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July 19, 2019

Comments

It's far more likely that if either of us is going to change our opinions, it will be because of long exposure and the accumulation of experience in life, and not in response to direct pressure.

Right!

At least in the RCC it was until far into the 20th century anathema to have first-hand knowledge of the sacred texts without explicit (and revocable) privilege from high-up.
And I know of bishops (in Germany) that deplore this having changed. Those kind tend to think of Vaticanum II like the far Right in the US thinks of the New Deal ('constitution in exile'). Some radicals (although more in France and Austria than Germany) even consider the papal throne vacant since then because all the popes since then have been heretics (and thus automatically excommunicated) for supporting Vat II.

English children are (or were, in my youth) taught about the heroic struggles of Wycliffe and Tyndale to publish the Bible in English.

FWIW, "getting in the way" can look like this.

Right!

Okay. I've changed my mind.

russell, that is a very inspiring link. Thanks.

FWIW, "getting in the way" can look like this.

That's a great story, at least the part about the neighbors. It sucks that they had to do that in the first place. This particular kind of ICE crap is terrorism.

Russell, that's a great example of "coastal elites" in action. Um, which coast is Nashville on again...?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/boris-johnson-expected-to-win-british-prime-minister-vote/2019/07/23/0e63fc8e-ac93-11e9-9411-a608f9d0c2d3_story.html

Commiserations to all you folks in the UK.

Commiserations to all you folks in the UK.

Maybe we can split the US and UK up respectively along pro-Trump/anti-Trump and pro-Johnson/anti-Johnson lines and combine the pros and antis to make two new countries.

That or Canada gets really crowded.

Things are bad here, but not as bad.

BoJo on Trump: "If you're the leader of a great multiracial, multicultural society you simply cannot use that kind of language about sending people back to where they came from. That went out decades and decades ago and thank heavens for that. I simply can't understand how a leader of that country could come to say it."

Plus, as a side note, I'm always amazed when Christians in general fail to see that their religion is in a sense based on human sacrifice, even if it was (perhaps) voluntary.


Not picking on GNTNC because nearly every comment here about Christians reminds me of a bunch of white people in the 60's reading black people's minds and deciding for black people what they must be thinking.


So, let's go with the notion that Christians are stupid (like C.S. Lewis) and don't actually know what they believe in. This is facially ignorant and bigoted.


I'm an Episcopalian; however, my specific take on the Old and New Testament would have been heretical some centuries back, the point being that, collectively, the atheists here have no idea what Christians actually think--you can't, because there are too many of us. We are far more intellectually diverse than, say, progressives (whose tolerance for political dissent/heresy is next to nil).

So, to address GFTNC's specific observation: actually, we are aware of the role of sacrifice in our religion. It is central, as a matter of fact. It is the willing giving of oneself that others may live. Whether you buy into this or not, it isn't exactly repressive or anti-intellectual. In point of fact, for many, it is inspirational if not life-changing. Not every neighbor is lovable but we are enjoined to love them anyway.


I've followed several lengthy chats here where the disdain for believers is just really amazing, exceeded only by the collective ignorance of the commentators. But that's ok, because, you know, like black people, all Christians are the same. Talking about oblivious.

Another Christian virtue--honored often in the breach--is humility. Possibly worth considering.

Can religion be used as an instrument of oppression? Of course. So can progressivism (Twitter Mobs) and any other political movement. Socialism is the greatest offender. The PRC is currently incarcerating 1,000,000 Uighurs. Not a peep from the BSD movement, but that's no surprise. Venezuela is another nice example of socialism doing what it almost always does, but we don't talk about that either.


A couple of other fairly gross historical inaccuracies or, at a minimum, failure to add context.


The Crusades followed the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land. They were reactive, not proactive. Islam picked that fight.


The role of religion in war--sure, there have been religious wars, all over the world. However, if you take the time to do the research and add up the numbers, Genghis Khan alone killed more people in his lifetime than all of the religious wars in Europe from the birth of Christ to the present by a huge margin. So, while it is accurate to say that "lots of people have been killed in the name of religion or in religious wars", it is contextually uninformative. China is the scene, the product and the result of the most destructive wars in history, particularly in comparison to relative population sizes over time.


Racism is a subset of bigotry. What we see on display here is straight up bigotry. Progressives wonder why they aren't seen as the "good" alternative to Trump's trash talk. In fact, they have their own trash talk and it's just as unpleasant to hear.

Things are bad here, but not as bad.

Being less toxic than Trump is, if I may say so, a damn low bar. And if Johnson manages (blunders into) a no-deal Brexit, as seems from here entirely possible, the damage that Trump's trade wars have done will seem the merest bagatelle.

That or Canada gets really crowded.

Go for Australia. Lots more room. And the climate is warmer -- which matters to those of us who don't favor snow.

The Crusades followed the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land. They were reactive, not proactive. Islam picked that fight.

It is my recollection (by all means correct me if I am in error) that
a) that land is Holy to Islam (and to Judiasm, come to that) as well. It's not obvious that Christianity has a stronger claim -- and without such a stronger claim, it isn't clear that Islam was "picking a fight".
b) Islam was far more tolerant of Christians, and Christian religious practice, than Christianity ever was in return. Indeed, respect for Christianity is explicitly mandated in Islam.

We are far more intellectually diverse than, say, progressives (whose tolerance for political dissent/heresy is next to nil).

This is where you're lecturing becomes hypocritical, even if the rest if it is right (not that I'm saying it is).

your, dammit!

