Yes, President Obama, Some Religions Do Teach Slaughter

As ISIS goes on a murderous killing spree in Syria and Iraq, President Obama is pretending that they aren’t “real” Muslims because “no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.” Sorry, but that’s nonsense. In fact, most religions teach people to massacre innocents (which is not the same as saying that most religions actually do so or that most religious people believe it). Eliyahu Federman takes the president to task for this equivocation:

In reality, a fundamentalist interpretation of any religion can open the door to murder and massacre.

The problem isn’t just literalist interpretations of the Koran: The New Testament, the Jewish Torah and many other religious books contain explicit calls for disproportionate punishments and killing of nonbelievers.

It’s something people love to ignore. Just like Obama, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in condemning the IS, also insisted: “No religion condones the murder of civilians.”

Yet nothing is further from the truth. The IS “embrace[s] a harsh interpretation of Islamic sharia law,” reported the LA Times.

VICE News’ exposé on the group unequivocally documents the extreme religious views that guide its actions and its intent to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

Want more hints that there’s a huge religious component to the group? It named its head, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the successor of Mohammad. It devotes much of its energy to slaughtering those who violate the literal dictates of sharia law.

Of course, since it operates in majority-Muslim lands, this means the Islamic State’s victims are mostly Muslims who don’t accept its fundamentalist ideology, along with Christians and others — but that hardly means this is not about faith.

It’s trivially easy to cite chapter and verse from the Bible and the Quran not just encouraging but demanding the murder of innocents. Does this mean most Christians and Muslims would ever consider doing such things? Of course not. They have a wide range of rationalizations, excuses and interpretations that allow them to ignore such passages. But pretending they aren’t there and that lots of people do take those verses literally and believe they justify barbarism is quite absurd.

As I’ve said many times, we need to stop thinking that there is such a thing as Christianity or Islam. There are multiple versions of each that differ from each other in hugely significant ways. Decent, compassionate people find all the support they need in those holy books to justify being decent and compassionate. Violent, hateful people find all the support they need in those books to justify being violent and hateful. They all pick and choose the parts of their religion that they like and find ways to explain away or ignore the rest. It’s also not reasonable to claim that one or the other of these versions is the One True Religion.

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  • abb3w

    There’s such a thing as Christianity or Islam, just as there is such a thing as Mammals or Hymenoptera; you just need to remember that there’s a few hard-to-classify edge cases in the taxa, and a wide variety within.

  • Kevin Kehres

    Platitudes are sometimes useful when building coalitions — and the No True Scotsman fallacy is among the most-often used platitude.

    ISISILIWHATEVER is going to burn bright and flame out spectacularly because Muslim and non-Muslim communities will band together against it. A lot of human misery will be associated with it — but probably a lot less ultimately than what Pol Pot did to his citizenry.

    Even tinpot megalomaniacs are watered-down versions of what’s gone on in the past.

  • http://rationalrant.blogspot.com/ sbh

    Latter-day Protestantism, by selecting the humaner passages of the Bible, and teaching them to the world, whilst allowing those of a different sort to lie dormant, has produced the highest and purest and best individuals which modern society has known. Thus used, the Bible is the most valuable of books. but the strongly-worded authority for all the religious atrocities of the Middle Ages is still in it, and some day or other it may again become as heavy a curse to the world as it formerly was. The devastating powers of the Book are only suspended, not extinguished. An Expurgated Bible would not be an unuseful thing. –Mark Twain (pp. 57-8 in the University of Iowa edition of What is Man)

  • moarscienceplz

    An Expurgated Bible would not be an unuseful thing. –Mark Twain

    Sorry Mr Twain, but that is wrong. Every wart of the Bible needs to be on full display and should be known to every person. We need to learn from the past, and the mistakes of the past are the most important things to learn.

  • John Pieret

    Decent, compassionate people find all the support they need in those holy books to justify being decent and compassionate.

    In a way, I think that was what Obama was saying but just saying it the other way ’round. “No decent and compassionate faith teaches people to massacre innocents.” Since his target audience was decent and compassionate people, it is just an unspoken appeal to their decency and compassion.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    As I’ve said many times, we need to stop thinking that there is such a thing as Christianity or Islam. There are multiple versions of each that differ from each other in hugely significant ways. Decent, compassionate people find all the support they need in those holy books to justify being decent and compassionate. Violent, hateful people find all the support they need in those books to justify being violent and hateful.

    Ed, this is perhaps the most flawed argument I’ve ever encountered from you. If I read this extremely narrowly, your argument is so obvious there’s no utility in making it. If I read this more broadly, you appear to be arguing that only immoral people commit evil in the name of religion.

    It’s simply not true that only immoral people leverage religion to commit evil. History is filled with “good” people that enabled and even participated in evil because of their religion. We only have to consider the practices of conservative Churches in the U.S., along with LDS and RCC in regards to gay rights, or race-based policies, or policies to harm women to verify this is true to see that good people enable and commit evil against others.

    And the continuum goes all the way from good people allowing gay children to suffer in their congregations, to good people participating in the wholesale slaughter of others because “God is on their side”.

    In fact one of religions greatest strengths is getting good people to go along with evil because of their religion.

    If I’m making a strawman of your argument, then my apologies. But I think a reasonable reading of what you write here seems to be representative with my possible strawman.

  • colnago80

    Steven Weinberg: Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion

  • raven

    ISISILIWHATEVER is going to burn bright and flame out spectacularly because Muslim and non-Muslim communities will band together against it. A lot of human misery will be associated with it — but probably a lot less ultimately than what Pol Pot did to his citizenry.

    1. What I was thinking. We’ve seen this movie before. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

    Oddly enough, the vast majority of their victims were their own people, Moslems or Cambodians. I suppose they were just the closest future dead bodies and not well defended.

    2. The statement that the future victims will defend themselves and send ISIL to oblivion is a nice thought. They should. However, it might not be soon and there is no guarantee that it will ever happen. The Khmer Rouge held on for a long time and if it wasn’t for the Vietnamese army, their old allies and US enemy, they might still be in power.

  • raven

    I’ve been following the ISIL disaster but not closely. I already have trouble enough sleeping at night.

    1. They seem to be well financed and well armed. That takes lots of money.

    2. So where does this money come from? Who knows?

    3. There are claims that it comes from the Sunni gulf oil states. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. I really have no way to evaluate that sort of claim.

