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Cat
05-11-2004, 08:18 PM
[QUOTE]

To be perfectly honest, its never occurred to me and has never bothered to me. I just figured everyone got one vote and had their say.

Not saying that you are doing it, but all this hand-wringing and agonising over the result from the Hollywood brigade, the so-called intellectuals, and the liberal media is getting a bit tired.

They should just get over it and realise that both Australia and the USA have moved on. Things have just become "more conservative". So what? These things move in cycles. Its bloody patronising to the majority (!) who have voted in Howard and Bush.

This is a very complacent response. Yes, there were some histrionics, but that simply reflected the depth of feeling - the intensity of hatred large sections of the American population held towards their own administration. The people who have been most disadvantaged by this regime is the large swathe of Americans disenfranchised from their own (American) dream.

Things certainly move in cycles and therein lies the concern. We have enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace in the West, a consequence of the post war consensus engineered by (largely) Roosevelt. This administration has departed radically from that agenda and if indeed historical precedent is sought, then consider the endless cycle of war (from the English Civil War) that has been companion to the social and industrial change culminating in WW2. This American regime has been reckless in its disregard of the consensus, the collective wisdom that emerged from the turmoil of that period. The seminal moment was its decision to ignore the UN and declare an illegal war in a desire to establish a military presence in the oil rich Arab states. That was the moment that turned Wolfowitz's dream of an American Hyperpower into the beginnings of a shakey reality.

Four years from now the world will be very different and who know's where we'll stand. But the brakes of this machine were disconnected when Colin Powell decided to stand down and the blind driver is relying on some looney tunes for directions.



No point crying "foul". Both Labor and the Democrats need to take a good hard look at their policies and the way they speak to the public.

There is little comparison to be made between the result of the Australian election and the American, other than the one John Howard might seek to make. It may seem that way from this distant isle through a narrow telescope, but the outcome of the Australian election has miniscule significance in comparison, even within Australia. The causes of the victories and defeat were very different. The only commonality was that both incumbants were able to project the image that they were involved in fighting a war, or many wars.

In America victory was secured by initially saturating it's citizens with fear and then coralling the terrified souls into the one pen where safety could be guaranteed, that one pillar of cultural certainty so deep in the national psyche in which safety could always be delivered, that Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man. Yes, Jesus won the American election, he won it for George and he won it for America.


The more the left-wingers, liberals, hand-wringers complain about "why did this happen, can't people see that we're right and they're just misguided fools who've fallen for Howard's (or Bush's) lies" the more the majority shake their heads and wish they'd wake up and take account of themselves and their policies.

Individuals who are horrified by the outcome of this election cannot be stamped, sealed and delivered in the way you're trying to portray. They include many mothers that have lost a son in Iraq, American, Iraqi or maybe Polish. They may include the relatives of the beheaded employees doing corporate work for Halliburton, Dick Cheyne or even KFC. They include large numbers of Muslims living near killing fields, or Western Societies where they have experienced victimisation and violence. They include around 80% of the British population who wanted to see an end to the madness their country has become infected with. Maybe even anyone uncomfortable with the notion of an ever expanding American military presence and empire.

Only 1100 American soldiers have died so far in the conflict that is costing the US $5 billion/wk, & according to conservative UN estimates over 100,000 Iraqi's (300,000 British lives were lost in the 5 yrs of WW2). One way or another we will all pay for this monstrous disaster and the sooner it draws to a close the better, if ever now it will. The election in the US was perhaps one of the most significant political events since 1933, as significant as Martin Luther King and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Spiny Norman
06-11-2004, 07:26 AM
In between some really useful and factually-based comments, David Richards wrote:


This is a very complacent response.
<snip>
This American regime has been reckless in its disregard of the consensus, the collective wisdom that emerged from the turmoil of that period. The seminal moment was its decision to ignore the UN and declare an illegal war in a desire to establish a military presence in the oil rich Arab states.
<snip>
But the brakes of this machine were disconnected when Colin Powell decided to stand down and the blind driver is relying on some looney tunes for directions.
<snip>
Yes, Jesus won the American election, he won it for George and he won it for America.

No, I'm not complacent, I just have a different point of view ... and perhaps, thanks to this thing we call democracy, there were more people who broadly see the world my way than your way.

Some of the stuff I've highlighted above merely serves to emphasise my original point.

You accuse me of being complacent. I am not. I am a very active political creature. I'm a member of a registered party. I get involved on a regular basis in helping them get re-elected. I am a very active member of a church. I get very involved in helping them help our local community through all sorts of activities for which I donate my time and the community gets a service for $0. So no, accuse me of being wrong, but don't accuse me of being complacent.

Re: declaring an illegal war ... that's your point of view ... others have a different point of view.

Calling George Bush "blind" is patronising. Calling those that advise him "looney" is also patronising, and ignorant. They just have a different point of view to you.

As for "Jesus won the election" ... as I pointed out in my previous post, I think that makes a nice change from the other factors (race-based, age-based) which typically define elections in America.

Cat
06-11-2004, 09:21 AM
In between some really useful and factually-based comments, David Richards wrote:


[QUOTE]
No, I'm not complacent, I just have a different point of view ... and perhaps, thanks to this thing we call democracy, there were more people who broadly see the world my way than your way.

Freedom of speech maybe rather than necessarily democracy - but weren't you the one disparaging those in their moment of genuine grief? Aren't they entitled to openly display their emotions? Does not their hurt demand respect and understanding, to be free to be expressed without ridicule?


You accuse me of being complacent. I am not. I am a very active political creature. I'm a member of a registered party. I get involved on a regular basis in helping them get re-elected. I am a very active member of a church. I get very involved in helping them help our local community through all sorts of activities for which I donate my time and the community gets a service for $0. So no, accuse me of being wrong, but don't accuse me of being complacent.

Your own words expose your complacency. Your eager comparisons of the American and Australian election, your lack of historical perspective underlines the superficiality with which you examined the issue. You are being held to account for what you have said, not what you may do.


Re: declaring an illegal war ... that's your point of view ... others have a different point of view.

Also the view of a large section of the international community upon which we are dependant, the view of Kofi Anan and the UN who never sanctioned military action and maybe the view of the International Criminal Court if the actions pending against Tony Blair and Jack Straw for war crimes and crimes against humanity ever get to The Hague. Again, your attempts to trivialise the weight of international opinion undermines your attempts at legitimacy and the fact that you can be so dismissive of an international consensus that so many people have worked so hard to forge, and consider the breach of that concensus to be such a minor misdemeanor, gives rise to feelings of concern about your perspective which I would urge you to respect.


Calling George Bush "blind" is patronising. Calling those that advise him "looney" is also patronising, and ignorant. They just have a different point of view to you.

It is indeed my humble opinion, but based on what I have read of the writings of Paul Wolfowitz, his desire to transform America into the world's first 'Hyperpower', and The Pentagon report into Global warming published earlier this year and their bleak assessment of the precarious position of the human species. My opinion is neither ignorant nor is it patronising, but based on an abhorrence of this analysis, my revulsion of the prospect of being incorporated into a wider American Empire and a desire to see out the survival of this culture with which I am familiar. With the greatest respect, mine isn't the American dream, and I do not see my ability to prevail dependant on the demise of others or their culture. I do not percieve my security to be threatened be the people of Iraq, nor do I consider them a threat to those I hold dear & love.

I would choose to be neither with America nor against America and whether such a demand arises from blindness or simply blatant manipulation depends on one's perspective. I would choose to believe the former because I am generous by nature & the latter is too bleak to contemplate.


As for "Jesus won the election" ... as I pointed out in my previous post, I think that makes a nice change from the other factors (race-based, age-based) which typically define elections in America.

Maybe, but which Jesus? Not the Jesus that said love thine enemy obviously! Nor the one that urged us to turn the other cheek or proclaimed a camel to be more more worthy than a rich man of the kingdom of heaven. I guess it's the all American Jesus, rather than the biblical one, in an all American Heaven with an all American God.

Rincewind
06-11-2004, 10:24 AM
Not the Jesus that ... proclaimed a camel to be more more worthy than a rich man of the kingdom of heaven.

Run that one past me again. I think he supposed to have said that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. There aren't supposed to be any camels in heaven, unless one took a wrong turn on its way to the needle.

antichrist
06-11-2004, 12:18 PM
Run that one past me again. I think he supposed to have said that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. There aren't supposed to be any camels in heaven, unless one took a wrong turn on its way to the needle.

Were Camals around when Mohammed ascended to Heaven? It is a popular brand in the Middle East, he may have had a pack in his pocket.

Rincewind
06-11-2004, 01:23 PM
Were Camals around when Mohammed ascended to Heaven? It is a popular brand in the Middle East, he may have had a pack in his pocket.

I don't think it is a popular belief among christians and it is their idea of heaven that DR was referring to.

Goughfather
06-11-2004, 02:47 PM
Maybe, but which Jesus? Not the Jesus that said love thine enemy obviously! Nor the one that urged us to turn the other cheek or proclaimed a camel to be more more worthy than a rich man of the kingdom of heaven. I guess it's the all American Jesus, rather than the biblical one, in an all American Heaven with an all American God.


Run that one past me again. I think he supposed to have said that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. There aren't supposed to be any camels in heaven, unless one took a wrong turn on its way to the needle.

Well, DR almost got there, so let us give him some credit. For what it is worth, I actually agree with DR (a point which I find most unsettling) in saying that the American Jesus is very different from the Biblical Jesus. I think that one may be able to extend that to a Western Jesus, and a Western Christianity which is in so many respects represents the antithesis of the Biblical Jesus and Biblical Christianity. For some reason, we've found it expedient to turn Christianity into a philosophy which justifies opulence and wealth under the rather euphemistic title of "good stewardship".

If one reads through the gospels, I think there is a clear precedent for a well defined demarcation between Church and State. Not only did Jesus systematically stay out of the political system, but many of his teachings suggest that he believed in a strict separation between Church and State - "My kingdom is not of this world". Funnily enough, the powers that be managed to get him embroiled into the politics of the day 2000 ago, something which many theocrats today find to have been an abhorrent abuse of political power.

It's apparent that little has changed since ...

Recherché
06-11-2004, 03:44 PM
As for "Jesus won the election" ... as I pointed out in my previous post, I think that makes a nice change from the other factors (race-based, age-based) which typically define elections in America.

The level of influence Christianity has over American politics is far greater than in any other "Western" country. To suggest that religion hasn't been a huge part of every recent US Presidential election (and maybe every US Presidential election ever - I don't know my history well enough to speculate on that) is pretty silly. You can't get elected to the Presidency of the United States without being a committed Christian who goes to church every week. Or, at the very least, giving a convincing outward appearance of being one. Jesus wins every election in the US.

Now, George Bush is a fundamentalist Christian, so maybe you can say that fundamentalism won the election, but fundamentalism is a really large and disturbing part of US politics as well (not just religious fundamentalism).

I don't really think it was his gay bashing or his general fundamentalist Christianity that won George Bush this election. That's just preaching to the converted as far as the Republicans go.

I think what won the election was media ineptitude and terrorism hype.

Thing is, though, the problem with discussing Presidential election results in the US is that the system is so flawed. If you take the time to compare the Federal election processes of the US and of Australia the differences are staggering. I've never understood how the people of the United States put up with such a shoddy, outdated and unaccountable system of elections. Dodgy voting machines in Florida are the tip of the iceberg.

You can argue for an against such things as compulsory voting (personally I'm for it; it's a disgrace when 43% of voters is a record turnout), but not having an independant body running standardised Federal elections is inexcusable. The "First Past the Post" voting system is the oldest and weakest there is. You could write a thesis on the gross inadequacies of the US federal election system.

Personally I would have preferred a Kerry victory, but I don't think either candidate would have had a claim on legitmacy of election. I'm not even sure the US has a reasonable claim on being a Representative Democracy/Republic.

Cat
06-11-2004, 05:22 PM
I don't think it is a popular belief among christians and it is their idea of heaven that DR was referring to.

Yes, I liked the irony in my version - more richness for ideas.

Cat
06-11-2004, 05:25 PM
If one reads through the gospels, I think there is a clear precedent for a well defined demarcation between Church and State. Not only did Jesus systematically stay out of the political system, but many of his teachings suggest that he believed in a strict separation between Church and State - "My kingdom is not of this world". Funnily enough, the powers that be managed to get him embroiled into the politics of the day 2000 ago, something which many theocrats today find to have been an abhorrent abuse of political power.

It's apparent that little has changed since ...


Gandhi said anyone who believes politics and religion don't mix understands neither. Smart man, Gandhi!

Bill Gletsos
06-11-2004, 05:42 PM
You can argue for an against such things as compulsory voting (personally I'm for it; it's a disgrace when 43% of voters is a record turnout),
Where are you getting this 43% figure from.
The numbers in the current presidential election were far higher than 43% although not as high as in 1960 when they reached 62.8%.

Garvinator
06-11-2004, 05:46 PM
You can argue for an against such things as compulsory voting (personally I'm for it; it's a disgrace when 43% of voters is a record turnout), but not having an independant body running standardised Federal elections is inexcusable. The "First Past the Post" voting system is the oldest and weakest there is. You could write a thesis on the gross inadequacies of the US federal election system.
dont tell me you made the maths mistake i did. This was already hammered recently ;) . I made the mistake that 120 million votes cast out of 300 million ppl is 40 % of eligible voters.

Forgot to allow for all the children and other ineligible voters. So it is probably over 50% in reality.

Bill Gletsos
06-11-2004, 06:04 PM
dont tell me you made the maths mistake i did. This was already hammered recently ;) . I made the mistake that 120 million votes cast out of 300 million ppl is 40 % of eligible voters.

Forgot to allow for all the children and other ineligible voters. So it is probably over 50% in reality.
Yes in 2000 eligible voters were around 205.8 million and are unlikley to be over 215 million let alone anywhere near the 267 million required for 43%.

Recherché
06-11-2004, 06:28 PM
It was a rough guess from memory; I stand corrected. Given that it was 39% (or something like that) last time, 43% seemed reasonable enough that I didn't think it through any further.

Whatever the figure is, it's still ridiculously low.

Bill Gletsos
06-11-2004, 06:42 PM
It was a rough guess from memory; I stand corrected. Given that it was 39% (or something like that) last time, 43% seemed reasonable enough that I didn't think it through any further.

Whatever the figure is, it's still ridiculously low.
You arent doing well at all. :rolleyes:

It was 51.3% in 2000 which is nowhere near 39%. :doh:

Goughfather
06-11-2004, 07:30 PM
So what what the figure this time? High 50's?

Bill Gletsos
06-11-2004, 08:59 PM
So what what the figure this time? High 50's?
Around 115.8 million voted.
If the voting age population is 215 million thats 53.8% whilst if its only say 210 million thats 55.1%.

Garvinator
06-11-2004, 09:19 PM
Around 115.8 million voted.
If the voting age population is 215 million thats 53.8% whilst if its only say 210 million thats 55.1%.
To add a bit more:

According to http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html USA has 293 million ppl.

20.8% of the population is under 14 years of age, so if we were to say 25% of the population is under 18 (very rough estimate) which is 74 million ppl approx.

This would leave 219 million people. Take out say 1 million ppl who would be ineligible to vote for any other reason and that means that 52.5% of the total eligible age population voted.

I am not even going to try and find out the stats on what percentage of registered voters made it to the polls.

Spiny Norman
06-11-2004, 09:30 PM
Now, George Bush is a fundamentalist Christian, so maybe you can say that fundamentalism won the election, but fundamentalism is a really large and disturbing part of US politics as well (not just religious fundamentalism).

I have a question for all of you ... whether you are Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, something else, atheist, agnostic, those who don't know, and those who don't care what label they are under.

My question is this: If its "one person, one vote", and if the vote is basically honest ... what's the issue?

If the USA is becoming largely fundamentalist, surely its their right to do so?

If you think this is a problem, then why not work at the problem (that being that so many people are becoming "fundamentalist", whatever that tag actually means in real life). How're you going to demonstrate to people that there's a better way? Attacking the result, or worse still, attacking the people that generated the result, is surely going to be counter-productive?

Can't attack people for voting in line with their beliefs can you? Or can you? Is it because "we're right, and they're wrong"? On what grounds? I think you have to show people a better way ... and that's not demonstrate by arguing about it (I include myself in that equation, so I am about to bail out of the discussion now after having stirred things up a bit!). :)

Sorry folks, but I still don't get it. If people vote in the right-wingers, or the fundamentalists, or the left-wingers, or the Democrats, or the Greens, or the economic rationalists, or the wets, or the dries, or whatever ... we get them governing for three or four years, then we get to judge them on their performance. We are accountable for having voted the way we do, and we all (whether we realise it or not) accept the consequences of the responsibility we bear for having a vote in the first place.

Who was it that said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other ones ....".

Yes, there will be consequences for Bush being voted back in. That would be true whether people voted him in, or voted Kerry in, or someone else for that matter. The next opportunity for Americans comes in four years time. The next opportunity for Australians is in three years time.

A question for those that are unhappy with the results of the elections (whether the USA one or the Australian one) ... what are YOU going to do about it? Are you going to complain, or are you going to be active and actually endeavour to help influence the outcome.

I actually love democracy. I love this country. I love the fact that we all have a choice and a realistic chance to influence the outcomes of elections. Many don't. I recognise that the result might be different next time around. So I work hard to promote my point of view and work to convince others that my view will be beneficial to them.

