Liberals continue their attack on the authority of scripture

Once again, those progressive, mainline Protestant and liberal Jewish types are teaming up with the Obama White House to defy clear biblical teaching.

In explicit denial of the authority of scripture, these postmodern, anything-goes folks are calling for a “Global Fund to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery.”

God is not mocked. If we turn our backs on the absolute truth of scripture and deny the authority of its clear teaching on the traditional institution of slavery, then we no longer have any basis for morality, meaning, truth or virtue. We lose our foundation, our anchor, and we are adrift. We become godless nihilists, or we set ourselves up as God.

This is how it always begins. People claim that their idea of morality should replace what the Bible tells us. They start out by attacking a God-given institution blessed by scripture and eventually they wind up calling for the abolition of all Ten Commandments.

It’s no coincidence, after all, that the same people seeking to “eradicate” slavery also deny that thy neighbor’s wife is his property. No wonder these people don’t want to see the Ten Commandments posted in our courtrooms. They hate the Word of God.

This is how things started in Germany. But where are the modern-day Bonhoeffers who will stand up against this anti-biblical crusade? Unless Christians take a bold stand in defense of clear biblical teaching, this will lead to the end of the Christian nation the Founding Fathers envisioned.

Once you come to see things this way, you’ll learn to decode the language of these “progressive” so-called Christians. You’ll come to understand that when you hear talk of things like a plan to “eradicate modern-day slavery,” what you’re really seeing is a plan to overthrow the traditional institutions established by the Bible. What you’re really seeing is a denial of the authority of scripture and a plan to persecute American Christians.

Update: Dr. James Dobson summarizes the gravity of the situation:

I am writing you this month about the institution of slavery, which is rocking and reeling like a ship on a stormy sea. Attacks on its stability and integrity are coming today from every major center of power. Each seems determined to redefine slavery and destroy its underpinnings. This 5,000-year-old institution, dating back to the dawn of humankind, is almost defenseless against the federal judiciary, the White House, the Congress, the Entertainment industry, large corporations, the Education monopoly, and the entire liberal movement. If people of faith don’t come to the aid of traditional slavery very quickly, it will be damaged beyond repair. …

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  • Joshua

    *slow clap*

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I have to agree. I might try using Fred’s line of argument in this post while arguing with some Biblical inerrantist.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Too realistic to be parody. I can readily imagine some backwoods pastor arguing just this.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    I’m pretty confident that some still-living person has heard this exact sermon given in earnest.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Agreed. The reason why this doesn’t work as satire is because it’s pretty much exactly the argument pro-slavery folks made pre-1860.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The cry of persecution and comparisons of slaveowners to those Jews killed by Hitler is surely a new one.

  • Magic_Cracker

    True, that particular comparison is new, but the proslavery element in the South was frequently cried victim and claimed that the abolitionists wanted nothing more than to enslave whites.

  • misanthropy_jones

    the best parody is that which seems entirely plausible….

  • AndrewSshi

    Douglas Wilson actually does make this argument.

  • JustoneK

    This hurt me to read. :/ It’s too accurate.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Thanks to mentions by Fred and Rachel Held Evans, I’m currently reading Mark Noll’s The Civil War as a Theological Crisis. And this post fairly closely mirrors the pro-slavery arguments made at the time.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Aha! I knew that you’d eventually crack and reveal your true colors, Fred. Sure, you always seem like you’re a decent human being and you always seem like you were allowing decency and kindness to direct your decision-making and morality. But as Christopher Hitchens has said, “religion poisons everything.” Now we know that religion has poisoned you and you were just disguising yourself as a liberal hippy so you could wait until the perfect time to strike.

    It’s obvious that you’ve allowed your religion to convince you that it’s okay if the Bible says so, and the Bible obviously says slavery is okay. It’s also obvious that you’ve realized that if Christians don’t stand up to slavery they’ll allow black people to start grabbing white people off the beaches of Club Med and forcing them to harvest opium on the Indian Subcontinent and that sort of thing is completely and totally against the Bible. Which also means, obviously, that you’ve become a racist bigot because the Bible says you should be. For shame, Fred. I hope for your sake you’ve also given up on shrimp and cotton-poly blends…

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Now I’m curious why this got a downvote so quickly.

  • JustoneK

    EH is here.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    I think that might be my first downvote ever, too. I guess some people just don’t get snark. Or they did get the snark and they’re the sort who actually think that spouting Hitchens quotes against theists is an auto win…

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Religion does poison everything it touches and Fred does not, to me, “always seem like [he’s] allowing decency and kindness to direct [his] decision-making and morality”.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Huh. Naked Bunny was correct. Weird. Also, thanks for proving the exact point I made by putting that comment up. Hitchens is basically Nietzsche for the internet atheist set: source material for endless insipid quote mines that make the person using them feel superior and the people around roll their eyes and try to change the subject.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How doesn’t religion poison everything it touches?

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    See, that’s the wrong question. The fact that people keep endlessly promoting it as the definitive smack down to end all smack downs only makes it more annoying. The correct formulation is more like “tribalism poisons everything.” Or, to make it both more abstract and general, something like “binary, us-and-them thinking poisons everything.”

    I know this because I know of atheists who are massive, sucking assholes who get free passes on hideous beliefs and/or attitudes from other atheists because, hey, that person is one of us. Christopher Hitchens, ironically, is a brilliant example of this tribalistic thinking. Sam Harris, also, too. The thing about the whole “religion poisons everything” is that it is a statement that can’t be disproven, but it can’t be disproven because it can’t be tested and the people who use it stack the deck in their favor. As such, it’s a useless yardstick and it just makes the people who use it look like assholes.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    My main problem with religion is not its tribalism, but its support for irrationality in the form of superstition. Thus, if religion supports superstition, it poisons everything it touches.

  • Magic_Cracker

    I’ve read Hitchens fans talk about how witty he is, but he never struck me as witty, but as a sarcastic and mean-spirited. The only witty (i.e., funny) professional atheist I can think of was Robert Ingersoll, who could apparently make all but the most sanctimonious clergy laugh.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Bob Ingersoll was funny. That is not in doubt.

  • LouisDoench

    There are plenty of witty internet atheists out there. Look down the road a bit in the Atheist channel.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    There’s some brilliant logic.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It’s fairly easy to disprove the statement “religion poisons everything it touches” by pointing to something that is touched by religion, yet, not poisoned by it.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    It’s fairly easy to disprove the statement “religion poisons everything it touches” by pointing to something that is touched by religion, yet, not poisoned by it.