  • acroyear

    Question – where in the New Testament is there an explicit order by God (or Paul or whomever) to actually *actively* kill?

    Almost all of the prophecies, including Matthew/Mark/Luke, John & Revelation, and a few from Paul, all tended to be passive: be better, have faith, or these things will happen to you. ‘Those who bear bad fruit will be cut down and burned “with unquenchable fire.”‘, ‘Cities that neither “receive” the disciples nor “hear” their words will be destroyed by God’ (passive, and God will do it, not Muslims or Christians or any man), “the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” (here in an early Rapture prediction, it will happen, but there is no specific order to make it happen). All of Paul’s are “God’s wrath”, again not a particular instruction to act.

    So “God” will do terribly things at the time of the Rapture, and Paul and Peter both claim it is the same God who ordered or performed the atrocities of Old, but I don’t see any specific instruction, any specific *teaching*, that us humans are the ones who are supposed to be carrying out the acts in God’s name. This is certainly contrary to the Old, where God did order people to enact the destruction of other peoples both as a matter of Law as well as a matter of War. Here in the New, it is clear that it will happen, but by God’s hand, not by the hand of man in His name.

    If anybody can cite otherwise, I’m open to it. I’m not specifically defending Christianity (where the mainstream as well as the evangelical all consider the Old to be the equal to the New), only the claim in Federman’s first paragraph that the New “teaches” (and orders) cruelty to man by man rather than there will be cruel punishment by God and/or that those who don’t follow him will try to kill those that do (in some unknown future).

    I also note that in the early Rapture passages of Matthew, where he goes on about brother-killing-brother, child-killing-father, there’s no specifics on who is supposed to be on which side (killer vs victim), or that if the killer is against God, what should the response by those on the victim’s side should be. It is just something that “will happen”. Anything else implied in those passages is inherently tainted by the interpretor and what they want to see achieved. Religions may interpret that as an order to kill, but the passage itself does not.

  • Sastra

    It’s trivially easy to cite chapter and verse from the Bible and the Quran not just encouraging but demanding the murder of innocents.

    Is it? I’d like to see you try.

    But first understand my objection. That is, you may be right but as far as I recall neither one of those Holy Texts encouraged or demanded the “murder of innocents.” Oh, there are passages which encourage and demand killings and executions. But in every case those who are supposed to be killed are never “innocent.” They are always guilty of some “crime.”

    This being religion, the “crimes” include blasphemy, worshiping the wrong god, belonging to the wrong tribe or, in some cases, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But guilty. Guilty, guilty, guilty — even the babes in arms and the grandmothers crouching in fear. The world is divided into the sacred and profane, the pure and the corrupt, the chosen and the damned. Those second groups are not “innocent.”

    That’s the danger of faith: it allows human beings to know and accept how God has judged those not on the side of love-truth-and-light even when these people look suspiciously like anyone else. Reason is confined to evidence in the world and the search for ‘causing actual harm to others.’ With God, however, all things are possible.

    So Obama is in a sense trivially right. And Ed is trivially wrong.

    Unless, of course, someone can show me a passage or quote from the pious which refers to what they do as “murder” and claims that their victims are “innocent.”

  • Kevin Kehres

    @8…I think they’ve already overreached. al-Baghdadi declaring himself to be a new Mohammed was a serious miscalculation. And now they’re threatening Russia. Tinpot megalomaniacs are like that.

    Not saying that it’s a trivial exercise, but I think this time the international community — Muslim and non-Muslim — can be counted on to come together in this instance if only for this specific purpose. Turkey can’t be happy about this bunch. Nor Lebanon or Jordan, never mind Iran and whatever is still in place in Syria. As long as Israel says studiously out of the fray (which would seriously muck things up).

  • Howard Bannister

    raven says

    September 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I’ve been following the ISIL disaster but not closely. I already have trouble enough sleeping at night.

    1. They seem to be well financed and well armed. That takes lots of money.

    2. So where does this money come from? Who knows?

    3. There are claims that it comes from the Sunni gulf oil states. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. I really have no way to evaluate that sort of claim.

    Hey, do you remember when the US lost 12 billion dollars in unmarked cash in Iraq? Sorry, “distributed.” The Guardian reports.

    Hey, do you remember when the US was supplying arms to the Iraq police and lost the guns? The New York Times reports.

    Hmmm. What’s that, you say? Suddenly people in that region of the world seem well-funded and well-armed, almost as if we’d just funneled them loads of cash and guns?

    I’m sure there are other actors funneling them money and guns, but the US did a pretty great job of getting them started.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Okay, Sastra, but do you think Obama is going to declare that failure to adhere to someone’s religion makes them a non-innocent?

    Of course he won’t. But neither will he step into the minefield of truth and candor by acknowledging that sometimes religion– sometimes people’s deeply-held sincere beliefs– are barbaric and horrible.

  • raven

    but I don’t see any specific instruction, any specific *teaching*, that us humans are the ones who are supposed to be carrying out the acts in God’s name.

    You’ve never read the NT bible,

    1. At one point, jesus tells his followers to sell everything and buy a sword.

    2.

    Matthew 10:34 jesus: Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    3.

    Luke 19:27 Jesus speaking: But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and kill them in my presence.

    Robert Spencer dismisses this verse, saying: “These are the words of a king in a parable.” Yes, this was a parable that Jesus told his disciples. My note. The king is meant to be jesus.

  • laurentweppe

    It’s trivially easy to cite chapter and verse from the Bible and the Quran not just encouraging but demanding the murder of innocents. Does this mean most Christians and Muslims would ever consider doing such things? Of course not.

    The problem is that some people are going to say that the murderous Muslims/Christians/Jews/Communists/Eco-friendly are more “authentic” than their peaceful and tolerant counterparts and that said counterparts should therefore be proclaimed irrelevant…

    Or they’ll follow Dawkins and Coyne’s examples and proclaim that every religious person who doesn’t get a boner at the thought of beheading heathens must be a closeted atheist who have to be saved from him/herself by the benevolent knights of the Enlightened Western Values Order.

    Besides, looking for chapters and verses support fundies claims doesn’t demonstrate that they are sincerely devout: the Southern Baptist Convention had a collection of clobber verses to justify its pro-slavery stance, but its foundation was not motivated by religious desire, but because planters wanted a propaganda apparatus to justify their parasitic, sybaritic lifestyle against growing criticism.