I would expect all of you ... right-wing, left-wing, Green, Democrat, Labor, Liberal, independent, whatever ... to do the same.

If you don't, then that's hypocrisy of the highest order.

Spiny Norman
06-11-2004, 09:38 PM
For some reason, we've found it expedient to turn Christianity into a philosophy which justifies opulence and wealth under the rather euphemistic title of "good stewardship".

That's an observation worthy of its own discussion/thread. At the two extremes are (1) lets give all our money away to the poor (unfortunately we become poor ourselves in the process) and (2) lets become rich so that we have more money to give away to the poor (unfortunately we get so used to being rich and comfortable that we forget to give anything to the poor). Quite a conundrum.

Cat
06-11-2004, 10:53 PM
[QUOTE=Frosty]I have a question for all of you ... whether you are Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, something else, atheist, agnostic, those who don't know, and those who don't care what label they are under.

My question is this: If its "one person, one vote", and if the vote is basically honest ... what's the issue?

If the USA is becoming largely fundamentalist, surely its their right to do so?

If you think this is a problem, then why not work at the problem (that being that so many people are becoming "fundamentalist", whatever that tag actually means in real life). How're you going to demonstrate to people that there's a better way? Attacking the result, or worse still, attacking the people that generated the result, is surely going to be counter-productive?

Can't attack people for voting in line with their beliefs can you? Or can you? Is it because "we're right, and they're wrong"? On what grounds? I think you have to show people a better way ... and that's not demonstrate by arguing about it (I include myself in that equation, so I am about to bail out of the discussion now after having stirred things up a bit!). :)

Sorry folks, but I still don't get it. If people vote in the right-wingers, or the fundamentalists, or the left-wingers, or the Democrats, or the Greens, or the economic rationalists, or the wets, or the dries, or whatever ... we get them governing for three or four years, then we get to judge them on their performance. We are accountable for having voted the way we do, and we all (whether we realise it or not) accept the consequences of the responsibility we bear for having a vote in the first place.

A question for those that are unhappy with the results of the elections (whether the USA one or the Australian one) ... what are YOU going to do about it? Are you going to complain, or are you going to be active and actually endeavour to help influence the outcome.

Of course many individuals will be unhappy about the outcome of the election, they put their blood sweat and tears into the Kerry campaign. But the result cuts much deeper than that - until now many in the US could excuse the excesses and brutality of their administration by comforting themselves that no one could have predicted this outcome, no one could have foreseen Aru Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Besides the Florida vote was flawed, he didn't really have a mandate. The buck stopped at the President.

Now there is nowhere for Americans to hide. George Bush is the American President, his mandate has been endorsed, the buck stops with America. This is the sickening reality for so many Americans who were so repulsed by the stark pictures of inhumanity by their military. America, the champion of human rights, the bastion of democracy performing abuses previously only witnessed at the hands most vilified regimes. America is responsible.

I feel so sorry for those so many good Americans who must now shoulder that guilt and shame. A stain on the national character that will endure in the memory. For so many Americans, Tuesday was their darkest hour. The America of Lincoln and Roosevelt, the land of the brave eclipsed by memories of the most appalling cowardice.

And you know, there are many Republicans who are deeply concerned about how their party has been steered into a very narrow corner. They are concerned that when the gloss wears off what remains will be a meer vestige of what was once a great party.

The result on Tuesday was not another edition of Pop Idol. I think it's a serious mistake just to shrug ones shoulders and say move on. Individuals from all sides of the political spectrum will be considering the fall out from this result, the consequences of which may well be with us for a very long time to come.



I actually love democracy. I love this country. I love the fact that we all have a choice and a realistic chance to influence the outcomes of elections. Many don't. I recognise that the result might be different next time around. So I work hard to promote my point of view and work to convince others that my view will be beneficial to them.

I would expect all of you ... right-wing, left-wing, Green, Democrat, Labor, Liberal, independent, whatever ... to do the same.
If you don't, then that's hypocrisy of the highest order.

Why don't you tell that to the people of Fallujah as recieve another bombardment from the US airplanes, or the doctors at the hospitals tending to the casualties? "Hack it guys, it's only another 4 years, another few hundred thousand - hey come on there's millions left, just a bit broken that's all." Now that's what I call hypocrisy, telling others to hack it as their walls come tumbling down, while mothers lose sons in wars they don't understand, and you sit pretty on your little white ass telling them all they'll get their chance. What chance do you think they'll get? Fat chance, that's wot! Oh yes a wonderful thing democracy as long as others pay the price! Don't confuse smugness for wisdom.

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 12:02 AM
Why don't you tell that to the people of Fallujah as recieve another bombardment from the US airplanes, or the doctors at the hospitals tending to the casualties? "Hack it guys, it's only another 4 years, another few hundred thousand - hey come on there's millions left, just a bit broken that's all." Now that's what I call hypocrisy, telling others to hack it as their walls come tumbling down, while mothers lose sons in wars they don't understand, and you sit pretty on your little white ass telling them all they'll get their chance. What chance do you think they'll get? Fat chance, that's wot! Oh yes a wonderful thing democracy as long as others pay the price! Don't confuse smugness for wisdom.
It would seem that you would rather that Saddam Hussein was still in power in Iraq torturing and butchering his own people especially the Kurds.

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 12:13 AM
To add a bit more:

According to http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html USA has 293 million ppl.

20.8% of the population is under 14 years of age, so if we were to say 25% of the population is under 18 (very rough estimate) which is 74 million ppl approx.

This would leave 219 million people. Take out say 1 million ppl who would be ineligible to vote for any other reason and that means that 52.5% of the total eligible age population voted.

I am not even going to try and find out the stats on what percentage of registered voters made it to the polls.
I'd be surprised if it was as high as 219 Million. I suspect it is between 210-215 million.

Cat
07-11-2004, 12:22 AM
It would seem that you would rather that Saddam Hussein was still in power in Iraq torturing and butchering his own people especially the Kurds.

Saddam was created, supported and protected for many years by the USA. Allawi is known to have had long associations with the CIA and has already been described as Saddam without the moustache. Every independant survey conducted since the outbreak of hostilities describes a descent into chaos.

There are many butchering dictators in the world, many of them sponsored by US interests. A military solution seldom succeeds and usually makes things much worse. The history of the Middle East is long and complex. Todays problems are to a large extent a consequence of British and American interference in the region throughout the 20th century in pursuit of oil.

If you ask simplistic questions you will only discover simplistic answers.

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 12:26 AM
Saddam was created, supported and protected for many years by the USA. Allawi is known to have had long associations with the CIA and has already been described as Saddam without the moustache. Every independant survey conducted since the outbreak of hostilities describes a descent into chaos.

There are many butchering dictators in the world, many of them sponsored by US interests. A military solution seldom succeeds and usually makes things much worse. The history of the Middle East is long and complex. Todays problems are to a large extent a consequence of British and American interference in the region throughout the 20th century in pursuit of oil.

If you ask simplistic questions you will only discover simplistic answers.
It just sounds like you cant give a straight answer.
Now why doesnt that surprise me.

I'll take your response as a yes to my question, as it most certainly was not a no.

Garvinator
07-11-2004, 12:26 AM
If you ask simplistic questions you will only discover simplistic answers.
what is your complete solution then and would you implement it?

Spiny Norman
07-11-2004, 06:47 AM
I feel so sorry for those so many good Americans who must now shoulder that guilt and shame. A stain on the national character that will endure in the memory. For so many Americans, Tuesday was their darkest hour. The America of Lincoln and Roosevelt, the land of the brave eclipsed by memories of the most appalling cowardice.

."darkest hour" ... more emotive nonsense. :hand: You don't get to decide who is good and who is bad.


Why don't you tell that to the people of Fallujah as recieve another bombardment from the US airplanes, or the doctors at the hospitals tending to the casualties? "Hack it guys, it's only another 4 years, another few hundred thousand - hey come on there's millions left, just a bit broken that's all." Now that's what I call hypocrisy, telling others to hack it as their walls come tumbling down, while mothers lose sons in wars they don't understand, and you sit pretty on your little white ass telling them all they'll get their chance. What chance do you think they'll get? Fat chance, that's wot! Oh yes a wonderful thing democracy as long as others pay the price! Don't confuse smugness for wisdom.

... and why don't you tell that to the Kurds who lost their sons and daughters to chemical gas attacks ... why don't you tell that to the Iranians who lost their sons and daughters to chemical gas attacks ... why don't you tell that to the thousands of Iraqis whose children disappeared during the night and are now turning up in mass graves around Iraq.

Ain't all one sided pal.

Cat
07-11-2004, 07:45 AM
It just sounds like you cant give a straight answer.
Now why doesnt that surprise me.

I'll take your response as a yes to my question, as it most certainly was not a no.

Straight enough Bill! Do the ends always justify the means? And what are the 'ends' that the US has in mind? Is it Paul Wolfowitz image of a massive US footprin emblazened across the Middle East? What peace do you think that will bring?

Since WW2 its difficult to find a single example where US military intervention (as opposed to UN action in Kosova) has improved any situation, it invariably makes things worse.

Cat
07-11-2004, 07:53 AM
what is your complete solution then and would you implement it?

Gee Garvin, now that is a tough question! That's life isn't it? All problems, very few solutions. All one can really hope for is some better direction and a desire to negotiate with something other than a barrel of a gun. Someone who might respect international law, national sovereignty and value age old alliances, more of the Roosevelt tradition.

Cat
07-11-2004, 08:21 AM
.


... and why don't you tell that to the Kurds who lost their sons and daughters to chemical gas attacks ... why don't you tell that to the Iranians who lost their sons and daughters to chemical gas attacks ... why don't you tell that to the thousands of Iraqis whose children disappeared during the night and are now turning up in mass graves around Iraq.

Ain't all one sided pal.

So you think the next US puppet will do better than the last? In the Iran-Iraq war around 5 million lives were lost. A war in which the US sponsored Saddam to destroy millions of Iranian lives. The real interest for the US is oil, most wars in the 20th century were fought over oil, it was certainly a large element of Hitlers designs in North Africa & Russia. I'm afraid the humanitarian cause was lost in the Middle East long ago.

The US were no longer pulling the strings of the puppet. He was about to sign up to massive oil deals with the French and the Russians. That's why the US went to war.

arosar
07-11-2004, 02:35 PM
. . . why don't you tell that to the Iranians who lost their sons and daughters . . .

As if the Iranians weren't behaving as badly.

The important question isn't over whether Saddam should have been removed - but, rather, the procedure to achieve that end. Bush went in there without UN backing. He also did so based on, what we emphatically now know to be, a lie.

AR

antichrist
07-11-2004, 03:57 PM
The US has created shocking precedants, invading Iraq and dropping atomic and hydrogen bombs when not one enemy soldier was on their terroritory.


Now any country can do these things. Hitler reasoned that as Mussolini had got away with foreign invasions he also could.

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 03:58 PM
As if the Iranians weren't behaving as badly.

The important question isn't over whether Saddam should have been removed - but, rather, the procedure to achieve that end.
And what would that procedure have been.


Bush went in there without UN backing.
I wouldnt necessarily hold the UN up as a great institution for doing the right thing. In many ways it is totally ineffectual.

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 04:05 PM
Straight enough Bill!
It wasnt straight at all.
It was just a typical example of you evading a question. Just like you did in all the rating debates. In fact you didnt even bother answering Kevin's rating question a few months back.


Do the ends always justify the means?
Based on your responses its clear you believe Saddam should still be in power.
If not then explain exactly how you believe he should have been removed.


And what are the 'ends' that the US has in mind? Is it Paul Wolfowitz image of a massive US footprin emblazened across the Middle East? What peace do you think that will bring?

Since WW2 its difficult to find a single example where US military intervention (as opposed to UN action in Kosova) has improved any situation, it invariably makes things worse.
Who do you think made up the majority of the UN forces involved in Kosova.
It wasnt the French and Germans thats for sure.

antichrist
07-11-2004, 04:27 PM
It wasnt straight at all.
It was just a typical example of you evading a question. Just like you did in all the rating debates. In fact you didnt even bother answering Kevin's rating question a few months back.


Based on your responses its clear you believe Saddam should still be in power.
If not then explain exactly how you believe he should have been removed.


Who do you think made up the majority of the UN forces involved in Kosova.
It wasnt the French and Germans thats for sure.

Bill,
as maybe I should stick to non-chess threads you should definitely stick to chess threads.

What is the history of the Serbs? Croatian WW2 policy whilst supported by the Germans was to
a) kill a third of the Serbs
b) convert a third of the Serbs from Orthodox to RCC
c) drive a third out of the country.
And this they proceded to do.

So know where the Serbs are coming from. I know I have not directed linked the Muslims to the Serbs.

Kevin Bonham
07-11-2004, 04:30 PM
If the USA is becoming largely fundamentalist, surely its their right to do so?

Not if you live in a liberal democracy as opposed to an illiberal one. In a liberal democracy a certain set of rights are inviolable and the majority make the decisions that affect the remainder of political life. While it hasn't been historically the case, I support a concept of liberalism within democracy that is explicitly anti-paternalist, ie if what you choose to do harms no-one then the majority are not entitled to interfere with it. This is relevant in the case of gay marriage - even if, say, 75% disapprove of the concept, what gives them any right to ban it?

It will be interesting to see what the US courts make of the gay marriage bans recently passed in several US states.


If you think this is a problem, then why not work at the problem (that being that so many people are becoming "fundamentalist", whatever that tag actually means in real life).

I am already quite politically active enough, thank you. :rolleyes:

To suggest that everyone who complains must be simply whinging without ever doing anything about the problem is ridiculous.


Attacking the result, or worse still, attacking the people that generated the result, is surely going to be counter-productive?

Those who support illiberal attitudes generally do so based on unreasonably harsh criticism of other people and their lifestyles, and cannot consistently complain if they are criticised in turn.


Can't attack people for voting in line with their beliefs can you? Or can you? Is it because "we're right, and they're wrong"? On what grounds? I think you have to show people a better way ... and that's not demonstrate by arguing about it

That's ridiculous. At some point you always need to explain to people why their arguments are unsatisfactory. Would you just take it without arguing if the majority voted to declare your religion illegal?

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 05:04 PM
Bill,
as maybe I should stick to non-chess threads you should definitely stick to chess threads.

What is the history of the Serbs? Croatian WW2 policy whilst supported by the Germans was to
a) kill a third of the Serbs
b) convert a third of the Serbs from Orthodox to RCC
c) drive a third out of the country.
And this they proceded to do.

So know where the Serbs are coming from. I know I have not directed linked the Muslims to the Serbs.
It seems you cannot respond to questions any better than DR.

Cat
07-11-2004, 05:18 PM
It wasnt straight at all.
It was just a typical example of you evading a question. Just like you did in all the rating debates. In fact you didnt even bother answering Kevin's rating question a few months back.


Based on your responses its clear you believe Saddam should still be in power.
If not then explain exactly how you believe he should have been removed.


Who do you think made up the majority of the UN forces involved in Kosova.
It wasnt the French and Germans thats for sure.

Bill, you really must learn to mind your manners. The fact that the UN were involved in Kosova meant that decisions were taken multi-laterally. One of the reasons for lack of progress in Iraq is that the US refuses to relinquish strategic control to the UN. Quite simply the US cannot galvanise other countries to commit further resources and troops to the area because they want to produce an outcome that suites US interests and UN allies are not interested in that kind of arrangement, because everyone can see the process is fundamentally flawed. Even the Republican Senator heading the US Foreign Affairs Committee has come out this week and said the White House needs to "take its blinkers off in Iraq". Now Bill, lets try to keep this civil.

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 06:38 PM
Bill, you really must learn to mind your manners.
Just because I pointed out you evaded the original question, does not indicate a problem with my manners but a problem with your ability to answer.


The fact that the UN were involved in Kosova meant that decisions were taken multi-laterally. One of the reasons for lack of progress in Iraq is that the US refuses to relinquish strategic control to the UN. Quite simply the US cannot galvanise other countries to commit further resources and troops to the area because they want to produce an outcome that suites US interests and UN allies are not interested in that kind of arrangement, because everyone can see the process is fundamentally flawed. Even the Republican Senator heading the US Foreign Affairs Committee has come out this week and said the White House needs to "take its blinkers off in Iraq". Now Bill, lets try to keep this civil.
You still havent answered my original question.
In fact you even ignored my follow up question.

Based on your responses its clear you believe Saddam should still be in power.
If not then explain exactly how you believe he should have been removed.

frogmogdog
07-11-2004, 07:26 PM
i'll answer your question bill.

i'd prefer saddam to still be in power.

the US should have marshalled its arguments before its forces, and if the arguments were strong then an international coalition would have formed.

also bear in mind the history of all this. the US, france, germany etc supported saddam until he got greedy and tried to hog kuwait's oil. these countries knew iraq had WMDs at one time because they'd kept the receipts. but it was also obvious he no longer had them or the US wouldn't have dared to invade.

it's also unfair to say peaceniks would rather let kurds get gassed, when it was types like me who agitated about that and the USA supporters basically said get over it, we’re not really sure what happened, that's life, saddam may be a bastard but he's our bastard, he's a bulwark against islamic extremism and so on.

i don't think this war is about oil. it's a personal grudge of psychopaths, spiced with religious sibling rivalry (why do christians and muslims so often hate and fear each other when their religions are virtually identical?)

at a local level in iraq, it remains to be seen how many winners and losers this war will create. it does seem 100,000 civilians may already have been killed. that said, i'm prepared to concede the possibility that maybe iraq overall could still eventually be a "winner" from this war.

but, you also need to consider the global consequences. unless you are touchingly trusting of the USA then any unprovoked and illegal war is dangerous to the planet.

and on top of that, this war has dramatically increased the risk of islamic terrorism for at least a generation.

it shouldn't have happened this way.

