD" bracelet (those still in style?) and apply it to every single question here.

If you come up with anything other than a Gandhi like socialist, I'd suggest you freshen up on your Bible reading.

That being said, the "Christian-right" starts to look a little less like children of the Lord, and a little more like the pompous Pharisees of the modern age, blinded by the "status" they have made for themselves.

A true "Christian" country wouldn't drive by ghettos on the way to work. A true "Christian" country wouldn't have the largest military on earth. A true "Christian" country wouldn't allow people to live and die at the whims of a "market". A true "Christian" country wouldn't be full of capitalists.

George Bush isn't the issue. The issue is everyday people like yourself who believe that they are Christian, yet haven't really examined how those beliefs should really extend into their lives.

In reality, the "Christian right" is just another self-serving clique of power hungry rich folk - exactly the same as the folks they're always bitching about.

To end, let me quote Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian who "got it":

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar... It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

And a socialist country would starve to death [nt] (1.80 / 5) (#144)
by StormShadow on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:52:49 PM EST



-----------------
oderint dum metuant - Cicero
We aren't killing enough of our [America's] enemies. Re-elect Bush in 2004 - Me
12/2003: This account is now closed. Password scrambled. Its been a pleasure.


[ Parent ]
no kidding... (3.71 / 7) (#145)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:04:23 PM EST

Sweeden, Holland, Finland are well known for their massive food shortages.

Dumbass.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

contrary to popular belief.. (4.60 / 5) (#156)
by infinitera on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:50:13 PM EST

Those are not socialist states. They are capitalist states with the government possessing a controlling influence in economic affairs. The means of production are still privately owned, just regulated for the greater benefit of their citizens. A strong state is not analogous to
a socialist state. It's an entirely different and unrelated concept.

[ Parent ]
hmm.. (4.20 / 5) (#159)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:55:03 PM EST

Ok, what would you consider a socialist state to be, then, if those states are not in your definition of socialism?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Don't you own a dictionary? (5.00 / 1) (#165)
by StormShadow on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:21:13 PM EST

socialism n 1: a political theory advocating state ownership of industry 2: an economic system based on state ownership of capital. The nations you mentioned don't have state ownership of industry. Cuba and, in the past, perhaps China might be real socialist states and we can see how far they got under the system and how the sacks of grain were overflowing.


-----------------
oderint dum metuant - Cicero
We aren't killing enough of our [America's] enemies. Re-elect Bush in 2004 - Me
12/2003: This account is now closed. Password scrambled. Its been a pleasure.


[ Parent ]
another question... (5.00 / 1) (#181)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:13:16 PM EST

Why are you zeroing my comments, and then responding to them?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Because I am a time traveler [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#182)
by StormShadow on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:23:14 PM EST



-----------------
oderint dum metuant - Cicero
We aren't killing enough of our [America's] enemies. Re-elect Bush in 2004 - Me
12/2003: This account is now closed. Password scrambled. Its been a pleasure.


[ Parent ]
shades of gray (4.28 / 7) (#186)
by sinexoverx on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:49:48 PM EST

Socialism isn't a boolean variable. In western countries capitalism has a socialist twist to it. Through taxation and regulations the government is part owner in industry. They make decisions about how the business is operated and they reap a portion of the products. The amount of control and taxation varies from state to state. All capitalist states are socialist to some extent, and that is a good thing. The bad stuff is mostly at the ends of the scale.

[ Parent ]
Cuban food shortages? (5.00 / 1) (#692)
by michaelp on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 08:43:40 PM EST

From what I've heard, Cuba's primary problem is lack of access to industrial products due to it being embargoed by it's (prior to it's revolution) primary trade partner?

I never heard much about Cuban's starving for lack of grain?

China of course has a severe shortage of arable land per capita, it would be a wonder for it to be able to produce enough food to reliably feed over a billion people on about 1/4 of the arable land of the US, under any system.

You might as well say that the dramatic reduction of starvation in China under the socialist regime, or the strong health care system of Cuba despite it's being embargoed, are examples of the strength of socialism as it's failure. Hardly seems fair to block trade with Cuba on the one hand and then proclaim it be an example of the failure of socialism on the other. Seems to me you would have to treat Cuba the same way you treat Canada wrt to trade for a while before proclaiming it an example of the failure of socialism as a system.

An example of socialism's failure to provide prosperity for a small agrarian nation which is being embargoed by a huge and logical trading partner, is about the best you can do with that example.

No, if you really want an honest comparison of socialism to capitalism, you have to compare nations with similar amounts of potential natural resources, arable lands, etc. Since that is currently impossible, folks who honestly want to make good comparisons are usually reduced to comparing relatively more socialist Europe and/or Canada with relatively less socialist America, unsatisfactory as that might be to those who crave black and white "proof" one way or the other.



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
so? (5.00 / 1) (#178)
by speek on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:01:16 PM EST

A Christian state would go belly-up. What's the big surprise?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

I just tried the compass for Jesus (5.00 / 2) (#175)
by lakeland on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:53:55 PM EST

I got about Nelson Mandella (and amost the exact opposite of George W.)  Ghandi wasn't on the compass, but I'd be guessing somewhere similar.

[ Parent ]
hmm... (5.00 / 1) (#177)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:01:15 PM EST

I though Ghandi was... last time I took it I was a little to the right of him... maybe they change the world leaders every time.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Same result for me. (4.50 / 2) (#365)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:45:59 PM EST

I tried and got just a bit above and to the right of Mandella. Some of the questions were pretty hard to answer from Jesus' point of view, since the issues just weren't phrased back then as they are now. Still, I'm considering asking some of my christian relatives to try the same so as to see where their mental simulation of Jesus comes out. Done on a large scale, this would be a very interesting study. Generalizing it to other famous historical/political figures (or even fictional characters... where would Yoda be?) would also be quite interesting.

What, I just realized that you can skip questions. I just tried again skipping questions for which my mental Jesus-sim had no reliable answer. This gave a much more centerist answer, coordinate (-2,-1).



[ Parent ]

jesus never skipped questions (nt) :-) (5.00 / 2) (#419)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:43:58 PM EST



It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
I don't believe so (4.25 / 4) (#198)
by sinexoverx on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:12:28 PM EST

There is a Jesus quote that goes: "Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's and unto God that which is God's." In my opinion Christ was professing his apolitical stance, and saying that he and his religious ideas were not a threat to the government. And if you think about it, most of what he said was about a personal relationship to God. Your soul is God's, but your money and duty is Ceasar's. Ceasar could not possibly be interested in your soul.

An interesting thing Jesus said that I misunderstood for years and caused me to think Jesus was a socialist, was the quote about "it's harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle." I always thought that meant that Jesus was saying that wealth is bad. But what "eye of a needle" is referring to is a gate to a desert town. It is narrow and has an arch or beam across it's top. This is to keep the camels from running through the town. To get a camel into the town it has to get down on it's knees and crawl in. So evidently what Christ meant is that a rich man has to show humility in order to be saved. It wasn't about his wealth but about his attitude.

Of course nobody can really be sure what Jesus was going on about. He didn't write anything down and all we have in the Bible are recollections of his words and deeds by his buddies the apostles. Those recollections don't all jibe together and have gone through many edits. And most of the quotes are pretty cryptic. Which is why there are so many differnt sects of Christianity.

My favorite comment about Christiaity (and religion in general) was from Monty Python's the Life of Brian. Brian is running from the Romans and overturns a cart of gourds and loses a sandel. The people around mistake him for Jesus and one picks up the sandel and says, "I shall follow the way of the sandel." And another picks up a gourd and says, "no! the true way  is the way of the gourd." And they proceed to get into a fist fight. It's so true.

[ Parent ]

whoa.. (4.75 / 4) (#212)
by Run4YourLives on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:15:48 PM EST

I think you may be a little off the mark with that one there...but I agree with most of your comment.

It's good to remember that Jesus was always seen by the Jews, (an occupied people, as you know) as a "Saviour". All throughout scripture Jesus is repeatedly asked why he doesn't do anything about the horrible Roman occupation. I think your example, from Matthew 22:21 is one of many examples in which Jesus illustrates that his message is personal, and has nothing at all to do with the world as we know it.

A message many people seem to forget.

It's kind of funny you quote that passage, Because right after that line, he teaches his greatest lesson of all - the so called "Golden Rules" that even atheists and agnostics like me will say are some of keys to living life.

And that's the whole point of "Render unto Caesar...", really.

Jesus wasn't trying to preach economics. He wasn't preaching military theory. He wasn't preaching nation building. He was preaching personal salvation of the "soul".

"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's"

or if you will: God doesn't give a damn about the polical landscape/lifesytles/politics of the day, it's you that he's concerned with. Your thoughts, your actions, your person.

Extend that further, and it flows right into the next few lines:

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

That is the only message Jesus had. Change starts from within. Ultimately, the only person you can control is you, period.

Applied to the Christian right in the States, it most certainly is not the message they preach. Apllied to a political landscape, it is in fact closer to socialism than anything else.

But you are correct, Jesus wasn't concerned with politics at all.


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Ah, the "eye of the needle" myth! (4.85 / 7) (#242)
by arthurpsmith on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:05:35 PM EST

This is one of those urban legends that has been around for centuries now, and seems to grow in the telling - because it makes it seem Jesus was saying wealth only makes it HARD to get into heaven, rather than IMPOSSIBLE. But the latter meaning seems to be a much more likely interpretation to those who have really looked into it - this site goes into it in some detail...

This kind of superficial misinterpretation of Jesus' teachings to favor earthly wealth is typical of a certain American brand of Christianity which seems to be exactly what Bush subscribes to. Social Darwinism, and denigration of the poor and needy, and the weak of the world generally, is the main consequence. It's not pretty, and it's definitely not what Jesus would have wanted.

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


[ Parent ]
Interesting (4.66 / 3) (#256)
by sinexoverx on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:28:55 AM EST

I had a little problem believing it the first time I heard this story, but then I got it from other sources too. It's good to know it's a myth so I don't spread it myself. This anti-wealth doctrine of Christ is very odd if you ask me. It seems to contradict lots of stuff in the Old Testament, but then I guess the answer to that is that the New Testament is a new covenant. So many people have told me that to get to heaven all one has to do is accept Jesus as you personal saviour. I guess there is some fine print at the bottom of that contract they forgot to mention. Wouldn't you be pissed if you went over the wealth limit by just a couple dollars and wound up spending eternity in a boiling pit of sewage rather than in heaven. That's just not fair.

[ Parent ]
You should note that... (5.00 / 5) (#260)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:36:25 AM EST

...the link arthurpsmith directed you to doesn't claim that one will be damned for being wealthy, rather it argues that the passages in question assert that man cannot be saved by his own efforts, but only with God. The prince was unworthy of salvation not because of his wealth, but because he couldn't give it up. To quote:
Salvation is impossible for men to achieve by their own efforts. But God does the impossible in rescuing us, cleansing us, making us holy, and changing our hearts. How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom -- impossible, in fact. But possible through God.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
obtuse bible quotes (4.50 / 2) (#264)
by sinexoverx on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:41:54 AM EST

Yes I read the website, but that site is just another person who massages "truth" out of these obtuse bible quotes. It's rationalization of this mysterious section of Luke which has obviously puzzled a lot of people. In fact that is why the webpage went to such lengths to explain it. The whole bible passage is pretty strange and illogical. The myth of the Jerusalem gate was probably invented to explain away this very problem.

[ Parent ]
Fine print (5.00 / 3) (#400)
by The Writer on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:24:00 PM EST

There is no "wealth limit"---if God were so small that he cared about such superficial things, I wouldn't believe in him either. Besides, if you read the rest of the New Testament, you'll see that a lot of wealthy people were believers too -- in one place, it mentions that even some of Caesar's household were believers. I do not believe they would be penniless beggars or even middle-class people; being related to Caesar probably means they were very well off. Did that preclude them from being believers (and commended believers at that---the reference I'm talking about was, I believe, Paul's approving commendation of them)? No.

What Jesus was addressing was one's attachment to wealth. There were many wealthy believers mentioned in the New Testament, but none of the recommended ones were known by their wealth. They were known rather for their service to their faith. The "fine print" you refer to is not one of a superficial this-is-the-max-amount-of-money-you-can-have measure; rather, it is a measure of whether your heart is attached to God instead of your wealth. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus explicitly says, You cannot worship [both] God and mammon (wealth).

[ Parent ]

Eye of the needle (5.00 / 1) (#723)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 12:20:37 PM EST

I'm no Bible x-purt, but I've always thought the reason for that was that many or most of the really rich got that way by being ruthless or shady. That was as true 2,000 years ago as it is now.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Well put, but do we need to discuss that? (4.54 / 11) (#133)
by bob6 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:38:55 PM EST

I can't help feeling this angle a bit obsolete, especially in the Occident. So I will try to back up the God-is-irrelevant kind of comments so to speak in a less trollish manner.

We (the West, the Occident, the Democracies...) have a recent history of producing and concentrating wealthiness resulting in a succession of emperial structures. In order to maintain ourselves in the center o the world, we created and enforced values like freedom, equality and rationality. In the name of these values, most of us demanded (successfully) the separation of church and state; currently we're proud of not mixing the public affairs with religion.

Religious fanatism —Islam fundamentalism, if you prefer— is not the cause of terrorism, tyrannies and animosity toward the US and, in a lesser extent, Europe. It is a tool: it takes that to think it is okay to drive a plane into a building, to blow oneself in the crowd or to let the policeman rape one's wife.

I think the real causes are isolation and misery, which includes lack of food, education, influence etc. We are at least partially responsible for that misery and isolation, in return we get one of our oldest and dreadful ghosts: violent religious fanatism. If we accept, like Bush did, to use the religious rhetorics, then we're fighting in their field. In other words, if we're so desperate to rationalize that we discuss the religious rightness of our actions, then the terrorists have won by finally destroying western democracy.

Cheers.
Demodernisation (4.88 / 9) (#149)
by IriseLenoir on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:31:34 PM EST

If it's the "terrorists have won" or, in the same way as your first argument, the terrorists are only an excuse, instrumental rationality and individual moralism, the building blocks of modernity, have been put aside. We are going back to a morality defined by culture and religion. We are going back to the Dark Ages.

Granted, modernity (the Enlightenment and it's principles) had already been betrayed and used as an excuse for imperialism, as you say, and this is the root of the fall of modernity and partly the reason we're going back to a polarised world. Modernity != capitalism, and I'm not saying it was all nice.

But this is much worst, because morality based on identity prevents dialogue between cultures and religions. Rational instrumentality insured that you were judged on what you did and not where you came from. But we're again stuck in a "We (the West, the Occident, the Democracies...)" and "Them (the Dictatures, the Beggars, the Terrorists...)"

I do not think that a "President" (appointed by family, no less) who cannot make any speech whatsoever without referring to G*d, who says freedom is a gift from G*d and that he's the messenger and will propagate His will, is not a good sign of separation of Church and State.

"Your with us or your against us." This phrase, not the WTC attacks, is what makes the world a much different place now.

The over-hyped "clash of civilisations", which had no reason to be, is now put back as a priority on the agenda.

So, sadly, religion is not irrelevent...

Anyone interrested in an article on this?



"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]
Yes |nt (5.00 / 1) (#152)
by michaelp on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:38:19 PM EST



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
This modernity you describe... (5.00 / 1) (#227)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:41:05 PM EST

...never existed save in a handful of essays. It also bears noting that rationalism and liberalism are both inherently imperialist. It would do well to keep in mind that even John Stuart Mill was an enthusiastic supporter of British imperial rule in India.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Enlightenment and Capitalism (4.00 / 4) (#386)
by anaesthetica on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:25:55 PM EST

Clearly although modernity (as it came out of the Enlightenment) does not equate with capitalism, we ought to remember that one of the major achievements of Enlightenment though was the development of the field of 'political economy'--what we today know as 'economics.' Of course, Adam Smith built upon Hume and Quesnay in his formation of his theory of capitalism, which was a major achievement in overthrowing the predominant theory of mercantilism (which pretty much equates with the statist economics that most people today mistakenly equate with 'the world capitalist system'). Most people who bandy about poorly formed criticisms of capitalism, you'll find, don't really understand what capitalism is about. Nor have they read Adam Smith, or understand his thoughts. Smith presented a very accurate view of the psychology of economic and social interactions in the public sphere. The most potent critique was written by Rousseau, because Smith overlooked something that Rousseau understood very well: envy coming out of inequality. To sum up: you try and defend modernity by distancing it from capitalism. You should be defending modernity and capitalism by distancing both from imperialism. It would be more accurate in both theory and history.

—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
Re: Demodernisation (5.00 / 1) (#710)
by bob6 on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 09:08:36 AM EST

I have read your post several times but I'm not sure I get the whole argument. The use of specialized vocabulary like instrumental rationality, individual moralism and even modernity shows you are quite educated. Could you give me directions? I'm an academic, so I'll accept article and book references.

Even if I originally stated I would point that religion was irrelevant, my actual point was that religion should not have been relevant. I think GWB deliberately brang the religious rhetorics because it serves his interests, and those of his buddies. Their money, power and lives requires a faith based bipolarized world. Indeed it is an imperalist position since he promotes a war of religions while fancying the US as the champion of modern democracy. However it automatically gives a high moral ground to religious fanatic terrorism.
This relates (as you pointed out, if I understand correctly) to the way US and Europe constantly summon cultural rationales to explain the failure of third world economies ("those messy Africans") while enforcing uniformized solutions with the IMF and such.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Except that (4.33 / 3) (#151)
by michaelp on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 03:36:01 PM EST

we do mix religion with our state quite happily, for instance: For the believing Christian, death is no big deal"

So it makes it harder to push for the real separation of church and state that would make the tool very hard to weild for the jihadist: witness that we pay lip service to Separation, but don't push it in on our great ally Saudi, where much of the funding for the jihadist's schools as well as much of the fodder for the suicide cannons comes from.

Perhaps if we actually practiced what we preach wrt separation and required it of our allies & business partners, the jihadists wouldn't be able to pick up the most accurate and stealthy weapons guidence systems available for the price of a chicken and a sermon....



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Scalia confuses the issue (4.40 / 5) (#254)
by Pseudonym on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:19:18 AM EST

For the believing Christian, death is no big deal assuming that it's your death. If it's someone else's death, on the other hand, it is a big deal, especially if you're the one wielding the power to take someone's life away.

Scalia confused the issue in that essay by equating the opinion of a Christian facing his own death with public policy. I realise that he is reacting to Roman Catholic edicts in the essay, and I don't know enough about modern Catholic thinking to be able to comment, but I certainly thought that was a misleading remark. Nor do I know enough about the United States to be able to comment on most of what he wrote.

For the record, I agree that there should be a greater separation of church and current-US-president. :-)



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
John 2,4:120 (1.40 / 25) (#138)
by President George Bush on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:23:57 PM EST

And Jesus said, "The rag heads will rape your women, pour salt on your fields, and worship a black stone in the desert. Strike them down without mercy and do the Lord's work."

That verse does not exist. (4.50 / 2) (#140)
by Kyle on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 02:38:10 PM EST

John 2 has only one chapter. The only chapter of any book with a verse 120 is Psalm 119.

[ Parent ]

I think that was the poster's point. (2.75 / 4) (#170)
by sanga on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:33:51 PM EST

Hand waving and misquoting the book he claims to follow: Mr. Bush is too dumb to know where he is wrong.

[ Parent ]
Poster has no point, he is a troll. (5.00 / 2) (#239)
by rmg on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:46:51 PM EST



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

+1 (4.00 / 14) (#174)
by yammering communist on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:51:27 PM EST

Of course, the idea of a public mask of compassionate religiosity and an inner truth of bloodthirsty warmongering is nothing new for American presidents. Bush is by no means the most striking example. While we are not, in the strict legal sense, a Christian nation, we are predominantly a nation of Christians, and politicians are required to pander to this in order to secure electoral majorities... regardless of the fact that ninety-five percent of the Pharisees in DC are far beyond any moral restraint, be it Christian or not.

"...and when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they be seen by men..."

Our politicians are not men of conviction; for good or for ill, the exigencies of statecraft have long since drained any petty morality from their minds. To believe that they should somehow bind themselves within the strictures of human ethics is to deny reality. We did not invade Iraq and Afghanistan and Grenada and Vietnam and Libya and El Salvador and Guatemala and Nicaragua and Panama because it was the right thing to do. My ancestors did not systematically exterminate twenty million people on two continents, and then enslave millions more, because they thought God would approve. In political and economic realms, "the right thing" is naught but an airy metaphysical delusion. We did it because it suited us, for reasons of money and power which are incomprehensible and hidden to the populace at large, who would not understand if they knew... and if they did understand, they would not care.

Christianity, like any religion, is just a useful obfuscation in which our blood-maddened overlords may drape themselves, that they might appear to be men of conscience. Never mind that they have with their actions denied each and every thing Jesus himself advocated. These men preach to the world of the virtues of their religion and their nation, whist standing astride a mound of human corpses.

I wonder if Bush the erstwhile Crusader and bin Laden the mujahadeen know how much they really have in common....

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


It doesn't mean what you say it means (4.10 / 19) (#184)
by Anatta on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:47:20 PM EST

The passage clearly talks about when someone strikes your right cheek, offer them your other. From what I understand, the word "right" is the key to the passage. What Jesus is actually referring to is someone slapping you insultingly (using their right hand to hit your right cheek) -- the ancient equivalent of a "bitch slap" -- that you should not strike back, but instead offer them your left cheek, showing them that you are their equal. It is not a clarion call for non-violence, and Jesus' idea is actually far more subtle than simply saying "don't fight back".

Also, Jesus never says "don't defend your family and friends, or your countrymen, when someone tries to murder, pillage, and rape" or anything like that. In none of the Gospels does he chastise soldiers he meets, and he does not tell them to lay down their weapons. From what we have to go on, it doesn't appear that Jesus was staunchly against the idea of soldiers and war.

The ideas you express don't really apply at all to the current situation, and regardless, ancient symbolic texts are generally not a great place to go to find political guidance, and I would prefer Mr. Bush use the resources far less than he currently does, rather than more.


My Music

Yes, the alternate interpretation... (3.87 / 8) (#192)
by rmg on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 06:51:59 PM EST

I'm always amazed by the way people go for these alternate interpretations. There are so many passages in the Bible that are so irreconcilable with modern, Western life that they have to be interpreted away somehow. This is one of them. Now maybe you're a scholar, maybe you read Ancient Hebrew, and maybe you have enough familiarity with the cultural background of the time and place to make claims like this. But I doubt it. So, I guess I would like to know your source. I think there is good reason to be suspicious of these sorts of interpretations. Christianity would be very easy if every sticky wicket could be explained by some figure of speech or whatever. I don't believe this is the case. Finally, you say "Jesus never says 'don't defend your family and friends, or your countrymen, when someone tries to murder, pillage, and rape' or anything like that." That is skirting the issue. He doesn't explicitly say a lot of things most people in the position to know would say he taught. Christ does not seem to put much importance on the individual's life. A person might just as well die, as long as he does not kill himself. And if all men are equal in the eyes of God, why would killing one man to save another ever be permissable? I challenge you to show that Christ said one should use deadly force to defend anyone. I think the bottomline is that Christ's teachings are fundamentally at odds with many values we hold as inassailable and as a result Christ's teachings, not our values, need to be explained away. Which may ultimately be for the best...

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

The New Testament is Written in Classical Greek (4.85 / 7) (#209)
by HidingMyName on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:04:33 PM EST

All translations derive from Koine Greek language sources. This treatment is accepted by many scholars. By the way, I can read some Koine Greek (but I'm out of practice).

Perhaps you might do well to read a bit, for example this treatment explicitly says that Christians can and should defend themselves.

I challenge you to show that Christ said one should use deadly force to defend anyone.
The bible doesn't tell you to just lie down and take it. Furthermore, in Ron Rhoades' interpretation ecactly matches my understanding of the Koine Greek for Luke 22:36-38, where it says (Young's Literal Translation):
Luke 22

36 Then said he to them, `But, now, he who is having a bag, let him take [it] up, and in like manner also a scrip; and he who is not having, let him sell his garment, and buy a sword,

37 for I say to you, that yet this that hath been written it behoveth to be fulfilled in me: And with lawless ones he was reckoned, for also the things concerning me have an end.'

38 And they said, `Sir, lo, here [are] two swords;' and he said to them, `It is sufficient.'

Which seems to exactly contradict your assertion.

[ Parent ]
Concerns... (4.50 / 10) (#238)
by rmg on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:27:13 PM EST

I am a bit concerned about your argument here. First you give sources which are clearly of a Christian apologetic nature, which is exactly what I take issue with. Look at the front page of this of new-life.net which you cite as a valid source: "Our mission statement: '... New Life Community Church ... to make disciples who have an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ; and to encourage and train these disciples to serve faithfully ... the local church, ... and beyond." Their intent is evangelical, not informational. As such, we might expect especially palatable interpretations. But you say "They have Bible verses!" Let's see then...

A quick look through your link on assertiveness shows that it offers no support for you in your task of showing the appropriateness of deadly force, nor even violence according to Christ's teachings. Bullet one: quotes Proverbs -- not New Testament. Now you can argue that it falls under Christ's teachings, but you're on thin ice because often enough Christ's teaching overturns preexisting Hebrew doctrine. Bullet two, to expose evil, irrelevant. Bullet three, to rebuke sinners, also irrelevant. Bullet four, "to get in someone's face." This is a misreading. The narrator does indeed oppose Cephras to his face, but he does not engage in some physical conflict the way "to get in someone's face" implies. It's the standard moralistic rebuke seen all over the Bible. The fifth bullet point is also irrelevant, and I don't quite understand why it's on the page at all.

Your other link to new-life.net cites the Old Testament repeatedly, which again doesn't speak to the question. It cites Luke 22:36, which you also cite and I'll get to later. Acts 22:1 is the beginning of a verbal defense, which does not help your case. Acts 25:10-11 pertains to defending oneself in a legal system. 2 Timothy 4:16 seems to be more of the same. In Acts 16:37-39 we have imprisoned Christians demanding an apology, Acts 22:23-29 has Paul using his Roman citizenship to intimidate his accusers. So no violence yet...