Another thing is that white people can't have previously been black, but non-Christians can be former Christians. It appears that some here are former Christians, and probably have more insight than whites can possibly have regarding what it's like to be black.

I'm sympathetic to much of what MKT writes about Christianity, but the bit about the Crusades is ahistorical. Jerusalem hadn't been Christian since 638.

The Crusaders were the Taliban of the late middle ages. See the Sack of Constantinople.

(On second thoughts, that's unfair to the Taliban.)

McKT, you appear to have forgotten Matthew 7:1.

thanks for telling me what i think, McTx. always good to learn what's going on in my head.

Things are bad here, but not as bad.

“They call him Britain (sic) Trump. And people are saying that’s a good thing. They like me over there.”

Context, or "context," tells us that religious wars didn't kill as many people as Genghis Khan.

Well I guess that's okay then!

It is to weep.

To be nasty, there are also Matthew 10:34 and Luke 12:51.
The official updated US version: https://wp-media.patheos.com/blogs/sites/65/2012/07/Jesus-AR15.jpeg
Note: there are two kinds that weaponize scripture - fundamentalists and atheists. Mainstream believers and agnostics* don't.

*in the European sense of 'don't know and/or don't care whether there is a deity'

Forget racism.
Trump finally found a way to unite Republicans in public disapproval of him...
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/454297-conservatives-erupt-in-outrage-against-budget-deal

Genghis Khan alone killed more people in his lifetime than all of the religious wars in Europe from the birth of Christ to the present by a huge margin.

McK might be great in the courtroom but as a historian, he is pretty comical. Claims like the above are just about always suspect, and revisions are, well, ongoing.

But I did a quick google just to see what's out there...interesting stuff. The bit about the Tai Ping Rebellion deaths and the Christian mysticism of its leader is something I did not know.

https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/33tofh/how_many_people_have_been_killed_in_the_name_of/

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/5-most-lethal-wars-human-history-13422

Pressing on....I would wager that many members of the commitariat here are at most agnostic wrt religion, so McK is simply engaging in trying to score points, not engage.

PS: Having been raised as Episcopalian myself, I can speak from PERSONAL (praise god) experience as to what Christians "believe", plus there is this thing known as "the historical record".

Just sayin'

Dammit, I just lost a long comment! In short: I don't mind you picking on me McKinney because I have picked on you plenty in the past about your inability to understand white male privilege, the point of BLM, or why Sarah Huckabee Sanders deserved to be shamed in public for lying to the American public for the shameless liar in the White House.

I was entertained by the counter-example of C S Lewis: certainly his academic career was impressive, but giving examples from both sides of very clever people who either believed the Christian story, or are committed atheists, seems a bit ridiculous.

So, to address GFTNC's specific observation: actually, we are aware of the role of sacrifice in our religion. It is central, as a matter of fact. It is the willing giving of oneself that others may live.

But in saying this you reveal that you have missed my point. I was not referring to self-sacrifice, I was talking about the willingness of Christians to accept that human sacrifice, whether voluntary or not, was necessary to wash away their sins. It's actually a fairly unlikely story, given that the historical Jesus (to the extent there is proof of him) was apparently a religious Jew, but even more: if the story is true his grandiloquent claim that it was to save mankind (as opposed to people who may sometimes have sacrificed themselves to save others) seems to me to point more to mental illness than anything else. I'm sorry if this offends the Christians here, but since I don't believe this is what happened, my diagnosis is equally unlikely.

I just can't help myself.

The PRC is currently incarcerating 1,000,000 Uighurs. Not a peep from the BSD movement, but that's no surprise.

No, it's no surprise, because the BSD movement is focused on Israel's treatment of Palestinians. You could probably find a way to correspond with people active in the BSD movement and find out what they think of China's treatment of the Uyghurs. Do you expect they approve?

Venezuela is another nice example of socialism doing what it almost always does, but we don't talk about that either.

We could, but I don't think there's any controversy here about the illiberal direction Nicolás Maduro has taken. Any big fans? I also don't think there are many full-blown socialists here these days. We've already gone over the differences between socialism, democratic socialism, and social democracy. (The last one is probably the most relevant as concerns the policy preferences I've seen expressed here lately. The Scandinavian countries seem to be doing way better than Venezuela.)

i don't much care what individual Christians really think about their religion. i do care that i am expected to respect the idiosyncratic, and ever-flexible, interpretations of Christianity used to justify policy preferences which affect everybody.

you support a thrice-married adulterous lying lecher but claim Biblical support for your hate against homosexuals ? umm, no. consider yourself disrespected.

you say we need more Jesus in this country but jump for glee when you get to turn away the poor refugees who come knocking? umm, no.

if Christianity looks like nothing more than a way to be Republican, it can't be respected.

It is to weep.

Agree. It really, really is. I can only feel sorry for his clients if this is the kind of argumentation he trots out in the courtroom.

Somehow I doubt it.

My firmly held religious belief requires me to plant an ax in the heads of a-hole xtians.

But I put a lid on that, in the interests of civility. Perhaps the a-hole contingent of xtains should do so as well.

But I put a lid on that, in the interests of civility.

I probably should, too. In any case, I want to make it clear (FWIW) that I am an equal opportunities bigot: I take an equally dim view of Judaism and Islam, just for different reasons. And given modern India, perhaps Hinduism as well.

The role of religion in war--sure, there have been religious wars, all over the world. However,...

how many millions have been killed in the name of atheism ? not by atheists, but in the name of atheism ?