Recherché
07-11-2004, 07:47 PM
You arent doing well at all. :rolleyes:

It was 51.3% in 2000 which is nowhere near 39%. :doh:

39% is the figure I remembered being quoted on the evening news at the time. It was a record low turnout.

Is the difference in whether it's the percentage of eligible voters, or registered voters, perhaps? Either that or my memory and/or the news is wrong. :)

Recherché
07-11-2004, 09:08 PM
I have a question for all of you ... whether you are Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, something else, atheist, agnostic, those who don't know, and those who don't care what label they are under.

My question is this: If its "one person, one vote", and if the vote is basically honest ... what's the issue?

Any well designed system of representative democracy** is designed such that the people just can't vote to get rid of the democracy. Certainly not a mere 50.01% majority. That's why we have such things as Constitutions, which are generally very difficult to change or amend.

**This is not just simple "democracy", which is even more reliant on a well educated and responsible body of voters; pure democracy is currently unworkable, and not just for logistical reasons. Representative Democracy is basically our current system - we vote for the people who make the decisions.

There's a group of freedoms generally held to be very important in our sort of society. Several of these, in particular freedom of religion, and the influence of the public over governmental policy (through elections, etc) run contrary to a fundamentalist religious ideal.

Fundamentalist religion runs in quite direct opposition to many of the most valued principles of modern, "western" society. Theocracy (and also the arbitrary rule of heriditary Monarchs) was what our societies designed the current system to get away from.

(actually mostly the new class of merchants just wanted to make sure nobody would take their money off them, but some other very important things came along for the ride)

As such, when fundamentalist religion gets a major hold on a modern, "western", democratic system, it starts to worry a lot of people who believe very strongly in the ideals of that system - namely individual freedoms.

Anyway, getting back to the current US presidential election, I think there are a lot of very large flaws in their electoral system, as I already outlined. I don't think either result could be justified as representative of the American populace.

I wasn't happy with the Howard government getting re-elected either, but at least I'm confident that it's reasonably representative of the current Australian populace. Which makes me a little sad for the state, education, and political awareness of the current populace, but that's another issue. I think the analysts were absolutely right that interest rates swung this election, I also think it's a tragedy that they should have done so. Especially given that Labor really doesn't have economic policies that run particularly contrary to the currently dominant neo-liberal set of economic ideas (first pioneered by Thatcher and Reagan in the 80s). Hell, it was Keating that started the reforms that Howard/Costello are finishing up.

Anyway, I have a lot of faith in the current Australian political system (I'm a Republican, but that side of things is mostly symbolic), and great optimism for the future, despite the last election result. However, I can't say the same thing for the US political system.


If the USA is becoming largely fundamentalist, surely its their right to do so?

Well, not according to its founding principles, it's not. That said, I think you could probably argue that a lot of the religious migrants who settled the parts of the US which are now strongly dominated by committed and in some cases fundamentalist Christians didn't really share many of those founding principles, even if they've found the "freedom of religion" one pretty convenient in escaping persecution.

In fact, maybe there's an argument to be made that the US is too polarised over the issue of religion to remain one country (http://civicspacelabs.org/node/view/1210).


If you think this is a problem, then why not work at the problem (that being that so many people are becoming "fundamentalist", whatever that tag actually means in real life).

Religious fundamentalism is following a strict and literal interpretation of a religious text for the way you live your life. Fundamentalists are almost universally keen on incorporating the "rules" set down in such text into law. An example of this is the gay marriage ban amendment in the US, and the similar thing which John Howard passed in Australia. Quite a few "moderate" (compared to the fundamentalists) Christians (and Muslims and Jews no doubt, though they have less political influence here and in the US) support a ban on gay marriage as well, of course. Lets not pretend that the moderates don't sometimes have a fair bit in common with the fundamentalists.

Fundamentalism is a particular problem because religious texts tend to be pretty vague. And that's not even taking into account the problems of accurately translating them from the dead languages they were originally written in. It's also not taking into account the political context of the time (for instance some of the things in the Bible seem to have been deliberate attempts to differentiate Christianity from some of the other competing religions of the time).

Fundamentalist interpretations always seem to run in rather stark contradiction to the main principles of the religion in question as well, which is a big warning sign just by itself, even if the idea that shrimp are bad (http://www.godhatesshrimp.com/) seems pretty plausible and in keeping with your personal beliefs about the qualities of various types of marine invertibrates. Fundamentalists also tend to be rather "pick and mix" about which sections of the text are to be followed.

I think partly the commonality mentioned earlier tends to make moderates over-tolerant of fundamentalism. When someone seems to have the same general feeling about the world as you do, it's hard to see them as dangerous. But fundamentalism is dangerous. It's a hell of a scary thing. And Christian fundamentalism is just as nasty and barbaric and violent and oppressive as any brand of Islamic fundamentalism you care to name. Christian fundamentalism is the Klu Klux Klan. It's the Crusades. It's abortion clinic bombings and the murdering of doctors in their homes. It's the Inquisition. You all get the picture.

Religion (and your chosen religious text) can be a wonderful thing, but remember that for every law made about how the people in your society live their lives, the chance increases that one or more of those laws is going to stop you living your life according to your beliefs.

(Just to forestall any silly replies to that last comment, of course certain laws are necessary. I just think objective harm - as opposed to alleged spiritual or moral harm - is a much better and more reliable criteria for determining them.)

Religious fundamentalism is certainly much more common in the US than in any other "western" country, and perhaps than in any other representative democracy, although that starts to perhaps bring countries such as Indonesia into the equation.

That's a problem, but there's also a broader problem of fundamentalism in the US. By this I mean that there's a trend to see every issue in stark, black and white terms. "You're either with us or against us". It's getting pretty pervasive in US politics and in the US media.


A question for those that are unhappy with the results of the elections (whether the USA one or the Australian one) ... what are YOU going to do about it? Are you going to complain, or are you going to be active and actually endeavour to help influence the outcome.

Well personally I've been doing both. ;)

Criticism isn't always counter-productive. One of the best ways to improve something is to analyse its current flaws and then find ways to fix or minimise them. In the case of a political system, or a government, since changing things relies on a lot of other people as well, making the flaws as clearly and widely known and understood as possible is very important.

Recherché
07-11-2004, 09:17 PM
Yeah, look at what all them Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and kids have done. They've screwed up the vote and made it look like Kerry is more popular then he really deserves to be!

Where would we be without a bit of racial bias, or ageism?

Just as well they voted eh? Otherwise we'd be looking at a racially-biased and ageist result! Fortunately all we got was a religiously-biased result instead.

You're missing a VERY LARGE point, in that Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and young people aren't out to create laws which says that everyone else has to behave as if they were Black, Hispanic, Asian, or young.

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 09:20 PM
39% is the figure I remembered being quoted on the evening news at the time. It was a record low turnout.

Is the difference in whether it's the percentage of eligible voters, or registered voters, perhaps? Either that or my memory and/or the news is wrong. :)
The percentage I quoted was based on eligible. If it was based on registered It would obviously be higher.

Recherché
07-11-2004, 09:25 PM
The percentage I quoted was based on eligible. If it was based on registered It would obviously be higher.

OK. Regardless of any of this, as I said, the voter turnouts in the US are (in my opinion) scandalously low.

Bill Gletsos
07-11-2004, 10:01 PM
OK. Regardless of any of this, as I said, the voter turnouts in the US are (in my opinion) scandalously low.
I dont disagree with that.
I just believe if you are going to quote figures you should at least be reasonably accurate.

Recherché
07-11-2004, 10:10 PM
I dont disagree with that.
I just believe if you are going to quote figures you should at least be reasonably accurate.

Yes, true. I guess I'm more inclined to post from memory/guesses at a place like this, though. Rather a limited audience, especially for this political stuff. I think maybe I'm already putting more effort into my posts than it's worth, but then again I cant resist a good debate. :D

I think what mostly influenced my laxness in this particular instance is that I knew the fact the voter turnout was low (compared to Australia) couldn't be disputed, at least not credibly.

What can be disputed is whether a low turnout is a good or a bad thing (I think it's terrible), but my arguments there don't hinge on exact turnout statistics either. :)

Cat
07-11-2004, 11:06 PM
As such, when fundamentalist religion gets a major hold on a modern, "western", democratic system, it starts to worry a lot of people who believe very strongly in the ideals of that system - namely individual freedoms.

I think partly the commonality mentioned earlier tends to make moderates over-tolerant of fundamentalism. When someone seems to have the same general feeling about the world as you do, it's hard to see them as dangerous. But fundamentalism is dangerous. It's a hell of a scary thing. And Christian fundamentalism is just as nasty and barbaric and violent and oppressive as any brand of Islamic fundamentalism you care to name. Christian fundamentalism is the Klu Klux Klan. It's the Crusades. It's abortion clinic bombings and the murdering of doctors in their homes. It's the Inquisition. You all get the picture.

Religion (and your chosen religious text) can be a wonderful thing, but remember that for every law made about how the people in your society live their lives, the chance increases that one or more of those laws is going to stop you living your life according to your beliefs.

That's a problem, but there's also a broader problem of fundamentalism in the US. By this I mean that there's a trend to see every issue in stark, black and white terms. "You're either with us or against us". It's getting pretty pervasive in US politics and in the US media.



Nicely put

Cat
07-11-2004, 11:25 PM
Not if you live in a liberal democracy as opposed to an illiberal one. In a liberal democracy a certain set of rights are inviolable and the majority make the decisions that affect the remainder of political life. While it hasn't been historically the case, I support a concept of liberalism within democracy that is explicitly anti-paternalist, ie if what you choose to do harms no-one then the majority are not entitled to interfere with it. This is relevant in the case of gay marriage - even if, say, 75% disapprove of the concept, what gives them any right to ban it?


Yes, but who decides when something is harmless? I'm sure many fundamentalists genuinely believe gay marriage (for example) is a bridge too far and has catastrophic consequences for their communities. They would argue that this gives them the right to ban it, to protect, as they would see, their children from unwholesome influences. So by your own argument, why should they as a majority, not be permitted to demand such a ban? Simply saying this is not harmless is not a convincing enough argument for these kinds of contraversial issues to gain acceptance within a skeptical community.

frogmogdog
08-11-2004, 05:18 PM
any conspiracy theories on why exit polls give a win to kerry but bush gets the numbers that count?


just quoting myself from election night.

i hadn't heard any stuff about this so just googled it.

discovered that loads of people have this conspiracy up and running -- although regrettably a few are obvious fruitcakes.

apparently the mainstream media won't touch it.

from a quick read the strongest arguments seem to be that bush must have cheated because (and i can't vouch either of these things are true) -

1. in the states where electronic votes had a paper trail the exit polls were accurate, however, in the states where there was no paper trail (which included ohio, where i remember before the election ohio officials tried to banish exit pollsters) bush did loads better than the exit polls.

2. analysis of florida shows strange patterns where counties with a particular optical voting machine favoured bush way beyond expectations.

eg see
http://ustogether.org/Florida_Election.htm

http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_13375.shtml

http://www.counterbias.com/152.html

Spiny Norman
08-11-2004, 06:22 PM
<good stuff snipped>

Hey Recherche,

There's some stuff I disagree with in your post (in terms of fundamentalism and its interaction with democracy), but its not worth arguing over.

I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated the measured approach you used ... I respect that immensely.

Regards,

Steve

Spiny Norman
08-11-2004, 06:32 PM
Yes, but who decides when something is harmless? I'm sure many fundamentalists genuinely believe gay marriage (for example) is a bridge too far and has catastrophic consequences for their communities. They would argue that this gives them the right to ban it, to protect, as they would see, their children from unwholesome influences. So by your own argument, why should they as a majority, not be permitted to demand such a ban? Simply saying this is not harmless is not a convincing enough argument for these kinds of contraversial issues to gain acceptance within a skeptical community.

... I'm in agreement with you David on your assessment of the situation.

Fundamentalists (and perhaps Christians generally) appeal to a third-party standard ... the Bible ... as their measuring stick for what they will and will not accept as moral.

My next question therefore is this: What does the non-Christian (or agnostic, or atheist) use as their measuring stick?

If we just go back to "its whatever the majority of the people believe at the time" then the people that are against the majority decision of the population to "vote in" Bush (or Howard, or whoever) surely have a dilemma???

What I've been trying to get people to see (obviously poorly) is that the blade of democracy cuts both ways. It is demonstrably an imperfect system. But that's why I posted the quote from that luminary that I cannot place:

"Democracy is the worst form of government ... except for all the other kinds".

Cat
08-11-2004, 07:12 PM
[QUOTE=Frosty]
My next question therefore is this: What does the non-Christian (or agnostic, or atheist) use as their measuring stick?

If we just go back to "its whatever the majority of the people believe at the time" then the people that are against the majority decision of the population to "vote in" Bush (or Howard, or whoever) surely have a dilemma???

In America & Australia our cultural origins are mainly Christian. As such it is indeed our yardstick, whether you believe in a God or not. I regard myself as Christian for cultural reasons, not religious ones. We would not necessarily differentiate between 2 Muslims where one believed and the other didn't, mostly we would assume a cultural connection. Whether one believed and one didn't would make little difference.

A Jew doesn't stop being a Jew when he stops believing in God, it was never used as a defense at Belsen or Auschwitz. For some reason in Christian countries we have assumed this secular dissociation which is in many ways unreal, because we all look, smell and taste like Christians to Muslims, Jews and all other cultural groups, just as Prince Phillip said all 'slanty eyed people look the same'.

This Western secular distinction is almost narcassistic, an attempt to deny our fragile humanity in a technologically driven world, that somehow we stand apart and above. In reality we are prudishly denying our most basic instincts and most fundamental characteristics. In this state, as you say we do indeed abandon our yardstick and invite that most loathesome of creatures to umpire our affairs; that vile, that wretched beast, the beaurocrat.

That is indeed the alternative we face, an increasingly legalistic, beaurocratic society, administer by impassively objective, objectionable overseers devoid of any semblance of anything remotely human.



"Democracy is the worst form of government ... except for all the other kinds".

It was Winston Churchill I believe.

Spiny Norman
08-11-2004, 07:40 PM
I regard myself as Christian for cultural reasons, not religious ones. We would not necessarily differentiate between 2 Muslims where one believed and the other didn't, mostly we would assume a cultural connection. Whether one believed and one didn't would make little difference.

This is where we diverge. I define a Christian as a follower of Jesus Christ. Living in a Western society doesn't make someone a Christian, any more than hanging out in McDonalds makes them a hamburger. Yes, you probably subscribe to some basic (one might say fundamental?) views that are common in many Judeo-Christian societies.

CS Lewis wrote about the devaluation of words. He used as an example the word "gentleman". Once upon a time it referred to one's standing in society, one's breeding. This did, in turn, imply a certain standard of behaviour. Now it simply refers to someone who behaves in a polite fashion ... so today it describes how I feel about someone's behaviour rather than actually saying something concrete about them.

I think Christian is in danger of going the same way. Instead of meaning "a follower of Jesus Christ" (the original concrete meaning) it means "someone of lives in a Western society". Surely then we could simply say that you are a law-abiding Australian?


A Jew doesn't stop being a Jew when he stops believing in God, it was never used as a defense at Belsen or Auschwitz. For some reason in Christian countries we have assumed this secular dissociation which is in many ways unreal, because we all look, smell and taste like Christians to Muslims, Jews and all other cultural groups, just as Prince Phillip said all 'slanty eyed people look the same'.

"Jew" might equally refer a follower of the Jewish religion and to a person of the Jewish race. "Israeli" however doesn't have that religious connotation. I understand that there are even Arabs who are Israeli, just as there are Jews who are Iranian or Iraqi, and so on. Because of the dual meaning of the word "Jew" it is a far less precise and consequently perhaps a less useful word.

Likewise saying someone is a Christian doesn't mean that they are Australian, or American, any more than saying that someone is an American means that they are also Christian. There's plenty of Muslims in the USA.

Now the fact that some Australians lump all Arabs in as Muslim, or that some Arabs lump all Australians in as Christian doesn't mean it is so.

I am confident that there are many people here who would be mortally offended at being lumped in with "us Christians". :eek:

Garvinator
08-11-2004, 08:05 PM
I think Christian is in danger of going the same way. Instead of meaning "a follower of Jesus Christ" (the original concrete meaning) it means "someone of lives in a Western society".