Then we have Mr. Ron Rhoades. I regard his argument not as misinformed or ignorant, he seems to know the Bible, or even stupid. I would call his argument an extended lie. We come to Luke 22:36. Yes, Christ tells them to get a sword, so that he might be counted among the lawless according to scripture. Later one of his followers cuts the ear from one of the group's assailants. Hence they becom lawless. Such an obvious reading, yet this supposed expert says Christ is advocating violence. Come on. Jesus heals the ear and rebukes his follower. The guy goes through some more Old Testament, which again does not strengthen your case. Rather, to me, it looks like people need to reach to prove what I claim -- that Christ did not advocate violence at all. Anyway, if Christians have been debating this for centuries (which wouldn't surprise me) it's because they have been poor readers or have had ulterior motives. You don't need to make the swords a figure of speech, Christ is just making one of his amazing predictions. Just look at this guy's argument " Even Christ did not literally turn the other cheek when smitten by a member of the Sanhedrin (see John 18:22-23)." Read that passage and tell me that isn't sophistry. This business about failing to tell soldiers to resign is also a joke. We get another example of him lying with scripture: "Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus revealed to His disciples the future hostility they would face and encouraged them to sell their outer garments in order to buy a sword (Luke 22:36-38; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:26-27)" We've already discussed the Luke passage, but he throws in 2nd Corinthians as if to suggest Jesus tells his followers to buy a sword in two different places (read the Corinthians passage to verify that he does not). Then we have this gem "Self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human love. Christ Himself said, 'Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends' (John 15:14). When protecting one's family or neighbor, a Christian is unselfishly risking his or her life for the sake of others." Certainly, but this does not address the question. Does this mean one can walk into a cafe with a bomb strapped to one's chest to save the homeland? Of course not. This would apply to jumping on a granade to protect a bus full of children, but does not suggest that one should perform some kamikaze manuever to avert danger. I admit he may have something in the Hebrews quote, but it is pretty thin. Basically I have limited time to look through all this stuff, so take that for what you will.

So for the business of your interpretation and your scholars, I must say I was hoping for a professor of Greek (not Hebrew as you point out) literature or the like, not a Catholic scholiast. If that is indeed the "correct" interpretation, that would be interesting, but it does not help you, or I guess the guy I actually responded to, with my challenge. I would suggest to you that it you could stand to read a bit yourself, but I would also suggest that it is not how much you read but what you read that makes the difference.

PS- you seem to equate Christ's teachings with what some person claims a Christian may do. In so doing, you fail to make an argument against what I have said... I am not so much interested in the doctrine of this or that denomination or even the common ground of all or most of them. I am much more interested in the "word" as written. Indeed, it is the doctrine I have taken issue with.



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Quotes, Context and Experts (5.00 / 6) (#253)
by HidingMyName on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:04:17 AM EST

I'm sorry but I'm not sure what sort of fellow you would find attractive as an expert. You see, these Catholic Scholiasts you feel uncomfortable about tend to be the best trained in the classical Latin and Greek languages, and as such tend to provide very good insights on these sorts of matters. Perhaps C.S. Lewis will convince, he said:
C.S. Lewis 'Mere Christianity' page 106-107

Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment--even to death. If one committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentance a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy. I always have thought so, ever since I became a Christian, and long before the war, and I still think so now that we are at peace. It is no good quoting "Thou shalt not kill." there are two Greek words: the ordinary word to kill and the word to murder. And when Christ quotes that commandment He uses the murder one in all three accounts, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. and I am told there is the same distinction in Hebrew. All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery. When soldiers came to St. John the Baptist asking what to do, he never remotely suggested that they ought to leave the army: nor did Christ when he met a Roman sergeant-major--what they call a centurion. The idea of the knight--the Christian in arms for defence of a good cause--is one of the great Christian ideas. War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely mistaken.

Saint Augustine gives a classic treatment of whether war can be justified in his analysis of scripture:
According to the Gospel of Saint Luke, Saint John the Baptist preached a baptism of penance inviting all to convert and change their lives. People from all walks of life came to him and asked what they must do to change. This precursor of Christ answered each according to his circumstances. "And the soldiers also asked him, saying: And what shall we do? And he said to them: Do violence to no man; neither calumniate any man; and be content with your pay" (St Luke 3:14).
Saint Augustine also comments:
If the Christian Religion forbade war altogether, those who sought salutary advice in the Gospel would rather have been counselled to cast aside their arms, and to give up soldiering altogether. On the contrary, they were told: 'Do violence to no man . . . and be content with your pay.' If he commanded them to be content with their pay, he did not forbid soldiering.
Saint Thomas Aquinas in his treatment of whether war could be justified wrote:
In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 13:4): "He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil"; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Ps. 81:4): "Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner"; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): "The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority."

Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (QQ. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): "A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly."

Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine's works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1): "True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good." For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): "The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war."

For an interesting thoughtful perspective (perhaps he isn't as famous a theologian, but it is interesting to read) see Larry Fox's treatement which has a fairly substantial quotation and analysis of scripture. He considers Christ's own actions for self defence presented in the Bible.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps I was unclear (4.66 / 3) (#259)
by rmg on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:23:17 AM EST

I am looking for textual evidence that Christ taught that one may (morally) kill or more generally do violence to another. I said that I take issue with the doctrine. My claim is that people like Aquinas and to a lesser extent Augustine have ulterior motives for saying some of the things they do. In particular, I believe that the notion that one must not use force to defend oneself in combination with a variety of other things Christ seems to have taught would make Christianity unacceptable to most would-be converts. Hence doctrine writers like Aquinas and Augustine looked for ways around such prickly teachings.

Now to counter me, you have produced two more Catholic Scholiasts and CS Lewis. First, it is pretty clear that Lewis is simply giving his opinion, as well substantiated as he may believe it is. I even find his argument rather bizarre, but that is getting afield. The point is that it does not address the question. Augustine produces a passage from the New Testament -- so far so good. But it's John the Baptist. Moreover, he says to do no violence and to be satisfied with your (i.e. the soldier's) wages. It looks as though John is being ironical. Continue to collect wages as a soldier, but do no violence. Augustine does not address the question. Can one do violence? The answer still appears to be "no."

Then we have Aquinas, who deigns to quote New Testament but once in this connection (I wonder why...). Moreover, the line Rm. 13:4, pertains to subjects obeying the authority of the state, which, one might presume, at that time would not be a Christian one. This is simply a command to subjects to obey. It does not empower subjects to kill, which is what we are debating. Then Aquinas quotes Augustine a few times, which certainly gave his arguments force among his peers and even modern theologians, but it does not help your position. Unless you believe that Augustine and Aquinas are the second and third comings respectively, I believe you have a bit more work to do. I don't want an argument based on the authority of this theologian or that. Give me clear textual evidence from the New Testament that Jesus Christ condones violence in some nontrivial sense, and I will gladly concede the point.

Finally, I apologize that I could not address your link because I must sleep. I also dread the idea of having to root through a new barrage of passages to figure out what the hell is really going on. I'll probably read it later, but I don't think I'll be doing any kind of close reading/critique...



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

A Question (5.00 / 1) (#290)
by RyoCokey on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:31:18 AM EST

Why hunt for a passage in the new testament authorizing the killing of another person for moral reasons when there are such numerous examples in the Old Testament? If the Old Testament was the old covenant, and Christ came to bring a new order, certainly he was only superceding those teachings in the old testament that he specifically mentioned.

Hence, one would only need to deal with those arguments in the New Testament that specifically prohibit such killings, none of which spring to mind.

God was quite clear that one could kill the unrighteous in the Old Testament, and I somehow doubt he changed his mind significantly by the time of Jesus.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
My Response (4.66 / 3) (#296)
by rmg on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:00:42 AM EST

You're right of course, the Old Testament does justify killing and violence under a variety of circumstances, but I think the New Testament does not. For example, in the passage Augustine gives, John the Baptist tells the soldiers to do no violence but merely to collect wages. Already the New Testament has struck down one previously valid form of violence. Moreover, in the famous "turn your cheek" passage, Jesus says you should not resist when someone tries to steal your cloak, so I think it is reasonable to believe that one may not defned one's personal property with force. Christ does not defend his own person when the police come to arrest him, and though there are probably other reasons for that, it is suggestive. I have read many passages that these Christian apologists say excuse violence in some circumstance, and I have always found their interpretations incorrect. That above all leads me to believe that the New Testament condemns violence in wide sense. Also, Christ specifically says one should not take action against evil except perhaps by exposing or rebuking it, which directly contradicts the Old Testament passages you refer to. So that's your answer.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

About that John the Baptist Passage (5.00 / 2) (#353)
by HidingMyName on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:16:26 PM EST

I always thought that what John the Baptist is saying means don't shake down the civilians for extra money, he is asking the soldiers to refrain from extortion. He isn't saying that using force in the application of justice is not permitted (although he is not explicilty endorsing the use of force here either).

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I think you're right about that (5.00 / 1) (#392)
by rmg on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:54:50 PM EST

I was going on Augustine's translation, but Oxford's New International Version has exactly what you say, quite right. That's a relatively minor point in my argument though. You are nevertheless correct.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Sorry, that's New Revised Standard Version [nt] (5.00 / 1) (#395)
by rmg on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:57:26 PM EST



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Since Scripture is what you care about... (5.00 / 2) (#348)
by HidingMyName on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:04:31 PM EST

You might prefer a scriptural treatment. Actually that last link has a fair number of scripture links. I'll reproduce them here since you can't click on the article and scroll down yourself. Larry Fox states:
Jesus' defense of himself

The New Testament stresses the importance of Christians becoming Christ-like, or like Jesus. The term "Christian" describes a person who is like Christ; originally, it was a derogatory term meaning "little Christ." Let us examine Jesus' life and teachings as they relate to the topic of self defense, including one's reputation and physical safety. The following verses are presented in the order in which they appear in scripture and are not grouped by topic.

  • Matthew 2:13. When Jesus was a young child, an angel of the Lord appeared to his father, Joseph, in a dream and warned him to leave the country because Herod wanted to kill Jesus.
  • Matthew 2:22. Again, Joseph learned in a dream that Jesus' life was in danger, so he moved to another area.
  • Matthew 4:2-3, 11. After Jesus had fasted forty days, he did not use his powers to provide for himself; instead, angels attended him.
  • Matthew 8:23-26. Jesus and his disciples were in a boat when a furious storm suddenly developed. Jesus was unconcerned for his own safety and was asleep. When the disciples awoke him, he reprimanded the disciples for being afraid, then rebuked the storm and it became calm.
  • Matthew 12:14-15. The Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus, so he left the area.
  • Matthew 12:24-28. Jesus corrected the Pharisees who accused him. He knew they were plotting to kill him.
  • Matthew 12:34-37. He harshly rebuked the Pharisees. Was this in retaliation for their accusations? No, but to correct their error and stubborn refusal to accept what God was doing.
  • Matthew 16:21. Jesus knew he would suffer many things and be killed by the religious leaders.
  • Matthew 26:50-54. At Jesus' arrest, Peter used a sword to defend Jesus. Jesus told him not to and he healed the man Peter injured. It was time for him to die and he was ready. He could have asked God for protection, but he did not (verse 53). His statement, "all who draw the sword will die by the sword," is often quoted today as a rejection of the use of weapons. But in another account of this incident, Jesus' point in having Peter put away his sword was his willingness to submit to arrest and death, rather than avoiding the use of weapons (John 18:11). If Jesus were a pacifist and opposed to any use of weapons, why would he allow his disciples to own them? In none of the gospels does Jesus rebuke his disciples for carrying weapons (swords). Jesus told Peter not to use his sword because (1) Jesus must be arrested, and (2) Peter was acting in the flesh rather than recognizing God's will.
  • Matthew 26:62-64. Jesus did not defend himself when accused. Also see Matthew 27:11-14.
  • Luke 4:4:28-30. A crowd tried to throw Jesus off a cliff, but he walked through the crowd to escape.
  • Luke 13:31-33. The Pharisees warned Jesus Herod wanted to kill him, but he was unmoved.
  • Luke 19:11-27. In a parable, Jesus describes a king who killed those who opposed him. Based on our understanding of scripture, the king in the parable represents Jesus himself when he returns to set up his kingdom on earth.
  • Luke 20:9-16. Jesus tells a parable in which a landowner killed the tenants who killed his son. Notice the response of the people who heard the parable: "May this never be!" Jesus' position regarding death was stricter than the teaching of the religious leaders of his day.
  • Luke 22:36-38. Jesus instructed each disciple to get a sword, even if he had to sell his cloak to buy one. They had two swords among them, and Jesus said that was sufficient. He clearly was not opposed to the possession and use of swords, yet he indicated two swords were sufficient for the 11 disciples; they obviously were not heavily armed.
  • John 7:1. Jesus avoided an area because the Jews there were waiting to take his life.
  • John 7:30. The Jews tried to seize Jesus in the temple courts, but "no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come." In other words, they wanted to and tried, but were unable. See also verse 44.
  • John 7:32, 45-46. The religious leaders sent guards to arrest Jesus, but the guards were strongly influenced by Jesus' teaching and did not arrest him.
  • John 8:20. No one seized Jesus (though they really wanted to) because his time had not yet come.
  • John 8:59. The Jews picked up stones to stone (kill) Jesus, but he hid himself and slipped away.
  • John 10:39. The Jews tried to seize Jesus, but he escaped their grasp. There is no mention in any of these incidents of Jesus struggling or defending himself. This alone does not mean he did or didn't. Scripture also never says he put on his sandals, either.
  • John 11:7-10. Jesus went back to Judea where the Jews had tried to stone him. His reply to his disciples about daylight may indicate they will be safe if they go when the time is right; or his reply might indicate a complete lack of concern for safety, even in broad daylight.
  • John 11:53-54, 57. After the official governing body (the Sanhedrin) decided to kill Jesus, he avoided public exposure until it was time for him to die.
  • John 12:36. Jesus hid himself from a crowd after speaking to them. This was after the chief priests and Pharisees gave orders for people to report if they see him so they could arrest him (John 11:57).
  • John 18:10-11. Same incident as Matthew 26:50-54.
  • John 18:22-23. An official struck Jesus and rebuked him. Jesus did not retaliate, but stood his ground.
  • John 18:36. Jesus said his disciples would fight to prevent his arrest, except his kingdom is spiritual; the same is true today. By implication, it's not wrong to fight about matters of this world.
  • John 19:6-12. Pilate was afraid to condemn Jesus and looked for a reason to let him go, but Jesus would not directly answer his question; probably because a direct answer would have encouraged Pilate to release him, which would abort the crucifixion.
,p> Note that when Jesus was arrested, he told his disciples he could call on his Father, who would put legions of angels at his disposal to protect and deliver him. This certainly was true during his torture and execution, but Jesus submitted to the process because that was his purpose in coming to earth.

The Apostles' Response to Threats

Especially after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, the apostle's lives also were in danger. We see them facing many hostile situations, including people who tried to take their lives because of the gospel. Let us examine some relevant scriptures to see how the apostles responded to such threats. Why must we look at so many scriptures? God considered it important to record all these instances for our benefit, so we should benefit by reading them.

  • Acts 4:3, 7-13. The religious leaders seized Peter and John, put them in jail overnight, and the next day questioned them. Peter spoke boldly, filled with the Holy Spirit, apparently unconcerned about his safety. He knew these same people had crucified Jesus a short time before and openly rebuked them for doing so.
  • Acts 6:8-7:60. Men from one of the synagogues seized Stephen and took him before the Sanhedrin, the religious court, for questioning. Stephen boldly rebuked the religious leaders, who became furious and had him stoned to death.
  • Acts 8:1-4. Immediately after Stephen's execution, great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem. Believers were imprisoned and many scattered to other regions.
  • Acts 9:23-25. The Jews conspired to kill Saul (Paul), but his followers helped him escape.
  • Acts 9:29-30. Saul (Paul) debated with the Grecian Jews, who then tried to kill him. When the other believers heard of this, they sent him to another area.
  • Acts 12:1-10. Herod arrested some believers and had one of them, the apostle James, executed. He then arrested Peter and put him in prison. The church responded by praying earnestly. The angel of the Lord then released Peter from prison.
  • Acts 13:50-51. Paul and Barnabas were teaching and many people believed in the Lord. But certain people stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from the region. They responded by shaking the dust from their feet in symbolic protest and went to another region.
  • Acts 14:5-7. There was a plot to mistreat and stone Paul and Barnabas, so they fled to another region and continued to preach.
  • Acts 15:26. Paul and Barnabas clearly risked their lives for the Lord.
  • Acts 16:22-28. Paul and Silas were severely flogged and thrown into prison with their feet in stocks. During the night, they were praying and singing hymns to God, when a violent earthquake opened all the prison doors and everyone's chains came loose. Paul and Silas were then able to minister to the jailer and his family.
  • Acts 16:36-39. The magistrates ordered Paul and Silas released from prison, but Paul announced that they had violated his legal rights as a Roman citizen. He insisted the magistrates personally escort him out of prison, which they did because they were alarmed at breaking Roman law. This shows it is appropriate to stand up for legal rights, including when the cause of Christ is involved.
  • Acts 17:5, 10. A mob rioted against Paul and Silas; they slipped away at night.
  • Acts 17:13-14. People stirred crowds up against Paul, and the believers sent him away.
  • Acts 18:6. A crowd opposed Paul and became abusive. He shook out his clothes in symbolic protest against them and left.
  • Acts 18:9-10. God assured Paul and told him not to be afraid.
  • Acts 18:28. Apollos "vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ."
  • Acts 19:8. Paul spoke boldly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.
  • Acts 19:29-31. A mob seized Paul's traveling companions, and the believers prevented Paul from addressing the crowd.
  • Acts 20:3. There was a plot against Paul, so he changed his plans.
  • Acts 20:22-24. God had warned Paul repeatedly he would experience prison and hardships, but he considered his life worth nothing compared to finishing his task.
  • Acts 21:1-13. Agabus prophesied Paul would be bound and handed over to the Gentiles. Paul responded he was ready even to die for the Lord.
  • Acts 22:25-29. Paul invoked his rights as a Roman citizen to avoid being flogged. Notice Paul merely asked the soldier standing next to him whether it was legal to flog a Roman citizen who had not been proven guilty; he did not make any threats or demand appropriate treatment.
  • Acts 23:1-5. Paul severely rebuked members of the Sanhedrin for violating the law by ordering to have him struck. Then he backed down when informed the man giving the order was the high priest; Paul honored the position of the high priest.
  • Acts 23:6-10. Paul invoked his background as a Pharisee in his defense before the Sanhedrin, knowing it would be divisive.
  • Acts 23:11-18. The Lord told Paul he would go to Rome. When Paul discovered the Jews were plotting to kill him, he sent word to the commander of the centurions guarding him. The issue was his going to Rome to testify about Jesus (23:11), not his personal safety (21:13).
  • Acts 24:5-21. Paul was falsely accused before the governor and he gladly defended himself. When Jesus was falsely accused, he did not defend himself because his trial would lead to the fulfillment of one of his main purposes in life: death on the cross. Paul knew he would go to Rome, so he was free to defend himself.
  • Acts 25:6-12. Paul acknowledged the state's right to execute him if he was guilty. He defended himself and invoked his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:2-3. The believers were Paul's seal (proof) of apostleship, his defense to those who judged him. Self defense against accusations is not always wrong.
  • 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. Paul listed his hardships, but never condemned those who did these things to him nor sought revenge. He accepted these hardships as part of his life purpose.
  • Philippians 2:17. Paul was being poured out like a drink offering, referring to spilling his blood as a sacrifice. Also 2 Timothy 4:6.
  • Philippians 3:10-12. Paul wanted to experience or share Christ's sufferings and death, which lead to the power of the resurrection. He set his eyes on the resurrection, accepting the fact that hardship and death are prerequisites. He also recognized that those experiences perfect him, which motivated him to press on toward Jesus' purpose for his life. Rather than avoid hardship and death, he embraced them because he knew their benefits. We see this same attitude in Hebrews 12:2; for the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross and its shame.
  • Colossians 1:24-25. Paul suffered physically for the sake of the church and became its servant. He did not protect himself but instead rejoiced in his opportunity to serve the church through his sufferings.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9. Paul and his companions expended themselves for other believers, rather than protect themselves. His toil and hardship was for the benefit of other believers.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15. The believers suffered persecution from their own countrymen.
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:4. Paul and his companions were destined to suffer great trials.
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:7. Paul and Timothy suffered distress and persecution.
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:4. Paul boasted about their perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials they were enduring.
  • 2 Timothy 1:8. Paul urged Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel.
  • 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Paul faces death with confidence; his work is completed.
  • Hebrews 10:32-34. The believers stood in the face of suffering; they accepted insult, persecution, prison, confiscation of their property. They accepted these joyfully, knowing they had "better and lasting possessions." They did not defend themselves or protect their belongings at any cost.
  • Hebrews 11:32-39. Commends people for their faith. Some were delivered or victorious; others were rejected, abused or killed. All are honored for their faith, regardless of the outcome.
  • 3 John 9-10. A believer opposed John and gossiped about him. John will "call attention to what he is doing," addressing the evil behavior, not defending himself.
  • Revelation 11:3-7. The two witnesses destroy anyone who tries to harm them. After they have completed their work, they will be killed.

The New Covenant

Now that we have examined Jesus' and the apostles' responses to threatening situations, let us consider Jesus' teachings about what we should do.

  • Matthew 5:10-12. You should consider yourself blessed if you are persecuted because of your righteousness, if people insult you, or if people persecute you because of Jesus. This doesn't imply either retaliation or defense.
  • Matthew 5:21. Not only are we prohibited from murdering (see above, "Is Killing a Person Always Murder?"), we are not to even be angry with someone or treat them with contempt.
  • Matthew 5:25-26. If someone is taking you to court, settle the matter in advance. The context presumes you are guilty of the charge ("You will not get out until you have paid the last penny.")
  • Matthew 5:38-41. You are not to resist an evil person or withhold what they demand. Some insist "turn the other cheek" is limited to a slap on the face and is not relevant to dangerous attacks. We must keep "turn the other cheek" in context, however, which includes "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (verse 44). The examples Jesus gives in these verses of people asking or requiring things of you are all legally legitimate actions: filing legal suit; the Roman law allowing soldiers to require a civilian to carry their armor; asking or borrowing from you.
  • Matthew 5:44. You are to love your enemies and pray for (not against) those who persecute you. Your sinful nature's tendency is to reward those who are good to you and retaliate against those who treat you badly. Instead, you are to deny your sinful nature's demands by doing good and blessing those who intend you harm.
  • Matthew 6:25-33. This requires a complete realignment of your priorities. Your sinful nature's priority is to take care of yourself. Instead, God's kingdom and his righteousness must be your top priorities, and let God take care of you as he deems appropriate.
  • Matthew 10:16-20. Jesus sent his disciples out as sheep among wolves; that is, defenseless. They were to be "shrewd" (Greek word phronimos ); that is, thoughtful (giving thought to their ways), rational, clever, prudent and wise (in considering and preparing). They were to be "innocent" (Greek word akeraios); that is, give careful thought to their ways and be prudent in what they do, but be free of guilt. He told them, "be on your guard against men"; this is self-explanatory, because he said they would be arrested and beaten. He also said this all would have a purpose: they would have opportunity to speak in behalf of Jesus before authorities and leaders. He did not mention running away or protecting themselves, but he also didn't say not to.
  • Matthew 10:21-22. Jesus told his disciples, and by implication all other believers, they would be hated and killed because of the gospel, even by their own family. He did not say whether they should defend themselves. But he did place great value on standing firm to the end.
  • Matthew 10:23. If persecuted in one place, his disciples were to flee to another.
  • Matthew 10:28. Do not be afraid of those who can only take your life; that is, don't be afraid to die.
  • Matthew 16:24-25. Any disciple must deny himself (reject self-centered interests) and take up his cross (embrace or carry that which has the potential to destroy you). Self defense is not an option; be prepared to lose your life for Jesus' sake. Based on this verse and John 12:25, anyone who loves his earthly life (preoccupied with it, tries to protect himself) will lose his life (eternal life, based on the next statement). Conversely, anyone who hates his life (comparatively speaking) and is willing give it up for Jesus' sake will have eternal life. Also see Matthew 10:39; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; John 12:25.
  • Matthew 18: 15-17. If another believer sins against you, you should talk to him one-on-one. If he does not listen, which means you are unable to resolve the issue, take another believer or two with you and try again. If you are still unsuccessful, take the issue before the church (presumably the church leadership, those who have the authority to state how the offending brother should be treated).
  • Matthew 19:19; 22:39. Love your neighbor as yourself, which requires love for self. The Bible presupposes a level of concern for one's own well-being and uses that as a standard for treatment of others. For example, consider the Golden Rule: "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8).
  • Matthew 21:33. In a parable, Jesus described a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a wall around it and built a watchtower. That is, the landowner built protection for his vineyard, which was a common practice. Jesus did not suggest this was inappropriate, therefore it seems acceptable.
  • Matthew 24:15-18. When people around Jerusalem see the abomination in the holy place, they are to flee immediately.
  • Matthew 24:43. If a thief might steal from you, it is appropriate to protect your possessions. This is such common sense, Jesus uses it as an example of being ready for his return.
  • Luke 12:11-12. Do not worry about defending yourself when you are accused or arrested because you are a Christian.
  • John 10:1-15. Jesus portrays himself as the great shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. He portrays his followers as sheep he protects and cares for, who cannot do this for themselves.
  • John 16:2. Believers will be killed for their faith; their killers will believe they are justified in killing them.
These are the teachings and sayings of Jesus relevant to the topic of self defense. Now we will consider other New Testament verses.
  • Romans 12:12. Be patient in affliction; that is, accept it and don't reject it or try to stop it.
  • Romans 12:14. Bless those who persecute you, rather than curse them (the natural response). This clearly prohibits retaliation, but maybe not self defense.
  • Romans 12:17-21. Do not repay evil for evil. As much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, but allow God to respond to the other person as he considers appropriate. On the contrary, if the person who wishes to do you harm is hungry or thirsty, give him what he needs. Again, this clearly prohibits retaliation. If self defense is appropriate, these verses will definitely affect your motive.
  • Romans 16:20. The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet. The God of peace doesn't cave in to those who seek to overthrow him or rebel against his kingdom. Instead, he crushes them (see Jesus' parables in Luke 19:11-27 and 20:9-16). Because we are part of God's kingdom and Satan's targets, God will use us to crush him. Notice God calls us to be at peace with all men, yet it is appropriate to crush evil.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:1-7. Disputes between believers should be judged by other believers; it is better to be wronged or cheated by another believer than to take the dispute before unbelievers. This doesn't say we shouldn't try to resolve the dispute (defend our rights or property, for example); only that we should find other believers to judge the dispute.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:24, 33; 12:7, 25; 14:4-5, 12. Repeated emphasis on what benefits others rather than yourself; that is, be less concerned about your own well-being. This is consistent with the themes of humility and agape.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:30-32. Paul endangered himself "every hour"; he "died daily." He fought "wild beasts" in Ephesus, probably referring to the riot incited by a silversmith who made a lucrative living making shrines of the local deity (Acts 19). Because of Paul's faith in the resurrection, he was willing to face death every day.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:8-11. Paul suffered great hardships in Asia, pressured beyond his own ability to endure. The purpose of that pressure: he had to learn not to rely on himself, but to rely on God alone. General observations: (1) God's work is evident most often at the limits of our ability; he may wait until we get to end of our rope before intervening. (2) Past deliverance gives us confidence that he will deliver us now and in the future. (3) God uses troubles to overcome our independence. He never gives us anything that will make us independent of him. We must be trusting and dependent as little children toward him, and he must be our strength and safety.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:12. A contrast between worldly wisdom and God's ways and grace. This is a frequent theme in the New Testament. Worldly wisdom says you must be strong to protect yourself and defend your rights. In many cases, it is wise to identify the worldly way then do the opposite. God's ways seem foolish to the worldly perspective, because spiritual truths and principles cannot be grasped by human intellect (see 1 Co 2:13-16). That may be the case with the issue of self defense.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18. "Jars of clay." We are fragile containers, easily destroyed, always given over to death for Jesus' sake, so (1) the all-surpassing power is shown to be from God, not us; and (2) Jesus' life may be revealed in our mortal bodies. Paul was humanly overwhelmed but sustained by God's power, outwardly wasting away (by appearance) but inwardly renewed continuously. From his perspective, he was hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. But these are light and momentary troubles, comparatively speaking, achieving an eternal glory. Look past the temporal, and fix your sight on the eternal.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:4-10. This passage contains a long list of Paul's' hardships. But he makes no complaints and no mention of trying to protect himself. Why not? Because of his perspective of mortality (2 Co 5:1-8). Also, these were hardships directly related to his ministry and service to God. So the question becomes: How much of your life is service to God (or should be)? Answer: You never stop being a Christian, Christ's ambassador, a minister of reconciliation, God's representative to a world dying in sin. Therefore, your perspective should be the same as Paul's, even if not in full-time ministry.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Paul delights in personal weakness because his weakness makes room for Christ's power to rest on him.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:4. Jesus was crucified in weakness -- without self defense -- now lives in God's power; the same will be true of us.
  • Ephesians 5:25, 28-29. A husband is to give himself up for his wife as Christ did for the church; this includes sacrificing himself to care for her and protect her.
  • Ephesians 6:10-18. This passage describes the "armor of God." Notice that only the sword is an offensive weapon; all other armor described is defensive in nature. This implies there is nothing inherently wrong with defending yourself.
  • Philippians 2:5-8. We are to have the same attitude as Christ: he did not consider his personal status or rights worth defending, and sacrificed himself for the benefit of others.
  • 1 Timothy 5:8. The context is providing for widows in need. If this includes providing food and clothing, it certainly also includes protection from assault or abuse.
  • 1 Timothy 6:17. Those who are rich must not be arrogant about their wealth or put their hope in it; they are to put their hope in God alone. This is a general principle: Whatever you consider your resources -- provision, defense and so on -- you must put your hope and trust in God alone, not your abilities or resources.
  • 2 Timothy 2:23-26. Avoid arguments and quarrels; instead be kind to everyone and not resentful, gently instruct those who oppose you. These instructions are specifically for Christian leaders, but are relevant to all of us. Arguments and quarrels happen when we defend our position and try to prove ourselves right.
  • Hebrews 2:10, 18; 5:8. Jesus suffered when tempted and became perfect through his suffering. Becoming like him involves suffering in a variety of ways, and one of our strongest temptations is to defend ourselves. Some may argue that self defense is a human need, not a temptation. From a Christian perspective, God has pledged to protect us far better than we could protect ourselves and even use suffering to better us. While self defense may not be wrong (that is, a sin), choosing to trust God exclusively will cause the natural human need for self defense to become a temptation in much the same way that fasting causes eating to become a temptation.
  • 1 Peter 1:5-7. We are shielded by God's power. A natural interpretation might be that God will shield us from life's troubles, but in reality God uses our suffering in trials to prove our faith genuine and to bring praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed. If we try to protect ourselves from trials, we abort this process.
  • 1 Peter 4:1-2. He who suffers in his body (flesh) is done with sin. The main purpose of suffering is to help you defeat your sinful nature, so reject evil human desires and live by God's will. Protecting or defending yourself reinforces your sinful nature rather than defeat it.
  • 1 John 3:16-18. Christ's example was to lay down his life for us and we are to lay down our lives for our brothers (other believers). This passage refers to sharing material possessions, so it's not just referring to dying for another. We are to love with actions and truth rather than words. It is appropriate, even commendable, to sacrifice your own life to defend another. In fact, doing so is a proper response to the sinful natures of both the defender and the defended: the defender overcomes his self-centered desire for self-preservation; the defended does not have to defend himself and must accept the blessing from another.
Please consider listening to experts and scholarly treatements. These guys do read the scriptures and think long and hard about these things. At this point, I can't respond any more to dismissals of experts and denial of scholarly analysis, as these may be the best treatment of the topic that I can provide.