    A similar conclusion can (and should) be reached when it comes to ISIS: their goal is not to obey their holy book rules: their role is to become the next nobility of the sword: to assert their dominion over the region through superior firepower and a willingness to slaughter everyone unwilling to bend the knee and establish a system of hereditary privileges benefiting them and their heirs.

  • raven

    I think they’ve already overreached. al-Baghdadi declaring himself to be a new Mohammed was a serious miscalculation.

    Not impressed.

    The Kims in North Korea have deified themselves. Rev. Sun Myung Moon was Jesus christ the Second. Elron Hubbard knew all about Xenu because he was an UFO alien himself. Whole armies of New Apostles like Cindy Jacobs roam the USA.

    Fancy self given titles are common.

    IIRC, the ISIL guy didn’t call himself the New Mohammed. He was the successor of Mohammed. Which is no big deal. Islam has had many successors of Mohammed. The original Caliphate was headed by them.

  • http://www.rodlamkey.net reverendrodney

    To teach via visual means that God in the OT demanded that people commit genocide is why I started the Biblical Atrocities Project. Check it out on Facebook. Thank you!

  • colnago80

    One of the things that’s most amazing about the entire ISIL affair is the reaction of many in the punditry. To read some of their nonsense, one would think that the ISIL is the second coming of the Wehrmacht and the Africa Corps and that al Baghdadi is the reincarnation of Erwin Rommel, if not Heinz Gudarian or George Patton. It is certainly not a good thing to underestimate an opponent but it is also not a good thing to overestimate an opponent. Attached is a link to an OPED which may underestimate the ISIL but is a useful antidote to much of the rest of the punditry.

    http://goo.gl/l32VK5

  • Kevin Kehres

    Breaking news: Obama administration announces coalition to fight ISIS

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/06/world/middleeast/us-and-allies-form-coalition-against-isis.html?_r=0

    Including NATO allies. No boots on ground, but you can bet on plenty of boots in the air.

  • dhall

    #17 – Raven – none of the people you’re comparing al-Baghdadi to have been leading an army on a rampage of mass murder and destruction, leading to the deaths, displacement and hardships of who knows how many thousands of people. For him to proclaim himself caliph–successor to Muhammad–at this point is also to guarantee that many Muslims will not follow him, as they will believe that taking that title for himself is akin to blasphemy. Comparing this to what Moon has done, or L. Ron Hubbard, is a little weird, as neither of them rises anywhere near to this level of importance. The Kims are dangerous, true, but I doubt if anyone beyond the borders of North Korea take their claims of divinity very seriously, or is particularly outraged by it.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    They all pick and choose the parts of their religion that they like and find ways to explain away or ignore the rest.

    Yes.

    It’s also not reasonable to claim that one or the other of these versions is the One True Religion.

    No.

    There is a difference between a fundie Christian and a cafeteria Christian. The fundie Christian is closer to being intellectually honest. The cafeteria Christian’s position is full of holes and logical inconsistencies. The basic problem is that both worship a book. They both assert that the book is divinely inspired, but then the cafeteria Christian dishonestly goes out of his way to avoid the implications of his assertion that the book is divinely inspired. (The modern fundie does that too, but to a lesser extent.) I’ll take cafeteria Christianity seriously as soon as one sect takes their book, and edits it to remove the bad parts. But they can’t, because they worship the book and not the god.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @acroyear

    Several parts of the New Testament order slaves to obey their masters. They endorse and promote slavery.

    Jesus says that he has come to put a man against his father, a woman against his mother, etc., and that anyone who loves their family more than Jesus is unworthy of Jesus (and thus will burn in hell for eternity). Matthew 10:35-37

    Jesus is the one who brought infinite punishment for finite crime and the obscenity of substitutionary atonement.

    That’s just off the top of my head.

    @Sastra

    I assume intellectual honesty, which means you have no point. Only by contorting language beyond the point of recognition does anything you say make sense. You change the meaning of “innocent” to “guilty”. It’s Orwellian. In the real world, it’s not criminal to happen to be living in the wrong place. That some hypothetical people might have lived in the wrong place does not make them guilty, no matter what the purported Christian god says. They are still innocent.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    EnlightenmentLiberal #22,

    The fundie Christian is closer to being intellectually honest.

    Also know as 12. The Law of Bright Darkness.

  • exi5tentialist

    Ed Brayton’s article perpetuates several fallacies.

    Firstly, it perpetuates the philosophical fallacy that it’s possible for anybody using any language to say what the Bible, Koran or Torah “says”. The fallacy that living civilisations can understand dead writings is an essential component of the modern movement against religious freedom. It is absolutely essential, if you are going to try to limit religious freedom, to buy into the religious idea that we can receive “communications” from the past, from the long-dead, and that those writings are oppressive.

    But we can’t. Meaning is something the living invent. We invent meaning to attach to the words on the yellowing pages of past generations’ writings. It’s our meaning. The Bible, the Koran, The Torah – they say nothing. Their pages might as well be blank. At least we would recognise our own scribblings on them if that were the case.

    Secondly Ed Brayton perpetuates the fallacy that it is possible to decontextualise IS (“ISIS, ISL, Caliphate, Islamic State etc etc”) from the American invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003-2012. Like the 2014 Taliban, ISIS in 2014 is exclusively the result of the US destroying Iraq’s economy, society and state. This needs to be said every time anybody talks about IS. Not to say it is a crime against truth.

    Thirdly, there is the fallacy that FTB bloggers have an accurate and unbiased perspective on IS. The FTB Bloggers who talk about IS all go through little waves of taking anti-religious potshots at IS, while ostensibly not calling for war, and then they fall silent on the subject for a few days while the warmongers do a bit more work on public opinion. Then they come back with another tut-tutting article about IS. Thus Ed Brayton, PZ Myers and Ophelia Benson prefer to leave their call for war on IS as an unspoken implication. “IS are terrible…” “IS are dreadful…” “IS are brutal….”

    Yes, dear bloggers, IS is the love child of US & NATO policy of permanent war, it’s hardly surprising that they replicate US war crimes and US methods of brutality. If you set out, as the US did, to destabilise Iraq, you can’t really complain if a force like IS emerges and perpetuates the chaos you set out to create in the first place.