I am confident that there are many people here who would be mortally offended at being lumped in with "us Christians". :eek:

When i read the first paragraph, i thought, geez hope I dont get lumped into the category called christian :eek:

So then, i had a :lol: when I read the second paragraph listed here ;)

Cat
09-11-2004, 09:10 AM
[QUOTE=Frosty]I define a Christian as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Amazing, so do I! We share a common cultural and intellectual platform from which we launch our ideas, and consciously or subconsciously so do the bulk of our citizens. We share a common morality and ethos, a common law and common prejudices. We commonly share a revulsion of infanticide and the stoning of adulterous women, my childrens members are intact, I only have 1 wife and we both suspect reincarnation to be fanciful. We celebrate our connectedness ritually (times such as Easter & Christmas) and our differences are far less significant than you might imagine. Our principles and behaviour depend little on a Godly belief, and our Christain message is spread and fertilised by our common English language. Our literature, music and art is a celebration of our Christian culture and differences within our culture are sub-cultural differences, of far less significance than our similarities. We all have a deep psychological respect for the majority of the Ten Commandments and our democratic, legal, scientific, cultural lineage runs right back to ancient Athens.



Now the fact that some Australians lump all Arabs in as Muslim, or that some Arabs lump all Australians in as Christian doesn't mean it is so.

I am confident that there are many people here who would be mortally offended at being lumped in with "us Christians".

Culture doesn't recognise political boundaries and the mixing of cultures has been instrumental in the promotion of cultural evolution throughout history.

Rincewind
09-11-2004, 09:46 AM
Amazing, so do I! We share a common cultural and intellectual platform from which we launch our ideas, and consciously or subconsciously so do the bulk of our citizens. We share a common morality and ethos, a common law and common prejudices. We commonly share a revulsion of infanticide and the stoning of adulterous women, my childrens members are intact, I only have 1 wife and we both suspect reincarnation to be fanciful. We celebrate our connectedness ritually (times such as Easter & Christmas) and our differences are far less significant than you might imagine. Our principles and behaviour depend little on a Godly belief, and our Christain message is spread and fertilised by our common English language. Our literature, music and art is a celebration of our Christian culture and differences within our culture are sub-cultural differences, of far less significance than our similarities. We all have a deep psychological respect for the majority of the Ten Commandments and our democratic, legal, scientific, cultural lineage runs right back to ancient Athens.

Amazing, share your language an cultural heritage and yet have no godly belief. There seems to be an implied argument that if this bit was removed western civilisatino would somehow cease to exist. However, at one time, we used to think the earth was flat. We left that idea behind and look how far we got. (BTW that's not a circular argument, it's a spheriodal one ;) )

Recherché
09-11-2004, 09:51 AM
Hey Recherche,

There's some stuff I disagree with in your post (in terms of fundamentalism and its interaction with democracy), but its not worth arguing over.

Aww, why not? ;)


I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated the measured approach you used ... I respect that immensely.

Thanks! :)

Garvinator
09-11-2004, 09:54 AM
However, at one time, we used to think the earth was flat. We left that idea behind and look how far we got. (BTW that's not a circular argument, it's a spheriodal one ;) )
and I think in the last ten years or so we as a human race have being going backwards in a hurry and it is only going to get worse.

Recherché
09-11-2004, 10:38 AM
We commonly share a revulsion of infanticide and the stoning of adulterous women

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the justification for the stoning of adulterous women sourced from the OT in the Bible? There's nothing in the Koran, and when interviewed, an official from an African nation which practises it as part of their religious law (I can't remember which nation off the top of my head) happily identified the Bible as his source.

Revulsion of it would be more accurately sourced from the secular Humanistic side of our culture that came out of the Enlightenment, etc, wouldn't it? And also Feminism - Western society may not have been keen on stonings for a few hundred years, but "we" were quite happy with beatings until quite recently.


my childrens members are intact

However, in America, due to some rather strange recommendations put into place by the general medical community around the middle of last century, circumcision was, and has been, nearly universal in the United States, with the rates only starting to drop off just recently.


We celebrate our connectedness ritually (times such as Easter & Christmas)

Well I don't personally celebrate either Easter or Christmas as religious events . I'm not sure I really celebrate them as a connection to the rest of Australian society, either.


Our principles and behaviour depend little on a Godly belief

Perhaps. It's certainly the case for some (including me).


and our Christain message is spread and fertilised by our common English language

I take issue with that. I don't consider any part of my personal belief system or "message" to be Christian. It has some things in common with Christian beliefs, but Christianity didn't invent "killing people is wrong" or other such sentiments, and I don't think you can really group things like that under the banner of "Christian message".

And what's this English? I only know Strine. ;)


We all have a deep psychological respect for the majority of the Ten Commandments

Speak for yourself. I'm happy with "Thou shalt not kill" (if applied to people, and a few types of animals), and "Thou shalt not steal", but most of the others are flawed because to interpret and follow them properly you must also accept the perspective of Christianity on things like marriage and family structure.

For instance I wouldn't be supportive of adultery, but I believe it's up to each person, and each couple (or whatever), to decide the nature and boundaries of their relationship(s). That goes for friendships, life partnerships, any sort of human relationship. That sort of complexity doesn't mesh with the simplicity (fundamentalism? :D) of the way the commandments are written.

Does the one about false witness mean you're not suppost to accuse people of things they didn't do? If so I'm happy with that one as well.


and our democratic, legal, scientific, cultural lineage runs right back to ancient Athens.

I don't see how that connects with Christianity. Many of our democratic, legal and scientific traditions run contrary to Christian doctrine (or at least the doctrine of the medieval or even comtemporary Catholic Church). And our science runs back just as much to the ancient Arab world as to Athens.

...

What I'm getting as is that while I'm happy for you to describe yourself as Christian, or in some kind of Christian tradition, and I'm happy for you to talk about the areas where Judeo-Christian ethics have influenced our society, I'm not really happy for you to describe our society as a Christian one, and certainly not to describe me as a Christian, even a non-believing one. :)

Recherché
09-11-2004, 10:43 AM
and I think in the last ten years or so we as a human race have being going backwards in a hurry and it is only going to get worse.

Backwards by what standard? And why single out the last ten years, specifically? Plently of horrible goings on in the 80s and early 90s, for starters.

Rincewind
09-11-2004, 01:08 PM
Backwards by what standard? And why single out the last ten years, specifically? Plently of horrible goings on in the 80s and early 90s, for starters.

I agree technologically I don;t see why the last 10 years have been particularly horrid. In fact many important advancements have been made. Humanitatily, the last 10 years is just pretty much, more of the same.

However, I think GG is alluding to the reported rise in religious fundamentalism.

On a related topic, I had the JWs come calling today. I should have asked them "has business improved in the last 10 years?"

arosar
09-11-2004, 01:22 PM
However, I think GG is alluding to the reported rise in religious fundamentalism.

Is it really fundamentalism or just religiosity?

AR

Garvinator
09-11-2004, 01:35 PM
Backwards by what standard? And why single out the last ten years, specifically? Plently of horrible goings on in the 80s and early 90s, for starters.
In response to Barry, yes more in terms of so called fundamentalism. I have thought that especially in Australia that we are a secular society in terms of politics. Yes religion and faith are important to alot of ppl, but what seems to be happening across the world is that they are dividing even more across religious and faith lines.

It feels like the athiest is becoming more and more marginalised as each country takes a position of religious faith. The question is- where has this come from. I think it is a little naive to just blame USA for it.

The best expression i can think of that explains alot of what is happening to the world is, in a horse race, always back self interest, at least you know he's trying.

I targeted the last ten years also because of the rise of the internet and technology. This has allowed greater and more expansive coverage of events happening across the world. Would a group like Al- Qaeda be as widespread without the internet and technology advances?

Garvinator
09-11-2004, 01:37 PM
Is it really fundamentalism or just religiosity?

AR
I think they are very much tied together in some ways and completely separate in others. I believe that most of the time, different groups use the bible/koran and other religious 'doctrine' as 'justification' for their actions, when plain and simply it is just envy and jealousy for the other side's beliefs/positions.

Rincewind
09-11-2004, 01:43 PM
Is it really fundamentalism or just religiosity?

Fundamentalism is more of a worry and I think it is that which has grown more than garden-variety religiosity. Mainstream temples are still, by and large, empty. While the popularity of cults seems to be on the increase.

arosar
09-11-2004, 01:47 PM
It feels like the athiest is becoming more and more marginalised as each country takes a position of religious faith.

What an unusual statement? As if to suggest that 'atheism' has been a kind of, how shall I say, hegemonic construct. Or did you mean 'secularism'? But this, gray, has nothing to do with atheism whatsoever.

AR

Recherché
09-11-2004, 01:52 PM
It feels like the athiest is becoming more and more marginalised as each country takes a position of religious faith. The question is- where has this come from. I think it is a little naive to just blame USA for it.

Well, I think mostly it's just a general conservative backlash against the successes of secular movements, Feminism, the gay rights movement, etc. In times of conservative backlash, fundamentalism stands in greater relief. I don't actually believe there's more fundamentalism (at least, not the religious kind) than there has was 10 years ago. Perhaps it's having a slightly greater impact, though.

I also think it's a bit of a cycle - if things trend too far towards the conservative we'll hopefully see a liberal backlash. :D

The other big factor working against the continued momentum of the current conservative trend is the fact that the last generation to grow up before the major advances of Feminism is starting to die off.

Sure, younger generations will become more conservative overall as they age - it's a natural sort of process it seems - but it won't be the same conservatism we're seeing now.


I targeted the last ten years also because of the rise of the internet and technology. This has allowed greater and more expansive coverage of events happening across the world. Would a group like Al- Qaeda be as widespread without the internet and technology advances?

No, they probably wouldn't. But I think that overall the Internet would tend to work against fundamentalism, since fundamentalism does rather rely on ignorance and the surpression of education.

I actually think extremist economic liberalism is a greater threat at the moment than religious fundamentalism (either Christian or Islamic or Jewish). The fact the US is leaning towards both at the moment is especially worrying.

Garvinator
09-11-2004, 02:10 PM
No, they probably wouldn't. But I think that overall the Internet would tend to work against fundamentalism, since fundamentalism does rather rely on ignorance and the surpression of education.
I believe it is the exact opposite as the internet allows more ppl from all over the world to communicate with the belief of relative anonymity. This means that websites and extremist groups can spread 'their' propoganda more easily than they could in the past.

With reference to the past, a person had to either approach the media (news/radio etc) to get their message across. The target audience for this was very narrow compared to the internet. It doesnt take much to find some extremist views and groups on the internet :doh: I am not going to take a look see to find some, just in case I get accused by the authorities of supporting a banned organisation :uhoh:

Recherché
09-11-2004, 02:12 PM
My next question therefore is this: What does the non-Christian (or agnostic, or atheist) use as their measuring stick?

Some common approaches:

Utilitarianism - the greatest good for the greater number (generally of people, but it doesn't have to be)

Enlightened self interest - "what's good for me", with a bit of perspective. For example, although it may technically be in someone's interest to murder people and take their stuff, sensible people realise that there are certain kinds of behaviour that just leave everyone (including yourself) worse off if they're widely practised.

Do unto others/Empathy - treating people how you would wish to be treated yourself.

There are others, too. Most non-religious people tend to use a combination of those sorts of ideas for their moral code.

Recherché
09-11-2004, 02:21 PM
I believe it is the exact opposite as the internet allows more ppl from all over the world to communicate with the belief of relative anonymity. This means that websites and extremist groups can spread 'their' propoganda more easily than they could in the past.

Yes, that true. But as I said, I believe the positive aspects override this. For every Stormfront (a neo-nazi white supremicist site which I'm not going to link to) there's a ReligiousTolerance.org (http://religioustolerance.org/).

Tolerance groups are also no longer reliant on media coverage to spread their message widely.

The internet isn't innately for or against extremism and intolerance, but since the widespread dissemination of diverse (and especially educated) viewpoints is inherently pro-tolerance, I think the balance of the effect of the internet must also be so.

Garvinator
09-11-2004, 02:32 PM
The internet isn't innately for or against extremism and intolerance,
I didnt think an inanimate object could stand for or against anything ;) :lol:

eclectic
09-11-2004, 02:50 PM
I didnt think an inanimate object could for or against anything ;) :lol:

i thought inanimate objects had an opinion on everything but took a stand on nothing

:rolleyes:

eclectic

Cat
09-11-2004, 04:05 PM
[QUOTE=Recherché]Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the justification for the stoning of adulterous women sourced from the OT in the Bible? There's nothing in the Koran, and when interviewed, an official from an African nation which practises it as part of their religious law (I can't remember which nation off the top of my head) happily identified the Bible as his source.

Revulsion of it would be more accurately sourced from the secular Humanistic side of our culture that came out of the Enlightenment, etc, wouldn't it? And also Feminism - Western society may not have been keen on stonings for a few hundred years, but "we" were quite happy with beatings until quite recently.

Yes, probably Protestantism. What you're describing is again fundamentalism and we have already agreed that this is socially divisive. What I am talking about is the cultural concensus that underpinned social opinion really until the emergence of monetarism as an alternative economic and ultimately social philosophy. As Frosty quite rightly asserted the yardstick was abandoned, naked ambition released, and whether we like it or not, fundamentalism has emerged as a social response to this bitterly harsh economic rationalism, which has moved into the vaccuum left by the collapse of orthodox religious authority, moral authority. What we have is now more extreme, more dangerous and is the vehicle for the expression of social anger.



Well I don't personally celebrate either Easter or Christmas as religious events . I'm not sure I really celebrate them as a connection to the rest of Australian society, either.

Thats your loss.


I take issue with that. I don't consider any part of my personal belief system or "message" to be Christian. It has some things in common with Christian beliefs, but Christianity didn't invent "killing people is wrong" or other such sentiments, and I don't think you can really group things like that under the banner of "Christian message".

And what's this English? I only know Strine. ;)

I'm afraid we're all standing on the shoulders of giants, even though we may not be aware of it. Our philosophy and thoughts are as much a product of Plato & Aristotle as our legal system is a product of Rome, our democracy a product of Athens. It's simply our heritage, 2000 years politically, culturally, legally, linguistically and artistically Christian, you can as much escape it as you can your own body. What were your parents beliefs? What were their parents beliefs? 80% of our personality is laid down before the age of 4, before we have any conscious memory of our existence. Our abilities to operate independently and autonomously from our early environmental influences is very limited, we are simply ignorant and unaware of our programming.




I don't see how that connects with Christianity. Many of our democratic, legal and scientific traditions run contrary to Christian doctrine (or at least the doctrine of the medieval or even comtemporary Catholic Church). And our science runs back just as much to the ancient Arab world as to Athens....

These traditions emerged parallel to Christianity, one influencing the other. For example, the spread of scientific information & the renaisssance would never have taken place without the widespread utilisation of the printing press, itself only put into use by Protestant zeal. The renaissance itself would never have benefited from the writings from antiquity if the monks hadn't maintained the libraries. The industrial revolution would not have occured without the establishment of the European Universities and the Universities were initially established by the monastic order. Of course it's true that other cultures influenced our own, that goes without saying.


What I'm getting as is that while I'm happy for you to describe yourself as Christian, or in some kind of Christian tradition, and I'm happy for you to talk about the areas where Judeo-Christian ethics have influenced our society, I'm not really happy for you to describe our society as a Christian one, and certainly not to describe me as a Christian, even a non-believing one.

So what would you prefer to be called, a puritan perhaps?

frogmogdog
09-11-2004, 07:02 PM
Our philosophy and thoughts are as much a product of Plato & Aristotle as our legal system is a product of Rome, our democracy a product of Athens. It's simply our heritage, 2000 years politically, culturally, legally, linguistically and artistically Christian

david,
the greeks and (at their peak) the romans weren't even christians, plus we owe so much to the arabs, chinese and indians. if it wasn't for hollywood, we wouldn't even know roman numerals.

much "progress" has occurred despite christianity, not because of it. ask copernicus.

Cat
09-11-2004, 07:50 PM
david,
the greeks and (at their peak) the romans weren't even christians, plus we owe so much to the arabs, chinese and indians. if it wasn't for hollywood, we wouldn't even know roman numerals.

much "progress" has occurred despite christianity, not because of it. ask copernicus.

Christianity developed in Greece and the Eastern Roman empire. Jesus is a Greek name, derived from Ii-sous or 'Zeus wight'. Most of the early Christian writings were Greek and Roman Catholicism was essentially founded by Constantine. There was virtually no early tradition of Christianity outside the Roman Empire, it is quintessentially Romano-Greek in origin.

Of course our culture has recieved outside influences, it would be absurd to suggest otherwise, but it in no way detracts from what I have already said about our cultural history.

You see in many ways Frosty is right, that unless the centre-left of politics in Australia & America begin to acknowledge this aspect of our cultural heritage, they may find it very difficult to obtain enough support to return to power. In other words, the European Christian Democratic tradition that Tony Blair has so cleverly commandeered offers the best hope for a new Democratic & centre-left vision (although right-of-centre by tradition, comparitively European Christian Democracy is essentially is centerist).

Recherché
10-11-2004, 09:07 AM
What I am talking about is the cultural concensus that underpinned social opinion really until the emergence of monetarism as an alternative economic and ultimately social philosophy.

By monetarism, are you referring to Milton Friedman's theory of managing an economy by managing the money in the economy by means of a Reserve Bank that controls interest rates and the rate that money is printed? Or to something else? (general capitalism?)

The foundations of capitalism are very much rooted in the Protestant movement in Europe. The ethic of working hard, specialising in something, and living frugally resulted in the basic requirement for a capitalist system - large amounts of money ready to be reinvested. While Western society may have quite happily dropped the "living frugally" part now, it would be rather silly to pretend Capitalism was somehow philosophically divorced from some prior Christian ethic that it has replaced.