[ Parent ]
No dismissal here (5.00 / 1) (#391)
by rmg on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:42:04 PM EST

First, I did not read it at first because I did not have time. I have time now. Take it easy.

I actually kind of like this guy, even though his interpretation of the sword thing is at odds with what I think is the correct one. I also think his interpretation of Matthew 24:43 is questionable. He takes a sentence from an anology, changes the language from "would" to "should" and calls it a moral imperative. Otherwise I think his treatment was fairly honest and in accord with what I have already said. That is, aside from the sword interpretation, I don't think he shows that Christ justifies violence. Your approach here is to throw reams of text at me, but you don't make an argument. I read every word he wrote here, and I have checked passages I thought seemed funny. Almost nothing here even mentions violent resistance. That's the argument. This borders on "off-topic." If there is something here you think you need to point out that I have somehow missed or not daelt with, show me it. The expert isn't the problem here, it is your argument.

I also agree that these guys think long and hard about these things. They think long and hard about how to reconcile the scripture with real life or some philosophy or worldview. But what if that is impossible? Thinking long and hard about something does not give you the right answer or even a valid one. I've thought long and hard about many things and often I come up with nothing compelling. These guys do read the scriptures, but they also misread the scriptures at times, and sometimes intentionally. If you check the passages he refers to and read them carefully, I am sure you will come to similar conclusions.



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Excellent post (5.00 / 1) (#255)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:28:20 AM EST

Well done! That said, I take issue with this:

So for the business of your interpretation and your scholars, I must say I was hoping for a professor of Greek (not Hebrew as you point out) literature or the like, not a Catholic scholiast.

Rhoades is no Catholic -- he's a self-styled Evangelical minister -- and I think you'd find most Catholic theologians to be far more cogent than Rhoades is on this issue. Also, I wouldn't suggest that you should ignore any potential biases of Catholic scholars, but on the other hand you can't dismiss them out of hand either. The Catholic Church is home to many exceptional scholars in the fields of classics, Greek language, history, anthropology, and other relevant fields (many educated in the finest universities in the world).

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Rhoades is not the one I was referring to (5.00 / 1) (#288)
by rmg on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:16:27 AM EST

First, thank you. Second, I knew immediately that Ron Rhoades was not Catholic. The link labelled "scholars" in HidingMyName's post points to an article by a Catholic scholar. I'm not so much questioning their learning as much as their intent. Obviously Augustine, for example, was better read than almost anyone you might care to name. You're right of course, these scholars are well educated, but as I have written elsewhere, I think that their mission is to win converts first and produce valid readings second. Modern scholars find themselves in a world of premade interpretations, some of them dating back to Augustine, and I think that one must look to the text for oneself before accepting those interpretations. For example, Aquinas does indeed seem to justify certain wars (though not on the basis of scripture as much as the works of Augustine and Aristotle), so to support the obvious interpretation of the "turn your cheek" passage would require a theologian to fight an entire tradition of thought. That's not impossible, but we wouldn't expect many to do it. That's why I was hoping for a source that takes a literary rather than theological approach.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Koine != Classical Greek (5.00 / 4) (#271)
by Pseudonym on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:44:14 AM EST

The New Testament was written in Koine, yes, but this is not the same as Classical Greek. It's actually a low form of Hellenistic Greek, which is a descendent of Attic.

As you were.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the clarification (5.00 / 1) (#351)
by HidingMyName on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:09:28 PM EST

I was not sure, because I thought each of the city states in Greece had local dialects, of which the "Attic" (from Athens) was the dialect covered in my "classical greek" courses. We did translate some New Testament passages (and Aristotle, Euclid, Plato and others), I'm not sure if they translated them into the "higher" Attic Greek or if the similarity was enough that I was able to muddle through somehow.

[ Parent ]
your sources are wrong... (5.00 / 1) (#431)
by johwsun on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:44:50 PM EST

..your translations are wrong too..

my friend, I suggest you to go read the greek prototype.

and better for you to listen to Jesus words, not to "exodus" words...

[ Parent ]

"modern life" (5.00 / 1) (#445)
by bolthole on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:10:54 PM EST

"There are so many passages in the Bible that are so irreconcilable with modern, Western life ..."

Which is why "modern, western life" sucks. It is at odds with the type of life taught by the bible. The type of life taught by the bible leads to peace and happiness. The type of life taught by the "western, modern" world, leads to neverending pursuit of bigger and more expensive cars, goods, and homes.


[ Parent ]

While "modern life" may suck... (5.00 / 1) (#539)
by rmg on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 10:15:20 PM EST

it is vastly preferable to the sexless, impoverished, and miserable life Christ advocates. Of course, you might find a life of abject poverty and martyrdom desirable, but it's not for me, or for most anyone else I'd wager. The idea that the Bible teaches a way of life that will lead to happiness comes from poor, dishonest readings it. If you are truly happy with "the presence of God" and all the other things the Bible claims to provide, that's great. I know that I have never felt any connection to God, even when I was a child. Even then I could see that no one really believes in God, much less a soul, in any nontrivial sense. That is why I am an atheist. If I said I felt a connection to God, I would be lying.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Huh? (5.00 / 1) (#561)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 01:52:38 AM EST

How do you get from, "I have never felt any connection to God," to, "no one really believes in God, much less a soul, in any nontrivial sense"? Irrespective of what you might believe, I can assure you that many people do in fact genuinely hold strong religious beliefs.

Also, arguing that it is only by way of a dishonest reading that one can maintain the Bible teaches a way of life that leads to happiness suggests to me that your own reading is heavily influenced by the chip on your shoulder. What is it in the Bible that precludes happiness?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
I'll clarify... (5.00 / 1) (#562)
by rmg on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 02:11:07 AM EST

"No one really believes in God" is my own observation and personal opinion. I don't think people are really afraid of a supernatural force and I think most religious debates come down to a power struggle between two combatants. I suggest you check out Nietzsche's madman parable in the Gay Science for an interesting illustration of this sort of atheism. Even if people hold strong beliefs about what is moral and proper, and clearly they do, it does not establish a genuine belief in God.

Now you suggest that my argument arises from some sort of bitterness, "a chip on my shoulder." I have nothing forcing Christianity on me, so I have no reason for resentment. But as to your question, Christ says one should cast away this life. One should "deny oneself" and lead a life of servitude. One should eschew sexuality, one should eschew possessions, one should be prepared to give up one's friends and family to follow Christ's teachings, which are almost directly counter to the realities faced by modern (or post-modern if you like) man. Most of the things I think of as sources of happiness are excluded by Christ's teachings. It is through taking lines out of context and using contortions of immensely clear and simple passages, like the "turn your other cheek" passage among others, that modern apologists manage to piece together a theory of Christianity compatible with today's world. Please, show me otherwise.



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Ahh, a Nietzschean (5.00 / 1) (#571)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 03:05:07 AM EST

That's ok. I'm quite comfortable on that terrain. It's odd that you mention The Gay Science as I've been rereading it over the last week--if you take a peek at my last diary entry, you'll find it's a posting of GS #111.

Anyhow, I'd agree with you that religion is inextricably bound up in questions of power, but that is not all that it is. Beliefs, religious or otherwise, are not simply reducible to power, dialectical synthesis, or manifestations of unresolved early libidinal development; all such reductions are achieved only by fundamental falsifications.

Even if people hold strong beliefs about what is moral and proper, and clearly they do, it does not establish a genuine belief in God.

I'd prefer to deal with morality independently of religious belief, at least at this point. Whatever the details of their complex relationship, it is obvious that morality can develop independently of religious belief, and so I think we can safely separate them.

Now, before plunging into the abyss, I'd prefer that you iterate some criteria by which we might distinguish authentic and inauthentic belief; otherwise we run the risk of talking of nothing but semantics.

Re: Happiness

One should "deny oneself" and lead a life of servitude. One should eschew sexuality, one should eschew possessions...

Indeed, but so too does Nietzsche argue that one might deny oneself in order to gain something greater (cf., TSZ, BGE, GS). The servitude part wouldn't have sat particularly well with him, but neither would he have denied that servitude precluded joy.

[O]ne should be prepared to give up one's friends and family to follow Christ's teachings, which are almost directly counter to the realities faced by modern (or post-modern if you like) man

That it is hard is no argument against it.

Most of the things I think of as sources of happiness are excluded by Christ's teachings.

But those are the things you believe to be the sources of happiness. Do you deny the possibility that others might achieve happiness by alternate routes? Or is your path the only one?

It is through taking lines out of context and using contortions of immensely clear and simple passages, like the "turn your other cheek" passage among others, that modern apologists manage to piece together a theory of Christianity compatible with today's world.

I wouldn't entirely disagree with you that some degree of misprison is required to square the requirements made by the Bible with requirements of day to day life, but was it any easier 2000 years ago? Isn't impossibility the very essence of Christianity? And, for that matter, isn't the conflict between theory and practice, thought and action, belief and reality, characteristic of human life in general?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Correction (5.00 / 1) (#573)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 03:11:07 AM EST

I wrote:

The servitude part wouldn't have sat particularly well with him, but neither would he have denied that servitude precluded joy.

I meant to say:

The servitude part wouldn't have sat particularly well with him, but neither would he have agreed that servitude precluded joy.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Yes, good ol' Nietzsche (5.00 / 1) (#576)
by rmg on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 03:52:37 AM EST

I am a bit of a fan. I don't read him as much as I used to, but I like a lot of his arguments.

Now, before plunging into the abyss, I'd prefer that you iterate some criteria by which we might distinguish authentic and inauthentic belief; otherwise we run the risk of talking of nothing but semantics.

Well, I like Nietzsche's criterion: would the subject laugh at the madman? But obviously that is a very tricky criterion. It's a subtle question. I think someone who believes in God would fear God, so that's one possibility. Someone who fears God would not ask "how many cheeks do I have to turn?" as one poster did (to my great irritation). Maybe you could propose one of your own. I'm not too picky, as long as the criterion is not "the subject claims to believe in God." It has always been a gut feeling for me more than anything. Now that I'm pressed to it, I have trouble quantifying it.

[O]ne should be prepared to give up one's friends and family to follow Christ's teachings, which are almost directly counter to the realities faced by modern (or post-modern if you like) man

That it is hard is no argument against it

I'm not sure we're on the same page here. I'm not arguing against Christianity as such. I am arguing its incompatibility with modern reality. If it is hard, I am part of the way there already. I quite agree that it was probably as unacceptable in Christ's time as it is today. That's why he got nailed to a tree, I'd wager. On the question of happiness, you're right of course, someone might be happy with the life Christ recommends, but I don't think that person is me. Moreover, we don't hear about many people giving away all their possessions so that they can pursue Christ's teachings (I hope you'll agree that priests/preachers would be for the most part vacuous examples of this). Yes it is true that there are other paths to happiness I have not enumerated, but in the beatitudes [sic] unhappiness is even encouraged. One's rewards lie in the next world.

On the question of impossibility, I have to disagree. Whenever I have sat in a religion class or church, or read snippets of the Bible (I confess I have not read all of it), I have always been struck not with the impossibility, but rather the possibility of living that way. Human beings have radical freedom in this world, even the freedom to act as bizarrely as the Bible demands. The question of difficulty is irrelevant. The point is it could be done. I believe I could do it, but I don't want to. As to the question of whether life is necessarily fraught with conflict, I agree in part, but I do not agree that that conflict must be internal. Again, it is a tricky question, that I don't think I can adequately treat.

So what's my problem? My problem is that modern treatments of Christianity try to make things easy for the Christian. But that is not the point, as I understand it. In the zeal for converts (and donations in some cases) missionaries and evangelists have turned Christianity into this feel-good religion where God is your buddy and you can just act like you would act if you had never heard of Christianity. Where you can slap people back, collect all the goods and monies you want, pray loudly so that all will hear, etc, etc. To say that this is the result of some fundamental rift between theory and practice is a cop-out, in my opinion. It is easy not slap back, it is easy to be poor (in the sense that one need go to no effort to be so), it is easy keep one's prayer's to one's self. Why don't these so-called Christians stop looking for excuses and just follow the simple rules?



_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Re: Yes, good ol' Nietzsche (5.00 / 1) (#579)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 05:29:32 AM EST

[Sorry in advance for any spelling/grammar/syntax errors, but it is well past my bedtime and I've run out of steam]

I don't read him as much as I used to, but I like a lot of his arguments.

Same here. I picked up The Gay Science on a lark, but prior to that I haven't read through one of Nietzsche's books in its entirety for probably about 5. That said, Nietsche has been influential on my thought.

Maybe you could propose one of your own. I'm not too picky, as long as the criterion is not "the subject claims to believe in God." It has always been a gut feeling for me more than anything. Now that I'm pressed to it, I have trouble quantifying it.

No, thank you... I handed that one off to you because it is an epistemological thicket from which there is no escape--belief in general not just religious belief. It is a question that plauged Plato and continues to vex philosphers and cognitive scientists in our day.

I am arguing its incompatibility with modern reality.

I'm not sure if we're talking past one another here, but I'd agree that it is incompatible with modern life. As I understand the Gospels that is the point. Christ's message was essentially that life in this fallen world is fundamentally incompatible with living in accordance with God's will, but that impossibilty is somehow bridgeable with the grace of God. It's a vague and imprecise doctrine on which to found a religious practice and is therefore subject to varied resolutions and disambiguations. Most Christians are agreed that "we should store up our treasure in Heaven," but it's not clear from the Gospels what the believer is to do with himself here in this life.

How exactly is one reconcile the requirements of this world with the God's demands? Some Christian communities have held that it is only through emulation of Christ's poverty, meekness, and humility that salvation comes. Other's have held that God does not demand that this world be rejected entirely in order that they obtain the rewards of the next. Both sides of this debate have ample textual evidence to support their positions and the text alone cannot resolve the dispute. See Umberto Eco's Semiotics: A Philosophy of Language for a decidedly secular account of intepretive dilemmas and irresolvable ambiguities of the Biblical texts.

In any case, I'm far less interested in questions of what the exact meaning of Biblical texts are than I am in understanding the role that they have played in actual communities and religious belief systems. The question of whether or not the Bible demands that the believer eschew wordly goods and emulate Jesus' poverty is not nearly so interesting to me as understanding how the debate has shaped the development of actual religious belief and practice.

To say that this is the result of some fundamental rift between theory and practice is a cop-out, in my opinion.

It's not just my cop-out, it's an essential element of the Catholic theology of grace, sin and salvation. I can appreciate why you might dismiss it as a cop-out, but can you honestly say that your own ethical experience is free of an element of impossibility. Absent some perfect form of ethical calculus, aren't ethical demands always somehow beyond us; insofar as choice, and thefore doubt, remains? I believe that the very essence of the ethical impulse is the will to exceed ourselves.

If you're open to the experience, I'd recommend reading Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited to obtain some appreciation of the Catholic view on grace and sin. The uneasy reconciliation between grace and sin is what I find most profound in Catholicism.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Christianity/Christians/Biblical teaching (5.00 / 1) (#695)
by bolthole on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 09:13:16 PM EST

So what's my problem? My problem is that modern treatments of Christianity try to make things easy for the Christian.[...]
In the zeal for converts (and donations in some cases) missionaries and evangelists have turned Christianity into this feel-good religion where God is your buddy and you can just act like you would act if you had never heard of Christianity.

Yeup. Sadly, very true. But all that doesnt make the notion of following Christ invalid. It means there's a lot of lazy people out there, and a lot of schmucks looking to cash in on a tendancy or cultural bias.

It's a Homer Simpson vs Ned Flanders thing. His family "goes to church", but they arent exactly Christian, and Homer is much further away from that than other members of his family. Homer is a parody of the average modern american. But while his character is an exaggeration, the attitudes themselves are often on target. Exaggeration of the truth, is often what makes something funny. Just as Ned is funny, because he goes a bit over the top even for a fundamentalist.

Yet the interesting thing is, the portrayals are still true to life, in that Ned is normally happy, and Homer is always complaining (ie: not happy)


[ Parent ]

Ah, there it is (5.00 / 1) (#700)
by rmg on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 01:18:05 AM EST

You think Ned is a real Christian. I disagree. Ned is self-righteous, makes a public spectacle of his piety, is financially well-off, and is a mur-diddly-urderer (he killed Maude's plant). You can talk all you want about how happy he seems, but there are two whole episodes about how repressed he his (both psychologically and sexually). There are some respects in which Ned strikes me as "truly Christian," but by and large he is just a charicature of American Christianity. He, like most of the fundamentalists I've come across, lacks humanity. He is really bitter, and kind of sad. Fundamentalists seem to me like they are angry at the world and feel the need to denounce and deny it, whether they're preaching creationism or calling same-sex mariages an abomination. Like Ned, they don't strike me as happy, they strike me as sad.

Back to my original point, if Ned were homeless, poor, and kept his prayers secret, I would find Simpsons too depressing to watch (instead of not funny enough), but I would call him a real Christian.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

caricatures (5.00 / 1) (#702)
by bolthole on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 02:05:49 AM EST

I did say he was an exaggeration.

Sure he has some personal issues here and there, but overall, he is actually a very happy person.

"repressed" is often overused by the slacker public as "not willing to have sex at parties, do drugs, or otherwise completely give in to your base desires". Getting Un"repressed" in that scenario, is not particularly good for you. Sure it makes all the other people around you (and thus, most of the people watching The Simpsons" feel a whole lot better about themselves (oh look, he's just like me after all. he's doing what I do now). But not particularly a good thing.

Ned is a very peaceful, happy guy, who takes things in his stride well. There was the episode where he made a dumb bet with homer, and "the one who is not the winner" mows the lawn in his wife's dress. Homer sulked and almost couldnt deal with it. Ned just treated it as a funny thing.
Ned also deals with things far better than most other "real" people. ALmost no "real" person could put up with all the garbage that Homer puts him through. But his acceptance of it is very Christian. Ned truely loves his neighbour. The fact that Homer is literally his neighbour is just a unfortunate (for Ned) coincidence.

Yes, there are a lot of "fundamentalists" yelling and screaming from the pulpit. Thats just another example of Christianity gone wrong. It's just the other side of the spectrum from the casual side of "go to church occasionally, pray to God, and trust that you are Saved, so you can do no wrong".
Just because they are on the flip side of the spectrum, doesnt make them right either.

Oh, and by the way, the bible isnt anti-sex. it's anti-UNMARRIED sex. You should have heard the things my rabbi friend said about what is healthy and permissible for an orthodox jewish married couple. Oy, are my ears burning ;-)

PS: "same-sex marriage" is an oxymoron. Even if you dont restrict it to just the Judeo-Christian view, marriage is a religious institution, that pretty much universally has been defined by "The Creator" as the union between a man and woman. The fact that gays get jealous of that, doesnt magically change what marriage is.
To "legally" change the definition of what is fundamentally a religious concept, is a farce.


[ Parent ]

Okay (5.00 / 1) (#703)
by rmg on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 02:50:15 AM EST

I probably should not have gotten into this anyway, so I'll just throw in my parting remarks. In common usage, "repressed" does not mean "not willing to have sex at parties, do drugs, or otherwise completely give in to your base desires." But you probably know that. Those who do what you describe and call themselves Christians, I will agree, are pretty lame. But I'm thinking most such characters do not aspire to the Christian ideal. And your bit about the bible not being anti-sex is a bit of stretch. With the way people keep getting married later and later, an anti-UNMARRIED sex policy is about as bad. Besides, you could make a pretty good argument that the New Testament condemns sex in a much wider sense than the Old Testament your rabbi was coming from.

And your postscript-- I would hope you're joking, but I know you're not. Look, you can talk about where things originated all you like, but in the eyes of the American state, marriage is a legal institution, and a crucial one at that. That is why you can be married by a judge. You can hold whatever definition you want, as can your church. That does not matter. The point is that marriage has various legal consequences that should be extended to the analogous case for homosexuals. It's true that no Christian church is likely to give marriage services for homosexuals for a long time, if ever. But that does not matter. The point is that the modern reality of marriage is a legal one and the legal protections afforded heterosexual couples and homosexual couples ought to be afforded to that same protection. And if you're really a Christian, this is no problem. If you see homosexuality as sinful or evil or whatever, that's fine. Just let them do their thing, as Christ tells you to, and, according to your belief, God will deal with them.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

eck (5.00 / 1) (#704)
by rmg on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 02:56:22 AM EST

I butchered one of those sentences: "The point is that the modern reality of marriage is a legal one and the legal protections afforded heterosexual couples and homosexual couples ought to be afforded to that same protection." Should read: "The point is that the modern reality of marriage is a legal one and the legal protections afforded heterosexual couples ought to be given to homosexual couples as well." Eh, I should be asleep. There were some other mistakes, but I'm not in the position to care right now...

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

later marriage (5.00 / 1) (#730)
by bolthole on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 03:15:39 PM EST

And your bit about the bible not being anti-sex is a bit of stretch. With the way people keep getting married later and later, an anti-UNMARRIED sex policy is about as bad.

As bad as what?

Better to be married later in life, and have a stable marriage, then to get married early, screw up your life, your (ex) wife's life, your childrens' lives, ...

And if a "later in life" marriage would not be stable for someone either... better for that person to never get married at all. If you cant stick to the "until death do us part" bit, then dont swear to stick by it. If you cant make the payments on your 30-year house loan for the next 30 years, dont buy the house.


[ Parent ]

you dont understand Christian life (5.00 / 1) (#693)
by bolthole on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 09:01:22 PM EST

it is vastly preferable to the sexless, impoverished, and miserable life Christ advocates.

Clearly, you dont understand Christian life, then.

It is sad that you do not personally come in contact with any true Christians, so that you could understand better.


Even then I could see that no one really believes in God,

"No one you know" is a far cry from "no one".
You must live in a very wretched place. (New York? :-)

If you want to be happier in life, I suggest you consider moving.


[ Parent ]

Not sure you understand... (5.00 / 1) (#697)
by rmg on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 12:54:53 AM EST

I used to live in Ohio, which had a lot of people who claimed to be Christian. And acutually, I do live in New York now. I like it much better. Your use of the term "Christian life" suggests that you are some sort of Protestant. You are probably working form some kind of doctrine that says it's alright to live a comfortable life, ignore the poor, vote Republican, etc. My reading of the Bible says that these things are unacceptable. The mere fact that you own a computer disqualifies you as a "true Christian" in my reading. I'm sorry if that bothers you. But have no fear, I'm pretty confident that there is no God anyway, and I don't really consider this any kind of moral condemnation.
What makes you think that New York is wretched, by the way? It's extremely convenient, you see interesting things and people on a daily basis. I think it beats rural parts of America hands down.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

read it again (5.00 / 1) (#701)
by bolthole on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 01:48:32 AM EST

I used to live in Ohio, which had a lot of people who claimed to be Christian.