    So no, “some religions teach slaughter” is not an accurate analysis of the rise of IS in Iraq and Syria. In fact, talk of religion is pretty irrelevant in this situation. The brutality being unleashed in Iraq now is the direct result and consequence of the American war. Here’s a tip for Americans: if you really want stable democracies to emerge in the world, don’t go round it bombing people or pretending that you’re backing a fight against some brutal interpretation of religion when really you’re just attempting to surgically reduce economic threats from your competitors as your empire declines further.

    To people who say never mind all that, something MUST be done about IS, I’d say oh don’t worry, the west are already girding their loins. They were a little slow at first, but with all that egging on they’re getting (I hardly think FTB’s refusal to oppose them makes any difference as such passivity is symptomatic of most centre-right compliance in this situation), and the drip-drip mentions of their humanitarian motives, they’re on track to get the war machine turned on.

    Honestly, people, to trust America or NATO with the task of suppressing IS is like asking Harold Shipman to provide aftercare to a victim of attempted murder. It is a recipe for making a bad situation worse – join me in opposing it. Stop the War

  • felidae

    ISIS is pissed at us for killing Muslims–I guess they want to have the exclusive right to kill other Muslims in the name of Islam

  • se habla espol

    “no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.”

    To simplify Sastra’s contribution: this statement is true but irrelevant. The christianities and the islams, at least, do not recognize ‘innocence’ as a condition of anyone other than the ‘us’ group. Everyone else is ‘other’ and is, by definition, guilty.

  • Michael Heath

    Sastra @ 11:

    Oh, there are [biblical] passages which encourage and demand killings and executions. But in every case those who are supposed to be killed are never “innocent.” They are always guilty of some “crime.”

    Ahem. Numbers 31: 17 [Allegedly Moses]:

    17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones . . .

    [RSV]

  • Michael Heath

    President Obama:

    . . . no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.”

    se habla espol writes:

    To simplify Sastra’s contribution: this statement is true but irrelevant. The christianities and the islams, at least, do not recognize ‘innocence’ as a condition of anyone other than the ‘us’ group. Everyone else is ‘other’ and is, by definition, guilty.

    Wildly untrue. The Abrahamic religions all promote a underlying truism that reigning down death is not only justified, but a favored option – in spite of the blood of innocents. Not only for people, but it’s God’s most favored option, in the past and in the future. God is the standard that argues to kill and go large. [Of course there is no Christian god where this just religionists then and now promoting such evil dogma.]

    Killing innocents as a credible option is so embedded in our culture due to these religions’ influence on our culture, that even current wars are significantly premised on this foundational principle. The Iraq War and the war between Israel and the Palestinians are two current examples. From this perspective we lost 3000+ people in 9/11. The U.S. reaction was to kill 100,000+ Iraqis, the vast majority of whom were innocents. “Kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out” remains a viable option for at least the U.S., Israel, and some Islamic countries.

  • colnago80

    Re exi5tentialist @ #24

    Another clone of Noam Chomsky and Glenn Greenwald, masters of blame America first. In going to the website linked to, one finds the usual left wing Israel bashing. To left wing assholes like exi5tentialist and his asshole buddy Greenwald, Israel is responsible for the situation in Palestine and the Hamas terrorists are just innocent babies trying to stave off the IDF “aggressors”.

    Let’s take a look at the Hamas Charter to see just how innocent these babies really are.

    http://goo.gl/51eHgO

    Here’s the first sentence in Article 13 of the Charter:

    Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences

    [Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad:

    A two state solution, territorial compromise? Not a bit of it.

    Now, in fairness, the charge that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was responsible for the rise of the ISIL is not entirely rubbish. There is some truth to this charge as we were lied into war by the Bush Administration with allegations of WMDs, which were proved false. However, it fails to explain why the movement apparently got started in Syria, which was not invaded by the US. And by the way, Greenwald’s charge that the CIA clandestinely supported the Islamic extremist fighters seeking to overthrow the Assad Kleptocracy is a good damn fuckken lie. The fact is that the Obama and Netanyahu administrations haven’t supported any side in Syria, not being able to tell the “good” guys from the “bad” guys. Actually, they aren’t any good guys in the Middle East, only more bad and less bad.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Want more hints that there’s a huge religious component to the group?

    That’s okay. I was sold on that after first hearing their name.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @exi5tentialist

    So, how far does your postmodernist stance on literature go? Is it possible for a modern writer in American to write a document so that most readers from modern American will understand his intended message? What if the document was written 5 days ago? Or a year ago? Or 50 years ago? Or 100? I hope the answer to the first question is “yes”.

    Then, I have to ask: where is the bright line that separates documents sufficiently close to the present so that we can understand the author’s intent, vs older documents where we cannot? Obviously, there is no magic line. It merely gets harder as more time has passed.

    With me thus far? Did you merely mean to state that because so much time has passed that it’s practically impossible to understand the originally intended meaning of the Biblical texts? At least that position isn’t absurd on its face. It’s somewhat plausible.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    There is a difference between a fundie Christian and a cafeteria Christian. The fundie Christian is closer to being intellectually honest. The cafeteria Christian’s position is full of holes and logical inconsistencies.

    I disagree. All Christians are cafeteria Christians. The conceit of fundamentalism is that they’re the only ones who do things according to the letter of the Book. Except that they don’t. (How many do you know who don’t eat shellfish or wear blended fabrics like Leviticus tells them to?) Fundamentalist apologetics and sermonizing is chock full of fanciful interpretations, rationalizations, and crap that has nothing to do with what’s in the Bible. Strangely enough, what comes out the other end aligns perfectly with their preexisting political beliefs and prejudices.

    Those Christians who openly admit that they’re picking and choosing what to believe are the honest ones. It may still be nonsense, but it’s not nearly as delusional as what the fundies do.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Area Man

    Let me put it like this instead.

    In my humble experience, fundie Christians more often than moderate Christians will put forward views and arguments which are logically consistent, and will act according to those beliefs. The moderate Christians more often tend to hold conflicting views, nebulous views, not well thought out views.

    Perhaps both pick and choose from the holy book equally. I still doubt that, but I realize now that’s not my central complaint. The fundie Christians are the ones who really care about truth. The moderate Christians in my humble experience don’t give a damn about truth.

