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December 19, 2006

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Waaal, this could be some weird interpretation of a stark Calvinism or Methodism, i.e., you cannot sin while in Faith or Grace. So sin is evidence of inadequate faith or faithlessness. It is all pretty existential, and you could easily have a God-believing repentant former terrorist.

And Bush thru Laura does follow a strong(?) Methodism.

Hilzoy, could you have a "moral terrorist?" By your standard of moral?

Methodist or Wesleyan doctrine:

Christian Perfection

"Wesley did not use perfection to describe sinlessness. Similarly, perfection is not the state of being unable to sin, but rather the state of choosing not to sin. Wesley's perfection represents a change of life, a freedom from willful rebellion against God, impure intentions, and pride. Wesley also did not view perfection as permanent."

Governmental Atonement

"According to governmental theory, Christ's death applies not to individuals directly, but to the church as an entity. Individuals then partake of the atonement by being attached to the church through faith. It is also, therefore, possible to fall out of the scope of atonement through loss of faith."

And apparently Methodism and Calvinism differ strongly on some questions.

But no, I don't think Bush believes that Islamist terrorists would call themselves secular humanists or atheists or pagans. With elaboration, I am not sure what else Bush would call them, beyond "faithless."

God is a moral terrorist. He does not turn people into pillars of salt for his enjoyment. He does it to make you fear him, and be encouraged by that fear to act morally.

This is what people do not understand about Guantanamo Bay, or the Patriot Act, or any of the other related issues. They accuse Bush or his associates of enjoying torture, or grabbing power out of selfishness.

If you know you are being watched, and know there are severe consequences for doing wrong, you are less likely to do wrong. Wise people know this, and we are lucky to be led by them.

Actually, I think God as mafioso is more accurate: "Nice soul you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it."

God is a moral terrorist.

Here's one from the vaults:
God is dead. God remains dead.How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?

If you know you are being watched, and know there are severe consequences for doing wrong, you are less likely to do wrong.

Sorry, I just realized that this is more in the spirit of the season.

"You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why..."

And some people think Bush believing in Santa Claus is a good thing. Ho, ho, ho.

Can we all admit that it's not enough for a would-be President to be someone we'd like to have a beer with? Please?

Is it bad to admit that I would like to have a beer with Bush? And then I'd like to take photographs of Bush getting soused? And then I'd like to publish them all over the Internet?

Well, this just cries out for a "1m in ur X, killin all ur Y" comment, but I'll refrain.

Now, if Bush was the kind of guy I could have, say, a glass of cabernet with, then all would be right in the world.

And apparently we're not winning in Iraq now, according to Bush, but we're not losing either! I guess it's a push. Didn't he say at some point that he has to be positive and upbeat otherwise baby Jesus would cry we would lose in Iraq or the troops would be demoralized or something?

We all know that winning a war is a simple matter of national will. Such is why Bush put all his energy into whipping Americans up into a terr'st-fearin' frenzy rather than actually creating any sort of, you know, plans for the occupation. As long as as have a common enemy (them brown peoples) everything will fall into place, right?

We all know that winning a war is a simple matter of national will.

And fear! Oh, and surprise, and, uh, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the pope. Plus, nice red uniforms.

i checked USA PATRIOT, sec 802, and it appears Bush is wrong. the definition of Domestic Terrorism does not mention belief in God (or Gods).

Bush really ought to read those bills he signs!

hmm. it appears i have blown my cover.

hmm. it appears i have blown my cover.

Hah!

This is making my head hurt.

far be it from my to cut the moron any slack.
but...
isn't part of the problem a function of the word's double duty as both sortal term and proper name?

sortal term: the greeks had many gods; atheists believe there are no gods; muslims worship a god just as much as christians do.

proper name: God appeared to Abraham; God told me to kill my downstairs neighbors; God is in ur base, etc. etc.

(I waive worries about vacuous reference here, for obvious reasons).

worshippers in a monotheism tend to use the word as a proper name. indeed, I take it that the whole point of the muslim credal statement 'there is no allah but Allah' is exactly to say "there are no instances of the sortal 'god' other than the referent of the proper name 'God'."

so: I take it Bush is saying something roughly equivalent to 'they don't worship the god to whom I refer when I use the proper name "God"."

is that true as a matter of historical theology? Well, it certainly puts a lie to the ecumenical blather about "Abrahamic" faiths, but that was always a pretty flimsy attempt to paper over differences.

in any case, i don't think this quote is evidence that bush is unaware that some terrorists self-identify as orthodox adherents of a theistic sect. He's just claiming that they are not successfully aligning their beliefs with the referent of the proper name "God" in his idiolect.

there's never any reason to doubt the guy's a moron--if this one doesn't pan out, there's a slew of others close to hand.