This in no way invalidates what I was saying. I said "true Christians."


 And actually, I do live in New York now. I like it much better.

well, whaddya know :-)

You may like it "better". But you dont sound particularly happy.

What makes you think that New York is wretched, by the way? It's extremely convenient, you see interesting things and people on a daily basis.

Yes, I'm sure it has all kinds of "interesting" things. Lots of day to day "distractions". But are you happy? Not "comfortable", not "well off"; are you happy, with who, what, and where you are ?

[ Parent ]

Oh I get: happy == Christian. Okay, you're right (5.00 / 1) (#712)
by rmg on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 10:38:54 AM EST

I'm not "happy" you got me. I have enjoyed this exchange.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

avoiding the question (5.00 / 1) (#731)
by bolthole on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 03:18:56 PM EST

You're trying to make a mockery of the question, instead of answering the question. It's a very straightforward one.

The fact that you cant truthfully answer the simple question of "are you happy" [with your life], implies that you arent, and that you know you arent, but dont want to admit it to yourself.


[ Parent ]

No, I don't think I have (5.00 / 1) (#732)
by rmg on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 04:25:41 PM EST

"Are you happy?" is not a simple question. My saying that I am does not make it so, nor does your saying I'm not make it not. I don't think I have avoided your question. I have answered it in a way you do not like. You equate interesting things with distractions in the parent. To me, that seems like a rejection of my idea of happiness (which is admittedly rather vague). With that rejection in mind, I'm bound to go on what I guess is your definition. I think if you thought about it, you would find my answer more appropriate than you originally thought. What do interesting things distract you from? I think the key is that they are things, interesting just means they draw attention, or reason for thought or emotion or whatever. Basically, you're saying I'm being "distracted" by things, i.e. the world. Sounds like a denial of reality to me. Obviously you will disagree with that analysis, because you don't like it. It says that your criteria for happiness collapse to some kind of religious idea. Hence, I come back to my original answer: I am not Christian, therefore I am not happy.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

simple question (5.00 / 1) (#798)
by bolthole on Sun Jun 15, 2003 at 02:39:21 AM EST

"Are you happy" IS a simple question. Your original answer was  a non-sequitur. You chose to mock the original question by rewriting it as equivalent to "are you Christian". That is NOT the question I asked.

If you are confused about "am I, or am I not, happy", then you are clearly not happy. To use a contemporary metaphor, if you have to ask someone else "did I have an orgasm?",  because you're not sure, then you didn't have one. If you are not sure that you're happy, then you are not happy.

I refer to "distractions", because that is how some people run their lives. They go to bars on friday(,saturday,sunday) to get drunk and forget about their life,and their job, etc, etc. Because they dont like their current life, their job, ...

I just read a bit somewhere about a guy who spent 20 hours a week or something on "Anarchy Online", even though in real life, he is having a lot of financial difficulties. He pretty much admitted that he does AO to feel better because his current situation sucks. He also said words to the effect of "things cant keep on like this"(in real life). While he is engaged in the "distraction", he forgets that in real life, he is quite unhappy about his situation.


[ Parent ]

simple answer? (5.00 / 1) (#800)
by TACBAF on Sun Jun 15, 2003 at 08:57:24 AM EST

existing therefore a difference between unhappy and sad...?

[ Parent ]
"un" vs "not" (5.00 / 1) (#807)
by bolthole on Sun Jun 15, 2003 at 11:53:57 PM EST

The "un" prefix in scientific circles tends to mean "not". whereas in common usage, "un" tends to mean "opposite of". SO, in common usage, "unhappy" is about the same as "sad".

Whereas "not happy" cleanly encompasses both "sad", and the state of "neither happy nor sad".

The original question was, to put it in mathematical terms, .... durn, dont have the full math symbols available :-) erm...

Yes if  (your mental state) (subset of) (happy)

No if "not happy".

[ Parent ]

You're still talking about this? (5.00 / 1) (#818)
by rmg on Tue Jun 17, 2003 at 02:20:51 AM EST

You have dodged my analysis, but that's fine. I don't really care at this point. Are you happy is a complicated question because saying someone is not happy carries the implication that that person is unhappy. I am often bored with life, so I can't say that I am "happy" constantly, as I tend to think happy means. I am not unhappy. Generally content but slightly restless would characterize me well. Your talk about distractions ultimately reveals you. Life is nothing but distractions. You're "real life" business is only effective because you use a video game as its antithesis. Your beating on a strawman, and in my opinion, you don't quite knock it down. Going to bars and whatever else is not a distraction, it's another part of life. If you don't get that, I'd say you don't get life. Anyway, I'm not much interested in discussing this. I've had my fill of religion for a few months. Go ahead and respond to get your last shots in. I'll read it, but I won't respond.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Vanity of Vanities (3.42 / 7) (#185)
by knott art on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 05:49:02 PM EST

Do not confuse christians, born again or not, with someone who would follow the teachings of Jesus.  (Have you read the "Jefferson bible" Thomas Jefferson's cut and paste job on the teachings of Jesus?)  Jesus was an uncompronising fellow. To follow him you first have to give away all you have of worldly possessions. That eliminates most of us.  Christianity promises a backdoor to heaven for those who want to believe in something, but not something too difficult.  Stick with your reading of Ecclesiastes:  Vanity of vanities all is vanity and a striving to break wind.

 
Knott Art

Which is why Saint Francis (4.25 / 4) (#202)
by simul on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:27:46 PM EST

Was my favorite saint. Jesus lives the way we all should live... we should at least recognize that. But of course, following in the footsteps of Jesus or St. Francis is very un-American and anti-Capitalist....

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. (3.75 / 4) (#207)
by infinitera on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:59:09 PM EST

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

[ Parent ]

And it is in killing others (5.00 / 2) (#823)
by simul on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 03:07:54 PM EST

that we win votes.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Actually, yes (5.00 / 2) (#282)
by Quila on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:10:03 AM EST

(Have you read the "Jefferson bible" Thomas Jefferson's cut and paste job on the teachings of Jesus?)

It's quite an improvement if you're looking for meaning, but not so much if you're looking for a grand literary work. It's like cutting all the magic and fairy tale crap from Grimm to get down to the actual lessons the stories teach.

[ Parent ]

How did u get in without an e-mail address?? (5.00 / 1) (#432)
by knott art on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:47:17 PM EST

I want to send you something.

You're right.  Truth doesn't necessarily lie in the facts ... it's more likely to be in the myth, the mystery, the poetry.

Thanks for your comment.
Knott Art
[ Parent ]

Oooh, this could be fun (5.00 / 1) (#788)
by Quila on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 08:37:12 PM EST

I've probably seen it before, or something like it, but go ahead and send it. frank (that little at symbol) qui(remove this)la dot com I'm paranoid about spam harvesting, so I set my prefs to not show emails.

[ Parent ]
Linux sucks. (1.53 / 39) (#187)
by Hide The Hamster on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 06:13:07 PM EST




Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

In America, (3.50 / 4) (#190)
by Lew Dobbs on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 06:44:08 PM EST

"Christian" means this!

"In Sov-" (3.50 / 4) (#225)
by JChen on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:27:44 PM EST

"Ah, fuck it."

Let us do as we say.
[ Parent ]
+1 fp (3.40 / 10) (#199)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:12:51 PM EST

+1 fp

for provoking debate

-1,000

for being utterly, shamefully wrong and missing the larger picture:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/6/4/22518/30577/130#130

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

I fived you (3.50 / 3) (#211)
by TRASG0 on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:13:53 PM EST

because anyone who zeroed you was abusing their trusted user status.

read my diary or I shall turn you into a newt
[ Parent ]
thanks (3.50 / 3) (#231)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:10:47 PM EST

i agree. zero is for spam and racism. and i see lusers using zero for ideological reasons all of the time. that should be grounds for having your zero priveledge revoked.

thanks for having some principles. ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

gw bush is a moron (1.86 / 15) (#204)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 07:29:23 PM EST

he is a simple little man with a giant faith in christianity.

i voted for gore, i cried when bush stole the election.

and i stand behind the actions of the US GOVERNMENT on iraq.

because people here condemn gw bush, as if he symbolizes us power.

when 2004 comes, or 2008 comes, and gw bush is gone, what red herring will these people have to condemn when us policy doesn't change?

gw bush is but a cog in the machine. he is not a dictator. the us is a stable democracy that represents a SPECTRUM of religious beliefs. and to fall for propaganda that equates the us with the fundamentalists and tyrants it stands against is simply blindness.

democracy is the real champion of civilization in the world, not religion.

gw bush's beliefs in christianity do NOT represent the us govt. they do not represent the american people. people forget that us democracy is ALIVE and WELL, thank you very much.

democracy should be championed and ALL religions: judaism, christianity, islam, hinduism, sikhism, etc. must fall beneath the foot of democracy if civilization is to survive.

NO RELIGION LIES ABOVE DEMOCRACY AND COMMON SENSE.

I REPEAT: NO RELIGION RISES ABOVE SIMPLE COMMON SENSE ON GOOD AND MORALITY AND THE VOTING WILL OF THE PEOPLE OF ANY COUNTRY.

these sentiments are ALIVE AND WELL in the us, and very much DEAD in other places.

so which do you support? democracy? common sense?

or do believe in the fall of civilization in the form of christian versus jew versus moslem versus hindu versus sikh?

religious symbolism is to be SMASHED and SUBJUGATED if civilization is to survive. to champion religion: ANY RELIGION is to stand AGAINST democratic principles annd common sense good and morality.

to take the christian beliefs of one TEMPORARY idiot at the helm of a government that stands for the rights of a SPECTRUM of beliefs, and then to EQUATE said country/ government with the CLEARLY nondemocratic entitites it stands against is PROPAGANDA and INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY.

do you hate gw bush? good for you, i agree with you.

now cheer while the might of america crushes nondemocratic religious fundamentalism the world over. then roll up your sleeves and help me smash nondemocratic christian religious fundamentalism alive and well within the borders of the united states.

to boo and hiss at what the us does while a TEMPORARY religious moron is at the helm is shortsighted, and misses the larger picture: the triumph of plurality and democracy and basic human rights and freedoms over the ossified idiocy of religion the whole world over.

think of america as an imperfect tool doing what is basically good for the world: the destruction of tyranny and the dispersing of religious fundies. i mean, gw bush is certainly a tool, lol. ;-P

don't worry about america folks. enemies of chirstian fundamentalist idiocy like me are alive and well and at work in here. and we are able to fight christian fundamentalist lunacy BECAUSE OF the rules and health of american democracy. imagine that! ;-)

don't believe the hype, don't get swallowed up in the hysteria: remember, america is your friend.

now help us the world over destroy the true enemies of peace and prosperity: religious fundies, at home, and abroad.

that is the real task at hand, not the spread of more internal division and strife at the hands of provincial thinkers in europe and america and africa and the middle east and india and china and elsewhere. we all lie within a cause which basically believes in the spread of pluralistic democracy the world over, something we can all believe in. america is an imperfect tool to that end, whatever stupid moron temporarily lies at the helm. yes, he is powerful, but the american people are more powerful than him. and that is the beauty of democracy and why it must be spread. the american people will NOT let him and ashcroft take away our basic rights. do NOT fall for the hype from the right or the left and wind up believing that they are more powerful than they are. they simply aren't.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

So what you're saying is... (4.00 / 2) (#210)
by reklaw on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:05:56 PM EST

... that democracy is your religion?

Seriously though, you're not going to stop people from believing in their religions (it's been tried many times).  I find your hatred of religion rather disturbing.
-
[ Parent ]

yes, i do hate ORGANIZED religion (4.00 / 4) (#213)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:29:02 PM EST

it stands in the way of progress

it muddles and clouds minds with flim flam clap trap clankity clang

i stand against suffering in the world

i see organized religion as creating suffering in the world


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I think I see where you're coming from (4.50 / 2) (#220)
by reklaw on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:56:18 PM EST

It's admirable to want to stop suffering in the world.

However, remove organized religion and something else would spring up to take its place.  Organized religion doesn't create suffering, people do -- and they use it as an excuse.  The excuse for violence could just as easily be a perceived need to protect one's family or country from a real or imagined threat.

Sad as it is, if you took away religion a terrorist could still believe that the USA has bombed his country and want to do something about it.  It just wouldn't solve that problem -- or any others, in my opinion.

Religion, though, does help many people feel more comfortable with the world around them.  People in dire situations turn to religion to give them strength. Would you like to tell all those people that they're absolutely not going to see their loved ones again in an afterlife, or whatever?  People like religion, otherwise it wouldn't be so popular. Nobody is brainwashed into it.
-
[ Parent ]

religion needs to know it's place (4.50 / 2) (#235)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:17:42 PM EST

it's an opiate for the masses.

the communists were wrong to try to outlaw it. it's useful, really. no reason to get rid of it.

i don't think it should be removed, just subjugated and subsumed beneath to foot of democracy. separation of church and state and all that.

but whenever religion rises above the government, as it did recently in northern pakistan when they assumed sharia law there, or northern nigeria awhile ago, where you can stone to death a woman now if she has a baby out of wedlock, then you have immediately upped the suffering.

religion is an opiate, as you said:

Religion, though, does help many people feel more comfortable with the world around them.

but it must be made to heel. it must know it's place. it is for the simpleminded sheep of the world, and does a lot for their peace of mind. it is very useful in that respect.

but when it rises above that place, the suffering begins.

quote:

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca

that just about says it all.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Would you prefer a Brave New World? (5.00 / 1) (#237)
by TheModerate on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:21:53 PM EST

Besides, who says that there is such thing as progress anyway? Isn't this something that depends on your particular worldview?

And here is the real mind blower: that progress, as in creative and intellectual achievement of real value almost requires suffering. Because the best works of fiction are not about happiness, they are about suffering---how life's struggles causes someone to achieve greatness.

Imagine a society without suffering (isn't this what Brave New World is about?). How could they possibly relate to Shakespeare's Hamlet? What would move them to produce drama? Isn't happiness, so defined, the very enemy of progress?

But I agree with the guy you are responding to---your hatred of religion is disturbing. Now, I dislike certain aspects of religion, but I am not sure that we can live without them aspects. Like indoctrination at childhood---this is such an easy powerplay between children and adults that I believe it will happen indefinitely into the future, with or without religion. In fact, with the decreasing dominance of Christianity we find slowly the government taking up this role---in schools, in "character development" courses, etc.

Free your mind. Without the ability to take on a more sympathetic perspective of the religious you will only end up as yet another dead beat who considers himself an intellectual yet his mind is too warped to perform such a feat. Will to truth? But why not rather untruth? And ignorance? It is with such emotive hatred where you can no longer tell the difference.

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
[ Parent ]

fuck big brother (5.00 / 1) (#241)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:02:31 PM EST

what do you think of this suggestion?:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/6/4/22518/30577/240#240

quote:

of course, any organized religion is open to abuse, as would this "master" religion that lies above the other religions like what i am proposing, which defeats the idea of what i am proposing!

so maybe such a religion could believe in not having any organization, that the idea of organization itself goes against the principles of the religion? that such a hypothetitical religion could only be understood and digested on an individual basis? and to organize or follow some charmismatic individual immediately means you have committed the greatest "sin" in such a metareligion? lol

at least that principle removes me from the usual collection of megalomaniacs who try to found cults and sects: i am saying the most fundamental tenet of my hypothetical religion is pure individuality and adherence to democratic principles... that to follow me or anyone else means you're not in the religion! ;-P

what do you think? read the rest... i am serious! ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I Caution You (5.00 / 2) (#268)
by TheModerate on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:05:12 AM EST

It might be an interesting idea, Epicurous had ideas in the same vein (that he had been ignored for centuries in favor Christianity should show some evidence that a creed that highlights the individual doesn't spread with as much force as a creed that emphasizes sacrificing yourself to a larger group).

But I caution you, that you have to have some sense of balance, some ability to look at religion from the perspective of the worshipper, that God lives in their very souls---buried under unanswered prayers; that is to say their hopes and perhaps their fears. To remove their God is a dangerous business, like a surgery of the heart. And once it is taken out, what could there be to replace it? Religion isn't the opium of the masses---which is that sort of error that is always involved when people react to a thing, in this case religion, out of fear and malice.

A further caution, that preaching individualism can not work, since doing such would be a contradiction. Individualism must come from within the individual---it can not be taught. Even naming it "individualism" is just asking for the term to be abused by your enemies (and no doubt, anyone who poses to destroy religion is bound to have many enemies). All names that signify honorable things are bound to be corrupted. It is best to honor only nameless things.

Also, democracy is one of the worst forms of government. There is nothing superior or necessarily good about democratic principles. And like all governments, its less a matter on who governs than what kind of people they are whether tyranny, aristocracy, fascism, or democracy. There is nothing that forbids any of these governments to be benevolent, just as there is nothing that forbids them to become malevolent.

And without a God to grant them, that leaves rights as simply whatever the state grants to its people. There are no inalienable rights nor are there "individual rights"---which is a contradiction in terms. An individual needs no rights. Why would someone need permission to do a thing? Please, lets leave these religious fictions behind us.

But on the whole, I think that abandoning religion can only be a positive thing overall.

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
[ Parent ]

Fun fact (5.00 / 2) (#326)
by mshook on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:27:09 PM EST

Well if you think "it stands in the way of progress", take a look at this:

Among Wealthy Nations ... U.S. STANDS ALONE IN ITS EMBRACE OF RELIGION

[ Parent ]
You cried? (1.71 / 7) (#229)
by debacle on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:55:23 PM EST

Hahahah, what a loser.

He's just a president, it was only four years. Your cried?

I'd call you a fag, but there are too many queers on this site, and that sort of this is frowned upon.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

it always strikes me (2.00 / 5) (#236)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 10:21:38 PM EST

how people who inject homosexuality into a discussion must be repressed homosexuals with internal psychological conflict.

i man otherwise, why would these people always be talking about homosexuals when no one else is, right? ;-P

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

smooches darling, you never come over for snuggling anymore

HAHAHAHA

see that? it's called comfort in my heterosexuality...

you know,  you should be more comfortable being a homosexual loveydovey, there's nothing wrong with it at all ;-)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I wish I could strike you. (2.83 / 6) (#251)
by debacle on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:58:41 PM EST

With a nine iron.

I'm confident in my heterosexuality. Ask anyone who knows me, I love to act flagrantly homosexual. It's all in good fun, though.

It's people who really mean it that you have to worry about. :)

And besides, that was horrible play at being homosexual. Not even a real homosexual would say that.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

comments (5.00 / 3) (#280)
by Quila on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:55:02 AM EST

i voted for gore, i cried when bush stole the election.

I don't like Bush, but I still believe the Supreme Court ruled correctly according to the law.

BTW, did you know that Gore sold his vote as a senator on the resolution for a Gulf War for a few minutes of extra air time?

people forget that us democracy is ALIVE and WELL, thank you very much.

As long as you're a Republicrat. Otherwise, it's almost impossible due to rigged laws to participate at any high level as an elected representative.

democracy should be championed and ALL religions: judaism, christianity, islam, hinduism, sikhism, etc.

Problem: most of those religions are based on an authoritarian power structure and strict adherents believe the law (created by democracy) follows beneath that.

I'd actually have no problem with religion at all if people just kept it to themselves. Like Jesus said, keep your prayers to yourself, hide in the closet and do it if you have to. I know there are contrary Bible Tag verses, but this reflects Christianity as I wish it were practiced.

You are right that political/religious hypocrites like The Evil Pat Robertson need to be stopped from imposing their warped views and horrendous double-faced "values" on the rest of us.

[ Parent ]

off a little. (5.00 / 2) (#462)
by /dev/trash on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:09:56 PM EST

when 2004 comes, or 2008 comes, and gw bush is gone, what red herring will these people have to condemn when us policy doesn't change?

GWB will win in 2004, the Democrats will guarantee it.  If he didn't win and say a Democrayt won, then Hillary's dream of being President has to wait til 2016, at the latest.

---
Summer Tour!
[ Parent ]

Link (3.75 / 4) (#208)
by reklaw on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:01:32 PM EST

An old Newsweek article (Google cache) about Bush and God.

Excerpt:

Would Iraq be a "just war" in Christian terms, as laid out by Augustine in the fourth century and amplified by Aquinas, Luther and others? Bush has satisfied himself that it would be--indeed, it seems he did so many months ago. But he didn't do it by combing through texts or presiding over a disputation. He decided that Saddam was evil, and everything flowed from that.
-

Jesus was a schizo... (3.57 / 7) (#214)
by skyknight on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:33:55 PM EST

"...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36)

I agreed with some of what you said, particularly about the sadness of launching $500M worth of missiles when one imagines all the humanitarian aid that $500M could buy. Think of what air dropping just $1M worth of water bottles on Iraq could have done to ease resentment towards America for damaging Iraqi infrastructure. I disagree, however, that we can have a foreign policy devoid of muscle. I think that the more practical route is to act compassionately, but also to use force judiciously. The US made a lot of mistakes that led up to 9/11, but you just can't turn your cheek when 3000 civilians are slaughtered. As sad as it is, you have to let people know that aggression has consequences.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
I've heard the money equation said better (4.75 / 4) (#279)
by Quila on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:43:45 AM EST

To paraphrase what I once heard, in the context of a dictator starving his people: People say that the few million dollars for some nuclear bomb would go a long way towards feeding people in starving nations, but I say the money on the bombs is well-spent if we just use them to kill the dictators and let people feed themselves again.

These days, people don't starve, they are starved, and humanitarian aid when there is a dictator in place is just putting your finger in the dyke when there are 50 other holes in it.

[ Parent ]

I mostly agree. (4.00 / 2) (#287)
by skyknight on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:01:46 AM EST

There is largely no carrying capacity issue that is causing hunger in the world. Famine is typically the result of a few assholes (dictators) that use hunger as a tool against their rebellious populations, or, in the case of the former Soviet Union, sell desperately needed food to raise money for weapons purchases. Indeed humanitarian aid to a country under the thumb of a despotic ruler is largely futile. It just goes to feed the despot's army while the peasants go on starving. Sadly, on the other side of the coin, the United States' foolish policies of economic sanction do nothing but make the people under the dictator's thumb miserable, while doing nothing to the dictator. If one is sufficiently cold hearted to murder one's way into power, then peons starving is of little consequence, as long as the palace larder is well stocked with pork and wine.

That being said... If I had my druthers, instead of launching 500 cruise missiles on Iraq, I would have launched, say, 498 cruise missiles, and air dropped a couple million bottles of water in the regions where stray bombs, or just as likely Hussein's attempts to cause a humanitarian crisis, had severed water lines.

I don't think it's all or nothing. The people do need to get on with their lives again by feeding themselves. War, however, is a real shitfest. People die. People starve. Eventually we can expect people to take care of themselves when a market economy has a chance to re-emerge, but when the place is trashed, and bombs are falling, it's not all that fair to expect people to be able to feed themselves and their families effectively. It would not hamper our efforts to stir in some compassion (which we have done, though it could be better) with our warring.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Food drops (5.00 / 1) (#469)
by Anonymous Hiro on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:58:29 PM EST

Actually I believe the US did drop food in the recent Afghanistan war. So it's not all bad.

Stir some compassion? Let's have some truth too. Being attacked for some unknown reason sure isn't compassionate. With the recent war the reasons the US gave were suspect, and many people think their suspicions have been borne out by the recent lack of WMD found.

The fact that seemingly much of the US people don't think the lack of WMD or the lack of US Gov honesty is a big issue makes them complicit.

In contrast, in the UK, Blair is getting a lot of heat from the media, the people and his fellow politicians.

Thus to the rest of the world, the majority of the US appear to be in support of what Bush has done.

So the next time some crazy arabs/muslims terrorize the US, the sympathy could be a lot less.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, but from what I understand... (5.00 / 1) (#474)
by skyknight on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 12:21:21 AM EST

The food packets looked just like the cluster bombs we dropped. This apparently made for some "interesting" guess work on the part of the recipients of the packets.

Are you sure you're reading a sufficient variety of US media? If you read the Wall Street Journal, you're not going to find much in the way of criticism of Bush. If, however, you read the New York Times, you will note ample lambasting of the Bush administration for failing to come up with proof of WMDs. For instance, take a look at the op-ed pieces that Nicholas Kristof wrote this past week.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Yep. (5.00 / 1) (#502)
by Anonymous Hiro on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 10:35:12 AM EST

Bombs, food packages were yellow in colour. Oh well, fruit and poisonous animals are brightly coloured too, but I suppose the difference would be the stripes - not many brightly coloured striped fruits...

I think I saw one of Kristof's. I think Krugman gave a stab or two too.

Basically I've been going to Google News and doing a search on WMD. Works reasonably well. Surprisingly the Voice of America was not too happy with the WMD situation, but many other US news sites were kind of vaguely supportive.

The US murmurs and mutterings seem to have grown louder this week. Might end up looking like the Emperor's new clothes story... Everyone only starts yelling when the others do as well.

Better slightly late then never or too late. But not that healthy a sign.

Oh well, getting way off topic :). Have a good weekend.


[ Parent ]

Fortunately for politicians... (5.00 / 1) (#505)
by skyknight on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 10:52:40 AM EST

and unfortunately for us, most people are quick to forget, and public opinion is easily massaged by "public opinion." Tell people what they are thinking, and that becomes what they are thinking. Personally, I think there may have been some good reasons to invade Iraq, but they weren't the official reasons that we claimed for the necessity of attacking. WMDs do not seem to be forthcoming, and for all the braying before the war, you'd think we would have found something. Alas, yes, we are getting quite off topic... Save me Jebus!

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
A while ago (5.00 / 1) (#789)
by Quila on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 08:47:28 PM EST

They used to look similar -- in color only. A cluster bomblet, which is a hard cylinder with lots of obvious "this will kill you" symbols on it, does not look anything like a humanitarian ration, which is a rectangular plastic bag.

However, they changed the color quite a while ago although some yellow ones may be in the pipeline still.

[ Parent ]

Well, let's see if you can tell the difference... (5.00 / 1) (#790)
by skyknight on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 09:43:01 PM EST

when they are hurtling towards you at terminal velocity after being dropped from a plane. Now, you might think that you can just wait and see what happens from a safe distance, but then someone else will beat you to it (good if it's a cluster bomb, bad if it's food).

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Not the problem (5.00 / 1) (#810)
by Quila on Mon Jun 16, 2003 at 09:44:16 AM EST

The problem is people picking up cluster bomblets lying around on the ground. This isn't limited to stupid locals looking for food; stupid soldiers and attached personnel do it too. One civilian attached to my unit died because he was collecting them.

As far as dropping, if you can see bomblets dropping, you're probably already dead but have not yet realized it.