Moreover, to suggest that everything else in the history of our society can be comfortable or even roughly grouped under a "Christian" banner is ridiculous. As has already been pointed out, many, dare I say most of the advances of modernism and humanism have happened more in spite of Christianity than because of or as part of it.


As Frosty quite rightly asserted the yardstick was abandoned, naked ambition released, and whether we like it or not, fundamentalism has emerged as a social response to this bitterly harsh economic rationalism, which has moved into the vaccuum left by the collapse of orthodox religious authority, moral authority.

I don't think that's right at all. Since fundamenalism thrives on miserable people, no doubt it has been helped along a bit in places ravaged by the excesses of capitalism, but I don't believe that's its major source.

You're also missing the fact that in many cases economic rationism and religious fundamentalism are walking hand in hand.

As I said earlier, if there's an increase in fundamentalism it's in response to the secular humanist tradition, to Feminism, etc.


Thats your loss.

Only from your point of view. I celebrate Christmas with my friends and family because it's easier than not doing so, and because sometimes it doesn't matter what the reasons are, it's just worth celbrating something.

But I've got much better reasons than Christmas to feel connected to the Australian populace.


It's simply our heritage, 2000 years politically, culturally, legally, linguistically and artistically Christian, you can as much escape it as you can your own body.

Again, it's unreasonable and inaccurate to lump our entire societal under that "Christian banner". Christianity has been influence, but that is all. It has no claim on science, or the legal system, or any of that other stuff.


Our abilities to operate independently and autonomously from our early environmental influences is very limited, we are simply ignorant and unaware of our programming.

I'm not denying the influence of culture or upbringing (though I might dispute your 80% figure); I'm criticising the fact that you've decided to label our entire, diverse culture as Christian.


These traditions emerged parallel to Christianity, one influencing the other. For example, the spread of scientific information & the renaisssance would never have taken place without the widespread utilisation of the printing press, itself only put into use by Protestant zeal.

So just because Protestant Bible printing popularized the printing press, suddently Christianity is responsible for all scientific progress and literature? That's ludicrous. Just because things emerged parallel to Christianity, and have at times been influenced by it (or have influenced it), does not make them Christian.


So what would you prefer to be called, a puritan perhaps?

Of course not. Puritans are Christians, for starters. Moreover they have very little in common with my personal beliefs.

I'd prefer not to stick some approximate label on my set of beliefs and values. It's not necessary, and it sells their complexity short.

If you've got your heart set on labels, I have much in common with the values and ideas of Secular Humanism (http://www.secularhumanism.org/).

Rincewind
10-11-2004, 09:47 AM
Christianity developed in Greece and the Eastern Roman empire. Jesus is a Greek name, derived from Ii-sous or 'Zeus wight'. Most of the early Christian writings were Greek and Roman Catholicism was essentially founded by Constantine. There was virtually no early tradition of Christianity outside the Roman Empire, it is quintessentially Romano-Greek in origin.

The Hellenic world and Roman empire encompassing the middle east (or at least the part of the middle east which was the birthplace of Christianity) hardly makes the Christianity quintissentially Greco-Roman in origin. It was merely an accident of geography.

Sure they influenced it development of the Roman Church ni particular. However, I doubt Christianity would have sprung into life spontaneously from the Roman pantheon and cult beliefs like that of Mithra which were popular in mainstream Roman life at the time of the birth of Christianity.

arosar
10-11-2004, 10:00 AM
I celebrate Christmas with my friends and family because it's easier than not doing so, and because sometimes it doesn't matter what the reasons are, it's just worth celbrating something.

You almost had me in tears with that. FMD! Now I'm gettin' all bloody emotional.

One a more serious note . . .


As I said earlier, if there's an increase in fundamentalism it's in response to the secular humanist tradition, to Feminism, etc.

But I still wonder how we explain the rise of fundamentalism in Islam . . .

AR

Cat
10-11-2004, 10:01 AM
[QUOTE=Recherché]The foundations of capitalism are very much rooted in the Protestant movement in Europe. The ethic of working hard, specialising in something, and living frugally resulted in the basic requirement for a capitalist system - large amounts of money ready to be reinvested.

Thanks, now you're making my points for me, although historically you're inaccurate - the European banking system predates the Protestant reformation by a couple of centuries. Nevertheless, the distinction you make between capitalism and monetarism is fundamental in understanding the emergence of religious fundamentalism. Religious fundamentalism has not developed by accident, it's a reaction to that very change in our society from 'conventional capitalism' to monetarism.

Open your eyes, look at the cultural fault lines in humanity, at a global level and within America, across religious cultural divides. The fault lines could not be more apparent, the more you deny & dismiss these gaping chasms the more distant you are from understanding and bridging those divides



I don't think that's right at all. Since fundamenalism thrives on miserable people, no doubt it has been helped along a bit in places ravaged by the excesses of capitalism, but I don't believe that's its major source.

Take a look at the political map of America - look at the blue areas on the coast and in the cities, look at the red centre. Why? Because monetarism threatens the existence & the way of life of those in that red centre. Their jobs, their factories, their livlihoods are moving to India, Indonesia, China. The are completely disenfranchised from that American dream. The starker the reality, the more they cling to that one cultural certainty that will keep them safe.

That is why the Republicans have been so successful. As they demolish their jobs through harsh monearist practices their also saying 'come to daddy, come to Jesus.


the fact that in many cases economic rationism and religious fundamentalism are walking hand in hand.

Exactly


As I said earlier, if there's an increase in fundamentalism it's in response to the secular humanist tradition, to Feminism, etc.

Rubbish, people care about their livlihoods, feeding their kids, going to work. They blame & scapegoat anything they can find.


I'm not denying the influence of culture or upbringing (though I might dispute your 80% figure); I'm criticising the fact that you've decided to label our entire, diverse culture as Christian.

Of course there's diversity. When society is not under pressure divesity will flourish. When there is intense social change and upheaval, dominant ideas will come to the fore.


So just because Protestant Bible printing popularized the printing press, suddently Christianity is responsible for all scientific progress and literature? That's ludicrous. Just because things emerged parallel to Christianity, and have at times been influenced by it (or have influenced it), does not make them Christian.

Printing emerged in Korea around the end of the first millenium. In the east it never became widespread because there was no social impetus to encourage the spread. Besides it threatened the livlihood of scribes, who were a powerful lobby. The Gutenberg press was put to use to help spread word of the Prostestant reformation. That was the difference!. China was ready for industrial revolution centuries before Europe. It never happened, and printing was one of the reasons.

Recherché
10-11-2004, 10:52 AM
But I still wonder how we explain the rise of fundamentalism in Islam...

War and poverty and occupation in the arab world. Funding from oil money.

Recherché
10-11-2004, 11:17 AM
Thanks, now you're making my points for me, although historically your inaccurate - the European banking system predates the Protestant reformation by a couple of centuries.

If that's the case then it predates capitalism too. The mercantilism of the age of European expansion by sea is not capitalism.

You seem to have misunderstood me. I'm not making your points for you, I'm disagreeing. I'm trying to show you how closely linked Capitalism and Christianity (even fundamentalist Christianity) are, and how much they've worked together over the years. That's in opposition to your claim that fundamentalism is a response to modern capitalism.

And a link between Christianity and one aspect our of our current society (capitalism) doesn't make your "we're all basically Christians" argument any more valid, either.


Nevertheless, the distinction you make between capitalism and monetarism is fundamental in understanding the emergence of religious fundamentalism.

You're have failed to clarify what you mean by monetarism. You don't seem to mean the same thing everyone else means when they use the term (some of the economic theories of Milton Friedman, as I explained in the previous post).


Religious fundamentalism has not developed by accident, it's a reaction to that very change in our society from 'conventional capitalism' to monetarism.

"Convential capitalism" is very much in the spirit of the currently favoured economic system. That's why they call it neo-classical economics. What we've moved away from (beginning with Thatcher and Reagan in the 80s) is Keynesian economics, which came into vogue after WW2.


Take a look at the political map of America - look at the blue areas on the coast and in the cities, look at the red centre. Why? Because monetarism threatens the existence & the way of life of those in that red centre.

Take a look at the results of past American elections. The blue/red pattern hasn't just sprung up overnight. Quite the contrary.

Moreover, the Bush adminstration is more strongly supportive of extreme liberal economic policy than the Democracts and Kerry are. By your argument, those red states should be blue.

Ever since Thatcher/Reagan, political and religious conservatism have been bedfellows to extreme liberal economic policy.



("capitalism and religious fundamentalism are walking hand in hand")
Exactly

NO. Not "exactly". It's the exact opposite of what you've been saying. I'm saying Christian fundamentalism is cooperating with capitalism, not a reaction against it.


Their jobs, their factories, their livlihoods are moving to India, Indonesia, China. The are completely disenfranchised from that American dream. The starker the reality, the more they cling to that one cultural certainty that will keep them safe.

The poor and the disadvantaged vote more Kerry/Democrat than Bush/Republican.


Printing emerged in Korea around the end of the first millenium. In the east it never became widespread because there was no social impetus to encourage the spread. Besides it threatened the livlihood of scribes, who were a powerful lobby. The Gutenberg press was put to use to help spread word of the Prostestant reformation. That was the difference!. China was ready for industrial revolution centuries before Europe. It never happened, and printing was one of the reasons.

You completely ignored and/or missed my point. The fact that Christianity happened to facilitate the spread of the printing press does NOT give it claim over the scientific advances encouraged by the printing press. And the same thing goes for the advances driven by capitalism.

Cat
10-11-2004, 11:35 AM
NO. Not "exactly". It's the exact opposite of what you've been saying. I'm saying Christian fundamentalism is cooperating with capitalism, not a reaction against it.


I guess this is fundamentally where we differ. As you see it, the religious right embrace monetarism ( and yes I'm obviously talking about Milton Friedman) as a natural bedfellow and are conjoined philosophically. As I see it, the ruling elite fully understand the social consequences of economic rationalism, understand the socially divise effects it wreaks on the populous and use religious fundamentalism as an instrument of social control. They've already done the psychological analysis, they're one step ahead of you. This is their desired outcome, without religious fundamentalism economic rationalism would never be tolerated. The ruling elite always require the philsophical allegience of sufficient numbers of the populous in order to maintain control. This has always been part of the relationship between state and church. I repeat as Gandhi said, 'anyone who believe religion and politics don't mix understands neither'.

Recherché
10-11-2004, 12:51 PM
As I see it, the ruling elite fully understand the social consequences of economic rationalism, understand the socially divise effects it wreaks on the populous and use religious fundamentalism as an instrument of social control.

The opiate of the masses, eh? ;)

Yeah, there's some truth in that. But it's not the whole story. And it's not the only thing that drives religious fundamentalism (or conservatism in general).

arosar
10-11-2004, 01:51 PM
Something funny. You gotta love those Americans!

http://www.sorryeverybody.com/

AR

arosar
10-11-2004, 05:05 PM
The much talked about front page:

AR

Kevin Bonham
13-11-2004, 01:10 AM
Yes, but who decides when something is harmless? I'm sure many fundamentalists genuinely believe gay marriage (for example) is a bridge too far and has catastrophic consequences for their communities.

The onus is on them to prove it. They have to demonstrate harm to nonconsenting individuals that is actual rather than just a product of that person feeling harmed because of their own prejudices. Given the choice, I would have far greater trust in the ability of the courts than the politicians to look at an issue like this based on the evidence and get it right, so I would be very happy to have explicit anti-paternalism provisions in the Constitution.


They would argue that this gives them the right to ban it, to protect, as they would see, their children from unwholesome influences.

"Unwholesome" is not necessarily objectively harmful. :P

If you're talking about banning things just because they may have what one group considers an "undesirable" influence on some portion of people, then you should start by banning the Bible.


Simply saying this is not harmless is not a convincing enough argument for these kinds of contraversial issues to gain acceptance within a skeptical community.

I don't expect my ideas to gain acceptance, I just expect them to be irrefutable. :lol:

Kevin Bonham
13-11-2004, 01:47 AM
Fundamentalists (and perhaps Christians generally) appeal to a third-party standard ... the Bible ... as their measuring stick for what they will and will not accept as moral.

You're not understanding my point any better than he is. The point is nothing to do with morality, which is a private affair that is no business of an elected government. The point is about whether actions genuinely harm third parties in a way the state needs to be involved in or not.


My next question therefore is this: What does the non-Christian (or agnostic, or atheist) use as their measuring stick?

I don't have one. I am proposing what I would like to become a consensus position that people of different faiths not impose their moral views by force upon others who are not willing yet are doing no actual harm. The measuring sticks people use in agreeing that this is a good idea are irrelevant, it is the idea and the agreement that is what counts.

Spiny Norman
13-11-2004, 08:09 AM
You're not understanding my point any better than he is. The point is nothing to do with morality, which is a private affair that is no business of an elected government. The point is about whether actions genuinely harm third parties in a way the state needs to be involved in or not.

I disagree Kevin. It has everything to do with morality. How does a government decide what actions to ban? Your idea of harm is another person's idea of pleasure.

If you are saying "whatever the majority of people say is good/bad at this particular time/place is what is good/bad" then how're you ever going to justify going to war with a country which is butchering its citizens or its neighbors because it believes that this is good or necessary? If their population is greater than ours then surely they would be right and we're wrong because they're in the majority.

Now when I spoke about a "yardstick" for making these decisions, you wrote:


I don't have one. I am proposing what I would like to become a consensus position that people of different faiths not impose their moral views by force upon others who are not willing yet are doing no actual harm. The measuring sticks people use in agreeing that this is a good idea are irrelevant, it is the idea and the agreement that is what counts.

That sounds wonderful, but its quite useless from a practical perspective. I agree with you that imposition by force is useless. This is why I am personally against the idea of a Christian political party. But once you start using value judgements like "harm" I think you undermine yourself. That is a moral judgement.

Anyway, just look at that toothless tiger, the United Nations, if you want to see where concensus will get you. They spend their whole time arguing the toss and often fail to act ... just look at the wonderful example from Rwanda from a few years ago.

The fact that you choose NOT to use an external measuring stick for deciding your views is valid. I defend your right to take that point of view. Its just as valid as my decision to use one, no more, no less.

I will not force you to use my yardstick ... but neither do you have any right to force me to abandon mine.

Now if there's more people that think like me at some particular point of history in some particular location ... that's tough for you isn't it? That was my whole point some dozens of posts ago, that at this point in time people seem to be voting a certain way.

Its just bad luck for me if "my group" is in the minority. Christians have often been on the wrong end of persecution over the centuries. We expect it. Its part of being who we are. There's plenty of other groups in the community who feel the same way (e.g. African Americans in the USA, indigenous Australians, etc).

The problem for the persecutors is this: The more you try to suppress something the more it will prosper and spring up in new and unexpected ways.

All groups ought to realise that and seek to "get along". So perhaps, in that at least, we agree.

Spiny Norman
13-11-2004, 08:14 AM
If you're talking about banning things just because they may have what one group considers an "undesirable" influence on some portion of people, then you should start by banning the Bible.

There's plenty of countries that have tried that ... it doesn't work. There's plenty of philosophers that have predicted the demise of Christianity. That didn't happen either.

Tell me though: What possible reason would you have for suggesting such a thing?

Try to answer that question without being moral. :eek:

Recherché
13-11-2004, 10:17 AM
Tell me though: What possible reason would you have for suggesting such a thing?

Well, I can't speak for Kevin, and (like Kevin), I don't actually support banning the Bible, however if I follow the sorts of reasoning that some Christians do when they seek to have gay marriage banned, or pornography, or whatever, I could say:

The Bible incites terrorism.
The Bible incites intolerance, hatred, and violence.
The Bible incites and condones discrimination and violence against women.
The Bible supports slavery.
The Bible encourages or supports many activities which are illegal or considered harmful in our society.

etc etc.

Recherché
13-11-2004, 10:24 AM
Its just bad luck for me if "my group" is in the minority. Christians have often been on the wrong end of persecution over the centuries. We expect it. Its part of being who we are. There's plenty of other groups in the community who feel the same way (e.g. African Americans in the USA, indigenous Australians, etc).

Do you understand the difference between persecution and saying "it's NOT OK for Christian morality or religious law to be incorporated into our legal and political system"?

Do you understand that the principle of the separation of religion and state isn't an attack on religion? In fact it's good for religion, overall. It prevents one religion from having dominance over everything.

Garvinator
13-11-2004, 11:14 AM
Well, I can't speak for Kevin, and (like Kevin), I don't actually support banning the Bible, however if I follow the sorts of reasoning that some Christians do when they seek to have gay marriage banned, or pornography, or whatever, I could say:

The Bible incites terrorism.
The Bible incites intolerance, hatred, and violence.
The Bible incites and condones discrimination and violence against women.
The Bible supports slavery.
The Bible encourages or supports many activities which are illegal or considered harmful in our society.

etc etc.
i have never read the bible, but I have heard that one of the main reasons that 'holy wars' dont have any real legitimacy with academics etc is that the bible/koran etc does not say that killing others is ok. The Bible/koran etc preaches tolerance and understanding for others and to be considerate of everyones differences.

Recherché
13-11-2004, 11:53 AM
i have never read the bible, but I have heard that one of the main reasons that 'holy wars' dont have any real legitimacy with academics etc is that the bible/koran etc does not say that killing others is ok. The Bible/koran etc preaches tolerance and understanding for others and to be considerate of everyones differences.

