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  1. #31
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham'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
    This website is a privately owned forum, and if people are banned from it then the only consequence of that is them not being able to post on a forum they don't own. They can get their own forum and say that stuff on it if they want to. Some of them already have.

    Blasphemy laws seek to restrict whatever people can say in general - even if they are just saying it on their own website. Being banned from posting on a forum you don't own for saying something is one thing, but being fined or even jailed quite another.

    Thus I do not think bannings from forums are a valid analogy for defending laws restricting public speech in general. In fact I'm absolutely certain they are not.

    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.
    I agree with restrictions in such cases of incitement. But it is a tricky area (or it should be a trickier one for you than me) since any number of Bible passages can be read as inciting violence, especially when used out of context.

  2. #32
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    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.
    So for the sake of argument, lets agree that Luther, if he said those things today, would be judged to be guilty of hate speech. Was he also guilty back then?

    In other words, are you advocating a more-or-less timeless moral rule that Luther broke? What is the basis for this timeless aspect of the moral rule that he broke?

    If its not timeless, but has an aspect of being relative to the time and place and culture within which the words were spoken, how can you be certain of your judgement, since you only have personal knowledge of your own time/place/culture and hand-me-down reports of Luther's time/place/culture?

    Nail your colours to the mast RW. Give us, in summary perhaps, your assessment of the nature of Luther's moral crimes and your justification for your judgements.

    As for me, whilst I find Luther's comments about Jews nasty, whilst I think they have no place in modern society (or, frankly, in any society), I will not silence him just because of what he said ... UNLESS he can be shown to have incited violence against Jews. I will rather argue against him. I will try to show him to have been bigoted at that point in his life. I will try to show that he made a poor judgement, or should have held his tongue.

    I'm trying to draw a clear distinction between a LEGAL judgement and a MORAL judgement here. People seem to start talking about one, then drift into talking about the other. Legally, Luther was not wrong. Morally he probably is according to my rules of morality. Why? Because, as a Christian, both he and I are commanded: Love your neighbour. I think it relatively easy to show that he broke that rule.

    Why then have I not rushed to judgement? There's a warning that applies to me as a Christian: judge not, lest you be judged. This is not, as some insist "never pass judgement" but rather (putting on my best Elmer Fudd voice):

    Be vewy, vewy careful before you pass a judgement ... because by the same high-horse morality that you use in passing judgement you too will be judged.
    “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

  3. #33
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Definitely hate speech and definitely unacceptable now as then. Luther's tract was also used to justify the holocaust and so while the holocaust may have happened without Luther, he called for a Jewish persecution and given his nifluence (especially in Germany) one was carried out.

    Here is Luther in his own words (translated to English) my emphasis of the more ironic passages added...

    First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly_and I myself was unaware of it_will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

    In Deuteronomy 13:12 Moses writes that any city that is given to idolatry shall be totally destroyed by fire, and nothing of it shall be preserved. If he were alive today, he would be the first to set fire to the synagogues and houses of the Jews. For in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 he commanded very explicitly that nothing is to be added to or subtracted from his law. And Samuel says in I Samuel 15:23 that disobedience to God is idolatry. Now the Jews' doctrine at present is nothing but the additions of the rabbis and the idolatry of disobedience, so that Moses has become entirely unknown among them (as we said before), just as the Bible became unknown under the papacy in our day. So also, for Moses' sake, their schools cannot be tolerated; they defame him just as much as they do us. It is not necessary that they have their own free churches for such idolatry.

    Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them the fact that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

    Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.

    Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17:10) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: "what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord." Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people's obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16:18, "You are Peter," etc., inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.

    Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let them stay at home. I have heard it said that a rich Jew is now traveling across the country with twelve horses his ambition is to become a Kokhba devouring princes, lords, lands, and people with his usury, so that the great lords view it with jealous eyes. If you great lords and princes will not forbid such usurers the highway legally, some day a troop may gather against them, having learned from this booklet the true nature of the Jews and how one should deal with them and not protect their activities. For you, too, must not and cannot protect them unless you wish to become participants in an their abominations in the sight of God. Consider carefully what good could come from this, and prevent it.

    Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us an they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God's blessing in a good and worthy cause.

    What is your assessment of the passage above? Morally reprehensible or just quoted out of context?
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  4. #34
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    In answer to your question: I find his writings (quote above) to be bigoted, morally reprehensible (both now and then and for all time) ... and if he were to say them today he should be charged under laws which prohibit incitement to violence.