    There’s that deck stacking semantic game I was talking about. The burden of proof is most definitely on the person claiming that “religion poisons everything” in this case. The “neat”[1] trick then is the deck stacking in the reversal of the burden of proof. You define “poisoning” as “introducing the possibility of superstitious nonsense,” which is pretty fucking general and wide in scope. You then define “religion” as “superstitious nonsense.”

    This is actual, no shit, I’m-not-misunderstanding-the-term-like-99%-of-the-people-who-use-it begging the question. Your definition of “religion” and your definition of “poison” are inextricably linked and, as such, one cannot refute your claims because your claims are inherent in the wording you choose. As such, you still fail to meet the basic burden of proof.

    [1]I used scare quotes because it’s really not “neat” so much as “stupid and juvenile.”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Which one of the premises of my, admittedly, circular, argument, do you disagree with?

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Which one of the premises of my, admittedly, circular, argument, do you disagree with?

    The fact that you, Christopher Hitchens, and every smug, two-bit atheist “intellectual” on the internet think that it’s a winner and you get to use it to bypass rules of rhetoric? Does that count? A logical fallacy is a logical fallacy and the fact that the person using it is a smug, self-satisfied bastard doesn’t change that basic fact or allow that person to win by default.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I never called myself an “intellectual”. No, it doesn’t count as it does not answer my question. Focus on the soundness of the argument itself, not on its purpose.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    I never called myself an “intellectual”. No, it doesn’t count as it does
    not answer my question. Focus on the soundness of the argument itself,
    not on its purpose.

    For the record, I also didn’t call you Christopher Hitchens. There are three categorizations there and it would seem I left you separate from both the dead fella and the internet intellectuals.

    And I told you: your argument is a rhetorical flop due to being a logical fallacy. As such, I’ve told you exactly how sound I find your argument.

    The burden of proof is still on you. Find a way to not beg the question and I might agree that your point is worthy of debate.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    And you still don’t get it. You’re defining all religion as “superstition” and “poisoning” as “possibly injecting superstition in to things.” You’re then implying that “possibly injecting superstition into everything” means that “superstition is necessarily injected into everything, therefore ruining it.”

    To which I say, “bullshit, you’re making a circular argument and the burden of proof is STILL ON YOU.” That is a response. It is, in fact, the only worthwhile response to a loaded and begged question. I reject your premise. You need to come up with a new one if you want any other response. Period. Done. End of story.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Which premise(s) of my circular argument do you object to? To make it clearer for you, my premises are:
    1. All religions promote superstition
    2. Superstition is a form of irrationality.
    3. Irrationality leads to false conclusions.
    4. False conclusions are bad things, and are, thus, poisonous.
    5. Thus, religion poisons everything it touches.

  • JustoneK

    Yes, lecture us on rationality! IT’S SO JUICY.

  • SisterCoyote

    Dude. Seriously? Read that out loud. You admit that your argument is circular… but you’re still not sure why it’s problematic?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Yup.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    HEY! I remember arguing with you when you were supporting Christian Fascist Gary North! That you could support North’s ideas and then turn around and go all ‘religion poisons everything’ grants me the pleasure of the equally glib rejoinder:

    Religion doesn’t poison everything…YOU do.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Ahem. Do you read my blog? If not, how could you make such a broad statement?

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Supporting a Christofascist and turning around and saying religion poisons everything is so obviously hypocritical that the most charitable interpretation might be that you just like to argue for argument’s sake, making basically anything you say completely and utterly pointless.

    I would have more respect for you if you literally DID poison everything. I love Lucretzia Borgia.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Did I ever say religion did not poison North’s work? I certainly do not support North’s Presbyterianism.

  • rm

    to sum up:

    Harding: A=A, prove me wrong!

    Geds: formal logic explanation of why this is an invalid argument

    Harding: Focus on the soundess of my argument, not its purpose!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You summarized my positions accurately, though I don’t see how Geds provided a “formal logic explanation of why this is an invalid argument”.

  • AnonaMiss

    Hey now. Speaking as a smug, two-bit atheist “intellectual,” I’m a little insulted that you would insinuate I find this tack at all compelling. ;)

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Hey now. Speaking as a smug, two-bit atheist “intellectual,” I’m a
    little insulted that you would insinuate I find this tack at all
    compelling. ;)

    Careful, now. People might start thinking you’re a three-bit atheist intellectual if you keep talking like that…

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    This is actual, no shit, I’m-not-misunderstanding-the-term-like-99%-of-the-people-who-use-it begging the question.

    I love you so much for this sentence.

  • arcseconds

    The music of Arvo Pärt.

    e.g.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8qg_0P9L6c

    Pärt was/is highly inspired by his orthodox faith, at a time when Estonia was officially atheist and the regime banned the music he was interested in.

    There are plenty of religiously inspired composers, of
    course, but Pärt is a particularly good example, given the inclement environment for religion it’s not easonable to suppose he was merely fitting in with the expectations of his society.

    Music is not a ‘conclusion’, so this isn’t covered by your argument below.

    We probably wouldn’t have this music if it wasn’t for religion. And if you have any taste at all, it’s difficult to deny it’s beauty – it certainly doesn’t sound ‘poisoned’ to me.

  • Bob

    Religion encourages people to give to charity and gives them excuses for cool festivals like Christmas and holi. Please stop making atheists look bad.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Sure, religion can encourage good behavior. It still poisons that good behavior.

  • Fusina

    I am very curious as to the logic behind this conclusion. Please explicate?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • Fusina

    In your words please. I have read that column. But here is my confusion, my best friend is an atheist. She has stated that she has no problem with my “superstitions” as you have termed them, and since I don’t do nice things out of fear of punishment but rather out of my sense of morality–eg, this is what should be done to make life better for people around me.

    Since she knows me, and you do not, I have to confess to confusion as to your logical thought processes. And, to be perfectly clear, she is not a “believer” masquerading as an atheist. She could admit that some of us are okay–so again, the logic behind your conclusion?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What “column”? I linked to a comment of mine. My argument is that superstition encourages irrationality, and irrationality, by leading people into incorrect conclusions, should not be advocated for.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Alcohol leads to drunkenness and thus should not be advocated for.

    Automobiles lead to car accidents and thus should not be advocated for.

    Airplanes lead to plane crashes and thus should not be advocated for.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What evidence do you have that religion offers greater social benefit than humanism? Cars and planes, after all, are irreplaceable in their task of transporting people or goods over rough, undeveloped terrain.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    You, um, you might want to look up the history of the words you’re using there, sparky. See, the first humanists were religious. They kicked off the Italian Renaissance because they were trying to expand their knowledge beyond medieval Christian understanding of cosmology, but they, and this is key to the point, were Christians at the time and remained Christians throughout.