    PS: As for Ed’s original point – I say it seems quite plausible that we can discover the original intended meaning of those books, and in that sense there is a “one true Christianity”, and as I said, a Christian sect is welcome to avoid this conclusion as soon as they are willing to edit their book. But they won’t, because modern day Christians worship a book and not a god.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Area Man,

    How many do you know who don’t eat shellfish or wear blended fabrics like Leviticus tells them to?

    Hopefully just as many still obey those shellfish/fabric laws as still sacrifice animals for sin atonement because, well, after all the OT tells them to sacrifice animals so, according to this atheist logic we should still be doing it. That is, hopefully none. Hopefully they read the bible correctly and note that everything changed when Jesus came and died. It is only atheists who seem to think that things went back to the way they were after the cross, like Jesus’ life for Christians should be just a small parentheses. Hopefully Christians ignore the largely nonsensical term “cafeteria Christians.”

  • grumpyoldfart

    Does this mean most Christians and Muslims would ever consider doing such things? Of course not.

    I think they would if they were given the OK.

    Christianity had no shortage of volunteers during the Crusades; no shortage of torturers during the Inquistions; no shortage of onlookers at the public witch burnings. Today the IS crowd are attracting religious folk from all over the world; all of them desperate to get their first kill. One Australian has taken his children into battle with him, and has photographed his son holding up a severed head with the caption, “That’s my boy.”

    Religion attracts control freaks – and control freaks just keep on pushing until they have the power to decide who lives and who dies. That’s their idea of heaven.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @heddle

    Just gonna point out that the Christian new testament also condones and promotes slavery. Also Jesus in the sermon on the mount purportedly said that he did not come to break the old law, and that anyone who breaks the (old) law shall be called least in heaven. Or something like that.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    EnlightenmentLiberal,

    Nope. Try again. He came “not to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill it.” The Law or the Prophets is what Jesus (or anyone else at that time) would have used to refer to the OT. And fulfill is what you do to prophecy, not law. This is Jesus saying “I come not to abolish or replace the OT, I came to fulfill its prophecies.” The same as what he said when he started his public ministry, opening the book of Isaiah and saying “see this prophecy? It’s talking about me.”

    Also, the NT does not endorse slavery (it does, however, condemn slave traders.) The NT (Paul’s writing) simply acknowledges it as a fact of life. (Although in the one explicit example Paul tells Philemon in no uncertain terms that that the right thing to do is free Oneisimus–not at all the promotion and endorsement that you incorrectly parrot.) If you are a slave, according to Paul, then obey you masters because this is the way a Christian should behave. It is not a social gospel but a redemptive gospel. In the same sense Paul gives the model behavior (by his own example) for illegally incarcerated Christians: behave, and even be kind to your jailers. Your witness is more important that your circumstances. He no more endorses slavery that through his own example he endorses illegal unlawful incarceration.

    You’re like 0 for N.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    There is a difference between a fundie Christian and a cafeteria Christian. The fundie Christian is closer to being intellectually honest. The cafeteria Christian’s position is full of holes and logical inconsistencies.

    Your argument here is so dishonest, and so plain fucking ignorant, that you’re really in no position to judge anyone else’s intellectual honesty. For starters, the “fundie Christians” are no less guilty of picking and choosing their Bible verses than the “cafeteria Christians.” BOTH GROUPS ignore those bits of the Bible that don’t support their respective prejudices. The most important difference is that the more sensible “cafeteria Christians” tend to ignore parts of the Bible that don’t make sense for today’s reality. If you really think that group is LESS deserving of respect than the fundies, then go fuck yourself — you’re supporting their backwardness and bigotry, so you’re fucking useless. “Consistency” is not a virtue when you’re consistently WRONG.

    In my humble experience, fundie Christians more often than moderate Christians will put forward views and arguments which are logically consistent, and will act according to those beliefs. The moderate Christians more often tend to hold conflicting views, nebulous views, not well thought out views.

    The moderates have COMPLEX views, to accommodate the COMPLEX reality they have to deal with. Mistaking complexity for “conflicting, nebulous, not well thought out” is the act of a simpleton who can’t handle reality.

    Just gonna point out that the Christian new testament also condones and promotes slavery.

    That’s been debunked so many times that there’s no point in doing it for you again. You didn’t listen to what we said, so there’s no reason for us to keep on trying to reason with you.

  • jufulu

    @heddle

    Glad you brought that up, it is interesting that the 10 Commandments are also in the OT. I guess that when Jesus came to town, he trash canned those as well.

    What does it mean when one says that Jesus fulfilled the 10 Commandments. Fundy in-laws provided that answer and I didn’t have the faintest idea what they were talking about.

  • laurentweppe

    Mistaking complexity for “conflicting, nebulous, not well thought out” is the act of a simpleton who can’t handle reality.

    Not always: it may also be the act of a Maher lite who just wants an excuse to say “these moronic religious rubes should just shut the fuck up and bow down to their atheistic intellectual betters

  • exi5tentialist

    @Enlightenment Liberal @32

    @exi5tentialist

    So, how far does your postmodernist stance on literature go? Is it possible for a modern writer in American to write a document so that most readers from modern American will understand his intended message? What if the document was written 5 days ago? Or a year ago? Or 50 years ago? Or 100? I hope the answer to the first question is “yes”.

    Then, I have to ask: where is the bright line that separates documents sufficiently close to the present so that we can understand the author’s intent, vs older documents where we cannot? Obviously, there is no magic line. It merely gets harder as more time has passed.

    With me thus far? Did you merely mean to state that because so much time has passed that it’s practically impossible to understand the originally intended meaning of the Biblical texts? At least that position isn’t absurd on its face. It’s somewhat plausible.

    I’m glad you asked me that question.

    My view is the same thing applies to any text. The reader invents the meaning.

    In practice, I am prepared to enter into a collusion with my contemporaries that what I read is what they meant. If there’s any misunderstanding, at least in most cases there’s always the possibility of meeting up and clearing it up in person.

    When someone has been dead for 1300 years, that just isn’t the case. I’ll discard all reliability on textual interpretation once the generation that wrote is dead on gone. I’ll read their texts just for fun. I won’t rely on them for anything.

    That’s about a trillion miles removed from Ed Brayton’s view of scripture. Ed stands four-square behind the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope, Ayatollah Khameni and ISIS that the word of scripture is a message from the past that we can understand and act on. Which is, of course, drivel. Worse, it’s woo.

