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  1. #16
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    If he (or anyone else) made a special effort to offend, rather than it being an unfortunate but necessary by-product of expressing one's personal beliefs, then yes, in my view, he would have acted in a morally reprehensible way.
    Seems we have uncovered a bit of a double standard here. Define what you mean by "necessary by-product of expressing one's personal beliefs".

    For example Luther's personal belief was the the Jewish people should be driven out of Germany then you would not consider it morally reprehensible to express his belief in the form of a book, Von den Jüden und iren Lügen, the reason for writing it was as follows...

    I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that these miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them.

    This seems to go beyond the expression of his beliefs. In the book itself Luther says...

    There is no other explanation for this than the one cited earlier from Moses — namely, that God has struck [the Jews] with 'madness and blindness and confusion of mind.' So we are even at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the blood of the children they have shed since then (which still shines forth from their eyes and their skin). We are at fault in not slaying them. Rather we allow them to live freely in our midst despite all their murdering, cursing, blaspheming, lying, and defaming; we protect and shield their synagogues, houses, life, and property. In this way we make them lazy and secure and encourage them to fleece us boldly of our money and goods, as well as to mock and deride us, with a view to finally overcoming us, killing us all for such a great sin, and robbing us of all our property (as they daily pray and hope). Now tell me whether they do not have every reason to be the enemies of us accursed Goyim, to curse us and to strive for our final, complete, and eternal ruin!

    So I ask again, was Martin Luther morally reprehensible by your definition above, or not?
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  2. #17
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    I think people should be allowed to say what they want about any religion/belief, as long as they dont encourage people to breach there rights.

    eg. saying people in religion y are evil and not to talk to them should be allowed, but saying they should be bashed or refused services should not be.

  3. #18
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CameronD
    I think people should be allowed to say what they want about any religion/belief, as long as they dont encourage people to breach there rights.

    eg. saying people in religion y are evil and not to talk to them should be allowed, but saying they should be bashed or refused services should not be.
    I don't see why religion or belief needs to be protected by law. The Irish laws is basically criminalising any utterance that leads to outrage, which is reason enough for it to be repealed. However it is also discriminatory since only religious outrage is prosecutable you can outrage as many non-religious people as you like and there is no legal avenue to prosecute those.

    Note that the Irish atheist position (and mine) is that the laws should simply be repealed and not reworded to cover the non-religious.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  4. #19
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    So I ask again, was Martin Luther morally reprehensible by your definition above, or not?
    You can ask as many times as you like ... since I've already answered your question a few posts ago, I don't intend to bother repeating myself.
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  5. #20
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Such silly laws are typical of leftards who think that people (at least their appointed Victim Groups) have a right not to be offended.
    “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.” — Abba Eban on the UN general assembly

    “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi on the UN kakistocracy

  6. #21
    CC International Master Tony Dowden's Avatar
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    I'm surprised by some of the sentiment expressed here. Surely its commonsense to set some boundaries around what people say. For example here on this website, where some members have a habit of getting banned

    More seriously, words often incite violence. The more obvious occasions are related to religion, race and the vulgar/profane/plain ugly. One recent example in the Australian experience were the Cronulla riots which were catalysed by words. Good governance should include measures to stop this kind of thing from happening.

    In the case under discussion here I suspect some think 'anti-blasphemy' sounds sublimely ridiculous, if not completely irrelevant, so are reacting to the perceived absurdity of it all. But doesn't replacing this phrase with 'anti-racist taunting' sounds comparatively sensible?

  7. #22
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    You can ask as many times as you like ... since I've already answered your question a few posts ago, I don't intend to bother repeating myself.
    Nice attempted deflection but I did supply more information on the specifics of Luther's writings and his own reasons for publishing them. So if it is your position that in possession of these fact you are still unable to decided then let me just chalk that up as a tacit "eh... yes".
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  8. #23
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    Nice attempted deflection but I did supply more information on the specifics of Luther's writings and his own reasons for publishing them. So if it is your position that in possession of these fact you are still unable to decided then let me just chalk that up as a tacit "eh... yes".
    You're not doing yourself any favours by being obtuse. If you think that my response means "unable to decide" then you're just being silly.
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  9. #24
    CC International Master Tony Dowden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    Seems we have uncovered a bit of a double standard here. Define what you mean by "necessary by-product of expressing one's personal beliefs".

    For example Luther's personal belief was the the Jewish people should be driven out of Germany then you would not consider it morally reprehensible to express his belief in the form of a book, Von den Jüden und iren Lügen, the reason for writing it was as follows...

    So I ask again, was Martin Luther morally reprehensible by your definition above, or not?
    OK, I'll answer your question then.

    You are right to imply some of Luther's action's were morally reprehensible. Luther wrote the anti-Semitic 'Concerning the Jews and their Lies' (1543) which is known to have later influenced Hitler. So Luther's actions also had horrific consequences. [Wow, there's an example of words influencing concrete actions!]