    Humanism and Christianity are not mutually exclusive categories. Humanism is also most definitely not a philosophy inextricably linked with atheism (or science, for that matter). The fact that you seem to think that the world is neatly divided into categories of “religious” and “humanist” goes more towards telling me more about your lack of education and understanding in this matter than supporting your position or winning me over to your side. I would, in fact, say that our host is a fantastic example of a Christian humanist. As an atheist humanist, I can join with him on the grounds of humanism. It’s pretty simple.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I apologize for accidentally skipping that crucial adjective “secular” in my brain. I have edited my original comment. Yes, Fred does appear to be a Christian Humanist.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    And I already commented to point out that your edit doesn’t change anything. Now you’re just arguing semantics. And digging a deeper hole.

  • JustoneK

    I don’t think he can logic so he fills up the text boxes. Or he is v v good at the trolling thing.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I can use logic, though not always well. I am not trolling; I’m expressing sincere disagreement, which is sometimes misguided.

  • JustoneK

    I am v glad you can at least apparently accept yer own fallibility here. Sincerity is a hard thing to gauge, especially if you profess it. :P

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    What evidence do you have that religion offers greater social benefit
    than secular humanism? Cars and planes, after all, are irreplaceable in
    their task of transporting people or goods over rough, undeveloped
    terrain.
    Edited to add “secular”.

    Adorable edit there, really.

    Again, you prove that you don’t understand what the words you’re using mean. “Secular” does not mean “anti-religious.” It simply means that it’s something that is not sacred. The earliest humanists could have also been called “secular humanists,” because they believed that human knowledge had value and that pre-Christian civilization had a lot to add to the knowledge of humanity. Please, go look up Petrarch and get back to me.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Should I edit it to “atheistic” humanism? According to Webster’s, secular humanism is

    humanistic philosophy viewed as a nontheistic religion antagonistic to traditional religion

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Okay, fine, but then you have to prove that secular humanism gave us the automobile, the airplane, and alcohol. I believe my point was that you don’t get to categorically reject something just because it might cause a problem down the road.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    “Okay, fine, but then you have to prove that secular humanism gave us the automobile, the airplane, and alcohol.”
    -WTF! You don’t even understand your own analogy. If religion is to be compared with the auto and the plane in your analogy, it has to have benefits greater than those of non-religious humanism. The burden of proof is on you for showing that it does.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Well, um, it can pretty much be argued that civilization itself exists because of religion. In fact, the earliest massive building projects were all religious in nature and they required people as far back as the end of the last Ice Age to gather together and figure out things like logistics and engineering.

    I’d say that’s a pretty big benefit right there. But, hey, maybe you prefer living in a cave and getting hunted by sabre tooth tigers? Who’s to say?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Correlation is not causation.

  • Lunch Meat

    Correlation is not causation.

    Except when it proves your point?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Where have I used this fallacy?

  • Lunch Meat

    “religion poisons everything it touches”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    That wasn’t a confusion of correlation with causation! My argument there was based on the fact that religion promotes superstition. This fact is undeniable.

  • Lunch Meat

    Define “superstition.”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Beliefs that contradict very solid evidence and are supported by little to no evidence.

  • Lunch Meat

    Where is your “very solid evidence” that a deity* of some sort does not exist?

    *Defined as a being that is not consistently detectable by our current methods of observation.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    By such a loose definition of the word “deity’, a belief in such a being would not be considered superstition, but it would be considered unwarranted, given that it is extremely difficult to disprove the existence of a “deity”, and much easier to demonstrate his/her existence. Thus, the burden of proof is on the side of the “deity”-believers.

  • Foelhe

    That doesn’t change the fact that – by your definition – superstitions contradict solid evidence and therefore – by your definition – belief in a deity that doesn’t have solid evidence against it is not a superstition. You don’t like it, work on your definitions.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Belief in a “deity” as defined by Lunch Meat would not constitute a religion.

  • Foelhe

    Semantics, how does it work! Fine, define religion then!

  • JustoneK

    RELIGION, n., adj. form religious: poison

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No! I have not yet come up with a suitable definition.

  • JustoneK

    But you won’t use ours? How can you make an assertion on something you can’t identify?

  • Lunch Meat

    If you don’t know what religion is, how can you know so emphatically that it poisons everything? And why should anyone listen to you if you can’t be bothered to define your terms?

  • Lunch Meat

    No, honey, if you’re going to say there’s “very solid evidence” against something, then the burden of proof is on YOU to back up your statement. And my working definition of deity–an entity outside our powers of observation that interacts with this world when and how zie chooses–is quite close to what many of the Pagans around here believe. I’m sure they’re all very pleased to hear you define their religion for them.

    I’m also curious what “very solid” evidence you would put forward against reincarnation or life after death.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    What “very solid evidence” does my religion contradict?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What be your religion?

  • Jamoche

    Horses are actually better than cars at travelling over rough terrain.

    Airships are safer than planes, provided you don’t use an explosive combo of fuel and skin coating.

    There. Replacements.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I knew I should have added a word in my original comment. That word was “quickly”. I have now added it. Horses aren’t quick enough, neither are airships.

  • Foelhe

    Post faster, EH. Those goalposts aren’t going to shift themselves.

    Wasn’t there a Darwin’s Award about someone who strapped a rocket to the back of their car and slammed into a cliffside? There you go: quickly.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I’ve added “and safely” to my original comment.

  • Foelhe

    You’ve clearly never been in a head-on collision at sixty miles an hour.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    “Safe” is relative. Most people don’t die from or are seriously injured by auto accidents.

  • Foelhe

    Yes, safe is relative. Quick is relative too. So how are either of those terms useful the way you’re using them?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Planes are quicker than airships and cars are usually quicker than horses.

  • Foelhe

    Y’know, my argument was horribly weak and I was mostly poking fun at you. The fact that you can’t address it except by repeating your original point is just sad.

  • Lunch Meat

    Religion is irreplaceable in its task of connecting people to their personal conception of a higher power and meaning.

    (Please, please try to disprove this statement. I can’t wait to qualify it until it has lost all meaning.)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Religious meanings are not the only ones derived by the human mind, and asserting their validity does not make them true. There exist real ‘higher powers’, such as the sky, the United States, and the Sun. There is, of course, no reason for them to be worshiped, and connection to them need not be dependent on any religion.

  • JustoneK

    And that has what to do with disproving the integral connection of religion in culture?

  • Foelhe

    The sun is higher? Are you a flat-earther geocentrist?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    It is above my head during daytime and is certainly larger than I; thus, it is higher than I am. I am neither a flat-earther nor a geocentrist.

  • JustoneK

    Literal meanings are not the only ones derived by the human mind, and asserting their salience does not make them relevant.