But to answer your question, cluster bombs (or missiles with the correct warhead) pop open at altitude, raining lots of the little suckers all over an area roughly the size of a football field. Contrast that with a standard palette of meals falling under a parachute. Unfortunately, people have died by crowding under where the very heavy palette was about to land.

[ Parent ]

Uh, don't forget context. (5.00 / 1) (#313)
by Anonymous Hiro on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:38:10 AM EST

http://bible.gospelcom.net/cgi-bin/bible?language=english&passage=Luke+22:35 -38&version=NIV

35Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"
"Nothing," they answered.

  1. He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'[1] ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."
  2. The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords."
"That is enough," he replied.

Personally I'd interpret it as the disciples missing the main point of what Jesus was saying. You may interpret it differently. But whatever it is there were 11 disciples left and Jesus said "That is enough" to 2 swords.

AND DON'T FORGET, in 49-51 of the same chapter:

  1. When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
  2. But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.
So I figure the disciples didn't understand Jesus, just like the incident where Jesus told them to be on their guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Saducees and the disciples thought it was because they didn't bring any bread (and this after Jesus fed the 5000!). Doh.

In my personal opinion, it's fine and expected for Christians to turn the other cheek, (especially if the cheek is theirs :) ). Because, since Christians are saved, they are in a way expendable in doing God's work. Not saying Christians should have a death wish or want to die. But logically it's the unsaved people who we should worry more about.

As for Bush. He could very well be a Christian. After all most christians are far from perfect. BUT whatever it is, he doesn't seem to be doing a decent job of being good- given he was talking about WMD before the war, and now he's changing his tune. If he had any integrity he should at least be saying "It's starting to look like we made a few mistakes somewhere". But no, he's going on trying to hide the issue or avoid it. Plus the Osama + Iraq in same breath thing sure makes him look bad in my sight.

Bush has positioned himself as a Christian US president - prayer meetings, etc etc. But by his actions (wars, speeches, rhetoric) I think Bush has made the world worse for Christians. He's polarised the situation so much that the Muslims see it as a Christianity vs Islam war. Given that the stereotypical Muslim is prone to such things in the first place, I'd have thought it wise to be more careful.

Anyone remember the speech Bush made using the keyword "Crusade"? You don't? Well a lot of muslims do. And believe me, crusade isn't the word you'd use. Did Bush sack/chastise his speechwriter? I don't think so. So was that calculated and intentional?

Given all this and more, if Bush was really anti-Christian, then he's actually been doing a pretty decent job so far.

[ Parent ]

I remember... (4.50 / 2) (#337)
by skyknight on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:14:34 PM EST

I groaned audibly. "I can't believe he just said that!" Of all the words to use, "crusade" was clearly the most inflammatory one possible. From this I can only gather that Bush is either an idiot, or an asshole, or possibly both.

Personally, I don't put any value in the Bible as a source of guidance for people in life. I wish people would work things through from themselves, building up belief systems from first principles, in a bottom up fashion, instead of taking the top down approach of "this is the word of God and I'm going to follow it." The Bible's events chronicle things that supposedly happened thousands of years ago, supernatural events "reported" by people who were absurdly superstitious and susceptible to suggestion because science was still ridiculously primitive.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
you mean (5.00 / 1) (#515)
by droobie on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 11:44:35 AM EST

like the 15 billion dollars the US recently pledged to combat AIDS in africa?

[ Parent ]
Um... (5.00 / 1) (#518)
by skyknight on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 12:07:31 PM EST

From the text of the linked article...

The Senate voted early yesterday to give President Bush the $15 billion he wants over the next five years to combat the global spread of AIDS, with one-third of the prevention funds earmarked for programs that stress sexual abstinence before marriage.

Great... We just spent $5B to tell people not to have sex. Maybe next time there is a mad cow disease outbreak we can tell people not to eat.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I think there's a difference between... (4.33 / 12) (#219)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:55:54 PM EST

George Bush and the President of the United States. George can turn the other cheek to people that want to attack him, but the President has a responsibility to the public.

While he can forgive his enemies, does he have the privilege to forgive my enemies, too? No.

-Soc
I drank what?


Hussein (3.25 / 3) (#222)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:10:44 PM EST

Hussein was much more Bush's father's enemy than any other American's. He certainly never attacked any other Americans except in self defense.
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[ Parent ]
Agreed (4.50 / 2) (#327)
by br284 on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:30:23 PM EST

Hussein was no threat to the US. He kept himself plenty occupied torturing and killig his own people in Iraq. Not much time for engaging superpowers when you have to make sure that the mass grave for Kurdish children is done *just* right.

-Chris


[ Parent ]

And do we give a fuck when the Turks butcher them? (5.00 / 1) (#382)
by kableh on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:49:25 PM EST



[ Parent ]
So do you think (5.00 / 1) (#464)
by Happy Monkey on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:20:28 PM EST

that Bush had a responsibility to the people of the US to save the Kurds? I can only assume so when comparing the post I replied to and your response to mine. And if so, does that extend to all of the other hellholes of the Earth?
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[ Parent ]
you are a tottaly wrong! (5.00 / 1) (#421)
by johwsun on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:05:03 PM EST

Bush did not asked you if you like to attack Iraq or not. He decided this alone.

Of course he has not the right to decide about what you may do if someone hits you.
YOU have to decide, YOU HAVE TO VOTE ABOUT IT.

Bush did not asked for your vote, thats why he is tottaly responsible about the crime he did, and he is tottaly against Jesus words...

[ Parent ]

The right to pardon... (5.00 / 1) (#424)
by curunir on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:16:47 PM EST

While he can forgive his enemies, does he have the privilege to forgive my enemies, too?

Umm...if they've been convicted in a Federal court, he is explicitly granted that right.

Can you honestly say you see a real distinction between Tim McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein? If he has the right to pardon one from that list, I have no problem with him having the right to pardon the other two.

[ Parent ]
Of course... (5.00 / 1) (#456)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:55:39 PM EST

...he, acting in his official capacity as Commander-In-Chief, technically has the prerogative to "forgive" or "pardon" Osama Bin Laden, but it would be an impeachable dereliction of duty. Just as if Clinton had pardoned McVeigh, he would have been successfully impeached in record time and run out of town on a rail.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Invalid point (5.00 / 1) (#638)
by egeland on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 01:40:36 AM EST

..as Governor Bush was never legally elected President. Read this

--
Some interesting quotes
[ Parent ]
game theory (4.83 / 18) (#226)
by MzB on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 09:28:56 PM EST

War (as an example of international conflict) is a typical example of a Prisoner's Dilemma [scroll down to read the rules] game: everybody would be better off to cooperate, but each player has an incentive to defect. If the game is repeated, there are several possible strategies:
  • be nice all the time (but the other player will take advantage of you)
  • defect all the time (it will induce the other player to do the same, thus no higher gain is possible)
  • defect sometimes, cooperate sometimes: the strategy that does the best in most cases is Tit-For-Tat TFT (I will play this turn what you have played last turn)
This is the theoretical justification for using TFT, also known as 'eye for an eye'. Steven DenBeste makes a very good argument for TFT.

TFT has a problem. If both players play the same strategy (people tend to imitate successful people / strategies) and there is a communication problem (one side misunderstands the action of the other, reading defect instead of cooperation), we will end up with a perpetual war:
player 1: CDCDC...
player 2: DCDCD...
Does it sound familiar?

The solution is not to punish right away, but to wait another turn to confirm the defection is not just noise: Tit-For-Two-Tats (TF2T) - 'turn the other cheek'.
player 1: CCCDCCCDDCCCDDDDCCC...
player 2: CCCCCCCCCDCCCCDDDCC...
For a funny story, see dcodea's link (from this MeFi thread).

From a mathematical perspective, TFT is 4000 years old, TF2T is 2000 years old; the strategies used in today's diplomacy are even more complicated. We just started analyzing the basic ones.

and if you think that's complicated, (5.00 / 8) (#258)
by pb on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:15:43 AM EST

You should take a look at what happens when you have lots of competitors and three outcomes!
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Good ol' rock. NOTHING beats rock. /nt (4.75 / 4) (#294)
by EMHMark3 on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:48:03 AM EST


T H E   M A C H I N E   S T O P S
[ Parent ]

hehe... (5.00 / 2) (#309)
by pb on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:33:13 AM EST

There actually was a "RockBot" as an example in the first competition.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Loyalty and Honour (4.40 / 5) (#465)
by Arevos on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:20:31 PM EST

I was going to post this earlier, but my browser crashed :(

There was an interesting bit I read in The Science of Discworld II, which, despite it's name, has some thought provoking concepts embedded within it. Plus I have it signed :)

In any case, the theory was proposed that concepts such loyalty and honour were humanity's way of getting out of the Prisoner's Dilemma. If two chiefs of neighbouring tribes want to defeat another tribe that's musclin' in on their patch, they may face a similar dilemma, with betrayal as the logical choice for each chief. Loyalty overrides that; idealy, no matter what happens, each chief will stick by his word, regardless of personal gain. In many ancient cultures, loyalty, even to death, was highly praised, and traitors were almost universally despised.

We still tend to hold such values today. Our classic villians are deceitful and doublecross the stereotypical honest and loyal heros, but the latter always manages to come out on top. Any ancient culture which did not hold honour highly and praise loyalty in such a way would obviously have an overall disadvantage with those cultures who did.

[ Parent ]

-1, You Need More Study (2.76 / 17) (#245)
by thelizman on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:28:26 PM EST

When Jesus said "turn the other cheek", he didn't mean "take it in the ass for peace's sake".

"But I tell you who hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic." - Luke 6:27-9


Jesus was referring to insults and slights. Luke tells us that he taught a doctrine of love for those who persecute you. Today we would say "tolerance for the intolerant". But Jesus certainly never told anyone to not defend themselves, or use force in a just manner...

"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe..." - Luke 11:21


George Bush is upholding a standard christian ethic - that a just person defends theirselves and families from attacks by those who seek to destroy them.

No suprise I have voted to ditch your shallow and pedantic piece of shit posting.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
The Bible is great, isn't it.... (4.50 / 4) (#248)
by iovpater on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:35:13 PM EST

....you can find a passage in it to support (in or out of context) just about any position. So, going on your quote, why didn't George defend us from the big bad terrorist by actually preventing the attack before it happened? There is evidence floating around that the US had some foreknowledge of the attacks.

[ Parent ]
Weak...like American beer.... (5.00 / 1) (#420)
by thelizman on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:45:25 PM EST

...evidence my ass, they are half assed allegations. On the one hand, you have critics of Bush making outright insults as to his intelligence, and then on the other they are granting him the genius to have sculpted a massive conspiracy based on his all-pervasive insight into the aggregated intelligence reports floading around Washington DC.

Go look up "cognitive dissonance" sometime, please.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Nobody said (5.00 / 1) (#729)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 01:32:07 PM EST

that Cheney, Rumsfeld, or Wolfowitx were stupid.
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[ Parent ]
defense v/s offense (4.00 / 6) (#265)
by Greyshade on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:42:49 AM EST

I notice Luke does not advocate taking your sword and waging war for personal political or economic reasons while trying to justify it with christian trappings.

[ Parent ]
Luke Wasn't A Demigogue... (5.00 / 1) (#417)
by thelizman on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:43:26 PM EST

...the author of this article is...

Can't we all just cut the crap and have honest discussions?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Yeee-haaa, let the Bible Tag begin! (nt) (4.00 / 3) (#278)
by Quila on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:32:54 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Another christian speaks for jesus (n/t) (2.33 / 3) (#299)
by spakka on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:04:15 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Another christian censors for jesus : Kyle (n/t) (2.00 / 5) (#331)
by spakka on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:51:50 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Hold on. (4.33 / 3) (#324)
by Anonymous Hiro on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:14:23 PM EST

Assuming that:
  1. Christians are to follow Christ's example.
  2. Christians are saved. Their salvation is assured (eternal life, etc etc).
  3. The destiny of nonchristians is either hell or uncertain.
  4. Christians are to obey Christ's commands: love one another and their enemies.
Given that, if you are a Christian and the rest of your family are too, can you justify killing a nonbeliever in the name of defense? And likely condemn that person to hell?

I suppose maybe it's justifiable if you or someone in your family has been pretty good at spreading the gospel e.g. if you or that someone lives, more unbelievers will be saved. But otherwise, if you're like lame old me... :(.

I'd personally wouldn't know how to explain killing a nonbeliever to God.

As it is, it often seems that when Christians die, more souls are saved.

Witness: Ed McCulley, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian and the Auca/Huaorani Indians.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/6ta/6ta020.html

[ Parent ]

Giving New Meaning to "Non sequiter" (5.00 / 1) (#416)
by thelizman on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:42:38 PM EST

Assuming that: 1. Christians are to follow Christ's example.
The wouldn't be christians if they didn't follow Christ's example.
2. Christians are saved. Their salvation is assured (eternal life, etc etc).
3. The destiny of nonchristians is either hell or uncertain.
This is metaphysics, which is not part of the discussion, and is therefore irrelevent.
4. Christians are to obey Christ's commands: love one another and their enemies.
I refer to item (1).
Given that, if you are a Christian and the rest of your family are too, can you justify killing a nonbeliever in the name of defense? And likely condemn that person to hell?
In Christian teachings (depending on which branch, doctrine, or little cult you belong to), a person condemns themselves to hell by sinning (and yes, by not believing in Christ).
I suppose maybe it's justifiable if you or someone in your family has been pretty good at spreading the gospel e.g. if you or that someone lives, more unbelievers will be saved. But otherwise, if you're like lame old me..
"Justification" is dependant upon the circuimstances. The Bible makes a distinction (one that is quite clear in NIV, NJV, and more recent translations, but is obfuscated in teh KJV) between "killing" and "murder". Murder is always wrong, and pretty much a straight ticket to hell. But killing is something different entirely, and to a certain degree if you kill someone, you haven't murdered them. Thats why our legal system today makes distinctions between homocide and manslaughter.
I'd personally wouldn't know how to explain killing a nonbeliever to God.
It's the same as you would explain it to anyone else. Non-believeers usually get the concept more readily than Christians do, especially Christians who operate on blind faith.
As it is, it often seems that when Christians die, more souls are saved.
Metaphysics...again not relevant to the discussion.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Irrelevant? (5.00 / 1) (#458)
by Anonymous Hiro on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:58:43 PM EST

Given that it's not unreasonable that what people believe influences what they do, I don't see why you can say it's irrelevant (even if you don't believe the same thing).

My main point is given what christians profess to believe, if a christian has to die in order for an unbeliever to live, that's an option that has to be considered seriously.

AFAIK this is very relevant to Christ's example. He had EVERY right and every freedom to not die on the cross.

[ Parent ]

Metaphysics Is Irrelevent,... (5.00 / 1) (#468)
by thelizman on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:49:47 PM EST

...and you make absolutely no sense. Please reread this article, and post something to do with the subject at hand.

(Here's a hint: drop the ifs, ands, and buts)
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Erhm..... (4.66 / 3) (#389)
by arcterex on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:30:31 PM EST

George Bush is upholding a standard christian ethic - that a just person defends theirselves and families from attacks by those who seek to destroy them.

Maybe it's just me, but "defend" does not mean "attack". I agree completely that any nation has the right to defend themselves, but I do not believe that what bush did was defend. From what I remember hearing, due to the 9/11 attacks the US foreign policy changed to allow the US to attack another country that has the potential to attack them sometime in the future.

IE: If it looks like you're doing something that could attack us, or we hear whispers in the wind that you might be "out to get us", we'll bomb you back to the stone age.

Perhaps a simplified interpretation, but I think there is a difference between defending the US against attacks and bombing two countries into the ground. The whole WMD, or the potential for them, gave the US uppity-ups the moral ground that they were facing imminant danger (ignoring N.Korea which I think recently claimed to actually have nuclear weapons), and gave them the right to defend themselves against attacks that were just around the bend.

Of course, everyone has seen the recent "oh maybe they don't have WMD after all" stories.

If someone punches me in the gut, and then circles around for another shot, you're damn right I have the right to punch that bastard right back, and maybe even do it again and again until I know he's not going to hit me any more. But IMHO what the US did was carpet bomb his neighborhood, and then the neighborhood of someone else who hit a friend of theirs a few years ago. That's not defending, that's attacking.

[ Parent ]

Slow Down (5.00 / 1) (#415)
by thelizman on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:33:17 PM EST

Maybe it's just me, but "defend" does not mean "attack".
It's been recognized for thousands of years and among hundreds of cultures that pre-emptive military strikes, or proactive military engagements are an effective, efficient, and often less costly (in money, material, and lives) strategy. To use a football colloqialism, the best defense is a good offense.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Turning other cheek is standing up for yourself (5.00 / 1) (#439)
by termv on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 09:46:11 PM EST

Back in the day, backhanding the side of somebody's face with your right hand (ie slapping their right cheek) was considered extremely insulting and demeaning.

By turning the other cheek to face your attacker, you prevent yourself from being hit in this manner. You can be smacked with your dignity and honour intact. Whether or not you decide to kick some ass, you do it as your opponent's equal.

[ Parent ]

So.. (3.33 / 12) (#247)
by Apuleius on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 11:34:19 PM EST

Would you have said the same in 1939?


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Ridiculous. (3.75 / 4) (#293)
by talorin on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:36:46 AM EST

Al-Qaeda wasn't around in 1939, Arabic terrorism was unheard of, and the World Trade Center hadn't even been built. Crack a history book sometime.

[ Parent ]
Are you referring to appeasement? (4.75 / 4) (#298)
by obi on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:03:51 AM EST

Are you referring to appeasement?

If you are, know that from where I'm standing, it sure looks more like the world was trying to appease the US gov, than they were trying to appease Saddam.

[ Parent ]

We did..... (4.50 / 2) (#307)
by ph0rk on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:23:26 AM EST

or perhaps you meant 1941?

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

But we ain't everyone. (5.00 / 1) (#479)
by Apuleius on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 01:24:14 AM EST

Them Brits and Poles and what have you are Christian too, ain't they?


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Religion is a poor excuse for anything. (3.14 / 7) (#263)
by HomelessOne on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:34:46 AM EST

The thing about George W. Bush is that his "religion" is only used as a tool to justify his agenda. George is pissed because his dad failed in removing Saddam, and therefore opening up the Iraqi oil reserves to American companys. So, he uses this idea of "saving the America(and the world)" from this atrocious threat of "terrorism" and the "axis of evil" to win favor.
It has nothing to do with his beliefs, the only reason Bush claims Christianity is because the majority of Republicans practice some form of the Judeo-Christian tradition. So I wonder why the author is dumbfounded that Bush doesn't fallow the teachings of Christ. Religion is mearly a form of control. It keeps the masses happy, and gives them a sense of purpose in their otherwise meaningless existences.

BELOW IS A PERSONAL RANT ON THE SUBJECT OF CHRISTIANITY:
The story of Jesus Christ is not original. Several myths were already in place at the time Christ was born. The Christians, who were very supersticious because of a low level of education, took aspects of these other myths and weaved them into the story of christ.
The myths that pre-date Christ, but are almost identical to his story, are as follows:
(look them up if you think I'm lying)

  1. Mithra
  2. Horus/Osiris
  3. Krishna
  4. Attis
  5. Dionysus
  6. Zoroaster
"the truth will set you free"
This is a quote of jesus, so find the REAL truth, not something, that some guy told you to read in some holy book.

Messianic Judaism (4.50 / 4) (#277)
by Quila on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:31:11 AM EST

If Christ (Yeshua) is followed through Messianic Judaism, then none of that applies anymore. Christ is then the Messiah, who offered salvation through grace, as prophesized by the Jews.  However, the Messianics split from what is now Christianity in the beginning days because they felt the gentiles ("pagans" accepting Christ as opposed to the Jews who accepted him) were taking over the religion, bringing with them all of the pagan influences you mentioned and more.

But I guess were are talking about Christianity. Or is Christianity just a perversion of what it maybe should be today -- Messianic Judaism?

[ Parent ]

Hans Kung maintains that Islam is the decendant... (4.50 / 2) (#286)
by Ruidh on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 09:50:06 AM EST

...of what he calls "primitive Jewwish Christianity". Ceertainly reading what the Koran has to say about Christianity gives that impression.
 
"Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
[ Parent ]
Did they? (4.50 / 2) (#377)
by gzt on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:21:19 PM EST

Throw me a bone here and cite something, since it sounds intriguing.

[ Parent ]
That's what they're all about (5.00 / 1) (#787)
by Quila on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 08:31:41 PM EST

That's why it's messianic Judaism and not just Judaism. At least that's what my messianic rabbi friend tells me. I'm not up on internet sources for this, you'll have to search. Jews believing in Christ is kind of strange on the surface, but it makes a lot of sense after you research it. No, I'm not a messianic Jew, and not recruiting. I'm actually atheist.

[ Parent ]
What I meant was the split... (5.00 / 1) (#808)
by gzt on Mon Jun 16, 2003 at 12:12:52 AM EST

As in, did the Jewish believers split from the Gentile believers in Christ? I was searching for some sort of historical reference [or dates and such], since most people [ie, me] aren't well-versed in these matters.

I mean, for example, the liturgical tradition of Christianity is heavily influenced by the Jewish liturgical tradition [nobody denies this], and if there were an early split between Jewish and Gentile Christians, I would not expect this [though I imagine it could be explained if it turned out to be true].

There are many more questions to answer, but I would like to note one thing about the one Messianic Jew statement of faith I have seen: it is undoubtedly heavily influenced by the theological developments of the fourth century church. I suppose I would need to see more to discuss this more, and I would need more information about the distinction you originally made.

[ Parent ]

We'll get you some answers (5.00 / 1) (#811)
by Quila on Mon Jun 16, 2003 at 09:58:11 AM EST

This is a very quick summary of the split. You can probably contact the rabbi at the link on the home page for more information.

Funny, just as I was getting bored with my religion research, along comes this one to get me interested again.

[ Parent ]

Early Christian History (3.75 / 4) (#283)
by Pervy Hobbit Fancier on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 06:23:12 AM EST

The story of Jesus Christ is not original. Several myths were already in place at the time Christ was born. The Christians, who were very supersticious because of a low level of education, took aspects of these other myths and weaved them into the story of christ.

Obviously, no-one alive today actually knows what was going on in the middle-east a couple of millenia ago. All we have to go on are the contemporary writings, which are often contradictory and biased to the writers' viewpoints).

However, many scholars believe it went along these lines: (Unfortunately, I can't provide references since I am writing this at work and therefore don't have my books in front of me. This also means that I am doing it from memory, so I may make the occasional mistake...)

1) There were many 'mystery' religions around two to three millenia ago. The most famous of these is the 'Etruscian Mysteries' that followed Dionysis. Such philosophers as Pythagorus were members of this religion.

2) Most of these cults were actually the same religion (that we now term Gnosticism). This religion was based on each person having divinity inside them that could be 'awoken' via a mystical expreience that would leave the recipient enlightened ('illuminated') with wisdom ('gnosis').

3) The basis of most of these religions would be to have 'outer teachings' and 'inner mysteries'. The outer teachings would be stories about mythical figures. People are introduced into the religion via these stories, which at first taken as being the truth. These believers are called 'Psychic' initiates. Once the person has achieved a level of understanding and wisdom, they are then ready for their 'Pneumatic' initiation. This is where the truth - that the stories are metaphorical and allegorical - is revealed and they come to understand that the main protagonist in the story (the virgin-born, dying/rising god-man) represents themselves and the death/rebirth represents their initiation and the rebirth of their spirit.

4) Given that the actual identity of the god-man protagonist in the story is not relevant (in the same way that 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'West Side Story' tell the same story regardless of the difference between a renaissence merchant feud and a modern gangland feud), the story was adapted to local areas by involving the local gods. Hence you get the same story about Attis, Osiris, Adonis, Dionysis, etc.

5) At some stage, about two millenia ago, Jewish versions of these stories appeared. The story remained the same, but the hero was now the long-awaited Judaic Messiah. The purpose of these stories is to bring Jewish people into the gnostic religion. The stories would be taught as the 'truth' initially, and then their metaphorical nature would be revealed. Because of the purpose of the stories, they were never assumed to be literally true by the writers. Instead, they were filled with metaphor and codes (for example Jesus' stressing that the disciples should pay particular note to the numbers involved in the loaves/fishes story is a direct request for the reader to pay note to the numbers - which turn out to be part of the sacred geometry of the Pythagorian followers.)

6) Of course, not every 'Psychic Christian' (or psychic initiat of any other religion) would graduate to the inner mysteries. Some would never get past taking the outer stories literally.

7) In the first couple of centuries AD, the Orthadox church was formed by such literalist Christians, who claimed that:

a) The stories were literally true and Jesus had actually existed.

b) That they were the original Christians and the Gnostics were misguided heretics (despite the fact that the gnostics had been around for centuries before the literalists turned up!)

Of course, the Orthadox church won out, and today Literalist Christianity is one of the most widespread religions in the world, while Gnosticism is almost extinct and almost unknown - except as a 'Failed Heretical Offshoot' of the Literalist Christian religion.

[ Parent ]

Argh! Nit... (4.50 / 2) (#320)
by Rand Race on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:07:42 PM EST

The Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter, so named for a town near Athens, were the most famous and influential - at the time - of the Mystery religions. The Dionysian Mysteries, sometimes called Bachic, were not associated with the Etruscans at all but rather with northern Greece and Thessaly and were primarily aimed at women. Catholic and Orthodox pagentry was, however, adapted from some of the Dionysian practices.

The Etruscans were the people who dominated Italy before the rise of Rome. Their religious practices were mostly animistsic and were gradualy supplanted by Hellenistic polytheism and philosophy, Mystery Religions not only of Greece but of Asia and Egypt as well, and eventually the rebirth religions of Adonism, Mithraism and, of course, Christianity.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

I did warn you... (5.00 / 1) (#402)
by Pervy Hobbit Fancier on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:49:34 PM EST

I did make sure that I put a disclaimer on my posting saying that I didn't have my sources in front of me and I was working from memory - so therefore I may make mistakes.

Looks like my memory is a terrible as ever...

You are, of course, completely correct about this. I should have said the Eleusinian Mysteries, not the Etruscian Mysteries.

Having said that, the Demeter myths involved Dionysis as she was his mother/sister/wife in various of the stories. Dionysis was worshipped at Eleusis alongside Demeter.

[ Parent ]

except that... (4.25 / 4) (#285)
by illuzion on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:28:50 AM EST

Whoa, slow down there. If you were talking about any other religion here you could start a flamewar with a post like that :)

who were very supersticious because of a low level of education

I know the twelve disciples were in general not very educated, most of them being fishermen. However, Paul, one of the first 'missionaries' who spread the word about Christianity, started preaching just a couple of years after Jesus' death (he started about 33AD if memory serves me right.) He was indeed a highly educated man. So were several other people (Timothy?) who figure in the church. Claiming that the story of Jesus was accepted simply because everyone who did so was ignorant doesn't really cut it.