    While I absolutely can't condone the use of hate-filled words leading to evil actions, Luther was probably influenced by the widespread anti-Semitic thinking of the time. In addition there is a school of thought that in his later years Luther was not exactly in the pink of mental health (cf Fischer's anti-Semitic ramblings for a parallel).

    Some of Luther's actions were probably on the right side of the ledger. On the other hand he exposed corrupt practices in the Roman Catholic church (for whom he became the latest AntiChrist) and also made significant contributions to the wider Christian church (cf the Lutheran movement) and to theology (where his best contributions still hold up to contemporary scrutiny).

  10. #25
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    I'm surprised by some of the sentiment expressed here. Surely its commonsense to set some boundaries around what people say. For example here on this website, where some members have a habit of getting banned
    ChessChat is a private website; similarly, home owners can ban people they don't like from entering their homes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    More seriously, words often incite violence.
    Incitement to violence is already proscribed by existing laws. There is no need to extend this to mere offence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    The more obvious occasions are related to religion, race and the vulgar/profane/plain ugly. One recent example in the Australian experience were the Cronulla riots which were catalysed by words. Good governance should include measures to stop this kind of thing from happening.
    Bad governance (almost a pleonasm ) on the other hand over-reacts. Just look at the American transport Gestapo with its ridiculous bans on water bottles and now going to the loo on flights an hour before landing. And in the issue at hand, in über-politically-correct UK, "A teenage schoolgirl was arrested by police for racism after refusing to sit with a group of Asian students because some of them did not speak English." Yet as they increase censorship to absurd levels, they show increasing tolerance to overt advocacy of violence by radical Muslim clerics, and we saw that in Australia with Sheik Taj Din "Sarcofelis" Al Hilaly comparing women without burqas to "cat's meat".

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    In the case under discussion here I suspect some think 'anti-blasphemy' sounds sublimely ridiculous, if not completely irrelevant, so are reacting to the perceived absurdity of it all. But doesn't replacing this phrase with 'anti-racist taunting' sounds comparatively sensible?
    Not at all. Calling someone "abo" or "honky" should not be a crime. Saying "all niggers should be bashed" or "all white girls should be raped" should be, since they are inciting actual crimes against a group.
    Last edited by Capablanca-Fan; 03-01-2010 at 03:57 PM.
    “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.” — Abba Eban on the UN general assembly

    “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi on the UN kakistocracy

  11. #26
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    You are right to imply some of Luther's action's were morally reprehensible.
    Thanks Tony. I think that is as close to straight answer as I would hope to obtain.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  12. #27
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    You're not doing yourself any favours by being obtuse. If you think that my response means "unable to decide" then you're just being silly.
    What I was trying to do and make you realise that your post where you say

    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    Should one go out of one's way just to offend? No; that would not be nice behaviour. But it ought not to be illegal under the law, even though it is morally reprehensible.
    is not defensible because one should be able to question ideas regardless of whether it offends or not. In fact, causing offence is often an unavoidable consequence of progress. I don't think going out of one's way to offend is necessarily reprehensible. It is what you say or do which determines the degree of moral reprehensibility.

    In the case of Luther, On the Jews and their Lies is a morally reprehensible piece of hate speech. It would be nice if you would at least admit that much.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  13. #28
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    You are right to imply some of Luther's action's were morally reprehensible. Luther wrote the anti-Semitic 'Concerning the Jews and their Lies' (1543) which is known to have later influenced Hitler. So Luther's actions also had horrific consequences. [Wow, there's an example of words influencing concrete actions!]
    Yet Hitler was far more influenced by secular antisemites, such as Teodor Fritsch (1852–1933), author of The Handbook of the Jewish Question aka the Anti-Semitic Catechism. This should not be surprising. Luther's antisemitism was religious, and his goal was conversion of the Jews. Hitler's antisemitism was racial; he didn't care what Jews believed; he just wanted them dead.

    Up till then, Germany, even with its strong Lutheran heritage, was the European country most friendly to Jews, who were often very patriotic, calling themselves "Germans of the Mosaic Faith". Many fought in WW1, e.g. Tarrasch lost a son there, and Hitler's own medal was on the recommendation of a Jewish lieutenant.

    Richard Evans in The Coming of the Third Reich argued that if someone around 1900 had predicted a Holocaust in Europe, it would have been plausible in France with the Dreyfuss affair, or in the Russian Empire with its frequent progroms, but not in Germany. And overseas German organizations, while heavily Lutheran, welcomed German Jews. Furthermore, the Lutheran churches in America and Australia supported the Allies in WW2, and rebuffed Nazi infiltrators.