Genghis Khan alone killed more people...

and he wasn't an atheist.

All non-religious war is the fault of atheists.

The Scandinavian countries seem to be doing way better than Venezuela.

The Scandinavian countries are capitalist countries with large welfare states paid for by that capitalism.

Genghis Khan alone killed more people...

And he had a lot of kids. One estimate is that about 16 million people alive today are his direct descendants.

The Scandinavian countries are capitalist countries with large welfare states paid for by that capitalism.

Yes. Social democracies. That was my very point. Thank you for agreeing!

Raise your hand if you want to nationalize the means of production.

I don't want U.S. Government iPhones!

If you do not condemn the PRC or Madero in a full-throated way and in every post you make then any argument you advance wrt some kind of socialism (or any other issue for that matter) that I get to define and pin on you because after all you are guilty and have the blood of Mao and Stalin on your hands has absolutely no validity and can therefore be dismissed with extreme prejudice....not that I am prejudiced in any way...nosirreee! because I told you I am not...and after all I don't like Trump...and claim to not have voted for him...but his policies are just fine with me nonetheless especially tax cuts for the wealthy and don't get me started on transgenders in fe bathrooms...just don't.

perhaps Hinduism as well.

Yep. That is a definite yes. They are just as capable of frenzied mass murder as the rest of us.

A salute to McKinney.

Yep. That is a definite yes. They are just as capable of frenzied mass murder as the rest of us.

Yes. As far as Buddhism goes, I don't know what to make of the Myanmar/Rohingya situation. The Buddhism I knew about in my youth (and actually I knew a fair bit) wouldn't have even qualified as a religion, because no god/gods. But obviously there are loads of different kinds, (like, as McKinney hints, most religions), and we now know even Buddhists are capable of rape, murder etc. So my blanket disapproval of religion in general remains fairly consistent! As I think I have said before, if you believe in a god or gods, and you think he/she/they are on your side, there is no limit to what you are capable of, for good or ill.

don't get me started on transgenders in fe bathrooms...just don't.

Ever notice how nobody seems in the least concerned (at least that I ever see) about transgender folks in male bathrooms? Is it that they are fine with that direction of transition, just not the other? Inquiring minds want to know....

Hartmut: Note: there are two kinds that weaponize scripture - fundamentalists and atheists. Mainstream believers and agnostics* don't.

Okay, so how should we classify C.S. Lewis?

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
This bon mot may have been inspired by a suggestion I have long considered entirely reasonable:
All churches should bear the inscription: “IMPORTANT IF TRUE.”
I dimly remember it being attributed to Voltaire, but the Holy Google tells me we owe it to: KINGLAKE, Alexander William (1809–91), British writer.

Of course, some believers take that "IF" as an insult. A commie pinko libel. An adequate reason to vote Republicon, in America.

Incidentally, I doubt McKinney would deny that he is an atheist (not just agnostic) with respect to Poseidon and about 1000 other gods. But he can correct me "IF" I am wrong.

--TP

FSM! FSM! FSM!

Priceless
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/07/23/tweedle-d-is-joined-by-tweedle-b/

What JanieM said:
I was raised Catholic, and I have strong opinions on the subject. We don't have time to debate the entire history of the world, or even of the Western world, but religiously based or religiously justified wars have resulted in the slaughter of millions of people; religion is just as potent a breeding ground for "us and them" thinking as some of the other axes across which that way of thinking reaches. And lest we think this kind of shit happens only among Christians, check out the Buddhist hatred of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

What I said:
The role of religion in war--sure, there have been religious wars, all over the world. However, if you take the time to do the research and add up the numbers, Genghis Khan alone killed more people in his lifetime than all of the religious wars in Europe from the birth of Christ to the present by a huge margin. So, while it is accurate to say that "lots of people have been killed in the name of religion or in religious wars", it is contextually uninformative. China is the scene, the product and the result of the most destructive wars in history, particularly in comparison to relative population sizes over time.

My source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_by_death_toll
Since the main point seems to have been overlooked by both JanieM and BP, let me repeat it: So, while it is accurate to say that "lots of people have been killed in the name of religion or in religious wars", it is contextually uninformative.

The general thrust of this and other anti-Christian diatribes here at ObWi is that Christianity is it’s own, stand-alone, one-off source of war and misery, and since no one ever offers any context, the subtext is “compared to other sources of war and misery, Christianity is, if not the worst, just plain awful.”
I point out—accurately—that Ghengis Khan killed more people in his lifetime than all European religious, i.e. intra-Christian, wars since the dawn of Christianity. So, in context, religion and Christianity specifically, are third or fourth level causes of war.

The leading cause of war, and most violence, is avarice/power.

but the bit about the Crusades is ahistorical. Jerusalem hadn't been Christian since 638.
The Crusaders were the Taliban of the late middle ages. See the Sack of Constantinople.

Jerusalem was conquered in 638 after a two year siege by a Muslim army. Seriously. It’s what happened. Muslim wars of conquest swept up the Iberian peninsula and well into the Balkans. The last Muslim wars of conquest were in the 16th century. Constantinople was sacked at least twice, once by Crusaders and once by Ottomans. Based on these links, the Ottomans far outclassed the Crusaders in the casualty department.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Constantinople_(1204) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Constantinople

McKT, you appear to have forgotten Matthew 7:1.

I’m perfectly willing to be held to the standards I hold others, and yours is not exactly a response on substance. No offense.

but as a historian, he is pretty comical.