  • Foelhe

    [i]So fucking adorable.[/i]

  • Foelhe

    Augh, I fail at html.

  • P J Evans

    ‘Sokay. It’s understandable. Besides, Disqus sucks at HTML, too, since its last ‘upgrade’.

  • Foelhe

    It is a constant fact of the universe that you can always blame Disqus. Always.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Angle brackets, not square brackets! What is “fucking adorable” about my statement?

  • Lunch Meat

    Religion is irreplaceable in its task of connecting people to their personal conception of a higher power and meaning that can be worshiped.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    There’s always a totalitarian state’s cult of personality.

  • Lunch Meat

    Religion is irreplaceable in its task of connecting people to their personal conception of a higher power that can be worshiped and that offers life or meaning beyond death.

    Just to be clear, what I’m doing is nothing more than what you’re doing with your planes and cars thing. The dangers posed by planes and cars are obviously okay by you because we “need” to travel over long distances quickly. Why? By what reasoning can you prove humanity “needs” to travel long distances quickly more than it “needs” to be connected to a higher power that can be worshiped and that offers life or meaning beyond death? Why are YOU the one who gets to decide what “needs” should be met and the best way of meeting them? Who are YOU to say that the need religion meets is unimportant and that the circularly defined poison is too much disadvantage to make it worth it?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Well, i’m a bit surprised. Folks like you usually claim that totalitarian state personality cults are “Just a secular religion” as part of their goalpost-moving.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Religion is only one variety of incorrect and/or dangerous ideologies.

  • Fusina

    I am going to assume here that you are referring to a belief that something/one started the whole universe going. Which, since I wasn’t there, and as one friend pointed out, there were no cameras, video recorders, voice recorders or, indeed, witnesses, I cannot attest to what happened. I take it on faith, just as you seem to be taking by faith that I am irrational. So be it. We are probably both locked up in an insane asylum somewhere, in which case, I get to be Catherine the Great.

  • Magic_Cracker

    The poison is in the dose, and despite my japing about being a crypto-pagan-pan-material-anarcho-theo-nihilist or whatever, I’m an atheist, and I judge people by their actions and the consequences thereof. What motivates someone to do good matters less to me than the fact of doing good itself, and I have yet to see any evidence that religion is more likely to motivate (or rationalize) bad behavior than nonreligious ideologies.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I have yet to see any evidence that religion is more likely to motivate
    (or rationalize) bad behavior than a nonreligious ideologies.

    -Me, too. I, however, believe the poison is always there, although it may not always cause harmful effects.

  • Magic_Cracker

    I, however, believe the poison is always there, although it may not always cause harmful effects.

    Well, it’s fine with me if you believe that, but don’t expect me to take it on faith.

  • Foelhe

    Maybe you’d like me to explain what the word poison means, hmm?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    A bad thing.

  • Foelhe

    You are fucking adorable.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How?

  • Lunch Meat

    Me, too. I, however, believe the poison is always there, although it may not always cause harmful effects.

    That sure is some rational reasoning you’ve got there. The poison is there, even if its effects aren’t, so you don’t have to “prove” anything! Also you’ve defined religious teaching as poison, so this is a tautology.

    I can define dihydrogen monoxide as a poison, and then prove that everyone is poisoned, even if they don’t experience any harmful effects.

  • P J Evans

    Homeopathic philosphy, I guess: it’s diluted down so nothing is left but the memory of Bad Things Happening.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    That wouldn’t be “homeopathic”; I do not claim a sufficiently small dose of religion becomes rationality.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    So, you’re arguing against one or more of my premises, as stated in http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/30/liberals-continue-their-attack-on-the-authority-of-scripture/#comment-880782716 ? Are you arguing that irrationality or superstition are desirable? That religion does not promote irrationality or superstition?
    I declare your premise that water is poison ludicrous, as water is usually quite beneficial and is GRAS.

  • Lunch Meat

    You have not defined either religion or superstition adequately for me to even understand, let alone dispute, your premises. Your definitions are so vague and qualified as to be meaningless. You are a bad communicator; that is not my problem.

    I also reject your [unstated] premise that all bad or undesirable things are “poison.” That is a completely unwarranted assumption.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I have defined “superstition”: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/30/liberals-continue-their-attack-on-the-authority-of-scripture/#comment-880797906
    You’re right; I should have defined “religion” before asking you to challenge one or more of my premises.

  • Lunch Meat

    I challenged your definition by pointing out that it does not apply to actual, real-world religions and their beliefs. Since you have not defended it, your first premise stands disproven. Shall I assume you are conceding the argument?

  • Lunch Meat

    By the way, you’re the one who said that poisonous things can still be beneficial, as religion “encourages good behavior”. You also said that poison does not have to cause detectable harmless effects. Therefore, there is no reason that water cannot be a poison.

  • Lunch Meat

    (“harmless” above should be “harmful.”)

  • JustoneK

    Yer personal identification categorizing is complicated.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Hey now, it’s not like I’m a neo-dada-auto-atheo-pan-dialectic-didacticist or anything!

  • JustoneK

    PREFIX OVERLOOOOOAD it’s like trying to define a new music group

  • Magic_Cracker

    Man, I was into multi-phasic-anti-tonal-modal-noise pop before it got popular.

  • spinetingler

    Johann Sebastian Bach FTW.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The poison is in a dose too small to be detected by most people here.

  • arcseconds

    Is this a joke?

  • Mark Z.

    Enopoletus Harding Teaches Rhetoric, Lesson 2: the argument by unassailable vacuity.

    Make a broad, sweeping assertion with no evidence or justification at all. When challenged on it, say “How is it not true?” Since you haven’t made any argument for your position, your opposition won’t have anything to attack, and you win!

    Argumentation is war, and the supreme form of warfare is to attack the enemy’s strategy. If the enemy’s strategy is to dispute the accuracy of your evidence, don’t give any evidence. If it’s to show weaknesses in your logic, avoid logic of any kind. If it’s to appeal to your human decency, don’t display any of that, either. Just state your position and defy anyone to prove you wrong. Cogito ergo I’m right and you’re wrong.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Where’s Lesson 1?
    I just listed my premises at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/30/liberals-continue-their-attack-on-the-authority-of-scripture/#comment-880782716
    Geds has refused to challenge any one of them.

  • JustoneK

    He’s also not the one challenging. You are. Geds ain’t interested.

  • Foelhe

    I considered challenging some of them, but I’ve already learned the futility of having a serious conversation with you. Wouldn’t surprise me if Geds felt the same.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    I considered challenging some of them, but I’ve already learned the futility of having a serious conversation with you. Wouldn’t surprise me if Geds felt the same.