The Catholic church seemed to think the Bible had more than enough justification in it for the Crusades.

I know a proper reading of the Bible or the Koran in the spirit of its overall message, and especially combined with a modern perspective on interpretation doesn't condone ANY of that stuff I mentioned.

Nevertheless, a literal interpretation of parts of the Bible can. Moreover, there are people who have done all those things quoting chapter and verse from the bible as explicit justification for them.

As I said, I'm not in favour of banning things in general, and I'm certainly not in favour of banning the Bible, but it's much easier to "prove" the Bible is doing harm to people and society than things like gay marriage, or even pornography (a favorite target for banning by conservative Christians).

Garvinator
13-11-2004, 12:04 PM
The Catholic church seemed to think the Bible had more than enough justification in it for the Crusades.

I know a proper reading of the Bible or the Koran in the spirit of its overall message, and especially combined with a modern perspective on interpretation doesn't condone ANY of that stuff I mentioned.

Nevertheless, a literal interpretation of parts of the Bible can. Moreover, there are people who have done all those things quoting chapter and verse from the bible as explicit justification for them.

As I said, I'm not in favour of banning things in general, and I'm certainly not in favour of banning the Bible, but it's much easier to "prove" the Bible is doing harm to people and society than things like gay marriage, or even pornography (a favorite target for banning by conservative Christians).

i believe that most ppl use the bible/koran as justification because they just plainly want something they dont have ie the crusades/ honour killings etc. If the bible really did preach that killing is ok and fine that things should be banned, why are one of the ten commandments- thou shall not kill??

The bible is 'doing harm to ppl' because of other ppl beliefs of what is morally wrong. In the dark ages, hunting witches and using the water test was considered part of the bible and religious doctrine. It only took about two hundred years to disprove that :doh:

People also believed the earth was flat for a long time, some still do today.

My personal opinion is that the bible should be given no more weight of historical reason than alot of other books written long ago as all it really is is one persons accounts of so called historical events ie this person did this and he did it for this reason etc.

Recherché
13-11-2004, 12:52 PM
^ I'm not sure why you're arguing with me; we're in agreement.

I'm just explaining that if you use the sort of "logic" and arguments that conservative (not just fundamentalist) Christians use when trying to restrict/ban things/activities, it's much easier to make a case for the Bible being banned than almost anything that Christian conservatives are trying to ban.

By the way, the Bible has multiple authors. Even Christians don't dispute this, though the hardliners will say that ultimately the whole thing was written by god, through the authors.

Garvinator
13-11-2004, 12:54 PM
^ I'm not sure why you're arguing with me; we're in agreement.
cause i am working on my ability to argue with ppl who agree with me. ppl say that is hard to have an argument with someone who agrees with you, so im trying to improve that skill ;) :lol: :lol: jokes :D

Spiny Norman
13-11-2004, 01:27 PM
The Bible incites terrorism.
The Bible incites intolerance, hatred, and violence.
The Bible incites and condones discrimination and violence against women.
The Bible supports slavery.
The Bible encourages or supports many activities which are illegal or considered harmful in our society.

All of those are clearly false statements when one takes a dispassionate look at the Bible from a balanced point of view. On the contrary, it teaches me to love my fellow humans, to sacrifice the good of the one for the good of the many, to be generous on all occasions, to encourage people, to care for the sick, to obey those in leadership over us.

But I do understand the argument. Many terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity over the centuries. But I draw people's attention yet again to the point that the meaning of the word Christian originally meant someone who follows Christ and his teachings. Its pretty hard to find fault with the sorts of things he promoted.


Do you understand the difference between persecution and saying "it's NOT OK for Christian morality or religious law to be incorporated into our legal and political system"? Do you understand that the principle of the separation of religion and state isn't an attack on religion? In fact it's good for religion, overall. It prevents one religion from having dominance over everything.

Yes, yes, YES. I do, and I agree with the view that its great for Christians to be involved in politics (just like its great for ANYONE to be involved) but its not great if they expect everyone to behave as they do. Better by far that people should see the way a Christian lives their life and then wants to emulate that, than to have a Christian take a position of power in politics and DEMAND that people should emulate their way of life. That would be a terrible misunderstanding of what Christianity is all about. At no point did Jesus try to "take power" from the rulers of his country in either a political or military sense. He simply "go on with it" and allowed people to follow him. That's how I see it anyway.


The Bible/koran etc preaches tolerance and understanding for others and to be considerate of everyones differences.

Quite right too. I think you'll find the vast majority of Christians and Muslims agree with that. Its only the lunatic fringe that cause the problems and incite hatreds (egged on by the media of course, since they're always looking for someone who'll say something controversial and give them a 7-second sound bite for the evening news).


I'm just explaining that if you use the sort of "logic" and arguments that conservative (not just fundamentalist) Christians use when trying to restrict/ban things/activities, it's much easier to make a case for the Bible being banned than almost anything that Christian conservatives are trying to ban.

Only if you take the view that "your morality" is more important, or more right, than a Christian's morality. Otherwise why would it matter? To the Christian it matters a lot, because they believe that there is an objective standard to live up to.

Which is why I was curious to know on what grounds people make their moral decisions. Most Christians know why. Many non-Christians have probably never even thought about it. They are the product of their environment and what their parents/peers have told them is correct.

Rincewind
13-11-2004, 01:39 PM
All of those are clearly false statements when one takes a dispassionate look at the Bible from a balanced point of view.

Maybe that is your dispassionate and balanced view. Someone else may reach entirely the opposite conclusion and I think you would have a hard time to show that one interpretation is any more valid than another. The end of the day the bible can be used to justify anything and if people are taught to believe what they read in the bible as unquentionable truth then it will continue to always be the case.

Education used to be about teaching people to think. Now it seems it is little more than a glorified job skilling program.

Garvinator
13-11-2004, 01:41 PM
Education used to be about teaching people to think. Now it seems it is little more than a glorified job skilling program.
and to push a fashionable doctrine that is convenient at the time.

Goughfather
13-11-2004, 05:07 PM
The Bible incites terrorism.
The Bible incites intolerance, hatred, and violence.
The Bible incites and condones discrimination and violence against women.
The Bible supports slavery.
The Bible encourages or supports many activities which are illegal or considered harmful in our society.

If Kevin had written this post, I would have accused him of trolling. Seeing that you wrote it, however, I'll simply write it off as ignorance.

If you're going to make these claims, at least have the integrity to quote the relevant passages, explaining why these passages should be interpreted as espousing an eternal application.

Regards,
Goughfather

Garvinator
13-11-2004, 05:12 PM
If Kevin had written this post, I would have accused him of trolling. Seeing that you wrote it, however, I'll simply write it off as ignorance.

If you're going to make these claims, at least have the integrity to quote the relevant passages, explaining why these passages should be interpreted as espousing an eternal application.

Regards,
Goughfather
i think the other posters put those claims to the sword in other replies :)

Recherché
13-11-2004, 08:58 PM
If Kevin had written this post, I would have accused him of trolling. Seeing that you wrote it, however, I'll simply write it off as ignorance.

If you're going to make these claims, at least have the integrity to quote the relevant passages, explaining why these passages should be interpreted as espousing an eternal application.

Regards,
Goughfather

Actually, I didn't make any of those claims. Perhaps you should take the time to read my posts carefully and understand them before you go off half-cocked.

This part at least should have made my views clear:


I know a proper reading of the Bible or the Koran in the spirit of its overall message, and especially combined with a modern perspective on interpretation doesn't condone ANY of that stuff I mentioned.

Recherché
13-11-2004, 09:22 PM
All of those are clearly false statements when one takes a dispassionate look at the Bible from a balanced point of view. On the contrary, it teaches me to love my fellow humans, to sacrifice the good of the one for the good of the many, to be generous on all occasions, to encourage people, to care for the sick, to obey those in leadership over us.

I agree. Though I'm not sure that I'd agree that "a dispassionate look at the Bible from a balanced point of view" is the practise of the majority of church-going Christians. I say church-going, because a lot of people call themselves Christian, but neither read the Bible nor go to church, nor really practise Christianity in any way other than marriage and funeral services, and perhaps christening. Those sorts of people can't really be included because they're not really interpreting the Bible at all, except in the loosest "what I pick up from what people say on TV" sense.


But I draw people's attention yet again to the point that the meaning of the word Christian originally meant someone who follows Christ and his teachings. Its pretty hard to find fault with the sorts of things he promoted.

Yes, it is. I do find some fault with his teachings, mostly in that I believe we should make an effort to enjoy life and its pleasures (I do not believe in any sort of afterlife in the traditional sense).

Personally I'd feel a lot happier about the influence of Christianity on our community if I thought that all or even most of the people who call themselves Christians made an effort to follow the teachings of Christ. Same goes for Judaism, Islam, and even Buddhism for that matter.


Better by far that people should see the way a Christian lives their life and then wants to emulate that, than to have a Christian take a position of power in politics and DEMAND that people should emulate their way of life. That would be a terrible misunderstanding of what Christianity is all about. At no point did Jesus try to "take power" from the rulers of his country in either a political or military sense. He simply "go on with it" and allowed people to follow him. That's how I see it anyway.

That's how I wished everyone saw it. :)


Only if you take the view that "your morality" is more important, or more right, than a Christian's morality. Otherwise why would it matter?

What I meant was, in order to prove that, for example, gay marriage causes harm to the community, you actually have to find some evidence that it really does have some kind of effect on the rate/success of Christian marriages (which, incidentally, it doesn't), or that it really did encourage people to somehow "become" gay (which is ridiculous), etc.

Whereas to claim the Bible causes harm, all you have to do is stand there and point to the dubious passages in it (hello, Leviticus), and then to the people who are uses those passages as justification for doing unpleasant things.

The Bible is a much easier target.

On a slightly related note, isn't Leviticus some kind of code of behaviour for israelite priests that Christians aren't even necessarily supposed to follow?

I find theology and the interpretation of religious texts quite fascinating, though I've yet to have to opportunity to explore it with any kind of depth. Also, problem is, it's interesting, but not compelling, because I'm not at all religious myself, so it's just an intellectual exercise rather than a search for truth or understanding.


Which is why I was curious to know on what grounds people make their moral decisions. Most Christians know why. Many non-Christians have probably never even thought about it. They are the product of their environment and what their parents/peers have told them is correct.

I think almost all self-identified Christians are the product of their environment and parents/peers just as much as anyone else. The number who have actually taken time to read and interpret the Bible as their moral compass wouldn't be very high. I'd be surprised if it topped 5%.

Personally I spend a lot of time thinking about morality, and the grounds on which to make my decisions. However, again, I don't think I'm typical of athiests (which I suppose is the most accurate label for me) in this regard, and again, I'd be surprised if the numbers topped 5%.

Spiny Norman
14-11-2004, 07:27 AM
Yes, it is. I do find some fault with his teachings, mostly in that I believe we should make an effort to enjoy life and its pleasures (I do not believe in any sort of afterlife in the traditional sense).

Its a very common misunderstanding that Christianity, in the teachings of Christ sense, is all about NOT doing things. Not having fun, not drinking, not smoking, not having sex unless you're married, not doing anything remotely enjoyable.

On the contrary, the teachings of Jesus and his disciples say much more about things that one should be doing. Jesus himself said "I come to bring life, and life more abundantly". I don't think he was talking about some wishy-washy spiritual plane where you "felt good on the inside" but you shuffled about in a threadbare cardigan, complaining about the weather most of the time, and with a face that looks like you've been sucking lemons.


What I meant was, in order to prove that, for example, gay marriage causes harm to the community, you actually have to find some evidence that it really does have some kind of effect on the rate/success of Christian marriages (which, incidentally, it doesn't), or that it really did encourage people to somehow "become" gay (which is ridiculous), etc.

The difference is that from my position I don't have to prove that a particular act causes harm. That is a criteria that you are placing upon me because that suits your particular standpoint.

If the Bible taught me that a particular action was wrong then I wouldn't do that particular thing. I don't feel any particular need to prove that it is harmful, to me or others, its just "verbotten".

Now what happens when someone else wants to to that? I don't participate myself, because I believe it to be wrong. Do I stop them from doing it? How? By passing a law? Probably not, we all know that approach doesn't work. I'd rather live an excellent life and demonstrate a better way.

Do I castigate that person and tell them they're a "dirty rotten sinner"? Absolutely not. Jesus clearly taught to "love the sinner, hate the sin". His encounter with the woman who was about to be stoned for being caught in the act of adultery is particularly useful as a demonstration of this teaching.

The religious leaders (!) were accusing her and getting ready to kill her. They looked to Jesus for a response, hoping to trap him and kill two birds with one stone. :) "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone" he said, then started writing in the dust with his finger. We don't know to this day what it was he wrote, but gradually all the accusers melted away and only the woman was left standing there. Perhaps he was writing out a list of their "crimes". When they had left he asked her "Where are your accusers". "They're gone" she said. "Well neither do I accuse you" Jesus said, "go and sin no more".

If more of "us Christians" could get our heads around that the world would be a better place and the church would be a revolutionary force in Western society instead of being the butt of peoples jokes.


On a slightly related note, isn't Leviticus some kind of code of behaviour for israelite priests that Christians aren't even necessarily supposed to follow?

Most see it that way, yes. Jesus claimed to have come to "fulfil the law". Not to do away with it, but rather to provide a point of focus and conclusion. Jesus' disciples taught about the "old covenant" and the "new covenant".

The old covenant was all the rules and regulations, not eating meat with blood in it, observing the Sabbath day, etc etc. That's all the stuff that practising Jews still do to this day, supplemented by a host of additional "regulations" that have nothing to do with Scripture.

The new covenent is summed up in one beautiful word: grace

If anyone wants to know what Christianity is when you boil it all down, its grace. That's what sets us apart from other religions. They have their rules and regulations about what it is that you have to do to please God. Christianity basically says "You know what, its impossible to please God because He is perfect and people aren't". Grace allows me to stand before God knowing that I don't measure up to His standard, not even close.

Anyway, I've rabbited on enough for this morning. I'm off to church ... I play guitar ... not wishy-washy acoustic guitar either (no offence meant to acoustic guitarists reading this!) ... a Fender American Strat Plus with a Marshall amp. Gotta love that crunch!

Rincewind
14-11-2004, 10:04 AM
Christianity basically says "You know what, its impossible to please God because He is perfect and people aren't". Grace allows me to stand before God knowing that I don't measure up to His standard, not even close.

I find this statement very curious - "it is impossible to please God". Surely God knows that man is imperfect. After all it was God who made man imperfect. Had he wanted to, I assume he COULD have made man perfect. However, for reasons unknown he didn't.

Anyway, so if God made man imperfect, why would he be displeased by our imperfection? After all, isn't pleasure just a question of managing expectation? If God has no expectation of man's perfection, then our foibles should not make him cringe.

jay_vee
14-11-2004, 11:03 AM
Had he wanted to, I assume he COULD have made man perfect. However, for reasons unknown he didn't.


He didn't because that would reveal god's imperfection:

If god was perfect and omnipotent he could create another perfect omnipotent being. Now if one of the two omnipotent beings wanted to destroy the other one, against its resistance, only one could succeed. Thus, one of the two was not omnipotent. It follows that god can not be omnipotent.

Thus from his perspective, it's best not to have other perfect beings around.

:cool:

Cat
14-11-2004, 04:57 PM
The onus is on them to prove it. They have to demonstrate harm to nonconsenting individuals that is actual rather than just a product of that person feeling harmed because of their own prejudices. Given the choice, I would have far greater trust in the ability of the courts than the politicians to look at an issue like this based on the evidence and get it right, so I would be very happy to have explicit anti-paternalism provisions in the Constitution.

You've got your shoes on the wrong feet, KB. If society is hostile to gaye marriage and individuals want this to be legislated then the onus is on them to show why this would benefit society. In the USA the left footers are seeking conjugal union not only for legislative protection but also for social benefit (ie payment and tax benefits). Now if they think this is a just case, they deserve special treatment, then they must demonstrate why society should make those social, legal and financial consessions.


"Unwholesome" is not necessarily objectively harmful. :P

No, but again the onus is on them wishing to invoke change, not the majority seeking to maintain the status quo.



If you're talking about banning things just because they may have what one group considers an "undesirable" influence on some portion of people, then you should start by banning the Bible.

No one mentioned banning anything, its a matter of individuals seeking special consessions and their responsibilty to justify their case. It's not been well made.


I don't expect my ideas to gain acceptance, I just expect them to be irrefutable. :lol:

That's why Homo Bonhomus faces extinction, an inabilty to adapt to ones environment.

Cat
14-11-2004, 05:07 PM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]You're not understanding my point any better than he is. The point is nothing to do with morality, which is a private affair that is no business of an elected government. The point is about whether actions genuinely harm third parties in a way the state needs to be involved in or not.

Thats not enough to justify change when the majority are philosophically opposed to that change. There is no political mandate to support change in the present legislature. Your agruments are floundering.


I don't have one. I am proposing what I would like to become a consensus position that people of different faiths not impose their moral views by force upon others who are not willing yet are doing no actual harm. The measuring sticks people use in agreeing that this is a good idea are irrelevant, it is the idea and the agreement that is what counts.