Feel free to support this sentence with actual evidence. Specifically, quote me on a factually incorrect statement and show the contrary evidence (note: this is how we do it in the courtroom).

I have picked on you plenty in the past about your inability to understand white male privilege, the point of BLM, or why Sarah Huckabee Sanders deserved to be shamed in public for lying to the American public for the shameless liar in the White House.

Huckabee? I’m not remembering that one.

I was talking about the willingness of Christians to accept that human sacrifice, whether voluntary or not, was necessary to wash away their sins.

I think the words “human sacrifice” and “necessary” must do a lot of heavy lifting here that I and no Christians I know are aware of. If I were going to put myself in the role of criticizing Christian doctrine, I’d focus in on something like communion (Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of me, etc.”). To illustrate the diversity among Christians, I’m not sold on the idea that John got it exactly right, as an understatement.

No, it's no surprise, because the BSD movement is focused on Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Yes, “bravely” focused I would say. BSD aligns with the Russians, the PRC and just about every other socialist or formerly socialist dictatorship in the world when it comes to Israel. I’m aware of no broad-based left’ish movement that opposes socialism anywhere in the world except possibly N Korea. Instead, we get socialism-lite.

The Scandinavian countries seem to be doing way better than Venezuela.

Yes, and they aren’t socialist.

if Christianity looks like nothing more than a way to be Republican, it can't be respected.

If that is all you can see, then that tells us where the problem lies.

Context, or "context," tells us that religious wars didn't kill as many people as Genghis Khan.
Well I guess that's okay then!
It is to weep.

It is to weep that the left, when cornered, can barely muster a perfunctory disavowal of socialism which has caused millions more in deaths in modern times than even Genghis Khan yet it routinely vilifies/denigrates Christianity. Interesting priorities. It is also to weep when someone truncates and rewrites a sentence to avoid having to respond substantively.

Agree. It really, really is. I can only feel sorry for his clients if this is the kind of argumentation he trots out in the courtroom.
Somehow I doubt it.

I do pretty well with objective evidence in front of impartial juries.

how many millions have been killed in the name of atheism ? not by atheists, but in the name of atheism ?

Zero millions and probably not even 1000. Normally I would turn over my king in the face of this awesome bon mot, but unfortunately a movement with atheism as a key component beats Christianity AND Genghis all to hell. So, go socialism!

Incidentally, I doubt McKinney would deny that he is an atheist (not just agnostic) with respect to Poseidon and about 1000 other gods. But he can correct me "IF" I am wrong.

As I said, I’m an Episcopalian. By definition, I’m not down with the Norse pantheon, or the Greek pantheon for that matter. But what I don’t do is crap all over people’s religions. I don’t sneer at people for not having the good sense and clear thinking that lets one be an atheist.
To close this out, no real push back on the “religious bigotry” point, which was the obvious main point. Just some quibbling on my history (which I got right) and my disdain for socialism (we’re not socialists, were democratic socialists!!!!!). So, my main point stands: religious bigotry, alive and well at ObWi.

And he had a lot of kids.

Well, let's not leave out that besides his actual marriages, he raped a lot of women. As did his troops.

I think the words “human sacrifice” and “necessary” must do a lot of heavy lifting here that I and no Christians I know are aware of.

It's hard to know what to say. If Jesus was not killed ("human sacrifice" if you accept he was human - which I believe is part of the doctrine), and if it wasn't necessary in order to "give of oneself that others may live", then what sense does any of it make? I think the quote at the beginning of this comment is pretty disingenuous, and that "he died so that we might live" is pretty explicit, although I note you're not too keen to acknowledge John as a reliable source. How convenient. The belief that "Jesus died for our sins" is so central a part of Christianity that it is very strange that you are keen to downgrade it. And as for privileging Christianity in my bigotry at least, I have often made it clear that as far as I am concerned the monotheistic religions are as bad as each other, not just in this post.

So, my main point stands: religious bigotry, alive and well at ObWi.

UNDERSHAFT. My dear, you are the incarnation of morality. [She snorts]. Your conscience is clear and your duty done when you have called everybody names. Come, Euripides! it is getting late; and we all want to get home. Make up your mind.

-- From GBS, Major Barbara

Just some quibbling on my history (which I got right) ...

The Crusades followed the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land. They were reactive, not proactive. Islam picked that fight.

Read up on the Byzantine period, and you’ll see that Palestine was a contested territory for most of that time.
And a center of Moslem worship well before the Arab conquest.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine#Byzantine_period

Your characterisation is just silly (as is the simplistic view of the Crusades).

Typical Republican troll.

Mueller testifies tomorrow before Congress. Children are in cages.
Trump has decreed that there will be a "fast-track" deportation process that will sidestep immigration judges.

Republican Troll McKinney responds by calling everyone here, people who have honestly discussed their views on religion (including its possible toxicity), a religious bigot.

Like Janie, I was raised Catholic. I haven't lost my faith entirely, although it's off and on and pretty weak. In fact, I joined a protestant UCC at one stage of my younger adulthood, because I liked the social justice vibe. In the end, church wasn't for me, and I don't really believe in the dogma. I'm not opposed to people going to church, but if I've said something negative about belief and religion here, it's probably because the "religious right" is a cult of hypocrites, and have given religion a bad name. Also, I admit, it seems pretty unlikely sometimes that God is caring much about what's happening here, although it's comforting to think that I might drop dead and settle among whatever "angels" one finds convivial. I certainly hope my loved ones are "up there," even considering my doubts that such a thing exists. Still, I love the world, and am often thanking "someone" that I have been given such a life.