    Geds, in fact, most certainly does. After the third round of, “I don’t accept your premise because it’s fuck stupid and here’s why I realized I had more important things to do. To wit:

    Read Cat Valente’s Six Gun Snow White on the train.
    Pick up the dog. Feed the dog. Walk the dog.
    Watch last night’s Daily Show and Colbert Report.
    Drink beer.
    Watch five minutes of The Mindy Project and discover it’s even less interesting than The New Girl.
    Pay bills.

    All in all, it was a rather enjoyable evening.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Naked Bunny was correct. Weird.

    Yeah.
    .
    .
    .

    Hey, wait a minute….

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Um, I feel I should clarify. The “weird” was more that it seemed the less likely conclusion and also it was surprising how quickly the less likely conclusion was proven correct.

  • arcseconds

    I’m aghast at this pernicious comparison of Hitchens to Nietzsche!

    Nietzsche was brilliant. Hitchens is just a second-rate hack.

    That’s not to deny the truth of what you say, of course, he is certainly used as a motherlode for quotes, which often get used by eyeroll-inducing limited people who think the world of themselves, but that’s hardly the most interest facet to Nietzsche.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    How was Hitchens a “second-rate hack”?

  • arcseconds

    How was he not a ‘second-rate hack’?

  • Lunch Meat

    Premise 1: Define “Christopher” as “second-rate”
    Premise 2: Define “Hitchens” as “hack”

    Conclusion: Christopher Hitchens is a second-rate hack.

    How can you possibly dispute these premises???

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I reject both these premises as baseless, unsupported, and arbitrary, though I accept the conclusion.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Oh, let’s see, he wrote “The Trial of Henry Kissinger” which was an thoroughly sourced indictment of illegal wars of aggression and the inevitable human rights abuses that are the natural consequences of such, and then her turned around an supported and continued to support until the day he died the illegal invasion of Iraq and all of the inevitable human rights abuses that were the natural consequences of such because MUSLIM!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Ah. Thanks for reminding me.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    I’m aghast at this pernicious comparison of Hitchens to Nietzsche!

    Nietzsche was brilliant. Hitchens is just a second-rate hack.

    I was going to put several disclaimers in, mostly to the effect of what you said. But then I figured focusing on the quote-mine aspect would get the point across as well as anything I could do. Ah, well.

    True story: the only time I quote Nietzsche (and by “quote” I mean “paraphrase”) is something I picked up from Thus Spoke Zarathustra. He said something to the effect of, “Don’t get married, but if you do marry a good conversationalist, for the conversations will last.” It’s brilliant. And kind of unexpected, given the source.

  • arcseconds

    Well, I was being a bit of a drama queen, admittedly. I thought I’d mine the humour value of appearing, for a sentence, to be defending Hitchens :-)

    So never mind — I’ve set the record straight! For what it’s worth, I was indeed wondering whether you were leaving room for a more sympathetic assessment of Nietzsche.

    Unfortunately the most obvious examples of the posthumous company he has ended up keeping are quite bad company, so I do feel somewhat compelled to defend him. I’m quite certain that it’s not the company he’d choose to keep. I’m also pretty sure he more or less expected to be misunderstood, so I imagine he also wouldn’t be surprised, and might not even care so much, so long as he gets through to a few who do understand him, or at least are capable of doing something interesting with his work.

    I was told once that one has no business commenting on Nietzsche until you can cite book, chapter and verse about wherever it is that he (deliberately and knowingly) contradicts whatever it is you’re just about to quote. Sometimes it’s just five pages later, and you realise he’s led you up the garden path :)

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Well, I was being a bit of a drama queen, admittedly. I thought I’d
    mine the humour value of appearing, for a sentence, to be defending
    Hitchens :-)

    There’s always the well-worn trope: “One was a bigoted asshole endlessly quoted by idiots who don’t realize he advocated policies up to and including genocide and the other was Nietzsche!”

  • arcseconds

    that’s good :)

  • Foelhe

    What’s hilarious about this is that you think you know anything about decency and kindness. After all the crap you’ve been spewing in the salmagundi thread, I really don’t think you’ll find anyone here willing to buy that.

  • Fusina

    But apparently it is just crap. No superstitious poisons in it.

    Catherine the Great

  • JustoneK

    The impression I keep getting is that we, in le slacktiverse in general, are defining decency and kindness wrong.

  • Foelhe

    Which is sort of amusing, since I think those are the only two words EH hasn’t started a semantics argument over.

  • Wednesday

    An incomplete list of things religion has touched but not poisoned, for some reasonable definition of “touched”:

    (1) [em]Good Omens[/em], by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen

    (2) [em]Small Gods[/em], [em]Nation[/em], and [em]Feet of Clay[/em], by Terry Pratchett

    (3) The Invisible Pink Unicorn

    (4) My friend’s “Catholics for Marriage Equality” button

    (5) Mozart’s Requiem

    (6) Night on Bald Mountain

    (7) Death Metal

    (8) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (it has issues, sure, but they’re not caused by the fact that souls are things and Wiccan magic works in the Buffiverse)

    (9) The mathematical constant pi (mentioned in the Torah)

    (PS: I’m an atheist and a mathematician. So I take your circular arguments as a personal affront.)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Pi’s mentioned in the Pentateuch? [citation needed].

  • Wednesday

    Pi is the ratio of the circumference to a circle to its diameter. There is a description of a big golden bowl as having this ratio of 3, which given when the OT was written isn’t a bad estimate at all. A cursory Google gives chapter and verse as I Kings 7, 23 and II Chronicles 4, 2, which may not be the Torah proper but is still the Old Testament.

    So, not in the Torah itself, but still mentioned in a religious text, but not poisoned by it (unless you are honestly going to tell me that pi is somehow harmed by ancient civilizations being less precise, or that pi is now harmful to people?)

    Since you didn’t challenge items 1-8, I assume you accept them as examples of things which have (a) been touched by religion, and (b) not poisoned by it? (All it takes is a single counterexample to disprove a universal statement.)

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Yeah, I was thinking if it was one of those two possibilities. And now I know which one.

    I’m glad it wasn’t because of the snark. I expect a lot more of Fred’s supporters than people like EH.

  • JustoneK

    I’m not sure he counts as a supporter.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    What I meant is that I’d have been disappointed if someone had downvoted Geds for slagging on Fred. I’m used to Slacktivist fans reading for comprehension and being less “kneejerk” than those in some forums I haunt.

  • Mark Z.

    Hitchens poisons everything, apparently.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No, he doesn’t!

  • Lee B.

    “Look, this isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction.”