Wouldn't this notion put Bush strongly at odds with his evangelical fanbase?

kid,

Doesn't your analysis also imply that, from Bush's point of view, Jews don't believe in God either?

Odd that he made the statement at a menorah lighting ceremony.

It's not an uncommon sentiment -- granted, I grew up in a 700 Club house.

It usually takes some steadfast sheltering to sustain a belief like that, which is why it's somewhat surprising in, say, the President of the USA. But there are those who can willfully close their minds, remain willfully ignorant to inconvenient facts and willfully twist logic to arrive to whichever conclusion they preferred from the start. I do believe all the evidence would indicate that Bush is such a person.

Presumptuous of me, perhaps.

i don't think that many of the "evangelical fanbase" feel any deep respect for jews or the religious beliefs of jews.

it's going to vary from evangelical to evangelical, of course, but anyone who feels that their outlook is well represented by the 'left behind' series is quite content with the fact that jews will be slaughtered and condemned to hell. awesome. means the rapture is here.

a lot of this judeo-christian blather was always paper thin. segments of the republican party saw two power-bases, and wanted to make a political union between them. it worked for a while.

Jews as a group are totemic in evangelical theology. This doesn't have to translate into any respect for Jews as real people, and usually doesn't.

kid,

i don't think that many of the "evangelical fanbase" feel any deep respect for jews or the religious beliefs of jews.

I'm not so sure. I lived in the Bible belt for many years. I think the attitude toward Jews is pretty complex - some sort of mixture of respect, suspicion, vestigial anti-Semitism (not that vestigial in some cases), and "older brother in faith," a la John Paul II. Maybe it comes down to a feeling that Jews know something the Evangelicals don't, and the Evangelicals aren't quite sure whether it's good or bad.

Yes, a lot of the "Judeo-Christian blather" was just that - blather - a conservative PC phrase. But you are talking about politicians. For others, especially the more thoughtful members of the Evangelical community, the matter is more complex.

"Maybe it comes down to a feeling that Jews know something the Evangelicals don't"

yes but do they know jesus.

no, look; I basically agree with you, that it's more complex, which is why I said "it's going to vary from evangelical to evangelical".

bruce baugh is right that the totemic group sometimes gets more deference than the real people. but you're also right that real people, talking at a pta meeting, or coaching kids soccer, don't always get treated to the hostility associated w/ the labels. so personal experience may sometimes be *more* humane than the ideology, too.

for the 'left behind'-ers, though, it may not be so complex.

Jes: "Is it bad to admit that I would like to have a beer with Bush?"

I will personally keep you supplied with your favorite brew for life if you achieve your plan.

Most conservative/fundamentalist/orthodox Protestants (Calvinist or Methodist) believe you either believe Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior or you don’t.

Jews and Muslims are not “believers,” therefore they reject God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and by definition, reject life.

Or, if you are a manipulative politician you say crap you think your audience will get off on, at which point Bernard Yomtov’s observation at December 20, 2006 at 10:05 AM is much more striking.

If you are a Fundie that believes in The End Time theology then you grow up believing Jews in the US and Europe hated Christianity and started Marxism and other atheistic beliefs to destroy Christ’s followers. Many of these same Fundies believe Jews outside of Isreal are behind Hollywood and other degenerate aspects of society and they (the Jews) should all be sent to Israel to help expand Greater Israel and prepare for Christ’s return.

Fundies without an End Times theology believ most of the same crap, but could care less about Israel.

Tell you what, I'll have a beer with Bush, and will continue to do so for two years to keep him busy.

An MSN headline this morning (I'll go back and read the article) said that Mr. Bush has once again asked the American people to go shopping.

If God is a moral terrorist and America is the fruition of His everlasting vision, how is it that banality reaches from sea to shining sea.

As Kierkagaard once said: "Point in the other direction and yell "terrorist!. The other shoppers will run like hell, permitting you to cut in line at the white sale."

Thullen, that was beautiful.

You can tell America is God's chosen country because he wrote the Bible in English.

Most conservative/fundamentalist/orthodox Protestants (Calvinist or Methodist) believe you either believe Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior or you don’t.

Objection: tautology.

And, Ugh: no. Don't go there. I've mixed it up with some of the more entrenched of Southern Baptists, and they tend to be acutely aware of what languages the Bible was written in.

Even while applying some novel interpretations to scripture as translated into English, certainly.