(In fact, attacking any religion by saying that the members were stupid, therefore were gulled in, is somewhat blind.)

In response to some of the other posters (I'm putting it all in one comment for simplicity's sake, I don't want to end up with comments everywhere responding to only one point each):

In the first couple of centuries AD, the Orthadox church was formed by such literalist Christians, who claimed that:
a) The stories were literally true and Jesus had actually existed.
b) That they were the original Christians and the Gnostics were misguided heretics (despite the fact that the gnostics had been around for centuries before the literalists turned up!)

Well, the 'orthodox' church (by which I assume you mean churches believing the normal version of Christianity) wasn't exactly formed in the first few centuries AD. As an official body (in the form of what's now the Roman Catholic Church) it may have, after a couple of centuries when Christianity was accepted in the Roman Empire, but it certainly existed long before then. It appears that orthodox Christianity was being taught right from the beginning, in fact. If there were Gnostic versions floating around (I honestly don't know if there were back then, I know there were later), then I assume they were just trying to use the Christian story, which is understandable given the underground influence it was having at that period in time. That doesn't mean that they were the only form of Christianity, they definitely were not. Orthodox Christianity was the main stream right from the start. You can check this out if you want to. Josephus, for example, apparently (I haven't read his works myself, only what people have written about them) backs this up.

Gnosticism certainly is nothing new, and I doubt it was new then, to any religion. In fact when I read what you wrote about it, it reminded me strongly of several quite predominant religions that are around today :) Funny how things never change :D

The other thing is, many people realy quite close the when the events happened believed they really happened. Moreover there were witnesses to many of the things Jesus did. None (yes none - I know it's a blanket statement, but it seems to be true) of the historians from the first century AD disputed that Jesus performed miracles at all. All they disputed was that he was the Son of God, they claimed he was a charlatan instead. Don't forget there were plenty of normal people, everyday citizens, who witnesed these events as well, and accounts suggest they all agreed about what happened.

So... whether you believe in Jesus or not, there plenty of evidence that's strongly suggestive the claims aren't false. Don't disregard them because other theories say what's historically documented is false (even if you believe the witneses were all wrong or something you can't deny what everyone said.) You should probably try to take everything into account, not just one or two viewpoints, however fashionable (read: anti-Christian) those are. Scholarship has fashions and trends too you know.

not something, that some guy told you to read in some holy book

I definitely agree you need to research things. But often the best way to learn about a religion is to read what they teach. (Relgions often get twisted - GWB being a good example, suicide bombers being an example of Islam I guess, all the cults based on Christianity, even the Catholic church... I'm sure you can think of amny others.) So read what the pure religion is. If you want to learn about Islam, read the Koran. If you want to learn about Buddhism, the Bodhisattvas (sp?) etc. If you want to learn about Christianity, read the Bible. (Makes sense doesn't it?) I suggest starting with the gospels in the New Testament, because they're the first bits about Jesus. The books of the Bible before them are several of the Jewish holy texts, which are intersting but won't contribute much to your understanding of Christianity until you know a fair bit about it's theology. I recommend starting with John, that's just a personal recommendation though.

One other thing: +1FP. Good explanation of pure Christian morality, and it's unusual to see stories about or explaining Christianity here on K5.

[ Parent ]

Evidence Lacking... (5.00 / 2) (#366)
by EzLivin on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:46:38 PM EST

The other thing is, many people realy quite close the when the events happened believed they really happened. Moreover there were witnesses to many of the things Jesus did.
Although the Bible accounts mention many witnesses, none of them are disinterested outsiders. If David Koresh's followers had made the same statements as Jesus' followers, they would have been immediately discounted. Every one of the "witnesses" to the resurrection and subsequent events were believers with a vested interest in keeping the story alive.
None (yes none - I know it's a blanket statement, but it seems to be true) of the historians from the first century AD disputed that Jesus performed miracles at all. All they disputed was that he was the Son of God, they claimed he was a charlatan instead.
All extrabiblical sources have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Josephus, a Jewish historian, purportedly commented on Jesus in nook 18, chapter 3, section 3 of The Jewish Antiquities. Many Christian scholars (Karl Credner, Emil Schurer, Bernard G. Weiss and Adolf Julicher, among them) admit the passage is a later interpolation.

Tacitus is often quoted by believers as another extrabiblical source. There are many problems with the comment he made on page 44 of volume 15 of his Annals, of which two are the most glaring. First, this passage, which would have served Xian writers better than any other writing of Tacitus, is not quoted by any of the Xian Fathers. It is not even quoted by Tertullian, although he had read and often quoted the works of Tacitus. Second, Eusebius in the fourth century cited all the evidence of Xianity obtained from Jewish and pagan sources, yet he makes no mention of Tacitus. (Read the whole passage by Tacitus and many other problems will become apparent.)

Suetonius said "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, the Emperor Claudius expelled them from Rome." It's plain to see that Chrestus is not Christ. Chrestus was a common name among Roman freeman.

Pliny the Younger, a proconsul of Bithynia in Asia Minor, wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan in Rome in ACE 113. This letter is often cited by believers, even though it never mentions Jesus. It does mention Christians, but it claims that "flesh of sacrificial victims is on sale everywhere." Hmmm, not a very Christ-like behavior.

In the end, you must choose to believe, regardless of the facts. That's Christian "faith".



[ Parent ]
I have access to my sources, now... (5.00 / 1) (#411)
by Pervy Hobbit Fancier on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 06:38:38 PM EST

Well, the 'orthodox' church (by which I assume you mean churches believing the normal version of Christianity) wasn't exactly formed in the first few centuries AD. As an official body (in the form of what's now the Roman Catholic Church) it may have, after a couple of centuries when Christianity was accepted in the Roman Empire, but it certainly existed long before then.

We agree here. I did not mean the 'official' church, but orthodox meaning that which we take as mainstream, as opposed to heterodox meaning different to mainstream. My capitalisation of the word 'orthodox' was probably confusing and I shouldn't have done it.

It appears that orthodox Christianity was being taught right from the beginning, in fact. If there were Gnostic versions floating around (I honestly don't know if there were back then, I know there were later), [...]

This depends on what you define as the beginning. My point was that the gnostic versions were around before the beginning of orthodox Christianity.

[...] then I assume they were just trying to use the Christian story, which is understandable given the underground influence it was having at that period in time.

Again, my point was that they were around before the orthodox version, so this would be the other way around - with orthodox Christianity using the gnostic story, not vice versa.

Orthodox Christianity was the main stream right from the start. You can check this out if you want to. Josephus, for example, apparently (I haven't read his works myself, only what people have written about them) backs this up.

I have checked this out, in detail. Josephus (38-107CE) was around at the right time to have been there at the start of Christianity and was in the right place to be able to talk first hand with any witnesses. However, no version of his books copied or translated before the 4th century mention Jesus. In fact, Origen (185-254CE) when commenting on Josephus specifically tells us that Josephus did not believe in the Jesus story.

Then, in the 4th century, Bishop Eusebius (260-340CE) - a rabid anti-gnostic literalist - mysteriously 'found' a translation of Josephus that contained the extra passages that talk about Jesus. These passages interrupt the flow of Josephus' text, and are written in a completely different style to the rest of the text. Most serious scholars believe that the passages were inserted by Eusebius himself to bolster his literalist arguments by giving them false historical authority.

The other thing is, many people realy quite close the when the events happened believed they really happened. Moreover there were witnesses to many of the things Jesus did. None (yes none - I know it's a blanket statement, but it seems to be true) of the historians from the first century AD disputed that Jesus performed miracles at all. All they disputed was that he was the Son of God, they claimed he was a charlatan instead.

Well - Pliny the Elder, Apollonius, Ptolemy, Quintilian and Plutarch were all around at about that time, and none of them even mention that Jesus existed. They do not call him a charlatan because they simply do not acknowledge his story as being remotely true. With respect to the witnesses you mention, other than the gospels he is not mentioned in any historical document of the era. As for the gospels themselves, most biblical scholars will agree that Mark is the oldest (probably dating from about 70-100CE) which could make it an eyewitness acount, except that nowhere in the book does it ever claim to be such. Matthew and Luke are generally considered to be later reworkings of Mark, adding extras such as the virgin birth - and John is blatantly a later addition. John radically changes the story and the characer of Jesus, changing his succinct parables into rambling speeches in fluent, idiomatic first century Greek. It also has Jesus quoting the old testament to the Jewish Elders, and getting it wrong! He quotes from the badly translated Greek version that had not yet been written, not the Hebrew or Aramaic that would have been around at the time.

So... whether you believe in Jesus or not, there plenty of evidence that's strongly suggestive the claims aren't false.

I disagree. Present me some of this 'plenty' of evidence. Apart from a few quotes from Tacitus (which get major details wrong, such as who Pilate was, and seem to be Tacitus himself quoting from an unreliable source), I see no evidence that Jesus had a real existence outside the stories of the gnostics.

[ Parent ]

Um.. (5.00 / 1) (#457)
by HomelessOne on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:57:56 PM EST

I was wondering who's post you were replying too. Because most of your post has nothing to do with my original one.

[ Parent ]
Nitpicking yr prejudices: (4.00 / 2) (#376)
by gzt on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:14:28 PM EST

Your prejudices seep through a little: "The Christians, who were very supersticious because of a low level of education, took aspects of these other myths and weaved them into the story of christ."

Whether or not they were superstitious, the early Christians were not necessarily from a low level of education, but were often upperclass urbanites.

[ Parent ]

historical fact (5.00 / 1) (#442)
by bolthole on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 09:55:13 PM EST

You seem to be attempting to claim that Jesus is somehow a "myth". That he never existed. (Do you also claim that the "holocaust" of WWII never happened?)

Jesus's life is a fact. Many of the points in the Bible of his life, are corroborated.. by the JEWISH PRIESTS, who obvious had zero interest in furthering anything about Jesus.

A rabbi told me that even the detail of the temple veil being torn in half at the moment of his death, is a known fact in Jewish history.


[ Parent ]

Obviously you missed my point. (5.00 / 1) (#453)
by RJNFC on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:50:13 PM EST

My point was not to argue if Jesus existed or not. I am mearly pointing out that the story of Christ is VERY similar to earlier religious myths. It would appear that early christians "borrowed" aspects of old religions and cults and added them to the story we have of christ.

[ Parent ]
Sorry. I'm on my friends computer. (5.00 / 1) (#454)
by HomelessOne on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:53:02 PM EST

The above post is mine. -HomelessOne

[ Parent ]
not exactly an original thought (5.00 / 1) (#500)
by Battle Troll on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 10:05:01 AM EST

And C S Lewis already addressed the "Golden Bough" criticism 60 years ago. He might have done so incorrectly, but without reading him you would never know one way or the other.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Jesus existed, (5.00 / 1) (#728)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 01:24:08 PM EST

but that doesn't stop him from being the subject of myths, any more than Washington could not tell a lie about chopping down the tree.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Krishna? (5.00 / 1) (#536)
by sramkrishna on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 09:20:38 PM EST

I'm not sure if Krishna's story is similar to Jesus's story?  Although interestingly, I understand that the Gita actually makes a reference to someone like Jesus.  I'm not sure where though but it's something worth looking up.

Krishna's is probably the very opposite of a moral and noble Godlike creature.  ;)  Yet there he is a celestrial being personified as a normal human being reacting like a normal person.  I highly recommend reading the Mahabharata, if anything it's a damn good story.

sri

[ Parent ]

Off topic (3.26 / 15) (#266)
by Oh Man on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:54:11 AM EST

Stuff most people believe:

- bush is really a christian and not just using religion as a political tool.
- religion itself is something other than one of the tools of the world ruling trade.
- bush or any president "controls" USA and has real power.
- wtc attacks had something to do with war in iraq other than being used for propaganda.
- christians, moslems, heaven, hell, all that crap....

If a real democracy existed, imagine how fucked up the world would be. Keep ruling elite, don't let us stupid little people interfere with your job.

Well put (NT) (3.50 / 2) (#292)
by Mr.Surly on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:34:16 AM EST



[ Parent ]
too much jesus already (3.11 / 17) (#276)
by jope on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:30:51 AM EST

"god bless america", "in god we trust" "may god continue to bless america" and all that crap - it is frightening to see that in the most powerful country of the world. We alread had enough of the jesus/allah crap from Bush and Saddam. Spare us the rest. -1

Love vs Fear (4.92 / 14) (#289)
by gidds on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:18:25 AM EST

Well said; thought-provoking on all sides.

It strikes me that the underlying factor in American foreign policy recently is fear.  Ironically enough for the strongest nation in the world (and the most big-headed and blind), its people and government seem more afraid of the rest of the world than ever.  Of course, the WTC disaster is an understandable cause, but people seem to have no sense of proportion, and the general ignorance of the reality of foreign affairs only makes this worse.  Despite all the rhetoric, the invasion of Iraq, like that of Aghanistan before it, and others before that, is based on fear: fear that they will breed more terrorists to send to the US, fear that they might use weapons of mass destruction (if such exist...) against the US, fear that they will turn other Middle Eastern nations against the US, fear that they might stand up to the US.

They may hide this behind rhetoric about 'security', about 'protecting their people', about 'ensuring the safety of the world' (meaning the US), about 'justice', about whatever, but it simply boils down to one fact: they're afraid.

And yes, there's a very strong Christian perspective on this.  1 John 4:17-18:

"And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect... Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear."
If we love God, and trust him, we know that ultimately, nothing can hurt us.  (Of course, faith that strong is an ideal few reach, but the principle holds.)  If we love our enemies, we should not fear them.

(The next few verses of 1 John are also relevant.)

If the US people and government showed a little more understanding, a little more judgement, a little more intellectual honesty of the world and their place in it, then perhaps they wouldn't fear so much.  And maybe then they might show a little more love.

Andy/

Electable fear (3.33 / 6) (#314)
by xs euriah on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:38:23 AM EST

It strikes me that the underlying factor in American foreign policy recently is fear.

It should be noted that fear also drives reelection campaigns.



[ Parent ]
True christians (3.45 / 11) (#295)
by spakka on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:56:51 AM EST

As a lifelong Christian and theologian-in-training, I present here my reflections on this course of action, led by a man who confidently claims to be a Christian.

The president merely claims to be a christian, while you in fact are one. Like every christian, your think your particular interpretation is the correct one, a baseless supposition so ingrained that you don't even realise you're asserting it.



Caims vs. Action (4.66 / 3) (#315)
by IPFreely on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:46:11 AM EST

Yes, the president claims to be a Christian. Osamma claims to be a Muslim, and David Koresh claimed to be Jesus re-incarnated.

But if you examine the docterins of the various people and religions, you can see in even the most generous interpretation that they are all way off the standard for their claims. It goes far beyond confidince or assertion. They just don't fit the docterine.

The President has had a lot of success claiming very loudly and repetitively to be supporting or helping many institutions. He says it often enough that eventually people believe him. But if you examine his actions rather than his claims, he quite often is damaging or dismanteling those same institutions. Actions speak louder than words, and most of his actions have been very un-Christian like.

[ Parent ]

You're doing it too. (4.33 / 3) (#322)
by spakka on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:11:28 PM EST

Actions speak louder than words, and most of his actions have been very un-Christian like.

Christian-like actions range from helping the poor and feeding the hungry, to burning witches and murdering abortion doctors. It is unhelpful to try to categorise the president's deeds as christian or not, since they are bound to fall somewhere in this spectrum. Doing so only tells us about the christian sensibilities of the person making the judgment.

The only objective criterion I know of for calling someone a christian is that they themselves claim to be one. Unfortunately, many christians are unwilling to accept this definition, as it includes such odious characters as Adolf Hitler and child-abusing catholic priests. These people have to be excluded from the definition by 'No True Scotsman' special pleading.

I'm not sure why - I don't think it weakens my own position to admit that there are evil atheists.



[ Parent ]
Woops (4.33 / 3) (#344)
by PigleT on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:41:05 PM EST

"Christian-like actions range from helping the poor and feeding the hungry, to burning witches and murdering abortion doctors."

Really? Where do you see any mention of burning and murdering being condoned as Christian in the bible?

You should realise that human nature means "do what I say not what I do" is actually a desirable state of play.

~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]

You're doing it too. (4.33 / 3) (#358)
by spakka on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:26:07 PM EST

Really? Where do you see any mention of burning and murdering being condoned as Christian in the bible?

Since you ask:

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus 22:18 - Seems pretty clear.

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:18 - Therefore, Old Testament rules are binding on christains too.

Disagree? Well, that only illustrates my point. Many people with more authoritative christian credentials than you - Pope Innocent III, for example - have shared my interpretation of these quotes, with almost unimaginably horrible consequences.

You should realise that human nature means "do what I say not what I do" is actually a desirable state of play.

Speak for yourself, christian. I get along just fine without your master.



[ Parent ]
Contradictions abound (5.00 / 1) (#463)
by KnightStalker on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:14:03 PM EST

This is one of those contradictions that Christians like to call "paradoxes". Your citation of Matthew 5:18 certainly seems to be consistent with its context; however, Acts 10:9-15 and Acts 15 say that the law in fact does not apply to Gentiles. (No doubt they had a low recruitment rate; pork does taste good, and I imagine adult circumcision *really* sucks.) 2 Corinthians 3 reinforces that with "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." Of course Christians have a whole lot of rationalizations to try to make those statements mesh, but effectively, they use one verse to support some prejudice of theirs and some other verse to support some other prejudice. Atheists have it much better; our prejudices stand on their own. ;-)

[ Parent ]
Irony alert, + Christianity != non-violence (2.66 / 6) (#297)
by sonovel on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:02:20 AM EST

Ever hear "Judge not lest ye be judged?" (Mathew 7:1-5)

Or hundreds and hundreds of years of church history that seems to pretty clearly that Christianity does justify some wars?

This is a fun aricle anyways. Usually the people who claim that Christians are supposed to be non-violent are not Christians.

It really takes that cake that a person who claims this also claims to be Christian.

Your view on what a Christian is supposed to be isn't supported by the Bible, history, or just about any major Christian religious leader. But I'm so sure you are correct and all of them are wrong.

Jesus preached non-cooperation with evil (4.75 / 4) (#304)
by infinitera on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:18:02 AM EST

This is quite similar with Gandhi's satyagraha, or nonviolent direct action. In both approaches, you never initiate force, and you never advocate the use of force to solve problems. Christianity has never 'justified' wars; people did.

[ Parent ]
Christianity still not non-violence (5.00 / 2) (#310)
by sonovel on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:33:45 AM EST

Christianity is a derivative of Judiasm which certainly isn't non-violent.

Jesus did say "turn the other cheek", but he also said that that governments have the right to use violence against evil as illustrated by Romans 13:3-4:

"For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.    For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

And of course, we have many examples of "good" wars and violence from the Old Testament as well. The last time I checked, Christianity believed that the Old Testament was God's word too!

So the only way one can claim that Christianity is non-violence is to cherry pick a very few quotations out of a book full of counter-examples and to ignore nearly all of the history of the Christian churches.

I find that pretty disingenous and frankly perplexing, but believe whatever you want.

One could claim that there are very very few real Christians, and that no organized church deserves that label, but that seems like sophistry rather than a real argument. Christians and Christianity on Planet Earth are not catagorically opposed to all violence.

 

[ Parent ]

Many interpretations (4.00 / 3) (#338)
by iso on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:19:47 PM EST

Your message highlights the true problems with quoting scripture. The key issue is that the Bible is a huge book, written by many different people, translated often, and many times outwrite re-written for moral or political reasons over thousands of years. As a result the Bible can be used to validate just about any point of view if you look hard enough.

It's a nice idea, but in the end, quoting the Bible is a complete waste of time. Even if it were written by God (which, of course, it isn't), its major revisions by men over the years would still make it completely irrelevant (simply look at the Dead Sea Scrolls revisions). The Bible is a great piece of history, and a fantastic view into human spirituality, but to use it to justify any action or to judge others is downright ludicrous. What's next, deciding world politics from a Tom Clancy novel?

[ Parent ]

So? (4.00 / 2) (#347)
by sonovel on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:02:45 PM EST

I am criticizing the idea that Christianity is non-violence. Certainly the Bible doesn't support that. Certainly the history of the Christian Churches doesn't support that.

If much of the Bible shows that its writers weren't non-violent, and even Jesus' words don't portray him as non-violent, then the premise of this whole article is flawed.

I am not trying to prove that non-violence is right or wrong, just that selective quoting can't be used to prove that a "good Christian" is supposed to be non-violent since many other places in the Bible give approval to violence in various forms.

The use of the quoting to prove a point is really done in the original article with "turn the other cheek". Take it up with PoP, he is the one who started with the premise that his view of Christianity (based on selected quoting) was the correct one.

I would argue (as you seem to), that one can't prove that Christianity requires non-violence based on selective quoting. Too many other places in the Bible contradict that view. I also argue that it is incredibly, bleedingly, obvious from hundreds of years of history that mainstream Christianity is far far from a movement based on non-violence.

Do you really disagree?  

[ Parent ]

No. (5.00 / 1) (#378)
by iso on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:22:45 PM EST

Do you really disagree?

No, I don't disagree. My comment was tangential to yours, not contradictory. I was just mentioning that you showed another example of quoting the same book but saying something different. All is well. ;)

[ Parent ]

"Christianity does justify...." (4.50 / 2) (#440)
by bolthole on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 09:50:35 PM EST

That claim of yours does not make sense.

Perhaps you meant to say "The Catholic church of the time declared that the war was just".

The statement "Christianity does xxx" is a non-sequitur. Christianity is a religion, not a governing body, nor any kind of entity which in and of itself makes decisions or justifications.

[ Parent ]

Read the Bible and History Books! (4.50 / 2) (#452)
by sonovel on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:46:17 PM EST

The Bible has many places where it talks about when violence is justified. It also glorifies some warfare. Jesus even says that the government is allowed to use force ("the sword") to punish evildoers.

Then look at your History Books. All the major Christian Churches believe that war is sometimes justified and that violence is sometimes justified.

So why the hell would anyone think Christianity is a religion of non-violence? It certainly isn't in practice. It's antecedents certainly aren't. And its founder and namesake explicitly states that the state is allowed to use force in some situations.

So where the hell does this idea that Christianity is supposed to be a non-violent religion? This idea isn't supported by anything except a very small selective quote from a much much larger work.

Seriously, provide some evidence to support the idea that Christianity is about non-violence. It isn't in principle or practice as far as I can tell.

[ Parent ]

I have. (5.00 / 1) (#498)
by trevor on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 08:20:12 AM EST

"The Christian Churches" are not equivalent to "Christianity"; they're organisations run by fallible people.  Looking at church history - "the church" has done some pretty stupid things in the past, which most definitely were not congruent with the teachings in the Bible (e.g. selling indulgences to raise funds).

In general, attempting to derive "what Christianity is" from a random sample of people who claim to be Christian is going to be somewhat inaccurate (and difficult) - there are differences of opinion as to how various bits of bible should be interpreted, different levels of commitment, etc.  There are even people (like a friend of mine from high school) who said he was Catholic... because his parents were, rather than due to any beliefs held.

The idea that Christianity is a non-violent religion comes from all the "love your enemies/neighbour/etc as you love yourself", "turn the other cheek" and so forth that Jesus said, which is pretty hard to reconcile with "violence is okay sometimes".  This is mostly in the second half (the New Testament), which renders a lot of material (e.g. the ten commandments) in the Old Testament deprecated, and replaces it with a much better abstraction.

[ Parent ]

Sigh. (5.00 / 2) (#499)
by sonovel on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 09:39:35 AM EST

Reconcile the rest of the Bible with your selective quoting. You can't do it. The Bible is considered by Christians to be the word of God.

Reconcile Jesus' using several Centurions as examples of good people with your selective quoting. He praised them for being very faithful, and didn't criticize them for being warriors. You can't reconcile that with Christ advocating non-violence.

Reconcile Jesus' statements about the use of violence by the state to punish evildoers with the idea that he was oppossed to all violence. You can't do it.

Reconcile Jesus' act of using a whip to drive the moneychangers out of a temple with the idea that he was non-violent. Does a person committed to non-violence assault others with a whip?

Sorry, but you've cherry picked a few statements out to "prove" something that isn't there.

You defined Christianity as someone who thinks that only a few statements of Jesus' are the only holy words of the religion. Just not true, even according to Jesus. Jesus affirms that the Old Testament is still valid, though he does make statements that some of it is superceded by his teaching.

Of course, the New Testament is more than just Jesus' words. In it there are several statments (besides Jesus') that say that violence by the state has a place.

You define Christianity to be something that is practiced only by a handful of saints. You've "excommunicated" a billion people from their religion.

By your type of definitions, it seems that there must be no "real" Christians, Moslems, Jews, and probably no "real" followers of just about any organized religion. You are playing a sophomoric trick and presenting a strongman argument.

If we look at all of Christianity's holy word, it doesn't support the idea that Christianity is non-violent. If we look at how all the major organized Christian Churches have acted and what they teach, it doesn't support the idea that Christianity is non-violent.

It could be argued that Jesus was personally non-violent. He may have even advocated non-violence for individuals acting outside of the service of the state. But it is very clear that he says that the state does have the ability to use violence ("the sword") in some situations ("punish evildoers").

Christianity is more than just small parts of the New Testament that you selectively quote to try to prove your point. And claiming that only a tiny tiny fraction of all Christians are "real" Christians is merely a rhetorical trick; the religion called Christianity is not in practice non-violent. And as I have demonstrated, the evidence from the New Testament is that Jesus wasn't himself non-violent.
 

[ Parent ]

The danger.... (4.78 / 14) (#301)
by alyosha1 on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:06:28 AM EST

...for me, as an intellectual christian, is that I can, and do, spend a long time pontificating on world politics; what would happen if leader so-and-so did such and such, whether one social institution is better or worse than another, which country is in the right or wrong with respect to which issue, and so on.

Now, I don't think that this kind of analysis and debate is a bad thing, and I enjoy being part of the Kuro5hin community because of the diverse views presented and the depth of analysis that many posters contribute.

But in the end, the one person whose actions I'm morally responsible for is me.

So once I've thought through an issue like the one that Persistance of the Penguins raises, and asked 'what should George Bush be doing, if he claims to be a Christian' then I'm negligent if I don't also ask myself: what should I do?

In my local sphere of influence - my family, neighbours, online contacts, how can I live out Jesus' teachings on behaviour? Gotta get the plank outta my own eye first...

Of course, I realise that even posting this might violate the planks-and-specks principle, but hey, who ever said that being a Christian was simple?

The problem... (4.00 / 3) (#333)
by IriseLenoir on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:56:24 PM EST

The plank in your eye thing rolls very well and is very good advice (for once from the bible...) when applied to interpersonal relationships.