I admire and follow the events of Reverend Barber and the Poor People's Campaign. In fact, he's having a meeting in El Paso soon. Maybe your congregation will check it out and join. I would love to go, and am looking at my options.

It would take forever to take apart your lengthy post, McKinney. And since it's unlikely that you'll change your views enough to help us get rid of the mobster in the White House, I will not take the time. I will note that your obsession with the word "socialist" (even including "former socialist" in your categorization, as if it were an immutable condition) instead of leaving it as "dictatorship" is hilarious. I agree with you that dictatorships are bad. I wanted to leave it on a conciliatory note!

Your characterisation is just silly

Not to mention "ahistorical."

how many millions have been killed in the name of atheism ? not by atheists, but in the name of atheism ?

I think it's usually difficult to cleanly divide murder of religious people for being religious from murdering them for being in political opposition to the anti-religious rulers (e.g.Lenin's murderous campaign against the former orthodox Russian state church).
The only example I am aware of where religion by itself was targeted in the name of state atheism was Albania under Enver Hoxha. It is imo also the go-to example of atheism acting as a de facto religion, i.e. decreeing atheism true as a dogma that has to be believed or else...
(It's religion once potential facts disproving the idea are by definition excluded from getting considered. Fact resistance* in atheists is anything but uncommon, unfortunately).

*i.e. in the hypothetical case that a deity could be proven to exist, this would not change their disbelief. Imo, if there is one, it should in any case prefer honest doubters over blind (dis)believers.

The leading cause of war, and most violence, is avarice/power.

Maybe just leave it at that.

Yes, and they aren’t socialist.

That’s my point. Neither are most of the commenters here. No one is arguing for Venezuelan socialism. Rather, people here, generally speaking, argue for policies more in line with social democracy. But you repeatedly throw failed socialist countries in our faces because you seem to be arguing against imaginary strawmen who just love themselves some nationalizing the mean of production (and I guess horrible oppression and violence).

You know what Maduro is? ILLIBERAL, in that he opposes freedom of the press and freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

I also don’t care if some prominent people in the Democratic party call themselves democratic socialists (not that Maduro is even a democratic socialist, since he lacks the democratic part). They’re social democrats, whose preferred policies are similar to those in Scandinavia. I can’t fathom why they misidentify themselves that way, but they do.

Since I’m probably the "someone" who "avoids" responding substantively, I will say right out, loud and proud, that indeed I do, by deliberate policy.

I consider McK's comments to be a farrago of misdirection, mischaracterization, misunderstanding (charitably), overgeneralization, bigotry, and lawyerly tricks. I lived through three years of my ex in law school, and three more of my son in law school, and besides having them still prominently in my life, my best friend is a lawyer. To wit, for better and worse I have even more personal experience with lawyers than I do with the RCC. I have no more interest in getting into a sustained back and forth with a professional arguer than I have in stepping onto a basketball court with a professional athlete.

As for C.S. Lewis, imo he showed the zealotry of the fresh convert just not in a violent way.
Personally, I strongly dislike his theology in particular the third volume of the Ransom trilogy (That Hideous Strength) while I have some sympathy for the one expressed in the last Narnia book (G#d takes honest belief/worship in/of the wrong deity (even the devil) as directed to himself while repudiating those that worship him as one 'properly' would the devil). Unsurprisingly, the latter idea got viciously attacked by more 'orthodox' Christians.
The Screwtape letters are more or less neutral. They contain quite a bit of truth independent of the religious context.

Also re: professional arguers, McK repeatedly throws in our faces that we are not playing his game by his rules.

Well, again, out and proud. As I said a while back, McK telling me to jump is not going to result in me saying "how high."

It will, though, eventually result in my rolling my eyes and going off to find something better to do.

McTX: As I said, I’m an Episcopalian. By definition, I’m not down with the Norse pantheon, or the Greek pantheon for that matter.

Funny thing: I'm not "down with the Norse pantheon, or the Greek pantheon for that matter" either. I just go one god further.

If it offends McKinney that I feel the same way about the Episcopalian god as he feels about Poseidon, that's a misfortune. If I were to meekly adopt a never-offend-any-believer attitude, that would be a calamity.

But what I don’t do is crap all over people’s religions.

Right: not "religions", just (your notion of) their ideologies.

I don’t sneer at people for not having the good sense and clear thinking that lets one be an atheist capitalist.

FTFY. If you don't get my point, don't worry about it.

I'm sure you win lots of cases, McKinney, by presenting juries with solid evidence and sound reasoning. I wonder how you'd convince a jury that Jesus rose from the dead.

(Full disclosure: I don't know enough about the diversity of opinion among Christians to be sure that Episcopalians believe Christ rose from the dead. If not, feel free to substitute "died for their sins" in the previous question.)

Incidentally: are North or South America mentioned in Scripture? I ask because they are majority-Christian nowadays, and I'd like to understand the difference between how that came to pass, and how the spread of Islam did.

--TP

Raised Episcopal, spent several years as a fundamentalist Baptist, now I go to a UU church. My wife's a deacon, we contribute a lot, blah blah blah.

The UU church I attend is somewhat unusual in that it "identifies as Christian". But, no creed, which is basically why I like it. I'm kind of all creeded out at this point. The basic words of Jesus are a sufficient challenge for any reasonable person, I don't really need more than that.