    But the gathering storm soon to be unleashed on ISIS depends heavily on Ed’s little piece of philosophical sophistry: the immutable meaning of scripture. Ed supports it explicitly in his article. Ophelia Benson does too on her blog. I’ve even seen Kaveh allude to it. It is part of the religious law of Freethought Blogs that we must all sign up to the notion that the literal interpretation of scripture is possible. A war is going to happen on the back of it. And no Blogger here is going to oppose it.

    Stop the War.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    jufulu,

    Glad you brought that up, it is interesting that the 10 Commandments are also in the OT. I guess that when Jesus came to town, he trash canned those as well.

    Yes he did. He replaced Moses’ law with his own law in the Sermon on the Mount, making things more difficult. “Do not commit adultery” became “Do not even lust, that’s already adultery” etc. He himself violated the Sabbath and said “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.

    Not to mention, in discussing Jesus as the new high priest we read: For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. (Hebrews 7:12). and also

    this passage about Jesus: For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, (Eph. 2:14-15)

  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005149187408 Diego Garcia

    Just another example of Obama’s lies…

    “People died, while Obama lied.”

  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005149187408 Diego Garcia

    And my oh my, there are a lot of anonymous internet cowards posting here.

  • Michael Heath

    heddle writes:

    Hopefully Christians ignore the largely nonsensical term “cafeteria Christians.”

    Another denial arrow is found in the quiver. Sheesh.

    The Bible contradicts itself on the Old Covenant and New Covenant, it’s not merely one supplanting the other. So Christians by definition are cafeteria Christians if they also claim an inerrant Bible. They can’t be anything but cafeteria Christians, they have no choice in the matter because they can’t behave consistent to NT edicts.

    Yes the Bible’s NT claims you don’t have to follow all the old OT edicts, but then it also claims you must in at least one other passage. So even if one to were to follow all the OT commands to avoid that contradiction, those people would be, and are, in violation of certain NT edicts. That’s because the OT commands one behavior, killing or punishing those who don’t follow absurd rules, while then claiming no such power is granted in the NT but instead to not judge and then mete out “justice”. To do would be fail to adhere to NT commands that one treat others as they would be treated. The latter’s NT edict is also in the OT, so yes – contradictions on treating others pre-exist the NT.

    So no, you can’t follow the OT and kill or punish others for not following the OT absurd rules, that’s because you’d be breaking NT edicts. You can’t follow NT edicts because it simultaneously argues you must follow the OT law.

    Heddle, you like to claim the Bible is to be read “intelligently”. Yet you frequently avoid that advice yourself by failing to read it rationally, i.e., conceding the very many contradictions that don’t allow one to behave consistent to biblical edicts.

    Your also getting down into the weeds to avoid the big implications of what is being conveyed at a macro level is another example of how devout Christians avoid those bigger implications. Like God’s abject failure to clearly, coherently, and rationally communicate. Or God’s failure to get it right the first time, instead we see at least three “do overs”. Blaming humans of course, in spite of the fact this god’s supposed to be all knowing and know the future. Or God’s failure to set guidelines that can actually be followed if one behaves perfectly. Or God’s ability to be just and good by not threatening some with eternal suffering. And on, and on, and on, and on.

    You’ve got a losing hand, and even you play it badly. Where other’s poor behavior regarding their treatment of the Bible in no way means your performance is stellar.

    All you’ve got is faith; the Bible fails you. Where faith is self-evidently a juvenile thinking defect. We can make conclusions based on reality (facts) and logic instead. In fact we promote such thinking in all areas except religion; and that’s because religion can’t meet this standard. So it needs an absurdly weak standard to promote its Truth (sic). And yet biblically inerrant Christians are the ones in our culture that crow most about knowing the Truth (sic). That’s what they do on Sundays, in lieu of actually credibly testing what it is they argue is true.

    The latter’s the primary reason I was bored out of my skull in my youth attending fundie church, where nothing produced by biblically inerrantist Christians now is any different than it was back then.

  • Michael Heath

    Me in my prior post:

    And yet biblically inerrant Christians are the ones in our culture that crow most about knowing the Truth (sic). That’s what they do on Sundays, in lieu of actually credibly testing what it is they argue is true.

    The latter’s the primary reason I was bored out of my skull in my youth attending fundie church, where nothing produced by biblically inerrantist Christians now is any different than it was back then.

    Consider this juvenile, petulant, unproductive, bigoted behavior compared to advancements of science and technology since my youth. I was a teen in the 1970s. Human advancement in science, technology, and our moral progress in how we treat others has been astonishing since then (see Steven Pinker on the latter). Things are so much better for so many more humans now than then. Yet here we observe conservative Christians in this day and age still making the very same fatally defective arguments now.

    Conservative Christians have learned nothing and adapted barely – conceding ground grudgingly while avoiding the root causes that require they slowly concede. They cling to essentially the same articles of faith now that they did back then, hardly any adaption based on what humanity’s learned over the past couple of decades. That only makes their evil and determined ignorance even more glaring given our advancements in other areas.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    MH,

    They can’t be anything but cafeteria Christians, they have no choice in the matter because they can’t behave consistent to NT edicts.

    Like many things you write, presenting your belief as a conclusion makes no logical sense. It ignores the possibility that Christians can acknowledge the NT edicts while simultaneously acknowledging that they are at a loss to obey. Why, that may even lead them to the obvious conclusion that that’s exactly why they need a savior.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    That’s about a trillion miles removed from Ed Brayton’s view of scripture. Ed stands four-square behind the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope, Ayatollah Khameni and ISIS that the word of scripture is a message from the past that we can understand and act on. Which is, of course, drivel. Worse, it’s woo.

    It’s “drivel” and “woo” to acknowledge that words have meanings, and those meanings don’t change or become less clear when the author of those words dies?

    The Bible is a book, made of words, and we can understand the meaning (or meaninglessness) of those words long after the era in which they were written. The words may mean something false, disproven, out-of-date, oversimplified, or harmful in practice — but that’s a separate issue from our ability to understand and validly interpret them.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    And my oh my, there are a lot of anonymous internet cowards posting here.