  • Fusina

    No it’s not! ;-P

  • JustoneK

    Terribly sorry, this is Abuse!

  • Fusina

    I’ll just go next door then, shall I?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Mark makes a statement without providing evidence, I make a statement without providing evidence. We’re equal in this regard.

  • Mark Z.

    Lesson 3: False Equivalence, or, I’m Rubber, You’re From The Mirror Universe.

    Faced with vacuous arguments, your opponents will eventually stop trying to argue with you and start simply mocking you. The defense against this is to take the mockery absolutely at face value, and seize on their nonsensical statements as proof that they’re exactly as ridiculous as they accuse you of being.

    Remember: technically you already won the original argument. At this point you’re really arguing over who’s more rational, and that’s not them, because they’re calling you names. Rational people don’t engage in name-calling. That’s an ad hominem argument, one of the classic fallacies you get to call your opponents out on. So go ahead and tell them that. They’ll admit your superiority soon enough.

  • AnonaMiss

    Have you been following the “Mourning with those who mourn” thread, Mark? We’ve got a troll who’s been coming back for weeks and doing exactly this. Check it out if you want a laugh.

  • Lee B.

    May I interest you in Being Hit On The Head lessons? It’s only £8 for the full course.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No, thank you, sir.

  • Lee B.

    No, the correct response is, “What a stupid concept.”

    But don’t get discouraged. Keep trying, and you’ll eventually understand the hu-mans.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I am a hu-man. I was trying to be subtle.

  • Consumer Unit 5012
  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    To live like the hu-man / to love like the hu-man. Why are these things against the plan? At what point on the graph to “must” and “cannot” intersect?

  • arcseconds

    Look, an argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a …

    …oh, I’ve had enough of this, I’m bored… I never wanted to be a logician, anyway, I always wanted to be… a lumberjack!

  • Fusina

    Leaping from tree to tree, as they float down the mighty rivers of
    British Columbia. The Giant Redwood. The Larch. The Fir! The mighty
    Scots Pine! The lofty flowering Cherry! The plucky little Apsen! The
    limping Roo tree of Nigeria. The towering Wattle of Aldershot! The
    Maidenhead Weeping Water Plant! The naughty Leicestershire Flashing Oak!
    The flatulent Elm of West Ruislip! The Quercus Maximus Bamber
    Gascoigni! The Epigillus! The Barter Hughius Greenus!

  • mountainguy

    Hitchens drinks everything he touches

  • Baby_Raptor

    Enopoletus has announced that he is butthurt because people disagreed with and downvoted what he feels were rational comments, so he is now going around downvoting other rational comments in return. He told me this back on the first thread on the Boston bombing.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t downvote “other rational comments in return”; I downvote all comments I dislike.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/04/15/patriots-day-bombings-in-boston/#comment-865525680

  • arcseconds

    Did you downvote my comment about Arvo Pärt?

    If so, what did you not like about it?

  • Fusina

    I am starting to wonder if he really hates the world, and is so powerless that downvoting comments here is one of the ways he makes himself think he is powerful. Sadly for him, downvotes are irrelevant to who I am. Especially since I am pretty sure that when a comment only gets one, I know who done it. Since I don’t know him IRL, his opinions about me are irrelevant. Anyway, when people are that irrational and illogical, I tend to not have conversations about anything more than the weather, a GRAS topic. I also am probably going to try really hard to not respond to him. I do know logic–my Dad made sure of that–he foresaw the computer and internet explosion well before it happened.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No. If I wanted to think myself powerful, I wouldn’t hurt my Disqus rating so much by commenting here. I don’t hate the world.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    They’re handy on feminist friendly sites that get an influx of dudebros coming in to complain about a hot button topic. But, yea other than that they are worthless.

  • Fusina

    Out of curiousity, do the downvotes–or the upvotes, while we are at it, mean anything to anyone other than the person who posts the comment?

    Is Big Brother watching and keeping track of our silliness? /whisper

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Not that I can see. I can’t even see my downvotes on my disqus profile. It’s just nice to see community disapproval when someone shows up acting repugnant, like rape apologists in a thread on cosplay=/=consent threads and stuff.

  • Fusina

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Um. I was reading bits of the conversations on this post to my atheist friend, and even she declared a certain party illogical and downright weird. She intimated that he sounds like a guy sitting in his mother’s basement posting to groups out of boredom or just to “make a difference” without doing anything more. She is now thinking of reading some of this blog–I told her there were lots of atheists here, she should feel right at home.

    Ah, and she has declared me religiously poison free. ;-)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding
  • arcseconds

    I don’t think I understand your response.

    You tell us it should be easy to disprove your statement by coming up with one example. I came up with an example, and you… well, you don’t like it.

    Why? Well, you point to a post which seems hard to apply to instrumental music.

    Do you think Pärt’s ‘Spiegel Im Spiegel’ promotes superstition?

    I suppose you do, as that’s what your response was to spinetingler’s similar example of Bach. It contains poison (i.e. promotes superstition) in some tiny and mysterious way.

    And you think religious people are the superstitious ones…

  • sketchesbyboze

    “… and you were just disguising yourself as a liberal hippy so you could wait until the perfect moment to strike.”

    “It was I, you fools! The man you trusted wasn’t Wavy Gravy at all! And all this time I’ve been smoking harmless tobacco!”

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    If for-profit corporations don’t have the religious right to own slaves, then the Constitution may as well be shredded along with the Bible.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    But neither the Bible nor the Constitution says anything about corporations!

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    *rolls his eyes*

  • Jereko

    So that means corporations should be abolished, right?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No. It does mean that it is difficult to use the Bible to argue that corporations have the right to own slaves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Not for lack of trying, either, I’d imagine.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Please, your use of the highly emotive word “slaves” reveals your agenda all too plainly. All we advocate is the freedom for consumers to buy their rights-protection from any number of freely competing Corporate Legal Action Networks (CLANs), and should you not be able to afford full membership and the rights and privileges that come with it, you can exchange your labor for a Special Economically Reduced Freedom-lover (SERF) membership.

    Sincerely,

    John Hawkins, Esq.
    Traditional Staffing Services, Ltd.

  • AnonaMiss

    One time I got a call from, I shit you not, John Galt Staffing.

    Really? You’re going to name your staffing agency after the literary incarnation of “Anyone who can’t do it on their own doesn’t deserve to succeed!”?

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    That’s an excellent argument for everyone to have a passing familiarity with Ayn Rand’s work: so that you know who to avoid.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I think every adult American should have a thorough familiarity with Ayn Rand’s work just for the fun of calling Paul Ryan a liar and hypocrite.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    There’s plenty of ammunition even without.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Agreed.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    A couple weeks ago I was behind some jackass in one of those stupid looking Porsche saloons who had a “Who is John Galt?” license plate holder. My new plan is to take pictures of such things and put them on Facebook with mean comments.