    Now back to my question ... you seem to have dodged it ... is morality timeless? Not dependent upon culture?
    “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. #35
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    ... and getting back to the original discussion point of the thread ... I think anti-blasphemy laws are bad laws and ought to be repealed.
    “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

  6. #36
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    Now back to my question ... you seem to have dodged it ... is morality timeless? Not dependent upon culture?
    Not dodged, just waiting for the questions to be answered in the order they were asked.

    It largely depends on what in particular you take morality to mean. If you mean a list of what is right and wrong then that is a product of culture to a large extent. However there are some things which are so wrong that all moral codes ought not allow. Arbitrary killing for example is an act that I would class as a non cultural immoral act. No one wants to be arbitrarily killed and so I cannot imagine a culture where that would be allowed. I don't know if I would use the term "timeless" however since since cultures all exist in one time or another.

    I hope that answers your question.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  7. #37
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    ... and getting back to the original discussion point of the thread ... I think anti-blasphemy laws are bad laws and ought to be repealed.
    I agree.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  8. #38
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    what a waste of time. isnt there more important issues? zzz lame law imo.

  9. #39
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    It largely depends on what in particular you take morality to mean. If you mean a list of what is right and wrong then that is a product of culture to a large extent. However there are some things which are so wrong that all moral codes ought not allow. Arbitrary killing for example is an act that I would class as a non cultural immoral act. No one wants to be arbitrarily killed and so I cannot imagine a culture where that would be allowed. I don't know if I would use the term "timeless" however since since cultures all exist in one time or another.
    So the reason that arbitrary killing is wrong is because you lack imagination?

    Why are there some things that all moral codes ought not to allow? (this in itself is a moral judgement that you are making).

    Is there something inherently wrong with unlawful killing? (I think there is) If so, what is the reason that this is so?

    If it is just that all cultures that you observe (and those that you imagine) would not allow it, surely, with a bit of prodding, you might be able to imagine a culture where there is now law and arbitrary killing is a sign of great strength and is encouraged?

    In such a culture, what would be your judgement? Are they wrong to think that way, or right? Why?
    “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

  10. #40
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    I agree.
    Same here.
    “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. #41
    CC International Master Tony Dowden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    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.
    I'm not so sure. If name-calling (say, high-intensity and/or hate-motivated) leads to violence then, whether or not explicit instructions were given, it might be judged to be incitement by association or implication.

  12. #42
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    All kinds of things might lead to all kinds of other things. That is a slippery slope. There is no end to it. Only if one's statements are explicitly pro-violence ought they to be legally banned. But they are morally out of order regardless of whether legally out of order (according to my rule of: love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbour as yourself).
    “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

  13. #43
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    So the reason that arbitrary killing is wrong is because you lack imagination?
    Not at all but you seemed to be asking if there were some morals which transcend cultural norms and I imagine there probably are. I think it is very difficult to think about morals outside of my own cultural norms let alone outside of all cultural norms, so my position is I suspect that such morals may exist but I can't give you a definitive list.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    Why are there some things that all moral codes ought not to allow? (this in itself is a moral judgement that you are making).
    Well it is more that I don't think cultures would work if they were allowed. But as I said it is more a suspicion than something I am stridently professing. You asked the question I am just trying to answer as best as I could.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    Is there something inherently wrong with unlawful killing? (I think there is) If so, what is the reason that this is so?
    Unlawful is not the same as arbitrary. I think in many cases there is something wrong with lawful killing. However this is getting into cultural morals and not the timeless sort of morals you were trying to explore.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    If it is just that all cultures that you observe (and those that you imagine) would not allow it, surely, with a bit of prodding, you might be able to imagine a culture where there is now law and arbitrary killing is a sign of great strength and is encouraged?
    Not completely arbitrary killing. Sure perhaps wanton killing of a particular segment of the population, but that is not the same thing. That is not truly arbitrary.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Snail King
    In such a culture, what would be your judgement? Are they wrong to think that way, or right? Why?
    Which one are we talking about? If there is a culture where say a particular segment is vilified and wanton killing of that segment is largely unpunished (I can imagine that). Then is that sort of killing wrong?

    I personally believe it is. However I can't say whether that judgement transcends all cultures or not. I suspect it doesn't but it's not a question which I think is very important.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  14. #44
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Comedian Stephen Fry facing blasphemy investigation in Ireland
    By Eugene Volokh, 7 May 2017

    A moronic law, just like 18C in Australia.
    “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

  15. #45
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    A moronic law, just like 18C in Australia.
    Except that blasphemy laws are there to protect the majority from a vindictive minority not the other way around.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

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