    …says the drive-by dipshit who names himself after a US Navy base.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Raging Bee #49,

    Spot on.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Not always: it may also be the act of a Maher lite who just wants an excuse to say “these moronic religious rubes should just shut the fuck up and bow down to their atheistic intellectual betters“

    Yeah, that’s a subset of the group I was referring to.

  • exi5tentialist

    @49 RagingBee

    It’s “drivel” and “woo” to acknowledge that words have meanings

    No I didn’t say that. I said it’s drivel and woo to say words written 1300 years ago or more have innate meanings. We can, however, invent whatever meanings we want to attach to them. I suggest we only do that for fun, if being serious about it means people die.

    , and those meanings don’t change or become less clear when the author of those words dies?

    No I didn’t say that. I used the word contemporaries for a reason. There are a lot of dead people who I consider my contemporaries. I can’t check that I’ve understood the meaning of the words they’ve written, but I’m prepared to act on the pretence that I can understand them. Words written 1300 years ago I’m not. It’s really very simple, and very personal, as all these things are.

    The Bible is a book, made of words, and we can understand the meaning (or meaninglessness) of those words long after the era in which they were written.

    Well that’s just it. I’m saying we can’t. It is a tenet of our civilisation that we can, but then our civilisation has a lot of bizarre ideas, some of them handed down to use by our various religions – this is a good example of that.

    The words may mean something false, disproven, out-of-date, oversimplified, or harmful in practice — but that’s a separate issue from our ability to understand and validly interpret them.

    So what that means is we can pick and choose. That’s convenient for anyone trying to justify bombing a whole area of Iraq yet again. I’m more exacting: contemporary writing we can understand, ancient writing we can’t. If this means the warmongers lose a big chunk of their propaganda for bombing Iraq, they’ll just have to find some better arguments.

  • colnago80

    Re exi5tentialist @ #53

    That’s convenient for anyone trying to justify bombing a whole area of Iraq yet again.

    Actually, we are not bombing whole areas of Iraq again. The current bombing campaign is carefully targeted to support the PeshMerga and Iraqi Army units that are opposing the ISIL thugs on the ground. This is a proper use of air power in support of ground forces, both infantry and armored. Had we not undertaken this effort, there would have undoubtedly been mass slaughter inflicted on whole populations endangered by the ISIL. This is a righteous cause if there ever was one in the Middle East. If there is any group in the Middle East who deserves our support, it’s the Kurds, who are a lot more deserving of a state then the Palestinians.

    Now the question is, what about Syria, which the neocon’s war drums are furiously beating in calls for bombing there. The problem there is that the only force opposing the ISIL in Eastern Syria is the Syrian armed forces (which isn’t doing too well at present) and the issue is, should we get in bed with Syrian dictator Assad? Is he the lesser of the evils? I’m glad that somebody other then me has to make that decision.

  • dingojack

    SLC — no doubt we’ll hear of 15Mt (imaginary) nuclear weapons any time now.

    Any solution you offer is irreparably tainted with genocide. Forgive us for not considering your suggestions as serious solutions.

    Dingo

  • exi5tentialist

    Colnago80 @54

    If there is any group in the Middle East who deserves our support, it’s the Kurds, who are a lot more deserving of a state then the Palestinians.

    Oh just get lost

  • colnago80

    Re exi5tentialist @ #56

    You are cordially invited to take your fuckken comment and shove it up your fuckken posterior orifice.

    Re Chihuahua @ #56

    You have the brains of a Chihuahua.

  • laurentweppe

    SLC — no doubt we’ll hear of 15Mt (imaginary) nuclear weapons any time now.

    Of course not: he’s been doing a lot of efforts recently to create the illusion that he actually gives a shit about the lives of other human beings: why breaking the charade now?

  • dingojack

    SLC – so that’s the best ‘rebuttal’ you’ve got?

    It speaks volumes as it stands.

    Dingo

  • colnago80

    Re laurentweppe @ #58

    Hey, better join the exodus from France before it’s too late.

    Re Chihuahua @ #59

    Nah, Tsar Bombes.

  • Michael Heath

    Me earlier:

    They can’t be anything but cafeteria Christians, they have no choice in the matter because they can’t behave consistent to NT edicts.

    heddle writes:

    Like many things you write, presenting your belief as a conclusion makes no logical sense. It ignores the possibility that Christians can acknowledge the NT edicts while simultaneously acknowledging that they are at a loss to obey. Why, that may even lead them to the obvious conclusion that that’s exactly why they need a savior.

    Once again you avoid the conundrum I covered and take on a strawman I didn’t cover. A strawman that Christians are comfortable proclaiming.

    Christians need a savior because they sin, yes I get that. I wasn’t in any way covering that topic.

    Instead I was writing that the Bible has contradictory edicts, that to act in support of one edict causes Christians to fail on a contradictory edict. This is not an imperfection of humans, but a failure of God on many fronts – rudimentary intelligence, consistency, rationality, morality, and rudimentary communication skills. On the matter of edicts from God, the Bible presents us with an evil, incoherent, juvenile and at his very best, capricious god.

  • laurentweppe

    Hey, better join the exodus from France before it’s too late.

    An exodus?

    Which exodus?

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah: you mean: THIS exodus!

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I said it’s drivel and woo to say words written 1300 years ago or more have innate meanings. We can, however, invent whatever meanings we want to attach to them.

    Um…there’s a third option you’re missing here: we still have a decent amount of knowledge of what the words meant to the people who wrote them, and what they meant to their initial target audience. So that means we can translate the words used back then to similar words that have similar, if not the same, meaning today.

    Well that’s just it. I’m saying we can’t.

    With no evidence or reasoning to back up your claim. And plenty of people smarter than you have credibly contradicted your claim.

  • colnago80
  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @heddle

    He came “not to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill it.”

    Talk about an incredibly short term attention span. In the sentences that follow:

    Matthew 5:17-19

    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    @Raging Bee says

    We’ve had this conversation before. You are wrong. Christians worship a purported creature, which they call “god”, which is the largest mass murderer in history. It has committed mass murder, mass rape, mass child rape, and more. It killed every single human on the planet save one family. Their god condones and regulates slavery.

    As history, the god is an ass. As allegory, the god is an ass.

    If you worship the god and not the book, then you would change the book to reflect your views. But they can’t change the book because they worship the book and not the god, and thus all of my complaints stand. All Christians are either evil or ignorant, to some degree – or they are working on changing the canon of their book. They created a canon once. Why not again? Because they tacitly admit that the whole book is divinely inspired, including all of the mass murder, mass rape, mass child rape, slavery, etc.