But there still exists something called a "society", even if you cannot see it with your own eyes. In a democratic society, or at least least that's the theory for it to work, each citizen is in part morally responsible for the actions of his/her elected representatives, and yes, even if he did not vote for them (it rarely justifies collective retribution, unless it's in self defense, and this is a debate I don't want to get into and that is not necessary for my point.)

And this is the big deal about George W. Bush. It's not merely about how he should act as an individual so to be in accordance with his religion. It's about the fact that he claims to speak for the majority of USians, and makes mistakes acts hypocritically not only in his name, but in that of USians and, to a lesser extent, Christians too.

In the optic of religion, it might mean that Christianity is used for and perceived in ways that it is not and in the optic of politics it means the same for the U.S.

This is why, although I'd call it a lot more than negligence for someone not to question his own actions and motives, one should not wait to get his plank out of his own eye before criticizing his political leaders.
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]

Of course... (5.00 / 1) (#339)
by alyosha1 on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:19:59 PM EST

...I'm not denying that part of my own moral responsibility could be active participation in the political process. Currently I'm not a citizen of the country I live in, so I can't vote, but my wife and I do write to our elected representative once in a while. It's a start I guess...

[ Parent ]
It's not only participation, (5.00 / 1) (#494)
by SLTrigger on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 06:19:26 AM EST

Which is something many Americans often forget. The people we elect to serve us in government represent us, to other citizens and to the world. We do not select government, we are government. Thus, we have a responsibility to make sure our representatives behave themselves, as well as represent our interests.

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
Arab nations (4.60 / 10) (#302)
by borderline on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:12:13 AM EST

Had the resources used to invade Afghanistan been diverted to such a search for the terrorists, would so many bystanders have died? No. Neither would other Arab nations have begun to fear the impending drums of war.

Perhaps I'm nitpicking, but Afghanistan isn't an Arab nation. Assuming that is like assuming Canada is a Spanish-speaking nation since it's sort of close to that whole Latin America thing.

Just the Problem of Evil again (3.25 / 8) (#305)
by spakka on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:18:47 AM EST

When I saw the footage of those two aircraft colliding with the World Trade Centre, ... I began to feel the grief which must have also been felt by my God.

If your god cared that much, he could have intervened to prevent or mitigate it. Since it's important that he conceal evidence of his existence from skeptics, he could have made it look like pilot error or mechanical failure.

Instead, he saved his 'miracle' (asserted by Todd Beamer's widow) for Flight 93, with a consequently much greater loss of life. Sepetember 11 turned out exactly as your god intended. Praise be!



Free Will > Life (5.00 / 1) (#370)
by Laiquendi on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:57:06 PM EST

He grieves over the fact that his creations use the free will that he has given us to hurt each other; if he prevented all harmful acts we would be his robots instead of his children.

[ Parent ]
He gave us free will? (5.00 / 1) (#451)
by godix on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:42:51 PM EST

If God had his way then no humans would be able to use free will. Why? Because using free will intelligently requires knowing what is a good action and what isn't. The whole tree thing proved two things; God didn't want his creation to know enough to use free will and God is omnipotent since he couldn't stop us. Remeber, anytime you choose to act 'good' that God didn't want you to even have that choice.


"A disobedient dog is almost as bad as a disobedient girlfriend or wife."
- A Proud American
[ Parent ]
Ehh, no. (5.00 / 1) (#493)
by SLTrigger on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 06:14:51 AM EST

The whole of Christianity is based on loving God, and wanting to strive to live a moral life in accordance with his rules. Now, if it's as you say, and God didn't want humans for have free will, that would certainly have been within his power (if you also believe God is omnipotent.) You cannot compell someone to honestly love you, or to want to lead a good life. Thus, God gives us free will, along with his teachings, and leaves us to come around on our own. Does it mean that some people don't come around? Yes. But it also means that others have the ability to succeed.

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
Free will? (4.50 / 2) (#455)
by KnightStalker on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:55:00 PM EST

You are not able to bypass or violate the laws of physics. You cannot defy gravity or electromagnetism. You will always have mass. You will never be able to accelerate beyond 186,282 miles per second. There is nothing you can do about this, even if you want to. Presumably, you believe God created these laws. Do their restrictions on you make you an unconscious slave of God? If not, why would an additional law that prevents you from killing or even merely harming other people make you into a robot?

[ Parent ]
You overlooked something (5.00 / 1) (#549)
by I Robot on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 11:50:27 PM EST

Jehovah will be resurrecting some and letting the others continue to rot. Death is not necessarily permanent.

If you had actually read the book, you'd know this stuff.

[ Parent ]

God facts 101 (2.00 / 11) (#312)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:37:15 AM EST

1) God is omnipotent

2) God is omnipotent

3) God is omnipotent

4) God can see you masturbate to your auntie in the toilet

5) The ways of the Lord are mysterious

In view of those facts, your statement that "I began to feel the grief which must have also been felt by my God" are at the same time ignorant, arrogant and blasphemous. Is your last name by any chance Bush?

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


You sig (3.00 / 3) (#329)
by Ashran on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:38:44 PM EST

> and Germany doesn't want to go to war Yeah but we still got USA to fight wars for oil all over the world.

[ Parent ]
It would go something like this...... (3.78 / 14) (#316)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 11:57:43 AM EST

"Should that have failed, and my cynical mind tells me that it probably would, the only action which should have been taken was judicial. Is there not an International Criminal Court? Do we not have Interpol?"
------------------------------------------------

2 Belgian police officers arrive in Kabul.

Officer #1 - "Mr. Bin Laden we have a warrent for your arrest"

Bin Laden turns to his brother-in-law Mulah Mohammed Omar

Omar - "Fighters Arise!"

40,000 Taliban irregulars draw a bead on the Belgians.

Officers #2 - "You cannot do this, we represent the Authority of the World Court!"

40,000 Taliban irregulars are completely incpacitated with laughter.
-------------------------------------------------

"Cynical"?... try being "realistic" sometime. Laws only exist if they are capable of being enforced. They can only be enforced if you have more firepower then the people willing to break them. Sometimes you actualy have to use that firepower if the "criminals" aren't intimidated by the simple fact that you have it.

I hate to break this to you but... Might may not make Right but without Might, Right hasn't got a chance to exist.

George Bush can be "christian" (at least your definition of it) on his own time. When he is acting as My President, his duty is to respond to an "Act of War" against my country (The 9/11 attacks) by rendering those who commited it incapable of further violence.

Sorry pal, but turning the other cheek gets you only one thing..... two sore cheeks.

I think the point he was trying to make (5.00 / 2) (#328)
by wiremind on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:31:18 PM EST

"Sorry pal, but turning the other cheek gets you only one thing..... two sore cheeks."
When he said turn the other cheek i think he was saying, instead of spending a billion dollars on destruction, we should have spent a billion dollars on contruction, helping the people who are mad at us. Learn why they are mad, make a difference for the Better.  

"George Bush can be "christian" (at least your definition of it) on his own time. When he is acting as My President, his duty is to respond to an "Act of War" against my country (The 9/11 attacks) by rendering those who commited it incapable of further violence."

I think the author of the story was trying to say that GWB was publicly claiming to believe in one set of ideals, and at the same time doing the complete opposite, and it bothered the author that GWB was being hypocritical.
Kyle
[ Parent ]

I get that point (5.00 / 5) (#362)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:36:56 PM EST

Sending aid is a good plan, I support it WHERE IT CAN BE EFFECTIVE.

Problem is in situations where you have strongmen in power the aid doesn't get to the people who need it.

Look at what went down in Somalia. There is a famine so the international community starts sending food aid... a good thing right?

Only problem is the warlords there start using the food as a weapon against thier political opponents. They have the arms so they have CONTROL over the distribution of the food.

They starve the people they don't like and use food as a bribe/extortion measure against others...and then sell the food on the black market for arms and cash. Any humantarian workers get in the way, they get shot.

So the U.N. sends in undertrained, underequiped troops to protect the aid workers. The U.N. troops start getting flayed alive. The U.N. appeals to the U.S. to bail out those troops.

The U.S. troops get assigned the mission of "arresting" the warlords responsible for the attacks BUT get denied the firepower (AFV's) neccesary to do the job because some political hack (Les Aspen) is afraid it would look too "offensive" . So the U.S. troops get into a fire storm and take unneccesary casualties.... in a millitary sense they win a decisive victory (18 U.S. dead vs. over 2000 enemy combatants) but rather then get the resources they need to finnish the job, the plug gets pulled on the whole thing because U.S. politicians are too worried about "image" to do the right thing.
Somalia remains a nightmare place to live and becomes a breeding ground for terrorism to boot.

Bottom line... good intentions are admirable... but you also know what road they happen to pave the way to.

You want to really make a difference in the long term prospects of a nation.... go in with overwhelming force....remove the warlords and thier supporters..... THEN come in with the aid so people have another alternative to becoming future warlords.

You have to do BOTH. You can't just send aid while the warlords are still in power because they'll only use it to enrich themselves..... and I agree you can't just axe the warlords and leave the place a shithole because it will just breed more warlords.

[ Parent ]

to all those people who are anti-war .... (5.00 / 1) (#674)
by wiremind on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 01:36:37 PM EST

to all those people who are anti-war that right there was the best, arguement for war I think I have heard to date.

I agree with you, and that what you just wrote explains it quicker and better than anything i have read up to date.
Kyle
[ Parent ]

19 datapoints on one side, millions on the other. (5.00 / 1) (#544)
by Apuleius on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 11:21:57 PM EST

All 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from the Arab upper classes. Millions of Arabs meanwhile, go on in grinding poverty in villages in places like the Nile river delta. None of them have any interest in attacking us. The notion that foreign aid would have prevented 9/11 is so wrong that repeating it is at this point downright inane.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
For all the good it did (5.00 / 1) (#375)
by TheMgt on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:05:22 PM EST

George Bush can be "christian" (at least your definition of it) on his own time. When he is acting as My President, his duty is to respond to an "Act of War" against my country (The 9/11 attacks) by rendering those who commited it incapable of further violence.

But he hasn't done this at all. Nothing Bush has done makes further attacks of this type less likely, just the opposite probably. Maybe he should try getting to the root of the problem and making a few changes to US foreign policy. Learn from history George. Eat some humble pie.



[ Parent ]
9/11 Response (4.66 / 3) (#412)
by kaeru on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 06:53:43 PM EST

Nothing Bush has done makes further attacks of this type less likely, just the opposite probably.

I don't know about that.  It's probably alot harder to plan attacks when all of your terrorist buddies are either dead or at Gitmo.  Recall that before 9/11, Al-Qaeda, with their Taliban allies, were in control of 90% of Afghanistan.  You want to bet they aren't nostalgic for those days now?    

Maybe he should try getting to the root of the problem and making a few changes to US foreign policy. Learn from history George. Eat some humble pie.

What changes would satisfy people who appear to want the total dismantling of western society?  I'm all for examining our own policies and making changes where appropriate.  But when you are attacked by an organization like Al-Qaeda, failing to fight back is tantamount to suicide.

[ Parent ]

Well.... (5.00 / 2) (#671)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 12:46:42 PM EST

Kinda hard planning terrorist attacks from the other side of the grave isn't it?

1) There are 2 ways to deal with terrorists remove their MOTIVATION for violence by placating them.

2) Remove their CAPACITY for violence by destroying the resources they use to carry violence out . This can also have the effect of reducing their motivation for such activities as they realize that such activities are futile in achieving their goals.

The problem with solution #1 is that motivation is something which is completely under control of the individuals in question and can be as reasonable or unreasonable as they are themselves. Capacity is something which can be effected by outside forces regardless of the terrorists wishes, desire or mindset.

Forgive me if I am skeptical about the possibility that a leader who sends his followers on suicide missions to crash civilian airplanes into skyscrapers full of innocent people would be willing to be reasonable in his motivations. Forgive me if I don't believe it is a reasonable request to force the entire world to live under Sharia law.


[ Parent ]

A thought (4.35 / 20) (#317)
by jd on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:01:22 PM EST

Britain and the US carpet-bombed Dresden, with fire-bombs, creating a fire-storm from which very few people escaped. The entire city was gutted. The reason for the attack? To terrorize the Germans, and to retaliate for the Blitz on London.

The US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been "justified" by hawks since the day it happened. It's not changed the fact that 99% of those who died were civilian, that this was a civilian target, that the aim was to avoid embarassment in case the bombs didn't work, and to psychologically instill fear into the Russians.

(The Japanese were about to surrender anyway. The US was much more concerned with Russia at this point.)

Arguably, the two greatest Western military powers of the twentieth century openly used the massacre of civilians as an instrument of war. To condemn others for copying them seems a little... hypocritical?

Then, we have the Japanese. A nation whose honor is still stained by kidnapping girls and using them as sexual slaves for the officers or for rewards. None were compensated for this attrocity and no Japanese have ever stood trial. The Japanese have only recently stopped their official line that the girls were "volunteers". Yeah, right. And the WTC victims voluntarily threw themselves at the airliner, right?

Allied prisoners of war in Japan fared little better, being treated worse than any slaves in Western history. Many hundreds of thousands died, starved to death, shot to death, or just kicked over the side of the bridges they built, for the fun of it. Japan paid a token sum in compensation as part of the surrender, but again nobody was tried for war crimes.

What am I getting at, here? What I'm getting at is that many nations have blood-stained hands. Not one nation is "innocent". To put it in Christian terms, "all have sinned, and all fall short".

THIS is why Jesus emphasised peaceful settlement. Because the plank in our own eye is so big, so overwhelming, and so grotesquely visible to everyone else, that to claim we have the right to deal with the speck in someone else's eye is sickening to the point of being morbidly humerous.

Two nations, willing to destroy entire cities in Germany and Japan, murdering millions upon millions of civilians, without the least remorse or regret, somehow obtain the right to play Avenging Angel of God when a paltry couple of thousand get early release from this prison of life?

"God may forgive them... but I won't!" - is this the attitude of a Christian who worships their God, or the attitude of a wannabe God in a leadership contest?

Was the attack on the WTC justified? No. Was it an act of war? Maybe, but probably no. Was it an act designed to instill terror? No clear evidence of this - most of the terror has been created by claims by President Bush that Iraq was going to nuke the US any day, and by the Department of Homeland Security. Sorry, duct tape won't stop a damn thing. Even if it is wrapped round the entire damn house.

The economy has been harder hit by tax cuts and spending cuts, than by fear of terrorists. The risk of domestic violence is rising sharply, the unemployment is dangerously high, and the ban on fully-automatic weapons is about to expire. Oh, and you can now build 100 mile cruise missiles with pinpoint accuracy in your back yard.

Yeah, I can see we've plenty to worry about. The Middle East and Afghanistan aren't, and never have been, on the list.

For those who said this was about oil - I'm inclined to believe that. The US negotiated, when the Alaska oil drilling plans looked to be going ahead, and started throwing ultimatums the moment those plans were trashed. Somebody got unhappy.

Factual question... (4.33 / 3) (#340)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:24:14 PM EST

What evidence is and was there that Japan was "about to surrender"?



[ Parent ]

The fact that they TRIED to surrender (5.00 / 3) (#356)
by teece on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:24:59 PM EST

The japanese had already tried to surrender. It is a matter of historical record, look it up.

They tried through a couple of intermediaries, and were told no by the US. Why? Because while the Japanese did offer to surrender completely, the emperor got to stay on. The US saw this as unacceptable.

Of course, a bit later Japan did surrender, after we rattled our giant saber (which contrary to current belief, the current historical analysis shows this *was* more to scare the Russians, rather than avoid American casualties), and the Japanese did surrender anyway.

You know what's funny? The emperor got to stay in power.

Tim

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

That's not entirely correct (5.00 / 5) (#388)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:30:03 PM EST

As I understand it, representatives of the Tojo regime approached Russia requesting that they work as intermediaries in negotiating a peace between Japan and the US. The Russians declined; most likely because they saw it as contrary to their interests, seeing as they were close to taking northern Korea and would then be poised to take substantial territory in northern Japan while the Japanese forces were entirely committed to defending the south against the US. Also, it should be noted that nobody knows exactly what terms the Tojo regime was willing to accept as negotiations never get off the ground. Although it seems that there was a intercepted transmission between the Japanese ambassador and the Russians which indicated that the Japenese were willing to agree to a limited surrender based on the Atlantic Treaty, but not to unconditionally surrender as demanded by the Potsdam declaration.

Why did the US insist on unconditional surrender instead of more lenient but still effective terms along the lines of the Atlantic Treaty? I believe you are correct, it had everything to do with denying the Soviets access to Japanese teritory and a weaker treaty would have left open the possibilty of an opportunistic Japanese alignment the Soviets. After Yalta, it was obvious to both the US and the Soviets that, being as they were the sole remaining military forces of any consequence, they were in the position of having to gain control over as much of the remaining territory as possible so as to secure an advantageous position with respect to the other. The US, quite reasonably, viewed Japan as an essential strategic territory in the Pacific and prioritized denying the Soviets entry into the the theater. But time was of essence, as Japanese forces on the mainland and in the north were virtually decimated, leaving the door wide open to the Soviets, and it would have taken months of extremely costly battles to take Japan with conventional forces. The decision to to use the atomic bomb solved both of these problems: it virtually guaranteed an immediate unconditional surrender thereby denying the Soviets any involvement in the post-war reconstruction, and it saved the US what were sure to be enormous casulaties if Japan was taken by conventional forces.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Another detail (5.00 / 1) (#404)
by localroger on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:53:30 PM EST

The wording of the Potsdam Declaration was not finalized until after the successful Trinity test. I personally believe we would have offered the Japanese acceptable terms and ended the war with a surrender if Trinity had failed, but we had to get in our big science fair experiment first.

It certainly wasn't about keeping the Emperor on, as later events proved, despite the Potsdam Declaration's insistence on this unacceptable point.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#409)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 06:27:25 PM EST

Had the atomic ace up their sleeve proved to be a joker, the military brass and the War Department would have signed off on an agreement acceptable to the Japanese and then moved quickly to establish as much presence as possible in an attempt to dissuade the the Soviets from pressing for involvement in Japan proper (possibly with the concession of southern Korea).

Another detail I left out was that the Russian declaration of war against Japan didn't come until the day after the Hiroshima bombing. I think the Soviets were really taken by surprise and they realized that they had step up their timetable or risk loosing any position in Asia at all. No doubt the US would have preferred to gain a foothold in China and prop up the Nationalists as the legitimate authority.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Your point about Japan was incorrect (3.50 / 4) (#341)
by RyoCokey on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:29:25 PM EST

that this was a civilian target

Both cities were relatively untouched by American bombing and possessed substantial factories for producing war goods. To claim that they were "civilian" targets is prima facie false.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
Well. (4.50 / 2) (#342)
by valeko on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:39:47 PM EST

Then I guess USians wouldn't mind if someone bombed out Marietta, GA, which is as much a civilian area as a defense industry powerhouse.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Well (4.75 / 4) (#346)
by Arcadio on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:58:32 PM EST

No one said the Japanese didn't or shouldn't mind the bombing. Americans would mind if American military targets were bombed.

[ Parent ]
But the real question is. (5.00 / 2) (#359)
by valeko on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:28:00 PM EST

Would they accept the notion that Marietta is a "legitimate target"? Sorry, but nothing is a legitimate target, and most certainly not for an atomic weapon.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Probably (5.00 / 1) (#364)
by RyoCokey on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:43:48 PM EST

Would they accept the notion that Marietta is a "legitimate target"?

If you don't believe that there is a such thing as a just war, or a legitimate target, the whole debate is rather pointless. As for an atomic weapon or a rock, you'll still end up just as dead.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
Well, no. (5.00 / 1) (#367)
by valeko on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:47:46 PM EST

I'm not one of those people that thinks there's no such thing as a just war (for example, the Vietnamese people's war). But I do think there's a qualitative difference between "surgical" strikes at military facilities in a place like Hiroshima and Nagasaki versus the obliteration of the whole city.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

yes.... (5.00 / 1) (#373)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:01:04 PM EST

As I said earlier, and it's been well documented, the difference is one type of warfare is Tactical, and the other Strategic.

Most persons would argue that Tactical warfare can be justified. The slope gets slippy once Strategic warfare enters the equation.

Both terrorism, and the atomic bombing of Japan are examples of strategic warfare, and both are equally on shaky ground.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Try this question: (5.00 / 1) (#434)
by SLTrigger on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:59:49 PM EST

Is it moral to use maximum force against a military target, certainly killing thousands of civillians, if other means (by which fewer non-combatants will be killed) exist that will accomplish the same military objective?

If so, what is the moral bulwark against exterminating an entire nation?

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
The key phrase (2.33 / 3) (#441)
by RyoCokey on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 09:54:25 PM EST

that will accomplish the same military objective.

Would a targetted strike against the plants in Hiroshima have made the japanese consider capitulation? After they survived the firebombing of Tokyo, I somehow doubt it. Kindly state what kind of military action regarding Hiroshima you think would have the equivalent effect.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
Capitulation was already being considered (5.00 / 2) (#492)
by SLTrigger on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 06:06:34 AM EST

When the bombs were dropped. As others (cr8dle2grave, localroger) have posted below, the Japanese were looking to enter negotiations through an intermediary, or directly with the United States. The U.S. opted to demand unconditional surrender. Dropping those bombs without at least having a go at negotiation was certainly immoral.

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
How, pray tell, do you come to that conclusion? (3.00 / 2) (#552)
by RyoCokey on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 12:25:07 AM EST

Dropping those bombs without at least having a go at negotiation was certainly immoral.

They never wanted to negotiate with us. They sent a prince to go talk to the Russians. He was refused (By Stalin, not us) and subsequently the bombs were dropped.

I fail to see why it would be immoral to refuse to negotiate with them at all. They opened the war with an attack on our military forces, we were under no obligation to demand anything less than unconditional surrender. It's not as if they hadn't had multiple opportunities to comply with this throughout the war.

For the record, the primary target of the Nagasaki bombing was a Mitsubishi arms plant right in the middle of the city.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
Of course not (5.00 / 2) (#449)
by godix on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:34:16 PM EST

The less southerners there are the better the nation is. Bring on the bombing please....


"A disobedient dog is almost as bad as a disobedient girlfriend or wife."
- A Proud American
[ Parent ]
Reasons (4.50 / 2) (#350)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:08:41 PM EST

Both cities were relatively untouched by American bombing

Why do you think the cities were relatively untouched prior to the dropping of the nuclear bombs if they were legitimate military targets?

And just what are you saying here? That it is ok to target cities that house or support their nations military? Then according to your definition the attacks on the WTC could be classified as a military targets because they housed some of the US's largest weapons defense contractors and oil companies. Which were supporting and enforcing the US military dominance in the Middle East region. If you excuse one you must excuse the other, It's either both or nether.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Very clear cut (4.50 / 2) (#354)
by RyoCokey on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:22:13 PM EST

Hiroshima contained munitions factories dedicated to producing weapons for the Japanese army. As such, the city was a legitimate target. Militaries are not required by the Geneva Conventions to avoid civilian casualties at the risk of not destroying targets, they are merely forbidden from intentionally targetting structures without military use.

The WTC was not a legitimate target, as it did not contain any defense industry targets. The Pentagon was, as it was a military HQ. If another nation attacked a US manufacturing plant that made weapons, or a city therein in an attempt to destroy it, it would be a legitimate attack.

Al Qaeda's attacks were still the acts of a common criminal, rather than a nation at war, and the assault of any target using hostage civilian aircraft is inexcusable.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
so brainwashed... (4.00 / 4) (#357)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:25:22 PM EST

that he can't see the hypocrisy in his own statements.

Read my response to your orignal comment.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

You're being logically inconsistant (5.00 / 2) (#363)
by RyoCokey on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:41:43 PM EST

Your comments then dictate that any action we take against them should only be measured by strategic results. As such, there is no need for a trial or any such proceedings. We should just execute suspected members.

If you believe they are to have rights, then they must be held accountable to a system of morals and justice. A moral vaccuum cannot exist solely for them, but must encompass our actions as well if it is to be consistant.

As such, the original poster would be in error for condemning our attack on Japan, if he held the view you replied with.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
huh? (5.00 / 1) (#371)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:57:14 PM EST

At no time did I make a moral arguement about anything, nor did I suggest which course of action should be taken by the US. Perhaps you've confused my comments with someone elses?

All I did was point out that the US bombing of Hiroshima and Japan was strategic, and, in the same light the WTC attack was also strategic.

It is you who says one (bombing Japan) s morally justified and the other (WTC) is not. I'm simply pointing out that they are too similar for that to be a valid argument.

If I was to inject morality into both of these actions, I would say they are equally immoral.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

The original argument was moral! (3.66 / 3) (#380)
by RyoCokey on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:37:17 PM EST

You posted a reply to my comment, which commented that the original author's catagorization of the nuclear bombing of Japan as "immoral" was incorrect. I commented that under "popular morality" the attack on Japan would be correct, then you responded that there was little difference between the two attacks.

From a ethical standpoint, you are incorrect. While both were violent acts aimed at achieving certain objectives through force, and neither directly targetted to object of their rage, their differences (Which I listed in my comments) made one action immoral (as judged by society) and another moral. Society draws very clear distinctions between these two actions, so the difference between them is hardly academic.

From a Christian standpoint, I would also say that the bombing of Japan was moral, and the attack on the WTC was immoral, although if you look at the "Turn the Other Cheek" thread, there are those who disagree with me.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
I don't understand your logic... (5.00 / 3) (#384)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:09:29 PM EST

From a ethical standpoint, you are incorrect

Impossible!

From a Christian standpoint, I would also say that the bombing of Japan was moral

But that does not make my assertion that it was immoral incorrect!

Morality does not translate into a boolean value, ever; Morality in itself is subjective.

Regardless, both myself and the original poster do recognize that you (and others) see one action immoral (as judged by society) and another moral.

 We're saying that you (and "society") are hypocritical, and because of that, the basis of your entire morality is suspect.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Not at all (5.00 / 1) (#433)
by SLTrigger on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:54:27 PM EST

Your justification for levelling Hiroshima assumes that there were no other ways that those munitions factories might have been destroyed. Japanese military targets in any number of other populated areas were bombed; there were civilian casualites, I'm, sure. In no other cases did the U.S. government need to level an entire city to complete the objective.

they are merely forbidden from intentionally targetting structures without military use

Ahh, so the thousands of homes flattened by the Hiroshima bomb were an accident? Please. You believe the Pentagon was a legitamite military target; if an enemy were to level the whole of Arlington to destroy the pentagon (when other means were available) would that be justified?

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
Not so Very clear cut (5.00 / 2) (#689)
by Amesha Spentas on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 07:58:03 PM EST

Hiroshima contained munitions factories dedicated to producing weapons for the Japanese army. As such, the city was a legitimate target.

Why was the entire city a legitimate target instead of just those munitions factories? Even at the beginning of WWII both the Allies and the Axis were capable of targeting munitions factories without having to bomb entire cities.