    Thomas Sowell writes in Migrations and Cultures, in the chapter ‘Germans around the world’:

    ‘The dozen years of Germany’s history dominated by the Nazis cast a shadow over Germans, at home and abroad, for decades after the Hitler regime was buried in the dust and rubble at the end of World War 2. While the Nazi movement exploited certain features of German culture, including obedience to authority and a romanticising of culture and violence, in other ways the Nazis represented a sharp break with more civilized aspects of German tradition. For example, the racial fanaticism of the Nazi era in Germany was in sharp contrast to the historic tolerant cosmopolitanism of Germans in the Baltic and Czechoslovakia, or the German antislavery position in Brazil and in the United States, their ability to get along with the indigenous American Indians in the Western Hemisphere, their charitable efforts toward the aborigines in Australia. Group prejudice and discrimination were by no means unknown among Germans, at home and abroad, but it tended to be less rather than more prevalent, as compared to other Europeans—or to Asians or Africans, for that matter.’

    And Lutheranism can't even remotely held responsible for the Nazi eugenics and euthanasia programs, mass murder of Slavs and Gypsies, Lebensraum, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    While I absolutely can't condone the use of hate-filled words leading to evil actions, Luther was probably influenced by the widespread anti-Semitic thinking of the time.
    As well as by the polemical style of the time, in Luther's attacks on the Papacy and the Papacy's defenders' attacks on Luther (see Invective and Discernment in Martin Luther, D. Erasmus, and Thomas More). E.g. here is Luther's exchange with "saint" Thomas More where both are free with scatalogical vitriol:

    Religious polemic can, while having high minded goals such as eternal salvation in mind, descend simultaneously to the crudest level of personal insult. An extreme example is furnished by the polemical exchange between Thomas More and Martin Luther in 1521: Luther writes against Henry VIII: “. . . since he knowingly and conscientiously fabricates lies against the majesty of my king in heaven [Christ], this damnable rottenness and worm, I will have the right, on behalf of my king, to bespatter his English majesty with muck and shit and to trample underfoot that crown of his which blasphemes against Christ”. More responds: “. . . for as long as your reverend paternity will be determined to tell these shameless lies, others will be permitted, on behalf of his English majesty, to throw back into your paternity’s shitty mouth, truly the shit-pool of all shit, all the muck and shit which your damnable rottenness has vomited up, and to empty all the sewers and privies into your crown divested of the dignity of the priestly crown, against which no less than against the kingly crown you have determined to play the buffoon”.

    Most likely the Lutheran churches in Germany and overseas understood the trash talk, which is why they and German culture didn't take the antisemitism on board.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    In addition there is a school of thought that in his later years Luther was not exactly in the pink of mental health (cf Fischer's anti-Semitic ramblings for a parallel).
    Most likely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Dowden
    Some of Luther's actions were probably on the right side of the ledger. On the other hand he exposed corrupt practices in the Roman Catholic church (for whom he became the latest AntiChrist) and also made significant contributions to the wider Christian church (cf the Lutheran movement) and to theology (where his best contributions still hold up to contemporary scrutiny).
    Agree to all.
    Last edited by Capablanca-Fan; 03-01-2010 at 05:57 PM.
    “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.” — Abba Eban on the UN general assembly

    “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi on the UN kakistocracy

  14. #29
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    In the case of Luther, On the Jews and their Lies is a morally reprehensible piece of hate speech. It would be nice if you would at least admit that much.
    What I wrote is pretty clear, probably to all here except for yourself. If Luther incited violence, Luther was morally in the wrong. If Luther was making a special effort to offend, then he was morally in the wrong. If Luther was merely stating his views and not making a special effort to offend (the offence was an unfortunate byproduct of his beliefs) then Luther might be wrong and might even be morally wrong ... but he was entitled to his beliefs and entitled to express them provided he did not incite to violence.

    The same goes for anyone else in my book. There are plenty of people who denigrate Christianity and Christians. They are entitled to their p.o.v. and unless they incite violence they should be allowed to express it. If they are doing this for the primary purpose of causing offence, then they are morally wrong but they should not be prevented from expressing their view.

    Does that make it clear? I'm in favour of freedom of speech, but not completely unfettered freedom of speech. There is plenty of stuff around that some might call hate speech. That is a judgement call that I am not prepared to make.

    Perhaps you can tell everyone else here on what grounds you feel justified in labelling something as hate speech and on what grounds you believe it should be banned. Please be specific as to what constitutes and offence and where the lines should be drawn.
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  15. #30
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    Perhaps you can tell everyone else here on what grounds you feel justified in labelling something as hate speech and on what grounds you believe it should be banned. Please be specific as to what constitutes and offence and where the lines should be drawn.
    Inciting violence is going to far. Being offensive is not. In On Jews and their Lies, Luther incited crimes of violence and property so that was going too far in my view. Nowadays I think very few people would be incited by Luther, but a modern day Luther would be testing the limits of what should be permissible.

    Regardless on whether something should be allowed to be published or not it can still be judged to be moral reprehensible. Simply causing offence is not intrinsically morally wrong. I think this is the nub of our disagreement.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

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