Humans fight wars. They've been fighting wars since before Jesus, since before Mohammed, since before Buddha. They've been fighting wars since before Karl Marx, or Adam Smith. Since before Chairman Mao, before Pol Pot, before Augusto Pinochet, before Hitler, before Stalin.

They've been fighting wars since there were enough of them around to make up two opposing teams, apparently.

Socialism, religion, whatever, all just excuses. Humans, alone among almost all other species, draw weird lines and decide that all of the other humans on the other side of that line have to die. And then we invent the most horrifically efficient ways to get it done that we can.

Ants do this, termites I think. And us. Most sentient beings kill for food or, if sorely pressed, to defend themselves. We, in contrast, seem to find it essential to our nature.

You have stuff, we want it. So we'll pretend you're bad, so we can kill you and take your stuff.

It's the most insane thing you could possibly imagine. And, we've always done it. Damned if I know why.

Hartmut, you're amazing in how widely knowledgeable you are. I should just do a search of your comments for my rest-of-life curriculum.

Incidentally: are North or South America mentioned in Scripture?

You'd be surprised to read the theological discussions of the time when those landmasses got 'discovered'* by explorers from Spain and Portugal and the implications became clear.

A literary treatment can also be found in the Nova Atlantis of Francis Bacon where the New Atlantis in the Pacific receives a separate visit by Christ in order not to exclude the Americas from (Christian) salvation.

*as usual ignoring the natives (pagan) and the Norse (mixed pagan and Christian)

Ants do this, termites I think. And us.

When Goodall reported on the events of the Gombe War, her account of a naturally occurring war between chimpanzees was not universally believed. At the time, scientific models of human and animal behavior virtually never overlapped.[9] Some scientists accused her of excessive anthropomorphism;[9] others suggested that her presence, and her practice of feeding the chimpanzees, had created violent conflict in a naturally peaceful society.[10] However, later research using less intrusive methods confirmed that chimpanzee societies, in their natural state, wage war.[10][11] A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology concluded that the Gombe War was most likely a consequence of a power struggle between three high-ranking males, which was exacerbated by an unusual scarcity of fertile females.

From "Gombe Chimpanzee War," Wikipedia. It lasted four years.

You have stuff females, we want it them. So we'll pretend you're bad, so we can kill you and take your [sic] stuff females.

You have stuff, we want it. So we'll pretend you're bad, so we can kill you and take your stuff.

The US Civil War was about slavery. Yes, there was avarice involved (the avarice of slave owners wanting to keep their power) but the principle was about the South forcing others to accept a system that was repugnant. It wasn't about "taking your stuff". Likewise, WWII was not about greed.

The war against al Qaeda was an effort to stop Islamic terrorists from murdering civilians in their offices, marketplaces and homes. [Not endorsing the war in Iraq, just to be clear.]

Yes, there is always profiteering. Profiteering sometimes drives wars, as we've seen in Republican administrations. [Examples omitted - people who are skeptical can look it up.] But wars aren't always about avarice, or taking people's stuff. Maybe that's what you would fight for, but not me.

i before e.

Incidentally: are North or South America mentioned in Scripture? I ask because they are majority-Christian nowadays, and I'd like to understand the difference between how that came to pass, and how the spread of Islam did.

The principle difference would seem to be that Islam became the majority religion in areas conquered by the sword. The newly conquered (unless Jewish or Christian) were given the choice to convert or die. Mostly, they chose to convert.

Whereas in the Americas (at least in South and Central America) Christianity became the majority religion by a combination of (unplanned, and not actually understood -- i.e. accidental) biological warfare. The native populations had no immunity to European diseases. They died in enormous numbers and were, to a significant degree, simply replaced by immigrants who were already Christian. Not that there weren't efforts to convert the heathen, but "convert or die" wasn't a major factor,

McKinney’s obsession with a thought train that says that the rest of us can never validly criticize anything in the history of the world, because nothing in the history of the world (except Genghis Khan, I guess) was worse than Mao+Stalin, and in McK’s fevered imagination the rest of us here are all more or less the same as, and/or fans of, and and/or responsible for, Mao+Stalin, and we’re not criticizing them, is …

… mind-numbingly, ridiculously stupid.

And justifies sapient’s characterization of him at 5:55.

So I’m going to remind myself that next time McK shows up, it’s time for an ObWi vacation.

For the record, silence is not assent.

It wasn't about "taking your stuff"

No, it was about "we'll kill you before we will let you tell us what to do with our stuff". Which happened to be people.

Janie, noted.

No, it was about "we'll kill you before we will let you tell us what to do with our stuff". Which happened to be people.

Have a feeling that this is a dispute without a difference, but wars are fought because [in some cases] some people won't let other people get away with their avarice and greed. I'm hoping that the coming war will be fought that way.

So I’m going to remind myself that next time McK shows up, it’s time for an ObWi vacation.

For the record, silence is not assent.

I've tried to refrain from engaging, but just now failed. I'll never have the self-restraint that you do, JanieM.

I'll never have the self-restraint that you do, JanieM.

Hmmmm. I feel like I have a long way to go on the self-restraint front, among other fronts, but thanks for saying it.

Whatever self-restraint I do have tends to come from watching my buttons being pushed, and realizing that I'm being played. And/or from not liking my own contributions after a certain point. And/or from knowing that there's something else it would be better to spend time on, on any given day.

As my Kiwi colleague always said at the end of an email,

Cheers.

Cheers.

We haven't always seen eye to eye, Janie, but I've learned a lot from you.

Cheers.