    I would have done the same thing with the guy in the VW Jetta TDi who had the license plate “TDADDY,” and pointed out that he would like you to know he has a tiny, tiny penis, but the picture didn’t come out so good. I had a sad.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    For both ironic mocking and additional geek cred, you could have license plate holder that says “Who is Andrew Ryan?”

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I think “TDADDY” is kind of funny in that ironic hipster fashion.

    Also, mocking people for having a tiny penis on FB is pretty jerkwad behavior. You might want to not do that as a general rule. I don’t see how those two even relate, honestly.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    The guy used the occasion of a passing firetruck in a downpour to cut a bunch of people off and jump a line. This is pretty much indicative of the fact that the driver is a jackass and the “TDADDY” indicated less of an attitude of “I have procreated and also am a driver of a TDi,” than, “Hey, look at me, I’ll be asking who your daddy is tonight.” For the record, I wouldn’t have even noticed his license plate if he wasn’t being a giant ass in the first place.

    Drawing attention to yourself and your car like that and being an ass is generally perceived as a form of overcompensation, hence tiny penis jokes.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    “…passing firetruck in a downpour to cut a bunch of people off and jump a line” is a jerk maneuver.

    “TDADDY” is a pop culture reference.

    Do you make fun of overweight people on Facebook also?

  • http://apolarity.com/ Adrenalin Tim

    Actually, Doug Wilson—not an obscure character in right-wing fundamentalist evangelicalism—argues just this.

    “If Christians admit that the Bible’s treatment of slavery may be outdated, it’s only a short way down the slippery slope of relativism toward relinquishing the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and other hot issues.”

  • The_L1985

    Next thing you know, they’ll start wanting gays to get married! Oh wait…

  • Sarabird

    A mention in the comments thread over in The Friendly Atheist sent me to this blog. Two enthusiastic thumbs up, this is the kind of religious thinking that I can get in bed with (metaphorically, of course).

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    I’ll take this James Dobson citation as an opportunity to (once again) mention my very favorite (and by favorite, I mean horrible) Dobson story, about the time Baby Daughter Dobson “challenged” her mother in a “direct confrontation of wills” by attempting to crawl onto a newly-waxed floor, when any nine-month-old should have understood the concept of floorwax.

    http://www.christianindex.org/916.article

    Lest anyone imagine that Dobson has grown and learned over the years, a Christian radio commercial featured him relating this very story last week.

  • Fusina

    Speaking of commercials, I have recently seen bits of one (while fastforwarding through them) of a walk in tub–and have seen far more of the aging Pat Boone’s chest than I wanted to see. Well, I think it is Pat Boone–there are no white shoes, so who can tell?

  • hidden_urchin

    Dr. James Dobson summarizes the gravity of the situation…

    OMG!!11 The godless liberals are taking over!!!!1! Marriage is in danger!!!!11!one We have to stop them!! Where do I send the check?!!

    Ahem.

    I didn’t actually follow the link because I don’t want to give the page traffic but I suspect there is a plea for money somewhere in there. The whole thing reads like a way to separate anxious people from their dollars.

  • beau_quilter

    What these angry liberals can’t see or fathom is that we care for our slaves. We are saving their souls. Bondage is truly freedom to the Christian slave. As a brother wrote in the “The Spectator” in 1859:

    “The intelligent, Christian slave-holder at the South is the best friend of the negro. He does not regard his bonds-men as mere chattel property, but as human beings to whom he owes duties … Here the honest black man is not only protected by the laws and public sentiment, but he is respected by the community as truly as if his skin were white … There is a vast deal of foolish talk about the delights of freedom and the hardships of slavery … But when the man, whatever his complexion, recognizes the fact that his lot is ordained of God, and cheerfully acquiesces, he becomes a free man in the only true sense. He then chooses to do and to bear what otherwise might be irksome and intolerable.”

  • Fusina

    I am speechless. Okay, not entirely. One wonders, if slavery were truly so awesome, why the slave owners didn’t sell themselves into slavery…

  • JustoneK

    it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do the slave-owning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/agni.ashwin Agni Ashwin

    Not everyone can be Django.

  • http://apolarity.com/ Adrenalin Tim

    I’ll see your 1859 and raise you a 1996 (and republished in 2004):

    Wilson and Wilkins are quite specific about the many benefits of slavery for African-Americans, and they conclude that southern slaves genuinely appreciated those benefits and supported the system that provided them. As such, they claim that “slavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the War [the Civil War] or since.”

    (…) “There has never been … a multi-racial society that has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.”

    (Source.) That’s Douglas Wilson. Prominent, mainstream, fundamentalist evangelical, endorsed by John Piper, seen as credible enough to stand in a public debate with Andrew Sullivan (& moderated by Peter Hitchens).

  • Carstonio

    James Dobson is right. Once you reject the authority of scripture, you end up hopelessly mired in moral relativism like Fred. What a tragedy that he actually contemplates how his actions will affect others. No right-thinking person could possibly value such meaningless concepts as love, justice, equality, fairness and freedom.

  • smrnda

    Isn’t Doug Wilson basically saying this right now?

  • Nick

    Here’s the problem though- the NT never out and out says, “Slavery is good.” *At most* it implies this.

    So it would seem like there is at least *a little* bit of wiggle room for Christians like DA Carson who argue that the Apostles *were* in fact opposed to slavery yet judged calls for immediate manumission to be imprudent and sought to only tacitly undermine slavery through Philemon 16, 1st Timothy 1:10 (I think that there is a connotation of condemning slave traders wrapped up in the reference translated “kidnappers”), and the call that there is neither slave nor free in Christ.

    In contrast, the “clobber verses” on homosexuality, even if they can be read differently (which I doubt, but I’m a errantist, so it’s not a big deal to me either way), don’t leave quite as much room for movement.

  • Lorehead

    But the opponents of marriage equality reject the NT definition of marriage, which forbids divorce. It’s Deuteronomy that allows it.

  • Nick

    Yes, that would seem to be true. I pretty much oppose “no fault” divorce myself.

    But that doesn’t have much to do with my point. The New Testament view of slavery is more confusing than anything else. Its view of homosexuality (and of divorce, yes) seems clear by comparison.

  • Lorehead

    Colossians 3 tells slaves to obey their masters, and Philemon meant that Paul sent a slave back to his master, until we decided it didn’t, much as Jews were Christ-killers up until we weren’t, black people were under the Curse of Ham until they weren’t, and women are still commanded to submit unconditionally to their husbands until they’re not. It’s not as if Christians don’t selectively ignore parts of the New Testament and quote the Hebrew Bible when it suits them.