Being "military targets" was not the reason that any of those cities were bombed. In every case from the Blitz to Dresden to Hiroshima and Nagasaki the reasons those cities were bombed had nothing to do with being a military target and had everything to do with destroying the morale of the population. A goal that today sounds ominously like "state sponsored terrorism."

The truth is that during WWII both sides were fighting under the premise of "Total Warfare." Meaning that they would do anything, firebomb cities; launch vengeance weapons, anything to win. Since both sides participated, no one thought to call it "Terrorism." (Although the losers weapons were latter called "Terror Weapons" whereas nuclear weapons were/are not. Talk about the victors writing the rules.) With the advent of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons however, countries that posses those weapons returned to fighting wars with rules, along the same lines of Napoleonic era wars. Wars were waged in proxy and military actions against civilian population centers were considered 'breaking' those rules. 'Breaking' the rules lead to escalation of hostilities that could lead to 'Global Thermonuclear War.' Which was the ultimate in bombing civilian population centers. This targeting is something that every country with nuclear weapons indulges in regardless of "Geneva Conventions". Only the arrogance of a military and nuclear superpower would complain that the attacks against the WTC were terrorism. Most other countries would classify and deal with it simply as an act of war.
Remember, all's fair in love and war.

The WTC was not a legitimate target, as it did not contain any defense industry targets

Well according to WWII Guidelines the WTC was a "Strategic Military Target" and since Al-Quida does not have any nuclear weapons they are able to use WWII Guidelines.
Since the US is a nuclear superpower, they are held to the post WWII Guidelines.


Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

That's a cop out. (5.00 / 4) (#355)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:23:27 PM EST


With that argument, I could say that the WTC incident was a "military target" because the American Army is partly funded by the strong economy generated in and around NYC.

The Japanese/German cities and the WTC incident (and terrorism in general) are Strategic targets, they affect (or are designed to affect) the end game, but not the current situation.

Conversely, landing on D-Day or bombing Pearl Habour are examples of Tactical actions. The have an immediate effect on the "battlefield".

Strategic actions among other things are designed to affect a country's ability and will to stay the course of an active war. In that sense, they are no different than terrorist acts committed by Al-Qaida.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Dresden (4.50 / 2) (#360)
by jeti on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:31:54 PM EST

> The reason for the attack? To terrorize the Germans, and to retaliate for the Blitz on London.

Yes and no. The official line for firebombing whole cities and explicitly targeting civilians was that it was to 'destroy the morale of the population'. And unlike US planes, the UK planes were very bad at targeting.

But the most believable explanation for Dresden (and maybe Hiroshima and Nagasaki) IMO is that it was a warning to Russia. A demonstration of military power.

[ Parent ]

either way... (5.00 / 2) (#385)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 04:10:30 PM EST

it fits the terrorism label quite nicely.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Excellent (5.00 / 1) (#607)
by emwi on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 04:40:07 PM EST

Because the plank in our own eye is so big, so overwhelming, and so grotesquely visible to everyone else, that to claim we have the right to deal with the speck in someone else's eye is sickening to the point of being morbidly humerous.

Word!

[ Parent ]

Wrong on a point. (5.00 / 2) (#661)
by bufferoverflowed on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 10:30:24 AM EST

Fully automatic weapons are not going to be any more or less legal if the assault weapons ban expires.

The assault weapons ban, bans guns on the basis of how they look.  Here is the criteria for an "assault weapon"   (As defined by 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44)  Section 921(a)(30) -
"The term 'semiautomatic assault weapon' means ... (B) a semiautomatic rifle that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of -

(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

(iii) a bayonet mount

(iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and

(v) a grenade launcher"

NOTE:  Section 922(v)(1) states that "It shall be unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon".

See how it says it needs a detachable mag AND 2 of the following.  This has been interpreted by BATF to conform to a list of 6 factors which determine a weapons legality.  Meet any 3 and you have an illegal weapon.  These 6 are the above 5 with the added criteria of a detachable magazine.

[ Parent ]

Conflict of thingies (4.18 / 11) (#318)
by PigleT on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:05:04 PM EST

OK, where to start with this? Some thoughts, anyway.

First of all, it's quite possible to make the decision whether to "go to war" (read: mis-react to 9/11 and launch aggressive attacks on other countries) without "religious" input, and arguably there are those who'd like to think Bush junior shouldn't let his personal beliefs and opinions interfere with the responsible leading of the nation. (But then again, who's saying there's some correlation between his decision, and his professed Christianity, him or others pointing the finger? Would it have been any different if he'd claimed to be Buddhist? Jewish? whatever?)

Second, the decisions themselves do seem wrong, to me. Looking at it logically, we've had one act of aggression, a bunch of patriotic rhetoric from Bush in subsequent hours, followed by the whole sorry incident being used to attack Afghanistan (because Bin Laden was there, apparently) and then Iraq (because Bin Laden was there now, oh and we don't like Sadam any more, erm, I mean we want his OIL). All this because of a group of terrorists took out a building and killed US citizens? Has anyone noticed that there was no evidence linking Bin Laden with 9/11, and that the US took action against two *countries* because of the actions of a non-country group of people so the "retribution" wasn't even slightly fair or justified? Not to mention, isn't descending into aggression basically saying the terrorists have "won" when the mature thing to do is carry on with life without them, and/or target the source of the problem *accurately*?

Third, the role of Scripture in deciding decisions is a little confusing.On the one hand, you've got the quote in the article above about making a peaceful response, which is quite valid; on the other hand, you've got various scriptures like Ephesians 6:, talking about the battle between good and evil in the world (putting on one's spiritual armour and standing firm in the faith, etc), so you could say that "us=good, terrorists=evil" and "bible says wallop the baddies", and off you go.
Me, I believe that neither passage is the be-all and end-all. Neither approach says "leave Mr Brain  on the doorstep", and it's a very valid idea to ask oneself whether one's action is the right and proper one to be taking, whether more harm is going to come from it or greater good. And, of course, one has to ask whether the US is meant to be run as a country of a particular religion, or not.

"Should that have failed, and my cynical mind tells me that it probably would, the only action which should have been taken was judicial."

Correct. Bringing criminals to justice would have been the right thing to do, and precisely because it targets the source of the problem more accurately, it is the more morally justifiable course of action. (On two grounds: a more precise target of misdeed and reaction, resulting in a better solution, one which treats the humans involved as an end not a means to an oil^H^H^Hend, agrees with Utilitarian and Kantian ethics.)

"So it is that I say love, through economic partnership and political negotiations, would have achieved far more to create a peaceful Iraq than an invasion ever could."

Yes, I'm generally inclined to agree. Of course, I'm not sure how "love" (in the Christian sense) translates across into international relations, but I could see that patience would have shown a far greater wisdom.

"If Bush's faith is a fraud, a necessary claim to win public popularity, then he has succeeded only in making Jesus infamous."

Unfortunately so, and it wouldn't be the first time either. People do have a terrible ability to confuse religions with their practitioners, and as  a peace-loving Christian myself, I'm not exactly fond of the idea.

"No, the world has not changed, but I have."

What an amazingly philosophical/Zen/Buddhist idea to adopt. And it's also true. Events like 9/11 are "good" for sorting out who's who and what's what.

~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed

spiritual armor (5.00 / 1) (#438)
by bolthole on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 09:43:48 PM EST

Third, the role of Scripture in deciding decisions is a little confusing.[...] you've got various scriptures like Ephesians 6:, talking about the battle between good and evil in the world (putting on one's spiritual armour and standing firm in the faith, etc),

"spiritual" armor, is for "spiritual" warfare. That passage is about the "war" against temptations. the struggle to live a righteous life. not "the struggle to physically overcome one's neighbours".

[ Parent ]

*SIGH* (4.50 / 2) (#448)
by godix on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 10:27:56 PM EST

So many misconceptions so little time to correct them.

A) There is evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11. Even if you're of the 'everything the US presents is made up' ilk there is still Bin Ladens own confession to the action.

B) Afghan wasn't retribution. America requested aid in capturing someone who has repeatedly attacked us and we had reason to believe was hiding in Afghan. Afghan refused. America decided to go into Afghan to find him ourselves. If the Taliban had co-operated with America in finding Bin Laden then we would never have invaded. I really like how you yourself say that bringing the criminals to justice is the right thing to do immediately after you critize America for attempting to do exactly that.

C) No one seriously claimed Bin Laden was in Iraq. Iraq was a serperate, although loosely related, issue than Bin Laden. If you're going to throw around strawmen arguements can you at least pick a strawman that wasn't debunked months ago?

D) America did the 'mature' thing previously and showed patience. We basically ignored the first attack on WTC. And the Cole bombing. And the embasy bombings. 9/11 was the fourth attack Bin Laden did against America (that I can think of offhand, I might be forgetting one or two). Exactly how many attacks do you think  a 'mature' country should ignore?



"A disobedient dog is almost as bad as a disobedient girlfriend or wife."
- A Proud American
[ Parent ]

typical christian (5.00 / 1) (#504)
by dirtmerchant on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 10:49:45 AM EST

I think I'll attribute the following to a Tom Robbin's book I may have read once. "There are two types of people in the world. Those who believe there are two types of people in the world, and those who know better."
Your statement is typical of the polar thinking of most modern philosophies. Your statement implies that ignoring the attacks or responding with attacks were the only two viable options. Why not seek to preempt the attacks in other ways?
-- "The universe not only may be queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think" - JBS Haldane
[ Parent ]
Where do religions draw the line... (4.75 / 4) (#319)
by Netsnipe on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:06:39 PM EST

..between justice and revenge? In today's society, I can no longer define either term confidently, but I do find it easier to tell when someone is moving the line to suit their own PR agenda.

--
Andrew 'Netsnipe' Lau
Debian GNU/Linux Maintainer & Computer Science, UNSW
Its easy to tell (5.00 / 1) (#345)
by Alhazred on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 01:50:53 PM EST

Justice works for all, revenge does not. Justice is for both the victim and the perpetrator of the crime. Revenge is at best beneficial only to the victim, though ultimately it serves noone.

It really isn't all that hard to decide these points.

"Do unto others..."
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]

If that is so, (5.00 / 1) (#349)
by Netsnipe on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:07:54 PM EST

Would that mean that there is no such thing as objective justice then?

--
Andrew 'Netsnipe' Lau
Debian GNU/Linux Maintainer & Computer Science, UNSW
[ Parent ]
Of course there is no objective justice... (5.00 / 1) (#484)
by ixian on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 02:58:35 AM EST

what is just and unjust is dependent upon the people's mores and taboos. Different cultures have different mores and taboos, and hense the different conceptions of justice.

If you would like an example of this, just compare different legal systems that exist in the world today. Compare different countries, different nationalities, different cultures.

I think the reason that the U.S. is having so much trouble with establishing justice is because it does not have a uniform culture. For one thing, the culture in the traditional North and South states is really different, and the states to the West are weird in their own way. Also, despite Christianity being the mainstream religion, numerous other religions from all over the world are practiced, not to mention that Christianity itself is not uniform, and has many different denominations. Of course, there are also a lot of immigrants, and they do not mix well with with the local mainstream culture. Moreover, there are people with very different backgrounds, different degrees of education, different upbringing, etc. U.S. is a freaking big country, after all. Thus, there is no uniform culture -- no uniform set of mores and taboos -- and people just cannot agree...

[ Parent ]

I beg to differ (5.00 / 1) (#532)
by Alhazred on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 07:27:31 PM EST

I think there are univerally accepted principles of Justice which virtually every human being will agree to.

There is a wide range of variation in what people perceive meets criteria of justice, and this is indeed culturally determined for the most part. Once we take the time to understand our differences in perception however we can always find ways to satisfy all parties in a just way.

People often SAY things that indicate they have incompatible ideas of justice, but if you actually analyze these situations you ALWAYS find that someone is not being objective, they're trying to sell you a story for their own benefit.
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]

yeah..... (5.00 / 1) (#535)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 07:43:50 PM EST

like how Mexico does not hand over criminals who kill people in the US (mexican nationals or not) if they face Death or Life in prison.

we are just misunderstanding their form of Justice which is to let murderers run free and to steel land from the poor.

[ Parent ]

You fail to distinguish (5.00 / 1) (#768)
by Alhazred on Thu Jun 12, 2003 at 12:13:49 PM EST

between principles and specific instances. Do you really seriously think that people in Mexico believe that it is just to have Murderers go free? I think not...
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]
Late to the party (3.75 / 4) (#330)
by jabber on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:48:57 PM EST

This is a very strong article. I'm sorry to have missed my chance to vote for it. I may not agree with everything you have to say in it, but you say it all very well. Plenty of me to mull over. Thanks.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

The problem with this article.. (4.75 / 8) (#398)
by RofGilead on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:15:05 PM EST

 Can be seen in many of the comments below.  The author carries one interpretation of the commandments of the figures in the bible, however other people have other interpretations.  In fact, many of these interpretations directly work against the other interpretations.  At some point, to an outsider like myself, it begins to seem that a Christian can justify ANYTHING!  

 I think a good example of this can be found in the story of Abraham.  I mean, he was going to kill his only son, the father of future nations - because he  heard a voice that told him to do so and believed in his heart that this was God.  Truly, perhaps we are all wrong, and God told the people who hijacked a plane that it was what needed to be done - and they faithfully carried out the will of God.

 This is the problem of ANY religion where instructions come down from above.  This is the problem of any religion where all beliefs and wisdom come from a book which another tells you is holy.  

-= RofGilead =-

---
Remember, you're unique, just like everyone else. -BlueOregon

God said to Abaham kill me a son.... (5.00 / 3) (#406)
by knott art on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 06:02:14 PM EST

Abe said man you must be putting me on
God said NO  Abe said WHAT
God said you can do what you want Abe BUT
The next time you see me coming you'd beter run
Abe said where you want this killing done
God said out on highway 61... B. Dylan
Knott Art
[ Parent ]
Turns out God was only Joshin' him. ;p (nt) (5.00 / 2) (#422)
by gilrain on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:08:58 PM EST



[ Parent ]
love your brother..is this an instruction? (5.00 / 1) (#430)
by johwsun on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:41:39 PM EST

If you think that love is an instruction, then you are far away my friend....far away...
You must feel love, noone can command you to love.

Jesus asked from us to feel love, he did not gave us any command .. He said, if you want it, follow me ...

[ Parent ]

The Love Instruction (5.00 / 1) (#614)
by RadiantMatrix on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 08:13:27 PM EST

Perhaps there is just an odd implementation of assembler at work. I mean, there are versions of make that respond 'not war?' to 'make love'.

Would it be so odd if someone had implemented a LOV instruction? :P

----------
I don't like spam - Parent ]

religion (5.00 / 1) (#437)
by bolthole on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 09:40:18 PM EST

This is the problem of ANY religion where instructions come down from above.  This is the problem of any religion where all beliefs and wisdom come from a book which another tells you is holy.

And that leaves... what, exactly?

Your problem is actually with any and ALL religion. Please be honest in your postings.


[ Parent ]

I don't think all religions can be included. (5.00 / 1) (#477)
by RofGilead on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 12:50:17 AM EST

If the religion is one such that it is highly individual, and consists only of the worshipper attempting to figure the religion out for himself, through thought - it could be excluded by my comment [that with religion anything can be interpretted as being from god].  Although the act of the individual figuring things out for himself is basically interpretation of the world, perhaps.  Oh well.

If such a religion actually exists, I don't know.  It seems that some varieties of buddhism may fall under this category.  Zen buddhism in particular, but I don't know if it counts.


-= RofGilead =-

---
Remember, you're unique, just like everyone else. -BlueOregon
[ Parent ]

Here's one... (5.00 / 1) (#542)
by Pseudonym on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 10:40:31 PM EST

Neo-Paganism probably counts. There are no sacred texts and apart from a few common themes it's basically recreated in the follower's own image each time.

(Note: I'm not knocking neo-Paganism here. In many ways, it's a far more honest religion than most for this reason.)



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Someone claiming to be Christian (4.00 / 2) (#547)
by I Robot on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 11:35:46 PM EST

Someone claiming to be Christian *can* justify anything just as someone claiming to be a Luciferan or a Wiccan or a Druid or a Satanist or a Muslim or a Shintoist or an atheist or and agnostic can.

Your point would be what? That Christians hold up a high moral standard and often fail or that Satanists hold up a much lower standard but adhere closely to it?

Bush was elected to defend and forward the interests of the United States. He is doing a better job of that and, as a consequence, having a better year than Saddam or Osama.

The original poster, an erstwhile theologian, should be aware that in Matthew, Jesus stated that his people were "no part of this world" ... that is, they have only unavoidable contact with it. So why is the 'theologian' meddling in strictly civil matters? "Theologian, stick to thy last."

[ Parent ]

"Real" meaning of the Abraham passage (5.00 / 2) (#669)
by rkent on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 12:06:46 PM EST

There's a strong view among many biblical scholars that the larger point of the Abraham/Isaac passage was to differentiate "Jaweh-ism" (Later to be Judaism) from other religions in the region which DID require human sacrifice.  It was really more like "look, our god doesn't make us kill each other."  

Unfortunately, most people look at it more like "You don't love god enough unless you're willing to kill your own son."  And we can see where THAT's getting us.


[ Parent ]

Also... (5.00 / 1) (#691)
by Pseudonym on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 08:32:43 PM EST

Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard looks into this story in a lot of depth.

Most mythology (and I use that term in the broadest possible sense) operates on multiple levels. In this case there are three levels I can identify: one level is "teaching", to make a point (e.g. Jahweh doesn't require human sacrifice), one is cultural/historical (i.e. the motivation behind circumcision in the Hebrew religion) and one as philosophy/psychology (i.e. the idea of "promise"; the role of the Hebrew people as "the chosen ones").



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
I don't think so... (5.00 / 1) (#741)
by RofGilead on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 04:17:53 AM EST

Read the book "Fear and trembling" by Kierkagard. He examines this story in many different ways, making it out to be the epitamy of faith, the best story to illustrate what an illogical and amazing thing faith really is. He makes this story the center of the idea of faith, and makes you think about what it would be like to be the son on Abraham or his wife - either of which would just be crazy. You'd think your husband had lost it! i'm drunk at the moment, but I seriously think you are trying to take this story and make it "sensible" - which only takes away from the story of abraham.

-= RofGilead =-

---
Remember, you're unique, just like everyone else. -BlueOregon
[ Parent ]
Why address this to Bush? (3.12 / 8) (#405)
by freality on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 05:54:32 PM EST

He's not listening. The US Government is not being run by popular consent. The idea of a contract between us and our government is not just naive, it's dangerous; we spend our time arguing with with each other about a political capability that we'll never have, instead of planning for one we will. The US Government is a 200 century-old institution that had a time of glory, but is now rife with corruption; Bush is just the tip of the iceburg, and blind patriotism will just help sink the ship. Face it, you are compelled to support the US Government with a portion of your productivity (by pain of imprisonment), and 1/10th of those dollars will go to support the largest coercive - and as you identify, lawless - institution on Earth. We'll never know if it was possible to reform it, because its power is now consolidated and separated from popular control. US military power is now evident and is a prize par none. No less evident is that it can be controlled and yielded wildly by a small group of dedicated and rapacious rulers. I don't want to get you down. Your intention is clearly pure, but in reality, those who need your care most are right around you. The States of this country are in various stages of obedience to the Federal government. Perhaps some can be taken as a refuge - under the generic umbrella of States' rights - against the encroaching power of D.C.. Build friendships, reafirm morals and justice at a local level as you withdraw from involvement in national politics. Start a militia, or a prayer group. They both pose a challenge to power. If federal elections could be depleted from the current voting levels to perhaps less than 1/4, there would be a very clear capability to refrain from paying federal taxes. Do this, and the government will shrink, perhaps even to manageable levels. Then, we can reaffirm it or begin anew. Treat large corporations the same way, but with your dollars. It's a stretch, but worth it. And certainly more probable than asking the power-hungry to forfeit.

One of the best comments I've ever read. (NT) (5.00 / 2) (#604)
by emwi on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 03:39:19 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Amen (3.80 / 5) (#408)
by mcgrew on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 06:13:50 PM EST

I have said before that Bush is what Christ called in another passage (that you as a theology student should be able to point me to) a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

Thank you for posting that passage from the sermon on the mount.

As to the legal code from Deuteronomy, it said that before anyone is put to death there should be at least two eyewitnesses. Under Texas Governor George Bush, more Texans were executed than under any other Governor! And Texas doesn't demand ANY eyewitnesses.

The legal system is so bad in this country that in Illinois, our last Governor (one who left office in scandal) stopped executions, because DNA tests proved that half the inmates on death row were innocent. Police and prosecutors are now in prison for perjury. Bad!

It is often quoted, "vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord" (usuually a preacher in a western movie). This actually means that vengeance belongs to no man, that God has commanded that only He can take vengeance.

But George's claims that he is a Christian are proven false by his deeds. As you say, he slanders Jesus Himself.

On an almost completely unrelated note, the newspaper headline today screamed that Ashcroft says the Patriot Act (a.k.a. the traitorous AG act) didn't go far enough. If Mr Ashcroft can't do his job with the tools given hime when he was appointed, I'd like to see him resign, and let Bush appoint someone who can.

A real patriot does not attempt to weaken the Constitution.

Again, thank you for posting this, and a thank you to the folks who voted it up as well!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

You support adopting Deuteronomy as legal code? (5.00 / 1) (#630)
by Demiurge on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 12:22:10 AM EST

Now, unless you're a complete moron, you're just being disingenuous. That is, unless you want eating shellfish and wearing polyester to become felonies.

[ Parent ]
No, I don't. (5.00 / 1) (#685)
by mcgrew on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 05:27:07 PM EST

However, having at least two eyewitnesses before you put someone to death sounds fair to me.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Low quality posts alert (4.20 / 5) (#414)
by dash2 on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:31:11 PM EST

 I have to say that never before have I voted so many posts to "1". The original story seemed well-written and thought-provoking, but mostly it has instead provoked irrelevant rants and flames about Christianity.

Now I'm an agnostic myself, despite my sig, but there do seem to be a lot of violently bigoted atheists out there, many of whom seem unable to back up their wholesale dismissal of Christianity and other religions with evidence or arguments. Where does all this bitterness come from? Was it really so bad having to sit through church as a kid?
------------------------
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

I've got nothing against Christianity. (5.00 / 2) (#418)
by reklaw on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:43:28 PM EST

But then, I didn't have to sit through church as a kid. Yes, I realise you were only half-serious, but it made me think that it might be a cultural thing. I've only been in a church like three times in my whole life, and none of those were for a service -- they were just to look at the architecture and assorted churchy bits and pieces for education and stuff.

The militant atheist posts aren't nice, but if I'd been forced into going to church I can see how I might have ended up with a similar viewpoint. Just as someone's religion should be respected, no-one should ever be forced into religion at whatever age. Are young people really pressed into attending church in the US?
-
[ Parent ]

Only by their parents (5.00 / 2) (#470)
by KnightStalker on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 12:01:30 AM EST

And it's really only the children of pathological fundamentalists that turn militant. Like me... :-)

[ Parent ]
I was... (5.00 / 1) (#497)
by dash2 on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 08:06:44 AM EST


... and I thought it was very boring (but luckily sometimes I was allowed to take my lego in there). But I didn't come out with a violent grudge against the church or something. Admittedly, the Church of England is pretty tame compared to some of the wilder baptists and evangelists out there.
------------------------
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
[ Parent ]
What kind of logic is that? (5.00 / 1) (#556)
by Skywise on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 12:52:30 AM EST

Young people are forced to go to school, eat their vegetables, do their homework, be home by a certain hour, go on family vacations, clean up their bedrooms, etc.

It is a parent's DUTY to raise their child the way they see fit.  If that means going to church every Sunday, fine.  It that means not going to church and telling your child to discover religion on their own, fine.

But it's just as illogical (and most people here will agree with this statement) to say that militant christians who were denied religion at an early age by atheist parents are completely understandable in their positions.

[ Parent ]

Oops,That should be... (5.00 / 1) (#557)
by Skywise on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 12:55:42 AM EST

"Disagree with this statement" instead of agree...

[ Parent ]
Well, (5.00 / 2) (#603)
by reklaw on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 03:38:05 PM EST

.. yes, there are some things that young need to do -- but it's generally society that forces them to do them, not their parents (eg. laws saying you must go to school).

It is a parent's DUTY to raise their child the way they see fit.

Even if they want to lock them in a cupboard and beat them? Sell them into slavery? I call bullshit on that. Children have the same rights as anyone else -- that's why they're called human rights, not just adult rights.
-
[ Parent ]

probably (5.00 / 1) (#429)
by adiffer on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:37:07 PM EST

>Was it really so bad having to sit through church as a kid?

The older I get, the more I'm inclined to think it was.  Few groups know what it is like to have their noses rubbed in their supposed invalidness.  The Athiests are one of them, though.  Some people get pissed and turn militant.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]

Censorship for jesus (5.00 / 1) (#496)
by spakka on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 08:05:03 AM EST

I have to say that never before have I voted so many posts to "1".

If the posts are of such a low quality, you should find it easy to post refutations. This is a discussion site, after all. I've refrained from scoring any other post in this discussion - it seemed dishonest.

The original story seemed well-written and thought-provoking, but mostly it has instead provoked irrelevant rants and flames about Christianity.

The article is about christianity and concludes that more is needed. Dissenting opinions are relevant. Just because arguments against chritianity are forceful, and don't afford the religion the special reverence its followers claim, doesn't make them rants and flames. I didn't call other posters 'violently bigoted', for example, or try to attribute their opinions to bitterness originating from childhood experience.

there do seem to be a lot of violently bigoted atheists out there, many of whom seem unable to back up their wholesale dismissal of Christianity and other religions with evidence or arguments.

Look up 'burden of proof'. Atheists make no claims. They just ask for evidence before believing the extravagant claims made by others. Do you feel obliged to provide evidence or arguments to back up your wholesale dismissal of Thor, Zeus, wood nymphs, alien abductions, Santa Claus, crop circles, levitation, etc?

Where does all this bitterness come from?

The Inquisition. The Crusades. Auschwitz.



[ Parent ]
Have an atheist answer this (5.00 / 1) (#601)
by Shovas on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 02:15:51 PM EST

Popular science believes the universe was created from a big bang. More recently, the theory was extended to create an infinite loop of big bangs and big crunches(universe expands for billions of years and then collapses on itself).

The question is, what was before the big bang? In the first scenario, one might say the second scenario is the answer. Okay, so we have a universe collapsing before our latest bang. What was there before the first big bang?

One can't answer this: Why am i? Why is there 'existence' at all? The only answer is a creator. There's no other conclusion.

If you're at that point and acknowledge a creator, you'd better start searching for who that creator is.

Whether or not an atheist provides evidence or asks questions, you can not deny that each person now has a responsibility to find out who the creator is. Atheist or not, we now all have to search.
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
but where does god come from? (5.00 / 1) (#602)
by vectus on Sun Jun 08, 2003 at 03:05:13 PM EST