This is the thing:

We've got a Russian tool in the White House. We've been occupied. We, at ObWi don't talk about this much. Like, what are we going to do about it? Voting isn't going to help because collaborator Red States are going to work with the Russians to swing their vote count.

We're kind of f'd. No one cares. Mueller testifies tomorrow. I'm hoping that people care after that.

I will be an impeachment hawk starting on Thursday.

if Christianity looks like nothing more than a way to be Republican, it can't be respected.

...

If that is all you can see, then that tells us where the problem lies.

learn to read.

Self-restraint, huh? You may have noticed my comment upthread prefaced with “I just can’t help myself.” I could have used “Bait taken!” just as easily. I’m weak.

wars are fought because [in some cases] some people won't let other people get away with their avarice and greed

agreed

I’m weak.

The spirit is willing..... ;-)

*****

No one cares.

Above I said that silence is not assent; in this case, I don't think it's accurate, or really fair, to interpret it as indifference. No one has any magic solutions. That doesn't mean we aren't doing whatever we can think of to do, politically, financially, or in other ways.

Jerusalem was conquered in 638 after a two year siege by a Muslim army. Seriously. It’s what happened.

What's your point? There's been a city at Jerusalem for thousands of years. For about 1200 years (until Hadrian) it was predominantly Jewish. For about 300 years (from Constantine) is was predominantly Christian. Then after 638 it become predominantly Muslim, but with much more freedom for Jews than under Roman or Byzantine rule.

What in that history makes the Crusader invasion on 1099, and the massacre of the city's Jewish population "reactive"?

"Melinda Snodgrass got the idea for her science fiction novel The High Ground when she started thinking about how awful human beings can be."
Are Humans the Meanest Species in the Universe?

No one has any magic solutions.

I know. My comment was a general statement of frustration at the apparent failure of so many people in the country to come to grips with the magnitude of the scam that Republicans have been running. It was actually not meant as a comment on anyone here, and it was unfair to the many people who are trying to find a way out.

Although the fight just seems very daunting, I'll try to be more mindful in my venting.

My original comment:

Plus, as a side note, I'm always amazed when Christians in general fail to see that their religion is in a sense based on human sacrifice, even if it was (perhaps) voluntary.

McKinney:

I think the words “human sacrifice” and “necessary” must do a lot of heavy lifting here that I and no Christians I know are aware of

Now I come to think of it, QED!

I don't think McKinney is a troll, but I guess it must be comforting to bait the libs when all around the consequences of an ignorant, craven and corrupt Republican leadership become more and more apparent. What's a little confusion over "democratic socialists" and "social democrats" between friends, when words are losing their meaning all around, and "alternative facts" hold sway?


That's an interesting point GftNC. Aside from the border issues, what would you say are the consequences of the craven Republucan leadership?

I concede the overcrowding at the border is an example of inadequate response, probably due to something between apathy and intent.

i like how it's not simply very important to get the details of Christianity exactly right, it's actually a moral (and mortal!) failing to get them wrong.

but "socialism" ? toss that fucker a-round. after all, it's just Republican slang for "what dem wicked ferrners do".

"Aside from the border issues"??

Why "aside from"? Do Republicons find "border issues" too embarrassing, or already settled, or what?

--TP

e.g. filling cabinet positions with one lobbyist after the other (while claiming to drain the swamp of them). That requires consent from the GOP dominated senate (although some 'moderate' Dems have no problem with that either).
Blocking any and all attempts at election protection against foreign meddling (while calling it partisan politics and at the same time accusing the opposition of being in league with those sinister foreign meddlers).
Openly declaring that it does not matter if/when THEIR president breaks the law and boasting about not looking at potential evidence (while demanding new investigations into the investigators and, of course, the Clintons and Obama)
...

I don't even have to go into topics like taxes or the economy (since that is controversial even with good faith on both sides which I, for the record, do not consider to be there though).

Like GftNC, I want to go back to something from McKinney from yesterday (my bold):

The general thrust of this and other anti-Christian diatribes here at ObWi is that Christianity is it’s own, stand-alone, one-off source of war and misery, and since no one ever offers any context, the subtext is “compared to other sources of war and misery, Christianity is, if not the worst, just plain awful.”
I point out—accurately—that Ghengis Khan killed more people in his lifetime than all European religious, i.e. intra-Christian, wars since the dawn of Christianity. So, in context, religion and Christianity specifically, are third or fourth level causes of war.

"This" diatribe seems to mean my comments about the Catholic church, so I'm going to contradict McK's assertion that there's any "subtext" like the one he describes, and say that not one word of mine about the church had to do with this imaginary "subtext," i.e. the comparative atrocities game that he seems to be obsessed with.

I originally made a half-joking comment about religion as compared to conspiracy theories. wj suggested that conspiracy theories harm people, while religion has on balance a more benign effect. I thought that was, at best, oversimplified, or shall we say ahistorical, and I went on a rant listing harms done by the RCC. I never said squat about whether the RCC was the worst of anything, although I did imply (I'm not sure I said this explicitly) that I thought its effect on the world was more malign than benign on balance.

I tried to say this earlier in a different, more oblique way, but I don't give a rat's ass whether Genghis Khan killed two or five or a hundred times more people than the Catholic Church in particular, or Christianity or religion in general. The fact that one evil butcher killed fifty million people does not let the ones who killed ten million off the hook.

To put it yet another way, in inventing a subtext and attributing it to me, McKinney lied.

I don't know why he comes here to argue with the phantoms in his head, but I object to having my name slapped on them, and then to being berated for not arguing "substantively" on behalf of positions I never took and assertions I never made.