  • Nick

    Nobody I know of disputes that this is what Philemon is, the question is whether Paul was telling Philemon to free Onesimus. The bone of contention is: 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant *but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother*—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

    (emphasis mine)

    I think it could go either way. Under the interpretation which I refer to, exhortations of servants to obey in Colossians 3 and elsewhere were not meant to endorse slavery, but to avoid inciting a slave revolt which might have gotten the nascent Church completely crushed.

  • Lorehead

    I don’t want anyone to think I’m saying that Real True Christianity supports slavery. Hardly any Christians today interpret their Bibles that way. If you go back to the historical debate over slavery a century and a half ago, the pro-slavery position did very closely resemble the argument Fred makes here, many of the proof texts were from the New Testament, and it’s probably no coincidence that that form of inerrancy is still strongest among white Southern Evangelicals today.

    You could also ask, say, whether Romans 1 is really calling every gay man and lesbian woman who has ever lived an evil person, or just some people who lived in Paul’s time. A lot of people who are ready to acknowledge that, okay, the Bible isn’t perfect seem to want to think that they’re at least following the New Testament, but they’re actually being selective about that, too.

  • Nick

    I don’t think such an interpretation of Romans 1 makes sense. The point Paul seems to be making is that the Jews pat themselves on the back that they have the Law to keep them from sliding into moral degradation and rejection of God’s revelation in nature (idolatry is one symptom of the degraded state of the Gentiles, homosexuality is another). Paul is saying that the Jews should not do so because they don’t follow the Law anyway. In other words, I don’t see how Paul’s argument even works without homosexuality being a genuine evil, it would be like trying to say that idolatry is not an evil.

    And if you were referring to me, no I don’t think that the NT is the “Good Testament.” They both have problems. I actually agree with you about 19th Century slavery arguments, though I think errancy would have been a better solution than engaging the Fire Breathers on their own terms.

  • Lorehead

    I didn’t intend to put any words in your mouth! And yes, one has to bend over backwards to oppose both slavery and errancy at the same time.

  • Nick

    No worries.

  • Lorehead

    On a separate note, you apparently read Paul as saying that gay and lesbian people are evil, but it’s not clear from your post whether you think that’s one of the things the Bible is errant about, and I want to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    In either case, Conor Friedersdorf has one of the best comments on such discussions:

    It is stunning how confident some people are in pronouncing on the nature of homosexuality as though they could reason it out deductively from first principles, starting with the fact that it is verboten in the Bible, and inexorably reaching the required conclusions, worldly evidence to the contrary be damned. These people’s conclusions are about as sound as the insights you’d get if you gave an immortal alien race that never reproduces the story of Abraham and Issac, formal training in theology, and little if any contact with any actual human families, and asked them to make their best effort at stating the nature of the parent child bond among modern Christians.

  • Nick

    Yes, I think the Bible is wrong about gays being evil.

    As for the quote, I agree. As Evagrius Ponticus puts it,”a theologian is one who prays.” Only through real experiences with people can one begin to truly speak to and discern the will of God.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Not all of them. I imagine the folks pushing to make divorce harder or institute Domestic Abuse Licenses “covenant marriage” are among the opponents of marriage equality.

  • Lorehead

    I’m no fan of those (or the attempt by North Carolina Republicans to drag all divorces out for two years), but in fairness, covenant-marriage laws do consider domestic violence grounds for divorce (again, in clear contradiction of the NT definition of marriage, which states that only adultery by the wife would qualify).

  • EllieMurasaki

    But aren’t covenant-marriage law proposals coming out of the same sector of religion that says the correct thing for an abused wife to do is to try to reform her husband?

  • Lorehead

    Maybe, but can you give me an example of a covenant-marriage law that would have the effect of giving license to domestic violence? (I can think of some instances where conservatives claimed a right to abuse children or did not want restraining orders to be available and enforceable.)

  • Foelhe

    How do you find “Slaves, obey your earthly masters” vague but any of the clobber verses ironclad? And which clobber verses?

  • Nick

    “Slaves obey your earthly masters” is not vague at all. I’m arguing as to motive. Some Christians maintain that the Apostles saw slavery as a “necessary evil” which would be done away with naturally as the Gospel of love and equality in Christ took root. I’m not saying that I agree with that, but it just goes to show that the NT view of slavery is confusing.

    As for clobber verses, I think Romans 1:27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 are pretty inescapable (though I know some Christians argue against the common meaning of them as well).

  • Foelhe

    Calling it a necessary evil doesn’t make me think the bible is disagreeing with it though, not in any meaningful way. The bible may not support slavery as a philosophy but it does support it as a way of life, which in my mind is a lot more important.

    Romans, you should really read the rest of the chapter for context. Romans doesn’t say being gay is wrong so much as it says people were turned gay because they worshiped false idols. Which isn’t so much flexible as it is bugfuck stupid, but unless you’re going to argue that other religions turn people gay you can’t use that verse to back up much. And the verse in Corinthians generally gets slammed for being a really sketchy translation, but I’ll leave that to someone who knows more about the original language.

  • Carstonio

    It would seem so much simpler to just recognize that slavery is wrong no matter what either testament says. While I’m not holding my breath for Dobson to do this, I wonder if the pointlessness of his rationalizations ever occurs to him.

  • Mark Z.

    It would seem so much simpler to just recognize that slavery is wrong no matter what either testament says.

    Yes, and it would be even simpler for everyone to just shut up and do what I tell them. Unfortunately that is not one of the options available to us.

  • Carstonio

    Yeah, I sounded incrediby messianic. My point was that these folks spend a great deal of time rationalizing and defending positions that, to me, sound morally repulsive. Almost like part of their conscience objects to discrimination based on orientation and they’re trying to suppress these qualms. Or maybe they’re like a slaveowner telling himself that he and his slaves deserve their respective positions.

  • flat

    Now this discussion had one hell of a flamewar.

  • http://www.facebook.com/agni.ashwin Agni Ashwin

    Lincoln’s birthday is 12 February 1809. Darwin’s birthday is 12 February 1809. Guess which one is celebrated in Alabama.

  • P J Evans

    Neither: ‘Presidents Day’, on the third Monday of February.

  • Valancy Jane

    This was hilarious to read. Good work. The problem is that there is no sport in being a Poe, because a Poe is at this point completely impossible to tell from a Christian really saying or thinking this BS.

  • Kristen Rosser

    There are books and pamphlets from 1855-65 that pretty much make these exact arguments. Only they’re serious.


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