Didn't have anybody in particular in mind, just reacting to Thullen's "America is the fruition of His everlasting vision" note.

But he's didn't say terrorists aren't God-believing people, but that they can't be. I thought the evangelical idea was that Jesus could redeem any sinner, etc etc.

There's always been a tension in evangelical preaching between the mercy and the justice of God. Billy Sunday, one of the first major evangelical preachers of the 20th century, was heavy on the justice; Aimee Semple Macpherson, who got the pentacostalist movement really moving, was big on the mercy. It goes back and forth.

‘Terrorists’ can’t be God-believing people,’

Although, obviously, war criminals can...

hmm. it appears i have blown my cover.

Did you at least get his number?

rilkefan I will personally keep you supplied with your favorite brew for life if you achieve your plan.

Hell, Jes, I'll introduce you to some new "brews" if that will up the incentive for you!

To all, WRT Fundies: if you're interested in them, whether for edification or amusement, you simply must bookmark Slacktivist,">http://slacktivist.typepad.com/">Slacktivist, in particular his epic "Left Behind" series.

Did you at least get his number?

nah. it was a total drive-by.

it appears i have blown my cover

No, it's just ice cream.

"But he's didn't say terrorists aren't God-believing people, but that they can't be"

ok, the "can't" makes my analysis harder, but I will submit "terrorism can't be a moral act". IOW, "terrorists, while terrorists, can't be God-believers". Much like "Jews, as Jews, can't be Christians."

And to some of the others, possible including hilzoy, I simply do not believe that Bush, while at a Jewish ceremony, would publicly make a categorical distinction that his God, not Allah or Yahweh, is the only True God. No matter what he might believe.

"Jews as a group are totemic in evangelical theology."

I think they might qualify as the "McGuffin" of Christianity.

"We all know that winning a war is a simple matter of national will. "

Hm. If some level of will would grant us victory at current troop levels, then some greater level of will would grant us victory at even lower troop levels. Which means, we could win with no troops deployed at all, if only we had enough will.

rilkefan writes: "I will personally keep you supplied with your favorite brew for life if you achieve your plan."

I'll personally keep you supplied with your favorite pricey scotch for life if you achieve your plan after peeing in W's beer.

No, but after listening to him, I want vodka and tonic, in a dark room, alone. And some aspirin too...

It's not really national will -- nothing about what I (to pick a person seemingly at random) want or don't want has had any effect at all on policy. Only the will of a single person matters.

Does he want it badly enough? Clearly not. I can readily think of half a dozen things he'd have done if he really wanted victory in Iraq, and didn't do.

Take that, bitter-enders!

And, Ugh: no. Don't go there. I've mixed it up with some of the more entrenched of Southern Baptists, and they tend to be acutely aware of what languages the Bible was written in.

Well, I grew up as one of the more entrenched of Southern Baptists, and I assure you that (1) some of the rank-and-file do think that God wrote the Bible in English, and (2) many more that don't quite believe this nonetheless venerate the King James Version beyond any semblance of rationality. They have also adopted support for Likudnik Israel on the basis of "God's Chosen People," while funding relocation-to-Israel efforts so that two thirds of the world Jewish population can be exterminated at the end of the Tribulation (not at the Rapture; sorry, kid bitzer).

Then again, the official creed of the Southern Baptist Convention still states that "[c]hurch and state should be separate," so who knows what some of them believe on a particular day?

Posted by: bob mcmanus | December 20, 2006 at 09:30 PM

I actually believe Bush has a more nuanced view of Christianity than most believe, however that view does not win the Fundies over, ask Bush Sr.

I think Bush knows the evangelical lingo (like he knows the down-home-language of Blue Collar Texas) insinuating things he shouldn't.

"Can we all admit that it's not enough for a would-be President to be someone we'd like to have a beer with?"

I'll freely admit that I've never wanted to have a beer with that SOB. There's millions i'd rather have a brew with..most of humanity actually.

Best line of the day(so far IMO):
‘Terrorists’ can’t be God-believing people,’
Although, obviously, war criminals can...
--Phoenician in a time of Romans

"Can we all admit that it's not enough for a would-be President to be someone we'd like to have a beer with? Please?"

I never could understand this. I always thought that, yeah it might be entertaining in a Cliff Claven sort of way but after about five minutes you'd be wishing to be hammering spikes into your ears.

Plus, sooner or later he'd show you his rutabaga that looks exactly like Art Linkletter.

Or something.

It's enough to make you upchuck in your shorts.

Bush is one to talk. He doesn't even believe in drinking any of those beers everybody wants to have with him.

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