Forbearance having failed in favor of calling a lie a lie, I am going back to NFT.

North Franklin Township is a lovely place, Janie. I'd like to go back there, myself. ;^)

This is, perhaps, not entirely irrelevant to the discussion:

When modern conservatives associate activists of color with communism, they’re drawing on a racist history that goes back over 100 years.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/07/lindsey-graham-ocasio-cortez-black-activism-communism.html

easiest way to win an argument: invent it.

@hsh: I have a feeling North Franklin Township is going to become a meme, if only on this blog. ;-)

@cleek: Yes. And you've said it before. I'm a little slow-witted, but I get there eventually.

they’re drawing on a racist history that goes back over 100 years.

intentionally. with malice aforethought.

my prediction: the 2020 election is going to be hideous.

the GOP is going to re-run every red-baiting, racist, revanchist slur it's ever broadcast. it's going to present a cavalcade of jingoist, [WHITE-]nationalist horrors that we haven't seen here in a century. and i suspect many, umm, sticklers for historical accuracy will somehow find it in them to overlook its lies.

Ok, we've come full circle. Everyone here had their hair on fire about Trump/GOP racism--fair enough. Then, everyone goes off on one of this site's occasional anti-Christian threads. It's religious bigotry plain and simple, which I lay out and no really denies. Cleek and GFTNC basically say, "yeah, your point?"--kind of an Alt-left view of Christianity, although GFTNC doesn't like any religion. I point out that the ObWi religious bigots single out Christianity, repeatedly as a stand alone bad thing in the world, yet flirt with socialism, which has a much higher body count than any Christian-related warfare. Folks here are sensitive about the socialism moniker because it does have a lot of stink on it yet, like flies to honey, the collectivist, mutual caring progressives impute to socialism (it isn't there) is just irresistible. But, saying so really pisses Progressives off. Because they actually mean "Democratic Socialism", you know, like in Scandinavia (What about Democratic Fascism, is that a thing?), and then a few say what they really mean is just a bigger welfare state. Sorry, sticking Progressives with the Socialist label can't be helped--too many Progressives talk and act like socialists, essentially embracing a historically totalitarian, war-like and deadly system ("No, no, no, we'll do it better this time!). Probably calling conservatives racists pisses them off too. Who knows? As an aside, we had a bit of quibbling over whether the Crusades were in response to the Islamic capture of Jerusalem (they were, even if it doesn't fit the ObWi narrative), and several people question my facts but offer none on their own. Upthread JanieM wildly mis-states my position and after a day, determines that some subtext I impute to her and others is an outright lie (like neither she nor anyone else here ever infers a meaning from what others say). Oh, and several got pissy when I commented on the Progressive intolerance to differing views. That was particularly funny.

And now, back the ObWi safe harbor: all the people who disagree with us are racists!!!

Like I said, full circle.

And now, back the ObWi safe harbor: all the people who disagree with us are racists!!

I freely admit that my memory isn't perfect. But I can't recall a time that anyone here said that YOU were a racist. While disagreeing vigorously with you on numerous subjects. (Feel free to provide links to the contrary.)

I am sure nobody has said that about me. While disagreeing with me about a fair number of things as well.

Probably calling conservatives racists pisses them off too.

then they should stop being racist.

i mean WTF, for example. your party is chock-full of racism. top to bottom. and you think the problem is people noticing?

I point out that the ObWi religious bigots single out Christianity, repeatedly as a stand alone bad thing in the world

I don't think this is true. You accurately acknowledge that I personally am against all religion, but otherwise your claim here pursues the idiotic rightwing talking point exemplified by "the war on Christmas". What is the aim of this trope, if not to affirm the absurd concept of the victimhood of Christianity, and attacks on it by those awful progressives, liberals, socialists etc, with the implication that they favour all other cultures over the upright, white, American one.

Marty: increasing tension with Iran? Incompetent and corrupt ministers? And what Hartmut said.

Then, everyone goes off on one of this site's occasional anti-Christian threads

"everyone" ?

With all due respect, McKinney, balls.

the ObWi religious bigots single out Christianity, repeatedly as a stand alone bad thing in the world

context.

i'm pretty sure that everyone who comments here lives in, or at least came from, a traditionally Christian-dominant country. you want us to talk about the creeping Zoroastrian influence in our national politics?

but, GftNC nails it.

Sorry, sticking Progressives with the Socialist label can't be helped--too many Progressives talk and act like socialists, essentially embracing a historically totalitarian, war-like and deadly system

This would be funny if it wasn't so nuts. I am reminded of the young Republican idiot of my acquaintance who told me in all seriousness that Obama was a socialist, no actually he was a communist. What do you do when words have no meaning anymore?

I point out that the ObWi religious bigots single out Christianity, repeatedly as a stand alone bad thing in the world

Christianity has been the dominant religion in the US since its founding. Its adherents still control vast segments of the power structure, oftentimes explicitly in its name. Moreover, many of us were brought up as one variety of Christian or another, and our families and friends are probably predominantly Christian, when they are anything religious at all.

So to a rational person rather than one haunted by bogeymen, it shouldn't be surprising that Christianity comes in for a lot of commentary. The elephant in the middle of the playground tends to draw a bit more attention than the mouse cowering in the corner.

Even so, repeatedly singled out as a stand alone bad thing in the world?

Ummm, surely there must be a cite, never mind repeated instances. Going once...? Going twice...? Going, going ... gone.

Or is this another ... figment?

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