    Find me a Christian who argues for changing the canon, and my complaint does not apply to them.

    It’s weird that Raging Bee agrees on one hand that there can be a single reasonable meaning of a text when read, and we can recover that from ancient texts, but also argues that modern day Christians should not be held responsible for celebrating and promoting a book celebrating and promoting mass murder, mass rape, mass child rape, slavery, etc. I don’t understand at all.

    @heddle

    Also, the NT does not endorse slavery (it does, however, condemn slave traders.) The NT (Paul’s writing) simply acknowledges it as a fact of life.

    It does more than that. Of course, the bible is the big book of multiple choice, and so you can find anything you want in there. However, in one part it does clearly command slaves to obey their (Christian) masters.

    Ephesians 6:5-9

    5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

    9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

    Rather than taking the time to say “Christian masters – release your slaves”, instead they say “Christian Slaves – obey your masters because it makes Christianity look good and because you will be rewarded by god.” It could not be more clear. It says that human slaves should obey human masters. This is abhorrent, evil teaching.

    Hell – it even says that all humans are slaves to Jesus. That is a fundamental premise of divine command theory, which is morally obscene. I am no one’s slave. No one is my lord. “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

    I include the next line, 9, for completeness, even though it doesn’t change anything. It is still one person owning another person as property. I don’t care if they command the masters “to be nice”. It’s still fucking slavery.

    @exi5tentialist

    I understand. I politely disagree. I am not quite so pessimistic about communication in the present. I am also not hopeless about some communication in the distant past. For example, in the verses cited above, the scholarship is pretty good on the meaning of the Greek that readers of the time would obtain.

  • Michael Heath

    heddle writes:

    Also, the NT does not endorse slavery

    That can only be arguable if the NT was written by fallible men making their own case, i.e., no divine inspiration asserted.

    However you remain in deep denial, or are lying, if you continue to also assert that the Bible is the word of God. From this perspective God absolutely endorsed slavery in the NT. He not only failed to condemn it, but provided instructions in the NT on how to administrate slavery. Unless he was impotent in getting his human authors and editors to make his actual position on slavery known, after he changed his mind from his OT edicts. From my perspective your failure is most likely the former and not the latter; either is pathetic.

    I don’t know of a more irrational endeavor that defending the Bible as the word of God. I used to see it as increasingly quaint, until conservative Christians took over the GOP. Now I find it evil and pathetic given such beliefs cause people to suffer.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    We’ve had this conversation before. You are wrong.

    Really? Because I, and others, have refuted your arguments several times, and all you can do is repeat the same discredited non-sequiturs over and over.

    Find me a Christian who argues for changing the canon, and my complaint does not apply to them.

    How about a Christian who uses common sense to decide which parts of the canon to apply in daily life and which to ignore? There’s plenty of them, and some of them have a better moral compass than you.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

    Well, that certainly changes the whole “The NT endorses slavery” talking-point.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    But they can’t change the book because they worship the book and not the god…

    And your assertion that all Christians think exactly the same way is based on…what? Prejudice? Argument-by-labeling? I, for one,have met a lot of Christians, and none of them actually “worship” a book.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Raging Bee

    And your assertion that all Christians think exactly the same way is based on…what? Prejudice? Argument-by-labeling? I, for one,have met a lot of Christians, and none of them actually “worship” a book.

    Do you know any Christians advocating to change the book? Do you? How many Christians do you know praising that book? I doubt you know even one Christian who advocates for changing the canon. If they’re not for changing the canon, they are not serious about only taking some of it seriously. “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.” If one is a Christian, and one is not actively trying to change the canon, then one is letting evil flourish while doing nothing.

  • colnago80

    Re EnlightenmentLiberal @ #70

    Quote is by Edmond Burke.

    With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion: Steven Weinberg.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Do you know any Christians advocating to change the book?

    I know plenty who openly disregard parts of the book that they consider obsolete or inapplicable.

    How many Christians do you know praising that book?

    Very few.

    If they’re not for changing the canon, they are not serious about only taking some of it seriously.

    Yes, they are. This is an observable fact that is not overridden by your sophistry.

    If one is a Christian, and one is not actively trying to change the canon, then one is letting evil flourish while doing nothing.

    There are plenty of Christians who are actively fighting various evils without advocating changing the canon. They’re not always right; and there aren’t enough of them to win all of the crucial battles; but there are enough of them to disprove your lazy over-generalization.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    Logic according to EnlightenmentLiberal :

    Sir, you either

    1) Advocate changing the canon, or

    2) You worship the bible

    Reply: Gee, are those my only choices?

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @heddle

    Yes. “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.” “Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” You are either with me in promoting skepticism, rationality, and morality, or you are not. You are either with me in condemning parts of the Christian bible as obscene and vile, or you are not. You are either with me in condemning the description of the Christian god throughout the Christian bible as morally obscene and vile, or you are not.

    @Raging Bee

    There are plenty of Christians who are actively fighting various evils without advocating changing the canon.

    They are hypocrites and liars. Just like you. See my response above to heddle, for it also applies to your Christian friends and your arguments.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Raging Bee

    Will those same Christian friends of yours agree with Richard Dawkins description of their god?

    The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

    Will those same Christian friends of yours agree that this description in large part also applies to Jesus and the god of the Christian New Testament? Jesus and the god of the Christian New Testament is not less evil. In fact, it’s even more evil. At least in the Old Testament you could die. Now in the New Testament, you are punished forever. Annihilationists are a step up, but still vile. Universal Reconcilationists are another step up, but then they’re just woefully inconsistent – why advocate Christianity at all if you get into heaven no matter what you do?

    If your Christian friends are unable or unwilling to admit that Jesus and their god matches that description – and worse – then they are against me, and they are against morality itself. You are either with me in advocating morality, or you are not. All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. Any Christian who does not repudiate original sin and vicarious redemption – repudiate the entire message of Jesus Christ – is morally culpable for any and all crimes done by Christians in the name of Christianity. Silence is taken as consent. That’s the Aesop, the lesson, of “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.”

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    EnlightenmentLiberal #74 ,

    Well that was entirely convincing.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @heddle

    Not sure if sarcasm…