Politically, culturally & philosophically ours is a Christian legacy. Your morality is bound by social convention as long as you interact with that society. You're adherence to an amoral, anarchistic, anachronistic mantra positions you as a pariah, you are unclean.

Cat
14-11-2004, 05:12 PM
Maybe that is your dispassionate and balanced view. Someone else may reach entirely the opposite conclusion and I think you would have a hard time to show that one interpretation is any more valid than another. The end of the day the bible can be used to justify anything and if people are taught to believe what they read in the bible as unquentionable truth then it will continue to always be the case.

Education used to be about teaching people to think. Now it seems it is little more than a glorified job skilling program.

Yes, this is true and it distinguishes fundamentalism from main-stream traditional Christian philosophy.

Cat
14-11-2004, 05:20 PM
[QUOTE=Recherché]

What I meant was, in order to prove that, for example, gay marriage causes harm to the community, you actually have to find some evidence that it really does have some kind of effect on the rate/success of Christian marriages (which, incidentally, it doesn't), or that it really did encourage people to somehow "become" gay (which is ridiculous), etc.

And how do we know it doesn't? Shall we wait until this proud nation of ours is turned into a nation of left footers before we act to obliterate this abomination?


Whereas to claim the Bible causes harm, all you have to do is stand there and point to the dubious passages in it (hello, Leviticus), and then to the people who are uses those passages as justification for doing unpleasant things.

The Bible is a much easier target.

One should always read the bible cogniscent of it's historical and symbolic context, otherwise interpretation is of little value.



I find theology and the interpretation of religious texts quite fascinating, though I've yet to have to opportunity to explore it with any kind of depth. Also, problem is, it's interesting, but not compelling, because I'm not at all religious myself, so it's just an intellectual exercise rather than a search for truth or understanding.

Now that has never done anyone any harm.

Garvinator
14-11-2004, 05:26 PM
And how do we now it doesn't? Shall we wait until this proud nation of ours is turned into a nation of left footers before we act to obliterate this abomination?
what would you do if one of your children is gay?

Cat
14-11-2004, 08:24 PM
what would you do if one of your children is gay?

What's that got to do with being left footed?

Recherché
14-11-2004, 08:30 PM
Its a very common misunderstanding that Christianity, in the teachings of Christ sense, is all about NOT doing things. Not having fun, not drinking, not smoking, not having sex unless you're married, not doing anything remotely enjoyable.

That's just Catholicism eh? ;)

Even so, I always had the impression that Jesus took sort of a buddhist approach to worldly pleasures (be they food, sex, whatever), in that they generally obscured "higher" progress and fulfillment.


The difference is that from my position I don't have to prove that a particular act causes harm. That is a criteria that you are placing upon me because that suits your particular standpoint.

If the Bible taught me that a particular action was wrong then I wouldn't do that particular thing. I don't feel any particular need to prove that it is harmful, to me or others, its just "verbotten".

Nevertheless, the law of our society, and hopefully (though, alas, not always) also therefore the criteria for banning things, does require proof of harm. And it was the banning/restriction of things I was talking about.

How do you decide which of the prohibitions of the Bible are part of what the Bible is "teaching" you, and which aren't?

Personally I think that's the ultimate flaw in following any religious text as your moral base. If you have nothing outside that text on which to base your judgements about which interpretations are worth following, then you're stuck with either literal interpretation, or following the interpretations some other person had laid out for you.


If more of "us Christians" could get our heads around that the world would be a better place and the church would be a revolutionary force in Western society instead of being the butt of peoples jokes.

I think there's more to it than that. I think the cake is baked, and religion can never return to its "glory days". Of course, it probably won't ever disappear, either.


Christianity basically says "You know what, its impossible to please God because He is perfect and people aren't". Grace allows me to stand before God knowing that I don't measure up to His standard, not even close.

That's a really big thing in - well, I don't know the word for it - lets call it "new" Christianity. Evangelical perhaps? Pentacostalist? I'm not sure. Anyway, I think you probably know what I mean.

I've never quite understood the point. I mean sure, unconditional love is nice, and comforting, and it's even nicer if it's supposed to be coming from an all-powerful entity - but what comes next? How does that connect to anything you do? How does that connect to morality? How does it help you decide right and wrong, and why does it encourage you to even think about what they might be?

It's the "selling point" of Christianity for a lot of people. I just don't see how it links up at all with things like "homosexuality is wrong", or anything else like that.

Garvinator
14-11-2004, 08:48 PM
And how do we know it doesn't? Shall we wait until this proud nation of ours is turned into a nation of left footers before we act to obliterate this abomination?


What's that got to do with being left footed?

The reason I asked is that I am wondering would you be so forthright and righteous if it was to involve your own family instead of some abstract concept involving others.

Rincewind
14-11-2004, 09:12 PM
That's just Catholicism eh? ;)

Some of the most hedonistic people I know are catholics - and that's just the priests. ;)

Recherché
14-11-2004, 09:47 PM
Some of the most hedonistic people I know are catholics - and that's just the priests. ;)

Well, there's what people preach, and then there's the practise. :P

Cat
14-11-2004, 11:11 PM
[QUOTE=Recherché]That's just Catholicism eh? ;)


Nevertheless, the law of our society, and hopefully (though, alas, not always) also therefore the criteria for banning things, does require proof of harm. And it was the banning/restriction of things I was talking about.

How do you decide which of the prohibitions of the Bible are part of what the Bible is "teaching" you, and which aren't?

Personally I think that's the ultimate flaw in following any religious text as your moral base. If you have nothing outside that text on which to base your judgements about which interpretations are worth following, then you're stuck with either literal interpretation, or following the interpretations some other person had laid out for you.


Personally I think that's the ultimate flaw in deriding any religious text as being innately inferior to your own moral base. If you have no knowledge about that text on which to base your judgements, then you're stuck with either literal interpretation, or following the interpretations some other person had laid out for you.


I've never quite understood the point. I mean sure, unconditional love is nice, and comforting, and it's even nicer if it's supposed to be coming from an all-powerful entity - but what comes next? How does that connect to anything you do? How does that connect to morality? How does it help you decide right and wrong, and why does it encourage you to even think about what they might be?

And I guess you never will see the point when it's clear you have little more than a superficial understanding. From a pagoda the world is so tiny!

Cat
14-11-2004, 11:17 PM
The reason I asked is that I am wondering would you be so forthright and righteous if it was to involve your own family instead of some abstract concept involving others.

There are no queer genes in our family that I know of. I guess I'd treat them as if they had leprosy, or maybe some physical handicap, maybe I'd treat them as if they were religious, or maybe an atheist, or maybe not.

Spiny Norman
15-11-2004, 06:24 AM
I find this statement very curious - "it is impossible to please God". Surely God knows that man is imperfect. After all it was God who made man imperfect. Had he wanted to, I assume he COULD have made man perfect. However, for reasons unknown he didn't.

Anyway, so if God made man imperfect, why would he be displeased by our imperfection? After all, isn't pleasure just a question of managing expectation? If God has no expectation of man's perfection, then our foibles should not make him cringe.

The Bible actually says that the first of mankind (lets call them Adam and Eve for convenience) were perfect.

It was when another being who was clearly not perfect (lets call him "the Devil") interfered in what God was doing that mankind fell out of its perfect state and started going wrong (that's what Christians call "sin").

The whole story of the Bible is how God has sought to win mankind back without forcing him back. None of us want to be robots, so I'm personally quite happy that He isn't forcing me to do or to be anything.

Then there's the statement in Scripture: Without faith its impossible to please God ... with the implication being that with faith it is possible to please Him.

Faith is the "way out" from the imperfection situation.

Its also worth noting that the story of the New Testament is about how "God became man" in the person of Jesus, and thus He is completely conversant with and able to understand our limitations.

Rincewind
15-11-2004, 06:38 AM
The Bible actually says that the first of mankind (lets call them Adam and Eve for convenience) were perfect.

It was when another being who was clearly not perfect (lets call him "the Devil") interfered in what God was doing that mankind fell out of its perfect state and started going wrong (that's what Christians call "sin").

So did God make the Devil? Or is he a being that existing outside of creation? If Adam and Eve truely were perfect how did the Fall of Man occur? Surely perfect beings would not have been tempted to eat from the tree of knowledge, unless they were altered somehow in their makeup by the devil. Just talking to them would have been insufficient for truely perfect beings.


Then there's the statement in Scripture: Without faith its impossible to please God ... with the implication being that with faith it is possible to please Him.

Faith is the "way out" from the imperfection situation.

So now you are saying it is possible to please God, is that right?

Spiny Norman
15-11-2004, 06:42 AM
Even so, I always had the impression that Jesus took sort of a buddhist approach to worldly pleasures (be they food, sex, whatever), in that they generally obscured "higher" progress and fulfillment.

I think your impressions are perhaps misplaced. He did a pretty good job of keeping parties going (turning water into wine). He clearly enjoyed eating and drinking with us sinners (that was one of the main accusations that the religious establishment threw at him repeatedly).

Then again, fasting probably would have been a part of his life, so it wasn't all steak and red wine. :)


Nevertheless, the law of our society, and hopefully (though, alas, not always) also therefore the criteria for banning things, does require proof of harm. And it was the banning/restriction of things I was talking about.

But again, you're talking about the law of society. I don't think Christians have any business banning things ... other than if they act as individuals and as part of that society and to help the community form a concensus view that something ought to be banned. That's quite a different proposition from what I'm saying. If my chosen set of beliefs tells me that I should fast for a month once a year (e.g. the Islamic Ramadan time) then that's great ... but in a secular society they have no business telling everyone that they ought to do it too and legislate to that effect. Similarly, if my religion says that a certain type of sexual activity is not allowed, then its not allowed. But I cannot realistically expect someone who doesn't believe the way I do to take the same view.


How do you decide which of the prohibitions of the Bible are part of what the Bible is "teaching" you, and which aren't?

I take the general view that all of it is relevent. That makes me a fundamentalist in many people's eyes I guess. Then I take into account that the old Jewish law was fulfilled in the life of Jesus (which is what he taught). So no longer is that old law master over me. I am "under grace". This gives me much more freedom ... and much more personal responsibility.


Personally I think that's the ultimate flaw in following any religious text as your moral base. If you have nothing outside that text on which to base your judgements about which interpretations are worth following, then you're stuck with either literal interpretation, or following the interpretations some other person had laid out for you.

Jesus once said that there are really only two commandments that matter:

1) Love God with your whole heart; and
2) Love your neighbour

Pretty damn simple really. Those are the two rules I apply when working out whether something is or is not good. If you go too much beyond those things you get tied up into knots, I agree.


That's a really big thing in - well, I don't know the word for it - lets call it "new" Christianity. Evangelical perhaps? Pentacostalist? I'm not sure. Anyway, I think you probably know what I mean.

I've never quite understood the point. I mean sure, unconditional love is nice, and comforting, and it's even nicer if it's supposed to be coming from an all-powerful entity - but what comes next? How does that connect to anything you do? How does that connect to morality? How does it help you decide right and wrong, and why does it encourage you to even think about what they might be?

It's the "selling point" of Christianity for a lot of people. I just don't see how it links up at all with things like "homosexuality is wrong", or anything else like that.

I don't profess to have answers for many of those questions ... I think they're things that you're going to have to work through for yourself.

Spiny Norman
15-11-2004, 06:52 AM
So did God make the Devil? Or is he a being that existing outside of creation? If Adam and Eve truely were perfect how did the Fall of Man occur? Surely perfect beings would not have been tempted to eat from the tree of knowledge, unless they were altered somehow in their makeup by the devil. Just talking to them would have been insufficient for truely perfect beings.

Scripture indicates that the Devil might be a fallen angel ... that is, a created being who also had freedom of choice, chose badly, taking about 1/3 of the other angels with him when he was tossed out of heaven. But I'm not a theologian and have never been to Bible college, so I stand to be corrected.


So now you are saying it is possible to please God, is that right?

Yep. Annoying isn't it! Faith is the bridge that makes it possible. I know that my very best efforts, all the really, really good things I've done in my life, they're not even close to good enough when compared with the standard of perfection.

That really annoys some people. But this is what Jesus taught. Lots of people are going to complain to God that "Hey, I did this for you, and I did that for you" and he will reply "Get away from me, I never knew you".

James put it best in the New Testament. He talked about faith vs works. Some say they have faith. Others try and reach God through "good deeds". On their own they're pretty feeble and don't cut it ... but together they are a powerful force. He said "I will show you my faith by what I do". That's why Christians have been such a powerful force in social work for many hundreds of years (e.g. the Salvos, etc).

Rincewind
15-11-2004, 07:20 AM
Scripture indicates that the Devil might be a fallen angel ... that is, a created being who also had freedom of choice, chose badly, taking about 1/3 of the other angels with him when he was tossed out of heaven. But I'm not a theologian and have never been to Bible college, so I stand to be corrected.

So god created them with free choice. Did he have an idea that about 1 in 3 was going to "turn" bad? (Then also pervert man.)


Yep. Annoying isn't it! Faith is the bridge that makes it possible. I know that my very best efforts, all the really, really good things I've done in my life, they're not even close to good enough when compared with the standard of perfection.

Just annoying that you seem to have shifted from...


If anyone wants to know what Christianity is when you boil it all down, its grace. That's what sets us apart from other religions. They have their rules and regulations about what it is that you have to do to please God. Christianity basically says "You know what, its impossible to please God because He is perfect and people aren't". Grace allows me to stand before God knowing that I don't measure up to His standard, not even close.

arosar
15-11-2004, 08:09 AM
I play guitar ... not wishy-washy acoustic guitar either . . .

You can talk religion all you want. Say bad things about other people. Denounce other faiths. But that has got to be the single most offensive thing anyone said over the weekend.

You ought to be excommunicated!

AR

antichrist
15-11-2004, 09:16 AM
[QUOTE=Barry Cox]So did God make the Devil? Or is he a being that existing outside of creation? If Adam and Eve truely were perfect how did the Fall of Man occur? Surely perfect beings would not have been tempted to eat from the tree of knowledge, unless they were altered somehow in their makeup by the devil.

I have come across some petty shifty serpents in my day, first they crawl (like Christians do to God) they they pounce (as Xians do on "sinners"). The Devil either evolved, meaning Christians have to accept evolution, or God made him/it/she evil, therefore an evil god. So take your pick. You can't always get what you want..

Recherché
15-11-2004, 09:17 AM
Personally I think that's the ultimate flaw in deriding any religious text as being innately inferior to your own moral base. If you have no knowledge about that text on which to base your judgements, then you're stuck with either literal interpretation, or following the interpretations some other person had laid out for you.

I haven't derided any religious text as being innately inferior to my own moral base.

However, I do believe that seeking moral guidance from many sources (and not just one text, be it the Bible, Koran, or Morality For Dummies) does give a person a better chance of having a balanced and fulfilling moral perspective on life.

A chance - that's all. And such a point of view must also acknowledge that it is difficult to compare and rank starkly different belief systems. Nevertheless, I believe there is an inherent strength in diversity. Call that my faith, if you like.

(Diversity works well for humanity in everything else, including evolution. Though if you're going to deny evolution we'll have very little common ground.)


And I guess you never will see the point when it's clear you have little more than a superficial understanding. From a pagoda the world is so tiny!

Presumably any non-Christian understanding that doesn't come from the perspective of a belief in some kind of God is going to seem ultimately "superficial" to any devout Christian.

My understanding of the Bible and Christianity may be limited, but it's better than the average.

Moreover, I'm trying to find out more (and not just about Christianity). To criticize someone for their ignorance when they are trying to learn is extremely counter-productive. Nobody is born all-knowing.

antichrist
15-11-2004, 09:20 AM
Frosty Quote: Scripture indicates that the Devil might be a fallen angel ... that is, a created being who also had freedom of choice, chose badly, taking about 1/3 of the other angels with him when he was tossed out of heaven. But I'm not a theologian and have never been to Bible college, so I stand to be corrected.

AC
What I find more disturbing is that the Bible says that the majority of people will go to hell. And God knowing this kept the same receipe, is He evil man.

Even Saddam did not condemn do many of his people or Pol Pot or any other mass murderer we know of.

Recherché
15-11-2004, 09:21 AM
There are no queer genes in our family that I know of.

If homosexuality is genetic (and there is very strong evidence to suggest that genetics is at least a component), then there isn't anyone in the population who isn't carrying genes which influence it.

antichrist
15-11-2004, 09:24 AM
You can talk religion all you want. Say bad things about other people. Denounce other faiths. But that has got to be the single most offensive thing anyone said over the weekend.

You ought to be excommunicated!

AR

I dispute that his is the most offensive quote for weekend. Surely I take the cake with the following from God Exists thread, and I did not even get a ruddy reponse to make it worthwhile paying my money:

That somebody should not have been given any bye for such a feeble reason (Sabbath). Imagine if everyone turned up with their superstitious reasons why they could not play on a certin day, comps would be thrown into dissray.

Fundantalist Jews could refuse to play female players or demand that declare if they are having their monthlies, as that would deem them unclean and unfit to mix with such puritans.

I wonder if Jewish fundamentalists obey traffic lights on the Sabbath, even as pedestrians or do they look the other way and get wiped out?? If they had true convictions they would put their faith to the test, knowing that if get slaughtered they would get to paradise.

I also wonder if they honour electronic sirens on the Sabbath warning of a terrorist attack, or would they delay launchng one of their nuke bombs on the Sabbath, or those in the army would not use electronic sensors or weapons on the Sabbath. No they abuse their Sabbath to avoid military call-up. Their fundamentalist religious arrogance is the straw they breaks the camel's back of the Palestinians, stealing so-called Biblical lands etc. and an apartheid/sectarian state. That is they cause a lot of trouble and then avoid the consequences by avoiding the military call up.

All fundamentalist religions contain contradictions and dysfunctionalism. As I half expect this post to be sent to hell I have also posted in Does God Exist thread.

P.S. If a comp went over middnight in ordinary and daily saving time and hence into the Sabbath would the Fundamentalist Jew then resign their game etc.. Would ordinary observnt Jews stop recording their moves or looking at the electronic clock.

Recherché
15-11-2004, 09:41 AM
But again, you're talking about the law of society. I don't think Christians have any business banning things ... other than if they act as individuals and as part of that society and to help the community form a concensus view that something ought to be banned. That's quite a different proposition from what I'm saying.

Yes, I know that. I agree with what you're saying - it's what I am arguing too. My arguments about why and how people might call for the Bible to be banned was somewhat separate to that.

If you look back to where I started talking about banning, it was in support of Kevin who said (in response to David R):

"If you're talking about banning things just because they may have what one group considers an "undesirable" influence on some portion of people, then you should start by banning the Bible."

I have been arguing that from that point of view, the Bible is a much easier target for banning under such logic than many of the things that some Christians are trying to ban.


Jesus once said that there are really only two commandments that matter:

1) Love God with your whole heart; and
2) Love your neighbour

Pretty damn simple really. Those are the two rules I apply when working out whether something is or is not good. If you go too much beyond those things you get tied up into knots, I agree.

OK, fair enough. Personally I stick to #2, with the addition of #3 "love life, and yourself". :)


I don't profess to have answers for many of those questions ... I think they're things that you're going to have to work through for yourself.

Well, that's the thing - I don't want to work through them for myself, and in addition to that I can't. I cannot reconcile myself with any concept of any ultimate being that cares about how we live our lives. "God" is, I suppose, as good a name as any for the entirely of everything that exists - personally I'm happy with "universe". And regardless of what label you choose, I don't believe the universe cares at all about us or what we do. I believe we should care, and I believe that's enough.

To "work through that for myself" would require that I embraced and followed Christianity. That's not what I want to do, and it's not something that's possible without some kind of religious faith. Religious faith isn't something you can just manufacture in yourself (and even if it was, I wouldn't want to try). It's something that you're raised with, or it's something that happens to you for whatever reason. I have faith, but in people, and in the meaning found in living life for its own sake.

I don't want to become a Christian, I just want to understand and learn about - insofar as it's possible - what Christians believe about the world and about what Christianity means, and why. And the same goes for the other religions.

Spiny Norman
15-11-2004, 08:44 PM
that has got to be the single most offensive thing anyone said over the weekend. You ought to be excommunicated!

Nah ... they're gonna promote me. Got a lot of compliments after the service, even from a few older folks who normally don't like all that amplified guitar noise! :owned:

Spiny Norman
15-11-2004, 09:03 PM
I don't want to become a Christian, I just want to understand and learn about - insofar as it's possible - what Christians believe about the world and about what Christianity means, and why. And the same goes for the other religions.

Fair 'nuff. There's a fair bit of variety to investigate in terms of "what Christians believe", so you'd have to restrict yourself to just core tenets of faith I reckon. Once you get into the peripheral stuff (e.g. different views on baptism, communion, that sort of thing) ... well, even those of us on the inside have a hard time coming up with a consistent view. :) Focus on just the New Testament books (Matthew - > Revelation) and the person and teachings of Jesus, because the Old Testament (Genesis -> Malachi) contains a lot of Jewish law and history and will likely bore you to tears before you get to the end of reading it. Perhaps even get yourself one of those red-letter Bibles that highlight the words of Jesus in red ink. Then you can ignore all the peripheral stuff that people said about him and just look at what he is reported to have claimed about himself. That's about as simple as I can make it I think.

Cat
15-11-2004, 11:53 PM
[QUOTE=Recherché]However, I do believe that seeking moral guidance from many sources (and not just one text, be it the Bible, Koran, or Morality For Dummies) does give a person a better chance of having a balanced and fulfilling moral perspective on life.

A chance - that's all. And such a point of view must also acknowledge that it is difficult to compare and rank starkly different belief systems. Nevertheless, I believe there is an inherent strength in diversity. Call that my faith, if you like.

(Diversity works well for humanity in everything else, including evolution. Though if you're going to deny evolution we'll have very little common ground.)

It is presumptious to assume the majority of Christians, no matter how that is defined, or indeed those of other religious backgrounds, slavishly and stoically devote themselves exclusively to their sacred texts. One perhaps would define a 'fundamentalist' in this way, but it is patronising and simplistic to caricature the body of human spirituality in this way.

Religion is a system of cultural expression and neither challenges nor invalidates scientific enquiry. Belief systems are innately illogical, but are nevertheless are sustaining and immensely valuable not only in the lives of individual, but more broadly in supporting social cohesion within urbanised societies. Urbanisation lead to intolerable inequities within societies, injustices that led to an endless cycle of bloodshed and war. Transportable religions arose out of this endless violence as an ameliorating influence.



My understanding of the Bible and Christianity may be limited, but it's better than the average.

Moreover, I'm trying to find out more (and not just about Christianity). To criticize someone for their ignorance when they are trying to learn is extremely counter-productive. Nobody is born all-knowing.

One can surely express one's opinions freely and confidently without any necessity to attempt to invalidate and ridicule the belief and behaviour of those to which one is not philosophically a kindred spirit? Why is my disparagement of Gay culture so objectionable to BB posters, when the blood sport of endless pillorying of worshipers as mindless simpletons creates so much frenetic energy and amusement? One could drown in the hypocrisy. Look across the mirror sonny, before you choose the side!

Garvinator
16-11-2004, 12:39 AM
One can surely express one's opinions freely and confidently without any necessity to attempt to invalidate and ridicule the belief and behaviour of those to which one is not philosophically a kindred spirit? Why is my disparagement of Gay culture so objectionable to BB posters, when the blood sport of endless pillorying of worshipers as mindless simpletons creates so much frenetic energy and amusement? One could drown in the hypocrisy. Look across the mirror sonny, before you choose the side!
In my opinion your disparagement of gay culture is so offensive because of its hypocrisy for a start. One of the main teachings of Jesus was to be tolerant to others and accept their differences, even if you dont believe in it for yourself.

Hence why the second part happens, because the bloodsport is founded on the knowledge of the complete hypocrisy of the argument being put forward by yourself.
Your response to my question about your children was offensive. I was wondering how hardline you really were regarding your beliefs and homophobic attitude :doh: It is your attitude and beliefs that stops the human race from moving forward ie bigotry, lack of tolerance, a belief that your morals and ethics is superior to others.

Why would a person choose to be homosexual? What I mean by 'homosexual' is a person who is only sexually attracted to members of their own sex. They dont attempt to get any favours from society for being in the minority. They dont attempt to draw attention to themselves by being in the minority.

A person who is truly homosexual is going to be subjected to discrimination, exclusion, bigotry, hate crimes and other disgraceful acts. So why would a person choose to be homosexual when this is their 'fate'?

Cat
16-11-2004, 08:53 AM
[QUOTE=ggrayggray]In my opinion your disparagement of gay culture is so offensive because of its hypocrisy for a start. One of the main teachings of Jesus was to be tolerant to others and accept their differences, even if you dont believe in it for yourself.

Of course it was, that's what I just wrote - it was deliberately hypocritical. You need to go back and re-read the thread. I was simply holding a mirror to your own hypocrisy, transferring religious intolerance to sexual intolerance.



Your response to my question about your children was offensive. I was wondering how hardline you really were regarding your beliefs and homophobic attitude :doh: It is your attitude and beliefs that stops the human race from moving forward ie bigotry, lack of tolerance, a belief that your morals and ethics is superior to others.

I would treat them as handicapped or as if they had leprosy, if they were religious, or if they were atheist - in other words, it doesn't matter. A parent accepts their child the way they are, unconditional love - all one sees is beauty. It was your own bigotry & lack of understanding that drove you to the assumption that what I wrote was being offensive.

Recherché
16-11-2004, 10:48 AM
It is presumptious to assume the majority of Christians, no matter how that is defined, or indeed those of other religious backgrounds, slavishly and stoically devote themselves exclusively to their sacred texts.

I never suggested anything like that. You are not following the thread of the discussion, and you are reading things into my posts that I simply have not written.

The comment you quoted was in direct response to your comment about religious texts and their comparison to my personal moral base. It wasn't referring to anything else some or most Christians might incorporate into their belief systems, or their tendency or lack thereof to follow the Bible exclusive of all other sources of moral ideas.


Religion is a system of cultural expression and neither challenges nor invalidates scientific enquiry.

That's not entirely true. Religion doesn't challenge science on its own terms, but when it controls or has influence over society, it also influences scientific research or the lack thereof. Take, for example, the current debate over stem cells. Religion has a big hand in that. And if we go a little further back we can take a look at what happened to Gallileo.


Urbanisation lead to intolerable inequities within societies, injustices that led to an endless cycle of bloodshed and war. Transportable religions arose out of this endless violence as an ameliorating influence.

Injustices, bloodshed, war, and religion all long predate urbanisation. Urbanisation has minimised them all, if anything. The technology urbanisation has helped create has, of course, made wars "bigger".

I'm not sure what you mean by "transportable religions".


One can surely express one's opinions freely and confidently without any necessity to attempt to invalidate and ridicule the belief and behaviour of those to which one is not philosophically a kindred spirit?

Perhaps you'd care to quote some passages where you feel I have "ridiculed the belief and behaviour" of others?

If you're going to throw these claims about you should back them up with some evidence.

Recherché
16-11-2004, 10:53 AM
religious intolerance

Being tolerant of religion isn't about not criticising it where you feel it has flaws.

Recherché
16-11-2004, 10:55 AM
A parent accepts their child the way they are, unconditional love - all one sees is beauty.

That's not true for all parents. I don't even think it's true for most parents.

Cat
16-11-2004, 11:42 AM
[QUOTE=Recherché]I never suggested anything like that. You are not following the thread of the discussion, and you are reading things into my posts that I simply have not written.

The comment you quoted was in direct response to your comment about religious texts and their comparison to my personal moral base. It wasn't referring to anything else some or most Christians might incorporate into their belief systems, or their tendency or lack thereof to follow the Bible exclusive of all other sources of moral ideas.

Ok, then we can agree that an individual's ability to reason and enquire is not dependant on whether the individual has spiritual belief (other than the fundamentalist) and to colour one's language to caricature the spiritually inclined as unthinking, unreasoning, or soft in some way is no less bigoted than overt homophobia, or any other expression of prejudice.



That's not entirely true. Religion doesn't challenge science on its own terms, but when it controls or has influence over society, it also influences scientific research or the lack thereof. Take, for example, the current debate over stem cells. Religion has a big hand in that. And if we go a little further back we can take a look at what happened to Gallileo.

There is no absolute here, good or bad. Gallileo and Capernicus' benefited in their discoveries from libraries maintained by the monastic orders. The Universities where they studied were established by monks. Literacy has spread through the world in association with the transportable religions. Priests, monks and the clergy kept virtually all avialable writings and were the main teachers for centuries.


Injustices, bloodshed, war, and religion all long predate urbanisation. Urbanisation has minimised them all, if anything. The technology urbanisation has helped create has, of course, made wars "bigger".

Urbanisation began over 3000 years ago. These are not my personalised views, these are the views of established & pre eminent historians, I'm simply paraphrasing.


I'm not sure what you mean by "transportable religions".

Yes I know

Cat
16-11-2004, 11:45 AM
Perhaps you'd care to quote some passages where you feel I have "ridiculed the belief and behaviour" of others?

If you're going to throw these claims about you should back them up with some evidence.

That's not entirely true. Religion doesn't challenge science on its own terms, but when it controls or has influence over society, it also influences scientific research or the lack thereof. Take, for example, the current debate over stem cells. Religion has a big hand in that. And if we go a little further back we can take a look at what happened to Gallileo.



.

It's not an entirely flattering opinion, is it? A little onesided perhaps?

Recherché
16-11-2004, 12:07 PM
It's not an entirely flattering opinion, is it? A little onesided perhaps?

Which opinion? That religion (or at least, the organised political structure of it) has tried to restrict or impede science? That's not opinion, that's fact.

(That isn't saying that religion has never helped science, if you're inclined to erroneously read that into what I have written.)

Recherché
16-11-2004, 12:23 PM
Ok, then we can agree that an individual's ability to reason and enquire is not dependant on whether the individual has spiritual belief (other than the fundamentalist) and to colour one's language to caricature the spiritually inclined as unthinking, unreasoning, or soft in some way is no less bigoted than overt homophobia, or any other expression of prejudice.

Yes, we can. However I would not agree that I've been doing that. Also I think it's important to consider violence when you're talking about prejudice. Caricaturing someone as unthinking for being religious (while unnacceptable) is not as severe as beating someone up for being black, or gay.


Urbanisation began over 3000 years ago. These are not my personalised views, these are the views of established & pre eminent historians, I'm simply paraphrasing.

Religion, bloodshed, war, and injustice have been around for more than 3000 years. Perhaps you could tell us which historians you were paraphrasing when you said:

"Urbanisation lead to intolerable inequities within societies, injustices that led to an endless cycle of bloodshed and war. Transportable religions arose out of this endless violence as an ameliorating influence."

(you also haven't said what you mean by "transportable religions")


Yes I know

So why not tell me what you mean? It's not a common phrase, I searched for it. It's obviously some kind of specific academic terminology. Rolling like a pig in the muck of "I know a word you don't know" is nothing but counter-productive.

Cat
16-11-2004, 05:08 PM
Yes, we can. However I would not agree that I've been doing that. Also I think it's important to consider violence when you're talking about prejudice. Caricaturing someone as unthinking for being religious (while unnacceptable) is not as severe as beating someone up for being black, or gay.



Religion, bloodshed, war, and injustice have been around for more than 3000 years. Perhaps you could tell us which historians you were paraphrasing when you said:

"Urbanisation lead to intolerable inequities within societies, injustices that led to an endless cycle of bloodshed and war. Transportable religions arose out of this endless violence as an ameliorating influence."

(you also haven't said what you mean by "transportable religions")



So why not tell me what you mean? It's not a common phrase, I searched for it. It's obviously some kind of specific academic terminology. Rolling like a pig in the muck of "I know a word you don't know" is nothing but counter-productive.

There are numerous texts available, but you could read 'The Human Web' by Profs McNeill & McNeill, or maybe 'A Short History of the World' by our own Prof Blainey.

'Transportable religions' are ones that can continue to be followed away from their local environment, such as Christianity, Islam or even some forms of Paganism. For example, Michael Palin (last week's show) visited an isolated community in Northern Pakistan which practiced a unique faith in which the souls of the dead were transported to a beautiful, white mountain distantly visible from the village. Obviously such a faith is only possible within that isolated environment.

Rincewind
16-11-2004, 07:33 PM
'Transportable religions' are ones that can continue to be followed away from their local environment, such as Christianity, Islam or even some forms of Paganism. For example, Michael Palin (last week's show) visited an isolated community in Northern Pakistan which practiced a unique faith in which the souls of the dead were transported to a beautiful, white mountain distantly visible from the village. Obviously such a faith is only possible within that isolated environment.

I accept your definition but not your example.

That cult could easily be practiced further a field. The problem was the followers didn't conquer any distant communities, subjugate them and force them to follow their religion (the way the christian colonialists did, for example).

By way of counterexample, the ancient Greek pantheon was worshopped throughout the Hellenic world, not just in the shadow of Mt Olympus.

So I contend religions are either transported or not depending on the military success of the community of their birth. No religion I can think of is intrinsically "untransportable".

Cat
16-11-2004, 08:27 PM
I accept your definition but not your example.

That cult could easily be practiced further a field. The problem was the followers didn't conquer any distant communities, subjugate them and force them to follow their religion (the way the christian colonialists did, for example).

By way of counterexample, the ancient Greek pantheon was worshopped throughout the Hellenic world, not just in the shadow of Mt Olympus.

So I contend religions are either transported or not depending on the military success of the community of their birth. No religion I can think of is intrinsically "untransportable".

True, but early religion simply lacked the substance to be easily transportable, and I agree with you entirely that religion followed military campaign. Thats not to say it wasn't an improvement on what went before, religion assisted greatly with pacification. For example, one could avoid slavery by converting to Islam . But wait, there's more! Opportunities for literacy and social appointment followed and of course immortality was a tremendous advertisement for Christianity.

Alan Shore
16-11-2004, 10:43 PM
But wait, there's more! Opportunities for literacy and social appointment followed and of course immortality was a tremendous advertisement for Christianity.

Not to mention fear of eternal damnation :confused:

arosar
21-01-2005, 10:35 AM
Check this out: http://www.jibjab.com/lowband/default.htm

AR

Alan Shore
21-01-2005, 11:16 AM
Check this out: http://www.jibjab.com/lowband/default.htm

AR

Hehe cool.. pity I can't watch until my connection is fixed but I loved the original one they did 'This Land' on the Pres. election